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You voted! Announcing the Best of Alabama

Take the chill off with homemade chili



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.


AREA PRESIDENT Fred Braswell EDITOR Lenore Vickrey MANAGING EDITOR Allison Griffin CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson

VOL. 69 NO. 1 JANUARY 2016

11 Begin the journey January is a great time for Alabamians to begin a healthful weight-loss routine and increase physical activity.

30 Hunting a preserve

Hunters can find a variety of birds and fastpaced action on Alabama’s hunting preserves.

34 Warm up with chili

Beans or no beans, ground beef or venison, topped with cheese, onions or sour cream ... Everyone has their favorite version of chili, and we’ve got our readers’ best recipes to prove it.

ON THE COVER: Young Devon Pockrus enjoys checking out a space capsule at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, voted the “Best Learning Museum” in the state in our 2016 Best of Alabama Contest. Read about all the winners beginning on page 12.


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


9 30 31 46

Spotlight Cook of the Month Outdoors Fish & Game Forecast Snapshots

Printed in America from American materials

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2016 3

Manager’s Comments

South Alabama Electric Cooperative

New year brings a new look to SAEC website MAX DAVIS GENERAL MANAGER

Board of Trustees

PAY BILL and OUTAGE MAP links are located at the top of the home page so you can access them easily.

Bill Hixon District 1

James Shaver District 2

Raymond Trotter 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 U.S. Hwy 231 P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081 800-556-2060 4 JANUARY 2016

My Services in the center of the homepage offers you quick links to our most popular points.: My Meter, Bill Pay and request service. The New Year always brings about resolutions involving bettering ourselves or changing our look, and that’s no different for SAEC. As we ring in 2016, we’re launching a brand new website designed to better assist you and that’s easier to navigate. You’ll still find a lot of the same information about our programs and services but we’ve put the most popular information right in the center of the homepage. You’ll still find quick links to the pay online feature and also our outage map, but now they are both located along the top of the home page for easy access.

Drop-down menus contain more detailed information about our youth and community activities, cooperative history, and safety information. You’ll also notice that we’ve made back issues of our Alabama Living magazine easy to find and view. We hope you find the new website to be informational and a great resource. We’d love to hear from you if you have suggestions or other items you’d like us to add.

South Alabama Electric Cooperative

Contact Us feature is located at the bottom of the page. Drop us an e-mail or find office hour information here.

Alabama Living archives are easily located on the front page. You can find previous months and years under the drop-down menu called Member Resources.

South Alabama Electric’s Monthly Operating Report KWH Sold 23,115,818 Average Utility Bill $171.93 Average Use 1,424 kWh

Total Accounts Billed 16,227

Consumers per mile of line 6.05

Total Miles of Line 2,679 Information from OCTOBER 2015

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2016 5

Seal air leaks with caulk Did you know heating and cooling accounts for roughly half of your home’s energy use? Caulking cracks and gaps around windows, doors and spaces around wires (telephone, electrical, cable and gas lines), water spigots and dryer vents can pay off with big energy savings. *Approximate cost: $5-$30 *Energy savings: Approximately 5 -10 percent – Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy

Materials You Will Need: Caulk, caulk gun, knife or tool to cut, rags, water 1. PREP: Clean the area where you will be applying the caulk. Remove any dirt, loose paint or old, cracked caulk. Be sure the area is dry before applying new caulk appropriate for your application. 2. LOAD: You will need to pull the plunger all the way back to load the tube of caulk into the barrel of the caulking gun. Next, squeeze the trigger a few times until the plunger makes contact with the tube. Squeeze once or twice more to fill the tip with caulk. 3. APPLY: To figure out the right amount of caulk needed, experiment with an out-of-the-way section. You may find that you need less caulk than you thought. Hold the gun at a slight angle. Apply steady pressure on the trigger to create a solid stream from the tip, which should be placed ½ inch or less from the intended destination of the material. Use just enough caulk to do the job. Use your finger to gently press the caulk into the corner, crack or space. 4. RELEASE: Once the trigger is fully depressed, allow it to spring back and depress it again. Keep the gun moving while caulk is still coming out of the tip. 5. CLEAN: Use a damp cloth or rag to clean off most of the excess caulk. Use a dry cloth to clean off the rest.

6 JANUARY 2016

South Alabama Electric Cooperative

Would you like the chance to visit the Alabama capital? What about our nation’s capital?

It’s time for the 2016 Youth Tour Competition. This competition is open to all high school juniors who attend school in Pike, Coffee or Crenshaw counties or who have parents who are members of South Alabama Electric Cooperative. Applications have been sent to all area high schools and are available online at the cooperative’s website - www.

Applications will be reviewed and must be filled out completely. An independent panel of judges will select participants who will be invited to interview for a chance to attend the AREA Youth Tour in Montgomery on March 15-17, 2016 and possibly go on to represent SAEC at the NRECA Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. on June 10-16, 2016.

For more information contact SAEC at 800-556-2060 or visit our website at

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2016 7

Scholarship Opportunity for Graduating Seniors Are you a high school senior who will be graduating this Spring? Are you a dependent of a South Alabama Electric member?

If so, you are eligible to apply! The Electric Cooperative Foundation was created by cooperatives across Alabama to help students continue their education at post-secondary and vocational schools. Since 2001, students in SAEC’s service area have received $14,000 in scholarships. Through this program, South Alabama Electric Cooperative will once again award one student a $1000 scholarship in 2016. Applications are available through our website,, or by visiting your local guidance counselor ofďŹ ce. Deadline for applications is February 26, 2016. For more information, contact Chellie Phillips at 800-556-2060 or by e-mail at

8 JANUARY 2016

South Alabama Electric Cooperative

Manager’s Comments Supporting Our Youngest Members OFFICE LOCATIONS Jackson Office 1307 College Avenue P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 251-246-9081 Chatom Office P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 251-847-2302 Toll Free Number


Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours) Pay your bill online at

Payment Methods Payments can be made at our Chatom and Jackson offices with cash, checks, debit or credit cards

Stan Wilson Manager of ClarkeWashington Electric Membership Corporation

4  FEBRUARY 2016

At Clarke-Washington EMC we talk a lot about the services we provide to you, our members—home energy audits, heat pump rebates, convenient billing options, and fun events like our annual meeting. But many of our value-added benefits are directed at a younger audience: children. It’s important that we support our youngest members, not only to enrich their lives, but also to instill in them the importance of cooperative membership. After all, these are the ones who will one day become community and possibly co-op leaders. For high school seniors, we offer college scholarships. This year we will award three $1000 scholarships. There is some information on the following pages about our scholarship program. You can get an application from your guidance counselor, or you can go to our website,, to print your

own copy. The applications must be mailed to the address on the application and received by February 26, 2016. For our high school juniors, we have the opportunity to attend the annual Rural Electric Youth Tour, where we send 4 local students to Montgomery on a two-day trip to learn about co-ops and government on a state level. Then, two of these students will go to Washington, D.C., on a weeklong trip in June to learn more about the electric cooperatives and government on a national level. It is truly a wonderful trip. We also support programs in the schools for our youngest members, like energy conservation talks and safety presentations. We do these things because we want to make our communities better and improve the quality of life of all of our members. Thank you.


Clarke-Washington EMC

Scholarship Opportunity for Graduating Seniors Are you a high school senior who is graduating this spring? Are you a dependent of a CWEMC member?

If so, you are eligible to apply for a

scholarship from the Electric Cooperative Foundation. Clarke-Washington EMC cooperative has joined other cooperatives throughout the state of Alabama to create this Electric Cooperative Foundation. This spring the foundation will be awarding scholarships across Alabama for students to continue their education at post-secondary and vocational schools.

For more details about this scholarship,

school guidance counselor, or print one from our website at under Educational Programs or call:

CWEMC 1-800-323-9081 Deadline to apply is February 26, 2016

obtain a copy of an Electric Cooperative scholarship application from your high Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2016  5

Happy Valentine’s Day!

2015 Property Taxes CWEMC Chatom Superintendent Polly Odom (left) pays Washington County Property Taxes to Washington County Revenue Commissioner Mary Ann Dees.

Steve Sheffield, CWEMC Manager of Operations, presents payment of Clarke County property taxes to Shelida Abston (left) and Jenny Motes (center)

CWEMC Lineman Art Dees pays Wilcox County property taxes to Juanita Kendrick of the Wilcox County Revenue Commissioner’s office.

6  FEBRUARY 2016


Clarke-Washington EMC

Top five energy users in your home A starting point for savings While most homeowners would like to be more energy efficient and save money, often it feels overwhelming because many people don’t know where to start. How can the average family use less energy, lower their utility bill and still meet their daily energy needs? To help jump-start your effort, it is useful to know what the top energy users are in your home. With this knowledge, you can choose a path that works best for your family. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the top five energy users in U.S. homes are: 1. Space cooling 2. Space heating 3. Water heating 4. Lighting 5. Refrigeration

Adjust the temperature

Together, home heating and cooling use the most energy and take the biggest bite out of your energy budget. On the bright side, there are ways you can achieve at least 10 percent savings by taking a few simple low-cost or no-cost steps. II During cold weather, set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

II During warm weather, the recommended indoor temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. II Cleaning the filters of your HVAC system can cut costs from five to 15 percent. II Clean the coils around your electric baseboard heater to maintain maximum efficiency. II Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors to prevent heat from escaping to the outdoors. No matter what the climate or time of year, proper use of a programmable ther-


Top Five Energy Users in U.S. Homes

Space Cooling 13%

Estimated residential electricity consumption by end use, 2014*

Lighting 11%

Other uses include TV, set-top boxes, home entertainment and gaming systems, monitors and networking equipment, clothes dryer, small electric devices, heating elements and motors.

Water Heating 9%

Space Heating 9% Refrigeration 7% *Source: EIA

mostat can save you 10 percent on your monthly utility bill.

Shine the light on savings

Take a fresh look at the lighting in your home. If you still use incandescent lighting, your light bulbs are operating at only 25 percent energy efficiency. Replacing your home’s five most frequently used bulbs with Energy Star-certified LEDs can save you $75 per year. Another easy way to save is to always turn lights off in rooms that are not being used.

Water heating efficiency

Just as it is energy-wise to insulate your roof, wall or floor, it also pays to wrap your hot water heater with an insulating blanket. This is all the more critical if you have an older unit. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. For additional efficiency and savings, insulate exposed hot water lines and drain one to two gallons of water from the bottom of your tank annually to prevent sediment build-up.

Put cold hard cash back in your wallet

If your refrigerator was purchased before 2001, chances are it uses 40 percent more energy than a new Energy Star model. If you are considering an appliance update, a new Energy Star refrigerator uses at least 15 percent less energy than non-qualified models and 20 percent less energy than required by current federal standards. Regardless of the age of your fridge, there are additional steps you can take to save energy and money. For example, don’t keep your refrigerator too cold. The Department of Energy recommends temperatures of 35 – 38 degrees Fahrenheit for the fresh food compartment and 0 degrees Fahrenheit for separate freezers (used for long-term storage). By understanding how your home uses energy, you can determine the best ways to modify energy use and keep more money in your wallet.


Thanks to all of you who contributed to our Christmas drive this year. Several local families had a Merry Christmas because of you!

Polly Odom and Ronda Kidd stand with their collections at the CWEMC Chatom Office.

Above: CWEMC Member Services Director Rick Norris is pictured delivering the proceeds of our Christmas Drive to Washington County DHR employees.

8  FEBRUARY 2016

Below: The items collected in Jackson were delivered to Clarke County DHR.


Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month

Save energy and money by lowering your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will also slow mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes. Source:

34  FEBRUARY 2016

If you need a space heater to keep your home comfortable, this may be a sign that your home needs insulation or air sealing, both of which can be great investments and significantly reduce your energy bills. You can consider simple short-term measures, such as: • Putting in weather stripping around drafty doors and windows. • Hanging thermal curtains or blankets or installing window film. • Using rugs to cover uncarpeted floors. In the longer-term, increasing your home’s insulation or switching to a more efficient heating system, such as a ductless heat pump, can be a more cost-effective solution. A good energy auditor can help you figure out the best measures to take to keep your home comfortable. If your co-op offers free or discounted home audits, take them up on it! A

Space Heater Safety Tips Regardless of the kind of space heater you purchase, practice safety: space heaters are involved in more than 80 percent of fatal home heating fires. When you purchase your heater, check that it has the following: • Tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts the heater off if it tips over • Temperature sensor to detect when any internal components become too hot • Guard around heating element to protect curious hands or paws • UL-listing or other certification to show that it meets voluntary safety standards Practice safety, and teach your family what to do: • Use the heater only on a flat surface • Plug the heater directly into the wall instead of an extension cord and avoid plugging anything else into the same outlet. If you must use an extension cord, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord • Keep the heater away from pets, children and flammable items like bedding, furniture and curtains • Don’t use in the bathroom unless it is designed for bathroom use; moisture can damage the heater • Don’t leave a heater unattended – turn it off for safety and to save money!

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JANUARY 2016 41





May 2, 2016 • Downtown Brundidge Arts and Crafts • Food • Kids Activity Area • Entertainment

Contact Dixie Shehane at 334-735-9191

Coming Soon! 2016 Miss and Little Miss Brundidge Pageant Contact Dixie Shehane at 334-735-9191 for information! 34 42 APRIL JUNE JANUARY 2015 20152016

Want to know how much electricity you used yesterday? Last week?

Monitor your energy use with MyMeter™ from

With MyMeterTM, you can: • View a graphical representation of daily and monthly usage. • Compare monthly usage to other homes served by South Alabama Electric Cooperative. • Set “markers” to note energy efficiency upgrades. For example, when buying a new appliance, simply mark the date and MyMeter™ will track how much energy you are saving. • Take an “energy challenge” and set an energy savings goal. The challenge lasts 6 months and tracks your results in both graphically and tabular fashion.

Are you curious about how your energy use varies from day to day? South Alabama Electric Cooperative’s free online energy tracking program, called MyMeter™, helps take the mystery out of your electric bill. MyMeter™ is a free Web-based service from South Alabama Electric Cooperative that allows you to track and chart your daily energy use. Members who sign up for the service can see their usage for each day and monitor the days of the week that they use the most energy.

• Access multiple accounts under a single sign-on.

For more information or to sign up: (334) 566-2060

Alabama AlabamaLiving Living

JANUARY 2016 2012 43 5 MONTH

Our Sources Say



ebster’s Dictionary defines hypocrisy as “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not.” It further defines hypocrisy as “the false appearance of virtue or religious belief.” When unveiling his Clean Power Plan in August 2015, President Obama said, “No challenge presents a greater threat to our future and future generations than a change in climate.” President Obama has stated numerous times – even within the last 60 days – that climate change is a greater threat than ISIS or terrorism. World leaders met recently in Paris at the United Nations 2015 Conference on Climate Change to discuss an agreement for the global reduction of carbon emissions to ensure a better future for the world. The tag line for the conference was, “Long Live the Planet. Long Live Humanity. Long Live Life Itself.” A bold theme for bold people. Of course, President Obama attended the conference as did China’s Chairman Xi and other global leaders. They were there to express deep concern for the planet’s future, the seriousness of reaching an agreement on carbon reductions and to resolve the world’s greatest threat. It is ironic that the conference was convened in Paris, where, just a month before, an orchestrated ISIS terrorist attack killed 158 people and injured dozens more. It is ironic that President Obama attended the meeting and expressed his belief that climate change is more of a threat than terrorism, despite the attack in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 people and wounded numerous others. What is more important to you? The increasing number and intensity of terrorist attacks or the undefined, speculative and uncertain threats of climate change? My bet is that victims’ families would consider terrorist violence a far greater concern. Nevertheless, world leaders express more distress about climate change than terrorism. The climate change debate takes different shapes. Some leaders attended the Conference to make their claim for a portion of and to secure a binding commitment for the $100 billion per year in climate aid for developing countries promised by President Obama at the United Nations Climate Conference in

Copenhagen in 2009. China and India pressed their position that they are still developing countries and entitled to their portions of the climate aid to continue economic development. In the meantime, China expands its coal consumption 2.6 percent a year, and India expands its coal use 5 percent a year. Of course, China promises to reduce its carbon intensity in 2030, but that is a commitment of energy efficiency – not necessarily a commitment to reduce coal usage like President Obama is pledging. While world leaders gathered in Paris to posture about the threats of climate change, 1.4 billion children live in poverty and are malnourished, 2.6 billion people lack clean drinking water, billions of children are deprived of adequate medical care, and billions of people lack reliable electric service. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found that the politically correct movement of climate aid actually diverts money from feeding the hungry and providing medical care in developing countries. Apparently our plan is to help people prepare for the future ravages of climate change but deny them the basic necessities of life in the current time frame. Author and humorist P.J. O’Rourke refers to issues like climate change as “fashionable worries.” Climate change is sexier than feeding starving children, providing medical care in poor countries or providing affordable energy for developing countries. Success in resolving climate change is not as objective, measurable or transparent as providing food and health care to the poor. For politicians, climate change is the perfect problem. The threat cannot be solved in the near term, the danger is difficult to predict and measure, and politicians are less accountable in resolving the problems. All they need is for us to trust them to do the right thing, not question their motives or actions, provide billions of tax revenues to fund their efforts, and they will solve the problem in about 80 years. To hold such a superficial, do-nothing meeting and declare climate change as the most important issue in today’s world in a city still recovering from terrorist attacks and to proclaim climate change more important than people killed by terrorists at times when children lack food, clean water and health care is just hypocrisy. But such is our world. I hope you have a good month. A

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

44 JANUARY 2016

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Alabama Living


JANUARY 2016 45

Alabama Snapshots


RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www. and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.

11 year old twins, Lauren and Wyatt Busbey. SUBMITTED BY Judy Busbey, Union Grove.

Doris Peterson and Dorothy Lamberth, 80 years young, live in different states but still get together for fun and games. SUBMITTED BY Myrtle Waters, Repton.

Justin Lacy (left) says he’s the “biggest and oldest;” Zack Lacy (right) replies, “Only by 10 minutes.” SUBMITTED BY Eve Lacy, Pisgah.

Lillie and Izzie Turner. SUBMITTED BY Tammy Turner, Flomaton. Kaden and Kyson Hawkins. SUBMITTED BY Jennifer Hawkins, Hanceville.

Janice Charlesworth with her twin brother, Jimmy, and twin nieces Suzanne and Stephanie Smith. SUBMITTED BY Janice Charlesworth, Montgomery.

Submit Your Images! March Theme: “Unique Mailboxes” Deadline for March: January 31 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

46 JANUARY 2016

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Profile for Alabama Living

South Alabama EC January 2016 Digital  

South Alabama EC January 2016 Digital