Page 1


Wiregrass Electric Cooperative

Staying Safe

WEC visits elementary schools to help kids learn the basics of electrical safety

Covers_TOC_Template.indd 43

3/14/13 4:10 PM

Vol. 66 No.4 APRIL 2013



Michael McWaters Co-Op Editor

Cary Hatcher 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.

6 Electricity 101

Electricity is all around us, making much of our modern lives possible. Wiregrass Electric is beginning a new series on the basics of electricity and the work it takes to help keep the lights on.

Alabama Rural Electric Association

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

12 Time for a road trip!

Now that spring is here, it’s time to explore the dozens of sites that make our state unique. Check out a road trip this weekend with the Tourism Department’s easy guide.

22 More than fishing



USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

Covers_TOC_Template.indd 44

Spotlight 10 Power Pack 30 Alabama Gardens 36 Worth the Drive 32 Alabama Outdoors 33 Fish&Game Forecast 34 Cook of the Month 40 Consumer Wise 46 Alabama Snapshots 9

National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181

Alabama Living

Photo by Cherokee Spivey

The 6,000-acre majestic Lake Guntersville State Park is the perfect getaway to unjangle your nerves in peace and quiet.

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

Printed in America from American materials


Jason Thrash, system engineer at WEC, helped lead demonstrations to teach children how to stay safe around electricity (Page 42).

Rebecca Waters was one of the WEC volunteers who helped build and repair homes across the service area on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (See Page 42).

APRIL 2013  3

3/14/13 4:10 PM

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative

CEO’s Comments

Hard work, noble work

Board of Trustees

Michael S. McWaters

CEO of Wiregrass Electric Cooperative Kip Justice District 6 President

Danny McNeil District 4 Vice President

Debra E. Baxley District 1 Secretary

Donna Parrish District 2

John Clark, Jr. District 3

Tracy Reeder District 5

Donald Ray Wilks District 7

Greg McCullough District 8

Nolan Laird District 9

4  APRIL 2013

12-455-April WEC Alabama Living.indd 4


ave you ever seen the show “Dirty Jobs” on Discovery Channel? Host Mike Rowe celebrates the people who do the difficult, dirty work that helps our society function. His website ( takes a closer look at the value of work, and includes information on his foundation that raises money to support the trades. The reason, he says, is that for decades we have “told an entire generation that Trade Schools and skilled labor are ‘alternatives’ to ‘higher education.’ That attitude is warping expectations, wrecking opportunity and destroying our country.” Rowe makes some great points. Have you ever heard someone say to a teenager “you better get a good education so you won’t have to work hard all your life.” I agree that education is vitally important — but so is a healthy appreciation of hard work. In fact, all we have to do is take a look at our linemen to see what Rowe means when he talks about the importance of skilled tradesmen. In this issue you will read the beginning of a series of articles we are launching that will examine how electricity works. By the end of this series you will come away with at least one conclusion: the process of going from a raw energy source, such as coal, to the lights working in your home is extremely complicated. And it would not work without the folks we collectively refer to as linemen. I know there are plenty of hazardous jobs out there, but can you really think of one that is more hazardous than being a lineman? Even when conditions are perfect, they go up in bucket trucks — and sometimes climb poles — to work high off the ground. They work in close contact with voltage that is powerful enough to critically injure or kill a person. And very often their work finds them on the right-of-way with traffic speeding by just a few feet away (roadway crashes are the lead-

ing cause of occupational fatalities in the U.S.). That is during normal working conditions. Now think about how the hazards are compounded when this work is being done at night, in the bitter cold of winter, in the blazing heat of summer and in the aftermath of storms when there are downed trees and debris all around. Of course, there are many precautions in place to take much of the danger out of these hazardous working conditions. Linemen have belts and other restraints to keep them from falling in case of a slip or other accident. They have equipment and clothing that allow them to work safely while in close proximity to high-voltage lines. And we have a “move over” law in the state of Alabama that requires motorists to move over and slow down when approaching utility workers on the roadside. These efforts mitigate the dangers, but they do not remove the hazards. In the end, being a lineman is hard work, plain and simple — but it’s work that is absolutely vital to our way of life. To realize just how important their work is, all you have to do is think for a minute about everything that would come to a stop if the power distribution system no longer worked. I’d like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to our linemen. They do great work, noble work. The service they provide to our communities helps us all enjoy the quality of life we desire. And to you, the reader, I would like to say two things: 1. The next time you see a lineman, thank him for his service. 2. If you’re a young person looking for a career, take a close look at this trade. It’s work that will allow you to support your family while providing a vital service to your community. A

3/15/13 12:17 PM

Your  Cooperative Contact Information

Time to apply for the Alabama Cooperative Youth Conference Students in the 9th or 10th grade have an opportunity to experience a fun summer conference where they will learn about leadership and how cooperatives shape our lives. Each summer, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative sponsors the Alabama Cooperative Yo u t h C o n f e r e n c e i n partnership with other rural electric cooperatives, the Federal Land Bank, the Dairy Farmers of America, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Auburn University.

This three-day conference on July 9-11 gives youth the opportunity to study and understand our economic system and the important role cooperatives play in it. The conference also offers numerous opportunities for youth leadership development. Students learn about the cooperative way of doing business. They attend sp ecial s essions emphasizing citizenship, leadership and possible future careers, with various businesses participating in the conference. Many

recreational activities are available to attending students, including swimming, boating, table tennis, basketball, rock climbing and indoor games. May 15 is the deadline to apply for the conference. WEC will select several students and pay all of their expenses for the conference, based on the students’ interest in leadership, business, economics and/or agriculture. To apply, contact Cary Hatcher, manager of member relations, at 334944-7115, or chatcher@ A

WEC makes outage reporting easy The sooner Wiregrass Electric Cooperative knows about an outage, the faster we can dispatch crews. The faster crews can be sent out, the faster the lights can be turned back on. In order to speed up the reporting process, WEC provides an Interactive Voice Response system for members to call in outages. The easiest way to ensure quick and easy reporting is to be sure your telephone information is up-todate. If your phone number is registered in the system, the reporting program will use caller ID to identify your address and get the trucks rolling your way. If your number is not registered, you may have to enter more information including an address and your member number. When the lights are out, you don’t want to be looking for your last bill to find your member number! To update your phone information, call 800-239-4602. A

Alabama Living

12-455-April WEC Alabama Living.indd 5

When you experience an outage, here's what to do:

1 2

3 4

Dial 888-4-MY-OUTAGE (888-4696882.) Have your account information ready. You will need either your member number or the telephone number associated with your account in order to report the outage. After entering your information, you will be asked to confirm your address. The information will be sent immediately to the cooperative’s 24/7 outage center so they can address the problem.

Business Phone: 1-800-239-4602 (24 hrs/day) Office: Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Samson closed 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.) Toll Free Outage “Hotline” 1-888-4-MY-OUTAGE 1-888-469-6882 (24 hrs/day) Website Find Wiregrass Electric Co-op on Twitter ( and on Facebook

Payment Options BY MAIL Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, Inc. Department 1340, P.O. Box 2153 Birmingham, AL 35287-1340 WEBSITE Payments may be made 24 hrs/day by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and E-Check on our website at PHONE PAYMENTS Payments may be made any time by dialing 800-239-4602. NIGHT DEPOSITORY Available at each office location. IN PERSON Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Hartford 509 N. State Hwy. 167 Hartford, AL 36344 Samson 13148 W. State Hwy. 52 Samson, AL 36477 Closed from 12 p.m - 1 p.m. Ashford 1066 Ashford Highway, Ashford, AL 36312 Dothan 6167 Fortner St. Dothan, AL 36305 For questions regarding sanitation service, call Houston County Sanitation Department at 334-677-4705.

APRIL 2013  5

3/15/13 12:17 PM

The modern miracle of

A new series from Wiregrass Electric When you woke up this morning, you probably heard an alarm clock’s buzz, stumbled out of bed to flip on the lights and set about your day. Maybe you used a toaster to make breakfast, an iron to get your clothes ready and checked the weather on your computer, TV or smartphone. At every step, there was an invisible force powering your morning: electric current. The presence of electricity makes our modern lives possible, and we rarely think about it. When we do stop to think about it, it’s usually as we pay our bill or, sometimes, when the power goes out. Electricity is a modern marvel, fundamental to almost everything we do. Yet it is often only vaguely understood. As humorist Dave Barry says: “We believe that electricity exists, because the electric company keeps sending us bills for it, but we cannot figure out how it travels.” It takes a lot of people With this article, we begin a series that will tell the story of electricity. We will talk about the mechanics of taking a lump of coal, a stream of water or an atom of uranium and transforming it into the power that lets you check your email. “Mostly, the story of electricity is about people,” says Brad Kimbro, director of member services at WEC. “It’s a story about cooperatives like WEC, and about communities coming together across the rural South to make a better life for themselves.” Wiregrass Electric Cooperative’s role is to distribute electricity to homes and businesses across our ser vice area. This story also includes the company that makes electricity — PowerSouth, our wholesale power partner. “We purchase our electricity from PowerS out h,” s ays Kimbro, “and in turn Substations like this one reduce the we send it to our voltage of electricity coming in so that members.” it’s low enough to enter homes and The story of businesses. 6  APRIL 2013

12-455-April WEC Alabama Living.indd 6

photos by Cherokee Spivey


Linemen, engineers and many others spend their days making sure that the electric system we rely on is there when we need it.

electricity involves a lot of people who wake up in the middle of the night to work when their neighbor’s power lines are down. Linemen, right-of-way workers and others help keep the power on 99.98 percent of the time. The infrastructure that supports electricity is designed by engineers and others who spend their time figuring out new ways to bring better electric service to their communities. Member service representatives, accountants, IT workers and more all come together every day to help make sure that when you flip a switch, the lights come on. The basics - What is electricity? We have all heard that Ben Franklin once tied a key to a kite and flew it in a lightning storm in order to observe electric current. Centuries before that, the ancient Greeks were describing the mysteries of static electricity. Now, school children learn the basics of charges and positive and negative poles along with adding and subtracting. The simple way to think of electricity is by first imagining an old gristmill with a waterwheel attached to it. These mills used to be found in many rural communities. The idea was simple: the passing water turned the waterwheel, which slowly spun the millstones. Those stones ground up the grain into meal. Today, the current that powers our lives is not water current, but electric current. Electric current is a flow of electrons, which are negatively charged parts of atoms. Electricity flows, not through a river bed, but through

3/15/13 12:17 PM

Electricity Matters

conductors such as copper wires. Learning the lingo We use the word “amps” to describe how fast electricity is flowing. The curling iron in your house uses less than a single amp, or a small trickle of electricity. Your air conditioner, on the other hand, uses 13 amps. If we needed to move water from one place to another, Like substations, transformers reduce electric current even we could use a pump. If further before it enters your electricity is going to flow home. around a circuit, it also must have a pump, such as a battery. We measure how strong that battery is, or how much electricity it can move, in “volts.” The AA battery in your TV remote is a 1.5 volt pump. It takes a 12-volt pump to start your car. The powerlines that WEC linemen work on regularly carry many times that amount. Next month, we’ll talk about how electricity is generated and what it takes to bring electric service from large power plants to your home. A

AC/DC - What’s the difference? For years, two ideas competed about how we should distribute electricity in what is today known as “The War of the Currents.” In Direct Current, or “DC,” electrons flow only in one direction. This system was championed by Thomas Edison. DC electricity is more efficient and safer to work with. However, it can only be transmitted a few miles. That means a DC power plant would have to be in your neighborhood in order to light up your home. Today, this is the electricity produced by batteries, generators and fuel cells. To send electricity over longer distances, the Alternating Current, or “AC,” system was adopted. In this system, electrons frequently reverse their flow. While more dangerous, AC electricity has allowed us all to have electricity in our homes.

One free, easy call gets your utility lines marked AND helps protect you from injury and expense. Safe Digging is No Accident! Always Call 811 Before You Dig. Know what’s below. Always call 811 before you dig. Visit for more information.

Alabama Living

12-455-April WEC Alabama Living.indd 7

APRIL 2013  7

3/15/13 12:17 PM

5 big energy myths The United States produces about 2 billion barrels of oil annually. THE UNITED STATES IS FACING This ranks us 3rd behind Russia and Saudi Arabia. AN ENERGY CRISIS The US has At least 300 trillion cubic feet of proved natural gas reserves. At current consumption, lowest estimate represents 100 years.

the United States has 259 billion short tons of recoverable coal. We have about a quarter of the world’s coal.



Emissions and Asthma 30 25 20 15 10 5 0


NO2 reduced by 52% • SO2 reduced by 83% • ozone reduced by 27% yet...asthma cases increased by 261%

CO2 Change 1992-2010

China India Iran

+240% +157% +139%

THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT HAS THE ANSWERS TO OUR ENERGY FUTURE sierra club: Opposes the addition of environmental controls at 2 Wyoming coal-fired plants; Intervened to delay an IGCC plant in Kemper County, MS, that will be cleaner than a natural gas plant; Took $26 million from Chesapeake Energy, before deciding to oppose natural gas in principle; opposes the licensing, construction and operation of new nuclear reactors utilizing the fission process

12-455-April WEC Alabama Living.indd 8

NO2 SO2 Asthma Ozone




nuclear hydro




Current Energy Mix Source: Partnership for Clean affordable energy (pace)

3/15/13 12:17 PM

Spot Light

In April more information, contact The Riley Center at 256-882-2457, or email The Riley Center is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization whose mission is to provide comprehensive services using a multidisciplinary approach to fulfill the urgent need for earlier diagnosis and treatment for children and their families faced with autism. april 20

Wetumpka’s Craterfest aims for high turnout The Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce will host Craterfest, a large-scale music festival on April 20. Tri-State BBQ Festival competitors prepare their barbecue for judging.

April 12 and 13

Tri-State BBQ Festival draws competitors Clouds of sweet hickory-tainted smoke will again descend April 12 and 13 on Dothan at the Houston County Farm Center for the 8th annual Tri-State BBQ Festival, as teams from around the southeast gather to compete. Last year, teams competed for more than $10,000 in prize money, trophies and bragging rights. Professional and backyard competition teams are urged to register early to guarantee a spot in the competition that was featured last year on the TV show, “BBQ Pitmasters.” The event also offers regional and local music, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities and more. Team entry forms and additional information can be found at, or by calling The Main Event at 334-699-1475.

“Wetumpka Craterfest will replace the former Riverfest (organized by the chamber) with a stronger focus on attracting tourism to the area, while maintaining the community aspect with a children’s area and offering the event at no cost with the help of sponsorships from community businesses,” says Vanessa Lynch, chamber executive director. Keith Anderson, a country music recording artist, will be the headline act at the festival, sponsored by Creek Casino Wetumpka. Anderson is best known for his Billboard chart topping hit song, “Picking Wildflowers.” Visit the chamber’s website at for more information. april 20


Huntsville auction benefits autism education, treatment The Riley Behavioral and Educational Center will host its 6th Annual Gala and Auction for Autism from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at the Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville. Cost is $75 per person and $150 per couple. For Alabama Living

State book festival centers on food theme The Alabama Book Festival will be Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., in Kiwanis Park at Old Alabama Town in Montgomery. The theme this year is food, in recognition of the Year of Alabama Food as designated by the Alabama Tourism Department. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.

April 2013  9

Power Pack

Women: Learn about Social Security By Kylle’ McKinney

The Social Security program treats all workers — men and women — exactly the same in terms of the benefits they can receive. But women may want to familiarize themselves with what the program means to them in their particular circumstances. Understanding the benefits may mean the difference between living more comfortably versus just getting by in retirement. One of the most significant things women need to remember about Social Security is the importance of promptly reporting a name change. If you haven’t told us of a name change, your W-2 may not match the information in Social Security’s records and this could affect the amount of your future benefits. Not changing your name with Social Security also can delay your federal income tax refund. To report a name change, please fill out an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5). You can get the form by visiting www.socialsecurity. gov, or any Social Security office or

card center, or by calling Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You must show us certain identity McKinney documents, including one recently issued to prove your legal name change. If expanding your family is in your plans, it’s a good idea to apply for a Social Security number for your baby in the hospital, at the same time that you apply for your baby’s birth certificate. Social Security will mail the card to you. If you wait, you must then separately provide evidence of your child’s age, identity, and U.S. citizenship status, as well as proof of your identity. Then, we must verify your child’s birth record, which can add 12 weeks to the time it takes to issue a card. When women start receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, other family members may be eligible for payments as well. For

Time to register for 2013 Masters Games Plans are under way for the 2013 Masters Games of Alabama, which provides games and social, mental and physical activities for active adults age 50 and older. A cooperative effort of parks and recreation professionals and the Alabama Aging Network, the Masters Games were developed in Oxford in 1990 to provide seniors an opportunity to maintain an active lifestyle by participating in a variety of Olympic-style events. Between 600 and 800 persons participate statewide in such activities as basketball free throw, dominoes, checkers, quilting, line dancing, corn hole toss, horseshoes, softball throw, swimming, frisbee, shuffleboard, pickleball, table tennis, billiards and bowling. District Games 10  April 2013

The Masters Games features diverse areas of competition from checkers to table tennis.

are held in May, June, July and August in each of the program’s nine districts. Deadline for registration is May 31. Contact information for each of the districts is available at http://www.

example, benefits can be paid to a husband: If he is age 62 or older; or At any age, if he is caring for your child (the child must be younger than 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits on your record). Benefits also can be paid to unmarried children if they are: Younger than age 18; between 18 and 19 years old, but in elementary or secondary school as full-time students; or age 18 or older and severely disabled (the disability must have started before age 22). The family of a woman who dies may be eligible for survivors benefits based on her work. For more information about women and Social Security, ask for the publication, What Every Woman Should Know (SSA Publication No. 05-10127) or visit our special Women’s page online at Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or by e-mail at

Musician publishes memoir

Music producer Don Davis, a native of Calvert, Ala., has written a book on his history in the music industry. Titled “Nashville Steeler: My Life in Country Music,” Davis recalls his years working with the likes of Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. He produced hits for many artists and recorded his own music in the 1940s. The book contains photos of many members of the Carter family, including Anita Carter, Davis’ former wife. It is filled with anecdotes about country music and music-producing legends. Davis’ book is available for purchase online at and in other retail bookstores.

Hangout music festival draws big acts By Lindsay Mott

The Fourth Annual Hangout Music Festival takes the atmosphere of a typical music festival, places it in the breathtaking setting of the white, sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, and mixes in a little Gulf Coast flavor, art and seafood. The festival takes approximately 60 musical acts and places them on multiple stages in the festival grounds. Some are on the beach around the Hangout and some are in the area the festival closes off on Beach Boulevard. Music is planned throughout each day, along with art exhibits, vendors, food, treats, games, activities, rides Attendees of this year’s Hangout Music Festival can watch headliners Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kings of Leon and Stevie Wonder perform. and more. This year’s festival will be May 17, 18 and 19, at the Hangout and seafood from the Gulf.” He said this was a big success last surrounding area. year, and they are working to offer it again. Music is the main focus of the festival, and organizers Since the inception of the event in 2010, festival organizmake sure they cover a wide variety of genres and band ers have added an extra stage and increased the number of types, which is the goal of a festival of this sort, according to acts from 50 to 60. The second year, they increased the area Shaul Zislin, owner of the Hangout. of the festival, taking over the beach road instead of just “That’s what makes music festivals appealing,” he says. the beach itself. They’ve kept the number of tickets at right And this year is no different. Festival organizers have about 35,000 each year, with a sell-out crowd last year. chosen bands that fall into a multitude of categories, includThe festival is a great draw for bringing people to the area. ing rock, alternative, blues, reggae, and others. This includes Zislin says they have testimony from area businesses about main acts like headliners Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “how great of an impact” the festival has on their business. and Kings of Leon. The third headliner, Stevie Wonder, was For festival organizers the Hangout Music Festival is all recently announced. Other acts include the Black Crowes, about the experience, and the experience here is different the Roots, Galactic and many more. In the past, they’ve had from any other music festival. such A-list bands as the Alabama Shakes, Foo Fighters, Red “This is really what I call the easy music festival if you’re a Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White and Dave Matthews. music lover but not ready to rough it out,” Zislin says. “This “We don’t want to divert from that,” Zislin said. “We want is the best opportunity in the world to experience one of to create a world-class event with world-class talent, and we these things.” want to make sure that our fans know year after year we’ll Many festivals require attendees to camp out, but the setdeliver that caliber of talent.” ting of the Hangout provides condos, hot showers, shopThis year, the main change will be an “emerging artists” ping, other tourist activities, great seafood and more. stage instead of the kids’ stage they’ve had previously. Based Zislin is proud of the event, which he says brings the right on surveys, they know attendees are looking to see a spot talent and offers the right experience. He says it is well-profor more emerging bands. duced and a great way to start the summer. Art is again being displayed as part of the festival. The “The whole state can take pride in it,” he says. festival tends to partner with a local art group, which is still Parking in the area is an issue, so those not staying on the being finalized. This art will be displayed throughout the beach will have the option of buying a pass for a shuttle that festival grounds, along with a display of posters for the art- will pick up at various locations. A map is available online. ists performing. Tickets for the festival are currently on sale, including speFood is also a big part of the event, including many local cial VIP packages and payments plans, and they are conrestaurants offering food of all kinds. Zislin said they are tinuing to make big announcements regarding the festival looking to again partner with Alabama Gulf Seafood, which and adding new acts. See all information at hangoutmuwill allow them to feature regional chefs and “the beautiful Alabama Living

April 2013  11

Time for a road trip! J

ust in time for spring travel, the Alabama Tourism Department has expanded its list of featured road trips, part of a three-year campaign focusing on itineraries that anyone can take over one, two or three days in our state, depending on where you live. “There’s something for everyone,” says Tourism Director Lee Sentell, whose staff has made it easy to plan: You can view the entire list of road trips and get details about each trip at the official site: www. To get you started, here’s a look at two of the excursions you can take this weekend, or plan for any season. Alabama Living will continue to feature selected road trips in future issues throughout the year.

The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places. Alabama Tourism Department

Road Trip No. 4: Selma to Montgomery: Crossing a Bridge into History The Edmund Pettus Bridge, spanning the Alabama River in Selma, has become one of the most iconic symbols of the modern struggle for civil and voting rights in America. It is also a focal point for the 54mile route now memorialized as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. Begin the Trail in Selma and you can go back in time nearly 50 years and become an eyewitness to history by visiting the Selma Interpretive Center and National Voting Rights Museum to hear the stories behind the historic 1965 voting rights marches. The main gallery of the museum features the Footprints Hall of Fame with footprints of voting rights marchers forming a continuous theme. Other exhibits include a voting booth and a jail cell. 12  April 2013

Crossing the famous bridge, you can follow in the path of foot soldiers along U.S. Hwy. 80 to a place called “Tent City” in Lowndes County. From there, you can continue to Montgomery, stopping at the City of St. Jude, the Rosa Parks Museum and other sites before arriving at the Alabama State Capitol. At the base of the Capitol steps Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. rallied a crowd of more 25,000 with his “How Long…Not Long” speech on March 25, 1965 and laid the demands of black Alabamians at the doorstep of Gov. George C. Wallace, the most powerful political figure in state government at the time. When planning your visit to the Trail, Tourism officials recommend allowing sufficient time to stop and see the sites, cross the bridge, and learn more about the century-long struggle for civil and voting rights that ultimately led to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee, which attracts thousands of visitors from around the world, was hosted in March by the National Voting Rights Museum, a commemoration of the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and the Selma to Montgomery marches, as well as a celebration of the right to vote. Along U.S. Highway 80 to Montgomery are several Trail markers, including one that marks the spot where Viola Liuzzo, a white woman from Michigan, was killed. Luizzo was one of the people transporting marchers from Montgomery to Selma after a rally at the State Capitol on March 25, 1965. Accompanied by a young African-American man, she had returned to Selma, dropped off her passengers and was returning to Montgomery to pick up more marchers when she was spotted by the Ku Klux Klan. Liuzzo was pursued at high speed until she was shot and killed. Entering Montgomery, continue to follow the Trail signs to historic sites such as the City of St. Jude, just off I-65 on West Fairview Avenue. Voting rights marchers camped here and held a “Stars for Freedom” rally on the St. Jude campus before their arrival at the Capitol. In downtown Montgomery is the Rosa Parks Museum & Library and Children’s Wing, located on the very site where Parks

was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat to white passengers on a city bus. A block away is the Freedom Rides Museum at the historic Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station and at the top of Dexter Avenue is the Alabama State Capitol where the final and successful Selma to Montgomery march ended. Just west of the Capitol is Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the only church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor. A block behind the church is the Civil Rights Memorial Center, which honors the 40 martyrs who died during the civil rights struggles between 1954 and 1968.

Road Trip No. 9: Gulf Coast Birding: Fort Morgan, Dauphin Island, Theodore A few hundred miles south, Alabama’s Gulf Coast is a stopover point for birds as they return from Central to North America in the spring. The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail spans Baldwin and Mobile counties and is a bird watcher’s paradise. You can watch pelicans fly in formation as they prepare to nose dive into the Gulf of Mexico for the catch of the day, or see great blue herons sail across Mobile Bay and watch a breathtaking sunset. The trail winds through more than 50 birding sites and is enhanced by directional and interpretive signage. Loops are close enough that you can easily drive from one to the other. Start your birding trip in Fort Morgan at the historic Civil War site where for two weeks each spring and fall bird watchers can enjoy the banding season. You’ll be able to see a variety of birds at this banding station, including hummingbirds. Each October, local birders host the Alabama Coastal BirdFest. The event includes workshops, demonstrations, and guided bird tours. Participants can sign up for guided or unguided trips to explore some of the best birding spots on the coast. You can also shop for bird-related merchandise. On your way to Fort Morgan, stop and visit the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge located off Fort Morgan Road. The ref-

From beaches to mountains, Alabama has a road trip designed for you and your family. Here’s the list compiled by our friends at the Alabama Tourism Department, and you can read more about each of them at Road Trip No. 1 - Tuscaloosa to Auburn: BCS Championship Tour Road Trip No. 2 - Guntersville: Where Eagles Fly Road Trip No. 3 - Mobile: A Romantic Getaway Road Trip No. 4 - Selma to Montgomery: Crossing a Bridge into History Road Trip No. 5 - Gulf Shores and Orange Beach: Spring Break at the Beach Road Trip No. 6 - Birmingham: Taking it to the Streets, Downtown Road Trip No. 7 - Huntsville: To the Moon and Back by Dinner Road Trip No. 8 - Montgomery: A Place Where History Runs Deep Road Trip No. 9 - Gulf Coast Birding: Fort Morgan, Dauphin Beach, Theodore Road Trip No. 10 - Monroeville: The To Kill a Mockingbird Experience

Alabama Living

Road Trip No. 11 - Selma: Civil War History in the Re-Making Road Trip No. 12 - Childersburg and Sylacauga: Family Fun Road Trip No. 13 - Eufaula: Picture-Perfect and Pilgrimage-Ready Road Trip No. 14 - Tuscaloosa to Eutaw: Antiques and Antebellum Mansions Road Trip No. 15 - Abbeville: Yatta Abba Yella Fella Tour Road Trip No. 16 - Eastern Shore: Girlfriends Bay Getaway Road Trip No. 17 - Foley and Elberta: Art, Antiques and Model Trains Road Trip No. 18 - Go for a Drive on the RTJ Golf Trail Road Trip No. 19 - Birmingham’s Five Points South: Walk to James Beard-recognized Restaraunts Road Trip No. 20 - Decatur: Fun in the River City

Road Trip No. 21 - Discover Dothan: The Heart of Alabama’s Wiregrass Road Trip No. 22 - Florence: Alabama’s Renaissance City Road Trip No. 23 - Gee’s Bend: Pastimes to Patchwork Tour Road Trip No. 24 - Rocking and Rolling on the Mountains: A Driving Tour Through Steele, Ashville and Springville Road Trip No. 25 - Alabama’s Coastal Connection National Scenic Byway Road Trip No. 26 - A Bicentennial Road Trip: Fort Mims to Horseshoe Bend Road Trip No. 27 - Fort Payne: The View From Lookout Mountain Road Trip No. 28 - Alabama’s Gulf Coast: Where Kids Drive the Fun Home Road Trip No. 29 - Famous Alabamians Hometown Heroes Road Trip Road Trip No. 30 - Marion and Greensboro: Interesting People, Places and Food April 2013  13

uge is made up of 7,000 acres of wildlife habitat for migratory birds, sea turtles and the endangered Alabama beach mouse. The refuge has been named one of the 10 Natural Wonders of Alabama because of its wild, undeveloped land. More than 370 species of birds have been identified at Bon Secour during migratory seasons. Visitors can explore the area by walking one of the five trails within the refuge. After bird watching at Bon Secour, drive to the ferry landing at Fort Morgan where the ferry takes you across Mobile Bay to Dauphin Island, named a top-four location in North America for viewing spring migrations. While on Dauphin Island, be sure to visit the Estuarium and Sea Lab where you will find marine life native to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Located at the ferry landing, the Sea Lab features a 10,000-square-foot exhibit hall with interactive exhibits and living displays showcasing the area’s marine life. Outside is a living marsh boardwalk that meanders along portions of the fourth-largest estuary system in the U.S.

Read more about birding in Alabama on Pages 20-21.

Across the street from the Sea Lab is a Civil War fort famous for its role in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Visitors can tour Fort Gaines for a look at how soldiers lived in the 1860s. A tour of the 19th-century brick seacoast fort includes a working blacksmith shop, bakery, Officer’s Quarters, cannons and more. As you leave Dauphin Island, your next stop should be in Theodore at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. Located on the west side of Mobile Bay, 30 minutes south of Mobile, this area also offers excellent bird watching opportunities and is home to the largest public gardens in the state. The 1,500-foot-long Bayou Boardwalk trail will take you through the backwaters to see cranes, eagles and more. Behind the house is the pavilion where you can enjoy views of Fowl River or take a river cruise on the Southern Belle River Boat. Portions of this article are reprinted with permission from the Alabama Tourism Department’s website. Details on all 40 Alabama Road Trips are available at A 14  April 2013

2013 April Walking Tours A variety of community leaders will lead free tours through the historic districts or courthouse square areas of their hometowns during April. The hour-long tours will start at 10 a.m. on April 6, 13, 20 and 27 throughout the state.

Athens Athens Visitor Center Atmore Heritage Park Birmingham Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Butler Jackson’s On The Square Courtland Town Square Cullman Cullman County Museum Decatur Old State Bank Eufaula Various locations Fairhope Fairhope Welcome Center Florence Various locations Huntsville Constitution Village (April 6 and 13 only) Madison Madison Roadhouse (April 20 and 27 only) Mobile Downtown Mobile Alliance Monroeville Chamber of Commerce Montevallo Chamber of Commerce Montgomery Montgomery Area Visitors Center Phenix City Amphitheater Prattville Autauga County Heritage Center Sheffield Sheffield Municipal Building Sylacauga B.B. Comer Library Tuscumbia ColdWater Books Wetumpka Elmore County Museum

Alabama Living

April 2013  15

This is the first in a series of stories spotlighting Alabama’s State Parks Which is your favorite? Tell us on our Facebook page!

More than just fishing at Lake Guntersville State Park S By John N. Felsher

ome people come to fish the third best bass at the layout of the lodge so they can model lake in the nation, as defined by Bassmas- their programs after it,” says Stephen S. Johns, ter magazine. Others come to gaze upon Lake Guntersville Resort State Park Lodge the “million-dollar view” of the Tennessee River general manager. “Guests can look out from Valley in northeastern Alabama, ablaze in color their balconies and watch the sun set over during the fall. Others come to hike the forested Lake Guntersville. People come here because trails, hit a few golf balls or simply enjoy nature in it’s a family-oriented facility where people enjoy rustic splendor. Whatever the reason, the 6,000- good quality time together.” The largest lodge in Alabama can house about acre Lake Guntersville State Park near the town of Guntersville in Marshall County offers vaca- 1,000 people in hotel rooms and suites. Some tioners, wedding planners, corporate groups or suites can accommodate up to eight people. With couples looking for romance many options for seven meeting and banquet rooms, plus an executive boardroom, the lodge offers more unjangling nerves in peace and quiet. than 13,800 square feet of meetLike a chalet crowning the ing space for visiting confermountains of France, the majestic Lake Guntersville ences, church retreats, class Resort State Park Lodge reunions, weddings and dominates the top of other large groups. “We have some of Ta y l o r Mo u n t a i n . the finest conference faPerched about 600 feet cilities in northeast Alaabove the 69,100-acre bama,” Johns explains. Lake Guntersville, the “With flexible seating lodge seems more like arrangements, attentive an exclusive resort than banquet staff, free higha state facility, but for considerably less cost. speed Wi-Fi and breath“Staying at a state park is taking views, the lodge is the very economical when comperfect venue for any meetpared to staying at a com- State parks are a more affordable ing. Groups that come here mercial resort somewhere,” option than commercial resorts. would have plenty room for advises Tim Whitehead of whatever projects or sessions the Alabama Department of Conservation and they would like to conduct.” Natural Resources. “Most of the money for the The Pinecrest Dining Room downstairs in state parks is generated by the parks themselves, the lodge offers three meals a day, seven days not tax dollars from the general treasury.” a week. Guests can enjoy a sumptuous steak, Surrounded by forests teeming with wildlife, prime rib or catfish meal while overlooking the the staggered three-story guest residence wings lake. The restaurant also can provide banquet of the lodge fold into the mountain. The archi- services for larger groups. Guests who prefer to get off on their own may tecture blends into the cliff, becoming part of the scenery rather than attempting to overcome the select furnished mountaintop chalets or lakeside cabins with modern conveniences. Others may natural contours. “We have people come from all over to look prefer primitive camping or sleeping in their own 16  April 2013

The park has vistas spanning the lake and mountains of the Tennessee River Valley.

recreational vehicles. Many facilities were rebuilt or remodeled after a tornado rolled through the park on April 27, 2011. “Almost every facility in the park was damaged by the tornado,” recalls Benny Bobo, an ADCNR district superintendent. “We lost power for more than a month, but we reopened part of the lodge about six weeks after the storm hit. We had to totally rebuild five cabins, one chalet and one bathhouse. We had to repair about 15 chalets.” “One of the chalets rebuilt after the tornado was the Honeymoon Chalet,” Johns echoes. “We felt a need to make something like that for honeymoons, anniversaries and other special occasions. It overlooks the lake with an indoor garden tub and three fireplaces, a kitchen and an outdoor hot tub, so guests can really enjoy a romantic experience.” The park will break ground on a new nature center this spring to replace a facility destroyed by the tornado. The nature center will hold a lecture hall and display exhibits in a log cabin. In addition, the park planted 500 hardwood trees in the campgrounds to replace some trees lost in the storm and 8,500 shortleaf pines in the golf course area. Located atop Taylor Mountain near the lodge, the Eagle’s Nest Golf Course offers 18 holes in a majestic mountain setting. Elevation changes frequently in the rugged terrain, making playing the course challenging. While hitting a ball down the fairway, look out for deer that might wander over to the greens. “We have a great diversity of habitat and wildlife at the park,” advises Patti Donnellan, park naturalist. “We have an abundance of deer and they are not shy. It’s common to see deer standing next to roads. In the winter, a lot of waterfowl and eagles migrate to the lake. Some endangered gray bats stay in caves here in the mountains during the winter. That same cave also holds endangered salamanders.” Throughout the year, Donnellan conducts various free wildlife and nature education programs. In January and February, many people come to the park for “Eagle Awareness” weekends. The park, lake and surrounding areas attract many bald eagles during the winter. “In January and February, I take visitors on field trips to see the eagles and Alabama Living

see an eagle nest down by the Lake Guntersville dam,” Donnellan says. “Sometimes, people bring live birds here to do programs for the guests. Later in the spring, we start guided trail hikes on Saturday mornings. Each Saturday, I pick a different trail for a 30-minute hike.” The park offers hikers about 36 miles of trails over terrain varying from moderate to very challenging. The trails range from about a half-mile to 3.5 miles long. Guests may accompany Donnellan or another park staffer on a guided hike or go it alone. Guided interpretive hikes generally last about 30 minutes over moderate terrain. Some trails serve multiple uses. Besides hiking, people may ride mountain bikes or horses on some trails. Equestrians must bring their own horses. “From spring through early fall, I’ll periodically do other programs to spotlight the natural beauty of the area,” Donnellan explains. “Some programs include identifying wildflowers, shorebirds or butterflies, creating a wildlife friendly yard or learning about animal migrations. My two most popular programs are on getting people to overcome their fear of bats and identifying edible or medicinal plants. Many people are interested in herbal remedies. Many plants that grow in people’s yards are very nutritious.” Of course, no one can visit the largest lake in Alabama and one of the top fishing destinations in the nation without at least thinking of catching a few big ones. Charlie Bertus holds the official Lake Guntersville largemouth bass record with a 14.50-pounder. Duanne McQueen set the smallmouth record with a 5.85-pounder. Besides largemouth and smallmouth bass, anglers might also te mpt w h ite bass, catfish, crappie, bluegills, sauger and other species. “Without a doubt,

Lake Guntersville is one of the premier bass lakes in the nation,” says Mike Iaconelli, the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion who won a major tournament there in 2006. “It’s an amazing numbers lake, but can also produce giant bass. I caught one 10-pounder in that lake, but I caught bunches in the 6- to 8-pound range.” Many anglers bring their own boats to launch at one of the park marina facilities, but people without boats can rent them at the Town Creek Fishing Center on Alabama Highway 227. Park guests can also fish off the bank in many places, including behind some of the cabins. For boat reservations and prices, call the Town Creek Fishing Center at 256-582-8358 or send an e-mail to Anglers may find considerable competition on the lake next year. The Bassmaster Classic, the Super Bowl of competitive fishing, will be held at Guntersville Feb. 21-23, 2014. The professional anglers will compete on Lake Guntersville during those days, but weigh their catch in Birmingham each afternoon. “We’re very excited to host the 2014 Bassmaster Classic,” Johns says. “That will bring a major economic impact to the greater Guntersville area. The lodge is already gearing up for that. Since we’re the largest facility in the area, we’ll house a lot of the people coming to Guntersville for that event.” When not enjoying the park facilities or cruising the lake, area visitors may want to investigate other nearby attractions. From forests and lakes to technology, some people may visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Other options include exploring area caves or looking for bargains in an unclaimed baggage center. “The Tennessee River Valley is a very historical area,” Whitehead says. “The Cherokees lived in this area. The Trail of Tears leads directly through the park. People can visit three other parks within an easy driving distance. Many people visit a major cave at Cathedral Caverns.” For more information about Lake Guntersville State Park, call 800-548-4553 or 256-571-5440. Online, see www.alapark. com/LakeGuntersville. For lake level and water discharge schedules, see www.tva. com/mobile/res/guhm.htm. A

Guntersville State Park has facilities ideal for weddings, business conferences, April 2013  17 church retreats and other visiting groups.

COPD affects 9% of state’s population

Alabama a leader in a statistic no state wants By John N. Felsher


ooking decades beyond her 56 years, the ashen woman with dark, sunken eyes lay in the hospital bed, alone and accompanied only by various medical devices monitoring her condition. Only the tortured wheezing of her labored breathing and rush of oxygen flowing through plastic tubes into her nose emanated from the sterile room before a monitor flat-lined. Immediately, several warriors in white hastened into the room and valiantly tried to revive the old woman. Despite every life-saving technique and device they could muster from their combined years of education and medical training, the team failed. The woman had committed suicide some 43 years earlier. That’s when she took up smoking to look cool. Prostrate on the bed with what little remained of her lungs as burned as the thousands upon thousands of cigarettes she smashed into ashtrays over four decades, she didn’t look so cool any more. In the time it takes the average person to read this article, three more Americans will join the old woman on her journey to destiny. “Another American with COPD dies every four minutes,” says John W. Walsh, the president and co-founder of the COPD Foundation in Washington, D.C. “More people die from COPD in the United States each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined. Just because someone stopped smoking 15 18  April 2013

or 20 years ago does not mean ing popularity of tobacco, they won’t get COPD. A lot of Walsh explained. About 19 the damage has already been percent of Alabamians smoke done.” every day. Another 25 perAccording to the World cent quit smoking while about Health Organization, chronic six percent smoke occasionobstructive pulmonary disease, ally. Although non-smokers a catch-all phrase to describe can develop various forms of various debilitating respiratory COPD, about 80 to 90 percent ailments including emphysema of the people who do come and chronic bronchitis, affects down with the disease smoke more than 210 million people regularly or once did. globally and kills about three Other factors can also conmillion of tribute to them each the high year. C O P D Un f o r rates, part u n a t e l y, ticularly Alabama a m o n g c o m e s non-smokclose to ers. Some leading the people, like nation in a Walsh, instatistic no herit a gestate wants. netic susAbout 9.1 ceptibility percent, or that could more than lead to the 430,000 disease. of the 4.8 “COPD million is a chronpeople in Spirometer measures respiration ic disease Alabama, flow of COPD patient. that develsuffer from ops after a the disease. Only Kentucky long period of time,” explains with 9.3 percent tops Alabama. Dr. David M. Mannino, a lung “COPD is not an ‘old man’s specialist with the University disease,’” Walsh emphasizes. of Kentucky Medical Center “It can affect anybody. More and a nationally recognized women are dying and being authority. “Historically, Aladiagnosed with COPD than bama is a heavy smoking state. men each year. In Alabama, Not all smokers will get COPD lower-income individuals are and some non-smokers get more likely to get COPD. COPD, but higher proportions About 18 percent of people of people who have smoked in Alabama making less than for years develop COPD. Ciga$50,000 a year have it.” rette smoking is the major risk Alabama ranks high be- factor, but not the only risk cause of many factors, includ- factor. People who work with

exposure to certain vapors, gases, dust and fumes can be at risk. People with early respiratory factors like asthma are also at risk.” In Alabama, many people work in the timber industry, breathing in sawdust, or in various dusty agricultural operations. Exposure to crop dust, insecticides, fertilizers, chemicals, noxious fumes and other pollutants can irritate or even damage delicate lung tissue. “Symptoms include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and discharging fluids such as phlegm when coughing,” Mannino says. “Many people mistake their increased breathlessness and coughing as a normal part of aging. Shortness of breath is not normal.” People with these symptoms should see a doctor at once, Mannino advises. Fortunately, people who develop the disease can obtain treatment – especially if they catch it early. “We can prescribe various different treatments to improve lung function,” Mannino advises. “Things are getting better. When I was in medical school in the 1970s, there were no good treatments for COPD. Now, we understand the diseases much better and have many more types of therapies. I see some people with very severe cases who have been functioning very well for 10 years or more.” For more information about COPD, see Call 866-316-COPD (2673) or e-mail A

Alabama Living

April 2013  19

A Birding Paradise

Birds, birding trails remarkable assets for Alabama Hummingbird photographed in Scottsboro. Photo by Maria Clark

“One winter morning the President electrified his nervous Cabinet by 
bursting into a meeting with, ‘Gentlemen, do you know what has happened this morning?’ 
They waited with bated breath as he announced,
‘Just now I saw a chestnut-sided warbler and this is only February.’’
 -- Corinne Roosevelt Robinson on her brother, Theodore Roosevelt 20  april 2013


f you are, or happen to know a birder, you may understand how a tiny feathered creature can elicit such unbridled excitement. If you aren’t a birder but are looking for a pastime that can be enjoyed almost anywhere, you may want to try your wings at bird watching, and Alabama is the perfect state in which to do that. Alabama is a “birding paradise,” according to Renee Morrison, assistant director for Jacksonville State University Field Schools, president of the Environmental Education Association of Alabama and project coordinator for the Appalachian Highland Birding Trail. More than 450 bird species can be found in Alabama. Some live here year-round, others are seasonal residents and still others stop through during spring and fall migrations. Morrison cites the state’s rich natural diversity and abundance of nationally protected natural areas as reasons for its popularity among birds—and birders. Those birders are great resources in and of themselves because they are part of a phenomenon called “birding economics,” which includes the economic impact of everything from bird seed and binocular sales to money birders spend on lodging and food. And, says Grey Brennan, regional director with the Alabama Tourism Department, birders represent a huge opportunity for many communities, especially in rural areas, to boost their ecotourism economies. According to Brennan, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report from several years ago estimated that the 46 million birders in the U.S. have an $85 billion dollar economic impact on the nation, numbers that no doubt have increased since that report

Great horned owl. Photo by Maria Clark

Binoculars are essential to a birder. Photo by Katie Jackson Red-bellied woodpecker.

Painted bunting.

Photo by Jeff D. Johnson

Blue heron.

Photo by Beth Tattersall

Photo by Gene Tilley

was published. The study also showed that Alabama, despite its remarkable birding resources, was underused as a birding site by residents and visitors alike—“a good indication that an Alabama statewide birding trail would increase participation and economic impact,” Brennan says. To harness the potential economic possibilities of birding, Brennan and many, many others across Alabama—state and federal agencies, birding and conservation groups, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations among them—are involved in a highly collaborative effort to develop and expand a statewide birding trail system. That trail actually first began in 2002 as a local, grassroots effort to establish the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, which includes sites in Baldwin and Mobile counties that are internationally known birding spots, especially during spring and fall when hundreds of migratory bird species stop along the coast to eat and rest before or after they journey across the Gulf of Mexico. Within a couple of years another trail— the North Alabama Birding Trail—was also established through a collaboration among local chambers of commerce and visitors bureaus, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and other people and groups in the area. According to Keith Hudson, wildlife biologist with ADCNR who helped establish the NABT, this trail takes advantage of the exceptional resources provided by the Tennessee River, which draws an amazing array of water fowl as well as the almost mythic whooping and sand hill cranes in the winter and is home to a huge diversity of birds yearround. The North Alabama trail officially opened in 2005 and since then six more regional trails have been established—the West Alabama, Appalachian Highlands, Piedmont Plateau, Black Belt Nature and Heritage, Pineywoods and Wiregrass birdAlabama Living

ing trails—to create a network of eight trails (visit watchable-wildlife/birding-trails/ to see them all), each representing one of Alabama’s varied geographic areas. The “trails” are actually driving routes that link prime birding locations in each region and across the state, all of which can be accessed by vehicle and provide roadside viewing opportunities, but some of which also offer birders access to walking, boating and canoeing trails. Though the trails are primarily selfguided with directional signs to help visitors find the sites, some sites also provide interpretative signs with information on the types of birds most commonly spotted at that site or details about the site’s habitat. Still others, such as the North Alabama, Appalachian Highlands and Wiregrass trails, have viewing facilities or visitor centers, sometimes referred to as “gateways,” that provide printed trail maps, bird lists, photos of commonly seen birds, information on other local tourist attractions, educational films, lectures, organized bird and naturalist hikes, classes and a variety of other events and services. The thing about birding is that it can be done virtually anywhere in the world, from backyards and back roads to big cities and remote wildernesses, by people of all ages, physical abilities and levels of interest. Birding also offers people the chance to become citizen scientists by participating in annual bird counts, reporting rare sightings and assisting with bird banding events. In fact, along with the state’s professional ornithologists and biologists, birders play a huge role in scientific work with birds, as do members of the Alabama Ornithological Society. According to AOS President Bianca Allen, the mission of AOS is “to foster a greater knowledge of birds and to promote conservation of all natural resources. When someone learns about the birds and begins to appreciate them, they naturally want to

do what they can to preserve the natural world that supports the birds and other wildlife.” Becoming a birder—or even just a casual birdwatcher—is easy and relatively inexpensive. “All it takes is a pair of binoculars and a field guide and you’re ready to go birding,” says Allen. “If you don’t have these, join in local birding activities and others will share these with you. You won’t find a friendlier set of people than birders and most are more than anxious to share their knowledge, equipment, field guides, etc.,” she adds. AOS publishes the scientific birding journal for Alabama, Alabama Birdlife; offers grants to support scientific research projects that address Alabama’s environmental issues; and its members help state and federal wildlife and natural resource organizations track conservation concerns. In addition, AOS hosts three meetings each year, two on Dauphin Island during the spring and fall migration months (April and October) and a winter meeting that changes location each year. This year’s spring meeting will be held April 19-20 on Dauphin Island and it, like membership in the AOS, is open to anyone. To learn more go to Want to support Alabama birds and the birding trails? “Take a birding trail vacation with family or friends, enjoying the individual sites and then the shopping, restaurants, museums and accommodations in the cities and towns where the birding trails are located,” suggests Brennan. “Buy an Alabama hunting or fishing license, or make a contribution to the NonGame Wildlife program,” adds Hudson, who says that a portion of the monies from licenses go to create and manage habitats that support all species of birds–game and nongame. Or, as the Alabama Birding Trails website says, “Grab your binoculars, brush up on your bird-calling skills and wing it to Alabama. It’s for the birds!” A April 2013  21

22  April 2013

Alabama Living

April 2013  23

Mastering the


Master Gardener programs go beyond just digging and planting By Lori M. Quiller

Cheryl Hatcher and Wayne Van Landingham weed a garden at Dothan Botanical Gardens.

24  April 2013


he old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers…,” and in Alabama those May flowers sometimes have a little extra help from some special green-thumbed gardeners. The Alabama Master Gardener Program is a volunteer service program sponsored by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The now32-year old program began when a visiting Master Gardener from New York joined talents with an extension agent to host Alabama’s first Master Gardener training class. To become a Master Gardener takes a bit of dedication beyond simply digging in the soil and planting annuals and perennials. County extension offices offer classes from January to March, for one day per week, four hours per class. At the end of the 50-hour class, participants have earned the title of Master Gardener. To become a certified Master Gardener, an additional 50 hours of volunteer service is required. Since those first training classes in 1981, the Master Gardener program sprouted roots to create 37 active associations in the state and more than 100 full-time employees. As of 2011, there were 2,112 certified Master Gardeners and 394 interns trained. With nearly 200,500 hours volunteered, Alabama’s Master Gardeners contacted more than 1.5 million clients in 2011 alone. “The Master Gardener program is designed to recruit and train volunteers to assist county Extension System offices,” said Kerry Smith, coordinator of the Alabama Master Gardener Program at Auburn University. “Many times these volunteers then feel empowered to teach others about the research-based principles they’ve learned. The service of Master Gardener volunteers directly benefits their communities by providing leadership to involving others in beautification projects, environmental stewardship projects, community gardens, other horticulture-related projects, and horticulturerelated educational programs.” According to Smith, Master Gardeners support a statewide tollfree Horticulture Helpline, 877-ALA-GROW, designed to increase public knowledge of resource management related to home gardens, grounds and pests. On the local level, Master Gardeners are involved in a wide variety of community activities from seminars and demonstration gardens to food banks and outdoor teaching gardens for public schools. Houston County may have one of Alabama’s smaller gardening associations, but it’s also one of the most active. Based in a hothouse on the grounds of the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens, the Wiregrass Master Gardener Association is one of the associations

Alabama Living

April 2013  25

Central Alabama Master Gardeners built an heirloom garden at Wetumpka Middle School, left; at right, a Wiregrass Master Gardener vegetable garden in Dothan.

Smith had in mind when describing the demonstration gardens and is truly an extension of her office for those times when she cannot donations for area food banks. With about 60 members and five be everywhere at once. “I enjoy teaching the Master Gardener program,” Kelley said. lifetime members, this small army of gardeners takes great pride in “I get to teach these residents fact-based gardening skills so they working Alabama’s heartland. “We’re a small organization, but we stay very active,” said Wayne can help me teach others in our community who want to learn Van Landingham, president of the Wiregrass Master Gardener As- how to be better gardeners. You gain such a wealth of knowledge sociation. “We have exhibit booths at events during the year to about so many things in this program. It truly is a great way to help spread information about planting and pest control, and we connect the dots. Master Gardeners are taught how to garden and have one of largest plant sales in the state. We actively support the how to research. We never give out unresearched information. gardens here in Landmark Park at the Dothan Area Botanical Gar- You can bet that the information we have is the best information dens, and we have service projects that we do all across the county.” there is out there because it has been researched through the The mission of the Alabama Master Gardener Program is sim- field studies with Auburn University and published through the ple: To provide educational outreach into extension offices.” The gardeners said they often look at the community of science-based knowledge their volunteer service as continuing educaof horticulture. And, they make sure they tion and opportunities for them to acquire spread their knowledge as much as possible new information to pass along to others. while working in their communities. Passing along her knowledge is how “I wanted to do this for a long time, so Linda Griebel in Wetumpka convinced her when I was accepted into the program, I good friend Jane Mobley to join in the fun. was very happy,” said Pat Smith, an intern Both are advanced Master Gardeners in Elcurrently participating in the classes with more County and members of the Central the Wiregrass Master Gardener Association. Alabama Master Gardeners Association. Originally from Canada, Smith said she has In 2010, Mobley, Griebel, and the Cenalways had a love of gardening but wanted tral Alabama Master Gardeners Association to learn more. “Now that I understand more undertook a special assignment at the Weabout gardening, it’s fascinating! We get tested on what we learn in class, and it keeps us tumpka Middle School when school administrators asked the gardeners to design and on our toes.” plant an heirloom garden on school grounds With Houston County nestled in the as a memorial to former county commismidst of Alabama’s farmland, it’s difficult to sioner and member of the gardening assobelieve there are children in this area who ciation, Don Whorton. are unfamiliar with basic gardening techniques. In a county famous for its Peanut The group quickly got to work researchLinda Griebel and Jane Mobley prune ing what plants would work best in the garFestival and some of the best tomatoes in plants at Wetumpka Middle School. den and what design would work best for the state, the Wiregrass Master Gardeners the school, especially considering that the take great pride in passing their knowledge students would be taking part in the maintenance of the garden down to some of the area’s youngest gardeners. Cheryl Hatcher, Wiregrass Master Gardener Association’s com- later on. The garden’s legend is on display at its entrance as a guide munication chair, takes special pride in using the gardens at Land- for visitors. mark Park as an outdoor classroom. “Each student passes by this garden every day at least once a “Landmark Park has a lot of programs with students, and we day,” Mobley said. “It’s been a wonderful success! Everyone who help with that,” Hatcher said. “During these events, we’ll ask the sees the garden is impressed, and some of Mr. Whorton’s own students about fruits and vegetables, especially if they know where plants were used here. After two years, the garden has really grown. they come from. You’d be amazed at how many kids don’t know The students are so inspired by it, and it’s a great location for teachwhere a tomato comes from. When we ask them, they answer, ‘The ers to have class outside when the weather is nice. It was a great grocery store.’ Some of the children have never put their hands in learning experience for the students, but also for the gardeners, the soil before. So this is where it starts, and we dig the hole and too. We learn with every project that we do, and we carry that knowledge on with us to the next project. These experiences are plant their first plant together.” Mallory Kelley, regional extension agent based in Elmore County, truly wonderful to take part in and share with others.” For more information about the Alabama Cooperative Extension is the agent to call for home grounds, gardens and home pests. She is responsible for seven counties: Autauga, Elmore, Montgomery, System, log on to To learn more about Alabama’s Macon, Coosa, Tallapoosa and Lee Counties. For her, the program Master Gardener program, check out A 26  April 2013

Alabama Living

April 2013  27

On the increase, Alabama’s wild hogs are also wily By Emmett Burnett


action.” As a last resort, ernando Desoto their hunter becomes the and company hunted. loved ham. In “Most wild animals fact, pork was so beleave hogs alone,” says loved in the 1500s, when Hainds. “Unfortunately, Spanish armies marched dogs never learn. I’ve seen through the New World, hounds attack, and it is the entourage included brutal – for the hounds.” legions of pigs from the When dogs assail a threehomeland. But many to five-foot long, three-feet European swine escaped tall razor-tusked boar, the into American forests. For five centuries they Wild boars can be hunted year-round in Alabama. pig is angry. The dog is filleted. As Hainds omihave gone hog wild. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alabama’s feral swine nously notes, “A boar can have roots from Desoto’s Spanish invasion. And just as the and will rip an attacker to shreds in minutes.” If you’re close Spaniard attempted to conquer everything in his path, so enough to see its teeth, be afraid, be very afraid. do his pigs. “They will eat anything and eat it often,” says A wild hog’s protruding tusks are continuously growScot Duncan, associate professor of biology at Birmingham- ing, self-sharpening, and three to five inches long. In attack Southern College. “Feral swine are omnivorous, just like mode the 200- to 450-pound boar lowers its head, charges us.” It adores acorns but also eats fruit, vegetation, garbage, and gouges upwards. Sows have smaller tusks, seldom used lizards, turtles, bugs, bird eggs, and will suck down a snake as weapons. But she will charge, bite and fight to the death like a strand of spaghetti. to protect her babies. “A voracious appetite makes it extremely destructive,” the As if assault with a deadly snout isn’t enough, the arprofessor adds. “Wild hogs destroy beneficial plants, causing mored oinker carries diseases, like tuberculosis, anthrax, a disruption of native trees and forests. By eating so much pseudorabies and brucellosis. All are transmittable to huvegetation, hogs cause serious land erosion problems.” mans. Just ask our Native Americans. But eating is not a pig’s only pastime. Wild hogs love love. “Five hundred years ago, Desoto wrote of vast numbers of Their breeding season is on days ending in Y. Indians roaming our forests (many of whom he massacred). They are sexually mature at 6 months. The happy, albeit But about a century later, others came to these shores and ugly, couple’s litter ranges from four to 14. Do the math; in saw little sign of these people,” Duncan says. “The prevailing five years a pair of pigs can become thousands. “We are see- theory, which I believe to be true, is that Desoto’s release of ing increases in populations where they have never been in hogs introduced diseases carried by the animals. Indians large numbers before,” notes Duncan. “I’ve seen wild hogs had no immune system to fight it. Tribal populations were decimated by some estimates of up to 90 percent.” in metro Birmingham.” That’s why in Alabama wild hogs can be hunted yearTypically, free-range porkers prefer low-lying areas near water. But they adjust quickly. “They are one of few ani- round and shot until you run out of ammo. You can trap mals that learn from your mistakes,” says Andalusia’s Mark them, but if you release it from the cage you may be put in J. Hainds, author of “Year of the Pig.” If you shoot at one one. Trap and release is against Alabama state law. And why and miss, it won’t be visible the next time. They learn who would you want to? Wild swine tastes fine. “My family is six generations of hog farmers,” notes to fear and adjust accordingly. Hog wild becomes hog savvy. Pigs on game reserves walk around almost as freely as if Hainds. “There is no comparison to the superior flavor of a in a petting zoo. They know it is safe. But pigs near hunting free roaming, acorn-fed wild pig to that of a domesticated camps are as elusive as Bigfoot. “They travel in small groups, one. It has very little grease and is much healthier.” Wild usually sows and piglets,” Hainds continues. “Wild hogs hogs may be deemed a nuisance, but one man’s pest is ancommunicate with each other and know how to take evasive other man’s bacon. A 28  APRIL April 2013

Around Alabama April 27

Historic Monroe County church hosts bluegrass gospel concert The Hicks Family Band will present an acoustic concert of gospel and bluegrass music on Saturday, April 27 at 2 p.m., at the historic Bell’s Landing Presbyterian Church in the north Monroe County village of Hybart. The concert is a fundraiser for the Hybart-Bell’s Landing Preservation Society, which maintains two church buildings and three cemeteries in the community. The musicians will perform classic bluegrass and traditional hymns.

April 6 • Enterprise, Weevil City Cruisers 17th Annual Car

Show. Enterprise Community College. Registration: $25 per vehicle Contact Barrie Johnson, President, at 334-347-8680. 7 • Tuscaloosa, The “George Wood Memorial” ALGBA Poultry Show. Jaycees Park, Sponsored by Alabama Gamefowl Breeders Association Contact Donnie Buchanan at 256-293-6904 or 7 - May 26 • Hartselle, 72nd National Exhibition Hartselle Fine Arts Center. Artwork from all over the United States. More than 100 entries selected and awarded by nationally and internationally known jurists. 11 • Huntsville, 6th Annual Gala & Auction for Autism. Huntsville Museum of Art, 6-10 p.m. Contact the Riley Center at 256-882-2457 or visit 12 • Jacksonville, Senior (55 or older) Dance Jacksonville Senior Center, every 2nd Friday of each month. Admission: $3 per person or $5 per couple Contact Helen Altman at 256-435-8115. 12 & 13 • Dothan, 8th Annual Tri-State BBQ Festival. Houston County Farm Center. For team entry forms and information contact The Main Event at 334-699-1475 or visit 12 & 13 • Centre, 15th Annual Cherokee County Home & Garden Show. Gadsden State Cherokee Arena. Fri. Noon-6 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Contact 256-927-8455 for information. 13 • Auburn, B.E.E.F. U. Auburn University, Stanley P. Wilson Beef Unity and Lambert-Powell Meats Laboratory. Registration at 9 a.m. Admission: $10, includes lunch and t-shirt Contact Bob Ebert at 334-844-1563 or 18-21 • Dothan, Alabama Good Sams Spring Jamboree. National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds. Contact Cathy Riggins, 256-593-6507.

The church, which dates from 1818, is located in Hybart, on Highway 41, which is 24 miles north of Monroeville, and 17 miles south of Camden. Donations will be accepted; please email For more information, contact Harriet Swift of the Hybart-Bell’s Landing Preservation Society, 504-945-6842, or email

20 • Ozark, 7th Annual Ozark Crawdad & Music Festival. Downtown Ozark on the Square. 9:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. Admission: Free Information: 334-774-2618 20 • LaFayette, Log-a-Load for Kids Turkey Shoot. Proceeds benefit Children’s Hospital The Oaks, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Tickets: $10 Contact Kimberly Fuller, 706-590-0291. 20 • Frankville, 36th Annual Old Time Fiddler’s Convention. Old Frankville School. House music at 5 p.m., competition at 6 p.m. Admission: $7 adults, $4 for 12 years old and under. Contact Tom Fuller at 251-847-2237. 20 • Weogufka, 5th Annual Mule Day Weogufka Center, 9 a.m. Contact the Weogufka Center Office at 334-578-1364 or visit 20-21 • Guntersville, 52nd Annual Art on the Lake. Guntersville Rec Center, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $2, children 12 and under free 20 & 21 • Cullman, 29th Annual Bloomin’ Festival Arts & Crafts Fair. St. Bernard Abbey and Prep School, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $5, children 5 and under are free. Contact Joyce Nix at 256-255-5860 or visit www. 25-28 • Union Springs, “The Hallelujah Girls” Red Door Theatre. Evening performances preceded by a seated dinner (reservations required). Contact 334-738-8687 or visit 26 • Montgomery, Robert E. Lee High School Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet Lee High School Cafeteria, 6 p.m. Tickets: $15 Contact 334-272-2558 for information. 26 & 27 • Belk, 7th Annual Belk Bluegrass Festival Belk Community Park. Fri. 1 -10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Admission: $20 for 2 day pass.

To place an event, mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; e-mail to calendar@ (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.

Contact Wayne Gilreath at 205-596-3251 or visit 27 • Dothan, Geocache Treasure Hunt Landmark Park, beginner course at 9:30a.m. followed by the hunt at 11. Real life treasure hunt in search of caches of hidden prizes using a handheld GPS unit or smart phone. Registration: $10 Contact Laura V. Stakelum, 334-794-3452. 27 • Pisgah, Pisgah Festival. Civitan Park, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: $1 per vehicle Contact Angela Whisenant at 256-605-2172. 27 & 28 • Dothan, 6th Annual Gem & Mineral Show. Westgate Park Recreation Center Gym. Admission and parking: Free Contact Arnie Lambert at 334-792-7116 or 27 & 28 • Troy, TroyFest Art & Craft Festival Downtown, Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: Free. 27 • Union Springs, 34th Annual Chunnenuggee fair. Downtown, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Contact Susan Anderson at 334-738-4060 or visit

May 3 & 4 • Somerville, 9th Annual Somerville Celebration Festival Contact Somerville Town Hall at 256-778-8282 for more information. 4 • Pell City, “Rush of Fools” Christian Concert Pell City Center, 7 p.m. Tickets: $12 advance, $15 at the door, $18 VIP. Contact the Pell City Center box office at 205-3381874 or visit 4 • Bridgeport, Primitive Skills Workshop Russell Cave National Park, 10 a.m. Admission: Free, pre-registration only and limited to the first 40 people. Contact Shelia Reed at 256-495-2672.

Scan this code with your phone and join Alabama Living on Facebook.

Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living ®


Alabama Living

0313AL.pg29.indd 1

APRIL 2013  29

3/15/13 3:26 PM

Power Plants

Berry Nice By Katie Jackson


pring is fully upon us and with it, berry season begins, starting with strawberries and working on through blueberries, blackberries and raspberries as the season progresses. As you savor the flavors of these fresh little packages of nutrition consider planting some of your own for next year. All these berries are easy to grow and, luckily, you don’t have to plant acres and acres of them to produce enough fruit for you and your family to enjoy. Strawberries, for example, grow quite well in pots, hanging baskets and window boxes and can be used as bedding plants. Since blackberries and raspberries typically have thorns, you may not want them in a high-traffic area such as a patio or along a walkway, but they are perfect for a small sunny corner of the yard or along a fence line. Provide them a little support, such as a trellis or a couple of rows of wire strung between two posts, and they will be easier to manage and pick. Blueberry bushes also do well as container plants in larger pots and even make nice ornamental shrubs. I planted several last year in a bed that had previously been home to boxwoods and, though they are not evergreen, the blueberries have such attractive bark that they looked lovely 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

30  APRIL 2013

even without their leaves this winter. All of these fruits need lots of sun and containerized plants will need to be watered especially in the hottest, driest periods of summer, but otherwise they can be relatively low maintenance. Just spend some time choosing a variety that works well in your area by asking other gardeners what they use or by getting advice from your local Cooperative Extension office or Master Gardener group. Speaking of advice, Alabama Cooperative Extension professionals are moderating a national eXtension series of free 30- to 45-minute webinars addressing fire ants and other insects that affect the home and landscape. The webinars are provided live one day a month (Fridays this spring and Wednesdays this fall) at 1 p.m. Central Time, but are also archived online so if you miss one you can watch at your leisure on the “Don’t be Bugged” Webinar Series page at dont-bug-me-webinar-series-2013. This time of year is also a great time to get out and see gardens, both public and private, as they spring into full bloom and leaf. Be on the lookout for garden shows and tours in your area. April is, after all, National Gardening Month and the month when we celebrate Earth Day (April 22) and National Arbor Day (April 26), so many events may be planned. One such opportunity for Japanese maple fans is the first annual Outdoor Expo, a family-friendly event to be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 6 at Pat Dye’s Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve and Quail Hollow Gardens and Nursery

in Notasulga, Ala. This event, proceeds from which will benefit the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, features garden tours, food, music, outdoor education opportunities and outdoor-related vendors. To learn more about the Expo and a Spring Fling gala to be held the night before go to www. Whatever you do this month, make sure you enjoy spring! A

March Gardening Tips d Plant strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. d Frequent local farmers markets, many of which will reopen this month for the summer season. d Sow seeds for beans, corn, squash, melons and other summer vegetable crops. d Transplant tomatoes, peppers and eggplants into the garden. d Fertilize warm-season lawns and plant new lawns. d Plant summer annual flowers after the last predicted spring frost date. d Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as spirea, flowering quince, azalea, jasmine and forsythia after they have bloomed. d Move houseplants outside when any chance of a hard freeze has passed. d Plant container-grown roses and keep an eye out for insect and disease problems on all roses.

A big THANK YOU! to all who have graciously donated to the Alabama Military Support Foundation via the check off on your Alabama State Tax forms. Your donation assists in educating and recognizing employers who stand behind members of the Guard and Reserve as they serve our nation. Your support is key to fostering and promoting a positive relationship between Guard and Reserve members and their employers. Your donations help inform both employers and military members of their legal rights and responsibilities. Outstanding employers are recognized through awards presented to them at events across Alabama. We hope that you will keep the foundation in mind as you complete your 2013 tax returns. Your contributions to the Alabama Military Support Foundation help preserve the Guard and Reserve’s efficient and cost effective capabilities for the defense of our nation.

Alabama Living

April 2013  31

Alabama Outdoors

Bug-busting bream give Bama anglers great sport By John N. Felsher


hen most people think of fly fishing, they naturally envision wader-clad anglers wearing vests bulging with hand-tied imitations of nature’s bounty and tossing these feathery creations to wily trout in swiftly flowing crystalline mountain streams. Although saltwater fly fishing increases in popularity every year, many Alabama fly anglers dream of cork poppers dropping next to lily pads along wooded shorelines to tempt big bluegills and other members of the sunfish family. Among the most widespread and common fish species, bluegills and several other miscellaneous sunfish types generally lumped under t h e n a m e of “bream,” “perch” o r “p a n f i s h” populate nearly every water body in Alabama. Bream rarely weigh more than a pound, a lt hou g h an glers occasionOne of the most popular game fish, bluegills may look small, ally catch some but can put up a good fight on brutes topping light tackle. two pounds. The Photo by John N. Felsher Alabama state record bluegill weighed 4.75 pounds! The largest of the bream species, redear sunfish commonly weigh more than a pound and occasionally tip the scales at more than five pounds. Also called shellcrackers because of their propensity for eating snails, redear sunfish look like paler versions of bluegills, but with orange to red highlights on their “ear flaps” behind their gills. Each spring, bream spawn in hollowed out beds on lake and river bottoms. In a good bedding area, these one- to two-foot square shallow depressions could look like a submerged field pockmarked by miniature bomb craters. Highly prolific, these 32  April 2013

diminutive fish may remain on their beds through October and could breed several times a year. Like clustered road signs, these underwater depressions point the way to fabulous fly-fishing opportunities. While guarding their nests, pugnacious perch attack anything. When snatching surface temptations, tiny bluegill mouths make distinctive snapping noises. Quite audible for considerable distances, they pinpoint feeding locations and beds. Bluegills eat almost anything including small fish, worms, grubs, bread, crustaceans, table scraps or just about anything else they can fit into their tiny mouths. Most of all, though, panfish relish insects. Bluegills readily hit trout flies, but can’t resist small cork popping bugs that resemble insects blown into the water. Many anglers also cast plastic, foam or rubber “natural” baits resembling crickets, spiders, dragonflies or other critters. Over a good bluegill bed, toss a popping bug as close to the shore or cover as possible. Throw past the bed and pull the bait over the bed. Let it rest a few moments to let the ripples fade. Then give it a small twitch or pop. Let it rest again for several seconds and repeat. Sometimes, just a slow, steady pull across the surface attracts attention. Retrieve the bug until it passes the shoreline drop-off. Often, the biggest bluegills stay in slightly deeper water and may hover over the drop-off edge. What they lack in size, bream more than make up in fighting ability, aggressiveness and pugnacious attitude. Anglers might experience several strikes on a single cast. When feeding, bluegills sometimes may race each other for bugs like miniature sharks homing in for the kill. Sometimes, a hungry bluegill may attempt to obliterate a popper. At other times, bream act almost timid, gently tasting an apparent morsel before committing itself to strike. Frequently, they simply suck down a bug. All of a sudden, the popper vanishes without the slightest ripple breaking the surface. After feeling the hook, though, these tiny fish fight like Olympic champions,

Bantam Division. Pound for pound, or more appropriately ounce for ounce, few species can outfight bluegills. Hooking one on ultralight fly tackle enormously magnifies this experience. When fishing spawning beds, keep casting in the same area as long as fish keep striking. Gregarious little creatures, hundreds of bream may crowd a bedding flat. One angler might catch a dozen or more fish from one small area without moving the boat. If fish stop biting, keep changing bug colors to show them something different. After exhausting all available color combinations, move to another bedding area. Give the first area a rest for a few hours and return later to catch more tasty fish. Anyone fortunate enough to stumble upon a mayfly hatch could experience intense action. After spending most of their lives underwater as nymphs, adult mayflies emerge from the water in late spring with only one purpose: to mate. After they mate, they die and fall back into the water. Sometimes, they cling to low overhanging bushes to dry their wings. When flies fall back into the water, ravenous bluegills gorge themselves. A good mayfly hatch could attract every fish around. Beneath an insect-laden branch, water boils like a piranha feeding frenzy with striking fish. Waiting for succulent mayflies to hit the water, fish demolish anything touching the surface. Although bream anglers won’t land any monsters, they can fill an ice chest with great tasting fish. In most public waters, unless otherwise specified, the state of Alabama allows anglers to catch up to 50 highly prolific bream each day. A 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.

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

APR. 16 05:01 11:46 - - 06:31 17 12:01 05:16 07:16 12:16 18 12:31 05:46 08:01 01:01 19 01:01 06:16 09:01 01:31 20 01:31 06:31 09:46 02:01 21 02:16 07:01 11:01 02:46 22 03:01 07:16 - - 03:46 23 07:46 12:31 - - 04:46 24 - - 01:46 - - 06:16 25 08:31 02:16 12:31 07:31 26 09:01 02:46 02:16 08:31 27 09:31 03:01 03:31 09:16 28 03:16 09:46 09:46 04:16 29 03:46 10:16 10:31 05:01 30 04:01 10:46 11:01 05:46 MAY 1 - - 05:22 07:07 12:22 2 - - 05:37 07:52 12:52 3 01:07 06:07 08:52 01:22 4 01:37 06:37 09:37 02:07 5 02:22 07:07 10:37 02:52 6 03:07 07:52 11:37 03:52 7 04:37 08:37 - - 04:37 8 09:52 12:52 - - 05:52 9 08:07 01:37 12:22 07:07 10 09:07 02:22 02:37 08:22 11 02:52 09:52 04:07 09:22 12 03:22 10:22 10:22 05:07 13 03:52 11:07 11:07 06:07 14 04:22 11:37 11:52 06:52 15 - - 04:52 07:37 12:22 16 - - 05:22 08:22 12:52 17 01:07 05:52 08:52 01:22 18 01:37 06:22 09:37 02:07 19 02:22 06:52 10:22 02:37 20 03:07 07:22 11:07 03:07 21 03:52 08:07 11:52 03:52 22 05:22 08:52 12:37 04:37 23 06:52 10:07 - - 05:22 24 08:07 01:22 12:37 06:37 25 08:52 01:52 02:52 07:52 26 02:22 09:37 08:52 04:07 27 02:52 10:07 09:52 05:07 28 03:22 10:37 10:37 05:52 29 03:52 11:22 11:22 06:37 30 04:37 11:52 12:07 07:22 31 - - 05:07 08:07 12:37 Alabama Living

Electric Cooperatives Launch Legislative App To help you better communicate with the Alabama Legislature, the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives has produced a helpful application customized for your smartphone and tablet.


• Interactive directory of members of the Alabama House of Representatives and Senate • Legislative committee list • Links to the most current legislative action. As a service to all Alabamians, AREA is offering this app for the low price of only $4.99, downloadable on both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

April 2013  33

Alabama Recipes

Canning Recipes Cook of the Month:

Maxine McCaghren Joe Wheeler EMC

Apple Butter (Makes 9-10 pints)

1 peck (10-12 pounds or about 32 medium) tart cooking apples (Granny Smith or other) 10 cups sugar (about) 4 cups water

2 teaspoons ground cloves 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground allspice

Wash, peel, slice and cook apples with water. Cover and let simmer slowly until tender. Rub through coarse sifter or use blender. There should be about 5 quarts of pulp. Add half as much sugar as pulp. Put in a large saucepan and add spices. Mix and let simmer about 2 hours stirring frequently to keep from scorching. When thickened, pour into hot sterilized jars and seal at once. The apple butter becomes stiffer when cold. Maxine McCaghren, Joe Wheeler EMC Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Sounds easy, right? I think it all depends on the outcome. There are many ways to ensure the food isn’t spoiled after it’s put into jars and cans; a boiling water bath is probably the most well-known. During this process, air is pushed out of the jar, and as it cools, a vacuum seal is formed. The seal is the most important, because it prevents air from getting back in, which causes spoilage later. Some folks I know who love canning call it “putting up.” Hope you enjoy these canning recipes. Tip: Choose the freshest fruits and vegetables available, preferably fresh-picked. Avoid overripe or under-ripe foods, which can affect the acidity and stability of the final product. Cucumbers especially need to be at their peak of freshness to make great pickles. 34  April 2013

You could win $50! Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are: June Seafood Deadline: April 15 July Pie Deadline: May 15 August Ice Cream Deadline: June 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.

Instant Pickles 2 cups sugar 11/2 cup vinegar 7 cups of sliced cucumbers 1 cup sliced onion

1 red or green pepper, sliced 2 tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon celery seeds

Mix sugar and vinegar together. Stir until dissolved, but do not heat. Add the salt and celery seeds. Place cucumbers, onions and peppers into 2 quart(s) or container, then pour vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and refrigerate 24 hours. Laura Symonds, Joe Wheeler EMC

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

Apple Ring Pickles

7 pounds cucumbers 1 cup lime 3 cups vinegar 1 bottle red food coloring

1 teaspoon alum 10 cups sugar 10 cinnamon sticks 1 bag Red Hots, candy

Soak cucumbers in lime and 1 gallon of water for 24 hours. Wash well. Soak in ice for 3 hours. Drain water. Add 1 cup vinegar, food coloring, alum and enough water to cover the pickles. Simmer for 2 hours. Wash well. Place pickles in 2 cups vinegar, sugar, cinnamon sticks and red hot candy. Bring to a boil making sure that all ingredients are well mixed. Place in hot sterilized jars and seal. Delicious with vegetables or by themselves. Kathy Rozzelle Pittman,Wiregrass EC

Peach Pickles 19-20 small peaches (6 pounds) 1 quart of white vinegar (5 percent acidity) 6 cups sugar

1 tablespoon of whole cloves 4 (2 1/2 inch) sticks of cinnamon

Peel peaches, set aside. Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil in Dutch oven, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Place cloves in 6-inch square of cheese cloth.Tie with string. Add spice bag and cinnamon to vinegar mixture. Add half of peaches and cook for 10 minutes. Remove peaches with slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining peaches. Bring syrup to a boil and remove from heat. Add peaches, cover and let stand for 8 hours. Remove peaches with slotted spoon and pack into hot jars. Remove spice bag and cinnamon and discard. Bring syrup to a boil, filling jars  to 1/2 inch of top. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims and cover at once with metal lids, screw on bands. Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.Yields 3 quarts.

Tomato-Basil Simmer Sauce 12 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 25 tomatoes) peeled 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons kosher salt or 4 teaspoons salt 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Jamie Petterson,Tallapoosa River EC

Fire & Ice Pickles

1 gallon okra 8 tablespoons vinegar 21/2 tablespoons canning salt

2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves; chopped 1 cup lightly packed assorted fresh herbs (such as oregano, thyme, parsley, or Italian (flat-leaf) parsley) chopped 6 tablespoons lemon juice (I would use fresh lemons)

Cut peeled tomatoes into chunks and add some of the chunks to the food processor. Cover and process until chopped. Transfer chopped tomatoes to a 7- to 8-quart nonreactive heavy pot. Repeat chopping remaining tomatoes, in batches, in the food processor. Add all tomatoes to the pot. Add brown sugar, salt, vinegar and black pepper to the tomato mixture. Bring to boil. Boil steadily, uncovered, for 70 to 80 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced to about 11 cups and is desired sauce consistency. Remove from heat; stir in herbs. Spoon 1 tablespoon lemon juice into each of six hot, clean pint canning jars. Ladle sauce into jars with lemon juice, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.Wipe the jar rims; adjust lids. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 35 minutes (start time when water returns to a full boil). Remove jars; cool on wire racks. Makes 6 pints. Tomatoes are easy to peel if you blanch them first. This is great with pasta (of course), grilled chicken, dip for garlic bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.

Dorothy Lowery, Pioneer EC

Canned Okra

2 jars (32 ounces each) of dill pickle slices (any cheap brand will do fine) 4 cups sugar 1 tablespoon hot pepper

sauce (like Tabasco) 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes Optional: 3 peeled garlic cloves and/or onion slices

Have jars and lids ready. Cut up okra. Cover with water, vinegar and salt and cook until okra turns pale green color. Place in jars and seal. Hot bath for 5 to 7 minutes. Ready to eat in 2 weeks.

Drain pickles in a colander and discard juice. Put drained pickles in a large bowl, mix in the sugar and pepper mixture. Cover and let stand 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Spoon pickles and liquid into 3 pint-size jars adding garlic clove to each jar (if desired). Put lid on and refrigerate for 1 week. Sweet & spicy pickles-great on a sandwich or all by themselves as a snack. They are hot, sweet and crisp!

Nancie Allen, Franklin EC

Sara Upton, Baldwin EMC

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.

April 2013  35

Worth the Drive

For a weekend road trip, Ca-John’s offers authentic crawfish dishes

Crawfish po boy, dusted in cornmeal and deep-fired. Jennifer Kornegay is the author of a new children’s book, “The Alabama Adventures of Walter and Wimbly: Two Marmalade Cats on a Mission.” She travels to an out-of-the way restaurant destination in Alabama every month. She may be reached for comment at

36  April 2013


here are out-of-the-way places to have lunch. Then there are places even farther off the beaten path. And finally, there’s Ca-John’s Faunsdale Bar & Grill in Faunsdale. This tiny town in Marengo County (recent census data puts the population at 98) is only a few miles down a county road off Highway 80 West, but it feels like the absolute middle of nowhere and looks like you’ve stepped back in time, a rather desolate time at that. Ca-John’s is housed in a brick building whose exterior is definitely worn. A few empty lots dotted with rock and rubble around it are the only evidence of other buildings that once shared its street. But while the scene outside is a bit bleak, once you walk through the red-framed door into the Bar & Grill, the eclectic decor and the smells of Cajun spices and crawfish will put a smile on your face and leave you pondering the question looming large on a hanging banner. “Who’s your crawdaddy?” it asks. The answer? That’d be Ca-John himself. Ca-John is owner John Broussard’s nickname, earned in his childhood home of Louisiana. There, he learned to love the way his Cajun mama prepared crawfish. When he came to Alabama, he brought his crawfish cravings with him and started a crawfish farm and catering company in 1989. A few years later, he partnered with the already open (and already quite well known) Faunsdale Bar & Grill to put on the first Alabama Crawfish Festival. Soon after that, he bought the restaurant and put his name on the sign and his mama’s crawfish delicacies on the menu. He kept the crawfish festival going for 21 years, but the 2012 event may have been the last. As of press time, Ca-John’s was not sure if it would host the popular event this April. Despite the possible demise of the festival, you can still get a taste of CaJohn’s cooking at the Bar & Grill, but only on the weekends. Saturday for lunch is a good time to go. You’ll probably encounter some locals, old fellas sitting over tall glasses of sweet tea complain-

ing about politics and/or the too hot or too cold weather. You’ll also encounter an impressive display of Confederate flags and used baseball caps hanging inside the B&G’s cavernous, wood-paneled and wood-floored interior. Sit down on a wood bench at a wood table, and if it’s nippy out, imagine the warmth that should be coming (but really isn’t) from the crackling wood-burning stove in the center of the dining room. While you wait for drinks and a menu (it won’t be long) check out the entire wall covered in ink. All the scribblings are actually names; guests are free to sign the wall and leave a comment about their experience, and it looks like thousands have. The spot itself is interesting to be sure, but the draw is the food, specifically anything with mudbugs in it. The crawfish pie is good enough to have made the Alabama Tourism Department’s now famous “100 Alabama Dishes to Eat Before You Die” list and is a treat you won’t find many other places. It’s listed under appetizers and at about six inches around, it is an appropriate starter portion. That first bite will make you wish it was six-feet in diameter, and that if it was, it wouldn’t be considered rude to take a quick swim in the rich liquid surrounding bits of crawfish tail meat. The crust is light and flaky, the crawfish, delish, but it is the blend of flavors and mild heat in the filling that make the pie the stuff of food fantasies. If you feel like you’re digging around to find enough precious crawfish in the pie, you’ll think you’ve struck gold with the crawfish po boy. A generous helping of crawfish tails dusted in cornmeal and deep fried is mounded on top of lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion nestled in a hoagie-style roll and served with cocktail sauce on the side. Other items, like a darn tasty cheeseburger, are on the menu too, but if you take the time to drive to Faunsdale to eat at Ca-John’s, you ought to be eating crawfish. A Satisfy a Crawfish Craving Ca-John’s Faunsdale Bar & Grill 35558 Alabama 25 Faunsdale, AL 334-628-3240


Alabama Living

April 2013  37

Market Place Miscellaneous - 12 NEW AND USED STAIR LIFT ELEVATORS – Car lifts, Scooters, Power Wheelchairs – Walk-In Tubs - Covers State of Alabama – 23 years (800)682-0658 DIVORCE MADE EASY – Uncontested, Lost, in Prison or Aliens. $179.00 - 26 years experience – (417)443-6511 METAL ROOFING $1.79/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT! 1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change)  706-383-8554 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA / SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE / HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS / ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct - (256)490-4025,, www. AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS – windmill parts – decorative windmills – custom built windmill towers - call Windpower (256)638-4399 or (256)638-2352 18X21 CARPORT $695 INSTALLED – OTHER SIZES AVAILABLE - (706)383-8554 CUSTOM MACHINE QUILTING BY JOYCE – Bring me your quilt tops 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)638-4399, (256)899-3850 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 –, (888)211-1715 CHURCH FURNITURE – Does your church need pews, pulpit set, baptistery, steeple or windows? Big sale on new cushioned pews and upholstery for hard pews – (800)2318360 or FINANCIAL HELP LINES FOR AL FAMILIES BANKRUPTCY ADVICE FOR FREE (877)933-1139 MORTGAGE RELIEF HELP LINE (888) 216-4173 STUDENT LOAN RELIEF LINE (888)694-8235 DEBT RELIEF NON-PROFIT LINE (888) 779-4272 Numbers provided by A Public Benefit Organization

38  April 2013

FLOORING FOR YOUR HOME! 1st Quality – No Seconds: Hardwood, Laminate, Carpet, Luxury Vinyl Tile & Planks, Sheet Vinyl, Ceramic Tile – In Home Estimates and Professional Installation available – ProTrax Flooring (334)531-3020, protraxinfo.

Business Opportunities - 3 PIANO TUNING PAYS – Learn with American Tuning School home-study course – (800)497-9793 START YOUR OWN BUSINESS! Mia Bella’s Gourmet Scented Products. Try the Best! Candles / Gifts / Beauty. Wonderful income potential! Enter Free Candle Drawing - www. AGRICULTURAL COLLATERAL INSPECTION and APPRAISALS – Ag background required – Training courses available. Call (800)488-7570, or visit

Vacation Rentals - 44 GULF SHORES PLANATION CONDOS – Beachview sleeps 6, Beachfront sleeps 4 – (251)223-9248 Beautiful west beach in Gulf Shores – 4 great condos, each sleeps 6. Call (404)219-3189 or (404)702-9824 ORANGE BEACH GULF FRONT CONDO – WINDWARD POINTE – 3BR / 2BA, Owner Rate – (251)626-6566 DISNEY – 15 MIN: 5BR / 3BA, private pool – www. – (251)504-5756 ORANGE BEACH, AL CONDO – Sleeps 4, gulf and river amenities – Great Rates – (228)3694680 – APPALACHIAN TRAIL – Cabins by the trail in the Georgia Mountains – 3000’ above sea level, snowy winters, cool summers, inexpensive rates – (800)284-6866, www.bloodmountain. com FT. WALTON BEACH HOUSE – 3BR / 2BA – Best buy at the Beach – (205)566-0892, mailady96@yahoo. com PENSACOLA BEACH CONDO – Gulf front – 7th floor balcony – 3BR / 2BA, sleeps 6, pool – (850)572-6295 or (850)968-2170 – www. GULF SHORES CONDO BEACHSIDE – 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 2 Pools, Wireless Internet, Non-Smoking, No Pets (256)287-0368, (205)613-3446

PIGEON FORGE CONDO – 2bd / 2bath, sleeps 8, on Main Parkway – (256)601-7193, https://www. RusticWoodsGetawayPF/info GULF SHORES, WEST BEACH - Gulf view, sleeps 6 - www.vrbo. com/92623, (404)641-4939, (404)641-5314 MENTONE, AL – LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN – billiard table, Jacuzzi, spacious home, sleeps 14 – www., (850)7665042, (850)661-0678.   GATLINBURG, TN – 3BR / 3BA TOWNHOUSE on BASKIN CREEK – 10 minute walk downtown, 3 miles to Smokey Mountain National Park – (334)289-0304 GULF SHORES PLANTATION – GULF FRONT – 2BR / 2BA, remodeled, sleeps 6-8, Unit 1133 – www., (800)826-1213 GULF SHORES RENTAL – Great Rates! (256)490-4025, (256)523-5154 or DESTIN, FL RENTAL BY OWNER Check out patsdestincondo. com - 2BR/2BA, ground level. Across from beach with gated access - Call (334)312-6630 - email greenbush@ for more info & reservations GATLINBURG: BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAIN CONDOS in a great resort complete with large Pool, game room, sauna, two hot tubs, grills and wireless internet. Reserve yours now. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at 256-599-4438 GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN – AFFORDABLE Private Beach & Bay Homes, 1-9 Bedrooms, Pet Friendly Available – (800)678-2306 – http:// GULF SHORES PLANTATION - Gulf view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, No smoking / No pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850 GULF SHORES CONDO – 2BR / 1.5BA, sleeps 6, pool, beach access – (334)790-9545 CABINS / PIGEON FORGE, TN – Sleeps 2-6, Great Location (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 GORGEOUS PIGEON FORGE CABINS by OWNER with year round specials - (865)712-7633

CABIN IN MENTONE – 2/2, brow view, hottub – For rent $100/night or Sale $199,000 – (706)767-0177 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@centurytel. net, (256)599-5552 – Nice 3BR / 2BA, deep water, covered dock - $75 night – (256)3525721, GULF SHORES – CRYSTAL TOWER CONDO - 2 bedroom/ 2 bath, Great Ocean View - #145108 - Call Owner (205)429-4886, PIGEON FORGE, TN: $89 - $125, 2BR/2BA, hot tub, pool table, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)363-1973, www. GATLINBURG TOWNHOUSE on BASKINS CREEK! GREAT RATES! 4BR/3BA, short walk downtown attractions! (205)333-9585, KATHY’S ORANGE BEACH CONDO – 2BR/2BA, non-smoking. Best rates beachside! Family friendly – (205)253-4985, www.KathysCondo. LAKE JORDAN CABIN – Great Fishing. Boat House - $75 night – (334)313-0078 GATLINBURG / PIGEON FORGE – 2 and 3 BEDROOM LUXURY CABINS – Home theatre room, hot tub, gameroom – www., (251)363-8576 PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000,, www. GATLINBURG, TN – Fond memories start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (866)316-3255, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway GULF SHORES, GULF FRONT – 1BR / 1BA - Seacrest Condo - King bed, hall bunks free Wi-Fi – Owner rates (256)352-5721, amariewisener@ HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – sleeps 2-6, 2.5 baths, fireplace, Jacuzzi, washer/dryer – www. - (251)9482918, email

GULF SHORES COTTAGE – Waterfront, 2 / 1, pet friendly – Rates and Calendar online, (251)223-6114 PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house for rent $75.00 a night – Call Bonnie at (256)338-1957 Fort Morgan / INDIES Condo – 4th Floor, 3/2 sleeps 8, Gulf View Balcony, Pool – Owner discount call (228)343-9611 or email GULF SHORES / FT. MORGAN / NOT A CONDO! The original “Beach House” on Ft. Morgan peninsula – 2BR/1BA – Pet friendly, Non-Smoking – $895/wk, (256)418-2131, www. PIGEON FORGE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, two pools, hot tub. Pictures available –, (256)656-1852 GULF SHORES PLANtATION – Two Great Beachfront Condos – Owner (770)442-8643

CABIN RENTAL – COLLLINSVILLE, AL – 2BR / 2BA – – (256)523-3523 GULF SHORES: RESERVE OUR WEST BEACH CONDO NOW FOR THIS SUMMER - 2 large, one bedroom, sleeper sofa and full kitchen…Nice pool . Non Smoking, No Pets. Call Jennifer in Scottsboro at 256-5994438. Condos also available in Daytona Beach.

Real Estate Sales/Rentals - 4 GULF SHORES CONDOS – 4.7 miles from beach, starting prices $54,900 –, click Colony Club – (251)948-8008 TOMBIGBEE WATERFRONT HOUSE, Two Rivers West Greene County – Three Bedroom, 2 Bath, Large Recroom with Pool Table $131,000.00 – (205)394-9944 MONROE COUNTY ALABAMA, EUREKA LANDING (AL RIVER) – Selling Furnished Fishing Camp $65,000 – (251)639-2393

AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL. Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners. Lowest Prices on the Beach –, (251)550-9421, (205)556-0368, (205)752-1231

ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE NEEDS, IN MOST OF THE FREE WORLD Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Campgrounds, Marinas, Hotels, Mining Operations, Businesses and more - Jim Johnson Realty #71809   256-602-4565 WANTED: 100 to 200 ACRES in Baldwin, Escambia or Covington Counties. Call Randy (318)933-0040

Travel - 2 CARIBBEAN CRUISES AT THE LOWEST PRICE – (256)974-0500 or (800)726-0954 CRUISE the BAHAMAS and FLORIDA KEYS on a private 47’ Leopard Catamaran – www. – Captain James (251)401-3367 for more information

Musical Notes - 2 PIANOS TUNED, REPAIRED, REFINISHED - Box 171, Coy, AL 36435 – (334)337-4503 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

Education - 3 WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – Year round enrollment. Everybody homeschools. It is just a matter of what degree – (256)653-2593 or website BECOME AN ORDAINED MINISTER correspondence study. Founded in 1988. Free info. Ministers for Christ Outreach, 6630 West Cactus #B107767, Glendale, Arizona 85304. http:// FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to 23600 Alabama Highway 24, Trinity, AL, 35673

Critters - 2 CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. Registered, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893 ADORABLE AKC YORKY PUPPIES – excellent blood lines – (334)301-1120, (334)537-4242,

Fruits / Nuts / Berries - 1 OLD TIMEY WHITE AND YELLOW self pollinating SEED corn – (334)886-2925

How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office): June 2013 – April 25 July 2013 – May 25 August 2013 – June 25

Alabama Living

-Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis

-We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards

-Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each

Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to: ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

-Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to or call (800)410-2737 ask for Heather for pricing.

April 2013  39

Consumer Wise

Get the Facts Before Installing Solar Water Heater Harnessing sunshine might help reduce your water heating bill, but know your options first to determine the best system for your family.


:We have two teenage daughters who take long showers, so our water heating costs are high. Does using solar water heating make sense? What are my solar options, and is there a system I can make myself?


:For a typical family of four, water heating can account for about 20 percent of its annual utility bills. If you have two daughters taking long showers, yours may be somewhat higher, but don’t expect a solar water heating system to cut your costs to zero. A target savings of 50 percent often provides a good economic payback. Before you consider using solar or any other efficient water heating methods, install low-flow showerheads with shut-off tickle (lathering) valves—and have a talk with your family about taking shorter showers. The two basic types of solar water heating systems are “active” and “passive.” Active systems require a storage tank, electric pumps, and controls to function. Sometimes 12-volt pumps can be powered by a photovoltaic solar panel located near the solar water heating collectors on the roof. In cold climates, the system has to include some type of antifreeze working fluid and heat exchanger so it does not freeze at night during winter. Other systems that circulate the actual potable water through the collector need a draining system to empty the collectors at night during winter. Passive water heating systems rely on the natural upward flow of less-dense warm water to move the water through the solar collector. In these systems, the warm water storage tank is located above the solar collector—usually on the roof or in the attic,

James Dulley

is a nationally syndicated engineering consultant based in Cincinnati

40  April 2013

so there are some structural considerations with these types of devices. These systems are less expensive than more sophisticated active systems, but they tend to be less efficient, especially during cold weather. There are many types of solar collector designs. The best one for your house depends on your climate, your hot water requirements, and your budget. They can be as simple as black copper tubes in an insulated box with a glass top to ones with vacuum tubes, concentrating reflectors, and heat pipe technology. Discuss the various types with your solar contractor. Unless you are an accomplished craftsman, I suggest you build a passive solar water heater. Trying to build an active system—with collectors on the roof, plumbing and control systems, and storage tanks—is beyond the skill level of most homeowners. I am a design mechanical engineer, and I don’t think I could build a system myself from scratch. If you do decide to go with an active system, in general, use a system with an OG-300 rating from the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (www. A knowledgeable, qualified installer is important too—look for contractors with certification by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners ( And check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency ( for local incentives on installing a solar water heating system, in addition to the federal tax credit—just remember to review specific program requirements regarding system types, sizing, certifications, installers, and the like to make sure your system qualifies. Otherwise, try building a passive “batch” system, which is a preheater for your existing water heater, with the simplest design called a “breadbox.” It uses a horizontal metal water tank inside a box with a clear top. The sun shines through to heat the water. Another slightly more efficient option uses a tall box tilted at an angle to face the sun. This allows the warmer water to be drawn first from the top of the tank.

You can buy a stainless steel water tank specially designed for this application with inlet and outlet water fittings. If you can find an old water heater that’s not leaky, strip off the metal skin and insulation to use the inner tank. Paint it flat black to absorb more of the sun’s heat. It does help to insulate the solid sides and bottom of the box, especially if you plan to use it most of the year. Very heavy insulation is not needed because the tank will not get extremely warm, especially if you are using hot water throughout the day. One-inch thick foil-faced rigid foam sheets should be fine. Attach them inside the box so they reflect the sun’s heat to the tank. Install water valves and plumbing so the solar tank can be drained and bypassed during cold weather. Install heavy insulation around any exposed pipes and bury as much as possible underground. A For more information, see these resources: includes a directory of installers and a calculator to estimate the performance of solar water heaters and PV systems, solar-water-heaters has basic graphics that describe various designs siting-your-solar-water-heating-system has links to other resources The following companies offer solar kits and components: Alternative Energy Store, (877) 211-8192,; Build It Solar,; and Solar Components, (603) 668-8186,

Send your questions to: James Dulley Alabama Living 6906 Royalgreen Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45244

You can also reach Dulley online at

Market Place

Alabama Living

April 2013  41

Wiregrass Electric shows Pinedale Elementary students the importance of Wiregrass Electric Cooperative makes the safety of its employees, and its members, its top priority. That’s why WEC has adopted the phrase “100% Safe: Every Day, Every Life.” That mission extends beyond WEC employees: it represents commitment to help members learn about safety. That’s why in early February, WEC employees presented an electrical safety demonstration to the second grade classes at Pinedale Elementary. The presentation included the “Safety City” display that teaches students the “dos and don’ts” of being around electric lines and equipment. The demonstration focused on how children can protect themselves from electrical injury. “Educating children about the dangers of electricity,” says Jessie Ingram, manager of energy services for WEC, “is one of the best things we

can do to help prevent accidents in the future.” The demonstration also walked students through the basics about how electricity is generated, transmitted and used in the home through the use of visual aids including live electrical lines. The stars of the show, “Lightning Liz” and “Neon Leon,” were given many different scenarios in a typical neighborhood or rural setting. Liz and Leon would then light up when coming in contact with electricity to illustrate how current can travel through both people and objects. “I think it’s a great program,” says Cary Hatcher, manager of member relations for WEC. “The kids love it and we’re able to teach them at such a young age how to respect electricity. It’s a wonderful service.” A

photo by Cherokee Spivey

staying safe

Jessie Ingram uses the Safety City to teach students about electricity.

The Safety City Program is available to schools, clubs, civic groups and organizations in Wiregrass Electric’s service area and is appropriate for all ages. Contact Jessie Ingram at or call 800-239-4602 for more information on bringing this fun-filled educational program to your group.

Community Service Day WEC is proud to give back to our community. Many of our employees spent this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day performing several community service projects. Some worked with Wiregrass Habitat in Dothan, others weatherized homes in Kinsey or in Samson. Working together, we can achieve great things for the Wiregrass!

42  APRIL 2013

12-455-April WEC Alabama Living.indd 34

3/15/13 12:17 PM

Put your deposit TO WORK for you!

INcontrol A Prepay Power Program from WEC

By switching to a prepay account, you can join the hundreds of members who no longer receive electric bills, but instead always know exactly how much they are spending on electric service!

Adding more money to your prepay account is easy! COME IN

Pay for electric service inside our Hartford, Samson, Ashford or Dothan office. There is no minimum fee when making a drive thru payment for accounts enrolled in the InControl program.

DRIVE THRU Our Hartford, Ashford and Dothan offices also have a convenient drive thru. There is no minimum fee when making an in-office payment for accounts enrolled in the InControl program.


Call our IVR system at 800-239-4602 any day, any time and pay by credit or debit card or by check.


Create an online account to pay your bill at

Be InControl with a prepay account: ✓✓ Put your deposit to work for you immediately ✓✓ No more billing surprises with instant information about your power usage ✓✓ Get immediate text and email alerts about your account ✓✓ Control your account through our website ( or through your smartphone ✓✓ Payment options available all day, every day ✓✓ Studies show that prepay accounts help people use less electricity, saving them money

To sign up for InControl, stop by any WEC office or visit our website

12-455-April WEC Alabama Living.indd 35

3/15/13 12:17 PM

Our Sources Say



hen I was growing up in the 1960’s in north Mississippi, we were taught to be responsible for our actions. If I had trouble with a teacher in school, I was whipped at home regardless of who was to blame. Today it seems that neither children nor parents are responsible for anything bad that happens at school – or for their education. When I talk to teachers, it’s the parents’ fault. It’s always someone else’s fault. It’s not just our schools. If we broke someone else’s property, we replaced it. Today, someone would be more likely to blame you for leaving it where they could break it, and most often not even offer to replace it. It’s always somebody else’s fault. The concept of “it’s not my fault so I

Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative 42  April 2013

don’t have to deal with it” is infuriating. As I consider what happened to our standards of responsibilty, it seems an environment of government dependence and entitlement is to blame for much of the change. (After all, it couldn’t be our fault.) Just last night, I asked a taxi driver, a recent immigrant from Nigeria, what he thought about the U.S. He said that Americans depend upon the government for too much – both the rich and the poor. Italy intrigues me. Italian history is a legacy of greatness, dominance and conquest. The Roman Empire was the breeding ground for much of the world’s culture. Roman history is the story of driven people doing what was necessary, taking responsibility and not assigning blame for the damage. I doubt if Roman Legions thought about fault as they conquered the world. I doubt they even counted the bodies. But people and civilizations change. And Italy changed. In 2009, six Italian scientists and a government official were convicted of manslaughter for the deaths of more than 300 people. They were not killed by a scientific experiment gone awry or a targeted murder, but by an earthquake. They were convicted of failing to accurately predict the earthquake. The earthquake, near the town of L’Aquila, followed a series of 400 smaller tremors over the course of four months. The seven defendants predicted the tremors had released seismic pressure, and that a major earthquake was unlikely in the short term. The experts were wrong, and L’Aquila, severely damaged by earthquakes four times before, was again struck and people were killed. Of course, the deaths could not be the

residents’ fault for remaining in an area known for devastating earthqukes (and had over 400 recent tremors). It had to be someone else’s fault. A progressive Italian government system wouldn’t have it any other way. It had to be the fault of those predicting earthquakes. The convictions will not make earthquake prediction more accurate in Italy. In fact, it should have the opposite effect – I would be hesitant to predict anything in Italy. What about us? It strikes me that our culture is moving in the direction of Italy’s. Anything that goes wrong must be someone else’s fault. Did you lose money in the Great Recession? It must have been the fault of unscrupulous investment brokers and bankers. Our progressive government is prosecuting some of them for failing to disclose the risks of investing in the stock market and is imposing laws and regulations that make financial forecasting more complicated and difficult. Some deserve to be prosecuted, but not for a failure to predict the recession or that an investment would decline in value. Did your business lose money or did your property depreciate in value during the time period of the Gulf oil spill? You don’t have to prove damages; the government will ensure you are compensated for your losses. It wasn’t your fault; politicians were on television and told us so. I suspect my Nigerian driver was right – we rely too much on an increasingly progressive government to make up for our mistakes and shortcomings. We are no longer responsible for things that go wrong. If I am wrong or if I hurt your feelings, it is not my fault. Thank you for reading. I hope you have a good month.

Market Place

Alabama Living

April 2013  45

Alabama Snapshots



3 7



In my garden 5

Submit Your Images! june Theme:

“At the beach”

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 june: April 30

46  April 2013

1. Glenna “Sunshine” Wigle submitted by Gerald and Sybil Hathcock, Luverne 2. Donald Murdock with his tomatoes submitted by Mrs. Donald Murdock, Henagar 3. Landon Danley submitted by Stan and Donna Roberts, Somerville 4. Briley and Brooke Hincy submitted by Joyce Garmon, Centre

5. “Idea Leuconoe” submitted by Brian Smith, Deatsville 6. James and Mary Grace Whatley submitted by Anna Hawsey, Evergreen 7. “Busy bee” submit ted by Bryan Campbell, Greenville

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

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

Southern Occasions


Alabama Living WEC April 2013  

Alabama Living WEC April 2013