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OCTOBER 2013 • POWERING YOUR COMMUNITY

Wiregrass Electric COOPERATIVE

www.wiregrass.coop

Dothan Botanical Gardens All new garden areas and events are helping this Wiregrass attraction draw in the crowds


Southern Occasions CO O K B O O K

Great for the holidays!

Venison Roast with Cajun Marinade 1 6 to 8-pound hindquarter of deer 1 16-ounce jar Creole Garlic Marinade 1 can beef consommĂŠ 1 can water

Salt and pepper to taste Coarsely chopped carrots, onions and potatoes, optional

Wash and dry meat. Trim unwanted fat. Pour consommĂŠ and water in large roasting pan. Inject marinade into meat, using all liquid. Bake at 450 degrees about 30-45 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook about 3 hours until tender. Add vegetables, if used, last 30 minutes of cooking. Alice Mitchell, Central Alabama EC

Southern Occasions

CO O K B O O K


VOL. 66 NO. 10 OCTOBER 2013

LIVING

CEO (INTERIM)

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.

ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA PRESIDENT Fred Braswell EDITOR Lenore Vickrey MANAGING EDITOR Melissa Henninger CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mark Stephenson ART DIRECTOR Michael Cornelison ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Adam Freeman ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Brooke Davis RECIPE EDITOR Mary Tyler Spivey

42 WOOF Appreciation Day Wiregrass Electric Cooperative took a day to recognize the family-owned local radio station, WOOF AM, for the services they provide to the area.

16 Heavenly park

Cheaha State Park in the foothills of the Appalachians is the state’s oldest continually operating park and home to the state’s highest point.

24 Sacred ground

ON THE COVER

The Dothan Botanical Garden is doing a lot more than just scarecrows this year. See Page 6 to learn more. PHOTO BY DAVID JONES

The world’s only cemetery dedicated to faithful coon dogs is in Colbert County, where the epitaphs on the headstones tell personal stories.

ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: advertising@areapower.com www.areapower.coop

DEPARTMENTS

NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

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National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.nationalcountrymarket.com www.alabamaliving.coop

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USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

30 34 40

Printed in America from American materials

Alabama Living

Spotlight Power Pack Alabama Outdoors Worth the Drive Alabama Gardens Cook of the Month Safe at Home

November in the Wiregrass means one thing: Peanuts! This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Dothan Peanut Festival (Page 35). OCTOBER 2013 3


Wiregrass Electric Cooperative

President’s Comments

Strong through change

Board of Trustees

Kip Justice, Board President Wiregrass Electric Cooperative

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 OCTOBER 2013

T

he annual meeting of your Wiregrass Electric Cooperative will take place Friday, Oct. 18, at our headquarters in Hartford. By now you have likely received (or will soon receive) in your mailbox the packet containing all the materials you need to register for the meeting and cast your vote in the board of trustees election. Also inside this packet is the annual report of your cooperative. It’s an important account of the progress WEC has made for you in the past several months. The theme of this year’s report is “Hometown Heroes.” It focuses on the people whose hard work and dedication to this region are the power behind your cooperative’s continued success. Every day, men and women report to work at Wiregrass Electric Cooperative with one goal in mind: to do their part to provide excellent service to our members. This gets results. The employees of WEC are a team, and they work together to provide you with a reliable source of power that moves the Wiregrass region forward. CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP Your cooperative has entered a time of transition. After eight years of service to this company, Michael McWaters recently resigned his position as chief executive officer. Mike came to WEC at a time when technology was changing many things in the electric utility industry, and he was the right man for the job. He began by recruiting talented staff members who would help him find the right solutions to our challenges and then implement those solutions. Through Mike’s leadership and the hard work of every employee, we were able to make many positive changes. One of the first ones was the transition to our AutoMeter system. That has changed the way WEC does business, taking the burden of meter

reading off our members and providing us the technology to operate more efficiently. AutoMeter has also given us the ability to develop additional services for our members. These include InControl, the prepay program that allows members to pay as they go for electric service, and advanced online tools that give members information about their power usage to help them know where to make adjustments that will save them money. The past eight years have seen many other advancements that have made this cooperative one of the strongest, most progressive electric distributors in the state and nation. This is especially evident in the areas of outage management, mapping and communications. Mike made a powerful impact on WEC. We appreciate his years of commitment and service to WEC and its members, and we wish him all the best in the future. CONTINUED STABILITY I can assure you that, because of the solid team we have in place, WEC will continue to provide the same level of reliable service. Your board has named Les Moreland as our interim CEO. Les joined WEC in November of 2005 as chief financial officer, and he has been involved with every progressive decision the company has made the past eight years. Les will balance his interim CEO duties with his current financial duties, so he will have support from our Director of Member Services Brad Kimbro. Brad joined WEC in 2006, and he, too, has been an integral part of your cooperative’s progress. While this is a time of change for WEC, you can be confident that we will continue the progress through this transition. And your board of trustees is certain of that because of the solid employees who are committed to their jobs and to our members. They are truly our hometown heroes. www.wiregrass.coop


Your Cooperative Contact Information

It’s time for Wiregrass Electric Cooperative’s

Christmas Card Art Contest

Does your child like to draw? Then encourage them to enter our Christmas Card Art Contest and they may get to see their drawing on the cover of Alabama Living Magazine! Any student in Kindergarten through 5th grade is eligible and encouraged to apply. The overall first-place winner will receive 30 printed cards featuring their artwork to mail to their family and friends, as well as a $50 gift certificate to Michael’s craft supply store. The first place design will also be featured on the front cover of the 2013 WEC Christmas Card and the December issue of Alabama Living (with credit given to the student). Second- and third-place winners will receive a $25 gift card to Michael’s craft supply store. In addition, one winner from each school will receive a $10 gift card. All students entering the contest will receive a gift. To enter, please fill out the form below or visit www.wiregrass.coop/christmascardcontest. Deadline for entries is Oct. 15. After filling out the form, please return, along with all artwork, to: WEC Christmas Card Contest, P.O. Box 158, Hartford, AL 36344. Or, you may turn in at any WEC office. Please do not fold the artwork. The winner will be announced by Nov. 9. Wiregrass Electric Christmas Card Art Contest Rules: • This contest is open to any student living in the Wiregrass area. • Only students in Kindergarten through 5th grade are eligible to participate. • Artwork must be approximately 8-½” x 11” in size – do not fold artwork. • Artwork should be of a Christmas theme. • Artwork must be an original creation of the child. • Artwork should be in color (markers, crayons, paint, etc.). • This entry form or a reasonable facsimile signed by parent or guardian must be enclosed with artwork. • Deadline to turn in the artwork is Oct. 15. • Only one entry per child. By submitting, I give permission for identification of my child and his/her artwork in WEC’s publications and website.

Student’s Name: Name of Parents or Guardian: Address: Telephone Number: Email Address: Grade in School: Teacher: Are you a member of WEC?

Business Phone: 1-800-239-4602 (24 hrs/day) Office: Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Samson closed 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.) Toll Free Outage “Hotline” 1-888-4-MY-OUTAGE 1-888-469-6882 (24 hrs/day) Website www.wiregrass.coop Find Wiregrass Electric Co-op on Twitter (twitter.com/wec2) and on Facebook

Payment Options BY MAIL Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, Inc. Department 1340, P.O. Box 2153 Birmingham, AL 35287-1340 WEBSITE Payments may be made 24 hrs/day by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and E-Check on our website at www.wiregrass.coop. PHONE PAYMENTS Payments may be made any time by dialing 1-800-239-4602. NIGHT DEPOSITORY Available at each office location. 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 Closed from 12 p.m - 1 p.m. Ashford 1066 Ashford Highway, Ashford, AL 36312

Name and City of School: (For our information only - Not necessary to enter.)

Dothan 6167 Fortner St. Dothan, AL 36305 For questions regarding sanitation service, call Houston County Sanitation Department at 334-677-4705.

For questions, contact Deanna Albritton at WEC by phone at 334-944-7406 or 1-800-239-4602; or by dalbritton@wiregrass.coop

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 5


Dothan Area Botanical Gardens begins a growth spurt Since the mid-1990s, the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens have served as a beautiful and peaceful retreat for the Wiregrass area. But over the upcoming months and years, the Gardens plan to bloom even bigger with the addition of more events and features. “We want to become a little more family-friendly,” says Connor Vernon, the Garden's executive director, longtime television and radio personality and former garden board member who took on his new position in February. “Our goal is to bring more families out to the Gardens.” An art exhibit, Christmas events with Santa, a splash park and even romantic Valentine’s Day dinners throughout the month of February are some of the ideas on tap. “The idea is to bring more people to the garden,” says Vernon,

The Mullen Asian Garden opened earlier this year and is already a favorite among patrons. It features a koi pond and waterfalls.

6 OCTOBER 2013

“especially those who haven’t had a chance to see it yet. “We have a wonderful place that too many people in our area don’t know about. When people hear about the Gardens, they have in their minds what they think it is, but it’s not necessarily right.” The Gardens, located off U.S. Highway 431 between Dothan and Headland, encompass more than 50 cultivated acres of walkways and forest paths. The property includes everything from exotic blooms to a koi pond, as well as wedding facilities, wetland areas, an heirloom garden and a meditation area. “Obviously, we have beautiful flowers,” says Vernon. “But we also have green space and a quiet place where people can enjoy a walk. For folks that have never been out here, they’ll be

pleasantly surprised.” A recent addition to the Gardens — and one of the highlights — is the Mullen Asian Garden, which includes a pond stocked with Japanese koi, as well as waterfalls and an arched bridge. The new garden, which opened earlier this year, offers a colorful spot for both curiosity-seekers and those looking for a peaceful spot for contemplation. Another popular retreat is the Southern Heirloom Garden and Walden Farmhouse, a spot which simulates an old-fashioned garden full of poppies, larkspur, roses and confederate jasmine in spring, and petunias, zinnias and black-eyed Susans in summer. In addition to the popular Rose Garden, the property includes a Wetlands Observation Deck, the Fern Glade Boardwalk, the Camellia Garden and

Visit www.d abg.co for mo m re info r m on the ation Dotha n Area Botan ical Ga rdens includ ing ma ps and a calend a r of eve nts.

www.wiregrass.coop


Botanical Gardens

the Coleman Tropical House — a 1800-square-foot greenhouse filled with tropical plants, including orchids, elephant ears and hibiscus. “A lot of these features are fairly new,” says Vernon. “A lot of people don't know about them yet. That’s one of the reasons we’re looking at doing large events.” Beginning in November, for example, the Botanical Gardens will participate in the Wiregrass Museum of Art’s Art Trail, a display of large, multi-colored sculptures by artist David Hayes. The sculptures will be scattered throughout the park and other locations, such as the airport and Troy University. The sculptures are expected to be displayed throughout the year. In addition, the Gardens will continue with its signature events, which include the Second Annual Ralph Smith Memorial Golf Tournament this fall. The tournament, named after a generous garden benefactor, takes place Thursday, Oct. 24, at Highland Oaks Golf Course in Dothan, and benefits the Gardens. But perhaps one of the most popular events is the Scarecrows in the Garden contest, where individuals, teams, organizations and companies compete to see who can create the best scarecrow out of plastic pipes. The scare-

crows are on display throughout the month of October. This year’s theme is “Television,” and can include anything from television characters to ideas spawned from TV channels, networks or anything else related to TV. The top five entries win $100 each. Wiregrass Electric Cooperative has participated in the Scarecrows in the Garden event for several years. “WEC is proud to be a long-time sponsor of this event,” says Brad Kimbro, director of Member Services at WEC. “The Botanical Gardens is a great asset for the Wiregrass, and we appreciate all Mr. Vernon is doing to make it even better.” Vernon says the Scarecrows in the Garden event has long been the signature event of the season. But the Gardens are growing, and soon more events will be added, especially if the community shows more support. “We need people to know that we are a non-profit, and we value people’s support,” he says. “We’ve been good stewards of the community, and we never can have too many members.” Memberships start at $30 and include 10 percent discounts at participating local nurseries, free admission to more than 200 botanical gardens throughout the country, a subscription to the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens newsletter and other discounts. A More than 50 acres of walkways and paths through the garden give Wiregrass residents a place to relax, reflect and enjoy nature.

The Gardens feature art as well as plants, and sometimes are even able to combine the two.

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 7


Cooperative News

NOTICE

Your WEC electric bill may soon be due on a different date Beginning this November, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative will be reducing its number of billing cycles from 15 to 4. This could affect the day your bill is due.

What: When: Why: Who:

WEC is changing the days it bills customers. This could mean that your electric bill arrives on a different day, and is due on a different day as well. Starting next month, November 2013 As more and more members are using auto draft or our prepay program, InControl, there is no longer a need for 15 separate billing cycles. Thanks to these new services, we can now serve our members with only four different billing cycles instead. This frees up resources to help us serve you better. If you are not a part of our InControl program, you may be affected. If you use an auto draft to pay your bill, you will want to be on the lookout for your new due date. If you have any questions, please call WEC at 800-239-4602.

The 2013 Annual Meeting of Wiregrass Electric Cooperative is Friday, Oct. 18 ▸ Registration and voting will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. at WEC Headquarters building on Highway 167 North in Hartford. ▸ The Business Meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. following registration and voting.

Vote by mail! Every mail ballot will be registered for door prizes including the $500 grand prize. Remember, you do not have to be present to win, so mail your ballot today!

▸ Grand Prize is a $500 gift card, plus many other door prizes will be given away!

Voting/Registration Notice

In the three Board of Trustees positions under consideration for election this year (Districts 1, 4 and 7), two qualified for District 4: Danny McNeil and Brad S. Morris. This trustee position will be decided in the election. No other candidates filed for District 1 or 7 other than the current trustees. Wiregrass Electric Cooperative met all notification requirements by informing members of the nominating procedures and deadlines. Specifically, members were informed and reminded that the cooperative’s bylaws require a person seeking a position on the Board of Trustees to submit a petition containing the signatures of at least 15 members of the cooperative who reside in their district. Such petitions must be presented to the cooperative’s CEO no later than 60 days prior to the Annual Meeting. In accordance with Article IV, Section 3 of the cooperative’s bylaws, the two persons with the majority of votes will be deemed elected as Trustees for their respective districts at the close of the Annual Meeting.

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www.wiregrass.coop


Spot Light

In October

OCT. 9, 23

‘Grow your voice’ at food and farm forums The Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (ASAN) will hold its 2013 series of Regional Food & Farm Forums on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Commercial Culinary Center in Muscle Shoals and on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Borden Farm in Ramer. Each regional forum will feature a morning of roundtable discussions on a variety of topics, including: training the next generation of farmers, community gardens, eating for good health, raising fruit and nut trees, seed saving, hydroponics and aquaculture, food preservation and fermentation, culinary and medicinal herbs and more. Each forum will also include a locally inspired lunch. In the afternoon, participants will choose from several hands-on opportunities, including farm tours, demos, and crop mobs. A crop mob is a group workday in the spirit of old-fashioned barn-raisings. For more information and to register, go to www.asanonline.org/blog/post/rfff. Registration is $5 for ASAN members, and $20 for non-members. Contact Alice Evans at alice@asanonline.org or 256-743-0742 for more information. OCT. 12 AND 13

Gun and Civil War Show set for Oct. 12 and 13 The Alabama Gun Collectors Association is sponsoring its 3rd Annual Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the War Between the States at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center in Birmingham on Oct. 12 and 13. The Civil War commemorative show is in conjunction with the fall Gun Show. The AGCA Fall Show offers more than 650 tables with new and used firearms for sale or trade. Please note that the AGCA gun show complies with all local, state, and federal laws in regard to the sale and transfer of firearms. The Civil War show will feature artifacts from the Beauvoir House and Museum in Biloxi, Miss.; the National Civil War Naval Museum in Port Columbus, Ga.; and the Old Depot Museum in Selma. Admission is $8 for adults and children under 12 are free. For more information about the show or table fees, contact Brent B. Goodwin at 205-317-0948.

Alabama Living

“Stockton Sawmill Days” event will feature wood chopping, log rolling and speed-pole climbing.

NOV. 2

Stockton travels through history for ‘Sawmill Days’ The Stockton Heritage Association will host the first-ever “Stockton Sawmill Days” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, on the wooded grounds of Baldwin County’s Bicentennial Park in Stockton. The event celebrates the community’s history and heritage as home to the first sawmill in Alabama. Step back in time to the days of logging with Musical group Kracker Dan will perform in period attire. mules and draft horses, learn to hitch a team, pull logs and load a wagon. Experience the feats of log rolling, speed-pole climbing, cross-cut sawing, wood chopping, and chain saw carving by professional lumberjacks. There will be music from Paul Tillman, the sounds of bluegrass by “Delta Reign,” authentic 1840s and 1850s music by Kracker Dan, dressed in period attire, and gospel sounds by the Fifth Generation. Visit booths of “folk art,” exhibits by the Alabama Loggers Council and much more. Arrive early and enjoy “sawmill” biscuits with tomato gravy or flap-jacks with sorghum syrup. Local fried catfish with cheese grits and buttermilk pie will be served later. For admission prices and more information, visit www.stocktonala.com or call 251-937-3738. All proceeds go to the Stockton Heritage Museum. OCTOBER 2013 9


Power Pack

Understanding Medicare essential at any age By Kylle’ McKinney Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

You may already know that Medicare is a medical insurance program for people who are 65 or older and for people who are disabled at any age. Some people are covered only by one type of Medicare; others opt to pay extra for more coverage. Understanding Medicare can save you money. There are four parts to Medicare: Parts A, B, C and D. Part A helps pay for inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and other services. Part B helps pay for doctors’ fees, outpatient hospital visits, and other medical services and supplies not covered by Part A. Part C allows you to choose to receive all of your health care services through a managed health care organization. These plans, known as Medicare Advantage Plans, may help lower your costs of receiving medical services, or you may get extra benefits for an additional monthly fee. You must have both Parts A and B to enroll in Part C. And Part D is the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.

There is a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. In 2013, the standard premium is $104.90. Some high-income individuals pay more McKinney than the standard premium. Your Part B premium also can be higher if you do not enroll during your initial enrollment period, or when you first become eligible. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, you can delay your Medicare Part B enrollment without having to pay higher premiums if you are covered under a group health plan based on your own current employment or the current employment of any family member. If this situation applies to you, you have a “special enrollment period” in which to sign up for Medicare Part B, without paying the premium surcharge for late enrollment. This rule allows you to: Enroll in Medicare Part B at any time while you are covered under a group health plan based on your own current employment or the current employment of any family member; or

Enroll in Medicare Part B during the eight month period that begins following the last month your group health coverage ends, or following the month employment ends, whichever comes first. If you receive disability benefits and have coverage from a working family member, the same rules apply. If you live in one of the 50 states or Washington D.C. and you’re already receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits or railroad retirement payments, you will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically. However, because you must pay a premium for Part B coverage, you have the option of turning it down. If you don’t enroll in Medicare Part B when you first become eligible to apply and you don’t fall under the special enrollment period, you’ll have to wait until the general enrollment period, which is Jan. 1 through March 31 of each year. For more information about Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or by e-mail at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

Letters to the Editor

Thank you so much for your wonderful article (“Marveling at Mims: The Trouble in Paradise” by Brightman Brock, August 2013) in the Alabama Living magazine! I am very sure your article helped many people around Alabama become aware of our 200th Anniversary event. We are estimating our total number of visitors at 10,000 over the three-day weekend! We had to quadruple the number of buses to transport those who, out of necessity, parked off-site. This was surely the largest number of people in Tensaw ever at one time, even more than back in 1813. Our quiet rural area had a traffic jam! On Friday, we thought there would be around 400 descendants of Fort Mims who would attend the reception we had planned for them. Instead there were 800-1000. The major goal of the Fort Mims Restoration Association is to bring recognition to this site for its’ importance in American history. After this amazing weekend to Com10 OCTOBER 2013

memorate the 200th Anniversary, I feel sure that this has been accomplished. Claudia Slaughter Campbell, President Fort Mims Restoration Association I am writing to tell you that we have had the best support from Michael Cornelison in listing and highlighting Coffee County Arts Alliance events over many years. Michael is easy to work with and our information is always accurate. As a non-profit organization, we have limited funds for advertising. Every time Alabama Living includes one of our events in the calendar, we can count on increased interest region-wide. For some well-known performers, your calendar item can bring people from outside the region to an event. So, for all the calendar items and Spotlights highlighting Coffee County Arts Alliance events over the years, thank you! Ginny Canon, Marketing Coffee County Arts Alliance www.alabamaliving.coop


This yellow dot could save your life A small yellow dot on your rear vehicle window can provide lifesaving information to emergency first responders. By Ben Norman

As the ambulance topped the hill, the first thing the EMT saw was a car beside the road with an elderly, unconscious man lying on the ground by the driver’s door. The second thing he saw was a bright yellow dot on the vehicle’s left rear window. The EMT immediately began administering first aid to the victim and instructed the ambulance driver to get the yellow folder from the glove compartment that would give him lifesaving information about the unconscious man. The information in the folder told the EMT the victim had a diabetic condition. After a quick radio call to the emergency room physician, the victim was given an insulin shot and recovered. The Alabama Yellow dot program had just helped save another life. The lifesaving Yellow Dot Program consists of placing a yellow dot decal in the lower left rear window of a vehicle, completing the information sheet and inserting it and a photo in the yellow folder provided, and placing the yellow folder in the glove compartment. First responders will know to immediately look in the glove compartment when they see the yellow dot on the rear window. Information contained in the personal and medical history section of the form will enable medical personnel to get a “jump start” on diagnosing a victim’s problem. The form also lists phone numbers of who should be contacted if there is a medical emergency. Alabama’s Yellow Dot program is modeled after one initiated in Shelton, Conn., in 2002. Lora Weaver, who heads up the program for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADEC) Highway Safety Office, heard about the Yellow Dot program and helped secure a small grant to get it started. Other agencies including sheriff ’s departments, police departments, Alabama Emergency Management Agency, rescue squads, fire departments and others became interested and an initiative began to go statewide. Jennifer Knighten administers the Yellow Dot program in Crenshaw County under the supervision of Sheriff Charles West. “We have had the Yellow Dot program for about two years and are well pleased with the results. We have had several cases where the Yellow Dot Program expedited emergency treatment,” says Knighten.

Alabama Living

Luverne Police Chief Paul Allen retrieves a Yellow Dot information folder from a glove compartment.

Sheriff West agrees. “This program is a godsend to first responders. It is not just for the elderly, as any age can become involved in an accident or have a debilitating illness. I encourage anyone to sign up for the Yellow Dot Program.” Dr. Pat Walker holds the Yellow Dot decal and packet that contains vital patient information. Emergency room physicians also strongly support the Yellow Dot Program. Dr. Pat Walker is a specialist in internal medicine and a well-respected emergency room physician at Crenshaw County Hospital in Luverne. He has also been the medical director for ambulance services in the county for 37 years. Dr. Walker knows firsthand how valuable it is for first responders and emergency room personnel to obtain a patient’s medical history immediately. “The Yellow Dot program will be helpful in any emergency, but especially in cases such as a diabetic with low blood sugar, stroke victims can be administered the “clot buster” shot, and any heart related problems where it may be necessary to give an aspirin or nitroglycerin which can be life saving on the spot. I highly recommend the Yellow Dot Program in conjunction with a medical alert bracelet,” said Dr. Walker. To find out where to sign up for the Yellow Dot Program in your area, ask your local law enforcement officer, EMA office, or rescue squad or go on line at www.adeca.alabama. gov/yellowdot. A listing by Alabama electric cooperative area is also available at www.areapower.coop.You may also contact Lora Weaver at 256-549-8142 for sign-up locations. Ben Norman is a writer from Highland Home, Ala.

OCTOBER 2013 11


By Marilyn Jones

The giant sleeps.

The stands are empty, pit area silent; the 220-acre infield is deserted. The only vehicle on the 2.66-mile track is a minibus filled with tourists wanting to get a closer look at the world of speed, danger and racing legends. But Talladega Superspeedway will come roaring to life when, for five race days a year, it becomes a force to be reckoned with. The legend of Talladega includes the men and women who dare face its wide tri-oval track and its 33-degree banking curves. Buddy Baker was the first driver to test at a speed more than 200 mph, with a 200.447 mph lap on March 24, 1970. The late Benny Parsons was the first driver to qualify at more than 200 mph in 1982 with a speed of 200.176 mph. The superspeedway holds the record for the fastest recorded time by a NASCAR stock car in a closed oval course — 212.809 mph — held by Bill Elliott set in 1987. Rusty Wallace recorded a speed of 216.309 mph, but doesn’t replace the record because it was a radio test and not a NASCAR-sanctioned event. At these speeds, the giant had become too powerful. In 1987, Bobby Allison’s car went airborne while going through the tri-oval portion of the track. Because of the fear of more cars going airborne, NASCAR imposed a 1988 rule requiring cars running here and at Daytona International Speedway to use carbonator restrictor plates. The plates limit the amount of air and fuel entering the intake manifolds of the engine, greatly reducing the power of the cars and their speed. This change led to a very competitive style of racing at Talladega and Daytona. Standing at the very top of the grandstands which seats 100,000 race fans, International Motorsports Hall of Fame Operations Manager Bruce Ramey talks about the sheer size of Talladega. “This is a 3,000-acre property,” he says gesturing toward the horizon. “And, the world’s largest campground. We can ac-

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The Legend of

TALLADEGA:

A sleeping giant roars to life on race days

More than 100,000 spectators enjoy the excitement of race day. PHOTO COURTESY TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY

The giant sleeps as it waits for the next race day. PHOTOS BY MARILYN JONES


commodate 50,000 campers in six campgrounds plus the infield. On race days the energy is unbelievable.” It was during the 1960s that Bill France decided to build a track that was faster and longer than Daytona. The track, first named Alabama International Motor Speedway, was built on an old airfield and opened September 13, 1969 at a cost of $4 million. Although drivers were leery of the track, after Richard Brickhouse won the exciting first race, Talladega would go on to host five races a year — three in May, two in October. “For some people, coming to the races is their annual vacation,” says Ramey. “They camp here; trams transport them from the campgrounds to the track. It’s a family event.” The tour bus is tiny from this vantage point; like a toy on a child’s racetrack. It slows at a patch of black and white squares; the winner’s circle, Ramey says. And then it starts a lap around the race course. “Of course it can’t get up on those high banks,” he says. “But we can. Want to take a drive?” “Yes,” I say. The giant may be sleeping, but it is still a thrilling prospect to be able to take a lap or two before the giant wakes again.

Race day action. PHOTO COURTESY TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY

Races for October are:

Oct. 19: Fred’s 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Oct. 20: Camping World RV Sales 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race

Races in May 2014 for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend are:

ARCA International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 for the ARCA Series Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race For tickets, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. Daily bus tours of Talladega are offered 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day with the exception of race week, the week following race week, New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tours start from the International Motorsports Hall of Fame adjacent to the superspeedway. The Talladega complex is located just south of I-20: exit 168 eastbound or exit 173 westbound; follow the signs. For more information visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com. A Alabama Living

Pit crews at work.


Motorsports Hall of Fame houses racing vehicles, memorabilia PHOTOS BY MARILYN JONES

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ocated next to the Talladega Superspeedway is a racing fan’s paradise, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

In 1987, Tom Gentry piloted his boat to a world superboat record speed of 148.238 miles per hour, the average speed of one full lap around the course in New Orleans, LA. His speed on the straightaways was in excess of 170 mph.

Race cars from all eras of motorsports are on display at IMHOF.

Drag racing greats are represented at IMHOF.

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Earlier this year, four men were inducted into the 2013 Class of the Hall of Fame: Dale Inman best known as Richard Petty’s crew chief for three decades; Rusty Wallace one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers with 55 career wins; Rick Hendrick the current owner of the NASCAR team Hendrick Motorsports; Don Schumacher winner of 11 NHRA drag racing championships and 196 event-winning titles. Since 1990, when 20 of the greatest legends in the world of motorsports were enshrined into the IMHOF, dozens more have been honored by being asked to join this elite group. To visit the Hall of Fame is to honor the men and women who are racers, innovators, financers, designers, engineers and builders; each shaping the world of motorsports on land, water and in the air. Today, the brick and mortar Hall of Fame is also a motorsport museum spanning three buildings and an enclosed courtyard. The collection of racing vehicles and memorabilia spans from 1902 to the present and includes race cars, a boat, plane and motorcycles. As motorsports history continues to grow, so will the facility. “Some people take a couple hours to visit the museum,” says IMHOF Operations Manager Bruce Ramey. “And there are diehard fans that spend an entire week here, coming back every day to continue their tour. There is a lot to see.” In addition to the history-making vehicles, there are display cases with personal effects of motorsports’ greatest achievers, everything from helmets and coveralls to trophies, photographs and news clippings. For more information call (256) 362-5002 or visit motorsportshalloffame.com. A

Race cars from the past century of motorsports are on display at IMHOF.

The Budweiser rocket car was the first car to break the speed of sound on land.

Quarter Midgets of America display.

The International Motor Sports Hall of Fame is the site for Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative’s Annual Meeting.

www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 15


Dating to the 1930s, Cheaha State Park is Alabama’s oldest continuing operating park and home to the state’s highest point

heaven Alabama The closest thing to

in the state of By John N. Felsher 16 OCTOBER 2013

www.alabamaliving.coop


Water cascades from a stone pond and waterfall created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

In the forest

The 392,567-acre national forest at the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains preserves a wilderness that looks very similar to when Native Americans hunted these hills 200 years ago. Now, only names on maps, undiscovered relics in the ground and items in the Indian Relic Museum recall these once thriving native cultures. Some map designations, like Shinbone Valley and Chinnabee Trail, recall great chiefs of the Creek Nation. Even the word “cheaha” comes from the Creek word “chaha,” meaning “highest point.” The name fits; Cheaha Mountain rises 2,407 feet above sea level and marks the highest point in Alabama. “Long before Europeans settled here, Creek Indians lived here,” says Tammy Power, the Cheaha State Park lodge manager who grew up in the area and traces her lineage to Chief Shinbone. “The Creeks called the mountain ‘the sleeping giant.’ It’s as close to heaven as anyone can get in Alabama.”

In the valley below, lush green vegetation indicates a land still wrapped in summer splendor, but foliage thins as the elevation increases. At mid-level, leaves begin to change, but at the crests, foliage glows with a rainbow of fall colors. When heading up Mount Cheaha in the foothills of the Appalachians, visitors can go through multiple seasons after travelling just a few miles.

Pets welcome

Guests selecting Cabin 16, one of the oldest stone cottages in the park, can take a step back in time. Dubbed “the museum cabin,” it offers rustic comfort reminiscent of the 1930s. People can bring their pets into Cabin 16. Most cabins can accommodate two people. Chalets can sleep four or more people in two bedrooms, each with a queen-sized bed. Chalets feature everything cabins offer. Some allow pets. Visitors may also camp in the park. The park offers recreational vehicle spaces with water, electric and sewer hook-ups, plus semiprimitive and primitive campsites. The primitive campground sits on the original CCC encampment.

To the mountaintop

On the Cheaha Mountain summit, Cheaha State Park covers 2,799 acres in Clay and Cleburne counties near Delta, Ala. The oldest continuously operating park in the state dates to the 1930s. With the country gripped by the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps and chartered it to build parks and other public facilities throughout the nation. The state acquired the property in 1933 and the CCC established a quasi-military camp atop Cheaha Mountain to build roads, structures and trails. The completed park officially opened in 1939, but the state added the 30-room hotel, adjacent restaurant and five chalets in 1973. “These young men in the CCC, most in their late teens or early 20s, left home to come here and work,” Power says. “Many were supporting their families during the Great Depression. They learned trades and a way of life. They made Alabama a better state. These are also the same young men who won World War II.” The CCC teams used rocks they found in the area to build 16 stone cabins, the Bald Rock Lodge, the Bunker Observation Tower and many other structures. Most of these structures still exist today, albeit upgraded with modern facilities. Guests may pick from four cabin types including some that face into the setting sun and overlook a thousand-foot drop to the valley below. Alabama Living

Built of available local stone like most other park buildings, the Bunker Tower opened in 1934 and marks the highest point in Alabama at 2,407 feet above sea level. It once served as a fire watchtower.

The highest point

Built of available local stone like most other park buildings, the Bunker Tower opened in 1934 and originally housed the park gift shop. It also provided lodging to people watching for forest fires. Atop the tower, the old Forest Service observation deck provides a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside. The CCC also built the original Bald Rock Group Lodge from stone found on the mountain. No longer used as the main hotel, the lodge can accommodate wedding parties, business conferences, family reunions, scouting events, church groups and others who want to remain close to each other, but somewhat separate from other park guests. The lodge offers 12 modernized rooms that can accommodate up to 32 people. OCTOBER 2013 17


The Bald Rock Group Lodge no longer operates a restaurant, but guests can use the full-service kitchen to prepare their own meals. Large groups can also arrange for the park restaurant to cater events at the lodge or elsewhere in the park.

Saying ‘I do’

Many wedding parties book the Bald Rock for lodging, the ceremony or reception. Wedding parties can also hold ceremonies in the Wedding Chapel or hold the reception on the restaurant deck overlooking the valley. The chapel can accommodate up to 75 guests and offers pew seating, a dressing or storage room, a piano, an organ and a fireplace. “Many people come here to get married, hold family reunions or to enjoy the hiking and biking trails,” Powers says. “Many weddings take place on the restaurant deck because it overlooks the Talladega National Forest. The restaurant deck can accommodate up to 200 people and is the number one requested wedding spot in the park because it offers such a breathtaking view.” Besides catering, the Cheaha Mountain Restaurant staff prepares three meals per day for park guests and day visitors. Many bikers ride up the mountain just to eat in the restaurant and enjoy the panoramic view. The restaurant serves outstanding steaks, desserts, sandwiches and other country cuisine. Don’t forget to sample the fried green tomatoes!

Stocked with fish, Cheaha Lake covers six acres. Laborers dug the lake by hand in the 1930s using shovels.

Fishing anyone?

The CCC dug the six-acre Cheaha Lake by hand using shovels in the 1930s. Anglers can rent johnboats or paddleboats to fish the lake. In the forest a few miles from the park, anglers may fish in the 17-acre Lake Chinnabee. The park does not allow hunting, but many sportsmen camp in the park or rent a cabin to hunt the adjacent national forest. “Many local people drive up for the day and spend time swimming, fishing or picnicking at the lake,” Power says. “In the fall, many people come up just to see the leaves. During race season at Talladega Superspeedway, about 25 miles from the park, we’re wrapped up with people. Many race fans stay here because they like the quiet and serenity of the park after the hubbub at the track. Some people pass their tickets and annual reservations here to their children in their wills.”

On the road Build of local stone in the 1930s, the Bald Rock Group Lodge once served as the park hotel. No longer used as a hotel, it can still be rented for weddings, conferences, church retreats and other group functions.

Take a hike

Behind the Bald Rock Group Lodge, the ADA Bald Rock Boardwalk Trail runs less than half a mile. Accessible to people in wheelchairs or with difficulty walking, the elevated trail terminates at one of the most scenic overlooks in Alabama. Along the way, hikers can stop to read signs describing the area flora and fauna. Several other trails wander through the park, offering various degrees of difficulty. The most difficult trail in the park, the Lake Trail eventually leads to Cheaha Lake after making a thousandfoot descent off the mountain. People wishing to make a longer hike may explore the Pinhoti Trail, which connects to the Appalachian Trail. “We are the southern connection to the Appalachian Trail,” Power says. “From here, people can hike all the way to Maine. The total length is approximately 2,200 miles. We get people come through here who have been on the trail for months. They just want a room, a bath, a nice meal and to talk to someone.”

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Within a short drive of the park, area visitors may also wish to tour the White Oak Vineyards where the park restaurant buys many wines. The Anniston Museum of Natural History displays prehistoric artifacts including dinosaur bones and Egyptian mummies. The Berman Museum exhibits various artifacts from World War II and earlier times. “I grew up in this area,” Power says. “It gets in your blood. My first memory of this park was coming here on a field trip to hike Bald Rock Trail. We sat out on Bald Rock and looked at the view. It made an impact. Now I’ve worked in the park 31 years.” For more information on Cheaha State Park, call 256-488-5115 or 800-846-2654 or visit www.alapark.com/CheahaResort. A

Cheaha State Park sits in the middle of the 392,567-acre Talladega National Forest and overlooks a beautiful valley. Visitors can hike through many mountain trails throughout the park. Much of it looks like it did centuries ago. www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 19


Is Sloss Furnaces

haunted? You be the judge Story and photos by Marilyn Jones

Are there spirits looking out the windows?

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loss Furnaces, Birmingham pig iron-producing blast furA reported 19 furnaces were built, including two by Col. James naces from 1882 to 1971, is a designated National Historic Withers Sloss, a north Alabama merchant and railroad man. After Landmark. It also has a reputation as being one of the most its first year of operations, his furnace had sold 24,000 tons of iron. haunted locations in Alabama and is listed as one of the top 100 At the 1883 Louisville Exposition, the company won a bronze places in the world for paranormal activity. medal for “best pig iron.” As I waited for the museum to open on a recent Sunday, I met Before starting out, I read on the map the process of making a couple from Ohio. The husband said he enjoyed learning about iron so that I could understand what I was looking at while, ahem, industry and how different factories worked. Nearby several young looking for previous employees. adults congregated along with a man and two young boys. “The heart of Sloss operation was a pair of large blast furAt noon, Shirley Bevels opened the naces,” the guide read. “A blast furnace gate and we all filed in. There is no adis a cylindrical steel vessel, lined with mission for self-guided tours, so everyone heat-resistant brick. Iron ore, limestone picked up a map and started to explore. and coke (which is made from coal) I had watched “Ghost Hunters” and are charged into the top of the furnace, “Ghost Adventures” from the comfort while super-hot air is blasted upward of my living room as they investigated from the bottom of the furnace. the furnaces and listened to the elec“The blast of air burns the coke, retronic voice phenomena (EVP) they leasing gases that react with the iron ore. collected and watched video evidence of The limestone acts as a…cleaning agent, spirits lingering among the metal and Sloss Furnaces, a labyrinth of industry, turns into removing impurities from the ore. Free abandoned buildings, but this was broad “Fright Furnace” every October. of impurities, the molten iron collects in daylight and there were others touring the site along with me. the bottom of the furnace, where it can be drawn off… What was there to be afraid of? “In addition to the furnaces [there were] blowers to pump the blast of air; stoves to heat the air; boilers to produce steam to drive equipment; and a network of pipes that carried steam, water and Birmingham was born following the Civil War when men of gas,” it concluded. industry decided to take advantage of the area’s rich mineral reOver the course of its history, thousands of workers lost their sources — iron ore, coal, limestone — all the ingredients needed lives here due to accidents. I could understand why there might to make iron. be spirits still lingering in this maze of metal.

Sloss Furnace and its role in Birmingham history

20 OCTOBER 2013

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The tour

Past the blower building and hot blast stoves I found myself at The first stop is the Spray Pond. Sloss continuously used five No. 1 furnace and cast shed. There are two furnaces at Sloss, but No. million gallons of water to cool each furnace, every day, to create 2 is home to the Sloss Metal Arts Program and not part of the tour. The cast shed is where the liquid iron came out and flowed steam, power machinery and cool molten iron and slag (impurities removed from iron ore). Here the water was cooled before into floor castings with a long trench called the sow and smaller trenches off the sow called piglets, which is where the term pig going through the plant again. As I turned around, the facility lay out before me. Follow- iron originated. With the exception of taking a few more photos, this was the end ing the map, I walked between buildings and down into the of my tour. And no, I didn’t encounter stock tunnel where raw materials were any spirits and I haven’t found any lurkweighed, transferred by rail to skip ing in my photographs. What I found buckets that took it to the top of the instead was a new appreciation for the furnace by steam- powered pulleys. As men who worked in this grueling indusfor ghost hunting … well, I could certry; maybe that’s the true spirit of Sloss. tainly imagine a presence lurking here, even though there were several visitors touring the tunnel along with me. Sloss Furnace turns into Fright FurBack up the stairway, I followed the nace every October. For more informamap past the boilers and around the tion, check the website at frightfurnace. end of the complex. All at once it was The furnaces are quiet, but their legacy lives on. com. quiet. I found this odd, given the numTo view television shows and other videos featuring Sloss Furber of men, women, children and ghost hunters I had encounnace, go to frightfurnace.com/hauntings. tered moments before, but I was selfishly grateful. Sloss Furnace is located at 20 32nd Street North in BirmingThe only sounds were my footfalls on crushed gravel pathways that wove their ways around this labyrinth of brick buildings, ham. For more information about touring Sloss Furnace or special massive pipes and valves, stack pipes and stairways — an unusual events, call 205-324-1911 or check the website at slossfurnaces.com. For more information about visiting Birmingham, call 800-458maze of red and orange painted metal, trimmed in rust and bits 8085 or visit birminghamal.org. A of plant life taking a foothold.

If you go:

Sloss Furnaces, a National Historic Landmark, has the reputation for being one of the most haunted places in Alabama.

Alabama is setting for hauntingly good reads If you’re looking to explore some haunted areas around the state, a number of books have been published recently by The History Press that take readers from one end of Alabama to the other in search of ghostly spirits. Take your pick: Haunted Alabama Black Belt by David Higdon and Brett Talley; Haunted Auburn and Opelika by Faith Serafin, Michelle Smith and John Mark Poe; Haunted Birmingham by Alan Brown (includes Sloss Furnace); Haunted Etowah County by Mike Goodson; Haunted Mobile by Elizabeth Parker; Haunted Montgomery by Faith Serafin; Haunted North Alabama by Jessica Penot; and Haunted Shelby County by Kim Johnston. Each is $19.99 and is available at https://historypress.net or at your local bookstore.

Alabama Living

october 2013 21


22 OCTOBER 2013

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Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 23


Sacred ground honors faithful companions Story and photos by John N. Felsher

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24 OCTOBER 2013

Mertice and Virgil Miles visit the grave of Boone, a coon dog Virgil once owned. Boone is now interred at the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, located near Tuscumbia, Ala.

hen one of Key Underwood’s closest friends died of old age, the man decided to give his constant hunting companion of nearly 15 years a proper send-off. On Labor Day, Sept. 4, 1937, Key grabbed a shovel and headed out to the woods in Colbert County of northwestern Alabama where the two spent so much time together. He selected a spot in a small grassy meadow in a thick forest near his hunting camp where fellow enthusiasts gathered for years to exchange yarns and enjoy each other’s companionship. “Key used to hunt this area,” recalls Virgil Miles, who hunted raccoons with Underwood for years. “I started hunting with Key in about 1955. He hunted up until the 1970s. He had some good redbone dogs. We had a lot of good hunts together. Key was a gentleman and a good Christian. I never heard him say a bad word.” Atop a hill overlooking Sugar Creek, Key dug a hole. He wrapped his friend in a cotton sack and buried him. After putting his friend in his resting place, Underwood rolled a stone he pulled from a chimney marking the ruins of an old log house dating back to the 1800s and rolled it over the spot where his faithful companion would remain in eternal honored repose. With a hammer and a screwdriver, the grieving hunter carved a simple inscription: “Troop 4-1-22 9-4-37.” Troop, a mixed redbone, became well known at the time as one of the best coon dogs in the region. Soon, other hunters laid their coon dogs to rest near Troop, consecrating the ground to honor the furry companions who followed their masters many a night in hot and humid or freezing wet weather through the wilds of northern Alabama. Thus, Underwood unintentionally began the only hollowed memorial sanctuary set aside specifically to pay tribute to dearly departed coon dogs like Troop. “When Key buried Troop here, others www.alabamaliving.coop


Photos (l to r): Virgil Miles and Susann Hamlin, Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau director, visit the grave of Boone, a coon dog Virgil once owned. ; Virgil Miles demonstrates how to blow a cow horn to recall coon dogs while visiting the Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard near Tuscumbia.; information sign at cemetery; some of the decorated gravesites. To hear what the cow horn sounds like, visit www.alabamaliving.coop

also wanted to bury their dogs in the same area,” explains Miles, who put two of his own dogs to rest in the cemetery. “Coon hunting is an old tradition in this area. The cemetery became well known all over the area. People took a lot of pride in trying to raise a good coon dog. The guys I hunted with were true sportsmen. They always honored their dogs.” Years later, Underwood remarked, “When I buried Troop, I had no intention of establishing a coon dog cemetery. I merely wanted to do something special for a special coon dog.” Today, the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, more commonly known as the coon dog cemetery, honors more than 300 such faithful companions like Troop from all across the nation. Open and free to the public, the only coon dog cemetery in the world sits at the end of a country road on the 31,734-acre Freedom Hills Wildlife Management Area near Cherokee where Troop and Underwood chased those rascally ringtails for 15 years. A granite obelisk near the cemetery entrance depicts a treed coon and two dogs jumping up a tree trunk to honor all the animals who rest here and the tradition they embodied. “Coon hunting has been a sport in Alabama for more than a century,” says Susann Hamlin, the Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau director. “People hunted raccoons for sport and for meat. They sold the pelts to make a living, particularly during the Great Depression. It wasn’t even Underwood’s property. It belonged to the state, but so many people asked him for permission to bury their dogs that Underwood came up with some rules.” Not any dog can be so honored in this hallowed ground. Visitors won’t find any poodles, cocker spaniels or even such other hunting breeds as beagles, Labrador retrievers or deerhounds. Nothing against those other breeds, but this sacred parcel of wilderness remains set aside strictly for Alabama Living

bona fide coon dogs. Before anyone can bury a dog in the cemetery, the owner must submit three letters of reference to the tourism bureau. First, the owner must certify that the dog is an authentic coonhound of a recognized breed associated with the sport and prove that the dog treed raccoons. A witness must back up the claim, which is then certified through a local coon hunting association before the dog can be buried in the cemetery.

Sign distinguishing cemetery.

“Coon dogs are specially bred for coon hunting,” Miles says. “They can be one of four breeds, black and tan, blue tick, redbone or walker. With the breeding comes training. Some dogs are easier to train than others. They inherit the genes from their ancestors. Dogs also learn by hunting. I always liked to hunt with someone who had a better dog than me because a dog can learn from another good dog.” If approved for burial in the sacred ground, officials mark out a spot for the owner to bury the dog. Owners may erect monuments or not. Many owners order very elaborate professionally carved headstones of granite or natural stone to honor their departed companions. Others create homemade wooden crosses or simply chisel

the dog’s name on a rock and place it atop the grave. “We have dogs from many states, including many champion dogs, buried in the cemetery, but each one is a recognized coon dog,” Hamlin says. “We average about six to seven dogs buried in the cemetery each year. Periodically, we hold a public funeral for a special dog. People have requested to be buried here, but it’s not approved for human interment. Some people have poured cremated human remains out in the cemetery. Some people become more attached to their dogs than to other people.” Some people leave photographs, dog collars, special toys, leashes, dishes or other personal mementos next to the headstones in remembrance of their pets. Some markers carry personal messages such as “A joy to hunt,” or “He wasn’t the best, but he was the best I ever had.” “The epitaphs on the headstones all tell personal stories,” Hamlin says. “They are put up by the dog owners. Some are really fancy and some very simple, but they all mean something to the dog owners. People go to the cemetery for various reasons. Dog lovers visit it. Hunters visit it. Some people just like to see unusual places. Some people have flown here just to see the coon dog cemetery. Although people visit the cemetery from all over, it’s not a tourist attraction. It’s a place of reverence – just the way Mr. Underwood wanted it!” Hamlin and company periodically cut the grass and pull up weeds in the cemetery to keep it looking nice and respectful. Her group also removes old, weather-beaten flowers and redecorates the graves with new flowers about once a year. A For more information and directions to the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, contact the Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau at 1-800-344-0783 or 256383-0783, or visit www.colbertcountytourism. org or http://www.coondogcemetery.com. OCTOBER 2013 25


Alabama Outdoors

Running with the hounds in a sport dating back centuries By John N. Felsher

Nearly a mile deep into the woods, dogs started barking excitedly. “He’s got one treed! Let’s go,” says Sam Hatton, one of the dog owners. With help from GPS systems on the dog collars telling us their exact location, we rushed off into the night as heavy fog dripping with humidity seemingly oozed up from any watery patch punctuating this wilderness south of Tuscumbia, Ala. Armed only with headlights, my son Daniel and I joined Sam, his brother Franky, and Wesley Coan to seek raccoons lurking in the darkness. As we crashed through thickets to reach the frenzied dogs, Sam and Wesley argued over whose dog first sounded the alert in a friendly, yet spirited competition between longtime friends who would do anything for the other – except let him get to a raccoon first! “Coon hunting is all about the dogs and who has the best dog,” Franky says. “Owners know the sound of their dogs and can tell what the dog is doing by how it sounds. To me, listening to dogs is no different than talking to someone on the phone. If someone I know calls me, I hear the voice and know immediately who it is. Each dog also has its own voice.” As we approached the fray, the barking and howling grew much more intense – and not just from Sam and Wesley! At the base of a tall oak tree, the leaping dogs bayed with agitated cadence to tell us that a raccoon hid somewhere in the spreading canopy and gnarled branches pockmarked with holes. We each shined our lights up the tree to spot the masked bandits. “It’s hard to see a smart old coon in a tree like this,” Sam says. “He can be anywhere looking down at us in all those leaves and branches. The dogs know he’s here somewhere. He might have slipped into one of those holes. Sometimes, coons close their eyes when the light hits them so we can’t see their eyes shining.” After scrutinizing the tree for a while, Sam and Wesley recalled their dogs to put them back on the trail of other raccoons. During the next few hours, we slogged 26 OCTOBER 2013

through the swamps and forests following the dogs as they treed several other cleaver ring-tailed raiders. “We seldom kill coons,” Franky says. “It’s about the chase and training the hounds. Hides used to bring $30 to $40 apiece, but hides don’t bring nearly as much money any more. Raccoons can live anywhere. There are more coons today than ever. More people kill coons now to get rid of them than by actually going coon hunting. Many deer hunters kill coons that get into their food plots.” The Hatton Brothers, Wesley and others who so passionately follow this sport maintain traditions dating back centuries. Most raccoon hunters started because their fathers, grandfathers and many other generations ran with the hounds.

work. Coon hunting is about being with others hunters and seeing whose dog can strike the coon first and tree it.” Most hunters train their own dogs. Some hunters pay more than $20,000 for others to train their dogs. Dogs can also learn from other dogs. Coon hunters often pair young dogs with experienced hounds. “I always liked to hunt with someone who had a better dog than me because my dog would learn from another good dog,” says Virgil Miles, an 82-year-old hunter from Lauderdale County. “On a typical hunt, we’d have two or three dogs and three or four people. We’d put all the dogs out at once and listen. We’d hunt all night. Sometimes, we’d shoot squirrels in the morning and cook them for breakfast. It’s a great sport hunting with a good coon dog. I wish a lot more young people would get out into nature more.” On private land, Alabama sportsmen can chase raccoons all year long without killing them. Sportsmen can kill raccoons from early September through the end of February each year on private lands, but seasons may vary on public properties. A

It gets in the blood “To coon hunt, someone must have a love for the sport and love for the dogs,” Franky says. “That’s just how I was raised. It gets in the blood. I started coon hunting with my father when I was four years old. His father taught him. My son now hunts with me. He’ll pass this tradition down to the next generation.” Like the sportsmen who love them, hunting runs strong in the blood and genes of coon dogs. Good dogs inherently track racWant to hear what a coons because of their breeding. A great dog with superior bloodlines could cost more cow horn than most cars. Dog trainers need only sounds hone those natural instincts, instill discipline l i k e ? and break dogs from chasing deer, rabbits Scan QR code or visit or other game. “These dogs are bred for this,” says David www.alabamaliving.coop. Crosby, a raccoon hunter from Sulligent. “All coon hunters have their own preference for dogs. Every dog is a little different. I love listening to the dogs John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer running and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s the coons written more than 1,700 articles for more than 117 a n d magazines. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors radio show. Contact him through his website at www. watching JohnNFelsher.com. the dogs


Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 27


Worth the Drive

Learn all about the tasty eats at Mossy Grove School House Restaurant By Jennifer Kornegay

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chool is back in session, and no matter your age or cur- be shared family style is there too, as is a chunky, spicy-sweet rent education level, I’d like to suggest that you get on pepper relish. The relish’s rich burgundy hue splashed atop a back to school, too, with a visit to Mossy Grove School plate of milky pale beans looks as good as it tastes. It tastes so House Restaurant in Troy, celebrating its 30th anniversary this good, in fact, that Romero has started making extra and selling December. You won’t need to bring books or pencils with you, it in pints at the register. just your appetite. Mossy Grove is best known for its Southern farm-raised catFounded in 1856, Mossy Grove School was the first thing to oc- fish, which you can get fried (whole or in filets) or lemon-broiled. cupy the original one-room structure that sits beneath two mam- Romero loves the well-seasoned but delicate flavor of the lemmoth trees, their branches dripping with silver-gray curls of Span- on-broiled fish but also favors the charbroiled chicken fingers ish moss. The large dining room, now hosting hungry tummies and the steaks. “We cut the steaks fresh in house every day,” she instead of hungry minds, was built onto the says. And the accompanying steak sauce is side in 1917. Only three years later, in 1920, wildly popular. The thin, tangy, black-asarea schools consolidated and Mossy Grove night condiment is homemade from a seSchool closed. Over the next few years, the cret recipe that Romero refused to discuss, building was used as a community center even if only to rule out guesses on ingrefor special events like town meetings and dients. “Worcestershire sauce?” “Balsamic church functions. In the ‘30s, the land and vinegar?” Peppered with these questions, building reverted back to the original estate the friendly proprietor’s face goes as blank (the family who’d deeded the land over to as a schoolhouse slate. the school), and a Mr. William Bradley lived Sweet potato fries and smoked pork chop I went with the smoked pork chop and in the school house until World War II. For compliment each other. sweet potato fries. Thick and juicy, the chop three decades afterwards, it was rented out boasts deep smoke flavor. A little cup of as a house. In its long lifetime, the space has brown sugar cinnamon butter intended for been a hay barn and a funeral home, too. fry dipping goes equally well with the pork, For the last 29 years though, it has been its sweetness cutting the chop’s saltiness. a restaurant, welcoming folks from all over The restaurant is also famous for a the Southeast with the charm of its counconfectionary creation called Mossy try-living atmosphere and the deliciousness Grove Dessert. It’s a frosty combination of of its simple, down-home food. Much of whipped cream, graham cracker crust and the schoolhouse look is still intact, includeither chocolate, caramel or butterscotch ing the stage from which Mossy Grove’s (or all three) that I didn’t have the pleasure Spanish moss drips from the trees at teachers once instructed their students. of tasting, since by 6:30 p.m. (dinner starts Current owner Katie Romero has run (appropriately named) Mossy Grove School at 5), there wasn’t a bite left on the premHouse Restaurant. Mossy Grove for six years; she bought it ises. Romero said that’s not unusual; on the from her aunt, who owned it for 15 years, and according to her, days they make it, it always sells out early, and some people are most of the regulars at Mossy Grove have been coming in to eat so disappointed, they can’t even enjoy their dinner. “I have had for years. people come in to eat and ask if we have any Mossy Grove DesThey come and come back for the fluffy, crispy hushpuppies sert left,” Romero says. “If I say ‘no,’ they leave!” waiting for them warm on the table. A bowl of white beans to One obvious reason Mossy Grove has repeat business is the food, but another draw may be Sylvia Hughes, a waitress at Mossy Get Schooled Jennifer Kornegay Mossy Grove School Grove who’s been there since the beginning. With a quick smile is the author of House Restaurant a new children’s and quicker moves dashing around delivering dishes to waiting 1841 Elba Highway, Troy book, “The Alabama 334-566-4921 customers, she’s obviously a favorite fixture at the establishment, Adventures of Walter Open Tuesday – Saturand Wimbly: Two swapping jokes with diners and even quieting fussy babies. “She’s day, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Marmalade Cats on a not a waitress,” Romero says. “She’s the waitress.” And “the waitMission.” She travels to an out-of-the way ress” could certainly teach some of the staff in other Alabama restaurant destination restaurants the true definition of service. in Alabama every month. She may be If you’re not above learning new lessons either, grab a seat by Troy reached for comment the big blackboard at Mossy Grove, and let them teach you a at j_kornegay@charter. net. thing or two about an enjoyable evening eating out. A 28 OCTOBER 2013

www.alabamaliving.coop


Around Alabama Millbrook

October 19

Angel Fest For 16 years St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church in Millbrook has been bringing together local artisans for an arts & crafts fair as a way to give back to the community and bring attention to the parish. Expect to see local painters, quilters, potters, jewelry artists and seasonal crafts. Along the way we have also added a children’s carnival, silent auction, bake sale, entertainment and Boston butt sale. All proceeds from Angel Fest are put back into the community through outreach. OCTOBER 5 • Orange Beach, 6th Annual Rubber Duck Race hosted by the Orange Beach Lions Club at The Oasis Water Park. Gates open at 9 a.m., races begin at 10 a.m. Grand prize is $500 for the fastest ducks around the Oasis lazy river. Adopt a Ducks are available for a donation of $5 each, or a “6 quack” can be purchased for $25. 5-12 • Cullman, Oktoberfest Cullman County Museum and Festhalle Market Platz Information: 256-739-1258 or 800-533-1258 www.cullmanoktoberfest.com 6 • Fairhope, Baldwin Pops Band Concert Henry George Park, 6 p.m. Information: Linde Lynn, 251-987-5757 or linde@sldsi.com. www.baldwinpopsband.com 11&12 • Selma, 35th Annual Alabama Tale-Tellin’ Festival at Carneal ArtsRevive, 3 Church Street. Opens at 5:30 both nights. Donald Davis and Bobby Norfolk share the spotlight with the Dill Pickers. Admission: $15 per night for adults ($25 for both nights); $10 for students 12 and under ($15 for both nights). Information: 334-878-ARTS (2787), info@artsrevive.com or www.artsrevive.com 11-13 • Huntsville, Fanfare 2013 Quilt Show Von Braun Center. Fri & Sat, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun, noon-4 p.m. Judged show with over 250 quilts, vendors and bed turning. Sponsored by Heritage Quilters. Information: www. hsvquilters.org 12 • Dothan, Fall FURfest Cottage Antiques, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Outdoor festival features antiques and antique appraisals, collectibles, art, homemade and homegrown goodies, a bake sale, face painting and other vendors. Event raises money for Felines Under Rescue, or FUR, helping to sterilize feral and stray cats. Information: 334-693-5277. 18 & 19 • Selma, Haunted History Tour Two-day event includes a tour of Old Live Oak Cemetery, Old Cahawba and other historic structures. Information: Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, 334-875-7241. www.selmaalabama.com

19 • Lillian, 12th Annual Barbeque & Blues Episcopal Church of the Advent, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Good food, outstanding music, silent auction, raffles and vendors. Live music performed by the Don Lewis Band and spirituals performed by the New Mount Moriah Baptist Church Choir. Previous auction items include chairs belonging to author F. Scott Fitzgerald, a “Dock Hop,” a vacation home and hunting trips. $10 for one meal. For Information call 251-961-2505 or visit www.adventlillian.org. 19 • Evergreen, 11th Annual Evergreen Sausage Festival & BBQ Cook-Off Arts and crafts, local and regional live music all day, featuring Conecuh sausage and the Alabama BBQ Association BBQ Cook-Off in downtown Evergreen. Children’s area with slides, bounce castle, rock climbing wall, exotic petting zoo, pony and camel rides. Admission is free with small fee for animal attractions. Information: Chamber of Commerce office, 251-578-1707 or www.evergreenareachamber.com 19 • Hanceville, 4th Annual Mud Creed Arts and Crafts Festival. Downtown Hanceville, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. A wide assortment of arts and crafts, judged art show, face painting, food and historical tour of Hanceville. Admission: free. Proceeds to benefit Hanceville schools. Information: Michele Allen, 256-3521214 or hanceville251@yahoo.com 19 & 20 • Cullman, Alabama Gourd Festival. Beautiful original pieces of gourd art on display. Learn how artists achieve their special techniques with many free demonstrations. Kid’s patch booth also available where they can decorate their own little gourd and take it home. Information: Pam Montgomery, 256-355-4634 or gourdzilla@aol.com www.alabamagourdsociety.org 25 • Dothan, Cane Grinding Day Landmark Park, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Experience farm life in the early 1900s with quilting, blacksmithing, butter churning and other traditional skills. Pre-registered school groups only. Admission: students $7, one teacher per 10 students free. Information: Laura V. Stakelum, 334-7943452 or laurav@landmarkpark.com

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

Admission is free and the fun starts at 9 a.m. and continues until 2 p.m. St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church is located in Millbrook just south of the intersection of Main Street and Highway 14. For vendor information contact Brenda Fryer at 334-285-0451. For more information on the Festival or to purchase a Boston butt call the church office, 334-285-3905.

26 • Atmore, Williams Station Day Along Pensacola Avenue, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Arts, crafts, live entertainment featuring The Alabama Blues Bothers, a model train show, 4th grade writing contest, heritage displays including old-time cane milling, hayrides, antique car show, food and more. Admission: free. Information: Atmore Chamber of Commerce, 251-368-3305 or www.atmorechamer.com 26 • Cullman, Public Farm Day Peinhardt Living History Farm, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Theme is the pre-electrical 1930s and ‘40s. Featuring gristmill, sorghum making, forge covered wagon rides and many hands-on experiences. Small admission charged. Information: 256-734-0850 or bjohn781@aol.com (email preferred). 26 & 27 • Prattville, Spinners 31st Annual Arts and Crafts Show and Spinners Great Pumpkin 5K and 5 Mile Races. Spinners Park, Sat: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Featuring original art and crafts from throughout the southeast, food vendors and baked goods, entertainment and children’s activities. Admission: Free. Information: 334290-1881 or spinnersrun@aol.com www.spinnersprattville.com 26 • Opp, Opp Fest Downtown Opp, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Arts and crafts, food, live entertainment in conjunction with a judged car show. Art classes for children and open house at the Opp Cultural Arts Council. Admission: free. Information: 334-208-0195. www.cityofopp.com NOVEMBER 2 • Ozark, Christmas “Life” Bazaar Hosted by Sav-A-Life of Dale County. Ozark Civic Center on College Street, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tickets are $5, children ten and under are free. Limited vendor spaces still available and sponsorship opportunities are also available. For information, call (334) 774-4419, email sidonna@savalifeozark.org, or visit www.savalifeozark.org. 2 • Lineville, Heritage Day 2013 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Family fun featuring live entertainment, domino tournament, costume contest, tractor show, quilt show, tractor

parade, pancake breakfast, wagon rides and more. Sponsor, vendor or volunteer contacts: Darlene, 256-396-1201; Tammy, 256-396-9222 or Barbara, 256-396-6143 2 • Pike Road, 47th Annual Pike Road Arts and Crafts Fair The Historic Marks House, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Over 250 exhibitor spaces featuring antiques, clothing, cookbooks, crafts, furniture, candles, jewelry, seasonal items, stained glass, wood items and much more. Admission: $5 at the gate ($3 advanced), children under 8 are free. www.pikeroadartsandcraftsfair.com 2 • Stockton, Stockton Sawmill Days Baldwin County’s Bicentennial Park, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Step back in time to the days of sawmills when logging along the Mobile-Tensaw Delta was done with mules and draft animals. Learn to hitch a team, pull logs and load a wagon. Watch professional lumberjacks compete in log-rolling, pole climbing, cross-cut sawing and more. Information: 251-937-3738 4 • Enterprise, Musical Review “Ring of Fire”. Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m. Presented by the Coffee County Arts Alliance. For more information call 334-406-2787. www.CoffeeCountyArtsAlliance.com 6-10 • Wetumpka, Alabama Frontier Days. Ft. Toulouse/Ft. Jackson Park. See the transformation from Creek Indian lands to pioneer settler homesteads and forts during the period 1700-1820. Period entertainment, music, magician and more. Admission: $8 adults, school age children $7, 5 years and under are free. Information: 334-567-3002 9 • Arab, Arab Mothers’ Club Holiday Bazaar. Arab Junior High School, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. More than 100 arts, craft and business vendors. All proceeds benefit Arab City Schools. Information: Natalie Burke, 256-738-8043 or arabmothersclub@gmail.com 9 • Robertsdale, 9th Annual Christmas Bazaar. PZK Hall in Robertsdale, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Food, arts and crafts, baked goods, gift items, door prizes, pictures with Santa and more. Admission: free. Information: 251-947-8973

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Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 29 OCOTBER


October Gardening Tips

Power Plants

Fall is perfect time to visit ‘U-Pick’ farms By Katie Jackson

d d d d d d d d d d d d

Plant a winter cover crop (ryegrass, etc.) in your garden to protect and enrich soil. Clean and oil garden tools for winter storage. Continue mowing lawns until no sign of new growth is evident. Plant shrubs and trees. Apply compost to gardens and turn compost piles. Keep bird feeders and birdbaths filled to attract migrating and local birds. Test soil and add amendments as needed. Dry and save seed. Take cuttings of tender perennials. Harvest and dry or freeze herbs for winter use. Clean and store empty pots, garden tools and equipment for the winter. Plant lettuces, spinach, turnips, radishes and onion sets.

S

According to www.hobbyfarms.com, U-pick operations are one ummer’s over and the days are getting shorter, which means it’s time to put every one of those dwindling daylight hours of the fastest growing sectors of small-farm agriculture, in part because they offer a nostalgic experience for customers. to good use, whether at work or at play. That’s something that Andy Millard, co-owner of Mountain On the work front, use some of that daylight to ready the yard and garden for winter. Remove dead plants, fallen fruits or veg- View Orchard in Chilton County, has seen firsthand. Mountain View Orchards (www.mountainvieworchards.com) etables, limbs and leaves from gardens, orchard floors and the landscape. While you’re at it, trim off weak or dead limbs from offers U-pick peaches, apples and other tree fruit from summer trees and large shrubs, especially those located close to a house or through early fall (they may still have a few apples left this month other structure where they might fall and cause damage during and they expect to have a longer season in the years to come). Andy and his partner/father-in-law, Steve Wilson, established the winter weather events. Invest some of those precious daytime hours in preparing your orchard a few years ago as a way to involve their entire family in plants for winter as well. Repot any plants that have outgrown farming. But the orchard has also been great for other families, their containers and bring in any potted plants that can’t toler- an experience that Millard finds very rewarding. “Having the U-pick allows famiate cold weather, but check to make lies to bring out the younger generasure you’re not also bringing in liztion to the farm so that they can see ards, bugs or any other surprises exactly where food comes from,” he from the great outdoors. says, noting that a number of their To prepare landscape plants for customers bring their children and winter, mulch tender perennials or grandchildren to the farm so to get newly planted shrubs and trees and out of the city and experience the deeply water landscape plants, escountry. But it also offers some of pecially new plantings, every week his older customers a way to remior 10 days until the first hard freeze. nisce and give their grandchildren Use some of that daylight to plant a glimpse of what life was like for annuals such as mums, pansies and them back when they worked on ornamental kale and cabbage for immediate beauty and color, or Ava Claire Millard, Steve Wilson, Francesca Millard and Andy family farms. Millard has also noticed that plant spring-blooming bulbs, which Millard of Mountain View Orchard in Chilton County. many of his customers are drawn to the porch at Mountain View’s won’t be pretty until next year but will be well worth the wait. All work and no play can be, well, dull, so incorporate some general store. “I see older couples approach the general store and, when they fun in your days. A walk in the fall woods is always worthwhile, spot our chairs, they head straight over and sit and sit...,” he says, but this time of year there are also some great agri-tourism activiadding that many people either don’t have front porches or don’t ties to enjoy. have the time to sit on their own porches where, as Millard says, Among these are corn mazes, U-pick pumpkin patches and fruit orchards and fall food and farm festivals, not to mention “they can sit with a breeze.” In this fast-food, tech-driven world, visiting a farm can be a those U-cut Christmas tree farms that will be opening their gates unique and long-lasting experience that, Millard hopes, also helps as the holidays get closer. Activities such as these not only are fun, they can reap some create the next generation of customers as today’s youngsters grow truly fresh fall produce, they are educational and participating in up and continue to come to the farm to purchase their food. To find such an experience in your part of the state visit www. them helps support local farmers. pickyourown.org/AL.htm. This page is worth bookmarking, too, because it offers listings of farms that have spring and summer produce as well as fall and winter items. To see a list of Alabama fall food festivals visit the Alabama Tourism Department’s Year of Katie Jackson, who recently retired as chief editor Alabama Food webpage at www.yearofalabamafood.com/events/. for the Auburn University College of Agriculture William Cullen Bryant once said of fall: “Autumn...the year’s and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station is now a fulltime freelance writer and editor. Contact last, loveliest smile.” Whatever you do with your days this fall, find her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com. ways to make you smile. A 30 OCTOBER 2013

www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 31


‘All-of-the-above’ energy strategy needed Proposal would harm rural America

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n late June, President Obama announced a series of actions to combat climate change. For electric coops, the outline hammered one point that has us ready to do battle: reducing the volume of greenhouse gases—primarily carbon dioxide—emitted from fossil fuel-burning power plants, both new and existing. To that end, the President has inJo Ann Emerson is the chief executive officer structed the U.S. Environmental Protecof NRECA tion Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon emissions under the federal Clean Air Act, a law last updated in 1990 that contains not a single line mentioning carbon dioxide. Under the sweeping mandate set forth, the White House risks shuttering the nation’s entire coal fleet—roughly 37 percent of generation capacity—and driving up electric bills for all consumers. NRECA and its member cooperatives oppose using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases and will engage the administration at every turn to inject common sense back into policy discussions. Whether you agree with the President’s underlying concerns about global warming or not, the basic fact is that short of closing all coal-fired power plants there are no economically viable tools currently available to accomplish his goals. For several years, electric co-ops have warned the Obama administration that employing the Clean Air Act to curb power plant carbon dioxide emissions is badly misguided. Without significant modifications, co-ops feel the President’s proposal will jack up electric bills for those who can least afford it—our consumermembers. Rural residents already spend a greater chunk of their income on energy than those in urban communities. One of our first missions as not-for-profit electric co-ops remains keeping rates affordable—an important consideration since household income in our service territories runs 11 percent lower than the national average and one person in six served by a co-op lives in poverty. Forcing electric co-ops to shut down coal plants and switch to other fuels amounts to levying a punitive, regressive tax on rural America. History shows us this bad idea was tried once before, with bad results. In the late 1970s policymakers were concerned the U.S. would soon run out of natural gas, the main energy source for heating and cooking in many parts of our land. Congress’s solution to the issue was passing the ill-conceived Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978, which prohibited burning natural gas to generate electricity. To meet growing demand for power, utilities were 32 OCTOBER 2013

forced to choose either coal or nuclear power facilities. For electric co-ops the timing couldn’t have been worse. The measure kicked in just as generation and transmission co-ops (G&Ts) were in the middle of a major power plant building cycle. In the end, many found themselves shifting generation strategies midstream—an expensive proposition—and either partnering with investor-owned utilities in nuclear reactors or constructing stateof-the-art coal stations equipped with scrubbers and other pollution control technologies. Thanks to the Fuel Use Act, power costs soared, and with them, cooperative electric bills. Realizing its mistake, Congress repealed the act in 1987. Yet because of the legislation, many electric cooperatives became deeply invested in coal. Today, coal accounts for about 74 percent of the power produced by G&Ts and 55 percent of all electric cooperative electricity requirements. Just like 35 years ago, the President’s call for action has co-ops once again faced with shifting fuels—in this case, choosing natural gas or renewables over coal. However, in regions without access to natural gas pipelines, changing from coal to natural gas isn’t feasible. On the renewables front, co-ops have emerged as leaders, adding “clean and green” power systems where it makes economic sense—such as solar photovoltaic arrays in the Southwest and wind farms across the Great Plains and Midwest. But the sun doesn’t always shine (clouds) and the wind doesn’t always blow, especially during periods of peak demand on hot, humid summer weekday afternoons or cold winter mornings below minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit when power is needed most. Keeping the lights on 24 hours a day, seven days a week requires traditional baseload generation—namely coal, nuclear, and hydro—as well as a full mix of fuels. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, on behalf of America’s electric cooperatives, will continue to urge the President and his administration to work with co-ops on a real “all-of-the-above” energy strategy to keep electric bills affordable for rural Americans. To sign up for more information, visit action.coop. —NRECA www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 33


Alabama Recipes

Smoothies and Milkshakes Cook of the Month: Deanna Bonagura, Central Alabama EC

Melon Smoothie ½ cantaloupe (remove from rind) 1 apple (peeled, cored and sliced) 1 cup of vanilla yogurt ½ cup coconut milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coconut extract Handful of spinach (optional) 2-5 tablespoons honey (more or less, according to taste) 2-3 cups ice (depending on how ripe fruit is)

Into the blender: Add everything except the ice. Blend until spinach pieces disappear and the mixture is smooth. Add ice and blend until smooth. Note: Be sure to know the amount your blender can hold (for smaller models, perhaps half the recipe). A high-powered blender is recommended for this recipe. Servings: 2-3

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

December January February

Cookies Soups/Chilis Pasta Dishes

Submit:

October 15 November 15 December 15

online at alabamaliving.coop email to recipes@alabamaliving.coop mail to Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

34 OCTOBER 2013

L

ast Christmas, I received a really nice blender from my parents. I was so excited to try it out to make smoothies and milkshakes, but then I got in a rut with the same old drinks, and off the machine went into the appliance garage. Well, now I plan to dust it off to try out some new recipes. My 4 year-old loves to have a smoothie for the ride to school in the mornings so maybe I can slip some greens into hers. Keep sending in your favorite recipes and remember we have three ways to submit: Online, email and snail mail. We want to know your favorite holiday traditions and memories. Find out more on page 37. Happy Fall!

Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by www.alabamaliving.coop a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe.


Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 35


Very Berry Smoothie 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries 3 ⁄ cup non-fat vanilla yogurt

⁄ cup cranberry juice 1 tablespoon honey

3

4

4

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth and enjoy. Any of the cranberry juice blends, such as cranberrypomegranate, work just as well. Becky Tomerlin, Black Warrior EMC

Yummy Fruit Smoothie 11⁄ cups reduced-fat milk 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar 2 bananas (peeled) 2

2 cups frozen whole strawberries (do not thaw)

Place milk and sugar in blender. Break banana into chunks while adding to blender; add strawberries. Blend on high until smooth; scrape sides with rubber spatula, as needed. Chill until ready to serve. Sara-Beth Turner, Baldwin EMC

Mom’s Best Orange Smoothie 1 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate 1 cup milk

⁄ -3⁄ cup sugar 1 cup water 1 teaspoon vanilla 10-12 ice cubes 1

2

4

Place frozen orange juice concentrate in blender. Pour in the milk, sugar, water and vanilla. Add ice cubes on top. Blend on ice setting until the smoothie is frothy. Try not to drink it all in one sitting. Lisa Sipper, Joe Wheeler EMC

Strawberry-Pineapple Smoothie ½ cup apple juice 2 tablespoons pineapple juice ½ cup low-fat strawberry yogurt

¼ cup pineapple chunks, drained ¾ cup frozen strawberries

Pour apple juice and pineapple juice into blender; add yogurt, pineapple chunks and frozen strawberries. Blend until smooth. Makes 2 servings Pamela Parker, Arab EC 36 OCTOBER 2013

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Calling for Holiday Traditions and Memories! The December issue will feature holiday cookie recipes, but we are also looking for a little something more personal from our readers! Have a funny holiday story? What is your annual Christmas morning tradition? Please send us your favorite holiday memory or tradition (it can be funny!) along with a photo for our special December holiday cookie theme. The deadline will be October 15. If you submit online, look for the “Submit Your Recipe” button on the right side of alabamaliving.coop. Leave your memory/ tradition in the directions portion of the recipe form, then use the easy upload tool for your photo. We look forward to hearing from you! Submissions can be submitted online at alabamaliving.coop, by email to recipes@alabamaliving.coop, or by mail to December Memories, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124

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OCTOBER 2013 37


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38 OCTOBER 2013

Business Opportunities PIANO TUNING PAYS – LEARN WITH American Tuning School home-study course – (800)497-9793 START YOUR OWN BUSINESS! MIA Bella’s Gourmet Scented Products. Try the Best! Candles / Gifts / Beauty. Wonderful income potential! Enter Free Candle Drawing - www. naturesbest.scent-team.com EARN 55,000/YR PART TIME IN THE FARM EQUIPMENT and LIVESTOCK APPRAISAL BUSINESS. Ag background required – Classroom and Home Study courses available. (800)488-7570 or visit www. amagappraisers.com PIANO TUNING PAYS – LEARN WITH American Tuning School home-study course – (800)497-9793

Vacation Rentals 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 PIGEON FORGE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, Ground Floor, Pool, Hottub, Patio – (256)601-7193, www.facebook.com/ rusticwoodsgetawaypf/info HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – SLEEPS 2-6, 2.5 BATHS, FIREPLACE, Jacuzzi, washer/dryer – (251)948-2918, www.homeaway.com/101769, email jmccracken@gulftel.com PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 BEDROOM, 2 bath house – Walking distance to parkway, light# 1 - $75.00 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)590-8758 GULF SHORES, GULF FRONT - 1 BR/1BA - Seacrest condo - King bed, hall bunks, free wifi - Owner rates. (256) 352-5721, amariewisener@gmail.com GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN / NOT A CONDO! The original “Beach House” on Ft. Morgan peninsula – 2BR/1BA – Pet friendly, non-smoking – $695/wk, (256)418-2131, www. originalbeachhouseal.com 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 PIGEON FORGE - COZY CABINS FOR Rent by Owner (865) 712-7633, vrbo. com/483181 FT. WALTON BEACH HOUSE – 3BR / 2BA – Best buy at the Beach – (205)566-0892, mailady96@yahoo. com

HOUSE IN PIGEON FORGE, TN – FULLY FURNISHED, SLEEPS 6-12, 3 baths, creek, no pets – (256)997-6771, riverrungetaway.org PENSACOLA BEACH CONDO – GULF front – 7th floor balcony – 3BR / 2BA, sleeps 6, pool – (850)572-6295 or (850)968-2170 – www. ss703pensacola.com GULF SHORES CONDO BEACHSIDE – 2 BED, 2 BATH, 2 POOLS, WIRELESS Internet, Non-Smoking, No Pets (256)287-0368, (205)613-3446 ORANGE BEACH, AL CONDO – SLEEPS 4, GULF AND RIVER amenities – Great Rates – (228)3694680, pdavis528@gmail.com MENTONE, AL – LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN – billiard table, Jacuzzi, spacious home, sleeps 14 – www. duskdowningheights.com, (850)7665042, (850)661-0678.   GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN – AFFORDABLE PRIVATE BEACH & BAY Homes, 1-9 Bedrooms, Pet Friendly Available – (800)678-2306 – http:// www.gulfrentals.com GULF SHORES RENTAL– GREAT Rates! (256)490-4025, (256)523-5154 or www.gulfshoresrentals.us GULF SHORES COTTAGE – WATERFRONT, 2 / 1, PET FRIENDLY – RATES AND CALENDAR ONLINE http://www.vrbo.com/152418, (251)223-6114 GATLINBURG: THE MOUNTAIN leaves are beautiful now. Stay in one of our condos at a special rate of $195.00 for 3 days and 2 nights total…also taking reservations at GULF SHORES and DAYTONA BEACH. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at (256)5994438. www.funcondos.com GULF SHORES PLANTATION - GULF view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850 GULF SHORES CONDO – 2BR / 1.5BA, sleeps 6, pool, beach access – (334)790-9545

WWW.VACATIONSMITHLAKE.COM – NICE 3BR / 2BA HOUSE, DEEP WATER, covered dock - $100.00 / night – (256)352-5721, amariewisener@gmail. com SMOKIES TOWNSEND, TN – 2BR / 2BA, Secluded Log Home, Jacuzzi, Fireplace, Wrap-Around Porch, Charcoal Grill. Ask for Serenity Cabin – (865)448-6810, lazyhrse@comcast.net DETROIT, AL – COTTON ROW COTTAGE – 2BR / 1BA in quiet scenic cotton valley get-a-way! 10 minutes West of Hwy 78 & 45 minutes from Tupelo, MS – Call June at (662)825-3244 PIGEON FORGE, TN: $89 - $125, 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)3631973, www.mylittlebitofheaven.com KATHY’S ORANGE BEACH CONDO – 2BR/2BA, NON-SMOKING. BEST rates beachside! Family friendly – (205)253-4985, www.KathysCondo. eu.pn GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE ON BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)333-9585, hhideaway401@aol.com PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – OWNER RENTAL – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, jamesrny@graceba.net, www. theroneycondo.com

Camping / Hunting / Fishing ANDALUSIA AREA RV CAMPGROUND FOR HUNTERS/ FISHERMEN - on Point ‘A’ Lake Nightly, weekly & monthly rates Reservations (334)388-0342, www. shacrvpark.com BOLIGEE, 230 ACRES - BIG DEER, TURKEY, DUCKPOND – Small Cabin, new equipment shed – Randall Burns, DuckworthMorris Real Estate (800)345-1810

Real Estate Sales

CABINS / PIGEON FORGE, TN – QUIET, CONVENIENT – (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, www.hideawayprop. com

GULF SHORES – GREAT CONDO BUYS, COASTAL AND INLAND – Call (251)948-8008 - www. PeteOnTheBeach.com – Century21 Meyer Real Estate

ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226

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

GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@centurytel. net, (256)599-5552

Travel

Musical Notes PIANOS TUNED, REPAIRED, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503

www.alabamaliving.coop


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

Education FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to 23600 Alabama Highway 24, Trinity, AL, 35673 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. http://www.ordination.org

Alabama Living

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

Fruits / Nuts / Berries GROW MUSCADINES AND BLACKBERRIES , half dollar size – We offer over 200 varieties of Fruit and Nut Trees plus Vines and Berry Plants . Free color catalog. 1-800-7330324. Ison’s Nursery, P.O. Box 190, Brooks, GA 30205 Since 1934 www. isons.com

How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office):

December 2013 – Oct. 25 January 2014 – Nov. 25 February 2014 – Dec. 25

-Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis -Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each -Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@ areapower.com or call (800)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.

OCTOBER 2013 39


Safe @ Home

Dove hunters: Take precautions when in the field

I

t’s that time of year again, and hunters are getting out in their camouflage and orange to hunt mourning doves. Now is a good time to review hunting best practices while staying safe and within the law. According to Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Hunter Education Coordinator Marisa Futral, hunters should stay 50 yards away from the next hunter in a field. Futral says that several hunters can occupy the same field as long as they are safety conscious and aware of those around them. Hunters are advised to wear hunter orange in the form of a cap or vest so that they can be seen easily. Birds react more to movement than they do color, so it is not mandatory for hunters to wear camouflage. Hunters should also wear ear and eye protection when in the field. Futral also advises hunters to: • Establish your safe zone of fire before the shooting begins. Never shoot at low-flying birds or toward a road, house or livestock. • Don’t shoot crippled birds; pellets can ricochet off the ground and cause injury to you, others or your four-legged friends. It is easy enough to chase down a wounded bird on foot, or bring a retriever with you if possible. They make catching crippled birds much easier, and they allow you to stay at your shooting station, where other hunters are expecting you to be. • Use common sense. This can be easy to forget when doves are flying and the shooting is fast. Unload your gun every now and then and take a short breather to drink water, water your dog and watch other hunters. The ADCNR has asked hunters to report dove bands, which are used to get data on the birds for the purpose of good wildlife management. The department uses the information for survival rates, movements and harvest rates. Hunters can help by checking the legs of mourning doves for a silver band, or “bracelet.” Reporting information is located on each band in small print. Hunters may call 1-800-327-BAND (2263) to report a harvested dove. Banded birds may also be reported online at www.pwrc.usgs.gov. A Michael Kelley is senior manager of Safety & Loss Control for the Alabama Rural Electric Association.

40 OCTOBER 2013

Randy Glaze is manager of Safety & Loss Control for the Alabama Rural Electric Association.

STAYING WITHIN THE LAW:

Hunters may hunt doves on, over or from: A Lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as the result of normal agricultural operations, which include normal agricultural harvestings, normal agricultural post-harvest manipulations, or normal agricultural practices. A Lands planted by means of top-sowing or aerial seeding where seeds have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, a planting for agricultural soil erosion control, or a planting for post-mining land reclamation. A Lands or areas where grain or feed has been distributed or scattered solely as the result of the manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed on the land where grown. A Standing crops. A Lands planted as wildlife food plots, provided the seed is planted in a manner consistent with Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service recommendations for the planting of wildlife food plots. In states without Cooperative Extension Service recommendations for the planting of food plots, the seed must be planted in accordance with Extension Service guidelines for producing a crop. A Lands planted as pasture improvements or for the purpose of grazing livestock. (The Fish and Wildlife Service will not make a distinction between agricultural fields planted with the intent to gather a crop and those planted without such intent provided the planting is carried out in a manner consistent with the recommendations of State Extension Specialists). A Standing or manipulated natural vegetation. A A blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with natural vegetation. SOURCE: THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Get Certified

If you were born on or after August 1, 1977, you must complete an approved hunter education program before being eligible to hunt. To take the course online, visit Hunter-Ed. com or HUNTERcourse.com.

www.alabamaliving.coop


Event will help you train your ‘Gentlemen’s Gundog’ The Alabama Wildlife Federation will present Gusto Gundog Field Days October 24-26, at the Gusto estate near Hayneville. World-renowned trainer Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels of Oxford, Miss., which specializes in producing classic English Labrador hunting and adventure companions, will conduct the training. “We plan to be very flexible at this event with enough trainers on hand to take care of the owner’s needs,” Stewart says. “We will customize our training curriculum to meet the needs of each dog while keeping the owner’s expectations in mind.” The training is open to all breeds at all levels, started to finished. The key focus will be on seven basic skills that owners must have to develop a wingshooting, destination, gamefinding, sporting dog. Stewart says the training “is the only one of its kind designed to train a dog for duality — so that a dog is prepared to go anywhere, any time for any type of wingshooting or outside adventure.” Duality, Stewart says, “is a newer term that means a dog with a dual purpose —one that has two different wingshooting disciplines. It’s a dog that retrieves and fetches quail, strikes and flushes pheasant and ducks and doves, but also is cross-trained to do other types of sporting activities (fly fishing, kayaking, mountain biking). “’Gentlemen’s Gundog’ is a proprietary term I coined in the 1990s that depicts the type of dog Wildrose Kennels turns out for the market. It combines gamefinding abilities with compatibility. It’s a lifestyle dog rather than just a sporting dog — a wingshooting destination companion that is as compatible in the field as in the home.” The breeds of dogs best suited for the event are those that have superior compatibility with a quiet temperament and a Alabama Living

strong identity with their owner and family, Stewart says. “These include short hairs, spaniels, English setters, retrievers and labs. Dogs that are strictly high-end pointing breeds with no compatibility will not be effective at this event. The perfect dog is one that points, backs, retrieves and hangs out with the family.” In addition to hands-on instruction, participants will receive 2 DVDs, a 265page book for reference and follow-up, and one free membership to the Alabama Wildlife Federation. Register at www.alabamawildlife.org/gusto-gundog. To learn more about Gusto Gundog Field Days, go to AWF’s website at www.alabamawildlife. org or call 334.285.4550. The Alabama Wildlife Federation, established by sportsmen in 1935, is the state’s oldest and largest citizens’ conservation organization. The mission of the Alabama Wildlife Federation, a 501©3 nonprofit group supported by membership dues and donations, is to promote conservation and wise use of Alabama’s wildlife and related natural resources as a basis for economic and social prosperity. A

Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time. a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major

OCT.16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 NOV. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

08:07 08:52 10:07 11:22 ---01:37 03:22 04:22 10:52 11:22 --07:52 08:22 08:16 09:01 09:46 11:01 ---01:31 03:01 09:16 10:01 10:46 11:31 07:16 08:16 09:01 10:01 11:01 --12:46 02:46 08:46 09:31 10:16 10:46 11:16 11:46 07:31 08:01

01:07 01:52 02:37 03:22 04:22 05:37 07:07 08:22 09:22 10:22 05:22 05:52 06:37 07:07 12:52 01:22 01:01 01:31 02:01 02:46 03:46 04:46 06:01 07:16 08:31 04:01 04:46 05:46 06:31 12:01 12:46 01:31 02:16 03:16 04:01 05:16 06:31 07:46 03:46 04:46 05:16 05:46 06:31 07:01 12:16 12:46

01:22 02:07 02:52 03:37 09:07 10:52 09:07 09:52 03:52 04:22 04:52 05:07 12:07 12:22 12:52 01:22 01:01 01:31 02:16 03:31 07:46 07:46 08:16 08:46 02:31 03:01 03:31 04:16 -12:16 01:01 02:01 03:01 04:31 10:16 07:31 01:31 02:01 02:31 03:01 03:31 04:01 04:31 -12:31 01:01

06:37 07:07 07:52 08:22 12:52 02:07 02:52 03:37 10:22 10:52 11:22 11:52 12:22 05:52 06:07 06:37 06:01 06:31 06:46 07:16 12:01 01:01 01:31 02:01 09:31 10:01 10:46 11:16 04:46 05:31 06:01 06:46 07:31 08:31 12:01 12:46 08:31 09:01 09:31 10:16 10:46 11:16 11:46 04:46 5:16 05:46

OCTOBER 2013 41


Wiregrass Electric Cooperative thanks WOOF Radio at ANNUAL APPRECIATION DAY Wiregrass Electric Cooperative held its annual appreciation day for WOOF Radio employees at the station offices in Dothan on Aug. 21. Cooperative employees praised the station employees and their longstanding commitment of working hand-inhand with emergency management officials and WEC during severe weather and power outages. “We like to show our media — our local guys who help us in so many ways and help us get the message out — just how much we appreciate them,” says Brad Kimbro, director of member services for WEC. “It just builds a good relationship. They know we truly care about them, and that we truly appreciate them. And when we need them, they’re there for us.” WOOF Radio, which started in 1947, is family-owned and operated and one of a dwindling number of radio stations in the country that still offers a 24-hour news team and extensive local weather coverage. That kind of mentality may seem strange in a business where the community good often loses out to the bottom line, but the WOOF family wouldn’t have it any other way. Leigh Simpson Thomas, whose family owns the station, says WOOF protects its mission to serve the community. “Money’s not everything,” she says. “We’re here to serve our community.

It’s a vital part of what we do. It’s very important.” The station also protects its close working relationships with emergency management officials and WEC, so that when severe weather hits, the community will be informed and protected. “Whenever we have weather that affects the Wiregrass, having a close relationship with Wiregrass Electric means that we get the information out to the people a lot faster than we would normally,” says Amy Dee, co-host of the morning show on WOOF FM-99.7. The WOOF family is also proud of the relationships they have fostered with Wiregrass Electric. “They’re a very community-oriented company,” says Thomas. “They have a lot of the same philosophies as we do. They’re an important part of the community. They are here to help their fellow human beings. We’re in it together as human beings.” Thomas also says WEC employees

are quick to call with updates about weather and downed power lines. “They’re amazing,” she says. “When the weather’s bad and we’re trying to get the news out to our listeners, they’re here feeding us press release after press release. Brad’s over here on the phone telling us what’s going on.” General Sales Manager Hal Edwards agrees. He says that’s why he is quick to foster the station’s relationship with WEC. Edwards, who has been in radio for more than 20 years, has recorded several public service announcements and other volunteer services for WEC, including the powerful voiceover for the video, “God Made a Lineman.” “We take care of our friends,” Edwards says. “You know how clients become friends when you both do what you say you’re going to do? That’s what happened.” A

THE VOICE OF WEC - Hal Edwards (right), general sales manager at WOOF radio, has been the voice of WEC commercials, radio spots and phone recordings for years. Recently, he helped WEC make a tribute video for our line crews called “God Made a Lineman.” So far, it’s gotten over 15,000 views! Visit www.wiregrass. coop/godmadealineman to see the video.

42 OCTOBER 2013

www.wiregrass.coop


For the love of a legume: The National Peanut Festival celebrates its 70th year Forget the foliage. Autumn’s biggest draw in the Wiregrass is the peanut. In November, the National Peanut Festival gets underway in Dothan. Last year, more than 175,000 people attended the 10-day festival, which is one of the largest fairs in the state. This year, the festival promises more entertainment than ever before, with concerts, carnival rides, a parade, food, livestock exhibits and competitions, a petting zoo and family-friendly shows. New events include a Kids’ Zone, a jousting show, a bicycle acrobatics show and giant fishing tank where the public can learn to fish using catch-and-release techniques. “Agriculture is the roots of this community,” says James Etheredge, president, National Peanut Festival. “Peanuts are still one of the primary agricultural products of this area. Fifty percent of the peanuts in the U.S. are produced in a 100-mile radius of Dothan.” Over the years, the National Peanut Festival has become a gathering place for family and friends to reunite, Etheredge says. Family reunions are often held on the grounds, and old friends tend to meet up during the course of the event, giving the big festival a small-town feel. “It’s a big social event, and we’ve expanded,” Etheredge says. “But we haven’t lost our roots.” But a festival of its size can’t happen without support from the community, he says. Much of the hard work comes from the roughly 400 volunteers, who put in more than 12,000 hours of time into the project. Country musician Easton Corbin and the contemporary Christian crossover band, Needtobreathe, will also perform at the event. At the Peanut Pavilion, the public can sample peanuts and peanut products, as well as learn how peanuts grow. Etheredge says the event started in 1938 as a way to celebrate the importance of the peanut and peanut farmers who allowed the region to thrive after the boll weevil destroyed cotton crops in the earlier part of the 20th century. During World War II, the festival went on hiatus as the country devoted its resources to the fight. But the celebration eventually resumed. The event also relies heavily on community businesses, such as Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, which Etheredge says has always been a great partner in the community. “We’ve worked a lot with Wiregrass Electric over the years, and they’re good people,” he says. A

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 43


Our Sources Say

Climate change: Science or politics

A

lthough he didn’t say it, President Obama clearly declared a war on coal in a speech June 26 at Georgetown University. He stated he would take action on climate change because the issue was too critical and the damage too acute to wait on Congress to act. He said he had instructed EPA to implement rules to control carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electric generating plants. He stated we didn’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society and that he doesn’t have patience for anyone who denies the reality of climate change. He stopped short of saying climate change is the result of anthropogenic (man-made) carbon dioxide, but the implication was clear – burning coal is increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise. Despite a 50 percent increase in global carbon dioxide since 1990 (U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have dropped to 16 percent of total global carbon dioxide emissions), it appears the climate has not changed dramatically. Inconveniently, annual global temperature has remained statistically unchanged for the past 17 years. President Obama stated that July 2012 was the warmest month in the warmest year on record. What he didn’t say was the warmest temperature was not the hottest temperature on record. Rather, the July 2012 night temperatures were slightly less cool than the next warmest year in the 1930s. Even Phil Jones with the UK’s Climate Research Unit, one of the most outspoken climate change alarmists, admits global temperatures have increased only 0.12C per decade over the past 17 years, which is not statistically significant with a measurement uncertainty of 0.5C (four times the temperature change). President Obama stated more than once in his speech that “97 percent of scientists acknowledge the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it.” His comments relate to the study authored by J.D. Cook, “Quantifying the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming in the Scientific Literature,” based on surveys of paper abstracts. It was not mentioned that, weeks

after the study, Cook admitted that only 1.8 percent of the authors expressed an opinion in the abstracts. So the actual count of scientists is 97 percent of 1.8 percent. President Obama also stated that Arctic ice is receding quickly, and we must act before it is completely gone. What he didn’t say was that Arctic ice was not tracked by satellite data until 1979, so the sample size is still extremely small. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported last year there was 28 percent more Arctic ice than in 2007 and that Arctic temperatures were higher in the 1930s. Others, like Al Gore, have consistently stated that climate change has caused more and stronger hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts and floods. Data recorded by Dr. John Christy at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and confirmed by NOAA establish there are fewer and less severe hurricanes and tornadoes in this century than in other eras. Also, there is no scientific evidence that droughts and floods are any more frequent or severe than in other periods. President Obama also carries his attack on carbon dioxide emissions on political grounds. He refers to “carbon pollution,” although life is impossible without carbon dioxide. He used the term “carbon pollution” at least 20 times in his Georgetown speech to correlate carbon dioxide emissions with the alleged damage of climate change. If the President can move the political bar of public opinion against carbon dioxide emissions by painting it with the brush of carbon pollution, he can bring pressure on electric utilities that burn coal to agree to a tax on carbon emissions. The carbon tax, of course, solves many problems for the President. The interests of the environmental left are served with the carbon tax, which theoretically reduces carbon dioxide emissions and also raises tax revenue for government spending programs. It appears climate change is now much more a political issue than a scientific issue. And, who knows what happens in politics. Thank you for reading. I hope you have a good month. A

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

44 OCTOBER 2013

www.alabamaliving.coop


Market Place

Alabama Living

OCTOBER 2013 45


Alabama Snapshots 2

1

4

7

My favorite electric appliance

3

Submit Your Images! DECEMBER THEME:

“Christmas morning”

SUBMIT PHOTOS THROUGH OUR WEBSITE: alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ OR SEND COLOR PHOTOS WITH A LARGE SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE TO:

Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL, 36124 RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. DEADLINE FOR DECEMBER: October 31

46 OCTOBER 2013

1. W i s h b o n e ’ s f a v o r i t e appliance on a hot summer day SUBMITTED BY Amenda Pope, Elba 2. Hadley Hinds, 12, with her electric pea sheller SUBMITTED BY Sandy Hinds, Bremen

3. “In 1950, my aunt Dorothy Wilhelm received a new We s t i n g h o u s e r o a s t e r oven. I have had it the past 15 years and it is the only oven I have in my home and it works like new at 63 years old,” according to Mary Ann Gove. SUBMITTED BY Mary Ann Gove, Cottonwood, Arizona 4. Hannah Starnes, 6, with the WaffleCone Express SUBMITTED BY Sarah Hallman, Autaugaville www.alabamaliving.coop


Cast your vote for the

F BEST O A ALABAM

Best of Alabama for a chance to win

250

$

Deadline to vote is Oct 15, 2013.

Please tell us your favorite in each of the categories that you’ve experienced: 1) Public garden

11) Non-franchise restaurant

___________________________________ 2) Currently performing Alabama Band

___________________________________ 12) Place to satisfy your sweet tooth

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___________________________________ 13) Golf course

3) Alabama writer ___________________________________

___________________________________ 14) Mountain destination

4) State park ___________________________________

___________________________________ 15) Local performing arts site

5) Historical site ___________________________________

___________________________________ 16) Beach destination

6) Alabama made product (brand name) ___________________________________ 7) Kid friendly vacation destination

___________________________________ 17) Weekend getaway

___________________________________ 8) Antique/flea market

___________________________________ 18) Lake

___________________________________ 9) Annual festival

___________________________________ 19) Public fishing spot

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___________________________________ 20) Best kept secret in Alabama (location or business)

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PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY

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VOTE ONLINE www.alabamaliving.coop

Address: ____________________________ City: _______________ St: _____ Zip: _________ Phone Number: ______________________ Co-op: ___________________________________

Please mail to: Alabama Living Survey • P.O. Box 244014 • Montgomery, AL 36124 No purchase necessary. Eligibility: Contest open to all persons age 18 and over, except employees and their immediate family members of Alabama Rural Electric Association, and Alabama Electric Cooperatives; and their respective divisions, subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising, and promotion agencies.


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