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HARTSELLE LIVING September/October 2019 $ 4.95









                                                                                                                                                               Jeb  Hornsby,  MD                                                                  Lori  Henry,  CRNP                                                                    Sheli  Ward,  CRNP                                                                

We have set up our clinic with you, our patient, in mind. To better serve you and your schedule, we have daily appointments available as well as allowing time for walk in patients. Let us be your Family Physicians and your Acute Care Clinic.

                                              Services Provided: • Primary Care and Chronic Disease Management • Women’s Health and Hormone Testing • Botox and Xeomin Treatment • Weight Loss Program • On Site X-Ray • Stitches • Minor Skin Procedures • Care for Strains, Sprains, and Minor Fractures •

(Left to Right) Stephani Knott, Hannah Wiley, Courtney Taylor, Cheyenne Crowe, Meagan Oliver, Kelley Thompson, and Alex Smithson.



HARTSELLE LIVING September/October 2019 4.95 $








In most issues of Hartselle Living, we try to feature a variety of stories – stories that fall under different themes. We might have an education feature, a business feature and a food and drink feature, or we might have an arts feature, a community service feature and a religion feature. One thing that is really fun, however, is when those category lines start to blur and intersect. That’s what you’ll find in this issue. After all, we know things are so rarely black and white: Hobbies become side hustles, careers become nonprofit passions, personal dreams impact communities and community innovations give rise to individual accomplishments. It’s in seeing an element of life transform and become so much more that we realize how intricate our lives really are. Our arts and culture feature in this issue tells of Rachel Howard’s love for people and her desire to capture their beautiful and most candid moments. Photography was once just a dream for the dog-mom and Hartselle graduate, but now it’s a flourishing business. Rachel is our cover for this issue, and she is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Tom and Leigh Chappell share their story in our Home & Style section - the Hartselle couple have renovated their home that is a former parsonage and they said they’ve built up their marriage in the process. Our food and drink section features a Hartselle mainstay: The Freight House Restaurant. Hartselle Living contributor Constance Smith also shares tips on how to ferment different kinds of foods. You see what I mean. Hartselle people are talented, full of passion and ambition. Their pursuits can’t be boxed in or easily defined. We hope you enjoy this beautiful issue filled with the stories of beautiful people and what they’re up to – how they are making Hartselle a better and more beautiful place.



Rachel Howard is a wife, dog-mom, hospice nurse and photographer. Turn to page 32 for her story. 4 Hartselle Living


HARTSELLE LIVING STAFF Editorial Rebekah Martin Alison James Lauren Jackson Contributors



Constance Smith Jennifer L. Williams Clif Knight Jodi Hyde Rachel Howard Marketing Tori Waits Jennifer Weddington Administration Beth Jackson



CONTACT US Hartselle Newspapers, LLC 407 Chestnut St. NW P.O. Box 929 Hartselle, AL 35640 Phone: 256-773-6566 Fax: 256-773-1953 info@hartselleliving.com Hartselle Living is published bimonthly Hartselle Newspapers, LLC. A one-year subscription to Hartselle Living is $16.30 for 6 issues per year. Single copies are available at select locations throughout the Hartselle area. To advertise or to get more copies, call 773-6566. Copyright 2019 by Hartselle Newspapers, LLC





Chappells build their marriage while renovating former parsonage

FOOD & DRINK 28 RAILROAD RESTAURANT The Freight House serves up favorite eats

Part-time hobby becomes Hartselle woman’s thriving business


Hartselle roots run deep for Reeves family


Alison James earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at Auburn University, graduating in 2012. She began her career in community journalism in Alexander City and Dadeville, followed by a stop in Opelika before landing in north Alabama. She loves sharing the stories – and correcting the grammar of those stories – of the people and places that make north Alabama such a special place.


Lauren Jackson is a 2018 graduate of Jacksonville State University and was first published when she was 16 years old. Originally from Sardis, she moved to north Alabama a year ago. Lauren and her best friend, Josh, will celebrate one year of marriage in November. In her free time she enjoys reading, knitting and playing fetch with Jax, her 75-pound lapdog.


Clif Knight is a Lineville, Ala. native and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force having served from 1953-57. His resume boasts of various stints at newspapers and media outlets in Alabama and Mississippi. He is a former part owner and editor of the Hartselle Enquirer as well as the mayor of the City of Hartselle serving a four-year term from 2000-04. Knight has been married to Geanell for 63 years and they have three adult children, three granddaughters and one great granddaughter.


Constance Smith is a lifestyle blogger and YouTuber at CosmopolitanCornbread.com. After 25 years of Army family life, Constance has planted roots here in Hartselle. She now homesteads on her small farm, where she raises heritage breed animals and is focusing on permaculture gardening. In her spare time she enjoys photography, art, kayaking and other outdoor sports.

JODI HYDE, photographer

Jodi Hyde has a genuine love for the Lord and tries to shine His light in everything she does. She is an encouraging wife to a youth pastor, and a loving mother to three, as a well as a Sunday school teacher. Jodi loves outdoor activities and spending quality time with her family. As a photographer, Jodi manages to freeze life’s precious moments and capture them on camera. She loves meeting new people and being creative through her photography business. Hartselle is her hometown, and is currently where she resides, and where she loves to serve in the community.

RACHEL HOWARD, photographer

Rachel Howard is a Hartselle native who is proud to own and run a business in her hometown. She graduated from Hartselle High School in 2010. She pursued her nursing degree at Wallace State Community College and graduated as the August 2013 Nursing Class President. After working in the nursing field for several years, she decided to pick up a camera – which led her to fulfill her passion of photography. Capturing moments on camera allows her to give the gift of memories, and that makes her soul smile. She is an avid fitness-lover and teaches spin classes as a side hobby. She enjoys singing, slow boat rides with her husband Nick and being a dog mom to Ralphie and Bud. 6 Hartselle Living




SEPT. 21 Depot Days Festival is the biggest event of the year. An estimated 19,000 attended last year. On Saturday the activities include tractor show, car show, art show, vendors, live music, food and so much more. There is no cost to attend. Hartselle Living 7


Hartselle Tigers

Football Schedule Aug. 23 – at Austin Aug. 30 – Brooks Sept. 6 – at Athens Sept. 13 – Muscle Shoals Sept. 20 – Open Sept. 27 – at Briarwood Christian Oct. 11 – Decatur Oct. 18 – at Cullman Oct. 25 – Hazel Green Nov. 1 – at Scottsboro

Music Trivia at Bentley’s SEPT. 3, 10, 17, 24 7-9 P.M.

25th Annual Riverfest BBQ and Music Fest Point Mallard Park in Decatur SEPT. 13-14

Bingo at American Legion SEPT. 7, 14, 21, 28 6:30-9:30 P.M.

Depot Days Downtown Hartselle SEPT. 21

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Hartselle Half Marathon Quail Creek Golf Resort and Conference Center SEPT. 21 7 A.M.

Sixth Annual Ranch Rodeo No Fences Cowboy Church OCT. 9 9 A.M. TO 5 P.M.

Illuminate the Soul Ladies Event West Hartselle Baptist Church OCT. 17 6 P.M. The Illuminate the Soul Ladies Event will feature Racheal Lovinggood, with music by Escape and dinner catered by Freight House. Childcare will be provided. Make reservations by calling 256-773-6086

Second Saturday Cruise-in Historic Downtown Hartselle OCT. 12 5-8 P.M. Hartselle Living 9


Tag @hartselle_living_mag in Hartselle photos on Instagram, and the Hartselle Living staff will choose four favorites to regram and publish in each issue.

@kj.hodges Had so much fun celebrating this sweet, little, bride-to-be! I can’t believe my little sister is going to be a wifey!!


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@linda_maddison_britt Alabama...I love you and your sunsets

@hartselleunited Jurassic World @somervilleplayhouse


RANCH-STYLE RENOVATION Chappells build their marriage while renovating former parsonage STORY BY JENNIFER L. WILLIAMS PHOTOS BY TOM CHAPPELL Hartselle Living 11


Home renovations can test the strongest of marriages, but Tom and Leigh Chappell of Hartselle prove that conquering this common stressor can not only strengthen a relationship but can also produce an amazing, one-ofa-kind home in the process. “It’s been a lot of sweat equity, for sure,” said Tom, “but we haven’t fussed too much with each other.” Their renovation journey started not long after the couple married 15 years ago – a second marriage for both. Their newly-combined family of six rented space above The Robin’s Nest in downtown Hartselle for their first year of marriage. The couple said they loved the details and the old bones in the space, and they brought that appreciation with them to their new home on Higdon Road in 2005. Their new home was not new, however, and was far from their idea of a dream home, but their shared vision for the former parsonage of Hartselle’s First United Methodist Church brought them together in ways they said they had not even imagined. “We heard from some friends who were members there that the church was going to sell the parsonage,” said Tom, a former Hartselle city councilman who took over as the city’s Parks and Recreation director in 2016. The 1970s-style ranch on two acres “didn’t have a lot of curb appeal.” “There was nothing wrong with the house,” added Leigh, who serves as the executive director at the Housing

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Authority of the City of Hartselle. “It was just not the best use of space for our family.” So before they moved, the Chappells hired a contractor to help create a larger, more functional kitchen open to the dining and living areas and to enclose a drive-through carport to create a sun porch. Tom and Leigh took it from there. “Other than the original contractor, we have done all the work ourselves,” says Tom. “Our friend Mark Hendrix has been a big help, as well. We only had one problem – an electric issue – that stumped us, so we hired an electrician for that, but that’s about it.” Tom learned much about home renovation from his father, an engineer. “I know it makes my dad proud to see me using the skills he taught me all those years ago.” Their home has been “a 14-year work in progress,” said Tom. “We’ve probably changed every room in the house at least once. We are bad to watch HGTV and say, ‘I like that! Let’s do that next!’” One thing the couple agrees on is the style of their home – lots of reclaimed wood, metal accents and farmhouse-style touches made popular by shows like HGTV’s Fixer Upper. They also both love using found items to help personalize their space. “We don’t really go to flea markets or anything to search out things,” said Tom, “but we love seeing things and thinking, ‘That would make a great …’ and then doing it.” They used wood pallets to create the bar area next to the master bedroom, and reclaimed wood from an old fence on Leigh’s father’s property has been used in several areas of the home, including rolling barn doors that can hide the large television on the side sunporch. “It just thrills Dad to see what Hartselle Living 13

we’ve done with that old wood,” said Leigh. The expansive master suite was created from the former pastor’s office, which had a separate entrance, a hallway bathroom and an extra room that had been used at one point as a child’s bedroom. Now that side of the house boasts a large bedroom, a nicely-sized master bath and a huge walk-in closet – “one of those projects that’s not done yet,” said Tom. Their latest project involved closing in and expanding the back porch – the couple’s new favorite feature of their house. “It started out as being a screened-in porch,” said Tom, but it has evolved into so much more, now boasting two televisions – including a monster 150-inch projector television – lots of seating, a game table and a bar 14 Hartselle Living

Hartselle Living 15

This will be our second football season with the new space, and we are so looking forward to having family and friends out here to enjoy it! - Leigh Chappell

with four taps that dispense Tom’s own home brew. The bar top was created from an oak tree that fell in a storm. “It’s an adult playground,” said Leigh. “This will be our second football season with the new space, and we are so looking forward to having family and friends out here to enjoy it!” Two small church pews on the porch hint at the home’s time as a parsonage. “We were told the pews were original to the church, so they are more than a hundred years old,” said Leigh. “We just found them outside under one of the trees after we moved in.” The back porch renovation spilled out into the backyard, which now has a bocce ball court lit with decorative strings of globe lights and framed by old metal porch rails – another repurposed item. “We are constantly thinking of things to add and what we want out there,” Tom said. Tom was in the landscape business for a while, and it shows. “Since we moved here, we have stripped every tree and shrub except for about three trees, and one of those trees has died since,” he said. “We counted up and have planted 60 trees, countless shrubs and no telling how many other plants in this yard over the years.” Most recently the couple removed the front landscaping to make way for another project. “We had to paint the house and could not do it with the plants where they were. So, it’s a work in progress – again,” said Leigh. Plans for the front include hanging a “new” old front door they found, adding a portico or overhang and re-landscaping the front courtyard. There are also ideas floating around for a garage.

Buying, Selling, Relocating? Call me Jade Chowning 256-503-1289

jade.remaxplatinum@gmail.com @sweethomenorthalabama 296996-1

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The Chappells said their friends and family recognize their passion for renovation. “Every time the kids come over, they ask what we’ve done differently now,” Leigh joked. Tom said at this point, “structurally, we are happy with where we are. We plan for this to be our forever home.” The couple agrees several projects around the house remain about 90 percent finished. Unlike a new home, everything was mis-matched – hinges, knobs, even outlet covers. “It’s something you take for granted in a newer house,” said Leigh. “We are slowly getting there, but now I think it flows pretty well, decoratively speaking.” “We probably never will be completely finished with this house,” Tom added. “If we finished it, where’s the fun in that?”


NEED CASH? Let us help you with money for your next trip, Home repairs, Car repairs & MORE!

Sandie Cameron, Karen Hubbard Haga, & Heidi Ivers

“Neighbors Helping Neighbors” I 307 Hwy. 3 I N, Suite B • Next to Little Caesar’s



First Southern Financial

Hartselle Living 17

Ready for football Hartselle students show off their Tiger pride

Sarah Denton, 5, is in kindergarten at F.E. Burleson, and she said her favorite thing about school is playing on the playground. Sarah is wearing a Southern Grace football T-shirt from Downtown Southern Sass, $22. Her shorts are by ML Kids, $10. Check out Downtown Southern Sass located at 213 Main Street W. for all your Tiger Pride merchandise.

Analeigh Fansler,

left, snagged her Hartselle Tigers T-shirt from Downtown Southern Sass, $26.

Reese Griffith

Above, is wearing a Hartselle football T-shirt, $18.99, and drawstring shorts, $34, and carrying a clear stadium purse, $32.

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Trae Griffith’s

Above, T-shirt shouts his Tiger pride, $18.99.

Katie Beth Williams

Right, sports a Gameday T-shirt, $32.99. 20 Hartselle Living

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On page 21:

Katie Beth Williams

is wearing a Tigers hat, $16.99, and a Gameday dress, $40.

Gigi Lunsford

is ready for gameday from head to toe with a Hartselle football T-shirt, $26.99, distressed denim shorts, $28.99, and shoes, $36. On page 22:

Josie Herring is wearing a black football shirt, $32, and distressed denim shorts, $28.99.

Danica Cuip

sports a football shirt, $24.99, camo jeggings, $32, and Steve Madden sandals, $69.

22 Hartselle Living



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When you think of fermenting foods, often the first things you think of, or maybe the only things you think of are sauerkraut or kimchi. But fermenting foods is an old technique that is once again making a comeback. Everywhere you look, you see kombucha beverages available in stores. Kombucha is a fermented drink that has become popular because of all of the health benefits it provides. Those are benefits that you can find in most, if not all fermented foods. I have been putting this “old timey” method to use quite a bit in my own homestead kitchen. WHAT IS FERMENTATION? First of all, when we talk about fermented foods, we are talking about “lacto-fermentation.” That means that the starches and sugars in the fruits or vegetables have converted into lactic acid. It is a process that is accomplished by naturally occurring, lactic-acid-producing bacteria present on the surface of all living things. The “lacto” portion of the term refers to a specific species of bacteria, Lactobacillus. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the bacteria that cause foods to putrefy. That is why fermented foods have such a long shelf life. The idea of there being good bacteria and bad bacteria is now a well-known fact. I’m sure that you are familiar with the term “probiotics,” otherwise known as “good” bacteria that your gut needs to be healthy. Eating fermented foods is an excellent, and tasty way to get probiotics in your diet. THE KEYS TO FERMENTATION The first thing you need when you begin fermenting, is clean tools. Just like when canning preserves, you need to start with a clean environment. Everything should be washed with hot soapy water, or washed in a dishwasher. This reduces the risk of any contamination.

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So what tools do you need? It is very simple. You need a crock or container to ferment the food in. I use wide-mouth mason jars. They are readily available in all sorts of sizes and very cost effective. Second, you will need fermentation weights. It is vitally important that foods remain submerged in the liquid as they ferment. If food becomes exposed to air, that allows bad bacteria a place to grow, and that will quickly ruin your ferment. Some people will fold up cabbage leaves and place them on top of the fermenting food as a means of keeping it submerged. I prefer to use glass weights that are made for this purpose. They are very inexpensive and worth it, in my book. Finally, as food ferments, it creates gases. These gases can build up pressure inside your jar, so they need a way to escape, without allowing oxygen to come in. I use simple silicon fermentation lids for this purpose. Some people will use a standard canning jar lid, and “burp” the jar every day. The silicon fermentation lid takes away the need to remember to do this. (I purchased both the weights and lids from Amazon.) GIVE IT A TRY! Fermenting foods is really not a hard thing to do. It just takes patience. Here in the homestead kitchen, I currently have several jars of peppers from my garden fermenting. I can’t wait to put these to use in my recipes in the next couple weeks. If you would like to give fermenting foods a try, I highly recommend the book, “Fermented Vegetables” by Kirsten K. and Christopher Shockey. It is a great resource that I reference often. It thoroughly explains fermentation and includes gobs of fermentation recipes.


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Autumn is my favorite time of year; it has been ever since I was a little girl. Maybe it is because I was an October baby, and fall brought on anticipation of that celebration, but nowadays there are so many more reasons to love the best season. Autumn brings cooler temperatures, allowing you to curl up on the porch swing, snuggled in your favorite hoodie and sipping a nice hot cup of coffee. The colors of the trees and the smells that waft through the air are simply heaven. Rolling in with the dip in the temperature are the flavors of coffee, apple and all things pumpkin. I frequently find myself drawn to the kitchen, baking goodies left and right. Here I am sharing a couple of my favorite recipes to make this time of year. Before I get to the recipes, I want to share a quick baking tip that comes in handy this time of year. Instead of greasing and flouring pans, or using baking spray, I have a mixture I have used for more than 20 years. Combine equal parts vegetable shortening, flour and oil – I use extra virgin olive oil. Mix it until smooth and store it in an airtight jar in the pantry. I simply brush this into my pans with a pastry brush. It works beautifully and nothing sticks – ever.

PUMPKIN BREAD I couldn’t even begin to guess how many times I have made pumpkin bread over the years. I have been making this recipe since I was a newlywed, and it makes an appearance more than any other quick bread recipe I make. This recipe makes three loaves, and it is a good thing: It never fails nearly an entire loaf is devoured before it is even done cooling. This bread freezes well, so you can enjoy a loaf or two later if you don’t have a large family and can’t eat them all right away. INGREDIENTS 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp. baking soda 1½ tsp. salt 1 tsp. nutmeg 1 tsp. cinnamon ½ tsp. ground cloves ½ tsp. allspice 4 eggs ½ cup extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil ½ cup plain apple sauce, unsweetened 3 cups sugar 2 cups (15 ounces) solid pack pumpkin ¼ cup water 1 cup chopped pecans, optional INSTRUCTIONS 1. To begin, grease and flour, or brush with the mixture mentioned above, three 4x9 loaf pans. Set them aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspices. Set it aside for now. 3. In your mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, oil and apple sauce. Mix in the pumpkin and water. Stir in the chopped pecans, if using. 4. Pour the batter into the three loaf pans, dividing it evenly. 5. Bake for one hour or until they test done with a toothpick. 6. Cool the loaves in the pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them to a rack and cool the rest of the way. 26 Hartselle Living


This cake is packed full of wonderful flavor, starting with soaking some raisins in rum or brandy. Just about any recipe that starts that way is going to be yummy. Don’t worry about the alcohol in the raisins; that bakes out in the oven and leaves behind rich, moist raisins in a cake that is downright wickedly good. INGREDIENTS 3 Tb. rum or brandy 1/3 cup raisins 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. cinnamon pinch salt 2 eggs 3/4 cup sugar 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 3 medium apples, cored and cut into chunks; peeling isn’t necessary, but you can if you prefer INSTRUCTIONS 1. To begin, place your raisins in a small dish. Pour the rum or brandy over the top and let them sit for one hour. 2. After an hour, drain the rum/brandy from the raisins, but reserve the liquid for later. 3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 4. Spray the inside of a 9-inch spring form baking pan with baking spray or brush with the mixture mentioned above. Set it aside for now. 5. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir together and set aside for a moment. 6. In your mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they are foamy. Mix in the sugar. Mix in the reserved rum/brandy and the vanilla extract. 7. Mix in half of the dry mixture. 8. Mix in half of the butter. 9. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients. 10. Mix in the remaining butter. Make sure to scrape the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula to incorporate everything. 11. Fold in the apple chunks and the raisins. 12. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet in the center of the oven. 13. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cake tests done when a knife is inserted into the center. 14. Cool the cake in the pan for five minutes on a cooling rack. 15. Gently run a knife around the edge of the cake to make sure no apples stick to the pan. Carefully remove the spring form sides, and allow the cake to cool completely. RECIPE NOTE: • Serve this cake dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with a simple glaze. To make a simple glaze, combine 2 Tb. each of brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter and half & half in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stirring continually. Allow it to boil for one minute. Add in 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract while stirring. Remove from heat and drizzle over the cake. Hartselle Living 27

RAILROAD RESTAURANT The Freight House serves up favorite eats STORY AND PHOTOS BY CONSTANCE SMITH 28 Hartselle Living


Right along the railroad tracks in downtown Hartselle sits a regal old building with a story to tell. Built in 1915, the building served as the freight depot for the L&N Railroad until the 1960s. It was a bustling hot spot of commerce, shipping thousands of loads of cotton and lumber every year. Today the building serves a new purpose, but visitors can still see the evidence of its past everywhere they turn. Sandra Jenkins-Sowder, owner of The Freight House restaurant, said she is proud of the history of the building. She highlights its past and its stories in every corner, from the freight scale to the loading dock lumber that fills the arched openings of the bays. When she was growing up, Jenkins-Sowder’s family had a restaurant near Brewer High School called the Snak Shak. With the restaurant business in her blood, when the Freight House became available to purchase back in 2009, she jumped on the opportunity. She launched The Freight House restaurant that year and has been full steam ahead ever since. Today, The Freight House serves “American Southern” food. On the menu, diners can find everything from prime rib to pinto beans, paninis to poulet. Everything is made right there in the restaurant’s kitchen, right down to the salad dressings. “There is

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prep work constantly happening in the kitchen,” Jenkins-Sowder said. “I am very proud of my crew.” Jenkins-Sowder said one of the most popular items is the hand-cut, USDA Choice steaks. Her personal favorite is the Poulet de Normandy, which she loves so much, she’ll even eat it cold. Diners with a sweet tooth won’t want to forget the desserts. Every visit, customers are tempted with a platter displaying a slice of each dessert available that day – things like carrot cake, chocolate peanut butter cake or classic Southern buttermilk pie. The strawberry cake, a popular favorite, was featured in the book “Alabama Cravings” by Martie Duncan. In addition to the restaurant itself, The Freight House offers two rooms that can be reserved for special events, including a private area upstairs. The restaurant frequently caters events offsite, such as events for civic groups and parties. When Jenkins-Sowder launched the restaurant, people told her there were stories of the old building being haunted. She said she wasn’t too sure about that, but the Paranormal Society 30 Hartselle Living

came and ran tests to see what they could find. The results were inconclusive. Launching a restaurant in a railroad freight house has had its challenges – one of the biggest ones being keeping the building air conditioned during a heat wave. But Jenkins-Sowder said most people know the building is historic and are understanding that it might be a touch warm or cool in extreme temperatures. It is simply part of the experience of dining in a 105-year-old building. The Freight House is a destination restaurant, drawing people from all over. Visitors frequently come from Huntsville and other cities around the region, and regular visitors add a stop in Hartselle to their itinerary every time they travel through Alabama. Hartselle is known as the “City of Southern Hospitality,” and Jenkins-Sowder said The Freight House represents the “Taste of Southern Hospitality.” So head on over to The Freight House, sip an iced tea from a mason jar and enjoy a great meal while watching the trains pass by on the tracks.

Library boasts activities, programs for entire community


It has been a busy and fun time this summer at the William Bradford Huie Library of Hartselle. We have had a great Summer Reading Program. Our theme this year was the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. We talked about the moon, space and rockets and even invited a couple of aliens named Bob and Twitch from the planet Zon for fun. We had our very first Adult Summer Reading Program with guest author of “Forgotten Alabama,” Glenn Wills. Hartselle Historical Society partnered with us and opened the Burleson Center to host this event. A huge thank you goes to Ms. Bettye English for coordinating this event and to the staff at the Burleson Center. It was an extremely enjoyable evening. We did get a good deal of new shelving over the summer, and we have rearranged materials to make it easier for our patrons to find books. However, please let one of the librarians know if you are having trouble locating a specific item. We are looking forward to fall and are excited to release our new story time schedule. After talking to

our parents and looking at other programs, we have decided to branch out a bit too. We will be starting story/activity times again the first week of September, and this year we have several to choose from: • Ready 4 Reading Toddler, ages 1-2 • Ready 4 Reading Pre-K, ages 3-4 BY MICHELLE BLAYLOCK • STEM, Stories and More LIBRARY MANAGER We will also be adding an Adult Crafting Day. The crafting day will vary from month to month, often focusing on a holiday craft for that month. The William Bradford Huie Library is growing and developing to meet the ever-changing needs of our community. We hope you will take time to come visit us soon, too.

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LIVING HER PASSION Part-time hobby becomes Hartselle woman’s thriving business STORY BY REBEKAH MARTIN PHOTOS BY RAW IMAGES 32 Hartselle Living


On any given day, Rachel Howard can be found behind the camera lens, helping her clients create lasting memories. The Hartselle woman and owner of RAW Images said getting into photography was something she did on somewhat of a whim while looking to turn a hobby into a side hustle. “I’ve always loved taking pictures. My mom had a camera and was doing photography on the side, and I took her and my stepdad’s pictures one time and was like ‘Oh wow, this so much fun,’” Howard said. Two local photographers, Beth Fleishman and Heather Graves, let Howard shadow them on assignments, and she soon established her own method. She also took a couple of online courses to learn more about shooting, editing and posing. A few years after purchasing her first camera on Black Friday, Howard stays busy with RAW Images – she will be traveling to Orlando, Fla., and Cape Cod, Mass., later this year for sessions. LIVING HER PASSION Before photography, Howard’s first passion was her job as a hospice nurse, and it’s a role she said will always love. She now works as a PRN nurse for SouthernCare New Beacon Hospice, where she essentially gets to set her own schedule and maintains flexibility that allows her to devote time to her business. “I just couldn’t give that passion up,” she said. “Being able to care for people during their final weeks and months while they’re at home is invaluable.” Her two passions now work together to give Howard a good balance between work and play. “Owning my own business is definitely something I always dreamed of but never truly imagined would happen.

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Who wouldn’t want to work for themselves? Taking that leap of faith was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Howard said. “It’s definitely not easier than clocking in from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day – the clock never stops for those of us who are self-employed – but oh, the reward!” Howard will celebrate five years of wedded bliss with her childhood sweetheart this November. She and Nick met in fourth-grade choir practice while the two were students at Crestline and Burleson elementary schools. Nick was her first kiss at a Hartselle High School football game when she was a sixth-grader and he was a seventh-grader. “If we’re anything, I’m the voice of the relationship, and he’s the patience that I need,” she said. “We definitely balance each other out well.” ALL IN A NAME The name of her business is something Howard said is dual-purposed. Before changing her last name, her initials were R.A.W., and she said choosing that name was a way for her to hold on to the maiden name Wiley. Additionally, Howard said she loves to photograph people in nature and in the most candid moments of their lives. Her bright and engaging photos are not heavily edited or processed, and that is also purposeful. “A photographer has a certain look, and I like to focus on the rawness of an image,” she said. “I never overedit, and I don’t add in unicorns and rainbows and all that. I feel like the image itself should be the purest form of memory that is captured in time. Sometimes that’s all we have left – those little memories and moments – so that is something that is very special to me 34 Hartselle Living

as a photographer and as a nurse because I love taking care of people, and I love being able to provide someone with a memory they get to keep forever.” Howard said her dream now is to one day have her own studio; she currently uses places around Hartselle and the spare bedroom at her house that she painted bright white for headshots and newborn photos. “I love natural light, so I do most sessions outside,” she said. “We might be walking around downtown or at E.A.R.T.H. Park – it’s my favorite.” HARTSELLE IS HOME A Hartselle girl through and through, Howard said she can’t imagine living anywhere else. “Everyone in my class wanted to graduate and go to bigger places, but I have always loved Hartselle; it’s always been my home,” she said. “My grandfather owned the meat market downtown, and if the roof wasn’t falling in, it would be a perfect place for a studio.” She added being in her hometown has helped her business gain traction during a time when being self-employed can be tough. “I think it has really helped me grow a client base because of the support from the community,” she said. “I’m very grateful for that – for people choosing me because they know I’m from Hartselle. They’ll say ‘Oh, that’s Barb and Paul’s daughter’ or ‘That’s Sarah’s sister.’” Another aspect Howard said she loves about still being in her hometown is being able to photograph people in the places she roamed as a child. “All of these little places where I grew up, I can now capture people growing up here too.”

Chasing excellence benefits all


ADVANCED MANUFACTURING The work of Hartselle City Schools is aligned Hartselle City Schools’ partnerships with Hartwith the HCS Strategic Plan. The original plan selle industries Sonoco, Cerro Wire and Busche was developed based on community surveys have a unique “Hartselle” signature, but our model of stakeholders. HCS believes in serving to grew out of the “12 for Life” model of Florence lead and leading to serve; therefore, students City. Hartselle’s program seeks to meet the hiring/ deserve opportunities to discover talents and employment needs of local industries as well as the leadership capacity. Here are a few of the things needs of students who are bright and fully capable we are doing in Hartselle to grow our schools, of acquiring career-ready skills yet not interested in our students and our community: more traditional high school or four-year-college. CIVIL AIR PATROL PK-4 STEM EDUCATION/ Civil Air Patrol is to the Air Force what ROTC BY SUSAN HAYES ADVANCED STEM CERTIFICATION is to the Army. The program certainly grows You Can Too: Dino Digs at Crestline Elementary, leaders and prepares students for service as HCS FEDERAL PROGRAMS COORDINATOR officers in the Air Force, but it also prepares Code Dances at F.E. Burleson, Family STEM Nights students for STEM careers. Plus, it has a strong STEM com- at Barkley Bridge – PK-4 educators are working to grow thinkers ponent that can deliver valuable STEM resources to teachers and innovators. BBES holds AdvancED STEM Certification, FEB is seeking the same in 2019 and CES is not far behind. across all grade levels. Interested? Check out alwg.us. BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE TIGER BUDDIES Pairing typical peers with students who have special needs Hartselle Intermediate School will receive its Blue Ribbon is not a novel idea, but growing a club that allows students to Schools of Excellence “Lighthouse” Award in 2019, and Hartselle volunteer for the typical peer role is a bit different. It’s cul- Junior High School has begun the early work in seeking the same. ture-changing. Its beginnings? Special Services coordinator Hartselle is close to claiming Blue Ribbon District status with its LeeAnne Pettey saw an article about an organization called three elementary schools and high school holding the award already. Campus Buddies, and Hartselle’s program grew from that What’s so important about the award? Not a thing. The importance seed. lies in the improvement process. Chasing excellence benefits all.

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LIFE’S A PEACH Hartselle roots run deep for Reeves family



With roots that trace back to 1835, the Reeves family has called Hartselle home for generations. Nestled off Highway 36, the family farm can be recognized by the white fruit stand that at any given hour of the day has several cars parked outside for the farm-fresh produce. Mike Reeves and his two sons, David and Jackson, run the family farm. Mike said the commercial side of it began even before the stand was built, when his grandfather began stacking watermelons by an oak tree near the location of the current stand. From that stack of watermelons, the need for a stand grew, and the family built one in about 1960. Now several renovations later, the Reeves are building an even larger stand to accommodate the growing demand. The year Mike was born, 1959, was also the year his grandfather first planted the peach trees for which the

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Reeves are now known. Mike said one of his earliest memories on the farm involves bringing fruit back to the stand to sell as a small boy. “I remember having a little red wagon, and my granddaddy had a watermelon patch that was right behind my house. I went down there and picked watermelons in my little red wagon, and I think I could fit maybe two of them there and bring them back to the fruit stand. Of course, they were green because I didn’t know what I was doing, but I thought I needed to be a farmer, so that’s what I did,” Mike said. Much like their father, some of David and Jackson’s earlier memories center on the family fruit stand and farm. Along with planting strawberries, David said he remembers the competitions they would have when planting and picking. “It was always like a competition, like who could plant

the fastest. We even had competitions when we were picking peaches, and we still do some,” David said with a laugh. Jackson said his earliest farming memory is hanging out at the fruit stand to help people take their purchases to their car. He also remembers helping load freshly-picked peaches into the back of a truck for transport to the stand. “Before we started working, we would be out in the field, and they would be picking peaches, and we would be out there loading them up in the truck. We had a big rack, and it took some work to get them loaded, so we would be walking around picking up the peaches they had just picked and loading them,” Jackson said. Outside of peaches, the Reeves are almost equally known for their strawberries. Mike said they first began commercially growing strawberries on the farm in 1975. They have also had a pickyour-own-pumpkin patch for about 30 years, and Mike said the experience of picking one’s own seems to be equally important to the quality of the strawberries or pumpkins themselves. “I think it’s more about coming to the farm than it is about the pumpkins. The ones that pick their own strawberries, that’s what they are coming for too, but especially the ones that come for the pumpkin patch,” Mike said. “Generally they have their kids with them, and they are taking pictures.” Now as fourth-generation farmers, David and Jackson work and manage the family farm full time – something that has been a dream for Mike. “I never put pressure on them, but I wanted them to do this. I wanted to make it a viable option, and I think it is now,” Mike said. “Part of it is just a lifestyle – you get up every

morning and step out the door, and you are at work. No day is really the same. You have a lot of freedom, but you have a lot of responsibility too. It’s rewarding, and that was a dream that I always had – I always knew I wanted them close.” Mike’s daughter, Mary Virginia Halbrooks, also grew up on the farm and helped out growing up. Now a nurse practitioner, she and her husband and son live about a mile from the farm. Mike said outside immediate family, extended family and friends also help make the Reeves’ dreams possible. One person in particular who helped was his brother-in-law, John Waddle. Waddle has since passed away, but Mike said his impact still lives on. “John married my sister, and he knew zero about any kind of farming, so he learned everything out here,” Mike said. “He learned to love it. You hear the phrase ‘brother from another mother,’ and John was probably the closest thing I had to a brother. We worked together 16 years on the farm, and I don’t remember ever getting in an argument with him; that was probably more to his credit than mine.” The family farm has fans who visit from as far away as Ohio each year and regulars who stop by on the way to the beach or Talladega. Likewise, the community has been important to the farm; Mike said 80-90 percent of customers are local. Mike said having support from the community is important to them. “We all went to school in Hartselle. We go to church there. Hartselle is our community, and a lot of those folks are our customers, and we see them all the time,” Mike said. All three men said their favorite thing about the farm is hearing people say the produce is the best they have ever had. “When someone Hartselle Living 37

tells you that’s the best they have ever had, it’s a good feeling. There is nothing else I would rather be doing; I mean, this is my dream job, if you ask me,” Jackson said. Perhaps even more meaningful is the connection the Reeves have to the land. David and Jackson are fourth-generation farmers who work the same land their great-grandfather did. Mike’s home is a mix of both new and old, with a mantel from the family’ original 1835 cabin and a stair rail from the original house. He said the history makes the fruit of their labors even more special. “You have a little emotional attachment to the land when it’s your family.”

There is nothing else I would rather be doing; I mean, this is my dream job. -Jackson Reeves

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OUT & ABOUT 10TH ANNUAL COTTON PICKIN’ BBQ COOK OFF Photos courtesy of the The Decatur Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau

BBQ connoisseurs, both backyard and professional, descended on Hartselle July 27 for the 10th annual Cotton Pickin’ BBQ Cook Off.

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NEW MEMBER PERKS Did you know new members receive a free ad in Hartselle Living? They are also listed in the Chamber’s Membership Directory and receive recognition in the Chamber’s E-Newsletter and on the Chamber’s social media accounts. They are invited to serve on committees and the Board of Directors; they attend Chamber events; they can leave their information in the Chamber foyer; and Chamber staff only refer Chamber members.


NEW MEMBERS Alabama Education Association Branch Books Buy Rite Drugs Davidson Homes LLC Heart Sail Medical Hartselle Family Practice Hartselle Valley Family Medicine Hartselle Internal Medicine & Pediatrics J&M Cylinder Gases Marco’s Pizza Nanny’s Old Fashioned Lemonade PowerGrid Services LLC What’s Popp’n Zellus Marketing New Members from June 1 to July 31, 2019

June 3-7: Chamber worked with HCS Summer STEM Camp, during which rising fifth- through eighthgraders explored many Career Academy options at HHS and visited Decatur Morgan Hospital, GE Appliances, Sonoco Reels & Plugs and Cerrowire. July 2: Chamber received a $10,000 grant check. July 13: Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with other nonprofits for Serve Day. More than 300 people from our community showed up and showed out. All seven schools had projects that were completed, as well as a few city projects.

July 26-27: Cotton Pickin’ BBQ, presented by Valley Budweiser. Sponsors included presenting sponsor Valley Budweiser, stage sponsor Venturi Aerospace and other sponsors Morgan Animal Hospital, Corum’s Building & Farm Supply, Thompson Homes, Chad Hughey State Farm, Hartselle Utilities, Pepsi, Traditions Fence, Peck Funeral Home and BeFrizz. The Chamber would like to send a huge thank you to the City of Hartselle, Park & Rec, Public Works, Street Department., Hartselle Utilities, HPD and HFD for making this event possible Aug. 5: Teacher Welcome Reception at Burningtree Country Club

UPCOMING EVENTS Sept. 21: Depot Days returns. Register your booth and find out more information at http://www.hartsellechamber.com/depot-days-festival. 2019-2020 HARTSELLE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BOARD OF DIRECTORS/STAFF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Chairman of the Board: Grant McKelvey, McKelvey Technologies Treasurer: Brad Sheats, Life Church Secretary: Sherry Floyd, Sonoco Reels & Plugs Incoming Chair: Tammy Lott, Redstone Federal Credit Union


Dr. Chuck Gill, Morgan Animal Hospital Janan Downs, Zoey’s Downtown RaJane Hampton, United Country Four Oaks Realty and Auction

Dr. Ashley Holladay, Hartselle Family Dentistry Bradley Colburn, Hartselle City Schools Daxton Maze, Hartselle Utilities and Green Pro Mike Tucker, LifeWork Physical Therapy Pastor Brad Sheats, Life Church Chad Hughey, State Farm Insurance Sherry Floyd, Sonoco


Kassi Hill, Administration and Events Coordinator

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NETWORKING AT NINE The Chamber’s Networking at Nine events are a new social event for our members! Each N@N is hosted by a different Chamber member at their business location. N@N begins at 9 a.m. with networking followed by a brief meeting that includes new member/guest introductions, Chamber announcements and member updates, for a one-hour event. In June Habitat for Humanity hosted our N@N, and we were at Burningtree Country Club in July. United Way of Morgan County hosted in August.


Oct. 22

Journeys by Design

Nov. 19

Something Vintage


City officials and Davidson Homes representatives broke ground on the site for the upcoming Magnolia Preserve community in Hartselle.

Branch Books and the chamber celebrated the new business with a ribbon cutting July 18.

The Hartselle Chamber of Commerce received grant checks from Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and State Rep. Scott Stadthagen for the addition of banners in downtown Hartselle Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 817, Hartselle, AL 35640  

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256. 773.4370   kassi@hartsellechamber.com

wedding g s • p o r t r a it s • n e w b o r ns • f a milies seniors • headshots • events

“Pictures are memories you get to keep forever, and I love being able to capture those memories for my clients during all stages of life” –Rachel Howard, RAW Images Owner/Photographer

Cotton Minis Coming Soon!


Follow RAW Images on Facebook and Instagram for mini session announcements


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