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MAY 2015

South Alabama ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE

Walls that talk Muralist creates works of public art

www.southaec.com

Troy’s music man

How Johnny Long turned halftime into show time


MANAGER

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 Allison Griffin CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jacob Johnson ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Brooke Davis RECIPE EDITOR Mary Tyler Spivey

VOL. 68 NO. 5 MAY 2015

11 Quitting smoking

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in Alabama and the U.S., but every year, 7,500 Alabamians die from smoking-related causes. If you are ready to quit, there’s help.

16 Poke Salat Festival The north Alabama town of Arab is known for its Mayberryesque small-town aura, high school football, and poke salat. Wait, what was that last thing?

Through his impressive, wall-sized murals, Wes Hardin of Dothan has helped several small towns revitalize their city centers and lure tourists. But the murals are more than just public art — they help tell the story of a town’s history. PHOTO: Mark Stephenson

18 Troy’s Music Man

For 32 years, Johnny Long directed the “Sound of the South” band at Troy University, and today, the 89-year-old legend can still remember their names, faces and instruments.

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Alabama Living

MAY 2015 3


Manager’s Comments

South Alabama Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees

Bill Hixon District 1

James Shaver District 2

Raymond Trotter District 3

Ben Norman District 4

DeLaney Kervin District 5

Norman D. Green District 6

Glenn Reeder District 7

James May At Large

Headquarters: 13192 U.S. Hwy 231 P.O. Box 449 Troy, AL 36081 800-556-2060 southaec.com 4 MAY 2015

DOE leaving co-ops out of options MAX DAVIS GENERAL MANAGER

Over 250 electric cooperatives have voiced our opinions and opposed current U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) actions regarding electric resistance water heater efficiency standards that, if enacted, will increase costs for consumers and undermine co-op load management programs. For starters, the present DOE proposal— which would be submitted to the International Energy Conservation Code Council as an amendment to model building codes—effectively eliminates the use of electric resistance water heaters in new residential and commercial structures and those undergoing significant renovations. Many states and municipalities adopt those codes locally. Electric cooperatives have emphasized that such a move would force consumers to find other, potentially more expensive options. The result would be significantly higher consumer energy costs, especially for electric co-op members whose only option is installing electric water heaters of some kind. The elimination of electric resistance water heaters would also undermine and eventually eliminate many cooperative demand-response programs - like our H2O program - as the electric water heaters that would be permitted by the amended building codes would not be suitable for such programs. To help keep electric bills affordable, more than 240 co-ops in 21 states are able to interrupt electric service to hundreds of thousands of electric resistance water heaters as well as thousands of air conditioners, electric thermal storage heating cabinets and furnaces, and other specialized equipment in the homes of volunteer members for short periods of time. Control generally takes place on very cold mornings or hot, humid weekday afternoons during times of peak demand—the electric utility industry’s equivalent of rush-hour traffic, when power

costs skyrocket. As a result, load management efforts essentially work like a power plant in reverse, helping co-ops boost electric system efficiency, reduce expensive demand charges for purchase power, offset the need for building additional power plants and transmission lines. In 2011, local electric co-ops cut 2,200 MW of load, the electric use equivalent of 1.1 million average-sized homes, saving members close to $100 million in generation fuel costs and offsetting more than 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Unfortunately, because the DOE plan is a “proposed recommendation” to a standards-setting organization, it does not require the same review and approval process as federal regulations. Electric co-ops are pushing to get the DOE recommendation modified, to ensure that electric resistance water heaters can continue to be used. If necessary, cooperatives will oppose the proposal at the ICC as well, but it would be better to stop it before it gets to that point. The second DOE effort, a water heater efficiency standard adopted in 2010 and set to take effect in 2015, would effectively ban largevolume electric resistance water heaters—those with a storage capacity of 55 gallons or more. The rule, as written, requires all large-capacity water heaters to operate at 200 percent efficiency, a level that only certain heat-pump water heaters can meet. This standard has impaired your cooperative’s ability to supply high efficient electric water heaters to our members. Many of you may have experienced delays in water heater availability over the last couple of months. We expect this issue to continue. In March, South Alabama Electric Cooperative was notified by Rheem, our water heater supplier, that due to the DOE ruling and line conversions at their plant, manufacturing of existing units would be halted on Friday, April

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South Alabama Electric  Cooperative

10. That weekend, their production lines were retooled to shift to production of units meeting the DOE requirement. On Monday April 16, production began on units based on the new energy efficiency standards. Larger capacity tanks (65 and 80) will no longer be made. As you know, South Alabama Electric has supplied our members with high efficient waters heaters for more than 20 years. Because of this new standard and lack of availability, we are reevaluating our water heater program. South Alabama Electric and other electric co-ops nationwide continue to urge the DOE to create a new appliance category for grid-connected, large-capacity water heaters. Otherwise, the new efficiency standard would, over time, cripple extremely successful co-op load management and demand-response initiatives that have been built around the appliance. In March, cooperatives joined with other groups in an attempt to pass legislation through Congress that would permit the manufacture of electric resistance water heaters above 75 gallons for use in demand response programs. While it has great support, time is running out for this legislation to pass before

the mandates take effect. Rheem is not the only manufacturer to already begin making changes in their product lines to meet the current proposed mandates. When co-ops launched load management efforts in the late 1970s, electric resistance water heaters quickly became the “peak shift” device of choice—water could be heated and stored during periods of low power consumption, such as late night and early morning hours. Thanks to big tanks (commonly 80 gallons or more), the units could be turned off for long stretches without a household being inconvenienced by running out of hot water. If the mandates remain in place, the only electric water heaters tanks available for residential use after 2015 will be 55 gallon tanks. The alternative, a heat pump water heater, remains very pricey and doesn’t work well with the co-op’s demand response program. We want to assure you that we are doing all we can in this matter and we appreciate your patience and understanding while we look for a solution that meets DOE standards and assists our members in the best possible way.

South Alabama Electric’s Monthly Operating Report

KWH Sold 28,836,510 Average Utility Bill $220.52 Average Use 1,770 kWh

Total Accounts Billed 16,288

Consumers per mile of line 6.06

Total Miles of Line 2,686 Information from February 2015

Alabama Living

MAY 2015  5


Putting safety first this month – and throughout the year It’s May – and South Alabama Electric Cooperative is celebrating National Electrical Safety Month. While safety for our members is top priority year-round, Electrical Safety Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of safety excellence. This year, we’re focusing on electrical safety in the home. Electricity is the cause of over 140,000 fires each year, resulting in more than 500 deaths, 4,000 injuries and $1.6 billion in property damage, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). There are many measures you can take to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Use these helpful tips from ESFI to safeguard your home. In the kitchen •Vacuum refrigerator coils every three months to eliminate dirt buildup that can reduce efficiency and create fire hazards. •Ensure all countertop appliances are located away from the sink. •All appliance cords should be placed away from hot surfaces. Pay particular attention to cords around toasters, ovens and ranges. Cords can be damaged by excess heat. •The top and the area above the cooking range should be free of combustibles, such as pot holders and plastic utensils. Storing these items on or near the range may result in fires or burns. Light the way to safety •The wattage of the bulbs you use in your home should match the wattage indicated on the light fixture. Overheated fixtures can lead to a fire.

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•Check lamp cords to make sure they are in good condition – not damaged or cracked. Do not attempt to repair damaged cords yourself. Take any item with a damaged power cord to an authorized repair center. •Extension cords should not be used to provide power on a long-term or permanent basis. Have additional receptacles installed by a professional to provide power where needed. Be prepared •Nearly two-thirds of fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be located on every level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area. •Test smoke alarms every month. Batteries should be replaced at least once a year – or sooner if indicated in the manufacturers’ instructions. All smoke alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years. •Talk to your family about an emergency plan in the event of a fire in your home. If you have small children, include them in planning an emergency escape route – they are more likely to remember the plan if they’re involved in creating it. Electrical safety awareness and education can save lives. For more tips and information about electrical safety, visit our safety section on our website at www.southaec.com.

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South Alabama Electric Cooperative

You can’t always SEE

the hidden dangers after the storm...

When venturing outside, stay away from downed power lines and be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard. Assume that any dangling wires you encounter are energized and dangerous. If you are driving and come upon a downed power line, stay in your vehicle, warn others to stay away and contact emergency personnel or electric utility. For additional information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org. Alabama Living

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South Alabama Electric Cooperative

safety agen

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Safe Electricity is looking for good recruits like you to become Junior Safety Agents! Here is the problem: electricity and water make a dangerous combination. Safe Electricity wants you to learn how to stay safe from electrical dangers and help keep others safe as well. Complete the sentences below. Then, put the underlined letters in the decoder. When you have finished all the sentences, the clues will come together to form a secret message! 1. This is the place to go if you need to get clean. However, electronics should never be near or in the _ _ _ _ _ _ _. 2. Water and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ never mix. 3. Never play outside in thunder _ _ _ _ _ _. 4. Never use an electronic or appliance in a _ _ _ _ or wet area. 5. Never splash, spray, or squirt _ _ _ _ _ onto an electronic. 6. When you get out of the pool or tub, _ _ _ _ _ _ before handling electronics. 7. “When _ _ _ _ _ _ _ roars, go indoors.� 8. Only electric _ _ _ _ _ go in outlets. Not water, toys, or other knick knacks. 9. Do not let _ _ _ _ sniff, lick, or play with electronics and their cords. 10. The kitchen is full of treats but also has electrical dangers. Ask an _ _ _ _ _ for help with kitchen activities. 11. Stay far _ _ _ _ from electronics if you are wet. 12. Wash your hands in the _ _ _ _, but keep electronics far away. 13. _ _ _ _ _ safety tips with friends to help keep everyone safe. 14. Never play in _ _ _ _ _ waters. 15. After a storm, stay far away from damaged _ _ _ _ _ poles.

DECODER:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Congratulations! You are a Junior Safety Agent! Share what you know about electrical safety to keep your friends and family safe. Learn more at:

ANSWER KEY: 1. BATHTUB, 2. ELECTRICITY, 3. STORMS, 4. DAMP, 5. WATER, 6. DRY OFF, 7. THUNDER, 8. PLUGS, 9. PETS, 10. ADULT, 11. AWAY, 12. SINK, 13. SHARE, 14. FLOOD, 15. POWER, DECODER: BE SMART, STAY SAFE

8 MAY 2015


Spot Light

In May Fairhope wins magazine’s love VacationIdea.com named Fairhope as one of the 25 best small town honeymoon destinations in the U.S. The article reads, in part: “Breath-taking natural scenery and sweeping views of Mobile Bay have long made the small town of Fairhope on Alabama’s Gulf Coast an ideal escape from busy city life.” It mentions The Fairhope Inn, Panini Pete’s and the Fairhope Municipal Pier, as places to eat, stay and see.

MAY 16

MAY 7

Arley Day Festival and parade

National Day of Prayer

The Arley Women’s Club will hold its 42nd annual Arley Day Festival on May 16 at Hamner Park in Arley, which is in Winston County. The festival will begin with a 5K run at 7 a.m. followed by a pancake breakfast at the Arley Fire Station until 8:30 a.m. A parade begins at 9 a.m., showcasing volunteer fire engines, classic and late model

The 64th annual National Day of Prayer is May 7 and has a theme this year of “Lord, Hear Our Cry,” emphasizing the need for Americans to place their faith in God. The scripture for this year is 1 Kings 8:28: “Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.” Millions will gather to pray at events across the country, from prayer breakfasts to daylong prayer vigils. To learn more about events going on locally, visit www. nationaldayofprayer.org

Safety tip of the month Be prepared for unexpected emergencies with supplies like first-aid kits and hand-crank radios that can charge your cell phone, advises the American Red Cross. The nonprofit organization will have several such emergency supplies available at its Red Cross Store (www.redcross.org) starting April 30. A portion of the proceeds funds the Red Cross’ missions.

cars, decorated bicycles, community floats and high school bands. There’s also a car show, food and merchandise vendors, contests and games for all ages. Free entertainment provided by local artists on three stages. Proceeds benefit community programs in Arley. For more information, call 205-489-1445 or find Arley Women’s Club on Facebook.

Bring a friend to the state parks Now that the temperatures have thawed and the days are longer, it’s the perfect time to head out to an Alabama State Park. And this spring, if you bring a friend to one of the state’s 22 parks, you can save money on lodging the next time each of you visits. Through July 31, when you bring a new customer to a state park and each of you rents a campsite or stays in another overnight facility in the park, you will each receive a $25 voucher to use during a future visit. Vouchers are good through Feb. 28, 2016. For more information, visit www.alapark.com.

Want to see more events or submit your own? Alabama Living

Visit www.alabamaliving.coop to submit an event and view our calendar or email an event to events@alabamaliving.coop.

MAY 2015 9


Power Pack

Showing compassion for people with disabilities May is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Awareness Month. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rapidly progressive and fatal neurological disease that attacks the body’s ability to control muscle movement by ceasing the transmission of messages to muscles. Social Security has identified ALS as a medical condition so severe it obviously meets our agency’s strict definition of disability and has included it on our Compassionate Allowances list. Our agency expedites the benefit application process for these applicants. You can read more about Compassionate Allowances at www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances. May is also Mental Health Awareness Month. This invisible disease comes in many forms, and it’s imperative that we approach people with mental health issues with compassion and empathy. ALS and mental illness are just examples of the types of disabilities for which workers may receive Social Security disability benefits. The list is too long for one

article, but includes cancers, diseases, birth defects, physical disabilities caused by accidents, and organ-related disabilities such as congestive heart failure. Many people don’t think of disability as something that could happen to them. Statistics say the chances of becoming disabled are greater than most realize. Some 56 million Americans, or 1-in-5, live with a disability. 38 million Americans, or 1 in 10, live with a severe disability. A sobering fact for 20-year-olds is that more than 1 in 4 of them will become disabled before reaching retirement age. Disability can happen to anyone. When disability does happen, Social Security can help people meet their basic needs. Our disability program provides financial and medical benefits for those who qualify to pay for doctors’ visits, medicines, and treatments. Our beneficiaries are just like you. They have the same hopes and dreams. What makes their stories different is that they live with debilitating diseases that

inhibit their ability to work. Social Security disability beneficiaries are among the most severely impaired people in the country. Our Faces and Facts of Disability webpage highlights stories about people who have disabilities. We invite you to learn the facts about the disability insurance program, and see and hear the stories of hardship and perseverance at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityfacts. These stories are just examples of the 38 million Americans who live with disabling conditions and need Social Security’s support to make ends meet. A

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by e-mail at kylle.mckinney@ ssa.gov.

For keeping the power on, help us #ThankALineman on June 1 Alabama Living is proud to be a part of Alabama L i n e m a n Appre c i at i on D a y Ju n e 1 , when Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives will honor the hardworking men in our state who often work in challenging conditions to keep the lights on. Realizing the importance our linemen have in Alabama, AREA worked with state legislators last year to pass a formal 10 MAY 2015

resolution designating the first Monday in June as Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day. Those of us who live in areas of Alabama served by electric cooperatives know how vitally important our linemen are. Many of us have family members who have been linemen, or have husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers or cousins who are currently linemen. “When the lights go out, our linemen are the first responders,” says Michael Kelley, director of safety, loss control and regulatory compliance 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.” Join us by using the social media hashtag, #ThankALineman, on June 1. A www.alabamaliving.coop


Want to quit smoking? Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in Alabama and the United States. Each year, 7,500 Alabamians die from smoking-related causes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every person that dies, 20 people suffer from at least one serious tobacco-related illness. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, vehicle collisions, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined. A surgeon general’s report issued this year found that active smoking is now causally associated with a long list of health problems: age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, adverse health outcomes in cancer patients and survivors, erectile dysfunction, ectopic pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and impaired immune function. In addition, exposure to secondhand smoke has now been causally associated with an increased risk for stroke. Almost 800 Alabamians die each year from breathing someone else’s smoke. Do you realize that just stepping outside to smoke could save someone’s life? Almost one in five adults in Alabama use tobacco. Nicotine found in tobacco products is addictive, so quitting is difficult. According to the 2013 Adult Tobacco Survey, more than 54 percent of Alabamians who smoke said they tried to quit at least once during the past year. Some people believe electronic smoking devices (ESDs) are an acceptable alternative to cigarettes, but based on currently available indicators, they’re not. Although the long-term effects of ESDs have not yet been determined, numerous short-range studies, as well as countless articles and reports detailing real-life experiences, have been published identifying their dangers to the user and bystander alike. You don’t have to quit by yourself, though. The Alabama Department of Public Health offers state residents free and confidential help to quit, including coaching and two weeks of nicotine Alabama Living

patches, if eligible. Many studies have shown that you are twice as likely to quit if you receive coaching along with the patches. After beginning coaching, the patches are mailed to your home if you’re medically eligible. The toll-free Alabama Tobacco Quitline – 1-800-QUIT-NOW – is available every day from 6 a.m. to midnight. Calls placed after these hours or on holidays will be returned the next business day. For those who prefer electronic help, the same Quitline services are available online at QuitNowAlabama.com. The benefits of quitting smoking are almost immediate. Your heart rate and blood pressure drop within an hour and your circulation improves in a matter of weeks. Long-term, smokers who quit enjoy several major health benefits such as reduced risk of suffering from lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Also,

by quitting smoking you could potentially save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year. It is difficult to quit using tobacco, and it’s a personal decision that only you can make. When you are ready to quit, call or visit the Quitline. I urge you to protect your health and the health of others around you by leaving the tobacco habit behind. A

Jim McVay, Dr.P.A., is director of the Bureau of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease of the Alabama Department of Public Health.

MAY 2015 11


Capturing life: Artist’s murals preserve a city’s history

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By Allison Griffin

he small stroke of the paintbrush, not even an inch wide, is dwarfed by the massive mural on the large brick wall. But the artist, Wes Hardin, patiently continues to paint, stroke by stroke, layer upon layer, color upon color. Slowly -- this mural has been in the works for months -- the scenes take shape, and the characters come to life. And well they should; the portraits in this mural are of people who actually lived in Andalusia, a small south Alabama town that now boasts more than half a dozen of Hardin’s murals. This mural is his, and Andalusia’s, most ambitious: 18 feet tall and 127 feet long, it’s a combination of seemingly disparate themes: a tribute to Covington County’s law enforcement, and a representation of some of the downtown’s long-ago businesses and storefronts. They’re tied together with a fictional parade, which was Hardin’s suggestion; it seemed like a good way to incorporate multiple, unrelated people in the same painting, and also to make the storefronts, which by themselves aren’t necessarily appealing visually, more interesting. There are more than 60 faces in this mural, which have required a tremendous amount of planning, research and two full notebooks of photographic material that Hardin uses for reference. And the process of painting, with so much detail and so many faces, seems almost painstaking. “It’s slow, because unlike the other pieces I do, I’ve got one or two subjects, and you just attack it,” Hardin says. “Here, I’ve got changes in colors and shade and distance. The dark color in the background’s not the same as the color in the foreground. There are so many different changes.”

12 MAY 2015

Watch Wes at work at alabamaliving.coop

Muralist Wes Hardin, who lives in Dothan, has been working on his current project for several months. www.alabamaliving.coop


This ambitious parade mural in Andalusia is 18 feet tall and 127 feet long. PHOTOS BY MARK STEPHENSON

‘An outdoor art gallery’ Hardin, who was raised along the Gulf Coast, started painting beautiful,” Palmore says. That small town needed to make a drasin high school. His introduction to large imagery came early, tic change after the mill that employed many of its residents thanks to a teacher who let students paint on the school walls. shut down; city leaders decided to turn the town into the mural His first commission was at a Panama City, Fla., community capital of Canada. They commissioned artists from across North college, to paint the story of the English literature hall. After America and Europe to paint a series of murals. studying illustration and ad design at the Art Institute in south At the time of the Palmores’ trip, the town reported having as Florida, he continued to build a portfolio of work done on walls, many as half a million people to tour its murals. As a town on buildings, on gym floors and in stadiums, the route to the ski slopes, it had a natural working for private and corporate commistraffic draw, and the city leaders capitalsions as a freelance designer and illustrator. ized on it. He became creative director of an out“I thought, we just have to do murals in door company in Dothan several years Andalusia, not only to show our history, ago, and now continues to live and work but to make it beautiful like Chemainus,” there as a portrait artist and muralist. DoPalmore said, perhaps also luring tourists than features several of Hardin’s impressive to stop on their way to and from the Gulf murals -- a salute to the peanut industry, Coast beaches. Others in Andalusia knew DeSoto’s journey through the Wiregrass Police officer J.D. Shakespeare in the of Dothan’s murals, and learned about Harand a tribute to cowboy hero Johnny Mack parade mural. din; he has also done eye-catching murals Brown among them. in Brewton, Colquitt, Ga. and Blakely, Ga. Dothan was also how he came to Andalusia’s attention. SevThe city put together a murals committee, which Palmore eral years ago, retired Andalusia educator Pat Palmore and her helps to spearhead, and commissioned Hardin to do the first muhusband and some friends vacationed in Vancouver, British Co- ral, which was the “Legends of Andalusia” on the side of a local lumbia. While traveling, the group saw signs advertising the city radio station just off the court square. He has done several others, of Chemainus, which had become known as a “mural city.” including a salute to Covington County’s early school days and a “It was just like an outdoor art gallery. It was just absolutely series dedicated to utilities, with one panel that depicts the early

This mural recalls Covington County’s cattle industry.

Alabama Living

MAY 2015 13


Hardin’s “School Days” mural honors the city and county schools in Covington County.

days of rural electrification. The partnership has been beneficial for both Hardin and the city. The murals allowed Hardin, a full-time artist, to keep working through the lean years of the recent recession, and his work now helps the city draw tourists and sightseers. Andalusia, like most of the towns for which Hardin has done commissions, has to raise all the money for the murals, either through grants or private donations. Palmore said Hardin, in addition to being a gifted artist, has been “absolutely delightful” to work with. “He wants to do everything to please us, and to get everything we want on the mural. He’s so good to help us.”

A sense of ownership

In whatever town he’s working, Hardin becomes a familiar sight to residents; most of his works take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to complete. (The parade mural, which he started last fall, is a notable exception, due to its size and complexity. Cold or wet weather also delays his work.) Passers-by drop by frequently while he’s working, sometimes just to say “good job,” but sometimes they’re moved to park their cars and strike up a conversation. During an interview and photo session with Alabama Liv-

ing earlier this year, longtime Andalusia resident Jean Thomas stopped by. A portrait of her husband Don, now deceased, is one of several in the law enforcement tableau. Thomas felt that her husband’s portrait didn’t look like him, and told Hardin so; he had to reassure her that he was still in the working stage and that he would go back over the portrait about three times. “He’ll look just like that picture,” Hardin said, pointing to an old photo he was using as a reference. “Is that going to be OK?” Reassured, Thomas said yes, complimented him on his work and talked a little about her late husband, who was a game warden for more than 25 years. Residents often stop and tell him their personal stories, as another woman did while Hardin worked on a portrait of a man named Pap Gantt. “She started talking about him, so now, it will mean more to me to paint it, and have a sense of who he was,” Hardin said. He doesn’t consider it an intrusion at all, and good-naturedly talks with curious onlookers. “We’ve had good response to this character in front here, who leads the parade, J.D. Shakespeare,” a well-known former police officer. “A boy he actually raised after his mother and father had passed (came by to see the painting), and he got tears in his eyes talking about Mr. Shakespeare and how he watched after him and made sure he was on the right path. So there’s great stories here.” Having opinions about his work is a good thing, Hardin said, because it means they feel a sense of ownership of it. “I’ve never had any vandalism. I can’t explain that, but people feel a certain pride, because it’s theirs. They’re very gracious and they thank me, but it’s theirs.” A

An artful Hardin tribute to the lumber industry.

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These panels by Hardin near the court square honor Andalusia’s early utilities.

MORE MURALS Does your small town or city have murals that help tell its history? Send us a photo or two and tell us about them. We may use your submissions in an upcoming issue of Alabama Living! Email photos to agriffin@areapower.com Dothan boasts 24 murals. Among them are several done by Hardin, including a tribute to the Wiregrass turpentine industry, and one that tells the history of the Cherry Street AME Church. ALABAMA TOURISM DEPARTMENT PHOTOS

Cullman’s murals weather devastating tornado By Allison Griffin

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he tornado of April 27, 2011, cut a swath through downtown Cullman, irrevocably changing its landscape. The courthouse and nearby emergency management building took a direct hit, as did two school buildings, the First Baptist Church and numerous businesses. “Our town was just a mess,” recalls Dot Gudger, past president of the Cullman County Historical Society. Also damaged was one of Cullman’s downtown murals, a colorful homage to the town and its 1880s beginnings. The top right portion of the wall crumbled against the winds of the tornado. The decision was made to repair the damaged portion; the bricks have been replaced, and the building’s owner also added windows during a remodel, so its appearance is much different than it was originally. But the town pulled together to rebuild after the storm, and its dozen murals, which include a tribute to the Cullman Electric Cooperative, still stand to help tell the story of the town’s history. And, much like the murals in other towns and small cities, they attract a number of tourists, Gudger said. Such murals also help strengthen public-private partnerships, said Elliot Knight, visual arts program manager for the Alabama State Council on the Arts. In many cases, the buildings are privately owned, so permissions have to be secured for the murals. “A building owner could get really excited about telling a particular part of that history, and it’s really a win for them, to bring more attention to their space and beautify their location, but also

Alabama Living

for the community as a whole to benefit,” Knight says. Gudger says such partnerships were crucial in Cullman, where business owners agreed to let the artists paint on their exterior walls. But just as important were the talents of the painters -- Jack Tupper, Bethany Kerr and Donald Walker, all local artists, did Cullman’s murals, in some cases for free. And local organizations made generous donations toward the murals’ creation. “Cullman is the most giving town,” Gudger says.

Cullman downtown mural 1880s: The city of Cullman’s first mural, with vignettes from the 1880s, was partially damaged by the April 2011 tornado. It has since been repaired. PHOTO BY BRIAN LACY

MAY 2015 15


Arab Poke Salat Festival set for May 15-16 By Whitney Adrienne Snow

Nestled in the heart of North Alabama, Arab is largely known for its Mayberryesque small-town aura, high school football, and poke salat. Wait, what was that last thing?

P

okeweed is a wild, impersonations and hat poisonous plant, competitions. Poke salat but when detoxicook-offs were particufied by boiling a few larly noteworthy and times, its young shoots ranged from quiche and make for a tasty dish, dip to casserole and pie, especially when mixed all made from poke. In 2011, there was an with scrambled eggs. effort to transform the Sponsored by the loPoke Salat Festival into cal L’ Rancho Café and the Poke Salat Bluegrass the Chamber of ComMusic Festival in an atmerce, the annual Arab tempt to attract more Poke Salat Festival honout-of-towners. Groups ors this leafy green with like Dailey & Vincent, arts and crafts, eating Canaan’s Crossing and contests, pet parades, Boxcars performed at children’s activities, and the amphitheater in live music. It all began with the the city park. While the “Liar’s Club,” a group name of the festival reof men who frequently verted back to plain old dined at and eventually Poke Salat in the folpurchased the L’ Rancho lowing year, music has in 1984. Around that always played an imtime, member Curtis portant role. Last year’s Williams Sr. witnessed performances included a poke salat festival in The young shoots of a pokeweed plant are used to make poke salat. Alabama’s Jeff Cook Blanchard, Louisiana, and his All Star Goodand upon returning home, suggested forming time Band, Kyle Wilson and Clark Walker’s local band AZ. a similar event in Arab to promote the city and bring notice to the downtown area. Thus, the Attendance has wavered over the decades, Poke Salat Festival was born. but rain or shine, folks come from far and wide. In fact, last year, Arab celebrated its Over the years, certain aspects have come and gone. At one time, the festival included 30th Poke Salat Festival and this year, the a political forum in which politicians like celebration will take place on May 15-16. Fob James, Bill Baxley, Jim Folsom Jr. and While the L’ Rancho is under new ownGeorge Wallace Jr. spoke. There was an ership, the future of the festival is not in “Ugly Woman Contest” in which men doubt. As one Liar’s Club member once would dress in women’s clothes and pasaid, “As long as the L’ Rancho is in busirade down the street. Other past activities included a ness, we will always have poke salat and the Poke Confederate reenactment, fish tales, golf tournaments, Salat Festival.” A 16 MAY 2015

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Alabama Living

MAY 2015 17


Troy’s Music Man: Legendary John Long has influenced generations By Emmett Burnett

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y first encounter with Dr. John Maloy Long was as a journalism student, interviewing him for a class assignment at Troy (back then it was State) University. In 1975, he was a campus legend. In 2015, he still is. Visiting his suburban Troy, Alabama, home, I reminded the 89-year-old director of bands emeritus of that four-decade-old homework assignment. “Glad I could help,” he replies. “How did you do?” He wasn’t joking. “Dr. Long is a kind, thoughtful and helpful person who puts the needs of others before his own,” said Troy University’s director of bands, Dr. Mark Walker. “He is a lifelong learner who still loves bands, band music and band people.” And Long remembers them like yesterday. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a student I did not like or learn from,” he notes, pointing at photographs in scrapbooked memorabilia. He effortlessly recollects names, dates, and instruments of apprentices. More than 400 followed his lead and are band directors across the U.S. Facing age 90, his visits to the beloved campus he waved a baton over for 32 years have decreased. “He only goes there now about three times a week,” laughs wife Mary

Lynn. But almost two decades after retirement, he still maintains an office at the university with two buildings and a street named for him. In the mid-1960s, Long heeded Troy’s call from its former president, Dr. Ralph Adams. The two were introduced by Gov. George Wallace, a mutual friend. Long was the 10-year band director of Montgomery’s Robert E. Lee High School when he graduated from prep school to college league. “I wasn’t sure how I would do in university-level band,” he adds. “But Dr. Adams vowed the school’s support and it has endured to this day.” The first day on the job was in 1965, the same year Long performed a campus makeover. “I was driving to work and wondering what to call the band,” he recalled about the morning commute. “Somewhere between Montgomery and Troy it hit me, ‘Sound of the South.’” Fifty years later, the name still stands. Long invented the college color guard. He installed military drills, jazz, pop, country, and hymns: High-stepping marching musicians performed a variety show that might reverently croon “Precious Lord Take Me Home,” and then blast Elvis’ “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Blues standards,

jazz hits and pop favorites rocked the arena as Long transformed halftime into show time. The maestro is emphatic: “A good band show has a little of everything. It is a thing of beauty and there is nothing like it. Maybe I’m just an old worn-out musician, but I believed in giving people what they want. Entertain the audience; don’t play down to it. “Good music is never old and a marching band should play marching music,” he adds. He did and others noticed. “Few individuals have had a greater impact on Troy University than Dr. John Long,” says Dr. Jack Hawkins, Troy University president. “As the founding director of the Sound of the South, he created the most famous organization at Troy. His impact extends far beyond the walls of Troy.” Long was the first active bandmaster elected to the Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame and the only band director ever given the Alabama Council of the Arts Governor’s Award. In 2012 the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., named him one of the top ten teachers in the U.S. He has been featured on the “CBS News” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Long coined the name for the Troy band, “the Sound of the South,” in 1965. Under his baton, the band transformed halftime into showtime.

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During his Troy tenure, his Sound of the South performed in venues across America, including bowl games and four presidential inaugurations. “President Nixon walked up to me, extended his hand, and said, ‘Hi, I’m Richard Nixon,’ – like I wouldn’t know this?” Long chuckles. A native of Guntersville, Long’s first musical gig came in 1944 when his high school band teacher was drafted into the army. The principal asked the teenage trumpet player to lead fellow musicians until a replacement was named. Long had his calling, but so did Uncle Sam. He, too, joined the Army the day after high school graduation, performing in military bands in the company of Bob Hope, Jack Benny and stars of the 1940s. After the service, he studied to become a lawyer, but not for long. Music beckoned and so did a job as band director in Oneonta, where he met a student color guard member. Goodbye law degree. Hello, music career and hello, Mary Lynn. “I owe everything to this wonderful girl,” he smiles, glancing at his wife of 65 years. Long’s wife recalls, “He was the director; I carried the American flag in his band,” and she adds with a laugh, “John received permission from the principal and my parents to take me to church.” They married in the spring of 1949. He also led high school bands in Ft. Payne and then Robert E. Lee in Montgomery before assuming his Troy University legacy. “I was fortunate to work with great men like Dr. Adams and Dr. Hawkins,” he says. President Hawkins adds, “Dr. Long is a teacher first, but Troy alumni in all fields, from medicine to business to law, have benefited from his wisdom. He is an institution within an institution.” And he is the master of what acquaintances call “Longisms.” “He had so many quotable quotes, we would repeat them to our own kids through the years,” recalls former band student and Troy University Chief of Police, John McCall. Some favorites: “There’s only one job you

can get where you start at the top: ditch digging.” “There’s nothing greater than being a broke college student and there’s nothing sadder than being a broke college graduate.” “Band is spelled, F-U-N.” His passion is kindled with concern. “Music broadens your horizons,” Long said. “It makes you appreciate living more.

But unfortunately I see many schools – high schools and colleges -- cutting back. It worries me. But of course music is my life, what else would I say?” he smiles. And after a pause of reflection, he states his philosophy, “Music is a lifetime of joy. It has been for me. No matter how technological you get, there is always joy in music.” A Long still maintains an office on the Troy campus where two buildings and a street are named after him. More than 400 of his band members have gone on to be band directors across the country.

PHOTOS BY KEVIN GLACKMEYER AND COURTESY TROY UNIVERSITY

Alabama Living

MAY 2015 19


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Alabama Living

MAY 2015 21


He’s a schoolteacher and a modern-day minuteman

Sgt. 1st Class Sport on duty in Bagram, Afghanistan.

By Ben Norman

The term “Weekend Warrior” no longer applies to today’s Alabama’s National Guard and Reserve components who are ready to fight side by side with our full-time military at a moment’s notice.

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hen National Guardsman Sgt. 1st Class Michael Sport was startled awake by a rocket hitting the barracks next to where he was quartered in LSA Anaconda, Iraq, he realized he was definitely not back in Alabama attending a weekend “drill” or at his day job, teaching at Highland Home School in Crenshaw County. Sport and his men escaped unharmed but several soldiers were hurt in the explosion. Sport joined the Alabama National Guard in 1988 for two reasons: He had always been very patriotic and wanted to serve in the military, and he needed the financial assistance available to guardsmen to attend college. After completing basic training and advanced infantry training he returned to his home Guard unit in Brantley. Shortly after returning home, his unit was called up to respond to two hurricanes that hit the Mississippi and Alabama coast and a flood in Elba. In 2003 his unit, the 1670 Transportation Company, was activated and sent to Columbus, Ga., to prepare for deployment to Kuwait. “We were not deployed at this time and we were sent back home,” he says. “But in 2007 I got selected and pulled to assist the 1103 Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and was activated again and deployed to Camp Taji, Iraq. This was a little base just north of Bagdad. Here I was responsible for routing convoys and making sure they got to their location and picked up 22 MAY 2015

the vehicles they were supposed to. I spent 12 months at this location.” Sport was activated again in 2013 and sent to Bagram, Afghanistan. “Our mission there was to assist the regular army base commanders in closing down their bases in an orderly and timely manner,” Sport says. While there, Sport says it became very apparent to him that the regular Army does not look down on the National Guard as some members may have in the past. “For years maybe some regular Army units thought we just did our basic training, drilled once a month and did a two-week summer camp and came home. But I could tell, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army was really glad to have us there to help. Since the National Guard and regular Army get the same basic and advanced infantry training, we integrate with a regular unit surprisingly well,” says Sport. Alabama’s National Guard units stand on the front line when it comes to dealing with natural disasters. Sport says his units have responded to several floods and hurricanes. “We went to Mobile during Hurricane Ivan,” he says. “We assisted the locals in any way we could, especially in providing them with water, food, first aid or any other assistance we could provide. As bad as you hate to see the devastation from a hurricane, you get a real sense of

accomplishment knowing you are there to help provide the necessities of life. The appreciation shown to us by the victims of a hurricane or flood gives you a real sense of satisfaction.” Sport says being deployed can be hard on family life and he could not have stayed in the Guard 27 years if it had not been for the support of his wife Sherry and daughters Kristy and Katelyn. “Sherry and the girls have always been very patriotic and I could not ask for anyone to be more supportive of me and my service in the National Guard,” he says. “The National Guard has been good to me and my family and I recommend it to young adults. I have influenced several to join,” he adds. Michael Sport, like other brave men and women in the National Guard and Reserve components of this great country, reminds one of the Minutemen of the American Revolution. Just as the Minutemen threw down the plow and picked up a musket and marched off to war, the National Guard and Reserves stand ready to leave their family, jobs and civilian life and pick up an M-16 rifle to defend us from any enemy. The next time you encounter a veteran, whether regular military, National Guard or reserve, give them a firm handshake and a hearty “Thank you for your service.” A Ben Norman is a writer from Highland Home. www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

MAY 2015 23


Worth the Drive

Locally sourced foods, products on menu at Local Joe’s By Jennifer Kornegay

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he “eat (and drink) local” movement The original spot is housed in a humble your stomach. Then pick your sides from has been gaining steam in Alabama little wooden structure out Highway 411 the usual suspects: potato salad, baked for the last few years, and it’s a phi- that opened as a Pure Oil gas station – beans, slaw and one not-so-usual option, losophy that Jodie Stanfield has embraced complete with a barber shop -- in the pasta salad. with open arms. It’s the driving force be- 1940s. In the 1970s, it became a produce hind his two restaurants in Rainbow City, stand/small grocery store. Today, it’s one ‘Cue, smoked turkey and red Local Joe’s Trading Post and Local Joe’s at of the area’s favorite places to pork out on velvet cake balls The pulled pork is everything it should Little Bridge Marina. Both locations sup- pig and to stock up on items offered in its be: tender; full of smoke-soaked richness port area farmers and producers by incor- quaint country store. porating what they grow and make into There aren’t many places to sit and eat that comes from low heat melting fat into their foods and by selling their produce there, just a couple of picnic tables set on the meat; and laced with just enough of the pork butt’s mahogany bark. and products in their stores. The sour-cream based potato sal“That’s really how I came up ad has a refreshing tang to it, and with the name,” Jodie says. “We buy the slaw is tossed in a tart vinegar everything we can from ‘local Joes.’ dressing. We source from small area farms, While pork is the most comand I mean some are really small, mon meat in Alabama-style ‘cue, like this one retired guy who has don’t overlook the poultry. Local a vegetable garden and sells me a Joe’s smoked turkey has become couple packs of okra a day.” so popular, Jodie’s having Turkey A local lady makes Local Joe’s Addiction T-shirts printed up. fried pies. You’ll find local beeswax “Around holidays this year, we did soaps, local honey, local jams and 800 turkeys,” he says. locally grown herbs in the shop Pork is just one of six different barbecue meats smoked onsite. After you’ve cleaned your plate, area. You’ll also find one of the area’s best selections of Alabama-brewed a covered porch out front. But that doesn’t take some Local Joe’s home. Grab to-go beer. “We try to use and sell all Alabama stop the crowds flooding in, especially items like whole smoked hams, turkey around lunchtime. and chicken breasts, pork butts, slabs of products,” Jodie says. The marina location is drawing plenty ribs and snacks and sweets like a bag of But folks flock to Local Joe’s for more than small-batch, scratch-made jelly. They of people too, with its prime placement on boiled peanuts, pimento cheese, housealso come for the ‘cue. The main items on the banks of the Coosa River. “We’ve got made fried pork skins, strawberry bread the menus at both locations are the six dif- decks along the water, and we’re working that Jodie swears is the best anywhere ferent meats – turkey, chicken, ribs, pork to make it a place that encourages folks to around and some red velvet cake balls (bite-sized rounds of cake covered in icbutt, ham and house-made sausage -- that hang out,” Jodie says. No matter which Local Joe’s you visit, ing) from the LJ bakery. “We’re getting are slow smoked onsite in metal drums that bellow clouds of heavenly scents for you’ll find barbecue that lives up to this known for our desserts,” he says. And if you’re planning a function in the wind to carry like a siren song into column’s name. Choose a sandwich or a plate, and decide which meat speaks to North Alabama, look to Local Joe’s for town. catering. “We do events all the way down GO LOCAL Jennifer Kornegay to Birmingham and up and over in Fort Local Joe’s Trading Post travels to an out-ofPayne and Guntersville,” Jodie says. 4967 Rainbow Drive the way restaurant destination in Alabama Rainbow City, AL No matter where Local Joe’s roams, its every month. She 256-438-5179 heart is still at home in Etowah County, may be reached localjoestradingpost.com for comment at and Jodie explained why he “loves to supRainbow City j_kornegay@charter. port local.” net. Check out more Local Joe’s at of Jennifer’s food “It just makes sense. The food is freshLittle Bridge Marina writing, recipes and 70 Whorton Bend Road er, and we’re supporting our community. recommendations Rainbow City, AL on her blog, Chew It’s something we all need to get back to on This at www. (256) 442-7788 everywhere, not just here.” A jenniferkornegay.com. www.littlebridgemarina.com 24 MAY 2015

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Alabama Living

MAY 2015 25


Spring, summer are turtle time on Gulf Coast By Thomas V. Ress

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n the twilight on a deserted stretch of beach on Alabama’s Fort Morgan Peninsula, a lonely figure kneels and gently touches a stethoscope to the warm sand. Over the din of the crashing surf, Debi Gholson, a volunteer with the Share the Beach program, strains to hear a faint sound underground. She is listening to a loggerhead sea turtle nest, hoping to detect the telltale scratching of hatchlings breaking out of their shells and digging toward the surface. “I hear movement!” Gholson says. We are thrilled that tonight we could witness the remarkable sight of dozens of baby turtles frantically erupting from the sand and madly sprinting to the protective waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Loggerheads are one of Alabama’s rarest and most fascinating wild animals -- giant marine turtles that usually weigh 150 to 400 pounds (although some have been reported up to 800 pounds) and measure as much as four feet across the shell. Loggerheads spend almost their entire lives in the ocean; the females touch land only to nest. On a warm summer night, a female will crawl onto a beach, dig a cavity with her hind flippers and deposit up to 150 pliable ping-pong ball-sized eggs. She then fills in the cavity and lumbers back into the ocean, never to see the nest again. What happens after that is dependent on weather and a dozen other factors. If the sun sufficiently warms the eggs, hurricanes bypass the beach and coyotes and other predators miss the nest, after about two months the eggs hatch and dozens of baby turtles miraculously bubble out of the sand and dash across the beach, dodging hungry gulls and crabs, before reaching the relative safety of the ocean. This fragile scene is repeated hundreds of

26 MAY 2015

times every summer on southeastern beaches. Many of these beaches are located in Alabama, and Fort Morgan Peninsula is a particularly important nesting area -- in 2014, 80 nests were found on Alabama beaches and 42 of those were on the peninsula. Most of the nests were found by volunteers with Share the Beach, a nonprofit conservation group, which patrols the beaches during the May through August nesting season. Once they find a nest, they monitor it until it successfully hatches. One of these nests is the one we are standing over tonight. Fifteen minutes after Gholson detected the first subterranean stirrings, the sand starts to quiver and a black pinky-finger sized head pops out. A tiny flipper appears, then another and finally a cookie-sized turtle squirts out and sprints toward the surf. Instantly, the sand comes alive with dozens of baby turtles emerging from the sand. This hatching flurry is called a “boil” and within minutes, more than 60 baby loggerheads magically pop into the moonlight. What follows is both wondrous and comical as a handful of volunteers scurry around in the dark, shepherding dozens of confused and speedy critters toward the Gulf of Mexico. Evolution has conditioned the hatchlings to head toward light — which for eons was moonlight reflecting off the surf. But today artificial lighting from streetlights, condos and beach houses lures them inland, away from the surf. Volunteers repeatedly herd the babies toward the water and away from the dunes. Hordes of hungry ghost crabs lurk in the wings. If the volunteers weren’t here, there would be a deadly feast on this beach. After more www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

MAY 2015 27


Baby loggerhead turtles emerge from their nest and quickly scurry toward the safety of the Gulf of Mexico. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

than an hour, the last hatchling disappears into the dark surf. Sixtynine eggs hatched, and all of the hatchlings made it safely to the water. But the hatchlings face formidable challenges. Only a small percentage survive to maturity -- some get entangled and drown in fishing nets; some choke to death on plastic bags, balloons, and other trash that they mistake for jellyfish, their favorite food; and beachfront development destroys the deserted beaches they need for nesting. One of the potentially biggest threats was the 2010 BP oil spill. Although the long-term effects of the spill are still unknown, based solely on numbers of nests reported by the Share the Beach program, nesting has not been impacted. According to Mike Reynolds, director of Share the Beach, in 2010 the number of nests was low, but 2011 and 2012 set records before returning to the normal range in 2013 and 2014. But Reynolds says nesting numbers only tell the short-term impact and not the whole story. “What if oil in the environment is affecting hatchlings in ways we don’t yet know?” he says. “What if the oil affects the hatchling’s ability to reproduce? What if they are sterile? Nest mortality and other data are still being studied and we may not know the true impacts for years.” One thing we do know for sure is that the turtles imprint on their birth beach and one day the survivors will return to the same beach to lay the seed for yet another generation. The dedicated work of the volunteers and professionals who monitor and protect Alabama’s sea turtles give hope that we will witness the return of sea turtles to Alabama beaches for decades to come. A If you are interested in volunteering with Share the Beach, visit www. alabamaseaturtles.com. Volunteers with Share the Beach help protect a loggerhead sea turtle nest. PHOTO BY DEBI GHOLSON

28 MAY 2015

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Around Alabama MAY Somerville, 11th Annual Somerville Celebration Festival at the Courthouse Square, 3-9 p.m. Fireworks, 5k and 1-mile fun run, vendors, live music, and bouncy houses for the children. All proceeds to go toward the restoration of the Somerville Courthouse, the oldest courthouse in the state of Alabama. Information: 256-778-8282 or email townofsomerville@aol.com.

handmade or natural items. There will also be entertainment on stage, delicious food, Rocky Brook Rocket, petting zoo and more. There is no admission fee but canned food will be collected for the Food Bank.

CukoRakko Music and Arts Festival at Horse Pens 40. This 1-3 Steele, friends and family event features

Mother’s Day Evening Garden Concert at Bellingrath 10 Theodore, Gardens. Bellingrath Gardens and Home is happy to welcome the Mobile

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3 days of music and mixed media arts. Enjoy yoga, rock climbing, glass blowing, blacksmithing, disc golf (with a PDGA tourney), camping, hiking, kid’s activities, food and drinks, crafts and more. For information on tickets, lineup and schedule, visit www.cukorakko.com.

2nd Annual Production of “Ted Dunagan’s: A Yellow 2-3 Thomasville, Watermelon: The Play.” Thomasville Civic Center Theater, Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Both plays are open to the public. The largely autobiographical book and play tells the story of two boys, one white and one black, the adventures they share and the way they deal with poverty and racial issues in the late 1940s in rural South Alabama. Tickets are $10. Play and ticket information: Civic Center of Thomasville, 334-636-5427.

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Union Springs, 36th Annual Chunnenuggee Fair in downtown Union Springs. Fine arts and crafts, fresh food, live entertainment, games and rides. A family-friendly event. For vendor information, call Elizabeth Smithart at 334-738-8683 or email esmithart@yahoo.com.

Garden in the Park at Opelika Municipal Park, 8 a.m.9 Opelika, 3 p.m. Garden in the Park is an arts festival featuring only

Symphony Youth Orchestra and its conductor, Rob Seebacher, for the Annual Mother’s Day Concert. Enjoy the gardens and home throughout the afternoon and then gather at 5:30 PM for the late afternoon concert. Beginning at 4 p.m. Mother’s Day admission will be reduced to $6 adults and $3 children ages 5-12. Call 251-973-2217 ext. 110 for more information. www.bellingrath.org.

31st Annual Poke Salat Festival in Historic Downtown 15-16 Arab, Arab. Large children’s event area, demonstrations, interactive booths consisting of artisans, crafters, businesses, civic groups, fundraising, bake sales, authors and more. This year will feature emerging artists booths for students in kindergarten-12th grade to showcase the student’s original artwork. www.facebook.com/pokesalat.

Bluegrass on the Plains at the University Station 25-31 Auburn, RV Resort. Musical guests including Ricky Skaggs, Kentucky Thunder, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and more. Arts and crafts, food vendors, and workshops to round out the event. For more information and to order tickets, call 334-821-8968. www.bluegrassontheplains.com.

“Autism: Unlocking the Mystery” Conference. Goodwill Easter 8 Mobile, Seals of Gulf Coast, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. This conference is unique, in

that it is designed to include parents, educators and anyone with a desire to learn more about autism and its comorbid components. Registration information: http://specialconferences.com or call 205-612-4458.

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Orange Beach, Orange Beach Wine Festival. More than 120 wines, three live music acts, food from distinguished local restaurants, boat tours of the bay, custom wine glass, custom wine bag, and even craft beer. Tickets are $35 pre-order or $45 at the event. www.wavesofwine.com. In The Pines Music Festival at the Chatom Community 9 Chatom, Center. Festival line up features Dylan Scott with more to be

announced. Food vendors will be selling hot dogs, hamburgers, funnel cakes, chicken on a stick and more. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the gate. www.inthepinesal.com

3rd Annual Paddle at the Rock at Smith Lake Park. 30 Cullman, Paddle at the Rock is a stand up paddle board race benefitting The Bell Center in Homewood. The Bell Center works with children from birth to 3 years of age who have developmental challenges. Contact Tommy or Susan Cost, 256-736-3002 or email info@smithlakepaddleboards.com. JUNE

36th Annual Hank Williams Festival. Featuring arts 5-6 Georgiana, and crafts, music and food. Admission charged. For information, call 334-376-2396 or go to www.hankwilliamsfestival.com.

To place an event, e-mail events@alabamaliving.coop. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations. Alabama Living

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MAY 2015 29


Alabama Gardens

Enjoy nature’s spaces on National Public Gardens Day

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ooking for a great place to spend stewardship and plant and water consome time wandering, wonder- servation practices. Public gardens also ing, playing, relaxing, learning or often conduct research on new plant all of the above? Try a public garden, species and varieties or help protect enand an ideal time to do so is on May 8, dangered species. National Public Gardens Day. National Public Gardens Day was founded in 2009 by the American Public Gardens Association and is always celebrated on the Friday before Mother’s Day as a way to educate the public on the importance of botanical gardens and arboreta in our lives and communities. Certainly one of the most important Hydrangea waterfall at Aldridge Gardens in Hoover. roles a public garden plays is simply the opportunity to take a stroll or sit quietly in Alabama has some 30 public gardens a natural space. But public gardens have scattered across the state ranging in size many other equally important roles as from large, rambling estates to small, well, especially as bastions of education cozy nooks and from formal, manicured and conservation. gardens to wilder, more natural spaces. Most public gardens provide outreach Some of these gardens are free to visit opportunities, events and classes about and others charge an admission fee, but plants, plant care, gardening and land- you should be able to find one near you scaping techniques, and environmental that fits your budget with relative ease. To see a fairly comprehensive list of public gardens in Alabama, visit www. ilovegardens.com and click on the “Alabama” button (or on any of the other garden location buttons if you are travelKatie Jackson is ing to other states and countries). a freelance writer and editor based in To learn more about National PubOpelika, Alabama. lic Gardens Day and find out which of Contact her at katielamarjackson@ Alabama’s public gardens are planning gmail.com. special events for this day, go to www. 30 MAY 2015

nationalpublicgardensday.org. Among the gardens listed there that are planning special activities are Aldridge Gardens in Hoover, the Donald E. Davis Arboretum in Auburn and the Dothan Area Botanical Garden, though it’s likely many others are also offering special deals and events that day, so check out a public garden near you and enjoy the merry month of May (or any month for that matter) in the garden. Oh, and may b e t a ke your mother to a garden for Mother’s Day! A

May Gardening Tips d Plant eggplant, pepper and tomato transplants.

d Sow seed for sweet corn, squash, okra and lima and snap beans.

d Plant summer annuals and perennials.

d Plant ornamental grasses and fallblooming perennials.

d Seed new lawns. d Keep newly planted shrubs and

trees and newly seeded lawns well watered. d Fertilize houseplants that are growing or blooming. d Prune tender deciduous shrubs and vines. d Keep hummingbird feeders full and clean.

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Alabama Living

MAY 2015 31


Alabama Outdoors

Getting the drift of catfishing Jug lines can put a load of catfish in a boat for little money By John N. Felsher

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he bottle tipped and bobbed inces- catfish guide from Muscle Shoals. “Kids middle, it creates increased resistance so santly before creating a v-shaped get really excited because jugging usually fish tire more easily.” wake in the opposite direction as involves a lot of action and we can put a People can also use pool “noodles,” the we approached it. Sometimes, it disap- bunch of fish in a cooler. In my opinion, floating foam tubes children use when peared beneath the surface for long peri- there’s no better way to put a lot of catfish swimming. Made of highly buoyant foam, ods, only to pop up again 30 to 40 yards in the boat quickly.” most noodles already come in bright colaway. Instead of milk jugs, many anglers ors, making them much easier to find “Something big’s on than clear plastic drink that line,” remarked Jack bottles. Cut noodles into Tibbs, mayor of Eufaula, sections about a foot who frequently runs jug long. lines on nearby Lake Alabama sportsmen Eufaula. “Get the pole can use floats in all types around that line and let’s of water. In a lake, set see what’s under that jugs in a wide circle. In bottle.” sluggish canals or bayWith jug lines, so ous, toss one out about called because many anevery 40 to 50 yards. In glers use milk jugs for major rivers with curfloats, anglers can ofrent, look for oxbows, ten fill a boat with fish tributaries or other slack quickly without spendbackwaters because the ing too much money. water flow can quickly This sport essentially carry floats far downconsists of suspending stream. baited lines from floatAlthough flathead cating objects and setting fish prefer live prey, such them adrift. At the end as sunfish or shad, blue of the line, attach a stainand channel cats eat alDaniel Felsher and Jack Tibbs show off a blue catfish they caught on a jug rig, which less steel circle hook. Remost anything including consists of a float and a baited line, to tempt catfish while fishing on Lake Eufaula on lease jugs in a likely area the Alabama-Georgia state line. night crawlers, worms, and wait. When a catfish clams, cheese, crawPHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER takes the bait, it hooks fish, commercial stink itself and makes the float bob in the water. now use drink bottles or similar buoyant or blood baits and many other morsels. “Jugging is a great way to take kids objects. A 20-ounce sport drink bottle Since catfish relish so many different baits, fishing and catch a lot of catfish,” ex- provides enough buoyancy to tire large supplying something tempting shouldn’t plained Brian Barton, a Tennessee River fish, but the slim profile cuts down on rupture a checkbook. Many anglers catch wind-catching surfaces. Anglers can also shad, mullets or other baitfish in cast John N. Felsher is a use cork floats or anything else that might nets. On the backside of dams, anglers freelance writer and suspend bait. Many anglers spray-paint frequently catch skipjack herring, a catphotographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. their floats orange, red or chartreuse to fish favorite, with small curly tail grubs He co-hosts a weekly make them more visible. or hair flies. outdoors show that is syndicated to stations “I like to use 750-milliliter bottles and Just about anywhere in the state, anin Alabama. For more paint them fluorescent red or yellow, ” Barglers can quickly fill a freezer with fresh on the show, see ton says. “I tie the line under the cap and and delicious fillets from abundant and www.gdomag.com. Contact him through bring it back to the middle of the bottle. underutilized fish. They could also enjoy his website at www. I take a cable tie and cinch the line to the a wonderful, inexpensive day of incredible JohnNFelsher.com middle of the bottle. With the line in the family fun. A 32 MAY 2015

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Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time. a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major

MAY 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 JUN 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

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

Alabama Living

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

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

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

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48% of our readers own a garden 85% of those garden owners purchased maintenance items last year 41% own more than 3 acres of land Contact Jacob Johnson 800.410.2737 advertising@areapower.com MAY 2015 33


Mama’s Best Recipes Alabama Recipes

Cook of the month: Sandy Esco, Dixie EC Family Tradition Cornbake Casserole 1 pound ground sirloin or venison 1 large onion, diced 1 pound mushrooms, sliced 1 pack pasta (broken into 2-inch pieces and cooked al dente) or 1 small package elbow macaroni 2 cans cream of mushroom soup

2 cups sour cream 1 packet Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Mix (reserve 2 teaspoons of powder) Garlic salt and pepper to taste 2 cups cheddar cheese 10 slices bread roughly chopped 1 stick butter

Brown sirloin with onion and mushrooms then drain. Combine meat with pasta, mushroom soup, sour cream, ranch powder, garlic salt and pepper. Place in a greased 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs. Combine remaining 2 teaspoons ranch powder with butter and garlic salt to taste. Pour over breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden brown. This recipe is an old family standby that has evolved over the years. Originally my mother-in-law made it with ground chuck, onion, elbow macaroni, soup, sour cream, corn and breadcrumbs. My oldest son added the mushrooms; one day out of necessity I used leftover angel hair pasta instead of macaroni; my husband added the ranch seasoning and uses venison. Over the years it has become a family standby, most often requested for birthdays. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and freezes wonderfully -- great to have on hand for a quick meal for family or friend who needs a comforting meal brought over on short notice.

Salmon Skewers 1-2 salmon filets cut into 2-inch cubes 2 tablespoons fresh oregano 1 teaspoon cumin 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Chicken Spaghetti ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes 3 lemons, cut into thin rounds Olive oil

Combine oregano, cumin, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes in bowl. Set aside. Using bamboo skewers soaked in water for about 1 hour, alternate salmon and lemon rounds.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with seasoning mixture. Place on grill for 5-6 minutes each side. Quick and yummy method: You can also keep the salmon filet whole and lightly slice every inch or so.  Put lemon slice in each crevice and put olive oil and seasoning on top. Broil on high for about 8 minutes, keep oven cracked and make sure you watch so it does not burn. This is very good served with julienned zucchini and squash lightly sautéed in a pan and topped with almond slices and Parmesan cheese.   Kim McCrary, Baldwin EMC

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online at alabamaliving.coop email to recipes@alabamaliving.coop mail to: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

34 MAY 2015

May 15 June 15 July 15

5 cups cooked chicken, diced 1 jar (4 ounces) chopped pimiento, drained ½ cup bell pepper, chopped 1 onion, chopped 2 cans mushroom soup 1 can chicken broth

¼ teaspoon celery salt Salt and pepper to taste 1 8-ounce package spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces 1 pound cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups); reserve ¾ cup cheese for the top of the casserole

Cook the onion and bell pepper with the spaghetti according to spaghetti’s package directions. Drain. While the spaghetti is still hot, stir in all the other ingredients. Place in 9-inch by 13-inch casserole and top with remaining cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly, around 30-40 minutes.  Serves 10. This is a favorite of my family.  The grandchildren request it by name.   Jane Kendrick, Coosa Valley EC

Most everyone has a favorite comfort food. I would define my favorite comfort foods as being simple dishes that provide me with a nostalgic or sentimental feeling. I can say, hands down, my favorite comfort food is my Mama’s dressing. What makes it special, and comforting to me, is that my Mama made it, and it hasn’t changed since the first time I tasted it. Don’t forget to tell your mother how much she means to 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 recipes@alabamaliving.coop.

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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.

Mama’s Homemade Chicken and Dumplings 4 medium split chicken breasts 2 tablespoons salt 5 cups self-rising flour 1½ cups whole milk ¼ cup vegetable oil

½ stick butter 1 can of cream of chicken soup 2 tablespoons black pepper

Wash chicken breasts and place in a boiler. Add butter, salt and pepper. Fill the boiler half full with water and boil 2 for hours. Make sure to keep water level at half full by adding water when needed. After chicken is finished cooking, remove it and debone. After deboning, place chicken back in boiler.  In the last 15 minutes of boiling the chicken, add one can of cream of chicken soup and let simmer.  The dumplings: Pour 5 cups of flour in a large bowl.  Make a crater in the center of the flour. Pour milk and vegetable oil in center. Take a fork and stir, scraping some flour into the mixture until it becomes gooey. Scoop out with hand and place on floured surface. Knead and add flour until dough becomes stiff. Next, take a floured rolling pin and roll dough out to about a 1/4-inch thickness.  With a knife, cut strips of dough about an inch wide. Increase the heat under the boiler, and when it begins to boil take strips of dough and break pieces and drop into the boiler.  Fold in dough with a wooden spoon. When dumplings thicken, lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes more. Makes four to five servings.  Cherry Coleman, Black Warrior EMC

Roasted Sweet Potato Lasagna 1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 1½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn 5 sweet potatoes (chopped and roasted ahead of time) 6 cups marinara sauce 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (8 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, salt and pepper. Add the spinach and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the mozzarella, Parmesan and basil. Spread a third of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Put a layer of lasagna noodles on top. Spread a third of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, then spread a third of the roasted sweet potatoes over that. Sprinkle with a third of the shredded cheese mixture. Repeat to make two more layers. End with shredded cheese mixture on top. Cover the top of the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Robin O’Sullivan, Wiregrass EC

Mama Cake “Green Envelope” 2¼ cups plain flour (or about 5½ handfuls) 1 teaspoon baking soda 1½ cups sugar (or about 3 handfuls) ½ cup shortening, only use Crisco (this is about a handful) Icing 1 cup sugar (or about 2 handfuls) ¾ cup milk (use your cup) Dash salt 3 tablespoons cocoa Alabama Living

1 cup buttermilk (you need to use your cup for this or until it’s a medium consistency.) 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 unbeaten eggs 1 teaspoon salt

In Mom’s own words as only she can tell it. It’s called “Green Envelope” because she wrote the recipe for me on a green envelope. Combine sugar and shortening. Beat until combined, then add eggs, one at a time and vanilla. Combine flour, soda and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 2 round layers. For icing combine sugar, milk, salt and cocoa. Boil for 3 minutes and not a second longer. You can use a toothpick and make small holes on cake. Then pour warm icing on top of first layer, place second layer on top of first and pour remaining icing. Good with a drop of ice cream on top. Donna Feazell, Marshall DeKalb EC MAY 2015 35


Safe @ Home

The evolution of safe electricity

W

orking on electric lines has always been serious business, but in the early years of the 20th century, it could be downright scary. A lack of standards and safety protocols led to far too many injuries and fatalities. Something had to be done. In August 1914—the same month World War I began in Europe—the U.S. government’s National Bureau of Standards, under the direction of Congress, established the National Electrical Safety Code. A century later, in a very different world, the code still plays a critical role in electrical system safety with standards that have been widely adopted across the United States and even abroad. But as it celebrates its 100th birthday, the NESC, as it’s known in the industry, is in a process of revision aimed at the future. “The NESC committee is taking a serious look at what the next hundred years need to be,” says Sue Vogel, who has the responsibility for the code as a senior manager at the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards Association. Electric co-ops have a big stake in that process. “Our members expect our systems to be reliable, cost effective and as safe as they can be, and going by the NESC is one of the best ways to make sure all that is happening,” says Robert Harris, engineering principal at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and a member of the NESC main committee that oversees the code.

“An engineer, a lineman, meter readers, construction folks, consultants – they should all be active in this debate,” says Hyland, a senior vice president at the American Public Power Association, the trade organization for the nation’s municipal electric utility systems. One proposed revision includes better defining where communications equipment and other equipment, such as photovoltaic panels, can be placed on poles, and aligning NESC’s work rules with new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements that were published in April 2014.

A broader debate

All these matters have been addressed in the revisions. But there is also a broader debate under way about the future of the NESC. The question is whether the code should largely remain focused on the areas it has covered for decades or whether it should expand to take into account the rapidly changing face of the power industry. “The electrical system is being asked to do things that it wasn’t asked to do back then,” Hyland says. “We didn’t have wind farms. We didn’t have rooftop solar. We didn’t have community solar. We didn’t have this overlay called the ‘smart grid system.’ Electric utilities are having to adapt and plan for all these changes going forward.” If the NESC doesn’t expand to include some of these new technologies in its standards, some comNESC’s history mittee members worry it will lose In the beginning, NESC stanits relevancy. Safety standards for linemen were as vitally important in dards principally dealt with worker With today’s pace of change, the early days of electricity as they are today. safety, but they have since expanded Hyland thinks it may be necessary ARCHIVES OF NORTH CAROLINA to consider revising the code more to include the installation, operation and maintenance of overhead and underground lines, substations, often than every five years, possibly updating some sections every grounding and communications equipment. two years or so. He points out that the National Electrical Code, The standards mean that linemen or other workers are less likely which is administered by the National Fire Protection Association to face unpleasant surprises when working on parts of a system and applies to in-home wiring, is updated every three years. they haven’t seen before. Establishing standards was vitally impor“Things get done very quickly in today’s world,” Hyland says. tant in the early days of electricity, when electrical systems were “We can’t sit back and say, ‘I had a great idea; I’ll put it in the next isolated and varied significantly in construction. cycle, and maybe it’ll get into the code in 2022.’ That’s not going to But Harris says they remain relevant today, particularly when fly, especially with the younger generation in the industry.” co-ops or other power suppliers send employees to help with diHe thinks the future may include developing apps or other sasters or emergency situations. digital systems to allow users to more easily access relevant parts of the code. The NESC is already used as a reference in about 100 Tomorrow’s code countries, but Hyland believes expanding its use in other parts of The NESC Main Committee, which has authority for approving the world could help bring standardized, safe power delivery to the NESC, adopts revisions every five years to keep it up to date. countries where that is still a challenge. A Revisions currently under consideration will go into effect in the Reed Karaim writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the 2017 edition of the code. Mike Hyland, chair of the NESC executive committee, says the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.process is based on consensus, and the committee invites com- based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-forments from anyone in the industry with an interest in the code. profit electric cooperatives. 36 MAY 2015

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Alabama Living

MAY 2015 39


Alabama Literature

ALABAMA BOOKSHELF Each month, we offer a summary of recent books that are either about Alabama people or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements.

We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions and events to bookshelf@alabamaliving.coop

Watch of the Pelicans, by Lenela Glass-Godwin, CreateSpace, December 2014, $9.99 Spirited and independent, Grayce MacKenzie is a dedicated wife and mother, as well as a wildlife biologist and former military police investigator. A friend invites her to a Florida wildlife refuge, and she looks forward to simply surveying wintering birds on the Atlantic coast; instead, she finds herself thrust into a web of theft, deceit, and murder swirling around a very rare timepiece. Walmart, Jesus and You: Discovering the Gospel in Everyday Living, by Joey Rich, CreateSpace, March 2013, $9.95 This book by Alabama native Rich is an invitation to hear Jesus speak about the importance and significance of everyday events. Each independent chapter opens with a true experience from the author’s life. A teaching from the scripture is then presented, and the chapter concludes with a challenge to the reader. Living Our Later Years, by Lura Zerick, LifeRichPublishing, October 2014, $11.99 The 84-year-old author from Geneva says she used to dread each day, and knew that was no way to live her life. She shares her enthusiasm for her new life, along with tips, quips, and no small amount of humor. She says she now lives a life filled with challenge and a sense of achievement. Lemonade Journal, by Sandy McDaniel, CreateSpace, November 2014, $10 The work of fiction is told through the eyes of 85-year-old Lelia and her “lemonade journal,” in which she chronicles a small town’s buried secrets. The author, who is from Ariton, based the book on the lives of her grandparents, and in the process of writing came to understand their struggles, dreams and desires. Tales of a Strange Southern Lady, by Jan Fink, Fifth Estate, August 2014, $15.93 These 10 short stories are drawn from the life experiences of the author, who lives in Arab. The characters are contrasts of good and evil, and the stories deal with themes of love, guilt, sin and human frailty. But each character is, in his or her own way, searching for meaning and freedom. 40 MAY 2015

www.alabamaliving.coop


Market Place

STORAGE CONTAINER SALES • RENTALS

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AFFORDABLE TRUCK SALES

24285 State Hwy 59, Robertsdale, AL 36567 Contact Danny Dyer or Philip Mitchell @ 251-947-1944 www.affordatruck.com • affordable@gulftel.com

Alabama Living

MAY 2015  41


Springfest in rundidge

B

May 9, 2015

Downtown Brundidge Arts and Crafts Food Kids Activity Area Entertainment

Contact Dixie Shehane at 334-735-9191 or Chuck Caraway at 334-735-3400 for information.

www.southaec.com


I LIKE TO TAKE IT EASY ON VACATION. SO DOES MY ENERGY BILL. And while my energy bill can’t go camping or fishing, there are some things I can do to lighten its load. Like adjusting my thermostat and turning off the water heater before I leave. I’m saving money even while I’m on vacation. What can you do? Find out how the little changes add up at TogetherWeSave.com.

Alabama Living

TOGE THERWE SAV E .COM

MAY 2015 43


Our Sources Say

Energy important for economy, working people Ed. note: The following is a guest column by state Rep. Darrio Melton. When you represent a rural district, especially one in a place like Alabama’s Black Belt, you become acutely aware of the economic challenges people and businesses face on a daily basis. Communities struggle to recruit and retain quality jobs. Businesses are in a constant battle to find a competitive edge. Families fight to stay above water and to give their children opportunities. I have written before that many of the hardest working people I know are also the poorest. That is why I have fought in the legislature to raise the state’s minimum wage. Some of my colleagues disagree with my approach to help raise low-income families out of poverty, but there are other areas where we share common beliefs. One of these is the need to protect access to affordable and reliable energy. The need for energy is one of the threads that ties together people from all walks of life. And while energy issues might not rank high in the minds of most working people, the consequences of energy policies have great significance in their lives. If we are to maintain the economic development success that has brought major industry to our state – projects like Hyundai Motor Manufacturing near my district – we must work hard to create a policy environment where low-cost energy is possible. Time and time again, we have heard from industrial prospects that our state’s low-cost and high-reliability electricity was key to making Alabama their new home. These successes, fueled in part by the pro-energy environment Alabama has built, have directly led to good-paying, high-skill jobs that transform communities and give young people hope. There can be no doubt that the combination of the federal Clean Air Act and the deployment of new technology can result in tremendous progress in our state’s air and water quality. This progress must be preserved. At the same time, the consequences of new federal rules – ones that go far beyond the original purpose of the Clean Air Act – remain largely unknown. Alabama now faces a new federal mandate to reduce its emission of carbon dioxide by 27 percent by 2030, the path to and the cost for which

no one currently knows. My fear is that the cost of electricity for families and businesses could rise, placing even more economic pressure on those who can least afford it. Later this year, the Environmental Protection Agency will issue a new standard for ozone that is likely to be 65 parts per billion and could be as low as 60 parts per billion. Keep in my mind that Dallas County, which makes up most of my district, is currently estimated to have an ozone level of 64 parts per billion, achieving the likely new standard by the smallest of margins. Failure to meet the new standard could result in heavy federal penalties that discourage new industry. Rules such as these must be analyzed carefully to ensure they have minimal impact on communities like mine that can scarcely bear more economic pressure. There is much at stake. Throughout my public service, I have tried to maintain a thoughtful, open-minded approach to issues that too often can be divisive. Like most in my party, I am a strong supporter of measures to protect the environment. However, I am also sensitive to the possibility that new policies could have unintended results that hurt working people and businesses. By working together, listening to all voices, and carefully examining all concerns, my hope is that we can move forward in a way that makes sense for all. A

Since 2010, Rep. Darrio Melton has represented District 67 in the Alabama House of Representatives, including all of Dallas County and part of Perry County. Despite being one of the youngest members of the House, he was recognized in 2011 as the Freshman Legislator of the Year by his fellow legislators and also named Legislator of the Year by the House Democratic Caucus during that same year. Melton currently serves as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

44  MAY 2015

www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

MAY 2015  45


Alabama Snapshots

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“Look-a-likes” 1. Brooke and Bella at Lamberts in Gulf Shores. SUBMITTED BY Jamie Martin, Lincoln. 2. Ivy looks like “Mama” from Mama’s Family. SUBMITTED BY Natalie Donaldson, Atmore. 3. Ella Kate looks more like her Grampa Mike than her twin sister, Lily. SUBMITTED BY Jenny Johnson, Sylacauga. 4. Sonya and son Drew. SUBMITTED BY Sonya Hodge, Decatur. 46 MAY 2015

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5. Twins Willie Mae Robinson and Mittie Lee Green, with friend Elmer Gill. SUBMITTED BY Willie Mae Robinson, Prattville. 6. Stacy Hatcher and grandson Luke Cooper in almost identical Auburn shirts. SUBMITTED BY Cary Hatcher, Hartford. 7. Joey and Gavin White. SUBMITTED BY Amanda White, Arab. 8. Mother and daughter, Janice and Shelly. SUBMITTED BY Janice Evans, Wadley.

5

Submit Your Images! JULY THEME:

“Fun at the Lake”

SUBMIT PHOTOS THROUGH OUR WEBSITE: alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ OR SEND COLOR PHOTOS WITH A LARGE SELFADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE TO:

Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL, 36124 RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www. alabamaliving.coop. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. DEADLINE FOR JULY: May 31

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