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Alabama’s ‘Riviera’ Rural Post Offices: uncertain future?

VOL. VOL. 66 66 NO.1 NO.1 JANUARY 2013 JANUARY 2013

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



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311


10 NRECA names new CEO The National Rural Electric Association gets its first female CEO in Missouri Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson.

12 Redneck Riviera stars in historian’s book

ON THE COVER: Photos of families visiting Alabama’s Gulf Coast beaches in the 1950s, 60s and 70s can be found in many a photo album.

The Rise and Fall of the Redneck Riviera looks at the evolving history and culture of the Gulf Coast, from Mobile Bay and Gulf Shores to Panama City.


16 Rural mail delivery faces unsure future The Postal Service’s restructuring has left the fate of Alabama’s rural post offices, as well as those in other states, uncertain.


Spotlight 10 Power Pack 20 Worth the Drive 22 Alabama Gardens 24 Alabama Outdoors 26 Cook of the Month 29 Fish&Game Forecast 38 Alabama Snapshots 9

Printed in America from American materials

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2013  3

Tip of the Month Your heat pump can use 10 percent to 25 percent more energy if it’s not properly maintained,

Look Up, Stay Alert During Outdoor Work, Play As the weather begins to warm up, kids and adults alike will soon head outside to perform winter clean-up and play. Before they do, remind them to look up and be alert for power lines and other electrical hazards, the best way to stay safe from electrocution. At Arab EC, using proper procedures and safety measures is a matter of life and death. Safety seriously at home, too. Acci-

which includes regularly

the air filter when it’s dirty to keep parts from working too hard or even becoming damaged.

tidy around the outdoor unit, and dust the return registers inside. For more details on heat pump maintenance, visit Source: U.S. Department of Energy

dents happen, but if we educate ourselves and our children, we can keep them to a minimum. For kids II Never fly a kite on a rainy day or anywhere but an open space. A high point in the sky makes a kite a grounding point for lightning, and kites could easily become tangled in power lines. II Don’t climb trees that are near power lines and poles—evergreens can disguise dangers this time of year; leaves during the spring and summer. II Stay far away from power lines lying on the ground. You can’t tell if electricity is still flowing through them. If there’s water nearby, don’t go in it. Water is the best conductor of electricity. II Obey signs that say “danger” and “keep out” around large electrical equipment,

4  JANUARY 2013

II Never climb a power pole. For adults II If power lines run through your trees, call [co-op/PUD/PPD name]—professional tree trimmers with proper protective equipment can trim branches safely. II R ememb er that power lines and other utilities run underground, too. Call 811 to have utility lines marked before you start digging.

checking and replacing

Keep brush and plants

like substations. These signs aren’t warnings; they’re commands to keep you safe.

II Starting that winter cleanup yard work? Sweep dried leaves and debris from outdoor receptacles. II If they’re not already, consider upgrading your outdoor receptacles—or any outlets that could come in contact with water—to ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs immediately interrupt power flow when a pluggedin device comes in contact with water. Regardless, keep your outlets and cords dry and covered outside. II Use only weather-resistant, heavy-duty extension cords marked for outdoor use. II Don’t leave outdoor power tools unattended for curious children or animals to find. For more safety tips and information, visit Sources: Electrical Safety Foundation International, Safe Electricity

Alabama Living

Powering UP When electricity goes out, most of us expect power will be restored within a few hours. But when a major storm causes widespread damage, longer outages may result. Co-op line crews work long, hard hours to restore service safely to the greatest number of consumers in the shortest time possible.

Here’s what’s going on if you find yourself in the dark. 1 High-Voltage

Transmission Lines



Transmission towers and cables that supply power to transmission substations (and thousands of members) rarely fail. But when damaged, these facilities must be repaired before other parts of the system can operate. 2 Distribution Substation

Each substation serves hundreds or thousands of consumers. When a major outage occurs, line crews inspect substations to determine if problems stem from transmission lines feeding into the substation, the substation itself, or if problems exist down the line.


3 Main Distribution Lines

If the problem cannot be isolated at a distribution substation, distribution lines are checked. These lines carry power to large groups of consumers in communities or housing developments.


4 Tap Lines


If local outages persist, supply lines, called tap lines, are inspected. These lines deliver power to transformers, either mounted on poles or placed on pads for underground service, outside businesses, schools, and homes. 5 Individual Homes

If your home remains without power, the service line between a transformer and your residence may need to be repaired. Always call to report an outage to help line crews isolate local issues.

Alabama Living

JANUARY 2013  5

Shale Shock Natural Gas May Edge Out Coal as Nation’s Primary Power Source By Angela Perez

Over the past decade, the natural gas industry in North America has experienced a dramatic renaissance thanks to a combination of horizontal drilling and a shale fracturing technique called “hydraulic fracking.” With this technology, previously unrecoverable gas reserves located

in shale formations deep underground are now flooding the market and should continue to do so for several decades. This “shale gas revolution” promises to have a major impact on our nation’s energy future, particularly in shifting reliance from burning coal for power generation. Studies show that the U.S. will overtake Russia as the world’s largest gas producer by 2015, according to International Energy Agency Chief Economist Faith Birol. She notes the resulting cheap domestic supply should lead electric utilities toward a heavier reliance on natural gas for generating power. Given the fact that consumption of natural gas for electricity has increased every year since 2009, Birol’s predictions appear to be well under way. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration

6  JANUARY 2013

(EIA), natural gas’s share of electric power generation in the U.S. will increase from 25 percent today to 28 percent by 2035, with renewable energy’s share growing from 10 percent to 15 percent and coal falling from 48 percent to 38 percent. However, preliminary 2012 numbers indicate that pace of change may be accelerating. When it comes to electricity, natural gas is most commonly used to fuel peaking plants— power stations that operate for brief periods during times of high electricity demand – and intermediate plants – those whose output changes in response to changes in electricity demand over the course of each day. Today, gas accounts for about 15 percent of the power produced by generation and transmission cooperatives and 16 percent of all electric cooperative power requirements nationwide. Over the past two years, the relatively low price for gas combined with increasing federal and state regulation of power plant emissions have led to natural gas-fired plants being run for longer periods, while many older coal-fired baseload power plants— those that provide dependable electric power year-round at a low cost—are being shut down or converted to gas operations. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last March proposed a New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) rule that aims to curb the release of carbon dioxide and six other greenhouse gases blamed for contributing to climate change from new fossil fuel-fired power plants. (It also could be expanded at some point to cover existing generation.) To do so, it sets an emissions cap of 1,000 lb. of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour—a nearly impos-

Did you know? Many shale formations are so large that only a limited portion has been extensively tested for its natural gas potential. The availability of large quantities of shale gas should enable the United States to produce more natural gas than it consumes for decades to come. According to Penn State University, Marcellus Shale—a shelf of black porous rock stretching from southwestern New York across northern and western Pennsylvania into eastern Ohio and down through West Virginia could become the second largest natural gas field in the world, with a potential of more than 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Barnett Shale covers at least 24 counties in North Texas. It is one of the most active shale plays in the U.S. and is estimated to contain as much as 26 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Primarily in Louisiana and Texas, Haynesville Shale could potentially contain as much as 251 trillion cubic feet of recoverable resources. Antrim Shale covering much of Michigan and Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas are the latest examples of the still-emerging wealth of North American natural gas supplies. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Alabama Living

Lower 48 states shale plays Montana Thrust Belt





Williston Basin Big Horn Powder River Gammon Basin Basin Mowry

HilliardBaxterMancos Greater Green River Basin

Park Basin

Niobrara* Forest City Basin

Uinta Basin

San Joaquin Basin MontereyTemblor

Monterey Santa Maria, Ventura, Los Angeles Basins

Manning Canyon Mancos

Piceance Basin

Denver Basin

Hermosa Paradox Basin Lewis


San Juan Basin

Raton Basin


Permian Basin

Marfa Basin

Barnett Ft. Worth Basin

Eagle Ford Pearsall Western Gulf

Appalachian Basin


Devonian (Ohio)


Illinois Basin

ExcelloMulky Cherokee Platform

Anadarko ArdBasin m Palo Duro Bend ore Ba sin Basin

AvalonBone Spring BarnettWoodford

Michigan Basin

New Albany

Fayetteville Arkoma Basin



Black Warrior Basin


Valley & Ridge FloydProvince Neal TX-LA-MS Salt Basin Tuscaloosa

HaynesvilleBossier Shale plays

Miles 0



300 400


Basins Basins

Current plays Prospective plays Stacked plays Shallowest/ youngest Intermediate depth/ age Deepest/ oldest

* Mixed shale & chalk play ** Mixed shale & limestone play ***Mixed shale & tight dolostonesiltstone-sandstone

Source: Energy Information Administration based on data from various published studies. Updated: May 9, 2011

This map shows shale gas “plays” across the 48 lower U.S. states. The term “play” is used in the oil and gas industry to refer to a geographic area that has been targeted for exploration. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

sible standard for coal-fired power plants, which average in excess of 1,800 lb. of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatthour, to achieve. “The only way to meet it is with carbon capture and storage [CCS] technology, which is prohibitively expensive and years away from being commercially viable,” David Hudgins, director of member & external relations at Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), a generation and transmission co-op based in Glen Allen, Va., told the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment in June 2012. “No company will take the risk to invest billions of dollars in a power plant in the hopes that CCS will be developed.” NSPS, as outlined, will push power plants away from coal and toward natuAlabama Living

ral gas baseload generation because most newer combined cycle gas facilities produce emissions within range of the 1,000 lb. of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour limit. But natural gas prices are more volatile than coal, making the fuel a dicey option. “Historically, natural gas prices have varied widely, making reliance on gas as the sole fuel to provide affordable future baseload power risky at best,” says Rae Cronmiller, environmental counsel for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the trade organization representing more than 900 electric co-ops in the U.S. “These risks are significantly enhanced because the cost of electricity derived from natural gas is largely driven by cost of the fuel itself. This differs from

coal power, which is driven by capital costs. Also, natural gas in quantities necessary to provide year-round baseload generation is unavailable in some geographic areas.” Despite this, utility experts believe that natural gas production will continue to increase and that the “blue flame” will surpass coal as the nation’s leading source of electric energy. Source: U.S. Energ y Information Administration, International Energy Agency

Angela Perez writes on technology issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. JANUARY 2013  7

A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep! Check for and eliminate electrical hazards in your home: • Replace missing or broken wall plates. • Check for loose-fitting plugs. • Check for outlets overloaded with multiple adapters & plugs. • Have an electrician check outlets or switch plates that are discolored or warm to the touch. • Replace electrical cords that have frays or broken casing. • Make sure light bulb wattage matches the fixture requirements. • Make sure outlets have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters(GFCIs) in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry and outside.

Learn more about keeping your home and family safe. Visit


Te a c h w h a t y o u k n o w. Learn what you need to. Care enough to share it.

Spot Light

In January

Jan. 25-27

Pike Piddlers gather for storytelling The Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival begins Friday, Jan. 25 with supper and stories at the We Piddle Above left: Audience members laugh during a performance at the Pike Piddlers Around Theater in Brundidge and continues with Storytelling Festival. Above: Donald Davis, the “Dean of Storytelling,” gets into his three storytelling concerts (10 a.m. and 2 and 6:30 performance at the We Piddle Around Theater. p.m.) at Troy University’s Trojan Center Theater in Troy. The festival features four of the country’s top storytellers, including Donald Davis, “the Dean of Storytelling.” Storytelling concerts include pre-show music by popular old-time music bands. Admission for supper event is $25. Other concerts are $10. For more information, call 334-670-6302, or visit Jan. 4-Feb. 17

State park preps for ‘Eagle Awareness’ Eagle Awareness Weekends will be Jan. 4 to Feb. 17 in Guntersville and will feature live bird of prey shows with guest speakers from all over the southeast, and field trips to a bald eagle nesting site as well as other nature-based trips. There also will be an informative orientation program/apple cider social with live music and food at Lake Guntersville State Park Resort. Call 256-571-5440 or visit www.alapark. com/lakeguntersville/EagleAwareness/ for more details.

Alabama Food book available for purchase The Alabama Food book is now available for purchase and features more than 225 restaurants and profiles 11 of the state’s award-winning chefs including Chris Hastings, Frank Stitt, James Boyce, Chris Lilly, Wesley True, Bob Baumhower, Lucy Buffett, Chris Dupont, James Lewis, Nick Pihakis and Patricia “Sister” Schubert. Alabama Living

The hardcover book also has sections devoted to farmers markets, u-pick-it farms, food festivals, and Alabama wines and craft beers. Alabama Food is the official book for the Alabama Tourism Department’s “The Year of Alabama Food” promotion. It is available at the Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop, The Goathill Museum

Store inside the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, Books-AMillion and at The retail price is $20. january 2013  9

Power Pack

A ‘raise’ for people who receive Social Security benefits By Kylle’ McKinney

As we ring in a new year, we can expect to see a number of changes. Social Security is no exception; in 2013, people who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments will see their benefits increase. Beginning in 2013, a 1.7 percent costof-living adjustment (COLA) was applied to all Social Security and SSI payments. The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2013 is $1,261 (up from $1,240 in 2012) and the average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2013 is $1,132 (up from $1,113 in 2012). These changes were reflected in SSI payments dated Dec. 31, 2012 and Social Security payments dated in Jan. 2013. For people who receive SSI, the maxi-

mum federal payment amount has risen to $710 (up from $698). Other Social Security changes in 2013 are worth noting. For example, a worker now pays McKinney Social Security tax on up to $113,700 of annual income (up from $110,100 in 2012). A worker earns one credit after paying taxes on $1,160 in earnings in 2013 (up from $1,130). As always, a worker may earn a maximum of four credits each year and a person generally needs 40 credits (or ten years of work) to be eligible for retirement benefits. The Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amount for 2013 is $15,120/yr (up from $14,640/yr in 2012). Note: One dollar in

benefits will be withheld for every $2 in earnings above the limit. In the year an individual reaches full retirement age the earnings limit for 2013 is $40,080/yr (up from $38,880/yr in 2012). Note: Applies only to earnings for months prior to attaining full retirement age. One dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $3 in earnings above the limit. There is no limit on earnings beginning the month an individual attains full retirement age. To learn more about these and other changes, visit the Social Security website at, and read our fact sheet about the changes at www. colafacts2013.htm. Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or by e-mail at

Emerson ‘honored’ to serve as new NRECA CEO The National Rural Electric Association (NRECA) Board of Directors has announced that U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) will assume the role of NRECA CEO effective March 1. Emerson will be the fifth CEO in NRECA’s 71-year history. “We conducted an exhaustive search to identify the very best individual to lead a great association,” says NRECA Board President Mike Guidry of Louisiana. “We found that person in Jo Ann Emerson. Her background as a member of Congress and a trade association executive—coupled with her extensive knowledge of the issues facing electric cooperatives and rural America—make her eminently qualified to lead NRECA and represent the interests of its members. The respect she has from both sides of the aisle and her proven ability to bridge political and policy divides and find common ground will serve us well.” Emerson, first elected to the U.S. 10  january 2013

House in 1996 from Missouri’s 8th Congressional District, most recently served on the House Appropriations Committee and as chairman of the Financial Emerson Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, which has oversight of the U.S. Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, and various independent federal agencies, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the General Services Administration, and the Small Business Administration. In addition, she has taken a leadership role on agriculture, health care, and government reform issues during her congressional career and won recognition for her work on energy, including being presented

with the NRECA Distinguished Service Award in 2006. Along with her committee posts, Emerson also serves as co-chairman of the Tuesday Group, a council of House GOP centrists; is a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly; and holds a position on the board of the Congressional Hunger Center. “Without reliable, affordable electricity delivered by electric cooperatives serving thousands of communities, millions of Americans would be left without the energy that brings economic opportunity, unsurpassed quality of life, and the promise of growth in the future,” says Emerson. “NRECA is committed to the electric cooperatives of this great nation, and works hard every day to improve the quality of life for their consumermembers. I am very honored to join an outstanding organization to work on their behalf.”

State’s severe weather tax holiday set for February Alabama will observe its second severe weather sales tax holiday during the last weekend of February. From 12:01 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, until midnight, Sunday, Feb. 24, the state of Alabama will waive its four percent sales tax on certain items needed to prepare for severe weather emergencies. Because Alabama experiences tornado season from March to August and hurricane season from June to November, having the tax holiday in February comes at an ideal time for Alabamians to stock up on emergency supplies. The state’s first severe weather sales tax holiday occurred in July. Beginning in 2013, the holiday will be the final weekend of February each year. Many of the items Alabamians can buy tax free during the three-day tax holiday can be found on recommended lists of supplies that every home or office should have on hand in case of a weather emergency. The American Red Cross recom-

mends all residents or businesses have an emergency kit that includes a flashlight; a battery­powered or hand­crank radio, such as a NOAA Weather Radio; extra batteries; a first-aid kit; cell phone charger; two-way radios; a manual can opener; plastic sheeting; duct tape; and tools and supplies for securing your home, such as tie-down kits, bungee cords or rope. The Federal Emergency Management agency recommended list includes those items, plus a fire extinguisher, among other items.

During the sales tax holiday weekend, the state’s four-percent sales tax will be waived on the items mentioned above plus other common emergency supplies that cost $60 or less as well as portable generators valued at $1,000 or less. City and county governments also have the option to waive their sales taxes on the covered items, which could bring the total savings for consumers to as much as 10 percent, depending on where they shop. The deadline for cities and counties to inform the state if they plan to opt into the sales tax holiday is Jan. 22. Alabama retailers are required to participate in the state’s sales tax holidays and cannot charge any waived sales taxes on the items that are legally tax-exempt during a tax holiday. Where to find out more: An easy resource for consumers to find out more about the severe weather sales tax holiday is: alabamasalestaxholiday/.

Wild game: A healthy (and less expensive) choice By Frank Allen Area Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Much of the meat on Alabama dinner tables used to be wild game that was harvested for the family. As the cost of living continues to increase, some people find financial relief by lowering their grocery bill with the addition of nature’s bounty. Rabbits, quail, turkeys, doves, deer, waterfowl and squirrels are just a few examples of wild game that can be harvested, stored and prepared for meals. Abundant game, coupled with liberal hunting seasons and bag limits, allows endless opportunities for hunters to fill the freezer. Wild game offers a healthy alternative to domestic animal products because they are generally lower in fats and higher in protein, vitamins and minerals. Sound ethics demand that a hunter eats what he harvests and to do

Alabama Living

otherwise would be both unethical and a missed opportunity for a dining delight. Animals found in nature provide wholesome, nourishing food, but they should be handled and preserved carefully to retain quality. One reason Alabamians now consume more meats that are slaughtered, dressed and packaged by someone else is because we are inexperienced in preparing wild game. Freezing, curing and smoking, drying, canning and sausage-making are all viable options. When someone claims they don’t like the taste of game meat, it’s probably because they have not had correctly cared for and properly prepared wild game. Countless resources are available online to assist hunters with game care, preservation, preparation and recipes. Even though wild game meats are generally more nutritious and safer than domestic meats, natural resource managers recommend not consuming any ani-

mal that shows signs of unusual behavior or any sign Venison is low in fat, making that may this venison chili a healthy addition to the family menu. indicate a diseased Recipe available at www. animal. Food from the wild is not exposed to inoculants, hormones or preservatives. Some game meat is higher in dietary cholesterol than domestic meats, but the combination of lean muscle tissue, fewer calories, less saturated fat and significantly higher percentage of cholesterol-reducing polyunsaturated fatty acids makes wild game meat a heart-healthy choice. For additional information, email

january 2013  11

Author captures history and evolving culture of the Gulf Coast “The best guide yet to a geographic region that is also a cultural state of mind.” – Howell Raines, author of My Soul is Rested By Lenore Vickrey


hen chilly winter days keep you that that’s what it’s called,” Jackson says. says, really started after World War II. Beindoors, what better way to warm “In some cases, it’s just like tourist attrac- fore then, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores up than to read a book about Ala- tions that have always been there. It’s been had survived “on fishing and a trickle of bama’s Gulf Coast? Jacksonville State Uni- manipulated. Like at Lulu’s (the popular tourists from not too far away, vacationers versity history professor Harvey H. Jackson coastal restaurant owned by Lucy Buffett, who came down to swim a little, fish a little, III has published an affectionate look at that sister of Jimmy Buffett), they’ve got ‘red- drink a little, eat raw oysters, buy somevery area, The Rise and Decline of the Red- neck caviar’ on the menu, which is really thing tacky at a local shop and generally neck Riviera, that examines the history and a type of salsa, but Lulu’s is anything but do things they could not do back home.” culture of the stretch of coast from Mobile redneck.” But after the war, more people came, Bay and Gulf Shores to Panama City. “Part of what the book is about is how bringing with them the culture of the postA native of Grove Hill in Clarke County, people, in a sense, tried to disassociate war rising middle class who coordinated Jackson had an early love for the beach area themselves from the name,” Jackson told their trips with their children’s vacations. that began during childhood visits, “Efficiencies and cottages were especially popular, for restaurants were and today he considers it his second few, and to most visitors they were home. His affection comes through places for the occasional treat, not for in the 300-plus page work that, as reviewer Theresa Shadrix notes in The every meal. So they came loaded with Jacksonville News, will make you want groceries, and many a family lived the to go to the Alabama coastline “even week on fried bologna sandwiches if you’re not a redneck.” and what they caught in the Gulf.” Jackson first read of the term As the tourist economy grew, the “Redneck Riviera” in the New York season between Memorial Day and Times in 1978, when writer Howell Labor Day became a lucrative time Raines of Birmingham wrote a story for local businesses. By 1960, the migration of students on spring break about how former Alabama and then had begun, fueled by the release of pro-football quarterbacks Kenny Stabler and Richard Todd spent their “Where the Boys Are” in movie theaters that year. What was once hunoff-season on a “stretch of beach that dreds of students had grown to thousome Alabama wags call the Redneck sands invading the beaches, and the Riviera.” Little girl plays in the sand at Gulf Shores , circa 1970s. coast saw yet another tourist season The term itself had been in use in Courtesy Alabama Department of Archives and History born. the Orange Beach area for years, Jackson says, and the story goes that there was WELD, a Birmingham newspaper. “On To accommodate the expanding toura local musician and lounge owner named the other hand, you’ve got people who are ist market, more and more motels were Madison “Shine” Powell who sang a song tremendously proud of it and very affec- built, Jackson says, usually one or twoabout it. Jackson was later told that Stabler, tionate about it. You’ve got developments stories high with less than 100 units with a frequent patron at Sam & Shine’s, himself like Sandestin, which advertise, ‘You’ve a café or bar. They were close to putt-putt coined the phrase and then Powell wrote heard about the Redneck Riviera. Well, it golf, an amusement park or the “Hangout” the song. Murky as the history of the term is no more.’ Then you’ve got places like the “where in the summer teenagers danced may be, it has endured. Some Gulf Coast Flora-Bama, the Green Knight in Destin and short-lived romances flourished.” There residents like it, while others resent it, and and a number of other places that have al- was a “nest of honkey-tonks that included that diversity of opinion is illustrative of ways sort of thrived on the redneck, sort of the Pink Pony Pub at the Gulf Shores end outlaw-ish image.” and the Flora-Bama at the other.” what the book explores. The “rise” of Alabama’s Riviera, Jackson This was the “Riviera” that Raines found “Everyone pretty well accepts the fact

12  JANUARY 2013

The Hangout was one of many Gulf Shores structures damaged by Hurricane Frederic in 1979. Cour tesy

of the Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Man uscr ipt Library, Univ ersit y of Sout h Alabama

in 1979, was The Gulf Shores Hangout, shown here before Hurricane Frederic hit Book and a popular spot for teenagers. Courtesy of the Doy Leale McCall Rare Manuscr ipt Library, Universi ty of South Alabama

Signs welcoming “snowbirds” to Gulf Shores, 1974. Courtes y of the Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscr ipt Library, Universi ty of South Alabama

1960s Gulf Shores beach scene from the postcard collection of the Alabama Departm ent of Archives and History.

The annual Mullet Toss is a favorite Gulf Coast event.

Alabama Living

cottages of Shores beach, 1948. Typical beach Girls from Grove Hill, Ala., at Gulf ke Coun ty Demo crat Clar the of tesy Cour nd. that era can be seen in the backgrou

JANUARY 2013  13

in 1978, and Jackson says, “There was no more beautiful place on the planet.” Readers have told him some of their favorite parts are the chapters about spring break that reminded them of the fun they had as teenagers. “They’d been on spring break, they understood that,” he says. “A lot of people also identified with the two bars I mention that were typical of the area, the Green Knight and the Flora-Bama. In the ‘70s and ‘80s there was a sort of ‘redneck chic’ associated with them.”

Then came the storm

A year after Raines wrote about the region in the New York Times, on September 12, 1979, Hurricane Frederic hit the Alabama coast with 120 MPH winds and a record storm surge. “Much of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach washed away,” Jackson remembers. “After the hurricane, coastal folks learned what is now general knowledge. Storms destroy, but they also clear the ground for builders to build. That is what happened on Alabama’s redneck Riviera.” Credit was easy to obtain and banks were all too happy to help Baby Boomers who wanted their little piece of sand, Jackson says. Developers built condominiums and resort hotels and in less than 20 years, the coastline had vastly changed as Gulf Shores and Orange Beach became the destination for more than 1 million tourists. Many of them were, and still are, “snowbirds,” northern residents seeking warm weather in the winter at prices less than they’d have to pay further south. Condo and cottage absentee owners liked winter income from

rentals, and in many cases the “snowbirds” have come to resemble those same middle class southerners who arrived on the beaches after World War II. Jackson notes that the presence of the snowbirds “were just one more indication of the slow and steady reinvention of the redneck Riviera, a change characterized by the emergence of more sophisticated resort communities filled with upscale second homes and high rise condominiums, along with the economic infrastructure to support and entertain owners and renters.” The building boom didn’t last, of course. Jackson notes towards the end of the book that the economic recession hit the coastal real estate market particularly hard as speculative investors quit investing and the condo market collapsed. Yet as prices fell, bargains began to pop up and real estate companies have begun to note the “return of more traditional clients,” Jackson says, perhaps signaling a return to the Redneck Riviera of old. He quotes Sheila Hodges of Meyer Real Estate in Gulf Shores who notes, “Baldwin’s coastline has always been a blue-collar vacation spot, and we’re seeing those buyers returning.”

Good reviews

Reaction to the book has been very favorable, Jackson says. “All the reviews have been good and no one’s called me up and said, ‘You sorry son of a gun.’” He’s done several booksignings in Baldwin County and even corresponded with folks who found themselves in photos in the book. He’s not particularly kind to

developers in some of the chapters, and was nervous when one came up to him at a booksigning. “But he told me, ‘you got it right on the nose!’” In the spring of 2010, Jackson was just about ready to wrap up his project, putting the finishing touches on what he thought would be the final chapter on a Supreme Court case involving renourishing the beach. But on April 20, an oil rig off the Louisiana coast exploded and sank, spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf. Jackson’s book was delayed a year, as the final chapter now had to deal with the effects of the BP spill on the region, its economy, its people and their lives. It wasn’t a chapter he wanted to write, but it had to be included as part of the evolving history of the region. But sales have gone so well that the book is in its second printing. A paperback edition is due out this spring. And it would be just fine with Harvey Jackson if, the next time he strolls down the beach on Alabama’s coast, he sees row upon row of beach chairs whose occupants have their noses stuck in his book. A The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera is available at bookstores, through the University of Georgia Press at ugapress. org, or at The book’s author, Hardy Jackson, is professor and eminent scholar in history at Jacksonville State University.

Courtesy gulf shores /orange beach tourism

Left: Winners at the Baldwin County Speckled Trout Rodeo, sponsored by the Gulf Shores Lions Club, in 1951. Center: Young girl atop a surfboard on Alabama beach, circa 1960-1970; 20 years later, high-rise condos, right, were a fixture.

14  JANUARY 2013

Alabama Living

january 2013  15


The Future of Mail Delivery in Rural America By Marilyn Jones

16  JANUARY 2013

Alabama’s first VPO opened in Lester at the Barn Feed and Seed.

t seems hard to believe that an institution such as the U.S. Postal Service would be in dire financial straits. But, just like any other business, when income is less than operating costs, something has to give. In the case of mail delivery, what “something” will the American public have to do without? According to Sandy Scott, a postal spokesperson based in Birmingham, USPS has lost much of its revenue to e-mail, electronic bill pay, online advertising, texting and instant messaging. The Postal Service processed and delivered 213 billion pieces of mail in 2006. In 2011 this total fell to 168 billion. With declines not showing any signs of slowing and the fact that an average of 2,328 delivery points are added to its delivery network every day, you have the perfect storm. “Simply put, we’re delivering less mail to more addresses,” says Scott. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. “The Postal Service ended fiscal year 2012 (October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) with a net loss of $15.9 billion, compared to a net loss of $5.1 billion for the same period last year,” she says. So what does this mean to rural customers?

The Postal Presence

One of the proposals the Postal Service has on the table to help its cash-strapped business is five-day delivery. Saturday is thought to be the best day to eliminate carrier delivery because of its lower delivery volume and the fact most businesses and households surveyed in a national Gallup Poll indicated Saturday would be the least disruptive day to eliminate mail delivery. Although the Postal Service has operated as an independent business since 1972, moving to five-day delivery is dependent on Congressional approval. “Five-day delivery will help us continue to provide affordable service to the American people,” Scott says. The  good news is although there would be fiveday delivery, post offices would remain open six days a week. Rural customers also have the advantage of rural letter carriers. They are considered a post office on wheels providing nearly every service customers can get at a post office from stamps to purchasing money orders. The Postal Service also is moving forward with a plan to keep rural post offices across the nation open by revising operating hours based on customer use. Known as Post Plan, the process is a multi-phased approach over the next two years to be completed in September 2014. Affected customers will receive surveys and be invited to meetings to discuss their options prior to being notified when their post office hours will change.

Nationwide, 4,336 post offices will be reduced to six hours a day; 6,870 post offices to four hours a day; and 1,975 post offices to two hours a day. Projected annual savings once the plan is implemented in the fall of 2014 is $.5 billion. In Alabama, there are 254 small post offices on the Post Plan list; however, this is a preliminary list that requires additional review, analysis and verification, and is subject to change. This number reflects the fact the state is ranked 23rd in total population and has a proportionate number of post offices to serve its customers. “In addition to preserving rural post offices, this is also part of the plan to return the organization to financial stability,” Scott adds. Access to the retail lobby and to post office boxes will remain unchanged, and the town’s ZIP Code and community identity will be retained. The Postal Service also continues to pursue establishing Village Post Offices (VPO) in the communities affected by these changes. VPOs are located within existing businesses — convenience stores and other local establishments — and are managed by the proprietors. By being located inside conventional businesses and other places residents already frequent, VPOs offer Postal Service customers time-saving accessibility, and in most cases, longer hours than regular post offices. VPOs offer a range of  postal  products and services — the ones most used by customers — including post office boxes and stamps sales.  In addition to maintaining a retail network of more than 31,000 post offices, the Postal Service also provides online access to postal products and services through and more than 70,000 alternate access locations such as Walmart, Staples, Office Depot, Walgreens, Sam’s Club and Costco. “Meeting the needs of postal customers is, and will always be, a top priority. We continue to balance that by better aligning service options with customer demands and reducing the cost to serve,” says Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe. “With that said, we’ve listened to our customers in rural America and we’ve heard them loud and clear — they want to keep their post office open.”

Throughout Alabama, rural residents depend on the Postal Service to deliver their letters, magazines and packages. Alabama Living

Elkmont Rural Carrier Richard Posey picks up mail from a blue collection box at the Barn Feed and Seed in Lester.

JANUARY 2013  17

Citizens volunteer to ensure good water for all By John N. Felsher


fter ending a career in the U.S. Army that took him all over the world, Dick Bronson retired as a colonel and moved to the shores of pristine Lake Martin

near Alexander City more than 30 years ago. While enjoying the outstanding recreational opportunities offered in eastern Alabama, the colonel also noted something he didn’t like – textile dye wastewater overloading a municipal wastewater treatment plant and entering the lake.

McDowell Environmental Center staffers Tyree Shelton and Lexi Hinchey get certified to test water chemistry on the banks of Clear Creek.

18  january 2013


Citizens in Blountsville learn to monitor water with Sergio Ruiz-Cordova of AWW.

“When we moved to the lake, we saw an environmental problem proach to train citizens to monitor conditions in their local waters. and tried to address it through normal channels,” Bronson recalls. Alabama has some of the best water in the country. Most of our “The plants had a permit to do what they were doing at the time, water is in relatively good shape, but unfortunately, we also have but we felt that what they were doing was not proper. We went to problems in some areas.” the city council and mayor before going to the Alabama Department Since 1992, AWW trained about 6,000 volunteers to conduct sciof Environmental Management. Several lawsuits went through the entific water quality monitoring. Coordinated by Auburn University, these volunteers across the state sample waters near their homes and court system before it was ultimately solved to our satisfaction.” A group of citizens formed Lake Watch with Bronson as presi- periodically upload data to the AWW website. dent. Eventually, the group grew to about 300 members focused on “Our goal is to have a citizen monitor on every water body in Alabama,” Deutsch says. “Almost all of the major preserving water quality in Lake Martin and lakes in the state have at least one active waassociated streams. Eventually, Lake Watch ter monitoring group. We’ve conducted more members linked up with Alabama Water than 1,500 water quality monitoring workWatch (AWW), becoming charter monitors shops and hold about 70 to 90 sessions per working to change how the plants discharged year throughout the state. Workshops are free water into the lake. and earn continuing education credit with “Alabama Water Watch was the catalyst Auburn University.” for our scientific knowledge,” Bronson says. These monitors physically and chemically “AWW was looking for a group to be trained test water several ways to determine pollution as water monitors. We became the first group Wendy Seesock trains Huntsville levels and sources. They test for the presence they trained as monitors.” citizens to do water chemistry testing. of harmful bacteria and evaluate the system Established in 1992 to improve both waPhoto courtesy of the Huntsville Times ter quality and water policy through citizen health by monitoring such biological indicamonitoring and action, AWW trains volunteers to serve as monitors tors as aquatic invertebrates while looking for long-term trends that all over Alabama. The organization also collects and disseminates may affect that lake or stream. “We promote understanding of water quality issues by teaching water quality data from state waters. Alabama contains 40 major lakes and numerous small systems. About eight percent of the sur- citizens of every background to do simple, but credible scientific face water in the 48 contiguous states runs through the more than water monitoring,” says Mona Dominguez, AWW monitor coordinator. “We currently have nearly 400 active monitors at more than 77,000 miles of Alabama streams. “Alabama Water Watch is a national model for citizen involve- 2,500 sites. Our database has more than 70,000 records that tell us ment in watershed stewardship,” says Dr. Bill Deutsch, the program Continued on Page 33 director. “We use EPA-approved plans with a community-based apAlabama Living

january 2013  19

Worth the Drive

Jimmy’s ‘New Orleans’ Style

Chef Jim Sikes

Go & Eat Jimmy’s 104 South 8th Street, Opelika 334-745-2155


Jennifer Kornegay

20  january 2013


few decades ago, unless you were from coastal Georgia or South Carolina, you’d probably never heard of shrimp and grits. Then, this once rustic, regional dish started popping up on menus in fine dining establishments, and each chef put his own twist on the traditional version. Today, restaurants of every size, shape and style have added this tasty combo to their offerings, and with “everybody doing it,” it’s now far easier to find average (or just plain bad) renditions of this dish than really good ones. What was formerly something quite special has become a bit commonplace. But not at Jimmy’s restaurant in Opelika; at Jimmy’s, shrimp and grits is delicious again. Tucked on a side street in downtown Opelika, Jimmy’s is owned by Jim Sikes, and he’s also the chef. He’s been in the food industry for years, but Jimmy’s, which opened in 2005, is his first restaurant. The Opelika native loves his hometown. “I love the small town feel here,” he says. He also appreciates his many loyal customers and shows it. “I love interacting with people; that’s my favorite part of my job. And I love to give my customers what they want, so I can make things not on the menu and accommodate food allergies or other needs.” Jimmy’s has a New Orleans theme, complete with framed Mardi Gras posters lining the walls in the intimate space and even a few purple, green and gold bead strands draped over posts at the wellstocked wooden bar. You’ll find nods to NOLA on the menu, but there are other options, too. Sikes wanted to pay homage to the Big Easy and its culinary legends, but being an Alabama boy, he kept some good ol’ deep South comfort foods in the mix as well. “It’s a nice variety,” he says. “We’ve got some things that are more upscale and

then some that are very down-home.” Meals begin with a basket of warm mini corn muffins served with butter (room temperature, so soft and spreadable) as well as a tangy tomato salsa. What follows that is up to you. At lunch, you could try the chicken and waffles; crawfish boudin; fried catfish or country fried steak with veggie sides like black-eyed peas; oyster stew; the crawfish cardinal over rice; or shrimp and grits. Dinnertime offers pasta Mardi Gras, creole cioppino, crawish etouffee, Jimmy’s Special Sirloin and, again, shrimp and grits. Pair any of these dishes with a bottle of wine from Jimmy’s extensive, Wine Spectatorawarded list. Sikes couldn’t pick a favorite dish, but his customers can and do, every day. “The gumbo is ordered a lot, but the shrimp and grits is the most popular thing we serve,” he says. And with good reason. It’s not a Cajun or creole dish, but Sikes has added a little New Orleans to the low-country classic with some creole seasoning on the shrimp and hefty chunks of spicy Andouille sausage in the sauce. In the lunch portion, six large shrimp, cooked just right, rest on a bed of cheesy grits covered in a blanket of the rich, sausage-laden sauce. The grits are creamy, but still retain some texture. A few fresh scallions add color and an additional pop of flavor. Fresh fruit on the side cuts the richness and helps stave off caloric guilt. Serving shrimp and grits is certainly not on the culinary cutting edge, but the version of this dish coming out of Jimmy’s kitchen is too good and too popular to ever lose its spot on the menu. It’s so good in fact, that it, along with the rest of Sikes’ food, earned the eatery a spot on “Opinionated About Dining’s” Top 25 Regional Restaurants list, putting it in a category with some of New Orleans’ renowned food havens like Galatoire’s and Antoine’s. A

Alabama Living

january 2013  21

Power Plants

Lucky 2013! Follow these tips to get your garden in shape for the new year By Katie Jackson

It may be the year 2013, but that doesn’t mean this can’t be a lucky year in the garden (and elsewhere), especially with a little thoughtful planning. With that in mind, here are 13 ideas to get the year off to a great start. q Begin a gardening journal. Use it to capture your 2013 gardening dreams and plans as well as keep records of what works or doesn’t work this year. q Already have a gardening journal? Sit down this month in a warm, cozy spot and read it, then use those notes and experiences to make plans in your new journal. q Clean up your act. Picking up in the garden and in your garden work and storage areas will help you get ready for the coming year and work off some of that pent-up gardening energy. q Be a bookworm. Settle in with a book or how-to manual on a gardening subject that intrigues you. Some of the best Alabamaspecific information can be found in Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) publications, many of which are free.

22  january 2013

(My current favorite that I refer to all year long is their Alabama Smart Yards publication, which can be found at q Plant something. Believe it or not, winter is a great time to plant lots of things such as dormant trees and shrubs, spring-flowering bulbs, pansies in your window boxes, kitchen herbs in pots and seeds for early spring vegetables. q Water, but wisely. Not all plants need winter watering, but newly installed landscape plants can especially benefit from a boost of moisture, especially if the fall and winter months have been dry. Guidelines for watering plants can be found at gardening centers, online and through your local ACES office. q Go back to school. This is a great month to attend gardening workshops, short courses, sign up to become a Master Gardener or join a garden club. q Stay fit. Walking, doing a few free weight curls and stretching will help you become or stay strong for the spring gardening season. q Wash windows. Clean windows let in sunshine and give you a clear view of your winter landscape, which will brighten your days—literally and figuratively. q Spoil your soil. If you haven’t already done so, get a soil test for your spring garden plots and lawn, then use the

results to amend your soil and make it super soil in 2013. q Coddle those houseplants. Keep them watered, dusted and trimmed so they will look extra beautiful now and into the coming year. q Baby the birds. Keep your bird feeders and baths filled, clean out existing birdhouses and put up new bird housing “developments” for those spring nesters. q Share yourself with others. Consider volunteering at or starting a public garden in your neighborhood or at a local school or other community facility. What better way to make 2013 a lucky year for you and those around you? A Katie Jackson, who recently retired as chief editor for the Auburn University College of Agriculture and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station is now a fulltime freelance writer and editor. Contact her at

January Gardening Tips d Start a compost heap or turn existing ones. d Service lawn mowers and other motorized lawn care equipment. d Sharpen mower blades, saws and pruning tools. d Order seeds and plants for spring gardening. d Store garden chemicals safely and securely. d Bring forsythia, jasmine and quince cuttings inside to force into early bloom.

Alabama Living

january 2013  23

Alabama Outdoors

Dogs make late season squirrel hunts exciting By John N. Felsher


inutes after leaving the truck kennel, the dogs barked excitedly several hundred yards away. We rushed to the scene to see three dogs jumping and barking frantically under a tree as a squirrel ran along a branch above them. Most squirrel hunters typically walk quietly through forests, pausing every few feet to stop, look and listen. Periodically, they sit on logs to scan trees for movement or listen to the sound of acorns dropping, branches shaking or tiny claws scratching rough bark. Squirrel hunting with dogs offers a vastly different experience. “Hunting squirrels with dogs is totally different than hunting without them,” explains Mark Beason who learned to hunt behind squirrel dogs while following his grandfather in the woods. “When hunting with dogs, it’s a matter of watching what the dog does. Hunting squirrels with dogs is more like a dove hunt, more of a social activity. Dog hunters don’t need to be quiet or still. People can go hunting with several friends, talk and enjoy a really great time. In my opinion, hunting squirrels with dogs is the best way to involve youth in the outdoors.” We followed dogs through the forests with them sniffing for squirrel scent. When they found something they liked, the dogs barked raucously. When dogs “tree” a squirrel, they excitedly jump and bark at the base of the tree where they believe the squirrel hides. “It’s amazing what dogs can smell,” says Chester Thompson, a champion squirrel dog trainer. “The dogs do the work and find the scent. People don’t need to keep quiet. They John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer and photographer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He’s written more than 1,700 articles for more than 117 magazines. He co-hosts a weekly outdoors radio show. Contact him through his website at www.

24  january 2013

Chester Thompson, a champion dog trainer, and Clayton Draime show off some squirrels Clayton shot with the help of Thompson’s dogs while hunting in southern Alabama near Mobile. Photo by John N. Felsher

just listen for the dogs to bark. Each dog has certain habitats and traits. I can tell by the bark and the wagging of its tail what the dog is smelling. From 200 yards away, I can tell if it’s barking on a cold scent or a hot scent.” Not every “alert” resulted in a squirrel in the bag. Sometimes, dogs alerted on a tree where a squirrel traveled and disappeared long before we arrived. Frequently, dogs indicated a squirrel in a tree, but we couldn’t find it. Sometimes, we knew the squirrel hid in the tree, but it gave us the slip so we moved on to other prey. Late season offers the best time to hunt squirrels with dogs. By late winter, squirrels spend considerable time on the ground foraging for fallen acorns and other morsels. That puts scent where dogs can find it. In addition, after the leaves fall, squirrels find fewer places to hide in bare branches. However, even in a tree devoid of foliage, these gray ghosts of the forest can virtually disappear with ease. Masters of camouflage, their gray to brown fur blends in easily with tree branches, bark and shadows. Frequently, they jump into holes or crouch down in tree forks or other crannies. A good pair of binoculars helps detect squirrels hiding high in a tree. Often, they circle behind branches or tree trunks to put as much wood between

themselves and the hunters as possible. “Many people think hunting squirrels with a dog should be easy, but it can be extremely challenging,” Beason says. “Squirrels are cagey animals. They camouflage well and can be hard to spot even when treed by a dog.” To start training pups, handlers begin with dogs having good bloodlines. Many dog aficionados can trace the ancestry of their animals much better than they know their own family histories. A champion squirrel dog with a good bloodline might cost several thousand dollars. “I won’t just take any dog,” Thompson says. “I try to find the best blooded dog with good intelligence. That gives the dog a good start. It’s born with the ability to hunt. Squirrel hunting is in its blood. That makes training it easier. Then, I take it into the woods and wear out a lot of shoe leather.” At about eight weeks old, Thompson exposes a pup to squirrel hides or tails. To make it follow scent, he takes a hide or a dead squirrel and drags it across the ground before putting it in a tree. Then, he watches to see if the pup follows the scent and barks at the base of the tree. “If it will bark at the hide or dead squirrel, it might become a hunter,” Thompson predicts. “Then, we take the pup hunting with a good trained dog. The pup mixes with trained dogs and the dogs actually help train each other. Sometimes, we catch a live squirrel and let the pup look at it. We let it loose in front of the dog and it gets excited.” In Alabama, squirrel season runs through Feb. 28, 2013, with a limit of eight per day. Not all public properties allow hunting with dogs. In addition, seasons and regulations may vary on some public properties, so check the law before hunting anywhere. Contact Thompson at 337309-0908 for more information. A

Alabama Living

january 2013  25

Alabama Recipes


Cook of the Month: Tammi May, Baldwin EMC Crockpot Breakfast Casserole 1 32-ounce bag frozen hash brown potatoes 1 pound bacon, diced, cooked and drained (or 1 pound ham, cubed) 1 medium onion, diced 1 green bell pepper, diced

11/2 cups cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded 1 dozen eggs 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper nonstick cooking spray

Spray bottom and sides of crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Place a layer of frozen potatoes on bottom of crockpot followed by a layer of bacon, onions, peppers and cheese. Repeat the layering process 2 or 3 more times, ending with a layer of cheese. Beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together. Pour over the crockpot mixture, cover and turn on low. Cook on low for 8 hours. Prepare before you go to bed and wake up to breakfast waiting for you!

This crockpot recipe was so incredibly simple. I swear the hardest part was dicing the bacon before frying. I put all the ingredients together in the crockpot, set it on low at around 10 p.m., and at 6 a.m. it was golden and bubbly. Very savory and tasty. In the November issue, we inadvertently left out the name of our Cook of the Month. Linda Bragwell of Franklin EC won the $50 prize with her wonderful recipe for Orange Creamsicle Cake. Don’t forget to send in those recipes for our upcoming themes below. If you follow Alabama Living on facebook, you will get a sneak peak each month at the winning Cook of the Month recipe, as well as other fun things. Happy New Year!

You could win $50!

March April May

Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are: Under 5 Ingredients Deadline: January 15 Canning Deadline: February 15 Diabetic Favorites Deadline: March 15

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

26  January 2013

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

Bird Nest Breakfast

4 slices of sourdough bread 4 fresh eggs butter

4 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper

In a large skillet heat up 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Take 4 slices of sourdough bread and place on a flat surface. Use a shot glass and press down on the center slice of bread and remove the small circle of bread. Spread butter on both sides of the bread that now has a hole in it and place them in the skillet. Crack an egg one at a time and place it into the circle of each bread slice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper across the yolk and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Kirk Vantrease, Cullman EC

Maple Steel Cut Oats

2 cups steel cut oats 9 cups water 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup chopped pecans

½ cup brown sugar ½ cup maple sugar milk butter

Combine 2 cups steel cut oats (not oatmeal), 9 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook on low in a crockpot overnight. In the morning, check for consistency, add water if needed. Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans, ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup maple syrup. Simmer an additional 15 minutes. Serve with milk and butter. Makes eight hearty servings. Janie Whelton, Baldwin EMC

Country Breakfast Quiche

2 pie shells 1 pound mild sausage 1 small – medium tomato chopped 1⁄3 cup chopped onion

8 large eggs 2½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook sausage and onions in skillet until browned and cooked through. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, tomatoes, salt and pepper together. Drain sausage, if needed, and add sausage and cheese to egg mixture. Stir or whisk gently until mixed and pour into 2 pie shells. Bake until filling is set – about 30 minutes. Lynn Potter, Franklin EC

Alabama Living

Want to see the Cook of the Month recipe before the magazine gets to your door? Become a fan of Alabama Living on Facebook.

january 2013  27

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Banana Pancakes 1½ cups uncooked quick oatmeal ¾ cup powdered milk 1½ cups water (or use 1½ cups milk instead of the powdered milk and water)

1 cup self-rising flour 2 tablespoons sugar 2 eggs ½ cup vegetable oil 2 very ripe bananas

Mix oatmeal and powdered milk. Add water and stir. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in eggs and oil. Mash bananas on a plate with a fork and add to the pancake batter. Pour ¼ cup batter per pancake into an oiled skillet on medium heat. Cook until browned on both sides. Cook’s note: I developed this recipe when I needed to use up an over-ripe banana. My husband said they about “melt in your mouth.” We have them almost every Saturday morning along with Conecuh Hickory Smoked sausage and fruit. For just the two of us, I use ½ cup oatmeal, ¼ cup powdered milk, ½ cup water, 1⁄3 cup self-rising flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 egg, and one very ripe banana. (Now I purposely let a banana get extra-ripe just for our Saturday breakfast. Once it gets to the desired ripeness, I throw it in the fridge until Saturday. It might look kind of brown on the outside, but the banana flavor just gets better.) To make it gluten and dairy free, substitute a non-dairy milk and your favorite gluten-free pancake mix for the self-rising flour. Martha Joy Troyer, Southern Pine EC

Breakfast Sausage Cups

BLT Fries

6 cups cooked hash brown potatoes, adding salt and pepper to taste 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped ½ cup chopped red onion, sauteed 7 slices bacon, crisp cooked & crumbled

2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded and divided 1 or 2 sliced tomatoes ½ cup sour cream 1½ teaspoons horseradish

1 tube biscuits (10 1 egg count) any type grated ½ pound sausage cheese (cheddar is (browned and great) drained) ½ cup evaporated milk Using un-greased muffin tin, place 1 biscuit in each cup and press lightly to fill completely with dough. Fill each cup with browned sausage. Combine milk and egg in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon over each sausage cup.Top with grated cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 and lightly butter a 9x13 baking dish. Spread half the cooked hash brown potatoes in the dish. Layer the spinach, onion, bacon and one cup of Monterey Jack. Top with remaining potatoes, cheese and the sliced tomatoes. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until slightly bubbly and cheese is melted. Mix well the sour cream and horseradish in a bowl and set aside to serve on the potatoes, if desired.

Linda Langenbahn, Baldwin EMC

Victoria Motyka, Baldwin EMC

28  January 2013

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

Around Alabama Enterprise- Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder

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

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

Alabama Living

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Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder will perform at the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center on January 17, at 7 p.m. Ricky Skaggs is a recognized master of one of America’s most demanding art forms, January 9 • Chatom, 2013 Mardi Gras 10 a.m.

6th annual parade with floats and bands. Contact: Chatom Town Hall, 251-847-2580 14 - end of March • Foley, Bee Keeping Class will meet every Monday night for 10 weeks from 6 - 8 p.m. Register at the door. Contact Roger Bemis at 251-213-0168 or email at 27 • Jackson, 25th Annual Indian Artifacts Show Jackson Community House, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. View actual stone tools used by Native Americans and sell or exhibit your own artifacts. Admission: Free Must call to reserve an exhibit table: Bimbo Kohen, 251-542-9456 26 • Pell City, Larry Marshak’s “Tribute to the Platters” at the Pell City Center, 7-9 p.m. Paying homage to the original members of the group and lead singer, Tony Williams. Tickets: Pell City Center box office, 205-338-1974 or visit Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Jan. 17

bluegrass. He has brought the genre to a greater level of popularity in the past few years and continues to lead in bringing vitality to country’s most down to earth art form. Join the Coffee County Arts Alliance with Gold Corporate Sponsor Enterprise Medical Clinic at the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center for this very special performance. Support is provided by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For information, call 334.406.2787 or visit Tickets are available at these locations: David’s Westgate Beauty Salon, 334-4061617 in Enterprise; The Framery, 334-3477800 in Enterprise; New Brockton Florist, 334894-6737 in New Brockton; Bradley Florist and Gift Shop, 334-897-3422 in Elba; Wildflowers Florist & Gifts, 334-897-3010 in Elba; The Printing Press, Inc., 334-566-4060 in Troy; MaFoosky’s Deli, 334-598-3030 in Daleville 25 • Dothan, Party for the Park Landmark Park – Stokes Activity Barn, 1-5 p.m. Whole hogs, racks of ribs and Boston butts will be prepared outside the barn. Individual tickets: $30. Tables of 8: $240. Take out racks of ribs: $25, Boston butts: $25 (take out may be pre-ordered) Admission: open to public 18 & 19 • Montgomery, “Embrace Grace: Welcome to the Forgiven Life!” Eastern Hills Baptist Church. An area-wide, nondenominational, women’s conference featuring award-winning speaker and author Liz Curtis Higgs. Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 after Dec. 31, $25 at the door (includes 3 sessions and brunch on Saturday) Information and tickets: 334-272-0604 February 8 • Orange Beach, 7th Annual Mystical Order

of Miram, Orange Beach Blvd., begins at 6:30 p.m. Family-oriented Mardi Gras parade begins at Wintzell’s and ends at Perdido Dunes Resort. Participant information contact: Tabatha Parker, 251-269-2712 or miramsparadechairman@

To place an event, 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.

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January 2013  29

12/17/12 10:36 AM

Market Place Miscellaneous HELP LINES FOR ALABAMA FAMILIES MORTGAGE BEHIND??? Call (888) 216-4173 OWE BACK TAXES??? Call (877) 633-4457 DISCOUNTED DENTAL Call (888) 696-6814 CREDIT SCORE COACH Call (888) 317-6625 NONPROFIT DEBT HELP Call (888) 779-4272 A Public Benefit Org METAL ROOFING $1.79/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT!  1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change)  706-383-8554 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA / ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct - (256)490-4025,, www. AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS – windmill parts – decorative windmills – custom built windmill towers - call Windpower (256)638-4399 or (256)638-2352 CUSTOM MACHINE QUILTING BY JOYCE – Bring me your quilt top or t-shirts. Various designs offered – (256)735-1543 KEEP POND WATER CLEAN AND FISH HEALTHY with our aeration systems and pond supplies. Windmill Electric and Fountain Aerators. Windpower (256)6384399, (256)899-3850 BOAT FLOOR & TRANSOM REPLACEMENT, fiberglass repair, gelcoat renewal, houseboat repair – Cole BoatWorks (334)318-1986 FREE BOOKS / DVDs – Soon government will enforce the “Mark” of the beast as church and state unite! Let Bible reveal. The Bible Says, POB 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771 – thebiblesaystruth@, (888)211-1715 NEW AND USED STAIR LIFT ELEVATORS – Car lifts, Scooters, Power Wheelchairs – Walk-In Tubs - Covers State of Alabama – 23 years (800)682-0658 18X21 CARPORT $695 INSTALLED – Other sizes available - (706)383-8554 DIVORCE MADE EASY – Uncontested, lost spouse, in prison or aliens. $179.00 our total fee. Call 10am to 10pm. 26 years experience – (417)443-6511

Business Opportunities START YOUR OWN BUSINESS! Mia Bella’s Gourmet Scented

30  january 2013

Products. Try the Best! Candles / Gifts / Beauty. Wonderful income potential! Enter Free Candle Drawing - www.

gaslog fireplace, deep water, covered dock - Pictures, http:// www.vacationsmithlake. com/ $75 night - (256) 352 5721,

REALISTIC HOME BUSINESSES – How to select, start and operate your home business. Over 80 businesses detailed from actual owners. Many require only a small investment. Low to high tech. Perfect gift. www.

COTTON ROW in DETROIT, AL – Quiet country get-away! 45 minutes from Tupelo, MS – (662)825-3244 LM

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

Vacation Rentals PENSACOLA BEACH CONDO – Gulf front, 7th floor balcony, 3BR / 2BA, sleeps 6, pool – (850)572-6295 or (850)968-2170 APPALACHIAN TRAIL – Cabins by the trail in the Georgia Mountains – 3000’ above sea level, snowy winters, cool summers, inexpensive rates – (800)284-6866, FT. WALTON BEACH HOUSE – 3BR / 2BA – Best buy at the Beach – (205) 566-0892, MENTONE, AL – LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN – Billiard table, Jacuzzi, spacious home, sleeps 14 – www.duskdowningheights. com, (850)766-5042, (850)661-0678.   HOUSE IN PIGEON FORGE, TN – Fully furnished, sleeps 6-12, 3 baths, creek, no pets – (256)997-6771, GULF SHORES / GATLINBURG RENTAL - Great Rates! (256)490-4025 or,

PIGEON FORGE, TN: $89 - $125, 2BR/2BA, hot tub, pool table, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)363-1973, www.

CRUISE the BAHAMAS and FLORIDA KEYS on a private 47’ Leopard Catamaran – www. – Captain James (251)401-3367 for more information

GATLINBURG / PIGEON FORGE – 2 and 3 BEDROOM LUXURY CABINS – Home theatre room, hot tub, gameroom – www., (251)363-8576

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

PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, jamesrny@graceba. net, GATLINBURG, TN – Fond memories start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (866)316-3255, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway GULF SHORES, GULF FRONT – 1BR / 1BA, free Wi-Fi, king bed, hall bunks – Seacrest Condo, Owner rates (256)352-5721,

PIGEON FORGE, TN CABINS – Peaceful, convenient setting – (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, www.

PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house for rent $75.00 a night – Call Bonnie at (256)338-1957

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

GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN / NOT A CONDO! The original “Beach House” on Ft. Morgan peninsula – 2BR/1BA – Pet Friendly, NonSmoking – $695/wk, (256)418-2131



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

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

GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@centurytel. net, (256)599-5552

GULF SHORES CONDOS – 4.7 miles from beach, starting prices $54,900 – www.PeteOnTheBeach. com, click Colony Club – (251)948-8008

GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE on BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)333-9585,

GULF SHORES COTTAGE – Waterfront, 2 / 1, pet friendly – Rates and Calendar online, (251)223-6114

PIGEON FORGE VACATION RENTAL CABINS – Cozy Cabins by Owner – (865)712-7633

Real Estate Sales

THINK SNOW! Visit one of our beautiful mountain condos in Gatlinburg. TIRED OF SNOW? Visit us in GULF SHORES or DAYTONA BEACH. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at (256)599-4438 or click on TWO GULF SHORES PLANTATION CONDOS – Excellent beach views – Owner rented (251)223-9248

Musical Notes

PIANOS TUNED, repaired, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503

Education BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 6630 West Cactus #B107-767 Glendale, Arizona 85304. http://www. FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to 23600 Alabama Highway 24, Trinity, AL, 35673 WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – Year round enrollment. Everybody homeschools. It is just a matter of what degree – (256)653-2593 or website

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

Fruits / Nuts / Berries - 1 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

How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): March 2013 Issue Deadline - January 25 April 2013 Issue Deadline - February 25 May 2013 Issue Deadline - March 25 -Ads are $1.65 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis -Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each -Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@areapower. com or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing. -We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

Alabama Living

january 2013  31

Market Place

We currently are enrolling for gout, blood pressure, COPD, type II diabetes, and low back pain with constipation studies.

Fundamental Research

(251) 967-5214

32  january 2013

cials to establish an entirely new designation called Treasured Alabama Lake. On Dec. 28, about water quality in Alabama. We encour- 2010, Gov. Bob Riley signed an executive age citizens to use their understanding of order creating the designation and declarwater data to educate other citizens, protect ing Lake Martin the first lake so designated. “We knew the lake was clean,” Bronson and restore watersheds and to advocate for says. “We just didn’t know how clean it was. changes in water policy.” Like Bronson and his group at Lake Mar- The AWW folks gave us the credibility to be tin, AWW helped others solve problems in able to speak in scientific terms and show their areas. For instance, if local monitors people how clean the lake is so we could find a bacteria problem in a city lake, they convince the authorities it’s worth protecting. might work with municipal officials to de- The Treasured Alabama Lake classification termine the source of the problem and take raises the bar for water quality standards and gives the lake more protection.” corrective action. Alabama Water Watch relies heavily “It’s not just collecting data,” Deutsch explains. “We have to interpret data to deter- upon volunteers to accomplish its mission. mine if the water quality is getting better or It also receives money from various federal, worse and why. People take the information state and private sources. However, with the we gather and use it to educate people in fiscal situation at both the state and federal levels, much of that their communities, funding evaporated restore and protect recently. Concerned water and affect state citizens can help by policy.” joining the AWW Sometimes, citiAssociation and zens use AWW data make tax-deductible not to correct a probdonations. lem, but to highlight “Our job is to tell good news. Citizens the AWW story and living near Wolf provide support for Bay on the Gulf of the program so that Mexico in Baldwin people in Alabama County wished to AWW Director Dr. Bill Deutsch understand the valupgrade their water demonstrates how to incubate E.coli quality classification. samples to a group of visiting Haitians. ue that AWW has to the future of the Volunteers with the Wolf Bay Watershed Watch successfully used state,” explains Michael Kensler, the associaAWW data to convince state authorities to tion president. “Water is an irreplaceable reupgrade the bay to Outstanding Alabama source. AWW provides a service to the state Water status, the highest classification level. that no one else does to help people under“Getting the classification upgraded to stand what’s going on with water resources Outstanding Alabama Water provides the in Alabama.” The association currently lists about 200 bay with extra protection against new sources of pollution and helps promote the area members. People can join for as little as $25 a year. For more details on how to join, visit for tourism,” Dominguez explains. Similarly, Bronson’s group wanted to up- grade Lake Martin. When they determined For more information on Alabama Water that the OAW classification rules did not ap- Watch, call 888-844-4785 or 334-844-9323. ply to reservoirs, they convinced state offi- Online, see

Continued from Page 19

Citizens come from all over the state to participate in a Stream Bioassessment workshop on Saugahatchee Creek in Loachapoka.

Water Use Classifications The Alabama Department of Environmental Management classifies waterways into seven Water Use Classifications. 1. Outstanding Alabama Water: The highest classification for waters with exceptional recreational or ecological significance. 2. Public Water Supply: Can be used for drinking water or food processing if treated and filtered. 3. Swimming and Other Whole Body Water-Contact Sports: Safe for swimming and other recreation. 4. Shellfish Harvesting: Safe for people to gather shellfish and crustaceans to eat. 5. Fish and Wildlife: Adequate to support fish, aquatic life and wildlife. 6. Limited Warmwater Fishery: Can be used for agricultural irrigation, livestock watering and industrial cooling. 7. Agricultural and Industrial Water Supply: Best used for agricultural irrigation, livestock watering and industrial cooling. A new designation, Treasured Alabama Lake, pertains to lakes that meet exceptional standards for cleanliness, water quality and nutrient enrichment. Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n o n water classifications, see www. general_faqs.html/title/what-arethe-different-alabama-water-useclassifications. january 2013  33

Our Sources Say

How Smart Are We?


re Americans the smartest people in the world? Just look at all we produce. Didn’t we invent the computer, telephone, television, light bulb, airplane and so many other things critical to society? Didn’t Al Gore invent the Internet? Doesn’t that mean we are smarter than other people in the world? PowerSouth makes a substantial investment in developing jobs in the communities our distribution members serve. We are deeply involved with the Alabama and Florida economic development communities, investing in efforts to provide a better quality of life for the people we serve. When asked, “What is the most important element of economic development?” my answer is always and emphatically, “A quality education.” Without an understanding of fundamental subjects, knowledge of how the world works, outstanding technical skills and a grasp of business concepts, people will not be successful, cannot compete in a global economy, and will fall short of obtaining the lifestyles they want for themselves and their families. Just how smart are we? The Program for International Student Assessment finds that America’s top suburban schools are in the middle of the global pack. American 15-year-olds with at least

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative 36  JANUARY 2013

one parent with a college education are 42 percent proficient at math, compared to 75 percent in Shanghai and 50 percent in Canada. The Global Report Card finds that American suburban schools do not perform nearly as well as those in Finland and Singapore. Worse, American urban and rural schools perform much more poorly than suburban schools. If you are reading this article, it is very likely the children in your community fall far short in education compared to many other countries. In fact, the Southern Education Foundation finds that many school systems in rural Alabama graduate less than half the students who start in kindergarten. If true, that record is as disturbing as it is embarrassing. Our adult education record is equally poor, with the percentage of American adults with college degrees ranking 14th out of 29 countries surveyed. Russia, Korea, France, Norway and others rank higher in the percentage of adults holding college degrees than the U.S. A large number of college degrees held by Americans are in the softer areas like business management and not in the technical or production sciences. If studies are correct, American schools are failing students and communities. We are falling behind other countries in preparing our young people for a successful future. Our youth are not receiving the education and experience necessary to find and hold the types of jobs that will support a family in an information-based economy. This is certainly the case in the rural South as low-

end, labor-intensive jobs disappear. We have done a poor job of educating our children in the rural South. It is easy to push blame onto school administrators and teachers, and some of the blame should fall there. However, there is plenty of blame to lay at the feet of politicians who do not provide public support or funding for education; businessmen like me who are not forward-thinking enough to provide infrastructure for education to create good employees for the future; and parents who leave the critical job of educating their children to others. But our greatest shortcoming is apathy about education. Most of us don’t think about education often, and when we do, we don’t care very much about it. We don’t think it is important to us. If we don’t get serious about education soon, our communities, states and country will fall behind in the contest of global competition. Our jobs will be exported, our lifestyles will decline and our communities will die. What can be done? First, define what a quality education truly is. Don’t take my word or an education official’s word for it. Find out what other states and countries are doing in education. Second, become involved in education in your community and insist that our children have the same opportunities as the children in suburban areas and other countries to obtain a quality education. Third, care about the education and future of our youth. It is the only chance they have. Thank you for reading. I hope you have a good month. A

Our Sources Say

Reflecting on 2012: Successes and Challenges As we close out the year 2012, a quick look back reveals numerous challenges to TVA and the entire industry along with many successes.

Waymon Pace is general manager, customer service of the Tennessee Valley Authority in Alabama. 36  JANUARY 2013


VA made progress in fiscal year 2012 in our vision to be a national leader in low-cost and cleaner energy despite lower sales and revenue impacted by mild weather and a slow economy. With lower than planned sales and revenues in the first half of 2012 due to the unusually mild winter, TVA took actions that improved cost efficiencies throughout the organization, allowing us to conserve cash and remain financially solid in 2012. A significant portion of these savings, identified through the dedication and support of employees, are expected to be sustainable and will benefit TVA in future years. TVA’s service region, which covers most of Tennessee and parts of six surrounding states, experienced 22 percent fewer heating degree days than normal last winter during the first half of 2012. Sales increased in the second half of 2012 due to warmer than normal weather, but not enough to offset the decline during the first two quarters. Electricity sales were down one percent in 2012 compared with the previous year. Sales to local power companies, which made up 80 percent of TVA’s overall sales, were down four percent. Even with the financial and operational challenges during 2012, TVA moved closer to reaching our vision by remaining focused on delivering cleaner, low-cost power to our customers. TVA’s commitment to the vision of low rates, high reliability and responsibility will be met as we continue to build a more balanced energy generation portfolio. In the past TVA has relied more heavily on coal.  TVA’s future generation mix will be more evenly dispatched through natural gas, nuclear and coal, with hydroelectric and other renewable sources mak-

ing up the balance. TVA added more natural gas to its system in 2012 with the newly constructed John Sevier Combined Cycle Gas Plant. TVA also continued construction on Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 2, which is expected to be completed in late 2015, adding more nuclear generation to its portfolio. TVA’s goal is to provide affordable rates for customers, even during challenging years.  Low rates help keep jobs and promote economic growth in the Tennessee Valley, which benefit both TVA and our customers. Our overall rates did improve in 2012, but we still have work to do to attain our goal of being the most economical among our peers. TVA adopted a fiscal 2013 budget with no rate increase. 2012 also saw the retirement of President and CEO Tom Kilgore. Bill Johnson was selected to replace him. Johnson was chairman, president and CEO of Progress Energy Inc., an electric utility based in Raleigh, N.C., from Oct. 2007 to July 2012. He was with Progress Energy in a number of roles since 1992, including president and chief operating officer of Progress Energy; group president for Energy Delivery, president and chief executive officer for Progress Energy Service Company LLC, and general counsel and secretary for Progress Energy Inc. He was instrumental in the merger between Progress and Duke Energy. Also, effective Jan. 1, 2013, Kevin Chandler will assume the position of general manager of TVA Alabama District Customer Service, as I plan to retire at the end of March.  It has been a pleasure working with the cooperatives.  North Alabama is fortunate to have such fine people working at the local electric cooperatives providing services in your communities. A

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Alabama Living

january 2013  37

Alabama Snapshots 1 2

5 3 7


Making my favorite recipe Submit Your Images! march Theme:

“My old motorcycle”

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

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

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1. Harry Gerbige and mother Lucille, ago 90, make fried apple pies submitted by Harry Gerbige, Woodville 2. Gabriel McLemore “tests” his cupcake recipe submitted by Chad McLemore, Decatur 3. “Nana” Betty Cook and granddaughters Kayla and Erica Williams bake Christmas cookies submitted by “Papa” Don Cook, Foley

4. Hallie Caroline Bennett makes biscuits from scratch submitted by Brooks and Whitney Bennett of Slocomb 5. L u c i l l e B a l l m a k e s banana pudding for her grandchildren submitted by Becky Garrison, Danville

Southern Occasions Make someone’s New Year special!

COOKBOOK Winter Warm-Up 1 pound ham shanks 4 bunches collard greens, rinsed, trimmed and chopped 4 pepperoncini 1 15-oz jar of roasted peppers, cut into strips

½ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 pinch ground black pepper to taste 2 cloves garlic 1 cinnamon stick

Fill a large pot about half-full with water. Place the ham shanks into the water, and as many of the greens as you can fit. Bring to a gentle boil. As soon as the greens begin wilting, start transferring the greens to a slow cooker. Alternate layers of greens with the ham shanks and roasted red peppers until the slow cooker is full. Top with pepperoncini. Stir in the baking soda, olive oil, pepper, garlic cloves and cinnamon stick. Cover and bring to a boil on high. Reduce heat to low and cook for 8 to 10 hours. Remove cinnamon stick before serving.

Here’s just a sample of the delicious recipes you’ll find inside!

Anjanette Fluharty, Joe Wheeler EMC

Southern Occasions


Alabama Living Statewide January 2013