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GENERLINK PROVIDES A SAFE WAY TO CONNECT A GENERATOR (PAGE 6) MAY 2013 • POWERING YOUR COMMUNITY

Baldwin Electric Membership Corporation

Learning Goes 'Live' With New Demo (Page 5) www.baldwinemc.com

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Vol. 66 No.5 MAY 2013

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P.O. box 220 summerdale AL 36580 (251) 989-6247 Www.baldwinemc.com Alabama Living is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.

5 Serving Co-op and Country Baldwin EMC's John Lyon wears two uniforms - one as a lineman and one as a soldier for the Army National Guard.

Alabama Rural Electric Association

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Melissa Henninger Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Michael Cornelison Advertising Director Adam Freeman Advertising Coordinator Brooke Davis Recipe Editor Mary Tyler Spivey ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

12 Covered bridges

For the first time in more than five years all three of Blount County’s historic covered bridges – Easley Bridge, Horton Mill Bridge and Swann Bridge – are again open to traffic following major renovations.

26 See Rock City

ON THE COVER: Baldwin EMC lineman John Lyon serves both co-op and country. Lyon was deployed to Afghanistan in April.

PHOTO BY: MICHELLE RICARD

Once numbering more than 900, the iconic painted See Rock City barns are disappearing, yet remain rooted in America’s tourism history.

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

departments

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

Spotlight 10 Power Pack 24 Alabama Outdoors 30 Worth the Drive 32 Alabama Gardens 31 Fish&Game Forecast 34 Cook of the Month 46 Alabama Snapshots 9

USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

photo by Tad Denson, MyShotz.com Printed in America from American materials

Alabama Living

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BALDWIN ELECTRIC MEMBERSHIP CORPORATION Board of Trustees Peggy Vanover-Barnes President District 6

FROM THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES Exceeding Expectations Every Day Just like your kids, Baldwin EMC wants a good report card.

J. Thomas Bradley Vice-President District 1

Tommie Werneth Secretary / Treasurer District 4

Joe Coleman District 2

Aubury Fuller District 3

Robert Kaiser District 5

Jimmy LaFoy District 7

“Exceeds expectations.” It’s so exciting to watch kids bring home their grade-school report cards and find those wonderful “EEs,” which signify they have attained the coveted “exceeds expectations” rating in aspects of school life that couldn’t be assigned a letter grade. As they grow, EEs hopefully turn into As and Bs. Yet even though the “EEs” are gone, kids still seem to hold on to that desire to exceed expectations. At Baldwin EMC, we also strive for EEs, every single day. We don’t want to only do what you expect us to do—provide you with affordable, safe, and reliable electric service. We want to go farther and do better, from providing superior member service to offering programs that help you save time and money. Baldwin EMC’s lineworkers provide the public face of our mission to exceed expectations. They routinely work in rough weather and put in long hours. But they do it gladly, because they care about doing an exceptional job for you. However, we have many people behind the scenes who also make our cooperative the best

Chief Executive Officer E.A. “Bucky” Jakins, Jr.

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it can be. Our engineers continually explore new technologies to improve service reliability all while accommodating rapid growth in our area. Our finance and accounting departments work to make bill pay easier and more convenient with programs like automatic draft and paperless billing. Our customer service representatives want to make sure you have a positive and satisfying experience when you call our office for help. They’re on the job before and after normal office hours to make sure that even if you call at 7 a.m., someone is available to answer you. And because we’re a cooperative, we have a special responsibility to support the communities we serve and exceed expectations there, too. That means we aim to improve the quality of life by hosting blood drives twice a year, presenting charitable grants to needy individuals and organizations and supporting valuable community programs throughout our area. Whether it’s a power outage or energy audit, a billing question or community event, we’re working hard to achieve those EEs from you every day. This month, you can actually help give Baldwin EMC a “report card.” We’ll be sending out member surveys in every May power bill. Your responses will be rated according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and reported back to us. This way, we’ll know if we’re meeting your expectations, exceeding them, or need to improve in a specific area. Your participation is greatly appreciated. A

The Board, management and employees of Baldwin EMC offer their sincere gratitude to all those who have lost their lives and the lives of loved ones in service to our country. All Baldwin EMC offices will be closed Monday, May 27 for Memorial Day. Our control center will be staffed around the clock in case of an emergency.

www.alabamaliving.coop

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Baldwin EMC News

BEMC news update

Learning Goes 'LIVE' with New Safety Demo Introducing Live Wire on Wheels! This exciting and unique high-voltage safety demonstration has been created to teach valuable lessons about how to stay safe around electricity. Whether you work around electricity or simply use it every day, knowing how to respect it is invaluable knowledge. Live Wire on Wheels uses actual electrical equipment - poles, wire, transformers and more - for a captivating demonstration on the dangers of electricity that will be memorable for a variety of audiences. Live Wire on Wheels gives electrical safety learning an extra spark. Photos by Tad Denson, MyShotz.com.

These lessons are taught by the best - actual electric cooperative employees who work around high-voltage electricity every day. They've been trained on how to protect their own lives while on the job. Now they want to help audiences learn to protect their own. The demo is available for corporate meetings, community events and high school programs. If you'd like to add some "spark" to your next gathering, book Live Wire on Wheels through Baldwin EMC today. A

www.LiveWireOnWheels.com (800) 837-3374

ASK THE ENERGY SPECIALIST Question: Summer is starting, and at my house that means time to get the pool ready. It always concerns me that the pump runs pretty much all day. Is this having a big effect on my electric bill? First of all, I'm a little jealous. There's no pool to jump in to beat the heat at my house. But enough about me, let's get to your question. The simple answer is yes. If your pool pump is running constantly, that's going to cause a jump in your electric bill from previous months when you weren't using the pump. We always reccomend discussing your plans with your pool contractor to determine what's best for your pool. If he or she says it's ok, try running your pump for fewer hours each day. You can survey how much debris is left in the pool after each run. If there's still too much for your liking, you can start increasing the duration in half-hour increments until you get to a timing that satisfies you. Another idea is to try using a timer to run your filter for several short periods during the day rather than allowing debris to pile up after one long continuous filtration. That will consume less energy and save you some money for pool toys and lemonade. Or, you can do things the manual way and grab a skimmer to scoop out any unwelcome pool floaters. You’ll have plenty of time for some pool relaxation afterward, and the relief you’ll see on your power bill will be well worth the effort. A

Got a question for our energy specialists? E-mail energyservices@baldwinemc.com. Alabama Living

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Kim Frank is an energy marketing specialist for Baldwin EMC. For more energy saving tips and info, visit www.baldwinemc.com

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Baldwin EMC Briefs

Bulletin Board Making a Mark on Montgomery

Baldwin EMC's Youth Tour students (from left) Jalen Law, Jennifer Campbell, Meredith Phillips and Marissa Langham are pictured here with Representative Harry Shiver.

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ubbing elbows with elected officials? Just another day of Youth Tour for four students from Baldwin County. Jalen Law, Jennifer Campbell, Marissa Langham and Meredith Phillips represented Baldwin EMC on the Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Montgomery this past March. They took in the historical sites around the city and met many of Baldwin County’s elected officials.

GenerLink: A Safe Way to Connect a Generator

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retty soon, most locals will have their eyes on the Gulf of Mexico as another hurricane season approaches. That means now is a good time to start stocking the supplies you'll need in case of an extended power outage. A portable electric generator isn't a bad thing to add to any hurricane preparedness supply list. However, generators have the potential to cause more harm than good if they aren't used correctly. In fact, if portable electric generators are hooked directly to a home's meter, they can be extremely dangerous not just for those in the home, but also to utility crews working to restore power. That's because of "back feeding," which occurs when electricity flows backwards through power lines from electric generators. This poses a serious threat when Baldwin EMC's crews find out the hard way that what they thought was a powerless line actually has electricity flowing through it. GenerLink™, offered by Baldwin EMC, eliminates those hazardous conditions by providing a safe connection from the electric meter directly to the generator. GenerLink automatically disconnects your house from the electric utility grid, which prevents the possibility of back feeding. A

The four will come together again next month for an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. A

GenerLink devices are available through Baldwin EMC. Give us a call at (251) 989-6247 or toll free at (800) 837-3374 to place your order.

Baldwin EMC's Statement of Non-Discrimination Baldwin County Electric Membership Corporation is the recipient of Federal financial assistance from the Rural Utilities Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is subject to the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, and the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture which provide that no person in the United States on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, or disability shall be 6  MAY 2013

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excluded from participation in, admission or access to, denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any of this organization’s programs or activities. The person responsible for coordinating this organization’s nondiscrimination compliance efforts is E.A. “Bucky” Jakins, Jr., Chief Executive Officer. Any individual, or specific class of individuals, who feels that this organization has subjected them to discrimination may obtain further information about the statutes and

regulations listed above from and/or file a written complaint with this organization; or the Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, Stop 1510, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC, 20250-1510; or the Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 202509410; or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Complaints must be filed within 180 days after the alleged discrimination. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible. www.alabamaliving.coop

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Baldwin EMC Feature

Serving Co-op and CountRy

Baldwin EMC's John Lyon wears two uniforms - one as a lineman and one as a soldier for the Army National Guard.

By Michelle Ricard

Baldwin EMC lineman John Lyon, pictured above, left his home and family in April for a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

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y the time this magazine is printed, John Lyon will have left a comfortable life in Baldwin County, Alabama for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. In April, Lyon was deployed to the wartorn country as a Staff Sargeant in the United States Army National Guard. His deployment meant temporarily saying goodbye to a wife and three children, his home and his work as a lineman for Baldwin EMC.

It's a scene he's played out before. This is Lyon's second time to be deployed overseas. Eight years ago, he spent 12 months in Iraq, not long after the start of combat in that country. Lyon says it's a different experience to be in a country at the start of a war as opposed to this time, considering the fact that U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan are expected to end by 2014. However, there's always reason to be concerned, especially considering a rise in what's referred to as "green-on-blue" violence, or an increase in attacks on coalition forces by Afghan police and military.

Lyon's lineman duties will be on hold for now. His job will be held open until he returns from overseas.

Alabama Living

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Lyon joined the Army 20 years ago. "I was in high school when I got in. A couple of my friends had joined, and I just looked at it as an opportunity to serve my country," he says. "Once I got into it, there was more to it, like good retirement opportunities." It was a similar motivation that prompted him to apply for work at Baldwin EMC three years after joining the Army, in 1995. "I needed a job, and this was a good workplace." While he's deployed, Baldwin EMC will keep Lyon's job open, and his fellow linemen will cover for him while he serves his country overseas. And while his orders from the Army say he could be in Afghanistan for a maximum of 400 days, Lyon says that's easily subject to change. "They aren't training anybody up to take our place," Lyon explains, "So we may be over there a couple extra months or it might end earlier. You never know." As a lineman for Baldwin EMC for the past 18 years, Lyon has worked power restoration through hurricanes and other storms, involving long hours and nasty conditions. But overseas deployment poses a completely different set of challenges, including basic living conditions. Lyon says in Afghanistan, there won't be much luxury to speak of. "From what I hear, we'll be living in two-man conexes, kind of like railroad shipping containers." But on a positive note, it'll be better than arrangements in Iraq, where more than 20 men shared one room - each having a living space of about 4 foot by 8 foot. Of all the challenges though, Lyon says the hardest will be being away from his family. But he says he has a job to do, and he's committed to doing it. It's that same dedication that Baldwin EMC's Chief Executive Officer Bucky Jakins says makes Lyon a good employee. "John is a selfless person, willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done," Jakins says. "He's a hero, and I'm proud he's a part of the Baldwin EMC family." That family, like Lyon's own, will be waiting and praying for his safe return. A

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together we save Because saving energy saves money

THIS MONTH’S hot TOPIC: Summer Vaction, Hot Power Bills

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ummer vacation can be a recipe for high electric bills if kids are home all day and a swimming pool is in use. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that 9 percent of Americans’ household energy costs are dedicated to air conditioning alone, so try these tips to keep costs down when the temperature rises.

Air-conditioning units More people in the house, plus doors hanging open from the last trip to play outside, plus high temperatures equals an air-conditioning unit that has to work harder to keep the house cool. Be sure to adjust settings to maximize efficiency, such as using the “auto” function instead of keeping the fan running all the time. Regular maintenance to keep your air conditioner or heat pump in good working order is a good idea, as is checking and changing the air filter every month. Also, set your thermostat as high as you can while maintaining your comfort level—the smaller the difference between indoor air and the great outdoors, the lower your cooling costs will be. And 8  MAY 2013

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make sure to rearrange your furniture so that appliances that put out a lot of heat aren’t near the thermostat.

Keep the pool covered About 70 percent of the heat lost from swimming pools results from evaporation, caused by both wind and water. That means tap water goes to refilling the pool, which means higher electric bills to reheat the water. To save energy, cover a pool when it’s not in use. Pool size and shape factor into choosing the right cover. The most expensive pool covers are incorporated into the pool structure and can come with an automatic retraction and storage system. Manual covers may be cheaper, but removing them can be a dirty job. You can also choose solar covers resembling bubble wrap.

Your cooperative is a resource As you work this summer to stop energy drains, don’t forget about Baldwin

EMC. An energy efficiency specialist can help you determine the right steps for your home, including whether an energy audit will help find more savings. You can also visit TogetherWeSave.com to find out how little measures around the house add up to big energy savings. A Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, Cooperative Research Network

ONE M ORE TI P: Plug ele ctronic d evic like TVs and gam es ing console s into a p o w strip and er tr family m ain your embers to turn it o ff, just lik ea light swit ch, whe n they lea ve a roo m.

www.alabamaliving.coop

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Spot Light

In May

May 4

Walking tour revisits Civil War The Civil War Walking Tour of Old Cahawba will be Saturday, May 4 from 10 to 11 a.m. in Orrville. Best known

as Alabama’s first state capital, Cahawba played a significant role in the Civil War despite no battles having been fought here. Visitors will hear tales of the citizens’ attempts to deal with the war’s devastating effects, walk the grounds of Castle Morgan, a Confederate prison for captured Union soldiers and see the ruins of the Crocheron Mansion, where Generals Forrest and Wilson met after the Battle of Selma. Attendees should bring sturdy walking shoes and bug spray. The Welcome Center’s address is 9518 Cahaba Road in Orrville. Fees for the event are $6 adults, $3 children 18 & under, $5 seniors (age 65+), military or college students. For more information, call 334-872-8058, or visit www.cahaba.com. MAY 5

‘Charlotte’s Web’ set for May 5 in Sheffield

The Crocheron mansion’s columns are all that remains of the house that was made famous for the meeting that took place there between Generals Nathan Bedford Forrest and James H. Wilson following the Battle of Selma.

The Tennessee Valley Art Association’s children’s theatre arm, Time Out for Theatre, will present the classic story of “Charlotte’s Web,” at 2 p.m. May 5 at the Ritz Theatre in Sheffield. Tickets are on sale in advance at the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art in Tuscumbia or via the website http://ritztheatre.ticketleap.com/. Admission is $8 for adults and $7 for students. For more information, contact Keith McMurtrey at 256-383-0533.

Handworkers honored at AREA luncheon Handworkers from around the state whose quilt squares were chosen for the 2013 Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives (AREA) Quilt attended the assocation’s 66th Annual Meeting luncheon April 11 in Montgomery. AREA’s Quilt program is now entering its seventh year of competition. This year, more than 80 quilt squares from all over the state were submitted for consideration. The theme was “Alabama’s State Symbols.” The quilt will tour each of the 23 cooperative offices. Its final home will be at the One Place Family Justice Center in Montgomery, which brings together several different agencies under one roof to assist victims of domestic violence. Handworkers whose work was chosen for inclusion in the 2013 AREA/

Alabama Living

Cooperative Quilt are: Denise Allain, Pea River EC; Brucell Crawley, Pea River EC; Jane Derrick, Cherokee EC; Sonji Breeding Dunn, Joe Wheeler EMC; Maxine Ellison, Joe Wheeler EMC, (with hand-painted artwork by Destiny Wynn, age 12); Wanda Faulkner, Central Alabama EC; Janice Gardner, Covington EC; Carol Glayre, Pea River EC; Faustina Gosa, Tombigbee EC; Janis Helton, Baldwin EMC; Ruby Johnson, Pioneer EC; Patricia Padgett, Arab EC; Barbara Peterson, Joe Wheeler EMC; Vicky Pitts, Joe Wheeler EMC; Nancy Poorbaugh, Dixie EC; Myra Preston, Tallapoosa River EC; Leslie Thorne-Thompson, Sand Mountain EC; Belinda Toft, Pea River EC; Myra Utter, Central Alabama EC; Debbie Wheat, Tombigbee EC; and Laquita Wray, Arab EC.

The 2013 AREA/Cooperative Quilt

In addition, five squares were chosen to be placed in a display at Alabama’s Welcome Centers. The handworkers whose squares were chosen for this honor are: Denise Allain, Pea River EC; Sharon Henry, Baldwin EMC; Debora Talley, Cullman EC; Kay Thomas, North Alabama EC; and Beulah Wassman, Baldwin EMC. may 2013  9


Power Pack

Social Security honors all who serve By Kylle’ McKinney

Every day of the year, Americans across the nation remember friends and family members who have served and sacrificed for their country. Memorial Day is a day when we all come together to honor those who have given their lives in the defense of freedom and the principles we hold dear in this country. May is also National Military Appreciation Month. As we observe Memorial Day and Military Appreciation Month, we would like to let members of our military know how much we value what they do for our nation. At Social Security, we offer a wide range of services for our service members. Families of fallen military heroes may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. Learn more about Social Security survivors benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/survivors.htm. For service members who return home with injuries, Social Security is

here to help. Visit our Wounded Warriors website. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. We use an expedited process for military service McKinney members who become disabled while on active military service, regardless of where the disability occurs. The Wounded Warriors website answers a number of commonly asked questions, and shares other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of disability claims. It is important to note that benefits available through Social Security are different than those from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application. Even active duty military who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they

are unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay does not necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits from Social Security. If you’ve served in the Armed Forces and you’re planning your retirement, you’ll want to read our publication, Military Service and Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10017.pdf. You also may want to visit the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at www.socialsecurity. gov/retire2/veterans.htm. At Social Security, we honor all those who served in the military and we remember those who died for their country. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or by e-mail at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

Wildlife management day set for May 4 The Alabama Wildlife Federation Wildlife Seminar Series will be Saturday, May 4, and will focus on establishing and managing native warm season grasses (NWSG). The event will take place at Raymond Shaw’s Pinthlocco Quail Plantation in Coosa County. This Landowner Field Day is a result of a three-year effort to establish NWSG demonstration projects. 
The Alabama Wildlife Federation was awarded a Power of Flight grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Southern Company to help fund a three-year project to demonstrate the proper establishment and management of NWSGs. This includes practices that provide valuable habitats for birds and other wildlife associated with early successional habitat. Ten sites, located within “High Priority” areas for quail conservation, were established to serve as demonstration sites. The Alabama Wildlife Federation and its land stewardship biologist worked closely with contractors and resource professionals to evaluate each demonstration site to determine adequate site-preparation strategies and what native grass 10  may 2013

species can be used to accomplish specific habitat objectives. The workshop will include topics such as: managing forest openings for brood rearing habitat; prescribed burning for quail; woody vegetation control to enhance quail habitat; the benefits of native warm season grasses to quail; financial assistance programs for establishing native warm season grasses; and much more. Speakers include Raymond Shaw, owner, Pinthlocco Quail Plantation; Ted DeVos, Wildlife Biologist/ Forester, Bach & DeVos Forestry and Wildlife Services, Inc.; Claude Jenkins, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Wildlife Federation and Joel Glover, Private Lands Biologist, ADCNR/ NRCS. There is no charge for the seminar but attendees must preregister online at www.alabamawildlife.org. Every attendee will receive a free DVD, “Establishing and Managing Native Warm Season Grasses for Wildlife.” To learn more about the NWSG project, go to AWF’s website at www.alabamawildlife.org or call 334-285-4550. www.alabamaliving.coop


Tips to help you swim in savings By Brian Sloboda Cooperative Research Network

Swimming pools and hot tubs are fun toys, but accompanying high electric bills are not inevitable. A number of relatively simple changes can cut operating costs by half or more. At about $400 per year, the typical residential in-ground pool can account for one-quarter of a household’s annual utility bill. Hot tubs cost just a bit less to operate—about $300 per year. Electricity for above-ground pools runs about $100 per year. Most pool energy goes to power the circulating pump, with much smaller amounts needed for cleaning and water treatment. In heated pools (which make up only 10 to 20 percent of all residential pools), energy use varies widely depending on climate and use patterns. The most common heat source is natural gas, followed by propane and electric resistance systems. Solar heating and electric heat pumps are gaining ground as high-efficiency options but are still not widely used. Pumps are the heart and soul of any pool. Most pools rely on a single-speed, 1.5- to 2-hp pump that runs at full speed for eight hours a day or more. To make a more efficient pool pump, you could: • Replace an existing single-speed pump with a high-efficiency single-speed pump. High-efficiency pumps use 8 to 10 percent less energy and are only marginally more expensive than standard pool pumps—about $10 to $20 above the normal pump cost of $350. • Replace an existing single-speed pump with a twospeed pump. As the name suggests, two-speed pumps can run at two speeds and are more efficient because they don’t go “full throttle” all of the time. By running at a lower speed for 16 hours per day, you can save 60 to 70 percent on electric bills. A two-speed pump will cost an extra $100 to $150. • Replace an existing pump with a variable-speed pump. The most efficient pumps can vary speed—and therefore electricity consumption—with the required workload. Although a variable speed pump will cost about $650 more than a basic pump, it saves the most energy by far—nearly 90 percent—and offers the greatest operational flexibility. Price and availability should improve over the next few years as more pool owners adopt this technology. In addition to replacing an inefficient circulating pump, other measures to consider are: • Use a bigger filter. An oversized filter will result in less pressure loss on the pumping system, enabling greater water flow with less energy. The larger filter will also last longer between replacements. • Use bigger pipes (typically, 2 inches in diameter instead of 1.5 inches) and large-radius elbows. Making the flow path smoother and wider reduces pressure loss and pumping power. • Downsize the pump. Most pools are designed with an Alabama Living

If your pool equipment is aging, investing in new, high-efficiency parts can save on your electric bill.

unnecessarily large pump. Going from a 1.5-hp or 2-hp down to a 0.75-hp or 1-hp model can reduce pumping energy by half or more, often with no loss of performance. • Control pump run time. Depending on the effectiveness of your filtering system and the amount of use the pool gets, it may be possible to save a significant fraction of pumping energy just by running the pump less. The normal target is to cycle the pool’s volume through the filter one or two times per day. But you could try fewer hours and see if the pool still is acceptably clean. Although this no-cost measure is appealing, it will not save as much money and energy in the long run as replacing an inefficient pump with an efficient, two-speed or variable-speed pump. For hot tubs Because above-ground hot tubs are packaged appliances, they generally cannot can be upgraded or modified for energy efficiency. But you can try to minimize energy use by: • Keeping the cover on. Hot tub covers have gotten easier to handle. • Reducing water temperature. Especially if you are not going to be using the tub for several days, decreasing the temperature will reduce the heater run time. • Reducing the circulation pump run time depending on the level of use. Programmability of the pump varies with manufacturer. Brian Sloboda is senior program manager specializing in distribution operations and energy efficiency for the Cooperative Research Network, a service of the Arlington, Va.-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. may 2013  11


Historic

covered bridges

once again open to traffic Story and photos by David Haynes

12  MAY may 2013

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or the first time in more than five years all Sitton said Smith Construction went “above and three of Blount County’s historic covered beyond” all his expectations in restoring the bridges bridges – Easley Bridge, Horton Mill Bridge and that all three are today in better shape now than and Swann Bridge – are again open to traffic follow- they have been for decades. ing major renovations. According to Sharon Murphree, president of Repairs were completed to Swann and Easley Friends of the Covered Bridges of Blount County, bridges last fall and those single-lane wooden spans there were once a total of 13 covered bridges within were reopened in October. Horton Mill Bridge re- Blount County’s borders. opened March 11. All three remaining bridges are of the same design These are the last three historic covered bridges and construction – called “Townley Truss” - and all in the state that carry daily traffic and are all within were built between 1927 and 1935 by Zelmar Tidwell a few minutes drive of each other. This makes the and his 15-man crew. The timber to build the bridges historic bridges a perfect destination for a one-day was felled and the lumber milled in the areas nearby outing from most places in Alabama. each site. Blount County Sitton explained has for years prothat the wide planks moted itself as the arrayed in a diago“Covered Bridge nal, criss-cross patCapital of Alatern along the sides bama,” but the title of these bridges rang hollow while carry the weight, all three of its reunlike later designs maining bridges which support the were closed in reweight using a steel cent years. framework overThe problems head or concrete started in the sumunderneath. The mer of 2007 when roofs of the covered vandals damaged bridges were needCloseup of the Easley Bridge construction. ed to keep rain and Horton Mill Bridge, located off Alabama weather off these Highway 75 a few miles north of the county seat in supporting timbers to prevent rotting, he said. Each Oneonta, forcing officials to close it for safety reasons. of the bridges has a metal roof similar to a barn roof, When 2009 inspections of Swann and Easley bridges plus metal covering the side timbers. found structural problems these were also closed for The design has proven to be a good one. All three safety reasons. bridges have been in almost daily use for more than A long process followed of first soliciting grants three quarters of a century. Certainly few non-covto fund repairs, letting bids and awarding a contract ered bridges built in the 1930s are still in use today. for the needed repairs. The $469,000 construction Blount County hosts a Covered Bridge Festival contract to renovate all three bridges went to Bob each fall which includes driving tours to all three Smith Construction of Trussville. The total cost bridges as well as other events. A “Covered Bridge for all repairs to all the bridges was approximately Trail” (see map on Page 14) gives visitors clear and $540,000, including the county’s expenditures and easy-to-follow directions to each of the three bridges. federal money from the National Historic Covered Most visitors will want to begin their covered Bridge Preservation Program and Transportation En- bridge tour at either Swann Bridge or Horton Mill hancement Funds, Blount County Engineer Winston Bridge, because Easley Bridge is roughly halfway beSitton said. tween the two.

These are the last three historic covered bridges in the state that carry daily traffic and are all within a few minutes’ drive of each other.

Below: The 330-foot Swann Bridge serves as the backdrop for these kayakers. Left: Picturesque Easley Bridge spans a swiftly moving creek.

Alabama Living

may 2013  13


All three bridges have been in almost daily use for more than three quarters of a century. Swann Bridge, which spans the Locust Fork of the Warrior River near Cleveland, was built in 1933. It is situated at the bottom of a scenic gorge downstream of towering bluffs and the dancing whitewater of a wide shoal. This section of the river is probably the most popular whitewater canoeing and kayaking destination in Alabama and it’s not unusual to see whitewater enthusiasts putting in or taking out at this scenic bridge. At 330 feet in length, Swann is the longest covered bridge in Alabama. Horton Mill Bridge, located about five miles north of Oneonta, was built in 1934-35 and is just off Alabama Highway 75. The 220foot span towers more than 70 feet above the Calvert Prong of the Little Warrior River, making it the highest covered bridge over a waterway in the United States. Easley Bridge in the Rosa community is the smallest of the three at just 95 feet in length. It was built in 1927 over Dub Branch, making it the oldest of the three, having been in service for 86 years. Whether beginning at Swann Bridge or Horton Mill Bridge the distance between the two, including a stop at Easley Bridge, is less than 14 miles. The “Covered Bridge Trail” map reproduced here is available online at http://co.blount.al.us/documents/ Covered+Bridge+Trail.pdf. For more information on the three historic covered bridges, visit the Friends of the Covered Bridges of Blount County website at http:friendsofthecoveredbridgesofblountcounty.org. A 14  may 2013

Top right: A car travels across the Horton Mill Bridge, the highest covered bridge over a waterway in the United States. Right: Entrance to the 220-foot span of Horton Bridge. Below: Horton Bridge provides passage across the Calvert Prong of the Little Warrior River.

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Alabama Living

may 2013  15


Emergency preparations for a tornado

Severe Weather:

Preparation is key Provided by the American Red Cross of Alabama

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pring in Alabama means beautiful flowers, outdoor activities and, of course, the threat of severe weather, including hurricanes and tornadoes. It’s a good idea to prepare now for the possibility of these weather events. It’s also very important to understand the power of these storms and what severe weather alerts mean for you and your family. A Tornado Watch means tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tor-

16  may 2013

nado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom). Tornadoes are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles. A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground. Tornado intensities are classified on the Fujita Scale with ratings between F0 (weakest) to F5 (strongest). Although severe tornadoes are more common in the Plains states, tornadoes have been reported in every state. Alabama has seen some of the worst tornado devastation imaginable.

During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about watches and warnings. Know your community’s warning system. Communities have different ways of warning residents about tornados, with many having sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes. Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Practice periodic tornado drills so that everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. Consider having your safe room reinforced. Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection can be found on the FEMA website. Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

Watch for tornado danger signs:

• Dark, often greenish clouds – a phenomenon caused by hail • Wall cloud – an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm • Cloud of debris • Large hail • Funnel cloud – a visible rotating extension of the cloud base • Roaring noise

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A hurricane is on its way. What do I do?

• Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). • Check your disaster supplies. Replace or restock as needed (water, canned foods). • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture). • Close your windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood. • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out. • Turn off your propane tank. • Unplug small appliances. • Fill your car’s gas tank. • Create an evacuation plan with members of your household. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event. • Find out about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs and make plans for your pets to be cared for. • Obey evacuation orders. Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. • It’s always a good practice to check your insurance prior to the spring severe weather season.

Did you know standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding? It’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the United States. For more information on flood insurance, visit the National Flood Insurance Program website at www.FloodSmart.gov.

Alabama Living

Hurricanes in Alabama

Hurricanes are strong storms that can be life-threatening as well as cause serious property-threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes. In Alabama, it’s not just residents on the coast who must be prepared. Strong winds, spinoff tornadoes and heavy rains causing flash flooding are often pushed much further inland than you might expect. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Know the difference between the threat levels and plan accordingly. A Hurricane Watch means hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed. A Hurricane Warning means hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.

Free Red Cross apps to help you prepare

The American Red Cross responds to hundreds of emergencies throughout the year in Alabama. It’s important to prepare you and your family by following three steps that can ultimately mean the difference between life and death. Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed. The Red Cross is making those three steps a little easier. With the emergence of smart-

phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, it’s evident that people need information on the go. The new American Red Cross Tornado App puts help right into the hands of people who live in or visit tornado-prone areas. Best of all, it’s free and available for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphone and tablet users. The Red Cross app gives people instant access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after tornados whether it’s in the community where they live or where they love to vacation. Red Cross First Aid, Hurricane, Earthquake and Wild Fire Apps have already been downloaded more than 2 million times. People have not only downloaded the apps, but have used them to track storms, let loved ones know that they are safe, find Red Cross shelter locations and access other recovery resources. Download the apps today. The Tornado App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps. A The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people to fulfill its mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies. You can help those affected by severe weather and other emergencies by making a financial donation to the American Red Cross. For more information about your local American Red Cross, go to www.redcross.org/alabama. may 2013  17


Safe @ Home

Lineworkers work quickly after a major outage to restore power safely to the largest number of members in the shortest amount of time. Source: SEMCO

Powering Up Don’t be left in the dark on how power is restored after a storm

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aves of thunder rumble, then roar toward your home as strong winds whip through the trees. Lights flicker and fade as errant tree limbs brush against power lines. Some storms are silent. In the dead of winter, layer upon layer of ice collects on trees and spreads slowly over power lines. One inch of ice on a single span of electric wire weighs as much as 1,250 lb.—a force capable of causing far more damage than wind as the weight drives branches and even whole trees and power lines to the ground. Tornados, hurricanes, ice storms, blizzards—no matter the weather, the end result may be temporary power loss. Local electric coooperatives routinely trim vegetation near their power lines and remove trees hovering dangerously close to them to prevent outages, a process called rightof-way maintenance. But when nature prevails, lineworkers, engineers, and other employees are standing by, ready to take action to get your lights back on. First things first: Report your outage by calling your co-op. Then it’s a matter of waiting until repairs can be made. Ever wonder how your co-op decides where to start restoring power? When coop staff begin assessing storm damage, they focus on fixing the biggest problems first, prioritizing repairs according to how quickly and safely they can get the most homes back into service.

Step One: Clearing the path

Think of the flow of electricity as a river in reverse. It originates at a single ocean of power (a generation plant) and diverges from there into a series of transmission

Michael Kelley is manager of Safety & Loss Control for the Alabama Rural Electric Association.

18  may 2013

lines, substations, and smaller feeder lines until it reaches homes and businesses at a trickle of its original strength. Transmission lines, which carry power at high voltages from power plants, and local substations, where the voltage is lowered for safe travel to neighborhoods, must both be inspected for damage and repaired before any other efforts take place. After all, if the substation linked to your neighborhood’s power supply has been damaged, it doesn’t matter if lineworkers repair every problem near your home—the lights will stay off.

Step Two: Bulk efforts

After restoring the flow of power to local substations, co-ops focus on getting power back to the greatest number of members. Distribution lines in highly populated cities and communities are checked for damage and generally repaired first, delivering electricity to most members. What does this mean? You might live on a farm with neighbors a mile or two away, or you could live in a neighborhood surrounded by 10 or 20 homes. Folks in neighborhoods will likely see power return before members in more remote areas. Line repairs are once again prioritized by the number of members who benefit.

Step Three: One-on-One

After fixing damage blocking power from large pockets of members, co-ops focus on repairing tap lines (also called supply or service lines). These lines deliver power to transformers outside homes and businesses. This is the final stage of power restoration, requiring a bit more patience. Individual households may receive special attention if loss of electricity affects life-support systems or poses another immediate danger. If you or a family member depend on special medical equipment, call your co-op before an emergency arises.

Stay Safe!

After a severe storm, broken power lines may land on the ground or in roadways. Stay away from all fallen power lines and report them to your co-op. Electric-

ity could still be flowing through the line, making them dangerous. While avoiding downed power lines may seem simple enough, there are other deadly safety concerns after a storm. If a power outage lasts longer than two hours, consider perishable food. Throw away any food that’s been exposed to temperatures above 40° Fahrenheit for two hours or more. An unopened refrigerator keeps food cold for about four hours, while food in a full freezer stays safe for about 48 hours. If using a portable generator, connect equipment you want to power directly into outlets on the generator with a properly rated extension cord. Never operate a generator inside your home—because of carbon monoxide poisoning—or connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring unless your home has been wired for generator use. Lineworkers’ lives could be put in danger from power backfeeding onto electric lines. Connecting the generator to your home’s circuits or wiring must be done by a qualified, licensed electrician who will install a transfer switch to prevent backfeeding. a

Be Prepared

While utilities work hard to reduce the impact strong winds and ice have on power lines, it’s good to be prepared for any disaster that might hit your community. Store a few basic items in your home. You should have at least a three-day supply of water on hand, one gallon per person per day. It’s also a good idea to have a three-day supply of non-perishable, highenergy food on hand—protein bars, breakfast bars, and canned food are winners. Remember to store handy tools like a radio, can opener, flashlights, extra batteries, hand sanitizer, and first aid supplies. Include a seven-day supply of medications for you or other family members. Finally, retain copies of important documents—birth certificates, passports, and insurance policies. To learn more about how to prepare for storms and other emergencies, visit www. ready.gov. Sources: American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

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Alabama Living

may 2013  19


Savvy scrapbooking Preserving memories without breaking the bank

By Marilyn Jones

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crapbooking has evolved from a collection of photographs and ticket stubs pasted into a photograph album to several aisles dedicated to the pastime at every mega-craft store. But along with the luxury of every conceivable scrapbooking album, paper, embellishment, border and tool comes a hefty price tag. Memories are priceless and the cost of preserving them can be high. Savvy and creative scrappers like Melinda Scott have learned how to enjoy this art form without breaking the bank. “I love to scrap and I love to do it cheap,” says Scott, a school nurse and mother of five grown children who lives in Somerville. “When I visit Hobby Lobby I glance at the stickers and other embellishments, but the thing I buy the most of is paper and only when it’s half off. “If I have paper and my pictures, I can scrap and have fun,” she adds. “I love cutting or tearing paper to mat my pictures or cutting or tearing letters, words or embellishments. Nice looking pages can be made with just paper.” One of the most expensive additions to a scrapbook page is stickers, but Scott advises scrappers to use newspaper clippings, flyers, bulletins, announcements, birthday and Christmas cards, and drawings. “A very inexpensive page can be made with cards from friends and their pictures alongside. For my daughter’s prom pages, I saved napkins, flowers, ribbons and pieces of material to use for embellishments with the pictures. “And I always save the programs from school activities my children are involved in and use those to embellish the pages with my pictures of that activity,” she says. Another way Scott saves money is with her computer. “I type out what I want said on a particular page, print and paste.” She also searches the Internet for pictures or clip art to illustrate her pages; another way to embellish pages by using what she already has — a computer, printer and paper. Scott says she scrapbooks with a group of friends once a month at the elementary school where she is a nurse. “We’ve grown close over the years scrapping together. We share our paper, cutters, punches, tape, well 20  may 2013

actually, most anything including stories and tales and lots of laughter. “We really have a great time together,” she says. “And we’re all creating memories for our families to enjoy for years to come.”

Getting started

If you’re thinking about taking up this popular hobby, have a plan before you head to the craft store. First, organize your pictures. If, for example, you want to scrapbook your recent trip to Walt Disney World, pick out the best photos from your trip and dig out any tickets, brochures, napkins and other memorabilia suited for scrapbooking. Go on the Internet and download logos, maps and illustrations from the Disney website and any other sources you can find. Scrapbooks are usually 20 pages (although you can add additional pages). Estimate how you would group your photos and embellishments into pages. Now you’re ready to go to the craft store. Check the store’s ad online and print out any coupons. Never pay full price. There is a very short cycle of things being on sale at craft stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft. One week it may be stickers, the next week albums and paper, and generally speaking, there is almost always a percentage-off coupon you can use on full price items. You’ll need an album. You can buy a plain album or one with a Disney character on the front. Although there are several sizes, you’ll probably want a 12-inch by 12inch album. And you’ll need paper. You can buy this in packs or individually. Either way, some paper is themed while other paper is one color. This is a personal decision, but for beginners I would suggest plain, one-color, paper. Next come embellishments. As you can imagine, there are a lot of Disney stickers, buttons, borders, brads and so forth. This is where you can spend a lot of money. Stickers range from around a dollar to several dollars per sheet, and in some cases, a single sticker. Pre-planning your pages will help you gauge just exactly how many little extras you’ll need to add zest to your pages. www.alabamaliving.coop

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As far as tools, a cutter or trimmer is a good thing to have, but not necessary. I used scissors for years before buying a trimmer. Once you’re ready to begin, ideally, pick a place you can scrapbook and be able to leave everything out. If this isn’t possible, Ziploc bags are wonderful for storing items until you can get back to your project. Have fun. Everyone scraps a little differently and your style will change over time. Scrapbooking is about creativity, having fun and preserving your memories for generations to come.

Lisa Maxwell uses a cutter to trim paper. photo by Sandy Scott

The history of scrapbooking

Scrapbooking began in the 15th century as a way to keep specific information in one place — recipes, letters, documents and poems. Friendship albums came into vogue in the 16th century and are likened to modern day yearbooks where friends would write their name and short messages to the book’s owner. It didn’t take long for color scenes to be added and the scrapbook evolved once Left page, top to bottom:

Birthdays, holidays and vacations are popular scrapbooking themes. Photo by Marilyn Jones

Anything you want to remember can be made into a scrapbook page. photo by Sandy Scott

You can find scrapbooking supplies in a lot of different places, including aboard a cruise ship. Photo by Marilyn Jones

Remembering the Dallas Zoo. photo by Marilyn Jones

Alabama Living

Budget-worthy scrapbooking ideas

Scrapbooking clubs are a great way to make friends, and share ideas and tools. From left, Lori McCleskey, Lisa Maxwell, Melinda Scott, Elizabeth Brown and Kathy Brown, who meet in Somerville. Photo by Sandy Scott

more to incorporate the owner’s travel memories. There were other uses for scrapbooks as well. In the history of scrapbooking, Thomas Jefferson was one of the first famous American scrapbookers. He created a series of albums filled with newspaper clippings of his presidency for future reference. During the Civil War, Northerners kept scrapbooks to file newspaper clippings that reported Union victories while Confederate sympathizers documented Southern advances in the war. With the advent of photography in 1826, a new dimension was added to scrapbooks, especially with George Eastman’s paper photographs in the late 1800s and the production of the Kodak Brownie camera in 1900. This allowed the average person to begin to incorporate photographs into their scrapbooks. Turn-of-the-last-century scrapbooks contained photos mounted with adhesive corners and notations about the photo. To this, the scrapbooker could add newspaper clippings, letters and other paper memorabilia. What we know as scrapbooking today can be attributed to Marielen Christensen. The Utah resident began designing creative pages for her family’s photo memories, inserting the completed pages into plastic sheet protectors collected in 3-ring binders. By 1980, she had assembled more than 50 volumes and was invited to display them at the World Conference on Records in Salt Lake City. The family history scrapbooks were so well received that Marielen and her husband AJ authored and published a how-to book, Keeping Memories Alive, and opened the first scrapbooking store. Today the scrapbooking industry is a multi-billion dollar business with nearly 2,000 companies supplying everything scrappers could possibly want or need to create their own personal history book. A

Scrapbook adhesives can add up. For most projects all you need is a glue stick. In August when department stores offer excellent back-to-school prices for glue sticks, stock up for the year. Don’t just look for scrapbooking supplies at craft and department stores. Take apart silk flowers, for example, and attach them to the page with brads. Buttons, fabric and ribbon all make excellent embellishments and you can find them at dollar stores, garage sales or your own sewing basket. Being organized is very important. When your papers and embellishments are easy to find, you’ll always know what you have, which means you’ll buy fewer duplicates or too many for a specific project. Use a filing system for sticker categories: holidays, travel, flowers and so on. Baskets are great for organizing bulkier embellishments like brads, ribbon spools, glue sticks and pens. You may want to invest in a paper storage unit just to keep everything in one place and to enable you to sort by color, size and theme. There is a lot of valuable, and free, information on the Internet as well as downloads for fonts and templates. Other resources help you find just the right illustration for your page — just print, trim and glue. Your scanner is another excellent tool. Scan illustrations from magazines, greeting cards, material and logos; the possibilities are limitless. Add tools as you need them. There is no need to start out with more than a cutter or trimmer that allows you to replace only the blade as needed. This is used to trim photographs and paper. Never pay full price. Every major craft store offers percentage-off coupons and has weekly sales on stickers, other embellishments, paper and tools. If you don’t subscribe to a newspaper, go online to the store’s website to view the weekly ad and print the coupons. Start a scrapbooking group so that you can share your tools and embellishments as well as advice. may 2013  21


22  may 2013

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Alabama Living

may 2013  23


Alabama Outdoors

Storms leave fish havens in their path By John N. Felsher

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enturies of storms pounding the shrimp boat in about 14 feet of water. a rounded head, the flattened leadhead Gulf Coast turned human engi- The remnants of the old boat came to causes the bait to wobble when sinking. neering into wreckage and other within three or four feet of the surface. “My Stand-Up Jig has a little bit more debris that now punctuates the bottom of On the first cast over the wreck, I hooked weight at the tip of the head than the back the Gulf of Mexico and associated waters into a good speckled trout with a lipless of the head,” Serra explains. “When it falls, off Alabama. crankbait that closely resembled a baitfish. it starts wobbling from side to side because Today, old sunken shrimp boats and For the next few hours at that one spot, it’s nose heavy. On the bottom, it stands up other traces of human existence, victims we threw topwaters, shrimp over pop- on its nose at a 60-degree angle. It’s very of one storm or another, rot on the sandy ping corks and jigheads tipped with soft effective in deep water and when fish susbottom of Mississippi Sound, lower Mo- plastics to tempt speckled trout and white pend. On that day, the fish at the wreck bile Bay and the adjacent Gulf of Mexico. trout ranging in size from barely keepers were holding just above the thermocline Mississippi Sound runs nearly 100 miles to about four pounds. about six feet deep. Trout usually hit the jig between southeastern Louisiana and on the fall. A regular jighead would Dauphin Island in southwestern Alajust slip right past those fish.” bama. The Sound averages about 12 I tried an experiment. After catching fish on nearly every cast with a to 20 feet deep. Several barrier islands Stand-Up Jig tipped with a Fish Bites including Dauphin Island separate it shrimp, sometimes experiencing from the Gulf of Mexico. What looks like storm junk to a more than one hit on the same cast, human makes the perfect home for I changed to a more conventional many fish species that populate the round jighead. Even with the identical soft-plastic trailer worked through fertile waters of Mississippi Sound. exactly the same place, I couldn’t get These wrecks and debris, plus natural oyster reefs, rock piles, grassy a bite. I changed back to a Standsand flats and various other places Up Jig and started catching fish Capt. Yano Serra with Speck Tackle Lure Guide Service again. I capped the day with about a where shrimp, small fish, crabs and in Dauphin Island, Ala., shows off a large redfish trout other forage species can hide, create 30-pound bull red that engulfed the he caught and released while fishing in Mississippi havens that attract game fish. Larger Sound south of the Alabama coast. Fish Bites shrimp tail. On the way back to the marina, we fish like speckled trout, redfish, SpanPhoto by John N. Felsher ish mackerel and other predators lurk “ran the crab traps.” A line of buoys Wanting a little more fun, Serra pulled marked where a commercial crabber poaround these reefs to snatch prey. “About 85 percent of my fishing for big out his fly rod and landed some trout and sitioned traps. We cautiously approached speckled trout is in Mississippi Sound,” Spanish mackerel. For tempting really big each float looking for tripletail. These oddsays Capt. Yano Serra with Speck Tackle trout, he hooked a live croaker onto a free looking fish frequently lurk around such Lure Guide Service (251-610-0462, Speck- line and tossed it near the wreck. That floating objects to sun themselves. We spotTackleLure.com) out of Dauphin Island. croaker didn’t stay around the wreck long ted one and enticed it to bite a live shrimp “When I don’t have a trip, I ride around before a 6-pound trout inhaled the offering. dangled under a popping cork, putting a “I usually catch my big fish on topwa- final touch on a great day on the water. A with the side-scan sonar turned on looking for structure. It has a memory card that re- ters, but also catch big trout on jigs, shrimp John N. Felsher cords that information. When I get home, I or croakers,” Yano advises. “On that day, I is a professional put it in the computer and look at it. I find needed a big bait to get down through the freelance writer and photographer who sunken shrimp boats, old pipelines, rock small fish. Trout were hitting any bait we lives in Semmes, Ala. piles, debris blown off Dauphin Island by threw in the water and I had to use a bait He’s written more than 1,700 articles hurricanes and other structure that many big enough to keep the 3- and 4-pound for more than other people don’t know is there. Most trout away from it.” 117 magazines. He people drive right over it and never stop.” I mainly stayed with hard baits and co-hosts a weekly outdoors radio show. On one spring excursion into Missis- jigs. After losing one jighead on the old Contact him through sippi Sound out of Bayou LaBatre, Cap- boat, Yano gave me a 3/8-ounce Stand-Up his website at www. JohnNFelsher.com. tain Yano and I pulled up to a sunken Jig, a design he makes himself. Instead of 24  may 2013

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Capt. Yano Serra with Speck Tackle Lure Guide Service in Dauphin Island, Ala., admires a tripletail he caught while fishing in Mississippi Sound south of the Alabama coast. Photo by John N. Felsher

Alabama Living

may 2013  25


Rock City barns rock on By Jim Winnerman Photos by Brent Moore

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n a modern world of vivid colors and sleek glass buildings, the simple black and white ads proclaiming SEE ROCK CITY remain painted on a few roofs and sides of creaky old barns, just as when they first began to appear in 1935. Those still standing continue to garner attention as travelers come around a bend in the road or over a crest of a hill where the iconic image looms directly ahead. “The signs were first painted 78 years ago flanking the sides of U.S. 41, known as the ‘snowbirds route to Florida,’” says Karen Baker, senior director of marketing at Rock City. “Eventually the painted barns could be found from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, spread across 19 states.” Once numbering more than 900, the hand-painted signs have been steadily disappearing, and the reasons for the demise of the familiar rooftop words are many. Foremost is the Highway Beautification Act enacted during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. The legislation defined roadside signs 26  may 2013

more as an eyesore than an icon. All new barn ads beFaded lettering on this barn on U.S. Highway 11 in DeKalb County is gan to be regulated a sure sign it’s no longer being painted. It once read “When You See as billboard adverROCK CITY You See The Best.” tising, making it INSET: There are seven barns in Alabama that are difficult to secure still being painted by Rock City. a permit along a major highway or interstate. Interstate 59,” he says. “Route 11 was once The law meant many of the signs had the main road north and south and peoto be painted over, and many disappeared ple did not drive as far as they do today. under the brush wielded by the painters Rock City was a final destination.” who had painted See Rock City on them. “I remember the signs from my childThere are many other reasons the See hood in the 40s and 50s,” Chesser recalls. Rock City barns continue to decline in “It was almost like there were hundreds. number. New property owners sometimes Then it seemed like if you saw one you prefer to have an ad eliminated. Other had seen them all. Nowadays I know there barns succumb to redevelopment or fire, are hardly any left and each one is special.” collapse under their own weight, or are “Every now and then I see people who torn down when they become unsafe. have pulled over taking a photo of the Today Rock City continues to main- barn on Route 11,” Chesser says. “A few tain and repaint about 100 of the original folks around here have a framed photo of barns, including one on Route 11 north one in their home.” of Fort Payne, Ala., where Larry Chesser “When they were everywhere, someis the mayor. “It can still be seen from times I would go by and notice one had www.alabamaliving.coop


signs Although the black and white “See Rock City”

have

nding on tions were right only 1½ never varied in color, the message has. Depe d: adde hours were needed, but space, sometimes the following were also some required as much See Beautiful ROCK City, World’s 8th Wonder as 3½ hours of labor. Bring your camera ROCK CITY In 1968 Byers found The Barn Painter When you see ROCK CITY you see the best himself too close to a ROCK CITY is beautiful beyond belief For businesses that used hundreds of lightning bolt and ended tanooga, Tenn. See seven states from ROCK CITY near Chat barn ads, there was usually one individual up being hospitalized 65 miles to ROCK CITY who earned a reputation as a “barn lizard” for a year. When he out Mt. Stay on U.S. 41 and See ROCK CITY and Look or “rooftop Rembrandt,” as they called recovered he never reMt. out Look See Beautiful ROCK CITY and themselves. Clark Byers was the gentle- turned to a barn roof, Millions have seen ROCK CITY. Have you? man who painted See Rock City barn ads but turned his attention It’s fun for the family in ROCK CITY for three decades after being hired in 1936 to his mailbox, adding a Good Bye tell your friends about Rock City at age 22. miniature version of the “E.Y. Chapin, the president of Rock historic sign. City, sent Byers out with a mission to When the mailbox was not to the lik- sketch or photo of the barn.” pick the best barns to lead people to Rock ing of the U.S. Post Office, he found a Over a period of 15 months, Jenkins City,“ Baker says. “He painted them all, new life painting the logo on birdhouses. traveled 15,000 miles, using the cards to revisiting each about every three years. Today a See Rock City birdhouse can be photograph 225 barns in Alabama, ArHe never knew if he would encounter an purchased at SeeRockCity.com or any kansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kenangry dog or bull, a problem with a local Cracker Barrel restaurant. tucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, labor union, a lightning storm or a slip“The signs marked a milestone in the North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, pery roof.” nation’s tourism history,” Bill Chapin, Tennessee and Texas. Byers selected the barns to paint and president of See Rock City Inc. and the Today Jenkins continues searching for determined the words that would fit in great-nephew of the attraction’s founder, fading advertisements that have been all the space to accompany the See Rock City said recently. “Clark Byers was instrumen- but forgotten and which will never be relogo. He also negotiated with the owners, tal in creating a lasting legacy for Rock painted by Rock City. When asked if he who were usually more than willing to City.” is still discovering new barns with Rock trade the sign for having a side or roof City ads on them, he answers “no” with of their barn painted. Before he died in a laugh. “I’m still discovering old barns Barns favorite topic for 2004, he had been quoted as stating that with old Rock City ads,” he says. he “never knew what I was gonna put on professional photographers Another photographer who has been a barn until I got up on top of it…then I David B. Jenkins of Kensington, Ga., finding the forgotten Rock City barns is could tell what fit.” is the author and photographer of a cof- Brent Moore of Smyrna, Tenn. “These Three barns a day was the goal, often fee table book, Rock City Barns: A Passing barns are visible evidence of an imporrequiring Byers to work late into the night Era, published in 1996 by Free Spirit Press. tant part of our disappearing history that or through inclement weather. If condi- “I was handed a box containing hundreds used to be very common” he says. “It is of old index important to preserve the memory. They Clark Byers next to a barn he painted west of Chattanooga in the 1950s. Courtesy See Rock City cards from the remind me of my childhood.” 1960s that was Moore has seen a few with a Rock City used by the sign on two sides, and one that had a mispainters to find spelling. “It was in Ohio and had Chateach barn,” he tanooga spelled as ‘Chattanooa,’” he says. says, recount- Whether it was done on purpose, or an ing how his honest oversight, or an omission due to journey to dis- a miscalculation of how much space was cover as many needed, is not known. of the barns as he could began. “Each Continued signs of popularity “People come in and refer to the barn card contained the name and ad just about any day that I am walking address of the around,” Baker states. “They will tell me ow ner of a they remember all those barn roof signs Rock City ad- from their childhood. For many people I vertisement, talk to they are on their first trip to actuand either a ally see the attraction that the barns have

been newly painted,” Chesser recalls. “In all my years I have never seen the painter, though. It was sort of like magic.”

Alabama Living

may 2013  27


Near Rodgers, this sign has been newly painted in 2006.

been ‘calling’ to them for years.” Other indications the black and white ads are firmly rooted in American history include a See Rock City sign in the Henry Ford Museum in Greenfield Village, and a birdhouse in the National Museum of American History.

This barn can be seen in northern DeKalb County near the Georgia state line.

See Rock City, really! Rock City itself remains an impressive geological formation and very popular tourist attraction that continues true to its origins. Just as they did as early as 1824, the unusual formations of tight passageways, balancing rocks, and panoramic views remain unchanged from when they emerged as sandstone formations from a retreating sea. However, much has also been added over the decades by offering different reasons to visit than just the natural beauty of the rock formations. “I hope people will visit our website SeeRockCity. com for all of the wonderful upcoming special events,” Barker says. “We are open all year, and each season there’s a new reason to visit.” A According to Rock City, the seven Alabama barns at the locations below are still being painted by the attraction : Alabama Hwy 21, 6 miles south of Oxford Old US 431, 7 miles south of Roanoke US 11, 6 miles south of Collinsville US 31, 22 miles north of Greenville at milep ost 159 US 11, 5 miles north of Hammondville, at milepost 247 US 72, 2 miles east of Rogersville US 231, 1/4 miles south of the TN-AL line north of Huntsville

28  may 2013

Scan this code to see a video about the history of the “See Rock City” barns. www.alabamaliving.coop


Around Alabama Dothan - May 10 & 11

“A Night at the Park” Family Campout Join us at Landmark Park for a unique camping adventure for the whole family. Featuring geocaching, a night walk through the park, s’mores, stargazing and camping in tents. A cookout, s’mores and breakfast are included. Families are responsible for drinks, tents and sleeping bags. All the fun begins on the 10th at 4:30 p.m. and concludes the 11th at 8 a.m. Admission for members $12 a person and $15 a person for non members. Registration is required, so call 334-794-3452 or e-mail dpeters@landmarkpark.com soon. May 3 & 4 • Opp, The Lew Children Celebration LBWCC

MacArthur Campus Conference Center Talent search to begin at 6 p.m. Friday and a steel guitar concert will be at noon on Saturday; Leona Williams will perform at 4 p.m. Admission Friday: $5; $10 on Saturday; children under 6 free both days. Information: Emilee Gagee, 334-493-3070 4 • Coosa County, Weed’em and Reap Raymond Shaw’s Pinthlocco Quail Plantation A wildlife seminar for landowners. Workshop will include topics such as managing forest openings for brood rearing habitat; prescribed burning for quail; woody vegetation control to enhance quail habitat; the benefits of native warm season grasses; financial assistance programs for establishing native warm season grasses and much more. Free admission but pre-registration required. Information and registration: 334-285-4550 or www.alabamawildlife.org 4 • Andalusia, 4th Annual Three Notch Market Arts and Crafts Fair. Springdale Estate, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Featuring all-day entertainment provided by several local acts and a 5k race sponsored by the AHS volleyball team. Admission: Free Information: Chamber of Commerce, 334-222-2030 www.ajwcthreenotchmarket.webs.com 4 • Orange Beach, 7th Annual Derby Party Presented by The Treasures of the Isle Mardi Gras Krewe at Live Bait 2 on Perdido Beach Blvd., 1 p.m. Featuring gourmet Derby-style meal, door prizes, hat contests, human stick horse races, authentic mint juleps, big screen TVs and a silent auction. Tickets: $25/person Information: 251-981-2227 or bayneb@centurytel. net or Facebook: Treasures of the Isle

4 • Pell City, Rush of Fools concert Pell City Center Rush of Fools is a Christian contemporary rock group originally from Birmingham. Tickets: $12 advanced, $15 at the door Information: Box Office, 205-338-1974 4 • Atmore, Mayfest Tom Byrne Park, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Arts and crafts, children’s rides and activities, Mayfest Beautiful Baby Contest, the 4th annual Mayfest Pooch Parade, wonderful entertainment, food and much more. Free admission. Information: Atmore Chamber of Commerce, 251-368-3305 or www.atmorechamber.com 4 • Guntersville, Great American Clean Up Guntersville City Harbor on Blount Avenue. Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. to receive their litter pick-up area assignments. Information: Nicole Reyes, 256-571-7560 11 • Moulton, Annual Ladies’ Tea In the garden of Bonita and Larry LouAllen, 2-4 p.m. Rheta Harrison will be speaking; soloist and featured guitarists Larry Smith and Rod Wallace will play during the tea. Fresh baked scones will be served as well as garden fresh strawberries from the LouAllen’s garden, tea sandwiches and grapes, sorbet, decadent sweets and three favorite teas of Scotland. Tickets: $15 at Moulton Library Information: 256-974-0883, 256974-4766 or 256-974-7620 11 • Thomasville, Tiger Prowl 5K & Fun Run Benefitting the Thomasville High School football team. Race start, 8 a.m. Pre-registration: $15, day of registration: $20 Information: Jennifer Stephens, 251-769-0182 11 • Chatom, 3rd Annual “In the Pines” Music Festival Outside the Chatom Community Center Gates open at 11 a.m., headliner at 8 p.m. Live music, local bluegrass, gospel and country

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

acts. Featuring country music duo of the year, Thompson Square. www.washingtoncountyal.com 18 • Centre, “Garden Walk” Presented by Cherokee Rose Garden Club, 1-5 p.m. Tour of five local gardens. Advanced tickets: $5, available at Center Flower Mart Information: Janice Knight (club president), 256-779-6995 or jknight2@tds.net 18 • Fairhope, Bald Eagle Bash Fish River Bridge on US Highway 98 Enjoy a “Taste of Weeks Bay,” featuring fresh gulf shrimp prepared by top local restaurants. Live music by Rollin’ in the Hay. Beverages included; free parking at the Weeks Bay Reserve Safe Harbor site with BRATS shuttles to the event. Tickets: $35 in advance; $40 at the gate Information: Marcia Miller, 251-990-5004, Marcia@weeksbay.org or www.BaldEagleBash.com 18 • Scottsboro, 13th Annual Catfish Festival Jackson County Park, 8 a.m. Car, truck, motorcycle and antique tractor show, arts and crafts and food vendors. Free fishing and fun area for kids. Free admission. 18 • Estillfork, Honeysuckle Jam Paint Rock Valley Lodge & Retreat, 4-9 p.m. Bluegrass music and dinner. Admission charged. Contact: Eddie or Vivian Prince, 256776-9411 or theviv@bellsouth.net June 1 • Courtland, Courtland Annual Parade, Pageant and Picnic in the Park A full day of family fun with entertainment and concessions. Begins at 8 a.m. with 5K fun run, 10:30 children’s parade; 3 p.m., Miss Cotton Beauty Pageant; and 5 p.m., Ray Sparks Band. Information: Courtland City Hall, 256-637-2717 or Darlene Thompson, coordinator, 256-637-8895

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Alabama Living

may 2013  29


Worth the Drive

Mud Creek Barbecue 804 County Road 213, Hollywood, AL (256) 259-2493 Hours: Tues. – Sat., 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hollywood

Mud Creek: Barbecue the way grandpa cooked it

W

hat’s in a name? Shakespeare questioned whether a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. I similarly wondered if lunch at a place with mud in its name could be very tasty. But that’s my job, to drive around the state and answer critical culinary questions such as these. So I set out on a Sunday to dine at Mud Creek BBQ in Hollywood, Ala. And the answer to my musing? Yes. Yes it can. While mud, or dirt of any sort, is a bit unappetizing, Mud Creek BBQ takes its name from its waterfront location, right on an offshoot of the Tennessee River called Mud Creek. And the place has been where it is, doing what it does for so long, that most people in the area probably never think twice about the name. They only think about the food. And it’s definitely worth some thought. So long ago that the exact date has faded from memory, co-owner Billy Carver’s grandfather started a fishing camp and boat rental operation in the spot where the restaurant now sits. It went bust and closed, but years later, when Billy’s dad got out of the Navy in 1946 following World War II, he and Billy’s grandfather tried again, opening a shop selling boats and boat motors with a restaurant alongside it. This time it worked, and Mud Creek BBQ has been serving up some of the state’s tastiest ‘cue ever since. While many revolutions and evolutions in cooking have swept the restaurant biz in the decades since Mud Creek opened, Billy’s voice has just a tinge of boasting in it when he speaks of his oldfashioned methods. “We still do our barbecue the way my granddad did,” he says. “We burn hickory down in 55-gallon drums and then use the coals to hickory smoke our meat. Not many places still do that.” The mild, tangy sauce is a throwback too, made from a recipe gleaned by Billy’s Uncle “Shorty” from some cooks in Hawaii while he was staJennifer Kornegay is t ione d t here in the author of a new World War II. children’s book, “The Alabama Adventures Chopped B osof Walter and Wimbly: ton butt on a bun Two Marmalade Cats on is prob ably t he a Mission.” She travels to an out-of-the way most-ordered menu restaurant destination in item. A pickle and Alabama every month. She may be reached for comment at a mound of Mud j_kornegay@charter.net. Creek’s unique take 30  may 2013

on cole slaw complement the succulent meat. “Our mustard slaw is very different,” Billy says. And very good. The other must-try is Mud Creek’s ribs. “We started doing them just a few years ago, but we do them just like the butts, and they are excellent,” he says. In the early 80s, Mud Creek branched out a bit and started serving catfish they bring in from the Mississippi Delta, and while folks seem to like it, Billy doubts it will ever overtake the barbecue and certainly not on his list of faves. “My favorite thing around here is cooking the barbecue on Tuesdays and Fridays,” he says. “We’ve always done that, cooked twice a week. We’ve got a real faithful group that comes in on those nights. They know, like I do, that there’s nothing better than getting our ‘cue straight off the pit. It’s good all the time, but it’s something special then.” Billy’s love affair with barbecue has been simmering since he was a boy. He grew up in and around the restaurant. “We even lived in the back of the restaurant for a bit when I was real young,” he says. The current regulars he mentioned, and those from years past, all share his passion for pig, which sometimes saved his mama some time. “I can remember growing up that the town doctor was best friends with my granddad, and he came in every Tuesday and Friday to eat our barbecue,” Billy says. “So if I was sick on one of those days, I would get a house call. Mom would say, ‘Well, doc will be here in a bit; he can check you out then.’” With food so good and a water view to match, Mud Creek has no trouble making friends, and you’ll usually find it pretty packed with both old and new pals, some coming from as far away as Georgia and Tennessee just for the barbecue and maybe the slaw. (The hushpuppies are fine eatin’ too.) Earning these loyal customers and treating even first-timers like family are points of pride for Mud Creek. “We’re very much a family restaurant and work to be affordable and have a friendly atmosphere,” Billy says. “That’s how we’ve always been.” Indeed, for many in the area and beyond, Mud Creek’s name has become synonymous with doing things right. So the next time someone tells you “your name is mud,” just smile. You got a compliment. A

www.alabamaliving.coop


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

MAY 17 01:07 05:52 08:52 01:22 18 01:37 06:22 09:37 02:07 19 02:22 06:52 10:22 02:37 20 03:07 07:22 11:07 03:07 21 03:52 08:07 11:52 03:52 22 05:22 08:52 12:37 04:37 23 06:52 10:07 - - 05:22 24 08:07 01:22 12:37 06:37 25 08:52 01:52 02:52 07:52 26 02:22 09:37 08:52 04:07 27 02:52 10:07 09:52 05:07 28 03:22 10:37 10:37 05:52 29 03:52 11:22 11:22 06:37 30 04:37 11:52 12:07 07:22 31 - - 05:07 08:07 12:37 JUN 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

- - 01:37 02:22 03:22 04:37 06:07 - - 01:07 01:52 02:22 03:07 03:37 - - - - 12:52 01:37 02:07 02:52 03:37 04:37 10:07 11:52 - - 12:52 01:37 02:22 03:07 04:07 - - 12:52

Alabama Living

05:52 06:22 07:07 08:07 09:07 10:37 07:22 08:37 09:22 10:07 10:52 11:22 04:22 05:07 05:37 06:07 06:52 07:22 08:07 08:52 05:37 06:37 07:52 08:37 09:22 10:07 10:52 11:37 04:52 05:37

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

may 2013  31


Power Plants

Know Thy Lawn It’s here… lawn season that is, and there is no time like the present to become one—or at least become more familiar—with your lawn. By Katie Jackson

I

nvesting in a healthy lawn is well worth the time and money you spend on it. After all, lawns not only increase property values and curb appeal, they also help prevent erosion, filter pollutants from the air and rainwater and they cool and oxygenate the environment. By getting to know your lawn, you can formulate a lawn care plan that is efficient and effective, allowing you more time to enjoy, rather than work on, the lawn. Start by identifying the grasses and weeds that exist in your lawn. Different turfgrasses and weed problems require different kinds of management, so the more you know about your own turf, the better you’ll be able to manage it. For example, some turfgrasses should be mowed to as low as 1 inch while others should be maintained as high as 4 inches. Knowing what you’ve got out there helps you formulate a mowing schedule just right for your lawn’s needs and may save you some sweat and gas through the summer. Need help identifying grasses and weeds? Ask an expert, such as a local Alabama Cooperative Extension System representative or lawn care professional. They can tell you what’s growing in your lawn and offer advice on ways to renoKatie Jackson, who recently retired as chief editor for the Auburn University College of Agriculture and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, is now a fulltime freelance writer and editor. Contact her at katielamarjackson@gmail.com.

32  MAY may 2013

vate or even replant the lawn and landscape to better meet your site’s sun and soil conditions. Fertilizing is vital to good lawn health and now is the time to begin a fertilization program, but it pays (and saves) to know your lawn’s specific needs. The best way to determine the right fertility regime is test your soil. Soil test kits are available at your local Extension office or through the Auburn University Soil Testing Laboratory at www.aces.edu/anr/ soillab/ or 334-844-3958. Of course water is another necessity for a beautiful lawn and, by knowing your lawn, you’ll better understand its moisture needs, which helps conserve water and may help lower your water bill. The standard recommendation is to apply ½ to ¾ inches of water to the yard each time you irrigate, but only when the grass really needs it. Apply water when the grass begins to take on a blue-grey or white cast or do the footprint test—walk across your lawn in the late afternoon and, if you see your footprint in the turf, it’s time to water (and it’s a great excuse to step out and enjoy the yard while you’re at it!). Needless to say, many other elements contribute to a lush and low-mainte-

nance lawn and landscape, so don’t hesitate to explore other management ideas on the Web and through your local library or gardening experts. As I’ve mentioned more than once in this column, the Alabama Smart Yards publication, available through local Extension offices or online at www.aces. edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1359/ ANR-1359.pdf, is a comprehensive and invaluable source of landscaping advice aimed at making your landscape as beautiful as it is sustainable! While you’re paying attention to the lawn, don’t forget to pay some attention to the mom (or moms) in your life. Mother’s Day on May 12 is an ideal chance to give gifts from or for the garden, such as potted plants, annuals or perennials, gardening gloves and tools or even an offer to do yard work for her! A

May Gardening Tips d Plant summer annuals and perennials. d Plant eggplant, pepper and tomato transplants. d Sow seed for sweet corn, squash, okra and lima and snap beans. d Plant ornamental grasses and fallblooming perennials. d Prune spring-flowering shrubs and vines and climbing roses during or just after bloom. d Deadhead (remove spent flowers) from flowering annuals to prolong bloom time. d Keep newly planted shrubs and trees well watered. d Fertilize houseplants that are growing or blooming.

www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Living

may 2013  33


Alabama Recipes

Low-Sugar Favorites

Cook of the Month: Karen Lange, Baldwin EMC Turkey Shepherds Pie

1 head of cauliflower (or 1 pound bag of frozen cauliflower) 1 tablespoon butter 3 tablespoons of low-fat sour cream 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

1 can mixed vegetables 1 pound of ground turkey (leftover turkey is also good) 1/2 cup chicken broth 1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375. Chop cauliflower and boil in salted water just as you would when making mashed potatoes. When fork tender, drain the water off and add butter, sour cream, Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mash well and set aside. While cauliflower is boiling, brown the ground turkey (or chop leftover roasted turkey), drain off any fat drippings and place meat into a deep sided casserole dish which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Layer the rest of the items. Pour the chicken broth over the turkey. Layer the veggies over the meat and broth. Next, spread the mashed cauliflower over the veggies, taking care to bring the cauliflower all the way to the edges of the casserole dish, making a seal which will keep anything from bubbling out and over the edge of the dish. Now top with the shredded cheese and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches 145 degrees. The cheese will be golden brown and bubbly. Serves 4

You could win $50!

July August September

Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are: Pie Deadline: May 15 Ice Cream Deadline: June 15 Party Dips Deadline: July 15

Please send all submissions to: Recipe Editor, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. Or e-mail to: recipes@areapower. coop. Be sure to include your address, phone number and the name of your electric cooperative.

My dad is a diabetic, so we are always looking for good low-sugar recipes for him to try. We had a huge response for these types of recipes this month from our readers across the state. Just remember, even though a recipe is “low-sugar” or referred to as “diabetic,” be sure to consult your doctor or dietician before trying out new and different foods. Some carbohydrates metabolize into sugars so not all dishes can be called sugar-free. I hope if you try some of the recipes that you will let me know how they taste. I will be having another little girl this summer so I want to wish all moms a very Happy Mother’s Day. 34  may 2013

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


Smoked Salmon Linguine 12 ounces linguine 2 cups milk (if fat is not an issue, use one cup of cream) 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms 1⁄3 cup chopped celery 1/2 cup chopped fresh green onions 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 teaspoon grated

lemon peel 8 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon salt and pepper to taste Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley to garnish.

Boil pasta in a large pot with salted water until “al dente” (tender, yet still firm). Drain noodles and return to pot. In a small heavy frying pan sauté mushrooms, celery, and onions in canola until just limp. Add milk, lemon peel and bring sauce to a boil over medium heat. Pour over pasta and toss well to coat evenly. Add salmon and toss to mix in. Season with salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve with warm toasted bread and the fresh salad of choice. Betsy Wilson Dismukes, South Alabama EC

Diabetic Cornbread

1 cup Cream of Wheat (dry) 1 cup self-rising flour 4 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt 1 egg 1 cup buttermilk ¼ oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix in order listed above. Pour in greased pan or muffin tin. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Marilyn Griffin, Southern Pine EC

Sugar-Free Pound Cake

2 cups biscuit mix or self-rising flour 1 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter 3 eggs, beaten 8-10 packets Equal

Mix ingredients well and pour into a small pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Courtney Aycock, Franklin EC

Alabama Living

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may 2013  35


Lemon Pie

1 cup evaporated milk
 1 (0.25-ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
 1/2 cup water
 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
 3/4 cup granulated Splenda
 3/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind


1/4 teaspoon lemon extract 1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust

Pour evaporated milk in a mixing bowl; place in freezer until ice crystals form (about 30 minutes). Sprinkle gelatin over water and lemon juice in a small saucepan; let stand 1 minute. Stir in Splenda granulated sweetener and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until gelatin dissolves. Stir in lemon rind and lemon extract. Beat evaporated milk at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form (about 5 minutes). Gradually add gelatin mixture, beating at high speed until mixture is combined. Do not over beat. Pour mixture into crust; cover and chill 1 hour or until set. Tina Pacheco, Baldwin EMC

Pecan Pie for Diabetics

1 box sugar-free vanilla pudding mix (the kind you cook) 3/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup 1 cup evaporated milk

1 egg, lightly beaten 1 cup pecan halves, chopped 1/2 cup Splenda 1 unbaked pie crust

Beat pudding mix and syrup at medium speed until smooth. Add milk, egg, nuts and Splenda. Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set. Do not overbake. Joyce Harrington, Cullman EC

White Chocolate Mousse

1 (1-ounce) package Jell-O fat-free, sugarfree white chocolate instant pudding mix

1 cup 2 percent milk

1 (8-ounce) sugar-free Cool Whip

Pineapple Casserole

2 20-ounce cans pineapple chunks or tidbits 1/4 cup Splenda 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour 11/2 cups shredded cheese

(mild or sharp) 3/4 cup Ritz crackers, crushed 1/2 cup butter, melted

Lightly grease a 9x13x2 baking dish. Spread pineapple in dish. Combine sugar with flour and sprinkle over pineapple. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine Ritz crackers with butter and sprinkle over cheese. Bake at 350 degrees and enjoy. Janice Cates, Central Alabama EC

Easy Diabetic Chocolate Pie

2 large packages instant sugar-free chocolate pudding/pie mix 1 8-ounce package lite cream cheese (do not use fat-free) 4 cups skim milk (check

directions for pie filling) 1 large container Lite Cool Whip 2 reduced-fat graham cracker pie crusts

Whisk together pudding mix and milk for about 2 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in Cool Whip. Chill for 1 hour. Serve with fresh fruit and/or granola if desired.

Mix chocolate pudding/pie mix as directed on package. Add 8 ounces softened cream cheese and mix lightly with low-speed mixer until blended. Spoon mixture into the pie crusts and top with Cool Whip. Cover with pie crust lids and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Josie Page, Clarke-Washington EMC

Lynn Potter, Franklin EC

36  may 2013

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


Southern Occasions CO O K B O O K Here’s just a sample of the delicious recipes you’ll find inside!

Cranberry Baked Beans Tomato with Pork Stuffing Corn Bread Skillet Casserole French Vanilla Eggnog Coffee Caramel Apple Bars Italian Cheese Sticks Coconut Shrimp Candy Cane Cappuccino Apple Banana Crunch Pie Strawberry Pudding Skillet Pound Cake

Southern Occasions

CO O K B O O K

Alabama Living

may 2013  37


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DIVORCE MADE EASY – Uncontested, Lost, in Prison or Aliens. $149.95 - 26 years experience – (417)443-6511

PIANO TUNING PAYS – Learn with American Tuning School home-study course – (800)497-9793

METAL ROOFING $1.79/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT!  1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change)  706-383-8554 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA / SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE / HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS / ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct - (256)490-4025, www.andyswallbeds.com, www. alabamamattressoutlet.com AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS – windmill parts – decorative windmills – custom built windmill towers - call Windpower (256)638-4399 or (256)638-2352 REDNECK WEDDING KIT: Includes handmade bookay, toasting goblets, garter, unity candle, marriag licenz, bootenear, and more in burlap carrying case. Makes a perfect bridal shower gift. $29.95. Contact: funweddingstuff@yahoo.com or call (540)322-9383 18X21 CARPORT $695 INSTALLED – “Other sizes available” - (706)383-8554 KEEP POND WATER CLEAN AND FISH HEALTHY with our aeration systems and pond supplies. Windmill Electric and Fountain Aerators. Windpower (256)638-4399, (256)899-3850 FINANCIAL HELP LINES FOR AL FAMILIES BANKRUPTCY ADVICE FOR FREE (877)933-1139 MORTGAGE RELIEF HELP LINE (888) 216-4173 STUDENT LOAN RELIEF LINE (888)694-8235 DEBT RELIEF NON-PROFIT LINE (888) 779-4272 Numbers provided by www.careconnectusa.org A Public Benefit Organization

38  may 2013

START YOUR OWN BUSINESS! Mia Bella’s Gourmet Scented Products. Try the Best! Candles / Gifts / Beauty. Wonderful income potential! Enter Free Candle Drawing - www. naturesbest.scent-team.com

Vacation Rentals GULF SHORES: RESERVE OUR WEST BEACH CONDO NOW FOR THIS SUMMER - 2 large, one bedroom, sleeper sofa and full kitchen…Nice pool . Non Smoking, No Pets. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at 256-5994438. Condos also available in Daytona Beach. PIGEON FORGE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, two pools, hot tub. Pictures available – turner3049@charter.net, (256)656-1852 Fort Morgan / INDIES Condo – 4th Floor, 3/2 sleeps 8, Gulf View Balcony, Pool – Owner discount call (228)343-9611 or email dwalter1126@cableone.net GULF SHORES PLANATION CONDOS – Beachview sleeps 6, Beachfront sleeps 4 – (251)223-9248 DISNEY – 15 MIN: 5BR / 3BA, private pool – www. orlandovacationoasis.com – (251)504-5756 ORANGE BEACH, AL CONDO – Sleeps 4, gulf and river amenities – Great Rates – (228)3694680 – pdavis528@gmail.com APPALACHIAN TRAIL – Cabins by the trail in the Georgia Mountains – 3000’ above sea level, snowy winters, cool summers, inexpensive rates – (800)284-6866, www.bloodmountain. com GULF SHORES PLANTATION CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, NS / No Pets – Owner Rates – Email seelypartners@yahoo. com or (740)815-7768, www.vrbo. com/414841

FT. WALTON BEACH HOUSE – 3BR / 2BA – Best buy at the Beach – (205)566-0892, mailady96@yahoo. com BEACHSIDE CONDOS, GULF SHORES – 2/1 and 2/2 - $860/wk & up – 3 Night Minimum – (251)6332677, d3b2@juno.com PENSACOLA BEACH CONDO – Gulf front – 7th floor balcony – 3BR / 2BA, sleeps 6, pool – (850)572-6295 or (850)968-2170, www.ss703pensacola. com GULF SHORES CONDO BEACHSIDE – 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 2 Pools, Wireless Internet, Non-Smoking, No Pets (256)287-0368, (205)613-3446 PIGEON FORGE CONDO – 2bd / 2bath, sleeps 8, on Main Parkway – (256)601-7193, https://www. facebook.com/ RusticWoodsGetawayPF/info GULF SHORES, WEST BEACH - Gulf view, sleeps 6 - www.vrbo. com/92623, (404)641-4939, (404)641-5314 WWW.GULFSHORES4RENT.com Beautiful west beach in Gulf Shores – 4 great condos, each sleeps 6. Call (404)219-3189 or (404)702-9824 MENTONE, AL – LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN – billiard table, Jacuzzi, spacious home, sleeps 14 – www. duskdowningheights.com, (850)7665042, (850)661-0678.   GULF SHORES RENTAL BY OWNER – Great Rates! (256)490-4025 or (256)523-5154 or www. gulfshoresrentals.us DESTIN, FL RENTAL BY OWNER Check out patsdestincondo. com - 2BR/2BA, ground level. Across from beach with gated access - Call (334)312-6630 - email greenbush@ knology.net for more info & reservations GATLINBURG: BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAIN CONDOS in a great resort complete with large Pool, game room, sauna, two hot tubs, grills and wireless internet. Reserve yours now. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at 256-599-4438 GULF SHORES BEACH HOUSE – Nice 2 bedroom, great view – Spring $800 / week, Summer $995/ week – (251)666-5476 GULF SHORES COTTAGE – Waterfront, 2 / 1, pet friendly – Rates and Calendar Online http://www.vrbo.com/152418, (251)223-6114

GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN – AFFORDABLE Private Beach & Bay Homes, 1-9 Bedrooms, Pet Friendly Available – (800)678-2306 – http:// www.gulfrentals.com GULF SHORES PLANTATION - Gulf view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850 GULF SHORES CONDO – 2BR / 1.5BA, sleeps 6, pool, beach access – (334)790-9545 CABINS / PIGEON FORGE, TN – Sleeps 2-6, Great Location (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, www.hideawayprop.com ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 CABIN IN MENTONE – 2/2, brow view, hottub – For rent $100/night or Sale $199,000 – (706)767-0177 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@centurytel. net, (256)599-5552 www.vacationsmithlake.com – Nice 3BR / 2BA, deep water, covered dock - $75 night – (256)3525721, amariewisener@gmail.com PIGEON FORGE, TN: $89 - $125, 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)363-1973, www. mylittlebitofheaven.com GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE on BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)333-9585, hhideaway401@aol.com KATHY’S ORANGE BEACH CONDO – 2BR/2BA, non-smoking. Best rates beachside! Family friendly – (205)253-4985, www.KathysCondo. eu.pn SPRING AND SUMMER SPECIALS ON CABINS IN PIGEON FORGE - (865)712-7633 LAKE JORDAN CABIN – Great Fishing. Boat House - $75 night – (334)313-0078 GATLINBURG, TN – 3BR / 3BA TOWNHOUSE on BASKIN CREEK – 10 minute walk downtown, 3 miles to Smokey Mountain National Park – (334)289-0304 GATLINBURG / PIGEON FORGE – 2 and 3 BEDROOM LUXURY CABINS – Home theatre room, hot tub, gameroom – www. wardvacationproperties.com, (251)363-8576 www.alabamaliving.coop


PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, jamesrny@graceba.net, www. theroneycondo.com GATLINBURG, TN – Fond memories start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (866)316-3255, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway GULF SHORES, GULF FRONT – 1BR / 1BA - Seacrest Condo - King bed, hall bunks free Wi-Fi – Owner rates (256)352-5721, amariewisener@ gmail.com HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – sleeps 2-6, 2.5 baths, fireplace, Jacuzzi, washer/dryer – www. HOMEAWAY.com/101769 - (251)9482918, email jmccracken@gulftel.com PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house for rent $75.00 a night – Call Bonnie at (256)338-1957 GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN / NOT A CONDO! The original “Beach House” on Ft. Morgan peninsula – 2BR/1BA – Pet friendly, non-smoking – $895/wk, (256)418-2131, www. originalbeachhouseal.com

GULF SHORES PLANATION – Two Great Beachfront Condos – Owner (770)442-8643 AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL. Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners. Lowest Prices on the Beach – www. gulfshorescondos.com, (251)5509421, (205)556-0368, (205)752-1231

Camping / Hunting / Fishing WEEKEND, MONTHLY AND YEARLY CAMPER / TRAILER SPACES ON BEAUTIFUL SWIFT CREEK safe, quiet. Good fishing, boat launching, local hunting clubs in area. Approximately 1 mile to Alabama River by boat (334)358-7287, (334)365-1317.

Real Estate Sales/Rentals WANTED: 50 to 200 ACRES around Tensaw area for hunting. Call Randy (318)933-0040 FSBO LAKE MARTIN WATERVIEW BUNGALOW at the Village, Dadeville – 2 / 2, fireplace, decks – (334)538-8123 ORANGE BEACH CONDO FOR SALE on Wolf Bay Pier, pool – Contact ths2wllpas@hotmail.com, (205)826-4225

ORANGE BEACH CONDO – 1BR / 1BA. Beachside, tropical décor, beautifully landscaped courtyard, two pools – Only $179,900! Call Steve, Remax / Gulf Shores (800)686-7005 GULF SHORES CONDOS - 4.7 miles from beach, starting prices $54,900 www.PeteOnTheBeach.com, click Colony Club – (251)948-8008

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

Musical Notes PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982

WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – Year round enrollment. Everybody homeschools. It is just a matter of what degree – (256)653-2593 or website BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 6630 West Cactus #B107767, Glendale, Arizona 85304. http:// www.ordination.org

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

Fruit, Nuts and Berries OLD TIMEY WHITE AND YELLOW self pollinating SEED corn – (334)886-2925

PIANOS TUNED, REPAIRD, REFINISHED – Box 171, Coy, AL 36435 – (334)337-4503

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

How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): July 2013 – May 25 August 2013 – June 25 September 2013 – July 25 -Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis -Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each -Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@areapower. com or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing. -We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

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Market Place

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Alabama Living

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The Importance of Electrical Safety Measures for Older Adults By Brett Brenner Electrical Safety Foundation International

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tatistics show that home fires, from a variety of causes, result in a significant number of deaths and injuries each year. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated average of 371,700 home structure fires per year. These fires cause an estimated average of 2,590 civilian deaths and 12,910 civilian injuries. Although electrical hazards plague the public at large, older adults are burdened with the gravest risk. Adults over the age of 65 are more than twice as likely to die from a house fire as the general population, and this risk increases with age. Those 75 years of age and over are challenged with a risk that is 2.8 times higher, and adults over 85 are at a staggering risk that is 3.7 times higher. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has predicted that the percentage of older Americans will increase significantly, thus making a corresponding increase in fire deaths and injuries among older adults probable.

May is National Electrical Safety Month. This might be a good time to give your home an electrical safety check up. For a list of what to look for, go to www.esfi.org.

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Electrical failures are a leading cause of home fires every year, and electrical distribution and lighting equipment fires have been shown to increase in frequency with increasing dwelling age. Homes with aging electrical systems are at a heightened risk for electrical fires, posing a serious risk for older adults who have remained in the same home for an extended period of time. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, half of the homes in use in the United States were built before 1973, which is long before many of the electronics and appliances we use today were even invented. Unfortunately, our increased demands for energy can overburden an older home’s electrical system causing fires or electrocutions. Many home electrical fires can be prevented by using more up-to-date technology and by recognizing warning signs your home may be showing. Follow these easy safety tips to identify and prevent electrical hazards in your home: •

Regularly check all cords, outlets, switches, and appliances for signs of damage or wear.

Use extension cords only temporarily.

Be sure outlets are not overloaded with too many devices. They can overheat and start a fire.

Look and listen for warning signs of an electrical problem such as outlets and switches that are warm, or make crackling, sizzling or buzzing sounds.

Always replace fuses or circuit breakers with the correct size and

amperage. And make sure all circuits are labeled correctly. •

Consider having your breakers upgraded to state-of-the-art arc fault circuit interrupters, or AFCIs. Keep the electrical panel accessible so you can quickly shut off power in an emergency.

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Place alarms inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Test them once a month, change the batteries at least once a year, and replace the alarm itself every ten years.

These vital tips are featured in ESFI’s newly launched “Home Fire Safety for Older Adults Safety Awareness Program,” which provides tools to educate older adults and their families nationwide about home fire hazards related to cooking, heating, and electrical equipment. A full range of resources for older adults, including detailed fact and tip sheets as well as public service announcements, can be found by visiting www.esfi.org/ safetyeducators. This effort is part of ESFI’s National Electrical Safety Month initiative, “Electrical Safety for All Ages,” which takes a multigenerational approach to electrical safety by encouraging family members of all ages to work together to identify and correct potential home fire hazards. Visit www.esfi.org/NESM for ESFI’s full range of National Electrical Safety Month information, which also includes childfocused materials as part of its “Be Smart about Fire and Electrical Safety” program. A=

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Alabama Living

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pizza • internet • tools • flowers • crafts • fitness clubs • prescriptions • pet food • museums • concerts • tools •

movie rentals • hotels • home improvements • sportswear • rental cars • appliances • office supplies • water parks •

tires • groceries • oil change • frozen yogurt • dining out • EYEWEAR • lawn care • braces •

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Alabama Living

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Our Sources Say

Renewable Energy

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ast summer I went home for my 40th high school reunion. I continue to be amazed at how the 12 years we spent in school seems longer than the 40 years since. I grew up in Corinth, Miss., near the Tennessee line and only get home a few times a year to visit Mom. When I am home I try to spend as much time as I can with her, so I don’t see my high school friends as much as I would like. However, class reunions are a good chance for us that grew up together to reconnect. Last summer, after the formal reunion functions, a number of us stayed out late like we did as teenagers. In talking about our careers, one of my closest childhood friends, Jimbo Bryant, questioned why

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative 44  may 2013

electric utilities don’t use wind and solar power instead of fossil-generated power. Bo has always been a little progressive (he was suspended from high school for a while and may have filed a lawsuit because he refused to cut his hair), and he insisted that renewables would be better than how we generate electricity. Bo is not the only one who questions me about renewable power. I am often asked what I have against renewable energy. My answer is the same I gave to my old friend Bo Bryant: “The only things I have against renewable energy are its reliability and cost.” From a reliability perspective, wind and solar power are poor choices. Even in areas where there is a lot of wind, the capacity factor of wind (a measure of how much electricity a generator would produce if it were running at continuous full power operation during a same period) is about 30 percent. (The capacity factor of base load fossil generation plants is usually close to 90 percent.) Renewables are most often not available when electric loads are the highest, with an on-peak capacity factor of about 10 percent. It is even worse in areas like Alabama and the Florida panhandle where the wind doesn’t blow very much. Solar is not much better since the sun does not shine a number of hours each day. PowerSouth’s distribution systems normally peak on cold January mornings when the sun is not shining, so it has no value in meeting our peak loads. To make renewable energy reliable, electric utilities build natural gas generation facilities to use when the renewables are not available. The other thing I don’t like about renewables is the cost. There would be no renewable power without government

subsidies, and renewable developers fight effectively to retain those subsidies. Fossil generation also receives government subsidies, but not to the extent of wind and solar power. The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates federal subsidies for wind generation will be more than $11 billion in 2013 – about $52 per megawatt hour. Wind power, with the subsidies, can be competitive in price with fossil energy if the cost of back-up generation is not counted. Because of subsidies and renewable energy standards, some states require that a certain percentage of renewable energy is sold, so the higher-cost wind or solar often displaces lower-cost fossil generated power – raising electricity costs to consumers. Solar subsidies are equally high, and even with subsidies the cost is at least two times more expensive than fossil generation (not including the cost of back-up generation). If the back-up generation for use when the sun doesn’t shine is included, solar makes no economic sense. For comparison purposes, coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear generation will receive about $2.7 billion in subsidies in 2013. That equates to approximately $0.64 per megawatt hour for coal, $0.63 for natural gas and $3.10 for nuclear. These resources provide about 95 percent of all electric power in the U.S., while renewable energy garners $11 billion in subsidies for only 5 percent of the energy. In the meantime, if you have a chance to visit downtown Corinth, Miss., stop in at JB’s Outdoors or the Pizza Grocery next door. Jimbo has a great line of outdoor equipment, clothing and great pizza. Tell them I sent you. Thank you for reading. I hope you have a great month. A www.alabamaliving.coop


Alabama Snapshots

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Nap time Submit Your Images! july Theme:

“Mustaches”

Send color photos with a large self-addressed stamped envelope to:

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

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1. “But he wanted to ride!” submitted by Laverne Free, Falkville 2. Stanley Busby, who could “take a nap, anywhere, anytime” submitted by Mary Robinson, Monroeville 3. Daddy and daughter nap time: Jesse and Grace Kendrick submitted by O’Neida Kendrick, Evergreen 4. “Don’t worry, I’ll just take a nap” submitted by Mary Smith, Troy 5. “Too tired” submitted by Michael Trosper, Laceys Spring

5 6. Teddi Banks and Kavu napping in Uganda, Africa submitted by Grace Banks, Opelika 7. Trason Wilks, 18 months submitted by Kathy Wilks, Troy 8. Dylan Bolton’s “post-lunch nap” submitted by Marvin and Gloria Brown, Talladega 9. Dusti and Bella nap after playing in the mud s u b m i t t e d b y Kathy Champion, Jones www.alabamaliving.coop



Alabama Living Baldwin May 2013