September 2022 Sand Mountain

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The calm in the storm weather man James

ELECTRICMountainSandCOOPERATIVE

Spann Gulf Coast’s new indoor water park

Alabama’s

September 2022 Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News

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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. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. 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.

Gulf Coast; the project is perhaps OWA’s most

is the largest indoor

The new

ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

3422 VOL. 75 NO. 9 SEPTEMBER 2022 DEPARTMENTS 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 34 Cook of the Month 40 Outdoors 41 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop 16 SEPTEMBER 2022 3 WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 Meteorologist James Spann has dedicated his career to making Alabamians aware of the violent side of weather, using his TV broadcasts and social media platforms to educate children and adults. Page 12. PHOTO: Jeff Rease

INDOOR SPLASH Tropic Falls Indoor Water Park in Foley water park the ambitious expansion

Printed in America from American materials Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER Look for this logo to see more content online! FEATURES 4 Cooperative Model SMEC works cooperatively toward the goal of providing safe, reliable and low-cost electric power. 22 Old-fashioned service Stepping into the Old Town Stock House in downtown Guntersville is like stepping back in time – in a good way. 34 Finger foods Simple but delicious foods you can pick up with your fingers are what parties and tailgates are made for. CEO/GENERAL MANAGER Mark Malone CO-OP EDITOR Diane B. Hale

RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION AREA President Karl Rayborn Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Production Coordinator Brooke Echols ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL

to date.

MainStreet Publications

on

SMEC employees and trustees work hard every day to improve the reliability and efficiency of your electric system. Even though the rest of the world seems to be pulling itself apart, you can be confident that the employees and trustees of SMEC are working cooperatively toward the goal of providing safe, reliable, low-cost electric power. The employees and trustees of SMEC hope you have a great September!

The Cooperative Model Mark Manager/CEOMalone

www.smec.coopfax In case of power outages, you may call us 24 hours a day:

Section-Langston-MarshallBryant-Higdon-FlatRainsville-Powell-Fyffe-Sylvania256-638-2153Rock-Henagar-Ider-Pisgah256-657-5137FortPayne256-845-1511ValleyHead-Mentone256-635-6344Collinsville-Geraldine256-659-2153Co.1-877-843-2512

402 Main Street West P.O. Box 277 Rainsville, AL 35986 (256) 638-4957

4 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

It was the late 1930s and the Great Depression was causing terrible hardship in northeast Alabama, the United States and the world. The unemployment rate was stubbornly staying between 15% and 21% and the financial markets and banking system were dangerously weak. If that wasn’t enough to extinguish all hope - Germany and Japan were invading unchecked throughout Europe and Asia. The situation was about as bleak as it could possibly be. In the face of the overwhelming forces arrayed against them and the lack of reasons for optimism, the leaders in our area were organizing Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative and making plans to bring electricity to homes and businesses in northeast Alabama. The outbreak of World War II and the massive shortages of material didn’t deter these leaders from their mission of providing electric power to their neighbors. The residents of our area contributed labor, food, water and kind words to the workers building the lines. Cooperation was – and still is – the essence of the electric cooperative model. That level of focus, effort, selfsacrifice and cooperation is hard to imagine in today’s partisan environment. So many are concerned with getting credit or assigning blame that they can’t work through the problems effectively.

Board of Trustees David facebook.com/SMEC.coopRaymondRolandRandyLarryHendersonGodwinL.BaileyLukeFreemanHendonC.LongLeoBomianDannyLaceyBradGilbert

Politics, government and society is increasingly tribal and cooperatively solving complex issues is becoming more difficult, if not impossible. Compromise and working together is considered a weakness. An exception to this trend is the electric cooperative model.

• Microchip your pet and ensure the contact information is up to date.

Caring for vulnerable family members

• Bring pets indoors at the first sign of a storm or other emergency. Pets can become disoriented and frightened during severe weather and may wander off during an emergency.

• Develop a plan for communicating with family and friends (i.e., via text, social media, third party, etc.).

• Fill your car with gas.

September is National Preparedness

• Organize your supplies so they are together in an easily accessible location that family members know about.

• Have some extra cash available; during a power outage, electronic card readers and cash machines may not work.

If you have older family members or those with special needs, make sure they have enough medication and supplies for a few days. If they don’t live with you, arrange for a neighbor to check in on them. If a severe weather event is expected, consider having your relative stay with you if feasible, otherwise call them daily. If you have an infant or young children, make certain that you have ample formula, diapers, medication and other supplies on hand to weather an outage lasting several days or more. Keeping four-legged family members safe

| Sand Mountain Electric |

The Power of Preparation

Alabama Living SEPTEMBER 2022 5

• Store pet medical records on a USB drive or in an easy-to-remember location.

In honor of National Preparedness Month in September, SMEC wants to remind members about the power of preparation. While you don’t have to achieve a “doomsday prepper” level of preparedness, there are several practical steps you can take to keep you and your family safe. Even at a modest level, preparation can help reduce stress, anxiety and lessen the impact of an emergency event. We recommend starting with the basics.Here are general guidelines recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

With severe weather events occurring more frequently, now more than ever, it makes sense to be prepared. During a prolonged power outage or other emergency, this means having enough food, water and supplies to last at least a few days.

• Assemble a grab-and-go disaster kit. Include items like nonperishable food, water (one gallon per person, per day), diapers, batteries, flashlights, prescription medications, first-aid kit, battery-powered radio and phone chargers.

• Keep neighbors and coworkers apprised of your emergency plans.

• Store important documents (birth certificates, property deed, etc.) in safe place away from home (for example, a bank safe deposit box).

For families with pets, having a plan in place in the event of a prolonged outage or an emergency will help reduce worry and stress especially if you need to make a decision during an emergency.

Month. Make preparations to keep you and your family safe during severe weather events.

• Create an emergency kit for pets (include shelfsafe food, bottled water, medications and other supplies). At SMEC, we care about your safety. Planning for an emergency situation today can give you more confidence to deal with severe weather and potential outages in the future.

1. Type www.smec.coop in the search bar .

Tracking your usage is as easy as 1-2-3!

Electric bills vary with the seasons, driven by weather and consumer use patterns. Weather matters. When it’s cool outdoors, family members generally want the house warm. When its warm outside, air conditioners make living areas pleasant. How much weather affects your electric bill depends on many factors. A home’s construction materials, personal comfort and the difference between the thermostat settings inside and the temperatures outdoors. When a house stays at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, but the outdoor temperatures vary from 20 degrees in winter to more than 100 degrees on a muggy summer’s day, demand for heating and cooling can be significant. Cooled air leaving a home essentially wastes the money spent to cool it. The same is true for air a homeowner has paid to warm.

There are several factors that can affect your bill:•

2. Click the ‘My Account’ tab at the top of our homepage then scroll down and click ‘Usage History’.

Higher air and water temperatures also affect the efficiency of how the power plants convert fuel into electricity.

• Outside of your home, the climate also impacts our energy bills by driving up, or lowering, the price of electricity in the market.

6 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

Take advantage of the usage history page on the SMEC website. Here members can monitor daily and hourly kilowatt use. To track your usage:

• During extreme weather your system works harder to cool or heat your home and may struggle to maintain an ambient temperature.

Let us explain & help you track your usage.

High electricity costs can often be a rude awakening. None of us want to see our hard earned cash consumed by an electricity bill. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that when the temperature outside spikes either in an upward or downward direction, the temperature in your home will go up and down accordingly; so of course you expect your utility usage to go up and that means either higher gas or electricity bills. However, that is a rather simplistic view. It is a culmination of indirect and direct factors that affect production and consumption that will result in your bills being higher or lower than you expected.

3. Log in to your account and start comparing and tracking your usage each day, week or month.

• Prices of natural gas and electricity are dictated by supply, demand and storage. This peaks demand in the summer months, putting pressure on the energy infrastructure. Natural gas is the fuel of choice for meeting the peak electrical demand of air conditioning season across the USA. In times of high demand, more gas has to be taken from storage which is a more expensive way to generate electricity.

How does the weather affect your electricity bill ?

• In places with a humid climate, humidity affects how the air holds the temperature and the natural reaction is to lower the thermostat to make the home more comfortable. Humidity does not change the thermostat reading; however, it may result in the thermostat staying at the same setting for longer periods of time. Also the more humid the air is, the more water collects on the coils- resulting in the unit running longer.

• In just a few days extreme temperatures can cause your bill to be markedly higher.

As temperatures soar or dip, this may make your heating or cooling equipment run longer and at maximum capacity – thereby using more electricity.

| Sand Mountain Electric | Alabama Living SEPTEMBER 2022 7

8 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

National Farm Safety and Health Week

Farm Safety and Health Week is September 18-24! Whether you live on a farm or in the city, always play it safe near power lines and other electrical equipment.

LeBrian Ridley ready for football practice. SUBMITTED by Audrey Fitzpatrick, Elmore.

SUBMITTED by AlanaSomerville.Suttles,

The 2016 annual match up of the Pisgah and Section Pee Wee (ages 9 and 10) football teams. SUBMITTED by Dale Crawford, Dutton. Online: alabamaliving.coop Mail: Attn: Snapshots P.O. Box Montgomery,244014AL 36124 Harris family: Craig, Tammy, Haley, Blake, Brent, Hannah, Sophie and Corbin. SUBMITTED by Tammy Harris, Gardendale. My grandson Zack Caldwell, number 2 plays for Randolph County Tigers. SUBMITTED by Dale Rice, Roanoke.

Football

SUBMIT to WIN $10!

Daysen Graham, age 5, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2021. He loves Alabma football and received a Roll Tide care package from head coach Nick Saban and his wife, Terry, featuring this autographed football. SUBMITTED by June Graham, Falkville. Jackson CliftondadgettingSuttlessomeadvicefromandcoachSuttles.

November theme: “Birds” Deadline to submit: September 30 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 alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.

| Alabama Snapshots |

The Statewide Editors Association is a professional organiza tion representing 32 statewide magazines that reach 12 million readers in 42 states served by electric cooperatives. Combined, statewide magazines are the third largest consumer publication in the United States.

1818 Farms to start venture with BloomTV 1818 Farms, located in historic Mooresville, Alabama, cele brated its 10-year business anniversary this summer, and an nounced a new partnership with BloomTV, an online stream ing service and network for all things floral.

debutsArchivesnewwebsite

Photographer

1818 Farms was founded by Natasha McCrary and her fami ly; they produce handmade products and educate the public on the value of sustainability, craftsmanship and a sense of com munity. Their bath and beauty line of creams, bath soaks, wax sachets and more are available in 572 stores in 45 states and online.McCrary was named Amazon’s Woman-Owned Small Busi ness of the Year in 2019 and was featured in Alabama Living mag azine in September 2021. For more, visit 1818farms.com State

Highlights of the new site include robust databases for con ducting historical and genealogical research in the ADAH’s extensive archival collections; the Alabama History Hub, a onestop resource for K-12 educators classroom resources curated by ADAH staff; an events calendar for at-a-glance information about ADAH programs; and a new database of retention sched ules and other helpful resources on records management for state and local government offices.

Alabama Living wins national awards

The following won Awards of Excellence: Personality Profile, Allison Law, manag ing editor of Alabama Living, for her Janu ary 2022 story on State Rep. Jeremy Gray of Opelika; Best Entertaining Feature, More than 650 Words, writer Jennifer Kornegay for her May 2022 story, “Five Essential Dishes Every Alabamian Should Know How to Make;” and Hardy Jackson, Best Column, for “Mr. Dave and the Barber shop,” from April 2022.

The Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) recently debuted a new website, the culmination of a multi-year project to improve and enhance the agency’s online presence. The new site (archives.alabama.gov) features powerful new re search tools, user-friendly databases for educators and public officials, information for planning visits to the ADAH’s Muse um of Alabama, and many more opportunities for the public to connect with the ADAH and Alabama history online.

Jeff Rease, a Birmingham photographer who created the WWII Portraits of Honor proj ect, has been named a GoFund Me hero by the crowdfunding platform. Rease created a Go FundMe fundraiser to help defray the costs of traveling to photograph as many World War II veterans as possible.

Photographer of veterans named GoFundMe hero

Jeff Rease with D-Day veteran Hilman Prestridge.

Rease has toured the world and captured the stories of more than 290 veterans. He traveled to Normandy, France, with 29 WWII veterans to commem orate the 78th anniversary of D-Day. Rease’s project was spotlighted in the November 2020 issue of Alabama Living. To learn more, visit www.PortraitsOfHonor.us

Natasha McCrary and her family founded 1818 Farms, based in Mooresville, Alabama, in 2012.

Alabama Living writers and staff won several awards in August at the Statewide Editors Association Annual Willies Awards com petition. The awards were presented at the group’s SEA Institute in JohnChicago.Felsher, outdoors writer, won a Willie Award in the cat egory, Best Entertaining Feature, Less than 650 words, for his September 2021 story, “Serpent Saving,” about Alabama Snake Removers, a south Alabama group dedicated to removing and safely relocating snakes.

10 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop Spotlight | September

Alabama Living SEPTEMBER 2022 11 September | Spotlight

By mail: Find the Montgomery,POAlabamaDingbatLivingBox244014AL 36124 By email: dingbat@alabamaliving.com

Take us

August’s answer: We don’t know much about this sculpture near Gadsden City Hall. The director/curator of the Gadsden Museum of Art did not have much information about it, save a newspaper story from October 2008, which referred to it as the “Stars Fell on Alabama” concrete couch. (The newspaper clipping did not include the name of the newspaper).

The story, which didn’t have a byline, reported that Sherry Brit ton, a Texas artist, and a crew of local volunteers were working on the concrete couch. Britton was primarily a stained-glass artist but branched out to try to make concrete have the appearance of fabric. The couch was intended to “dis play the grandeur of the Alabama night sky,” accord ing to the article. A website listed for Britton in the story is not active, and we could find little about Britton with regular In ternet searches. If you have info to share, email Al lison Law at alaw@areapower.com (Photo submitted by Susan Lynn Allen of North Alabama EC) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Schaleigh Holt of Sand Mountain EC.

Who would expect to find a chocolate chip cookie hidden in the garden? Well, nearly 400 of our readers did when they cor rectly located the August dingbat in the photo on Page 22 of our gardening column. Our graphic artist decided to give our readers a break this month, after the difficult search we put you through in July! Phyllis Fenn of Dixie EC wrote to us, “Look grandma, a chocolate chip cookie hiding in the garden mulch right by your irrigation hose! Hope you’ve got more in the house!” Don and Cindy Lee of Vina in Franklin County wrote that as they were searching through the magazine, they “thought someone had eat en the August dingbat.” Cindy Ard of Orange Beach was happy to find her first dingbat after five years, and Tina Lewis, a new coop member in Hartford, was proud to find the cookie in her first magazine. Good job, readers! Congratulations to Jerry Posey of Phenix City, our randomly drawn winner who will receive a prize package from our sponsor, Alabama One Credit Union. This issue, we’ve hidden a pair of football goalposts, which we’ll be seeing a lot of this fall. Good luck!

Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be announced in the October issue.Submit by email: whereville@alabamaliving. coop, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Mont gomery, AL 36124. Do you like finding interesting or unusual land marks? Contribute a photo you took for an upcoming issue! Re member, all readers whose photos are chosen also win $25!

Sponsored by

Dr. Lisa Weeks, a trustee at Cullman EC and her daughter, Anna, took their magazine all the way to Paradise Bay, Antarctica, home to the abandoned research station Almirante Brown Antarctic Base.Marty and Candy Williams of Wagerville, members of ClarkeWashington EMC, enjoyed a visit to Helen, Georgia, one of our favorite Alabama Living advertisers!

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: mytravels@alabamaliving. coop. Be sure to include your name, hometown and electric co operative, and the location of your photo.We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month. along!

Whereville, AL

Find the hidden dingbat!

Billy and Dolores Puckett of Foley, members of Baldwin EMC, got a frigid wake-up call when they took their magazine to celebrate a family Christmas in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where thewastemperature9degrees!

Jimmy and Susan Deese of Elba, members of Covington EC, took their magazine on a Celebrity Southern Caribbean cruise to Kralendijk, Bonaire.   Located 86 miles east of Aruba and 30 miles from Curacao, Bonaire is the second largest of the five Dutch Antillean Islands.

PHOTOS BY JEFF REASE

12 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

Eyes on the skiesWeatherman Spann remains fascinated by the mysteries of weather

In the fall of 1962, in Greenville, Alabama’s W.O. Parmer Ele mentary School, teacher Edna Earle Porterfield commanded the attention of first-grade students – except for one. A 6-yearold boy opted instead to gaze out the window, observing cloud formations. Suddenly, the youngster was yanked from his chair by Ms. Porterfield for a hallway conference. He feared the worst. But the teacher smiled and presented the window-gazing stu dent with a library book. “I noticed you have been looking at clouds,” she told the youngster.  “I thought you might like to know more about it.” The boy was James Spann, and the incident refocused his life. More changes were to come. When Spann was just 7, his father left the family, leaving a mother to raise her son. Young Spann and his mom moved to Tuscaloosa so she could attend the University of Alabama, earn a degree, and become a schoolteacher. As a Tuscaloosa teen, Spann loved electronic equipment and earned a ham radio license. The Tuscaloosa High School principal allowed him and some friends to build a school radio station. “It was very illegal,” Spann chuckles. “We were supposed to have a broadcast range restricted to campus. But I embellished it. You could hear us in Northport.” He turned a love of radio equipment into an interest in broad casting. A local radio station, WTBC, called the school to ask if there was a student interested in working really bad hours for minimum wage. The school answered, “James Spann.” Spann was hired. He later covered news, sports, and his soon to be specialty, weather. He also traveled to onsite weather occur rences. Many were terrible. In 1974, his senior year, 80 people died of storm-related events.

By Emmett Burnett Birmingham meteorologist James Spann in a familiar setting at the ABC 33/40 TV studio.

Working from everywhere

Just as Alabama’s geography is diverse from mountains to beaches, so is its weather. “Typically, the more violent tornadoes, the F4s and F5, are more frequent in the northern part of the state,” he says. “South Alabama tornadoes are often short lived.” But all are dangerous.

“I was at Peoples Hospital, in Jasper, Alabama, during a terrible tornado outbreak,” he recalls. “Many lives were lost. I saw things no 17-year-old should see.” The dark side of weather taught lessons. Forecasting is more than predicting rainy days. Spann learned, “In this business, we must do everything we can to save lives. We try to use our plat form to teach. The knowledge may help you on tornado and hur ricane days.” He adds, “I have always been fascinated by weather.” Spann ref erences that childhood memory of gazing from his schoolroom window: “I would be looking out a window now if there was a window in this place.”

No shortage of weather events

At his control are live radar images, reconnaissance data, and 44 years of experience. He can examine aerial photographs of almost any Alabama city and identify buildings by name from memory.

There are also personal appearances to make. He is a frequent public speaker, including community events, charity drives, and elementary schools. Today he did all three before lunch. Back at the studios of ABC 33/40, there is the local forecast to prepare. He will be on air at 4, 5, 6, and 10 p.m., or – and this is the exciting part – when breaking news dictates. “We must be ready,” the meteorologist warns. “I monitor condi tions across the state. If we are ripe for a tornado, we have got to be ready to go on air and fast. Time is of the essence and can literally be a life-or-death decision.” He has no problem interrupting newscasts. Spann’s team can be on the air within 10 seconds when he shouts, “LET’S GO! NOW!”

“Lots of people don’t respond to radar,” he says. “They see colors like a bucket of spilled paint and shrug it off. If I say, ‘a tornado is 14 miles southwest of Clanton,’ nobody knows what that means. But if I warn, ‘a tornado is near Jim’s Pit Barbecue in Billingsley’ – everybody in Clanton knows where that is – they take action.” He speaks with authority and hands-on training. In 1973, his junior year of high school, Spann was the first on scene when a tornado ripped through Brent, Alabama, killing five people. “That was my first experience with the violent side of weather,” he re calls. “I experienced the scent of death. You can take a shower, but that scent stays with you for three days.” He was dispatched to Mobile for September 1979 Hurricane Frederic coverage. “We stayed at Azalea Middle School,” the veteran forecaster recalls. “The campus was an evacuation shelter for local nursing home patients to ride out the storm. We frantically moved the elderly to safer rooms that night when the roof blew off.” He won an Emmy Award for covering a deadly tornado that ravaged Tuscaloosa on Dec. 16, 2000. The trunk of the wind fun nel could encapsulate Bryant-Denny Stadium and it almost did. He has dozens more such stories, remembering dates, damage, injuries, and death.

“I have covered blizzards, floods, droughts, ice storms and heat waves from that green screen,” Spann adds, pointing at the most famous TV studio weather wall in Alabama. The hardest Alabama weather phenomena to predict? Snow. “We just don’t have enough recorded data to accurately predict snow because it doesn’t occur here that often,” he notes.

“This place” is WBMA – ABC 33/40 News and Weather Stu dio, Birmingham. Spann has worked from here for around 25 years. Actually, he works from everywhere. He also has a TV studio in his home where he starts the day around 3:30 a.m., after getting a good night’s sleep of about two and half hours. From home his duties include gathering data, writing blog posts, producing “Weather Extreme” videos, and broadcasting weather reports to 24 radio stations across America.

“School kids always ask me, ‘why can’t you get snow forecasts right?’ That’s a very good question,” the forecaster says with a smile. But that is part of the fascination of weather. The meteorolo Spann often speaks to elementary school students. “I want to reach kids at an early age about the importance of weather safety,” he says. And he’s found that “children ask good questions.”

14 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop gist readily admits we do not know everything. Weather is still a mystery.“When you’re young, you think you know it all,” says Spann, “but there is so much we do not know. I can’t tell you on a June morning where the thunderstorms will hit that afternoon. Weath er is a challenge. It always will be.”In non-weather-related ac tivities, Spann is chairman of the board for Birmingham’s Grandview Medical Center. He is also children’s worship lead er at Double Oak Community Church, Mt. Laurel campus in Birmingham. In addition, he enjoys working with youth sports.He’s in his mid-60s but works out in a gym three days a week and plays tennis on Sundays with his family. Explaining his game, Spann notes, “We look really good on a tennis courtfrom a distance.” He and wife Karen have been married over 40 years.  And Spann knows and remembers everybody. The photogra pher for this story, Jeff Rease, reminded Spann, “You coached my son in “Didbaseball!”hekeepplaying or did he stop?” Spann questioned. “Be cause he was good. He could have continued playing. I remember how good the team was but most of all, I remember the fun and camaraderie we had. I miss that.”

Spann talks with fans and employees at Carlisle Drug Co. in Alexander City. Spann was at the store to sign copies of his memoir, Weathering Life Spann reflects on his nearly 45-year career in broadcasting and meteorology with writer Emmett Burnett. Even with that kind of experience, weather is still a mystery, he says, but it still fascinates him.

But back to the weather: “Looks like a calm day in Alabama,” the meteorologist says about today’s forecast. “Now tonight some thunderstorms are moving in. I will study it later from the closet.” That’s right, his office is a closet, secluded and private. “This job requires critical thinking which for me requires privacy for concentration. My bosses have asked, ‘James, don’t you want a better office?’ I an swer,Withnope.”the interview wind ing down, he conducts an im promptu tour of the studio as we walk out. In reflection he notes that Alabama weather forecasting is difficult at times. “Meteorology is a game you cannot win but you try to stay in the game,” Spann says. “We don’t expect the audience to be total weather dweebs. That’s what we are.” But he never forgets that giv ing accurate, reliable forecasts can save lives. With that, the weatherman – in his crisp white shirt with trade mark necktie and suspenders – returns to work. He scans weather data from electronic “windows,” just as he did from a Greenville elementary school windows many years ago.

At press time, phase two was under construction, with only the 30,000-square-foot outdoor wave pool left to complete. Other phase two attractions include a surf simulator and additional din ing and beverage locations.

Castaway Creek features a 500-foot-long lazy river. Thrillseekers can take the plunge at Tangerine Scream, a 75-foot free-fall water slide.

The mammoth undertaking is a two-phase roll out. Phase one opened June 29 with six thrill slides, a lazy river, indoor dining, party rental rooms, an indoor arcade, and a chil dren’s play area with five family-friendly slides. Two thrill slides rise to new heights: Tangerine Scream, a 75-foot free-fall, and Piranha Plunge, also 75-feet tall with a super loop and drop floor.

By Emmett Burnett

Expansion makes OWA a year-round destination

16 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

the entire original theme park from when we first opened.”

She continues, “We wanted an indoor water park partly be cause of our weather. It was part of our overall vision when we first opened. It’s a great option to get out of the sun, rain, or cold. It is fun indoors without feeling like you are indoors.”

Rising 114 feet above Baldwin County, Rollin’ Thunder’s pas sengers can view the Gulf of Mexico all the way from Foley. But not for long. Within seconds, roller coaster fans plunge 56 mph through twisted paths, hairpin turns, and a harrowing straightway. Pas sengers disembarking the expansive blue track all agree – Tropic Falls at OWA rocks. But Tropic Falls at OWA is no longer just for attractions on land (or in the air, if you’re on one of the roller coasters or oth er thrill rides). The new Tropic Falls Indoor Water Park is the largest indoor water park on the Gulf Coast; the project is perhaps OWA’s most ambitious expansion to date. “From an investment standpoint, this is the biggest single at traction we have had,” says Kristin Hellmich, OWA’s director of marketing and public relations, about the $74 million project un der a 100,000-square-foot roof. “The waterpark costs more than

The new Tropic Falls Indoor Water Park is the largest indoor water park on the Gulf Coast

With cleanliness comes safety. All rides are checked daily and evaluated before the theme park opens and monitored closely throughout the day. In winter the park has about 100 employees, but during the peak summer months the number swells to 500 to 700. Of that, about half will work in the new water park, proba bly by the time you read this.

18 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

Tropic Falls, home to the largest indoor waterpark in the Southeastern U.S., is now open at OWA Parks & Resort. PHOTOS COURTESY OF OWA In Downtown OWA, Murder Creek Distillery sells Alabama-made moonshine.

As for today’s visit, Tropic Falls vis itors eagerly board rides, includ ing Aero Zoom, Crazy Mouse, Alabama Wham’a and about 20 more. Nearby, there is that Gulf Shores beach thing, down the road. But in Foley, twisting and turning above it all, Rollin’ Thunder rolls again. And so does OWA.

Something for everyone

For the novice, OWA has two components – Tropic Falls, which includes the theme park and water park side, and Downtown OWA, with shops, shows, restaurants, gathering spots, and more. “Most people do not realize how big OWA is,” Hellmich says as we walk around the lake. “It is much bigger than it looks from the road.” She is correct. The complex spans 520 acres. Tropic Falls is 14 acres and the lake separating the two is over a mile in diameter. Plan at least a day to see it all – and that does not include the new water park. Add another day. “I believe one of the best values we offer at OWA is something for all,” Hellmich says. “Some come for the theme park rides, in cluding teens and spring breakers, and college kids. But others, often an older crowd, visit for a good meal and to take in a show. We are not just a theme park. We are not just a water park. We are a year-round entertainment destination for everybody.”

OWA does not release attendance data, but Hellmich says “Our attendance is significant and has grown every year since startup.” She credits the site’s popularity to what one would expect – great value and quality attractions. But guests are also drawn here by a behind the scenes factor – cleanliness.

Eateries and shops “Incidentally, she just add ed shrimp and grits to her menu,” Hellmich says, point ing to Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen restaurant, with en trees including fried chick en kissed by angels. Other culinary adventures include the Groovy Goat, Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill, Su shi Co., Lucy’s Retired Surf ers Bar and Restaurant, and C’est Le Vin Wine Bar and Shop.Just as the theme park of fers something for everyone, so does Downtown OWA’s shopping district – from fine jewelry to clothing to jelly beans.

Downtown also includes the Fairhope Soap Company, Alvin’s Island Tropical Department Store, the Spice and Tea Exchange and Body Tune Plus. Another new spot lifts your spirits with spirits of Alabama moonshine. Murder Creek Distillery is so named for Escambia County’s tributary with the charming name, “Murder Creek.” Sample tastings are available for brews, ranging from gentle and mild, to robust beverages, duplicating the Rollin’ Thunder roller coaster without actually riding it.

Castaway Creek/Lazy River, private party rooms, private cabanas, Grub (a quick service restaurant) and Libations, a tropical themed cocktail bar. OWA is also undertaking a $2.5 million rebranding project. Henceforth, the theme park and attractions will be known as Tropic Falls at OWA. “It includes ev erything behind the theme park and water park single gate,” Hellmich says, as we explore the newly named attraction.

Tropic Falls is currently the only indoor waterpark in the U.S. with both a retractable roof and wall. The park is open Additionalyear-round.featuresinclude

OWA is cleaner than your living room. “We have people com plimenting our cleanliness,” Hellmich says. “Our crews work nearly round the clock keeping the grounds and restrooms, all areas clean. It is a priority.”

Emphasis is on year-round. “Summer is our peak season,” she says. “But fall/autumn is moving to second place with spring. We fully embrace Halloween season here.” Halloween season features include haunted attractions, a walkthrough hay maze, weekend trick-or-treats with characters and more, every weekend during fall. Peak season starts around Memorial Day as OWA prepares for summer. The massive July Fourth fireworks presentation is one of the largest on the Gulf coast. Christmas is spectacular, starting with the lighting of the Christmas tree in November.

For more information, con tact visitowa.com

One of the newest shops, Native Treasures, offers crafts, jewelry, and clothing made from or inspired by Native Americans.

A Century of Community Southern Union State Community College celebrating 100 years of service

20 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

By Katie Jackson

Students at what was then Southern Union College, sometime in the 1950s. Today, Southern Union State Community College celebrates 100 years of service in east Alabama.

When 51 young men and women arrived in Wadley, Ala., on Sept. 12, 1923, to start classes at a brand-new Bible college, they found a single partially constructed build ing on a red clay hill. But they also found a five-member faculty and a town full of local citizens all ready and willing to create a learning community that would last for a century. Those students represented the first class of Bethlehem College, a private Bible school chartered on June 2, 1922, by the Southern Convention of Christian Churches and charged with the mission of providing two years of affordable coeducational college training to the residents of Randolph and surrounding counties. Today, that little school is known as Southern Union State Community College and though it is greatly changed — it now encompasses three campuses and a faculty of more than 200 fulltime educators serving more than 4,000 students — its com mitment to community educa tion remains the same. The story of Southern Union’s century of service began after town leaders in Wadley successfully persuaded Christian Church leaders to lo cate their newest rural college in their little town. One of the many reasons Wadley was cho sen was the remarkable sup port for the college exhibited by members of the community. Not only did local citizens help raise some $22,000 to launch the college, a cashier at the Bank of Wadley named John M. Hodge donated 44-plus acres of prime land for use as the school’s campus. Within a few years of opening, the school had changed its name to Southern Union College and was experiencing a steady growth in enrollment. But it also struggled financially, even closing its doors for a short time in 1933 when it faced a looming bankrupt cy. But the school soon reopened with the help from local citi zens, some of whom even mortgaged their own farms to pay the school’s debt. That remarkable sense of community and ingenuity also got the school through the Great Depression, during which time school leaders developed work-study programs and took food, farm ani mals and other supplies in exchange for tuition. All the while, stu dents received an exemplary education from the college’s highly qualified faculty members, some of whom hailed from Ivy League colleges and prestigious art and music schools. Today, Southern Union alumni continue to find success in the world and often credit the school’s powerful sense of community for their success.

.

Commitment to community Louise James Cox of LaFayette, Ala., experienced that commu nity commitment firsthand. “I’ve been involved with Southern Union since I was a child because my mother and grandmother were Congregational Christians,” Cox says. She vividly recalls attending fall Harvest Days when all the Congregational Chris tian churches (there were more than 30 in the area at the time) took food to the college to stock the school’s larder. But Cox, a 1964 SUSCC graduate, also credits Southern Union’s leaders for encouraging her to come back to school at the age of 29 and a few years later hiring her to teach at the college for another 25 years. “To me, that place is sacred,” she said of Southern Union, especially of the Wadley cam pus. “When I walk over there, I feel the love of so many people that made that little school and made it affordable for people in this area that couldn’t have gone to Desmondschool.”Nunn, a 2012 graduate, echoes Cox’s senti ment. He came to Southern Union right out of high school, unsure about his career path. But with the help of the school’s performing arts faculty Nunn discovered his innate talent as a dancer and singer. He is now traveling the country as a prin cipal in the national tour of “Hamilton: The Musical.” “Southern Union was the launching pad,” he says. “If I had dreams, Southern Union was the rocket. I would never have gotten to space without this place.” It is that sense of community and commitment that Southern Union’s current leaders plan to take forward. “Community is what drives and inspires us,” says Southern Union President Todd Shackett. “We are committed to continuing that partnership to help make our communities stronger through education, and we look forward to the next 100 years of growing and advancing together.” That spirit of community and Southern Union’s long history in the community will be celebrated from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 15 on the Wadley campus and all are invited. The free event features food, games and alumni reunions and performances. To learn more visit Southern Union’s Facebook or other social media feeds or go to www.suscc.edu

A new approach to old-fashioned service

A native of Marshall County, McKone was born in neighbor ing Albertville and grew up in communities across Alabama and Mississippi. Her family has a lake house in Guntersville, and she kept returning to the area throughout the years. After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in advertising, McKone moved to New York City to work for a company that specialized in renting shared office space. She loved the bustle of the big city but knew she would be happier with a different career. “I had always enjoyed cooking, and I’ve always been more of the creative type, and although I was doing well at my job, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled.” She started working as a server and bartender in New York restaurants and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute (now called The International Culinary Center). After graduating, her first kitchen job was at Craft in Atlan ta working for celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, who gained fame as a judge on TV’s “Top Chef.”

On visits to her father, who still lives in Guntersville, she would often eat at K.C.’s Coyote Café, the original name of the restaurant that moved into the old drugstore building after it was renovated in the“I1990s.always loved the building then, and it’s funny because I had no idea I would ever own a restaurant, and it’s funny that I would end up here in a building I already loved so much.”

She bought the business seven years ago and changed its menu from primarily steak and seafood dishes to what she describes as Southern American cuisine. The constantly changing menu now features seasonal specials that take advantage of as much locally grown produce as she can find.

By Mike Stedham

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday Guntersville l Stepping into the Old Town Stock House restaurant in down town Guntersville is like stepping back in time – in a good way. It’s stepping back to the days when being pampered was an in tegral part of eating at a nice local restaurant. The days when the staff knew your name, your likes and your dislikes.

The Pork Osso Buco features all local vegetables, including creamed collards, roasted carrots and beechPHOTOmushrooms.BYCRYSTALMCKONE

“I think what sets us apart is our level of service all around, from the way the chefs handle things in the kitchen to the way our servers and bartenders handle things out front,” says Crystal McK one, chef and owner. “It’s kind of like going back in time to that nos talgic era when people really cared about one another, and providing a memorable experience for every one.”The experience begins, appropri ately enough, by finding Old Town Street, just a half block west of the city’s main southbound thorough fare. Old Town Stock House is on the second floor of a building built in 1901 as a drugstore, and the main entrance to the restaurant is actually at the back of the building through a covered patio. Inside the dining area, exposed brick walls and hardwood floors enhance the feeling of stepping back into a more relaxed time. The space was used as the stock area for the drugstore, which contributed to the name of the restaurant. “Plus, we make our own beef stock and veal stock and chicken stock in-house,” says McKone. “So the name has kind of a double meaning.”

22 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop | Worth the drive |

Hours:oldtownstockhouse.com582-167611a.m.to2p.m.Monday;

The expansion of the menu led to an expansion of the clientele, bringing in new customers from Huntsville, Birmingham, Cull man, Gadsden, and other parts of central and north Alabama.

Old Town Stock House

An expansion of clientele

The pandemic hit Old Town Stock House especially hard, since its emphasis on personal service wasn’t a good fit with preparing mostly carry-out orders. Luckily, the patio out back was already in use, and once it was covered it provided an outdoor option for diners to gather and enjoy the food.

As the world of indoor dining has opened back up, McKone says her restaurant has bounced back. She credits part of the re surgence on the increasing popularity of Guntersville as a recre ation and retail center.

Old Town Stock House 410 Old Town Street Guntersville, AL (256)

Alabama Living SEPTEMBER 2022 23

At Alabama ONE, we are invested in protecting our members from fraud and identity theft through education, safeguards on our credit cards and accounts, and other measures. Visit www. alabamaone.org to learn more.

The restaurant is actually on the second floor of a structure built in 1901 as a drug store.

Left to right: Crystal McKone is executive chef and owner of Old Town Stock House.

By Jackie Davidson, Payments & Digital Fraud Risk Manager at Alabama ONE

5. Beware of calls asking for tax information “The IRS generally makes its first contact with people by regu lar mail – not by phone – about taxes,” says the BBB.

Although McKone has a degree in advertising and is adept at using Facebook and Twitter, she says she prefers to do her mar keting the old-fashioned way as well. “We really rely heavily on word of mouth. If people like their experience, they will tell their friends,” she says. “I think some times people get way too focused on social media, and they’re not taking care of the guests that are in the restaurant.”

1. Don’t trust unsolicited calls Government agencies like the Social Security Administration, IRS or FBI do not call people with threats or promises of money according to the BBB.

How do these scams work? Scammers pretend to be calling you from government agencies like the So cial Security Administration and the IRS, or say they work for Medicare. They say that if you don’t pay or you refuse to give them your per sonal information, something bad will happen. Or, maybe you’ll miss out on some government benefit. But it’s a scam. Here are 5 government impersonator scams to be aware of.

PHOTO BY CRYSTAL MCKONE In 2021 we saw more government impostor scams than ever, and they are still out there trying to find new ways to trick you out of your money.

Don’t be fooled by these 5 government impostor scams

3. Don’t rely on caller ID Scammers can use “spoofing” tech nology to fool you into answering a call because your caller ID displays the call is from the IRS, Medicare, the SSA or another government agency.

“People are coming here for short getaways,” she says. “It has that small-town feel, and it’s a nice escape.” To keep expanding her clientele, McKone says her restaurant continues to evolve by keeping the menu fresh and exciting. They have begun offering lunch on weekdays, and they’ve added a Burger Night special each Tuesday. “We prepare 24 hamburgers that night, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.” Reservations, which are always a good idea, are highly recommended on Burger Night.

PHOTO BY CRYSTAL MCKONE

The “lunch punch” changes weekly, and features rum or vodka with seasonal fresh juices and accoutrements.

24 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

PHOTO BY MIKE STEDHAM

2. Ignore text messages and emails Unless you’re already corresponding with a government agen cy that’s supposed to get back with you, be suspicious of text and email messages. Never click on links in messages from supposed government agencies, warns the BBB.

4. Know that Social Security num bers are never suspended If a purported agent from the SSA calls to tell you that your Social Security number has been “suspended” and you may be arrested, hang up im mediately. That’s a government impostor trying to con you. “The Social Security Administration will never threaten to arrest you because of an identity theft problem,” says the BBB.

What is your favorite type of food, or cuisine, to cook? I absolutely love Southern fusion. My favorite thing to do is take the South to the world and bring the world back to the South. Combining ingredients and techniques from around the world with traditional Southern food is just exhilarating to me. Saag Paneer made with collard and mustard greens, wrapping spicy coconut infused dirty rice in motherland okra leaves and steaming them, Chilton County peach and Thai basil scones with sauterne glaze – I know that’s a lot of words but doesn’t that sound so fun and delicious? It just fires me up.  Tell us about the experience with Gordon Ramsay and the other judges. My experience with each judge was so valu able and so very unique. I was being coached by Richard Blais who I knew from the up scale burger concept Flip Burger Boutique. Flip Burger was one of the first creative eating experi My experience with Nyesha Arrington was just the most incredible. To say that her presence is formidable is an understatement. She is tough, she is incredibly immensely talentedintelligent,andshejustexudeskindnessandacceptance.MyexperiencewithChefRamsaywasequallyaswonderful.Hetrulybelievesineachcontestantandwantsyoutobeyourabsolutebest.

What career path did you originally want? I wanted to be all the things growing up, haha! I thought I would be a great lawyer; I loved running for SGA offices and dreamed of being in politics. My mother wanted me to be a music minister because I have always loved to sing, but when it came time to go to college, I really wanted to be able to go to culinary school – but I had a full ride that didn’t cover the cu linary program where I was attending, so I de cided to major in journalism. All the while, I continued to cook, read about cooking, try new foods, and explore as many new foods and ingredients as I could. I nev er stopped wanting to cook for people, I just didn’t know how to make it full time or what it would look like.

Taking cooking to the next level

| Alabama People | Jonathan Harrison

When did you start cooking, and with whom?

Columbiana’s Jonathan Harrison had the opportunity to show some love for his home state as a contestant on the first season of “Next Level Chef,” a reality show that aired on the Fox network ear lier this year. Hosted by famed TV chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay, the show looks for the country’s best line cooks, home chefs, social media stars and more to find the food world’s next superstar. Harrison didn’t make it to the finals, but the experience furthered his current career as a private chef; he creates what his neighbor hood calls “driveway dinners,” inviting people via his Instagram account to come to a limited seated dinner. “It’s an excellent way to meet new people and try some new food in a laid-back environ ment,” he says. He plans to continue “private cheffing” and would like to produce content for food publications, as well as cook his signature Southern fusion cuisine with some of his heroes and pursue opportunities in media and TV. – Allison Law

Do you want to stay in Alabama? I love Alabama, and I will always have a home here. I always admired how Ernest Hemingway traveled the world but al ways came home to Key West. I plan to travel and cook around the world, in as many places, for as many people as pos sible but I think I will always have a little oasis in my hometown to come back to. I want to be someone who goes into the world to show people all of the wonderful  Follow Jonathan on @chef_jonathanharrisonInstagram

26 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

The first people I remem ber cooking with are my grandmothers. I remember rolling out sausage balls and shredding cucumbers for cu cumber spread with my pa ternal grandmother, Dean. I remember her food as being so incredibly flavorful and she made some of the only chicken and dressing that I have ever actually enjoyed. I’m not sure if it was the fourth cup of bacon grease or the love she put into it that made it so good but it was amazing. My maternal grandparents were the ones we lived closest to and their house is where the traditional Sunday dinner after church took place. Most Sundays we had roast, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, slaw, some sort of pound cake-esque situation for dessert and so much Red Diamond sweet tea. They had a large garden and this is where I learned to appreciate fresh produce and understand how invalu able it is.

• How can I let someone else talk to Medicare on my behalf? Learn more at peal/can-someone-file-an-appeal-for-memedicare.gov/claims-appeals/file-an-ap

medigap-supplemental-insurance-plans Please share

The Medicare website has answers to your questions and other helpful resources including:

• What does Medicare cover? Find out at medicare.gov/ what-medicare-covers

 Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov. Answers on Page 45 September crossword by Myles Mellor Down 1 University of Alabama’s campus nickname, 2 words 2 Baptist university in Birmingham 3 December 24 or 31 4 Enlighten 6 J.F.K. alternative (airport code) 7 Lady sheep 8 Short skirt 10 Young boy 13 Catch on to 15 Environmental protectors 17 Alabama neighbor, abbr. 19 Cocktail addition 20 Agreed! 24 Line made with a compass 25 Brazilian city 26 One __ one 27 __ Prado, Spanish museum 29 Student tests 31 All nations’ org. , abbr. 32 Camembert’s cousin 33 Big rig 35 Dad’s room 37 Or best offer, for short 38 “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” director 39 Breakfast staple 41 Top prosecutor, abbr.

28 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop Across 1 Historic African American university 5 Crafting material 9 Large shade tree 11 School’s URL ender 12 IPad pic 14 Place for a latte 16 Approve, as a plan 18 The end product of effective education 21 Managed 22 Landscaper’s grass 23 Classroom supplies 26 Important pollinator 28 Follow instructions 30 Vital food item for kids, 2 words 34 Very happy 36 Christian university in south Alabama 40 “Give ___ break!”, 2 words 42 Brain scan, abbr. 43 Great African American educator, Booker T. _______ 44 For example, briefly SOCIAL SECURITY You can apply for Medicare online; note enrollment period Y

• Where can I learn more about a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D) and enroll? Visit age-part-d/how-to-get-prescription-drug-coveragemedicare.gov/drug-cover can a gap) the answers at medicare.gov/ these helpful resources with friends and today.

• Where

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medi

.

I find

• Where do I find forms to file a Medicare appeal? Visit medicare.gov/claims-appeals/how-do-i-file-an-appeal for more.

• Which doctors, health care providers, and suppliers partic ipate in Medicare? See es/find-compare-doctors-hospitals-other-providersmedicare.gov/forms-help-resourcfor the answers.

family

policy in my area? Find

ou can apply for Medicare online even if you are not ready to start your retirement benefits. Applying online is quick and easy. There are no forms to sign, and we usually do not require additional documentation. We’ll process your application and contact you if we need more information. Knowing when to apply for Medicare is very important! You must apply during your limited initial enrollment period. If you’re eligible for Medicare at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after that date. If you miss your initial enrollment period, you may have to pay a higher monthly premium. Visit ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to apply for Medicare and find other important information.

If you were unable to enroll or disenroll in Medicare because you could not reach us by phone after January 1, 2022, you will be granted additional time, through December 30, 2022. This addi tional time applies to the 2022 General Enrollment Period, Initial Enrollment Period, and Special Enrollment Period.

Some people who receive Medicare benefits may qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs, in cluding the monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and co-pay ments. To qualify for Extra Help, you must receive Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Read our publication Under standing the Extra Help with Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for more information at ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10508.pdf

• What do Medicare health and prescription drug plans cost in my area, and what services do they offer? Check out medicare.gov/plan-compare.

9-10 Clanton Market Days on the Farm presents Fall on the Farm from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cornelius Farms, 1981 Hopewell Drive. Vintage and vintage-inspired architectural salvage and repurposed finds, home décor, handmade jewelry and clothing, live music and food trucks. $2 parking. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.

23-25 Springville Homestead Hollow Festival, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn about early Alabama history and pioneer living with live demonstrations about wood carving, blacksmithing, wood stove cooking, tours of original cabins and more. Plenty of children’s activities and food vendors on site. HomesteadHollow.com

3SEPTEMBER

10 Dothan Landmark Park Bluegrass Festival. Live music all day. Bring your instrument for jam sessions; there will also be instrument demos, food trucks, kids’ activities, historical interpretations, antique tractors wagon rides and arts and crafts vendors. Bring lawn chairs and 10 by 10 tents. Admission is $10 adults, $8 seniors and military, $4 for kids and free for park members and children 2 and under. Gates open at 9 a.m., and music starts at noon. LandmarkParkDothan.com

22 Elba The Blackwood Quartet in concert at Elba High School, 371 Tiger Drive. Sponsored by the Coffee County Arts Alliance. The legendary gospel quartet features Mark Blackwood, son of Cecil Blackwood of the original Blackwood Brothers Quartet. Tickets are $35. CoffeeCountyArtsAlliance.com

4-5 Cullman Smith Lake Park Sweet Tater Festival. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday (Labor Day). Live entertainment, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors and of course sweet taters both days. Car show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. Admission $5 per person, and armband allows for entry both days. Search for Smith Lake Park or Cullman County Parks on Facebook.

Arab SugarFest 2022, Arab City Park. Morning begins with Sugar Rush 5K run, which leads into the marketplace arts and crafts juried vendors show. Food trucks on site all day. Cornhole tournament, Miss SugarFest Pageant, Sweetie Pie kids’ area and more. Classic car cruise-in and live music on stage begins at 4 p.m. Night ends with fireworks show. ArabCity.org or see the event’s page on Facebook.

17 Hanceville Superhero Fire presented by Cook Ministries, Hanceville Civic Center, 902 Commercial St. 4 to 6 p.m. Community event features agencies dedicated to preventing domestic violence, human trafficking and suicide and includes representatives of recovery centers. Free food and admission and guest speaker. cook-ministries.com

Alabama Living SEPTEMBER 2022 29

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28 Cullman Annual Oktoberfest German dinner, 4 to 7 p.m. at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church’s Family Life Center, 217 Second Ave. SE. Enjoy bratwurst and German-style kraut with meat by Brickyard Meats, German potato salad, green beans, applesauce, bread and dessert for $15. No children’s meal’s this year. Event is drive-through only; follow signs at the church. All proceeds go toward the Altar Society’s church projects. 256-347-3471.

Calera Pumpkin Junction at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, 1919 Ninth St., 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A variety of free family-friendly activities, games and seasonal crafts, as well as food trucks and sweets vendors on the grounds.

8 Eclectic 29th annual Alabama Cotton Festival, along Main Street, First Avenue and in the pecan orchard. More than 150 food and craft vendors, dog show, classic car show, art and photo contest and a free kids’ zone featuring inflatables, carnival games, face painting, the “chicken run” and more. TownOfEclectic.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. Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living

PHOTO BY PAULA LECHER, 2021 ALABAMA LIVING PHOTO CONTEST ENTRANT

24 Titus 21st annual Titus Bluegrass Festival, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Titus Community Center, 5879 Titus Road. Admission is $10; bring a lawn chair and enjoy a day of live music, barbecue and arts and crafts vendors. 334-300-4057.

Fort Payne Boom Days Heritage Celebration. Event celebrates the city’s unique beginnings nearly 130 years ago. The Fort Payne Depot Museum will display historical artifacts and clothing, and a miniature railroad system will be set up in the original office of the Coal and Iron Company. Live music from Billy Dean and Joe Nichols on Saturday night at 201 Fifth St. NE. Boomdays.com

24 Red Bay Founder’s Fest, Bay Tree Park. 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Live music begins at 9 a.m.; there will be a fried pie contest as well as quilt, coloring and photography contests, arts and crafts and an antique vehicle show. The Red Bay Museum will be open for tours, and the Weatherford Library will host a book sale. Free. CityOfRedBay.org

9-10 Jasper 2022 Foothills Festival, entertainment district of downtown Jasper. 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 10:30 pm. Saturday. Live music begins at 5 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday; headliner is the Drive-By Truckers at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Free. FoothillsJasper.com

OCTOBER1

28-Oct. 1 Spanish Fort 18th annual Alabama Coastal BirdFest. Attendees will take trips into the Mobile Delta, the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary, historic Fort Morgan and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, among other locations, to experience the prime birdwatching opportunities on the Gulf Coast. A familyfriendly Bird and Conservation Expo will be held at the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center on Saturday. SouthAlabamaLandTrust.org

Call or verify events before you make plans to attend. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, some events may change or be canceled after press time.

September | Around Alabama

Keep an eye out for osprey and other marine wildlife during a tour of Magnolia River and Weeks Bay, one of several excursions during the Alabama Coastal Birdfest.

The Shelby & Southern Narrow Gauge Steam Railroad will give rides before and after. Event will continue on weekends through October. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.

Generally, vets are opposed to giving milk to cats. I suggest try ing goat milk or maybe even cow’s milk. Of course, stop giving milk if they tend to get soft stool. My cats never had any problem with milk (I know, as I clean the litter boxes). You could give it a try (talk to your vet). Once their growth is complete, do your best to adjust food intake to keep them skinny. Overweight cats are highly likely to get diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Also, they have a hard time cleaning themselves.

Litter boxes: It is recommended to have one more litter box than you do cats; in other words, if you have 2 cats, you should have 3 litter boxes. I have a mix of covered and open litter boxes. All of them are large. I avoid any scented and clumping litters. I tried Dr. Else’s 99% dust free cat litter. I am not sure if it is much better than Frisco. I tried many other types of cat litter like yes terday’s news, wheat, pine etc. But I settled on Frisco unscented.

Iwrite about dogs all the time; it is time for the cats. There are about 32 million households in the U.S. with at least one cat. Judging by the popularity of cat videos on the internet, many of us are obsessed with cats. It is said that 15% of internet content is cat related. One YouTube cat celebrity has up to 130 million followers.Butdid you know that people gather in large groups to watch cat videos? There have been cat video watching festivals in San Francisco, Boston and Minneapolis. If you don’t believe me, check out catfestmn.com. According to an Indiana University Media School researcher, watching cat videos can boost energy and pos itive emotions. If you are presently not a cat owner, imagine what a real cat can do to your life. A kitten we rescued (a full-grown cat now) is curled up on my lap as I type, making typing very difficult as my one hand is on her tummy, but when I look at her laying on me, snoozing, my heart melts and I can’t bear to move her. May to October is kitten season, and it is possible that many readers have acquired a kitten (or two). Having kittens is one of the great joys in life. Though they require less time than dogs, cats still need a good bit of attention. If you are thinking about getting a cat, please, please, do not buy; rescue or adopt! The universe will thank you, and happiness and joy will rain down on you! There is absolutely no shortage of them; in fact, bags full of them are found frequently on the country roads. Also, purebred cats may come with a host of problems.  Coming home: In the beginning, we need to spend a lot of time with them. As they come to their new home, they will probably be very nervous. Settle them in a small place and offer some food. Rub their head and back like a mama cat would groom them. Kit ties (and cats) like a safe hiding place. You can turn a good size cardboard box and cut an opening on one side and have several of these available in strategic places.

Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He owns High Falls Holistic Veterinary Care near Geraldine, Alabama. To suggest topics for future discussions, email him at contact@alabamaliving.coop

I am comfortable putting gloves on and picking up the clumps (all clay-based litter clumps) and cleaning all the boxes into one larger plastic bag and disposing of the bag. I feel that the scoopers are messy. See what works for you. In my experience, boy cats tend to be fussier about using litter boxes. And litter additives are gen erally not effective. Do your best to clean them every day or two. Try out several kinds of litter to see what works for you. We’ll have more on raising kittens in the next column.

Raising a kitten Giving attention

I don’t recommend water fountains anymore. I bought many over the years but keeping it clean and flowing is challenging. I just give them their liquid with their food. While choosing food and water bowls, consider going with glass, porcelain or stainless steel. Some cats are allergic to plastic. Search for small serving or dessert bowls. They are very inexpensive.

PART ONE:

Food and water:  We recommend that cats eat only wet food. We see cases of renal failure in older cats, and it is thought that this is because cats may not take in enough water if they are exclusively on dry food. Scientists believe that due to the unique structure of their tongue, they cannot lap up enough water. So, wet food is the way to go! You can even add a touch of water to their wet food. High water intake could also reduce chances of bladder problems and crystal in the urine.

It is best to socialize kittens before they are 12 weeks old, but that is not a written-in-stone rule.

30 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop PET HEALTH

All of us probably have some invasive plant species in our yards (English ivy, Chinese privet and wisteria, Elaegnus, popcorn trees, nandina and Bradford pears, for examples). And if you’re like me, removing them can seem a daunting task.To tackle this job, I’ve looked for help through various state, regional and na tional conservation and land management organizations. In the process I found a great a homeowner’s guide ( pdfHomeownersGuide-InvasiveSpecies2.woodcloud.org/mura/gist/assets/File/https://bug

) published by the University of Geor gia’s Center for Invasive Species and Eco system Health and I discovered Kyle Lyba rger, founder of the Native Habitat Project (visit nativehabitatproject.com).

Lybarger is a forester and conservation consultant based in Hartselle, Ala., who turned his passion for native habitats and plants into a campaign to restore native ecosystems in Alabama. He’s also a con servation “influencer” whose social media posts (especially his TikTok posts) have become go-to sources of information for landowners of all ilks.

• Re-seed and repair lawns.

• Plant cool-season vegetables and flowers.

• Start buying spring-blooming bulbs.

• Prepare bird feeders and baths for the fall migration. SEPTEMBER TIPS

• Look for sales on summer gardening tools and equipment.

To get started with native plants, Ly barger suggests dedicating a small gar den area to convert to native species and adding to it each year. Replacing invasive plants with natives is also a good step. We can also help by not buying invasive species, many of which are still readily available at garden centers. And there’s nothing wrong — and a lot right — with asking garden center managers to stop carrying invasive plants and start stocking more natives. It’s also important to get to know our plants — the good guys and the bad ones.

plantsinvasiveagainstbackFighting

Our yards and gardens can be sanc tuaries for a wide array of interest ing and important organisms that help support our natural world. Unfortu nately, these spaces can also harbor harm ful and seemingly indomitable invading organisms that wreak havoc on natural systems.Thankfully, though, we can defend the natural world from these intruders from the vantage point of our own yards and gardens.Invasive species are defined as non-na tive organisms (plants, animals, insects, fungus, bacteria and the like) that, when introduced into a new ecosystem, can soon overwhelm native species. This throws the ecosystem out of balance and that imbalance can forever change a land scape, lead to the extinction of native spe cies and even threaten our own economic and physical health and well-being.

Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her katielamarjackson@gmail.com.at

• Continue harvesting gardens and clean out dead garden material.

• Get a soil test to prepare ground for next year’s garden.

32 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop | Gardens |

When I contacted him to ask if we as gardeners and homeowners can really make a difference in the battle against invasives, he replied with an unequivocal “Absolutely!”According to Lybarger, one big way we can help is by removing invasive species and planting more natives. And he said we can have an impact whether our “land” consists of “a few pots on your balcony or thousands of acres.” To avoid feeling overwhelmed by this task, Lybarger suggests starting small. “Find the worst spot and focus on remov ing invasives from that location,” he said. Once those are conquered, you can widen the effort to other areas. In addition to removing invasives, Ly barger says it’s important to plant native species, which benefit wildlife and the lo cal ecosystem. “What we plant in our yard determines what grows in the wild around our yards,” he explains.

Lybarger suggests using the INaturalist app or website for this purpose. He also suggests joining the Native Habitat Man agers Facebook group to get more advice andTheseideas.are of course only a few ways we can wage the battle against invasive species, but each battle is a step closer to winning the war, which is a win for every one.

Alabama Living SEPTEMBER 2022 33

| Alabama Recipes | Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols BallCheese Mama Pat's Hot Artichoke Dip with Sun-Dried Tomatoes Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich Casserole Baked Chicken Wings with Alabama (Roll WhiteTide)Sauce at your Fingertips 34 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained with excess juice squeezed out 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions (can substitute finely chopped onions)

all them finger foods, tailgate treats, or if you’re feeling fancy, canapes. Whatever you call them, any food that can be picked up with your hands and enjoyed at a social gathering qualifies as a finger food, and we at Alabama Living got to enjoy several different types of our reader-submitted recipes this month. Some you may recognize as familiar favorites. We hope you enjoy checking out a variety of these bite-size treats at your next football tailgate, wedding or baby shower, or just munching as you read your favorite magazine!

3 ways to share your recipe: Submit to Recipes can be developed by you or family members. You may even adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Chosen cooks may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living re serves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking dish. In medium bowl, mix the cheese, mayonnaise and garlic powder. Stir in the artichokes, onions and sundried tomatoes. Mix well and transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and serve with Wheat Thins or baguettes.

Kids Who Cook January Theme October 7 Deadline to enter

1 cup mayonnaise

If you know or are a kid who enjoys cooking, January's theme is just for you! It's all about kids and their favorite dishes. Recipes kids love to eat, but also recipes kids can prepare themselves with or without an adult's help. No recipe is too easy or too complex. We want them all! If you have a photo of your kid cooking, send it in along with the recipe. The winning Junior Cook will receive a $50 prize check! More Visit our website: alabamaliving.coop Email us: recipes@alabamaliving.coop USPS mail: Attn: Recipes P.O. Box Montgomery,244014AL

upcoming themes and deadlines:

Coming up next...

February: Decadent Desserts | November 4 March: Pizza | December 2 win $50!

Alabama Living SEPTEMBER 2022 35

2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped 1 teaspoon paprika (regular or smoked)

36124

1 cup parmesan cheese

Cook of the Month: Pat Phillips, Arab EC Mama Pat’s Hot Artichoke Dip with

C

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

2 24-packs King’s Hawaiian Rolls

2 tablespoon fresh basil, cut into ribbons 2 tablespoon olive oil ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2/3 cup mozzarella cheese

Photo by The Buttered Home Brooke Burks

36 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split or but terfly each chicken breast into two pieces, fairly thin. Place in a zip-top bag and gently pound down and out to flatten. Prep and mix tomatoes, onion, peppers and mozzarella cheese in a medium size bowl.

1 pound shaved Virginia ham 24 slices Swiss cheese Sauce: 1½ sticks butter 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 2 teaspoons dried onion 2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and place a spoonful of vegetable mixture on largest part of breast. Carefully roll up and secure with one or two tooth picks. Place roll ups in an oven safe/stovetop pan that has the heated olive oil in it. Brown on all sides just to sear. Sprinkle remaining vegetable mixture on top. Meanwhile, mix balsamic vinegar, broth, honey, garlic and Italian seasoning in a small boiler. Cook for a few minutes to combine. Pour mixture over seared roll ups. Place in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. Baste halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and turn chicken over. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes until done. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes.

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened 1 8-ounce package cheddar cheese, grated 4 ounces diced green chilies 1 teaspoon lemon juice 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce Dash cayenne pepper Dash Onionsaltpowder, to taste Pecans, finely chopped Cream the cream cheese; add ched dar until well blended. Add remaining ingredients. Mix until well blended. Shape into balls and roll in pecan pieces. Chill for 24 hours. Serve with fancy toothpicks and crackers.

Baked Chicken Wings with Alabama (Roll Tide) White Sauce Wings: 1 pound split chicken wings (cut into drumettes and flats) 2 tablespoons melted butter 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoons seasoned salt (recommended: Dixie Dirt) Alabama White Sauce: 1 cup mayonnaise ½ cup apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish 2 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon hot sauce 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon black pepper Pinch of salt and cayenne pepper, to Garnish:taste sliced green onions chopped cilantro. Serve with carrot sticks and celery.

Kathy WiregrassPhillipsEC

¼ cup chicken broth 2 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoon chopped garlic 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning Salt and pepper to taste

For Alabama White Sauce: Mix all ingredients together. I like to mix them in a Mason jar. Shake or stir vigorously. Drizzle sauce over hot wings and serve with extra sauce. Store remaining sauce in an airtight container.

3 large chicken breasts, butterflied, split and pounded out thin 2 Roma tomatoes ¼ cup red onion 1/8 cup chopped green pepper

Stuffed Chicken Roll Ups

Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich Casserole

For Wings: In large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients, making sure the wings are covered in the butter, seasoning and baking powder. Place wings on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven.

We love appetizers and finger foods any time of the year. Tailgating is a tradition, and we love to do it year-round for sports of any kind, even if it means we’re just sitting in our little old living room. These Stuffed Chicken Roll Ups are the perfect small bite that eats like a meal. We stuff these beautiful tenderloins and cook them to perfection. A touchdown every time! For more recipes like this, visit www.thebutteredhome.com.

Slice the rolls in half. Line the bottom of two 9x11-inch baking pans with the bottom halves of the rolls. They should just fit. Spread the ham over the rolls and layer the Swiss cheese on top. Place the other halves of the rolls on the top. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, mustard, Worcestershire and dried onions. Over medium heat, stir until the butter has melted to create the sauce. Pour equal parts of the sauce over the rolls and then sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cover the pans tightly with foil and refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the covered pans in the oven for 24 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 48 mini sandwiches.

Nancy Sites Sizemore Baldwin EMC Mini Cheese Balls

Robbie CullmanVantreaseEC

A:Helping people feels good. Supporting community is sewn into the fabric of your electric co-op, which is guided by the Seven Cooperative Principles that put the needs of members first.

Easy ways to help energysaveneighbora

Furnace filters should be checked regularly and replaced when they are dirty. Simply writing down the dimensions of the furnace filter can help your neighbor, who can pick up a pack of new ones in the store or order online.

38 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop | Consumer Wise |

Check the water heater and set it to 120 degrees. Use a kitchen thermometer to test the water temperature. At the faucet nearest the water heater, turn only the hot water on and wait until it gets hot. Let the hot water run into a glass and place a kitchen ther mometer in it. Wait until it registers the highest temperature. If the water heater is set too high, you can save energy by lowering the setting. Keep outdoor units clear Clean brush and debris from around the air conditioner or heat pump. If leaves or brush pile up around the outdoor unit of a heat pump or air-conditioning system, it can reduce the airflow, making the system work harder than it should. That uses more energy and can reduce the life of the unit.

PHOTO COURTESY MARK GILLILAND, PIONEER UTILITY

On National Good Neighbor Day, which is September 28—or any day this month—join in the cooperative spirit and help your neighbors, friends and family save at home with these do-it-your self energy-saving tips. Tips range in physicality and cost, providing options based on your ability.

Information is a great way to help, and it’s free. Look into pro grams your co-op offers and share that information with your neighbor. Don’t forget to check the U.S. Department of Energy for federal tax credits for upgrades.

RESOURCES

Miranda Boutelle is the vice president of operations and customer engagement at Efficiency Services Group in Oregon, a cooperatively owned energy efficiency company. She also writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives.

Adjust the water heater

If you find a really dirty furnace filter, don’t remove it until you have a replacement. Operating your system without a filter allows dirt and dust in the system to go directly to the heating and cool ing components, which can damage the system and necessitate costly repairs. Open the dampers Register dampers allow heated and cooled air to properly cir culate throughout the home. If you have a central air heating or cooling system, dampers should be left open. The idea that clos ing registers saves energy is a common misconception. If furni ture is on top of dampers, move it to a new permanent spot so it does not block air flow.

Prioritize changing lights that are used the most, such as in candescent porch lights left on all night. LEDs use about 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Some neighbors can’t climb step stools or ladders, so help them out if you are able. Be sure to check for overhead power lines when using ladders outside.

Change lightbulbs

Swap the filter

Remove the window AC By removing the unit before wintertime, the window can close properly. This prevents heat from escaping and wasting energy. It also keeps the room more comfortable. Window AC units are heavy and awkward. This project is best done with a buddy. Get that person to commit to helping put the unit back next spring.

Add removing the window AC to your fall winterizing projects. This prevents heat from escaping and wastingenergy.

Q:I’m a firm believer that saving energy helps the environ ment as well as the pocketbook. So, how can I help others improve their energy savings at home?

Share energy-saving programs

Alabama Living SEPTEMBER 2022 39 Recipient’s Name: City:Street: Zip: E-mail:Phone:RETURN WITH $12 CHECK PAYABLE TO ALABAMA LIVING MAIL TO: Alabama Living 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop ONLY $12 for a full year! Give a 12 ISSUE gift subscription to for only $1 an issue.

Named for a native chief called Tuskaloosa, which means “black warrior” in the Muskogean language, the Black Warrior River be gins west of Birmingham and flows 178 miles until it hits the Tombig bee River at Demopolis. Along the way, it runs through a series of dams, separating the river into pools. Major pools include Holt Reservoir, William Bacon Oliver Lake and City Pool. Altogether, the Black Warrior system drains about 6,300 square miles.

“Where the North River hits the Black Warrior, water is usually cooler because it’s coming off the bottom of Lake Tuscaloosa,” Jones explains. “Up the North River is a great place to catch hybrids and striped bass with large live baits or swimWhenbaits.”barges pass through the locks or the dams run water, that creates current throughout the Black Warrior system. Current stirs of baitfish and repositions spotted bass behind structures. “For spots, current is the key,” Jones says. “Often, they’ll set up behind a rockpile. I work a bait downstream to the pile and then stop the retrieve so it sinks behind the obstruction down to where the fish are.”

Anglers hoping to catch giant spotted bass traditionally head to the Coosa River, but another Alabama stream also holds trophy spots. “The Black Warrior River can produce some big spotted bass,” reports Russell Jones with Alabama Guide Services in Tuscaloosa.

“Fighting current all the time gave spotted bass a vicious atti tude,” Jones says. “Many anglers believe they hooked into a much larger fish than they did, especially when spots get out into the current. When feeding, spotted bass are very aggressive. After hooking one fish, the angler might see 10 or 12 other bass trying to get that bait out of the hooked fish’s mouth.”

Lake Tuscaloosa, named for the city it serves and for the native chief, provides water for the city and county of Tuscaloosa. It covers roughly 6,300 acres about five miles north of Tuscaloosa. The North River flows out of Lake Tuscaloosa into the Black Warrior. Throughout the entire system, anglers can catch a variety of fish, especially big spots.

Just upstream from the Oliver Lock and Dam and minutes from downtown Tuscaloosa, the City Pool, also called Riverview, usu ally offers good spotted bass ac tion. It normally carries significant current. Farther upstream, Holt Reservoir covers roughly 3,300 acres about five miles northeast of Tuscaloosa. John P. Nichols pulled the state record blue catfish from Holt Reservoir, a fish weighing 120.25“Holtpounds.isprobably the most diverse pool in Tuscaloosa County,” Jones says. “It has a great population of spotted bass. Holt is a well-rounded fishery that can hold a lot of boats for a tourna ment. On the Black Warrior system, it’s common to catch several species in the same day. Besides bass, anglers might also catch stripers, hybrid bass, catfish, drum, crappie, white bass, bream and other fish.” Visitors can find many restaurants and accommodations in the Tuscaloosa area. During University of Alabama home football game weekends, rooms everywhere book fast. For area information, call Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports at 205-861-8563 or see visittuscaloosa.com 

Russell Jones with Alabama Guide Services shows off a spotted bass he caught on a shaky head jig tipped with a worm trailer while fishing on the Black Warrior River at the Oliver Lock and Dam in Tuscaloosa.

Tuscaloosa area is home to hot spots for spotted bass

40 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop | Outdoors |

“Several times, I’ve caught five spotted bass totaling more than 25 pounds. The biggest spot I’ve ever caught weighed 6.4 pounds.”

The river separates the cities of Tuscaloosa and Northport. Be tween the cities, the Oliver Lock and Dam offers a great place to launch and fish. A spillway flows over the structure, creating a wa terfall. The falling water cools and oxygenates the system. People can also fish off the bank in several places. “Where the dams generate current is always a good place to fish for spotted bass,” Jones says. “Early in the morning, I like to throw topwater baits around the rocks and the dam. The river is a good place to fish spinnerbaits and crankbaits. I also like to flip a jig aroundFromlaydowns.”theOliver spillway, people can run all the way down to Demopolis and fish rocks, fallen trees and other structures. Any thing its largemouth cousin might hit, could tempt a spotted bass. Spots especially relish threadfin shad so lures that mimic shad work best. Often, anglers catch spotted bass and largemouths at the same time on the same baits, but they will know when a big spot hits.

PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ hotmail.com or through Facebook.

Alabama Living SEPTEMBER 2022 41 P.O. BOX 389, ADDISON, AL 35540 256-747-8178 • FAX: 256-747-8760 WE SELL: Steel Trusses • Hay Barns Lumber • Equipment Sheds Building Material Packages Painted Metal • Work Shops Insulation • Kneebraces Galvalume Metal STEEL TRUSS BUILDINGS BUILT TO YOUR SPECIFICATIONS CECIL PIGGCECIL PIGG STEEL TRUSS, INC. The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2022 Moon Clock, go to www.moontimes.com. DOUG HANNON’S FISH & GAME FORECAST 2022 EXCELLENT TIMES MOON STAGE GOOD TIMES SEPTEMBER A.M. PM AM PM Su 18 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 Mo 19 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:27 Tu 20 NA 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 We 21 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:27 7:21 - 8:51 Th 22 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Fr 23 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Sa 24 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Su 25 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Mo 26 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Tu 27 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 We 28 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Th 29 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Fr 30 7:42 - 9:42 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 2:33 - 4:03 OCTOBER A.M. PM AM PM Sa 1 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Su 2 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Mo 3 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Tu 4 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 We 5 7:42 - 9:42 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 2:33 - 4:03 Th 6 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:27 3:21 - 4:51 Fr 7 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 Sa 8 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:27 Su 9 NA 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Mo 10 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:27 7:21 - 8:51 Tu 11 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 We 12 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Th 13 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Fr 14 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Sa 15 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Su 16 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Mo 17 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Tu 18 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 We 19 7:42 - 9:42 8:06 - 10:06 2:09 - 3:39 2:33 - 4:03 Th 20 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:27 3:21 - 4:51 Fr 21 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 Sa 22 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:27 Su 23 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 5:45 - 7:15 Mo 24 11:18 - 1:18 11:42 - 1:42 5:48 - 7:18 6:11 - 7:41 Tu 25 NA 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 We 26 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:27 7:21 - 8:51 Th 27 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Fr 28 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Sa 29 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Su 30 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Mo 31 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51

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Since the program started, participating schools reduced their annual energy bills by over 10%, which can be invested in other vital building or educational needs.

Alabama schools currently participating in the program in 20222023 include Arab Elementary School, Arab Junior High School, Arab High School and Arab Primary School (served by Arab Electric Cooperative); Charles F Hard Elementary School, Besse mer City Middle School and Bessemer City High School (served by Bessemer Electric Service); Cherokee High School, Colbert County High School, and Colbert Heights High School (served by Sheffield Utilities); Harlan Elementary School, Weeden Ele mentary School and Handy School (served by Florence Utilities); North Jackson High School, Skyline High School and Woodville High School (served by North Alabama Electric Cooperative); and North Sand Mountain School, Pisgah High School and Section High School (served by Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative ).

In Alabama this year, W.A. Threadgill Primary School earned a $100,000 grant and L.E. Wilson Elementary School received a $200,000 grant. Both schools are served by Sheffield Utilities.

Beginning September 1 through October 17, teachers and ad ministrators who receive their electricity from local power compa nies served by TVA can apply for up to $5,000 per STEM project. TVA is joining with the Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc. in offering a total of $1 million in STEM grant funding this school year. Educators should apply by visiting tvastem.com. Preference will be given to applications that explore TVA’s primary areas of focus: environment, energy, economic development and problem-solv ing that helps communities prosper. The grant amount is based on the scope of the project. Smaller projects, such as the purchase of equipment related to a larger project, can receive $1,000. We hope you will share the application information with pub lic elementary, middle and high schools in your service areas and join with us in helping to prepare young minds for great careers in high-paying STEM-related fields.

Another opportunity for TVA and LPCs to partner in support ing students and schools is through TVA’s School Uplift program. Piloted in 2021, the program is a 12-month behavior-based energy management training program that provides practical steps stu dents, teachers and staff can take to save energy and reduce energy costs.Participating public schools compete to meet energy-saving milestones and become eligible for Building Energy Upgrade Grants of up to $200,000. Every participating school will receive a $10,000 Learning Environment Grant at the conclusion of the year-long program.

Beginning at the second-grade level, teachers can also find out standing class resources on tvasystem.com. Under the “For Teach ers” tab, they can find lesson units with videos, reading materials and suggestions for daily activities. These lessons—designed by Tennessee Valley teachers for prac tical use in the classroom—may be formative steps of tomorrow’s doctors, civil engineers, nuclear scientists, computer programmers or robot designers. With a strong foundation in STEM learning, the potential is limitless. Lesson units range from showing second graders how humans can help remove bats from the endangered species list to high school physics lessons about the energy behind roller coasters.

TVA is currently recruiting schools for the 2023-2024 school year. Please help us share information about the School Uplift program by directing teachers and administrators to visit Energy Right.com/school-uplift 

As the new school year starts, we are helping to shape young minds

With children heading back to school this time of year, it is the perfect opportunity for educators to apply for grants to help them create outstanding science, technology, engineering and math projects for elementary, middle or high school students.

Kevin Chandler is the customer relations director, Regional Relations South, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

44 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop | Our Sources Say |

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And besides, he pointed out in closing, “Mama just fixed me a hot breakfast.” Then I knew I had lost the fight. It seems that while we were arguing, men from the Co-op worked their mag ic and as if someone had said “let there be light,” there was light. So mama had cooked up a mess of eggs, grits and ba con, and made a pot of coffee.

The Poutin’ House

46 SEPTEMBER 2022 www.alabamaliving.coop | Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

Now how can you argue a man away from that? I couldn’t. I surrendered.

Ivan AuthDennisbyIllustration

“You won’t have power.” “We’ve been without power before.” “For a week?” “What“Longer.”about water?” “We’ll go to the spring at Hebron. It is gushing out there and folks are lined up withForbuckets.”everypoint I made, he had a coun terpoint.So,Iput my wife on the phone. Now my wife can argue the bark off a beech tree, but she was no match for the unpersuadable Jackson. Not even the lure of watching the Auburn-LSU game would get Daddy to budge.

Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hhjackson43@gmail.com after

Iremember back in September 2004. I was in Jacksonville, watching the Weather Channel, as Hurricane Ivan churned toward the Florida Panhandle. After landfall it was predicted to move quickly into South Alabama. So I called my Daddy down in Grove Hill, about 90 miles north of Mobile and right in the projected path. “I’m coming to get you and Mama,” I told him -- which I knew when I said it was the wrong approach to take. You didn’t tell Daddy what you will do if it in volves him -- you ask if you can. “No, you’re not,” he replied. “You stay there and look after yours.” I tried to reason with him. He hemmed and hawed. Then he fessed up. “Mrs. Margaret and Aunt Stella are go ing to ride it out with me and Mama. We will be just fine.” There you have it. My Daddy. My hero. My role model. At age 87, fixing to have a hurricane party with three women, the youngest having just turned 80. If I can do the same when I reach his age, if I reach his age, I will have lived life to the fullest.So,we kept in touch by phone. They made it through the night but woke to find no power. Then, about mid-day, the wind hit them full force. A big oak in the backyard was uprooted. Smaller trees were snapped in two -- just snapped. However, Daddy’s Poutin’ House sur vived, and its survival undid my plans. In the wake of the storm, word reached me that power down there might not be restored for a week and that they would soon lose water as well. Hearing this, I called“Packagain.toleave Daddy, I’m on my way.” “We’re staying here.” (Didn’t I learn the first time? Ask.)

Find the hidden dingbat! Did you we showed you on Page 9?

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