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Wiregrass Electric COOPERATIVE

Safety First

Wiregrass Electric employee saves life by using his on-the-job training


Les Moreland CO-OP EDITOR

WEC Member Services Division 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.


AREA PRESIDENT Fred Braswell EDITOR Lenore Vickrey MANAGING EDITOR Melissa Henninger CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison

VOL. 67 NO. 2 FEBRUARY 2014


8 Make the switch If you’re still hesitant about switching from your old light bulbs to newer CFLs, read this article to learn the facts. You can save money on your power bill by switching today.

20 Gifts for your sweetheart


WEC takes safety training seriously for all its employees. Read about how being prepared helped one employee save a life on Page 6. (Pictured ON THE COVER is WEC Lineman Jason Grooms.)

Valentine’s doesn’t always have to mean flowers and candy, especially when native Alabama-made arts and crafts and romantic getaways make such unique gifts.


340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail:


26 Worth more than one trip

It might take more than one drive to experience all there is to see at this Auburn restaurant, which also includes a fresh produce market and a nursery. When you see this symbol, it means there’s more content online at! Videos, expanded stories and more!


National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181

DEPARTMENTS USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

9 16 24

Printed in America from American materials

Alabama Living

Can we get your number? Wiregrass Electric Cooperative needs current phone numbers in order to respond to outages quickly. Update your phone number today and you could win $50! See Page 34 for details.

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Spotlight Alabama Outdoors Alabama Gardens Fish & Game Forecast Cook of the Month FEBRUARY 2014 3

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees Kip Justice District 6 President

Danny McNeil District 4 Vice President

Debra E. Baxley District 1 Secretary

Donna Parrish District 2

John Clark, Jr. District 3

Tracy Reeder District 5

Donald Ray Wilks District 7

Greg McCullough District 8

Nolan Laird District 9

4  FEBRUARY 2014

Interim CEO’s Comments

Making it all balance Les Moreland, Interim CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative

Do you make a budget for your household? With all the talk of spending in Washington, D.C., and the need for a budget, along with the lingering effects of what is being called the “Great Recession,” many families are spending more time on their personal budgets. Budgeting is about balance — figuring out what your goals are and what you have to spend, then putting a plan into place to meet those goals without overspending. As a cooperative, Wiregrass Electric also has to make everything balance. For 75 years, we have operated as a not-for-profit company with the goal of improving the lives of our members through reliable electric service. A large part of reaching that goal is being good stewards of our member’s money. Like every household, we spend time balancing our budget. We have certain principles that we hold sacred: providing the best possible service to our members at the least amount of cost. That’s why every member of our cooperative pays a small facilities charge each month, which is displayed on your bill. Electric distribution systems — the poles, wires, substations and more — cost money to build and maintain. We ask that each member pay a small fee to help maintain that system apart from the

electricity they use. We do our best to keep this fee to a minimum. However, some of our members need more than just a standard drop off a power line in order to meet their needs. Often, a farming operation will need electric lines run through fields to help power an irrigation system. We are happy to meet those needs. But we also have to balance those costs with what is fair to all our other members. I think everyone would agree that the extra costs associated with a special project should be paid for by those creating the costs. With that in mind, we have developed a new Line Extension fee. It will allow us to fairly apply the costs of special line construction requests to the projects that are creating the costs, instead of taking the costs out of the facilities charge for each member. We believe that is fair to every member. It also keeps our budget balanced without having to borrow money, which our members would eventually have to pay for as well. If you would like to learn more about the facilities charge, or our new Line Extension fee, you can visit our website at or come to any of our offices. I hope everyone has a wonderful month and that you enjoy this issue of Alabama Living. A

Congratulations to Working Cow Dairy Farm for being featured in Alabama Living’s Factory Tours. Read all about this Wiregrass industry on Page 12!

Your Cooperative Contact Information Business Phone: 1-800-239-4602 (24 hrs/day) Office: Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WEC offers scholarship to area high school seniors

Toll Free Outage “Hotline” 1-888-4-MY-OUTAGE 1-888-469-6882 (24 hrs/day) Website Find Wiregrass Electric Co-op on Twitter ( and on Facebook

Payment Options BY MAIL Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, Inc. Department 1340, P.O. Box 2153 Birmingham, AL 35287-1340

The Electric Cooperative Foundation Scholarship, awarded through Wiregrass Electric Cooperative is available to high school seniors who meet certain eligibility requirements.

WEBSITE Payments may be made 24 hrs/day by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and E-Check on our website at

• Applicants must be a dependent child of at least one member of the cooperative

PHONE PAYMENTS Payments may be made any time by dialing 1-800-239-4602.

• Applicants must enroll as a full-time student at an accredited learning institution

NIGHT DEPOSITORY Available at each office location.

Contact your school counselor or visit any Wiregrass Electric Cooperative office to pick up an application. Applications must be received no later than March 14, 2014.

Wiregrass Electric wants to keep you informed! In addition to Alabama Living and our monthly newsletter, My Hometown Power, you can find out what’s going on with your cooperative on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. If you need help finding us, visit us online at and click any of the social media icons under “Stay Connected.” We hope to see you online!

Alabama Living

IN PERSON Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Hartford 509 N. State Hwy. 167 Hartford, AL 36344 Samson 13148 W. State Hwy. 52 Samson, AL 36477 Ashford 1066 Ashford Highway Ashford, AL 36312 Dothan 6167 Fortner St. Dothan, AL 36305 For questions regarding sanitation service, call Houston County Sanitation Department at 334-677-4705.


Dedicated to safety:

WEC employee saves a life using on-the-job training October 18 started out as just a regular day for Nathan Worsham, Wiregrass Electric’s safety compliance officer. The morning began with the company’s annual meeting, followed by lunch with a local vendor at Longhorn Steakhouse in Dothan. But within minutes of sitting down to eat, Worsham was helping save a life. “All of a sudden I heard a woman shout, ‘She’s choking! She’s choking!’” Worsham recalls. As he headed to the table where the woman was shouting, a few people had gathered around an elderly woman who appeared to be choking on a piece of food.

How to save a life

Worsham later learned that her name was Sarah Stokes McCord, an 84-yearold former Dothan resident who currently lives in an assisted living facility in Headland. McCord and her husband had started Stokes Floor Covering about 57 years ago in Dothan. The family sold the business in 1985, after McCord’s husband died. McCord married the late Terrell Warren McCord in 1994. McCord is also the mother of Rickey Stokes, publisher of the local news website On that day, however, McCord was out with her daughter, Sandra Stokes Walden, for their weekly mother-daughter excursion to the beauty shop and lunch. “For two years, we had gone to Hunt’s in Dothan,” Walden says. “But we decided that day to go to Longhorn.” Walden had cut up her mother’s filet 6  FEBRUARY 2014

Nathan Worsham (left) is presented with a certificate by WEC Interim CEO Les Moreland. Worsham was recognized by National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for becoming a certified Loss Control Professional.

in tiny pieces, and McCord had reached her final bite when she began choking, Walden says. “She was chewing and chewing,” Walden says. “She kept chewing, and then she started choking and turned a deep red.” When Walden called out for help, several of the restaurant employees gathered and Worsham rushed over. “When I got there, I told (McCord), ‘I know what I’m doing. I’m not going to hurt you,’” Worsham says. “I did that so she wouldn’t panic. When you get excited, you can panic and make it worse.” As much training as he’d had, he’d never had to put it into practice, he says. “I had imagined it, but I hoped I’d

never have to,” he says. “I was real confident, but I still had some adrenaline going.” Worsham says when he went to do the Heimlich maneuver on McCord, it was difficult to maneuver because of the close proximity of the booth. He continued to reassure McCord as he tried to help slide her out of the booth. That’s when McCord started coughing — a good sign that air is moving through the windpipe again. By that time, a doctor who had been eating in the restaurant arrived at the table and began to help stabilize McCord. Worsham returned to his seat and resumed his lunch.

Around the Wiregrass

A culture of safety

By definition, the job of a Wiregrass Electric lineman is a hazardous one. But, thanks to WEC’s commitment to safety for its employees, it doesn’t have to be a dangerous job. At the end of 2013, the cooperative employees had logged more than 300,000 hours without a single lost-time accident. This marked the second year in a row they have finished accident free. “We work safely so each of our employees can make it home safely,” says Brad Kimbro, director of member services at WEC. “That’s why we spend so much time training every single team member. We know that making smart choices here at work is making smart choices for our family and our community. Our line crews are trained to work quickly to restore power for our neighbors, and to do so in a safe manner. Other employees may not be dealing with powerlines, but they also understand that safety applies indoors as well.” In 2013, a logo featuring the words “Every Day, Every Life, One Hundred Percent Safe” was added to WEC letterhead, buildings, vehicles and more. WEC also offers electrical safety demonstrations at schools, clubs and other organizations to help members and their children learn how to be safe with electricity. As a safety compliance officer, one of Worsham’s jobs is to coordinate safety programs for company staff. In fact, Worsham says he had just completed one of the company’s mandatory CPR certification courses when the incident occurred.

Neighbors helping neighbors

After McCord was deemed OK, Walden brought her over to Worsham to express their gratitude and to offer to buy his lunch. “Nobody’s ever done that to me before,” Worsham recalls McCord saying.

Alabama Living

ABOVE: Every employee of Wiregrass Electric Cooperative learns about safety, including basic CPR and more. RIGHT: When working with electricity, safety must be the first priority. Here, WEC employees learn how to resuscitate someone who is injured.

“I said, ‘Let’s hope nobody has to do it again.’” Worsham says he wouldn’t accept the offer to pay for his lunch, however. “That’s not why I did it,” he says. “I feel like I was meant to be there to help that lady. I was just at the right place at the right time to use the training I’d been given thanks to Wiregrass Electric.” Worsham, who has been the company’s safety compliance officer for more than two years, says the programs offered to employees and contractors are the very things that keep him prepared on the job site and off. On Oct. 18, the Wiregrass Electric training benefited others in the community, as well. “When I think back to that day, I feel that they did not hesitate one second before they were helping Mother,” Walden says. “I am very grateful that

they were eating their lunch there that day. Along with the doctor that came over to check Mother, they were our good Samaritans.” She also credited the spirit of the community for the way it reacts to people in need. “Southeast Alabama has always been home for us,” she says. “Today, as in past years, people help families, friends and strangers when there is a need or emergency. Helping others is a way of life in the Wiregrass.” A FEBRUARY 2014  7

Energy Tips

Still haven’t made the switch? Find out why CFLs are right for your home What if you were told you were losing 90 percent of every dollar you spent on lighting your home? If you haven’t made the switch to Compact Fluorescent Lamps (or CFLs), this could be happening to you! Incandescent bulbs, still commonly used today, only use 10 percent of the electricity they consume toward actually creating light. Where does the other 90 percent go? If you’ve ever touched a light bulb while it is on, you are already familiar with how much heat they produce. Incandescent bulbs turn 90 cents of every dollar of energy they consume into heat and only 10 cents into illumination. This is one of the reasons that incandescent bulbs are slowly being phased out of the marketplace and restricted by legislation at the federal level. Switching to CFLs is one of the simplest ways to make a positive impact on how much electricity your house consumes every day. Despite these facts, many families have yet to make the switch. People often cite the higher retail price of CFLs, the type of light they produce and the compounds inside the light bulb as reasons why they have not brought CFLs into their home. While the initial purchase price of CFLs is higher than incandescent bulbs, they save money over their lifespan. CFLs last an average of 10 times longer than conventional bulbs, so you will likely have to replace your incandescent bulb ten times before the CFL will be ready for a change. According to the U.S. Energy Star program, after six months of use, your CFLs will have paid for themselves in replacement costs alone. Also during this time, you are helping reduce the amount of electricity your house needs every day. If you would like to see how much your household would save with CFLs, try this online calculator: The light emitted from a CFL can be different from an incandescent bulb, depending on which one you buy. Check out the Kelvin (K) rating on the bulb before you purchase. Lower ratings of around 3,000K will produce warm light much like 8 FEBRUARY 2014

an incandescent bulb, while the higher ranges of around 6,500K give a bluish, cooler light that is closer to natural sunlight. Experiment to see which works best for your home. The last common concern about switching to CFLs is the mercury contained in each bulb. “A small amount of mercury is necessary for all fluorescent lights,” says Deanna Albritton, member services coordinator at Wiregrass Electric Cooperative. Today’s CFLs contain less than half a milligram of mercury — that’s about a thousand times less than a mercury thermometer. You will need to dispose of them properly, however, by taking them to a store such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. “Also, you can take them to your local landfill,” says Albritton. “And if you break one, you will need to carefully scoop up the fragments and air out the room.” The benefits of converting to CFLs outweigh the objections. If you are not convinced, purchase just a few for your home to see if you notice a big difference in the quality of light. As you keep having to replace your incandescent bulbs while your CFLs keeps working, you may change your mind. A

Pick the right CFL bulb for your home Look at your current incandescent bulb to figure out its wattage. Then, use this chart to determine which CFL you need.

Incandescent Bulb

Compact Florescent Bulb

25 Watt


7-9 Watt

40 Watt


11 Watt

100 Watt


15-16 Watt

150 Watt


38-39 Watt

Spot Light

In February FEB. 20-23

Red Door Theatre set for ‘Mama Won’t Fly’

Race participants prepare to start at the 2013 Critter Crawl at the Alabama Nature Center in Millbrook.

The Red Door Theatre in Union Springs will host the play “Mama Won’t Fly” Feb. 20-23. The play begins with a race against the clock when Savannah Sprunt Fairchild Honeycutt agrees to get her feisty mother all the way from Alabama to California in time for her brother’s wedding. Savannah’s problem: Mama won’t fly! With only four days to make it to the ceremony, Savannah has no choice but to drive cross-country with her mother in a vintage sedan. On Feb. 20-22, dinner starts at 6 p.m. and the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. A Sunday, Feb. 23 matinee is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Dinner is $15 and the play is $15. For more information, call 334-738-8687 or email conecuhpeople@

FEB. 15

Make plans to run wild at the Critter Crawl Start the new year off right with a little exercise and a breath of fresh air at the Alabama Nature Center’s (ANC) Fourth Annual Critter Crawl in Millbrook Saturday, Feb. 15. This year, the Critter Crawl will feature a newly mapped 10K run or a 5K run along the trails located at Lanark, home of the Alabama Nature Center, a hands-on outdoor education facility, and headquarters of the Alabama Wildlife Federation. The Critter Crawl takes runners through a portion of the Alabama Nature Center’s five-mile trail system. Pre-registration is $25 (10K and 5K) or $20 (1 mile). Registration on site that day is an additional $5 charge. Prizes will be awarded for male and female overall, Masters (40+) and Grand Masters (50+). Also, three deep in the following age groups: 8 and under, 9-12, 13-18, 19-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-69, 70+. An addition to the line-up at this year’s event there will be a costume contest. Prizes will be awarded. Music and food will be provided, plus door prizes and lots of room for kids to play. The 5K starts at 9 a.m. and 1 mile starts at 10 a.m.; both races start and finish at the ANC pavilion. Visit or call Elizabeth Johnson at 334285-4550 for more information, or register online at www. Participants may pick up race packets at the ANC Pavilion Friday, Feb. 14 from 1 - 5 p.m. Alabama Living


Artists ready for Orange Beach Festival of Art The Orange Beach Festival of Art is set for March 8 and 9, and will feature more than 100 local and regional fine artists of visual, performing and culinary arts. The festival is a fine arts juried event held every second weekend in March for the past 40 years on the grounds of the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach and Waterfront Park on Canal The Orange Beach Festival of Art ofRoad. Festival hours are fers many art opportunities for young Saturday and Sunday from people. Above, a 2012 festival attendee 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is free shows off her sock puppet. with public parking at The Wharf. Shuttles will be provided at a rate of $2 per way, to and from the festival. No public parking will be available on site. Musicians will include Roman Street, Sugarcane Jane, Three Bean Soup and Brent Burns. Culinary selections featured at the festival offer gourmet flair, while still providing plenty of child-friendly options. Kid’s Art Alley offers young festival goers plenty of hands-on fun. For more information, visit or call 251-981-ARTS (2787). FEBRUARY 2014 9

Power Pack

AREA welcomes new staff members Jacob Johnson has joined the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives (AREA) as director of advertising and marketing. Johnson Johnson comes to AREA from Walker360, an advertising and printing firm. He previously worked in sales for a national broadcast company and started his own branding/advertising consultancy in 2009. Johnson is a communications graduate of Auburn University.

Randy Glaze has joined AREA as manager of safety and loss control. He previously worked at Altec, Inc. as safety training instructor. Before that, Randy Glaze spent 16 years with International Paper in Selma where he was electrical safety coordinator. He holds two technical degrees and a Bachelor of Science degree in Resource Management from Troy University. Randy was recently accepted into the Advanced Safety Engineering Management program with the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Keith Twitty has joined AREA as manager of safety and loss control. He was previously with TVPPA as technical programs manager Twitty and a journeyman/lead line worker. Twitty served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1986 to 1992. He is a graduate of Wallace State Community College and completed the TVPPA Lineman Apprentice Training Course at Nashville State Technical Institute.

Disability benefits for what (severely) ails you The month of February is a time to recognize a number of unfortunate ailments that disable and take the lives of too many people. February is American Heart Month, focusing on heart disease and how to prevent it. Every year more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack and about 600,000 die from heart disease — making up about a fourth of the nation’s deaths. Feb. 4 is World Cancer Day, a chance to raise our collective voices in the name of improving knowledge about cancer. Feb. 14 is National Donor Day, encouraging everyone to become an organ donor, giving the ultimate Valentine to someone in need. These awareness campaigns remind us how critically important Social Security disability benefits are for people with severe disabilities and their families. Many people do not like to think about disability. However, the onset of disability is unpredictable and can happen to anyone at any age. The unfortunate reality is that one in four 20-year-old workers become disabled before reaching retirement age. When severe illness or injury robs a person 10 FEBRUARY 2014

of the ability to work and earn a living, Social Security disability benefits can provide a critical source of financial support at a time of need. When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn credits. These credits count toward retirement, survivors, and disability benefits. The number of credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age, and some of the work must be recent. For example, the younger you are the fewer credits you need to have. For most people, you need to have worked at least a total of 10 years, but if you are younger, you may qualify with as little as a year and a half of work. You don’t need to have had a heart attack, organ transplant, or cancer to qualify for disability benefits. However, you must have a disability that is severe enough to render you unable to work and that is expected to last a year or longer, or result in death. If you have such a disability, you should start your application now. That’s because it takes time to determine whether you qualify for benefits. It usually takes three to four months for a medical decision from the state agency that evaluates your condition.

If your application is approved, your first Social Security disability payment will be made for the sixth full month after the date the state agency determines that you qualify for disability benefits. Take advantage of our online disability starter kits. The kit will help you get ready for your disability interview or online application, and provides information about the specific documents and information that we will request from you. You will find the starter kits at www. Once you complete your online disability starter kit and you’re ready to apply, the most convenient way to accomplish this is online at

Kylle’ McKinney, Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or at kylle.

Be my Valentine ... I dare you Many folks, middle-aged men mostly, do not look forward to Valentine’s Day. Not just because they are expected to send the woman they love flowers and candy and such stuff. They can handle that. But they fear that the object of their affection might consider the gift insufficiently romantic and judge them thusly. That happened to a guy I knew who briefly lived under the mistaken assumption that the true measure of love was presenting your dear one with a gift that you would buy for yourself – give unto others as you would have them give unto you, or something like that. He loved to fish. See where this is heading? What better way to say “I love you” than with a new rod and reel? The relationship was over before the year was out. That’ll learn him. Personally, I do not look forward to Valentine Day’s because it brings back memories of when I was in elementary school. Of all the events on our calendar, none created more consternation and concern, anxiety and angst than the ceremony of acceptance and rejection that occurred every Feb. 14. Teachers seemed to love it because preparation kept us busy. They knew that the idle hands of pre-adolescents are surely the devil’s workshop. Preparing started innocently enough. No sooner was Groundhog Day past than our teacher would bring out the scissors, colored paper and paste, from which the artistic among us (usually the girls) would create hearts and flowers. Cupids were too complex for our meager talents, but the guys had lots of fun drawing bows and arrows. All this creativity notwithstanding, Alabama Living

as the day approached we nervously waited to see who would give what to whom. Freud, or one of those other likeminded psychologists, contended that there is a “latent period” in young lives when they are not interested in the opposite sex. Freud never attended my elementary school, where most of my classmates skipped any “latent period” that might have been lurking in the corners of our young lives.

Boys wanted girlfriends and girls wanted boyfriends. Problem was, the number of what might today be called “trophy” selections was limited, so a lot of the girls “liked” the same “cute” boys, and most of the boys “liked” the same “cute” girls. The exchange of valentines on Valentine’s Day would force a public declaration of affection, followed by reciprocation or rejection. As the day approached, you could cut the tension with a knife. Symbolism was everywhere. What if you gave “cute girl” your

handmade valentine and Bubba trumped you with a store-bought better one? What if Johnny upped the ante with a Milky Way taped to his card? Then there was the gnawing fear that Billy Ray would give his token of love to the “cute girl” you “liked,” and she would give him one in return – leaving you with a broken heart. And what was going through the minds of those who were afraid they would get no valentines at all. Teachers attempted to remedy that situation by instructing us to give valentines to everyone. Most of us responded by passing out to classmates those massed produced cards bought in bulk from the drug store. Then we gave a “special” Valentine to the “cute girl” or the “cute boy” that we wanted to sit with us in the lunchroom. Thus by the end of the day we all knew who “liked” whom, who was “popular,” and whose love was and would remain unrequited. Think of the scars left on our adolescent psyches. Oh, we got over it, mostly. But every Feb. 14, it comes back to haunt some of us. Now, should I go with flowers or candy or something from Bass Pro Shop? Ed. Note: This is the first in a series of periodic columns on humorous people, places and things in Alabama. Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is retired professor emeritus of history at Jacksonville State University whose most recent book is The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera, featured in the January 2013 Alabama Living. His work appears in the Anniston Star and Northeast Alabama Living.

FEBRUARY 2014 11

Alabama-Made: 11 Family Friendly Places to See, Touch and Taste Alabama’s Manufacturing

The Honda plant in Lincoln gives visitors a look at how the Odyssey and Ridgeline are produced. PHOTO BY HONDA

What do cars, cookies and bamboo bikes have in common? Like many other great products, they are all made here in Alabama. Take shopping local to a whole new level and head to the factories to see your favorite Alabama products in production. You’ll develop a new appreciation for “Made in Alabama” and have some great family fun, too. 12 FEBRUARY 2014

By Jacqueline Rosser

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama

Do you drive a Honda? Tour the Honda Manufacturing Plant in Alabama and see how your ride is made. Many of Honda’s vehicles are produced at their Lincoln plant. On the tour you’ll walk the production floor watching sparks fly as the weld robots assemble the Honda Odyssey and Ridgeline. From engines to paint colors and more, you’ll see what it takes to make an awardwinning vehicle. The free tour of the Honda plant is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Visitors must be at least 12 years old. Wear fully enclosed shoes and long pants.

A tour of Bud’s Best Cookies includes samples. PHOTO BY KRISTIE LAROCHELLE, KP STUDIOS

Golden Flake Chips

Crunchy and delicious Golden Flake Chips are a lunchtime staple across Alabama. Pay a visit to the Golden Flake factory in Birmingham to watch plain potatoes transform into deep fried delights. One of the highlights of the tour is the fresh samples of warm chips, pork rinds, etc. shared with visitors along the way. If you can’t make it to the factory Golden Flake offers online tours on its website: Tours are typically offered Monday-Thursday at set times each morning. Small groups (less than 10) generally don’t need a reservation, but you may want to call in advance (1-800-239-CHIP) to verify availability. Visitors must be at least 5 years old. Wear closed toe/heel shoes suitable for walking.

Bud’s Best Cookies

Hop aboard the CookieLand Express and travel to a delicious world filled with cookies. Bud’s Best Cookies tour in Birmingham shows visitors how their signature bite-sized cookies are mixed, baked, packaged and shipped. Come with an appetite; you’ll enjoy samples on the tour and to take home. Tours are free, but reservations are required. Set up your tour by calling their offices at 800-548-1504. www.budsbestcookies. com.

Working Cows Dairy

Meet the farmers behind Working Cow Dairy when you stop by their Slocomb farm at milking time. Jonny de Jong, CEO of the family run farm, says, “We suggest people come by at 7 in the morning or 5 in the afternoon to see the cows being milked and things of that nature.” While you’re at the farm, stop by their store and pick up a bottle of fresh and delicious Alabama organic milk.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama

Samples of delicious Blue Bell ice cream await visitors to the creamery’s Sylacauga plant. PHOTO BY BLUE BELL CREAMERIES

Blue Bell Creamery

If you’re in Montgomery, take the family over to the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant. This busy Alabama facility assembles almost 1,500 vehicles each business day. The Hyundai plant tour is free for visitors age 6 and up. Reservations are required and can be made online up to a year ahead of your visit. This tour often fills up well in advance; book early if you want to go. Visitors to Hyundai’s plant south of Montgomery can see robots in action. PHOTO BY ROBERT BURNS, HYUNDAI MOTOR MANUFACTURING ALABAMA

After enjoying an informational tour of Blue Bell Creamery in Sylacauga visitors are treated to a serving of their luscious ice cream. The tour features a video presentation and a walk overlooking the production area. Visitors can also visit the Blue Bell Country Store and Parlor. The Blue Bell Creamery tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and is offered Monday-Friday. There is a small charge for the tour. Appointments are required and can be made by calling 256-249-6100. More information:

Golden Eagle Syrup

Since 1929 Alabamians have been enjoying Golden Eagle Syrup’s delightfully sweet flavor. If this is your favorite syrup, or even if it’s not, a tour of the production facility in Fayette is fascinating. You can visit any time, but it’s much more enjoyable when they’re in production (generally Tuesday-Thursday). Call 205-932-5294 for more information about the tour. www. Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2014 13

Watch a motorhome come together in the Red Bay factory of Tiffin Motorhomes. PHOTO COURTESY OF TIFFIN MOTORHOMES AND CONSTELLATION IMAGEWORKS

Back Forty Beer Co.

Tiffin Motorhomes

Have you ever wondered how a motorhome is made? Head to Red Bay and take a tour of Tiffin Motorhomes, home of some of the most popular motorhomes in the country. You’ll meet the expert craftsmen that help construct the beautiful homes on wheels and see production in action. Tours are held Monday-Friday at 9:30 a.m. Appointments are not necessary for small groups. Large groups (10 or more) should call in advance to schedule an appointment. Full details are available on the Tiffin Motorhomes website,

If you think a brewery tour and children don’t mix, think again. Back Forty Brewery’s Grains to Glass tour in Gadsden is fun for adults and children alike. Children will enjoy munching on freshly malted hops while adults indulge in local craft beers as they explore the brewing process. Brad Wilson and his brother Jason run the brewery (5th generation in the beer business) and seek to make this manufacturing facility family and community friendly. “We want to reach out to the community… we want to be a place where people can come and handle the business of their day and interact with the community,” said Brad Wilson. If you come in for a tour, don’t be surprised to see Brad’s almost two year old daughter Keller running around in her pink brewing boots. They do more than just make beer here; they foster family and community connections. Tours are offered on Saturdays 3-9 p.m. No reservation needed.

Inside the Back Forty Brewery in Gadsden. PHOTO BY ERIC WRIGHT


Visitors to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance can watch production at Daimler’s only U.S. plant. PHOTO COURTESY MBUSI

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International has been producing vehicles at its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Vance (Tuscaloosa County) since 1996. Visitors can tour the factory and check out the history of Daimler-Benz in the Mercedes-Benz Visitor Center’s Museum, the first of its kind outside Germany. Adjacent to Daimler’s only U.S. automobile manufacturing plant, the center exhibits propel people down a multimedia path through the past, present and future of automotive technology. Factory tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. Tours typically last about two hours. Cost is $5 per guest. Advance reservations are recommended. Call 205-507-2252 or 888-286-8762. MBUSI recommends visitors download its Tour Guidelines and Requirements from its website at, and reading the Factory Tour FAQ guide before calling for reservations.

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When you think of bikes, you probably don’t think of bamboo, but once you watch the bike making process at HERObike in Greensboro, you’ll likely associate the two forever. While HERObike doesn’t offer a formal tour, the studio is very open and visitors are welcome to come in and watch the production at any time. If you like what you see and want a bamboo (locally grown in Alabama) bike of your own, classes and kits are available for purchase. A HERObike staff invites visitors to watch them create bicycles out of an atypical ingredient: bamboo.

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2014 15

Gerald Swindle, a professional bass angler from Warrior, Ala., lands a bass he caught on a squarelipped crankbait. Swindle will be one of nine Alabama anglers fishing the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

Classic returns home with big impact

By John N. Felsher


hen the top 56 professional bass anglers in the world compete in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, one will take home a check for $500,000 and possibly millions more in endorsement contracts. Regardless of who wins, though, Alabama will reap the benefit. The 44th annual Bassmaster Classic will take place in Birmingham and on Lake Guntersville Feb. 21-23. The competitors will run out of Guntersville City Harbor to fish the 69,100-acre lake for three days and bring their daily catches to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena, for the official public weigh-ins. When the “Super Bowl of Fishing” comes to town, it makes a huge impact. Besides the anglers, thousands of fans, media and others will pour into Birmingham. Many fans from surrounding cities and states only come in for one day, but many anglers bring their families and stay more than a week. In addition, representatives from hundreds of companies around the world will gather for the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo, held in conjunction with the tournament weigh-ins at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. “More than 100,000 people attended the 2013 Classic in Tulsa, Okla.,” says Michael Mulone, a B.A.S.S. spokesman. “When we bring a Bassmaster Classic to a state, there’s a sense of pride for both the state and B.A.S.S. The B.A.S.S. staff alone books nearly 4,000 hotel rooms. That doesn’t count all the companies bringing exhibits to the event or fans coming from out of town. When a Bassmaster Classic comes to a town, it usually leaves about a $21 to $24 million economic impact. The lion’s share of the economic impact will be in the Birmingham metropolitan area.”

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Birmingham hosted seven previous Classics, most recently in 2010 when Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., won on Lay Lake. The 2014 Classic will be the 12th such event held in Alabama since 1971, more than twice as many as any other state. The hosting Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, better known as B.A.S.S., began in Montgomery and now calls Birmingham home. Although Bassmaster magazine ranks Lake Guntersville number 4 on its list of the top 100 bass lakes in the nation, the largest lake in Alabama only hosted one previous Bassmaster Classic. In 1976, Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., won his first of four classics on the Tennessee River impoundment. While the Bassmaster Classic hasn’t visited Lake Guntersville in 38 years, other major tournaments ran on the lake. In 2010, former Bassmaster Classic champion Skeet Reese from Auburn, Calif., caught more than 100 pounds of bass during three days of competitive fishing. The year before, Aaron Martens won a Bassmasters Elite Series tournament on Lake Guntersville with more than 107 pounds. Martens, of Leeds, heads a pack of nine Alabama anglers vying to win the big event in their home state. Originally from a suburb of Los Angeles, Martens moved to Alabama because of the great fishing the state offers. “We moved to Alabama to be more centrally located to the lakes we normally fish,” he says. “Alabama is beautiful and the people are really nice. Alabama, particularly the Birmingham area, is the heart of bass fishing in America. This area has a lot of great lakes and rivers to fish.” Martens fished in 14 previous Classics since 1999 and placed

second in four of them, losing twice to Kevin VanDam. In 2002, he placed second behind Jay Yelas on Lay Lake. In 2013, he earned his second Angler of the Year title. During his career, he earned more than $2 million in tournament winnings with six victories in B.A.S.S. events. The home team also includes Chris Lane of Guntersville, the only former Bassmaster Classic champion from Alabama fishing the current event. Lane will make his fourth classic appearance, having won five events since 2000 including the 2012 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River in Shreveport, La. Lane grew up in central Florida, but moved to Alabama in 2009. He’ll compete against his brother, Bobby, from Lakeland, Fla. “It’s a fantastic feeling to compete in my hometown,” the former champion says. “Competitive bass fishing has a lot of roots in Alabama. This is where B.A.S.S. originated. As far as I’m concerned, Lake Guntersville is the best bass lake in the country. I look for records to fall for the amount of people coming to the amount of boats on the water watching their favorite anglers to the amount of weight coming to the scales.” Other Alabama competitors include Gerald Swindle of Warrior fishing his 14th Classic. Randy Howell of Springville fished 11 previous classics. Steve Kennedy of Auburn competed in six classics and Greg Vinson of Wetumpka will make his second appearance. Coby Carden of Shelby and David Kilgore of Jasper will each fish their first classics. Also making his first classic appearance, Jordan Lee will represent Auburn University. The 22-year-old student from Cullman qualified for his first classic by winning the 2013 Carhartt College Series National Championship. The youngest competitor this year, Lee was the runner-up to his brother Matt in the 2012 Carhartt

College Series, making the second year in a row that Auburn University sent a student to fish the big show. Fans watching the weigh-ins should see some impressive catches with so many excellent anglers competing in one of the best bass fishing lakes in the nation at the best time to catch monster bass. In late winter, bass normally reach their largest size of the year as females swell with eggs before the spring spawn. A big female largemouth in February could carry several additional pounds of eggs before she deposits them into a nest in March or April. To avoid depleting the resource, the tournament will release any bass brought to the scales. “It’s going to be a tough tournament,” Martens says. “The best anglers in the world will be fishing it at the right time of the year. One of the things I look forward to when fishing a classic is meeting people. We get to meet a lot of fans from all over at these events.” All year long, Lake Guntersville gives up numerous bass in the 3- to 8-pound range and some in the 9- to 12-pound range. Charlie Bertus of Huntsville landed the official lake record largemouth, a 14.50-pound lunker he caught on Feb. 21, 1990. In 2010, Duanne McQueen of Stockbridge, Ga., landed the lake record smallmouth, a 5.85-pounder. “Late February is a great time to fish Lake Guntersville, but it all depends upon the weather,” Lane says. “I’m expecting some giant limits of bass. I think it will probably take about five bass weighing 25 to 30 pounds per day to win. I think the big bass might be in the 10- to 12-pound range. The lake has some giant bass so it wouldn’t surprise me if someone caught a bass in the teens.” For complete schedules and more information on the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, visit A Kevin VanDam, a four-time Bassmaster Classic champion from Kalamazoo, Mich., shows off a bass he caught. He will be trying for his unprecedented fifth Bassmaster Classic title in 2014. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2014 17

Kevin VanDam, a professional bass angler from Kalamazoo, Mich., lifts up his world championship trophy after winning his fourth Bassmaster Classic title, on Feb. 20, 2011, in New Orleans. He will be trying for his unprecedented fifth Bassmaster Classic title in 2014. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER

Super Bowl of fishing is ‘part of the American lifestyle’ By John N. Felsher


alled by many the “Super Bowl of Fishing,” the 44th annual Bassmaster Classic returns home to Alabama when the best anglers in the world gather to fish Lake Guntersville Feb. 21-23. The biggest event in professional bass fishing started in Alabama. In 1967, Ray Scott of Pintlala started collecting membership fees for an organization dedicated to people who like to catch largemouth bass. He dubbed the organization the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, better known as B.A.S.S. Scott established the first headquarters for his organization in Montgomery. In the late 1960s, Scott organized fishing tournaments and gave away prizes to anglers who caught the heaviest stringers of bass. In 1971, he created a championship for those anglers and called it the Bassmaster Classic. Thus began four decades and counting of professional bass fishing at the highest level. Today, B.A.S.S. officials announce the classic venue a year in advance, but in those days, Scott kept the tournament location secret to keep competition equal. In October 1971, Scott picked 24 anglers and flew them and their wives to Atlanta. There, they boarded a chartered plane with about 30 outdoor writers, destination unknown. The group landed in Las Vegas, Nev., to fish Lake Mead. When it ended, Bobby Murray, a 26-yearold competitor from Hot Springs, Ark., made history by becoming the first Bassmaster Classic champion in history. For the effort, he collected a check for $10,000. Legendary lure maker Tom Mann of Eufaula, Ala., took second. “It was a mystery flight,” Murray remembers years later. “When the airplane reached 10,000 feet, they told us where we were going. We could pack 10 pounds of tackle and four rods. They were trying to make the playing field as fair as they could. Before the first Classic, not one of the 24 anglers had ever been on Lake Mead.” At the time, few people knew anything about professional bass fishing. When a brief story about a guy winning $10,000 for catching bass in Nevada went over the news wires, few editors believed it. Who would get paid to catch fish and then release them? Now, the 56 anglers from 23 states fish18 FEBRUARY 2014

ing the 2014 Bassmaster Classic will compete for a share of the $1 million purse, plus potentially millions more in endorsement contracts. This year, the Classic competitors will fan out over the 69,100-acre Lake Guntersville. After three days of practice, they will begin their daily competition each morning at 7 at the Guntersville City Harbor. All 56 competitors fish the first two days. Only the top 25 anglers fish the final day. While the original competitors weighed their fish on a floating boat dock before about 30 writers and 30 spectators, thousands of fans and hundreds of journalists will gather in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena to watch the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. The free public weigh-ins will begin at 3 p.m. daily. “We had more than 100,000 people attend the 2013 Classic in Tulsa,” says Michael Mulone, a B.A.S.S. spokesman. “This will be one of our biggest classics in size and scope. We’ll use more expo space in Birmingham than we’ve ever used before and all events are free. The Bassmaster Classic is not just a fishing tournament. It’s part of the American lifestyle.” While waiting for their favorite professional anglers to return with their catches, fishing fans might also wish to visit the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo. Hundreds of companies will put up displays for fishing fans to peruse. The free expo will be from noon to 8 p.m. Feb. 21, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 22, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 23. At the Expo, visitors can explore more than 220,000-square feet of exhibit space at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex and attend seminars on different topics at sponsor booths. “At the Expo, people can mingle with their favorite professional anglers and prominent people in the fishing industry like Bill Dance, Hank Parker and others,” Mulone says. “Most people are not going to play in an NFL game and throw a football like Peyton Manning, race against Jimmy Johnson in NASCAR or compete against Tiger Woods on a golf course, but they can all use the exact same equipment in exactly the same place as Kevin VanDam to catch bass.” Visit A

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2014 19


Valentine’s Day with a gift from the heart By Marilyn Jones

For some, Valentine’s Day is a romantic holiday. But for others it’s a day to remember everyone they love: parents, children and friends. “The person I always think of every Valentine’s Day since I of Dauphin Island. “The people I love want chocolate, so I buy was very young is my dear mother,” says Vickie Ashford of Bir- them candy, a card and some sort of trinket for Valentine’s Day. mingham. “I am the tenth of 11 children. I’ve done this for years. My mother always found a way to make “I don’t think it’s just a romantic holiday, each and every one of us feel special.  I think it’s about remembering the ones we “That’s why I don’t have to think twice love,” Steiner adds.  about making her feel special every day, and Valentine candy and other treats especially on a day dedicated to love,” she Morgan Price Candy Company in Decaadds. “She loves flowers, but not cut flowtur is a great source for everything chocolate. ers, only those that she can plant and watch They’ve been creating candy for Valentine’s grow, enjoying them longer.  Now, at age Day and all year round since 1987 when 87, she especially likes to enjoy her gifts as Mary Morgan began a mail order candy long as she can.” company out of her home and a church “On Valentine’s Day I always think of kitchen. Because of the quality of her candy how my dad would stop at a local drug and attention to detail, her business grew store and bring home chocolate covered Your Valentine might fancy one-of-auntil she had to open a candy store. cherries for my sister and me, and a Whit- kind handcrafted jewelry from Coastal Today the tradition continues under the man’s Sampler for mom,” recalls Meg Lewis Arts Center Gift Shop in Orange Beach. of Montgomery. “Now I try to do something small for the office guidance of Nancy Curl. The candy, made from time-honored and my close friends.” Continued on Page 22 “I remember my husband and children,” says Machelle Steiner 20 FEBRUARY 2014

Alabama Living

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Continued from Page 20 recipes, is available at the Decatur store and can be shipped to all parts of the country. “Hope’s Cheesecake in Gulf Shores ships nationwide as well,” says Kim Chapman of Silverhill. “If you’re remembering someone out of town, they make it easy to send a nice gift. Just about everyone loves cheesecake.” For the cheese lover, Belle Chèvre in Elkmont is an excellent choice for goat cheese. Belle Chèvre has produced a variety of internationally acclaimed cheeses since 1989 using European farmstead techniques. Belle Chèvre offers individual cheese selections, breakfast spread, cheesecake, cookies and gift boxes at their store. These items can also be shipped.

Artwork by Rebecca Koontz of Greensboro and carved baby blue birds by Dallas County artist John Sheffey are featured at Black Belt Treasures in Camden. Photo courtesy Black Belt Treasures

Gift Shop Ideas

“My wife appreciates gifts that remind her of nature or perhaps something hand made,” says Mark Lyman of Tillman’s Corner. “That’s why I look for gift shops with handcrafted items.” Black Belt Treasures in Camden is an exceptional place to buy made-by-hand creations. “We’re a nonprofit arts center representing more than 300 artists,” says Kristin Law, art program and marketing manager. The sprawling store offers everything from baskets and pottery to folk art, sculptures and quilts. “We also have a wide array of art classes taught by our regional artists — and a gift certificate to a class also makes a great gift for Valentine’s Day,” adds Law. “I have personally had couples take my pottery and hand-built ceramics class together.” “Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment in Huntsville is the Southeast’s largest center for the arts,” says Charles Winters of Huntsville. There are working artists, small businesses, restaurants and live performances in this building that used to be a textile mill. Down south, several locally owned shops at The Wharf in Orange Beach, including Fish on a Dish Unique Gifts, stock works of locally created art and handcrafted items including paintings, sculpture and jewelry. Another excellent source for unusual items is museum and tourist attraction gift shops. At the Coastal Arts Center at Orange Beach, the gift shop has one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, pottery and artwork. Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Theodore also has a spacious gift shop filled with unusual gifts including a large selection of Coke-related merchandise.

Romantic Getaways

Getaways are always great gifts for couples to give each other and Alabama has a lot to offer for those not wanting to journey far from home. Check out one of the bed and breakfast destinations in Alabama, such as Winston Place in Valley Head at the base of Lookout Mountain. If skiing is something you enjoy, Cloudmont Ski Resort in Mentone offers skiing, horseback riding and hiking trails. And in Montgomery, the Harriott II Riverboat offers Valentine’s romantic cruises including dinner, roses, champagne and live entertainment. Sure, Valentine’s Day can be construed as a “Hallmark” holiday, but isn’t it fun to turn it around and make it about the love we have for the special people in our lives? We’re sure Saint Valentine would approve. A 22 FEBRUARY 2014

Clockwise, artwork by local artists can be found at Fish on a Dish Unique Gifts at the Wharf in Orange Beach, at Black Belt Treasures in Camden, and at Coastal Arts Gift Shop in Orange Beach.

A romantic cruise on the Alabama River aboard the Harriott II Riverboat might be the ticket to make your Valentine’s Day extra special. Below, bring home a piece of the Gulf with a gift from Fish on a Dish Unique Gifts in Orange Beach.

For more information:

Morgan Price Candy Company: Hope’s Cheesecake: Belle Chèvre: Black Belt Treasures: Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment: The Wharf: Coastal Arts Center: Bellingrath Gardens and Home: Alabama Bed and Breakfast listing: Alabama Cloudmont Ski Resort: Harriett II Riverboat: items/harriott-ii-riverboat

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2014 23

February Gardening Tips

Alabama Gardens


Plants to love: explore your options before you commit


t’s February, the month when we celebrate love, and if you want to establish a more loving relationship with your landscape and garden there is no time like the present to find a botanical soulmate— or mates. While fall is prime planting season for trees, shrubs and many other perennials, most can still be planted successfully from now through early spring. But, as with all good long-term relationships, compatibility is key to a successful future so take time this month to explore your options before you commit. Personally, I’m drawn to plants that are both good looking and low-maintenance. Luckily, I can find just that combination of virtues in plants that have roots right here in Alabama and the Southeast: native plants. Native plants are already adapted to our environment so they are capable of flourishing without much pampering. They’re also supportive and nurturing, providing food and shelter for birds, insects and wildlife in our ecosystems. And there are so many to choose among—trees, shrubs, ferns, vines, herbaceous perennials, grasses and bulbs—so there is a native plant to match any spot in the landscape. Looking for something tall and handsome—a tree for instance? I am madly in love with silverbells and native dogwoods and magnolias, all of which are goodlooking and give me flowers. But there are also plenty of other appealing options—both blooming and nonblooming, deciduous and evergreen—to c o n s i d e r, such as hicko-

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ries, oaks, maples, cedars, plums and pines, to name a few. Drawn to smaller plants that are big on looks? There are lots of potential matches on the native shrub list. If you love those flowers, try native azaleas and hydrangeas as well as buttonbushes, sweetshrubs, buckeyes and viburnums. Want a fruitful relationship? Native holly, beautyberry and winterberry shrubs produce gorgeous berries that are lovely to behold and loved by birds and other critters…or plant native blueberries so you and the wildlife can eat. If you want plants that will stick around for a long time but still add lots of color to your life, explore the many choices of flowering native herbaceous perennials such as aster, hibiscus, phlox, coneflower, coreopsis, yarrow and many, many others. Want something that gives you cover but won’t take over your life or landscape? Try native honeysuckle or wisteria, passion vine, trumpet vine and jasmine. Prefer something dignified but interesting? Native grasses, ranging from the whimsical, wispy color of purple muhly grass to the simple beauty of native sea oats or rushes, could be just the match. Have a yen for a shady character? Get yourself some Christmas, Southern wood, shield and lady ferns. As you can see, the possibilities for new loves in your garden are extensive. Thankfully you don’t have to choose just one, but you may want to know more about them all before you commit. To my knowledge there is no online matchmaking service available to link gardeners with plants (though maybe that’s a great idea for some enterprising, tech-savvy entrepreneur). However, you can do your own research (online or at your local library or garden center) to find out more about each plant’s personality and traits. Three online options are the Plant Native website (, the Alabama Plant Atlas site ( and in the Alabama Cooperative Extension

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Divide and move perennials, unless they are beginning to show new growth. Clean up limbs and other yard debris that may have fallen in the winter weather. Order seeds for the spring and summer garden. Plant roses and hardy perennials. Transplant deciduous shrubs and trees unless the buds have begun to swell. Start warm-season vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers and summer bedding plants, in cold frames or indoor settings now. Prune summer flowering shrubs now. Don’t prune the spring bloomers until after they flower! Check seeds you have saved from last year to make sure they are still viable (seed coat in good condition and not rotted). Clean out moldy or sprouting seeds each time you refill bird feeders. Give your sweetheart live plants, seeds or gardening tools for Valentine’s Day. Attend gardening workshops and classes or get involved with your local gardening groups. Shop for off-season garden supplies that may be on sale this time of year. Repair and spruce up window boxes, lawn furniture, bird houses and feeders, garden tools and other outdoor equipment and items.

System’s publication Herbaceous Perennials for Alabama ( ANR-0566/ANR-0566.pdf). Another source of information on plants (both native and nonnative) that will stick with you for better or worse is Felder Rushing’s book Tough Plants for Southern Gardens. As you’re looking for new loves, though, don’t forget your old flames. Take care of the plants that are already in your life and landscape and start planting those good-provider plants for the spring and summer. Now is the time to plant cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, beets, carrots, radishes, mustard, asparagus, English peas, Irish potatoes, onion sets and strawberries! A

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

Alabama Living

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Worth the Drive

The Crepe Myrtle Café at Blooming Colors Open for breakfast and lunch 1192 Donahue Drive, Auburn 334-887-0887


To taste all these crepes (including dessert!) definitely requires more than one visit By Jennifer Kornegay

The fresh produce at The Market and the Crepe Myrtle Cafe are ample reasons to visit Blooming Colors in Auburn.


here are several food and restaurant types common across Alabama: places like meat ‘n threes, BBQ joints and catfish houses. But in Auburn, tucked behind Blooming Colors garden nursery is The Market (selling fresh, local produce), and tucked behind that is The Crepe Myrtle Café. And in this small café, they specialize in one thing: crepes. In fact, almost the entire menu is devoted to this sophisticated substitute for a sandwich. Crepes? And only crepes? It may sound a little risky to have such a narrow focus. And crepes are certainly not a Southern staple. I can hear my dad’s booming bass voice declaring (jokingly), “Real men don’t eat quiche!” I imagine whoever coined that phrase (which he loved to repeat any time my mom served quiche) would feel the same way about crepes. But a single bite of these singular creations is all it will take to make you a believer (even if you are the manliest of men), and bring you back time and again so you can try every single version of crepe that the café makes. They may serve crepes almost exclusively, but there are many, many different types of crepes. Or more accurately, there are many, many different ways to fill the basic crepe. There’s the Caesar with roasted chicken, melted mozzarella, romaine lettuce and tomatoes drizzled with classic Caesar dressing. There’s the Steak and Bleu, a mouth-watering mix of juicy marinated flank steak, roasted peppers, caramelized onions and tangy blue cheese crumbles. Or the Mexican, with citrus marinated chicken, Monterey jack and cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, sour cream and homemade salsa. The Tomato Lover and Roasted Veggie crepes take delicious advantage of The Market’s access to amazing area produce; both

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are stuffed with tomatoes, zucchini, squash, onions, mushrooms, peppers and more, and this ingredient list changes based on the season and what’s at its peak. Imagine one of the best Greek salads you’ve ever had rolled into a thin, airy crepe, and you’re actually fantasizing about the café’s Greek Chicken Crepe. Briny (kalamata olives), salty (feta), crunchy (raw spinach), hot (pepperoncini peppers) and smoky (roasted red peppers) merge into one fabulous flavor. And while the Tzatziki sauce makes it a messy affair to eat, there’s a napkin dispenser on each table, so you can do it. Eleven different savory crepes are always available, plus soups and salads and a few “daily special” offerings. But note the word savory in the above sentence. There are still more crepes: A selection of eight dessert crepes makes it hard to resist ending your lunch on a sweet note. Crepe traditionalists will swoon over the Nutella Crepe. With an ooey-gooey smear of the chocolate-hazelnut spread sliding between layers of slightly chewy crepe, this delight rivals the confections peddled from street carts in Paris. The Apple Sizzle challenges your mom’s apple pie. And the Peaches N’ Cream, with its grilled whiskey-soaked peaches, sweetened sour cream, brown sugar and candied pecans, takes the crepe far below the Mason Dixon line. Even if, for some reason, none of these sound appetizing to you (maybe you were born without taste buds or lost them in a tragic accident), there are other reasons to visit. Blooming Colors is jampacked with plants and pots and garden accessories. And The Market is a bigger, cuter version of your favorite roadside veggie stand. Rows of wooden crates hold whatever happens to be growing at the moment, shelves are stacked with jars of raw local honey and homemade salsas and sauces, a freezer is full of casseroles to go and a table displays rustic pottery made by an area artist. Visit The Market for the best bounty from Alabama farmers, ripe and ready to take home. And visit the café for crepes, crepes and more crepes. A

Jennifer Kornegay is the author of a children’s book, “The Alabama Adventures of Walter and Wimbly: Two Marmalade Cats on a Mission.” She travels to an out-of-the way restaurant destination in Alabama every month. She may be reached for comment at

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

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Alabama Living

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Send your questions to: James Dulley

Alabama Living 6906 Royalgreen Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45244

Consumer Wise

You can also reach Dulley online at:

Efficient cooking:

replacing ovens, ranges, and other tips

By James Dulley


I’m updating my kitchen appliances. I am a bit of a chef, so I want efficient tools. What are the best appliances for cooks? Can you share a few energy-efficient cooking tips?


If you’re a frequent cook, you consume a lot of energy. The major energy user is the refrigerator. Odds are if you prepare a lot of food, you have a large refrigerator and open it often. Place commonly used items (milk, butter, etc.) near the front of your fridge. Keep the fridge fairly full; use water jugs if needed. In addition to selecting efficient cooking appliances, there are simple tips to cut your energy use. Keep in mind cooking tips change from winter to summer. During winter, the heat and humidity from cooking help warm your house and reduce the heating load on your furnace or heat pump. During summer, this same heat makes your air conditioner run more, increasing electric bills. When installing kitchen appliances, locate them properly. The cooking range and oven should not be directly next to the

James Dulley

is a nationally syndicated engineering consultant based in Cincinnati

28 FEBRUARY 2014

Use microwave oven for cooking smaller amounts of food. SOURCE: AMANA

refrigerator. Their heat makes the refrigerator compressor run longer. Also, don’t put the range or oven under a window; a breeze can carry away heat before it gets into your pots and pans. The most efficient electric range heating elements are induction units. These elements produce magnetic energy which warms magnetic (usually iron and steel) pots and pans. If there is no utensil on an induction element, the element does not get hot. Induction elements provide heating control almost as precise as gas burners. Induction elements offer an energy advantage: Nearly all of the energy goes into the pot or pan to heat food. With a regular resistance element, the heat transfers from the range top to the base of the pot. A lot of heat is lost to the air, never getting to the food. Since you do not always want to use magnetic cooking dishes, your range should have only one or two induction elements. The others should be standard resistance or halogen. Halogen elements heat up faster, but are not as efficient. Opt for different sizes, then match the size of the pot to the element size for less heat loss. When it comes to ovens, electric is preferred by most professionals. It holds more even heat than gas for baking. Another advantage, especially during summer, is that electric does not introduce extra moisture to your house. Extra moisture means more

work (and energy use) for your air conditioner. When gas or propane burns, the basic products of combustion are water and carbon dioxide. A convection oven saves energy as compared to a standard oven. Even though the small air circulation fan uses some electricity in a convection oven, they cook so much faster that there is significant overall savings. Not all foods roast and bake well in the convection mode, so you will not be able to use it for everything. Choose a self-cleaning oven model because it often has heavier wall insulation needed for the super-high cleaning temperature. Want great energy savings in the kitchen? Use small countertop appliances when possible. For example, a small toaster oven, especially one with a convection option, uses significantly less electricity than large oven elements. This is true even though the large oven has more wall insulation. Countertop electric woks, rice cookers, etc. are other good examples. During summer, use them outdoors to reduce indoor heat. Microwave ovens are still the most efficient appliance for cooking individual food items. They run on lower wattage and offer short cook times. If you are cooking larger quantities of food, a large oven remains the best choice. Plan your baking to make similar-baking-temperature foods simultaneously or consecutively while the oven is hot. A

Around Alabama February

Annual Seafood Festival promises to be a delight for young 22 andThe22nd old. The 2014 event will be held Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Orange Orange Beach • Seasfood Festival and Best of Baldwin Expo

Beach Sportsplex, on William Silvers Parkway, just off Canal Road. Arts and crafts vendors will be selling an assortment of wares including jewelry, pottery, metal items, candles, plants and more. If arts and crafts are not your thing, check out the musical acts and car show typically featuring more than 100 vehicles. To round out the day’s events visit the KidsZone, the silent auction and of course, the seafood booths! Also on the 22nd and new this year is the Best of Baldwin Expo which is being held in conjunction with the Seafood Festival. The new Expo is an indoor event at the Event Center at The Warf and will showcase many area museums, historical venues, home-based businesses and arts and crafts vendors who need to be in a more controlled environment. Be sure to park at the Event Center and use the free shuttle that will be running between both locations! The Festival and Expo will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit the Orange Beach Parks and Rec website, www., or call their office for more information, 251-9811524.

7-9 • Gadsden, Altrusa Antique Show. Gadsden Convention Hall, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. All exhibits for sale. Sponsored by Altrusa International, Inc. of Gadsden. Tickets are $5, bring in this ad for $1 off your ticket at the door. Contact the Show Chair, Connie Meloun, at 256-549-8321 for information. 8-15 • Birmingham, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” Watch the Mark Twain classic come alive on stage at the Birmingham Children’s Theatre. Meetand-greet with the cast after the show. Tickets: ages 6 and up $9-$11. Information: 205-458-8181 or

15 • Wetumpka, CrossFit’s “Mission Possible” fitness competition to benefit Mision Vida Nueva, a nonprofit organization providing a home for orphans in Guatemala. The mission is also to provide an education and teach the children about Jesus Christ. The competition will be from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Email: 15• Mobile, Mardi Gras. Experience America’s oldest Mardi Gras in historic Mobile, known for it’s family-friendly atmosphere. Guests young and old will delight in elaborate costumes, parades, food and music. 20-22 • Union Springs, “Mama Won’t Fly!” at the Red Door Theatre. Friday and Saturday dinner at 6 p.m. and play begins at 7:30. No dinner Sunday, showtime at 2:30 p.m. A family-friendly comedy from the same playwrites that brought “The Hallelujah Girls” to the theatre in 2013. Dinner is $15 and the play is an additional $15. Information: 334-738-8687 or 22 • Fort Payne, Winter Gospel and Bluegrass Jubilee at The Pickin Post. The Jubilee will feature Canaan’s Crossing and Barry Rowland and Deliverance beginning at 6 p.m. Reserved tickets are $15 and general admission is $10. Seating is limited. For tickets call Adam Berry at 256-605-1801. 22 • Marion, Low Country Boil. Hosted by the Perry County Historical Society from 5-7 p.m. An evening of lowcountry-style cooking with a wide

variety of country and old time music. Information: 334-683-6336. 28 • Troy, Minetti String Quartet concert. Crosby Theatre at 7 p.m. The Australian-based quartet has won more international prizes in 10 years than any other quartet in the world. General admission tickets are $20; students are $5. Tickets are available online at www.

March 1 • Rainsville, “An Evening with Coach Gene Stallings.” Dekalb County Schools Coliseum. Dinner will also be served. For tickets contact Adam Berry, 256-605-1801. 8 • Robertsdale, Baldwin County Beekeepers Association Workshop. PZA Civil Park on Hwy 104 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. $40 per person or $45 per family. Bring your supplies and protective gear. Information: 251-213-0168 or bemisroger@hotmail. com 8• Hanceville, Swamp John’s. A Fundraiser for the Dodge City Fire Department from 4-7 p.m. Your choice of fish, chicken or shrimp along with french fries, cole slaw, pickles, onion, hush puppies, tea and desserts. $10.00 per plate. Tickets can be purchased at Dodge City Town Hall or from one of the firefighters.

Minetti String Quartet plays in Troy February 28

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

Alabama Living

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FEBRUARY 2014 29

How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace

Market Place Miscellaneous LUMBER FOR SALE: CIRCULAR SAW Red & White Oak, Hickory, Ash - $1.20 BFT; Heart Pine - $5.00 BFT – 5” Treated Round: One Side Flat Fence Post 8 FT Long $9.50 each - Loring White (334)782-3636 (Tallapoosa) 18X21 CARPORT $695 INSTALLED – OTHER SIZES AVAILABLE - (706) 226-2739 DIVORCE MADE EASY – UNCONTESTED, LOST, IN PRISON OR Aliens. $149.95 - 26 years experience – (417)443-6511 METAL ROOFING $1.79/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT! 1ST QUALITY, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change) - (706) 226-2739 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA / SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE / HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS / ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct (256)490-4025, www.andyswallbeds. com, www.alabamamattressoutlet. com PUT YOUR OLD HOME MOVIES, PHOTOS, SLIDES or TAPES on DVD – (888)609-9778 or www.transferguy. com AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS – windmill parts – decorative windmills – custom built windmill towers - call Windpower (256)638-4399 or (256)638-2352 COMMERCIAL ROOF LEAKS STOPPED QUICK – Even in the rain – Dealers (573)489-9346, azteccollc@ KEEP POND WATER CLEAN AND FISH HEALTHY with our aeration systems and pond supplies. Windmill Electric and Fountain Aerators. Windpower (256)638-4399, (256)899-3850 FREE BOOKS / DVDS – SOON government will enforce the “Mark” of the beast as church and state unite! Let Bible reveal. The Bible Says, POB 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771 –, (888)211-1715 USED PORTABLE SAWMILLS – BUY / Sell. Call Sawmill Exchange (800)4592148 or 713-sawmill. USA & Canada – FLOORING FOR YOUR HOME! 1ST Quality – NO Seconds: Hardwood, Laminate, Carpet, Luxury Vinyl Tile & Planks, Sheet Vinyl, Ceramic Tile – In Home Estimates and Professional Installation available – ProTrax Flooring (334)531-3020, protraxinfo.

30 FEBRUARY 2014

Business Opportunities PIANO TUNING PAYS – LEARN WITH American Tuning School home-study course – (800)497-9793 DR POWER EQUIPMENT WANTS YOUR IDEAS! Earn $300 for qualified new ideas for property tools and equipment. Go to www.drpower. com/300 and submit your idea

Vacation Rentals SMOKIES TOWNSEND, TN – 2BR / 2BA, Secluded Log Home, Jacuzzi, Fireplace, Wrap-Around Porch, Charcoal Grill. (865)320-4216, PIGEON FORGE, TN: $89 - $125, 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)363-1973, www. GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE ON BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)333-9585, PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – OWNER RENTAL – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000,, www. GATLINBURG, TN – FOND memories start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (866)316-3255, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – SLEEPS 2-6, 2.5 BATHS, FIREPLACE, Jacuzzi, washer/dryer – (251)9482918,, email PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 BEDROOM, 2 bath house – Walking distance to parkway, light# 1 - $85.00 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)590-8758 GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN / NOT A CONDO! The original “Beach House” on Ft. Morgan peninsula – 2BR/1BA – Wi-Fi, pet friendly, nonsmoking – $695/wk, (256)418-2131, CABIN IN MENTONE – 2/2, BROW view, hottub – For rent $100 / Night or Sale $199,000 – (706)767-0177 GULF SHORES PLANTATION CONDOS – Beachview sleeps 6, Beachfront sleeps 4 – (251)223-9248 APPALACHIAN TRAIL – CABINS BY the trail in the Georgia Mountains – 3000’ above sea level, snowy winters, cool summers, inexpensive rates – (800)284-6866, www.bloodmountain. com

Closing Deadlines (in our office):

FT. WALTON BEACH HOUSE – 3BR / 2BA – Best buy at the Beach – (205)566-0892, mailady96@yahoo. com MENTONE, AL – LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN – billiard table, Jacuzzi, spacious home, sleeps 14 – www., (850)7665042, (850)661-0678.   GULF SHORES, GULF FRONT – SEACREST CONDO: 1BR / 1BA, KING bed, hall bunks, granite countertops, free WiFi – (vrbo#435534), (256)3525721,

April 2014 – Feb. 25 May 2014 – March 25 June 2014 – April 25

Musical Notes PIANOS TUNED, REPAIRED, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503 PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982


DISNEY – 15 MIN: 5BR / 3BA, private pool – www., (251)504-5756

BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 7558 West Thunderbird Road, Ste. 1 - #114, Peoria, Arizona 85381.

GULF SHORES RENTAL– GREAT Rates! (256)490-4025, (256)523-5154 or

FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to 23600 Alabama Highway 24, Trinity, AL, 35673

PIGEON FORGE - COZY CABINS FOR Rent by Owner (865) 712-7633, vrbo. com/483181 GULF SHORES COTTAGE – WATERFRONT, 2 / 1, PET FRIENDLY – RATES AND CALENDAR ONLINE, (251)223-6114 LEWIS SMITH LAKE – NICE 3BR / 2BA house on deep water, covered dock, satellite TV’s, Central heat/air - $100 / night – (256)352-5721,

Critters CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. REGISTERED, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893


GULF SHORES PLANTATION GULF VIEW, BEACH SIDE, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850 CABINS / PIGEON FORGE: JAN – MAR LOW WINTER RATES – (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 VACATION RENTALS – MENTONE and GUNTERSVILLE – Hottubs –, - (256)657-4335 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@, (256)599-5552

Travel CARIBBEAN CRUISES AT THE LOWEST PRICE – (256)974-0500 or (800)726-0954

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; 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.

The Alabama Military Support Foundation seeks your support as you start working your 2013 Alabama State taxes. You can demonstrate your support for Guardsmen and Reservists by making a contribution by using a check off box on the bottom of the Alabama State tax form. The mission of the foundation is to educate employers on the active role played in the defense of our nation by Guardsmen and Reservists, and to inform them on their legal rights and responsibilities. Funds donated to the foundation will be used to educate and recognize outstanding employers who go above and beyond to support employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. Your financial contributions to the Alabama Military Support Foundation will be greatly appreciated.

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2014 31

Alabama Recipes

Pasta Cook of the month: John Piraino, Baldwin EMC

Baked ziti 1 pound dry ziti pasta 1 onion, chopped 1 pound lean ground beef 2 26-ounce jars spaghetti sauce (don’t use any “chunky style” sauces)

12 slices provolone cheese 1½ cups sour cream 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded 1 ⁄8 cup sugar 2 teaspoons dried basil

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes**, drain. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add 1½ jars of spaghetti sauce (mix remaining with ziti**), sugar and basil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with tall sides with non-stick cooking spray. Layer as follows: ½ of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, ½ sauce mixture, remaining ziti, provolone cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheeses are melted. **Tips: mix first layer of ziti with some sauce. Cover with foil before baking. Last 5 minutes, remove foil to get cheese nice and browned. For cooking ziti, cook 2 minutes less than package suggests, as it will finish cooking while baking. Use taller casserole dish, lower ones tend to overflow.

You could win $50! Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are:

April May June

Freezer Meals

Party Foods Wild Game

February 15 March 15 April 15


consider pasta one of my love languages. With so many variations and ease of preparation, anyone can discover and prepare many delicious pasta dishes. Valentine’s Day is coming up and I hope you will try one of these pasta recipes. Cooking for your honey is always a sweet way to his or her heart, and cooking is a great way to show you care about someone.


online at email to mail to Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Mary Tyler Spivey is a graduate of Huntingdon College where she studied History and French but she also has a passion for great food. Contact her at

32 FEBRUARY 2014

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.

Easy pasta pesto with chicken ¾ pound shell-shaped pasta 12 ounces cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces 1 11-ounce container pesto 1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, sliced into thin strips

1 cup halved red grape tomatoes 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta in boiling, lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain. In a large bowl, toss pasta, chicken, pesto, red peppers, tomatoes, oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley. Pamela LaRue Parker, Arab EC

Lasagna 1 ½ 1 2 2

pound ground chuck cup water cup chopped onion teaspoons vinegar teaspoons crushed oregano 9 cooked lasagna noodles

1 teaspoon minced garlic 8 ounces sour cream 2 cans tomato soup 12 ounces mozzarella cheese ½ teaspoon salt 12 ounces provolone cheese

In saucepan, brown ground chuck, onion, garlic and oregano. Add soup, water, salt and vinegar. Simmer 30 minutes stirring now and then. In 9x13-inch pan, arrange 3 alternate layers of meat sauce, noodles, sour cream and cheeses. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until top cheese is brown. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Pasta and peas 4 tablespoons chopped green onions 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 can English peas, drained 1 cup water

Jamie Petterson, Tallapoosa River EC 3 tablespoons fresh sweet basil if available; If not, ½ teaspoon dried oregano salt to taste pepper to taste ½ pound ditalini pasta romano or parmesan cheese

Sauté green onions in olive oil until wilted. Add drained English peas, water, sweet basil, salt and pepper. Cook about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain off most of the water and add peas mixture to the pasta. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle Romano or Parmesan cheese on top. Serves 4 people. Sara Jean Brooklere, Baldwin EMC Alabama Living

Want to see recipes, feature stories, and other Alabama happenings during the month? LIke Alabama Living on facebook and don’t miss anything!

FEBRUARY 2014 33

Can we get your number? Keep your WEC information up to date in case of an outage! Our system will then use the information from you and others affected to efficiently track and respond to the outage. See the simple instructions below to update your account information today! A


Wiregrass Electric Cooperative’s toll-free Outage Reporting System makes it easy to report an interruption in service. By calling our automatic reporting system, you are able to report any outage without worrying about busy signals or being placed on hold. In order for the system to work, however, WEC needs your correct contact information. Without your current phone number, we have no way of contacting you if there is a problem with your account requiring immediate attention. When we send a broadcast message with important service information for a particular neighborhood, you will not receive the message. And most importantly, our automated Outage Reporting System will not be able to link your account with your phone number when you call to report an outage. We will be unable to track your outage, which could make response times slower. With your home and cell numbers on file, our system will use Caller ID information to immediately identify your account when you call to report an outage. With the press of a few keys, you’ll be able to verify the information and complete your report in a minute or less.

Update your number and win big! This year, when you update your information, you will be automatically entered into a drawing on April 1 for a $50 gift card. So be sure to get your phone number updated before April.

Updating your account information is easy:



or Use the convenient update form on our website at


Connect with our Member Care Team or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.

Please help your electric cooperative serve you better. Update your account today. 34 FEBRUARY 2014

“ I get to

serve my community every day I come to work.” —Johnny Hudson, Lineman 10 years of service

It began in 1939. The people of this region came together to form a cooperative that would give them a better way of life through the power of electricity. For 75 years, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative has fulfilled that mission, from bringing electricity to farmers in the

Neighbors helping neighbors, for 75 years.

1940s, to providing reliable, affordable service to the industries of today. We are still guided by a sense of tradition ... and a dedication to the values and mission of our founders.

b Have you ever had your budget busted by an electric bill that was higher than expected? b Tired of worrying about due dates for bills, or driving to an office to make sure you’ve paid on time?

There’s a better way to manage your payments. Every day, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative members are choosing to take complete control of their electric accounts by switching to prepay. WEC’s InControl program lets you pay for your electricity before you use it — making sure that you’re never surprised by an electric bill again.

Try a new way of handling things. Visit or visit any WEC office today.

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2014 35

Our Sources Say

So, who sets national policy? Y ou have probably never heard of John Beale. I had not until last November. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) employed Beale from 1989 until his retirement in April 2013. For the majority of that period, he served as the OAR’s senior advisor and, at $206,000 annually, was the EPA’s highest-paid employee when he retired. He is credited with being a lead author of the reauthorization of the Clean Air Act in 1990. He led EPA delegations to climate change conferences in 2000 and 2001. He helped negotiate emission agreements with India and China. Current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who was his immediate supervisor in her years over the OAR, cited Beale’s contributions in crafting EPA’s climate policy and leading international climate negotiations. In a memo to OAR staff on Dec. 3, 2010, McCarthy wrote, “I am pleased to let you know that John Beale will be resuming his role as the Immediate Office’s lead for all of OAR’s international work. Most of you know John well as he has been a very large presence in much of OAR’s work for over 20 years. In addition to lead roles in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the early implementation of the Act, the development and negotiation of the National Low Emission Vehicle Program, and the 1997 [National Ambient Air Quality Standards] review, John served as OAR’s lead for international work from 1990 thru 2005. Beginning in 1999, John managed OAR’s work on climate change as well as all other international work.” McCarthy further stated, “I am very excited to finally get the opportunity to work closely with him. In addition to international work, John will continue to work on various special projects for me.” She ended the memo stating, “He is supposed to be sitting in [office] 5426B of Ariel Rios North, but good luck finding him. We are keeping him well hidden so he won’t get scooped away from OAR anytime soon.” Little did she know that Beale would stay hidden almost all of the next three years. In fact, he had been in hiding for almost two decades. In December 2013, Beale pled guilty to defrauding the U.S. government out of more than $900,000 and was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison. During his employment with the EPA, Beale convinced his superiors, including McCarthy, that he was also a CIA operative whose top-secret work required him to be out of the office much of the time, including one stretch that lasted 18 months. At times Beale claimed to be on missions in Pakistan, and at others he claimed to be needed at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Va.

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

36 FEBRUARY 2014

When he traveled, he traveled well. Over an eight-year period, Beale took 33 airplane trips at a cost of $266,190. He flew first class and stayed at high-end hotels more than 70 percent of the time, often charging more than twice the government-allowed per diem. One ticket to Europe was billed to the EPA for $14,000, when the cost of coach fare that EPA employees are allowed was just over $1,000. His expense vouchers were routinely approved by other EPA officials. He claimed to be a Vietnam veteran and to have contracted malaria that required him to have a reserved parking place at a cost of $8,000 over a three-year period. He never served in the military and never had malaria. He and his co-workers were treated to a lavish retirement dinner party on a Potomac River Yacht Cruise in 2011, even though Beale actually didn’t retire. He continued to draw his salary and substantial bonuses for an additional 19 months. Ironically, the retirement cruise ultimately brought Beale down. McCarthy, Beale’s direct superior, discovered he was still on the payroll months after she had attended his retirement cruise. Beale’s crimes have brought the attention they deserve. The Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee has investigated the matter. The EPA Inspector General has said it is actively looking into the EPA’s sloppy internal controls and managements processes. The EPA announced it has worked in coordination with the Inspector General’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office to investigate Beale’s crimes, and additional safeguards have been put in place to help protect against fraud and abuse related to employee time and attendance, employee travel and a tighter retention incentive process. At his sentencing hearing, Beale told Judge Huvelle he spent most of his time exercising and gardening at his home in northern Virginia and his Cape Cod summer home. He also said he used the time trying to fine tune the capitalist system to discourage companies from damaging the environment. And that alone is the most frightening part of the story – that a public official with self-admitted self-destructive and dysfunctional tendencies and with a need to participate in excessively reckless and risky behavior was motivated to manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives because of his insecurities was allowed by the EPA to set and negotiate carbon dioxide emissions and climate policy for our country. We should be much more disturbed by what Beale was doing at work than what he was doing when he was playing spy. Who and how national policy is established can be very disturbing. The Administration uses EPA authority to usurp congressional authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and climate issues. The EPA relies on a crook, a liar, a thief and a criminal to balance the enormous amount of science on climate issues and establish national policies that could easily cost American citizens trillions of dollars. Maybe McCarthy will allow Beale to continue to call the scientific shots for EPA. He should have a lot of free time. Thank you for reading. I hope you have a good month. A

Market Place

Alabama Living

FEBRUARY 2014  37

Alabama Snapshots




My favorite vintage photo

Submit Your Images! APRIL THEME:

“First haircut”


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 Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. DEADLINE FOR APRIL: Feb. 28

38 FEBRUARY 2014

1. “My dad, Hoyt Moody, and the members of the ‘The Lone Star Buckeroos’ from the 40’s, early 50’s. The band disbanded during World War II when all the members served in the military. They reunited after the war.” SUBMITTED BY Diane Harris, Crane Hill 2. “ L i l l i e E u l i n e Halbrooks-Lee, my grandmother, in 1924, the year before she married.” SUBMITTED BY Kelly McNutt, Hartselle

3. “Burlie and Della Brown with children Dollie and Clayton, taken around 1934. The couple farmed a spot of land in Beaverton, and today their children, grandchildren and even greatgrandchildren still live on that land.” SUBMITTED BY Angie Daw, Beaverton

Wec dm 214  
Wec dm 214