Alabama Living CAEC March 2011

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Around Alabama Fairhope - 59th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival - March 18-20 The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce proudly announces the 59th Annual Arts & Crafts Festival in Fairhope, which is scheduled for March 18, 19 & 20. Festival hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily and there is no admission charge. Over 200 exhibitors from throughout the nation will bring their best works to show and sell at this prestigious juried show. Live entertainment will be going on throughout the three-day event and varied cuisine will be served up in the food court. It all takes place on the streets of beautiful downtown Fairhope. Last year the event attracted more than 250,000 visitors to the area. BRATS (Baldwin County Area Transportation Gulf Shores – March 8 Mardi Gras Parade Hwy 59 from bottom of Intracoastal Canal Bridge to Main Beach Gulf Shores Parade kick off at 10 a.m. Admission: Free Gulf Shores – March 8 Lulu’s 7th Anniversary Celebration and Boat Parade Lulu’s at Homeport, Gulf Shores Doors open at 10 a.m.; live music 1-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Admission: Free Orange Beach – March 8 Mardi Gras Parade Wintzell’s on Perdido Beach Blvd to Hwy 161 Parade kick off at 2 p.m. Admission: Free Contact: 251-981-6979 Bay Minette - March 10 North Baldwin Community Concerts present: Dailey & Vincent L.D. Owen Performing Arts Center, Faulkner State Community College 7 p.m. Tickets available at the door and North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce Contact: Diane Peavy at 251-937-6180 or 251-232-8780 Franklin – March 10-12 Alabama River Festival to Celebrate 1800s Frontier Times Alabama River Museum at the Claiborne Lock and Dam Thursday and Friday 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: $5/person Contact:Wanda Green, or Monroe County Heritage Museum at 251-575-7433

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Pell City – March 12 St. Paddy’s Day Pre-party and Hooley band performance Pell City Center, 25 Williamson Drive Pre-party at 6:30 p.m., performance at 7 p.m. Admission: all tickets $20 Contact: Pell City Center box office at 205-3381974 or

Grove Hill – March 26 Vintage Treasures Antiques Appraisals Clarke County Historical Museum 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Contact: Patricia Dubose at 251-246-3650 or Donna P. Gates at 334-636-4270 Mobile – March 26 Azalea Trail Run 10K Downtown Mobile, 8 a.m. Contact: Port City Pacers at 251-473-7223

Orange Beach – March 12 and 13 2011 Orange Beach Festival of Art Waterfront Park, 26389 Canal Road 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. each day Admission: Free Contact: 251-981-ARTS (2787)

Monroeville – April 2 Capote 1966: A Year in Black and White Monroe County Heritage Museum Program begins at 4 p.m., 1966 film “To Truman with Love” to follow at 6:30 p.m. Admission: Free Contact: MCHM at 251-575-7433 or mchm@

Alex City – March 18 and 19 5th Annual Lake Martin Area Rodeo Alex City Horse Club Riding Arena, Charles E. Bailey Sportplex Gates open at 4 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Admission: Adults $10 and Children $5 (all proceeds benefit Relay for Life of Tallapoosa County and Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation) Contact: Jennifer Baker at 256-329-6736

Jackson – April 2 Clark County Arc’s 13th Annual Spring Jubilee Contact: CCARC Executive Director, Tiffany Dumas at 251-246-3000

Geneva – March 19 8th Annual St. Jude’s Trail Ride Geneva State Forest Lake 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Admission: $10 donation for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Contact: 334-222-8079 or 334-493-6730

Magnolia Springs – April 2 8th Annual Magnolia Run 5K Downtown Magnolia Springs Registration at 6:30 a.m., shotgun start at 8 a.m. Contact: South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce at 251-943-3291 Nauvoo – April 4-7 Bluegrass and Crafts Week Alabama Folk School at Camp McDowell Contact: Danielle Dunbar at 205-563-9990 or

Boaz – March 19 4th Annual Alabama Folk Pottery Show and Expo Boaz Public Library 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission: Free

Dothan – April 7-11 2011 Spring Samboree National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds Theme: Mexican Fiesta Contact: Cathy Riggins at 256-593-6507 or

Lineville – March 26 Lineville Indian Artifact Show National Guard Armory 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission: Free, open to the public Contact: Walt Farr at 256-396-2393

To place an event, fax information to 334-215-8623; mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; e-mail to (Subject Line: Around Alabama) or visit

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System) will offer a shuttle service from the Plantation Pointe Shopping Center, Eastern Shore Village Center and Ecor Rouge Place. All of the parking is free and the locations are less than a five-minute ride away. The shuttle ride costs only $1 one way. There will be so much to see and do on the Eastern Shore that folks will want to stay over. There are many wonderful stores and great restaurants to choose from. For complete information on great places to stay in and around the Eastern Shore call the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce at 251-621-8222, 9286387 or visit the we site at

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. Follow Alabama Living on facebook


Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


2/15/11 8:17 AM

Energy Efficiency… Sealing ductwork can save about $170 a year

…Doesn’t have to be expensive


t’s easy to get overwhelmed by two words: energy efficiency. What should I do? How should I do it? Do I have to replace my entire heating and cooling system to see savings? The easy answer is no, you can do a lot of upgrading with little money. On your next trip to the home improvement or local hardware store, take this shopping guide with you. It lists five areas where a few simple energy efficiency investments will produce savings right away.


Since lighting accounts for about 11 percent of home energy use, switch your traditional


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incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). An ENERGY STARqualified CFL uses about 75 percent less energy than a traditional bulb, lasts up to 10 times longer, and can save about $40 in energy costs over its lifetime. A four-pack of 14-watt CFLs (equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent) runs about $6.

Fill the cracks

A tube of caulk and a roll of weather stripping can go a long way toward saving money on your electricity bill. It’s easy to find where cold air leaks in around doors and windows – simply hold your hand out and feel. Caulk around windows, dryer vents,

By Magen Howard and fans for about $2 a tube, and weather strip around doors for about $4 a roll. There are also some not-so obvious places for air to flow in and out of your home, notably outlets and behind switch plates. To see if you have air flowing through your outlets or switch plates, light a stick of incense, hold it in front, and watch for the smoke to be disrupted. You can find special sealing kits for outlets and switch plates for about $2. And don’t forget about applying weather stripping around your attic hatch or pull-down stairs. You may also want to install an insulator box to place over the opening. A kit costs around $40. Sealing these cracks can save you around $200.

Programmable thermostat

Beginning at $40, a programmable thermostat becomes a larger investment, but you could save $180 a year with the proper settings. For the biggest impact, program your thermostat to raise the temperature during summer and lower in the winter while you’re out of the house. You can also program it to dip lower at night while sleeping. The thermostat can be set to automatically revert to a comfortable setting shortly before you arrive home or wake up. While programmable thermostats are helpful, but they’re not for everyone. These gadgets are best for people who are away from home for extended periods throughout the week.


More than 40 percent of your home’s energy use goes for heating and cooling, so it’s important to keep that air in the home. Leaky ductwork remains one of the main culprits of hot and cold air loss. If your home’s ducts are exposed,

Sealing cracks around doors n and windows ca r u yo help save on electric bill.

inspect them for leaks and seal them. Look for holes and joints that have separated, and then seal them with foil-backed tape, about $6 a roll, or mastic, a type of sealant that costs about $12 a tub. You can apply the mastic with a regular paintbrush. Make sure the tape is marked with the Underwriters Laboratories, “UL” symbol, which means it has been independently tested for safety. Properly sealing ductwork can save about $170 a year.

Water heater insulation

Blankets aren’t just for keeping people warm. A water heater blanket can save you 4 percent to 9 percent in water heating costs – a big ticket item since 12 percent of your home’s energy use goes toward water heating. How do you know if your water heater needs more insulation? Touch it. If it’s warm, wrap it. Choose a blanket with an insulating value of at least R-8, which runs about $20. You can also save more than $70 per year by keeping your water heater’s thermostat set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Larger projects

If you want to make larger investments in your home, adding insulation or upgrading appliances are great starters. For more information on insulation, visit To learn about the most energy-efficient appliances, visit www.energystar. gov.d

Use this handy energy efficiency shopping list next time you head to the store!


Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


“A general research agenda people can use to make their own decisions.”

Smart Governing Non-partisan think tank works to improve Alabama government By Minnie Lamberth

For more than 20 years, the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, or PARCA, has served as a “good government think tank,” providing non-partisan research and analysis for decision-makers at all levels of government across the state. Limestone County Courthouse, Athens


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Brewer serves as PARCA chairman “Our purpose is to provide information to help improve state and local government,” says Jim Williams, who has served as executive director since PARCA was created in 1988. Though a think tank is typically an organization that takes positions on issues, Williams notes, “That’s not what we’re about.” He instead describes the council’s work as “a general research agenda people can use to make their own decisions.” For example, PARCA periodically compiles financial comparisons for Alabama’s largest cities, including information on revenues, expenditures, debt and ending balances. Because the comparisons are done on a per capita basis, cities of different sizes can more easily compare figures. While city officials can use this information to benchmark with their peers, citizens can see how their city ranks financially among others. PARCA has also developed comparisons across school systems of scores for the Alabama Reading and Math Test (ARMT), which tests subject-matter mastery for grades three through eight. Thanks to a challenge grant from a corporate donor and matching grants from community foundations, PARCA has been able to develop software to make color-coded comparisons. “We benchmark everybody against the state average for their subgroup,” Williams says. “We color code all the ones that are lower than the state average.” The software also shows trend lines. The Alabama State Department of Education provides data on the test scores, and school systems can see the results on the website at no charge. School systems can also contract with PARCA for further analysis.

SMART Budgeting Perhaps no issue is tied closer to the operations of government than budgeting, and that’s also one of the areas PARCA has worked to address. Williams had often made a case for budgeting based on performance and planning in his writings in the council’s PARCA Quarterly newsletter and in public presentations. When Jim Main began serving as Director of the Alabama Department of Finance during the Bob Riley Administration, he expressed


lbert P. Brewer, former governor of Alabama, is PARCA’s Chairman of the Board, and has held that position since the organization’s inception in 1988. As Albert Brewer Brewer explained, the formation of PARCA started with a group of business leaders in Birmingham who recognized a need. “We didn’t have any independent organization in Alabama that could provide our office holders with completely independent research,” Brewer says. When there were issues under consideration, the only organizations available to provide information were those with a vested interest. The business leaders approached Dr. Thomas Corts, then-president of Samford University, for assistance. “They thought ideally an organization should be based on a college campus,” Brewer says. But the campus should not be public because of perceived self-interest, Brewer notes, and it should also operate independently from the college. Corts later approached Brewer about heading up the organization, and he agreed to do so. With Brewer’s leadership in place, a diverse board of around 40 original members made a decision early on about funding sources. “We would raise money independently from businesses, labor, education, agriculture. We wanted to get every part of our economy,” he says. “In order that no one was dominant, we put a cap on contributions,” he adds. Another standard the board set was one of openness. They wouldn’t have any secret reports, Brewer said. All reports would be released to the media, as well as placed in libraries in the state and available upon request. Currently, all reports and publications are available on the PARCA website at Brewer is pleased that PARCA has built such credibility in its public policy role. “Through it all, we have maintained our independence. I think that is the secret to the organization’s success,” he says. “We believe we really function to improve the quality of government in Alabama.”d

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


Example of research published by PARCA. Most findings are available through the organization’s website interest in developing just such a system. “He had read our budget report, and he called up and said ‘let’s implement that,’” Williams says. PARCA started with a model developed for the private sector. “We had to adapt it in a lot of significant ways,” Williams says. “We needed a budgeting process based on performance and planning. A lot of the budget is decided by what everybody got last year.” The method that came out of this process, SMART Budgeting, is so named because it focuses on specific results, measurable goals, accountability to taxpayers, responsiveness to those served and transparency in decision-making. “SMART budgeting is just a very simple version of strategic planning,” Williams says. PARCA adapted the same process for local governments and has worked with such cities as Montgomery, Mobile and Decatur, as well as Jefferson County. The smaller size of city government enables SMART budgeting to run smoother than at the state level, Williams notes. “There are not as many agencies,” Williams says. There’s also a better chance of personal involvement. “A mayor can be involved in the budgeting in ways that a governor couldn’t across the different agencies,” he says. Additionally, common causes of city government – such as police and fire departments, public works, parks and libraries – provide a way of comparing


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similar budgeting needs. “The more cities we get that will do this, the more information we will have in common,” Williams says.

Web Resources PARCA, which operates with a staff of four in a leased office on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham, receives around 60 percent of its funding from tax-deductible contributions, while the remaining funding comes from fees for research and studies. Though PARCA is not a public agency, its clients are largely public entities, and they make public the results of their studies and research. Most of the work they have done, in fact, is available through the council’s website at “PARCA is a very valuable resource that’s available for all levels of government, and I would encourage all policymakers to take a look at the studies they’ve done and take advantage of their data,” says Fred Braswell, president and CEO of the Alabama Rural Electric Association and a member of PARCA’s board. “They’re not oriented toward advocacy. Their job is to put the facts out there. “It’s a great resource for people who are making important decisions for our state and our communities.”d

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


‘Symbols of a nation’ The first flag of the Confederacy was made in Montgomery

The inauguration of Jefferson Davis in Montgomery


By John Brightman Brock

braham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th U.S. president on March 4, 1861, amid a Washington-styled political sea of hoisted top hats and declarations of a stronger union. His oath of office was administered on the East Portico, and cast against the backdrop of a Capitol dome under reconstruction: copper and wood was being replaced with cast iron. Hundreds of miles southward from those roaring waves of federal applause, the more delicate fabric of a new nation’s flag began to flap slowly in the southern breeze. The “Stars and Bars” was hoisted in Montgomery that very day. That was two weeks after Jefferson Davis’ own inauguration as president of the Confederate States of America. Timing was everything. Irony was everywhere – not only with the Confederacy’s first national flag being raised on the day of Lincoln’s address, but


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also that was hoisted by the hands of Letitia Tyler, granddaughter of former United States President John Tyler. Whether guided by the hand of providence, a little luck or just plain serendipity, that Confederate flag was raised as a symbol of secession from a government that considered these states in rebellion. It would be the first of three successive national flags the South’s Provisional Congress could act under, and its armies could live, win or die under, in defense of a constitutional right to secede. This dramatic story of the flag still unfurls today, 150 years later, through the probing of archivists at the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH). They continue to peel back the layers leading up to that day the flag first flew over the Heart of Dixie.

Committee on Flag and Seal With the Provisional Congress already formed, William Porcher Miles of South Carolina designated a Committee on Flag and Seal to allow citizens to send in their favorite design for a national Confederate flag. “It was kind of like a contest,” says Robert Bradley, chief archivist at ADAH. The number of designs sent in numbered 141, a volume that overwhelmed and frustrated the committee. The committee commissioned only four models to submit for the Confederate congress to decide upon. “The approved design was quickly taken to George Cowles’ store at 49 Market St. in Montgomery,” according to Bradley in an article published in the Spring 2010 edition of “Alabama Heritage.” “Cowles was a dealer in ‘fancy and staple dry goods’ and also sold Wheeler and Wilson’s premium sewing machines,” he says. The flag took two hours to make (“of merino, there being no bunting at hand”) and it was made by “fair and nimble fingers,” South Carolinian Miles is credited with saying. Cowles has become center stage for a modern day play in Montgomery running through March 19 at Alabama Shakespeare Festival (see box Page 18). “The Flag Maker of Market Street” depicts Cowles as the merchant whose store produced that first Confederate flag. But, as playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder says: “By night Cowles is a Unionist who is secretly running antiConfederate meetings and supplying the North with vital military information.” Back at ADAH, Bradley has delved deeper into the origins of that day. Instead of great planning, was the flag raising “just meant to be?” he asks. “I don’t think there was a

plan for the March 4 raising. It was serendipitous,” says Bradley, who has become a world-renown expert on the Confederate flag.

History in motion

Either way, history was set in motion, and Bradley’s research points to larger question: Who designed the flag? The archivist says it becomes a complex story of two flags, and their becoming mixed together. A marble tablet was dedicated at the Capitol in Montgomery in 1931, commemorating the raising of the first Confederate flag: “From the dome of this Building, the First Capital, floated the First Flag of the Confederacy, known as the ‘Stars and Bars’ designed by (local artist) Nicola Marschall of Marion, Ala., at the suggestion of Mrs. Napoleon Lockett of the place. Adopted by the Confederate Congress, March 4, 1861...” Bradley says later archival

The Marion Light flag investigations point to Marschall’s design not being among the four in contention as a prototype for the national flag. Instead, Bradley said, Marschall’s talents became even more prominently used in the making of the Marion Light Infantry Flag, used by the 4th Alabama. Some historical records have revealed that Orin Randolph Smith of North Carolina claimed to have designed the actual Confederate National Flag. “This is while it has been

firmly engraved in many Southern minds that Nicola Marschall had actually designed the flag,” Bradley says. And even formal hearings years ago at the Confederate Capitol declared Marschall as the first originator of the flag. “I’m like the third employee of the Alabama Department of Archives and History to stumble across these flag archives,” says Bradley. But, the archivist adds, “That doesn’t take anything away from Nicola Marschall.”

Marschall’s infantry flag

This Marion Light Infantry flag, a banner designed by Marschall, was itself honorably hoisted on a roaring battlefield in Manassas, Va. The flag of Marschall’s design had a piece of a wedding dress and was used as regimental colors in Manassas, Bradley says. The flag bearer, Capt. Porter King, survived the battle to tell the story of Gen. Bernard Bee of South Carolina riding up to King, asking what regiment was there. King replied, “Don’t you recognize your own men? This is all that’s left of the 4th Alabama.” Bee’s order is timeless: “Take your men there, where Jackson stands like a stonewall.” King later brought the flag home with him and gave it to his wife and family who survived him. “It was donated on March 15, 1904, to the ADAH and displayed from 1904 to 1985, then taken off display because it was incredibly fragile,” Bradley says. “The flag was sent to the conservator, and is ready to be displayed again.” Bradley notes the flag’s materials of silk and a piece of Mrs. Sumter Lee’s wedding dress. “It’s the white stripe on the flag,” Bradley points out. “People are just amazed that we have that thing. Many are bigtime Stonewall Jackson fans. You Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


could just about put a kneeling rail in front of it.” Meanwhile, when the national flag was used in battle, it looked similar to the Union flag, which was confusing. So, a “battle flag” of the Confederacy, referred to as the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, was adopted for use in battle beginning in December 1861 and throughout the war. The battle flag design was inspired by one of the many

The First National flag “secessionist flags” flown at the South Carolina convention of December 1860. It was an upright or Latin cross on a red field, with 15 white stars. Feedback on this design included a critique from Charles Moise, a self-described “Southerner of Jewish persuasion.” Moise asked, “the symbol of a particular religion not be made the symbol of the nation.” So, the cross was changed to its now-historical design. Eventually, the national flag changed twice, first in May of 1863 to “the Stainless Banner” – making use of the popular battle flag, which by 1863 had become well known. The new design positioned the battle flag in a white field, showing the purity

of the cause. The third national flag, the “Blood Stained Banner,” which added a red side to the mix, was adopted March 4, 1865, just before the fall of the Confederacy. Flags are extremely important, says Ed Bridges, ADAH director. “They become symbols of a nation, or military unit – and not just in America. This is historic.” During Civil War battlefield charges, instructions were given to shoot at the flag-bearer because he carried the symbol of what that unit meant, says Bridges. “It was like crosshairs on his chest, but it was a position of honor. Adoption of the Confederate flag was particularly important for the Confederacy in asserting its position as a new, independent nation,” he adds. In one last piece of irony, history relates an interesting choice of music played at the Confederacy’s own presidential inauguration. “When Jefferson Davis was brought up Dexter Avenue to the Capitol, to take the oath of office as president of the Confederacy, there was no national anthem to play,” says Bridges. “So they played the anthem of the French Revolution. “We didn’t have any of those trapping of a new nation – the symbols, the seals, the oaths, the ceremonial things, the anthems. The band didn’t want to play some kind of song that would be associated with the United States… because we were a new country.”d

Newspaper account of flag raising

‘Flag Maker’ at Shakespeare The play “The Flag Maker of Market Street” by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder runs until March 19 at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery. The play depicts George Cowles, a respected Montgomery merchant whose store produced the very first Confederate flag. But by night, Cowles is a Unionist who is secretly running anti-Confederate meetings and


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supplying the North with vital military information. When a customer becomes suspicious of his activities, Cowles’ life and the lives of everyone close to him are placed in jeopardy. Tickets start at $25. For more information email, or call 800-841-4273.d

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |



‘EGG-CITING’ FESTIVAL Moulton’s Chicken and Egg festival is one of the wackiest in America

Getting There Moulton is in Lawrence County, 20 miles southwest of Decatur. The festival will be held at Lion’s Club Fairgrounds 455 School Street. Hours are Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. $3 per person, under 5 years old admitted free For more information: 256-905-0700



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Comedian Jimmy Fallon cracked up over the event on his late night talk show. MSNBC considers it one of the wackiest festivals in America. Where else can you see live chickens of all sizes and colors, participate in egg-citing activities for the entire family, and see original, fine rooster artwork for just a few dollars? The Alabama Chicken and Egg Festival April 9 and 10 in Moulton offers all of this and much more. Each year, children and adults take part in the many egg-citing contests in hopes of receiving a prize or simply a good laugh. For those with an appetite, the eating contests will satisfy any craving for hard-boiled eggs and chicken wings. Other wacky contests include egg roulette, a chicken clucking contest, and egg drop for future engineers. Country rock band Confederate Railroad is slated to headline this year’s event on the Logan Pharmacy Stage April 9. The 2011 line-up also includes 15 local and regional bands representing a variety of genres including Americana, delta blues, and southern rock ‘n roll. New for this year’s festival is a juried art exhibition on the theme of roosters. All artwork submitted will be on exhibit at Art Inspirations of the Valley in Moulton from March 1 to April 29, and will be presented at the ACEF on April 9 and 10. The jury panel

will select one best of show artist who will be listed in the Rooster Hall of Fame, a second place and a third place. For the children, The Poultry Palace, a traveling trained chicken “eggzibit,” and Steve Gryb, the Pied Piper of Percussion, are the feature presentations in the Bank Independent Children’s Area for 2011. For children with inquisitive minds, the Poultry Palace will answer any question related to chickens. Steve Gryb’s one-of-a-kind show features exotic percussion instruments from around the world and encourages hands-on interaction from the audience.d

Egg toss competition

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


Driveway Revolution By Brian Sloboda and Andrew Cotter, Cooperative Research Network Electrification of America’s automobile fleet has been hailed as a great step forward in reducing pollution and curbing our nation’s dependence on foreign sources oil. When it comes to all-electric vehicles, choices are currently limited to the Chevrolet Volt, the Nissan Leaf, and a growing number of specialty manufacturers or retrofit kits. Other auto makers, though, have electric car offerings in the wings.

The Nissan Leaf recharges, left, using a 110-volt power outlet

Comparing Cars Not all electric vehicles are alike. The Nissan Leaf, for example, boasts a driving range of roughly 100 miles. Once its 16-kWh lithium-ion batteries are drained, you better be at your destination and near a 110volt power outlet for recharging, or have the phone number for roadside assistance handy. The Chevy Volt offers a gasoline safety net for its pack of 16-kWh lithium-ion batteries. The car will run on a charge for 40 miles Once the batteries are exhausted, a gasoline-powered generator produces electricity to keep the car rolling–at least until you run out of gas. The Volt can also be recharged by plugging it in to a traditional


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110-volt outlet. This differs from traditional gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius where much smaller 1.3-kWh nickel-metal hydride batteries are recharged only by the gasoline engine and a regenerative braking system (in hybrids, batteries essentially supplement the gasoline motor). Several electric co-ops are testing plug-in hybrid SUVs and bucket trucks–spin-offs of hybrid technology–that can switch between a gasoline or diesel engine and 9-kWh to 16-kWh lithium-ion batteries. All-electric vehicles carry higher price tags than comparable conventional gas-fueled versions– typically $10,000 to $15,000 more, even after federal tax incentives ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 (depending on battery capacity) are included. [NOTE: Learn more about electric vehicle tax breaks, available

through Jan. 1, 2012, at http://www.]. Over time, batteries should become cheaper to build, lowering electric vehicle costs. As a quick comparison, we examined the 2011 Ford Focus (manufacturer’s suggested retail price $16,640) and the Chevy Volt ($32,780 after tax credits). Both are four-door sedans roughly the same size. Chevy estimates the average Volt driver will spend $1.50 per day for electricity. Meanwhile, the average Focus owner will spend almost $2.90 on gasoline daily. At $3 per gallon for gas, the average Volt driver would save $550 annually–but would need to rack up that amount for 32 years to equal the difference in sticker price. However, if gas rose to $5 per gallon, a Volt driver would save more than $1,200 annually, lowering

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


the payback window to 13 years. Of course, actual savings depends on the number of miles driven and car options.

Charge! Electric cars can be recharged using a traditional 110-volt outlet found in homes. Under this method, referred to as Level 1 charging, it takes at least eight hours to charge a Volt and more than 20 hours for a Leaf. Since those are long standby times, consumers may decide to purchase a charging station to speed things along. A charging station enables Level 2 charging by way of a dedicated 240-volt circuit, similar to that used for electric clothes dryers. According to Edmunds Car Buying Guide (, Level 2 charging for the all-electric Leaf takes four hours while the Volt can be ready to hit the highway in as little as three hours. Today’s charging standards allow for power delivery of up to 16.8 kilowatts delivered at 240 volts and up to 70 amperes. The Volt’s Level 1 charging at 1.4 kilowatts is roughly equivalent to the load of a toaster; its Level 2 charging, estimated to be 3.5 kilowatts, is similar to the load of a heating and air conditioning system. Heavier-duty charging stations, like the ChargePoint from Coulomb Technologies, draw about 7 kilowatts. Charging stations must be installed by a licensed technician, and in many areas of the country the work requires review by a local building inspector. Chevy estimates putting in a charging station will usually run between $1,200 to $1,500. But the tab can go much higher, especially if a household’s electric system needs upgrading to handle the increased load.

Impact Studies by the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit research consortium made up of


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Chevrolet estimates the average Volt driver will spend $1.50 a day on electricity electric utilities, including electric cooperatives, headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., show electric vehicles will reduce overall emissions of various air pollutants, even when taking into account emissions from power plants needed to produce the energy for recharging. In fact, plugging in cars at night when power costs and demand are at their lowest actually helps an electric system run more efficiently by trimming line losses. Down the road, some co-ops may offer special rates to encourage electric vehicle owners to recharge during these “off-peak” hours. Currently, electric vehicles are being released on a limited basis. Chevy plans to roll out only 50,000 Volts in this, the first model year. It won’t be until 2012, at the earliest, that individuals will be able to go to dealerships to purchase an allelectric vehicle without first getting on a waiting list. Whether an electric vehicle fits your lifestyle depends on a few questions: • How many miles do you drive every day? • Can you afford the cost difference between an electric and gas-burning car? • How many amenities do you want your vehicle to have?

Only time will tell if the peace and quiet ignition of an electric car will replace the traditional engine’s roar.d Brian Sloboda is a program manager specializing in energy efficiency for the Cooperative Research Network (CRN), a service of the Arlington,Va.-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Andrew Cotter is a also a CRN program manager. The Cooperative Research Network monitors, evaluates, and applies technologies that help electric cooperatives control costs, increase productivity, and enhance service to their consumers.

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


Stop Poaching If you see suspicious activity call the authorities By Alan White The cell phone jingled in my left pocket. “Hello…” “Alan, are you on the farm?” “No, I’m at work.” “Is anyone hunting the farm this morning?”

“Not that I know of.” “We just heard three .22-rifle shots and we’re going after a poacher.” “Okay, I’m on the way. Let me know what I can do to help.” The 10-minute drive to the farm was a slow one. I headed north where the poacher had been seen. Between a dozen more phone calls with the landowner who had called me earlier and his farm hand, I learned that the farm hand, Jeramia, had actually caught the suspect. But the poacher pointed a rifle at Jeramia, and told him to throw his truck keys and cell phone into the woods and lay down on the ground. Jeramia obeyed. The poacher then fled on his ATV. Jeramia got a description of the ATV and the man. He also saw a dead turkey on the back of the ATV. The chase was on. Several Baldwin County deputy sheriffs and a local game warden helped by surrounding the 1,250 acres of prime hunting land, and searched for a suspect based on the description of the man

March Wildlife Management Tips: Let your annual clovers in food plots seed out. This clover provides great nutrition value to wildlife through early midsummer. If you wait until after they seed out to mow, the clover seed will produce another crop next fall. Plant summer deer plots. Peas, corn, lablab and soybeans provide nutritional browse during fawn and antler development . I find it best to plant a


| MARCH 2011 |

variety of all these crops. Plant food strips for turkey and quail. Egyptian wheat, grain sorghum, brown-top millet and pearl millet are a few great choices for Alabama. Plant these along firebreaks, road edges and seldom-used roads around your hunting property. Leave the stubble over the winter to provide cover for game birds.d

and vehicle. He was never caught, however. This was the third poacher we encountered during the week of Oct. 24, 2010. Just days before, on a Sunday morning, two juveniles were seen hunting our land. They stole a tree stand one of our hunters had left hanging in a tree. One of the boys had a bow and one had a .22 rifle. The two juveniles were caught red-handed due to the quick reaction of the Baldwin County deputy sheriffs in response to my call to 911. Poaching is stealing. These poachers make up a very small percentage of the people who hunt, but they give hunting a bad name by getting the most press coverage. The vast majority of hunters are law-abiding, ethical people who recognize that poachers are hurting the sport. If you see suspicious activity, report it by calling 800-272-4263 or call 911 and help put a stop to poaching.d Alan White is publisher of Great Days Outdoors magazine. To learn more, or call 800-597-6828.

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

Mar. 17 10:46 05:01 04:46 11:01 18 05:31 11:31 05:31 11:46 19 - 05:46 06:31 12:01 20 12:31 06:16 07:16 12:46 21 01:01 06:46 08:16 01:31 22 01:31 07:01 09:16 02:16 23 02:01 07:31 10:46 03:01 24 02:46 08:01 - 04:01 25 01:01 08:16 - 05:31 26 08:46 03:01 - 07:01 27 09:16 03:31 12:16 08:16 28 09:31 04:01 02:16 09:16 29 10:01 04:16 03:16 10:01 30 10:31 04:31 04:16 10:31 31 04:46 10:46 04:46 11:01 Apr. 1 05:01 11:16 11:31 05:31 2 05:16 11:46 11:46 06:01 3 - 05:31 06:31 12:01 4 12:16 06:01 07:16 12:31 5 12:46 06:16 08:01 01:01 6 01:01 06:31 08:46 01:31 7 01:31 06:46 09:46 02:16 8 01:46 07:16 11:01 03:01 9 02:31 07:31 - 04:01 10 01:01 08:16 - 05:31 11 10:31 02:01 - 07:01 12 08:46 02:46 01:16 08:01 13 09:16 03:16 02:46 09:01 14 09:46 03:31 04:01 10:01 15 04:01 10:31 10:46 04:46 16 04:31 11:01 11:31 05:46 17 05:01 11:46 - 06:31 18 12:01 05:31 07:31 12:31 19 12:46 06:01 08:31 01:01 20 01:16 06:31 09:16 01:46 21 02:01 07:01 10:31 02:31 22 02:46 07:31 - 03:31 23 08:01 12:01 - 04:31 24 08:46 01:16 - 05:46 25 08:31 02:01 12:01 07:16 26 09:01 02:31 02:16 08:16 27 09:31 03:01 03:16 09:01 28 03:16 09:46 09:46 04:16 29 03:46 10:16 10:16 04:46 30 04:01 10:46 11:01 05:31

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


Alabama Gardens

THE HUMMERS ARE COMING This is the month to hang hummingbird feeders and start watching their antics By Katie Jackson If the early bird really gets the worm, then what does the early bird watcher get? For those who get their feeders and some select plants out this month, the reward may be exciting glimpses of the first wave of those tiny, fastmoving charmers – hummingbirds. Hummers are migratory birds that travel south to Central America for the winter, then turn around and head north for the summer, traveling as far as Alaska. Alabama happens to be on the route for many of these birds, which means we are ideally situated to greet the visitors this spring, some of which will stay in Alabama for the summer. The first significant wave of hummers usually arrives in Alabama by mid-March, often earlier along the Gulf Coast. That means that now is the time to put out those feeders! Inexpensive plastic feeders can be as effective as more expensive options and there is no need to buy that special solution often sold at garden centers. Just fill feeders with a solution made of one part table sugar to four parts water. No need to boil the water or solution; use warm water and let the mixture set, stirring occasionally, until the sugar


| MARCH 2011 |

dissolves. Do not use honey or a sugar substitute for this, though. Lots of lovely plants also draw hummingbirds, ranging from shrubs such as azalea, quince, lantana and butterfly bush to vines such as honeysuckle, trumpet vine and morning glory. Perennial (bee balm, hostas and salvias) as well as annual (shrimp plant, impatiens and petunia) flowers are also great hummer choices. Drawing hummers to the yard is not only a fine source of amusement, it also benefits science. By reporting their sightings, backyard birders help Alabama hummingbird experts document the lives and migration patterns of hummers. The Hummer/Bird Study Group ( and Hummingbird Research, Inc. (http://hummingbirdresearch. net/) are two Alabama nonprofit organizations that promote the conservation of hummingbirds.d

Katie Jackson is associate editor for the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. Contact her at

Garden tips for


3 Transplant shrubs and trees early in March. 3 Divide and transplant summer-blooming perennials and fertilize established ones as soon as new growth appears. 3 Transplant and repot houseplants that have outgrown their pots. Start fertilizing house plants when the days become longer than the nights (after March 20). 3 Add composted or processed manure, peat moss, compost, and other amendments to garden soil. 3 Plant green peas, snow peas, asparagus, horseradish and artichokes early in the month. 3 Plant eggplant, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions, early potatoes and radish seeds. Plant strawberries, blueberries, grapes and fruit trees.d

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |



No-Dig, Less Sweat No-dig gardening is a proven way to grow vegetables and flowers naturally with less work By John Bruce


ay goodbye to tilling, digging and costly garden chemicals. Say hello to no-dig gardening, a proven way to grow vegetables and flowers naturally – and with less work. No-dig gardeners realize that worms, bugs and microbes are necessary for nutrients and prevention of disease. Plants deliver part of the carbon energy they produce into the soil. Microbes convert this energy into organic materials and minerals that plants need. No-dig gardening lets nature do all the work so you don’t have to. One strategy is first to remove all weeds and grass from a garden area. Materials such as rotten manure, decayed sawdust or compost go straight on the surface as a layer of mulch two to six inches deep. Worms, beneficial bugs and microbes get busy beefing up the soil. They create a healthy habitat for roots to flourish. Celebrated no-dig gardening author Patricia Lanza bubbles over with enthusiasm when she explains why gardeners should consider the shovel-free approach. “As an old hand at this game of gardening, I remember my own ‘Ah-ha!’ moment when I put all the pieces together that allowed me to make wonderful growing spaces without the use of power tools or purchased material,” Lanza says. “Whether you choose to layer, grid, mulch or straw bale, you can’t go wrong. Just do it!” Her gardens are provided power by Volunteer Energy Cooperative in Tennessee. Lanza says with no-dig methods, there’s less fuss over the planting area. Free organic material, such as grass clippings and compost, are used in layers on top of a


| MARCH 2011 |

newspaper ground cover. Don’t cut through the paper before planting. First, Lanza recommends picking a spot and marking it (a garden should receive six to eight hours of sunlight and not be subject to strong wind). Cover the area with thick layers of wet newspapers, overlapped. Cover the paper with several inches each of peat moss, compost, grass clippings, chipped leaves, humus, spoiled hay, seaweed, aged manure or whatever is handy. Water the layers of organic material until they feel like a squeezed-out sponge. Pull the layers back to the paper. Place plants on the paper and pull the organic material back around the plant roots. Press the soil to push out the air and water. Try to use one part nitrogen-rich material (grass clippings, compost or manure) to four parts carbon-rich material (chopped leaves, peat moss, straw, spoiled hay or peat humus) for a perfect mix. More important is to use what is readily available and free, Lanza says. A similar no-dig method is sheet mulching. Newspaper or cardboard is spread out on the garden area and topped with landscape mulch. Again, weeds should be removed first if there’s no time to let them die out and decay under a new blanket of sheet mulch. Sheet mulch blocks daylight and suffocates existing grass and weeds that, over time, decompose (before the actual sheets do) to become part of the biosphere that garden plants need to thrive. Ideally, the newspaper or cardboard should be spread out before a heavy rain, but otherwise a garden hose can do what’s necessary to keep the sheet thoroughly wet. When ready

Author Patricia Lanza

Straw-bale gardening

Layers of organic material

Sheet mulching

to plant, use a hand shovel to cut out holes for planting seeds or seedlings. Straw-bale gardening is a simple twist to the no-dig method. As with other types of no-dig gardening, straw-bale gardening requires no herbicides, insecticides or fungicides. A wide variety of vegetables (except top-heavy ones like corn), fruits and flowers can be planted in conditioned straw bales. On the minus side, the bales eventually need to be replaced, and the aesthetics might not be suitable for yards in areas like subdivisions. Straw baled in plastic twine is preferable to bales with sisal twine or wire because plastic does not decompose or rust. Straw that has begun to decompose is ideal, since it shortens the conditioning time that fresh straw needs. The bales need to be placed over a mesh or other barrier to prevent pests such as moles from pilfering the plants. It is important to place the bale so that the twine

binding runs parallel (around the sides of the bale) to the surface (usually ground) and that the twine does not come in contact with the surface to help preserve the bale’s shape. Thoroughly watering the bale and adding a high-nitrogen fertilizer on top begins the conditioning process, lasting five to seven days. Keeping the straw bale moist is a must. A layer of nursery mix, garden soil or compost on top creates a planting medium for seedlings and seeds. One bale can host a pair of tomato plants or halfdozen cucumber plants or dozen bean plants. Raised-bed gardening – essentially planting in containers made of wood or masonry and filled with compost or manufactured soils – has been in practice for centuries. Like other no-dig approaches, raised-bed gardening keeps soil aerated, allows for more crops to grow in less space, reduces weeding

and requires less fertilizer than traditional row gardens. Four-foot-wide raised-beds put the working space within easy reach from both sides for most gardeners, but beds can be narrower for children to help. Length can vary according to preference. Raised beds can be elevated on tables or other platforms for folks who find it uncomfortable to stoop or kneel. Square-foot gardening is a spin on the raised-bed method. A typical square foot garden consists of a framed 4-foot-square raisedbed, divided into 16, 1-foot squares – ideal for limited space. Wooden strips divide the bed into a grid that provides plants in each square enough growing room as well as separation. Each section is planted with a different crop. The number of seeds or seedlings per square varies according to plant size. Check out the website for more information.d

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


Grow an edible landscape Go Native! T W

ough economic times have spurred a comeback for fruit and vegetable gardening. More and more electric cooperative members with little or no gardening experience are looking to their yards as a source of produce. At one time gardens were planted out of sight for aesthetics, but the resurgence of a trend to use edible plants as ornamentals is reshaping the face of gardening. Planting produce in front yards and along walkways adds convenience and accessibility. Simply put, edible landscaping puts food-producing ornamental plants in the home landscape. Most edible plants need welldrained soil and a minimum of six hours in full sun daily, but some tolerate partial shade. Do some research into the potential plant to make sure you pick the proper location. Here are six examples of tasty landscaping plants and recipes: 1. Often described as a plant to deter squash bugs, beetles and aphids, nasturtium is an annual or perennial flowering plant. Its attractive, edible flowers and leaves are eaten in salads and dressings. 2. Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, liven up the landscape with their bright yellow blossoms. American Indians grew them for their edible tubers long before the arrival of European settlers. French explorer Samuel de Champlain found cultivated plants on Cape Cod in 1605. The Jerusalem artichoke was named “best soup vegetable” during the 2002 Nice festival for the heritage of French cuisine. The tubers also are roasted.


| MARCH 2011 |

3. Higher in protein than other fruits and boasting flavorful hints of mango and banana, the American native pawpaw tree’s fruit looks tropical. Pawpaws resemble mangoes and grow in clusters like bananas. The pawpaw is native to the East and grows in temperate climates. It can be found growing wild in river bottomlands south of New England to Georgia and west to Nebraska. 4. The first varieties of Swiss chard, a popular leafy vegetable, have been traced to Sicily. Fresh, young chard can be used raw in salads. Mature chard is typically sautéed. Bitterness in the leaves and stalks fades with cooking. Its refined flavor is more delicate than spinach. 5. The violet blossoms of chives add a splash of color to any landscape. Chopped chive leaves are a delicate condiment for soups and other dishes, and the round tufted flowers are used as garnishes whole and broken apart in salads, cooked vegetables and casseroles. Regular picking encourages repeat blooms. 6. Gardeners and gourmets are rediscovering the delicious daylily. Not to be confused with true lilies, daylilies grow from tuberous, fleshy roots rather than bulbs. Daylilies have been eaten for centuries in Asiawhere they originated. The tuber-like roots can be eaten raw or added to salads, soups and stews. The flavor is similar to asparagus. The buds and blossoms are the sweetest parts. Raw or boiled, stir-fried or steamed, they can be eaten with other vegetables.d

Use native plants for better yields and less maintenance

hether for the landscape, lawn or garden, native plant species offer homeowners a natural alternative to enrich their lives, save time and money.Why choose native plants? Because they: w Are less likely to be invasive or overly competitive than non-native plants; w Provide nectar, pollen, seeds, leaves and stems for butterflies, insects, birds and other wildlife; w Reduce the need for mowing when used in landscapes; w Reduce or eliminate the need for pesticides; w Enhance aesthetics and visual quality; w Provide biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage. “It is easier to understand native plants in the landscape when you understand their role in their natural plant communities,” says Rick Huffman, native plant expert and owner of Earth Design, a landscape consulting business in Pickens, S.C. Huffman recommends the Plant Conservation Alliance, as a good source for more information. d

Rick Hoffman

Tail gati ng rites Favo Sun day Nig ht S nack s Late Tim e Part y ck Potl u gs t E ndin Swee




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Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


Alabama Recipes


Cook of the Month Chipotle Chicken Breasts Kirk Vantrease, Cullman EC


2 teaspoons olive oil 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped ¼ ancho pepper ½ onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 tomatoes, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese Blue cheese dressing, for dipping or garnish

Heat olive oil in skillet. Add chipotle peppers, ancho pepper, onion and garlic to the skillet. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until caramelized. Add tomatoes to pepper mixture in skillet. Cook stirring for 3-5 minutes. Add cilantro and simmer on low for 30 minutes, stir occasionally. Cook chicken breasts on a preheated grill until done, approximately 15 minutes per side. Pour warm chipotle sauce over cooked chicken and top with cheese. Place a dollop of blue cheese dressing on top or on the side for dipping.

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I received many recipes calling for chicken. It was fun reading all the different ways to prepare a great meal with one of our favorite birds. A friend of mine shared this recipe with me years ago and I thought it would be perfect to share with you during these last few chilly weeks of winter. It’s one of my favorites and I have it labeled “easy and good.”

Slow Cooker Chicken N’ Dumplins

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 2 tablespoons butter 2 10.75 oz. cans condensed cream of chicken soup 1 onion, diced

1 or 2 potatoes, cubed (optional, but good) 2 or 3 carrots, sliced (optional, but better) 1 12 oz. package refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces

Place the chicken, butter, soup, onion, potatoes, and carrots in a slow cooker and fill with enough water to cover. (if possible, use chicken broth instead of water here.) Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours. About 45 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

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.

Sweet Baked Chicken

Never Fail Chicken Delicious

3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts ½ cup brown sugar ¼ cup teriyaki sauce

1 small can sliced pineapples 1 small onion Dash of pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the chicken breast into strips and sprinkle with pepper. Rub down each chicken breast strip with the brown sugar. Place chicken in a 13x9-inch baking pan. Place pineapple slices on top of each chicken strip (can cut pineapple slices in half) then place sliced onions on top of pineapple slices. Drizzle teriyaki sauce on top. Cook covered for 25 minutes then uncovered for 10 minutes. Serves about 4 people. Madison Simmons,Tombigbee EC

6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper 1 fryer chicken, cut up 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, chopped ¼ cup vegetable oil

Arrange potatoes in large, shallow 3-quart casserole dish. Mix oregano, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper; sprinkle half the mixture over potatoes. Arrange chicken and sausage on top. Pour oil over and sprinkle with remaining seasonings. Cover and bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until a nice brown. Yield: 6 servings. Wanda Porter, Sand Mountain EC

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

2 dozen corn tortillas Oil 1 pound Colby cheese, grated 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 6-ounce can sliced olives

1 4-ounce can diced green chilies 1 16-ounce container sour cream 1 11 ½-ounce can Swanson’s® premium white chicken 2 20-ounce cans mild enchilada sauce

Shred chicken in a bowl. Add soup, sour cream, chilies, 1 ½ cups cheese, sliced olives, 1⁄ cup enchilada sauce and stir. Fry tortillas in oil just long enough to soften. Drain on paper towels. Fill each tortilla with approximately 2-3 tablespoons of mixture. Roll up and place creaseside down in 9x13-inch and 8x8-inch pans. Cover with remaining sauce and top with lots of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted. 3

Sharron Colwell, Cullman EC

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Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are: Asian Treasures March 15 Under 5 Ingredients April 15 Tomatoes May 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 cooperative.

Dwight’s Chicken Chili 6 drumsticks 1 bunch green onions, diced (include green tops) ½ cup white onion, diced 2 10-ounce cans Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies, mild ¼ red bell pepper, diced

¼ green bell pepper, diced 1 15-ounce can black beans 2 cans navy beans 1 tablespoon flour 2 packages McCormick Chili Seasoning mix Sharp shredded cheese

Boil the drumsticks until done, cool and remove meat from bone tearing into small bite-size pieces, set aside. Save the broth until later. Dice the green onions and add to the ½ cup of diced white onion. Dice ¼ of both a red and green bell pepper. In a small sauce pan add onions and bell pepper, barely covering with water; boil until the onions are clear in appearance; remove from heat and set aside. Open the cans of Rotel and navy beans and set aside. Open the can of black beans and puree them. In an 8-quart pot add all the above ingredients, along with the flour and chili seasoning. Stir thoroughly. At this time you can add some of the broth until you have the consistency you want. Let simmer approximately 30 minutes adding more broth if needed. Serve with crackers or over corn chips; top with shredded sharp cheese. Dwight Clark, Sand Mountain EC

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


Chicken Ball

8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing mix

Oven Fried Chicken

1 9.75-ounce can white meat chicken, drained ½ cup pecans, chopped

Mix cream cheese and salad dressing mix. Drain chicken and break up the chunks in a separate bowl until it looks shredded. Mix with cream cheese mixture. Roll into ball and roll it in pecans. Refrigerate overnight. Lakin Robertson, Covington EC

2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine 2 large eggs, beaten 2 tablespoons milk or water 1/2 cup yellow or white corn meal 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

11/2 teaspoons salt 11/4 teaspoons paprika 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 21/2 to 3 pounds chicken, chopped and skin removed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread butter in a 13x9inch baking dish. Combine eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Combine corn meal, flour, salt, paprika, garlic powder and pepper in another medium bowl. Dip chicken into egg mixture, coating both sides, then into corn meal mixture. Place in prepared baking dish. Bake 45-50 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink near the bone. Brush chicken once during baking with juices from pan. For oven fried fish, substitute 2 pounds of fresh or frozen (thawed) fish filets. Place skin side down in baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Approximately 4 teaspoons of Cajun or Creole seasoning can be substituted for the garlic powder, ground black pepper, paprika and salt. Melba Bryan, Cullman EC

Hot Chicken Salad in Stuffing Crust Santa Fe Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts 1 cup salsa

1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in an oven-safe dish, cover with salsa. Bake for 45 minutes, last 15 minutes top 1 cup cheese. Cook’s note: serve with Spanish rice, black beans and tortillas on the side. Kim Lee,Wiregrass EC

White Chili 3-4 chicken breasts, boiled and chopped into bite-sized pieces 2 15-ounce cans Great Northern Beans 1 pound Velveeta cheese, thinly sliced 2 cups chicken broth

1 onion, sautéed 2 cans cream of chicken soup 2 11-ounce cans white shoepeg corn 1 10-ounce can Rotel tomatoes

Mix all ingredients and simmer approximately 20 minutes after cheese melts. Jean Thompson, Pioneer EC


| MARCH 2011 |

4 cups herb-stuffing mix ½ cup butter, melted 3 eggs, beaten 2 cups chicken, cooked and diced 1 cup celery, finely diced ½ cup onion, finely diced 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

½ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing 1 2-ounce jar pimiento (optional), sliced and drained 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1½ teaspoons chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine stuffing mix and butter; reserve ½ cup for topping. To remaining stuffing, add eggs, mix well. Spoon into greased 9-inch pie plate; press on bottom and up sides to rim to form a crust. In a large bowl combine remaining ingredients except reserved stuffing; spoon into prepared crust. Sprinkle with reserved stuffing. Bake 40-45 minutes or until completely heated. Let stand 10 minutes. Refrigerate leftovers. Mary C. Donaldson, Covington EC

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Poppyseed Chicken 4-6 cups cut up chicken, cooked 1 cup sour cream 1 can cream of mushroom soup

Hot Chicken Dip

1 can cream of chicken soup 1 tablespoon poppyseed 1 stick butter, melted 1 roll Ritz crackers, crushed

Mix chicken, sour cream, soups and poppyseed; pour in 2-quart casserole dish. Top with crushed crackers blended with butter. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Freezes well. Barbara Frank, Baldwin EMC

Chicken Casserole

4 boneless chicken breasts 1 large bag pasta shells 1 large can mexicorn

1 can cream of chicken soup 1 stick margarine 1 pound Velveeta cheese

1 5-ounce can chunk white chicken, undrained 1 10 ¾-ounce can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted 1 8-ounce package cream cheese

1 2 ¾-ounce package sliced almonds 1 2-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1⁄ teaspoon garlic powder 1⁄ teaspoon pepper 8


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until well blended and heated thoroughly. Serve hot with Ritz crackers or Fritos. Also delicious served over rice for a meal. I usually double or triple this recipe when I am taking it to a party and keep it hot in a crockpot. Melanie Fuller, Dixie EC

Boil chicken until done. Cut chicken into small pieces. Boil pasta shells in chicken broth for 8-10 minutes and drain most of the broth. Add margarine, soup,Velveeta cheese, mexicorn and chicken. Mix well and pour into a casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Mary Cunningham, Clarke-Washington EMC

Chicken Dip

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened 1 12-½ ounce can chunk chicken breast in water, drain well

1 package (Hidden Valley) Fiesta Ranch Dip dry mix

Mix all together, let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, over night is best. Serve with crackers or veggies.

Baked Chicken Reuben

Janet Weaver, Baldwin EMC

Chicken Salad

6 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped 1 cup sliced grapes 1 cup sour cream

½ cup mayonnaise ¼ cup bread and butter pickle juice 1 cup pecans, chopped Salt and pepper, to taste

4 whole broiler-fryer chicken breasts, halved and boned ¼ teaspoon salt 1⁄ teaspoon pepper 1 16-ounce can sauerkraut, drained 8

4 slices (about 4x6-inch each) natural Swiss cheese, halved ½ cup prepared Thousand Island dressing 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Mix chicken, grapes, pecans; add salt and pepper. In a separate bowl mix sour cream, mayonnaise and pickle juice. Pour over chicken mixture and stir.

Place chicken in greased baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place sauerkraut over chicken; top with Swiss cheese. Pour dressing evenly over cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees up to 1 ½ hours or until chicken is fork-tender. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Makes 4-8 servings.

Opal Frost, Joe Wheeler EMC

Judy Land, Black Warrior EMC

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.

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |


Classifieds Miscellaneous 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 LIKE TO FIND ALABAMA GOLD? Fun! How and where to pan Alabama gold. (Plus Georgia, Carolinas, Virginia, California) – WWW. GOLDMAPS.COM TRIPLE SCENTED WOODEN WICK CANDLES – Handmade in Alabama – Website: WISCONSIN GASOLINE V-4 AIR COOLED INDUSTRIAL ENGINE, has power take off - $300.00 – (251)979-4313 FREE BOOKS / DVDs – Soon government will enforce the “Mark” of the beast as church and state unite! Let the bible reveal. The Bible Says, POB 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771,, (888)211-1715 LOW MILEAGE ENGINES. BIG SAVINGS! Price includes delivery & 1 year part warranty. Mileage verified. Call Today! (901)266-9996, SAWMILL EXCHANGE: North American’s largest source of used portable sawmills and commercial equipment for woodlot owners and sawmill operations. Over 800 listings. THE place to sell equipment. (800)459-2148, DIVORCE MADE EASY – Uncontested, lost spouse, in prison or aliens. $149.95 our total fee. Call 10am to 10pm. 26 years experience – (417)4436511 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA / ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct - (256)4904025,,

Vacation Rentals PIGEON FORGE,TN – 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house for rent $75.00 a night – Call Bonnie at (256)338-1957 FORT MORGAN BEACH HOUSE – 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, HDTV,WiFi –,, (251)3638576 ORANGE BEACH, WINDWARDE POINTE – GULF FRONT CONDO, 3/2 – Owner (251)626-6566 GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN / NOT A CONDO! The original “Beach House” on Ft. Morgan peninsula – 2BR/1BA – pet friendly, nonsmoking – $675/wk, (256)418-2131 GULF SHORES CONDO - 2BR / 1.5BA, sleeps 6, pool / beach assess (334)790-9545 GATLINBURG / PIGEON FORGE CABIN – Sleeps 8, full game room/ hot tub – (256)638-4208, www.vrbo/ GULF SHORES PLANTATION CONDO – 2/2, sleeps 6, in/out-door pools, golf, tennis – Owner rates (812)282-9384 AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach,AL. Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners. Lowest Prices on the Beach. Spring Special 4 Nights Eff Unit (2 adults @ kids) $444.00 Includes Everything (1, 2 & 3 Bedroom Units also available. – (205)556-0368, (205)752-1231, ALWAYS THE LOWEST PRICE $65.00 – Beautiful furnished mountain cabin near Dollywood, Sevierville, TN – (865)453-7715

AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS – windmill parts – decorative windmills – custom built windmill towers - call Windpower (256)638-4399 or (256)638-2352

GULF SHORES CONDO – 1BR / 1BA, LG pool, beach access, $95/ night, $50 cleaning fee – Call Bernie at (251)404-5800, (251)679-9374, email

WORK CLOTHES – GOOD CLEAN RENTAL TYPE: 6 pants and 6 shirts, $44.95 – Lined work jackets, $10.95 – Denim jeans, $6.00 – Call (800)233-1853, – 100% satisfaction guaranteed

LONG BEACH MISSISSIPPI – NEW CONDO, beachside, sleeps 6 – Call (225)324-0973

CUSTOM MACHINE QUILTING BY JOYCE – Bring me your quilt top or t-shirts. Various designs offered – (256)735-1543

GULF SHORES PLANTATION RESORT – 2/2 gorgeous, sunset and beach views, high end furnishings and fabulous rates: http://www.vrbo. com/317726 (251)213-7404

Business Opportunities

GULF SHORES CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6, gulf-side, free Wi-Fi –, (678)614-4446

STARTYOUR OWN BUSINESS! Mia Bella’s Gourmet Scented Products. Try the Best! Candles / Gifts / Beauty. Wonderful income potential! Enter Free Candle Drawing -

APPALACHIAN TRAIL – Cabins by the trail in the Georgia Mountains – 3000’ above sea level, snowy winters, cool summers, inexpensive rates – (800)284-6866,

NEW! GROW EXPENSIVE PLANTS, 2,000% profit, Earn to $50,000 year, FREE information, Growbiz Box 3738-AB3, Cookeville,TN 38502 www.

GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN STUDIO APARTMENT – Sleeps 3 - $85.00 a day, 3 day min. – Call (251)540-7078

EARN $60,000/YR PART-TIME in livestock or equipment appraisal business. Agricultural background required. Classroom or home study courses available. (800)488-7570, LIMITLESS INCOME POTENTIAL – Ready to take control of your health, finances and future working from home? (805)621-2466 MOMS, READY FOR A CHANGE? Fun, flexible business at home. No parties, inventory or risk. Visit for more information. BEAUTICONTROL – A beauty business specializing in personalized skin care, anti-aging, glamour and spa parties. Become a consultant. Training, flexible hours, excellent income – or (256)764-9102


HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – sleeps 2-6, 2.5 baths, fireplace, Jacuzzi, washer/dryer – - (251)948-2918, email

| MARCH 2011 | West Beach – 3 great condos, each sleeps 6 – Call (404)219-3189 or (404)702-9824 PRIVATE COTTAGE ON CEDAR LAKE – RENT/SALE – Russellville, AL. - Waterfront, Furnished. (256)436-0341 GULF SHORES CONDO – Luxury 3BR / 3BA – - (251)655-6592 GULF SHORES PLANTATION – GULF FRONT – 2BR / 2BA, remodeled, sleeps 6-8, Unit 1133 –, (800)826-1213 LAKE JORDAN FURNISHED COTTAGE – boat docking, waterfront $75 night – (334)313-0078

ADVERTISING DEADLINES: May Issue – March 25 June Issue – April 25 $1.65 per word July Issue – May 25

For Advertising, contact Heather: 1-800-410-2737 or - Subject Line: Classifieds

1 BEDROOM CABIN NEAR PIGEON FORGE – $85.00 per night – Call (865)548-7915, ask for Kathy

GULF COAST HOMES / CONDOS unbelievable prices. Jim Bailey, Century21 Meyer Real Estate (251)213-0100

GUNTERSVILLE – SMALL COTTAGE overlooking Lake w/in 300 yards of boat ramps, sleeps 4 - $80 / night – Call (334)361-2459


WEEKS BAY – Waterfront, 3/3, boat dock - $100 / night – (251)269-0634

WE BUY LAND AND HOUSES in Marshall, Etowah, Dekalb & Blount Counties. Call Wells Bros. Real Estate, Matt Burnett (256)572-1474 or Tom Gilbreath (256)251-1944

GULF SHORES RENTAL BY OWNER – Great Rates! (256)490-4025 or GATLINBURG: 2 BEDROOM CONDO OVERLOOKING SKI SLOPES – just $70 per night. Now taking summer reservations for Gulf Shores. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at (800)314-9777, – Check out our facebook page DISNEY – FLORIDA: 6BR / 4.5BA, private pool – VRBO#234821 - $1,500 / week - – (423)802-9176

MOUNTAIN VIEW HOME SITES atop Sand Mountain. Protective restrictions, AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY AVAILABLE – High resolution aerial photography available from 1956 to present day. Photos cover the entire USA. Photography is perfect for viewing hunting land, developments, farms, cities, lakes, golf courses. Delivered on disc or printed. Sizes available up to 30”x40”. Call Will @ (205)242-2932 or email


SMOKIES TOWNSEND, TN – 2BR/2BA, secluded log home, fully furnished. Toll free (866)448-6203, (228)832-0713 GULF SHORES PLANTATION - Gulf view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850

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

Musical Notes

PIGEON FORGE, TN – Log cabins in the Smokies – (251)649-3344 or (251)649-4049, GATLINBURG, TN CHALET – 3BR / 3BA Baskins Creek – Fallfest, 10 minute walk downtown, Aquarium, National Park – (334)289-0304

PIANOS TUNED, repaired, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-3374503

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

PLAY GOSPEL SONGS by ear! Add chords. 10 lessons $12.95. “Learn Gospel Music”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204


CABIN IN MENTONE – 2/2, brow view, hottub – For rent $100/night or Sale $239,000 – (706)767-0177 GULF SHORES – WEST BEACH, GULF VIEW – sleeps six – www., (770)954-0444, (404)641-4939

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

WWW.VACATIONSMITHLAKE.COM – Waterfront, deep water, very nice 3BR / 2BA home, 2 satellite TV’s - $75 night / $500 week – (256)352-5721

WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – Year round enrollment. Everybody homeschools. It is just a matter of what degree. Contact Dr. Cerny (256)705-3560 or website.

GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 –, (256)599-5552 PIGEON FORGE,TN: $89 - $125, 2BR/2BA, hot tub, pool table, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)363-1973, GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE VILLAGE on BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)3339585, GATLINBURG / PIGEON FORGE LUXURY CABIN – 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, home theater room, hot tub, gameroom –,, (251)363-8576

BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 7549 West Cactus #104207 Peoria, Arizona 85381.

Critters ADORABLE AKC YORKY PUPPIES – excellent blood lines – (334)3011120, (334)537-4242, CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. Tiny, registered, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893

PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, jamesrny@,

CKC – MINI DACHSHUNDS, CHIHUAHUAS AND JACK RUSSELL PUPPIES – 1st shots, stud service – (251)609-6602, (228)3139907

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 – Call today toll free (866)316-3255,

FREE – 5 EXOTIC CHICKS or 3 ducks with 100 frypan special @ $35.95 plus shipping. Also Cornish cross, standard breeds, fancy chicks, ducks, geese, turkeys, bantams, guineas, pheasants, quail, supplies, video. Brochure Cackle Hatchery – A P.O. Box 529, Lebanon, MO 65536,

ALABAMA RIVER LOTS / MONROE COUNTY, AL – Lease / Rent – (334)469-5604

Real Estate WE PAY CASH for SELLER FINANCED NOTES, Trust Deeds and Commercial / Business Notes, Nationwide! Free Quote / Fast Closing. Call (256)638-1930 or

Fruits, Berries, Nuts & Trees GROW MUSCADINES AND BLACKBERRIES, half dollar size – We offer over 200 varieties of Fruit and Nut Trees plus Vines and Berry Plants. Free color catalog. 1-800-733-0324. Ison’s Nursery, P.O. Box 190, Brooks, GA 30205. Since 1934.

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |




| MARCH 2011 |

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |



| MARCH 2011 |

Our Sources Say

STAYING COMPETITIVE The United States must have low-cost energy to compete in global markets Last month, President Barack Obama expressed his support of U.S. industrial competitiveness and stated that the government has a responsibility to ensure the United States is the best place in the world to do business. He devoted his entire weekly radio and Internet program to ideas that put the United States on a more competitive global footing by spending on innovation, education and public works. He said, “In today’s global, competitive economy, the best jobs and newest industries will take root in countries with the most skilled workers, the strongest commitment to research and technology, and the fastest way to move people, goods and information.” He talked about how federal tax credits and financing programs help companies boost their bottom lines and hire workers. President Obama also stated that business has obligations and responsibilities. He said, “They should set up shop here and hire our workers and pay decent wages and invest in the future of the nation. That is their obligation. Everyone will benefit if government and business work together.”

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

From those comments, you would think President Obama is the champion of business and American enterprise. However, as he expresses his support for American industry and competitiveness, his appointed director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, continues to aggressively develop regulations that severely hamstring U.S. industries and make them less competitive in the global marketplace. All with the apparent blessing of the president, who stated late last year after the “cap and trade” legislation that taxes carbon emissions was defeated in Congress, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.” Consistent with that remark, President Obama failed to mention in his remarks the continued need for low-cost energy inputs for American industry to remain competitive. Low-cost energy for production is possibly more important than a skilled, efficient and affordable workforce. Yet, President Obama failed to raise the issue in his weekly remarks. Does the omission of an affordable energy component in his statement indicate he will continue to pursue a strategy to increase energy costs to “skin the cat” of carbon emissions? Shortly after his election, the president stated that he will increase the cost of fossilfired energy to make renewables more competitive. Too bad we can’t increase the cost of foreign industry to make U.S. industry more competitive.

Regardless of which side of the issue you are on – and I recognize that not everyone agrees with me – the importance of energy in the industrial process is indisputable. Every product and service contains an energy component. Some products are more energy intensive than others. The cost of the energy component in manufacturing is more important to heavier industry. It follows then that a country truly invested in industrial competitiveness would pursue a policy of balance between environmental policy and competitive energy costs. It is inconceivable that a plan to ensure American industry remains competitive in global markets would include a component of affordable energy inputs. The refusal to ensure that American industry has access to low-cost energy is in essence an admission that we are not as invested in global competitiveness as we claim. It will be interesting to see how aggressive President Obama pursues business interests as he seeks reelection. It will also be interesting to see if Ms. Jackson is left to her own devices to raise energy costs to reduce carbon emissions. It is clear our global competitors will not burden their industry with such costs. Above all else, it is perfectly clear that without affordable energy the U.S. will not remain competitive in global industrial production markets and our jobs will be exported to foreign shores.d

Alabama Living | MARCH 2011 |



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May Theme:

‘My Hobby’

Send color photos with a large SASE to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL, 36124.

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Rules: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. We cannot be responsible for lost or damaged photos.

Deadline for submission: March 31


q Submitted by David C. Newman, Clarke County

| MARCH 2011 |

q Caleb Stephen Martin, submitted by Connie Glenn, Prattville.

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