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Elmore March 2014

County Living

Kelly Fitzpatrick The life and times of Wetumpka's beloved Depression-era artist

Building Character with a Bat and a Ball CraterFest 2014

Fitzpatrick's "Presbyterian Church, Wetumpka" ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

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STAFF

President & Publisher Kenneth Boone

kenneth.boone@alexcityoutlook.com

General Manager Shannon Elliott

shannon.elliott@thewetumpkaherald.com

Managing Editor Betsy Iler

betsy.iler@alexcityoutlook.com

Editor

Peggy Blackburn

peggy.blackburn@thewetumpkaherald.com

Distribution Manager David Kendrick

david.kendrick@alexcityoutlook.com

Marketing Consultants Jason Glenn

jason.glenn@tallasseetribune.com

Anthony Watson

anthony.watson@thewetumpkaherald.com

Jayne Carr

jayne.carr@thewetumpkaherald.com

Morris Graves

morris.graves@thewetumpkaherald.com

Creative Services Audra Spears

audra.spears@alexcityoutlook.com

Virginia Spears

virginia.spears@alexcityoutlook.com

Contributors Barry Chrietzberg Cory Diaz Linda Griebel Layne Holley

Larry Johnson Jeff Langham Mary K. Moore Willie Moseley

Adam Powell Griffin Pritchard Jacob Saylor Kevin Taylor

For Subscription Inquiries 256-234-4281 ext.13 • For Advertising Inquiries 334-567-7811 For Editorial Inquiries 334-567-7811 All content, including all stories and photos, are copyright of

Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 99, 300 Green Street, Wetumpka, AL 36092 334-567-7811

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CONTENTS

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CRATERFEST

BUILDING ALL-STAR CHARACTER

ARTISTIC REBEL

Chris Stapleton headlines this year's free concerts and activities

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Blazing meteorite changed Wetumpka area to unique moonscape

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Local baseball programs build skills on and off the field

TRAITS OF A HERO: ROBERT SCROGGINS

Wetumpka's renowned Kelly Fitzpatrick: Alabama's premiere art promoter

ON THE COVER

Tallassee postmaster survived three near-fatal landings in service to his country

John Kelly Fitzpatrick (American, 1888-1953), Presbyterian Church, Wetumpka, 1933, oil on Masonite, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, Gift of Works Progress Administration, 1935.6

MASTER 26 JUNIOR GARDENERS

Holtville students dig for gardening certification

Monthly Features

EXTRA! EXTRA!.............................................. 8 THE GAMER................................................. 36 THE ARTS...................................................... 38 GARDEN BUG.............................................. 40 BACK IN THE DAY...................................... 42 MOVIE MAN................................................. 45

OUT & ABOUT.............................................. 48 COMING UP.................................................. 56 DISTRIBUTION POINTS............................. 60 OUR ADVERTISERS..................................... 61 DOWN HOME DELIGHTS......................... 62

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Prothro Visits Wetumpka Venable Honored Long time former Tallassee Tribune owner Jack Venable was inducted into the Alabama Press Association’s Hall of Fame in a ceremony Feb. 15 in Auburn. Venable, who purchased the Tribune in 1970, passed away in 2005 but left a legacy that lives on to this day. Though Venable had no prior journalism experience when he purchased the Tribune, he was a quick study and transformed the paper immensely. Venable was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1974 and served until his death. Further, Venable was president of the Alabama Press Association from 19881989. “He was a humble man,” said wife Jo Venable. “The accolades never meant all that much to him. He was appreciative of them. But, his goal was to serve people as much as he could in all the different capacities he was a part of.”

Former Alabama football star Tyrone Prothro visited Wetumpka to talk about overcoming adversity, a subject he knows all too well. While playing for the Tide, Prothro received a leg injury

Extra! Extra! News from Elmore County and surrounding areas

Shelby Visits Tallassee U.S. Senator Richard Shelby paid a visit to GKN Aerospace in Tallassee on Jan. 23, making good on a campaign promise that dates back to the 1980s. “I travel the state every year and visit every county,” Shelby said. “I decided this year I wanted to visit some of our larger industries and talk with the workers and see what the challenges were.” Since 1987, the beginning of Shelby’s first term in the United States Senate, he has made more than 1,800 county visits in Alabama. 8

that permanently ended his football career. “I had dreams of going to the NFL and it seemed to be in reach,” Prothro said. “But it wasn’t the first or even the second adversity I’d faced in life. You have to keep going on.” The event, which was sponsored by the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce, gave attendees an opportunity to ask questions and talk one-onone with Prothro. Most people brought items for him to autograph, purchased his book or posed for pictures with the former Tide star.

Thursday’s trip, which included stops in Bibb, Chilton, Autauga, Elmore and Montgomery counties, bumped that number to 1,833. In the past, Shelby’s visits have included town hall stops for question and answer sessions, but this year’s trips were centered on jobs and job creation. ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

BUI Bill Passes House A bill calling for stiffer penalties for those involved in alcohol-related deaths was unanimously passed in the Alabama House and Senate in late January. The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Bryan Taylor (RPrattville), had sat dormant for nearly four years before being overwhelmingly approved. The bill calls for anyone convicted of an alcohol-relat-


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Holmes Wins Runoff Mike Holmes was sworn into office as the new representative for Alabama House District 31 in midFebruary. Holmes garnered 57 percent of the vote, claiming victory over opponent Jimmy Collier 2,0281,550. “I had a fantastic group of volunteers working on my behalf,” Holmes said. “I’ve never done anything like this before, and I had no idea how hard people will work to help you.” Now that the election is over, Holmes has encouraged district residents to contact him with their concerns. “I want to be everyone’s representative,” Holmes said. “My door will always be open to all of the district’s constituents – as soon as I find out where my office will be.”

ed boating death to be charged with first-degree assault, which can lead to 20 years in prison. “The penalty should be the same on the water as it is on land,” said 19th judicial circuit court District Attorney Randall Houston. “Nobody can argue that a life taken by a drunk boater is somehow less valuable than a life taken by a drunk driver.”

Capital City Classic A Success The Tallassee High School choir department hosted its annual choir competition, “The Capital City Classic,” Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at the Montgomery Performing Arts Complex. The competition, which pits show choirs from across the South against one anoth-

er in a two-day musical extravaganza, got underway with the middle and junior high school divisions Friday evening, Jan 31. The high school division began at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, and lasted until 11 p.m. Schools came from as far away as Tennessee and Georgia to compete in the classic, along with Alabama schools from Opelika, Albertville, Enterprise, Homewood and other communities. Because Tallassee choirs sponsored the event, they were unable to compete, but all four of Tallassee’s various show choirs put on exhibition performances throughout the competition.

State Gas Prices Soar For those who enjoyed gas prices dipping just below $3 a gallon or sitting right at that mark, it was short-lived. Last week the average gallon of gas in the state increased 4.1 cents to a state average of $3.14 per gallon. In February, the average gallon of gas jumped from $3.01 to as high as $3.08. Experts say the national average cost of gas will likely increase 35-50 cents a gallon heading into the summer season. “This new trend may signal the beginning of ‘March Madness,’ the time of the year that brings large spikes in gas prices,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBussy.com. “Very few stations have gasoline under $3 per gallon ..."

Got a news brief to submit? Send it to news@thewetumpkaherald.com for consideration to be included in our newspapers or magazine! ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

Another Mayor Resigns Eclectic Mayor J. Michael Holton resigned in early February after only one year on the job. According to Holton, his reason for leaving Eclectic's highest office was due to “family issues.” “My wife and my children deserve more of my time,” Holton said of the resignation. Council President Pro-Tem Gary Davenport will assume the role of acting mayor until council members decide how to proceed. Davenport will, at least for a while, become Eclectic’s fifth mayor in four years. “It took us all by surprise, but after he explained his feelings and position, I understand it,” Davenport said. “I hate it, because I think he was doing a good job.”

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Chris Stapleton headlines this year's Crafterfest concert

Craterfest 2014 Grammy winner Chris Stapleton headlines festival Story by Peggy Blackburn

When the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce wanted to take its annual community festival to another level, the first thing board members decided to do was brand it with a new and unique name. After 11 years as Riverfest – a festival name held in common with many other river towns – organizers decided to play instead on a feature no other city can claim. Thus Craterfest came into being in 2013, piggybacking on the unique marine impact crater that was created when a meteor hit this area 85 million years ago. The crater is the only one of its kind in the eastern United States. “We saw it as a great opportunity to brand Wetumpka’s rare treasure and story of the impact crater – that only we can tell here – by changing the name to Wetumpka Craterfest,” said Vanessa Lynch, chamber executive director. “We were thrilled last year to receive the blessing and support of the Impact Crater Commission. It is a great event to bring our community together for fun and entertainment, while drawing attention to Wetumpka from outside the area.” The festival, introduced in its new guise last year, attracted about 10,000 people to the city. Craterfest offers a large-scale music festival featuring professional artists, children’s activities and a variety of vendors – all free to attendees. “Craterfest has a strong focus on attracting 10

tourism while maintaining the community aspect,” said Lynch. “We’re able to offer this event at no cost with the help of sponsorships from community businesses.” This year’s festival will feature headliner Chris Stapleton – a Grammy-winning songwriter and American country, bluegrass and rock musician. As a songwriter, he has four number one hits, including “Never Wanted Nothing More” recorded by Kenny Chesney, “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” recorded by George Strait, “Your Man” by Josh Turner and “Come Back Song” recorded by Darius Rucker. His first single, “What Are You Listening To” was released last summer. Stapleton also wrote the current Luke Bryan hit, “Drink A Beer.” Support acts at this year’s festival will include:

Drake White and the Big Fire

White has a large following in Alabama and tours often with Willie Nelson, Kid Rock, ZZ Top, Lynard Skynard and Toby Keith. He has a unique, foot-stomping grassroots kind of sound. White, born

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in Hokes Bluff, Ala., has worked his way up into the spotlight. He began his singing career playing local clubs and was a staple at the Alabama Line, an event showcasing talented singer-songwriters from the state. White now lives in Nashville and released his first single, “The Simple Life,” last year.

Kelly Archer

The Vancouver, Canada, native has been based in Nashville since 2001. She has written songs performed by Jason Aldean, Jo Dee Messina, Danielle Peck and Aaron Tippin and other popular artists. Archer has also performed as a backup singer and more recently as a solo act.

Mayday Malone

A four-piece roots rock/Americana band in the tradition of Bruce Springsteen and The Drive By Truckers, Mayday Malone is made up of veterans of the East Nashville scene; the band started as a side project but is developing into the primary focus of members Chris Moynihan, Daryl Evans, John Miner and Scott Martin. 

Food, games and carnival rides for children and adults are among the Craterfest activities, along with free concerts by nationally acclaimed bands

Caitlyn Smith and band

Smith is a Minneapolis native who started singing at the age of seven. At 11, she was playing guitar and writing songs, and she hasn’t stopped yet. She moved to Nashville in 2010 and has co-written with Rascal Flats and garnered a cut with Jason Aldean. Smith has also toured with Willie Nelson.

Old Dominion

A very popular up-and-coming band from Nashville, Old Dominion has a sound much like Florida Georgia Line. Members of the country/rock group are Matthew Ramsey, vocals/guitar; Brad Tursi, guitar; Trevor Rosen, guitar/vocals; Geoff Sprung, bass; and Whit Sellers, drums.

Craterfest 2014 will open at noon April 19, and close at 9 p.m. at Gold Star Park in downtown Wetumpka. “In addition to the musical performances there will be arts and crafts, concessions, Wetumpka Impact Crater displays and a Kidzone,” said Lynch. “The headline stage and community stage will both be in the park with alternating activities and events. Vendors and the Kidzone will be in the same vicinity.” Lynch said chamber board members were very pleased with the response to last year’s event. “We learned a lot and were very happy with the outcome,” she said. “People had a chance to see our beautiful city, and it brought a lot of positive attention to Wetumpka. But everything really came together, because of the hard work of a lot of people.” Attendees at Craterfest should bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Lynch said coolers are also allowed, though she encouraged guests to support event vendors. The chamber plans to continue Craterfest on the third Saturday of April each year. Lynch said plans are to expand and improve the event every year. Details about Craterfest are updated regularly on the chamber’s website at wetumpkachamber. org, as well as the Craterfest Facebook page.

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Impact! Blazing meteorite changed Wetumpka area to unique moonscape

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Story by Peggy Blackburn Photo by Barry Chrietzberg

n the days of the dinosaurs, when what is now Central Alabama lay beneath a warm shallow sea, a cataclysm of epic proportions changed the very fiber of the area. About 85 million years ago, a meteor the size of a large college football stadium blazed a fiery trail through the atmosphere, hurtling at 44,640 mph into a spot about 16 miles offshore. It left behind a 5-mile wide horseshoe-shaped ring of hills where Wetumpka now thrives. The impact of the stony projectile literally shattered the Earth. According to Dr. David T. King Jr., an Auburn University professor of geology, the energy released by the strike equaled the explosion of about 2.3 billion tons of TNT and was approximately 175,000 times the power of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.  King said the collision likely produced an earthquake that would have registered between 8.4 and 9 on the Richter scale. His research indicates the meteor most likely struck at a 30- to 45-degree angle from the northeast. He also speculated that shock waves, blinding light, damage and other effects of the impact explosion radiated outward several hundred miles. Debris may have been tossed as far away as the current Gulf of Mexico. In addition to the explosion on impact, the strike likely spawned winds of about 175 miles an hour and created a 100-foot tsunami. It also caused a cascade of flying rocks that would have been ejected from the developing crater bowl. King became interested in the unique geological formation in the 1990s and in 1997 released a report detailing his conclusions that the ring of hills was formed by a meteor strike.

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FEATURE

A meteorite is responsible for Wetumpka's unusual moonscape formations

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To confirm the area as an impact crater, core drilling was conducted in June and July 1998. Samples were retrieved from about 700 feet below the surface. In 1999, testing conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) revealed that the samples contained “shocked quartz,” confirming King’s theory that a meteor had crashed in the area. In 2002, the research team published its results in Earth and Planetary Science Letters and officially established Wetumpka as the 157th known impact crater on the planet. Others noted the geographic anomalies of the terrain before King proved his hypothesis. State Geologist E.A. Smith recorded the first information about the site in August 1891, and maps prepared in the 1950s by H.D. Eargle, L.C. Conant and C.W. Drennan described the area as structurally perturbed.  In 1971, Tuscaloosa geologist Tony Neathery and two other geologists – Robert D. Bentley and Gregory C. Lyons – theorized that the site’s peculiarities were the result of a meteor impact. During June and July 2009, King utilized a grant from NASA to conduct further core drilling – excavating at four new sites around the crater rim. The crater has also been photographed via satellite. “We have very detailed pictures of the earth’s

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surface, thanks to a LiDAR (lighting detection and ranging) study,” said King, who hopes to obtain funding for core drilling exploration of other areas of the crater. “I would like to drill a 6,000-foot well in the center,” he said. “That would probably cost a million bucks.” Eventually, King would like to have magnetic and seismic studies of the area conducted. Wetumpka’s impact crater is unique among such geological anomalies, because it is not submerged in water or otherwise covered or eroded beyond visibility. It is also the only authenticated impact crater in the eastern United States. Researchers from around the globe have visited the area to study what scientists describe as “the best preserved marine impact crater in the world.” In places, the ridge of hills that are the crater rim rise as high as 300 feet above the surrounding terrain. Members of the Wetumpka Crater Commission have worked for more than a dozen years toward a dream of bringing the impact crater to prominence. Their goal is to construct an Alabama Impact Crater and Science Center, which would include an observatory, classrooms, an interpretive center and more.

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Cory Anthony of Wetumpka plays left field for Wetumpka Middle School

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Building All-Star

CHARACTER

More than 2,000 Elmore County boys will pick up ball, bat and glove this spring to learn about America's sport ... and life

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Story by Cory Diaz Photos by Barry Chrietzberg

ife, in every aspect, calls for an all-star performance. Every day, kids across Elmore County turn in their best efforts in school, to their parents and to each other as neighbors, friends and teammates. Sports unifies a myriad of people with differing beliefs and walks of life – a very important lesson at a young age. Every year, more than 2,000 Elmore County youth lace up their cleats in cordial competition. And every season, when a new crop of players meet the game of baseball, those who help them learn it through school and community programs and private instruction also hope they absorb those life lessons. Brandon Barrett and Greg Nichols both started baseball academies in the small town of Elmore in 2013, with Barrett founding the Alabama Sox Baseball Academy in June and Nichols forming the Future Prospects Baseball Academy last April. Initially, they needed indoor facilities where their travel ball teams could practice, but over time their organizations evolved into much more. “As it grew, because our philosophy is more about character development with our travel ball teams, we kind of determined that other people wanted it,” said Nichols, who works in the healthcare field. “We didn’t really start this thing as a business; we started it more as an opportunity – or we say create an environment – for the kids to

be developed. “Our vehicle is baseball for character development. Other people use basketball, football, but we love baseball. Between our mandatory academic standards, our mental accountability, physical training and fundamental work, we feel like we’ve got a pretty good little program that’s going to get some kids to have the opportunity to maybe go to college.” Shortly after the Alabama Sox’s inception, the program began to sprout some legs. Since June, its numbers have grown to 80 kids and three travel teams. The Sox 8U team won the fall and spring championships in its first year. Barrett, a Millbrook native and New Life Christian Academy alum, said it’s been good for his kids to progress on the field. “Well, we got going and got more into it. One thing leads to another. We started picking up better kids,” Barrett said. “But they’ve just continued to progress and get better. It’s been good to see.” Seeing the kids evolve into better baseball players brings smiles to their faces, Barrett and Nichols said. And watching the 6- to 14-year-olds mature and grow into better people offers the highest reward to their parents and coaches. “More than baseball, a part of it is learning how to deal with the ups and downs of life,” Barrett said. “How to bring the good out of losses and be humble with winning. We open and close every practice with prayer. I don’t push religion

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Coach Chris Puckett teaches 11-year-old Parker Whittle to control his posture and stance

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on them. But I do think it’s good to have spiritual stability somewhere in life. “They learn respect – respect about yourself and a good work ethic. We try to teach them not everything in life is good, but you learn to bring the good out of it. Don’t be lazy; you’re going to have to work at it. And to win, you have to outwork your competitor. So we try to teach them life lessons through baseball.” Michael Maddox, the Wetumpka Youth League commissioner, said that too many times, coaches and Winding instructors lose sight of what’s most up with important for the youth at that age. confidence “Number one, we want them to learn the rules and proper fundamentals,” Maddox Positive said. “We also want them to reinforcement learn good sportsmanship and teach them all the values that they need that they’ll use later on in life. “A lot of times coaches focus a lot on putting that ‘w’ in the win column. But my philosophy has always been it’s not always about learning how to win, but you need to learn how to lose.” Competition in life is not strictly bound to the realm of sports. Later in life, Elmore County’s youth will compete with others for jobs. Maybe some will run for public office. Learning that work ethic now, Nichols said, readies the kids for those life-altering moments. “It’s a very competitive environment,” Nichols said of Future Prospects. “It’s about who can perform and, unfortunately, that’s the way baseball is and the way life is. We’re more focused on teaching kids how to deal with adversity, how to deal with failure, Jeff vanFossem because this game is all about teaches Carson Howard dealing with failure. about proper alignment “I’ve had six kids who ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

academically struggled, and we took the academy away from them. All six are now A-B students. I think the parents were trying. I think the challenge was what do you have that they want that you can’t control? And all we did is give them a tool. “The ones that perform well, they get rewarded. The ones that don’t, they get it taken away. I’ve gotten email and personal correspondence from fathers and mothers. I had one father say, ‘I thought I was losing my son at 12 years old.’ He wasn’t motivated; he didn’t have anything. Now, he’s an A-B student; he’s one of the leaders on one of our teams, and that probably means more to me than us actually winning.” Barrett knows that the small amount of time he spends with his players at the Sox Academy every week impacts their lives. The reassurance from the parents and the visual proof on and off the field provides enough reward for him. “The reward is the feedback from parents,” Barrett said. “It’s the ‘thank you’s and to see the kids progress. They’ll come up and tell me how they did in a certain ballgame – that they really enjoy baseball. To see them become what they want to become, on and off the field, is more rewarding over anything.”

"More than baseball, a part of it is learning how to deal with the ups and downs of life." - Brandon Barrett 20


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e was forced to ditch in an ice-cold North Sea just after the New Year 1944. In July of that same year, he walked away from another crash, this time in a bomber that was so small there wasn’t any room in it for a parachute, so he’d been bolted into its nose. Then, on a bombing run over Germany, he managed to get his bombs away despite a fire in the engine of the B-17 and wounds to his hands, both legs and his head, but even that wasn’t enough. These feats and more earned local postmaster Robert Scroggins more than six Air Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and a Purple Heart, but it was something else that put him on the pages of the recently-published book, American Veterans – Their Stories of Service and Valor, by Lt. Col. James Lawrence of Cecil. His selection for the book, Lawrence noted, is based on survivability, determination, daring, loyal service and love of family and country. Lawrence, a retired Air Force pilot, profiled veterans from the Civil War through the recent conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan in his book, because without Scroggins and those like him who served, he said, the achievements we enjoy today never would have happened. Scroggins earned his commission through the U.S. Army’s cadet program and this year marks 70 years of survival since his harrowing close calls in 1944. After commissioning, he was assigned to B-17s as a bombardier in the European theater. The Tallassee resident – now a spry 92 years old – still vividly recalls those times. While home on a 30-day leave in 1943, he said, he married his girlfriend Irene Houston, and the couple will soon celebrate their 71st anniversary. But as 1944 began, so did his travails in combat 22

– and such tribulations were in triplicate, with Scroggins involved in three airplane crashes or emergency landings. The first incident happened Jan. 4, 1944, as Scroggins was forced to ditch his heavily damaged B-17 in the wintery North Sea as he returned to England following a bombing run. Picked up by a nearby ship, the B-17 crew had nearly succumbed to the frigid temperatures – their uniforms were frozen and had to be cut off of their bodies, so the airmen wore British military uniforms until they returned to their squadron. In July 1944, Scroggins was the bombardier in an experimental P-38 aircraft flown by legendary fighter pilot “Hub” Zemke. The P-38 Lightning was a twin-engine fighter, but the modified variant that also carried Scroggins and a Norden bombsight in its extended nose was known as the Droopsnoot. It was intended to serve as a small bomber, but the extended portion of the nose was so cramped Scroggins did not have a parachute due to space limitations. “They bolted me in with a screwdriver,” he said. “There was no way to get out.” Anti-aircraft fire damaged the Droopsnoot on its bombing run, so Zemke nursed the plane back to England for an emergency landing. “We hit the runway, but we didn’t have any brakes,” said Scroggins. “The plane kept going, ending up in a field. (The landing) tore up the airplane, and they didn’t have the parts to fix it.” Scroggins added that military planners soon decided against converting P-38 fighters into small bombers. “They decided that trying to fly straight and level under 12,000 feet was suicidal, and they never tried it again,” he said. Scroggins’ third nearly fatal incident occurred on another B-17 bombing run, this one over Cologne, Germany.

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Traits of a Hero: Robert Scroggins

Robert Scroggins, an American hero

Story by Willie G. Moseley Photo by Barry Chrietzberg ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

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“Just as we started the bomb run, we got a direct hit,” he said. “It knocked me out of my seat, and I was on top of the navigator who was right behind me. I was bleeding from my right hand, both legs and was cut across my forehead. That was the least of my wounds, but it was the most scary, because blood was coming down into my eyes.” The same explosion killed the navigator behind him, but Scroggins still managed to get his bombs away. “I didn’t know whether we hit (the target) or not,” he said. “I found out a year or two later that we did a good job.” One of the B-17’s engines was on fire, so the plan was diverted to an emergency landing in Brussels, Belgium, which was already in Allied hands. Scroggins was finally transported back to England where he made friends with a surgeon from Clanton. His awards ultimately included more than six Air Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and a Purple Heart. After the war, Scroggins returned to Tallassee and later joined a local National Guard unit that was being formed. That group was activated during the Korean War, and Scroggins served as an instructor at several bases in the U.S. He also took part in atomic testing in Nevada. Scroggins served as a local postmaster for 35 years and has children and grandchildren who have served honorably in the military, including overseas conflicts. Lawrence’s American Veterans … profiles individuals from the Civil War through Iraq and Afghanistan, and its author explained the reasons he selected Scroggins as one of his subjects. “Several things stand out about Scroggins,” Lawrence said. “First, his survivability – walking

away from three crashes is almost unheard of. Second, his determination to help the U.S. win – after recovering from injuries, he volunteered to go back to the war. “Third – his daring, willing attitude; hopping into that Droopsnoot P-38 for a non-conventional sortie with Hub Zemke. Fourth, his story appealed to me because he continued to serve his country in uniform after World War II, as well as working for the U.S. Postal Service in Tallassee for such an extended period of time,” Lawrence continued. “Fifth, and very importantly, he and Irene have now been married 70 years. What a testament to love of family and determination to leave a legacy. “In my view, Robert Scroggins epitomizes the very essence of our Greatest Generation that brought us through World War II and those post-war years of unbridled economic growth, advanced education, the Camelot years, the space program and so many other achievements that would not have been possible without the service and sacrifice of so many of his era.” Scroggins still enjoys his family life and fondly recalled a memorable event for his wife and himself in recent times. “The B-17 was introduced in 1935, so it was 50 years old in 1985,” he said. “They flew one into our area a while back, and Irene and I both went up in it.” Thankfully, that flight was not as harried as Scroggins’ 1944 adventures.

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HOLTVILLE

Story by Adam Powell Photos courtesy of Holtville Middle School

Junior Master Gardeners

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Katie Harris carefully waters the HMS garden

aised garden beds bursting with “She really does a lovely job,” said Amy Stewart, vegetables, herbs and flowers, a director of after-school programs for the Holtville greenhouse soaked in sunshine and Middle. “A lot of the kids have never had this kind of a patch of worms crawling through opportunity, so it’s a really neat thing for them.” moist soil; not uncommon sights George goes to the campus twice a month as a this time of year, but not what volunteer to instruct the students, starting with an you’d expect on a middle school in-class lecture before getting to work in the dirt. campus. Because students in the after-school programs This is the work area for the Holtville Middle meet every day, the young gardeners have a regular School Junior Master Gardeners; a program that, regimen of watering, soil turning and other farm labor. though still in its infancy, has taken enormous strides In the multiple raised beds in the garden site, in the two years it’s been active. students have had the opportunity to grow edible and “I’ve learned a lot, and I hope the children have decorative plants. learned a lot,” said program director Suzanne George. Recently, they planted ivy from the Birmingham “Gardening is so important, because if you can Botanical Gardens and made topiaries that were given grow things, care for plants and trees to teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week. and work hard, you can take care of With the carrots they grew, George made a yourself.” delicious frosted carrot cake to feed to her little At the encouragement horticulturalists. of her husband, George Other produce grown by the group has been enrolled in the county offered to students and teachers who may have a need extension service’s Master for fresh veggies at their homes. Gardener classes after she Because money is tight in schools, the group has sold her long-time business. come up with clever ways to save and raise money, Before she had even finished such as the worm garden that churns out all-natural, the program, the Holtville native free fertilizer. was invited to lead a group of her The program is guided by a strict curriculum own at the school. that assures each student involved receives the Junior ELMORE COUNTY LIVING 26


Master Gardener certification at the end of the school year. The greenhouse and beds are positioned strategically for optimal sun exposure, depending on what is being grown. An arbor was built recently as well, complete with a bench and roof, so students can have a shady place to sit as they take a break from the action. But the program is certainly not staying complacent, as plans for the future are as ambitious as the program itself. Currently, the group has plans for another greenhouse, an expansion of the land and even a pond in the distant future. In addition, George has ideas for placing compost bins where discarded cafeteria food can be repurposed. And the work of volunteers, as well as the bounty of generous donations from the community, is a large part of what has made this program successful. From supplies to construction, volunteers have made all of the necessary materials available to the program and the students it serves. “I think it’s going very well,” George said. “I may be the representative you see, but I have had lots of help.” Stewart agreed. “The students have benefitted greatly from this program and will continue to,” Stewart said. “Because of volunteers like Suzanne the kids get to take part in excellent programs like this.”

Trevor Britt, Hunter Wesson and Spencer Gordon find there's plenty to be done in the garden

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Artistic Rebel Wetumpka's renowned Kelly Fitzpatrick: Alabama's premiere art promoter Story by Adam Powell Photos courtesy of Montgomery Museum of Fine Art & Barry Chrietzberg

John Kelly Fitzpatrick (American, 1888–1953), Monday Morning, 1934, oil on Masonite, Gift of Works Progress Administration, 1935.5

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John Kelly Fitzpatrick (American, 1888–1953), Untitled (The Dock), ca. 1940, watercolor on paper, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, Gift of the Estate of Elizabeth Metcalf, 1981.12.2

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he spirit of Alabama’s premiere art promoter, an Elmore County native, has found a home in the towering columns and glass pane walls of Wetumpka’s old-bank administrative building. John Kelly Fitzpatrick, an artistic rebel of the Depression era, is credited with founding the Alabama Art League, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, the Museum Art School and – most memorably – the Dixie Art Colony. And the city’s gallery on the second floor of the bank-turned-office building recently was named the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery (KFMG), and it’s packed from one end to the other – down corridors and behind closed doors – with local art.

“One reason it was important to name the gallery for Kelly Fitzpatrick was because he was Alabama’s premiere art promoter,” said Mark Harris, president and director of the gallery. “He was responsible for promoting not just his career, but also many other artists as well.” John Kelly Fitzpatrick, most often referred to as Kelly Fitzpatrick, was born Aug. 15, 1888, at 207 West Tuskeena St., Wetumpka. “There’s been a lot of confusion about where he was born,” said Harris. “If you look it up online, it will say ‘in or near Wetumpka,’ but he actually was born right here in Wetumpka.” Fitzpatrick attended journalism school at the University of Alabama before he decided to become an artist. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 1918

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John Kelly Fitzpatrick was working on this mural at the time of his death in 1953. Arthur Stewart finished the piece, which can be seen at TrustMark Bank in Tallassee

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John Kelly Fitzpatrick (American, 1888–1953), Swing Low Sweet Chariot, 1944, oil on canvas, Courtesy of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Alabama Mu, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

and served in France in World War I. Fitzpatrick was wounded in battle, receiving severe shrapnel wounds on July 19, 1918. After he returned home, he turned his focus on art. Fitzpatrick attended the Art Institute in Chicago before heading for Paris in the spring of 1926. The French capitol had a major impact on Fitzpatrick, as he spent much of his time at 32

the Académie Julian, studying the impressionist and post-impressionist art that eventually became part of his work. Though heavily influenced by the impressionist style, Fitzpatrick became somewhat of an artistic rebel, as he strayed from the mainstream to be considered a “Regionalist,” someone who contradicted artistic norms and focused on more rural subjects.

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In addition to becoming a prolific artist who vividly portrayed country life, and specifically life in Elmore County, he was an organizer and educator. Along with a select group of friends and colleagues, Fitzpatrick founded the Alabama Art League, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, the Museum Art School and the Dixie Art Colony.

Though the Colony only lasted roughly 10 years, between the mid 1930s and 40s, its impact was profound. The group met at random locations before their permanent residence was established on Lake Jordan near Noble’s Ferry. The ferry once ran between the banks of Lake Jordan connecting Deatsville and Titus; and the Colony was stationed on the Deatsville side.

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There, the Dixie Art Colony set up one large lodge where members hosted meetings, classes and dinner. All around the lodge there were tiny cottages where Colony members stayed during the summer. Fitzpatrick, along with long-time cohort Arthur Stewart, taught art classes there, to the delight of many an art student. “He was really focused on the big picture rather than just himself,” Harris added. “It seems he was always really generous with his time.” Under President Roosevelt’s New Deal, a program called the Works Progress Administration (WPA) created the Federal Art Project, which was designed to give artists an opportunity to make a living while adding to the culture of the country. The federal government paid Fitzpatrick to paint a series of murals in selected post offices across Alabama.

In fact, Roosevelt was so struck by Fitzpatrick’s work that he even hung one of his pieces in the White House, a subject that today is owned by the Smithsonian Institute. On April 18, 1953, Fitzpatrick was working on a series of murals in the old Bank of Tallassee, now the Trust Mark Bank on Barnett Boulevard. He had sketched out the four murals, but would only finish one, as on that day he suffered a massive heart attack while working on the project. According to legend, he phoned a close friend who took him to a Montgomery hospital where he died later that day. The unfinished murals eventually were completed by Stewart and still hang in the bank. Today, Fitzpatrick’s legacy lives on within the walls of the gallery that bears his name. “That’s kind of what we want to do

John Kelly Fitzpatrick (American, 1888–1953), Alabama Foothills, 1938, oil on canvas, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, Gift of the artist, 1938.9

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John Kelly Fitzpatrick (American, 1888–1953), The Pottery Kiln, 1934, oil on Masonite, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, Gift of Works Progress Administration, 1935.10

here,” Harris said of the gallery. “We don’t just want to show art, we want to tell the stories behind the art and the artists.” In the coming months, the KFMG is hosting two exhibits that would certainly make Kelly Fitzpatrick proud. The first, entitled “Dixie Art Colony: A Look At Its Legacy,” will feature approximately 25 storyboards that chronicle the history of the Colony and its artists, as well as numerous original pieces from Colony artists. The second exhibit, entitled “Alabama At Work: Yesterday and Today,” will feature storyboards with historical images and tales. Along with these, several area artists are slated to create original work for the exhibit.

Some of this work will be based on historical photos of Alabamians’ work experiences, while other pieces will use modernday workers and jobs as inspiration. The original work will become part of the KFMG’s permanent collection, which according to KFMG Curator Hope Brannon, organizers are working diligently to expand. Both exhibits will open May 23 and run until July 6. In addition, a permanent exhibit of Fitzpatrick’s works hangs at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art. While the artist is no longer with us, John Kelly Fitzpatrick’s exquisite art and immortal legacy live on at the KFMG and in the hearts of many local artists and art enthusiasts.

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THE GAMER

Pros and cons of 8th generation consoles The most recent cycle of consoles has hit store shelves, and gamers everywhere are asking the question, “Which one should I buy?” As manufacturers vie for your money and loyalty for the next few years, let us make your buying process a bit easier. The gaming industry is currently experiencing its eighth console generation, which includes Nintendo’s Wii U, Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. All of these machines have their own drawbacks and advantages, which we will do our best to separate for you. To begin, let’s talk about Sony’s new machine: the Playstation 4. The system features top-of-the-line graphics and a strong launch library of both first-party and third-party titles from which to choose. Buying a PS4, you will not have to worry about going to your local game retailer and struggling to find a game. Some popular exclusive games right now are “Knack,” “Killzone: Shadow Fall” and downloadable title “Resogun.” Many would argue that Sony also has the most diverse library of exclusive games Video games journalist planned for the foreJacob Saylor has covered seeable the massive Electronic future. Entertainment Expo (E3) Sony’s in Los Angeles. press conference at E3 2013 (the biggest trade show inside the gaming industry) was interspersed with new game announcements at nearly every turn, with upcoming titles that include “Uncharted 4” and “The Order: 1886.” Another reason to jump on the PS4 bandwagon is that its online service, Playstation Network, offers 36

huge benefits for your patronage. January offered one of last year’s flagship titles, “Bioshock: Infinite,” as incentive to buy into the Playstation Plus program. “Infinite” is still being sold at $29.99 at most major game retailers, which means that if you bought just three months of Playstation Plus at $23.99, you would have come out on top. Another company with a stellar online showing is Microsoft, which released its new Xbox One system to store shelves on Nov. 22, 2013. The company charged players who wanted to use its online component (Xbox Live) last generation right from the get-go, while Nintendo and Sony offered their services for free. This means Microsoft has the potential to put far more money into both its system and online marketplace. While Sony and its PS4 have outshone the American software giant thus far, we are betting there is still an ace or two up Microsoft’s sleeve. Though the Xbox One may not yet have the stocked game library of the PS4, it appears that Microsoft has opted for a much more basicsfirst approach. From the moment you boot up the Xbox One, it is apparent that the system

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spent a lot of time in research and development. The menu screen is sleek and focused, and the always-superb online services shine. What really makes the Xbox One special – at this point, in the arms race anyway – is its Kinect feature. Kinect, for those of you who do not know, is both a motion-tracking and voicesensing technology introduced with the Xbox 360 last generation. The improvements to the add-on are obvious, which you will notice as you give your Xbox One commands such as “Xbox on,” or “Xbox go to Netflix.” These kinds of things – motion and 3D technology, especially – are generally looked at as gimmicks, but the integration and seamlessness that Microsoft has brought between the Kinect and Xbox One makes these features much more important. Then there is the case of Nintendo, whose triumphant bellows from yesteryear have seemingly faded into echoes. The company, which has its roots in Japan, was established more than a century ago in 1889. It began by making tabletop gaming cards, specifically Hanafuda, which roughly translates to “flower cards.” Nintendo has been the go-to for families across the globe since it began making video games in the 1980s, but recent financial struggles as a result of the failing Wii U system have cast a foreboding shadow across the veritable empire. The Wii U was released in November 2012 to extremely mixed reviews. The console boasts a number of interesting niceties, including a very unique controller that interacts with the TV. This implied a number of very cool and promising gameplay elements, but Nintendo has failed to capitalize on its decision to go against the grain. The choice to push the gaming industry into its third generation one year before its competition might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it has resulted in lackluster graphical capabilities from the system. Nintendo’s $299.99 manufacturer's suggested retail price on the console does not help the situation. With the PS4 starting at $399.99 and the Xbox One at $499.99, consumers would be wise

to ask themselves if investing a little more might pay them back in kind. If you do decide to pick up the sword and shield of Nintendo, all is not lost. The low price point opens a number of doors to players, including free online services. Most important, though, is the ability to spend more time with the characters you love. If there is one area in which Nintendo excels, it is in its amazing stable of games. Whether it is with “Mario,” “Link,” “Donkey Kong,” “Kirby” or “Captain Falcon,” gamers will always find a grandiose journey filled with good times. As for a definitive answer to the age-old question, “Which one should I buy?” you have to pick up the console that fits your needs. Looking for remarkable characters? Try the Wii U. Want an amazing online service? The Xbox One will deliver. Tired of looking for new games to play? Go get a PS4. Picking a console is a reflection of personality as much as it is a form of entertainment, and the companies have given us gamers three amazing choices.

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THE ARTS

Teaching kids to break a leg

Keller in a production of The Miracle Worker. Asked if she identified with Helen, she responded, “Well, I don’t throw tantrums and hit people.” But what she did learn was why young Helen Keller did those things. She came to understand the frustration of isolation that Helen’s blindness and inability to communicate created. She saw things from another human being’s point of view. She learned to sympathize with Helen’s overprotective parents but realized the harm their indulgence was doing. In other words, she grew as a person. And she’ll live those lessons in front of and share them with her peers and anyone with whom she comes into contact. Children who have been in the theatre grow up to be better citizens, too. They meet people from all walks of life – in the form of their fellow troupe members and the characters that are portrayed on the stage. They learn to find harmony in difference and distinction in togetherness. And, like the Olympics, theatre offers opportunities for both team and individual sport. It requires good teamwork, as well as striving to compete against others for roles and tasks. It promotes individual honesty and accountability – all parties involved in a production must do their individual parts to the best of their abilities, no matter how small the part may seem (hence the old saw: There are no small parts, just small actors). Finally, theatre provides educational and career opportunities. You might be thinking, “Yeah, right, as waiters and waitresses,” but you’d be wrong. Alyska Layne Holley is I know several young active in theatre (with people who have turned an "re") and the arts in their passion for commuElmore County. nity and school theatre into college scholarships and careers on the stage and in theatre management and production. Yes, stage management and lighting design are full-time jobs that can pay the bills and then some. If I’ve convinced you that theatre can mean a lot to the development of well-rounded children and help them become good adults, you’ll be glad to know that you won’t have to travel far to partake of these benefits. We’re lucky to have two community theatres in Elmore County: The Wetumpka Depot Players and the Millbrook Community Players. They add to our entertainment options and bring positive attention to the county and their communities from all over the region, and in the case of the multi-award-winning Depot, from all over the country.

If you want to raise happy, healthy – physically, intellectually, spiritually, morally – kids, take them to the theatre. Yes, that’s “theatre” with an “re,” where you’ll find live action on a stage, not with an “er,” where you’ll see Dumb and Dumber-er-er or whatever the new one is called (not that I’m against movies). And while I think all children should be exposed to live theatre as audience members, I’m talking here about actually getting them involved in theatre as active participants. How do I know it works? Since moving back to Alabama, I’ve been involved in community theatre in some way or other, either on the stage or backstage, and the children I’ve met there are some of the most articulate and well-adjusted I’ve known. I’ve met tiny, shy children, just out of tot-hood, and gangly, awkward teenagers who have grown, right before my eyes, into confident young adults who are leaders among their peers. How does it work? Being a part of the theatre offers a wealth of lessons. Kids learn the value and reward of making and honoring commitments. They learn discipline, whether that’s learning their lines or music, blocking or choreography or making sure that the light and sound cues are on time or that all the props are working and in place. They learn how to be comfortable with and tune and tone their own bodies, by learning movement and sometimes dance. Theatre kids discover special abilities they didn’t know they had – can they sing, dance, act, stage-manage, paint? Theatre kids also learn deeper lessons, such as sympathy and empathy. Actors have a unique opportunity to “be” someone else. One of the lessons that we find the hardest to convey to young people is to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Acting allows a safe and structured environment for children to do just that, and the results are interesting. A friend of mine recently portrayed young Helen 38 ELMORE COUNTY LIVING


These theatres allow everyday people like you and me to be stars in front of and behind the scenes as performers, directors, stage managers, choreographers and any of the many jobs that make a show run. And they both have wonderful opportunities and programs for children. In the 2014 season, the Millbrook Players will stage The Sound of Music, Grease, and The Seven Little Foys, and the Wetumpka Depot Players will stage A Higher Place in Heaven and their annual children’s Christmas show, with both companies’ seasons featuring roles for younger kids and teens. Both offer summer theatre camps for kids as well. And best of all, theatre is something you can do as a family. We see lots of moms, dads and brothers and sisters all working on a show at any given time. If you’re still not sure, take your time, just go see a couple of shows at these great community theatres before you commit – and take your kids or the kids in your life. After the performance, talk to those great kids who were part of it. I think they’ll convince you. Find out more about these great shows and programs. Contact the Wetumpka Depot Players at www. wetumpkadepot.com and the Millbrook Community Players at www.millbrooktheatre.com.

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GARDEN BUG

Trimming Tricks Got those pruners and loppers sharpened and ready to go? Well, wait just a minute; not all shrubs should be cut at this time of year. Pruning stimulates a plant to grow, but a hard freeze can damage or kill a favorite shrub that has put on new growth. So pruning should normally only occur when a plant is dormant. Knowing when dormancy occurs is not so simple in the South. Our climate dictates different signals within the growing processes; however, each plant does have a seasonal time when it is mostly dormant. That is when it should be pruned. So what should you do? To keep it simple, remember the May Rule: If it blooms before May, prune it after the flowers fall. If it blooms after May, prune it before flowers arrive, during the late winter months of February and March. Look at what is starting to bloom now or will bloom in the next couple of months: forsythia, winter honeysuckle (kiss me at the gate), quince, 40

azalea, camellia, mop head hydrangea, witch hazel, dogwood, mountain laurel and many more. If you cut those now, you will lose the flowers this year. Instead, kick back and enjoy the blooms; and then, prune right after blooming but before mid-July. Here’s a partial list of what should be pruned now: Southern magnolia, Linda Griebel especrape myrtle, cially enjoys propasourwood, gating plants and sweet bay, sharing them with magnolia, friends. smoke tree, chaste tree, abelia, hibiscus, butterfly bush, gardenia, tea olive, certain spirea and most fruit trees. Before you start hacking away, there are a few things you should know and do. First, be safe. Wear long sleeves, heavy pants, protective eyewear and gloves, as well as insect

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Remember the May Rule: If it blooms before May, prune it after the flowers fall

repellant on a warm day. Also, keep tools oiled and sharp, but to avoid injury, don’t carry pruners in your pocket. A quality bypass hand pruner will take care of smaller pruning tasks, but you might need a bypass lopper for larger branches. Make sure to look for hazards in the area where you’ll be working. Learn to recognize poison ivy, stinging insects, venomous snakes, etc. Plan the work you are going to do. Know where cuttings will fall, so you don’t harm other people or pets or damage plants. And don’t tackle jobs beyond your ability. Get a certified professional for large trees. Next, you should have a reason to prune. Young plants rarely need much pruning. If you like your azaleas or other shrubs large, then don’t worry about pruning them. Valid reasons include the removal of diseased, dead or abnormal plant tissue; stimulating new growth for flower or fruit; controlling the plant size and shape (to an extent); removal of undesirable growth that distracts from the balance or symmetry of the plant; developing a specific plant form, such as a hedge or an espalier; or directing or training growth to eliminate problems. If you don’t have a reason to prune, there’s no need to cut. You should never have to constantly hard

prune a shrub into smaller form if you are aware of the maximum size each new plant will be become. Don’t place plants closely together if they eventually will be large. Right plant, right place will lessen your need to prune. Finally, be sure to prune correctly. When hand pruning, remove a growing point (bud) by making a 45-degree angle cut right above an outward facing bud, node or branch. This is done to encourage new growth to expand away from the middle of the shrub or tree. An airy center will allow light to penetrate and will help to prevent fungal diseases that can occur during our warm humid weather. It also will allow fruit or flowers more room to develop; however, a note of caution: Do not remove absolutely all of the center branches from a peach tree, because intense July temperatures can cause sunscald to the trunk. Before you actually snip, stand back and think about what you are going to take off; you can’t put it back! Really get to know your plants. Do research on each variety and be the expert on your landscape. Remember the May Rule, and prune at the right time for healthy plants.

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Hand pruners and loppers are essential trimming tools

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BACK IN THE DAY

Mortar Creek, which I’ve always been told is named after a Creek Indian chief, runs through Elmore, and in the summer days of my youth, I spent more time there than at my home. Depending on the spring rains, there was a swimming hole deep enough to swim. Its beaches of colored flint rocks and white sand could rival those of Destin and Panama Beach, Fla. Most of the children of Elmore learned to swim there, always with an adult on hand in our early years. As some of us boys grew older, the creek became our own Lord of the Flies world in which we lost ourselves for entire day.s We were there almost every day, except when approaching thunderstorms with flashes of lightning sent us running home as fast as our bare feet would take us. The cotton gin on the south end of the community was another place of intrigue and adventure, because we were forbidden to be there. We slipped in anyway to play on the mountain of cottonseed sacks stored in the warehouse. We were told many times that if the 250-plus-pound gin hands caught us, they would rip our hearts out with one of the cotton bale hooks they carried. No headlines or local lore ever verified that, but we believed it. If nearly caught, we scampered away like mice into the nearby woods until things settled down; and then, we Larry Johnson now lives slipped back in Robinson Springs, inside. just a few miles south Elmore was of where he grew up at – and still is – a Elmore, Ala. picturesque town, but it is the people that make a place what it is. I loved the people of Elmore during my youth. Some were pillars of the community; others, unique characters, both black and white. I loved them all, because knowing and associating with them made them part of me. There was Edsel Owlsley, my Scout Master, a mentor and friend who instilled more values in us boys than he ever realized. I wish I had told that to him more fully, but I think he knew. Another mentor was Mr. Ried, the postmaster and Sunday school superintendent at the Methodist Church I attended. Mrs. Peterson, co-owner of Peterson and Peterson Mercantile, was a surrogate grandmother to everyone. She had a big bosom and always smelled of sweet talcum and homemade biscuits. And she gave the best hugs in town.

Elmoron and proud of it

If I could change anything about growing up in Elmore, Ala., I would not do it. Located in central west Elmore County, Elmore – or Elmore Station as some referred to it back in the 1940s and 50s – was my birthplace as a sixth generation “Elmoron.” I am proud of that. The community of Elmore was established in the early 1800s by General John Archer Elmore, for whom our county is named, and his son-in-law, the Honorable Benjamin Fitzpatrick. Elmore was incorporated in 1906, but a governing body was never established until it was reincorporated in 1997. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor two months after I was born, and my daddy went off to war to defend our country and protect our freedom. During World War II, my mother, older sister and I lived with other family members in Montgomery. After the war, our family moved back to Elmore Station. That is where I spent the most wonderful years of my youth. I like to compare Elmore to Maycomb, the not-somythical town Harper Lee described in her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, except that Elmore did not have a courthouse. In 1948, in addition to private homes, there was a church, a lumber mill, a doctor, a drug store, a cotton gin, several grocery stores, a post office, a train station and a creek with a crossing that was called Politic Bridge. The school, a two-room structure, housed first through sixth grades. Ms. Lula Till taught the lower three grades, and Mr. Jesse Till taught the upper three. The thing I remember most about the school, with the exception of the outside bathrooms, was a unique water fountain designed to allow multiple students to drink at the same time. A hand pump brought water straight into an attached horizontal galvanized pipe that had eight to 10 holes drilled at strategic internals. It must have been sanitary, because I don’t think anyone ever died drinking from it. Most of us are still around, including the current mayor of Elmore. 42 ELMORE COUNTY LIVING


Others I remember were Happy Smith, a store owner who forever jingled his pocket cha;ge, Kidd Hammons who ran a store and auto repair garage and was always greasy; and Miss Nettie Scott, my Sunday school teacher for many years, who convinced me that I would go straight to hell if I ever consumed a drop of alcohol. I believed her too, even though I am now an Episcopalian. Others I remember who taught me about life simply by their presence were Aunt Minerva, another great hugger, tale teller and the happiest soul around; Preacher Boren, who plowed our garden with his mule; and Henry, who came to kill the hogs at hog-killing time, because my granddaddy was too tenderhearted to do it himself. There are many others, fondly woven into the fabric of who I am today, especially my friends of similar age: Billy Irvin, Jackie Mercer, Phillip and Sam Law, Mark Scott, Bo and Walter McGriff, Paul and Billy Wayne Smith, Judy Till Brennan and the Honorable Margaret Ann Till White, the current mayor of Elmore. Some are no longer with us, but I would wager they would declare that growing up in Elmore was an incredibly positive experience. As for me, I think it was the best place in the world to grow up.

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Still alive in Millbrook Blockbuster, once a thriving video rental giant, is now dead and gone. At its peak, Blockbuster had as many as 60,000 employees and more than 9,000 stores. Due to competition from companies like Netflix and Redbox, Blockbuster lost significant revenue and filed for bankruptcy in 2010. In November 2013, the few remaining stores began the process of shutting down. Movie Gallery, the second largest movie and game rental company in the United States and Canada (behind Blockbuster Video), is now nonexistent. The last of the company’s stores closed in August 2010. Consider this: If radio killed the video star, did Netflix and Redbox kill the video store? The Redbox website provides some pretty compelling hype about the power of this new video distribution system: “Renting more than 3 billion discs to date … 35,900 locations nationwide … fun, fast, easy way to rent the latest new release movies on DVD or Blu-ray Disc® … featuring up to 200 titles and 630 discs … a fully automated video rental store contained in 12-square feet of retail space … more than 68 percent of the U.S. population lives within a five-minute drive of a Redbox kiosk.” Netflix is no less modest in its advertising campaign, as quoted on its website: “Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network … 44 million members in more than 40 countries … for one low monthly price, Netflix members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere … you

MOVIE MAN can also get DVDs by mail … you can exchange each DVD as often as you want with no due dates or late fees – ever!” With this type of competition in the video rental marketplace, I will again ask the question, “If radio killed the video star, did Netflix and Redbox kill the video store?” In Elmore County, the answer is “No,” thanks to one long-standing video store that continues to flourish in Millbrook, doing business in a fashion that has quickly become known as “the old fashioned way.” In a non-scientific poll that I conducted recently through Facebook, it appears that the only fully operational video store in Elmore County is the Movie Rack, located on Highway 14 in the heart of Millbrook. Owners Denise and David Yearsly opened the Movie Rack back in 2000, occupying a building that previously housed a video store that opened back in 1993. A true family Dr. Jeff Langham is operation, Elmore County’s superthe Yearslys intendent of schools operate the and a lifelong lover of film. store seven days a week with the able assistance of their three grown daughters. Speaking with the Yearslys proved to be a refreshing reminder that the video store concept, while not as ever-present as just a few years ago, is certainly not “down for the count” in our neighborhood. While Netflix and Redbox might be quick solutions to viewers’ needs, the Movie Rack offers amenities that movie-vending systems cannot match. The Movie Rack motto is a simple one: Real people, real service and real value. For instance, where else can you get the help of real live people as you wade through video choices, people who offer helpful tips to heighten your movie enjoyment? “Real service” is not just a catch phrase for Movie Rack. While Netflix and Netflix Streaming offer an impressive library of choices, the inventory at the Movie Rack also offers a wide range of possibilities

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from early classics to recent blockbusters. Even though 13 Redbox kiosks are spread throughout Elmore County, Redbox cannot match the number of viewing options available at places like the Movie Rack. At Redbox, customers Movie Rack in are limited to only the Millbrook gets new newest releases, with releases before an occasional older vending machines title thrown in as a “flashback.” Additionally, the Movie Rack holds a special advantage over the Netflix and Redbox challengers. Many of the major Hollywood releases, through exclusive arrangements with major studios Warner Brothers, Fox, Universal and Disney, are available at Movie Rack first – before vending machines, before mail and even before many national retailers.

Movie Rack gets a 28-day head start on Redbox and Netflix. This guarantees that their customers are among the first at the dinner party to have already seen the latest releases. When it comes to real value, Movie Rack can be more costeffective than the kiosk rental outlets, because customers can keep the movie for multiple days. For the true movie fan, it is heartening to have the Movie Rack as a pleasant alternative to streaming and vending machines. As testament to the resiliency of the small business owner, it is so encouraging that Millbrook’s Movie Rack has not experienced a fade-out in a rapidly evolving industry.

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OUT & ABOUT TALLASSEE

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Tallassee Cruisers February Cruise-In February 15, 2014 1. Eddie Hammock

2. Rhonda Ewing and Eddie Howard 3. Keith Norris

4. Thurman Parker

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5. Tim and Amanda Anderson 6. Wood Gaston

7. Robert Tucker

8. Mary and Ray Parker 9. Troy Snyder 10. Bob Parker

11. Larry Snyder 48

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OUT & ABOUT WETUMPKA

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Elmore County Art Guild's 29th Annual Winter Show Reception February 16, 2014

1. Libby Christensen and Bob Christensen 2. Becky Wallace and Leanna Wallace 3. Toska Courbron, Shirley Esco, Angie Fisher and Beverly Barrett 9

4. Henrietta Cappelli, Stephen Cappelli, Jim Hubbard and Marilyn Hubbard 5. Sheri Dunn, Chase Hughes, Hartley Hughes, RenĂŠ Thompson and (front) Bryant Hughes 6. Phyllis Kennedy, Judy Ruffer and June Ward 7. Elmer Schmidt, Mary Schmidt and Ebba Dunn 8. Vickie Ham, Mark Harris and Manju Kumar 9. Pam Petersime, Adelia Turner, Glendora Turner and

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Carol Hickman 10. Bobby Carr, Butch Gantt, Mary Gantt and Doris Bell

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OUT & ABOUT TALLASSEE

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Tallassee Fabulous Follies

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February 7-8, 2014

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1. Matthew Miller and Cliff Bufford

2. Beau Gregory, Trent Garett and Colin Speake 3. Wanda Jones

4. Lisa Hornsby and Kinsey Hornsby 5. Angie and Noah Gantt

6. Natalie Henderson, Taliyah Adams and Rachel Sargent

7. Madison, Claire and Macie Griffith 8. Dylan Bearden

9. Margaret Dean, Hope Sharpe and Emma Burnham 10. Kim Sanders and Christie Schwab

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OUT & ABOUT WETUMPKA

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Murder on the Menu Friends of Wetumpka Library February 9, 2014

1. Lai Orenduff, Linda McCracken,

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Jan Rubens and Kathleen Delaney 2. Carolyn Williams, Sylvia McConnell and Lynette Johnston 3. Richard Grey, Jaden Terrell and Brenda Grey 4. Brynn Bonner and Marian Stevenson 5. Muffin Hand, Lucie Barnes, Deborah Holt and Beth McGuire 6. Marty Huett, Kay Dobbs, Laura Ming and Cynthia Brooks 7. Jerry and Kathy Willis 8. Vanessa Nimmons and Pennie Buckelew 9. Fran Holland and Neil Placky 10. Andy and Susan Hayes 51


OUT & ABOUT TALLASSEE

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Tallassee Chamber Banquet February 1, 2014

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1. Carol McDaniel and Joanna Varner

2. David Butler, Desirea Driscol, Kelse McCain, Natasha Kelley and Madison Griggs 3. Michone Roye and Jeanna Kervin

4. Clint and Sam Belden with Vanessa Rohan 5. Ann Christian, Jan and Frank Autery with Jeanna Kervin

6. The SCV Camp 1921 String Band - David Hlavaty,

Marion Patrick, Bob Taunton, Alan Taunton & Rose Taunton 7. Kipp Griggs, Mike Griggs, Melissa Hill and Susie Griggs

8. Alan Taunton and Melissa Hill 52

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OUT & ABOUT SLAPOUT

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Elmore County Middle School Baseball Tournament February 17, 2014

1. Russell, Kevin and Michelle Lamkin with Zach Dowis 5

2. Morgan Cleveland, Kaylyn Dismukes, Kaitlin Smith and Lauren Teasley 3. Staci Oliver, Kim Clayton and Jeannie Price 4. Ryan Carney, Reece Burbage, Hunter Ellis, Eli Pharr, Carson Clark and Josh Lanier 5. Brennen, Ellen, Braxton and Keith Parmer 6. Paul Higgins, Don Carney and Robert Pharr 7. Jill Wisesner, Toni Golden and Hope Henderson

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8. Renita Lanier, Caden McLain, Tiara Jackson, Kiara Jackson and Kristy Carney

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OUT & ABOUT TALLASSEE

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Tallassee Father/Daughter Dance February 22, 2014 1. Catie and Brent Parker

2. Mary and Sid Edwards with Kaileigh and Lainey Denning

3. Mayor Bobby Payne and Mary Carroll Payne 4. Amelia and Frank Dillman 5. Chloe and Jake Smith

6. Kaziah and Curry Hoyle 7. Richard and Roxy Salter

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8. Perry and Ava Bankester

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OUT & ABOUT WETUMPKA

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Wetumpka Chamber Meet & Greet with former University of Alabama football star Tyrone Prothro February 8, 2014 3

1. Vanessa Lynch, Tyrone Prothro and Cody Williamson 2. Gabby and Brian Williams 3. Milas, Katie and Ashleigh Jackson 4. Vanessa, Chloe and Tim Rohan 5. Marion and Peggy Sanford 6. Teri, Will and David Thompson 7. Ed and Martha Dykes

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8. Jeff, Karen and Bobby Bohman and Ruth Ziem

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Coming Up March 14 Indian Open Golf Tournament

Wetumpka Middle School (WMS) will hold its annual fundraiser tournament at Tallapoosa Lakes Golf Course. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Lunch at 11 a.m. with tee time at noon. Cost for a team foursome is $300, lunch included. Sponsorships are also accepted. Gold sponsorship is $500 and includes one foursome, logo signage on three holes and top billing on all signs. Business hole sponsorship is $100 per hole. Child sponsorship is $25, and the child’s name will be listed on a sign by the track at WMS. Anyone interested in playing in the tournament or sponsoring should comment on the Wetumpka Middle School Facebook page, and someone with the tournament will be in contact.

March 20 Capitol Sounds Concert Band and Montgomery Recreators Free Concert

The concert will be at Taylor Road Baptist Church, 1685 Taylor Rd. in Montgomery, starting at 7 p.m. Both bands are nonprofits and sponsored by the City of Montgomery Parks and Recreation Department. Susan Woody will perform vocals with the Montgomery Recreators.

March 24-28 Expedition Lanark Spring Break Camp

The Alabama Nature Center in Millbrook will host its annual Spring Break Camp for ages 6-15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. Campers will explore the nature world through handson activities such as fishing, canoeing, crafts, games, hiking, wildlife watching, exploring and more. Cost is $25 per day or $110 for the week. Call 334-285-4550 for more information.

April 5 Relay for Life Gospel Singing

Faith Baptist Church in Wetumpka will host the benefit singing beginning at 6 p.m. Featured groups will be Forgiven Heart of 56

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Wetumpka and The Good News Quartet of Opp. All proceeds go to Relay for Life. For information, call 334-300-2134 or 334-567-4417.

April 5 Santuck Flea Market

The market is open the first Saturday of each month, March-December, from dawn to 2 p.m. and is located on the property surrounding Santuck Baptist Church. Santuck Flea Market booths feature arts, crafts, antiques, novelties, imports, food and more. Admission is free to the public with free parking available. For information, call 334-567-7400.

April 5 Bluegrass Jam

The Alabama River Region Arts Center in Wetumpka hosts a bluegrass jam the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. All acoustic instruments are welcome – guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and bass, as well as singers. Beginner, intermediate and advanced musicians, along with listeners, are welcome. For information, call 334-578-9485.

April 12 Run Thru the Trees

The Mystic Krewe of Isis will present its first Run Thru the Trees 5K, 10K and 1 Mile Fun Run to benefit the National Park Trust. The run will begin with sign-in at 7:30 a.m. at Fort Toulouse/Jackson Park in Wetumpka. To register, visit http://www.active.com/10krace/wetumpka-al/run-thru-the-trees-2014. Preregistration fees until April 1 are $35 for 5K, $35 for 10K or $20 for 1 Mile. There is also a $1 admission fee to the park. For more information, call Rachel Cobb at 334-322-5641 or email rachelc21681@gmail.com.

April 12 Alabama Flora and Fauna Arts Festival

The annual art show and festival will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Lanark in Millbrook.

April 17 Crater Presentation

Dr. David King, the geologist who verified the authenticity of Wetumpka’s impact crater, will present research, findings and fun facts about ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

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COMING UP the crater at 7 p.m. at the Wetumpka Civic Center. This discussion originally was planned for late January but was rescheduled due to inclement weather. For more information, call 334-567-5147.

April 19 Community-wide Easter Egg Hunt

Wetumpka’s annual community Easter egg hunt will be held at 11 a.m. in the park behind the city administrative building. Children through age 12 are welcome to bring baskets and join in the fun.

April 19 Wetumpka Craterfest

The Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce will host its large-scale music festival from 12 to 9 p.m. in Gold Star Park. Musicians will perform on two stages throughout the event. Arts and crafts vendors, concession vendors and children’s activities will be part of the festival. Attendees should bring chairs and blankets for seating. Coolers are allowed. See page 14 for more information.

April 24-26, May 1-4 and 8-10 “Boeing Boeing”

The Wetumpka Depot Players will offer the hilarious farce involving a businessman living in France and carrying on love affairs with three different airplane hostesses at the same time. Directed by Tom Salter. Tickets are $10 at the box office and $12 online and at the door. For tickets, call 334-868-1440, visit wetumpkadepot.com or email kmeanor@ wetumpkadepot.com

April 24-May 4 “A Raisin in the Sun”

The Cloverdale Playhouse will present this show with Thursday-Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows at 2 p.m. All seats are general admission. For information, call 334-262-1530 or email boxoffice@ cloverdaleplayhouse.org.

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ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

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Pick up Elmore County Living at these locations: Eclectic

Eclectic Town Hall My Father’s Place Eclectic Library Johnson’s Furniture Tropical Tan Zone KAS Place Pizza First Community Bank

Lake Martin

Russell Lands Russell Marine Nail’s Cotton’s BBQ

Millbrook

Verizon Wireless First Community Bank Lucretia Cauthen Realty Bliss Salon Millbrook Chamber of Commerce Realty Central Stone & Britt Law Gene Jones Insurance

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Montgomery

Publix – Atlanta Highway Publix – Zelda Rd

Prattville

Publix – Cobbs Ford Road

Slapout

Lake Pharmacy The Golden Frog The Boy’s Store First Community Bank

Tallassee

Kent Eagle Y Petro Parker Tire RoadRunner Herron Hill Pharmacy Friendship Grocery The Apothecary Community Hospital Tallassee Health & Rehab 5 Points Store Ben Atkinson Motors

Wetumpka

Bennett’s Archery First Community Bank Russell Do it Center Bumper’s Karen’s Mane Tamers River Ridge Steakhouse Emerald Mountain Store Redland Market Seivers Accounting Wetumpka Depot Players A Touch of Class Angel Locksmith Verizon Wireless Unplugged Must Stop Café Alfa Realty Wetumpka Century 21 Brandt Wright Realty Wachovia Bank BB&T Jackson Thornton Lee’s Auto Repair Southeastern Business Printers Hankins Insurance Hog Rock BBQ Wetumpka YMCA

ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

Adams Drugs Bell Chiropractic Wetumpka Urgent Care Aliant Bank A Beautiful Creation Austin’s Flowers Camo Country Alabama State Employees Credit Union Smokin S BBQ0 Elmore Community Hospital Wetumpka Preschool Wetumpka City Library Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce City of Wetumpka Administration Bldg. Coosa River Adventures Stoddard’s Bait Shop Collier Ford Dr. Detail The Prissy Hen Wee Ones Daycare Wetumpka Health & Rehab Canal Grocery Kim’s Corner


Our Advertisers • To Join, Call 334-567-7811 3G Metalworks, Inc............................. 46

Fannin Agency, The.............................. 36

Tallassee Family Dentistry...................... 58

Advanced Disposal................................ 3

First Presbyterian Church....................... 43

Tallassee Jewelry & Gifts....................... 43

Alabama State Employee Credit Union..... 6

Gassett Funeral Home............................ 5

The Gab Salon & Spa.......................... 58

Alfa, James Hammer............................ 14

Gene Jones Insurance........................... 59

Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce........ 64

Alfa Realy, Jo Glenn............................. 59

Jackson Thornton................................. 61

Wetumpka Depot Players...................... 39

Alfa Realty, Mellanie Bailey.................. 25

Leisure Isle Sales.................................. 59

Wetumpka Flea Market & Antiques.......... 4

ARONOV, Kelly House........................... 6

Posh Boutique........................................ 6

Zap Pest Control.................................. 25

Bath Builders, LLC................................ 25

Precise Pressure Washing..................... 46

Bonners Uniforms................................. 59

Prissy Hen, The.................................... 59

Camo Country..................................... 14

Quality Home Healthcare, Inc............... 43

Capital Pawn Shop.............................. 59

RE/MAX, Nancy Oates........................ 59

Collier Ford....................................... 2, 6

Russell Do It Center.............................. 44

Community Hospital............................. 63

Russell Lands....................................... 21

Country Financial, Larry Ray................. 57

Russell Medical Center......................... 47

Cousins Insurance Agency...................... 5

Sassy's Consignment............................ 39

Edgewood Academy.............................. 6

Singleton's Alignment & Muffler Service, Inc.... 57

Elmore County Hospital........................ 27

Sports Wearshouse.............................. 56

Faith Rescue Mission............................ 56

Stone & Britt........................................ 15

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Don't see your ad in this issue of Elmore County Living, neither did the thousands of potential customers who read our magazine monthly. To advertise please contact Shannon Elliott

shannon.elliott@thewetumpkaherald.com

or call 334-567-7811

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Southern Hospitality

Seeds, Hopes & Dreams

DOWN HOME DELIGHTS

Since I dropped the ball on the tomatoes, I’m forced to abandon varieties with intriguing names, such as Black Sea Man, Aunt Ruby’s German Green and Olga’s Round Yellow Chicken for what I can find at Wally or Lowe’s. Fortunately, they have a few interesting varieties, like a In the bleakest months of winter, the seed catalogs Cherokee Purple and Brandywine. The tiny plants are arrive. Bright, colorful and overflowing with gorgeous nestled lovingly into pots and protected with cages that photography of flowers, veggies and fruits, they bring dwarf them right now but hint at the tall, sturdy towers the promise of warm spring, loamy dark earth and a they will become, laden with that most delectable harvest of perfectly ripe produce. I am seduced into backyard delicacy: the homegrown tomato. When I earmarking pages, underlining entries and making close my eyes, I can see my little garden abundant with plans for acres of gardens. Visions of baskets brimming catalog pictures. with enough bounty to put up a winter supply and Fast forward a month or so. The Alabama heat is share with neighbors run through my head. already taking its toll, forcing a daily watering that Bedazzled by luscious descriptions and pictures of I usually forget. The tomatoes are taller, but already perfection, I order a slew of heirloom tomato varieties, starting to “fire up,” a term given to me at the Feed and peppers, adorable melons and crazy eggplants shaped Seed for any manner of disease that will afflict a tomato like eggs. And I don’t even like eggplant. that has no genetic hybrid resistance; for example, every The seeds arrive and are pretty much stashed away single heirloom tomato in the world. The race is on to see until time to plant. Since life is busy, they are forgotten if they will produce the rosy globes of my dreams before until the first warm mid-April day when I remember in the sickness travels up to the top. The first few fruits a panic that tomatoes need to be started eight weeks in contracted blossom-end rot from sporadic watering. advance. But there are loads of blooms, so I remain optimistic. Mary Katherine Moore is a fiveAll of time Alabama State National As summer pokes along, the garden resembles less and sudden, Fair pepper jelly champion, less those glossy catalog shots. Instead of a lush green my catalog has butchered a wild hog in square brimming with veggies, it is a scraggly weedy her kitchen and grows heirloom dreams tomatoes in her backyard. r e q u i r e mess, half eaten by bugs and squirrels. One green bean m o r e plant gave us a handful of beans before giving up the back-breaking labor than simply turning a page and ghost. One squash plant made and made and made. making a list. So out I go to my “garden.” I put in the But so did everyone else’s. No one particularly wants quotes, because my garden is no more than a patch a basket of squash. So much for sharing. The summer of raised 4-foot squares and a couple of pots. All of it heat-loving peppers also went crazy. I’ll have enough needs weeding and breaking up and enrichment with paprika to last five years. And enough for multiple the alpaca poo that has been composting since last batches of pepper jelly. I finally get my homegrown tomato. I probably get half fall. This is what they don’t show you in the catalogs: dirty gloves, bug bites, wheelbarrows full of weeds and a dozen ripe ones and an equal number of green ones sore knees. And all this before the first seed goes in the before the frost. Nothing I grew ever resembled those pictures in the catalog. And if my figuring is correct, ground! Dirt ready, it is now time to cull down the mammoth counting seeds, plants, water, time and energy, every pile of seeds to stuff that will actually fit. Out go the bean, squash, pepper or tomato cost about $50 a pound. Am I deterred? Not a chance. Just as spring follows weird eggplants. Fancy lettuce stays, but it will take up half the space. How many haricots verts will I actually winter, I have my little stash of seeds, hopes and get from one plant? If I squish things up a bit, I may be dreams. In fact, I started the heirloom tomatoes in flats able to squeeze in two. We like green beans. Ditto the at the beginning of March and will be ready for planting Hungarian peppers I need to make my own paprika. season this year. My little garden may never be a catalog Will a yellow squash fit into a 1-foot square like the super-model, but nothing beats picking my first harvest French intensive planting people say it will? on a warm summer day. I’m OK with less than perfect. 62 ELMORE COUNTY LIVING


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Elmore County Living March 2014  

Artistic rebel Kelly Fitzpatrick; Junior Master Gardeners; Building character through baseball; and much more in this issue of Elmore County...

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