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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News September 2016


Tradition returns

Redeveloped Toomer’s Corner ready for Auburn fans


Manager Louie Ward Co-Op Editor Kevin Hand ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.

Happy birthday, Joe Wheeler The Alabama plantation home of General Joe Wheeler, known as Pond Spring, hosts a celebration of the general’s 180th birthday Sept. 10.


VOL. 69 NO. 9 n September 2016

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Shingles vaccine


Worth the drive


Prized pomegranates

Experts recommend vaccine for adults older than 60.

Graves Grocery in Lacey’s Spring invites guests to come sit a spell.

Venerated as a “super food,” pomegranates may soon become a prized crop in our state .



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9 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 32 Gardens 40 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 Snapshots ONLINE:

ON THE COVER: Auburn fans will once again flock to the intersection of College and Magnolia as the treasured tradition of rolling the famous Toomer’s Oaks returns. PHOTO: Mark Stephenson


TallapoosaRiverElectricCooperative Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. P.O. Box 675 15163 Highway 431 South LaFayette, AL 36862

Board of Trustees C.B. Parker, Jr. President District 6 - Daviston

John Adcock Vice-President District 2 - Woodland

Bruce Boswell Secretary/Treasurer District 1 - Seale

Rusty Robinson District 4 - Seale

Phillip Bryant District 7 - Opelika

Jeff “Bodine” Dodgen District 5 - LaFayette

The deal with solar Louie Ward Manager of Tallapoosa River EC Perhaps you are familiar with a saying that goes something like this, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” I have heard that statement said upon occasion after someone had an investment turn sour or even rarely when someone avoided a “deal” that was very enticing. We receive multiple calls each month from people interested in installing solar panels. Some people asking us these questions have studied the prospects and just need some technical information to help them understand the process. Some are just exploring options but aren’t very serious. Then there are some that have been contacted by a representative of a company that has promised them tax savings, savings on their electric bill, no money down, and perhaps other statements to draw their interest. Some people that have been contacted said the offer sounded “too good to be true.” If you are interested in having solar panels installed, please check out the company before you conduct business. Ask them to provide

you with references for the quality of their work. It would be good if these references are close enough so you could go and actually see the installation and talk to other customers in person. Before signing any documents, be sure to read them carefully and if you aren’t one hundred percent certain of your obligations, their obligations, and what the possible warranties and maintenance requirements are, think twice. If they are suggesting you can receive tax incentives, talk to your tax advisor. Finally, there is a plethora of information on the Internet, about solar panels and advice regarding their installation. Make sure you look up reliable information at websites such as,, or call our member services department. We have talked with people that love their solar panels and we have talked with people that when all was done, wished they had done a little more homework before completing the deal. Our interest is simply to help you make an informed decision. Have a great month!

Mary Ann Walker District 3 - Opelika

To pay your bill online: Go to and click “Payment Options.” Save time and money! In case of POWER OUTAGES day or night CALL... 1-877-456-8732 4  SEPTEMBER 2016

All offices for Tallapoosa River Electric will be closed on Monday, September 5, 2016 for Labor Day. We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Consider insulating your water heater tank, which could reduce standby heat losses by 25 to 45 percent and save you about 4 to 9 percent in water heating costs. You can find pre-cut jackets or blankets available from around $20.

| Tallapoosa River EC |

Keeblers attend 41st annual Co-op Couples Conference TREC members Josh and Jamie Keebler of LaFayette, attended the 41st Annual Co-op Couples Conference July 18-20, in Orange Beach. The conference is organized by the Alabama Council of Cooperatives. They joined 27 other young couples from across the state for the three day event. The conference provides an opportunity for couples to learn more about the cooperative way of life in a fun, relaxed environment.

The conference included speakers from a variety of co-ops across Alabama, which allowed Josh and Jamie to better understand what cooperatives mean to our state economy. For more information about future conferences please contact Kevin Hand at 334-864-9331 ext. 731 or at

Cooperatives drive democracy By Adam Schwartz

It has often been said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. It is easy to take our right to vote for granted, maybe because there are so many opportunities to exercise that right. There are national, state and local elections for political offices. Then there are elections for social or other civic organizations. If you own stock, you are asked to vote in those elections. So it is understandable to see how “election fatigue” can take hold. As we head into the final stage of what has been a divisive national election, it is a good time to remember that elections don’t have to be about name calling and bitterness. Co-ops can and do play a role in cultivating a civil society where people can practice democracy at the hyper local level. As a member of your local cooperative, you have the right to run for the board of directors. Even if you choose not to have that level of participation, you should feel empowered to reach out to current board members and candidates. The beauty of belonging to a co-op is every member has a voice, but you must use that voice if you want to be heard on the issues that matter to you. In their document, “A Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade,” the International Cooperative Alliance, a global organization made up of co-ops from over 100 countries, identified member participation as one of the five key ingredients for a co-op to be successful. Alabama Living

Voting and being actively involved in the affairs of the co-op are key ways in which members can participate. Take the time to get to know candidates running for the TREC board. Seek out ways that you can help spread the word about the good work your co-op is doing. The cooperative business model is a great one, it fosters engagement and creates strong communities. Over 100 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt recognized this value when he said, “The Cooperative is the best plan of organization. Under this plan, every business is [governed by a board], every person has one vote and only one vote. Everyone gets profits based on their use of the co-op. It develops individual responsibility and has a moral as well as a financial value.” Those words are truer today than ever before. Let your voice be heard, and take the time to participate in all the elections. Adam Schwartz is the founder of The Cooperative Way a consulting firm that helps co-ops succeed. He is an author, speaker and member-owner of the CDS Consulting Co-op. You can follow him on Twitter @adamcooperative or email him at aschwartz@ SEPTEMBER 2016  5

Many promises, few details in sales pitches By Michael W. Kahn, staff writer, Promises, promises. Some electric cooperative members in Florida are getting calls from companies pitching solar and other energy-efficiency initiatives they claim will result in huge bill savings. You need more than one or two panels on the roof to make solar worthwhile. But when one firm rang the home of the co-op’s manager of key accounts and energy services, it got more than it bargained for. “They called to sell me on a solar package for my home,” said Barbie Shaw of SECO Energy, which serves 200,000 meters in seven counties across Central Florida. “They’re quite the salesmen—they start out by telling you that they can save you 30 percent on your bill. And, of course, when somebody tells me they’re going to save me 30 percent on the bill, I want to know how they came up with that number.” Good question. “Unfortunately, they could never give me a formula as a basis for their calculation,” Shaw told, 6  SEPTEMBER 2016

adding that several other questions she had also went unanswered. “When you ask if they’re going to maintain the system over time, what type of maintenance is needed, they don’t know how to answer those types of questions,” said Shaw, who spoke to three different people during the same call. “Then they go on to tell you they’ll do this absolutely free, it won’t cost you anything. They’ll tell you that neighbors in the area are putting solar on their roofs, but they won’t give you any names,” she said. Kathryn Gloria, SECO’s vice president of corporate communications and energy services, said the co-op has also received reports of companies going door-to-door “trying to sell members an energy-efficiency package that includes maybe a solar panel or two, not enough to make it worth the investment.” “They’re standing at the door with a check for $2,500. They’re giving the consumer the money, but they’re asking them to sign loan paperwork for anywhere from

$15,000 to $20,000,” for a package that includes a few panels. Gloria said the $2,500 is believed to be for a tax credit that the company would claim for itself, while the solar panels would save a member about $6 a month. Shaw said education is important, and SECO is doing its part by taking a “proactive approach to helping our consumer/ members.” “We’re engaging our members and we’re trying to educate them so they are not taken advantage of,” said Shaw. For those considering solar, SECO comes out with a Solar Pathfinder to assess if the home or business is a good site for solar. “We also help our members understand the cost of a system and the payback.” And as Shaw noted, there’s no free electricity. “Everything has a cost.”

| Tallapoosa River EC |

What’s the difference? The differences between overhead and underground power lines By Tom Tate There are two methods of installing the power lines that carry electricity to your home, overhead and underground. Tallapoosa River members sometimes ask why we use one versus the other, or more to the point, why all power lines are not installed using the underground construction method. Isn’t one method better than the other? These are great questions, and the answer is that each method has its place. Overhead line construction starts with the setting of utility poles. Poles can be set in nearly any type of terrain, even rocky. In the case of heavy rock, special equipment is used to dig out the hole. If placement occurs in boggy or wet terrain, many techniques are available to set poles securely. Once the poles are in place, wires can be strung and then equipment — like transformers, fuses and reclosers — are installed. Power can now flow. Underground line construction requires digging a trench that is deep enough to keep the lines well away from surface activities. Where the terrain is extremely rocky, underground lines may not be an option. Next, wires are laid in the trench directly or placed in conduits for protection. The trench is filled in, and the surface is restored to its original condition. Padmount transformers and additional equipment are installed as needed, now the system is ready to deliver electricity. The image to the right illustrates some the advantages and disadvantages of each construction method, beginning with overhead. Tom Tate writes on cooperative issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-forprofit electric cooperatives.

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| Our Sources Say |



number of recent articles cite crises that threaten our lifestyle, economy, jobs, children and futures. Of course, it is campaign season, and crises are the threat of the hour, especially if the opponent were to be elected. I did some research and have listed some quotations below concerning crises. I couldn’t resist interjecting the global warming crisis.

When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.

President John F. Kennedy

You never want a crisis to go to waste.

Rahm Emanuel Mayor of Chicago and Chief of Staff under President Barack Obama

Something good comes out of every crisis.

David Pelzer, Author

It is not a matter of what is true that counts but a matter of what is perceived to be true.

Henry Kissinger National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

In the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.

President Ronald Reagan

We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis, and the nations will accept the New World Order.

David Rockefeller Former President and CEO of Chase Manhattan Corporation

Global warming is too serious for the world any longer to ignore its danger or split into opposing factions on it.

Tony Blair Former British Prime Minister

I believe that climate change is the greatest global crisis we face, environmental crisis. I believe that if you are serious about climate change, you don’t encourage the extraction and transportation of very dirty oil.

Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont

All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.

President Barack Obama

Air conditioners and refrigerators pose as big a threat to life on the planet as the threat of terrorism…It’s hard for some people to grasp it, but what we— you—are doing here right now is of equal importance because it has the ability to literally save life on the planet itself.

John Kerry, Secretary of State

The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.

H.G. Wells, Author

© Boris15 /

The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences.

Former Vice President Al Gore

If you over-react to a crisis legislatively it generally ends in disaster.

Thomas Watson, Jr. Former president of IBM

Crisis is the rallying point of the tyrant.

President James Monroe

Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? …It is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

Hermann Göring German Reichsmarschall under Adolph Hitler and founder of the Gestapo

In a moment of crisis, the wise build bridges; the foolish build dams.

Nigerian proverb

I hope you have a good month. Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative


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| Alabama Snapshots |

Supporting my team 1


4 3


1. A few teammates from the Royals cheer on friends at Johnson Park during Opening Day. SUBMITTED BY Shelli Smith, Andalusia. 2. Will Brock saying “War Eagle” from Samford Hall at Auburn University. SUBMITTED BY Jennifer Brock, Boaz. 3. Coach David Miller gets drenched after winning a regional all-star tournament. SUBMITTED BY David Friedrich, Falkville. 4. Jeff, Kyndall, Leyton, Amber Sterling and Bryson Seal on campus at the University of Alabama. SUBMITTED BY Kristi Seal, Cullman 5. J.T. Haynes, age 6, at Turner Field, Fourth of July weekend 2016. SUBMITTED BY Wil & Susan Haynes, Lineville. 6. Team members helping paraplegic triathlete, Chad Rutledge, out of the water. SUBMITTED BY Lisa Rutledge, Gulf Shores.


Submit Your Images! November Theme: “Cuddly Cats” Deadline for November: September 30 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.

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