South Alabama ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE
The value of liberty
Living history at American Village
Heirloom seeds Saving and sharing for the next generation www.southaec.com
2 JULY 2014
Max Davis CO-OP EDITOR
Chellie Phillips ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.
ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
AREA PRESIDENT Fred Braswell EDITOR Lenore Vickrey MANAGING EDITOR Melissa Henninger CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jacob Johnson ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Brooke Davis RECIPE EDITOR Mary Tyler Spivey
VOL. 67 NO. 7 JULY 2014
11 You can avoid heat-related illnesses Steamy summer days can cause serious medical problems if you’re not careful.
16 Seeds and memories Alabama plants of days gone by are being preserved for future generations, thanks to some dedicated ladies in Sand Mountain.
26 BBQ with Elvis
On the Cover: Historical interpreter Nancy Moore portrays First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of President James Madison, at the American Village in Montevallo. PHOTO: Mark Stephenson
There’s more than just delicious barbecued chicken and pork to enjoy when you visit Bubba’s BBQ in Evergreen. Just ask Elvis and Marilyn and their table buddies.
INTERN Jordan Pittman ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:
340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.areapower.coop
When you see this symbol, it means there’s more content online at www.alabamaliving.coop! Videos, expanded stories and more!
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DEPARTMENTS 9 26 30 33 34
Spotlight Worth the Drive Outdoors Fish & Game Forecast Cook of the Month
Printed in America from American materials
JULY 2014 3
Liberty and a better life for all 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 southaec.com 4 JULY 2014
MAX DAVIS GENERAL MANAGER
Every July, we take time to reflect on our country’s history and remember how the actions of a few helped shape the way we live today. I think back on the rich history of the electric cooperative movement and how a small group of determined individuals were able to improve their quality of life and the quality of life for all those who would come after them. Every day, South Alabama Electric Cooperative members and employees pay homage to the legacy of our cooperative founders. And, because we are a part of an electric cooperative, we know we have the power to impact our present and shape the future, just like those who came before us. Through grassroots advocacy efforts, we help influence policy decisions that will affect our communities now and for years to come. We are the catalyst for change in our communities. We leverage our collective power to get things done. For example, we work to keep legislation or regulations from passing that will lead to higher utility bills. We work together, partnering with other co-ops, local businesses and community organizers to achieve economic development goals. Creating better opportunities and increasing the quality of life for our families and communities – just as our founding co-op members did. We understand that the decisions we make today could greatly affect how future generations live, so we invest in energy efficiency programs that protect our future generations while still providing
high-quality, affordable electric power. Right now your cooperative is offering a loan program that will help you improve the energy efficiency of your home. We are also offering rebates when you install energy efficient heating and cooling equipment. Cooperatives are helping to build the next generation of leadership through our Youth Tour Programs; sending high school students to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers and get an up-close view of how our government functions. Youth Tour participants leave our nation’s capital feeling energized. It inspires them to make a difference in their communities and gives them a new perspective. Youth Tour provides young people from our communities with an opportunity they may otherwise have never known. All of these things, plus so much more, are what make up the cooperative difference. This Fourth of July, as we think about the future of electric cooperatives and how we will continue to shape our country and our society, South Alabama Electric Cooperative remembers what it took to bring power to our communities and let the determination of those who came before us, guide us.
South Alabama Electric Cooperative
Safety Tips to Share with Kids Before They Head Outdoors
When the weather is nice, many children enjoy going outdoors to fly kites, climb trees, and play with their friends. While playing outdoors is a great pastime for kids, there are electrical hazards that children need to be aware of to keep them safe. Safe Electricity offers a variety tips to share with children before they head outdoors. Stay away from pad mounted transformers. Pad mounted transformers are green metal boxes that contain the above ground portion of an underground electrical installation. These cabinets carry high voltages and are safe when locked, but they can be deadly if someone reaches inside. If you see one in your neighborhood that is open, call authorities and your utility immediately. Never enter an electrical substation for any reason. If a ball or other toy enters the fence surrounding the substation, call your utility for help. Substations hold deadly amounts of electricity and should only be entered by professionals. Always be aware of overhead power lines. Do not fly kites or model planes near power lines or electrical substations. A kite string can conduct electricity from an overhead line directly to the person on the ground. Be careful when using Mylar balloons for a party. These metallic coated balloons conduct electricity, so never tie one to a child. If the balloon comes into contact with electricity, the child could receive a fatal shock. Ensure your children are protected from the
South Alabama Electric Monthly Operating Report KWH Sold 20,874,370 Avg. Utility Bill $163.72 Average Use 1291 Total Accounts Billed 16,168
electrical service connection to your home. Keep ladders or long poles stowed and away from youngsters who might be tempted to use them to reach the wires connected to your house. Also be aware of these lines around pools. Pool skimmers can be long enough to reach service connection lines. Under no circumstance should anyone climb trees near power lines. If branches are touching the wires, the tree could be energized. Even branches not touching power lines could become energized if a child’s weight is added. Finally, storm fronts can move rapidly, and lightning can strike 10 miles in advance of a storm. Remember the rule of thumb from the National Weather Service, “when thunder roars, go indoors.” Make sure kids know that it is not safe to be outside during a storm. For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.
Total Miles of Line 2,667 Consumers per mile of line 6.06 Information from APRIL 2014
JULY 2014 5
6 JULY 2014
South Alabama Electric Cooperative Special Advertising Feature
A Salute to the Red, White and Blue! This Independence Day, Test Your American Flag IQ The American flag is one of the most recognized symbols in the world. It may have many names — the Star-Spangled Banner, the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory— but it has one clear meaning: it stands for unity and freedom. Our flag has earned our respect: handle it with care! In that spirit, we invite you to find out just how much you know about caring for and flying our national banner. To determine your flag IQ, answer each of the following questions, then check below for the answers and figure out your score.
2. How do I hang the flag indoors? (One answer is false—which one?) a. The flag may be used to cover a ceiling b. The flag can be hung horizontally or vertically c. The union, or canton (the blue field of stars), should be on the flag’s right and the viewer’s left d. If hung in a window, the canton should be on the viewer’s left 3. When properly folded, the flag takes what shape? a. A rectangle b. A triangle c. A square d. A hexagon 4. When is a flag not flown at half-staff? a. Upon the death of a president or former president b. When the president or the governor of a state declares an official period of mourning c. On Memorial Day, honoring those who have died while serving the U.S. d. When a member of your family dies 5. How do I raise a flag to the half-staff position? a. Raise it slowly to half-staff b. Raise it slowly all the way to the top, then slowly to half-staff c. Raise it all the way to the top, then all the way to the bottom, then to half-staff d. Raise it briskly all the way to the top, then lower it slowly to half-staff
6. What should a civilian do when a flag passes by in a parade or procession? a. Salute and stand at attention b. Place the right hand over the heart while the first U.S. flag passes by c. Place the right hand over the heart while each U.S. flag passes by d. Place the left hand over the heart while the first U.S. flag passes by 7. What do I do with my flag when it’s worn out? (One answer is false—which one?) a. Burn it in a private place b. Organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Boy Scouts of America or the Girl Scouts can dispose of your flag c. Fold it, then carefully place it in the trash d. Contact your town or city officials for more information Answers 1. (b) is false. The U.S. flag should never share a pole with another nation’s flag. International law forbids the display of one nation’s flag above another in times of peace. 2. (a) is false. The flag should never be used to cover a ceiling. 3. (b) is correct. 4. (d) is false. Flags are flown at half-staff only during official periods of mourning. On Memorial Day the flag is flown at half-staff until noon and then at full-staff for the remainder of the day. 5. (d) is correct. 6. (b) is correct. People in military uniform salute as the first U.S. flag passes; the remaining flags in the parade do not need to be recognized. 7. (c) is false. When the U.S. flag is no longer in a condition to be displayed with honor, it should be destroyed in a dignified way. Score 1-2: Not too good. Back to Civics class! 3-5: Impressive, but there’s room for improvement. 6-7: Well done! Stand tall, patriot!
Crowd photo: Mike Powell, Allsport Concepts
1. How do I fly the flag on a flagpole? (One answer is false—which one?) a. When on the same flagpole, always fly the U.S. flag above any state, municipal or social-organization flag b. When on the same flagpole, the U.S. flag should be above any other nation’s flag c. Raise the U.S. flag briskly and lower it ceremoniously d. When flying the U.S. flag near flags of other nations, it should be positioned on its own right
Alabama Living for their expertise the National Flag Foundation—the foremost authority on the U.S. flag and the U.S. Flag Code of 1923 as amended through the last edition JULY 2014 We gratefully acknowledge in 1998. The Code offers the official way to show respect for the flag, but has no enforcement power or rigor of law. If you would like additional information please visit: www.americanflags.org
A gift from your Local Cooperative . . .
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Utilizing your smartphone’s built-in GPS, Weather Connection alerts you when you are located in an area that is under a severe weather warning. The app also gives you the ability to save up to FIVE fixed locations in addition to your current With the Touchstone Energy Weather Connection severe App, severe weather will With the Touchstone Energy Connection weather will never position. This feature will followWeather and alert you whenApp, severe weather is headed never catch you off guard (iPhone & Android supported). Based on the same catch you off guard (iPhone & Android supported). Based on the same technology toward family and friends it ideal“iMap for keeping safe. technology as the making award winning Weatherthem Radio,” Weather Connection as the award winning “iMap Weather Radio,” Weather Connection alerts you to alerts you to potentially dangerous and life-threatening weather conditions potentially dangerous and life-threatening weather conditions while keeping you while keeping you connected to your local Co-op. connected to your local Co-op. Using Location Based Services, the device monitors location accuracy and battery usage. You may turn off background tracking for battery conservation in the app your Weather smartphone’s built-in GPS, Connection settings. InUtilizing this mode, Connection will Weather only utilize the GPS alerts whenyou thewhen app aresmartphone’s located in an area that is under a severeConnection weather warning. also Utilizingyou your built-in GPS, Weather alertsThe youapp when is open. gives you the ability to save up to FIVE fi xed locations in addition to your current you are located in an area that is under a severe weather warning. The app also position. This feature andfixed alertlocations you wheninsevere weather is headed gives you the ability to savewill upfollow to FIVE addition to your current toward family and friends making it ideal for keeping them safe. position. This feature will follow and alert you when severe weather is headed Best of all family this amazing app ismaking a gift from your cooperative. toward and friends it ideal for local keeping them safe.Follow these instructions to download the app and unlock weather radio functionality and custom content from your cooperative for device FREE! monitors location accuracy and batUsing Location Based Services, the 1. Download the Touchstone Energy Weather tracking Connection App (available oninthe tery usage. You may turn off background for battery conservation the Using deviceConnection monitors location app settings. In Services, thisPlay) mode,the Weather will only accuracy utilize the and GPS battery when App Location Store andBased Google may in the app the app isturn open.off background 2. usage. Once You App is launched, look for the tracking lock and for tapbattery “Co-opconservation Code” In this mode, Weather will only utilize the GPS when the app 3. settings. Enter code below to unlock theConnection Premium Package is open.
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Best of all this amazing app is a gift from your local cooperative. Follow these instructions to download the app and unlock weather radio functionality and custom content from your cooperative for FREE! Best of all this amazing app is a gift from your local cooperative. Follow these 1. Download the Touchstone Energy Weather Connection App (available on instructions the to download theGoogle app and unlock weather radio functionality and App Store and Play) custom 2. content cooperative Oncefrom App your is launched, look forfor theFREE! lock and tap “Co-op Code” 1. Download the Touchstone Weather Connection 3. Enter code below to Energy unlock the Premium Package App (available on the
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For more information aboutWeather downloading the App, Touchstone Energy Connection Touchstone Energy Weather App, contactConnection us today! contact 8us today! JUNE 2014
Local Cooperative Address, City, ST Zip localcoop.com
South Alabama Electric Cooperative Local P.O. Box 449, Troy, ALCooperative 36081 800-556-2060 Address, City, ST Zip www.southaec.com localcoop.com www.southaec.com
‘Mockingbird’ workshop will share stories of Monroeville On Wednesday, July 16, the Monroe County Heritage Museum will host its annual program, “Scenes and Stories of Monroeville: A ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Workshop” in the Old Courthouse Museum at 31 N. Alabama Ave. from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. In “Part 1: Growing up with Harper Lee,” the famous author’s classmates and acquaintances will share stories and photos of what Monroeville was like in the 1930s. In “Part 2: Race Relations in the 1930s,” a panel of Monroeville’s African-American citizens will discuss race relations from the 1930s to the present. Admission is free. Seating is limited and pre-registration is recommended. For more information or to pre-register, contact Wanda Green at email@example.com or 251-575-7433. JULY 26
Landmark Park to host watermelon tasting On Saturday, July 26, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Landmark Park in Dothan will celebrate National Watermelon Month with a watermelon harvest and sampling of several watermelon
varieties. The educational program and the watermelon are free with paid gate admission, which is $4 for adults and $3 for kids. Call 334794-3452 or visit Kids enjoy watermelon at Landmark Park’s landmarkpark.com celebration of National Watermelon Month. for more information. JULY 31-AUG. 3
Red Door brings ‘Promises’ to the stage The Red Door Theatre in Union Springs will stage “Promises,” a play by Alabama native Joel Williams, from July 31-Aug. 3. The play tells the story of Joseph, a 50-year-old man who sets out on a journey to fulfill a request made by his dying mother. Rated PG-13. Evening shows will run July 31-Aug. 2, with dinner at 6 p.m. and the play starting at 7:30 p.m. A matinee will be Aug. 3 at 2:30 p.m. Dinner is $15 and $15 admission for the play. For more information and tickets, call 334-738-8687, or visit www.reddoortheatre.org.
Battle of Mobile Bay recreated 150 years later Step back in time 150 years to witness the recreation of the Battle of Mobile Bay and Siege of Fort Morgan Aug. 1-3 at Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores. “Our goal for the 150th Anniversary is to produce Alabama’s largest Civil War reenactment to date while educating the public through accurate living history demonstrations and having a family friendly event with food, music, and entertainment,” says Dr. Stephen McNair, director of historic sites with the Alabama Historical Commission. Admission to the park during the weekend of the event will be: Friday after 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: $10 for a single day ticket, ages 6 and older; $20 for a three-day pass, ages 6
This artist’s rendering of the Union siege lines ran in the August 1864 edition of Harpers Weekly.
and older; $30 for single day, family of four; $65 for a three-day pass, family of four. Gates will open promptly at 8 a.m. each day and will remain open for the duration of each day’s activities.
Parking for the event will be located in the fields behind the Union siege lines. Parking attendants will be on hand. For a complete schedule of events, visit fortmorgan.org/150th/, or call 251-540-5257.
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Medicare is here to stay By Kylle’ McKinney
Medicare went into effect 48 years ago on July 1, 1966. Earlier that same year, Medicare workers went door to door trying to get seniors to sign up. Medicare was not the cornerstone then that it is today and people did not know whether it was going to work for the long haul. Now, nearly half a century later, Medicare remains one of the most popular government programs in the nation. We can’t see the future, but one thing’s for sure: Medicare is here to stay. Medicare provides health insurance to more than 50 million Americans. Fortytwo million are people age 65 and older and the other 8 million are younger and have disabilities. Most people first become eligible for Medicare at age 65. The four parts of Medicare are parts A, B, C, and D. Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and home health care. Most people get Medicare Part A premium-free since it is earned by working and paying Social Security taxes.
Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover services from doctors and other outpatient health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services. Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B. In 2014, the premium for most people is $104.90, the same as it was in 2013. Some highincome individuals pay more than the standard premium. Your Medicare Part B premium also can be higher if you do not enroll when you are first eligible, also known as your initial enrollment period. There also is a Medicare Part B deductible of $147 in 2014. Part C (Medicare Advantage) allows you to choose to receive all of your health care services through a provider organization. This plan includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B, usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage, and may include extra benefits and services at an extra cost. You must have Part A and Part B to enroll in Part C. Monthly premiums vary depending on your state, private insurer, and whether you select a health maintenance organization or a preferred provider organization. Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost
of prescription drugs. Many people pay a premium for Part D. However, people with low income and resources may qualify for extra help from Social Security to pay the premium and deductible. To see if you qualify for extra help visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ prescriptionhelp. Will you be age 65 soon? Even if you decide not to retire, you should consider applying for Medicare. You can apply in less than 10 minutes using our online Medicare application. Do it today at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly. To learn more about applying for Medicare when you plan to delay retirement, read our publication Applying For Medicare Only— Before You Decide, available at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs. A
Kylle’ McKinney, Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or at kylle. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alabama linemen honored at State Capitol
Dixie Electric Cooperative Manager Gary Harrison addresses crowd.
Alabama’s electric utility linemen were in the spotlight June 2 as the state celebrated its first official Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day. Linemen from eight of our electric cooperatives jonied with fellow linemen from 10 JULY 2014
Alabama Power Company and the state’s municipally owned utilities for a special event to recognize the contributions of linemen. “When the lights go out, our linemen are the first responders,” said Michael Kelley, senior manager of safety and loss control for the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. “They work with thousands of volts of electricity on power lines, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, often under dangerous conditions far from their families.” In the last session of the Alabama Legislature, both houses designated
the first Monday in June as Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day. The joint resolution, HJR 244, was sponsored by Rep. April Weaver of Alabaster, who took a special interest in the legislation because her grandfather was a lineman. Rep. Weaver spoke about her grandfather’s dedication to his job at the event, and was joined by state Sen. Cam Ward, State Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner, Public Service Commissioner Jeremy Oden, and Dixie Electric Cooperative Manager Gary Harrison, who all thanked the linemen for their service. A www.alabamaliving.coop
Adjust your activities to avoid heat illnesses
Do you have a good understanding of how to prevent heat illnesses? Heat-related illnesses occur when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. Heat illnesses can lead to death. According to the Center for Health Statistics of the Alabama Department of Public Health, the total number of heat-related deaths in Alabama in recent years ranged from 7 in the years 2012 and 2013 to 125 in the record-breaking heat wave of 1980. Many Alabamians have become familiar with the heat index and have learned to anticipate how hot it will feel when the relative humidity is taken into account. The heat index is what the temperature feels like to the human body when the relative humidity is combined with the air temperature. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to properly cool themselves. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating is not enough and their body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs. Everyone needs to adjust their activities and be alert to the warnings that may signal help is needed. Individuals with heart problems, poor circulation, diabetes, a previous stroke, or obesity are at greater risk of becoming sick in hot weather. The Alabama Living
risk of heat-related illness may increase among people using medications for high blood pressure, nervousness or depression. Heat stroke, sometimes called sunstroke, is the most serious heatrelated illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Warning signs of heat stroke vary, but include the following: • An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F) • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating) • Rapid, strong pulse • Throbbing headache • Dizziness • Nausea • Confusion • Unconsciousness First aid recommendations are to get the person to a shady area, cool rapidly in a tub of cool water, place in a cool shower, spray with cool water from a garden hose, or, if the humidity is low, place in a cool, wet sheet and fan vigorously. Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the person’s body temperature drops to 101 to 102 degrees F. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency. A person with heat stroke is likely to be unconscious or unresponsive, so he or she cannot safely consume any liquids. Under no circumstances should you give any alcohol to a person with heat stroke or any heat illness.
In a typical Alabama summer, it’s wise to follow these preventive measures to avoid heat illnesses: • Drink more water, and avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine. Also avoid overly sugared beverages. Drink water even when you’re not thirsty. • Limit the time you spend outdoors to the early morning and evening hours when the temperatures are cooler. This is the time to exercise or do other outdoor tasks such as gardening. • When temperatures are extreme, stay indoors, ideally in an airconditioned place. • Dress appropriately by wearing loose-fitting, well-ventilated, and thin clothing in light colors. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. • Take a cool shower or bath, and reduce or eliminate strenuous activities during the hottest times of the day. • Check on elderly relatives, neighbors, and friends. • Never leave pets or people in parked vehicles. • Make sure pets have plenty of water to drink and shade to cool off. Information is also available at adph. org/injuryprevention/. A
Jim McVay, Dr.P.A., is director of the Bureau of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease of the Alabama Department of Public Health.
JULY 2014 11
Living History: Teaching the value of liberty at
The American Village By Miriam Davis PHOTOS BY MARK STEPHENSON
By Miriam Davis
“We have a great blessing of liberty in our country, but it’s difficult to maintain a sense of ownership of the civic system.” – Tom Walker
12 JULY 2014
George W. Carver High School students from Birmingham participate in musket drill training.
“Make ready!” “Aim!” “Fire!” “BANG!”
What does it mean to be an American citizen?
It’s not the sound of real gunfire, but the shouting of 30 or so high school students who fumble with their musket standins – broomsticks – as they learn to drill and fire as part of the First Rhode Island Regiment. The students are participating in a school program at the American Village Citizenship Trust. Established in 1999, the American Village is the brainchild of its founder and CEO Tom Walker. In the late 1980s, he developed the idea of a place where young people, as well as the general public, could cultivate a sense of ownership of their government by learning about citizenship and patriotism. Walker, a self-described “history and political junkie,” says, “We have a great blessing of liberty in our country, but it’s difficult to maintain a sense of ownership of the civic system.” He thought that people needed reminding of “who we are and the things we believe in, of our shared values, and our shared experiences. “We’re in an era in which we do a great job defining how we’re different from one another,” says Walker, “But it’s the idea of liberty that has always united us. When the national soul is contested as after 9/11, you see Americans coming together and reminding ourselves how valuable liberty is and remembering our kinship with one another.” For young Americans, history need not be dry, dusty facts. “Young people respond to authentic stories,” he says. The American Village campus sits on 183 acres in the gently rolling green hills of central Alabama, just outside Montevallo. The atmosphere has a colonial feel. In fact, many of the buildings are replicas of actual historical buildings. The administrative offices are located in a replica of the house in Philadelphia used by Presidents Washington and Adams before the capital moved to Washington, D.C. The Lucille Ryals Thompson Chapel, where a community Thanksgiving service is held every year, was inspired by the Bruton Parish Church of Williamsburg, Reenactor Al a church attended by Thomas Jefferson, Schaeffer strikes George Washington and Patrick Henry. a pose as George
Between 30,000 and 35,000 students come here each year, from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. It’s not meant to be a museum, but living history, a place of ideas where visitors are made to think about “What does it mean to be an American citizen?” The Village answers this question with dozens of different programs suitable for students of all ages. The programs consist of a collection of “vignettes” – episodes acted out by the costumed re-enactors called historical interpreters in which visitors often take part. “Presidents’ Days” is designed for kindergarten through third grade. Kids play “Choose Your George,” a game show hosted by Martha Washington and Queen Charlotte of England in which participants cast their vote for who they’d rather have rule them: George Washington or King George III. Thankfully for the Republic, Washington usually wins. The popular Thanksgiving program features Massasoit, or Yellow Feather, the chief of the Wampanoag who befriended the Pilgrims in Massachusetts. In the Colonial Christmas, children learn about how past presidents celebrated Christmas in the White House.
Teaching through hands-on participation
The centerpiece of the American Village’s educational programs is “Liberty,” which tells the story of how Americans gained their freedom from Great Britain. Participants get to stage a Stamp Act Rally, debate serious issues at a Constitutional Convention, enlist in the Continental Army, and take lessons in musket drill. Today’s program is special. “Freedom Quest” was designed to honor Black History Month. The students are from George W. Carver High School in Birmingham, and are predominantly African-American. Their experience begins when they are transformed into a group of escaped slaves led by a rifletoting Harriet Tubman, played by Lesli Johnson. In an encounter with a slavecatcher, one of their numbers must read from the Bible to trick him into believing they are free blacks; it was illegal to teach a slave to read. When they successfully arrive “up North,” Johnson stays in character to address the group: “Slavery must collapse. Thus, the action you have taken to make yourself free is
JULY 2014 13
just one more nail in slavery’s coffin. Well done.” Next, the students become part of the Continental Army of General Washington. Chris Long, portraying Christopher Green of the Continental Army, urges them to join the First Rhode Island Regiment: “If you are an Indian, a mulatto, an indentured servant or even a slave, you now have the right to join the Continental Army and fight for our freedom.” For the soldiers of the regiment, he makes clear, it’s not just about the freedom of the nation, it’s about their own personal freedom. That’s what leads to instruction on how to fire a musket. After a bit of drill, Long jumps forward in time to congratulate them on their
accomplishments during the war. He concludes by telling them that many of the Revolutionary soldiers, some of them AfricanAmerican, were teenagers just like themselves: “They marched, they fought, they bled; some died. They died in pain, far from home, to bring you your freedom.” The experience has the intended effect. One student says, “Now that I realize what they had to go through, I’ll value my life and my freedom more.” The American Village is open to the public 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays for public tours. On patriotic holidays such as the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, it really comes to life. It’s all “fun, food and fireworks,” says Melanie Poole, director of marketing and communications. Visitors can wander through the campus watching the vignettes put on throughout the day. They can listen to Ben Frank-
A lawn view of American Village’s favorite Washington Hall.
Clockwise: The American Village’s newest attraction, the National Veterans Shrine; the Courthouse; interpreter Leslie Johnson portrays Phillis Wheatley, a former slave who became a renowned poet; reproduction of the Liberty Bell; a Concord Bridge replica is used for a reenactment of “the shot heard ‘round the world;” miniature dolls of the presidents and their wives were donated to the Village.
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lin read the Declaration of Independence, Patrick Henry give his famous “Give me Liberty or give me death” speech, or Abigail Adams talk about being the wife of one of the Founders. Reenactors fight the battle between Patriots and Redcoats at Concord Bridge. Visitors can play 18th-century games, learn about proper Colonial etiquette, or observe costumed dancers at an Independence Ball in Liberty Hall. At dusk, the Montevallo Community Band plays a patriotic musical tribute while fireworks crackle overhead. In February of this year, the National Veterans Shrine and Registry of Honor opened on the grounds of the American Village. According to Poole, it is dedicated “to those of every generation who’ve served and sacrificed for the American people.” Its animating spirit is the idea that veterans are individuals, each one is someone’s son or daughter, each with a different story to
tell. The Registry of Honor is a website on which vets or their family members can register. They can give the branch and dates of service, and upload photos and videos. The registry produces an individual video for each vet so that at computer kiosks in the shrine, a short movie about the vet’s service is available. As he left Independence Hall at the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “What have we got – a republic or a monarchy?” “A republic,” Franklin is supposed to have replied. “If you can keep it.” The job of the American Village is to see that we do. A Miriam C. Davis is a research associate in history at Delta State University.
Patrick Henry (interpreter William Stewart) gives his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.
Interpreters bring historical figures to life Historical interpreters at the American Village are the people who put the drama into history. “We have an extraordinary and passionate staff,” says Tom Walker. “They have skill, knowledge and a commitment to conveying the nuances of their characters to the public.” The job can be terrifying. A curious student might go off script and ask about a historical detail that the character would know. So the interpreters must constantly study both the period and their characters to be prepared. William Stewart has a degree in theater from Birmingham-Southern College, with a minor in history. He also spent many years in the business world. This background ideally suited him for his job as the officer for interpretive programs. As Patrick Henry, he gives one of the most famous orations in American history. But not only does Stewart infuse “Give me liberty or give me death” with the same revolutionary fire with which Henry delivered it, he also wants to make Alabama Living
sure the audience understands why it was given. Speaking at the Virginia Convention in March 1775, Henry was trying to convince the delegates to arm the colony. The resolution passed and war broke out a month later. Henry “was a very polarizing character,” says Stewart. “He was “charismatic. People either hated him or loved him.” Lesli Johnson has been bringing Harriet Tubman and Phyllis Wheatley to life at the American Village for more than four years. What is important about her portrayal of Tubman, most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, is not just getting the facts correct, she says, but getting the story right. “I want them to gain a greater appreciation for people who did things that weren’t typical,” says the Samford University graduate. “I want them to understand that some people were faced with decisions that might get them killed.” One of Rush Brunson’s most popular roles is that of Dr. Joseph Warren, a Boston physician and American spy.
PHOTO COURTESY AMERICAN VILLAGE
Brunson does a participatory vignette with schoolchildren in which they receive information from a secret informant. “The kids like it because it’s in the dark and we don’t know who it is,” laughs Brunson, also a theater graduate from Samford University. When the informant warns them that the Redcoats are going to seize the colonists’ gunpowder at Concord, they get to deliver a secret message to Paul Revere’s wife Rachel. “The kids have a lot of fun with that,” says Brunson. None of the historical interpreters would be very convincing without the efforts of Nancy Moore, director of costuming. She makes many of the costumes herself, using historic patterns to make the clothes as authentic as possible. She learned to sew in high school and honed her skills working in the costume shop at Samford University while she was getting a theater degree. “For the past 15 years I’ve just been doing it, making mistakes, and keep figuring it out.” JULY 2014 15
Seed savers By Gail Allyn Short
A passion for old-fashioned plants blossoms into effort to preserve heirloom produce and flowers Charlotte Hagood, left, holds a Zucchetta Rampicante squash and Dove Stackhouse cradles a Cucuzza squash, both grown from heirloom seeds
Hagood and Stackhouse say they have harvested, processed and catalogued close to 300 varieties of heirloom seeds from around Alabama, including seeds for heirloom tomatoes like the Jeff Davis, Cucuzza squash, Cherokee Trail of Tears beans, October beans and nearly 20 varieties of summer peas. 16 JULY 2014
JULY 2014 17
Purple Coneflower is among the hundreds of varieties of flowers grown from heirloom seeds.
lbertville resident Charlotte Hagood says her obsession and shares heirloom seeds across the country. with heirloom plants began in 1976 when the newly “I became interested because I’m part Native American,” married, former journalist started a small flower garden Stackhouse says, “and I wanted a way to preserve my own food at her Birmingham home. and learn what the natives produced. I wanted to produce it from Seed sharing had always been a tradition in Albertville where my same seeds every year because whatever they grew, I knew she grew up, she says, and it was during a would be adapted to this country, especially visit back home when her mother’s next door this area, and that it would be the best tasting neighbor gave Hagood a packet of old-time and easiest to preserve.” Larkspur seeds. Heirlooms are species of vegetables, fruits “You couldn’t get this strain at the store,” and flowers that have been passed down says Hagood, “and it was the custom to get for several generations. They are the plants seeds from a neighbor and to save your seeds many Americans once grew and ate such as to plant the next year and share them if the Purple Hull Pink Eye and the Blue Goose anybody needed any.” cowpeas, Black Knight lima beans, Alabama Since then, Hagood’s passion for old Red okra, Old Virginia tomatoes and the fashioned plants has blossomed into an effort Early Flat Dutch cabbage, a vegetable that to preserve heirloom produce and flowers. was introduced in the United States in the late She and longtime friend Dove Stackhouse 1800s, according to the Southern Exposure and her husband, Russell Stackhouse, are Seed Exchange online catalogue. The book, the founders of the Sand Mountain Seed The Heirloom Life Gardener, states that more Charlotte Hagood holds cilantro Exchange, where since 2006 they have worked than 100,000 different kinds of heirlooms to perpetuate and share heirloom seeds that families around exist worldwide. Alabama have passed down from generation to generation. Heirloom flowers and produce are not commonly found in Stackhouse, who with her husband operates the 15-acre most stores and backyard gardens today. That is because many Whirlwind Farms in Geraldine, Ala., says she started saving large agribusiness companies have opted to breed hybrid and heirloom seeds back in the late 1980s after joining the Seed genetically modified plants. Hybrids and GMO plants generally Savers Exchange, a national, nonprofit organization that saves produce higher yields and are more durable so foods can be
18 JULY 2014
packaged, shipped and stored on grocery shelves and in homes for longer periods of time. In addition, many seed companies no longer sell the old-time varieties, Hagood says. Hagood and Dove Stackhouse say that before they met, they each became interested in finding and keeping heirloom seeds and began attending seed saving conferences. After meeting at one conference in 2000, Hagood says they struck up a friendship and started comparing their seed collections. “Once [Dove] saw my seed collection in a couple of refrigerators that were packed with quart and pint jars full of seeds, she said, ‘you have more seed than you will ever be able to maintain yourself. So I’ll help you organize and start getting the seeds out into the community,’” Hagood says. “The Sand Mountain Seed Bank was founded as a way to not just collect seeds and get stories about seeds, but to get them back out into the community so other people could grow them,” Hagood says. Unt i l 2010, t he Sand Mountain Seed Exchange had a paid membership where Jars of heirloom seeds people could order heirloom seeds through the mail, Hagood says. Today, because of their schedules, Hagood and the Stackhouses mostly grow heirloom plants on their properties and trade the seeds at festivals and at seed exchanges around the state. They also meticulously document their seed collections. So far, Hagood and Stackhouse say they have harvested, processed and catalogued close to 300 varieties of heirloom seeds from around Alabama, including seeds for heirloom tomatoes like the Jeff
Davis, Cucuzza squash, Cherokee Trail of Tears beans, October beans, which is an heirloom variety once commonly grown in the Appalachians, and nearly 20 varieties of summer peas. Among the hardest heirloom seeds to find in their collection are the citron melon seeds, especially those from south Alabama, Stackhouse says. “The citrons were the ones slaves often planted in the cotton rows to refresh themselves,” she says. “But now cotton is so heavily sprayed that they’re getting harder to find just growing wild out there.” The process of harvesting and preserving heirloom seeds varies with each kind of plant, Stackhouse and Hagood say. The seeds, however, have to be dried before being placed in Mason jars for storage in the refrigerators or freezers. For every batch of seeds they receive or purchase, they write down the names of the seeds, the dates they obtained them and the names of the families that originally grew the plants. Hagood and Stackhouse say they also record when they plant the heirloom seeds in their own gardens. The work, says Hagood and Stackhouse, is the best way they know how to help protect, preserve and remember a part of Alabama’s agrarian history. “It was a choice of either figuring out how to send it to the next generation or it dies,” says Stackhouse. “We couldn’t let it die.” A The Sand Mountain Seed Bank can be reached at email@example.com or you may call either Charlotte Hagood at 257-878-3039 or Dove Stackhouse at 256-486-4582.
Polecat peas (left) and Mattie Rembert Okra seeds (right).
JULY 2014 19
Soil smarts: building a strong garden foundation
ummer gardening is going full tilt this time of year, and just harvesting the fresh fruits and vegetables that are ripening or performing all those summer gardening chores is keeping gardeners plenty busy. Among those chores is making sure plants are getting all the nutrients they need to be beautiful and productive. Vegetable gardens and lawns, in particular, may need an extra boost of nutrients to keep them growing and producing. But before you toss out any fertilizer, make sure it is truly necessary and that the one you choose contains the proper types and amounts of nutrients for your plants. A good way to judge if your plants need an application of summer nutrients is to watch them for signs of fertility problems, such as stunted growth or leaves that are becoming pale, yellow, discolored, mottled or spotted. If you see any of these signs or notice issues such as blossom end rot in your tomatoes, you’ll likely need to add some extra nutrients to your soil. Once you’re sure that your plants truly need that extra boost, pick a fertilizer that really fits your plants’ needs. Both organic and inorganic (synthetic) fertilizers are available—from commercially produced granular and liquid formulations to natural sources such as composted manure, fish emulsion and bone meal. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so do a little research or get some expert advice before you select one to use. Regardless of the type you choose, be careful to avoid over-application of any form of fertilizer. This will save you money and help prevent runoff of excess fertilizer and nutrients into water supplies. The very best way to know your soil’s fertility needs is to know your soil. One of
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.
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the best ways to find out what your soil may need is to get it tested. Soil tests are laboratory procedures that measure the presence and availability of vital plant nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium as well as other secondary and micronutrients. The tests also measure other components or characteristics of soil, such as acidity (pH) and organic matter content. The results of these tests will typically come with recommendations about what specific nutrients and amendments your soil may need, which is a great starting point for building better soils. With that knowledge in hand you can not only deal with any immediate problems, but you can also develop a long-range plan to continually improve your soil by adding organic matter, specific nutrients and nutrient-rich cover crops in the off season. Though fall and early winter are considered ideal times to get a soil test, there’s nothing wrong with doing one now or at least spending some time figuring out which areas of your lawn and garden need to be tested later this year. And if you’re about to break ground on a new bed or garden area, it’s helpful to start off with a soil test so you’ll know just what it needs before you put in a single plant. Soil test kits are available from local Alabama Cooperative Extension System offices or directly from the Auburn University Soil Testing Laboratory (www.aces.edu/anr/soillab/services.php). These kits contain directions for taking and shipping soil samples. Follow the directions closely and make sure to fill out the entire test form, including information about the types of plants you intend to grow or already are growing in that area of your yard so the recommendations can be tailored specifically for those plants’ needs. Of course fertilizer and soil are not the only factors that can make or break your lawn and garden this summer. Proper watering, weeding and pest management are also vital. For help with any or all of these issues, take advantage of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s many resources. You can find a plethora of helpful infor-
mation by searching the Home and Garden section of Extension’s website at www.aces. edu. There you will find a wide range of publications such as Home Lawn Maintenance (www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR0239/index2.tmpl), The Alabama Vegetable Gardener (www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ ANR-0479/ANR-0479.pdf) and my favorite go-to publication for sustainable home landscapes, Alabama Smart Yards (www. aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1359/ANR1359.pdf). If you’re not so Web savvy, call or stop by your local Extension office for advice or copies of publications or get expert advice tailored for your specific area of the state by calling the toll-free Master Gardener helpline at 1-877-252-GROW (4769). A
July Gardening Tips d Be on the lookout at garden centers for deals on earlier season plants or out of season tools and equipment. d Plant a cover crop in bare or unplanted areas of the vegetable garden. d Protect yourself from the sun and pests by wearing sunscreen, bug spray, a hat and a light-weight, longsleeved shirt. d Clean up fallen fruits under fruit trees and bushes so you won’t attract pests and promote possible disease problems. d Refresh mulch around shrubs, trees and in garden beds to help retain moisture in the soil, keep roots cooler and suppress weeds. d Plant heat-tolerant annual and perennial flowers. d Divide irises and other over-crowded perennials. d Remove (deadhead) fading flowers from annuals, perennials and summer-blooming lilies. d Water lawns, landscapes, container plants and vegetable gardens as needed. d Keep an eye out for insect and disease problems in the lawn, landscape, garden beds and on potted plants. d Keep birdbaths and hummingbird feeders filled with clean, fresh water or sugar solution, respectively.
JULY 2014 21
George Washington Carver’s legacy celebrated in newly renovated museum By Marilyn Jones
t’s whisper quiet in the museum as I pull open large windowed doors to what used to be the campus laundry. The century-old brick building served Tuskegee Institute students and faculty in a utilitarian way for decades until, in 1941, it was turned into a museum to honor George Washington Carver; a memorial to what can be accomplished with intellect, imagination and integrity. The museum was closed for several months while undergoing renovation by the National Parks Service and reopened this spring. It now features new exhibits, an accessible information desk, a new elevator and an expanded bookstore. Although Dr. Carver was born in Diamond, Mo., he arrived in Tuskegee as a young man in his mid-30s and lived in this college community until his passing at the age of 78 in 1943. He brought international prestige to Alabama and Tuskegee Institute (now known as Tuskegee University). Booker T. Washington, principal of the institute, recruited the very best to teach at the school. Dr. Carver’s arrival in 1896 marked the beginning of decades of work that would help agriculture and form the basis of how Americans farm today.
The George Washington Carver Museum opened in 1941, two years before Dr. Carver passed away. PHOTO COURTESY NPS
Museum displays illustrate the life of a sharecropper and how Dr. Carver’s innovations helped them use other crops besides cotton to make a better living. PHOTOS BY MARILYN JONES
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Dr. Carver was born circa 1864. There are conflicting stories as to how young George and his brother James came to be raised by their former owners Moses and Susan Carver, but the childless couple took the boys in and raised them as their own after the Civil War. Unable to attend school because of their color, Mrs. Carver taught both boys how to read and write. Later young George moved throughout the Midwest seeking more education, finally enrolling at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, in 1890. There he majored in art, but a teacher convinced him to transfer to Iowa State College to study agriculture. By the time he completed a master’s degree in agriculture in 1896 — the year he accepted an offer to head the agricultural department at Tuskegee Institute — Dr. Carver had impressed the faculty as an extremely talented student in horticulture and mycology (the study of fungi).
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Exhibits tell the story
The museum addresses many chapters of Dr. Carver’s life and celebrates his achievements. His research included methods of crop rotation and the development of alternative cash crops including peanuts, soy beans, sweet potatoes and pecans for farmers in areas heavily planted with cotton. This helped struggling sharecroppers, many of them former slaves, faced with harsh conditions including the devastating boll weevil. The development of new crops and diversification of crop use helped stabilize their livelihoods. One of Dr. Carver’s innovations was the Jesup Wagon, a mobile classroom designed to bring his lessons to farmers. It was named after New York financier and Tuskegee donor Morris Ketchum Jesup. Carver also published bulletins and gave demonstrations on diverse subjects, including native clays for paints and increasing soil fertility without commercial fertilizers. The scientist and teacher developed more than 300 uses for the peanut, more than 100 for the sweet potato and many others for the soy bean. The hundreds of products he invented included plastics, paints and dyes. Peanuts especially appealed to him as an inexpensive source of protein that did not deplete the soil as much as cotton did. In 1920, Dr. Carver’s work with peanuts drew the attention of the Peanut Growers Association, attesting to the wide potential of peanuts. The following year, he testified before Congress in support of a tariff on imported peanuts. With the help of Dr. Carver’s testimony, the tariff was instituted in 1922. On display are a Jesup wagon and a later motorized version; items from his laboratory; photographs and honors; and his artwork. The museum helps tell the story of Dr. Carver’s life and work as well as illustrate the situation farmers found themselves in after the Civil War.
A display tracing George Washington Carver’s steps. PHOTOS COURTESY NPS
With the Jesup wagon, Dr. Carver could take the classroom to the farmers.
Dr. Carver’s later years
By the late 1920s Dr. Carver had stopped teaching, but he continued to advise peanut producers and other farmers. He was one of the most famous African-Americans of his time, and one of the best-known African-American intellectuals. By the time of his Congressional testimony Dr. Carver was known internationally in political and professional circles as well. President Theodore Roosevelt sought his advice on agricultural matters. In 1916 he was made a member of the British Royal Society of Arts — a rare honor for an American. Dr. Carver also advised Indian leader MaThe Jesup wagon evolved into a motorized version hatma Gandhi on matters of agriculture and nutrition. in the early 20th century. PHOTOS BY MARILYN JONES Dr. Carver used his celebrity to promote scientific causes and wrote a syndiDisplays include Dr. Carver’s cated newspaper column while touring the nation speaking on the importance laboratory, photos and honors. of agricultural innovation, the achievements and example of Tuskegee, and the possibilities for racial harmony in the United States. Dr. Carver never married. He died on January 5, 1943 after falling down the stairs at his home and left his entire life savings to the museum and the George Washington Carver Foundation. He is buried next to Booker T. Washington on the Tuskegee University grounds. His epitaph reads simply: “He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.” A If you go: The museum is part of Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site. There is no admission charge. For more information, check www.nps.gov/tuin/index.htm. 24 JULY 2014
JULY 2014 25
Wildlife and the Outdoors
Wood Duck Box Installation and Maintenance By Justin Brock, Wildlife Biologist, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Wood ducks are commonly seen on Alabama’s marshes, swamps and other wetland areas. This duck is perceived by many to be one of the most beautiful species in North America and is a favorite of waterfowl hunters. Fortunately for the residents of Alabama, the wood duck can also do something that most duck species do not – call Alabama home year-round. The wood duck is one of the few waterfowl species found throughout the year in Alabama. Because of this, Alabama landowners can have a greater impact on wood ducks 26 JULY 2014
than on other waterfowl species that may only spend the winter months in the area, or just simply pass through on their way south. There are many factors to consider when managing a property for wood ducks. The ducks need an environment that provides the right amounts of food, cover and water to survive. However, the amount of quality nesting cavities is sometimes overlooked. In many areas, there are not adequate numbers of mature trees due to logging or other activities to provide natural nest cavities.
In such areas, the construction of wood duck boxes may be a needed management strategy. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first used wood duck boxes in 1937. Since that time, they have been used on numerous properties to increase local populations of wood ducks. Boxes should be placed in any habitat that has enough food and cover, but does not provide enough natural nesting cavities. Once an area has been identified, the number of boxes needed and the location of each box must be determined. www.alabamaliving.coop
Start small when first putting wood duck boxes in an area. Place only the number of boxes that can be maintained annually. The recommended number of boxes is one per acre of suitable habitat, with the boxes spaced at least 55 to 110 yards apart. Once 50-80 percent of these boxes are being used, more may be added if they can be maintained. Opinions differ on how much to conceal the boxes. Research shows that boxes placed in areas that are more concealed with dense vegetation are less susceptible to becoming a dump nest (i.e., nests where multiple ducks lay eggs and cause the nest to be abandoned). However, nests located in open areas tend to be more productive, even though they
may have a higher chance of becoming a dump nest. Therefore, it is recommended boxes be placed in open areas. Nest boxes should be observed to determine nest success. Ideally, nest boxes should be placed over or very close to water. However, they do not have to be over water if it makes them hard to maintain. Remember, the chances for predation as ducklings leave the nest increase the farther the boxes are located from the water. Once a location is identified, the height of the box also must be considered. A height of at least 6 feet is recommended, but other factors such as water level fluctuations should be considered. Water levels can vary greatly throughout the year
in some locations. Nest boxes should be placed higher than the average annual high water events to avoid problems caused by fluctuating water levels. In many situations, such as along larger creeks and rivers, wood duck boxes may need to be placed up to 20 feet above normal water level to avoid problems. One important tool to help enhance nesting success is the use of a predator guard. A predator guard should be installed below the box and, if mounted on a tree, all limbs or other debris allowing a predator access to the nest should be removed. The box and predator guard should be checked and maintained at least once a year. During the inspection, repair any damage to the box or predator guard. The inside of the boxes should be cleaned and three to four inches of new sawdust or wood shavings should be added. Document the nest success of each box during the inspection. This can be particularly important information when deciding if more boxes are needed, and also provides general information on reproductive success in the area. Erecting and maintaining wood duck boxes is an effective wildlife management practice for areas where natural nest cavities are limited. Utilizing the proper number of boxes that can be adequately maintained and monitored can provide years of enjoyment and add numerous broods of wood ducks to the population. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabamaâ€™s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.
JULY 2014â€ƒ 27
Pages from the past
Down memory lane with Do you remember what you read in your Alabama Living in July 40 years ago? What about 30, 20, or even just 10 years ago? Here’s a look back at what we were featuring on the covers during some of those hot summers of years past.
Ft. Rucker Museum
Located at the United States Army Aviation Center at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, the U. S. Army Aviation Museum has one of the best collections of helicopters of any museum in the world. Thirty-nine rotary wing and 29 fixed wing aircraft range in size from one-man helicopters to the “Bataan,” “General M a c A r t h u r ’s A e r i a l Command Post during the Korean War.
DirecTV: New technology brings the smaller satellite dish with more channels
This fall, anyone with a new low-cost, 18-inch satellite dish will have the clearest picture, sound and the most extensive choice ever in television history. New high-powered satellites built by GM Hughes Electronics along with small and easy-touse satellite receiving equipment made by RCA, reinforced with the rural expertise of the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, will allow television reception using a satellite dish about the size of a large pizza. 28 JULY 2014
Eclipse: Alabama co-op lights the way for astronomers
Central Alabama EC found themselves in the middle of the line of travel for the “last eclipse of the century.” About 60 members from the Birmingham Astronomical S ociet y began setting up their equipment around 9 a.m. that morning on the coop’s grounds. By 10 a.m., the society’s members were joined by various astronomers from states as far away as Illinois, Washington, St. Louis and Kentucky. Once the phenomenon finally appeared in everyone’s eyesight, one gazer described the eclipse’s halo as not a solid circle, but a “string of brilliant pearls.” After the three to five minutes of the eclipse passed, telescopes, reflectors and cameras returned to car trunks and a delighted audience filed out of the co-op’s parking lot.
Jimmie Harrison’s family has been operating a fruit and vegetable stand, Harrison’s Fruit Farm, on US Highway 82 in Chilton County for more than 50 years. It doesn’t rate a spot of ink on a highway map, but Harrison wouldn’t trade that little patch of land for anything. Peaches are the biggest draw, but Harrison also sells tomatoes, squash and other produce that will find its way into potluck suppers, Sunday dinners and barbecues. www.alabamaliving.coop
Around Alabama Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo Dauphin Island • July 18-20 The 81st Rodeo is a three-day event featuring 30 categories with prizes awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each category. Described as the largest fishing tournament in the world, it features more than 3,000 anglers and 75,000 spectators. Young Anglers Tournament tickets are $3 per angler, and the ADSFR Open Competition tickets are $40 per angler. There are an additional three Jackpot competitions. Check out the ADSFR website for official rules, ticket pick-up locations and prices: www. adsfr.com or call the Mobile Jaycee office at 251-471-0025. JULY
3 • Chatom, Town of Chatom’s Independence Day Celebration at Chatom Community Center beginning at 5 p.m. Live music by Destiny, inflatable water slides, a trackless train, rides, and fireworks start at 9 p.m. Admission and all activities are free, $1 parking per vehicle. Contact Fran Thornton, 251-6803075 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 3 & 4 • Grand Bay, Watermelon Festival. Odd Fellows Festival Park, Thursday 3-7 p.m. and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday. Children’s play area, arts and crafts, car show, family entertainment and food booths. $5 per vehicle admission on the 4th. Contact Monnie Tripp, 251-865-3456 or visit www. grandbaywatermelonfestival.org. 4 • Birmingham, Thunder on the Mountain 2014. Vulcan Park and Museum, 9 p.m. Admission is free. For information, call 205-933-1409.
4 • Henagar, 31st Annual Sand Mountain Potato Festival. Celebrate our heritage with live music, arts and crafts, entertainment, games and fireworks. Event begins at
10 a.m. and culminates with a beautiful fireworks display. Information: 256-657-6282. 11 & 12 • Andalusia, World Championship Domino Tournament at the Kiwanis Fair Complex. Round robin tournaments Friday and Saturday afternoons. Contact Carolyn Davis, 334-222-5830 or email@example.com. 12 • Hanceville, Swamp John’s Fish Fry Fundraiser at the Dodge City Fire Department from 4-7 p.m. We will be serving fish, chicken or shrimp with a drink, sides and dessert. Tickets are $10 weach, available at Dodge City Town Hall or from one of the firefighters. 18-20 • Huntsville, 2014 Alabama State Steel Tip Dart Tournament at the American Legion Post 176. Start time on Friday is 6:30 p.m., Saturday is 11 a.m., and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for the adult/child event. 18-20 • Mentone, JULYFEST 2014 to be held at Mason Park. Beginning Friday evening and continuing Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. This juried art show will display pottery, sculpture, wood, basketry, fiber, photography, jewelry, glass and various crafts. Local entertainment throughout the weekend. Visit www.mentonearts.org. 19 • Pine Ridge, Pine Ridge Cruise-In for Special People Car Show at Pine Ridge Camp. Registration
8 a.m.-1 p.m. $20 per car. Family friendly, kid activities, 50-50 drawing. Rain or shine event. 19 • Wetumpka, Wetumpka’s River and Blues Music and Arts Show, Riverwalk/Gold Star Park from 2-10 p.m. Twelve bands performing on two stages. Kids zone, art show, food and craft vendors. Free admission. For information, call 334-567-5147 or visit www.riverandblues.net.
19-28 • Florence, W.C. Handy Music Festival at the Shoals. The 10-day festival features nearly 300 events showcasing music at locations throughout northwest Alabama, including parks, restaurants, stores, libraries, museums, art galleries, sidewalks, parking lots, and lawns. It also features athletic events, plays, music classes, car shows, and much more. Visit W.C. Handy Music Festival on Facebook for information or www.wchandymusicfestival.com. 31-Aug. 3 • Union Springs, “Promises” at the Red Door Theatre. Joseph, a 67-year-old man, sets out on a journey to fulfill a request made by his dying mother and
To place an event, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.
comes to understand the truth of his own personal history. Written by Alabama native Joel Williams. Thursday-Saturday evening performances at 7:30 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. (reservations required). Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m., play only. Tickets: play $15, dinner $15. Overnight accomodations available. Contact: 334-738-8687. AUGUST
2 • Union Springs, Dog Days of Summer Music Festival held at Dreamfield Farms is an annual fundraiser for the local animal shelter. Gates open at 6 p.m. Bring blankets and lawn chairs. Admission $10, concessions available. For information, email email@example.com. 2 • Orrville/Selma, Civil War Walking Tour of Old Cahawba. 10-11 a.m. The tour will visit Castle Morgan, the POW camp at Old Cahawba where more than 3,000 Union Army prisoners were held. Admission: $8. Contact Old Cahawba at 334872-8058 for more information. 5 • Mobile, Crime Prevention 5K Run. Race begins at 6:30 p.m. at Bienville Square. Proceeds benefit the Mobile Police Department. Call Peggy Olive at 251-4018039 for more information.
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There’s more than red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico By John N. Felsher
he federal government only allowed Alabama anglers to fish nine days in June for red snapper this year, but offshore enthusiasts can find much more to catch in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite the smallest coastline on the Gulf, the waters off Alabama teem with a variety of fish because the state created an extensive network of artificial reefs. These artificial reefs create fishattracting habitat where once only a flat, mud bottom provided little structure. “No doubt, snapper are really important fish for the Alabama coast, but we catch a lot more than just red snapper,” says Mike Thierry with Captain Mike’s Deep Sea Fishing in Dauphin Island. “We always keep a cobia rod and a live bait ready in case we see a cobia. We also run into sharks quite often. We’ve caught some in the 400- to 500-pound range. In 2012, we caught and released three tiger sharks in one day.” Besides red snapper during the very brief season, anglers off the Alabama coast may fill fish boxes with several other snapper species including lane, mangrove, vermilion, also called beeliner, and other snapper species, usually with far less restrictions. Mangroves frequently enter water less than 20 feet deep just off the coast. During the season, anglers fishing reefs might also catch triggerfish, amberjack and several grouper species. “When not fishing for red snapper, we go for king mackerel, beeliner and mangrove snapper,” says Curtis Bush of Max Drag Charters in Orange Beach. “For beeliners, we use smaller hooks and smaller squid pieces than when fishing for red snapper. Beeliners are usually a bit farther out around natural bottoms. If we go out 30 miles, we might also catch grouper, scamp, maybe even tilefish.” While bottom bouncing baits around reefs, set out a drift line. Without adding extra weight, attach a bait chunk or live baitfish to a hook and toss it behind the boat. Stick the rod into a holder and engage the reel clicker so that it makes noise when something pulls the line. The bait hangs high in the water column, perhaps enticing passing king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, sharks, cobia, barracuda
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. JohnNFelsher.com.
Jeff Strane fights a big one while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. PHOTOS BY JOHN N. FELSHER
30 JULY 2014
JULY 2014 31
and other predators. Depending upon the location, a drift line might even attract a sailfish, blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna or wahoo. “Frequently, we’ll throw out a drift line to target king mackerel and other fish,” says Bryan Daniels with Brian Daniels Guide Service in Orange Beach. “It’s not hard to catch 10 to 12 different species in one day, especially in the deeper water. In the summer, we don’t really target cobia, but we catch them as a bonus if one shows up.” Highly mobile cobia roam the Gulf and can appear instantly anywhere and vanish just as quickly. Sometimes, cobia hit drift lines, but more often, these curious fish appear on the surface near the boat. After spotting a cobia, toss a bait beyond it and run it past its nose. If it doesn’t hit reactively, tease it. Every time it comes for the bait, snatch the temptation away until the cobia can no longer stand it and smashes the morsel. Some anglers use balloon rigs to hold live bait at predetermined depths. Almost like using a bobber to fish for bluegills, tie a balloon to the line and release it so that it drifts with the current away from the boat. Sometimes, anglers may set out several balloon rigs to fish at different depths with varied baits. After leaving the reefs, many anglers troll an assortment of spoons, deep-running plugs, jigs, live baitfish or fresh bait to entice mackerel, cobia, wahoo, mahi, tuna and other species. Some anglers maximize their time by trolling when transitioning from one reef to another. Trolling can also reveal a secret honey hole. Trolling with deep-running plugs or downriggers can put big grouper or amberjack into the boat. “If I find a good rip or weed line, we’ll put out a trolling spread to see what’s there,” says Jason Domangue with Movin’ On Up Charters in Dauphin Island. “We might find some king mackerel or get lucky and catch a wahoo. We’ll also keep an eye out for tripletail, cobia or mahi.” While trolling or moving from place to place, also watch for targets of opportunity. Cobia, mahi and tripletail, also called blackfish, frequently drift with floating debris or hang around channel buoys and cruise weed lines. Anglers might also see some diving birds that could indicate a school of predators chasing baitfish. Despite stiff regulations and reduced limits for many species, anglers can still load a boat and enjoy a great day on the water if they remain flexible. Bring an assortment of rods and baits for any opportunity that may arise. The right “bonus” fish can turn an otherwise humdrum day into a memorable experience. A For more information on saltwater creel limits see www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/saltwater/regulations/limits. Another tripletail comes to the boat in Mississippi Sound near Bayou La Batre, Ala.
This mangrove snapper hit a 6-inch Calcutta Flash Foil Swim Shad thrown on light tackle and 12-pound test line in the Gulf of Mexico.
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
JUL. 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 AUG. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
10:52 --12:52 01:52 02:52 03:52 04:37 --01:07 01:37 02:07 02:52 09:07 09:52 11:22 ---01:52 03:07 04:07 --01:22 02:07 08:37 09:37 10:52 ---01:22 02:37 03:37 04:37 05:07 --01:07 01:37 08:22 09:07 09:52 11:22
05:22 06:37 07:52 08:52 09:52 10:37 11:07 11:52 05:07 05:52 06:22 07:07 07:37 08:22 03:22 04:07 05:07 06:22 07:52 08:52 09:52 10:37 11:22 05:07 06:07 06:52 07:37 02:52 03:37 04:37 05:37 06:52 08:22 09:22 10:07 10:52 11:22 11:52 05:52 06:22 07:07 07:37 02:07 02:52 03:22 04:22
04:37 12:52 06:37 08:37 09:52 10:52 11:37 12:07 07:22 07:52 08:07 08:37 08:52 09:22 09:52 03:37 04:07 01:37 03:52 08:52 10:07 11:07 11:52 07:07 07:37 08:07 08:37 09:07 03:22 03:52 12:37 03:37 08:52 10:07 10:52 11:22 11:52 12:22 07:07 07:22 07:37 08:07 02:22 02:37 03:07 03:52
11:22 12:07 03:22 04:52 05:37 06:07 06:37 07:07 12:22 12:52 01:22 01:52 02:07 02:37 03:07 10:07 10:52 11:37 12:37 04:52 05:22 06:07 06:37 12:07 12:52 01:37 02:07 02:52 09:37 10:22 10:52 11:52 04:52 05:22 05:52 06:07 06:22 06:37 12:22 12:52 01:22 01:52 08:22 08:52 09:07 09:37 JULY 2014 33
Cook of the month: Rena Smith, Tallapoosa River EC Chicken Piccata 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half Flour for dredging Salt and pepper 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1/3 cup lemon juice 1/2 cup chicken stock 1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper each piece of chicken before dredging in flour. On medium heat fry the chicken in 4 tablespoons of butter and 6 tablespoons of oil, 3 minutes per side. Set fried chicken aside on a plate. Add lemon juice, chicken stock, and capers to the pan of chicken drippings and bring to a boil. Return chicken to the pan and simmer 5 minutes. Place chicken on a platter. Add remaining butter to the sauce in the pan and whisk until butter is melted. Pour sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Olive oil, pesto, tomatoes, basil, sauces, mozzarella, pasta; hungry yet? The simplicity and freshness of ingredients is the heart of Italian cuisine. There are hundreds of different shapes of pasta including penne, macaroni, spaghetti, linguini, fusilli, lasagna, and many more varieties which are filled with other ingredients like tortellini and ravioli. Purchase an authentic Parmesan cheese block or wedge and grate it yourself. Your tastebuds will thank you! Mary Tyler Spivey is a graduate of Huntingdon College where she studied history and French but she also has a passion for great food. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You could win $50!
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Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are: “From Scratch” July 15 Wild game August 15 Thanksgiving September 15
online at alabamaliving.coop email to email@example.com mail to Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 34 JULY 2014
Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe.
JULY 2014 35
Easy Tiramisu Pie 48 vanilla wafers, divided ¼ cup brewed strong coffee, cooled, divided (the stronger, the better) 4 ounces (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1½ cups cold milk 1 package (3.4 oz.) JELL-O french vanilla flavor instant pudding 1 8-ounce tub whipped topping, thawed 1 ounce baker’s semi-sweet chocolate, grated
Arrange 36 wafers on bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons coffee. Beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in milk. Add dry pudding mix; beat 1 minute. Gently stir in 2 cups whipped topping. Layer half each of the pudding mixture and grated chocolate in crust; cover with remaining wafers. Drizzle with remaining coffee. Repeat layers of pudding and chocolate. Top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate 3 hours. Martha Black Handschumacher-Arab EC
Spaghetti Pie 8 ounces spaghetti 1 pound lean ground chuck ½ medium onion, chopped 1 jar spaghetti sauce 2 tablespoons oil
2 eggs, beaten ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded 1 16-ounce carton cottage cheese 1 package mozzarella cheese slices
Cook spaghetti and drain. Brown ground chuck with onion. Add the jar of spaghetti sauce and simmer. Mix the cooked spaghetti with oil, eggs and Parmesan cheese. Spread the spaghetti mixture into a 13x9x2inch pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Then you will add the beef mixture and top with the cottage cheese. Put the mozzarella cheese slices on top of this mixture. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
Lasagna Soup 1 lb. ground beef ½ cup chopped onion 1 package lasagna Hamburger Helper dinner mix 5 cups water 1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 7-ounce can whole kernel corn (do not drain) 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 1 small chopped zucchini (optional)
In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add contents of dinner sauce mix, water, tomatoes, corn and cheese; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lasagna noodles (you can break in half ) and zucchini. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender. Serve immediately. May sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese. WM. J. Peyregne, Pea River EC
Slow Cooker Lasagna 1 pound ground beef 1 (12 ounce) oven ready lasagna noodles 1 onion, chopped 1 (16 ounce) cottage cheese small curd best 2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese 1 6-ounce tomato paste 1 ½ teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon dried oregano
In skillet brown meat with onion and garlic. Add tomato sauce, paste, salt and oregano stir until mixed and heated through. In a large bowl combine cottage cheese, grated Parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese. Spray crockpot with cooking spray for easier cleanup. Spoon a portion of meat mixture onto the bottom of cooker. Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (might have to break them to fit). Top the noodles with a portion of cheese mixture. Repeat layering of sauce, noodles and cheese. I top it with italian seasoning or parsley for color. Cook on high for 3½ hours in my cooker. All cookers are different, so first time might want to watch closely. Michelle Hicks, Clarke-Washington EMC
Cindy Garrett, Marshall DeKalb EC 36 JULY 2014
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Southern Occasions CO O K B O O K
Italian “Meat” Balls 1 stack Ritz® or HiHo® crackers, crumbled 1 cup pecan meal 3 eggs beaten 2 tablespoons water
1 chopped onion 1 minced clove garlic 1 tablespoon dried parsley 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
CO O K B O O K
Mix all ingredients and form into walnut-size balls. Bake on an oiled cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until firm to touch. Can be frozen at this point and used when desired. Simmer in tomato sauce, gravy, soup or sweet and sour sauce for about 1 hour and serve over rice or noodles. Bertha Kerby, Sand Mountain EC Alabama Living
JULY 2014 37
How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace
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Closing Deadlines (in our office:
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September 2014 – July 25 October 2014 – August 25 November 2014 – September 25
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Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.
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JULY 2014 39
Safe @ Home
Pool safety: Chemicals can be hazardous to your health
ool chemicals. Though “chemicals” is part of the name, you may not realize the extreme danger that comes with improper use of these products. Each year thousands of people receive emergency care following injuries from interactions with these chemicals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of these injuries in the United States is around 5,000 per year, with most occurring in the summer swim months. Children are the most widely injured. Respiratory problems are the leading cause of injury, as pool operators or those in the water breathe in fumes, followed by eye and skin injuries. Chemicals are added to pool water to improve water quality and prevent disease-causing germs from spreading. Chemicals like chlorine and bromine are added to the water to kill these germs, which they do within minutes. The CDC has developed posters on pool chemical safety that can be downloaded or ordered free of charge at www.cdc.gov/ healthywater/swimming/resources/posters.html. For more in-
To prevent pool-related chemical injuries, the CDC recommends that pool owners > follow these tips:
formation on pool chemical handling and storage, www.cdc. gov/healthywater/swimming/pools/preventing-pool-chemicalinjuries.html. As for good swimming hygiene, swimmers can stay safe by not swimming when ill with diarrhea or by swallowing pool water. The CDC also recommends that swimmers consider taking a pre-swim shower to remove sweat and other potential contaminants to the chlorine, such as urine. I hope you all enjoy the swim season and keep best practices in mind when maintaining your pool. A
> > > >
Michael Kelley is senior manager of Safety & Loss Control for the Alabama Rural Electric Association.
40 JULY 2014
Read and follow directions on product labels. Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as goggles and masks, as directed, when handling pool chemicals. Secure pool chemicals to protect people and animals. Keep young children away when handling chemicals. Never mix different pool chemicals with each other, especially chlorine products with acid. Pre-dissolve pool chemicals only when directed by product label. Add pool chemical to water, never water to pool chemicals. Children and animals should be kept away from pool chemicals. Pool owners should also refrain from smoking when handling chemicals. Hands should always be washed after handling these substances as well.
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Our Sources Say
saw “Apocalypse Now” in 1979. I still remember how troubled and exhausted I was when it ended. The sheer violence and gore were horrific and sickening. But the pathology of the characters was deeply disturbing. The most memorable scene for me was Robert Duvall’s Col. Bill Kilgore telling Martin Sheen’s Captain Willard, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” as American planes carpet-bombed an enemy outpost in the background. I assumed “Apocalypse Now” was merely Francis Ford Coppola’s statement against the madness of the Vietnam War. However, I recently read in an issue of Ben Hunt’s Epsilon Theory (and confirmed by Wikipedia) that it is based on Joseph Conrad’s 1914 novella, Heart of Darkness, set around Africa’s ivory trade. They share a darkness and a central character, Col. Kurtz. The plot of “Apocalypse Now” is Willard’s mission into Cambodia to assassinate Marlon Brando’s Kurtz, who had gone rogue, abandoned his command, established his own empire and was administering his own brand of justice over friend and foe, all to the embarrassment of the U.S. Army. Willard suffers from his own set of demons but is desperate for a mission to define himself and sets out to assassinate Kurtz. That leads to Coppola’s litany of violence, death, emptiness, hopelessness and madness that was the Vietnam War. Through their experiences, both Kurtz and Willard see clearly through the façade of the Vietnam experience. They realize it has no underlying reason or purpose. They both fully appreciate their own role in the war and come to know the heart of darkness and horror that was Vietnam in their own ways. But they react differently – Willard sticking with his mission and Kurtz abandoning his. There is emptiness and madness today, but the methods are different. Almost everyone – whether they are in medicine, finance, technology, banking, government or energy – express similar complaints of the futility of their mission because of regulations or inequities invoked by public officials. Honesty, integrity and transparency have always been in short supply, but events and façades erected since the Great Recession have made it more acceptable to intentionally mislead and alter facts, if not just outright lie.
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
44 JULY 2014
There is style but no substance, and leaders with words but no values. Lies are offered without conscience, regulation without reason and politics without policy. The ends, so long as they are mine, justify any means, regardless of the cost. Mass mediaspinned campaigns have replaced the truth. Leaders hold themselves above the law and regulation that governs the masses. We are encouraged to shirk our responsibilities and expect our neighbors or the government to pay our debts. We are taught that we are entitled to what others have earned. We are stripped of our dignity, our character, our honor and, more importantly, our self-worth. That is the hollow world we live in – a world not so different from Kurtz’s and Willard’s. The situation is cast in a line from “Apocalypse Now” when Kurtz and Willard first meet. Kurtz asks Willard why the Army wants to terminate his command: Willard: They told me you had gone totally insane and that your methods were unsound. Kurtz: Are my methods unsound? Willard: I don’t see any method at all, sir. Kurtz: I expected someone like you. What did you expect? Are you an assassin? Willard: I’m a soldier. Kurtz: You’re neither. You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks to collect a debt. We are still led and governed by grocery clerks anxious to collect their debts, impart their rules and impose their values regardless of the cost. There are at times no methods, just agendas. Joseph Conrad wrote in Heart of Darkness, “It is my belief that no man ever understands quite his own artful dodges to escape from the grim shadow of self-knowledge. The question is not how to get cured, but how to live.” It is a hollow world, and it appears, at times, overwhelmingly hollow. There is little we can do to cure it. But it is important we understand it, come to terms with it, influence its direction the best we can, and learn how to live with it. Will we respond by staying with our mission like Willard or abandoning it and going rogue like Kurtz? I will end by quoting T.S. Elliot’s The Hollow Men, a commentary on the Heart of Darkness, “This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.” I hope you have a good month. A This article draws heavily on Ben Hunt’s Epsilon Theory as reprinted by John Mauldin in his April 2, 2014 newsletter, but the conclusions are mine.
JULY 2014 45
Alabama Snapshots 2
Patriotism Submit Your Images! SEPTEMBER THEME:
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46 JULY 2014
1. Photo of my grandpa’s flag and barn on the day of his funeral. He was a retired lineman from Cullman County and served in the Army SUBMITTED BY Jill Roy, Arab 2. Making sure new flag was put up just before leaving for 2nd deployment to Afghanistan. Pictured are Sgt. James Griffin, wife Vickie and dog Luke SUBMITTED BY Rhonda Self, Hamilton 3. Lt. Thurston Bullock and son Jon Will Bullock salute the flag SUBMITTED BY Sharon Ivey, Arab
4. Olivia Cole celebrating the 4th of July in Orange Beach SUBMITTED BY Jeannie Bennett Cole, Hampton Cove 5. Stephen and Stirling Hamilton of Greenville enjoying their favorite holiday, July 4th SUBMITTED BY Jennie Hamilton, Greenville 6. Isaac Graves at the Cullman County Fair Parade in 2011 SUBMITTED BY April Graves, Hanceville
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Mail to: AREA 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 or Phone: 334-215-2732 Fax: 334-215-2733 E-mail: email@example.com