Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News September 2017
Tallapoosa River ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE
Mascot mania Life behind the mask for Aubie, Big Al and company
Perk up meats, veggies with Alabama sauces
Manager Louie Ward Co-Op Editor Kevin Hand 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 $6 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.
Outdoors encouragement Many students keep a tradition of leaving school to go hunting or fishing whenever they can. However, for some young people attending the University of Montevallo, the school not only allows them to take great outdoors adventures, but even encourages – and pays them!
VOL. 70 NO. 9 n SEPTEMBER 2017
POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Griffin Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols Communications Coordinator Laura Stewart
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Pass the sauce
Our readers share photos of their grandparents, and in some cases, themselves with their grandchildren.
Alabama-made marinades and sauces are an easy way to amp up the flavor factor of your food while supporting our state’s own talented entrepreneurs.
Say cheese, please
You can’t ever have too much cheese, as our reader-submitted recipes prove.
D E PA R T M E N T S
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In this issue: Page 11 Page 28
9 Snapshots 22 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 30 Outdoors 31 Fish & Game Forecast 34 Cook of the Month 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop ON THE COVER: Big Al and Aubie are just two of the college mascots who don costumes to inspire football fans in Alabama. See story, Page 12. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: Mark Stephenson
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TallapoosaRiverElectricCooperative Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. P.O. Box 675 15163 Highway 431 South LaFayette, AL 36862
Board of Trustees C.B. Parker, Jr. President District 6 - Daviston
John Adcock Vice-President District 2 - Woodland
Bruce Boswell Secretary/Treasurer District 1 - Seale
Advancing technology Louie Ward In high school I hated having to write a book report. Even worse was giving an opinion for an essay question. In my short sighted teenage mind I couldn’t fathom why writing was a skill that would benefit me one day. Now, I wish I had placed much more effort in those assignments. I have been writing these articles for over ten years. Before that, I worked with the local pages of this publication for six years. Writing these articles and working on our local pages helps me appreciate the need to express thought in printed text. I often wonder if social media is affecting our children’s ability to do that
an app that you can download to easily pay your bill from a home computer or a magic box. On our web page, www.trec.coop, we keep strive to keep relevant information that may be more time sensitive than a once a month publication and brief news articles that we think are worth sharing. Just a few months ago our field personnel used paper maps to locate our lines, active and inactive meters, and the direction of energy flow. Maintaining 50-something sets of paper maps was horrendously inefficient and, needless to say, they were out of date by the time they were all printed. Now they
and if so, if it is affecting it in a good way or bad way. I suppose time will tell. My children certainly seem to spend plenty of time with their favorite versions of social media on their phone. I jokingly call their phone a magic box because it keeps them fascinated for many more hours than I can concentrate. I am not sure how that applies to what I want to discuss this month, but I have wanted to say it for some months anyway. Here at the Cooperative, we don’t do social media yet. We do have discussions about when we should, how much time it will take up and what volume of resources we devote to it. We do however have a web page and
have smart phones with a digital version of our electric distribution system. So far, we love utilizing this technology and we look forward to the opportunities it will provide in the future. And finally, thank you for allowing me to share tidbits of my life and the lives of my family members as I try to find a way to make information regarding the electric utility industry and Tallapoosa River Electric Cooperative interesting and relatable. I hope you have a good month!
Rusty Robinson District 4 - Seale
Phillip Bryant District 7 - Opelika
Jeff “Bodine” Dodgen
District 5 - LaFayette
Mary Ann Walker District 3 - Opelika
To pay your bill online: Go to www.trec.coop and click “Payment Options.” Save time and money! In case of POWER OUTAGES day or night CALL... 1-877-456-8732
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| Your Co-op |
All offices for Tallapoosa River Electric will be closed on Monday September 4, 2017 We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday September 5, 2017.
Beneﬁcial electriﬁcation for the home By Thomas Kirk Do you enjoy waking up to the rumble of your neighbor’s lawn mower on a Saturday morning? The days of mowers and other devices making a rumbling noise and spewing exhaust into the air may be coming to an end. The concept, known as “environmentally beneficial electrification,” is gaining traction among a growing number of groups in the U.S., including local electric cooperatives. Frequently promoted as a means to reducing greenhouse gases and helping the environment, beneficial electrification also helps consumers by providing products that are cleaner, quieter and easier to maintain. Beneficial electrification is a departure from the conventional wisdom, which held that appliances fueled on-site, like natural gas water heaters, were more efficient and easier on the environment. The natural gas industry argues that generating and distributing electricity is less efficient than burning fuel on-site. But that old argument is crumbling, and one of the biggest drivers of this trend is the flexibility of the electric grid itself. As utilities shift to renewable technologies and make existing generation technologies cleaner, electricity uses less fossil fuel per kilowatt-hour of energy produced. Electric appliances become “greener.” Electric appliances themselves are also becoming Alabama Living
more efficient due to technological improvements and increased government standards, and gas appliances aren’t keeping up. “Over their life, electric products can support the integration of renewable energy generators, on-site renewable generation, and thermal and battery storage programs. The same cannot be said of appliances that require fossil fuel on-site,” says Keith Dennis, NRECA senior principal of end-use solutions and standards. “This applies to electric vehicles, systems that heat and cool homes and many other end-use technologies.” So, what will change around the home and how will it impact you? Four changes you’re likely to see are to your water heater, stove tops, lawnmowers and vehicles. First, hybrid heat pump water heaters are far more efficient than standard electric water heaters and still offer the benefits of an electric-only system, such as quiet operation and greater durability. Electric stove tops have long been disliked because they take a long time to heat, and will often heat pans unevenly. However, new induction stovetops heat faster than gas stoves and are more efficient than electric resistance stoves. The price has fallen tremendously over recent years – from hundreds of dollars per induction stove to well under $100.
The third major change will be to small motors around your home, like the one in your lawnmower or leaf blower. Already there are corded and cordless models available and as batteries continue to improve and fall in cost, consumers can expect to see cordless models dominate. Lastly, the car in your driveway may change out its gas tank for a battery. Electric vehicles are widely praised for being safer, easier to maintain (no oil changes!) and performing better on the road with more acceleration and torque. Currently more expensive than their gas-fueled counterparts, electric vehicles will fall in price as more companies enter the market and battery technology improves. Change is often overestimated in the short term and underestimated in the long term. With that in mind, don’t expect to see the electrification of your home unfold completely in the next year or two, but rather over the next five to 10 years. While many of these gas appliances and vehicles have become very familiar to me, I will not miss hearing my neighbor’s noisy lawnmower at 7 a.m. on Saturdays. Thomas Kirk is an associate analyst of distributed energy resources for the Arlington, Va.-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Business & Technology Strategies (BTS) division. SEPTEMBER 2017 5
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| Your Co-op |
Washington Youth Tour 2017 This past June, TREC sent Logan Massey from Beauregard High School to represent us at the National Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. Logan was part of the Alabama delegation of 58 students and eight chaperones from other cooperatives around the state. They joined approximately 1500 other students from around the country for a week-long conference in our nation’s capital. Massey had the opportunity to learn about leadership and the cooperative business model. He also participated in question and answer sessions with elected officials and toured many historic sites, including the Iwo Jima, the WW II, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials and the Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt Memorials. They also toured Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian Institute Museums, the U.S. Capitol, and the National Holocaust Museum. They watched the changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and attended a play at Kennedy Center. For more information about Tallapoosa River’s Youth Tour Program, please contact Kevin Hand at 334-864-9331 ext. 731 or email@example.com
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TREC members attend 42nd annual Co-op Couples Conference TREC members Ashley and David Brooks of LaFayette attended the 42nd Annual Co-op Couples Conference July 17-19, in Orange Beach, Al. The conference is organized by the Alabama Council of Cooperatives. They joined 28 other young couples from across the state for the three day event. The conference provides an opportunity for couples to learn more about the cooperative way of life in a fun,
relaxed environment. The conference included speakers from a variety of coops across Alabama, which allowed David and Ashley to better understand what cooperatives mean to our state economy. For more information about future conferences please contact Kevin Hand at 334-864-9331 ext. 731 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Cooler temps will be here soon! No matter what kind of heating system you have in your home, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. Contact a licensed professional to inspect your system before the winter chill arrives. Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy 8â€ƒ SEPTEMBER 2017
| Alabama Snapshots |
Herman Hickman and great grandson Zander Taylor. SUBMITTED BY Emily Martin, Sylacauga Martha Mercer and her great grandchildren. SUBMITTED BY Martha Mercer, Elmore
Parker Smith. Lena Belle Smith and grandson Troy th, Smi SUBMITTED BY Edith
Carl and Debbie Clark with granddaughters Karleigh, Rylee, Avarey and Presley Sanders.SUBMITTED BY Jennifer Sanders, Andalusia
nton. granddaughter Ellyott Sta Papa Steve Stanton and nton, Loxley. SUBMITTED BY Elliott Sta
Woodie Glenn and granddaughter Danielle Hickman.SUBMITTED BY Woodie Glenn, Rockford.
Submit Your Images! November Theme: “Heirloom Quilts” Deadline for November: September 30 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124
RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.
SEPTEMBER 2017 9
| Power Pack | SOCIAL SECURITY
Social Security Q&A
ver the next two issues, I would like to share with you some common Social Security questions I receive on a variety of topics and my answers. Question: My child, who gets Social Security, will be attending his last year of high school in the fall. He turns 19 in a few months. Do I need to fill out a form for his benefits to continue? Answer: Yes. You should receive a form, SSA-1372-BK, in the mail about three months before your son’s birthday. Your son needs to complete the form and take it to his school’s office for certification. Then, you need to return page two and the certified page three back to Social Security for processing. If you can’t find the form we mailed to you, you can find it online at: www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-1372.pdf. Question: I’m trying to figure out how much I need to save for my retirement. Does the government offer any help with financial education?
Letters to the editor
Answer: Yes. For starters, you may want to find out what you can expect from Social Security with a visit to Social Security’s Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity. gov/estimator. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission has a website that can help you with the basics of financial education: www.mymoney.gov. Finally, you’ll want to check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which offers educational information on a number of financial matters, including mortgages, credit cards, retirement, and other big decisions. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov.
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Rural hospitals need new revenue sources
hirty-two of Alabama’s 46 rural hospitals are operating at a loss. That’s according to information recently developed by iVantage Health Analytics for the National Rural Health Association. Six rural Alabama hospitals have closed since 2009, tied with Georgia for the most closures in any state. An additional 14 rural Alabama hospitals have been identified as being at risk of closure. Simply by being there, rural hospitals attract additional health care services and provide vital economic development opportunities for their service areas. With 41 of Alabama’s 67 counties projected to lose population between 2010 and 2040, our rural areas cannot afford a more threatened economic future by losing their local hospital. The struggle to keep rural hospitals open is very complex. Rural hospitals receive lower reimbursement for the same service than hospitals in more urbanized areas.
Dale Quinney is executive director of the Alabama Rural Health Association, 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081.
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This poses a constant financial challenge. Continuing to offer health care services, such as obstetrics, that consistently cost more to provide than is reimbursed, is very important to the perception of local health care. Such consistent losses cannot be sustained forever. In addition, government programs and private insurance have established admission and length of stay requirements that place many rural hospitals in a position of having daily inpatient censuses below the number of beds available for inpatient services. Rural hospitals do not exist only to serve the local population. They provide a front line of health care defense for residents and visitors going through our rural areas who need immediate and critical health care services. In response to financial threats, some rural hospitals are being innovative in welcoming and developing new sources of revenue. The Bibb Medical Center in Centerville and its administrator, Joseph Marchant, are an example. This medical center has 35 authorized beds with an average daily inpatient census of around 14 or 15. This facility operates an affiliated rural Continued on Page 31
E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Nurse practitioners article appreciated Thank you so much for highlighting the situation in our state that nurse practitioners face in practice. Your article (August 2017) was right on target. We have several schools in our state who graduate very qualiﬁed nurse practitioners who are excited and ready to care for the patients in Alabama and they can be a very signiﬁcant part of the solution for inadequate healthcare in our state. They are willing to live and work in very rural areas, and many already do so. Statistics strongly support patient satisfaction with the care nurse practitioners provide. Why do we continue to ignore the resource for healthcare that they provide? Thank you for such a timely and important piece! Susan Holmes, EdD, MSN, CRNP Troy University School of Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner Program Whereville thanks What a pleasant surprise to open the (August) issue of Alabama Living to discover the photo of Jasmine Hill Gardens in your Whereville photo contest! Thank you for all you have done to help our attendance at Jasmine Hill! Jim Inscoe, Proprietor, Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum Photo contest I want to thank Alabama Living magazine for sponsoring the reader photo contest (July 2017) and especially for the honor of placing second along with the $50 award. I am not a native of Alabama but have always claimed Ozark as home. I returned to Ozark nearly 20 years ago for family reasons and have been here ever since. My friends are steeped in Southern tradition and its culture has enriched my life. I’ve learned to love grits, cold sweet tea and “Steel Magnolias!” I guess you could say I’m Northern by birth and Southern by choice. We are fortunate here in Ozark to have the Dowling Museum/Ann Rudd Art Center downtown on the Square. It has been a cultural outreach to artists, amateur photographers and writers for more than 16 years and a place to express our vision and ideas through the arts. Thanks again for the recognition and for providing the opportunity to share the view through my lens! Carol Luckfield Ozark www.alabamaliving.coop
SEPTEMBER | Spotlight
Whereville, AL Guess where this is and you might win $25!
USDA provides food safety, ‘kitchen conﬁdence’ tips Do you need a little “kitchen confidence?” The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service invites home cooks to gain some confidence in the kitchen by refreshing their perspectives on food safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year, approximately 48 million Americans suffer from foodborne illness, leading to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Many of these illnesses can be prevented by changing behaviors in the kitchen. Be confident in your food safety skills by visiting www. FoodSafety.gov, by calling the Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-MPHotline or downloading the FoodKeeper app on your digital device. You can also chat live with a food safety specialist in English or Spanish at AskKaren.gov, available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday.
This month in
Alabama history 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 by Sept. 6 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the October issue. Contribute your own photo from an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is used will also win $25. Submit by email to email@example.com, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.
Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum near Wetumpka features more than 20 acres of year-round ﬂoral beauty and classical sculpture, including statuary that honors Olympic heroes. Learn more about “Alabama’s little corner of Greece” at www.jasminehill.org (Photo submitted by Dayna Coker.) The random drawing winner is Beverly Trawick of Dixie EC.
September 14, 1964 The USS Alabama arrived in Mobile after completing a 5,600-mile voyage from Bremerton, Washington. The voyage was the longest nonmilitary ton per mile tow in history. The ship returned home to Alabama after a statewide fundraising campaign that collected more than $800,000, including $100,000 donated by schoolchildren. On January 9, 1965, the USS Alabama Battleship Park opened to the public in Mobile, eighteen years after the ship was decommissioned on the same day in 1947. More than 2,000 people, including schoolchildren, politicians, and veterans of World War II, attended the opening ceremonies as Gov. George Wallace received the ship on behalf of all citizens of the state.
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College mascots say life behind t They lead us in victory, console our defeats, and comfort with unwavering support. They are the mascots of college football. Requiring good grades, excellent physical conditioning, and the ability to ham it up in front of thousands, life is challenging in mascot mania. But life is good for those who don the suit. They love it. Here are some of Alabama’s favorites. By Emmett Burnett
Blaze the Dragon
It’s not easy being green. It’s not easy walking on campus with wings and a tail either. But at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Blaze the Dragon does just fine. UAB’s reptile of renown originated in 1995. But the name “Blaze” was predestined, from 1978, after the school’s sports teams were nicknamed by student vote. “They tried other mascots,” recalls Ryan Martin O’ Connor, coordinator of cheerleaders. “We considered a rooster, and Viking, but finally felt Blaze was best.”
She adds, “No mascot has a suit like ours. The wings are huge and if not careful, his tail can knock you down.” He has to be very careful in a crowd. And he is always in a crowd. Everybody wants to be around him. And Blaze rocks. “Most people think mascot performers are extraverts,” says Ryan, “but that’s not necessarily the case. Many are more comfortable in the suit than out of it when it comes to performing crazy antics.” For a bulky winged serpent, this leaping lizard can cut the rug. Blaze owns the dance floor. UAB sources confirm, when performing “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae,)” no dragon is better.
Named by University of Alabama student vote in 1979, Big Al the elephant is one of the most recognized sports mascots in America. His first public appearance was at the 1980 Sugar Bowl. Today he appears everywhere. “When donning the elephant suit you become more than a mascot,” explains Big Al coordinator and former Alabama cheerleader Jennifer Thrasher. “You are an ambassador of the University. You must represent us in a positive way.” Bama’s elephant is known for football games but sports are just part of the job description. He makes hundreds of public appearances annually and encounters situations from jubilant to sadness. “Big Al visits a lot of children’s hospitals,” Thrash12 SEPTEMBER
er says. She related one such visit: a young child stricken with cancer too weak to offer little more than a feeble smile. “Big Al sat at the little girl’s bedside, quietly holding her hand in silence,” Thrasher says. Later in private, the mascot removed the elephant head, revealing a college student with tears streaming down her face. And then there is game day. “Every time you put on that massive head you are part of something bigger than you,” recalls Justin Sullivan of Nashville, mascot from 2011 to 2016. “I had no experience when selected as Big Al. I went from nothing to Bryant Denny Stadium, in front of 150,000 people. Even today it seems surreal.” www.alabamaliving.coop
t i r i p s l choo
d the mask rewarding SouthPaw and Miss Pawla Love is in the air at the University of South Alabama, Mobile: SouthPaw and Miss Pawla are engaged, in a classic tale of jaguar romance. OK, it’s probably the only tale of jaguar romance, but earlier this year, at a USA pep rally, SouthPaw proposed to fellow jaguar mascot, Miss Pawla. She nodded yes. The affirmative came as little surprise because Miss Pawla has flirted with SouthPaw since she has known him, just like she does with most males. It is who she is and part of why USA loves them both. “South Paw is the strong silent type,” says USA Cheer Coach Bre Kucera. “He is athletic, 7 feet tall, and dresses in accordance with the sporting event represented.” Pawla is
shorter and a prissy–flirty feminine feline. They are cool cats, and in South Alabama, “cool” is not easy. “It takes heat endurance to be our mascot,” Kucera says. “A football game down here can be 100 degrees on the field.” Try being in that heat totally encapsulated in simulated jaguar fur. Not a problem for SouthPaw and Miss Pawla, because love conquers. And the only heat these two are concerned with are the warm hearts they have for each other.
Cocky the Gamecock
For the last five years, Niki Martin has been Cocky the Fighting Gamecock of Jacksonville State University. Martin graduated in April, relinquishing her title as rooster with an attitude. But as all costumed performers say, even after you’re gone, the mascot lives on. “Oh yes, I was a crying mess,” Martin laughs, about giving up her feathered friend. “But it has been so rewarding. To put a smile on someone’s face, even for five seconds, helps them and helps me.” Cocky goes beyond mascot. This bird is hilarious. “He is always in trouble, always doing something he should not be doing,” adds head cheer coach Dave Almeita. “That’s why people love him.” But despite the rooster’s rants, no one cries
fowl. “He’s a prankster but not a jerk,” Martin s a y s . “A f t e r pulling a joke on someone, I always offered a handshake or hug, to show it’s all in fun.” Martin is credited for developing Cocky’s signature strut and personality. “Cocky is the guy the girls love and the guys want to be like,” she says. Few people know for the last five years Cocky was a woman. Even less know Cocky was Martin. When asked what is it like being famous yet anonymous inside a mascot suit, Martin says, “It’s like being Clark Kent and knowing you are Superman.”
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Tuskegee’s Golden Tiger Herschel Freeman has a dilemma. He loves children but also portrays the feisty Golden Tiger for Tuskegee University. Kids and giant cats don’t often mix and Herschel is caught in the middle. “It happens at almost every game,” the sophomore business major and mascot says. “I’ll be standing there in the costume and here comes a parent with a baby to thrust in my arms for a picture.” The child is terrified. “Mascots can’t talk in uniform,” Freeman laughs. “But
sometimes I want to shout to the dad, Oh, come on, man! I’m a 6-foot tiger standing on two legs! What do you expect this baby to do?” Like all good mascots, Freeman excels at reading situations. “I always let young children approach me. I don’t walk up to them.” And though he cannot speak, “I nod and make gestures. With experience, you become good at it.” Also like all good mascots, actions speak louder than words.
Aubie the Auburn Tiger
In 1979, Auburn University student Barry Mask was selected as the first Aubie the Tiger. “I wanted Aubie to be four things,” recalls Mask, who today is a Montgomery banker. “He had to be a good dancer, prankster, a ladies man, and love children.” Oh, how the tiger roared. Today Aubie holds 9 UCA National Championships, more than any college mascot. He was the first inductee into the Mascot Hall of Fame, and is a state legend. The 1979 Iron Bowl solidified Auburn’s mascot as a cat to reckon with because, of all people, Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. During the pre-game, Coach Bryant leaned against a goal post. Barry was Aubie. Wearing a crimson jacket and houndstooth hat, just like Alabama’s coach wore, Aubie sneaked up behind Bryant. Curious as to why
T-Roy, Trojan of Troy
All hail mighty T-Roy: Warrior of the Wiregrass, gladiator of goodwill, and Trojan of Troy – now new and improved. “He has a new and improved head and facelift,” says Kyle George, Troy University’s associate athletic director for marketing and sales. T-Roy first appeared in the mid-1980s. The upgraded one was seen throughout Alabama this summer on a state tour, but his official debut is September 9 at Troy’s first home football game. The big noggin now allows better visibility through the eyes and improved neck support for the mascot’s interior human. And not a moment too soon. Because when it comes to big man on campus, T-Roy rocks. “One cool thing about mascots is they can go where a live person can’t,” adds Kyle. “They lift spirits and make people happy just by being around them.” The red-capped wonder frequently appears at children’s events, birthday parties, hospitals, alumni gatherings and almost anywhere his schedule allows. But he walks a fine line between muscle-bound warrior and helmeted loveable softie. T-Roy is a powerful warrior through and through but a friendly one. He is stern yet fun. Toddlers are
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the crowd was cheering, the Bear turned to the Tiger, and did a double-take. Barry remembers, “In front of thousands, I was face to face, looking into squinting steel blue eyes of a legend glaring back at me.” Seconds later, Coach Bryant’s stare transformed into a smile. Pointing at the tiger’s houndstooth headwear, he chuckled, “Nice hat, Aubie,” and walked away. Aubie has been cutting edge ever since. Mask, who later served in the Alabama House of Representatives, occasionally meets current mascots, and offers advice: “If you are not pushing the limits, you are probably not a good Aubie.”
as comfortable with him as adults. Typically, three to 5 students are helmet–ready at any given time. One wears the suit. The others attend the mascot. They are trained in the ways of Troy and Trojan spirit, ready to lead in battle or hug sweet babies. See ya’ later, gladiator. Here’s to those who push the limits, wear the suits, and bring fantasy to life for the joy of all the fans of College Town, Alabama.
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State of sauce Alabama-made sauces perk up meats, veggies and more
By Jennifer Kornegay
ven most novice cooks know that marinades and sauces are easy and effective ways to amp up the flavor factor of a variety of foods. Meats, seafood and veggies all benefit from a pre-cooking soak and a slather, sprinkle or dip afterwards. Lots of folks like to make their own, but there are plenty of Alabama-made products to choose from, too. These tasty options range from classics like salty steak saturators to innovative creations that rely on more exotic influences. Here are a few favorites from around the state.
Berdeaux’s Since he was old enough to eat table food, Jim Berdeaux has been enjoying the thick, tangy steak sauce and the tomato-based, slightly sweet barbecue sauce his grandfather whipped up when he was the chef at Montgomery’s Pickwick Café in the 1940s. “We made his sauces for every family get-together, and when I was in the paper business, I started making them and giving jars to clients as gifts,” he says. Once the sauces were tasted outside of the Berdeaux family, the positive response was overwhelming. When he retired from the Air Force, Jim decided to base a business on the recipes (and the clamoring requests for them) and created Berdeaux’s Sauces in 2010. The company is based in
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Montgomery, and the sauces are made in Chancellor, Ala. Today, in addition to the steak and barbecue sauces, Berdeaux’s produces Sweet Island Dipping Sauce, a lively blend of pineapple and pungent horseradish. All the sauces are completely natural, with no MSG, high-fructose corn syrup or liquid smoke, a point Jim’s really proud of. “My sauces’ purity is what makes us stand out,” he said. “You can taste the difference.” Get some: At shows and special events around the South, specialty stores in central Alabama like Derk’s Filet & Vine, Queen’s Steaks ‘N Wines, Tucker Pecan and more and online at berdeauxsauces.com.
Pilleteri’s Pilleteri’s Liquid Marinade was born out of necessity. The patrons of owner Charles Pilleteri’s Birmingham butcher shop and deli, Mr. P’s, wanted something to flavor the steaks and chops they bought from him, and so he created a dry seasoning blend and then a robust marinade based on the same flavors. “The original inspiration came from a Montgomery butcher shop that’s now closed, but I modified the recipe and added my own spin,” he says. The dark marinade is low in sodium (only 17 percent), yet it has just the right sharp, salty punch, with notes of garlic, black pepper and Worcestershire too. Charles has since added other sauces (hot sauce and wing sauce) and products like rubs and seasonings, but the original marinade is still his bestseller. He’s now also distributing other Alabama-made sauces, like Ollie’s Bar-B-Q sauce. Get some: at Mr. P’s Butcher Shop and Deli, 813 Shades Crest Road in Birmingham; select Publix, Food Giant and Piggly Wiggly locations; and online at pilleteri.com.
Charles Pilleteri’s Mr. P’s Original Marinade is still his best seller. PHOTO BY RAY MARTIN
Super Turnip Green Super Turnip Green Pepper Sauce is one-upping the bottles of soggy, faded-green peppers that are standard sights on tables at Southern restaurants. With its Serrano pepper base, it’s sweet on the front end, combusts with a pop of well-rounded heat in the middle and ends with a blast of vinegar zipping across your tongue, combining the sensations into an unforgettable bite. The sauce’s namesake and mascot, a Southern hero named Super Turnip Green (STG) – who sports overalls and a full-
face mask – is just as memorable, and that’s by design, as Drew Folsom, owner of the Birmingham-based company (and STG’s “agent”), explains. “The sauce is all about a love of South, Southern foods and the country lifestyle, and STG embodies that. He’s a good ole country boy with just a little edge.” Legend says the sauce recipe is STG’s, but that he wanted to keep his identity a secret, so he gave it to Folsom to bottle and sell. True or not, one thing is certain: Just a few dashes of this concoction added to anything from greens and peas to fish and fried chicken (STG’s favorite way to use it) will wake up your food’s flavor potential. STG just launched a new product, Super Turnip Green Presents: Colt Ford Pepper Sauce, a fiery, full-bodied liquid created by country music artist Colt Ford. Get some: in select Winn-Dixie, Piggly Wiggly and Western Supermarkets in Central Alabama and Publix locations in and around Birmingham. Check your local store too; STG is currently expanding distribution.
Front-door delivery In recent years, Alabama has become known for its barbecue, including the sauces served in some of our most storied ‘cue institutions. With a just a few clicks and a credit card, you can have them shipped right to you and add the work of masters to your creations. Dreamland Bar-B-Que, dreamlandbbq.com Costa’s Famous Bar-B-Q, alabamagoods.com Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, bigbobgibson.com Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q, bobsykes.com Full Moon Bar-B-Que, fullmoonbbq.com Alabama Living
Jim N’ Nick’s Bar-B-Q, jimnnicks.com Saw’s BBQ, sawsbbq.com Ollie’s Bar-B-Q, pilleteri.com Demetri’s BBQ, alabamagoods.com SEPTEMBER 2017 17
More to love
In tiny New Hope in north Alabama, Steve Howton has been playing with spice combos and cooking up his Howton Farm’s sauces since 2003. He’s worked in construction for years but was always making his own barbecue sauce. And he still is; while he has a “day job,” he makes every batch of his savory sidekick for slow-smoked meats as well as his newer offering, a zesty, ginger-infused, sesame-seed-studded Salmon & Sushi Sauce (which also adds pizazz to chicken) by hand, using the best ingredients he can find. “Lots of folks ‘cheap out’ in the sauce industry, but the product suffers when you do that,” he says. “That’s why I’ve kept everything in my control, so I can ensure the quality is high.” Check out his selection of dry seasonings too. Get some. Order at howtownfarms.com or on eBay.
Alabama’s a pretty saucy state, boasting so many homegrown sauces we can’t adequately cover them all in one article. Here are a few other condiment companies worth checking out. Learn more about them and where to get them on their websites. Sweet Melissa’s spicy sauces, Birmingham Sweetmelissassauces.com Alabama Sunshine hot sauces, Fayette alabamasunshine.com T-Lish dressings and marinades, Birmingham tlish.com SlapHappy BBQ Sauce, Birmingham slaphappybbq.com Daddy Natty’s Bar-B-Q Sauce, Birmingham daddy-natty.com Sneaky Pete’s hot dog sauce, Birmingham sneakypeteshotdogs.com Simmering Sensation Cooking Sauces, Killen simmeringsensation.com Jala Jala BBQ Sauces, Huntsville jalajalafoods.com
Moore’s Marinades & Sauces The smoky, piquant jolt of Moore’s Original Marinade has been charming taste buds for a long time, starting with diners at Moore’s Landing restaurant in Jasper, who couldn’t get enough of the house marinade and started buying it by the Styrofoam-cup-full to take home. The eatery closed years ago, but thanks to the LaRussa family, who purchased the restaurant’s recipe, the name and taste live on in Moore’s Marinades & Sauces, the company they founded in Birmingham. Today, Moore’s has expanded to include three marinades and six wing sauces that are distributed nationwide.
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Dale’s Seasoning sauce, Birmingham dalesseasoning.com
The company’s brand manager, Garland Reich, outlined what she thinks has fueled its success and continued growth. “We are a family-owned company, and we make real Southern products,” she says. “Moore’s really captures the flavor of the South.” While the marinade that built the company is still beloved, Moore’s most popular product (out of nine) is its Buffalo Wing Sauce, a pout-puckering, blazing orange elixir that will electrify your mouth. Get some: in major grocery stores around the country.
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| Worth the drive |
From waitresses to restaurant owners
Sisters attracts customers from across Alabama Go with us as we visit Sisters at Story and photos by Ben Norman
hen sisters Pat Rogers and Geraldine Golden decided to leave their jobs and open Sisters Restaurant in Troy, they both had a lot of apprehension. Geraldine was working as a waitress at a local restaurant and Pat was in the insurance business, although she had worked as a waitress before. The former owners of the property that is now Sisters Restaurant approached Pat and Geraldine about buying the property and opening a restaurant. “They said they would work with us any way they could and encouraged us to give it a try. I was all for it but Geraldine was holding out. I finally convinced her to let’s give it a try, so we rented the building for the first year then bought it,” Pat says. “To get started, we borrowed $10,000 from Jeff Kervin at Troy Bank and Trust. He had faith in us, and has stuck with us. The business did well from the start. “My mother, Juanita Golden, had taught Geraldine and me to cook when we were girls. We just didn’t know how to cook for so many, but we learned fast. I did most of the cooking to begin with and Geraldine helped out when needed. We wanted to serve food just like our customers ate at their mother’s and grandmother’s house.” Sisters Restaurant opened serving country cooking, and the ladies intend to continue that style. Its specialties are corn, peas, butterbeans, squash, turnips, collards, and they still use their mother’s recipe for chicken and dressing. Customers drive from Dothan, Montgomery, Luverne and all around to eat lunch with them, which they consider quite a compliment. “We haven’t forgot what made us successful, and that is our customers,” Pat says. The restaurant Sisters Restaurant also has become 13153 U.S. Highway 231 in Troy, known for its desabout two miles south of serts, such as its Walmart; 334-566-0064 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday; all-you-can-eat buffet starts at 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday; Troy closed Saturday; all-you-can-eat buffet from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Customer favorites: Geraldine Golden, left, and Pat Rogers hold pans of bread pudding and banana pudding.
homemade banana pudding. It is on the “One Hundred Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” list and has been featured in Southern Living magazine. Another favorite is the bread pudding, made from a secret recipe. “We always buy quality products in order to maintain our delicious country style of cooking. The first day we opened we had rice on the menu. It was an off brand and stuck to the pan and didn’t taste good. I told the customers that day that if they would stick with me I’d promise never to serve anything like that again. From then on we have only used Uncle Ben’s rice,” Pat says with a chuckle. Both Pat and Geraldine laugh when they discuss Geraldine’s reluctance to go into business for themselves. “Pat came back all excited when she went and looked at the building the first time,” Geraldine says. “She was ready to get started, but I wanted no part of it. She finally got me to go look at it, but I told her I didn’t want any part of it. I found all kind of excuses not to do it but she talked me into it. I would go home and cry after work for a month or two. But our customers really supported us, and I relaxed and then began to enjoy the work and all the customers we saw every day. It was just fear at first, but I got over it.” Sisters Restaurant celebrated its 20th anniversary in March. They have completed several additions to accommodate the growing number of customers and the kitchen has been completely remodeled. Sisters Restaurant offers a country buffet on Thursday night, with the main attraction the white meat or fatback and tomato gravy. They also serve a seafood buffet on Friday night. Sisters is open for lunch every day but Saturday. One customer asked if he could look in the kitchen. When asked why, he said, “With food this good, I just thought my grandmother might be back there doing the cooking.” It’s hard to top a compliment like that. Ben Norman is a writer from Highland Home, Ala.
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| Gardens |
The roots of fall ﬂavor: Carrots, radishes, beets and more
grew up watching Bugs Bunny go to great lengths for some carrots. Me, though, I didn’t “carrot all” for them. That is until I tasted the sweetness of a crisp, garden-fresh carrot and began to appreciate Bugs’ infatuation with them. If you’re fond of fresh carrots, you’re living in the right state. Alabama’s climate allows us to grow carrots and many other root vegetables as both spring and fall crops. And now is the ideal time for a fall planting. There are lots of reasons to love root vegeta- Root vegetables are easy to grow and have few disease or pet issues. bles, but it’s their diverse array of flavors — from sweet to zesty to they are perfect for gardeners of all skill earthy to nutty — that make them espelevels. In addition, root vegetables don’t cially appealing on salads and as cooked need a lot of room to spread out their root dishes. And these days they are available in systems so they are ideal for small garden an equally diverse array of colors, shapes areas or for planting in containers (just and sizes. make sure the pots are deep enough for Take color for example. In addition their taproots to fully form). to the familiar orange carrot that Bugs Root vegetables can also be inter-plantadores, we can also nibble (or chomp) on ed with one another or with other crops, red, purple and yellow carrots. Today’s and they are easy to grow in succession radishes range from the standard reds plantings — sow a few seeds every couple and whites we all know and love to radof weeks and you’ll always have a new crop ishes with pink and black skins and yellow, coming on. pink and green inner flesh. The same goes Best of all, root crops have few disease for beets — think beyond the typical puror pest issues (yes, wild rabbits can be plish-red beet to golden, pink and striped a problem, but they can usually be conoptions. trolled with repellents — no Elmer Fudd Then there’s shape. How about a little or Mr. McGregor techniques needed) and round carrot that looks more like a beet require little pampering. or a radish, or radishes and beets that For optimal production, they need six look more like carrots? Or maybe a giant to eight hours of sunlight each day, about daikon radish that weighs more than a an inch of water each week and a loose pound? The options are abundant! (“fluffy”), well-drained soil that is free of Because root crops are easy to grow, weeds and of rocks, dirt clods or other debris that might hamper their growth. The soil should be rich in potassium and phosphorus (but not too much nitrogen) and have pH levels between 5.5 and 7, so Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and for best results test your soil and make editor based in Opelika, amendments to it before you plant. Alabama. Contact her The easiest way to grow root vegetables at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com. is from seed, and most of these plants have 22 SEPTEMBER 2017
small, sometimes tiny, seeds so it can be hard to nail their ideal plant spacing. If you end up with overcrowded seedlings, simply thin them but don’t throw those seedlings away! They, like the leafy tops of most root vegetables, are edible and can be used to add fabulous, interesting flavors to salads, stir fries, pastas and other dishes. While the season for spring-planted root vegetables is limited by hot weather, which can make them tough and bitter, many fall-planted root crops can be left in the ground and harvested well into the winter months. Cover them with a thick layer of mulch during the cold months and you may well get to enjoy them until its time to plant the spring crop. Imagine, garden-fresh carrots for months on end … just don’t let Bugs know.
Harvest and preserve late summer herbs, vegetables and fruits. Start collecting instructions and supplies for winter garden projects. Begin keeping an eye out for sales of garden and outdoor equipment and furniture. Test your garden and lawn soils. Spend some time outside at night to determine any outside lighting needs. Plant fall crops such as cabbage, collards, celery, garlic, onions and root crops. Keep mowing the lawn and irrigate if needed. Plant perennials and biennials and spring-ﬂowering bulbs. Divide perennials and thin or transplant irises and daylilies. Clean up garden and landscape areas and keep those bird feeders and birdbaths clean and filled. www.alabamaliving.coop
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Cast your vote for the Best of Alabama for the chance to win
Vote online for a chance to win an extra
Deadline to vote is Oct. 31, 2017.
It’s back! Once again, Alabama Living readers have a chance to vote on the places and things that make our state great! We’ve got some new categories this year. So check out the questions, write in your answer for each one and tell us what’s your choice for the “Best of Alabama!”
FOOD 1 Best seafood restaurant
2 Best Alabama-made burger
Best recipe from “The Best of Alabama Living” cookbook
Best game to hunt/fish/trap in Alabama
Best hiking/biking trail
TRAVEL 6 Best historic hotel
Best “living history” experience
Best small town for unique shopping
Best day trip in Alabama
Best Alabama souvenir
Best article you’ve read in Alabama Living in the last year
Best thing about living in Alabama
Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________ Remember, if your name is drawn and you voted online
Address: ___________________________________ City: _________________ St: _______Zip: _________ at www.alabamaliving.com, Phone Number: __________________________ Co-op: _________________________________________ Email: _____________________________________________________________________________________
Vote online at www.alabamaliving.com or mail to: Alabama Living Survey • P.O. Box 244014 • Montgomery, AL 36124 No purchase necessary. Eligibility: Contest open to all persons age 18 and over, except employees and their immediate family members of Alabama Rural Electric Association, and Alabama Electric Cooperatives; and their respective divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising, and promotion agencies.
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September | Around Alabama daily schedule of events, visit evafrontierdays.weebly.com.
Photo courtesy of Tamra Trull.
Winfield’s Annual Mule Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23.
Section, Section Labor Day Festival. Musical entertainment featuring gospel, bluegrass, country and rock and roll. Children’s games and rides. Food available. Volleyball, horseshoes and dominoes. 256-228-3414
nection near Fred’s. 5-7:30 p.m. Restaurants and caterers from Chilton County will be available with samples of their food. Tickets $25. Proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Chilton County and Senior Connection.
Arab, Arab Community Fair at Arab City Park, 844 Shoal Creek Trail NE. Free. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 50 vendors selling various goods. Music entertainment and family-oriented activities. Arabhistoricvillage@gmail.com
Courtland, Celebrate Gen. Joe Wheeler’s birthday at Pond Spring. Entrance to the grounds, re-enactment and concert is free. Admission to the Wheeler house is $8 for adults, $5 seniors/college students/ military, $3 children 6-18 and free for children under 6. Tours offered from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Facebook-Pond Spring, The General Joe Wheeler Home.
Cullman, Bernard Blues and BBQ Festival. Arts and crafts and music festival from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at St. Bernard Abbey and Prep School. Homemade quilts, brooms, pottery, jewelry and other various art crafts available. Food and drinks also available. Admission $5. Stbernardprep.com
Clanton, Taste of Chilton County at Senior Con-
Bridgeport, 24th Annual Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride. Kickoff rally Friday downtown featuring live bands, vendors, Indian dancers and drummers. Free. Motorcycles line up at 7 a.m. Saturday morning for the ride from the Alabama-Tennessee line to Waterloo. al-tn-trailoftears.net
Troy, Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe of Alabama Pow Wow. Early history and culture of Southeastern Indians. Demonstrations of beading, basket making, ﬂint knapping, and canoe making. Native and non-native foods and arts and crafts available. Free. Troy University, 600 University Ave. email@example.com
Alabama Gulf Coast, 30th Annual Coastal Cleanup. Support Alabama’s waterways by participating in the Alabama Coastal Cleanup. Meet at one of the 30 clean-up sites as we work to make Alabama beautiful. 8 a.m.-noon. For more
information and a list of cleanup locations, visit alabamacostalcleanup.com.
Cullman, 3rd Annual Caring for Cullman Concert benefitting the Good Samaritan Health Clinic. Featuring Triumphant Quartet and Bama BluGrace. 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Cullman High School auditorium. Doors open at 6 p.m. and general admission tickets are $15. A love offering will be received. 256-255-5965
Dothan, Low Country Boil at Landmark Park. 6-9 p.m. Shrimp boil to help maintain and operate Landmark Park. Shrimp, corn, sausage and potato boil, music and silent auction. landmarkparkdothan.com
Winﬁeld, 43rd Annual Mule Day. Friday night is Mule Night Madness, with live music, vendors and local stores will be open late. Parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday. Vendors, arts and crafts, live music and dancing, car show and more. The Skirmish at the Luxapalilla, a Civil War battle re-enactment, will take place at the city park Saturday and Sunday. winﬁeldsmuleday.com
Jasper, 4th Annual Fishing 4 a Cure 4 ALS Bass Tournament at Smith Lake Dam. Launch from safe daylight until 3 p.m. Registration begins at 4 a.m. Guaranteed first place payout of $5,000. All proceeds donated to the Alabama ALS Chapter. Dharris326@bellsouth.net
Falkville, 20th annual Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama Festival, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Native American arts and crafts vendors, dancers, drummers and John T. Wayne, “The Duke’s” grandson. $5 for adults, 6-14 $3, 65 and older-$3. 256-734-7337
Opp, 10th Annual Scarecrows in the Park Ribbon Cutting at Frank Jackson State Park, 100 Jerry Adams Drive. 12 p.m. Scarecrows will be on display during October and November. Park admission is $4 ages 12 and up, $2 ages 4-11 and seniors. Golf cart tours avaliable for senior adults. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 334-4885033 or 334-493-3706. For information regarding the ribbon cutting, contact the Opp Chamber of Commerce at 334-4933070.
Titus, 17th Annual Titus Bluegrass Festival. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Bluegrass music, barbecue and crafts. Admission $5, children 12 and under free. Titus Community Center, 5879 Titus Road. Tituscommunitycenter.org
Eva, Eva Frontier Days. Craft fair, beauty pageant, hayride, community singing and more. For
To place an event, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.
Evergreen, Conecuh County’s second annual “Paws in the Park” at Evergreen Municipal Park. Live entertainment, vendors, children’s activities and dog parade. “Paw Patrol” will be on hand for a meet and greet and photos. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 251-227-9860
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SEPTEMBER 2017 29
| Outdoors |
Montevallo encourages students to get outdoors
any students keep a tradition of riodic lectures related to the outdoors. trips aren’t just to a museum. Since 2015, leaving school to go hunting or “It’s a scholarship for students who have students fished for redfish and speckled fishing whenever they can. Howa passion and desire for the outdoors,” says trout in Venice, La., and caught blue marever, for some young people attending the William Crawford, program director. “We lin in the Bahamas. In Alabama, the stuUniversity of Montevallo, the school not have scholarships for people with athletdents hunted ducks, deer and quail as well only allows them to take great outdoors ic skills or music skills. Why not have a as caught largemouth bass. adventures, but even encourages – and scholarship program for students who love “Anything we can do to introduce our pays them! the outdoors and are good at it? students to the outdoors, we try to do it,” Dr. John W. Stewart grew up exploring “We’re educating our students on differCrawford says. “Most of our students grew the salt marshes of Delaware, but missed ent career opportunities in the outdoors up hunting white-tailed deer and bass fishthe outdoors when he attended college industry by bringing in different speaking. We’re trying to introduce them to new away from home. Now the University of ers. As part of the program, the students things as well as let them do the things Montevallo president, he began the UM also get involved with doing conservation they’ve grown up doing. It’s so fascinating President’s Outdoor Scholars Program in projects to try to teach them how to put to see these students start to love and un2015 to encourage students derstand the importance of to learn about future emeverything in nature.” ployment opportunities in Any high school senior the outdoor industry with with a desire to become inan emphasis on conservation volved in the outdoors or go and game management. into an outdoors-related in“The University of Mondustry can apply for a scholtevallo’s President’s Outdoor arship. Students can also Scholars Program is comtransfer in from community mitted to educating the next colleges. The scholarship generation on the values of money comes from various work ethic and conservation individual, corporate and to lead the way in protecting foundation donors. our heritage for the benefits “We’re looking for any of our wildlife, lands and natstudents who want to furural resources,” Stewart says. Students enrolled in the University of Montevallo’s President’s Outdoor Scholars ther their education and be The program awards Program participate in various outdoors activities including ﬁshing and hunting. associated with a program scholarships averaging Here, Ashley Hawk, J.T. Russell and Porter James learn shooting skills and tied to the outdoors,” Crawabout $2,500 a year toward gun safety at a ﬁring range. (Photo courtesy of the University of Montevallo’s ford says. “We appreciate any President’s Outdoor Scholars Program) their education for up to help we can get from donors four years. In the first year, the program back something in the lands and natural who want to support the program and help provided eight students with more than resources and make things better.” these students stay connected to the outThe outdoors scholars and the UM bass $20,500 in scholarships. In the second doors. If not for them, we wouldn’t be able fishing team participated in the “Gone year, 22 students received $43,000 in to do this.” Fishin’, Not Just Wishin’” event at Oak scholarships. This year, about 40 scholarIn August 2017, the Alabama WildMountain State Park. The students taught ship recipients began the 2017 school year. life Federation honored the University of The outdoors scholars must maintain about 1,000 young people from Jefferson Montevallo President’s Outdoor Scholars at least a 2.5 grade point average. In addiand Shelby counties how to bait hooks, Program with its Conservation Educator tion, they must attend monthly on-camcast rods and catch fish. They also released of the Year award. The university also plans pus meetings and other activities related about 2,000 fish. to build a lodge on campus to house scholto hunting and fishing. They must also The outdoors scholars also participated arship students. It should open in 2018. “The lodge will be our little hangout complete coursework on the outdoors and in a Kidz Outdoors event at Soggy Bottom where we can have meetings and students the environment, learn how to prepare fish Lodge in Linden, Ala. The event helped can store their outdoors equipment,” and wild game for the table and attend pechildren with disabilities take part in variCrawford says. “It will also have a boatous outdoors activities. The Kidz Outdoors house where our fishermen can store their event raised $54,000 to be used to take terJohn N. Felsher is a boats. We’ve very excited to have that adminally ill children on a hunting trip of a freelance writer and dition.” lifetime. photographer who writes For more information, contact CrawProbably the most popular part of the from Semmes, Ala. Contact him through ford at 205-665-6216 or email Wcrawprogram, besides receiving money to athis website at www. email@example.com. Visit outdoortend school, is that the students take varJohnNFelsher.com scholars.montevallo.edu. ious “field trips” through the year. These 30 SEPTEMBER 2017
Continued from Page 10
Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time.
health clinic to offer patients an option to the emergency room where care and reimbursement options may better benefit the patient and hospital. Approximately 24,000 primary care encounters were seen in this clinic last year. There is also an affiliated 131-bed nursing home with a current 92 percent occupancy rate. However, this facility has established a 79unit senior retirement community as a part of the hospital campus with 100 percent occupancy and a waiting list. This service has long-term benefits for the medical center since the majority elect to become residents in the affiliated nursing facility when independent living is no longer possible.
a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major
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One of Bibb's garden homes.
Residents are typically 55 or older and have underlying health care needs that prompt them to live near a medical center. The garden homes and apartments are available at highly impressive rates that include utilities, high definition Direct television, and lawn care. Other services such as meal delivery, laundry, etc. are available on a fee-for-service basis. Local physician care, dental care, Federally Qualified Health Clinic services, the cafeteria, and other services are readily available for community residents. The hospital offers health care advice and assistance in matters such as Medicare plan selection. In addition to a new revenue stream that contributes to the financial stability of the medical center, the services of this retirement community are resulting in savings to individuals, families, and programs by delaying long-term facility residence for several years. Another new revenue stream involves its cafeteria service, now named the Cahaba Lily CafĂŠ, which has become one of the communityâ€™s favorite eating establishments, serving more than 24,000 non-patient meals last year. With an uncertain reimbursement future, our rural hospitals and medical centers are encouraged to respond with innovation by developing additional revenue streams that may make the difference between remaining open or closing.ď Ž SEPTEMBER 2017 31
ALABAMA BOOKSHELF In this periodic feature, we highlight books either about Alabama people or events or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Poles, Wires and War: The Remarkable Untold Story of Rural Electrification and the Vietnam War, by Ted Case, $15.95 (history) During one of the hardest chapters in American history, electric co-ops volunteered to win the war in Vietnam. They didn’t win the war, but in his new book, the author tells a riveting story of how they tried. He argues that the success electric co-ops had in the conflict that divided our nation just might have helped that southeast Asian nation recover more quickly by demonstrating the value of bringing electricity to the countryside. What followed was a classic battle of enormous personalities, foreign and domestic political and military maneuvering, and a determined band of people who brought electricity to the American countryside, fighting the odds to bring light to a war zone halfway around the world. Case creates a fast-paced narrative as crews race the collapsing war to pass bylaws, organize the co-ops and tangle with corruption, bureaucracy, in-fighting, and oh yes, Viet Cong soldiers determined to destroy what they were creating. In the end, in less than four years, three electric co-ops were bringing electricity to more than 8,000 members. Order online at TedCaseAuthor.com. Here We May Rest: Alabama Immigrants in the Age of HB 56, by Silvia Giagnoni, NewSouth Books, $29.95 (current events) Alabama’s 2011 Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, also known as HB 56, sought to criminalize the lives of undocumented immigrants. The law triggered lawsuits and brought widespread criticism; federal courts later gutted much of the bill. Author Giagnoni, herself an immigrant, wrote the book to explore the needs and relationships of others who shared the experience of immigration. She frames the bill in larger political, social and cultural contexts to help explain the current sentiments toward new immigrants in Alabama. Once in a Blue Moon, by Vicki Covington, John F. Blair, Publisher, $26.95 (novel) Against the background of Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign, a group of struggling individuals are thrown together, tenants of a benevolent landlord in a Birmingham, Ala., neighborhood that has seen better days. The neighbors form their own brand of community, lifting each other up and bringing hope for a better future back into their lives. The author, who grew up in Birmingham, asks questions about family, faith, race, class, and ultimately, hope. The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry: Auburn Vs. Georgia, by Douglas Stutsman, Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, $21.99 (Southern sports history) The rivalry between Auburn University and the University of Georgia began in 1892 and has largely been a competition more brotherly than bitter. According to one legend, Auburn’s “War Eagle” battle cry originated at the first game between the two schools. Renowned UGA coach Vince Dooley graduated from Auburn, while Auburn coach Pat Dye was an All-American at UGA. Journalist Stutsman recounts the unforgettable games, moments and personalities on the 125th anniversary of the Deep South’s oldest rivalry.
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| Alabama Recipes | Cheese Buttons prepared by Jessica Stephenson.
Cheese, please These cheese-centric dishes are sure to make you smile By Jennifer Kornegay, photos by Mark Stephenson
hen you hear that a casserole or a dip is cheesy, that’s good. You happily pay more for extra cheese on a pizza. When someone wants you to smile for a photo, they tell you to say “cheese,” knowing that the word alone will bring such joy to your heart that it will shine through on your face. (And also, the way you must move your mouth to form the word forces it in the direction of a smile. But the word “ﬂeas” would do the same thing, and you don’t hear photographers using that prompt.)
when the word “cheese” moved from slang denoting wealth to a derogatory word for something or someone that was “showy” or “gaudy.”
The point is, the word cheese and its variations are often positive. Until they’re not. If someone tells you a lampshade, television show, outfit or anything not food-related is cheesy, that’s negative. So how and when did this use of the word enter our lexicon?
No matter what things outside of the food world earn the title “cheesy” in your book, when it comes to eating, we ﬂip the adjective back to affirmative, so much so it’s a safe bet that most of us don’t just say “cheese, please,” but “more cheese, please.”
A quick Internet search reveals several possibilities, but most trace its origins back to England in the mid- to late-1800s,
And as our taste buds know and some of our reader-submitted recipes show, you really can’t have too much cheese.
34 SEPTEMBER 2017
Over time, its meaning has broadened. Folks today can use it as described above, but also as a synonym for tacky, sappy, inauthentic and more. And the term is highly subjective. What one person deems cheesy could just as likely be adorable, sentimental, fashionable or funny to someone else.
According to info compiled by the USDA, Americans consumed more mozzarella in 2016 than any other type of cheese. The stringy, stretchy “pizza cheese” has held the top spot for the last six years, with cheddar coming in second.
Cook of the Month
Tallapoosa River EC
Ten-year-old Harper Reed has always been interested in cooking, thanks to his family. “We have a small organic farm and grow a lot of our own food,” his mom Anna says. “And his dad does most of the cooking and always has the kids in the kitchen helping out.” His Cheese Buttons are treats he developed while cooking with his grandmother, and they offer a fresh take (and shape!) on the classic cheese straw with the addition of Rice Krispies. “He just loves them, and we all love the crunch from the Krispies,” Anna says. “It’s different.” Harper knew the recipe was a hit with his loved ones, but he didn’t think about submitting it until his mom suggested he practice his typing skills. “I thought he could type up some recipes to brush up, and if they were typed, why not send some in to the magazine.” So he did. He was both surprised and thrilled to be named Cook of the Month. “He’s so excited,” Anna said. “It means a lot.”
Cheese Buttons 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated, at room temperature 2 cups plain flour ½ pound butter, melted ½ teaspoon red pepper 2 cups Rice Krispies Sprinkle of salt ¼ cup chopped pecans Sprinkle flour on cheese and pour on melted butter. Add red pepper. Add Rice Krispies to mix, and knead by hand until well blended. Roll into marble-sized balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Flatten with fork. Sprinkle with salt and chopped pecans. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Cut oven off and do not open door for two hours. If they become soft they can be heated in a 200-degree oven for a few minutes.
SEPTEMBER 2017 35
Tangy Cheese Ring 1 pound grated extra sharp cheddar cheese 1 cup chopped pecans ¾ cup mayonnaise 1 small onion, finely chopped ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce 1 ⁄8 teaspoon garlic juice or garlic paste 1 small jar of strawberry preserves Mix all ingredients and make into a circle and pour the preserves in the middle. Serve with your favorite crackers.
Tangy Cheese Ring prepared by Allison Grifﬁn.
Jill Coale Wiregrass EC
Stuffed Mushrooms 1 3 4 4 1⁄3
package of mushrooms, stemmed tablespoons olive oil ounces cream cheese, softened slices bacon, cooked and chopped cup mozzarella cheese Parmesan cheese
Cheddar Salsa Biscuit Bites Cheese Frenchies 12 6 12 2 1 1 2
slices white light bread teaspoons mayonnaise slices cheese cups milk egg package cracker crumbs cups cooking oil
12⁄3 1 ½ ¼ ¼
cups self-rising flour cup shredded cheddar cheese cup salsa cup margarine, melted cup water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean mushrooms. Place them in a dish, cup side up, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in oven 12 minutes. Microwave the cream cheese until soft and mix in bacon. Remove mushrooms from oven, sprinkle with salt and pepper, turn them over and salt and pepper again. Stuff mushrooms with cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 more minutes.
Spread mayonnaise on six slices of the bread. Place two slices of cheese on top of the bread and top with the remaining bread slices. Cut each sandwich into triangles. In a mixing bowl, beat egg with milk. Dip each triangle into the milk-egg mixture and then dredge in cracker crumbs. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry each triangle until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Generously spray large cookie sheet with vegetable spray. In a large bowl, combine flour and cheese; mix well. Add salsa, melted margarine and water; stir until just combined. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently just until smooth. Press or roll out dough to 12-inch by 6-inch rectangle. With sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch by 1-inch strips. With thin spatula, place strips about ½ inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm. Yields 36 biscuit bites.
Summer Watson Cullman EC
Julia C. Fleming Southern Pine EC
Peggy Key North Alabama EC
Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.
Coming up in October...Pies! 36 SEPTEMBER 2017
Send us y ur recipeso !
Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: email@example.com Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Please include a phone number and co-op name with submissions! Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.
Three Cheese Fondue 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese 8 ounces shredded Swiss cheese 8 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese 2 tablespoons flour Dash hot sauce 1 12-ounce bottle of good beer Pinch of salt and pepper For dipping: Granny Smith apple slices Soft German pretzels Sourdough bread pieces Combine all ingredients. Heat over low heat, stirring until melted through. Keep warm and dip apples, pretzels and bread pieces. Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC
Mini Pizzas 1 six-count package English muffins 2 cups shredded cheese, any kind 1 cup mayonnaise 1 bunch green onions, chopped fine 1 teaspoon garlic salt Slice each muffin in half and place on an ungreased, foil-lined baking sheet. In large bowl, hand mix the cheese, onions, garlic salt and mayonnaise. Evenly divide the mixture onto each muffin half. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven. Cut each muffin into four pieces and serve. Linda G. Morton Pioneer EC
Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Nov. Sweet potatoes Sept. 8 Dec. Edible gifts Oct. 8
Here are a few Alabama cheesemakers worth checking out.
Belle Chevre, Elkmont At her creamery in north Alabama, Tasia Malakasis turns goat milk into silky, tangy artisanal cheeses and cheese spreads whose textures and tastes have racked up more than 100 national awards. Eat: The sweet-tart fig and honey breakfast cheese Bellechevre.com Dayspring Dairy, Gallant This family farm raises sheep, and the fuzzy, fluffy ladies in the flock provide the main ingredient for Dayspring’s sheep-milk caramels and a selection of rich and flavorful sheep-milk cheeses. Eat: Ewetopia Aged Gouda Dayspringdairy.com Sweet Home Farm, Elberta This spot in south Alabama was the first licensed cheesemaker in the state, beginning operations in 1984. Every ingredient for every cheese comes straight from the farm, from the milk harvested from their pasture-raised herd of Guernsey cows, to the herbs and garlic grown in the onsite garden. Eat: The Bayside Blue facebook.com/sweet-home-farm
Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe.
South of the Border Cheese Pasta 1 pound pasta (can use elbow, penne, ziti or your favorite macaroni) 1 16-ounce jar cheese sauce 2 cups tomato salsa (mild, medium or hot) 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
South of the Border Cheese Pasta prepared by Lenore Vickrey.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, cover and set aside. In large saucepan, combine cheese sauce, salsa, and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Heat through, stirring until well mixed. Add cooked pasta to cheese mixture, stir. Put in casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Janice Bracewell Covington EC Alabama Living
SEPTEMBER 2017 37
| Classiﬁeds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our ofﬁce):
November 2017 – September 25 December 2017 – October 25 January 2017 – November 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@ areapower.com; or call (800)4102737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classiﬁeds.
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38 SEPTEMBER 2017
Vacation Rentals GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – email@example.com, (256)599-5552 2 CONDOS WEEKLY RENTAL – 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 200 feet to ocean w/ pool – Peachtree II, sleeps 4-6; www.vrbo. com/467693, (850)573-2182 PIGEON FORGE, TN: 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, ﬁreplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)363-1973, Homeaway#241942 GULF FRONT PANAMA CITY CONDO – Splash Condominiums – OWNER RENTAL – 1BR / 2BA w/ hallway bunks, sleeps 6, 18th Balcony View of Ocean – (706)566-6431, bjeffers3@ hotmail.com AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL – Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners – Lowest Prices on the Beach – www.gulfshorescondos.com, (205)556-0368, (205)7521231, (251)752-2366 PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, firstname.lastname@example.org, www. theroneycondo.com SMOKIES TOWNSEND, TN – 2BR/ BA, Secluded Log Home, Jacuzzi, Fireplace, Wrap-Around Porch, Wheelchair ramp – (865)320-4216. For rental details and pictures, Email email@example.com BILLS AT PIGEON FORGE, TN – Fond memories start here, 3BR / 2BA, large kitchen, living room, sleeps 8 – (423)605-2113, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway GULF SHORES/FT MORGAN BEACH HOUSE - Pet Friendly,WiFi, Non Smoking (256)418-2131, www.originalbeachhouseal.com DESTIN CONDO – SLEEPS 4: Nice, fully furnished, Wi-Fi – (770)9425530, (770)365-5205, egtuck@ bellsouth.net GULF FRONT CONDOS – 1BR / 1BA, Hall Bunks, Balcony directly overlooks beach & pool. GULF
SHORES or ORANGE BEACH – LOW RATES - firstname.lastname@example.org, (256)352-5721 GULF SHORES BEACH HOUSE – Nice 2BR – FALL SPECIAL $900 / week – (251)666-5476 LOG CABIN in PIGEON FORGE, TN: 2BR, Sleeps 8, Great Location - (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, www.hideawayprop.com PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 2 bath house – Walking distance to parkway, light# 1 - $95.00 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)590-8758 LOOKING FOR A FAMILY FLORIDA VACATION? 3BR / 2BA House, Ft. Walton, GREAT LOCATION – (205)566-0892, mailady96@yahoo. com. PayPal Accepted VACATION RENTAL CABINS by Owner – Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg – (865)712-7633, beckyintn@bellsouth. net GULF SHORES PLANTATION - Gulf view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850 ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226
Real Estate Sales FOR SALE: LAKESIDE CAMP in WEST BEND, AL – 3BR / 2.5BA, Kitchen, Living Room, 1.5 Acre Lot – (251)2462379 – 100% Furnished Power and City Water. JOHNSON HOME INSPECTIONS - Inspecting homes and condominiums in all of southwest Alabama. Licensed contractor since 1970. Home inspector since 2005. (Lic.#3058) - johnsonhomeinspections.com, email@example.com, (251)251-422-6153
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SEPTEMBER 2017â€ƒ 41
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| Our Sources Say |
few weeks ago, an article about the California Legislature caught my attention. They have passed a bill establishing a requirement that 60% of the state’s electricity be renewable by 2025 and 100% to be renewable by 2045. I know California has a lot of renewable energy, but I was interested in how such aggressive goals could be achieved. I looked further and found that Hawaii has made a similar commitment to be 100% renewable by 2045. Also, San Francisco; San Jose; San Diego; Rochester, Minnesota; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and East Hampton, New York, have made commitments to be 100% renewable between 2020 and 2035. More interestingly, three cities – Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; and Greensburg, Kansas – claim to already be 100% renewable. These accomplishments and goals are interesting considering that electricity generation in the U.S. in 2016 was comprised 30% from coal, 34% from natural gas, 20% from nuclear, 1% from oil, and 15% from renewables. The renewable distribution was 6.5% from hydro, 5.6% from wind, 1.5% from biomass, 0.9% from solar, and 0.4% from geothermal. How do three cities get 100% of their electricity from renewables if only 15% of the country’s electricity is renewable? Solar has natural obstacles like night and clouds. The wind doesn’t always blow, especially in Vermont. Biomass burns up an awful lot of trees. Geothermal works pretty well if you have a volcano. Hydro works well when rivers run, but it has just about been thrown out of the renewable club because of alleged damage to fish and mussels. The trick is – and it is a trick – the cities claiming and states desiring to be 100% renewable use the electric grid to supply their electricity with non-renewable electricity when renewable electricity is not available and use renewable credits to cover the difference. The purchase of renewable credits to cover the shortfall of renewable electricity doesn’t mean the states or cities are being served by renewable power 100% of the time. If the sun is not shining, the wind is not blowing, or the rivers are not running, then there is not enough renewable power to serve all those that claim to be 100% renewable. Those states and cities are instead being served by coal and natural gas generated electricity from the electric grid, yet claim to be 100% renewable. It is just labeled “renewable.” Simply, this is how it works. Electricity supply is real-time, at the speed of light. If you have a light on in your house, an electric generator is producing electricity right now to keep that light
shining. Electricity cannot be stored in volumes approaching utility scale. PowerSouth’s Compressed Air Energy Storage Unit converts electricity to compressed air during off-peak periods and uses the compressed air to generate electricity on peak. A few other utilities have pumped-storage hydro generators that use off-peak electricity to pump water back over dams so it can be used on peak to generate more electricity. However, those projects are insignificant compared to the volume of electricity on the grid at any moment. Batteries are not effective at utility scale and provide no significant electric storage application. Practically, all electricity is generated at the time it is needed. Renewable power suppliers generate electricity when the renewable resources are available – the wind is blowing, the sun is shining, the rivers are running. They sell their electricity onto the grid for the market price but retain the renewable credits and sell them to the renewable cities and states. The cities and states purchase some electricity directly associated with the renewable credits but also purchase additional energy credits that are paired with non-renewable electricity from the grid when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow to create the illusion that all their electricity is renewable through the credit purchase. The irony is that the renewable labeling process would not be possible and would not work without the presence of reliable fossil-fuel generated electricity that is always available from the grid. Fossil-fueled generation is the foundation of reliable electric service, and it will remain so. The process also has a price. The renewable cities and states pay the normal price for electricity off the grid plus a premium for the renewable credits to create the renewable illusion. And it is an illusion. Renewable cities and states will have more renewable electricity than average, but at no time will 100% of the electricity its citizens consume be renewable. Using the electric grid to create this illusion is a treat for the renewable cities and states. Cities that won’t let you park your car in a downtown parking spot without paying a fee use the grid to displace renewable power with non-renewable power, but they don’t pay a fee to the grid for the right to call on reliable power when its renewable electricity is not available. Renewables have an important role in the country’s power supply mix. However, an approach without the political posturing and false, misleading claims would be much more productive. We need more transparency and less renewable lies. I hope you have a good month.
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative
44 SEPTEMBER 2017
| Market Place | Are you looking for a Residence, Condominium, or Game Day House in Auburn?
Call Al Earnest 334-488-6111
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SEPTEMBER 2017 45
| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Illustration by Dennis Auth
Football in Dixie
Fall approaches. Football season. You can argue, as many do, that in different parts of our nation different sports are more special (Indiana and basketball come to mind) but down in Dixie, football has few competitors. Now, I’ll grant you that NASCAR runs football a good race – pun intended. NASCAR is a sport with roots in the pleasures of regular folks, of which we have a bunch. All along a line beginning around Birmingham and running up into Virginia, a line that followed the hardscrabble farms and mill towns of the Piedmont, folks souped up their beat-up cars and ran whiskey from still to town. And when they weren’t racing “revenuers” they raced each other. On the other hand, football began as the sport of Southern elites – the ones who could afford college. And there weren’t many of those. But once it got started (in 1877, Washington and Lee took on Virginia Military Institute in the first football game in Dixie) it did not take long for the sport to filter down to high schools. It helped that football enjoyed a seasonal advantage. Cotton was picked, tobacco harvested and corn pulled, so country kids and town kids could play together. 46 SEPTEMBER 2017
Class distinctions blurred. Lots of folks participated. Eleven on a team. Substitutions were frequent. And there were auxiliary groups – cheerleaders, bands, pep clubs – which made football a true school event. Football was also a measure of a community. How do you know local schools are good? The football team is a winner. Where is evidence of civic pride? In the stands on Friday night. The sport drew in parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, friends of the family, and just plain fans. The following was equally intense among African Americans, for in the pre-integration South, teams and schools were the pride of the black community. The advent of radio spread the game even more. The University of Alabama’s 1926 Rose Bowl victory put Dixie on the map, especially in the minds of Southerners. Other events further broadened football’s appeal – the GI Bill sent more Southern boys and girls to college where they developed institutional loyalties that included loyalty to a football team. Then came TV. When ABC began broadcasting football, the pageantry and excitement was beamed right into Dixie’s living rooms.
Come September, everything fell into place. At the end of the work-week, small towns across the South closed down for the high school game, and on Saturday afternoon friends (and foes) gathered around the TV to watch a college contest. Football also followed the trajectory of Southern history. In 1960, when an integrated University of Southern California football team whipped the Crimson Tide, that defeat, (according to Alabama assistant coach Jerry Claiborne) “did more to integrate Alabama in 60 minutes than Martin Luther King did in 20 years.” Of course, integration was more complicated than that, but when football fans at white schools began to believe that winning was more important than segregation, segregation didn’t stand a chance. So, it seems to me, because of football, Dixie is a better place than it might have been. That says a lot.
Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@ cableone.net.