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Around Alabama FORT MORGAN Living history interpreters in 1860s period dress will tell visitors the story of Fort Morgan’s service during the Civil War through historical vignettes based on actual events during special evening tours held each Tuesday in July. The candlelight tours will begin at 7 p.m., and last about one hour. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $3 for children and youth, 18 and under. Children under 6 are free. For more information, call 251-540-5257.

Dothan – Saturdays in July Poplar Head Farmers Market Free parking at the Civic Center and Wiregrass Museum of Arts Open 8 a.m.-noon, rain or shine event Lineville – Thursdays in July 9th Annual Summer Sizzle Program Lineville City Park Each Thursday evening in July at 7 p.m. Contact: Barbara Pollard at 256-396-6143 Gulf Shores – July 4 Gulf Shores Annual Fireworks Extravaganza Gulf Shores Main Beach, 101 East Beach Blvd. 9 p.m., visible from any Gulf Shores area beach Tune radio to Sunny 105.7 for patriotic music during the show. Rain date July 5. Admission: Free Orange Beach – July 3 Perdido Beach Resort Fireworks Gala and BBQ Perdido Beach Resort, 27200 Perdido Beach Blvd. Open to public and complimentary parking available Admission: $30 for adults, $15 for children under 12. Children 4 and under are free Contact: 251-981-9811

Union Springs - August 4-6 The Exact Center of the Universe Red Door Theatre Each performance preceded by a seated dinner at 6 p.m., play at 7:30 p.m. Admission: Reservations required Contact: Tourism Council of Bullock County at 334-738-8687 or Mobile – August 2 Crime Prevention 5K Run/Walk Bienville Square, 6:30 p.m. Contact: LRH Productions at 251-401-8039 Foley - August 4-6 14th Annual Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation Professional Rodeo Sponsored by the South Baldwin Regional Medical Center City of Foley Horse Arena Beginning at 8 p.m. each night, pre-rodeo festivities at 7 p.m. Tickets: $10 adults, $6 children ages 4-12, free for children 3 and under. Discounted tickets by advance purchased by noon Aug. 4.

Dothan – August 20 Dothan Artifact Show Contact: Troy Futral at 334-821-5823 or

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

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 | JULY MAY 2011 |

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Energy-efficiency programs help reduce energy traffic and electric bills


By Megan McKoy-Noe


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ush hour traffic can be harrowing at times. Imagine how much easier the drive would be if more folks decided to wait an hour or two to hit the road! That’s what many electric cooperatives are asking members to do during the electricity use “rush hour,” known as “peak demand.” By working together, co-ops and members are reducing energy use ­– and higher associated power costs – during these hightraffic periods. Electricity can’t be easily stored, so it must be used as soon as it’s generated. As a result, electric co-ops must be ready to supply enough energy to meet spikes in electricity consumption. If energy use could be spread more evenly over time instead of peaking once or twice each day, fewer power plants would be needed. In turn, power costs would level out as well. According to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, electric co-ops, public power districts, and public utility districts can shave 6 percent of their peak demand –­ including about 1,440 megawatts of residential load – through programs known variously as demand-side management, load management or demand response. These measures help keep electric bills affordable. The North American Electric Reliability Corp., the nation’s bulk power grid watchdog, estimates America needs to build 135,000 MW of new generation by 2017 to

meet growing demand for electricity. Power plants on the drawing board, however, will only deliver 77,000 MW. To fill the generation gap, a 2009 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission assessment found approximately 150,000 MW could be offset by conservation and energy efficiency measures or by lowering peak demand. Efforts by engaged co-op members to curb energy use during peak times may provide a handy detour to new plant construction, at least temporarily. The Rush Hour Toll We use a steady amount of energy, regardless of whether we’re at home or away. Refrigerators, air conditioning and heating systems, and appliances create base load power requirements – the minimum amount of electricity your electric co-op needs to reliably supply all of its members. Lots of consumers tend to use electricity at the same time – in the morning to warm up the house and get kids ready for school, and later in the day after work when making dinner and settling in for the evening. The price for power rises and falls depending on the type of fuel (coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, etc.) used to generate electricity, and the fuel used often depends when power is needed. For example, generating a steady flow of power with a baseload coal, nuclear or hydro facility costs far less than starting up a natural gas peaking plant on a hot, humid summer weekday afternoon or extremely frigid winter morning. As a result, when power is required during demand peaks, electric co-ops – and by extension, member-consumers – pay a steep toll.

If energy use could be spread more evenly throughout the day, fewer power plants would be needed.

Detours Save Money About 70 percent of your monthly electric bill goes directly to purchase power – the rest must be stretched to cover bucket trucks, poles and wire, right-ofway trimming, payroll and other operating expenses. The easiest way to cut power costs is to use less energy – stay off the road – during rush hour. Some co-ops ask members to stop using energy when electricity use surges, an effort commonly called “Beat the Peak.” “When we started our Beat the Peak program, everybody told us, ‘It won’t work, you can’t measure it, you can’t sustain it,’” recalls Bill Andrew, CEO of Delaware Electric Cooperative. “Today more than 35,000 of our members participate, and 10 percent of the co-ops in the United States have launched similar programs. That’s pretty good!” With the help of in-home peak indicators and aggressive communication efforts (text alerts, radio ads, e-mails, social media), the Greenwood, Del.-based cooperative cut 50 MW off its 345 MW summer peak. In El Dorado, Kan., Butler Rural Electric Cooperative faced a 9 percent rate increase. To keep electric bills affordable, the co-op provided incentives for cutting energy use during peak times. Managing Traffic Some electric co-ops take peak shaving a step further by installing load control equipment. Devices attached to electric water heaters, air conditioners and other special appliances can cut demand by briefly switching them off – an action generally unnoticed by the homeowners who volunteer to take part. “Our primary goal is to reduce

peak demand and delay construction of new power plants,” explains Stephanie Cornett, senior analyst for East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s demandside management effort called “SimpleSaver.” The Winchester, Ky.based generation and transmission co-op and its 16 distribution members offer incentives to consumers who let them manage air conditioners and electric water heaters during peak demand. “Comfort level is a common concern,” says Cornett. “I tell participants, ‘You should experience no more than 2 degrees difference in your home, if that much.’ Our cycling strategies are frequent, with very brief on and off times – most people never notice a change.” But the savings on electric bills add up. “Our 2009 research summed it up simply: folks want to lower their electric bills,” notes Cornett. “For some a bill credit is a big draw. Others want to support the environment. The bottom line is most members want to help their local co-op cope with rising costs.”

Types of power plants Here’s a quick look at the types of power plants and fuels used to supply electricity at various times: Baseload: Large, efficient generating stations that provide enough dependable electric power at a low cost to meet the minimum level of electricity needed at any given time. They do not start or stop quickly, and instead are run around the clock. Power Sources: Coal, nuclear, hydro and large natural gas-fired power plants; in some regions biomass and geothermal power stations Intermediate Load: These plants handle sharp increases in demand, filling the gap between baseload plants and peaking plants. Also known as loadfollowing plants, these facilities are larger and therefore more efficient than peaking plants. Power Sources: Natural Gas, Coal

KeEp Your Bill Affordable The electric cooperatives of Alabama remain committed to providing you with affordable power, but there are some costs we can’t control. Energy efficiency programs help you manage your energy use, and we’re deploying state-of-the-art solutions to help us control operating costs and improve service reliability.d

Peak Load: Expensive and small, these plants can start generating power quickly during times when electricity consumption reaches its highest point. Power Sources: Natural gas, diesel fuel

Megan McKoy-Noe, CCC, writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


The Oaks, Booker T. Washington’s home on the campus of Tuskegee University

Pioneer Booker T. Washington’s horse-drawn wagon brought education to poor farmers in the post-Civil War South By John Brightman Brock


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Washington speaks to students on campus in the early 1900s


t wasn’t too terribly long ago, as decades go, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that Dr. Booker T. Washington would ride up to a dusty section of Alabama farmland. Getting down from his horse, he would talk about the benefits of education for black farmers - preaching practical applications of farming, home economics and personal health. His inspirational words were broadcast like seeds, and they fell on fertile ground. The former slave, who had worked his way through Hampton Institute in Virginia, had been chosen to lead Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Ala. With his new post, he wanted to take an “extension service” classroom to farmers to stem the tide of poverty in the post-Civil War South. According to Dr. Dana Chandler, chief archivist of present-day Tuskegee University,

Washington was compelled to go out and help black farmers “take what they had and make more of it.” Washington’s words resounded from a mobile educational platform called the “Jesup Agricultural Wagon,” a horse-drawn wagon named after New York financier and philanthropist Morris K. Jesup, with the help of another Tuskegee Institute notable, Dr. George Washington Carver. The movable school, officially launched in 1906, brought education to Alabama farmers. That first summer, the wagon program reached about 2,000 people every month. Washington’s advocacy spurred wealthy whites in the North to donate to the project, and by 1930 “The Booker T. Washington Agricultural School on Wheels” carried a home demonstrations agent, agricultural agent and architect. The road-worn wagon became a truck.

Washington convinced some of the richest and most powerful businessmen… to help fund his vision. Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


The vision

Portrait of Washington

Entrance to Tuskegee University


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The aftermath of the Civil War was devastating to the southern states, particularly to black farmers. By the early 1870s, the federal government had walked away from Reconstruction efforts. “Tenant farmers would finish up their year, not paying for the previous year, roll the debts to the next year of hard, backbreaking, bloody-fingered, sweaty work... from sunup to sundown,” says Ed Bridges, director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History. “That was what they faced.” This environment spurred Washington to devise new ways to grow food and teach the poor. His vision of social uplift foresaw black farmers gaining social and economic equality through education, and he believed this would one day make these farmers full partners in the agricultural progress. Washington developed the rural extension program at Tuskegee Institute with these goals in mind, sending

out his staff to teach agricultural, technical and home economics skills across Alabama.    Washington convinced some of the richest and most powerful businessmen, such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, and politicians like William Howard Taft, to help fund his vision. With that support, hundreds of small schools were established.  

The legacy

Washington’s demonstration work is characteristic of the agricultural extension service of today, says Dr. Dwayne Cox, head of Special Collections and Archives at Auburn University. “Generally, universities in that era began to be more serious about carrying the benefit of what was learned through research in the universities directly to the citizens,” Cox noted. The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established a nationwide system of cooperative extension services. It provided money for land grant

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


Above and below, current views of the historic campus

Washington is buried on campus

colleges in every state to put farm demonstration agents in every county. Their job was to take information about modern farm methods generated by research in these colleges and carry that directly to the people, according to Cox. “In truth, agricultural extension was carried on in many ways before the Act,” Cox says. “It was done by many institutions, including Auburn and Tuskegee, but without the specific legislation. There is no doubt that Tuskegee Institute was a pioneer of that in the South as an outreach to AfricanAmerican farm families.”  

The value

A statue of Booker T. Washington stands on the Tuskegee campus as a tribute to the man and his mission. Washington’s name and that of Carver and Tuskegee Institute have become synonymous wherever tributes are made to extension service work. “His vision was vast and expansive,” says Bridges, “it was work that was worth remembering and recognizing.”d


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George Washington Carver A magnolia at The Oaks

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


Heart of Dixie Trail Ride

A horse-riding campground where you’re ‘part of the family’ By David Haynes “We hope our guests leave here feeling like part of the family.”


hat is Richard Dunn’s one-line description of how he operates the Heart of Dixie Trail Ride, a horseoriented campground and resort near Troy. And apparently visitors agree because Heart of Dixie has been rated at or near the top of positive reviews in the United States for each of the past two years by, a website where trail riding enthusiasts rate and review such facilities across the country. The website currently shows it rated 4.5 of 5 stars for the trails and 5 of 5 stars for the camping facilities.


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Heart of Dixie campground Richard told me that Heart of Dixie will be entering its 10th year of business, the last eight of which have been full time for him. Richard, his wife, Pam, daughters Brooke and Roxanne and son Whit are all partners in the family owned and operated business, and are involved in daily operations to some extent. Brooke and her 2-year-old son Lane were running the office the day I was there. And then there’s Rascal, a 10-yearold dog who has the run of the place. “We have people who come back every year who’ll bring a steak just for Rascal,” Richard said. Heart of Dixie is located about 4 miles north of U.S. Highway 29 on Needmore Road (County Road 7), which is about a 10-minute drive from downtown Troy. They offer 35 miles of “easy, rolling trails” spread over 1,500 acres featuring terrain that includes both pine and hardwood forests. Some trails even follow the Conecuh River near the property’s southern terminus. Facilities include 76 improved (power and water) RV-style campsites, six small cabins and one large one, unlimited primitive camping, accommodations for 175 horses, a swimming pool and golf driving range. Other amenities include a volleyball court, horseshoe-throwing area, concession, a pavilion and laundry

facilities. Heart of Dixie offers “horse motel” and boarding services. Tack supplies like saddles and bridles are also available at the office. But Richard believes people keep coming back year-after-year not for the facilities and trails, but because of the family-oriented atmosphere. For example, he told me that each Halloween they’re usually booked full. They will host a dance, have trick-or-treating for the kids throughout the campground and each camper will decorate their rigs for the holiday. They host other seasonal events throughout the year, as well as specialty events such as a group called the “Bama Bandits” who hold competitions firing pistols cowboystyle while riding a horse. Another event hosted last year was a benefit ride to raise money for a horse rescue group called “Dusty Trails.” And throughout the year they host a variety of trail rides where between 75 and 100 riders usually participate. “We’ve had people come here from all over, Europe even, and most states here in this country,” Richard said. The weekday I visited their guests included a group from Nevada and two riders from Santa Rosa Beach in Florida. For more information on Heart of Dixie Trail Ride, see their website at, or by calling them at 334-670-0005.d

Richard Dunn with his daughter Brooke and her 2-year-old son, Lane

Troy Richard with his grandson Lane

Carlene Barbosa and Rebecca Bruce from Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., ride Blaze and Tajha

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |



BACKCOUNTRY TRAIL A walking and cycling trail in Baldwin County gives visitors a rare glimpse of nature

Orange Beach

Getting There The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail can be accessed from Gulf State Park or a parking area on Alabama 161, also know as Orange Beach Blvd.


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The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is actually a network of six trails for pedestrians and bicyclists that twist through the swamp and high sand dunes between Orange Beach and Gulf State Park in Baldwin County. It’s a safe way to explore the wild and mysterious ways of coastal swamps. The trail system is named for long-time Gulf State Park Superintendent Hugh Branyon, who managed the park from 1970 until his retirement in 2009. The backcountry trail was designated a National Recreation Trail in 2010, and is a part of the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail and the Coastal Connection National Scenic Byway. The backcountry trail complex consists of six trails, totaling nearly 11 miles of paved, multi-use paths and is home to six distinct ecosystems. Each ecosystem contains its own diversity of plants, which makes for a fun day of plant identification. Amid the many native plants common in the trail’s

habitats are several rare species. Among them are white-topped pitcher plants, needle palms, sundews, Florida rosemary and conradina. There are several rare and threatened plant communities found along the trail and in Gulf State Park as well. The backcountry trail is also a birdwatcher’s paradise with four locations listed as stops on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail. In addition to birds, you may be lucky enough to catch a gopher tortoise foraging along Rosemary Dunes, a bobcat on Twin Bridges, or a dandy white-tailed deer on Gulf Oak Ridge. The trail is home to many reptile species and has two excellent viewing locations for American alligators. Mammals commonly seen on the trail also include armadillos, raccoons, otter, coyotes, fox and even wild boar. For more information visit www. and click on “Parks & Trails,” or call 251-9811180.d

Chickamauga Battlefield offers a seven-mile auto tour of historical monuments, tablets, exhibits and trails. The national park is open year-round.

Turning 150: Tri-State Area Commemorates Civil War By Nancy Henderson One hundred fifty years after soldiers fired the first shots in the Civil War, Americans are still fascinated with the bloody battles that pitted brother against brother. Now through 2015, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama are commemorating the sesquicentennial with reenactments, exhibits and other special events. Georgia Some of the most dramatic moments of the war took place in Northwest Georgia, where monuments, roadside markers and the self-guided Blue & Gray Trail retrace routes straight out of Gone With the Wind. This is the hub of the infamous Atlanta Campaign led by U.S. Gen. William T. Sherman, who marched against Confederate soldiers in 1864. In October, the Annual Great Locomotive Chase Festival takes place in Adairsville, where in 1862 James Andrews’ notorious train thieves raced alongside the Western & Atlantic with the Confederates hot on their heels. In Rome, where Confederates captured Federal cavalry raiders in April 1863, Civil War buffs can learn about the era’s troop transportation and defense blockades aboard a 55-passenger boat. In Cartersville, one of the nation’s foremost Civil War artists, Mort Kunstler, displays his paintings at the Booth Western Art Museum in the “War is Hell” gallery. Farther north, at the site of the greatest Confederate victory and the deadliest two-day battle in the Western Theater, is the first and largest national military park at Chickamauga Battlefield. In February, the Chickamauga Civil War Show and Sale in Dalton will feature hundreds of tables filled with collectibles. In September, visitors to nearby Tunnel Hill can experience the intensity of battle through reenactments, tours and a period costume ball. Near the Tennessee-Georgia border, where the Confederate Army won its last major victory,

Tennessee Tennessee’s river and rail links made it a prize state for both the North and the South, both of whom camped here. In fact, Tennessee is second only to Virginia in number of significant Civil War sites. Chattanooga, a.k.a. the “Gateway to the Deep South,” became a focal point in late 1863, with Sherman staging his Atlanta Campaign from the city and Union troops regaining control in the foggy Battle of Lookout Mountain under the direction of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Visitors to Point Park, a unit of the Lookout Mountain Battlefield with a spectacular view of the city and the winding Tennessee River, can explore landmarks such as the Cravens House, home to some of the heaviest fighting during the battle at Lookout Mountain, and Snodgrass House, a Union field hospital. A few miles northeast, Bradley County is gearing up for a number of observances, including an illumination at Cleveland’s Courthouse Plaza in July 2011 to commemorate the Confederate victory at Bull Run in 1861 and a special exhibit in 2013 at the Museum Center at Five Points. The Henegar House in Charleston, where Sherman spent two nights on his way to and from Knoxville in 1863, has its own interesting stories to share. Owner Henry Henegar was a Union sympathizer; his wife, Margaret Lea, favored secession.

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 | 20 a

Alabama Its relatively isolated location shielded Alabama from much of the major military activity of the War Between the States, yet it played one of the most pivotal roles. In February 1861, delegates from Southern states that had already seceded met in Montgomery, drafted the constitution for the United States of the Confederacy, and elected Jefferson Davis as president. (The Confederate White House in that city contains era furnishings and many of Davis’ personal belongings.) Southward, the most significant naval action of the war occurred in 1864 in Mobile Bay, where tourists can tour Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, site of Adm. David Farragut’s famous “Damn the torpedoes” order that led to the fall of Mobile. Dozens of other museums, cemeteries and battle sites tell their own tales, while numerous annual reenactments take place from Bridgeport to Gulf Shores. In Huntsville, visitors can experience an occupied city, view structures that survived the war, and learn about the importance of supply lines and railroads. The Depot, which served as a prison and hospital for Confederate soldiers, features educational programs and Civil War-era graffiti from both sides. The train stations in Stevenson and Bridgeport also played an important part in the war. The pontoon bridge at Stevenson, a busy and strategic spot at the junction of two railways, enabled thousands of Union soldiers to advance into North Georgia during the Chattanooga Campaign. Open April through November, the Stevenson Depot showcases the town’s rich railroad history during the Civil War. Not far away is Fort Harker, constructed in the summer of 1862 by Union troops and

freed slaves and now the site of a self-guided, interpreted walking tour. And each spring in the aptly named Bridgeport—its bridges were heavily trafficked during the war—travelers can enjoy one the state’s largest reenactments bringing the Siege of 1862 to life with authentic re-creations, period music and an encampment.

****** The Tri-State Civil War 150th Commemoration Association is a nonprofit marketing organization charged with promoting education and heritage tourism during the Civil War sesquicentennial from 2011 through 2015. Regional efforts focus on attractions, museums and parks in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. For more information, see or write P.O. Box 69, Chickamauga, GA 30707.


Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee Visit our website for a full listing of events in the tri-state area commemorating the Civil War sesquicentennial!

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JULY 2011 | Alabama Living

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


Father of the Blues The W.C. Handy Music Festival draws 150,000 to The Shoals each year By Jennifer Kornegay

With so many worthy activities and diversions competing for time and attention this summer, it’s hard to know which to pick. Thanks to the annual W.C. Handy Music Festival in Florence on July 22-31, you don’t have to choose. Wanna cheer for a parade? Check. Wanna run a 5k race? Go for it. Interested in the works of Alabama artists? Plenty will be on hand. How about multiple concerts and musical performances including lots of blues and jazz? Gotcha covered. In fact, during this annual 10-day event extravaganza, there are more than 200 separate events all in one area that range in size and feature everything from music-themed plays to lemonade parties and, of course, the concert featuring the headlining band. This year, it’s The Drive-By Truckers, with special guests, The Decoys with Donnie Fritts and Spooner Oldham. Yet among the diversity, there is a common thread: the preservation and promotion of the rich musical heritage of northwest Alabama, an area often called “The Shoals,” beginning with the legacy of famed “father of the blues” W.C. Handy. He was born in Florence in 1873, and as a boy, was exposed to music in a local church where his father and his grandfather served as pastors. He is credited as the first to put tunes from the blues genre on sheet music, making the regional style more available to the rest of the country and the world. In the decades following Handy and his influence, other musicians of note from far and wide traveled to The Shoals to record their albums. Music studios like FAME in Muscle Shoals and Muscle Shoals Sound in Sheffield became famous in the 1960s and 1970s after artists like The Rolling


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Stones and Aretha Franklin recorded there. Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd also recorded in The Shoals. The celebration of all this history is the underlying theme that ties the 10 days together, as festival historian Nancy Gonce explains. “Almost anyone can find something that appeals to them and their interests,” she says. “The festival gives visitors the chance to experience music in a variety of venues including local restaurants, parks, churches and on the banks of the river.” Gonce, who was on the festival’s original board in 1982, outlined its history. “Renowned jazz musician Willie Ruff, who is from Sheffield, encouraged our community in the early ’80s to put together an organization to honor our heritage and W.C. Handy, so we created the Music Preservation Society,”


Left, musician Dan Glenn Jr.; above, the Street Strut; right, actor John Amos, all at past festivals.

she says. “Our first event was a long weekend of music events, and the attendance was probably in the hundreds.” Compare that number with last year’s attendance figure. Approximately 150,000 people enjoyed all that the event offered in 2010. “As it has grown through the years, we’ve pulled in other events in the Shoals region,” Gonce says. She attributes the increase in attendance each year to the festival’s ever-evolving nature. “It grows in part because it is always different with new events added, so those who’ve been once don’t ever get the ‘been there, done that’ feeling,” she says. “They keep coming back for more.” But some favorite events remain on the festival schedule year in and year out, things like the Street Strut, a walking parade that’s reminiscent of a New Orleans-style second-

line celebration. “People decorate umbrellas and such, and ‘strut’ down the street,” Gonce says. “Some people have been in the Street Strut since they were little. It’s full of kids and dogs and grandparents and really fun.” The newer events include a concert on the river that you can only reach by boat. While many festivals slap the claim “family friendly” on their marketing, the W.C. Handy Festival can prove it fits this description as many family reunions are planned around the event every year. “That is a huge compliment,” Gonce says. “People have accepted this as part of their heritage and now weave it into their family tradition.” And a focus on education is keeping the festival fresh too. There’s a poetry competition, the ABCs of Blues and Jazz and Beyond and a new educational program called Harmony with Nature that is working to make the festival a litter-free event and includes a program called Making Music with Trash. Kids are taught to make shoebox guitars, kazoos out of toilet paper rolls and more. “The parade of kids with toilet paper kazoos last year was interesting to say the least; there were sev-

eral hundred of them,” Gonce says. There’s a kids’ music camp held in conjunction with the festival as well. The Drive-By Truckers concert is July 30 at 7 p.m., the final Saturday of the festival, and caps off a series of events titled “Rocking the Blues: The Story of Rock in the Shoals” held that day and presented by a partnership between the Handy Festival organizers and the Alabama Folklife Association. Of the six members of the The Drive-By Truckers, three members are from Muscle Shoals, making them the perfect choice for this year’s festival in conjunction with the Year of Alabama Music. But with so much music originating in The Shoals, the question “Why here?” comes to mind. Gonce believes she knows the answer, and it can be found in the rolling Tennessee River that cuts through the region. “I think it’s in the water,” she said. Visit www.wchandymusicfestival. org for more details.d

Left, and right, musicians perform at past festivals; below, riverside jazz.

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


Long-tailed Cats

Reports of cougars in Alabama are becoming more frequent By Alan White


arge long-tailed cats have been reported in Alabama for years. Sometimes they are said to be black and sometimes tan. No longer can we ignore these reports as mistaken identity or just tales for entertaining children. The reports are too frequent and reported by some very credible people. The reports have become so frequent that Glenn McDaniel, a former game warden himself, has developed a website dedicated to Alabama cougar sightings. The Web address is: Officially, the Alabama Department of Freshwater Fish and Wildlife cannot verify the existence of cougars, panthers or any long-tailed cat living in the state. No positive proof of this has been offered in more than 50 years. However, it remains illegal to harvest one in the state. Alabama wildlife officers have no official records or a system in place to record sightings, although state officials have heard from many residents claiming to have seen cougar-like animals. Most reports are thought to be a case of misidentification of a species such as a bobcat, housecat or dog. With the advance in game camera technology and the popularity among


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or call 800-597-6828.

Wildlife Management Tips for July

tart preparing and planting dove fields. Crops include dove proso millet, browntop millet, sunflowers, corn, wheat and grain sorghum. You need a soil sample and fertilize according to recommendations. Browntop millet is the quickest to produce seed only taking about 50 days.


hunters with its use, it may be just a matter of time (and attention to details) before proof is presented. If you happen to capture one of these cats on your game camera, call the nearest office of the Alabama Department of Freshwater Fish and Wildlife. Ask a biologist or game warden to come and visit the location of the camera. By looking at the photo, along with the actual location of the camera, he may be able to verify that the photo was, in fact, taken at the location you claim it was. Otherwise, you can join the ranks of countless other people who claim to have photos of cougars in Alabama with no verification. Most photos like these were taken in the Western states and circulated as a hoax among friends. One of the best cases of good evidence came from one of my friends in 1995. Mike Ward of Mobile owned and operated Ward’s Sporting Goods for 30 years. He was hunting with his 5-year-old daughter and captured a large, black, long-tailed cat on video. This video can be viewed on YouTube by searching the words “cougar in Alabama” or “black panther stalks buck.” As a general rule, cougars move at night and will travel great distances, usually following major creeks and river bottoms in search of food or mates. In the United States, more humans are killed by dogs than by cougars. Cougars are not usually aggressive and will run away from people most of the time. Their diet consists mainly of young deer, rabbits, feral hogs and other small game. These cats make many different sounds but the most impressive is their piercing nocturnal scream. Cougars and other long-tailed cats once roamed the Alabama countryside. Maybe someAlan White is day they will be a publisher of part of Alabama’s Great Days Outdoors wild outdoors magazine. To learn more, once again.d

Control weeds around fruit trees. You’ll get much better produce for your wildlife if you take time to eliminate the competing vegetation around the trees. Mowing and applying herbicide will also make it more accessible to wildlife when the fruit is ready to eat.

July is a great time to “limb” your roads. Cut back overhanging limbs and bushes with cutters or saws. This is hard work in the hot weather and some folks prefer to apply herbicides from the comfort of a buggy but you’ll still have to cut some overhanging dead limbs.d

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

July 18 02:52 19 03:37 20 09:37 21 10:52 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 12:52 26 02:07 27 03:22 28 04:07 29 - 30 - 31 01:22

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

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

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

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |



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Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


Alabama Gardens

Rain Gardens

Catch rainwater as it flows from parking lots and driveways, and use it in your garden By Katie Jackson It’s dry, at least in most parts of Alabama, so it’s tough to imagine the need for a rain garden, but I promise that it will rain again someday, and when it does a rain garden can be a wonderful addition to your landscape and community. I’ve mentioned rain gardens in past columns, but my personal (and as yet unrealized) dream of installing one was rekindled in April when I attended a workshop


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featuring Anne Spafford, co-author with Helen Kraus of the book “Rain Gardening in the South.” She and Amy Wright, associate professor of horticulture at Auburn who helped create the publication “Alabama Smart Yards: Introducing Environmental Consciousness and Practical Management Options to our Yards and Neighborhoods” ( ANR-1359/ANR-1359.pdf), ran the workshop, which was sponsored

by the Saugahatchee Watershed Management Plan (SWaMP) and cohosted by Auburn’s Donald Davis Arboretum. In case you missed earlier columns, rain gardens are low-

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





...We were able to use the bathroom that same day with quality workmanship guaranteed!



Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


Garden tips for

July Rain garden created during Anne Spafford’s workshop in Auburn maintenance, highly attractive “pocket” gardens that help filter pollutants from storm water, reduce runoff into local streams and decrease the need for irrigation. The idea is to install the rain garden where it catches rainwater flowing off lawns and impervious areas, such as roofs, driveways or patios. According to Spafford, rain gardens can be installed in a day or two and, if properly built, will tolerate long periods of dry weather as well as short-term flooding. The gardens are basins dug six to eight inches deep and amended with compost, then populated with plants (preferably native ones) that can survive both wet and dry conditions. Extensive lists of plant options are available in Spafford’s book and in the Alabama Smart Yards publication, but the selection ranges from shrubs to perennial flowers to grasses and reeds. Once the garden is planted it needs a bit of mulch and may require some occasional weeding or watering, but otherwise it will be a beautiful landscape feature that provides aesthetic and environmental benefits to


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the yard and, really, the entire neighborhood because it is protecting the local water supply. Granted this is a hot time of year to be digging holes of any sort, but it is the perfect time to start planning a rain garden. Spend some time in a cool spot reading about the process and thinking about the size and location of a rain garden in your yard, or even one for a public area in your neighborhood. Armed with a plan, you will be ready to spring into action when the weather cools off a bit. And let me suggest another summer activity that requires more observation effort than sweat but can make a world of difference. Your Garden Show, a website designed to be a “gathering spot” for gardeners across the globe, is joining forces with The Great Sunflower Project to monitor the status of bees, many species of which seem to be on the decline. You can become a “citizen scientist” by signing up to report bee sightings in your own landscape or garden. To learn more go to www. and click on the “citizen science” link.d

3 Keep container plants well watered during the summer. 3 Water, weed and check for insect pests throughout your garden. 3 Prune summer-blooming shrubs after they have finished flowering. 3 Sow seeds for cool season vegetable crops directly into the garden by mid-July. 3 Replace birdbath water weekly and keep it filled. 3 Watch for insect and disease damage on indoor and outdoor plants. 3 Pick vegetables regularly to ensure continued bearing. 3 Remove flowers from basil and cut mint to encourage new shoots. 3 Mulch the garden with a thick layer of straw, leaves or other weed-free organic matter to smother weeds and retain soil moisture.d

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


Alabama Recipes Tomatoes

Cook of the Month

Norma Jean Roberts, Tombigbee EC

Tomato, Pepper, Bread and Ricotta Frittata 12 large eggs 1 ⁄3 cup heavy cream 11⁄3 cups day-old bread, crusts removed, cubed 1-inch 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 1 onion, cut into ½-inch thick strips 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced ¼-inch thick

1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced ¼-inch thick ½ cup ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 ⁄3 cup fresh ricotta Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat eggs, heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste. Add bread cubes, let soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add peppers, cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes.Add butter and remaining oil to skillet, heat until foaming. Pour egg and bread mixture into pan, cook over medium heat without stirring. Meanwhile, add ricotta by tablespoonfuls, forming little pockets on top. Continue cooking until bottom is slightly browned, about 5 minutes.There should be a few bubbles around the edges. Once bottom crust has formed, transfer skillet to preheated oven, cook until center is firm to touch, about 15-20 minutes.To serve hot, let frittata stand at room temperature 15 minutes. The bread soaks up the egg and cream and gives the frittata a firm but tender texture, while the ricotta brings a certain sweetness to the dish.

Roasted Tomato Salad 12 large tomatoes Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 large or 4 small cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil Dressing: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

24 large fresh basil leaves, 12 for garnish, fresh or prepared 24 black olives for garnish, optional

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Skin the tomatoes. Cut each in half. Place the halves in the roasting pan, cut sides up, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the chopped garlic, distributing it evenly. Follow with a few drops of oil on each tomato half, top with basil leaf, turning the leaf to coat evenly in oil. Place the roasting pan in the top half of the oven and roast the tomatoes for 50 minutes or until the edges are slightly blackened. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the tomatoes to cool. All this can be done several hours ahead. To serve, transfer the tomatoes to individual dishes, place half the basil leaf on top of each, then beat the oil and vinegar together and drizzle over the tomatoes. Top each tomato with an olive. Lots of crusty bread is an essential accompaniment to this dish. Sue Robbins, Coosa Valley EC


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The recipe theme for this issue is Tomatoes. What could be more southern than a good ole BLT with tomatoes from the garden? I’m going to tell you a secret, but you are probably not going to believe it. The truth is, I can’t stand tomatoes. I may be alone in disliking them because usually when I tell someone to take the tomatoes off my sandwich I get a confused look and a furled brow. Most people I know dislike one food for one reason or another. I have no idea why they taste so weird to me, but they do. I do like fried green tomatoes, though. My daddy is growing a tomato plant in his backyard so I thought I would call for some tomato recipes. No offense, but I won’t be trying them. Sorry Dad.

You could win $50! If your recipe is chosen as the cook-of-the-month recipe, we’ll send you a check for $50! Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are: September Crock Pot July 15 October Oranges August 15 November Casseroles September 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.

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 Tomato Jam

1 pound (3 cups) plum ½ cup sugar tomatoes, coarsely ½ teaspoon cinnamon chopped ½ pound (1¾ cup) red or yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved In a saucepan, combine tomatoes, sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat; cook uncovered 35 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cool. Serve or store covered in refrigerator up to 3 days. Delicious served with cornmeal scones. Carmen Strock, Central Alabama EC

Stuffed Tomatoes

½ pound ground beef ¼ pound ground pork ¼ pound ground veal 6 pear tomatoes 2 cloves garlic, chopped ¼ cup onion, chopped 1 cup cooked rice

¼ teaspoon dry basil ¼ teaspoon dry oregano 1 ⁄8 teaspoon dry rosemary 1 ⁄8 teaspoon dry thyme 1 tablespoon olive oil

Sauté meats; add seasonings, garlic and onions. Scoop out center of tomatoes so you have a shell to fill. In a blender or food processor blend scooped out tomatoes, add this to meat. Mix all ingredients together, fill tomato shells. Place in casserole dish, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cook’s note: if ground veal is not available, use ¾ pound lean ground beef and ¼ ground pork. Janet Weaver, Baldwin EMC

Ann’s Salsa

2 cans Green Giant kernel corn, drained 2 cans black-eyed peas, drained 1 can Rotel tomatoes, chili style 1 can diced tomatoes, drained 1 bell pepper, chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 1/2-1 tablespoon sugar ¼ teaspoon cayenne ¼ teaspoon hot sauce Salt and pepper, to taste

Drain corn, peas and tomatoes. Mix all ingredients and allow to marinate overnight or all day. Serve with tortilla chips or with meat as a side. Ann Maloy, Pea River EC Want to see the Cook of the Month recipe before the magazine gets to your door? Become a fan of Alabama Living on facebook.

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


Fried Green Tomato Casserole

6 medium green tomatoes, sliced in rounds 1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 6 tablespoons butter (1 tablespoon per tomato) Salt and pepper, to taste

In greased shallow baking dish, layer half of tomatoes (core them if needed). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add half the crumbs and half the cheese; then top with half the butter, in small bits. Layer the other half of tomatoes with seasoning and cheese. Add remaining crumbs and butter last. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes then uncover and bake another 30 minutes or until brown. Frances Dale, Cullman EC

Grandma’s Homemade Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 cup chopped onion 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup chopped carrot 1/4 cup chopped celery 2 28-ounce cans tomatoes

31/2 cups vegetable broth 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon salt 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 4 drops hot pepper sauce

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, saute onion and garlic until onion is tender. Add carrot and celery cook 7 to 9 minutes until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes, broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt, thyme, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with grilled cheese. Susan George, Central Alabama EC

Fried Green Tomatoes Tomato Tarts

8 frozen tart shells 4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped Seasoned salt 1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise


1 cup grated Parmesan cheese ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ½ cup crushed Ritz crackers

½ cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup yellow cornmeal Salt and pepper, to taste 1 egg

⁄3 cup milk Oil, for frying 4 green tomatoes, thickly sliced 1

Drain the chopped tomatoes well. Bake tart shells as directed and let cool. Divide tomatoes between the 8 shells. Sprinkle with salt. Mix together the mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Spread over tomatoes. Sprinkle tops with crushed crackers. Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg and milk, until combined. Place frying pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to the pan to cover the bottom ¼-inch deep. Dip sliced tomato in egg mixture covering both sides; then dip tomatoes in the flour mixture covering both sides. Place prepared tomato into preheated frying pan. Cook each side of the tomato until golden brown and crusty. Keep fried tomatoes in preheated oven until ready to serve.

Donna Turner, Pea River EC

Heather Letson, Joe Wheeler EMC

| JULY 2011 |

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.

Homemade Tomato Soup

8 medium tomatoes, peeled 1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon flour ½ cup milk

Dice tomatoes into medium saucepan. Stew on low until tomatoes are soft, add sugar. Place flour and milk in a jar and shake until well blended. Add milk mixture to tomatoes a little at a time until desired consistency. Continue cooking on low heat stirring until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Rebecca Lott,Tombigbee EC CORRECTION: Last month this recipe omitted sugar

Grape Juice Cobbler

1 stick butter 1 cup sugar 1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup milk ¾ cup grape juice cocktail concentrate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in pan. Mix sugar and flour in a bowl; add milk and mix. Pour batter over butter; do not stir. Pour grape juice concentrate (do not dilute) over batter, do not stir. Bake for 1 hour or until brown. Carol Kelley, Central Alabama EC

Granny’s Tomato Gravy 8 slices of thick bacon ¼ cup flour 1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook bacon until crisp and set aside, crumble when cool. To the hot grease add flour and whisk until all the lumps are gone. Add both cans of tomatoes and continue working with whisk until thick. Serve with hot biscuits. Garnish with crumbled bacon. Gravy is also good on grits and eggs.   Annette Cartwright, Southern Pine EC

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


Magnets make an attractive business for one Birmingham man

Mizzell examines a stack of 3/4-inch disc magnets

By Nick Thomas


uried in the basement of his Birmingham home, George Mizzell’s thriving home-based business is attracting customers from all over the world. Which seems appropriate, since Mizzell sells powerful rare earth magnets that are dozens of times stronger than conventional magnets. More than just kids’ toys, these super strong permanent magnets are important components in today’s electronics – from cell phones and computers, to hybrid cars and medical devices. They derive their incredible strength from the metal neodymium, which is combined with iron and boron during the manufacturing stage to form the “neo” magnets. Mizzell became fascinated with simple magnets as a child growing up in Sycamore in the 1960s. “I always had one in my pocket,”


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recalls Mizzell from his home in Vestavia Hills, a southern suburb of Birmingham. “When a radio died, I would extract the magnets; everything else was just waste to me!”

A 2-inch cube-shaped neo magnet costs $90, and falls in the “body part crushing” category And young George would have given an “arm and a leg” to own a modern neo magnet, but they were not commercially available until the mid-1990s. “The only way to get these super magnets in the

early 90s was to extract them from the hard-drives of old computers,” says Mizzell. Hard drives use two magnets about the size of a nickel to achieve the high spin rates of around 5,000-10,000 rpm and are shielded from the hard drive to prevent erasure of data. An electrical engineer by training, Mizzell worked for many companies throughout the 80s where he specialized in boiler performance. After being “liberated during a downsizing” from one company in 1991, a teacher invited him to present science demonstrations at his daughter’s school. “Around 1992, I started developing hands-on science classes and have been teaching for about 15 years in Vestavia Hills Elementary schools as a volunteer.” Naturally, magnets featured prominently in his classroom activities. At first, he used

conventional magnets; but when the new neo magnets became available, student interest intensified. Aware of the class’s fascination, the teacher asked if Mizzell would sell some to the students. “I didn’t want to get a reputation for using kids’ lunch money to buy magnets!” said Mizzell with a smile. But he relented and agreed to meet students after school. “I expected three or four to show up, but was stormed by a mass of 50 or 60 kids! That’s when the light came on and I realized there could be a

‘garage inventors’ to help them understand super magnets and magnetic fields in general.” The range of projects Mizzell has been involved in is astonishing: designing magnetic clasps for jewelry; developing tricks for magicians; designing quick-erase magnets for police surveillance video tapes; researching snap-on magnetic gear for firefighters; crack detection in oil pipelines; creating emergency cut-off switches for heart pacemakers; and developing a magnetic projectile containing a GPS tracker which police can

his own applications. “I invented magnetic ceiling hooks with an extendable installer rod and sell a lot (about 10 percent of sales) to teachers, businesses and churches.” Whoever uses his magnets, Mizzell also warns of the dangers. “These are very powerful magnets, and even two small ones can fly together quickly and easily pinch a finger,” he says. “The largest ones I call ‘body part crushing magnets’ because with 200-250 lbs of pressure, that’s exactly what will happen if your hand gets caught between them.”

Left, George Mizzell demonstrates a magnetic ceiling hook and the installer rod. With extensions, items can be attached to ceilings up to 20 feet high. Next, Mizzell’s 3-inch neo magnet holds 50 pounds of tools, and a 5-inch disc neo magnet, said to keep its magnetism for 500 years. Right, Mizzell, who weighs 190 pounds, tests the strength of a 3-inch disc magnet. market out there.” Today, neo magnets as toys make up only about 1 percent of Mizzell’s business, and he now stocks thousands of magnets anywhere from the size of a pinhead to massive 5-inch wide discs capable of lifting hundreds of pounds. All are manufactured in China, which has most of the world’s resources of rare earth minerals. More than just a distributor, Mizzell also consults with individuals, academics, businesses, and industry from over 70 countries who turn to him for problem solving. “I have developed into somewhat of an expert in solving engineering problems using magnets in literally hundreds of applications, and worked with product developers as well as

fire onto cars during high speed chases. He even worked with a group studying the effectiveness of magnets as a shark repellent. “Sharks do a back flip within 2-3 feet of a strong neo magnet,” says Mizzell. “As long as they do that before they get to you, that’s all that matters!” Of course, his magnets also have more conventional applications in magnetic lifting devices, magnetic stirrers, and for the extraction of contaminating ferrous materials from products. “One company in Switzerland bought 200,000 of my magnetic pins,” he says. “And a Romanian farmer purchased magnets for tractor tires to pick up metal in the fields to prevent punctures.” Mizzell has even developed

His web site contains popular videos illustrating the fun, science and dangers of magnets, which are used by many companies for safety training. Although Mizzell has converted a hobby into a successful home business, it’s clear he has never lost his childhood fascination for science and magnets. “I have enjoyed meeting people all over the world through the business, and having the chance to share my love for magnets and the cool things they can do.” For more information about George Mizzell, call him at 205-978-2885 or check www. Nick Thomas is a freelance writer and teacher at Auburn Montgomery.

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


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Musical Notes PLAY GOSPEL SONGS by ear! 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95. Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AL Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982 PIANOS TUNED, repaired, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334337-4503

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

CABIN IN MENTONE – 2/2, brow view, hottub – For rent $100/night or Sale $239,000 – (706)767-0177

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


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

GATLINBURG CONDOS: BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAIN VIEWS - Three days and two nights - Total $175.00 – No other charges - Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at (800) 314-9777 – Cabins also available. Like us on Facebook. CONECUH VILLAGE RV CAMPGROUND IN RANGE, AL – Weekly, monthly or yearly rates - 9 Bed Bunkhouse, everything furnished – (850)623-8415, (251)248-2086 PIGEON FORGE,TN: $89 - $125, 2BR/2BA, hot tub, pool table, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)363-1973,

Critters CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. Tiny, registered, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893 ADORABLE AKCYORKY PUPPIES – excellent blood lines – (334)3011120, (334)537-4242, POCKET PARROT – BLACK HEADED CAIQUE FOR SALE $500 or best offer – (334)270-4044 for appointment

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |




| JULY 2011 |

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |


Our Sources Say

My Circle of Life Last August, I wrote an article titled August 18th about my relationships with my daughter, Ashley, and my dad. In discussing those relationships, I wrote about the circle of life, or how things and relationships change as we all get older. In particular how we are all born, nurtured by our parents, mature into adults, help our parents and grow older ourselves. My dad died August 18th two years ago. Our relationship was strained almost all the time. He never seemed to care very much about what was important to my brother, Bob, or me. He always was consumed with his life and what he needed. His objectives, even late in his life, were focused on the next set of girlfriends or the next get-rich-quick scheme. I never felt an integral part of his life, and as I got older he played a decreasing role in mine. The lack of relationship with Dad probably led me to be more introspective of my own existence and my circle of life as I have grown older. Mom, who somehow held things together while Daddy was trying to define himself, is now 82 years old. While she still lives alone and maintains a household, the costs of age and health significantly constrain her lifestyle. She requires more help now in just getting the day-to-day things done, and

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative


| JULY 2011 |

her decision-making processes, while not impaired, have certainly slowed. As she has gotten older, the requirement of a child in the circle of life to now care for the ones that once cared for you becomes more and more apparent. Earlier this year, my oldest daughter, Ashley, and her husband, Scott, adopted a beautiful son, Gates. He is my first grandchild. I hadn’t thought much about being a grandparent and with only five weeks’ notice of the adoption, I still haven’t thought enough about the new role. But it is obvious that as a grandparent my circle of life is again changing and my relationships and obligations have become more complex. After watching Ashley and Scott with Gates, I can’t think of a better young couple to start Gates out on his circle of life. Two weeks ago, my middle daughter, Kalli, was married to Andrew, my second son-in-law. They are a beautiful and bright young couple with the whole world at their doorstep. They have the same hopes and dreams we all had when we starting out on our circle of life with new families. As a father and a father-in-law, I wish them the best as they start their circle of life together, and I am confident they will accomplish their many goals. My youngest daughter, Carrie, is just finishing her first year at UAB’s School of Optometry. Any parent would be proud of her drive and commitment to be the best student in school and assure herself a successful role as an optometrist a few years in the

future. It is interesting to watch her perspective on life change as she becomes more aware of the commitments necessary for success. With her tenacity, there is no doubt of her future. As I watch the lives of my children evolve and change, as they accomplish their goals and make new ones, as they do things that make me proud as a parent, as they grow their own families, I can’t help but to think back earlier in my circle of life about how my parents felt as I accomplished different goals. Also, it would have been helpful to know what my dad thought about them or if he thought about them at all. But, as my children grow and their lives change, so does mine. As their circle of life grows, so does mine. I recognize I am much older than before and that I have fewer and fewer years and the ability to do the things I have always wanted to do. At 57, I don’t particularly feel old, but the realization that I have two girls married and am a grandparent is concrete evidence to the contrary. Have you thought very much about where you are in your circle of life and what you still need to do? As I think about it, I think back to my dad and wonder if he did. Was he driven by a rush to accomplish his personal goals or was he just so self-centered that he never considered there was a cycle of life or nothing really mattered but him? I hope that as you proceed with your circle of life – and we all do – that you will find peace with yourself and your goals.d

Alabama Living | JULY 2011 |



t Submitted by J. Walker, Gulf Shores

t Jonathan Champion, submitted by Barbara Davis, Wetumpka

September Theme:

‘Garden Fresh’ Send color photos with a large SASE 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. We cannot be responsible for lost or damaged photos

Deadline for submission: July 29 t Corbin & Cameron Burdette, submitted by Gram, Talladega u Will Garner, submitted by Randall & Tracy Garner, Boaz q Key West, submitted by Brenda Dickens, Moulton


| JULY 2011 |

p Sarah & Horace Plemons, Hartselle



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Alabama Living South July 2011  

Alabama Living South July 2011

Alabama Living South July 2011  

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