Spring 2008 â€˘ $3.50
Volume I, Issue 1
Inside This Issue Springtime on Lake Wedowee Art Imitates Life Everything You Need to Know About Fishing on Lake Wedowee And Much More
10 features 10 Up on Crooked Creek
A history of the Harris Hydroelectric Dam and Generating Plant and the formation of Lake Wedowee
18 The Rings That Bind
Shared Olympic experience brought Mike and Mary Plant together
24 Springtime on Lake Wedowee
Don East describes the spring color show on Lake Wedowee
34 New Life Volume I, Issue 1
The Baker family and a host of salvaged building materials get new life in a lakeside home
Enjoy lake life...with all the extras!
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features cont... 42 Art Imitates Life
Local artist Tom Scott finds inspiration in local scenes
48 Everything You Need to Know About Fishing on Lake Wedowee
in every issue 9 Contributors 16 Lake Map 54 Calendar
62 Index of Advertisers
On the cover: This cover photograph of the R.L. Harris Dam at night is a crosssection of a photo taken by Harold Bonner in the early 1980s soon after the dam began operation. An employee of The Randolph Leader at the time, he now serves as the chief juvenile probation officer for Randolph County.
Nortonâ€™s Flooring Outlet 14391 Hwy 431 South Wedowee 256.357.9233 www.flooringwholesale.com
Editor and Publisher John W. Stevenson firstname.lastname@example.org Design Emily Wilkins email@example.com Advertising Peggy Seabolt firstname.lastname@example.org Ricky Sledge email@example.com Stories and Photographs Leah Rawls Atkins Don East Harold Bonner Vanessa Sorrell Burnside Penny L. Pool Matt Shelley Emily Wilkins Circulation/Customer Service Danielle Tooker
The Randolph Leader
Lake Wedowee Magazine will be published three times in 2008 - March, July and November - and will become a quarterly publication in 2009, with publication dates in March, June, September and December. The cover and contents are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the express consent of the publisher.
welcome to the Lake ...and to Lake Wedowee Magazine. In this, the first of many issues to come, we introduce you to a few of the people, places and things that make our area so special. Planning for this magazine began last fall with a meeting between staff members of The Randolph Leader and officers of the Lake Wedowee Property Owners Association. The result of that meeting was excitement about the possibilities and formation of the Lake Wedowee Magazine Advisory Committee. The committee, made up of LWPOA members and others interested in promoting the lake, will meet between issues of the magazine to offer story ideas and help plan future editions. Anyone who would like to contribute ideas, stories or photographs or just be a part of the planning can do so by calling me at (334) 863-2819. You will then be notified of the next meeting date. In this first issue we present the history of R.L. Harris Dam and the formation of Lake Wedowee, written by one of Alabama’s top historians, Leah Rawls Atkins, and with photographs from Alabama Power Company archives. We also tell what to look for, week by week, as flowers and other foliage make their presence known around the lake with the advent of spring. This contribution is by one with extensive knowledge of local history and natural occurrences, lake resident Don East. Randolph Leader staffers contributed stories and photographs about two former Olympians who met and married and have a home on Lake Wedowee, an unusual lake home built almost entirely of recycled materials, a watercolorist who lives on the lake and paints local landscapes, and fishing on Lake Wedowee. Our goal, in addition to letting local people know about other local people and places, is to provide a high-quality magazine that will be used to promote the Lake Wedowee area to the lucky people who will call our area home in the future. We are proud of this first issue, but we don’t view Lake Wedowee Magazine as a static publication. We actively seek the recommendations of our readers about what they would like the magazine to be. You can be a part of that through your participation on the Lake Wedowee Magazine Advisory Committee or simply by letting us hear your ideas.
John Stevenson Publisher
Lake Wedowee Magazine P.O. Box 1267 Roanoke, AL 36274 (334) 863-2819 • fax (334) 863-4006
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Leah Rawls Atkins, a native of Birmingham, holds a doctoral degree in history from Auburn University and has taught history at Auburn, UAB and Samford University. She is a co-author of Alabama: The History of a Deep South State, which was nominated for a Pulitzer prize. She is the author of Developed for The Service of Alabama: The Centennial History of the Alabama Power Company, as well as other books, studies and articles on Alabama. She retired from Auburn in 1995 as director emerita of the Auburn University Center for the Arts & Humanities. She was a world champion water skier who dominated the sport throughout the 1950s and was the first woman inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Don C. East is a Clay County native and a retired naval flight officer. He is the owner and operator of The Creeks Tree Farms in Clay and Randolph counties. He resides on Lake Wedowee and is a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines. His latest work, “The Creek Indian Hillabee Villages and Personal Reflections of Clay County, Alabama,” is expected in book stores by summer.
Vanessa Sorrell Burnside is news editor of The Randolph Leader. She has a bachelor’s degree in radio/television/film and a master’s degrees in communication from Auburn University and has been with The Leader since 1993. She is a native of Lanett and now lives in Wedowee.
Matt Shelley is sports editor of The Randolph Leader. A naive of Headland, Ala., he is a journalism graduate of Auburn University and has been with The Leader since 2006.
Penny Pool is a reporter and feature writer for The Randolph Leader. A journalism graduate of Auburn University, she has been with The Leader since 2005, having previously worked for The Montgomery Advertiser, Selma Times Journal, Opelika-Auburn News and Valley Times-News. She is a Roanoke native.
Emily Wilkins is a graphic designer and photographer for the Randolph Leader. She obtained her B.F.A. in graphic design from the University of Alabama and has been with the Leader since 2007. She is a native of Wadley.
A history of the Harris Hydroelectric Dam and Generating Plant and the formation of Lake Wedowee by Leah Rawls Atkins photos from Alabama Power Company archives
The Tallapoosa River In the decades following the Civil War, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began surveying southern rivers with an emphasis upon improving navigation and initiating flood control. In Alabama, after the founding of Birmingham in 1871, the engineers focused on the Black Warrior-Tombigbee River system in order to provide a water route to ship the products of the Birmingham industrial district to the port of Mobile. In 1889, Congress made its first appropriation for improvements on those rivers, and a system of 17 dams and 18 locks was finally completed allowing navigation from Birmingport to Mobile by 1915. When technology became available to use falling water to turn a wheel to generate electricity, the focus of river development and dam construction also became hydro generation. In 1909-10, the Corps of Engineers surveyed the Tallapoosa River to consider navigation and power development. These government engineers reported that the water discharge of the Tallapoosa was “very low” and the “river is very tortuous,” its valley “narrow.” They wrote that the river “transverses a very rugged country” that is “sparsely settled,” and the main occupation of the people was farming, although “the soil and topography are poorly adapted for this.” Anticipating the possibility of dam construction, a number of power companies were organized in the state and each company purchased land at Alabama river sites, but no company was able to secure capital to construct a dam and build transmission lines to populated areas or industrial plants. In 1911, a Massachusetts engineer, James Mitchell, who had experience in developing hydroelectric dams and power systems in Brazil, came to Alabama. Using his connections to a London investment company, Mitchell was able to secure English funding to purchase
a number of these companies, including Alabama Interstate Power Company, which owned the Muscle Shoals site on the Tennessee River and the Cherokee Bluffs site, where Martin Dam is now located, on the Tallapoosa River, and the Alabama Power Company, a Gadsden company that owned the site on the Coosa River noted by Corps of Engineers as the location of Lock 12. Mitchell held a meeting in Montgomery in May 1912. Alabama Power Company engineers and executives sketched out a statewide transmission system to connect Alabama’s hydro sites with the major cities and industrial areas. The company initially planned to construct the dam at Cherokee Bluffs, but legal challenges were delaying the project, so the decision was made to build first on the Coosa River site. That dam, now known as Lay Dam, was completed the end of 1913 and was the last dam permitted by the federal government until after the Federal Power Commission and a uniform federal policy on licensing was established in 1920. By that year, Alabama Power had acquired land at those sites on the Tallapoosa River noted in the Corps of Engineers’ survey. Although the main focus of the company was on the construction of a dam at Site No. 4 at Cherokee Bluffs, that application to the Alabama Public Service Commission (August 28, 1922) and to the Federal Power Commission the next year, included the company’s plans to develop the upper Tallapoosa River as an integrated system of hydro production. One of those upper Tallapoosa River sites, Site No. 1 or the Crooked Creek Site, became the location of the Harris Dam. Before the public document was submitted to the Federal Power Commission in 1923, Alabama Power had acquired approximately two-thirds of the land needed for the dam and reservoir at Crooked Creek. The company
timeline at a glance.... November 1st, 1974 December 1973
The Federal Power Commission grants license to Alabama Power to build a dam at Crooked Creek. 12
Site clearing begins at Crooked Creek for the construction of the R.L. Harris Hydroelectric Dam.
A flood washes away part of the coffer dam.
Construction begins on coffer dam.
Construction ceases due to company’s financial crisis.
Construction resumes, but another flood causes delays.
also had positioned a major transmission line within one-half mile of the dam’s potential location, so whenever the dam was built, it would be easy to construct a short line to send its electricity into Alabama Power’s transmission system. Alabama Power owned two other Tallapoosa River sites between Martin Dam and Crooked Creek-Site No. 2 and Site No. 3. A dam at Site No. 3 would have flooded the land where Andrew Jackson fought the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Thomas W. Martin, an avid supporter of Alabama history and president or chairman of the board of Alabama Power from 1920 to his death in 1964, opposed destroying this historic site. As general counsel for the company beginning in 1911-12, Martin advised James Mitchell against building a dam that would flood Horseshoe Bend. But the company held onto this site to prevent another company from building there. In July 1923, Alabama Power, through its construction arm, Dixie Construction, and its subsidiary, Alabama Interstate Power Company, began building a large storage dam at Cherokee Bluffs. Martin Dam was completed in December 1926. Two other dams on the Tallapoosa River below Martin Dam were also completed in that decade-Yates in 1928 and Thurlow in 1930. But it would be over half a century before Alabama Power finished its next dam on the Tallapoosa River. There were a number of reasons why. The advent of the Great Depression in 1929
discouraged large investments and prevented the raising of capital. When the economy crashed, demand for electricity fell with the hard times. In 1933, the New Deal Congress established the Tennessee Valley Authority, and TVA assumed control of the Tennessee River and Wilson Dam (a site that Alabama Power owned and donated to the federal government in World War I) and the company’s second Tennessee River dam site (where TVA built Wheeler Dam). TVA resulted in Alabama Power losing its northern division assets. In the face of an unknown future for government-subsidized power production in Alabama, it was impossible for the company to raise additional capital on Wall Street. World War II focused the company’s attention on the immediate production of electricity for the state’s war industries. The great drought of 1941 encouraged additional steam generation rather than hydro, especially because of the state’s extensive coal fields and because steam generation was quicker to build and quicker to put online. With the end of World War II, wartime restrictions on consumer goods ceased, and orders for new electrical appliances increased, resulting in a higher demand for electricity. Alabama Power’s plans to develop its hydro properties on the upper Coosa were stymied by a 1945 act of Congress, which was repealed in 1954, and plans for dams on the upper Coosa and the upper Tallapoosa dam at Crooked Creek went forward. The overall plan of Alabama Power called for
a large storage lake above Jasper on the Sipsey Fork of the Warrior River (Smith Lake), and the development of Weiss, Henry, Logan Martin, and Bouldin on the Coosa River. The last Coosa dam, Bouldin, was finished seven years before site cleaning began on November 1, 1974, on Alabama Power’s last hydroelectric dam-at Crooked Creek on the Tallapoosa River.
The Dam at Crooked Creek The Federal Power Commission granted a license to Alabama Power in December 1973 to build a dam at Crooked Creek. The venture was first called the Crooked Creek Hydroelectric Project. Local people called the reservoir Lake Wedowee, and they still do. Land clearing began the spring of 1974, but it was two years later, 1976, before construction began on the coffer dam. John D. Jones, vice president of construction, directed the project. The next year, a terrific flood washed away part of the coffer dam, and construction began once more. But before the dam could meet the scheduled completion date of 1979, all construction ceased in December 1978 because of the company’s financial crisis. The economic conditions of the nation-inflation, high interest rates, the oil embargo-and the company’s escalating cost of construction at Farley Nuclear Plant and the increased cost of producing electricity strained the company’s finances. However, it was Gov. George C. Wallace’s attack on the company and its inability to
October 25, 1982
Sluiceway tunnels are sealed and water begins to back up behind the dam, creating the R.L. Harris Reservoir.
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achieve fair rate increases to cover costs that drove the company into a dire financial crisis. At times literally insolvent, Alabama Power survived on the sheer determination of management and employees not to fail. Construction resumed on the dam, but another flood in 1981 again delayed completion. Finally, on October 25, 1982, Alabama Power announced that the massive steel gates on Harris Dam would be lowered to seal off the sluiceway tunnels in the 150-foot-high concrete dam, which was 1,142 feet long. The dam was composed of 392,000 cubic yards of concrete, 612,100 cubic yards of earth, and 80,800 cubic yards of rock. Some 6,000 yards of concrete were poured to seal off the sluiceway tunnels, and the 10,661-acre reservoir began to fill with the rains. The lake was 135 feet deep at the dam, stretched 24 miles upstream, and had a shoreline of 272 miles. Its reservoir capacity would help with spring flood control. The lake is the sixth largest Alabama Power lake in the state. Initial generation plans were for the installation of two 16 megawatt units; ultimately, two 67.5 megawatt units were installed with a combined 135 megawatts generation capacity. By April 1983, both units were in service. On the damâ€™s completion, Alabama Power paid one million dollars in ad valorem taxes to Randolph County, providing a solid and stable tax revenue for the county.
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Rother L. Harris The namesake of the Lake The Alabama Power board of directors voted to name the Crooked Creek dam and reservoir for longtime company engineer, Rother L. Harris, who had retired in 1968 after working for the company for 45 years. A Chilton County native, Harris was born November 21, 1903, and received his electrical engineering degree from the University of Alabama in 1923. He immediately began work with Dixie Construction Company, the subsidiary of Alabama Power organized to build Mitchell Dam in 1921. Harris came to Alabama Power in 1924 with responsibilities in operations and engineering. Harris was known as “Judge” to his friends and co-workers, a nickname that spawned several company stories, including one that the name came from his days as plant manager of Gorgas Steam Plant. He kept order by holding court for misbehaving workers. Harris had green eyes and auburn hair and was not a tall man at 5 feet 8 1/2 inches, but he had a commanding presence magnified by a reputation for insisting upon perfection that made junior staff quake. Young engineers dreaded presenting budgets or proposals to him, but in later years they proudly credited Harris with teaching them valuable lessons and what it meant to be an engineer. In 1951, Harris was named manager of production and five years later was promoted to vice president in charge of operations. He was as tight with the company’s money as he was his own, and he held close control of Alabama Power’s construction, engineering, and operational budget. Company lore is filled with stories about “R.L.,” who did not believe in ordering company cars with heaters, and when air conditioning was common, he was still objecting to paying for that vehicle luxury in fleet cars. Harris had literally grown up with the company’s generation system. Joseph M. Farley, who served on the board with Harris after 1965 and later was president of Alabama Power, recalled that in a time when there were no sophisticated computers, Harris had a working knowledge of each generating unit in the company, “its quirks and personality,” an understanding that was of great value in obtaining optimal results. R. L. Harris retired in 1968, leaving an indelible stamp upon the Alabama Power Company, especially its engineers. He was moved when the Alabama Power board of directors voted to name the dam for him. At the dedication of the Rother L. Harris Dam and Electric Generating Plant on October 30, 1981, Harris’s characteristically controlled manner broke slightly as he expressed his appreciation. Harris died May 26, 1983.
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Rings that Bind by Matt Shelley photo courtesy of the Plant family
Shared Olympic Experience brought this couple together
To say Mike and Mary Plant have spent plenty of time on the water would be an understatement when describing the experiences of these two former Olympians and Lake Wedowee homeowners. Mike grew up gliding across the water in West Allis, Wisconsin, right outside of Milwaukee. Mary on the other hand, grew up gliding through the water in Louisville, Kentucky. Mike, like so many kids in America, played all kinds of sports growing up and developed a love for all things athletic - a love that has followed him to this day. But unlike most kids in the heart of the country, Mike chose a different route in his athletic pursuits. “Coincidentally, when I was growing up, we had the only 400-meter, refrigerated speed skating oval in the country,” Mike said. “I played all the core sports like most kids did. I had some friends that were getting into speedskating and I gave it a shot. The rest is history. I learned how to take a left every 100 meters.” Mike eventually became a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team in Lake Placid, N.Y. and was also a six-time member of U.S. World Championship speedskating teams. Mary was one of 10 kids in her family who enjoyed spending 18
time in the water. Unlike Mike, Mary found enjoyment and success in another area of water sports -- swimming. “My parents belonged to a summer club and so we all swam,” Mary said. “I was no different than the other ones ahead of me.” But what was different about Mary’s time in the water growing up was that it led her to an Olympic career. Mary, or Mary T. Meagher as she was known before marrying Mike, competed in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and won gold medals in the 100m and 200m butterfly events as well as the 4x100m medley relay. Then in 1988 she managed to capture a bronze medal in the 200m butterfly event and a silver medal in the 4x100m relay. Her successes in the butterfly events earned her the nickname ‘Madame Butterfly.’ Both Mike and Mary said their experiences in the Olympics not only provided them with great memories, but they also built character that has helped them in all endeavors of adult life.
The Olympic experience Mike’s and Mary’s experiences in the Olympics came at an intriguing time in the history of the games. At the age of 21, Mike was ready to take on the competition in
the 1980 games in Lake Placid, but with the Cold War reaching its peak, other issues crept into the games. “That was an interesting year because it was here in Lake Placid in the U.S., but also the boycott was looming and was actually announced during the games by President (Jimmy) Carter,” Mike said. “We knew people like Mary, who were on the summer teams, weren’t going to be able to go and achieve some of their goals that they had worked hard for. It was kind of an interesting, challenging time.” The United States, along with 61 other countries, did indeed boycott the 1980 summer games in Moscow, the same year Mary would have made her Olympic debut. But at the age of 15, Mary said it didn’t really affect her. “I wasn’t one of those kids that grew up knowing all about the Olympics and wanting to go to the Olympics one day,” Mary said. “I think more, for me, that first one was something that was just going to happen because I happened to be good enough. But then, of course, having that opportunity taken away, by the time the second one came along I was 19, so it was definitely more of a choice where I was giving up social opportunities and I was in college based on swimming.” Needless to say, Mary made the 1984 team and headed to Los Angeles to compete. But Mary said she was disappointed because she would not get a chance to test her skills against perhaps her greatest competition, the East Germans. In retaliation for the 1980 boycott, East Germany, along with the Soviet Union, Cuba and 14 other countries, boycotted the 1984 games. “I was excited but certainly disappointed that I wasn’t able to race my biggest competition, which were the East Germans at the time,” Mary said. Regardless of the boycott, Mary said the experience of the 1984 Olympic Games was a great one. Mary’s whole family made the trip to Los Angeles - siblings, siblings’ spouses and parents were all there to cheer her on to gold. “It was a great bonding time for my family,” Mary said. “Certainly, I was happy I was able to do that because I saw many from 1980 not make the team and not have that opportunity.” After winning three gold medals in 1984 and becoming known by many as the world’s best butterfly swimmer, Mary again made the Olympic team in 1988 in Seoul, Korea. “I knew I was past my prime, but I just felt like I wanted to see if I could do it against my best competition in the world, and you know, win,” Mary said. “And I wasn’t able to do that, so that was disappointing. But like the mottos say, you learn as much from losing as you do from winning. So it was a humbling experience, but it was fun. I’d had a good career and it was time for me to move on with my life.” The Olympic experience didn’t end for Mike and Mary with the conclusion of their competitive careers, though. Mike spent a number of years continuing to be involved with the Games. Following the 1980 Olympics, he served on several committees of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Mike spent two four-year terms as the U.S. Speedskating athlete representative on
the USOC Athlete Advisory Council. He followed that by being elected to a four-year term as Athlete Advisory Council Chairman. In addition, he served an eight-year term on the USOC Board of Directors and Executive Committee from 1984 to 1992. Later, Mike was a member of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees for the Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committee for the 2002 Olympic Games. Not only did his involvement with the Olympics continue, but he also served on committees for U.S. International Speedskating Association and USA Cycling, as well as a stint as executive director of the Canoe and Kayak Team from 1985 to 1986. Mary served as the representative to the swimming team on the Athlete Advisory Committee. It was during their time on the Athlete Advisory Committee that Mike and Mary met.
Winter meets summer In 1989, Mike was hard at work as the Athlete Advisory Council chairman when Mary began her stint as AAC swimming representative. And while it may not have been love at first sight, Mary said she knew right away there was something there. “He had the hots for me right away; there was no doubt about it,” Mary said jokingly. “We’ll just leave it at that,” Mike said. “We’ll let her feel good about that.” Mike and Mary said, in reality, they didn’t get to know each other romantically until later. However, Mary said she saw some traits in Mike that stood out. “I admired his ability to lead that group,” Mary said. “It was a tough group to lead - 45 different sports, everything from table tennis to track and field to swimming. I always sat there and thought, gosh, how does he do that? How does he get us all to come to some kind of consensus. I don’t know; I never had an interest romantically until afterward when he called.” The summer Olympian and the winter Olympian developed a relationship that turned into a marriage in 1994, which eventually became a family. Mike and Mary have three kids - Erika, 25, from Mike’s previous marriage, Drew, 12, and Maddie, 10. With so much athletic ability in the gene pool, it’s not hard to believe the kids share their parents’ love of sports. “Maddie is a cheerleader,” Mary said. “Mike and I have grown to respect the sport greatly. It was a hard thing for us to swallow at first. Erika is a rhythmic gymnast. And Drew would tell you his favorite sport is whatever’s in season. He kind of does it all.” Mike said no matter what the sport, Drew will watch it, play it or read about it. “Drew will watch two flies crawl up the wall if they’re competing,” Mike said. “And then go out and do it himself.”
The family getaway Mike’s and Mary’s lives led them to Atlanta, where Mike served as executive vice president of Turner Sports starting in February 2002. He was named executive vice president of Business Operations for the Atlanta Braves in 2003, where he oversees stadium operations, security, finance, personnel, special events and the minor league clubs. After years of being around water, whether frozen or warm, Mike decided he wanted to look for a home away from home near a lake. “I grew up in Wisconsin spending a lot of time on lakes,” Mike said. “If I was going to water, I was going to lakes. I’m not really an ocean person.”
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Mike thought a lake house would be the perfect place for him and his family to unwind on weekends and decided to talk it over with Mary. “I said ‘I think this is where we’re going to end up for a while,’” Mike said. “We’re in the South. The weather’s conducive to it because it’s warm. There’s a hassle factor to a lake house in Wisconsin. I said, you know, I’d like to start looking for a place and she went along with it.” Although hesitant at first as to the need for a lake house, Mary gave Mike the OK to begin the search. “I enjoy just seeing my family relax,” Mary said. “That’s the deal I had with Mike. I wasn’t as excited to have a second home, but if this was a place where you put work behind you and it bonds our family, I’ll go along with it. But if it’s just another place you’re going to work from, that’s not what I want to do.” Mike had no trouble agreeing with Mary’s sentiments on the matter. Fortunately for Mike and Mary, some mutual friends had recently searched for lake property in a 200-mile circle around Atlanta. “They did a lot of due diligence and recon for us and said, ‘hey look, one of the best places - low density, great value, close to Atlanta or Peachtree City-was Lake Wedowee,’” Mike said. Mike and Mary searched the Lake Wedowee community for a couple of weekends. Oddly enough, the place the Plants ended up buying wasn’t even on the market at the time. “One of the realtors we were with said there’s a house that I’ve heard about,” Mike said. “The owner was putting more and more money into it and trying to convince his wife to like the lake and she was just not enjoying it. The place had an in-ground pool, a
boathouse, just a beautiful place with decks all down the water.” Mike and Mary decided that would be the family’s new getaway home. “We’ve enjoyed a lot of time up there by ourselves or with friends and family recharging our batteries,” Mike said. “It’s just good quality family time.” In addition to the obvious joys of lake home living - relaxation, swimming, boating, fishing, tubing, skiing - Mary said there’s so much more to the lake and the town. “I didn’t go into the town until a couple of years ago,” Mary said. “But I love the town and the shops there, the peace and quiet. It’s so cool to hear those first fishermen go out in the morning. And I guess as a mom, sometimes I take a step back and just think ‘this is great.’ I see my husband relaxing and I know he has such a hurried life. And I see my kids laughing and jumping.” Mary said seeing her kids enjoying themselves on the lake has been one of the absolute best things about having a home on Lake Wedowee. “Luckily, we have two kids who get along pretty well,” Mary said. “They’ll just be clowning around. In April and May, they’ll be dipping their toes in the water and dare each other to get up to their ankle and before long, they’re just covered with cold water and mud.” With the fast-paced life the Plants lead, they said the house on Lake Wedowee has been a true blessing to their family. “Every time we’re up there everyone has a good time,” Mike said. “We just love it.”
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story and photos by Don C. East
ake Wedowee lies at the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains chain. The southern Appalachian ecosystem is the most diverse in the nation and consequently has the most beautiful wildflower blooms and varied array of wildlife to be found anywhere on this planet. The annual show put on by the Lake Wedowee wildflowers and hardwood tree foliage comes in two acts: spring and fall. The spring act is the most publicized and has the widest variety of blooms. The spring color show occurs from very late in February until the end of May. However, the peak bloom times may vary as much as 7-10 days from year to year depending upon the weather. Most of us do not consider the forest trees when we think of a spring wildflower bloom. However, these larger members of the species provide the backdrop, or the canvas if you will, for the spring wildflower show. The conifers (the various species of pine and cedar) are evergreens and thus maintain their green color all year. Interspersed with the conifers are the numerous varieties of hardwoods or deciduous trees. Unlike the conifers, these deciduous trees shed their leaves each year in the fall and produce some of the first color each spring with their fresh leaves emerging. The emergence of the hardwood leaves is not a random event, but instead is a very predictable chronological sequence. The first color to dot the gray, barren woodlands in mid March is the fresh mint green color of the Poplar and Beech trees as they leaf out. At the same time, the dark red color of the Maples will be seen. All three of these tree types can be found primarily in the lower areas (hollows) around streams. The next hardwoods to leaf out are the Red Oak family (Northern Red Oak, Southern Red Oak, Shumard Oak, Cherry Bark Oak, etc.) The leaves will start to appear on these in the first week of April. Then, by the second week in April, the White Oak family (White Oak, Post Oak, Water Oak, Swamp White Oak, etc.) will begin to leaf
“Redbud” out. By this time, those with allergy problems will be the best indicator for the remainder of us that spring is in the air. The last of the hardwoods to leaf out are the Hickories (Pignut, Shellnut, Shag Bark, etc.). These will leaf out around the third week in April. All these hardwoods will initially have a mint green color to the leaves, followed by a darker green color as more chlorophyll forms. Now that the backdrop or canvas has been provided by the conifers and deciduous trees, it is time for the wildflowers to make their grand entrance and be splashed on nature’s canvas. The earliest significant wildflower color around the lake is the Serviceberry during the last week in February or the first week in March. The Serviceberry is a shrub-size plant that is normally found on the east and south slopes of the hills around the lake. The Serviceberry bloom is a white to very light pink color. These blooms eventually produce a red fruit that looks like miniature apples and makes a great jelly. Unfortunately, the birds and squirrels also like the Serviceberries, so it is rare to find enough of the ripe fruit to make jelly. At this same time, the Red Buckeye begins to put on green leaves. These are easy to spot as they are the first green leaves on low forest plants to appear in the early spring. By the second week of March, the Serviceberry is in full bloom. Around this time several of our local feathered friends let us know that spring is right around the corner. The Barred Owl gives out its loud eight-count hoots, along with the Wild Turkey gobblers, Screech Owls and Whippoorwills starting their vocal antics. The Pleated Woodpeckers join in with their loud drumming on dead trees and power poles, signaling for a mate. Another bird you may catch a glimpse of in the spring is the Common Loon. Although the Loon is primarily a northern resident, it migrates to the Atlantic and Caribbean waters to spend the winters feeding offshore. During the migration north in the spring these beautiful and unusual birds often stop over for a rest and some feeding on Lake Wedowee. The extra large head and beak
give the loon’s identity away. If you get close to one of these on the lake, it will usually dive and resurface 100 yards or so away. The next color we find on the lake is during the third week in March. The Red Buckeye puts on brownish-red blooms that are found as clusters at the ends of the branches. The Buckeye blooms eventually produce leathery capsules containing one to six large seeds that fall to the ground in mid-September. These slick, chestnut-like seeds are often carried in the pockets of us locals as good luck charms. Warning: these seeds can be poisonous if eaten. When I was growing up, we crushed these nuts and the roots of the Red Buckeye plant and used the material to put in streams to catch fish. The material from the pulverized roots and fruit would paralyze the fish gills and they would come to the top so they could be scooped up with a net. Crushed immature (green) Black Walnuts will have the same effect on fish. The pinkish-red blooms of the Red Bud Tree (or Judas Tree) also come out at this time. These blooms are edible if you are out on a hike and want a snack. Rounding out the color during the third week in March is the white of the Wild Plum bloom. If you like Asparagus, now is the time to search for the Fiddlehead Ferns along the small springs and branches that feed into the lake. After these have reached about a foot or so in height, they are easy to snap off at
ground level, peel off the thin outer skin and steam with butter and lemons as you would Asparagus. With the last week in March comes the first blooms of the Dogwoods and Honeysuckle (Pinxter Flower). Their earliest blooms will normally be on the south-facing slopes of the lake. These white and pink flowers respectively join the Red Buds, which are now in full bloom. The yellowish-green blooms of the Sassafras trees also pop out at this time, and the Yellow Jasmine (Carolina Jasmine) vines also began their long blooming cycle. If you want something to take the edge off the long winter blahs, dig up two or three small Sassafras bushes and take the roots home for a good washing. Then scrape the reddish colored skin of the roots with a knife, put the shavings in a pot of water and boil for around 30 minutes or so. Now strain it through a cloth and serve with lemon. By now the Trilliums have emerged on the forest floor. These come in many varieties with different color blooms - white, yellow, red and purple. The May Apple plants will also be coming up through the hardwood leaves around this time. Both the Trilliums and May Apple plants are usually found in low-lying, dense hardwood areas. By the first week in April, the Dogwood and Honeysuckle blooms are becoming wide26
spread. The Wild Cherry trees also come into full bloom around this time. However, their pale white blooms are easy to miss because they are mixed in with the pale green leaves coming out at the same time. This is also the week for the blooms of the Wild Irises, Bird Foot Violets and Paw Paws to awaken from their winter sleep. The rare Alabama Azaleas also begin to put on their white bloom. Like the Honeysuckle, the Alabama Azaleas put on their flowers first, followed later by the leaves. These are usually found along creeks flowing into Lake Wedowee, such as Fox Creek, Triplett, Ketchepedrakee and Mad Indian. The Fireflies, or “Lightning Bugs” as we Southerners call them, also start their nighttime show during this time of year. The second week in April is probably the “showiest” period of the spring wildflower bloom, when the Dogwood and Honeysuckle flowers are usually at their peak. The Violets, Irises and other small wildflowers are joined by the pink of the Wild Phlox. The Butterfly Peas’ blue blooms are also found on vines this time of the season, usually in the edges of pine forests. The colorful Summer and Scarlet Tanager birds, along with the Hummingbirds, return from their winter grounds to find a mate and build their nests. This is also the time to look for the Polk Salat plant to start coming up. It can be
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found anywhere the earth has been disturbed or where lightning has struck. A mess of these tender leaves (not over 4-5 inches long, boiled in water, changed twice) and some green onions mixed in for the last boiling are a great meal. It’s traditional to cleanse the blood and internal organs after a long winter. By the third week in April, the Dogwood and Honeysuckle are past their peak, but the white of the Grant’s Gray Beard (Grandsir Graybeard) and the Blackberries very adequately replace them in our lake color extravaganza. The blooming of the Blackberries also brings out the last cold snap of the year, known in these parts as “Blackberry Winter.” Even if you don’t see them, you will certainly smell the chocolate-brown blooms of the Sweet Shrubs at this time of year. The Sweet Shrubs are found in colonies usually on the south or east sides of slopes dropping off to the lake. The white blooms of the May Apples will also start to show around this time. The last week in April heralds the first red, white and pink blooms of the Mountain Laurel and Rhododendrons. Although the Rhododendrons are scarce around the lake except in some deep hollows, the Mountain Laurel is perhaps the most widespread wildflower on the lake. The red and yellow trumpet-shaped flowers of the Cross Vine also show up, and by now the Grant’s Gray Beard and Sweet Shrubs are in full bloom. The first week in May brings on the white 28
blooms of the Sweet Azaleas (Smooth Azalea) and the orange to red bloom of the Flame Azalea. Unlike the Honeysuckle and Alabama Azalea, these Azaleas put on their leaves first, followed by the blooms. The semi-rare Sweet Azalea can be found on several streams such as Fox, Triplett, Ketchepedrakee and other creeks flowing into the lake. The rare Flame Azalea is even harder to find, but there are a couple of colonies near the lake. Although located a few miles from the lake, a convenient place to view these magnificent flowers from your car is atop Mount Cheaha. There is a large colony of these colorful plants on either side of the road between the Stone Tower turnoff and the Bald Rock Turnoff. These Flame Azaleas normally peak during the 5-10 May period. This is also the time for the blooming of the unusual Strawberry Bush. These are not rare, but somewhat difficult to find unless you have an experienced eye for wildflowers. They can be found on higher ground, in either pine or hardwood forests and can be differentiated from other small shrubs at some distance by their greenish colored stems. The second week in May brings the Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron and Azalea show to an end, but also brings out the first of the Oak Leaf Hydrangea’s white blooms. By the third week in May, the beautiful flowers are close to full bloom, and the Fire Pinks are also beginning to show off their color. By the last week in May, the Oak Leaf Hydrangea and Fire
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Pink blooms come to a peak. This is also the time to find the huge white blooms of the Umbrella Magnolia tree. These are smaller trees that grow in the deep hollows near small branches or springs feeding into the lake. Another rare wildflower blooming at this time is the Turks Cap Lillies. These orange and black flowers grow in colonies in a few areas around the lake. The bright yellow blooms of the Tickseed Sunflowers can also be found in fields or open areas under power lines at this time of year. These blooms signal the beginning of the end of the spring color show. The Butterfly Weed and Button Bush are about the last of the Lake Wedowee spring flowers to bloom. The beautiful orange Butterfly Weed is normally found in open areas, such as power line right-of-ways and on roadsides. The Button Bush, with its white blooms, is rare, but a few of these can be found on the lake near the junction of the Little and Big Tallapoosa rivers, just north of the Highway 48 bridge and alongside creeks flowing into the lake. By now all the hardwoods have fully leafed out and the American Cuckoo birds (called Rain Crows by the locals) have arrived from their winter grounds to compete with the Tanagers for their share of the hardwood leaf caterpillars. Officially, summer comes during the third week in June, closing out the first act of the Lake Wedowee wildflower and foliage show. The second act will come with the fall wildflower show.
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by Penny Pool photos by Emily Wilkins and courtesy of the Baker family
Family and building materials get a fresh start in this rustic Lake Wedowee home
he Baker family built more than a house -- they built a family while working on their cabin just outside of Wedowee. Guy and Kay and their three sons, Jeffrey, Kyle and Adam, all participated in the construction and began living in the secluded cabin as they built it. What makes their home truly unique, however, is the fact that it is built almost entirely of recycled and salvaged materials. Although it is just off of U.S. Highway 431 and you can hear the swishing sounds of cars flying by, you feel like you are hidden deep in the woods. The winding dirt road through the trees prepares you for the other-world feel of the log cabin perched on the hill with its water wheel turning. It was a life change for Guy, who had become overwhelmed with his work, he said. His wife tells a little different story. A buddy of his knocked on their door on their Camp Baker property in Roanoke where they once ran a popular daycare program. The buddy had just sold his house and needed a place to rent. Kay said she told him at that time they didn’t have any available rental property. She said he then talked to Guy, who said, “give me 30 days.” The cabin that was on their property next to Lake Wedowee had no running water, no room for the boys, with just the den, kitchen and loft bedroom. But with their backs against the wall, they had to get it ready. 34
Changing lifestyle Guy, who has been a general contractor for 23 years, was having a tough time in 2001. His mother, Margie Baker, was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away two days after Christmas that year. The construction business of the then 42-year-old had become overwhelming. He was working six to seven days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day, and it still was not enough. About four days out of seven someone would be waiting in his driveway with a job request when he came home, and he couldn’t say no. Kay, who had gone to school off and on part-time, was in school full-time at Jacksonville State then. They had the three boys and Guy was afraid for their future, he said. “I got up one day and decided I wanted to build a cabin and learn how to fish. The year was 2001 and 9/11 had happened. A lot of things changed in my life,” he said. That request from his friend for a place to rent a few years later was the impetus for the family’s permanent move to the lake. Guy said, “This was a weekend shack in the woods, no phone. Lake Wedowee was backed up to us. Then we said ‘Why spend just Saturday and Sunday here when we can be here all the time?’” Kay said they worked quickly, hooking up the water from the creek, using a generator for power and creating a room for the boys. They will have been living among the wild things full-time for three years on June 1. Coyotes, raccoons deer, bobcats, foxes and other roaming creatures can be seen through their windows. And today Guy can drive home, grab his line and be on his dock fishing in six minutes.
The construction Guy knew how how to do the rock work so evident in the cabin, and during the building of the massive fireplace, which is actually an art form, his sons became excellent rock masons, he said. His two oldest sons (Jeffrey and Kyle) now work with their father full-time in Guy Baker Construction. They did most of the rock work by the pool, and they remembered it as being 30 degrees when they built the outside fireplace. The fireplaces are made of cultured stone, which is man-made, but the rocks around the pool and water wheel were picked up on the property. One dates back to when Indians used it to grind corn, Guy said. “We generally start a fire the first of November and it doesn’t go out until spring,” Guy said. The heat rises the 22 feet from the floor to the open rafters, warming the entire house. From his years in construction Guy took the best of what he had seen to make this house. It may be the best example in the state of recycling to build a house. His eagle eyes spotted old barns, sheds and other outbuildings wherever he went. He incorporated these wonderful old boards, tin roofs, windows and other items he collected into the Bakers’ family-friendly house. Except for the heating and air-conditioning there was no debt associated with building the cabin. During much of the construction process he used a small Coleman generator for the
power tools because he did not want a power bill when they were not there all the time, he said. People were generous when he asked about old mills, sheds and barns, Guy said, but some places where people turned him away now have the wonderful old stuff just rotting on the ground. Pictures of old mills kept coming back to him, wood siding and rusted siding. The wooden windows are 100 years old and some of the glass is 100 years old, he said. “I wanted it to look like a structure that had been here a long, long time,” Guy said. Apparently, he succeeded, because two elderly women on the Christmas Tour of Homes were overheard saying it looked like it was going to fall in. This makes him laugh because he knows how sturdy the house actually is. Family members built almost everything in the house, with much of it made from trees on the property. Guy loves everything that is old, and once people find that out they will sell or give him things, Kay said, “I wanted it to look like a structure mentioning the old white that had been here a long, long time,” wood and metallic kitchen cabinet, sometimes known as a hoosier, in their kitchen area. He bought it from a neighbor for $40. Many old curiosities, such as plows and farm implements, came from people he was working for, she said, quick to point out the Guy Street sign came from an old barn. A weathered ladder displays family portraits in the great room that includes the
The large porch wraps around the front and side of the house, acting as an outdoor extension of their living space. The interior decor of the house is based mainly on interesting bits and pieces, such as old signage, that Guy and Kay have found over the years.
kitchen, eating area and living room. Portraits are also displayed on the walls leading to the second floor. Guy made the wonderful twisted stained pine banisters from trees cut to create a road to the home site. They were also used to make the beds. He used a chainsaw to build a bed before the house was finished around it. It can never be removed, he said. He has told people he probably has $6 in it. Kay saw a similar one in a magazine for $1,200, he said. He is creative about use of materials, saying the countertops feature scrap left from building windows. One of Kay’s contributions was the gorgeous colorful tile work in the kitchen island that matches the floor tiles. Guy showed her how to do it, she said. There are more than 1,000 blocks in the counter top and floor, Guy said.
He did buy some of the rafters new but the decking comes from a portable sawmill at Stroud, he said. Mike Breed had an old shed that is now the whole wall around the fireplace. Carl Melton lives between Malone and Wadley and Mrs. Melton called and said they had some old store buildings that might be knocked down in logging. If he wanted them he better get them quickly, she said. He did. He found items like the Roanoke/Opelika sign under Hoyt Vinson’s house, and occasionally he finds signs such as the Brown’s Cafe sign in storage. “I’ve always collected. I would go somewhere and see an old plow and pick it up and throw it on the pickup. Kay decides where it will be displayed. Kay’s parents, Glenda and Byron Morrison, gave them an old crosscut saw, he said. He built the kitchen counters, with much of the stuff coming from
The Bakers’ ingenuity at repurposing materials is evident in every part of the house: the kitchen countertops and floors are made from scrap ends of wood, laid like tile and coated with polyeurethane. An old ladder displays family pictures. Guy made the bed from logs he had cut to clear the driveway, and the downstairs bathtub began life as a livestock watering trough.
Stroud. He admitted he had the advantage of working in construction and seeing old stuff. Mark Brown gave him about 75 percent of the old rusted tin, but every nook and cranny of the county is represented in the house. The old lumber is better than the fast-growing lumber of today, he said. Not only is it larger, but it is stronger wood, the heart of the tree, he said. It forms the heart of the 1,150-square-foot house. It was his idea to create the downstairs tub from a watering trough for animals with the inside coated with fiberglass. Tin surrounds the area around the tub. A canoe floats along in the upper rafters. He did buy the french doors opening off the master bedroom in order to get some air. But he gets upset if the power bill is $100, he said. The one element that is all Kay’s is the pool. For 25 years of their mar-
riage every spring she would say she wanted a swimming pool. “I’m glad we did it,” Guy said. “We’ve enjoyed it during those 100-degree days last summer.” Only recently has everything been completed so they can sit back and enjoy it. Guy still wants to add one or two more things, though. He wants to build a dormer window overlooking the pool so he can lie in bed and see the pool, Kay said. Guy is also toying with the idea of closing in the wonderful porch with its wood-burning heater that overlooks woods that seem to go on for eternity. His wife cares little for football but Guy and her sons are fanatics. If the porch was closed in they could put a television out there and she wouldn’t have to listen to it, he said. The porch just outside the kitchen meets the water wheel and wraps around the front of the house to the front door. They grill often on the
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built-in grill as they talk and mill around the porch area. Guy hopes someday to generate electricity from the water wheel fed by the creek. The wheel froze during the recent cold snap, presenting an amazing image. Being away from television with the quietness all around “has been healing for our family. It kind of slowed our boys down,” Kay said. “They’ve grown to appreciate it.” Kay said she loves the simplicity of the house. Guy knew he didn’t want a lot of upkeep and aside from sweeping, mopping and dusting there is little upkeep, Kay said. “This is the perfect house,” Guy added. “It was not built for profit, not built for sale. It was built for enjoyment. This is like coming home to a vacation everyday.” The family will probably never stop having a project, Kay said. But with the family’s dream home completed, she said she believes it will now be the boys who come up with the next one.
This is the perfect house. It was not built for profit, not built for sale. It was built for enjoyment. This is like coming home to a vacation everyday.
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by Vanessa Sorrell Burnside photography by Emily Wilkins
After a career spent figuring out how to get ahead in advertising, Tom Scott is now content to fall back into life on Lake Wedowee. Although the Scotts have had a lakehouse on Andanley Branch for 20 years, these days Scott is getting recognized more as the artist whose works are on display at Wedowee Gift Shop downtown. Scott got to know Merl and Kathy Brown and Wendy Green of Wedowee Gift Shop, who mentioned there was nothing for customers to buy that was memorabilia of the area. So Scott set about taking photographs around Wedowee and painted downtown scenes in watercolor that he has made into note cards and prints, which have been for sale at the store since October. “It’s a test tube for me,” said Scott of the shop. “Merl can tell me what people like.” “We’ve sold all the larger sizes,” said Mr. Brown. “Recently, it’s been really hot.” Scott is a Birmingham native whose parents met at Auburn University. The family moved to Buffalo, N.Y., where Scott finished high school. He too headed to Auburn for his studies and, during that time, his parents moved to Atlanta. “I think being a misplaced Southerner made me more appreciative of the South,” he said. Scott’s career was spent at advertising agencies. He started out as an art director at a small ad agency in Birmingham. Since the company was so small, he got involved in the business end of things and came to enjoy client contact. Some of his commercials for automobile dealerships won awards, and BBDO Advertising in Atlanta, which handled big accounts like Dodge and Chrysler, soon courted him. BBDO sent him to Memphis for a year, then briefly to Detroit. Back in Atlanta, he handled accounts for Dodge for the Southeast. During this time, he met his wife Na
The Scotts call their Wedowee home “Sweet Home Alabama.” Mr. Scott designed the name plate beside the door.
dra, a native of Jessup, Ga., and graduate of Valdosta State.
Scott’s next work assignment sent the young couple to New
“They don’t have a choice,” piped in Allison.
York City for a time before returning to Atlanta.
“They know the lake better than Atlanta,” said her dad of
“Automotive advertising is my niche,” he said.
his girls. “We were known as the crazy family who came
Saatchi & Saatchi, a large agency that handles Toyota ad-
from Florida to spend their summers on the lake.”
vertising, then hired Scott to open an office in Fort Lauder-
Mrs. Scott’s father, Herschel Collins, bought land in the
dale, Fla. The family lived there for 10 years, while Scott also set up an office for Saatchi & Saatchi in Atlanta. His territory encompassed the Southeast. The couple’s daughters, Jessica and Allison, grew up in Fort Lauderdale. “It was grueling. A lot of airplanes, a lot of meetings,” said Scott. After 10 years in Florida, the couple moved back to Atlanta. “There’s not as much ‘please and thank-you’ in Florida.”
The job Scott retired from was with Richards Group, doing
area and developed it when the lake was first
ads for Hyundai. Richards Group also had accounts for
filled. Mr. and Mrs. Collins lived in the house next door in
Home Depot, Red Lobster and Chick-fil-A.
the Andanley Heights subdivision.
Last year, Scott left the company and retired. Meanwhile,
Scott has set up a studio in his basement garage. He has a
Mrs. Scott had a job offer in Birmingham as sales manager
TV, phone, wireless Internet, refrigerator - everything he
of WVTM, the NBC affiliate in Birmingham. For now
there is a corporate apartment in Birmingham, but the
An artist since his youth, Scott has painted in watercol-
couple is looking for a second home there. Another transi-
ors since a college art class. The professor was crazy as a
tion occurred in December when both daughters gradu-
loon and might show up drunk for the 10 o’clock class, but
ated from different colleges. The couple sold their house in
Scott said he was still a great instructor.
Sandy Springs and came to Lake Wedowee.
His favorite medium is transparent watercolors. “If you
“We’ve had our lake house for 20 years; we can’t sell it,”
make a mistake, it’s hard to take it back out. Watercolor is
Mr. Scott works from photographs since sunlight may change while painting on site. He feels sometimes a painting can reflect the mood of a place more so than a photo. “You can use your imagination and set a better sense of place. The mood and attitude is captured.” faster to paint, but it’s not very forgiving,” he
a better sense of place. The mood and atti-
said. “Sometimes quirky things happen with
tude is captured.”
the water and paint.”
Commissions generally need to be accurate,
Many of Scott’s paintings have been com-
although he can make the trees “grow” or re-
missioned landscapes, customers’ houses,
move power lines seen in the photo. “But if
cabins, homeplaces, barns, etc.
it’s YOUR art, you can change things,” he
The artist works from photographs since
sunlight may change while painting on site.
This isn’t like the old days in advertising. He
He feels sometimes a painting can reflect the
explained how commercial artists have to do
mood of a place more so than a photo. He
whatever the client wants. He said, “Rejec-
said, “You can use your imagination and set
tion of a client is one of the hardest things
We are a family oriented campground with sites available year-round. We have two boat ramps and four docks available for campers. Restaurant features catfish, seafood, & steaks. Also available by advance order: smoked hams, turkeys, butts, chicken, etc. We also sell slaw, sides, and desserts.
Restaurant open Thursday - Sunday Thursday Friday & Saturday Sunday
11:00 - 6:30 11:00 - 9:00 11:00 - 3:00
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285 Aaron Drive, Wedowee | 256.363.2718 Directions: Turn onto Piney Wood Drive off of 431 north of Wedowee. Follow road about ¾ mile, bearing right onto Aaron Drive.
to face. It’s like telling you your baby is ugly. (The artists) don’t understand. It gets subjective.” Scott’s originals are in a variety of sizes. While he paints only two or three days per week, Scott said if he were to paint an eight-hour day, it would probably take him four or five days to finish a painting. The artist makes some prints in the studio himself, and others he takes to Atlanta to have scanned and giclee prints made. Unlike traditional prints, giclees have far superior color and don’t have to be printed in such large Prints of Mr. Scott’s paintings, like the one of downtown Wedowee shown here, are available at Wedowee Gift Shop.
quantities. The prints are on watercolor paper. When Scott sells an original, he retains the rights to reproduce the painting. Because he’s had all he can handle with word-of-mouth commissions, Scott has not taken his work to any art shows. The artist says he might want to branch out to other vacation places that are not really well known to paint their local scenes, as well. For now, he’s looking around the Wedowee area for his next subject. “This isn’t Gatlinburg,” he said. “A lot of places have the need for this that no one’s filling.”
Questions? Forget Mary.
“I’ve got the keys in my pocket.” - Harold Harmon, owner
H & M Drugs Vital Care 146 Village Lane, Wedowee 256-357-4614 or 1-800-544-6218 after hours, call Harold at 357-2350
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Everything you need to know about
fishing on Lake Wedowee by Matt Shelley
Like most lakes in the state of Alabama, Lake Wedowee has a plethora of leisure activities to offer. But on Lake Wedowee, few pastimes are enjoyed as much as fishing. Lake Wedowee is stocked with a variety of fish including bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, striped bass and largemouth bass. For most anglers in the Wedowee area though, the crappie and bass fishing is some of the best in the state and in the south. Don East, a retired Navy man and Wedowee angler, is the area’s premiere expert on crappie fishing. East has been active in helping Alabama Power Company in determining when crappie begin to spawn on Lake Wedowee so the lake levels aren’t elevated too quickly, which destroys the eggs in shallow waters. “You have to understand crappie and how they spawn,” East said. “If they go into the spawn and lay their eggs and the water rises seven or eight feet over the next few days it messes up the spawn.” The eggs don’t receive enough sunlight to mature and hatch if the lake levels are raised in a short amount of time, which decreases the overall number of crappie in the lake. East alerts the Alabama Power Company when he detects the beginning of the spawn and the company tries to withhold raising the lake level for 10 days. But why so much attention to the spawning season? Not only does it affect the crappie population in the lake, but it decreases the crappie harvest during the peak time, which of course is during the spawn. East said the lake could be divided into two areas when deter48
mining the spawn period-the little river area and the big river area. The big river area is basically everything north of the Highway 48 Bridge. The land formations around this area consist mostly of hills and small mountains, giving the water less direct sunlight on any given day. This means the water temperature stays cooler longer. The little river area is surrounded by lower-lying land, so the water temperature rises quicker than the big river area. East said crappie spawn two or three weeks earlier in the little river because of the quicker rise in water temperature in the area. And while there is never an absolute time period for the spawn because of fluctuations in average temperature in a year, it’s somewhat easy to figure out when crappie will spawn. The peak spawning time in an average year is usually between March 25 and April 15. But the real determining factor is the exact water temperature. When the temperature of the water hits about 58 degrees, look for crappie to begin the spawn. “Before crappie spawn, they tend to school up at the mouths of creeks and in deep water,” East said. “If there’s any timber out there, that’s a good place to find them, at the mouths of creeks. They stay out there and mill around until the water temperature hits 58, then they move into the shallows and spawn.” East said determining the best time of year to fish for crappie can be as easy as determining the spawn period. But East continued to say that not all crappie spawn at the exact same time. It all depends on the location in the lake and
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the water temperatures in each location. way is to tight line fish on the outer trees, not There are two types of crappie found in Lake trees near the bank. East said it’s best not to Wedowee-white crappie and black crappie. use a cork and to fish about 20-25 feet deep. Black crappie is the more aggressive of the two Minnows and jigs generally work best as bait. and therefore is more plentiful in the lake. Another tip to finding good crappie spots is to East said there are a variety of ways to differfish near sandy banks with a little mud mixed entiate the two types, some more difficult than in during the spawn. others. According to East, the most difficult “Some banks are solid rock and they don’t tend way is to count dorsal fins. But the easiest and to want to spawn there,” East said. “You need most effective way to tell which kind of crappie to find banks with a shallow drop-off with a lot you’ve caught is to simply look at the direction of sand.” of the stripes on East also said he “People down here can fish any way finds the best time the fish. White crappie has vertical of day to fish for they want to. They’ve got stripes while black crappie isn’t first crappie have horitimber, rock walls, humps, road thing in the mornzontal stripes. ing as with bass. beds-they can fish pretty much any “I found out that In addition to the spring spawn fishcrappie like for the way they want to on this lake.” ing, East said mid sun to hit the water to late November for a little bit and is also a prime time for crappie fishing. a little bit of breeze to come up before they “After you’ve had two or three cold nights and really bite,” East said. “I’ve been out there on a couple of frosts, you can catch just as many still mornings when the surface is like glass and then as you can during the spawn, but you’ve the sun wouldn’t be quite up and you wouldn’t got to fish differently for them,” East said. catch a fish for about an hour.” Early spring and late fall may be the best times East said the best times for crappie fishing is to fish for crappie, but they certainly aren’t the between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. and between 3 only times. Summer crappie fishing is done p.m. and dark. mostly at night using a floating light to attract The bass fishing in Lake Wedowee provides insects, which in turn attracts minnows which some of the best in the state as well. attract crappie. Jeff Colburn, Clay County Clerk and president “The main thing is finding them,” East said. of the Cheaha Bass Club said bass fishing in “There’s two ways to do that. You either have Wedowee has been wonderful over the last few to know the lake well enough to know where years. they stay or the other way is to use a fish Colburn said after experiencing a lull in the finder.” 90s and early part of the new decade, the bass East said there are several ways to fish for craphave really picked up. pie throughout the seasons, but his favorite “The last four years we’ve had as good of a
spawn as we’ve ever had,” Colburn said. Like crappie, the best bass fishing is highly dependant on the time of year-especially during the spawn. The spawn period for bass is similar to that of crappie but sometimes requires the water to be slightly warmer. While crappie prefer for the water temperature to be about 58 degrees, bass will spawn in water temperatures anywhere from 58 to 62 degrees. “You’ve got to have that magic 58-62 degree water temp for them to really move to the banks and get ready to start spawning,” Colburn said. Colburn said in his opinion, the best time to fish for bass in Lake Wedowee is during the winter and early spring because he prefers to fish deeper. “I like the winter time because you can catch them grouped up,” Colburn said. “If you catch a couple of fish, you’ll usually catch a bunch.” Colburn said night fishing during the summer months is also a good option. “Summer time at night is a real good time for big fish,” Colburn said. “You can find some brush piles and stuff and catch some big fish at night.” According to Colburn, in early spring, the best bass fishing is found up river. During the spring and fall,
down river is the best. And like any kind of angling, bass fishing can be done in many different ways. “My main fishing is light line,” Colburn said. “I’m a finesse fisherman. I fish a spinning reel with a 10-pound line and a spot-sticker jig head with a small finesse or a trick worm.” Colburn said he generally fishes anywhere from 25-30 feet deep. “And in the spring time, most everybody knows you get up closer to the bank and get in the pocket, throw a trick worm or spinner bait and that’s when you catch the majority of your fish,” Colburn said. The only technique Colburn doesn’t recommend for bass fishing in Lake Wedowee is flipping and pitching because of the lack of grass in the lake. In general, he said the best bass fishing in the area is around brush piles in the water. “People down here can fish any way they want to,” Colburn said. “They’ve got timber, rock walls, humps, road beds-they can fish pretty much anyway they want to on this lake.”
Mitchell Marine | 370 Davis Road, LaGrange, GA | 706.884.2594
calendar of events & activities
Local Events Sunday, March 16 French-Hammond Park Easter Egg Hunt. 2-4 p.m. French-Hammond Park, Old Highway 431, Wedowee. Children are invited to an Easter egg hunt the park. Wednesday, March 19 Randolph County Chamber of Commerce Professional Women’s Luncheon 11:30 a.m. Southern Union State Community College Cafeteria State Sen. Kim Benefield (D-Woodland) will be the guest speaker at this 18th annual luncheon. Registration is $15. 334-863-6612. Saturday, March 22 Lake Wedowee Property Owners Association Quarterly Meeting 9 a.m. The Hub Restaurant, Wedowee Revenue Commissioner Josh Burns will be the guest speaker at the quarterly meeting of the lake property owners’ association. Saturday, March 29 4th Annual City of Roanoke Police Department D.A.R.E. Buddy Bass Tournament Daylight to 3 p.m. Highway 48 Bridge Boat Ramp, Lake Wedowee. Entry fee is $100 per boat; optional $10 big fish pot. For more information call Derek Farr at 334-885-2076 or Billy Lane at 334-436-0790. Friday-Sunday, April 4-6 Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association Southeast Regional Antique Tractor Show Kiwanis Park, Wedowee. April 8-11 “Grease” 7 p.m., 2 p.m. Sunday Brazeal Auditorium, Southern Union State Community College, Wadley. The fine arts department at SUSCC will present “Grease.” Tickets are $5. 256-395-2211.
Thursday-Friday, April 10-11 Wedowee Hospital Auxiliary Jewelry Sale Wedowee Town Hall, Wedowee. April 13-19 National Library Week Annie L. Awbrey Public Library, Roanoke, has special events planned for National Library Week. 334-863-2632. April 22-24 Early registration for summer term at Southern Union State Community College Regular registration is May 19-20. Summer term classes begin May 21. For more information, call 256-395-2211. Friday, April 25 American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life 6 p.m. Wright Field (Handley High School football field), West Point Street, Roanoke. Saturday, April 26 French-Hammond Park Celebrity Golf Tournament 11 a.m. EDT Overlook Golf Links, LaGrange, Ga. Proceeds from this celebrity golf tournament will go to benefit French-Hammond Park in Wedowee. Saturday, May 17 Randolph County Learning Center Bike-Hike Registration begins at 7 a.m. Roanoke Recreation Center, Roanoke. Proceeds from the annual fundraiser will go to Randolph County Learning Center, a school for adults with mental disabilities. The Bike-Hike Warm-Up will be Friday, May 9, at WELR radio station in Roanoke. 334-863-8991. Saturday, May 17 Lake Wedowee Property Owners Association Kids Fishing Day 7 a.m. to noon Hope Whaley’s Pond, near Wedowee. Children under 16 may come and fish in this stocked fishpond for free. Bring your own rod and reel and bait. Hot dogs and drinks will be provided. 256-357-2863.
Saturday, May 24 Sacred Harp Singing All day Mount Pisgah Primitive Baptist Church, 6 miles south of Roanoke on U.S. 431 in the Stroud community. June 18-20 Southern Union Fine Arts Camp 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Renaissance Center, Southern Union State Community College, Wadley. Enjoy a three-day summer camp experience in the fine arts. Students in grades 7-12 will receive training in dance, music and theater with intensive instruction in the area of their choice. Cost is $90. Registration begins May 1. For more information call Susan Pitts at 256-395-2211, firstname.lastname@example.org. Saturday, June 21 Lake Wedowee Property Owners Association Summer Picnic Rice Pavilion on Lake Wedowee June 23-27 Kids Kollege Southern Union State Community College, Wadley. Southern Union State Community College Alumni Association will sponsor Kids Kollege for students in grades 1-6. Fee will apply. For more information call Shondae Brown at 256-395-2211, email@example.com Friday-Saturday, July 4-5 4th Annual Randolph County Professional Cowboy Association Rodeo 7 p.m. Just north of Wedowee Building Supplies, Wedowee. Proceeds go to Randolph County Sheriff’s Department. 245-357-4545. May 29-June 26 Annie L. Awbrey Public Library Summer Reading Program Annie L. Awbrey Public Library in Roanoke will have pre-registration for its summer reading program on May 29-30. Programs will be Thursdays, June 5, at 2 p.m.; June 12, at 2 p.m.; June 19, at 2 p.m.; and the finale on June 26 at 10 a.m. 334-863-2632.
Third Friday & Saturday of Each Month Wehadkee Trade Days and Auction 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Former Wehadkee Yarn Mills, Rock Mills. Find tools, hardware, antiques, pottery, glassware and more. Auction begins Saturday at 3 p.m. 334-885-1111.
Area Events Friday and Saturday, March 14-15 6th Annual Alabama Hiking Trail Society Conference Cheaha State Park, Bald Rock Lodge The largest gathering of hikers, backpackers and outdoor lovers in the state with presentations on hiking/backpacking gear, destinations and the environment, entertainment, food, raffles and short hikes. Admission charged.251-533-1812. www.hikealabama.org. Friday and Saturday, March 14-15 “Dearly Departed” 7 p.m. Pell City Center, Pell City. Don’t miss Jason Petty’s New York Obie awardwinning performance as he brings Hank’s music back to life in this insightful, energetic show. Admission charged. 205-338-1974.
Saturday, March 15 Cleburne Day 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Cleburne County Courthouse, Heflin. Parade, including dogs in costume, period music and dress, Civil War encampment, canon firing, arts and crafts, and exhibits to celebrate history of Cleburne County. Free. 256-463-5655. www. cityofheflin.org. March 16-April 6 Auburn/Opelika Floral Trail 7 a.m. until. Experience the sense of peace and renewal found along 14 miles of blooming azaleas, dogwoods, and flowering cherries as the Auburn/Opelika community ushers in spring. Free. 334-821-7394. www.aotourism.com. Sunday, March 16 Official Dedication of Alabama’s Pinhoti and Appalachian Trail Link 2-3 p.m. Cheaha State Park Ceremony marking a 23-year effort to complete Alabama’s link to the Appalachian Trail and the fulfillment of Benton MacKay’s 1925 vision of extending the original trail north to Maine and south to Alabama.
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Saturday, March 22 Easter Eggstravaganza at Callaway Gardens 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga. All ages are invited to hunt for Easter eggs on Robin Lake Beach (Saturday before Easter; begins at 2 p.m.) and attend the Easter Sunrise Service (Easter morning). Easter buffet* available in The Plant Room (walk-in), Mountain Creek Ballrooms (reservations required) and The Piedmont Dining Room (reservations required). Saturday, March 22 Spring Celebration at Callaway Gardens 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga. Celebrate the beauty of spring at Callaway Gardens with many family activities among the flowers. Each weekend offers something unique and a great reason to be outside. Please visit www. callawaygardens.com for specific details. Saturday, March 22 Tallapoosa Annual Easter Egg Hunt 11 a.m. to noon EDT Rayford Roberts Memorial Park, Tallapoosa, Ga. Held the Saturday before Easter. Children ages 1-12 are invited to hunt over 6,000 hidden Easter eggs!
living room suites
entertainment centers dinette sets
mattress sets recliners rugs
Payne’s Furniture 986 Main St. Roanoke
March 27-30 “Other People’s Dreams” 7 p.m., except Sun., 2 p.m. Jacksonville State University JSU Dept. of Drama presents the premier performance of the winner of 2007’s Southern Playwright’s Competition, “Other People’s Dreams,” by Evan Guilford-Blake. Admission charged. 256-782-5648. www.jsu.edu/depart/drama. Saturday, March 29 Waterfall Tour & Hike 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Cheaha State Park Join Joan Alexander and others from the Anniston Outdoor Association for driving and hiking tour of several beautiful waterfalls around the Talladega National Forest and Cheaha State Park areas. Bring daypack with lunch, water, supplies, camera. Admission charged. 256-782-5697. fieldschool.jsu.edu.
Saturday-Sunday, March 29-30 Wilderness Survivor: F.D. Roosevelt State Park 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain, Ga. 2970 Ga. Hwy. 190 If you found yourself in a wilderness survival situation, would you be strong enough? Learn how to build snares and shelters, and also discover new ways to start fire. Many survival topics
will be introduced during this workshop. Register in advance. Saturday-Sunday, March 29-30 Battle of Horseshoe Bend Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, Dadeville. Experience the life of the Creek and Cherokee Indians. Learn basket making, flint knapping, finger weaving, cooking, dancing and more. Watch soldiers fire cannons and flintlock muskets. Free. 256-234-7111. www.nps.gov/hobe. Saturday, April 12 Dogwood Arts and Crafts Fair 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT Downtown Tallapoosa, Ga. The Dogwood Fair will offer a variety of handmade crafts (wood, iron, quilts, flowers, art work, etc.) as well as demonstrations provided by a variety of local artisans. Many food vendors, as well as a BBQ sponsored by the Methodist Church. All-day entertainment. The parade begins at 2 p.m. and may be viewed from Hwy. 100 or Hwy. 78. Saturday, April 12 Second Saturday Space Safari: Stars of the Pharaohs 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Jacksonville State University Planetarium
Mitchell Marine | 370 Davis Road, LaGrange, GA | 706.884.2594
Travel through space and explore planet Earth during these exciting programs for families and children. Programs may include astronomy on the large dome, exciting films and hands-on learning opportunities. Admission charged. J256-782-5697. fieldschool.jsu.edu. April 17-20 “Enchanted April” 7 p.m., except Sun., 2 p.m. Jacksonville State University JSU’s Alpha Psi Omega Honorary Dramatic Fraternity presents this enchanting production by Matthew Barber, adapted from the novel by Elizabeth von Arnim. Admission charged. 256-782-5648. www.jsu.edu/depart/drama. Saturday, April 19 4th Annual Mountain Longleaf Festival: A Celebration of Arts & Environment 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Anniston Festival designed to celebrate the natural world and to benefit the children of the community. Enjoy live music, nature and arts activities, arts demonstrations and sales, food, children’s activities and more. 256-782-5697. fieldschool.jsu.edu. Saturday, April 19-Sunday, April 20 Earth Day “Go Green” Festival 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EDT F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain, Ga.
2970 Ga. Hwy. 190 Would you like to get a little more educated about the global concerns and issues of Planet Earth? Want to learn how you can make a difference? Activities include “Leave No Trace,” environmental awareness, eco-friendly alternatives, music and more. Many environmental organizations will have information booths.
Saturday, April 26 Highway 78 Yard Sale 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT Villa Rica Tourism Bureau, Villa Rica, Ga. 571 West Bankhead Hwy. From Villa Rica to Temple, Bremen, Waco and Tallapoosa, you can travel Highway 78 and find treasures and bargains.
April 24-May 11 CAST presents “Once Upon a Mattress” 8 p.m. Thurs., Fri. & Sat.; 2:30 p/m/ Sun. Jacksonville State University/McClellan Theatre Based on fairytale “The Princess and the Pea” by Hans Christian Andersen, “Once Upon a Mattress” is a musical comedy that debuted on Broadway in 1959 with Carol Burnett in the role of Princess Winifred. Admission charged. (256) 820-2278.
Saturday, April 26 Arts Council Fair on the Square Living Museum 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Jacksonville Public Square Juried show featuring weavers, basket makers, woodworkers, quilters, painters, potters, photographers, toymakers and more. Local talent throughout the day on the square’s stage, sidewalk sales by local merchants. Free admission. 256-435-4053.
Friday, April 25 23rd Annual Race Fever Auction & BBQ Talladega Superspeedway Speed Channel Dome, Talladega. Awarded the 2005 Governor’s Tourism Award, Race Fever is a charity event featuring a barbecue dinner, NASCAR driver autograph and interview session, silent and live auctions with NASCAR memorabilia. Proceeds benefit the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. 256-761-3571. www. racefever.org.
Saturday, Apr 26 Auburn CityFest 2008 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Kiesel Park, Auburn. Lee County’s largest free outdoor arts and crafts festival featuring live entertainment, handmade crafts, family fun activities, juried arts show, delicious food and more. 334-501-2930. www. auburncityfest.com.
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Friday-Sunday, April 25-27 Aarons Dream Weekend: NASCAR SPRINT CUP Series Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega. A weekend of exciting racing action featuring Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday and the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series race on Sunday. Admission charged. 877-Go2-DEGA (462-3342). www.talladegasuperspeedway.com. May 1-29 Sundown Concert Series at Kiesel Park Kiesel Park, Auburn. Enjoy a night (or several nights) of entertainment at one of Auburn’s premier parks. Kiesel Park is the perfect setting to listen to the enchanting sounds of local and regional musicians. Bring the family, the picnic supper, your lawn chairs and maybe even the family dog and enjoy a free, relaxing evening under the stars. May 7-August 6 Summer Swing Municipal Park, Opelika. This 14-week concert series offers a variety of music including gospel, jazz, R&B, oldies, country, big band, swing and folk, as well community bands. Each Tues. 7 p.m. Free. 334-705-5560. 57
Friday, May 9 Art Works Reception 5 to 8 p.m. CDT 921 Noble St., Anniston Quarterly showing and reception by members of Art Works fine arts gallery. Paintings, turned wooden bowls, pens, and decorative pieces, fiber art, furniture, photography, jewelry and pottery. 256-237-8214. www.artworks-anniston.com. Friday-Saturday, May 16-17 3rd Annual Art Crawl 10 a.m.-5 p.m. High Cotton Antique Market, Alexander City. Crawl your way through a fun-filled weekend of exciting art and artistry by more than 50 local and regional artists. Paintings in oil and watercolors, photography, woodworking, basket making, ceramics, pottery, stained glass and more. 256-212-9454. Saturday, May 17 Spring Fair on the Square 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT Downtown Buchanan, Ga. Held the third Saturday in May. Arts, crafts, food and entertainment for all ages around the Courthouse Square. There will be live music, dance, and art and craft demonstrations throughout the day. 58
Saturday, May 17 Clay County Music & Arts Festival 9 a.m. until after dark. Ashland Square, Ashland. Plenty of food, music, fun and art. 256-276-8964. firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday, May 17 Old Town Chattahoochee Festival Franklin, Ga. The Old Town Chattahoochee Festival celebrates Heard County’s rich Native American and artisan heritage. There will be arts and crafts booths and demonstrations. Saturday, May 17 Possum Pickin’ Bluegrass Concert Series Third Saturday of month from May to September 7 p.m. Downtown Tallapoosa, Ga. Bring a chair and join your friends for the 5th annual Possum Pickin’ Bluegrass Concert series featuring live bands from West Georgia and East Alabama. Concerts held every third Saturday May-September and first Saturday in October on Head Avenue in Downtown Tallapoosa. Friday, May 23 Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard Tournament 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga. Enjoy the premiere water ski and wakeboard
tournament in the world while soaking up the sun and cooling off in Robin Lake Beach. And, you don’t have to be into the sport to enjoy the event! Professional skiers from around the world compete in the world’s most coveted water sport titles. Includes expo showcasing the newest equipment and boats. The Masters kicks off the summer season at Callaway Gardens with the opening of Iceberg Island, paddleboats, miniature golf, table tennis, miniature train rides and more. Admission includes all of the fun Gardens activities as well. Saturday, May 24 Music at McClellan 8-10 p.m. McClellan District, Anniston. Former Fort McClellan will once again come to life with the signs and sounds of noted musicians during this series of outdoor concerts. Enjoy great music, good friends and historic preservation in a beautiful setting. Admission charged. 256-782-8010. epic.jsu.edu. Sunday, May 25 Alexander City Memorial Day Services 2 p.m. Charles E. Bailey Sr. Sportplex, Alexander City. Join the mayor and city leaders at Veterans MemoFor all your Physical Therapy rial Park in the Sportplex. Visit the memorials to the Confederacy, World War I and World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm. Free. 256-329-6736. www.alexandercityonline.com.
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Outpatient Physical Therapy Inpatient Rehabilitation
925 Piedmont St. • Roanoke • (334) 863-3535
June 6-September 4 The Market at Ag Heritage Park 3-6 p.m. Ag Heritage Park, off Samford Ave. on Auburn University campus. Market featuring strawberries, fresh eggs, vegetable and herb plants, bedding plants, shrubs, AUâ€™s Mater Dirt, frozen shrimp, honey, goat cheese, stone ground grains, cookbooks and educational displays on soil testing, fire ant management, etc. Free. 334-749-3353. Saturday, June 7 9th Annual LaGrange Hydrangea Festival Saturday and Sunday, June 7-8 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT LaFayette Square, LaGrange, Ga. Always held on the first weekend in June, the 9th annual festival attracts visitors and artisans from all over the Southeast. Activities will consist of a tour of homes and gardens, a second annual watermelon-eating contest, an arts and crafts festival held in historic downtown, the 2nd Annual Miss Hydrangea Pageant, live entertainment, and of course a show and judging of the hydrangea blossoms. The LaGrange Hydrangea Festival Committee and the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism sponsor this unique weekend.
Friday-Saturday, June 13-14 18th Annual Alex City Jazz Fest 6-11 p.m. Strand City Park (Tallapoosa St.) & Lake Martin Amphitheater, Alexander City. Central Alabamaâ€™s most celebrated and electrifying weekend, featuring nationally recognized jazz and blues artists. Free admission. 256-234-3461, 256-750-5209. www.alexcityjazzfest.com. June 14-July 4 God and Country Sound, Light and Water Show 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. DeSoto Caverns Park, Childersburg. Celebrate Americaâ€™s courageous past during special hour-long cavern tours in the spectacular main room of the caverns, which is higher than a 12-story building and larger than a football field. Admission charged. 256-378-7252. www. DeSotoCaverns.com. Saturday, June 14 Junior Fishing Derby Coleman Lake Recreational Area, Heflin. Join the United States Forest Service for this event for kids, which includes a fishing competition and fishing etiquette workshop. Free. 256-782-5697. fieldschool.jsu.edu.
Saturday, June 14 Learning by the Lake Series: Fish, Snakes and Other Lake Critters 7-8 p.m. Coleman Lake Recreational Area, Heflin. Join USFS biologists and JSU Field School experts for an interesting hour of educational fun. Free. 256-782-5697. fieldschool.jsu.edu. June 19-22 â€œThe Foreignerâ€? 7 p.m., except Sun., 2 p.m. Jacksonville State University. JSU Drama Dept. closes its regular theatre season with this comedy by Larry Shue. Admission charged. 256-782-5648. www.jsu.edu/depart/ drama. Saturday, June 21 Music at McClellan Historic Fort McClellan, Anniston. Enjoy Saturday concerts by the ASO performing with classical and light â€œpopâ€? favorites under the stars in a beautiful outdoor setting. Hear the best music that Alabama has to offer and make memories by enjoying this family friendly and festive atmosphere. Admission charged. 256-782-5697. fieldschool.jsu.edu.
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