Page 1


South Alabama Electric Cooperative

Back to school Q & A with state’s school chief

Covers_TOC_TEMPLATE13.indd 35

7/17/13 4:31 PM


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.

Vol. 66 No. 8 AUGUST 2013


11 Sales tax holiday

The weekend of Aug. 2-4 is once again a sales tax holiday in Alabama with school supplies, clothing and computers eligible for exemption from state sales tax.

Alabama Rural Electric Association

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Melissa Henninger Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Michael Cornelison

16 Youngest gardeners The youngest students at the University of West Alabama are getting a firsthand education on the unique agriculture of Alabama through a garden project with the Center for the Study of the Black Belt.

State School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice is right at home with a classroom of Alabama school children. Photo: Alabama State Department of Education

Advertising Director Adam Freeman Advertising Coordinator Brooke Davis Recipe Editor Mary Tyler Spivey Intern Jordan Pittman

24 Busy as a bee

Alabama beekeepers know better than anyone how important bees are, not just for their honey, but for the vital role they play in the nation’s food chain.


340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

departments 9 10 18 28 3 0 32 34 41

Spotlight Power Pack Alabama Gardens Safe at Home Consumer Wise Worth the Drive Cook of the Month Fish & Game Forecast

Printed in America from American materials

Alabama Living

Covers_TOC_TEMPLATE13.indd 36

August 2013  3

7/17/13 4:31 PM

Manager’s Comments

Loyal Connections 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

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 4  AUGUST 2013

SAECAUG2013.indd 4

Co-ops change lives in the communities they serve Max Davis, General Manager

Loyalty is a prized virtue—to country, family, even the schools we attend. We keep those ties strong throughout our lives, myself included. We at South Alabama Electric Coopera‑ tive also have loyalties to the members and communities we serve. We have deep connections here because our service area is our home, and you are our neighbor. When you signed up for service with

field, or participating in Relay for Life ­­‑ the cooperative invests in the places where you live and work. South Alabama Electric doesn’t exist to make profits for distant investors on Wall Street. We exist to provide you with safe, reliable, and affordable electric service— and doing so in a way that makes things better for future generations. Because elec‑ tric co-ops operate on a not-for-profit ba‑ sis, we have no need to increase revenues above what it takes to run our business in a financially South Alabama Electric sound manner. This structure helps keep your electric bills doesn’t exist to make profits for affordable. take our job seriously, but distant investors on Wall Street. weWe also take our community seriously. That’s why we We exist to provide you with roles offer scholarships to collegestudents, and send two safe, reliable, and affordable bound of our local high school juniors to Washington, D.C. every electric service summer to learn about history and government. We also work with the economic development South Alabama, you became a member, organizations in each of our counties to not a customer—because each of our more keep businesses growing and thriving and than 11,200 members owns a portion of locating in our area. the utility. We don’t participate in these activities That means we care about improving the simply because it’s nice to do, or even the quality of life in the areas we serve. From right thing to do. We do it because we re‑ sponsoring the scoreboard at the high main loyal to our members, our neighbors, school football stadium to taking donations our home—and a mission to make life bet‑ for the local food bank, helping light a ball‑ ter in the areas we serve.

Just A Reminder!

Cooperative members are reminded to make sure your membership is in voting order. In order for a husband or wife to be eligible to vote at the annual meeting and be eligible to win prizes, the membership needs to be listed as Mr. and Mrs.. You must come to the cooperative office and sign a form to make this change on your membership. All changes must be made prior to August 31, 2013, to be effective for this year’s annual meeting. Remember only the person (or persons) listed on the membership is eligible to vote and win prizes at the annual meeting. If you have questions contact our office at 1-800-556-2060.

7/17/13 5:38 PM

South Alabama Electric  Cooperative

2013 Scholarship Winner Lauren Knighten Lauren Emily Knight‑ en, from Zion Chapel High School, received the 2013 Electric Co‑ operative Foundation Scholarship from South Alabama Electric Coop‑ erative. The Foundation was created by the rural electric cooperatives of Alabama in 1997 so that we could give back to the communities we serve by providing scholarships to deserving stu‑ dents located in our service territories. Lauren was selected from applicants from across Alabama to represent our cooperative. “We’re excited to be able to provide educational assistance to such a de‑ serving student,” Max Davis, general manager of SAEC said. “We are helping the future of our community. We wish her the best of luck as she continues her educational pursuits.” She is the daughter of Cara Hussey and Mike Knighten. Lauren has been busy while enrolled at Zion Chapel High School. She was a member of the National Beta Club, FBLA, FFA, Mu Alpha Theta Math Club and ASTRA Service Club of Jack. She has been a member of the softball team since seventh grade. Her former principal, Bob Hartwell, had this to say, “I’ve known Lauren for the past nine years. Each year my ad‑ miration and respect for her increases. Because our school is K-12, I was able to watch this little girl grow from an elementary student to an outstanding young lady. “Lauren is one of those students who sticks out above the rest. She maintains

Alabama Living

SAECAUG2013.indd 5

an academic sched‑ ule that would be improbable for most and impos‑ sible for the rest while working as a tutor in our after school program and playing soft‑ ball.” She is also actively involved in church activities. “Miss Knighten is an active member of our youth and children’s programs,” Rev. Terry Carmoney, Jr., of Goshen United Methodist Church said. “She vol‑ unteers throughout the year as a helper to our youth workers. She especially helps us in our annual Vacation Bible School, as a volunteer teacher, group leaders and activity director.” Her extracurricular activities in‑ cluded: babysitting for various families, particpating in the Beta Club Christmas Gift Program for Needy Children, tutor‑ ing, and working part time with Hussey Brothers House Movers. “I’m a proud student at Zion Chapel High School,” Lauren said. “I have sever‑ al passions in life which include playing softball, making good grades, reading, and living and walking my Christian lifestyle so that others will know that I mean what I say and say what I mean. My favorite quote is ‘When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything You gave me.’” Lauren has been accepted at Troy University where she will major in Bio‑ medical Sciences.

South Alabama Electric Monthly Operating Report KWH Sold 23,820,192 Avg. Utility Bill $183.42 Average Use 1,464 Total Accounts Billed 16,263 Total Miles of Line. 2,657 Consumers per mile of line 6.12 Information from MAY 2013

AUGUST 2013  5

7/17/13 5:38 PM

From Many... ONE Amanda Fang (left) and Callie McMahan at the FDR Memorial

Youth Tour DC 2013

Rep. Mo Brooks. (Scheduling conflicts Forty-five Alabama students kept Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard joined nearly 1,600 of their fellow Shelby and Representatives Jo Bonner young electric cooperative consum‑ and Spencer Bachus from attending.) ers for a week in June as part of the “I really enjoyed meeting them,” said 49th annual NRECA Electric Coop‑ Meredith Phillips of Baldwin EMC. erative Youth Tour in Washington, “They were receptive and really wanted DC. Amanda Fang (Luverne High to hear what I had to say. Now I can School) and Callie McMahan (Zion say that I’ve been to our Capitol, I can Chapel High School) represented feel a part of this nation, that I know South Alabama Electric Cooperative what goes on, and I’m involved.” on the week-long trip. The students, Callie and Amanda join other YT participants at Mount Vernon Lawmakers answered questions on accompanied by eight chaperones, toured museums and monuments, and brought a fresh and everything from energy policy to world affairs, said chap‑ erone Scott Bobo, assistant general manager of Marshallunique perspective to elected officials as they visited with DeKalb Electric Cooperative. “Lawmakers understand congressional representatives at the U.S. Capitol. that these young people are our future. They are our future Steve Uram, an NRECA senior grassroots advocacy advisor, said the 2013 event was the largest Youth Tour community leaders and they will play a huge part in the ever. “Having 1,589 young people from 43 states here for nation’s future economy.” a week was a fitting way to begin a countdown to the 50th “I’m always impressed by the questions our group of anniversary of NRECA’s direct sponsorship of this popular students ask,” Chellie Phillips, chaperone and SAEC Youth co-op program.” Tour coordinator said. “They are very insightful and show Alabama’s group, representing 17 of our 22 coopera‑ you that today’s teenagers are paying attention to what’s tives, heard updates from and asked questions of five of going on in the world around them.” Many of the teenagers were especially moved by a visit the state’s congressional delegation: Rep. Terri Sewell, Rep. Martha Roby, Rep. Mike Rogers, Rep. Robert Aderholt and to Arlington National Cemetery, home to some 400,000

6  AUGUST 2013

SAECAUG2013.indd 6

7/17/13 5:38 PM

South Alabama Electric Cooperative

graves of American service person‑ nel. “I think it meant the most to everybody on this trip because we got to see the [graves of] people that gave their lives for you and for your family to be safe,” said Nesha Smalls of Cullman Electric Cooperative. “We were all able to put a flag on a grave to support families who were there, to show them that we thank them and their families for what they did for us.” Chandler Brown of Southern Pine Electric Cooperative agreed: “You can see all the pictures you want on the Internet, but it’s really different when you actually go there and see how it’s set up and see all the graves.” The timing was especially mean‑ ingful for Caitlin Cobb of Dixie Elec‑ tric Cooperative. “I think because it was Father’s Day and seeing all the little girls and boys without fathers there, that was really sad,” she said. For Aaron Estes of Joe Wheeler EMC and Kush Patel of Southern Pine Electric Cooperative, the visit to the Holocaust Museum was the most memorable. While he’s studied World War II, seeing the images and videos of people in concentration camps was quite different. “It just really touched my heart,” Estes said. “It hurt.” “The Holocaust Museum showed a bunch of atrocities that went on that I really didn’t know about,” added Patel. “The monu‑ ment tour was also very good be‑ cause you learn a lot just by seeing things you always hear about in books and history but it’s not really the same until you go and see it. It’s like, so awe-inspiring.” Neal Ousley of Central Electric Cooperative was one of the delega‑ tion who helped lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, along with Callie McMahan of South Alabama Electric Coopera‑ tive. “It was scary at first because I Alabama Living

SAECAUG2013.indd 7

(Top) Callie prepares for the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown with other Alabama participants. (Below) Rep. Martha Roby meets with Alabama delegration.

AUGUST 2013  7

7/17/13 5:38 PM

wasn’t sure exactly what it was going to be like,” he remembered. “But it was a great experience and it was fun to just be able to do it and experience that firsthand.” “I was honored to be a part of the wreath laying ceremony,” McMahan said. “Being at Arlington and think‑ ing about the sacrifices that have been made so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today really makes you think.” “While we were at the Capitol, we watched a video about the founding of the country,” Amanda Fang said. “There was a line in that film, ‘Out of” That’s inspiring to think that’s how our nation was founded. And that thought has carried through Youth Tour. While we all come from many places, with many ideas, we can all do great things together.” A universal sentiment expressed by all of the students was the privilege of meeting teens from other electric cooperatives across Alabama and the country. “The best thing is getting to connect with other people your age and spending time with them,” said Alexandria Selman from Covington Electric Cooperative, Alabama’s 2013 Youth Leadership Council representa‑ tive. Added Aaron Estes: “I have friends now that I’m going to talk to for the rest of my life.” The 2013 Youth Tour delegates join more than 50,000 other young people who have participated in the program since 1957, when then Sen. Lyndon Baines Johnson, D-Texas, urged co-op officials to offer young people such opportunities. NRECA has sponsored annual Youth Tours since 1964. To learn how you can be involved in Youth Tour 2014, contact Chellie Phillips at 1-800-556-2060 or by email at

8  AUGUST 2013

SAECAUG2013.indd 8

7/17/13 5:38 PM

Spot Light

In August

Get a taste of Alabama cuisine during Restaurant Week Culinary travelers should mark their calendars for Alabama Restaurant Week, which begins Friday, Aug. 16, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 25. Sponsored by the Alabama Department of Tourism, the event will highlight Alabama’s diverse eateries with participating restaurants offering a pre-fixed two-course lunch and/or three-course dinner at a set price. Alabama’s Martie Duncan, a finalist on the hit show, “Food Network Star,” also will be visiting several of the participating restaurants for a social media “meet and greet” with the public.

 A three-course dinner meal should include a starter, main course and dessert while the two-course lunch meal should include a main course and either a starter or dessert. Patrons should simply ask for an Alabama Restaurant Week meal at a participating restaurant during the promotion time period. Participating restaurants are listed at with exact meal offerings once they are known. The Alabama Restaurant Week pricing is fixed at $10, $20 and $30 for dinner and $5, $10 and $15 for lunch.

Events Aug. 3

Wild game cooks will compete in Millbrook Wild Game Cook Teams from 13 competitions across the state will battle it out Saturday, Aug. 3 at Lanark Pavilion in Millbrook for a $1,000 first prize and bragging rights to the title Alabama Wildlife Federation-Alabama Army National Guard Wild Game Cook-Off State Champion. Festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. and will include a silent auction, raffle and musical entertainment. The Alabama Army National Guard will also be sponsoring a “People’s Choice Award” which will be voted on by those in attendance. Each cook team will prepare its tables and their specialty of wild game, fish or fowl for the judges and attendees. Tickets are available for $35 per person or $50 per couple. Proceeds benefit Alabama Wildlife Alabama Living

Belle Chevre Cheese Shop and Tasting Room in Elkmont will take part in Alabama Restaurant Week. Wintzell’s Oyster House restaurants, including the Mobile location, is among the restaurants participating.

Federation’s programs and projects. For ticket information contact the Alabama Wildlife Federation at 1-800-822-WILD. Driving directions can be downloaded at

Follow us on Pinterest at AlabamaLiving, where you can find yummy recipes, travel ideas, gardening tips and inspiring stories about Alabama and its people, places and things!

Aug. 31

Luverne hosts Peanut Boil Festival The 4th Annual Peanut Boil Festival will be Saturday, Aug. 31 in Luverne. Sponsored by the Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce, the event will feature arts and crafts, food, entertainment, a car show, a Biker Run, rides for kids and other activities. The festival will be located at the intersection of Highway 10 and Highway 331S in Luverne. A 5K run/ walk is also planned for Saturday, Aug. 24 on Airport Road in Luverne. Registration is at 6 a.m. and the run starts at 7 a.m. For more information about either event, call 334-335-4468. AUGUST 2013  9

Power Pack

Reflecting on 78 years of Social Security By Carolyn W. Colvin Acting Commissioner of Social Security

There are special moments when people look back and evaluate a life or an era: birthdays, class reunions, holidays, anniversaries. Time is, after all, simply the stringing together of a number of events; some small, others significant. These events can speed by quickly, but each one can have an effect on the greater whole. A lifetime of seemingly mundane events can pass in what seems like the blink of an eye … until one looks back to examine them and realizes just how much has filled the space. When I think about Social Security on the eve of the program’s 78th anniversary, I am amazed by what a significant difference it has made, one event at a time, one person at a time. Over Social Security’s long history, every single monthly payment has made a difference to an American somewhere. But when you string those payments together, it’s remarkable what a huge and positive effect Social Security has had on the people and economy of our nation. Social Security has been a cornerstone of our nation, touching the lives of almost every American at one time

or another, for 78 years. It’s the most successful domestic program in our nation and, arguably, the world. When President Franklin D. Carolyn Colvin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935, he said, “The civilization of the past hundred years, with its startling industrial changes, has tended more and more to make life insecure. Young people have come to wonder what would be their lot when they came to old age. The man with a job has wondered how long the job would last.” The same can be said of the current information age, with our rapidly evolving digital revolution and periods of economic instability. Social Security is a safety net cast to help those who need it. President Roosevelt knew that the cornerstone of his administration would offer security, but he also understood that Social Security would need to evolve as new changes challenged the nation. “This law, too, represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete,”

he admitted. “It is, in short, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.” Today, Social Security is much more than just a retirement program. We provide benefits to disabled individuals and their families. We provide survivors benefits to widows, widowers and the minor children of deceased workers. We provide Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to aged and disabled people who have low income and resources. We provide work incentives to help people work. We even provide extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs. In so many ways, Social Security benefits America. Milestones come and milestones go. But looking back over the past 78 years of the nation’s most important program, it is those millions of individual moments — the monthly benefit payments — that have made a tremendous difference. In good times and bad, in sickness and health, Social Security has helped Americans. Each payment has helped someone, somewhere. But place them side by side and the difference Social Security has made in the lives of Americans is certainly something to celebrate.

D.C. Youth Tour a hit with 45 lucky students Some 45 students from 17 of Alabama’s electric cooperatives recently returned from Washington D.C. for the week-long National Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, joining more than 1,600 students from across the nation. Students met with U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, (far left) and other members of Congress and toured the U.S. Capitol (left) and other sites of interest. See more photos at http:// Alabama-WashingtonDC/29559417_ CTFsn3#!i=2527868037&k=NPswjhj and on Facebook at AREA Youth Tours. 10  AUGUST 2013

‘Back to school’ sales tax holiday set for Aug. 2-4 The state of Alabama will have a “Back to School” sales tax holiday weekend Aug. 2-4. Items eligible for discount include clothing under $100; school supplies under $50; books under $30; and computers and computer equipment under $750.

To see the list of localities participating in the sales tax holiday, visit the Alabama Department of Revenue’s website at The list of supplies that are eligible is located at http://revenue. For more information, call 334-242-1490 or 866-5766531.

Paying for college: Four tips parents should know Financial specialist shares ways to help your child while protecting your retirement From $20,000 to $65,000 a year – that’s the tuition cost for one year of college, says John McDonough, a money expert who helps retirees and parents plan for their families’ futures. “For the 2012–2013 academic year, the average cost for an in-state public college is $22,261. A moderate budget for a private college averaged $43,289,” says McDonough, CEO of Studemont Group College Funding Solutions, www. “But for elite schools, we’re talking about three times the cost of your local state school. Either way, your kid’s higher education can easily shoot into six figures after four years.” Along with worrying about rising tuition prices, parents also fear for their own futures if their retirement savings are drained by children’s college costs, McDonough says. Only 14 percent, for example, are very confident they’ll have the money to live comfortably in retirement, he says, citing a 2012 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. “Families feel they’re faced with conflicting goals, but there are numerous ways to pay for college while investing in your future retirement,” says McDonough, who offers insights for parents to keep in mind while planning for their child’s education: • The ROI of a college education: At a time when so many American families are financially strapped, college is an especially stressful topic because parents know higher learning will help their kids succeed. College graduates earn 84 percent more than those with only a high school diploma, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education Alabama Living

and the Workforce. Here is how earning breaks down over one’s lifetime, based on education: a doctoral degree-holder will earn $3.3 million over a lifetime; $2.3 million is estimated for a college graduate; those with only a high school diploma can expect $1.3 million. • Move retirement assets to qualify for grants: Most parents know about the 529 savings account, but that’s not necessarily the best or only option. Reallocating your retirement assets, such as 401(k)s, can better position a child to qualify for grants and scholarships. This legal and ethical maneuvering may be the single most important factor when considering how to pay for college. • Know your student’s strengths and weaknesses: Consider independent and objective analysis of your future college student. Assessment might include a personality profile and a detailed search for a future career. Also think about a more nuts-and-bolts approach, including scholarship eligibility, SAT and ACT prep courses, review of admissions essays and an in-depth analysis of chances for enrollment in a student’s top four choices of colleges. • Make a checklist of financial aid forms: In order to maximize a fair price of higher education, remember there is plenty of data to review. McDonough recommends a checklist with a timeline and notable deadlines. Be ready to troubleshoot the “alphabet soup” of data forms: FAFSA – Free Application For Federal Student Aid; CSS profile – College Scholarship Service; SAR – Student Aid Report; and more. Think about this process as a second job, or find professional help you can trust. AUGUST 2013  11

Defying the myths A conversation with Alabama School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice

Later this month, school doors will reopen for more than 700,000 Alabama public school children. Alabama Living recently sat down with Alabama School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice to talk about some of the positive things happening in our schools. A former teacher, principal and superintendent in the Alexander City school system, Bice had been the state’s deputy superintendent of education instruction before officially taking office as superintendent in January 2012. Portions of our interview with Dr. Bice covered elements of the state’s new strategic plan for education, Plan 2020. To read and download a copy of the plan, visit Video excerpts from the interview may be viewed at and Alabama Living: We hear a lot about the bad things in our public schools, but we want our readers to know about the good things. Tell us about some of those. Bice: I think the most exciting thing at the moment is that we’ve redefined the “high school graduate” for the state of Alabama. As part of that, we set a goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020. We took a baseline last year and we were at 72 percent, which to some may not sound like a positive thing. It’s actually higher than it’s ever been since records have been kept in Alabama. And we set a trajectory through 2020 of increasing it by 2 percent each year to make that goal. But in the first year we increased about 3 percent which again, doesn’t sound like a huge amount. But, if we continue on that trajectory, we’ll get to 90 percent even before 2020. 12  AUGUST 2013

And the significance of that is two-fold. Number one, what it means for those individuals that are actually now high school graduates rather than high school dropouts and their options for future choices of continuing their education or certain jobs that they would have not been eligible for. But as a state, it also means people (graduates) have greater income. And if you have greater income, you spend more. So for our economy, it’s a huge boost. What we’re trying to get across to our legislature is the two main funding sources that fund public education are income tax and sales tax. If we are able to get them behind us on some of the things that we are trying to do and actually get to this 90 percent graduation rate, we can be our own solution to our funding problem for the education budget, because we’ll have a greater number of people with higher income who are spending more.

Which, obviously, will enhance the education trust fund. So it helps the individual and it helps the state. Alabama Living: What specifically are we doing inside the schools to keep students in the classroom? Bice: The Department of Education is a huge bureaucracy and bureaucracies tend to treat whoever they serve as if they’re all the same. And we’ve done that for a long

time in public education. We’ve reorganized the department, we changed a lot of our rules and regulations so that we’re actually rewarding and supporting innovation. And removing some of the rules and regulations that have held people back from doing things that could create more opportunities for children to be more engaged. There’s a school in rural Talladega County, Winterboro, that was having issues with dropouts and [they] visited schools around the nation looking for a new solution. They had tried a lot of things and they weren’t working. They came up on Project-Based Learning and they partnered with business and industry to come in and look at teaching math, science, social studies and English around solving real world problems provided by business and industry. One of the first things they did was tear down walls between classrooms, so that teachers…

Bice: I was just there this morning. To kick off an initiative that we’re calling “Ending Childhood Hunger in Alabama,” one of the areas that we are focusing on is to begin to teach children how to have gardens. So that they can learn about sustainability, building their own gardens at home and making sure that as they become adults, they understand that they can have control over their hunger needs. It was just remarkable. And they are again teaching science, math, social studies, and English through this work in the garden. After the formal press conference, they turned the children loose and they immediately got engaged telling everybody about their plants and what’s going on. One of the neatest stories was from a first-grader. I asked her, I said “What are some of your challenges?” She says, “You know, we’re just so challenged right now because we have cabbage worms that are attacking our cabbage.”

some schools that are underperforming? Absolutely we do, but those are by far the minority. And we are dealing very aggressively with those right now, to turn them around so that those students have options just like other students. But, by far, the majority of our students, once we’ve removed some of those rules and regulations that have kind of held them captive for years, the innovation that’s coming out of these schools is just remarkable. Alabama Living: And who’s really to be credited for that? Teachers there, parents or…..?

Bice: It’s a combination in these schools where it’s really taking off. It’s where the school community has partnered with business and industry and with parents. It’s really a collective community effort. Sometimes schools try to do their own Alabama Living: The physical walls? thing aside from the community and especially aside from the business and industry. And where we’re Bice: Physical walls, and they seeing the greatest move forward created learning suites. Where is where business and industry groups of students come in and have paired with education. Bework with teachers who have cause as I have shared openly, planned their lessons around solving that problem. And it’s remarkultimately business and industry able. Since they have done that for are our customers of public education. Whether it’s straight out the last three years, they have had of high school, two years later afone student to drop out of school, ter a technical degree, four years their graduation rate is at 98 percent and their discipline referrals Alabama schools must realign their limited resources more later a B.S. degree, or ten years are almost nonexistent. Because strategically to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse later. Those people go into the they are providing education in student population, Bice says. work force, so we want to make Photos courtesy Alabama State Department of Education sure that we are partnered with a different sort of environment from the way we traditionally them along the way, so there is a And I’m thinking, OK, a first-grader connection between what we do and what provided education. talking about cabbage worms. So I say, they’re expecting. Alabama Living: And just that one simple “How are you handling this?” and she says, “We come out every morning and Innovation and community change has made that much difference? pick off the cabbage worms because if we partnerships can help students Bice: Absolutely. One of the biggest changes don’t, they are going to eat up our cabbages. succeed that occurred… most of the faculty that But we’ve also left a few, so we could see had taught there many years chose to leave what happens to the cabbage worms after Alabama Living: Any other positive stories because they weren’t willing to make the they eat the cabbage. They actually build that you’ve encountered in junior high or shift. And that’s another area of work that a chrysalis, become a chrysalis and hatch high schools? we are being very strategic on. If the adults into cabbage butterflies that are just as bad that are teaching our children aren’t willing as the worms, but they trick you because Bice: Our Torchbearer Schools are those to shift to a 21st century sort of learning they’re pretty. So we go after those as well.” that are defying the myth about some of the things people say that prevent children environment for children, then we’re helping them find other ways to earn a living. Alabama Living: How often do you get from learning. These are schools that have Because we need people that are connected out? over 80 percent free or reduced lunch population, which means most of their children to our students. Bice: I purposely go once a week to a live in some level of poverty. Alabama Living: You were telling me ear- school and spend time with students and We have a group of schools now that lier that another classroom was involved in just see what’s going on. I’m amazed at seven or eight years ago were some of our a garden. what’s going on. You know, do we have lowest performing schools in the state. And Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  13

because of great leadership being brought in and giving them flexibility to do things that they knew they needed to do, they are now some of our highest performing schools in the state. The analogy I use is eight years the children were poor, lived in public housing, many of them lived in single parent homes where their parents were under-educated because we didn’t do a good job with them either. Black, Hispanic, speaking a different language -- all the reasons we sometimes use as excuses as to why the children can’t learn. Eight years later, after a lot of work, the children are still poor, they still live in inner city housing, and all those variables are still exactly the same. But those children are performing at levels comparable to any of our highest performing schools in the state. Which are models for us to take away from those best practices to share with all of our schools.

Partnerships with business, industry and parents are key to progress Alabama Living: You mentioned flexibility as a factor. Bice: Yes. For teachers and others to be able to come together and develop curriculum, outside of things we have typically done in education.

start to get the services their children need, how do they ever get there?” So it’s our responsibility to break down that bureaucracy to the level that it can be accessed at the local level. Alabama Living: The Common Core came under some attack during the last legislative session. Is there anything the public needs to know about this that hasn’t already been said? Bice: I was involved with this when it first was set up in 2007. It was a time when a group of governors and a group of educators thought, “We’ve got 50 states that are working every so often to redo their standards for math, and the English, language arts and algebra can’t be that different in 50 different states. We’re spending enormous amounts of money and time for different states to be doing what they could do collectively, possibly learn from each other and

standards that were developed through that collaborative and brought it back to Alabama. Alabama educators, teachers, principals, university faculty and laypersons, which is the way we’ve always done it, took those and Alabama standards to look at the two and compare them. They took the best of both and combined them into what we refer to as Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards for Math and English Language Arts. We don’t report our work to anyone outside of the state of Alabama. When people ask me what’s the big difference between our previous standards and our new standards, this sounds awfully simple, but it’s really a change in the verb. In our old standards it would say, “Compute three digit numbers to come up with the correct sum.” In our new standards in the same grade it would say, “Given this real world situation, based on what you’ve learned, determine the mathematics that is required to solve the problem. Work with three or four of your peers to come up with as many solutions to it as you can. Choose the one that you feel best answers the question and explain to the rest of your class why you chose that solution.” The arithmetic is still the same. Alabama Living: Right.

Bice: Still adding three digit numbers. But what we’re asking Teachers are encouraged to come up with ideas outside of what students and teachers to do difhas typically taken place inside Alabama classrooms. ferently is to think, work together Bice: [Yes,] to think outside the box. I don’t come up with something that’s even better and to solve problems. Which is, when you own a box, I burned all that a long time than what they could’ve done individually. talk with business and industry and higher ago because boxes don’t serve well to serve To me, that was, for lack of a better term, education, the skill set that has been missing. Under the previous way we have been the diverse population of students we cur- a no-brainer. rently serve in Alabama. It’s more diverse So we came back and asked our board teaching, for almost a decade now, to pass than it’s ever been with poverty being our if they would be interested in us working a test. Now we want them to take what biggest challenge. We have to be able to re- on that, to which they said yes. We began they’ve learned and apply it to something align what we do and our limited resourc- working on the process of working with they may have never even seen before. es more strategically to meet the needs of 48 other states and a multitude of other That is what’s exciting. It changes the role those children. entities, pulling together the best of all the of the learner and it changes the role of the You know, I’ve worked in some of the states’ standards. We actually started with teacher. It also equips children to take on poorest counties in the state. I worked in all the states’ standards and looked at those situations and issues that they may have Coosa County for a while; it’s very rural, internationally because many of our gradu- never had the ability to do before. great place, wonderful people and very little ates now are going to be competing, not just economic growth there at this point. And within the United States, but for jobs inter- Alabama Living: So this is what you were many of those parents have lived there for- nationally. What can we do to make sure talking about when we started this interever and have needs for those children. I the standards get them there? We came up view. You’re changing what a high school look at these big white buildings here in with, throughout that process, input from graduate will be. Montgomery that are filled with bureau- every state that was participating before cracy, ours being one of them, and think, anything was finalized and finally came up Bice: Exactly. You know, I spent probably “How does that parent that may not even with a set of standards. Alabama, unlike the first six months on the job meeting with have the capacity to even know where to some other states, took the Common Core business and industry and higher education; Alabama Living: [To] think outside the box.

14  AUGUST 2013

which, I realized immediately on being hired that there was a disconnect between us and them. The whole purpose of that time was to ask them that question. What is it about Alabama high school graduates that is missing when you get them? Interestingly and somewhat unexpected, the response from business and industry and higher education was identical. That they have some of the basic math, English, science and those sorts of skills that you would expect them to have, but they don’t appear to know what to do with them. And they are so programmed to take the test and move on, they don’t want to continue to learn. Just give me the answer, tell me what you want me to do with it and let me go. So we want to create a graduate that is a lifelong learner, that has intellectual curiosity, that isn’t afraid to experiment with what they’ve learned and work with their peers to come up with solutions, which is what the real world looks like. So that’s what we are trying to prepare them for.

weekends. I have a son that took a Latin course from a teacher at another school because they didn’t offer it at his school and it couldn’t be worked into his school day. So he took it at night on his own in a blended model with his teacher from another school system. It worked out beautifully and more efficiently. Rather than building something, there are a lot of empty buildings in the world today. If we opened up, and they’ve done a lot of this in the urban areas, go to the empty storefronts in local neighborhoods and open up “schools.” They might be Twilight Schools, it means it’s after hours, so that kids who have had to drop out of schools and support their families could actually have an opportunity to return to school, be successful and be this higher wage earner to support their families. But it takes us rethinking how we deliver education. Bice: Probably the question that I am asked

Alabama Living: Ten years from now, what are our schools in Alabama going to look like? Bice: I challenge people to think about that very question. I actually met, about a week or so ago, with all the plant managers from all the school systems in the state.

Bice: For years at the Department of Education, we’ve made rules and regulations for years because a school did something wrong. So we do a rule to address that, but then it applies to everybody else. So over the years, you have squelched all that creativity and innovation. I am a firm believer, and I have this little rule that everybody here will tell you and anybody who has ever worked with me before knows, if somebody comes to me and says “they said,” I can’t really do much about it unless I know who “they” are. So I require them to go back. Once you can identify who “they” are and what those problems are associated with whoever “they” are, then come back to me. It is amazing how many non-revisits I have. So [we are] removing some of the things that just through urban legend we’ve been programmed to think we can’t do. And we’re removing them right and left to try and give schools the flexibility they need, because they’re all different. You’ve got a school in Mobile that has a huge number of Vietnamese children because of the parents that work in the oyster industry in a certain area of Mobile. They have a very unique need in school culture that is totally different than in … Alabama Living: Albertville, where you have a large Hispanic population.

Alabama Living: The physical Ten years from now, classrooms won’t look like what they do plant? today.

Bice: The physical plant managers, because they are an integral part of what we do as well. And I challenged them to think 10 years from now about what their job might look like that is different. We get real caught up in building these big places to public education, but with technology and some of the examples I’ve given you, learning can occur in a lot of different places and a lot of different times. We’ve got to begin to look at education through that lens rather than it being a place. It really could be, with technology, a 24/7 anywhere and anytime experience for students. Not for all, but for those that can handle that sort of thing. We have distance learning now where we offer hundreds of courses so that students, no matter where they live, can take courses. That doesn’t have to happen during the school day. That can happen in the evenings and that can happen on the Alabama Living

the most, that drives people crazy when I say, “Ask for flexibility.” They say, “What can we ask flexibility from?” I refuse to give them the list, because the minute I give them the list I have now, again, taken over the thinking process. What might be thought of and created within a faculty in Dekalb County versus what might be thought of in Wilcox County could be totally different and of equal value. So, we have 134 school systems and 1,500 schools. So we could have 1,500 different ways this looks. Alabama Living: It doesn’t look like the school you and I went to. Bice: Exactly, it doesn’t need to. Alabama Living: We hear so many negative things about our schools that it’s great to sit down with you and hear about some of the good things.

Bice: Exactly, or across over in Dekalb County or some of the other areas.

Alabama Living: Or west Alabama. Bice: Right, they’re all different. This gives you a chance to embrace the differences in culture, children, community, families and actually engage it. What this looks like, which administratively drives people crazy because it’s a lot easier to administer with a one-size-fits-all approach. It’d be a whole lot easier for me to lead this department if we were treating all students the same. Alabama Living: Well, that’s the way we used to do it. Bice: Right. It’s a lot harder to do it this way, but it is so much more effective and efficient financially….It’s about the children. It’s not about Tommy Bice and it’s not about any of the adults’ turf here. This is their school system and we have to make sure that we respond that way. A AUGUST 2013  15

Whole Kids Garden grows in state’s Black Belt Young students establish ‘four seasons garden’ at University of West Alabama


he youngest students at the University of West Alabama in Livingston are getting a firsthand education on the unique agriculture of Alabama through a garden project with the Center for the Study of the Black Belt. The first installment of their “four seasons garden” was planted in early summer, and the students are reaping quite a harvest.

16  AUGUST 2013

Students at the UWA Campus School have dubbed the summer installation of their year-round garden “The Pizza Garden” because it’s filled with the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and herbs they like on their pizza. The project gives children ages 5 to 11 firsthand knowledge of how a garden grows and how a community can thrive on its natural resources to grow its own food.

Through a garden grant, Whole Kids Foundation has provided the seeds, literally and figuratively, to grow healthy children and communities in rural west Alabama. The year-round garden is intended to jump start a supplemental science curriculum for students and to promote a healthy lifestyle among the community by reaching children first in an area plagued by high rates of obesity and poverty. Project coordinator Annie Upchurch, director of the UWA Campus School, says having the assistance of gardening and nutrition experts has been essential in demonstrating to the children the connection between planting a garden and a healthy lifestyle through better nutrition. “Our students have shown so much enthusiasm in every aspect of the process from learning about agriculture and the skills of tending a garden to the importance of nutritious foods and how to plan healthy meals,” Upchurch explained. The garden, which is located at the Campbell Environmental Education Cen-

In the state’s Black Belt region, young students are learning how a garden grows as well as good eating habits with the help of gardening and nutrition experts.

ter at UWA and is connected to the UWA Campus School by a stretch of one of the campus’s nature trails, has served as an outdoor classroom for the young students. Here, horticulturist Sam Ledbetter of the Black Belt Garden teaches them about the planting and care for the garden. “It’s where they’ve learned about life cycles of plants and have seen firsthand the stages of plant growth. By putting their hands in the dirt and growing vegetables they know they’ll eat at harvest time, they’ve come to understand and appreciate the process,” Upchurch said. In their regular classrooms, students learn each week from Debra Clark of the Health and Wellness Education Center for Sumter County about the nutritional value and benefits of eating the vegetables they grow in the garden. The classes help re-associate “fast food” from being a drive-thru meal to fresh vegetables from the backyard. Alabama Living

HWEC is the community partner for the project. Other community groups and organizations take part in the program. Alfa Women’s Organization assisted with the installation and planting of the garden, and Livingston’s Primrose Club, a ladies group founded in 1901 as a study club, provides recipes and will help the students cook for the harvest time pizza party. As with any Alabama garden, aesthetic appeal and an element of style are priorities. In classroom craft projects the children have constructed and decorated their own watering cans using recycled containers. They have decorated the wash area with tile mosaics they created with the assistance of artists who also teach the technique in continuing education classes. The garden shares its home with a community orchard established in 2012. All the plant life in the garden offers an agricultural history lesson to the community, which Educational Outreach Dean Tina N. Jones says keeps with the mission of UWA’s Center for the Study of the Black Belt and the University as a whole. “The flora in the garden and orchard is native to Alabama’s Black Belt. These are the plants, vegetables, and fruits that would have grown in Alabama on homesteads like the Campbell Center’s original site more than 100 years ago,” Jones explained. “These fruits and vegetables thrive in the rich, dark soil for which the Black Belt region is named, and they have worked their way into our culture over the years both by the tradition of working to grow a crop and through the experiences we share while enjoying the harvest.” The double-dog trot house that is the Campbell Environmental Education Center was moved to the UWA campus in 2010 and has been renovated to offer classroom and meeting space. The structure sits in close proximity to the Alamuchee Covered Bridge and historic Cedarwood. Plans are in place to relocate a historic chapel to the same area on the UWA campus. The Center for the Study of the Black Belt was established in 2005 on the belief that people develop a shared sense of pride and stewardship of their homeland if they understand its history, culture, and natural environment. The Center encourages scholars and citizens to address the region’s challenges by promoting its abundant and unique natural, historical and cultural resources. A AUGUST 2013  17

Power Plants

Hit the road this month for garden visits across Alabama Summer is drawing to an end and vacation time is running short, but there’s still time for a last-minute garden getaway. By Katie Jackson


eed a day trip just to get you and the kids out of the house and home garden? Visit one of the many botanical gardens or arboretums that are located throughout the state and are as educational as they are beautiful. Typically, botanical gardens contain a wide range of plants, from trees and shrubs to herbaceous perennials and annuals, while arboretums tend to focus more on trees and shrubs. Both types of gardens are meant to be teaching and research sites, so the plants there will be labeled and admission fees are affordable—sometimes even free. Another garden-related outing that also provides a glimpse of history is to visit one of Alabama’s gorgeous estate gardens, such as Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens in Birmingham, Jasmine Hill between Montgomery and Wetumpka or Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Theodore. These and other similar gardens often offer home and museum tours along with garden visits, so you can enjoy them indoors and out. A more hands-on garden outing is to visit one of Alabama’s many u-pick operations. While some fruits and vegetables are out of season by this time in the summer, many others are at their height and new ones are coming in. In fact, the Katie Jackson, who recently retired as chief editor for the Auburn University College of Agriculture and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, is now a fulltime freelance writer and editor. Contact her at

18  AUGUST 2013

year’s first apples are available this month at Mountain View Orchards in Chilton County (more on them in the October issue). If you’re looking for a romantic, grownup getaway, take a trip along Alabama’s Wine Trail (, which features vineyards and wineries throughout the state offering tours and tastings of everything from blueberry and muscadine wines to pinot noirs and cabernets. (You’ll remember the Wine Trail was the cover story in June’s Alabama Living.) Even if you don’t want to plan an entire trip around gardens, keep in mind that lovely gardens can be found almost any place you visit, from municipal parks to church grounds to native plantings in state parks, so you can enjoy a garden-related getaway wherever you go. A great list of Alabama public gardens can be found at or search the Alabama Tourism Department’s site at for garden destinations and events. A map of many Alabama u-pick farms is available at and others can be found with a basic Web search. Don’t neglect plants while you’re away

As you set out to explore, though, don’t neglect those plants back at home. If you’re going to be gone for several days or longer, protect your turf by mowing the lawn, then deeply watering it and your landscape plants just before you leave. If you don’t have an automatic sprinkler system, ask or hire a friend or neighbor to water for you every few days.

For container plants—whether they are on the porch and patio or in the house— try using watering globes or water spikes, which are available at most nursery centers. These devices allow you to fill a bottle or the globe reservoir with water that will gradually seep into the soil during your absence. Or set plants on risers in a tray or bathtub filled with an inch or two of water so they can benefit as the water evaporates. And make sure you harvest any ripe vegetables or arrange for a friend to pick the garden in your absence. A

August Gardening Tips d Plant fall vegetables, such as cabbage, collards and broccoli, and fall-bearing beans and peas. d Plant a winter cover crop in your garden as it finishes its growing season. d Keep an eye out for insects and disease on all ornamental and vegetable plants and treat for problems before they get out of hand. d Prune blackberry canes. d Keep an eye out for seed catalogues, which should be arriving in your mailbox soon. d Continue to mow and water lawns as needed. d Divide irises and other perennials that have become overcrowded. d Keep fresh water in birdbaths. d Plant seeds of cool-season flowers such as snapdragons, dianthus, pansies, calendulas and other cool-season flowers in flats or in the garden for midto-late fall bloom. d Order fall bulbs. d Use mosquito repellant and sunscreen when you’re out in the yard or garden.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  19

Marveling at Mims: The trouble in paradise Bicentennial event will feature reenactment of Fort Mims battle By John Brightman Brock


ne day, in the year 1813, fear changed everything. Cries of “Indians in the fort!” resounded inside hastily constructed timber walls in the Tensaw region of Alabama. Those gathered on the Samuel Mims Plantation, near Stockton, had screamed in disbelief and later in horror as 250 of the 400 inhabitants were slaughtered in a fiery clash of cultures. The settlers, protected by 100 Mississippi Territorial Volunteers, had gathered after reports of Red Stick Creek Indians procuring guns, possibly from the British or Spanish. This was followed by a report that the militia had failed to intercept them at a place called Burnt Corn Creek. Now the Red Sticks, known for their red-tipped war clubs, turned their fears of an encroaching white culture onto the fort, including nationalized Creeks and African slaves. The hand of fate seemed cruel that Aug. 30, as rain-hardened sand held open the fort’s eastern gate allowing 700 Indians to enter at noon, fight and hours later destroy by fire Fort Mims, located in present-day Baldwin County. The blaze grew hot enough to melt 20  AUGUST 2013

cast iron, ravaging many of the fort’s wooden structures and fences, and horridly illuminating the scalpings of hundreds of settlers before the Red Sticks left with their captives. A burial party would not arrive until three weeks later, constructing mass graves that remain in memorial to the beginnings of the Creek Indian War. A struggling young America, already at war with the British, would later avenge the deaths of those killed that day. News of “Massacre at Fort Mims!” would sound the death knell for these Red Stick Creek Indians who had attacked the fort in civil war action against Creeks who had settled with the whites. A shocked nation dispatched an angry Gen. Andrew Jackson and his army, which devastated the Red Sticks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814. Remaining Creeks were taken from the land and more than 20 million acres were ceded to the United States, signaling an end to Creek Indian traditional hunting grounds where they had hunted deer for many years.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  21

A volatile clash of cultures

The enraged Red Stick Creeks had actually “raised the red stick of war” against their own National Council, says Kathryn E. Holland Braund of Auburn University, who edited a book of essays on the war, Tohopeka: Rethinking the Creek War and the War of 1812. “The War of 1812 was going on,” says Braund. “There had been tremendous Creek opposition to the Federal Road. The people in what is now South Alabama were expecting an Indian war and perhaps even wanted it as an excuse to claim more territory and dislodge the Spanish and even the Indians. And on the Creek side, there were divisions. When the Creek National Council sent warriors to execute other Creeks for crimes committed against Americans, it resulted in a civil war among the Creeks.” The Red Sticks saw American demands for things like roads as an encroachment on their sovereignty. “They feared the increasing settlements of whites all around them and resented the demands for land by Americans. And they opposed the accommodation the Creek National Council represented. Many of these members of the National Council were profiting from the accommodation with Americans while most Creeks weren’t,” Braund says. The tipping point came when the Creek National Council began to take unprecedented powers and usurp clan authority by executing people, she says. “A sizeable portion of the Creek people raised the red stick of war against their own leaders and laid siege to Tuckabatchee (where the Creek National Council convened in current day Elmore County). A contingent went to Pensacola for supplies to use against their own people; and the Mississippi Territorial Militia thought a preemptive strike would prevent an attack on the Tensaw settlements by destroying the arms the insurgents possessed. “It backfired, and the Red Sticks changed their target to Fort Mims as an act of revenge,” Braund says. “The ensuing fierceness of the attack on the fort shocked Americans ... especially the size of the death toll. News of the attack transformed a Creek civil war into an American war against the Creeks.”

Artifact trail

Excavations have unearthed evidence of several buildings in the fort, including the Mims house, the kitchen, a blacksmith shop and a cabin. Archaeologists collected artifacts, among them a large cast iron kettle as evidence of the fire set that day, with a chunk of the iron kettle completely melted. After years of random excavation diluted the site’s remains, however, archeologists like Bonnie Gums, with the University of

South Alabama in Mobile, have been able to further piece together the massacre. Gums, who works with archeologist Dr. Gregory A. Waselkov, published their official chronology in 2007 as “Archaeology at Fort Mims: Excavation, Contexts and Artifact Catalogue.” Sometimes digging, sometimes using ground penetrating equipment, their onsite work discovered stark evidence of the disastrous turmoil inside the fence, says Gums. They found that two months before the massacre, settlers had built the fort fence in about a day around a 200- by 200-foot land area, then laying timbers side by side, possibly as a fence. But previous researchers in 1953 “took a bulldozer to it to find the walls…not the best way to do it,” Gums says. The five acres that holds the fort had been deeded to the state with the stipulation that it make it into a park in 10 years, and “after nine and a half years, the state had done nothing.” She said those researchers went in there in a hurry to find any evidence the fort had existed. Those findings were inconclusive. A decade later, the Department of Conservation excavated the site, this time discovering two wells inside the fort area and artifacts. After digging out the wells, they found an ax head in the bottom of one well, bearing the initials ZM, believed to belong to Zachariah McGirth, a survivor, Gums says. So, in 2000, when the Alabama Historical Commission asked Waselkov and Gums “to gather everything that’s ever been done at Fort Mims,” they took more than five years, including 25 days on site, before publishing their findings. They determined that “walls” found in 1953 were actually burned trees from the massacre; so they decided to look for themselves - to find the walls. They discovered real evidence of west, north and east walls of the fort, after evidence of the south wall had been discovered in a 1970s excavation. The key to finding the remains of walls, actually, was defining a “darker stain in the ground,” Gums says. “They (settlers) had built a trench…it’s easier to build a trench than to build a post hole. The trench was only a couple of inches deep, less than a foot; it wasn’t very stable. They would have stuck timbers in there, and packed the timbers in place, to stay in place.” The Mims plantation actually existed from the late 1790s, and had been a plantation for about 15 years prior to the fort and the massacre. “It was really a fort for only about two months. So many artifacts we found were in the ground prior to the battle, meaning they were plantation artifacts,” Gums says. “The ones found from the battle were burned, melted bottle glass, burned ceramics, burned and melted lead ... we can pretty much say were from the battle that day.” A

Bicentennial will feature battle reenactment Descendants of the survivors of the Fort Mims massacre will make their way to Baldwin County for a bicentennial reenactment Aug. 30-Sept. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Activities each day will start with a reenactment of the Battle of Burnt Corn Creek in the mornings, and the Battle of Fort Mims in the afternoons. Re-enactors will be there with tents, blacksmithing, period 22  AUGUST 2013

Photo by John Nelson

music, booths and will provide covered wagon rides led by mules. Claudia Slaughter Campbell, president

of the Fort Mims Restoration Association, expects a large turnout. It will be portrayed on the actual anniversary date and time, 200 years later, she says. “Descendants of Fort Mims from all over the nation will be making their pilgrimages to this site in north Baldwin County to honor their ancestors who were in some way a part of this day in early American history.” Directions to Fort Mims: (45 miles from Mobile) 12 miles north of Stockton on Highway 59, turning west on County Road 80 for three miles until you see the signs.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  23

Busy as a


Beekeepers work to get food to the nation’s table By Lori Quiller


ven after more than 20 years as a beekeeper, Gerry Whitaker of New Brockton takes great care when approaching his honey hives. After all, he’s allergic to them. “Got stung once right through my glove,” he says as he splayed out his hand to show his rough-hewed farm work glove. “You wouldn’t think a little honeybee could sting through a cowhide glove, but that one did. And my eye was pretty swollen before I could get back to the shop.”

He wears protection from head to toe when working with the hives. The familiar white suits that beekeepers wear are durable but hot, topped off with a caged-in helmet that zips onto the neckline of the suit, and the beekeeper is ready to check on the health of his hives. Whitaker’s white boxes may look innocent enough dotting the landscape of his farmland in rural Coffee County, but they each contain between 30,000 and 60,000 of nature’s little honey makers. Although the boxes appear to be cabinets with drawers that slide out, they actually come apart from the top, and that’s where Whitaker begins his 24  AUGUST 2013

Gerry Whitaker inspects bee boxes.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  25

inspection by easing the lid off the top and being careful not to stand in front of the hive when he does. “I wouldn’t stand in front of the box when I lift the lid,” he says. “That hole at the bottom is where they come and go from. They might decide to go in a minute.” This gentle man takes all the care in the world as he lifts the lid of the hive and slides a rack of bees from its resting place. He was correct, too. The bees in the bottom of the hive got the signal that something was amiss…and the escape hatch was filled with angry bees in a split second ready to protect their home, queen and their hard work for the season - honey. As he raised the rack and the bees slid away, the sealed comb became visible. Each tiny octagon was filled with the golden honey and capped with wax. This is a healthy hive, and Whitaker is taking great care to keep it that way.

Bees are an important link in the food chain

“People naturally think about honey when they think about honeybees,” Whitaker says, “but honeybees are so much more important to our food chain than most people realize. Without them and the work they do, the food we eat wouldn’t make it to our tables. Now that’s even in danger.” Today’s families and restaurant owners are more conscious about farm-to-table food and keeping produce as fresh and as organic as possible for purchase. However, it all starts with a single bloom fertilized with the pollen scattered on the legs of the humble honeybee. “Pollination is responsible for $15 billion a year in the U.S. when it comes to agricultural production. There is not a fruit that doesn’t require pollination. A healthy hive has between 30,000 and 60,000 bees. To pollinate one acre of apple trees, you’ll need one hive of healthy bees. When we pollinate a watermelon field, we take 3-4 hives for about 7 acres, and we don’t get any honey back from that. The issue there is that we need the pollen. The important part is the pollination, but everyone focuses on the honey,” Whitaker says. 26  AUGUST 2013

Pollination is responsible for $15 billion a year in the U.S. when it comes to agricultural production Whitaker offers a cautionary note for consumers trying to eat primarily organic produce. If you see a bottle of honey with a certified organic or organic label attached to it, be suspicious. “It’s difficult to say that this honey is from this crop because the bees can travel up to 2.5 miles away from the hive to forage. I may not use pesticides on my fields, but I don’t know what’s being used on anyone else’s fields where those bees have been. There’s no way to certify honey as organic even though it is a purely natural food,” he says. While honeybees are the best pollinators for the produce that we eat, they are under attack by a mysterious disease called Colony Collapse Disorder. The disease, which remains a mystery, is being investigated at the state and federal levels. The Agricultural Research Service, the USDA’s internal research agency, is leading several efforts into possible CCD causes of the disease that has proven to be an international phenomenon.

According to Whitaker, who is also president of the Southeast Alabama Beekeepers Association, he lost about 70 percent of his bee colonies last October due to Colony Collapse Disorder and the national loss is projected to be 50-90 percent for this year. “Because we can’t predict CCD, we inspect the hives closely. There are signs of an unhealthy hive, so close inspection is very important,” Whitaker says. Beekeeping is a process and some look at it as farming as with cows or pigs. With farming comes education, and the Southeast Alabama Beekeepers Association and the Alabama Beekeepers Association provide educational programs for those interested in learning how to keep honeybees and harvest the honey during the two harvesting seasons. There are levels of education from apprentice, journeyman, master, to master craftsman beekeeper with the master beekeeper program taking four years to complete. Those just starting out are expected to register their honeybee colonies with the Alabama Department of Agriculture, pursuant to state law, and state societies can assist with the registration. To contact the associations for more information, visit,, and Whitaker’s company, Beeginnings, at A

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  27

Protect yourself online

Safe @ Home

Cybersecurity: Protecting your identity online

2 Be

Careful What You Download. When you download a program or file from an unknown source, you risk loading malicious software programs on your computer. Fraudsters often hide these programs within seemingly benign applications. Think twice before you click on a pop-up advertisement or download a “free” game or gadget.

2 Don’t Respond to Emails Requesting


his column is typically concerned with our day-to-day physical safety but I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss our security in cyberspace, or cybersecurity. It’s vital that those using the Internet (and that’s most of us today) should be guarding our information as close as possible, because there are certainly thieves who have adapted to this new territory. A good first step to take with your computer is securing your web browser. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team has thorough tips on how to secure browsers including Microsoft Internet Explorer and others at publications/securing-your-web-browser. It is important to ensure that your browser is secure because the operating system software often comes without this security set up upon installation. The failure to take this necessary precaution could lead to Spyware, or Malware, which is defined as malicious software programs, being installed without your knowledge. Identity thieves can obtain your information in a variety of ways, including via your home computer and electronic devices. If you notice unusual charges on

Michael Kelley is manager of Safety & Loss Control for the Alabama Rural Electric Association.

28  AUGUST 2013

your bills, or bills for services and products that you do not use, you may have been a victim of identity theft. To keep your information safe, it’s best to do business with companies you trust. The Better Business Bureau has lots of resources that will show you whether a business is rated well. You can type in a business or charity name at this link: It’s also important to be aware of your online footprint, which includes the information that you post. It’s best to be guarded about your personal information when you are on public forums, such as Facebook. Make sure your security settings and passwords are as secure as possible. Passwords should include a mix of numbers, letters and special characters; they should also be changed often. Though it’s not always possible to prevent identity theft regardless of taking safety procedures, they certainly limit your exposure to this possibility. If you’re browsing, be safe! A

DNT TXT & DRV According to the National Safety Council, at least 28 percent of all traffic crashes – or at least 1.6 million crashes each year – involve drivers using cell phones and texting. NSC estimates that a minimum of 200,000 additional crashes each year involve drivers who are texting. Most states, including Alabama, have passed legislation outlawing texting while driving. Please don’t text while driving – for your safety, and the safety of others.

Personal Information. Legitimate entities will not ask you to provide or verify sensitive information through a non-secure means, such as email. If you have reason to believe that your financial institution actually does need personal information from you, pick up the phone and call the company yourself.

2 Use Extra Caution with Wireless Con-

nections. Wireless networks may not provide as much security as wired Internet connections. In fact, many “hotspots” - wireless networks in public areas like airports, hotels and restaurants - reduce their security so it’s easier for individuals to access and use these wireless networks. Unless you use a security token, you may decide that accessing your online brokerage account through a wireless connection isn’t worth the security risk. You can learn more about security issues relating to wireless networks on the website of the Wi-Fi Alliance,

2 Log Out Completely. Closing or min-

imizing your browser or typing in a new web address when you’re done using your online account may not be enough to prevent others from gaining access to your account information. Instead, click on the “log out” button to terminate your online session. In addition, you shouldn’t permit your browser to “remember” your username and password information. If this browser feature is active, anyone using your computer will have access to your brokerage account information. Courtesy U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Around Alabama Mentone

August 16 - 18

Mentone Old Time Music and Dance Weekend On the third weekend in August each year, Birmingham FOOTMAD puts on its annual Old-Time Music and Dance Weekend at Camp Riverview in the resort town of Mentone. For the past 23 years the weekend has featured great old-time bands and musicians, but the core activity of the weekend is dancing. There will also be a Sunday morning gospel singing, a clogging workshop, swimming and a wacky waterfront drama or pageant. Campers stay in cabins or bring their own tents. Some also stay in bed-and-breakfasts or rent chalets in the area. FOOTMAD furnishes two breakfasts and campers

August 1-3 • Foley, Jennifer Claire Moore 16th Annual

Professional Rodeo, City of Foley Horse Arena. Prerodeo activities begin each night at 7, followed by the rodeo at 8. From bareback bronco riding and barrel racing to children’s activities, the rodeo is fun for the whole family. Contact: Millie Shamburger, 251-971-3633 or rodeo@ 4 • Talladega, Afternoon of Praise Talladega’s Historic Ritz Theatre, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Dove Award nominee Richard Kingsmore will direct the orchestra as Talladega First United Methodist Church Choir Director Susannah Herring leads a choir of more than 100 local voices in a community-wide praise experience. Tickets: $10 Contact The Ritz at 256-315-0000. 9 & 10 • Albertville, Main Street Music Festival Downtown Albertville Two-day event includes entertainment and activities on three stages featuring Night Ranger, Lonestar and John Stone. Children’s inflatable water park, arts and crafts, food vendors, cooking demonstrations, cooking competition, dog show, petting zoo and an excerpt from “The Wizard of Oz.” Admission: Free

are asked to bring a contribution to the Saturday night potluck and any other food or beverages they need. Everyone at the camp is expected to volunteer for a congenial bit of cooking or cleaning during the weekend, which helps FOOTMAD keep costs low. The Old-Time Music and Dance Weekend is popular and usually fills up quickly. Registration is limited to 280 persons on a first-come-first served basis, with genderbalance taken into consideration. Those who would like to attend should request to be placed on the mailing list by writing FOOTMAD, 1452 Milner Crescent, Birmingham, AL 35205, or emailing

10 • Weogufka, Catfish Dinner and Gospel Show Weogufka Center Featuring the Diplomats and Sounds of Jericho Quartets. Tickets and information:

31-September 1 • Decatur, Battle for Decatur Reenactment, Point Mallard Drive Camps open to the public at 10 a.m. daily. Battles begin at 2 p.m. daily. Reenactments of battles using infantry and cavalry, as well as cannon and battle tactics unique to the War Between the States. Ladies tea, period church service and period ball. Reenactor registration: $6 adults, $3 children 3-13, under 2 free Event Coordinator: Larry Thomson, SCV Camp 580 Adjutant, 256-520-2906

16 & 17 •

Russellville, 33rd Annual Franklin County Watermelon Festival, Downtown Russellville Fri. 6-9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Admission: Free Contact: Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, 256-3321760 or 17 • Priceville, Annual Cruise-In Car Show Veterans Park, Hwy 67, 6-10 p.m. Entertainment: Natchez Trace Contact: 256-355-5476, ext. 0 23 & 24 • Centre, Weiss Lake Regatta Sponsored by The Rome Sailing Club Information: 706-266-0321 29- September 2 • Bryant, Mountain Trails 5th Annual 50 Mile Yard Sale, Hwy 71/73 eight-community yard sale from Section to Bryant. Information: Chamber of Commerce, 256-259-5500 or Wanda Wilson, 334-312-0286

To place an event e-mail to or visit 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.

September 19 • Dothan, Low Country Boil Stokes Activity Barn at Landmark Park Annual fundraiser featuring food, music, a silent auction and wagon rides. Advance tickets required. Information: Laura V. Stakelum, 334-794-3452, or 19 • Atmore, Taste of the South Atmore Heritage Park, 5-8 p.m. A fabulous food festival showcasing local restaurants and organizations sponsored by Leadership Atmore. Taste tickets available for purchase. Tickets: Sheryl Vickery, 251-368-3305, or

Scan this code with your phone and join Alabama Living on Facebook.

Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living ®


Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  29

Send your questions to: James Dulley

Consumer Wise

Alabama Living 6906 Royalgreen Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45244

You can also reach Dulley online at:

How to insulate attic access cover In a well-insulated house, even just several square feet of uninsulated floor—like the attic access cover—can lose a considerable amount of heat


I just had a house built and discovered no insulation on the attic opening cover. Shouldn’t the cover be insulated and sealed? If I add folding stairs, how can I insulate them?—Mike M.


Builders don’t always insulate and seal the attic access opening cover, but it certainly should be added for energy savings. Most often, just a scrap piece of plywood or drywall is cut somewhat close to the correct size and placed in the opening, resting on a strip of molding. That type of cover’s insulation value is less than R-1 and it leaks air like a sieve. Because the attic access is often in the ceiling of a bedroom closet or a hallway, the air leakage and heat loss/gain are seldom noticeable. During summer, attic temperatures can get extremely high and the air is humid, so you don’t want it in your living space. During winter, the heated air in the house, because it is less dense, tends to leak up and out. The simplest fix is to attach insulation to the top of the cover and weatherstripping underneath where it rests on the lip of the opening. Measure the cover to make sure it fits the opening, with the cover overlapping the molding lip so the weatherstripping seals well. If you have to make a new one, a piece of 1/2-inch drywall works well and is fire resistant. The insulation on the top of the cover should be up to the recommended code ceiling R-value for your area—find out what that is at ZipHome.html. (Adding more insulation above this level will not help appreciably.)

James Dulley

is a nationally syndicated engineering consultant based in Cincinnati

30  AUGUST 2013

In a well-insulated house, even just several square feet of uninsulated floor can lose a considerable amount of heat. Before you add weatherstripping to the molding lip, place the cover over it and check whether it’s even. The lip often consists of pieces nailed to the sides of the opening and aren’t level. You may have to pry a side or two loose and reattach it. If it’s very uneven, it will be difficult to get a good seal under the cover no matter how compliant the weatherstripping is. In my own house, I first nailed a piece of 1/2-inch drywall to the plywood cover to give it some additional weight. Next, I glued a few layers of 3/4-inch polyurethane foam sheets on top of it. I added four layers to get three inches of foam insulation. I used foil-faced insulation so it would reflect the heat from the hot roof back up during the summer. The next step is to attach adhesivebacked foam weatherstripping to the top edge of the lip around the opening. Use as thick a foam as you can find to accommodate any out-of-level edges. The weight of the plywood and drywall should be adequate to compress the foam weatherstripping. If you plan to go up into your attic often and want to install pull-down stairs or a ladder, or your attic currently has one, buy a special insulated cover for the attic access opening. You could attempt to make one yourself, but its weight may be hazardous to open and manage when you are on the stairs. One of the least expensive options is basically a three-sided heavy duty cardboard box. It’s easy to open and assemble, and then you can attach your own insulation to the top and sides. It’s very lightweight and easy to lift and handle when you enter the attic on the stairs.

An efficient option is a lightweight large rigid-foam domed device that covers the folded stairs or ladder from above. It’s strong, and the foam provides adequate insulation. Another design uses a flexible zippered insulated cover that is permanently attached to the attic floor for a good airtight seal. The zipper provides a large opening for easy access to the attic. A, an energy efficiency website from the nation’s electric cooperatives, has two videos on this subject as part of its “Watch & Learn” series; visit and click on the Sealing & Insulation tab, then scroll down to find how-to videos on insulating attic hatches and attic pulldown stairs. The following companies offer attic entrance products: Atticap, 781-259-9099,; Attic Tent, 877-660-5640,; Battic Door, 508-320-9082, www.; Calvert Stairs, 866-477-8455,; and Rainbow Attic Stairs, 203-322-0009,

Southern Occasions CO O K B O O K You’ll find recipes like these and more inside!

Italian Chicken Sticks Mexi Muffins Apricot Jam Bars Caramel Corn Orange Slush Deer Meat Enchiladas White Chicken Chili Take-Along Cake Swiss Cheese Dip Italian Tiramisu Blueberry Dream Dessert

Southern Occasions


Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  31

Worth the Drive

Huggin’ Molly’s embraces visitors with great food, warm service


f you’re anything like me, you love food. But has your food ever loved you back? More specifically, have you ever gotten a big ole hug from your food? If not, stop into Huggin’ Molly’s the next time you’re any where near Abbeville. The tree-lined main street in Abbeville’s downtown area is bustling with life. Almost every storefront is filled with an office or shop or eatery of some sort. An awning pushing its way between branches announces the entrance to Huggin’ Molly’s. While the restaurant was opened in 2006, it lives up to the motto on its menus: “frozen in the fifties.” The restaurant’s old-fashioned soda fountain — complete with a marble top and red vinyl stool seats that spin on polished chrome stalks — was plucked out of an early-20th century drug store in Pennsylvania and has been perfectly preserved; it is so authentic, a Hollywood set dresser preparing the site for a period film would have very little work to do. Glass cases display antique pharmacy items and penny-candy promotions, and vintage signs, mostly marketing Coca Cola, adorn the walls. Through the fountain area and to the left is the dining room, a space decorated with old movie posters and a few bits of “yella fella” marketing materials, alluding to Huggin’ Molly’s owner and Abbeville native Jimmy Ranes. Owner of Great Southern Wood Preserving, which is headquartered in Abbeville, Ranes made selling pressure-treated wood fun when he adopted the “yella fella” persona. The oversized cowboy clothed completely in yellow is the spokesman for the company’s YellaWood brand pressure-treated products, and despite his strong resemblance to a big banana, “yella fella” works. Great Southern Wood has been successful, maintaining 15 stand-alone treating and distribution facilities servicing markets across the country and distributing YellaWood all over the world. While donning his yella hat and running a huge business no doubt keeps Ranes busy, he added one more thing to his “to-do” list, when, following in his grandfather Anthony’s footsteps (who worked in food all his life) he opened Huggin’ Molly’s. Ranes took the name from a ghost that he’d heard tales of as a kid. Local legend says that a seven-foot-tall woman who is as “big around as a bale of hay” roams the streets of Abbeville at night, searching for victims to sweep up and squeeze tight. The story was most often used by parents hoping to scare their kids home well before dark. But the hug I mentioned before has nothing to do with an overly affectionate specter; at Huggin’ Molly’s, the entire dining experience can be compared to Jennifer Kornegay is an embrace. the author of a new Exhibit A: Hugs children’s book, “The Alabama Adventures are welcoming. of Walter and Wimbly: (What’s more welTwo Marmalade Cats on a Mission.” She travels coming than open to an out-of-the way arms beckoning you restaurant destination in in?) So, too, is HugAlabama every month. She may be reached for comment at gin’ Molly’s. You’re greeted with a smile 32  AUGUST 2013

right inside the door as the hostess smiles hello. The friendly servers threaten to put you in a sugar coma, routinely dropping “sweetie,” “hon” and “darling” at the end of basic wait staff inquiries like “need more tea?” or “everything all right?” Exhibit B: Hugs are warm and comforting. So is Huggin’ Molly’s food. Diner classics like club sandwiches, French dips, burgers and chicken fingers (at lunch) or steaks, chicken pot pie and pork chops (at dinner) are done right (homemade with fresh ingredients) and deliver exactly what your taste buds are expecting and anticipating. That’s not to say the fare is ordinary. Special touches like a spicedup kick in the “comeback sauce” served with hand-battered chicken fingers, plus a few unexpected items like crisp and chewy fried cheese biscuits served with cinnamon butter keep things plenty interesting. Final Exhibit: Hugs are sweet. Serving yesterday’s soda-fountain favorites like Brown and Black Cows (root beer and Coke floats), milkshakes, malts, sundaes and cherry or vanilla Cokes with the syrup added in, as well as a dessert menu boasting huge brownies, blondies and the pie of the day, Huggin’ Molly’s draws plenty of folks who come in for the sweet stuff alone. I encourage you to make a trip to Abbeville when you find some extra time; you can enjoy the delicious food, plus get something extra for your drive over. At Huggin’ Molly’s, a little nuzzle and some nostalgia are always on the menu. A Need a Hug? Visit Huggin’ Molly’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a sweet treat at 129 Kirkland St., Abbeville, Ala. 334-5857000.


In our June issue, Jennifer Kornegay’s article on Ugwee’s Ice Cream Shop incorrectly stated that the shop’s ice cream is milk-free. It actually contains less than 2 percent of milk protein. It is still free of milk fat and is completely lactose-free.

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  33

Alabama Recipes

Ice Cream Cook of the Month: Ann K. Covington, Cherokee EC


3 cups ripe peaches, chopped and sweetened 1 can sweetened condensed milk 1 large can evaporated milk 1/2 cup sugar                  1 package vanilla instant pudding mix 1/2 pint of half and half

1/2 pint whipping cream 1 can apricot or peach nectar 1 teaspoon almond flavoring 8 ounce carton Cool Whip Extra milk 3 pounds crushed ice 1 box ice cream salt

Set aside peaches after chopping. Mix other ingredients, folding in Cool Whip last. Pour into one-gallon freezer tub. Add peaches and stir. Add extra milk to the fill line, if needed. Close and begin to turn tub. Add crushed ice and salt (3 cups of ice, then 1 cup of salt) until ice covers top of tub. Freeze until freezer strains or stops running. Unplug freezer. Remove ice and salt from top of tub. Serve immediately for soft serve ice  cream. For firmer ice cream, add more ice and salt;  cover freezer with newspapers, aluminum foil and towels and  let ripen 30 minutes to 1 hour. This also can be used for vanilla ice cream by omitting the peaches. It can be made with less fat by using the fat-free versions of the ingredients. Makes one gallon.

In the summertime, who doesn’t love a great big heaping bowl of homemade ice cream? Why do we like it so much? It’s comfort food. You can add any ingredients you like such as fruit, candies, and toppings galore to fix it exactly like you want it. One of my earliest memories with my grandmother is when a storm rolled through one night. She had the ingredients to make homemade vanilla ice cream with a manual ice cream maker. We churned that ice cream by candlelight in the dark and I think we ate the whole tub by the time the lights came back on!

You could win $50!

October November December

Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are: Smoothies/ Milkshakes Barbecue Cookies

August 15 September 15 October 15

Please send all submissions to: Recipe Editor, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, Al 36124. Or e-mail to: Be sure to include your address, phone number and teh name of your eletric cooperative.

34  AUGUST 2013

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.

Cast your vote for the


Best of Alabama for a chance to win



Deadline to vote is Oct. 15, 2013.

Please tell us your favorite in each of the categories that you’ve experienced: 1) Public garden

11) Non-franchise restaurant



2) Currently performing Alabama Band

12) Place to satisfy your sweet tooth



3) Alabama writer

13) Golf course



4) State park

14) Mountain destination



5) Historical site

15) Local performing arts site



6) Alabama made product

16) Beach destination



7) Kid friendly vacation destination

17) Weekend getaway



8) Antique/flea market

18) Lake



9) Annual festival

19) Fishing spot



10) Trail (run/walk/bike)

20) Best kept secret in Alabama



Name: ___________________________________________________


Address: _____________________________ City: ________________ St: ______ Zip: __________ Phone Number: _______________________ Co-op: ____________________________________

Please mail to: Alabama Living Survey • P.O. Box 244014 • Montgomery, AL 36124 No purchase necessary. Eligibility: Contest open to all persons age 18 and over, except employees and their immediate family members of Alabama Rural Alabama Living and Alabama Electric Cooperatives; and their respective divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising, and promotion AUGUST 2013  35 Electric Association, agencies.

Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream 5 eggs, well beaten 1/2 cup, white granulated sugar 1 box dark brown sugar 11/2 cups butter-toasted pecans, chopped

1 pint half and half 1/2 pint whipping cream 1 gallon whole regular milk

Coat pecans in butter, place in greased pan and bake at 250 for about 15 minutes. You must check them and stir often to prevent them from burning. Beat eggs, white sugar and brown sugar together until well mixed. Add pecans and half and half with the whipping cream. Beat until frothy. Place in ice cream freezer. Use regular milk to fill the freezer tank to the “fill” line. Pack ice and sprinkle ice cream salt around freezer tank. Freeze according to ice cream maker instructions. Kathy Pittman, Wiregrass EC

Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream 1/2 pint heavy cream 1/2 pint sour cream 6 ounces cream cheese 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 ounces grated milk chocolate

Melt chocolate over double boiler or in microwave. Let cool at room temperature. Place the cream cheese into a mixing bowl and beat until soft and smooth. Slowly add the sugar and then beat in the sour cream and chocolate followed by the double (heavy) cream. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix until thick and smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Take the chilled mixture and beat until creamy, then transfer the complete mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Pamela Parker, Arab EC

Ice Cream Layer Cake Ice cream sandwiches (amount varies depending on size) Cool Whip Hershey’s syrup or chocolate sauce

Butterfinger candy bars (2-3) crumbled, for topping (optional)

The first thing you want to do is determine how many sandwiches you’ll need and the layout for your 9x13 Dish. Arrange them, wrapped. You’ll need two layers. The one sticking out on the side will be broken in half and stacked to fit the small spot in the corner. It doesn’t matter if the sandwiches don’t touch the edges of the dish. Unwrap and place the first layer of sandwiches in your dish, and then cover with Cool Whip and drizzled chocolate syrup. Repeat the layers of ice cream sandwiches, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. Finish the dish by adding the crushed candy bar on top. Carmen Bishop, Wiregrass EC

Pop Rouge Ice Cream In a 4-quart ice cream maker, combine two cans of sweetened condensed milk and two liters of red pop. Stir well and turn on. Enjoy. Liz Nichols Spicer, Covington EC 36  AUGUST 2013

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.

‘Handmade’ Ice Cream

Ice Cream Cake

21/2 cups Oreo cookies 1/4 cup melted butter 1 8-ounce carton Cool Whip

1 cup half and half cream 1/4 cup sugar 1-2 teaspoons of real vanilla extract

1 cup salt 4-6 cups crushed ice A gallon-size ziplock bag A quart-size ziplock bag

In the quart-size bag combine cream, sugar and vanilla. Try to get the air out carefully and seal. Place the salt and ice in the gallon bag. Then place the quart size bag inside the gallon bag, seal and allow to sit for three minutes. Then begin to shake and knead for 5-10 minutes until cream mix is thick. Eat immediately or freeze. Only enough for one person. My son enjoys making this Ice cream. Good for little ones. Laura Symonds, Joe Wheeler EMC

1 jar chocolate fudge 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Crush cookies to a fine consistency. Mix cookie crumbs with melted butter. Press into a 13×9 pan or a spring form pan. Divide slightly softened vanilla ice cream into sections and press into cookie crust. Spread fudge over the ice cream; it is a little easier to work with if it is slightly warm. Top with Cool Whip. Freeze at least 3 to 4 hours before serving. Rene’ R. Mason, Dixie EC

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

1 quart half and half 2 cans of Carnation evaporated milk 1 sweetened condensed milk 11/2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract 1 small tub Cool Whip 15 ounces crunchy peanut butter

Heat peanut butter on stove top with approximately 11/2 cups of the milk, stirring continually. Mix with remaining ingredients. Freeze in electric freezer and enjoy. Brenda Gunnells, Marshall DeKalb EC

Orange Sherbert

1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk 1 can crushed pineapple (20 oz)

1-2 liter Sunkist orange drink 16 oz Cool Whip (thawed)

Combine all ingredients, stir well. Pour into the canister of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Ruth Clements, Cherokee EC

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  37

Market Place Miscellaneous 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

WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA / SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE / HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS / ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct - (256)490-4025,, Beautiful west beach in Gulf Shores – 4 great condos, each sleeps 6. Call (404)219-3189 or (404)702-9824 GATLINBURG, TN CHALET - 3BR/3BA – BASKINS CREEK - Pool, 10 minute walk downtown, Aquarium, National Park – (334)289-0304

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 –, (888)211-1715

AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS – windmill parts – decorative windmills – custom built windmill towers - call Windpower (256)638-4399 or (256)638-2352

CHURCH FURNITURE – Does your church need pews, pulpit set, baptistery, steeple or windows? Big sale on new cushioned pews and upholstery for hard pews – (800)2318360 or

PIANO TUNING PAYS – Learn with American Tuning School home-study course – (800)497-9793

FT. WALTON BEACH HOUSE – 3BR / 2BA – Best buy at the Beach – (205)566-0892,

EARN 55,000/YR PART TIME IN THE FARM EQUIPMENT and LIVESTOCK APPRAISAL BUSINESS. Ag background required – Classroom and Home Study courses available. (800)488-7570 or visit www.

HOUSE IN PIGEON FORGE, TN – Fully furnished, sleeps 6-12, 3 baths, creek, no pets – (256)997-6771,

USED PORTABLE SAWMILLS – Buy / Sell. Call Sawmill Exchange (800)4592148 or 713-sawmill. USA & Canada –

Business Opportunities

FLOORING FOR YOUR HOME! 1st Quality – NO Seconds: Hardwood, Laminate, Carpet, Luxury Vinyl Tile & Planks, Sheet Vinyl, Ceramic Tile – In Home Estimates and Professional Installation available – ProTrax Flooring (334)531-3020, protraxinfo.

START YOUR OWN BUSINESS! Mia Bella’s Gourmet Scented Products. Try the Best! Candles / Gifts / Beauty. Wonderful income potential! Enter Free Candle Drawing - www. Dept. #745

LUMBER FOR SALE: Circular Saw Red & White Oak, Hickory, Ash - $1.20 BFT; Heart Pine - $5.00 BFT – Loring White (334)782-3636 (Tallapoosa)

HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – sleeps 2-6, 2.5 baths, fireplace, Jacuzzi, washer/dryer – (251)9482918,, email

NEW AND USED STAIR LIFT ELEVATORS – Car lifts, Scooters, Power Wheelchairs, Walk-in Tubs – Covers State of Alabama – 23 years (800)682-0658 18X21 CARPORT $695 INSTALLED – Other sizes available - (706)383-8554 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 A Public Benefit Organization METAL ROOFING $1.79/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT! 1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change)  706-383-8554

38  AUGUST 2013

Vacation Rentals

PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 2 bath house – Walking distance to parkway, light# 1 - $75.00 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)590-8758 GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN / NOT A CONDO! The original “Beach House” on Ft. Morgan peninsula – 2BR/1BA – Wi-Fi, pet friendly, nonsmoking – $895/wk, (256)418-2131, AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL. Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners. Lowest Prices on the Beach –, (251)550-9421, (205)556-0368, (205)752-1231 SNOWBIRDS!!!! ORANGE BEACH, SUMMER BREEZE CONDO - 1,000 sqft on the beach – Ground Floor – 2BR / 2BA – Bunk room, kitchen, Washer/ Dryer, pool, gated parking.  Available November – March.  Owner rented (205)822-4876, (205)613-1023 GULF SHORES PLANATION CONDOS – Beachview sleeps 6, Beachfront sleeps 4 – (251)223-9248

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

PENSACOLA BEACH CONDO – Gulf front – 7th floor balcony – 3BR / 2BA, sleeps 6, pool – (850)572-6295 or (850)968-2170 – www. ORANGE BEACH, AL CONDO – Sleeps 4, gulf and river amenities – Great Rates – (228)3694680 – GULF SHORES CONDO BEACHSIDE – 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 2 Pools, Wireless Internet, Non-Smoking, No Pets (256)287-0368, (205)613-3446 SPRING & SUMMER SPECIALS ON CABINS IN PIGEON FORGE – (865)712-7633 DISNEY - TIME SHARE, VACATION VILLAGE, GUEST RENTAL FEE – Call Owner 205-822 4876 GULF SHORES CONDO – 1BR, sleeps 4, Gulf-front – (251)342-4393 MENTONE, AL – LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN – billiard table, Jacuzzi, spacious home, sleeps 14 – www., (850)7665042, (850)661-0678.   GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN – AFFORDABLE Private Beach & Bay Homes, 1-9 Bedrooms, Pet Friendly Available – (800)678-2306 – http:// GULF SHORES RENTAL– Great Rates! (256)490-4025, (256)523-5154 or GULF SHORES COTTAGE – Waterfront, 2 / 1, pet friendly – Rates and Calendar online, (251)223-6114

GATLINBURG, GULF SHORES, DAYTONA BEACH – Beautiful condos available now – Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at (256)599-4438, www. GULF SHORES PLANTATION - Gulf view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850 GULF SHORES CONDO – 2BR / 1.5BA, sleeps 6, pool, beach access – (334)790-9545 CABINS / PIGEON FORGE, TN – Quiet, Convenient – (251)6493344, (251)649-4049, www. ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 CABIN IN MENTONE – 2/2, brow view, hottub – For rent $100/night or Sale $199,000 – (706)767-0177 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@centurytel. net, (256)599-5552 – NICE 3BR / 2BA, deep water, covered dock - $75.00 night – (256)352-5721, amariewisener@ PINE MOUNTAIN, GA – 3 or 4 BR chalets overlooking a 12 acre lake – Tennis, swimming, fishing, basketball, game room, canoeing and restaurant or premises – Only 1 mile from Callaway Gardens – Call (800)535-7622 and ask for Chalets #72, #75 or #86 PIGEON FORGE, TN: $89 - $125, 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)363-1973, www. FT. WALTON CONDO – 1BR, sleeps 6, gulfside – (251)342-4393 KATHY’S ORANGE BEACH CONDO – 2BR/2BA, non-smoking. Best rates beachside! Family friendly – (205)253-4985, www.KathysCondo. GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE on BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)333-9585, GATLINBURG / PIGEON FORGE – 2 and 3 BEDROOM LUXURY CABINS – Home theatre room, hot tub, gameroom – www., (251)363-8576

GULF SHORES PLANTATION – Beachview – 2BR / 2BA, Sleeps 7, Golf, Tennis, Pools – www.vrbo. com/474704, (251)948-8030 PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000,, www. 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 PIGEON FORGE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, Ground Floor, Pool, Hottub, Patio – (256)601-7193, rusticwoodsgetawaypf/info GULF SHORES, GULF FRONT – 1BR / 1BA - Seacrest Condo - King bed, hall bunks free Wi-Fi – Owner rates (256)352-5721, amariewisener@

Alabama Living

Real Estate Sales HUNTING / FISHING CAMP FOR SALE: 15+ Acres – all wooded, adjacent to Skyline WMA. Like new 2BR / 2BA 16x57’ Trailer (868sqft) with Fireplace. Call Craig Buchanan (256)797-1999 GULF SHORES CONDOS - 4.7 miles from beach, starting prices $56,900, click on Colony Club – (251)948-8008 – Century21 Meyer Real Estate BEAUTIFUL SOUTHERN LIVING HOME WITH LARGE FRONT PORCH – ID# 22890092 – New Red Bay, AL

Travel CARIBBEAN CRUISES AT THE LOWEST PRICE – (256)974-0500 or (800)726-0954

Musical Notes PIANOS TUNED, repaired, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503

PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AL Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982

Education FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to 23600 Alabama Highway 24, Trinity, AL, 35673 BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 6630 West Cactus #B107767, Glendale, Arizona 85304. http://

Critters CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. Registered, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893

How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office):

October 2013 – Aug. 25 November 2013 – Sept. 25 December 2013 – Oct. 25

-Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis -Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each -Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to 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.

AUGUST 2013  39

Alabama Outdoors

For summer crappie, think like a spider! By John N. Felsher


s the late summer Alabama sun bakes down on the Heart of Dixie, many anglers forget about chasing crappie, one of the most abundant and delicious fish anywhere. Many Alabama anglers consider crappie “cold weather species” and only target them during winter or early spring, but the fish must eat all year long. “A lot of people think crappie fishing is seasonal, but I fish 52 weeks of the year and catch fish each time,” says Mike Baker, a professional crappie angler. “After they spawn, crappie scatter and are just harder to find, but they still have to eat.” Frequently, the higher and hotter the sun goes, the deeper and cooler crappie go. To find crappie in deep water, first check the electronics. Modern depth finders can provide extremely detailed information. Not as subject to capricious weather variations, deep water remains relatively stable all year long and can provide cooling comfort even on blistering hot days. In addition, deep water does not suffer as much turbulence from boat wakes or other activities like shoreline shallows. Once anglers find the fish, they can usually catch a bunch rapidly. “In the summer, crappie normally move from the creeks back out to deeper water,” says Janette Carter, a professional crappie angler. “We look for them 15 to 25 feet deep in open water. When it gets really hot, fish seek shady cover. Shade is more important than water temperature.” Electronics can give information on bot-

Spider rigging involves vertically dropping several rods off the bow of a boat. Photo by John N. Felsher

40  AUGUST 2013

tom cover, but anglers still need to probe the depths to locate fish and determine what they want to eat. For finding crappie in deep water, many anglers fish several rods simultaneously in a spider rig. With eight 12- to 16-foot long rods arrayed in holders off the bow, anglers can plow a huge swath through the water. The angler looks like prey trapped in a web, but this technique can find fish and put a lot of them in the boat quickly. “With eight rods up front, it looks like a spider web,” says Phil Rambo, a professional crappie angler. “It’s a really slow type of fishing, almost vertical. The line is at about a 40-degree angle with the bait dangling in a crappie’s face until it can’t resist.” Many anglers bait their rods with multiple combinations of soft-plastic jigs or live minnows. Some anglers tip their jigs with minnows for double the temptation. With multiple rods holding various baits, anglers can zero in on what fish want to bite. With the rods arrayed off the bow, push forward slowly with an electric motor to locate feeding fish. After finding fish, keep circling a hot honey hole. “Finding one fish is the tough part,” says Don Collins, a professional crappie angler. “Once we find good fish, we go over the same area several times. When I’m searching for fish, I look for rises, ledges or creek channels, anything different on the bottom contour. A creek or river channel coming into a lake is just like a highway to fish. We use several different bait colors until we de-

termine what the fish want. If we start catching more fish on one color, we change most of the baits to that color. That allows us to continue to catch fish while still looking for other colors that fish might like better.” With a spider rig, anglers can simultaneously fish just off the bottom or way up the water column to precisely locate where fish want to suspend at any given time. Always dangle a bait slightly above the depth where crappie suspend. Crappie usually look up to spot baitfish silhouetted against surface glare. Crappie might rise three or four feet to hit a jig or minnow, but might not even see a bait dangling just below them. “In the summer, crappie hang around the river ledges, points and deep ditches,” says Cody Young, a crappie guide from Eufaula (334-687-3200, 334-370-3450). “In the summer, once we establish the pattern on how to find fish, we can catch a bunch of crappie all summer long. In August at Lake Eufaula, crappie are in the brush piles in 15 to 19 feet of water.” Young frequently supplements natural cover by building his own fish-attracting artificial reefs. The guide drills holes in large wooden cable spools. He then sticks bamboo stalks in the holes and wraps wires around the bottom of the spool to secure the stalks. Finally, he fills the center of each spool with concrete to make it sink and stand up vertically in the water column. As a result, it creates a brush pile that provides cover from the bottom up about 15 to 20 feet. More like hunting than fishing, searching for deep crappie normally takes effort and patience, but anglers could load the boat in a good spot – even on the hottest summer days. A John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s written more than 1,700 articles for more than 117 magazines. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors radio show. Contact him through his website at www.

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

AUG. 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

- - 01:22 01:52 08:37 09:37 10:52 - - - - - - 01:07 02:52 03:52 04:52 - - - -

06:22 07:07 07:52 02:37 03:22 04:07 05:22 06:37 08:07 09:22 10:22 11:07 11:52 05:37 06:22

07:22 12:52 07:52 01:22 08:22 01:52 02:37 08:37 03:07 09:07 03:37 09:37 01:07 10:22 03:37 11:22 08:52 04:37 10:07 05:07 10:52 05:37 11:37 06:07 12:07 06:37 06:52 12:22 07:07 12:52

SEP. 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

07:07 07:52 08:22 09:07 10:07 11:22 - - - - - - 01:22 02:52 03:52 04:52 05:37 - - 07:07 07:52 08:52 09:52 11:07 - - - - - - 01:22 03:07 04:22 05:07 05:52 - - - -

01:07 01:37 02:22 02:52 03:22 04:07 05:22 06:37 08:07 09:22 10:07 10:37 11:22 11:52 06:22 12:52 01:22 02:07 02:52 03:37 04:52 06:07 07:52 09:07 10:07 10:52 11:22 11:52 06:37 07:07

07:37 01:22 01:52 07:52 02:07 08:07 02:37 08:22 02:52 08:52 02:52 09:07 - - 09:22 06:07 09:37 09:52 04:52 10:22 05:07 10:52 05:22 11:07 05:37 11:37 05:52 12:22 06:07 06:37 12:22 01:07 07:07 01:37 07:22 02:07 07:52 02:52 08:22 03:37 08:52 01:22 09:37 10:52 03:07 09:22 03:52 10:07 04:22 10:37 04:52 11:22 05:22 05:37 11:52 05:52 12:07 12:22 12:37 12:52 06:37

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  41

It’s Back to School time in


Visit all of our local merchants for great deals on school supplies. From computers to pencils, Brundidge has it all.

Pinckard Food Mart Main Street Brundidge, AL 36010

Horn Beverage 42  AUGUST 2013

SAECAUG2013.indd 34

7/17/13 5:38 PM

A cooler home and lower bills? Now that feels good! You could save up to 40 percent on energy costs by replacing your heating and cooling unit with one that has a SEER — seasonal energy efficiency ratio — rating of 15 or greater. High-efficiency systems often include additional energy-saving features and are more environmentally friendly. Combine those benefits with the knowledge that you’re saving on your monthly energy bills, and that feels good! or 800-264-7732

Alabama Living

SAECAUG2013.indd 35

august 2013  43

7/17/13 5:38 PM

Our Sources Say

Jim Vann: A Rural Champion


usinesses are not what they used to be. Just 25 years ago, Apple, Google and Microsoft were just starting out, and now they control a large portion of the economy. Other businesses have adapted to markets we couldn’t imagine 25 years ago. Businesses that support rural areas have also changed. Farmers’ cooperatives were established to deliver services to rural areas that other companies were not willing or able to provide. They provided farm supplies and markets for crops. The Alabama Farmers’ Federation offered insurance coverage farmers couldn’t find from other insurers. Electric cooperatives provided electricity to rural areas that investor-owned utilities could not or would not serve.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative 42  AUGUST 2013

Farms and rural areas are not what they used to be. Although farmer cooperatives still sell to farmers, you don’t have to be a farmer to shop at an Alabama Farmers’ Cooperative store. You don’t have to be a farmer to buy insurance from ALFA or State Farm, either. Electric cooperatives still serve rural areas but also now serve urban areas that were once rural. Those changes are not bad. They have allowed people in rural areas access to products and services previously only available in urban areas or available in urban areas at lower prices. Insurance is more affordable for rural customers through the diversity and higher volume obtained by selling insurance in urban areas. Rural members served by electric cooperatives have also benefitted from the diversity of industrial and commercial customers in urban areas. Some championed this change in rural America. Jim Vann was one of those champions. He graduated from Auburn University and worked as an electric adviser for Dixie Electric Cooperative. Electric usage, especially efficient electricity use, was still new in rural areas, and electric cooperatives employed advisers to coach people on how to use electricity more wisely. Jim expanded that role to a greater role in aiding rural areas. As general manager at Dixie Electric, he established service areas in east Montgomery that now host the Eastchase Shopping Center, other retail businesses and upscale residential neighborhoods. Industrial and commercial customers provide good diversity with the residential nature of rural customers to allow for lower rates for all customers. Jim also was a champion of rural water. He helped start rural water systems in Alabama communities that had never had anything except well water. Jim believed that communities could never attract com-

mercial and industrial prospects without the benefit of clean and affordable water. Many people in rural areas owe the convenience of centralized water systems to Jim’s vision. Jim also helped establish the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), a cooperative bank, to finance rural development projects in which commercial banks had little interest. He later served as president of CFC. He was a founder and first president of the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) that helped bring improved telephone, Internet and satellite television service to rural America. As the fourth President and CEO of Alabama Electric Cooperative (AEC), Jim promoted economic development to create jobs in rural communities. He led an effort for greater electric generation efficiency and operational excellence that resulted in lower costs for AEC’s members. In his 12 years as head of AEC, reliability improved, rates dropped and economic development helped change the face of rural Alabama and northwest Florida. Jim was my predecessor as president and CEO at AEC (now PowerSouth). I worked for Jim for 11 of his 12 years at AEC. He was a great coach, mentor, teacher and friend. He died June 14 at his home in Orange Beach after an extended illness. Many people, including me, owe him a lot. Things and businesses change. People in rural America are much better off today because of rural champions like Jim Vann. Sir Isaac Newton said, “If we have seen further, it is because we stood on the shoulders of giants.” Much of what we enjoy today are the fruits of the labor of Jim and people like him who put so much effort into rural development. Thank you for reading. I hope you have a good month. A

Market Place

Alabama Living

AUGUST 2013  45

Alabama Snapshots 2



Back to school


Submit Your Images! october Theme:

“Favorite electric appliance”

Send color photos with a large self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL, 36124 Rules: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Deadline for october: August 31

46  AUGUST 2013



1. Isabella Grace Wright visits her Head Start c l a s s r o o m submit ted by Michael Wright, Baileyton 2. “BFFs” Kenley and Will submit ted by Kamie Graves, Warrior 3. “First day of a new school year”: Leanne and Ella Timmons submitted by Beth Gray, Rainsville

4. Tucker Hayes, age 4 submitted by Sheila Smothers, Addison 5. Robyn LeeAnn George’s first day of kindergarten submitted by Ricky and Pamela George, Prattville

Profile for Alabama Living

Saec aug13dm  

Saec aug13dm