Tombigbee EC - Weâ€™re here for you, our members OCTOBER OCTOBER 2015 2015
Tombigbee Electric COOPERATIVE
Autumn has arrived Page 4
7 Cooperative Principles Pages 6-7.
TEC and C3
Working together for our communities. Page 8.
Steve Foshee CO-OP EDITOR
Kay Marshall ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.
VOL. 68 NO. 10 OCTOBER 2015
6 The 7 Cooperative Principles 8 TEC and C3
Working together for our communities.
ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
AREA PRESIDENT Fred Braswell EDITOR Lenore Vickrey MANAGING EDITOR Allison Griffin CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jacob Johnson ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Brooke Echols
ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:
340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.areapower.coop
24 Not your grandma’s knitting
ON THE COVER Lovely fall foliage in Lamar County.
In today’s era of laboratory-created and machinemanufactured fabric, a dedicated and growing number of artisans are reviving centuriesold techniques of handcrafting with wool, cotton, silk, angora and other natural fibers.
photo by Kay Marshall
28 Film of faith
The Alabama-based Erwin brothers’ latest film, “Woodlawn,” which opens Oct. 15, is a testimony to their love for their city, state, and most of all, their faith.
NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:
National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.nationalcountrymarket.com www.alabamaliving.coop USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311
DEPARTMENTS 9 42 42 46 54
Spotlight Outdoors Fish & Game Forecast Cook of the Month Snapshots
Printed in America from American materials
OCTOBER 2015 3
Tombigbee Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees Jim McRae Chair
Autumn has arrived Steve Foshee Manager of Tombigbee EC
David Collins Vice-Chair
Terry Gosa Greg Guin Sheila Gunter William T. Hulsey Chad Williams Warren Williford
Visit our website www.tombigbee.org
Headquarters: 3196 Co. Hwy 55 Hamilton, AL 35570 205.921.6712
4 OCTOBER 2015
July and August were hot months, but not record-setting. Our area was greatly blessed with more than average rain. Much of it came in the form of thunderstorms and the lightning caused us to lose power in areas. The wind also caused some trees to fall and limbs to blow into the lines. Our outage numbers were up from previous summers but, all in all, it was a good summer. Now we move into autumn. This is the month we use less energy because the outside temperatures drop as do the night temperatures. Due to lower usage of electricity you should see your bills drop. I have written about this almost every year but it still is true, it is a great time to look over your home for ways to save energy. Has your heating unit been checked lately? Are windows sealed? It is a great time to go outside to caulk and seal those windows! Is there ample insulation in the attic? It is a perfect time to add some if you need it. The last two winters have been some of the coldest in memory. It is predicted this one will be warmer and dryer. Still, let’s take energy in our hands and save where we can. We are very much running numbers for our budget for next year; much like many of us do for our homes. There are bills we have to pay, some capital items we will need and we’re trying to decide what we can put off or how we can do things at a lower cost. Like you are seeing your grocery, clothing and other things rise in price, we are also seeing items like wire, poles, labor and the like
go up every year. Fuel for this year was the exception. It is too early to tell where it all leads, but we are trying to plan very carefully. For most of this year, I have listened to the threat of cyber security. It is a very real thing. You read about some major company being attacked and penetrated almost every week. Bad guys are trying to get to us every day. We have taken a great number of steps to protect your data and we are looking for ways to further help in this manner. So far we have been successful. It is a way of life now. The bad guys out there are very smart and are trying to get to all of us, including in our homes via our computers. Speaking of that, we had a report, which we notified you about in our magazine, that someone tried to impersonate us at a member’s home. We will always be in uniform clearly marked with Tombigbee and in a company truck that is white and clearly marked with Tombigbee and our logo.There will be no reason for any employee or contractor of ours to enter into any home. If you ever have any concerns if it is us or what we are doing, do not hesitate to call us and we can confirm it to you. Have a great October! email@example.com
Ways to pay We are always striving to make things easier and more convenient for our membership. To do this, we have recently partnered with First National Bank to accept payments at their Sulligent Branch to help our Lamar County members! Here are our current payment options l ONLINE – Visit us at www.tombigbee.org
Click on My Energy Account Log in using your account number or username and password l TAKECHARGE APP – Download this free app for your smart devices from ITunes or Google Play l PHONE – (205) 921-6712 or (800) 621-8069 Choose option 3 l MAIL – 3196 County Highway 55 Hamilton, AL 35570
l AT OUR OFFICE - 3196 County Highway 55
Hamilton, AL 35570 l REMOTE LOCATIONS -- HAMILTON Peoples Trust Bank 1281 Military Street S. -- GUIN State Bank & Trust 7370 U.S. Hwy 43 -- SULLIGENT First National Bank 5520 Hwy 17
NOTE: Payments made at remote locations must be made on time and the payment coupon is required.A
The TakeCharge app is available for download, FREE of charge, for your smart devices. With this app you can view and pay your bills directly from your mobile phone or tablet! To get yours, log into iTunes or Google Play.
OCTOBER 2015 5
6â€ƒ OCTOBER 2015
TEC Coop Month
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Autonomy and Independence
Democratic Member Control Concern for Community
Education and Information Alabama Living
OCTOBER 2015 7
Tombigbee EC Plays a Key Role in Regional Economic Development Article by David Thornell, C3 of Northwest Alabama E.D. Alliance
C3 of Northwest Alabama, the economic development agency for the Tombigbee Electric Cooperative service area, recently celebrated the completion of our 5th year. The purpose of C3 since our inception in September of 2010 has been to promote, assist, recruit, retain and grow business and industry throughout Lamar, Fayette and Marion Counties. This regional cooperation across city and county borders is difficult and rare, but is an emerging trend in the practice of economic development for the simple reason that it works. C3 represents a broad cooperative partnership of 18 local governments (3 Counties and 15 member communities), public organizations that joined hands to provide the foundational long-term funding (the West Alabama Economic Development Authority and the Community Development Foundation of Marion County), plus private contributions/investments led by Tombigbee Electric, which is a founding and sustaining member. If not for the
8 OCTOBER 2015
vision and determination of these civic-minded leaders, C3 would have never had a chance to exist. Just like Tombigbee Electric, C3 represents a “neighbors helping neighbors” approach, as TEC provides the infrastructure and electrical power to energize businesses and keep families comfortable, while C3 works daily to bring more and better jobs to the region, so that the economy grows to the point that businesses and individuals succeed. The attitude of the Tombigbee Board of Directors, staff and General Manager Steve Foshee, who serves on the C3 Board of Directors, has always been to make sure that they lend their focus and a fair share of their resources to support economic development activities. This includes time, attention, money and facilities, a meeting space is among these at the attractive new office. For example, the community room at the new Tombigbee office recently served as the location for a local elected leader’s luncheon for Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. C3 invited Canfield to tour the region and Tombigbee’s Foshee invited the use of the space for the event. Tombigbee Electric has been a great partner that now celebrates with us the fact that after five years of concentrated cooperative efforts to work together, these efforts are indeed working. Since 2010, the unemployment rates in each of our counties have dropped each successive year. The job growth numbers for 2014 were the best ever, with Marion County capturing the 7th highest total among all of Alabama’s 67 counties, while Lamar and Fayette counties were both ranked well within the top two-thirds in job creation. -- Article continued on Page 50.
Website highlights Alabama trails The Alabama Trails Commission has unveiled a new website (www.alabamarecreationtrails. org) that provides an ever-growing inventory and variety of trails within the state. The site lists trails for hiking, biking, off-highway vehicles, horseback riding and paddling, and includes a section that links trail users to state and regional organizations established for specific trail uses. A section on trail building instructs communities and trail organizations on funding possibilities and how to obtain trail expertise. The site will be continually updated and expanded.
Wetumpka celebrates cosmic event Billed as “the biggest event to hit Wetumpka since the impact crater,” the annual Crater Festival offers music, food, arts and crafts, a free kids’ zone, concessions and a focus on the famed crater, which was created some 80 million years ago when a meteor, traveling between 10 and 20 miles per second, slammed into the earth. Ge-
ologists speculate that the shock waves and the effects radiated out from the impact site near present-day Wetumpka several hundred miles. Crater rims are still visible today, and Craterfest 2015 will feature bus tours of the area. For more information,www.wetumpkachamber.org.
October is National Cooperative Month Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives – and all co-ops across the U.S. – are celebrating the benefits and values that cooperatives bring to their members and communities this month. While coops operate in many industries and sectors of the economy, seven principles set us apart: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member’s economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community. Alabama’s 22 rural electric co-ops are among more than 900 nationally that serve 42 million people in 47 states.
As football season continues, the American Red Cross offers these tips on sports safety for young athletes: • Keep athletes well hydrated before practice and competition. • Ensure that each workout begins with at least 10 minutes of warm-up and ends with at least 10 minutes of cooldown activities. • Discourage an injured athlete from returning to play simply because pain is minimal; absence of pain may not mean the injury isn’t serious. • Prevent staph bacteria by reminding athletes not to share towels or personal sports gear; put a towel down on benches or exercise machines before using them; and
Celebrating the shrimp The National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores features fine art, arts and crafts, a retail marketplace, outdoor world and plenty of tasty shrimp. The event is one of the nation’s premier outdoor festivals. Visit myshrimpfest.com for more information.
wash sports clothing after each use.
Want to see more events or submit your own? Alabama Living
Visit www.alabamaliving.coop to submit an event and view our calendar or email an event to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCTOBER 2015 9
Keeping Social Security updated prevents unwanted surprises Most people love surprises, but many dislike change. It’s just the opposite with Social Security. If you receive benefits, we want to hear about your changes. Keeping us informed minimizes the chance that we learn about something later that could negatively affect your benefits. That’s the surprise no one wants, because it creates overpayments that you must repay, disrupts payments, and can even jeopardize your entitlement to Social Security benefits. Here is a reminder of some of the most common forms of information Social Security needs from you. Your address and direct deposit information. We need to know your current mailing address and phone number so we can reach you if needed. This is especially important if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) since where you live can change the amount of your SSI benefits. When your direct deposit information is not current, it can cause headaches with missing or delayed payments. You can update your address or direct deposit information when you register for a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity. gov/myaccount. Your work. When you receive Social Security disability benefits or SSI for a dis-
ability, we have found you unable to work because of your condition. That’s why we need to know if you take a job or are selfemployed, or if you stop work or have any changes in work hours, or pay. If your work is substantial enough, it may affect your benefits. You may also need to report if you begin receiving or have a change in any worker’s compensation or public disability benefits. If you are receiving retirement or survivors benefits, be mindful of the yearly earnings limit before you reach Full Retirement Age (FRA), which is currently 67 years old if you were born in 1960 or later. For 2015, the earnings limit is $15,720. When you earn over this amount, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $2 you earn. That means if you earn $30,000, we will have to reduce your benefits by roughly $7,000. It’s very important to give us a work estimate at the start of the year so that we can withhold what’s needed. If we find out you had excess earnings at a later date, you could end up with a large overpayment that you will have to repay. Your living arrangements for SSI. To receive SSI you must demonstrate financial need, in addition to meeting other requirements. Living arrangements may change how much money you receive. Social Se-
curity needs to know how many people are in your household and how expenses are shared. We also need to know if you receive any payments from other sources, and if you have savings that go over the SSI resource limit ($2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple). You can learn more about reporting responsibilities for people working and receiving disability or SSI benefits by reading our online publication Working While Disabled — How We Can Help and How Work Affects Your Benefits at www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs. Some changes can be reported online at www.socialsecurity.gov. You can also notify us 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office. Our goal at Social Security is to pay you the right amount, on time, every month. With your cooperation to keep us informed of changes, the likelihood of any unpleasant surprises that could derail your benefits will be greatly minimized. A
Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by e-mail at kylle. email@example.com.
Arts, education groups receive state arts council awards The Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) recently announced that it will award 113 grants totaling $1.6 million, which will support arts in education, folk art, c o m mu n i t y, l i t e r at u r e , performing, and visual arts programs. Also included in this round of awards are operating support grants for major art institutions. The Council makes grants to non-profit organizations, schools, universities, cities, and a wide range of community groups. ASCA funds are matched by contributions 10 OCTOBER 2015
from businesses, individuals, local government and earned income by the grantee. Among the recipients of the grants for the 2015-2016 fiscal year are: • Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, Baldwin County, $2,800 • Stockton Heritage As s o c i at i on , B a l dw i n County, $2,770 • Me ntone E du c at i ona l Resources Foundation, DeKalb County, $3,150 total • The Cultural Arts Center, Houston County, $5,250
• Patti Rutland Jazz, Inc., Houston County, $3,750 • Southeast Alabama Dance Company, Houston County, $5,250 • Lee County Historical Society (for Lee County Gathering 2016), $2,600 • Tuskegee Repertory Theatre, Inc., Macon County, $5,250 • Decatur Youth Symphony, Inc., Morgan County, $7,000 • P i o n e e r Mu s e u m o f Alabama, Pike County, $3,000 • Coleman Center for the Arts, Sumter C ounty, $14,600 total
• Sylacauga Council on the Arts, Talladega County, $4,850 The Alabama State Council on the Arts is the official state arts agency of Alabama. The staff of the Council, directed by Al Head, administers the grants programs and provides technical assistance in arts planning and programming. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. www.alabamaliving.coop
Halloween: Gotta draw the line somewhere From ghoulies and ghosties And long-leggedy beasties And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us! Traditional Scottish Prayer
I love Halloween. Have loved it as long as I can remember. When I was growing up Halloween was a time when we could dress up like a hobo (old clothes and burnt cork beard) or a ghost (sheet liberated from the laundry basket) and go out and exhort candy from the community. We knew which houses we could hit. We knew which ones to avoid. We knew which tricks were permissible. Soaping store windows downtown was just fine, for it saved merchants soapmoney when they washed the next day. Soaping car windows, however, was a nono. And we knew not to scare little kids, unless they were our brothers or sisters. Siblings were fair game.
Letters to the editor After reading the article about bowfin fish by John Felsher (July 2015), I wondered why he didn’t mention the snakehead (fish), since they are so near alike in appearance and so destructive. John P. Daly Seven Springs, N.C. John Felsher replies: Thank you for reading Alabama Living magazine and Alabama Living
Unfortunately, over the years Halloween has been taken over by adults. And adults, unlike kids, do not improvise their fun. They buy it. The National Retail Federation ranks Halloween sixth for holiday spending and SECOND only to CHRISTMAS in spending on decorations and outfits. And where do those of us who live far from town purchase Halloween decorations and outfits? Out of catalogs. Even before the nights grow cold and leaves begin to turn, Halloween catalogs start arriving in the mail. The variety of stuff they contain is a tribute to the human imagination – or at least the Chinese imagination. (I find it odd that most Halloween items originated in a country where “ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties” are dragons that breathe fire rather than “go bump in the night,” but what do I know.) There are vampire and zombie costumes for folks who want to scare other folks. For those with something else in mind there are the “French Maid” and “Little Bo Peep” outfits (emphasis on the “peep”). There are cartoon characters, TV personalities and presidents. Since some churches have reservations about the origins of Halloween, but at the same time don’t want to deny their children the dress-up fun, one catalog
enjoying my outdoors column. Originally from Asia, various snakehead species are indeed aggressive, vicious predators that look similar to bowfins. They can even breathe air like bowfins, but are not related. I n A si a a nd p a r t s of Africa, many people consider snakeheads a delicacy. Some people imported them into the United States as food fish. Some fish were intentionally released or escaped into the wild. These exotic fish first came to national attention when an angler found some in a Maryland pond in 2002. I did not mention
company offers costumes based on biblical characters. And to keep kids off the street, and out of trouble (or danger) churches like mine organize “Trunk or Treat” carnivals where adults pack the trunks of their cars with goodies, park them in the church parking lot, and the costumed kids come around for the loot. Something for everyone – even animal abusers. Animal abusers? Yessir. In one catalog was a picture of a dog dressed like a pumpkin. A dog. The catalog folks want me to spend my money so my dogs can look like pumpkins? Folks, I have been around dogs all my life and dogs are dignified animals. Before I dress one of them up in a Halloween costume I will boycott the holiday and let the American catalog economy sink like a stone. You gotta draw the line somewhere, and for me, this is it.
snakeheads in my article on bowfins because they have never been reported in Alabama outside of an aquarium and are illegal to possess in the state. “We have had quite a number of reports over the years of possible snakeheads being caught or observed in Alabama waters,” said William C. Nichols, chief of fisheries for the Alabama Division of Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries in Montgomery. “In every case where we could obtain a photo, a good physical description or see the animal, we were able to determine that the fish were
Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@ cableone.net.
native bowfins. There was a case years ago where some pet stores were cited for importing a nd p o s s e s s i n g ju ve n i le northern snakeheads to sell for ornamental purposes, but these animals were confiscated and destroyed.” Snakeheads currently exist in parts of Virginia, Maryland, Arkansas, California, Pennsylvania and Nor t h Carolina. Bu l lseye snakeheads thrive in extreme southern Florida, but so far, not in Alabama. Let us hear from you! Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org OCTOBER 2015 11
October sky Russellville rocket team has eyes on the skies By Allison Griffin
12 OCTOBER 2015
long a stretch of four-lane highway leading into Russellville, a colorful sign notes with pride the town’s state champion baseball and golf teams. But unlike similar signs that welcome visitors to small towns, this one gives equal billing to students who’ve found success on something other than the field of play. This sign also honors the Russellville City Schools Engineering Team, which won the national Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) in May -- the Alabama team’s first time to qualify for that national contest. But their greatest achievement came the next month, when the team won first place at the International Rocketry Challenge at the 2015 Paris Air Show, defeating two teams from the U.K. and France. That’s right. The group of seven middle and high school students from Franklin County, Alabama, won an international competition. Since then, the students have been heralded by the community and elected officials and interviewed numerous times by various media outlets. They’re almost like celebrities in their small northwest Alabama town, with a spotlight some of them have called “almost overwhelming.” “The support from the parents has been astronomical. (And) the community has helped us in every way possible,” says team mentor Tracy Burns, father of team member Katie Burns. “Everyone has had a hand in where these kids are today.” But now, as the new school year begins, it’s back to normal for the students, with classes, sports and band practice competing for their attention. The team lost one member to graduation, but the other six who are still in school all plan to be back for this year’s competition, where they plan to take top honors again with a redesigned rocket.
Before the launch
It took a little time for the rocket kids to get this far. A few years ago, Russellville teacher Lee Brownell felt challenged to create more opportunities for technology and engineering education. He started a robotics team with prize money he won as the Von Braun Educator of the Year, and the team resonated with students; over the next several years, the team grew to more Alabama Living
than 40 middle and high schoolers. Later, Brownell decided to add model rocketry to the list of programs the team was involved in; most, but not all, of the rocketry students came from the robotics team, and they continue to participate in both projects. Brownell has since left the school to take a job with the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI), where he works to increase STEM participation in multiple schools. But he downplays his part in the rocket team’s success. “My role was to get them going. I started the program, but I let them run it themselves,” he says. “They have done an awesome job with that.” The team got a boost when mentor Tracy Burns came on board. Burns works on rockets for United Launch Alliance in Decatur, and he brought a technical expertise the team needed. But their success is a team effort. The team had real dedication, says team sponsor and middle school teacher Mark Keeton. “From the get go, they’ve been bound and determined to make something of the current team,” Keeton says. “In the past, I think only one time in the past four years did we go (to nationals) and do a qualifying launch. … That really motivated this group to push above and beyond this time around.” Team member Evan Swinney agrees. Swinney graduated in 2015 and now attends the University of Alabama at Huntsville. “It was pretty clear we were not like the past years’ teams,” he says. “When we started, we had a determination to actually get something done. That was something that didn’t happen in previous years.” They started with small goals, and then moved on to larger ones. “Doing it that way, and having the determination and the knowledge that all seven of us could contribute to the team, I think that’s what set us apart.”
The RCS (Russellville City Schools) Engineers team, in red jackets, won first place at the International Rocketry Challenge at the Paris Air Show in June. PHOTO COURTESY OF RAYTHEON
Senior Andrew Heath, team captain of the RCS Engineers, holds one of the team’s model rockets. PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
The rocket team’s big event -- what they worked on for hours a day for several months, all after regular school hours -is the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), the world’s largest student model rocket contest and a way for the aerospace and defense industry to build a stronger OCTOBER 2015 13
U.S. workforce in science, technology, en- all the more impressive,” says Joseph Cole, gineering and mathematics (STEM). The team sponsor and teacher at the middle goals for each team that participates in school, who went to Paris with the stuTARC is to design, build and fly a model dents. The team also had to make a prerocket that travels a specified distance in sentation on the rocket’s design to an ina narrow timeframe. ternational panel of judges, which Cole This year’s TARC competition required said they knocked “out of the park.” each rocket to carry a payload of one raw chicken egg to an altitude of 800 feet and With the new year ahead, the stureturn to the ground, with the egg undents will have their hands full. The team cracked, within 46-48 seconds. Ingenuity, innovation and hard work members who are on the robotics team were rewarded with a trip to the TARC will start on that statewide competition, finals near Washington, D.C. At this year’s which will end in December. Preparations finals, the Russellville students scored bet- for this year’s TARC won’t really get going until January, but team ter than 100 other teams captain Andrew Heath to win the national title. Russellville students said the team will likely Their grand prize: A trip scored better than start preliminary design to the Paris Air Show in meetings this fall. June, where they were 100 other teams to He and others on the the only U.S. team to win the national title. team will also write a compete in the Internaproposal for the NASA Student Launch tional Rocketry Challenge. The team’s Paris rocket launch won initiative, a research-based, competitive, with the lowest score -- meaning that experiential exploration activity focused it most closely approached the required on high-powered rockets. Andrew said the team also enjoys doheight and time, and that the egg didn’t crack. This came after crashing three rock- ing outreach efforts -- they’ve done demets that had been built and tested just four onstrations for both kids and adults, and they’ll continue to try to interest other days before the Paris Air Show. “Given that hurdle, what they did was students in engineering pursuits. And they hope to inspire other schools to get involved with their own rocketry programs Andrew Heath adjusts a rocket during the -- and they’re ready to help. International Rocketry Challenge. “Definitely ask for help,” says senior PHOTO COURTESY OF RAYTHEON Niles Butts. “It’s not something you can do just on your own -- you have to have some help and guidance.” More than anything, the team hopes that with more recognition there will be more financial and academic support for programs like theirs. The students raised all the money for the TARC competition and to buy the equipment and computers they needed for their lab. And this is all extracurricular. Superintendent Heath Grimes hopes to develop a robotics/rocketry academy, to get the students interested in the seventh and eighth grades. And now, they have the community’s ear. “Before this, we’ve been rather unknown in the community,” Andrew says. “I think (with) everybody learning about us, there’s been a lot more interest in helping us further. I think that will play a lot bigger role for us going forward.” A
The sky’s the limit
Rocket team mentors Mark Keeton, left, Joseph Cole, center, and Tracy Burns helped guide the team to their international win. PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
Andrew Heath, left in black shirt, and fellow team member Niles Butts, facing camera, talk to legislators and education officials about the rocket team. The team was honored with a ceremony at the Alabama State House in July. PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
14 OCTOBER 2015
Best Alabama 16
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 categories, pick one answer for each category, or tell us what’s your choice for the “Best of Alabama”!
Travel 1. Best place to take the family for a weekend getaway. [ ] North Alabama mountains [ ] Gulf beaches [ ] Historic destinations [ ] Your Choice __________________
2. Best uniquely Alabama experience on your bucket list. [ ] World’s Longest Yard Sale [ ] Hiking the North Alabama mountains [ ] Attending the Iron Bowl [ ] Your Choice __________________
3. Best baseball player from Alabama (past) [ ] Hank Aaron [ ] Satchel Paige
[ ] Willie Mays [ ] Your Choice __________________
4. Best boxer from Alabama (past or present) [ ] Joe Louis [ ] Deontay Wilder
[ ] Evander Holyfield [ ] Your Choice __________________
5. Best Alabama sportscaster/commentator [ ] Paul Finebaum [ ] Eli Gold
[ ] Charles Barkley [ ] Your Choice __________________
6. Best NASCAR driver (past) [ ] Bobby Alison [ ] Neil Bonnett
[ ] Davey Allison [ ] Your Choice __________________
7. Best Olympic athlete (past) [ ] Carl Lewis [ ] Harvey Glance
[ ] Jesse Owens [ ] Your Choice __________________
8. Best public golf course [ ] Grand National, Opelika [ ] Terrapin Hills, Ft. Payne
[ ] RTJ Capitol Hill, Prattville [ ] Your Choice __________________
Entertainment 9. Best singer/songwriter (present) [ ] Lionel Richie [ ] Jason Isbell
[ ] Emmylou Harris [ ] Your Choice __________________
10. Best singer/songwriter (past) [ ] Hank Williams [ ] Nat King Cole
[ ] Percy Sledge [ ] Your Choice __________________
11. Best actor/actress from Alabama (present) [ ] Octavia Spencer [ ] Courteney Cox
[ ] Channing Tatum [ ] Your Choice __________________
People 12. Most influential Alabamian (present) [ ] Condoleezza Rice [ ] Gov. Robert Bentley
[ ] Tim Cook (Apple computer) [ ] Your Choice __________________
13. Best historical museum [ ] Alabama Dept. of Archives and History [ ] USS Battleship Alabama [ ] Barber Vintage Motorsports [ ] Your Choice __________________
14. Best learning museum [ ] Gulf Coast Exploreum [ ] McWane Science Center [ ] U.S. Space and Rocket Center [ ] Your Choice _________________
Made in Alabama 15. Best craft brewery [ ] Good People [ ] Back Forty
[ ] Avondale [ ] Your Choice __________________
16. Best Alabama-made snack [ ] Golden Flake chips [ ] Wickles Pickles
[ ] Priester’s pecans [ ] Your Choice __________________
17. Best non-BBQ Alabama-based food franchise [ ] Zoe’s [ ] Momma Goldberg’s
[ ] Chicken Salad Chick [ ] Your Choice __________________
18. Best Alabama-based BBQ franchise [ ] Jim ‘N Nick’s [ ] Full Moon BBQ
[ ] Dreamland [ ] Your Choice __________________
19. Best Alabama-made non-alcoholic beverage [ ] Milo’s Tea [ ] Red Diamond tea
[ ] Barber’s milk [ ] Your choice __________________
20. Best Alabama-made automobile [ ] Hyundai Sonata/Elantra [ ] Mercedes C/M/R/GL/ GLE Coupe [ ] Honda Odyssey/Pilot/Acura MDX
Cast your vote for VOTE ONLINE www.alabamaliving.coop the Best of Alabama Name: ___________________________________ for the chance to win Address: _________________________ City: ___________ St: ___Zip: ________
Deadline toLiving vote Alabama is Oct. 31, 2015.
Phone Number: __________________Co-op: ______________________________
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 Alabama Rural OCTOBER 2015 of 15 Electric Association, and Alabama Electric Cooperatives; and their respective divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising, and promotion agencies.
State-of-the-art marksmanship facility opens in Talladega
bullseye! Story and photos by John N. Felsher
16 OCTOBER 2015
Watch video on alabamaliving.coop
Sarah Hall, operations supervisor, explains the features of the Talladega Marksmanship Park.
n June 6, 2015, 71 years to the day after Allied soldiers stormed the Normandy beaches to liberate Europe from the Nazis, marksmen gathered to compete at a one-of-a-kind shooting facility in Talladega. “The Talladega Marksmanship Park opened to the public in May 2015, but we had our grand opening ceremonies on June 6 in conjunction with a two-day rifle and pistol shooting match that weekend,” recalls Sarah Hall, the park operations supervisor. “We brought in close to 500 people each day. About 300 of them were competitors.” Run by the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the opening of the state-of-the-art park culminated a long effort to create a world-class shooting facility in Alabama. The CMP bought 500 acres and turned it into the only complex like it in the United States, possibly the world, all in a beautiful forested setting. About three years and $20 million later, the CMP opened an impressive range. Located about three miles from the Talladega Superspeedway between Anniston and Talladega, the complex includes five
ranges for rifle and pistol shooting plus three fields for shotgun users. It opens to the public every Wednesday through Sunday when it is not being used for a major shooting match. Before shooting, all visitors must attend a safety orientation and rules briefing from a range officer. When shooters go to their selected ranges, they receive more guidance for that specific range. “Anyone can come out here to learn
the rifle and pistol ranges. The shooter doesn’t even need to look through a spotting scope at a paper target to check for the most recent hole or walk downrange to physically examine or change a severely damaged paper target, a major advantage when shooting the longer ranges. The park uses 247 KTS, or Kongsberg Targeting System, electronic targets, the most anywhere in the world. The electronic targets can handle calibers up to .338. Developed by the Norwegian firm Kongsberg Mikroelektronikk AS, these targets electronically record where a bullet goes and reflect that position on a computer monitor next to the firing station. The target face consists of a semi self-healing rubberized material. Microelectronic sensors accurately detect where the bullet passes through the target and provide instant feedback to the shooter on the monitor. The system can even update shots live on the Internet for people all over the world who want to follow the action of a shooting match. “The target has a sound chamber with microphones so that it hears the shot pass through it and triangulates to record the
‘Anyone can come out here to learn firearms safety and to shoot.’
firearms safety and to shoot,” Hall says. “Whenever we’re open, there’s always a certified range officer on duty at each range overseeing the shooting and ensuring safety. Almost everyone working at the range is still an active competitor. Some shot in World Cup events. They are very knowledgeable about firearms.” Even during foul weather, shooters can remain dry and protected under roofs on
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coordinates accurately,” Hall explains. “The electronic monitor beside every shooting station on the firing line gives the shooter a picture of the target. It shows where the shot hits and gives a score value. It even adds up the total and gives the group size almost instantly. In a match that would normally take all day, we can now complete it in two hours because nobody needs to go downrange to the target during a day of shooting. The targets can take about 10,000 hits before we have to do any maintenance on them.” Range 1, the premier range at the Talladega Marksmanship Park, allows 54 shooters to fire at targets 200, 300 or 600 yards away. Individual targets can pop up at the desired range line for each station. One person might shoot at a target 200 yards away. The person on the right might shoot at 600 yards while another shooter on the left might fire at a 300-yard electronic target. Shooters control everything from the firing line. The other rifle and pistol ranges, except for the multipurpose range, all use the same electronic targeting system. A 100-yard rifle range can accommodate 35 shooters at one time. The 25- and 50-yard pistol ranges can each allow 25 shooters at a time. The facility also includes space for 15 action pistol shooters. People can drive their cars directly to all the ranges, except the 600-yard range, but it’s just down the hill from the complex clubhouse. For shotgun enthusiasts, the park offers trap and 5-stand stations for shooting clay targets. For shooting trap, all clay targets go away from the shooter and one round includes 25 targets. When shooting the 5-stand, shooters move through five different stations and fire from a covered stand. The 25 clays in one round pass the shooter from many different directions depending upon the station. People may also take the sporting clays mile-long loop, which encloses 40 acres. For “shooting the loop,” gunners can rent golf carts from the park. With a golf cart, the 15-station sporting clays loop takes about 90 minutes to complete and the shooters try to hit 100 targets. Shotgun shooters can only use Number 7.5 or smaller bird shot at clays, but can shoot buckshot or slugs in the multipurpose range. “Shotgun shooters can load up a card like a debit card and pay for the number of clays they want to shoot,” Hall says. “When 18 OCTOBER 2015
they prepare to shoot a station, they put the card in the machine. The card keeps track of the number of clays remaining. If people want to shoot more clays, they just reload the card with more credits.” With such a fine facility, the staff naturally wants to show it off. The park already hosted shooting matches, but will host a major national event from Dec. 8-13. Dubbed the Talladega 600, this event will feature many marksmanship competitions involving shooters from all over the country. Some events will feature shooting M1 Garand, M1903 Springfield and other vintage military rifles. Several firearms experts will also hold clinics on various topics. Pistol events will feature everything from .22 rimfires to Model 1911 .45 military and police matches as well as shotgun events. “We are a state-of-the-art facility,” Hall emphasizes. “Many national shooting matches are held at Camp Perry, Ohio in the summer. We want to be able to hold some major events here in the winter. Anyone can compete in the Talladega 600. When we have matches lasting more than one day, competitors often bring their families and stay in the area. That creates a significant economic impact to the area. While a major event brings in many people, we also bring in a lot of people just for everyday shooting. Some people come from several states away just to shoot.” When not shooting, park visitors might enjoy the 13,000-square foot clubhouse overlooking Range 1. During matches, people can keep up with the action live on monitors in the clubhouse. The park also rents out training rooms for meetings, luncheons or other events. The rooms can seat more than 100 people. However, event organizers must cater their food. The clubhouse does not sell any food or refreshments on the property. While inside the clubhouse, visitors might also want to browse the store. Operated by Creedmoor Armory under contract with the CMP, the store sells a variety of firearms, ammunition, accessories and clothing items. On behalf of the CMP, the Creedmoor Store also sells vintage military rifles, such as M1 Garand rifles and carbines from World War II, M14s, M1903 Springfields and other weapons. A For more information on the Talladega Marksmanship Park, call Hall at 256-4744408 or see http://thecmp.org/competitions/talladega-marksmanship-park.
Civilian Marksmanship Program promotes firearm safety, training By John N. Felsher
With fresh memories of his combat experience during the Spanish-American War, President Theodore Roosevelt came up with a 20th century version of the Revolutionary War minutemen. The 1903 War Department Appropriations Act created the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Under the program, civilians could obtain surplus military rifles and ammunition to practice their marksmanship skills. Roosevelt hoped these marksmen would use their skills if another war began. Over the years, the emphasis shifted to teaching youths how to safely handle firearms. Today, the CMP works closely with the Boy Scouts, 4H clubs, Junior ROTC units and similar organizations. The CMP also conducts firearms safety classes for adults. “The CMP mission is to promote firearm safety and marksmanship training with an emphasis on youth,” explains Sarah Hall, the Talladega Marksmanship Park operations supervisor. “Our vision is that every youth in America has the opportunity to participate in firearm safety and marksmanship programs.” The Civilian Marksmanship Program remained under the U.S. Army until 1996 when CMP became a non-profit corporation. The CMP still receives surplus military weapons and ammunition, such as M1 Garand rifles from World War II, but no longer receives tax dollars. American citizens not legally prohibited from owning firearms, such as felons, may buy surplus rifles from the CMP staff in Anniston if they belong to a CMP-affiliated club. These rifle and ammunition sales help fund firearm safety, marksmanship training and shooting competition programs. For more information, see https:// thecmp.org. www.alabamaliving.coop
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live in every county in Alabama By John N. Felsher
hen early settlers moved into what became Alabama, they found an untamed wilderness full of powerful toothy creatures, some capable of attacking, killing and even eating humans. They heard cat screams and wolf howls just beyond the dark trees barely illuminated by the dancing campfire flames. “Big cats were here,” says Richard Tharp, an Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources game biologist in Enterprise. “Red wolves were native to Alabama, but they have been extirpated from the state, primarily from loss of habitat. Black bears still live in Alabama. Coyotes were originally a western species, but moved eastward in the past 50 years.” In the early 1900s, some people released coyotes in Alabama as game animals after wolves disappeared. With forests cleared and lush crops attracting mice, rabbits, rats and other small animals and no competition from wolves, coyotes thrived. By the 1960s, coyotes naturally expanded eastward from their native range in western states to fill the void left by the vanished gray and red wolves. They now populate every state in the contiguous United States. Red wolves, smaller cousins of gray or timber wolves, also ranged across the southeastern United States as far north as the 20 OCTOBER 2015
PHOTO BY JAMES W. HYBART
Ohio River. But by 1921, only a few red wolves remained in the rugged hills of Walker and Colbert counties and they soon disappeared. By the 1960s, a remnant wolf population still hunted the swamps of eastern Texas and southwest Louisiana. From 1973 to 1980, wildlife officers in that area trapped about 400 canines, but only 43 wolves. Of those, only 17 were genetically pure red wolves. The rest were wolf-coyote hybrids. In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves extinct in the wild.
Coyotes: Survivors and adaptors
“People have called me claiming to have seen a wolf, but it’s usually a coyote, feral dog or even a coyote-dog hybrid,” Tharp explains. “If they saw an actual wolf in Alabama, it’s probably an escapee from captivity. Many people think a coyote is a lot bigger than it really is and might believe it’s a wolf. Coyotes look bigger in the winter when they have thicker fur that gives them a fluffier appearance. Female coyotes in Alabama normally average 25 to 35 pounds. Males grow up to 45 pounds. A 45-pound coyote is a really big coyote.” Incredibly adaptable, coyotes can live practically anywhere and eat anything. They survive in mountainous terrain, forests, agriwww.alabamaliving.coop
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Coyotes are survivors cultural lands, prairies, swamps and even marshes. They thrive all across Alabama and, unlike wolves, adapt well to living close to people. Highly elusive, coyotes can practically live in a person’s backyard without anyone even knowing it. “Coyotes are survivors,” Tharp says. “Their feeding habits and their adaptability means they’ll probably be in Alabama from now on. They do very well in wooded, agricultural and even suburban areas. They are in every county in Alabama, including our major metropolitan areas. If there’s ever a nuclear war, cockroaches and coyotes will probably survive it.” Adept predators, coyotes usually eat mice, rats, rabbits and other small animals, but won’t hesitate to eat anything else they can catch. They also eat carrion and vegetable matter. They’ll eat insects, fruits, vegetables, roots, garbage, pet food and just about anything else they find. “Coyotes normally hunt from dusk to dawn,” Tharp says. “People sometimes see them in daylight, especially when they have young and the parents are working extra hard to find something for the little ones to eat, but usually, they’re out in low light conditions. “Coyotes are definitely a threat to pets, especially ones left outside at night. They sometimes eat small cats and dogs, particularly in urban or suburban areas. Some people put up fences with roller-type spinning bars at the top. When a coyote steps on it, it rolls and the animal falls off. If there’s nothing to attract coyotes to someone’s yard, they’ll go elsewhere.” Occasionally, coyotes breed with dogs, creating a hybrid called a coydog. They would most likely mate with larger dog breeds, such as shepherds or hounds, and sometimes they mate with feral dogs. “Coydogs are fairly rare in Alabama,” Tharp emphasizes. “There are some coydogs in Alabama, but probably not as many as people believe. It’s possible for a coydog to be larger than a pure coyote and less afraid of humans. That depends upon the type of dog that put genetic information into that animal.” Many people fear coyotes, but dogs, wild or pets, kill about 15 to 20 people in Alabama each year. Coyotes very rarely attack people. They might bite someone when cornered or threatened, but generally try to avoid people. “In my opinion as a biologist, a wild dog is much more of a threat to humans than a coyote because dogs do not have a natural fear of humans like some other animals,” Tharp explains. “The first instinct for a wild animal like a coyote is to get away from humans. When they encounter people, they normally slink away. If someone ran into an animal that’s overly aggressive, that person needs to back away from it. It could be wounded or sick. Coyotes can carry rabies.” In Alabama, people can hunt coyotes all year long without limit on private lands. They can also hunt them on most public lands in conjunction with other open seasons. Landowners can apply for wildlife control permits that allow them to shoot coyotes at night. Consult the nearest wildlife department office for more information. A
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A threat to pets
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Fiber arts enthusiasts gather at Old Alabama Town to spin, knit and crochet, but also to fellowship. PHOTO BY ALLISON GRIFFIN
Not your grandmother’s knitting Fiber guilds promote old crafts with a new twist By Lisa Harrison
n cozy meeting and living rooms across Alabama, groups of women meet regularly to share their love of all things fiber. Knitting needles click, spinning wheels hum, weaving looms whoosh and clack. Tatting shuttles flash to and fro between chains of thread; crochet hooks inch along rows of stitches. In today’s era of laboratory-created and machine-manufactured fabric, a dedicated and growing number of artisans are reviving centuries-old techniques of handcrafting with wool, cotton, silk, angora and other natural fibers. Using the old methods, modern crafters now create “art yarn” that is a far cry from the yarn of yesterday. The new yarns are multi-textured, multicolored and may sport intricately spun loops and coils. Weavers, knitters, crocheters and other needleworkers use these yarns to create vibrant clothing and fabrics never imagined by the crafters who came before them. Recent decades have seen these crafters form themselves into numerous fiber guilds. Across Alabama, nearly a dozen fiber guilds with members both urban and rural, whose arts range from knitting and crocheting to 24 OCTOBER 2015
yarn spinning and weaving, meet regularly to share techniques and promote these venerable crafts. Betty Ann Lloyd founded the South Alabama Fiber Enthusiasts (SAFE) guild in 2009 when she discovered some equally fiberminded friends. The guild allows members who practice one fiber art to learn about other crafts. After seeing crafts they have not tried before demonstrated, people who were knitters or crocheters only have now become spinners and weavers as well, says Lloyd. The Montgomery guild began attracting many new members when it hosted a “Worldwide Knit in Public Day” in 2009. This event is the largest knitter-run event in the world, with local groups meeting on the same date all over the globe. Attendance grew in each subsequent year the guild hosted the local version. This year’s Knit in Public Day was June 13; 42 countries participated last year. Building on that success, the guild established its own larger local event, The Festival of Alabama Fiber Arts, in 2012. (There was no festival this year, but organizers hope to bring it back in 2016.) Guilds across the state participate in many such events. The festivals often include juried shows of spun, woven, and needle www.alabamaliving.coop
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crafted pieces. There are exhibitions of techniques. Handcrafted products are offered for sale by vendors from around the country. Festivals featuring guild members include the Kentuck Festival, the Sheep-to Shawl event, and the Alabama Designer/Craftsmen Fine Craft Show. The success of these festivals, with counterparts in every state, demonstrates the new popularity of traditional crafts. In days past, fiber artists might have met in small “sewing circles,” but the new festivals draw large crowds of crafters plus spectators who learn and often become crafters themselves. The techniques used may be ancient, but modern technology has contributed to the surge of interest. Betty Lloyd points out that crafters now have access to YouTube tutorials that can guide beginners and help experienced artisans who encounter difficulties with a project. Answers to “how to” questions are a mouse click away. Additionally, social media provide connections and forums to discuss techniques. Ravelry.com is a popular Internet community used by many Alabama fiber guild members. Such online gathering places connect people who share the desire to preserve crafts and exchange ideas. SAFE member and knitter Peggy Collins says, “It’s very important to keep the old techniques alive. To lose knowledge is a
tragic thing. The more we know about how things were originally created, the more we can appreciate what we have today. When we know how to create items using old methods, and do create items that way, they become so much more valuable. A hand-knit sweater is so superior to a store-bought, machine-stitched one.” Carol Timkovich, president of the West Alabama Fiber Guild, agrees, saying guilds offer “the benefit of touching the past by continuing the techniques our foremothers passed on to us, and touching the future when we teach someone younger.” In addition to preserving skills, guild members benefit from the creative process itself. Lloyd, Collins, and Timkovich agree that fiber crafts provide a uniquely relaxing practice bordering at times on meditation. Timkovich adds that the communities also help reduce stress through companionship: “troubles shared lessen; joys shared multiply.” The opportunity to be involved in community activities that promote preservation, relaxation, and artistic creation draws many people to the guilds. Fiber guilds are an important resource for crafters interested in learning and preserving techniques from days gone by. Modern crafters study these old methods and riff on them with new ideas, creating arty yarns and fabrics with a 21st century appeal. Meeting with other enthusiasts, they share ideas, learn new techniques, and experience the camaraderie of kindred spirits. A
A West Alabama Fiber Guild member makes cloth by weaving on a floor loom at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport. CONTRIBUTED
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Alabama brothers heed call to make films of faith
By Scott Johnson
rothers Jon and Andy Erwin are making their mark in Hollywood, but their roots are firmly planted in Alabama. “We have an absolute loyalty to the state of Alabama. All of our movies are developed and finished right here,” Jon Erwin said. “I love Alabama, and I’m very grateful for all the support that the state has given us.” Their new movie “Woodlawn” represents a step forward for the Birmingham natives. It will have a wider release than either of their previous movies, and it also tells a story that is close to their hearts. Erwin said it meant a lot to him to bring it to the big screen.
Directors Jon (left) and Andy Erwin confer on set during filming of “Woodlawn.”
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“It’s the story of my city and the story of hope in my city, and that’s an honor,” he said. In the film, there is talk of closing Woodlawn, a troubled Birmingham high school where forced integration has led to racial tensions and violence in the early 1970s. The school’s football coach eventually allows a counselor named Hank Erwin to give a speech to the players. They are so captivated that all but a few commit themselves to live by faith. The team experiences a transformation so profound that it spreads to the entire school and the community at large.
Andy Erwin directs Jon Voight as Paul “Bear” Bryant on the set of “Woodlawn.”
Jon Erwin at work behind the camera.
SEPTEMBER For advanced ticket information: 205-292-0015 or 205-799-7380. Gulf Shores, 44th Annual National Shrimp Festival. This free event is held at the public beach access where Highway 59 intersects with Highway 182. The festival features more than 300 vendors that offer fine art, arts and crafts, a retail marketplace, outdoor village, and of course, shrimp! Selma, 37th Annual Alabama Tale-Tellin’ Festival at the Earl Goodwin Theatre at Wallace Community College. The Swappin’ Ground starts at 6 p.m. with the main event at 7. Admission is $15 for adults for one night or $25 for both nights. $10 for students ages 9-17 for one night or $15 for both nights, and children under 8 are free. Visit artsrevive.com or ArtsRevive on Facebook for more information. Fort Mitchell, 2nd Annual Blacksmith Expo at Fort Mitchell 1813 period fort and museum. Open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. EST. Children age 5 and under enter free, all others $10 each. Information: 334-298-6424 or 334-297-8822. Hanceville, Inaugural Walkin’ and Runnin’ for Children Mile Fun Walk and 5K. Held at Wallace State. $15 per event. Proceeds benefit Children’s Hospital of Alabama. Free t-shirts to first 200 entries. Contact: Bob Palys, 256-352-2793 or email@example.com. Double Springs, 5th Annual Empty Bowls Dinner at the Municipal Building. Doors open at 5 p.m. All-you-can-eat soup tasting from more than 20 of Winston County’s fine professional and amateur chefs. Admission: $10
Fort Mitchell Blacksmith Expo
Montgomery, AHS Region 14 Fall Meeting hosted by the Montgomery Area Daylily Society at Memorial Presbyterian Church. Registration fees: $25 adults, $15 youth. Information: 334-288-6024 or to register call 334-277-1664. Opp, Scarecrows in the Park at Frank Jackson State Park. Ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. with local entertainment. The event will last from October through the end of November so plan to walk the beautiful trails, enjoy the creative scarecrow displays and have a picnic in the park. Sylacauga, Marble Valley Volunteer Fire Department’s 2nd Annual Yard Sale, Car Wash, Hamburger and Hot Dog Sale and Fundraiser. Rain delay will be Oct. 17. Sale begins at 7 a.m. and ends when everything is sold. Contact: Lester or Karen Duke, 256-249-4996. Eutaw, Greene County Historical Tour of Homes. Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Tickets: $20 for adults, $10 for children under 12, $15 for groups of 10 or larger. Tickets will be available the weekend of the tour at the Vaughn-Morrow House on Main Street in Eutaw.
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Guy Penrod in Concert Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center Enterprise Penrod, a top selling southern gospel performer, spent 14 years as the lead singer of the Gaither Vocal Band before launching a successful solo ministry. Known for his country styling, Penrod’s music has been applauded in the gospel as well as the country formats. He is one of the most in-demand touring artists in Christian music. The performance is at 7 p.m. For information, call 334-406-2787 or visit www.CoffeeCountyArtsAlliance.com.
adults, $5 students. Information: 205-489-6569 or 205-295-1581. www.winstoncountyarts.org. Hartselle, 3rd Annual Day of the Cowboy, Western Heritage Day. Hosted by No Fences Cowboy Church of Morgan County at the Hartselle Sheriff’s Posse Grounds. Admission is free. Additional information: 256-784-5448, on Facebook at Day of the Cowboy 2015 or www.nofencescc.com. Dothan, Sandi McCool Champions of Hope is a breast cancer awareness event on the campus of the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine. 5K/10K race, a Spirit Walk and the Kohl’s Kids Fit Challenge. The Spirit Walk and 5K fee is $25. Registration for the 10K race is $35. Contact the SAMC Foundation office at 334-673-4150 or visit www.samcfoundation.org. Bay Minette, 17th Annual Baldwin Catfish Roundup for the Disabled. Grimes Nursery, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Fishing equipment will be provided. Information: Jeanette Grimes-Cabaniss, 251-937-5993 or 251-422-7991; Louise Parker, 251-9372078; George Byrd, 251-937-3286. Orange Beach, Scarecrow Festival. Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach, 3-6 p.m. The festival will feature “make your own scarecrow” materials for families and businesses, live music and more. Contact: 251-981-ARTS (2787) or CoastalArtsCenter.com. Millbrook, Angel Fest 2015 at St. Michael and All Angels Church, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. For vendor information or to pre-order Boston butts call the church offcie at 334-2853905 or visit stmichaelandallangels. com/angel-fest/ Mentone, Mentone Colorfest at Mentone Brow Park. The festival combines nightly bonfires, live music, foods, artists and craftsmen with displays. Also featuring new events for 2015. Cullman, Alabama Gourd Festival. Cullman Civic Center, Saturday 9 a.m.-5p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Demonstrations, juried competition, and arts and crafts show. Contact: Pam Montgomery,
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. Alabama Living
256-355-4634 or gourdzilla@aol. com. www.alabamagourdsociety.org 23-25, 30-1 Dublin, SMCA Haunted Hayride in the Forest. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and close at midnight. Tickets: $8 and $2 for parking. Concessions available. Address, directions and additional info at www. hauntedhayrideintheforest.com. LaFayette, Jack-O-Lantern Lane. Homegrown pumpkin patch, inflatables, gem mining, petting zoo, concessions and country store. Admission is charged. Information: 334-864-0713, 334-869-0554 or www.jackolanternlane.org.
NOVEMBER South Baldwin County, The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, in conjunction with GlenLakes Golf Club, will offer private, free memory screenings in various locations in Fairhope, Foley, Gulf Shores, and Orange Beach. Please call 251-752-8742 for location site and appointment. Beatrice, Pioneer and Cane Syrup Makin’ Days at Rikard’s Mill Historic Park, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. A full day of interactive learning for children. Admission: $5 students, teachers are free Thursday and Friday only. Moulton, 6th Annual Harvest of the Valley Farm Toy Show and Sale. Lawrence County High School Auditorium. Friday 6-9 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission: $4 ages 11 and up, free for children 10 and under. Information: Dwight Vanderford, 256-974-6960 or 256-9563. Stockton, Stockton Sawmill Days at Baldwin County Bicentennial Park, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 children ages 5-12 and free for children under 5. Information: 251-937-3738 or www.stocktonsawmilldays.org. Clanton, Chilton County Arts Festival at Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Information: Mack Gothard, 706-299-4596 or email: chiltoncountyartscouncil@ hotmail.com.
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The film stars Sean Astin as Hank Erwin and Nic Bishop as Woodlawn football coach Tandy Geralds. Former University of Alabama football player Caleb Castille portrays Tony Nathan, Woodlawn’s star running back, and Jon Voight appears as legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, who recruited Nathan. It is based on a true story that unfolded while the Erwin brothers’ father served as the school’s chaplain, Jon Erwin said. The character of Hank Erwin is actually a composite of the man who delivered that first speech and their father, who Jon Erwin said continued to guide the team spiritually. He first heard the story when he was about 10 years old, and it remained in the back of Erwin’s mind as he started working in film. But he said the moment he knew that the story would absolutely become a feature was when he read the journal of former Woodlawn coach Tandy Geralds. “His writings were so powerful on what this moment of love and reconciliation did to him and the team, I was sitting there weeping,” Erwin said. Erwin was just 15 when he started his career behind the camera. He was working as an intern for a cameraman when his big break arrived. Someone who was supposed to help film the Alabama game for ESPN had become sick about three hours before kickoff. Erwin’s mentor called and told him to get to the stadium right away -- and not to tell anyone his age. Erwin did just that and was hooked immediately. “I went over there and just fell in love. I can’t describe it,” he said. He and his brother went on to film Alabama games both at home and on the road and eventually began shooting other sporting events as well. In 2002, they started a production company
and began making music videos for artists such as Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, all of which were shot in Birmingham. Erwin said it was a laid-back environment that the musical acts seemed to enjoy. “Artists began to love coming down to Birmingham and working with us,” he said. As his career progressed, Erwin said he began to develop his vision for making movies. He wanted to make movies that celebrated things like self-sacrifice, honor, redemption and courage. Film is the most powerful medium in the world, Erwin said, and the perfect way to illustrate those ideals. They made the leap into feature films with “October Baby,” which was released in 2011. It was a surprise hit despite only being screened in 390 theaters. They followed up with the comedy “Mom’s Night Out” in 2014, which also did well at the box office despite a limited screening. “Woodlawn” is scheduled to be released Oct. 16 to about twice as many screens as their previous movie and more than five times that of their debut. It is an exciting time for the brothers, but Erwin said remaining in Alabama has helped keep them grounded. “We use Hollywood but we work outside of the system,” is how Erwin describes it. That arrangement works for Hollywood as well as it strives to tap into an audience of moviegoers yearning for stories of spiritual renewal, he said. “They want to understand how better to reach Middle America,” Erwin said. “We intentionally live in Alabama because that’s the audience we serve.” Besides, they enjoy living here. “I’ve been traveling 70 percent of the time, but there is nowhere I would rather live,” he said. A
Watch a preview at woodlawnmovie.com
Tony Nathan (Caleb Castille) runs his way into the hearts of the city of Birmingham in “Woodlawn.“ CONTRIBUTED
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Dr. Charles Mitchell shows sugar cane in the crops garden at Pioneer Park in Loachapoka.
Lee County Historical Fair to showcase life, food from 1800s Story and photos by Gary L. Smith
r. Charles Mitchell walks down a narrow row in one of the Lee County Historical Society’s gardens to show both sides in one of Alabama’s great rivalries, sugar cane and sorghum. “People in north Alabama swear sorghum syrup is the best, so you can get a good argument going,” Mitchell laughs. Mitchell is an agronomist and professor at Auburn University and vice president of the Lee County Historical Society. He’s been involved for decades with the Lee County Historical Society Fair, planned for Oct. 17. The history of syrup making, cotton production, country cooking, bluegrass music, and other parts of life in Lee County are preserved in the fair, as well as other events that go on every month in Loachapoka at Pioneer Park, he said. The annual fair previously took place on Loachapoka’s “Syrup Sopping’ Day.” Syrup Soppin’ Day, a separate event run by a different organization, grew over the years and is moving to a different location closer to Auburn, Mitchell says. The event is now called “Pioneer Day in Loachapoka,” and they will continue 32 OCTOBER 2015
to demonstrate syrup making at their event, Mitchell says. At the Lee County Historical Society Fair, the park will be open to the public and a blacksmith guild makes items much as they would have been made in the 1800s, along with spinning and weaving demonstrations. There’s also mountain music from the “Whistle Stop Pickers,” a local group of bluegrass musicians who play dulcimers, banjos and fiddles. Pioneer Park, the site of the event, also houses a number of other exhibits, including farming tools and implements from the 1800s through the mid 20th century, a medicinal herb garden, a crops garden including sweet potatoes, tobacco, peanuts, cotton and of course sugar cane and sorghum. Sugar cane is a hard cane plant with palm-like fronds, while sweet sorghum looks like tall stalks with bushy tops. Sugar cane yields far more sugar content for making syrup, but doesn’t grow well in north Alabama, Mitchell says. According to Mitchell, they are also working to complete the renovation of a log house that is the largest log structure in Alabama. www.alabamaliving.coop
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The park is also open on the second Saturday of each month. The blacksmith, spinning, and weaving demonstrations, along with the mountain music concerts, are there every second Saturday, along with country cooking, but you’ll have to come to the annual Historical Fair for their signature items - sweet potato biscuits and fritters with homemade syrup, Mitchell says. Syrup making is still planned for the fair, but on a smaller scale, Mitchell says, adding that it was an important part of Alabama agricultural history. “A hundred years ago you grew your own sweetener. Kind of a tradition - you cut the sugar cane and made syrup. Everyone who worked (on the cotton harvest) got a fivegallon bucket and that was your sweetener for the winter,” Mitchell said. The main building at Pioneer Park, now known as the Old Trade Center, was a place to buy and sell merchandise and was important to Lee County because the railroad line ended in Loachapoka, Mitchell says. Cotton was the leading cash crop and source of employment in Lee County and the rest of Alabama before World War II, and, according to Mitchell, this began to change when people returning from military service began to seek jobs in Birmingham’s growing steel industry and, closer to home, Opelika’s growing textile mills. “Everything that goes on here has to have a connection to history. The vendors are either demonstrating, or selling, arts and crafts that represent Alabama’s history,” Mitchell says. A Sweet potato biscuit recipe written on the wall in the Lee County Historical Society serving area at Pioneer Park in Loachapoka.
An early 20th century tractor on display in the Lee County Historical Society museum at Pioneer Park in Loachapoka.
Sweet Potato Biscuits 4 cups self-rising flour ½ cup vegetable shortening or lard 2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes ¼ teaspoon baking soda Buttermilk to make a soft dough Melted butter or margarine Cut shortening into flour with a pastry knife; set aside. Sweet potatoes can be baked in a microwave oven, peeled and mashed in a separate bowl. Add 1 cup buttermilk and soda to sweet potatoes and mix. Add sweet potato mixture to flour mixture and fold together. Add additional buttermilk or flour if needed to make a very soft dough. Turn dough onto a well floured surface and gently fold dough, adding additional self- rising flour if needed. Roll or pat dough to a ½ inch thickness and cut with the desired size biscuit cutter. Gently place biscuits on parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Alternatively, the baking sheet can be greased with shortening or sprayed with a non-stick oil. Bake at 410 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes or until biscuits just begin to brown. Remove from oven and brush melted butter or margarine on the hot biscuits. Extra biscuits can be refrigerated in a plastic bag and heated in a microwave oven as needed. Charles C. Mitchell Vice President and Acting President Lee Co. Historical Society More information: http://www.leecountyhistoricalsociety.org
34 OCTOBER 2015
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OCTOBER 2015 35
Start now for year-round herbs at your fingertips E
ven though the autumnal equinox on Sept. 23 was the official start of fall, that doesn’t mean you have to do without the flavors of the garden all winter. All you need is a good supply of fresh herbs, which, luckily, you can grow year-round. In much of Alabama, many perennial herbs can continue to grow and produce leaves outdoors in the winter if they are kept in a sheltered area and if temperatures don’t drop too low for extended periods of time. What’s more, some herbs, such as cilantro and parsley, actually prefer cooler temperatures and can survive the winter Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.
36 OCTOBER 2015
outdoors if they are protected from hard freezes. Still, there’s no predicting how harsh the winter will be, so if you want to ensure that you have fresh herbs at your fingertips all year long, now is the time to start an indoor herb garden. It may be as simple as bringing your potted herbs in for the winter, but if you don’t have some already potted up, now is the time to do so. To establish an indoor herb garden, begin by selecting a spot in your house that provides plenty of natural sunlight (most herbs need at least six hours of light a day to thrive) and where indoor temperatures stay between 60 to 75 degrees F. Southto southwest-facing windows are the best indoor locations for herb growing, though don’t put your plants tight up against cold window glass. You can also buy a grow light to hang over the herbs if you don’t have a suitable sunny indoor spot.
Next, find a well-draining container (pot), preferably something attractive if your herb garden will be on display. You can use one large pot (strawberry pots work well for this but any large container with holes in the bottom for good drainage is fine) in which you can plant several different kinds of herbs. Or you can use smaller pots, ideally ones that are at least six inches in diameter and deep enough for the herbs’ roots to have plenty of room to grow, and plant each with a different kind of herb. Fill the containers to about two inches from the top with fresh, sterile, well-draining potting media (pre-bagged potting mixtures specifically formulated for herbs and vegetables are good options). Now you’re ready to plant. The most reliable way grow indoor herbs is to start with small plants, either young transplants you started from seed
or cuttings or plants purchased from a garden store. You can also sew many herb seeds directly into a pot, which is particularly easy to do with cilantro, basil, dill and parsley. In fact, I often sew small amounts of these annual herbs into new containers every few weeks to keep a steady supply of young plants coming in all the time. Once you’ve settled your transplants or seeds into their pots, apply enough water to settle the potting mixture around the plants’ roots or to moisten the soil covering the seeds. Make sure to use waterproof drip trays beneath the pots to catch excess water and protect your windowsill or table or counter tops. As the herbs grow, turn or rearrange the pots every week or two to allow each plant plenty of access to light. Apply more water only when the first inch or so of soil has dried out. You’ll have to water germinating seedlings more frequently until they are well established, but avoid adding so much water that the potting media becomes soggy. When your plants are established and growing, start snipping them to promote bushier growth and keep them from flowering or going to seed, though never clip more than one-third of the growth at a time. And, of course, start using them in your cooking. After all, even though indoor herbs can be lovely to behold, they are even lovelier to taste! A
OCTOBER GARDEN TIPS d Collect fall leaves, seeds, cones and other garden treasures to use for seasonal decorating. d Plant shrubs and trees. d Fill bird feeders and birdbaths to attract migrating and local birds. d Apply compost to gardens and turn compost piles. d Test soil and add amendments as needed. d Dry and save seed from end-ofseason flowers, vegetables and herbs. d Take cuttings of tender perennials and begin rooting them. d Clean and store empty pots, garden tools and equipment for the winter. d Plant lettuces, spinach, turnips, radishes, onions and garlic. d Plant a winter garden cover crop (ryegrass, clover, etc.) to protect and enrich soil. d Keep mowing lawns until no sign of new growth is evident
OCTOBER 2015 37
Worth the Drive
Italian pastry with Southern flair at Dolce Pastry Shop
Watch video on alabamaliving.coop
“Everything is made with lots of love...and butter!” By Lori Quiller
estled among the buildings on the Square in downtown Troy is a small yet bustling bakery where more than just cupcakes fill the display case and much more is cooking in the kitchen than simple tarts and cookies. This isn’t your ordinary bakery. It’s Dolce Pastry Shop. Walking into the store, customers immediately realize they aren’t in a big city coffee shop. And that’s exactly how chefowner Jamey McDaniel wants it. McDaniel was a music major at Troy University in the ’70s before moving to New York and then Boston to study under an Italian pastry chef for a couple of years. After living the hustle and bustle life in these large metropolitan cities, he was ready to return back to his hometown of Troy. It took a little while, but when he was approached by a friend about a year and a half ago with a business opportunity to open a pastry shop on the town square, he jumped at the chance to give back to the town he loves so much. “I don’t have WiFi,” McDaniel says. “I even considered banning cell phones in the store. This is a throwback to the ’80s with our chalkboard menus, our classical music. It’s a place to slow down, relax with a cappuccino, and enjoy the food.” The shop may be small in size, yet McDaniel and his chief baker Joseph Pullen make up the difference with their daily creations and big flavors. Fresh tarragon chicken salad, mocha cream cheese croissant, spinach quiche...and the list goes on. “Each day we make something new, and we try to experiment with different, seasonal flavors. But, it’s always fun just to try new flavors to see what the customers like. We know we have something special when it doesn’t last very long in the case,” McDaniel laughs. “Everything is made from scratch, even the ladyfingers for the tiramisu. It’s a subtle difference, but we think it’s what makes the difference.”
38 OCTOBER 2015
Laughter is something else that’s special about Dolce Pastry Shop. With a closequarters kitchen, it’s good to have a sense of humor about bumping into things...or each other. “Oh, we laugh about something or each other every day,” Pullen says. “We have a lot of fun because we both truly enjoy what we’re doing. If you can’t have fun with what you’re doing all day, then what’s the point? Hopefully that love comes through in the products we serve to our customers.” All of the shop’s pastries, and there are many, are made from homemade croissant dough. From that dough come many wonderful flavors. “I’ve always had a sweet tooth,” McDaniel says. “My favorite pastry is croissant, and my very favorite that we do right now is apricot pecan croissant. When that is fresh, hot, out of the oven, it is incredible. But, whenever we come up with a new invention, that’s our new favorite. Everything is made with lots of love...and butter!” But Dolce Pastry Shop isn’t just about pastry. Early Saturday mornings, passersby will be drawn in by the smell of freshly baked bread, and each Sunday the shop is filled with guests sitting down for morning brunch. For now, brunch is only served on Sundays, but this little shop is definitely growing. “We have a lot of loyal regulars. We don’t advertise at all,” McDaniel says. “People discover us every day, and they have spread the word about us, so we have a great following.” A Follow Dolce Pastry Shop on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DolceLLC, on Instagram at dolcellc, and visit their website at http://dolce78.wix.com/dolcepastryshop. Southern flair at Dolce Pastry Shop 78 N. Court Square, Troy 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Tues. & Sat. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Wed.-Fri. 334-237-2737
OCTOBER 2015 39
Safe @ Home
Commandments of Firearms Safety
Fall signals the beginning of hunting season in Alabama. Our state has many opportunities to pursue small game, such as squirrels and rabbits, and larger game like deer. No matter what game you are hunting or your experience level with guns, safety should be your first priority.
The rules of safe gun handling, often called the “10 Commandments of Firearms Safety,” are procedures everyone who handles a firearm should obey. They are:
1 2 3 4
For complete information on Alabama’s hunting seasons and bag limits, visit the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources at www.outdooralabama.com. A 40 OCTOBER 2015
Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. This means to respect the firearm even when you know it is unloaded. Control the direction of the muzzle. You should always know where the firearm is being pointed at all times, and always keep it pointed in a safe direction. This should become a habit when handling a firearm. Identify your target and what’s beyond it. This rule is very important when target practicing or hunting. Be sure the barrel and action is clear of obstructions and that you have the proper ammunition for the firearm. This includes keeping dirt and debris out of the barrel. When a cartridge is fired, tremendous pressures are created to push the projectile through and out the barrel. If the channel that the bullet must travel through is not completely clear, then the pressures that are pushing the bullet down the barrel will back up and create a dangerous condition.
Unload firearms when not in use. This rule is very important when transporting firearms. It also is important when at a shooting range where it is mandatory that you have the action open when not shooting. Firearms carried for self-defense or in the defense of the home need to be controlled by the person responsible for the firearm.
Never point a firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot. This means no horseplay with a firearm. It also means never use a firearm to threaten a person.
Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded firearm. When moving around with a loaded firearm, always control the muzzle. Even if you trip or fall with the firearm, hold on to it firmly and keep it pointed in a safe direction. Never pull a firearm toward you by the muzzle.
Never shoot a bullet at a flat hard surface or water. Bullets traveling at a high velocity that hit water or a hard surface will bounce off at an uncontrollable angle.
Store firearms and ammunition separately and beyond the reach of children and careless adults. You should expand that list to include mentally unstable people. This is a very important responsibility of owning a firearm. The best way to fulfill this responsibility is to have a gun safe. With a gun safe, you can control who has access to the firearms, and is the best defense against a burglar. Not only will a safe protect your firearms, but it is a good place to store other valuables as well.
Avoid alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before or while shooting or hunting.
Whether you are practicing with a gun at the firing range or harvesting wild game, follow these commandments. www.alabamaliving.coop
Alabama Gun Collectors Association
FALL GUN SHOW
Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center 9th Avenue & 21st Street North Doors Open: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Saturday, 3 October 2015 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Sunday, 4 October 2015 Admission: $8.00 Adults – Children under 12 FREE
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC—BUY—SELL—TRADE New and used Firearms, Accessories, Optics, Ammo Over 700 Tables: Largest Show in the Southeast ARMS – EDGED WEAPONS – ACCOUTREMENTS
To learn more about the Alabama Gun Collectors Association or to download a membership application, Go to: www.ALGCA.org or call 205-317-0948 for more information on how to join more than 2200 current members.
OCTOBER 2015 41
The bear facts Black bears increasing population, range in Alabama
By John N. Felsher
any Alabamians probably believe the last “Bear” in the state coached a football team, but black bears roamed Alabama long before Europeans knew North America existed, and they are increasing their range and numbers in the state. Historically, black bears have ranged from extreme northern Alaska and Canada to parts of northern Mexico. As more people settled North America, many large contiguous forests with abundant hardwoods disappeared under the plow or logger’s ax. This pushed bears into remaining wilderness pockets. By the early 20th century, black bears mostly disappeared from Alabama except in the swampy Mobile-Tensaw Delta near Mobile. “Black bears are native to Alabama and lived throughout the state,” explains Thomas Harns, the top large carnivore biologist for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in Spanish Fort. “We’ve always had a population of black bears in Mobile-Tensaw Delta. The majority of black bears in Alabama are in Mobile, Baldwin and Washington counties.” John N. Felsher is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors show that is syndicated to stations in Alabama. For more on the show, see www.gdomag.com. Contact him through his website at www. JohnNFelsher.com
42 OCTOBER 2015
Sixteen subspecies of black bears still live in nearly all Canadian provinces and 40 states. In the Southeast, bears mostly stay in rugged mountainous areas or swampy river bottoms. The Florida subspecies occurs in southwestern Alabama. The eastern subspecies occurs in northeastern Alabama including DeKalb, Cherokee and Etowah counties. People have also reported seeing bears in Butler, Chambers, Choctaw, Clarke, Jefferson, Lee and Macon counties, among other locations. “Black bears are increasing their range and numbers in Alabama and throughout the Southeast,” Harns says. “We don’t have a good grasp on the precise number, but we think there might be about 500 bears living in Alabama, perhaps slightly more. Some bears also pass back and forth across the borders or pass through areas of the state.” Unlike giant grizzlies in the Rocky Mountains and Far West, male black bears typically weigh about 175 to 350 pounds, although some can top 500 pounds. The heaviest black bear on record weighed nearly 900 pounds. Females usually weigh about 100 to 250 pounds. Adult bears generally measure about 2.5 to three feet high at the shoulder and can stand four to seven feet tall on their hind legs. Actually shy animals, the official Alabama state mammal usually tries to avoid people. Bears could live in an area without anybody knowing it. However, in some areas, bear populations grew so numerous that the large curious creatures became pests as they raided crops, animal feeders, garbage cans and pet foods left outside. “The last thing a bear wants is an encounter with a human,” Harns says. “Many people go into the swamps and forests all their lives and never see a bear. Bears may have always been there, but people didn’t see them. It’s surprising how well a 150- to 200-pound animal can hide. Some bears are being pushed out of their habitat so people are seeing them. Also, there are a lot of game cameras out there and bears are showing up on the cameras.” In Alabama, bears typically breed in July or August. The mother delivers one
to three cubs in January or February. During breeding season, when big males look for females, and in late spring when young bears starting looking for their own home territories, bears most often come in contact with people. The home range of an adult male might spread across 20,000 acres with a breeding female living in about 5,000 acres. “When males get pushed off by their mothers, they may travel long distances looking for a home area,” Harns explains. “They are also being pushed off by other, larger males. The young bears don’t have quite the natural fear of humans yet and are more easily seen. In Alabama, bears don’t go through a true hibernation. When it gets really cold, they might go into a deep sleep for a day or two. Then, they start moving around again, but they move around a lot less in the winter than in the summer. Their
home range shrinks a lot during the winter.”
Leave those bears alone
Like most animals, bears naturally fear people and would most likely run from a person. Any human coming in contact with a bear should just leave it alone and go elsewhere. In a neighborhood or farm, go inside a house or vehicle and call the local conservation office or other authorities. In a hiking or hunting situation, people can make noise to scare off a bear. When entering bear country, some people carry horns, whistles or pepper spray. Black bears rarely attack humans, unless threatened or to protect a cub. “A bear is a big, dangerous animal and should be respected, but it shouldn’t be feared,” Harns says. “We haven’t had a bear attack in Alabama in many years. If a person encounters a bear, don’t look it in the eye, but keep track of where it is and slowly back away. Don’t panic and never run from a bear. They can run fast. Many people bewww.alabamaliving.coop
lieve a female with cubs is very dangerous, but most often, the female will run away and try to lure a person away from the cub. If someone sees a cub, it looks cuddly, but don’t touch it. The mother is probably not far away.” Most human-bear encounters involve food. Many people put out corn to feed deer or birds. People fill bird feeders with seeds. Although technically listed as carnivores, bear diets normally consists of about 90 percent plant material such as fruits, berries, grains, nuts and tree bark. They also eat insects, but might go for anything they can find or catch, including a backyard animal feeder. If bears start associating humans with food instead of danger, problems can occur. “Never feed a bear, especially around a house,” Harns says. “Putting out corn for birds and other animals also attracts bears. In some places, bears get used to humans and lose their fear of them. Some people feed bears and that causes problems.” Shooting a black bear in Alabama is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a potential minimum fine of $2,000 and possible loss of hunting and fishing license privileges and jail time. A 24-year-old man recently pleaded guilty in Cleburne County District Court to attempting to shoot a black bear in Heflin, and received a oneyear suspended sentence, nine months supervised probation and was fined $2,000 plus court costs. A Report an Alabama bear sighting online at https://game.dcnr.alabama.gov/BlackBear or by emailing Thomas.Harms@dcnr.alabama.gov.
Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time. a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major
OCT. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 NOV. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
09:22 10:22 11:37 ---02:07 03:37 04:37 11:22 --08:07 08:52 09:52 10:52 11:31 --12:16 02:16 03:16 04:01 10:16 10:46 11:16 11:46 07:16 07:46 08:31 09:16 10:16 11:31 --01:16 02:46 09:16 10:16 11:01 11:46 07:16 08:01 08:46 09:31 10:31
02:22 02:52 03:37 04:37 06:07 07:37 08:52 09:52 10:37 05:37 06:22 07:07 01:07 01:52 02:37 03:22 03:16 04:16 05:31 06:46 08:01 08:46 09:31 04:46 05:31 06:01 06:31 12:01 12:31 01:01 01:46 02:31 03:16 04:31 06:01 07:16 08:31 04:01 04:46 05:46 06:31 12:01 12:46 01:31 02:01 02:46
02:37 03:07 04:07 09:37 12:07 09:07 09:52 10:37 04:52 05:22 12:07 12:52 01:22 02:07 02:52 03:37 04:31 -08:46 09:01 09:31 03:01 03:31 03:46 04:16 04:31 -12:16 01:01 01:31 02:16 03:31 05:16 11:01 08:01 02:01 02:46 03:16 03:46 04:31 -12:16 01:01 01:46 02:46 04:01
07:37 08:07 08:37 01:07 02:22 03:07 03:52 04:22 11:07 11:52 12:37 06:22 06:52 07:22 07:52 08:22 08:01 12:46 01:46 02:16 02:46 10:01 10:16 10:46 11:01 11:31 05:01 05:31 06:01 06:31 07:01 07:46 09:01 12:31 01:16 08:46 09:31 10:01 10:46 11:31 05:01 05:31 06:01 06:31 07:16 07:46 OCTOBER 2015 43
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Real Estate Sales EUREKA LANDING - 3 BR / 1BA, Living Room / kitchen-Dining Room Area - 1100 sq ft (+/-) Excluding Front Porch which 315 sq ft - Immediate access to boat launch - 985-960-5880 cell, email@example.com NICE 3 BR, 2 BATH FISHING, HUNTING & RETIREMENT HOME on river in Dallas Co. - Recently remodeled with hard wood floors & ceramic tile, metal roof and new A/C unit, large high lot - E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell (850)582-7633 Home (850)939-2054 LUXURY “CLASS A” WATERFRONT RV LOT – Foley, AL – PRICE REDUCED – email@example.com ORANGE BEACH, AL – PHOENIX ON THE BAY CONDO – 1121 - ASSIGNED BOAT SLIP AND STORAGE UNIT INCLUDED!!! Fisherman/Family dream. Rare Find! 1295’ sq -The only 1 bedroom unit in Phoenix on The Bay. Featuring; Luxurious Ground Floor Unit with views of the courtyard/ pools/lazy river, easy access to amenities, large balcony, beautiful kitchen with island and wet bar, spacious floor plan, sleeps 6, inviting living area with high ceilings, poured in place solid concrete petition walls between each unit, covered parking with a short walk to the unit! Desirable complex with excellent rental! $355,000-EMAILMONTYANDTABATHA@GMAIL.COM, (251)656-9678
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Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to firstname.lastname@example.org; or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.
44 OCTOBER 2015
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Investing the time required to whip up some homemade candy pays off with more than a big batch of treats. Invite your kids or grandchildren to help, and youâ€™re also creating memories.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
46 OCTOBER 2015
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.
aking candy with my grandmother is one of my most treasured recollections. I was around 8 when I first joined her in her kitchen to help her cook. We made haystacks, caramel and coconut confections that, when done, look just like mini versions of their namesakes. I carefully measured Karo syrup, mesmerized by the clear ribbons folding into a neat stack before melting together in her worn Pyrex cup. She handled all the stove work, sparing my little hands and forearms from the popping-hot sugar. It was just one of many times I stood
alongside her, chopping, stirring and testing her ability to carry out the precise tasks some of her recipes required while giving whatever I was non-stop talking about equal attention. In her kitchen, my grandmother and I bonded over a shared love of food and feeding others. Of course, thinking back on the tasty results-- each haystack a sticky but soft mouthful of caramel-coated coconut threads -- makes the memory even sweeter (and kicks my salivary glands into high gear).
getting excited about Halloween. Maybe because the hot-natured adult I am knows that candy making can push kitchen temps to swelter stage, and the coming cooler days make it a bit easier to keep the house comfortable. Maybe because I love to share the fruits of my labors and know that most folks are more interested in indulging this time of year since heavier wardrobes better conceal a few extra pounds. Whatever the reason, fall is a fabulous time to make candy, and our readers have shared some delicious ones to try.
And autumn always makes me think of candy. Maybe because the kid in me is
-- Jennifer Kornegay
Cook of the month: Savannah Letson, Joe Wheeler EMC Pumpkin Fudge 1 tablespoon plus ¾ cup butter, divided 2 cups sugar ¾ cup packed brown sugar 2/3 cup evaporated milk ½ cup canned pumpkin 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 package (10 ounces) cinnamon baking chips 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow crème 1 cup chopped pecans 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
We’d never heard of combining the texture of fudge with the flavor of pumpkin, but this month’s Cook of the Month thinks it makes a great combination. Savannah Letson, who is 15, loves to bake cakes and cookies. When she was looking for a good recipe to submit for the October issue, she settled on “Pumpkin Fudge.” Her instincts were correct, as we decided it was a deliciously different twist on an old favorite, and especially appropriate for the fall. Savannah is in the 9th grade at Lawrence County High School in Moulton, and is looking forward to learning even more about cooking in her home economics classes. We’ll bet we receive some more yummy recipes from Savannah in the future!
Line a 13-inch by 9-inch pan with foil and grease the foil with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside. Cube the remaining butter and place in a large saucepan; add the sugars, milk, pumpkin, cinnamon pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 238 degrees. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon chips until melted. Stir in the marshmallow crème, pecans and vanilla. Transfer to prepared pan. Chill until firm. Discard the foil; cut fudge into 1-inch squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes 3 pounds.
We welcome your recipes! 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 Alabama Living
winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. Share a story about your recipe! Whether it’s your grandmother’s best cake or your uncle’s camp stew, every recipe has a story behind it. We’ll pay $50 for the best recipe-related story each month.
Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines: December January February
Peppermint October 15 Chili November 15 Quick & Easy December 15
Submit: Online: alabamaliving.coop
Email: email@example.com Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 OCTOBER 2015 47
Almond Butter Toffee
Date Pecan Candy
1 cup roasted almonds, slivered (divided) 1 cup butter 1 cup sugar 1/3 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons water ½ teaspoon baking soda 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, grated
3 cups sugar 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla ½ package chopped dates 1 cup chopped pecans 1 cup whole milk 2 heaping tablespoons butter
Sprinkle 3/4 cup of almonds in a buttered 9-inch x 13-inch pan. Melt butter on the stovetop in a medium saucepan; add sugars and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue cooking on medium high heat and occasionally stirring to 295 degrees or when a little dropped in cold water becomes brittle immediately. (It will smell almost burnt, and the color will be a dark tan.) Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda. Pour carefully over almonds in pan. Let cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate on top. When chocolate has melted, spread it out evenly with spatula. Sprinkle rest of almonds on top of chocolate. Cool. Break into pieces. Sheila Copenhaver, Southern Pine EC
Mix sugar with milk in a medium size pan. Bring to a boil. Add chopped dates. Stir constantly and boil until a soft ball is formed when dropped into cold water. (This part is very important.) Remove from heat. Add the butter and vanilla. Cool. Beat with mixer until it begins to thicken. Add nuts. When stiff, turn onto a wet cloth and roll. Refrigerate. Slice when hard. Debbie Deavours, Baldwin EMC
White Chocolate Candy 2 pounds white chocolate bark 1 cup chunky peanut butter 3 cups miniature marshmallows 2 cups Rice Krispies 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
Calling all cooks! Alabama Living is sponsoring a cooking contest at the Alabama National Fair! The Creative Living Center is hosting our crockpot cookoff Nov. 4. Prizes are $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place. Enter your original recipe that includes at least one Alabama-made ingredient and, of course, a crock pot! For rules, and to register, visit alnationalfair.org.
48 OCTOBER 2015
Melt over low heat, stirring constantly, or in a large bowl microwave the white chocolate bark until melted. Add chunky peanut butter, marshmallows, Rice Krispies and peanuts. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonful onto waxed paper. Let cool. Store in plastic container or can be frozen. Makes approximately 10 dozen.
Sara Jean Brooklere, Cullman EC
Skillet Candy Cookies 1 stick butter 1 cup sugar 10 large marshmallows 1 cup graham cracker crumbs ½ cup evaporated milk 1 cup chopped pecans Combine butter, milk and sugar in a skillet. Bring to a boil and cook for 6 minutes. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Add pecans and cracker crumbs. Stir well. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper and allow to cool. Loretta Robinson, Sand Mountain EC
Send us your favorite recipes! Beginning this month, our new Food Editor, Jennifer Kornegay, and page designer Brooke Echols will be working together to bring you the best recipes from our readers, from breakfast to dessert and snacks in between. Surveys have shown that our recipe pages are the most popular in the magazine, and we want to continue to be worthy of our readers’ time and culinary talents. Jennifer should be a familiar face to you, as she’s been roaming the state for us for the past four years in search of the best restaurants that are “Worth the Drive.” A writer and former magazine editor, she brings a fresh voice and a love for all things food to our recipe pages. Brooke has been advertising coordinator for us for the past four years, and has recently added page design to her list of skills, which also includes trying new recipes and cooking gadgets. We think they’ll make a great team. So let us we hear from you! If you’ve got a story or photo to share about your favorite recipe, please send it to us at recipes@ alabamaliving.coop, or submit it online at alabamaliving.coop. Stay in touch! Follow us on our social media sites:
Creamsicle Truﬄes ¼ cup butter Zest from half an orange 2 tablespoons heavy cream 1 cup white chocolate chips ½ teaspoon orange extract Orange food coloring ¼ cup powdered sugar for rolling Pour white chips into a medium bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter along with zest over medium heat. Stir in heavy cream and bring to just below a boil. Pour mixture through a ﬁne mesh strainer over the white chips, pressing through strainer with the back of a spoon to get all the flavor from the zest. Allow mixture to sit for minute or so. Add orange extract and food coloring. Refrigerate 2-3 hours to set. Scoop our heaping teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Freeze for 10-15 minutes to set. Keep in a refrigerator in an airtight container till ready to serve.
Jennifer Robinson Tysma, Sand Mountain EC
Tool Tips: Candy Thermometer A candy thermometer is an essential tool of the homemade-candy-making kitchen. For many recipes to turn out right, you’ll have to bring some of the ingredients (usually some type of sugar) to a very precise temperature. There are old-fashioned ways to do this, but today’s candy thermometers make the process much easier. Here’s what to look for when choosing one to buy and how to use it properly.
1 What you want.
An adjustable clip to attach it to the side of your pot or pan, an easy to read display with large numbers, and a temperature range from 100 degrees to 400 degrees.
Check for accuracy. Clip your candy thermometer to
the side of a large pot of water, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, your thermometer should read 212 degrees. If it does, it works. If it doesn’t, you can either make a note of how far off it is and keep this in mind when using it later, or get a new one. When reading your thermometer, make sure you are at eye-level with the mercury.
3 Care and storage.
Don’t put the thermometer in the water after it is boiling; the shock could cause it to break, as could resting the thermometer’s bulb on the bottom of your pot. Always allow your themometer to cool off after use and before hand-washing. Never put a glass themometer in the dishwasher.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL CORNELISON
Homemade Candy Corn 2/3 cup light corn syrup 2 ½ cups powdered sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla Orange and yellow food coloring 1/3 cup butter 1/3 cup powdered milk Combine the powdered sugar, powdered milk and salt in large bowl and stir. On the stovetop, combine butter, corn syrup and sugar, and boil for about 3-4 minutes. Cook until it reaches 230 degrees or until it’s a soft ball. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour mixture into the powdered mixture. Stir until well combined. Put mixture onto a piece of wax paper and let cool about 10-15 minutes. Divide the mixture into thirds and color two pieces with yellow and orange. Roll each piece into ropes and place together slightly pinching until they stick. Flatten the ropes and cut into triangles.
April Pinkerton, Tombigbee EC
OCTOBER 2015 49
TEC Community -- Continued from Page 8. After all, any Economic Development 101 course will teach that by packaging and presenting multiple cities and counties as one ideal business location we have more to offer in terms of property options, workforce, utility and other resources they need, including incentives when the time comes to negotiate a deal. We have also streamlined any interested parties process of looking for the right information or location, as one call does it all when they contact C3 at 205-468-3213, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. What we have found is that business prospects and investors do not recognize or care about city or county lines, as they only want a business location and operating environment where they can be successful.
No one has ever said that Economic Development is easy. It is an extremely competitive business, but the rewards are worth our combined best efforts. South Carolina based site location consultant Mark Williams recently said â€œin a rural area it is hard, if not impossible, to go it alone. Regional development creates profound efficiencies in marketing, staffing, shared infrastructure and client interaction.â€? C3 serves as a good example of that. As we enter our 6th year, given the continued support of Tombigbee Electric and our many other partners, C3 will strive to always do the right things to benefit those within our region. These results will not come by chance, but by the choices we make and the actions we take to build a desirable progressive region together. A
It is the middle of the Great Depression, and prominent lawyer Atticus Finch is raising his two children alone in a small Alabama town. When he takes a controversial case, defending a black man accused of taking advantage of a white woman, Finch and his children are tested by a society bent with racial prejudice. PERFORMANCES Thursday October 1, 7pm Saturday October 3, 7pm Sunday October 4, 2pm Tickets: $15 general admission, $5 students 12 and under Available at the door and sold in advance Credit card presales at www.smarttix.com
50â€ƒ OCTOBER 2015
No tricks. All treats!
For information on our in-stock merchandise please call our office and ask for Energy Store Rep, Cristi Vaughn, at 205.921.6712 - ex. 245. Financing is available to our members, with credit approval. Just tell us to “Put it on my bill!” Remember, you do not have to be a cooperative member to purchase.
OCTOBER 2015 51
Our Sources Say
Renewable energy part of Alabama Power’s founding and future By Nick Sellers and Tony Smoke
enewable energy is getting a lot of attention lately. At Alabama Power, however, it’s been a part of serving our customers for more than a century. The company’s very first generating facility, now known as Lay Dam, began operating in 1914. It used the power of falling water from the Coosa River to create electricity and is now one of 14 emissionfree hydro plants that continue to serve Alabama Power customers. We first began to explore the possibilities of solar power during the “Energy Crisis” of the 1970s. In 1976 the company opened a cutting-edge business office in Montevallo. It used Alabama-built solar panels to provide heating and water heating, and about 15 percent of the building’s cooling needs. While the technology was promising, it was not cost-effective compared to the price of conventional sources of energy. In the 1990s we began looking closely at the potential of renewable biomass as an energy source. Our generating plant in Gadsden became a center for research into biomass options, including wood chips and switchgrass. In 2003 we launched our first renewable energy rate, in which customers could purchase “blocks” of biomass-based renewable energy to add to our energy mix. Last year we revised the program so customers could purchase renewable energy credits or RECs, which represent the renewable attributes of energy secured by the company from renewable sources such as biomass, solar and wind. Customers can purchase as many RECS as they like – enough to match their energy use or more. Over the past decade, we’ve been looking more closely at solar as the price of solar technologies has improved, along with their efficiency. We installed four different solar technologies on the roof of our headquarters and solar panels on company property in Mobile County. Small solar arrays were also installed on dozens of companyowned power poles around the state, so we could learn how they interacted with the company’s electrical system. The company also worked with partners on a solar installation at the Birmingham Zoo. The installations have given us greater insight into how the panels 52 OCTOBER 2015
perform in real-world conditions. Of course, we’ve provided information for years about solar energy to customers, and connected them to credible solar installers if they were interested. For years the company has also offered individuals who install solar panels the option of selling their excess energy back to us. Still, relatively few customers have installed solar systems, because of the costs. In 2011, Alabama Power entered into the first of two, long-term purchase-power agreements (PPAs) for the generation provided by wind farms in the Midwest. Today, the company has agreements for more than 400 megawatts of generation from wind farms in Oklahoma and Kansas – which can produce enough energy to serve about 100,000 homes. Under the agreements, Alabama Power can use the energy from the wind farms and the associated RECs to serve customers or sell the energy and the RECS, together or separately, to others – also for the benefit of customers. We have a similar arrangement in connection with two biomass-related PPAs we’ve negotiated in Alabama. In summary, Alabama Power has always supported renewables – when it makes sense for our customers. Last month the Alabama Public Service Commission approved our proposal to pursue a variety of renewable energy projects totaling up to 500 megawatts over a six-year period. The plan provides options so we can work with customers who are interested in renewables, while protecting other customers from bearing any additional costs. As costs come down, and the efficiency of the technology increases, renewables are likely to play a bigger role in how we serve our customers – as part of a diverse portfolio of fuel options. Having the ability to use many different fuels is the best way, we believe, to keep our electric service both reliable and affordable. A Nick Sellers is vice president of regulatory and corporate affairs for Alabama Power. Tony Smoke is the company’s vice president for marketing.
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Holly Golightly from “Breakfast at Tiﬀany’s”. SUBMITTED BY Jennifer Newby, Hoover.
Little old geezers, Mattox Dailey and Marlee Ann Boothe. SUBMITTED BY Laura Dailey, Excel.
RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving. coop. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.
Zoie Ball as Elsa from “Frozen”. SUBMITTED BY Aleshia Ball, Deatsville.
Austin as Bam Bam from The Flintstones. SUBMITTED BY Morgan Heartsille, Greenville.
Olaf (Charlie), Kristoﬀ (Cole) and Elsa (Lillie) from “Frozen”. SUBMITTED BY Anna Newsom, Hartselle.
Jade, girl gnome. SUBMITTED BY Jessica Clowdis, Gaylesville. Alyssa-in-a-box. SUBMITTED BY Ginny Cook, Andalusia.
Submit Your Images! December Theme: “My Christmas Sweater.” Deadline for December: October 31 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: 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
54 OCTOBER 2015
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