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Elmore County Living

Alabama Jubilee at KFMG Revenue Commissioner Lee Macon Bezlo's Café








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From the Managing Editor's Desk When we lived in Huntsville, my husband and I used to host monthly beer tastings with our friends. Everyone arrived with a dish that paired nicely with the six-pack its owner had carefully researched and chosen in hopes that it would win the evening’s greatest accolades from all present. Though I am gluten free, I just had to try the blueberry beer poured over chocolate brownies topped with ice cream. I only had one bite, but it was absolutely wonderful, and I haven’t seen another bottle of blueberry beer since – until I stopped in at Bezlo’s for a chat with owner Mike Squires. This eclectic Eclectic hangout features 42 beers, including 8-10 IPAs at any given time, along with an extensive wine list, and the place is all the rage on social media. Photographer Kenneth Boone still hasn’t stopped talking about the steak he was served, though he’s disappointed he couldn’t pry out of the chef the secret recipe for the house rub. Tour this new Elmore County restaurant and bar on page 8. We found this month’s cover story a few months back at a MainStreet idea meeting in Wetumpka. Alan Hackel told me about the service dogs in the schools as a sort of “by the way ...,” and though it took a few months to track the story down, we’re excited to share the success of this pilot program on page 16. It is a moving story about thinking outside the box for education and meeting kids’ needs with unconditional love; besides, we just couldn’t resist the dogs! Also in this issue, we hope you will support the Tallassee Police Department's Blue Jean Ball, a fun event that will raise funds to keep local law enforcement – and the community they serve – safe. Find details on page 43 and don your best blues for the best in blue in Tallassee. When we heard that Elmore County Revenue Commissioner Lee Macon had challenged every business to bring a business to the area, we just had to meet him to talk about his passion for unifying the county’s communities. Working together to support each other’s strengths, Macon said, makes all of our communities stronger. Meet him for yourself on page 22. And don’t forget that next month, Elmore County Living will publish our annual summer calendar issue – page after page of great things to do all summer long in Elmore County. If you have a favorite event, be sure to send us an email with all the details at, and we’ll add it to the issue. Or call us at 256-234-4281. We’re always glad to hear from you!


Kenneth Boone

President & Publisher Steve Baker

Managing Editor Betsy Iler

Assistant Magazine Editor Amy Passaretti

Distribution Manager David Kendrick

Marketing Consultant Brandy Bowman

Marketing Consultant Stacy Adams

Creative Services Audra Spears


Suellen Young Barry Chrietzberg Jeff Langham Carmen Rodgers Jacob Saylor Corey Arwood

Nancy Rader MK Moore David Granger Cory Diaz Lonna Upton

To subscribe to Elmore County Living, $25 a year for 12 issues, please call David Kendrick at 256-234-4281 For Advertising Inquiries 334-567-7811 For Editorial Inquiries 256-234-4281 All content, including all stories and photos, are copyright of

Betsy Iler, Managing Editor



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



CONTENTS ON THE COVER Brandi Reiske and Popcorn accompany Owen to class at Wetumpka Elementary School. Popcorn is a service dog in the school's pilot program. Photo by Suellen Young



12 Columns


In Every Issue


Movie Man


Alabama Jubilee


Extra! Extra!


The Gamer


Classroom Companions


Business Spotlight

Community Care


Movers & Shakers


Southern Delights


Blue Jeans and Bling


30 46

Coming Soon

Independent Creations Seasonal Allergy Symptoms Cook the Perfect Easter Egg

Kelly Celebrates 365 Days of Art Service Dogs in School Lee Macon

Tallassee Police Dept. Ball



News Briefs Bezlo's CafĂŠ

Out & About

In Elmore County

Coming Up

Fun Activities for Everyone

Where to Find Us Distribution List


Sunday sales approved The Elmore County Commission approved resolutions in support of local legislation allowing Sunday sales of alcohol. There seemed to be general consensus that alcoholic beverages being sold in restaurants and service stations alike on Sunday would be a prudent move for area businesses. Several of the commissioners voiced stipulations, saying their support of the resolution was strictly an economic move to keep Elmore County competitive with neighboring counties.

“That has led to discussions from many of our local business owners, especially many of which are located in the north part of the county where people are able to just cross the county line, some for this purpose of alcoholic beverages,” said Commission Chair Tony Stubbs. “But they are also spending their money on a lot of other things in those neighboring counties and it’s causing some revenue impact on our local business owners.” Citites within the county will make their own decisions about imposing alcohol sales.

BattlingCancerwithBows Orange and yellow bows are popping up everywhere in Tallassee and surrounding communities as people show support for Kenzie Ray who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2013. Karyn Hammock of Eclectic was moved to do something big and began with a GoFundMe account. With an original goal of $5,000, the account has reached $9,889.00. Hammock then decided to sell bows

to raise awareness, similar to the yellow ribbon campaign. She chose orange for the color representing childhood cancer and yellow is the color for cancer awareness. To purchase a bow for $10, call Godwin’s Flowers at 334-283-2160. You can find Kenzie’s GoFundMe account at hope4miraclewarriorprincessmckenzie.

Pay it Forward Sheila Barlow and her grandchildren have created a tradition to spread joy to strangers. The family recently moved to Wetumpka and began leaving painted rocks in Gold Star Park. Barlow asks the public, if they stumble upon a painted stone while strolling through Gold Star Park, to admire it, touch it, move it and read its message – just don’t take it home. There is one caveat to her plea – bring it back and hide it somewhere new and make a thing of it. She said the painted rocks of Gold Star Park are for the benefit of all. “If I’m having a bad day and I’m taking a walk through the park and I see a rock that says ‘you matter,’ or ‘God bless you,’ I think it would uplift my spirits,” said Barlow.



WES goes BMX Wetumpka Elementary School’s pre-k through fourth grade students saw freestyle BMX pros out of Athens, Georgia, perform March 17, landing complex flatland runs and quarter pipe combos in front of screaming students all in the name of good behavior. Principal Bonnie Sullivan called it positive reinforcement, but the three-team Freestyle Connection called it tailwhip, one-hand, can can, full cab, toboggan, nollie, manual 180 and the crowd favorite, the backflip. “The BMX Bike Show is a great way to reinforce kids’ positive good behavior at school on a daily basis. It’s just one of the many things they look forward to every year and they're very, very excited about having them here," said Sullivan. “As teenagers we learned to ride BMX bikes and over time learned that we could basically influence the youth through setting a good example and that type of thing, so that’s why we’re out here going to the schools trying to set a good example for the kids,” said team member Doug Morrison. “You know be kind of the cool person that’s doing the right thing.”

Extra! Extra! News from Elmore County and surrounding areas

Mystics of Time honor Maroon Machine The Elmore County High School Maroon Machine Marching Band was honored March 10 with a party in the ECHS gymnasium in front of the entire ECHS student body for its performance at one of the world’s biggest party’s – Mobile’s Mardi Gras, where the band marched in the Mystics of Time parade on Feb. 25 and was judged the third best marching band in the procession. Representatives of the Mystics of Time brought the band’s third-place trophy to them as well as a check and a touch of Mardi Gras, roaming in front of the bleachers filled with students and tossing beads and other Mardi Gras trinkets to them.



Bezlo’s Café Story by Betsy Iler Photos by Kenneth Boone


he mannequin that occasionally sits at table outside is a pretty good indication that what’s inside Bezlo’s Café on Eclectic’s Main Street is something out of the ordinary. Whether it’s a pizza place with seafood, burgers and steaks or a seafood place with pizza, Mike and Sara Squires have found their focus, and that is food and beer. The breakfast-to-after-dinner spot at 65 Main St. serves an enthusiastic kitchen menu for a town of 1,000: a pancake sandwich, Oysters Rockafeller pizza and locally-raised, grass-fed rib eye steak with a secret house rub. The bar follows suit with 42 craft and domestic beers that can’t be found just anywhere, like Avondale, Samuel Smith, Straight to Ale and – Mike Squires’ favorite – a pint of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. “Bezlo’s is what you might get if you mix Jimmy Buffet’s first record with the Eagles’ first record, Margaritaville with a peaceful, easy feeling,” said Squires, who as a young lad in Florida, worked at his parents’ and grandparents’ Oyster Bar on Chokoloskee Island. He moved to Eclectic at age 13, but when his parents returned to Florida several years later, Squires stayed. He studied marketing at Auburn University and became a homebuilder and real estate investor who, along with his wife Sara, purchased and renovated several other downtown buildings in Eclectic before a head-on auto accident changed the course. “I spent three and a half months in a wheelchair and


Bezlo's opened in January at Eclectic's old Mr. Carpet storefront had to learn to walk again,” Squires said. “I couldn’t stand for long periods of time anymore, and I had to find something else to do. “My wife and I like to have fun. We like to hang out with our friends at Naked Island on Lake Martin, and one day, we were all there, just having fun, and someone said we should open a restaurant and bar.” The building where the Squires put their bar used to be the Mr. Carpet store, but flooring customers wouldn’t recognize the place now. Pool tables, pinball, classic arcade games and dartboards now occupy the spaces where Mr. Carpet showcased rug samples for more than 20 years. Local art is displayed on the tables, walls and above the bar, and at the the side street tables,


Business Spotlight

Jerry Peters' whimsical artwork hangs on the walls and above the bar

Games, music and good times with friends are the vibe at Bezlo's



The Squires went for a mix of Jimmy Buffet and the Eagles in the bar dĂŠcor

Locally raised beef just might be the most popular item on the menu

Mike Squires sits out front with the hook-handed mannequin Dinner is served until 9 p.m. at Bezlo's



corrugated metal musicians line up like Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Billie Holiday to entertain the al fresco diners. With some 4,000 square feet inside and outdoor seating that runs the length of the building on the side street, the couple also plans to add a courtyard option with a fire pit and swings. Eventually, there will be a Tiki bar, as well. But Squires is adamant about the family atmosphere. The main restaurant’s dining room is well lit and lighthearted. Artwork by Jerry Peters of Kent decorates the tables and walls, and patrons are challenged to ignore the delectable-looking desserts in the pastry case. “Kids are welcome. This is a family friendly place, but after 9 p.m. no kids under 21 are allowed in without a parent,” Squires said. They keep more than a dozen full and part-time employees hopping at the café, including three chefs and the pastry chef, who happens to be their daughter. They also smoke their own meats, which they procure from a local farmer. The bar serves beer, wine and liquor. Dinner service ends at 9 p.m., but cheese and pepperoni pizzas are available until closing. To liven things up, the bar hosts karaoke and acoustic entertainment. Squires said he’s looking for comedians because laughing, good times and fun are what Bezlo’s is all about, starting at the front door. For more about Bezlo’s, visit the Facebook page or call 334-639-0003.

Give Your Heart a Fresh Start The new year is here, so why not make a resolution that gives you and your loved ones peace of mind? We all know that healthy hearts live longer, more active lives. That starts with a comprehensive cardiac checkup. February is American Heart Month, serving as an annual reminder of the fight against cardiovascular disease. Kevin Sublett, MD, and his staff at the UAB Heart & Vascular Clinic of Central Alabama are proud supporters of this fight. We are committed to keeping your heart healthy, so you can live a healthier life all year long. Our clinic is backed by the world-class expertise you expect from UAB Medicine, offering: • The full spectrum of cardiovascular care • Care from a physician board-certified in interventional cardiology • The latest in cardiac and vascular ultrasound technology, as well as nuclear medicine imaging in accredited laboratories • Diagnosis and treatment of cardiac rhythm disorders • Convenient location within Russell Medical Call us today to schedule an appointment!

3368 Highway 280, Suite 130 Alexander City, AL 35010 (256) 234-2644 ELMORE COUNTY LIVING


Alabama Jubilee The Kelly celebrates Alabama’s bicentennial with 365 days of art Story by Betsy Iler Photos courtesy of Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery


ow in its third of five major rotating exhibitions, the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery (KFMG or The Kelly) has planned 365 days of art and artists in celebration of Alabama’s bicentennial. The yearlong program of exhibitions, workshops, lectures and learning labs offers arts enrichment and education for students, artists and art lovers from children to adults. Star Dust: From the Alabama Pastel Society, on exhibit through June 2 in the second-floor gallery at the KFMG, 408 S. Main St., Wetumpka, opened March 13 with works from pastel artists across the country. Alabama Jubilee 2017: 365 Days of Art & Artists includes learning labs for educators, Tuesdays with Kelly programs, exhibits, receptions and workshops focused on the rotating exhibitions, as well as three exhibitions in conjunction with the Elmore County School System, the Alabama Pastel Society, Troy University Department of Art and Design, the City of Wetumpka, Wetumpka Impact Crater commission and Alabama artist guilds. The KFMG board of directors is working with the Alabama Art Education Association and the Art Educators of Central Alabama to include an


arts education component with each show, explained board member Hope Brannon. “We are providing art-integrated materials, information and resources to the schools, so teachers don’t have to do that all themselves,” Brannon said. With the Star Dust show, renowned pastel artist Cameron Hampton will conduct a two-day workshop this month to teach new innovative uses for pastels, which are pure pigment paints. “Many great artists used pastels, including Dali,” said Wetumpka’s Kathy Atchison, curator for the Star Dust exhibition. A March 21 Tuesdays with Kelly program featured pastel artist and floral designer Robina Keith who demonstrated a spring tablescape, shared decorating concepts and led a discussion on art. The second Tuesdays program will spotlight London pastel artist Roderick Mackenzie in a lecture by Scotty Kirkland of the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Mackenzie, who grew up in Mobile, executed a widely acclaimed


Car on Weeds by Lydia Randolph

Yellow Flowers by the Creek by Paula Kuehl

Crystal Clear by Cyndi Marble



series of pastel drawings of steel mills and was commissioned to produce eight murals for the rotunda in the State Capitol in Montgomery. The final Tuesdays with Kelly event associated with the Star Dust exhibit will take place at noon on May 16 when Director of the W.A. Gayle Planetarium-Montgomery Rick Evans will talk about the night sky and the bright stars by the garden walls. In June, the gallery will host A Heritage Girl in Chair of Art and Design: An by Marla International Survey from Kenney Troy University. Education components for this exhibit will include a portfolio day during which the Troy University Department of Art and Design will evaluate the portfolios of selected artists. Artists will visit local schools through the exhibit’s “Meet the Artist” program, and in addition to the online learning lab, KFMG has planned 21st Century Learning after school program tours. A field trip to the new Troy International Arts Center also is planned. Docent tours will be conducted June 9 and 23 and Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and a reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 27. In September, KFMG will host Originally from Alabama, an open call and award program for high school and professional artists across the state and the country to create new works of art that relate to Alabama and its bicentennial. This exhibit will remain open through January 2018 and will include other programs in addition to docent tours on Sept. 22, a legislative forum and tour, afterschool program tours, elementary and middle school programs and online learning labs. Tuesdays with Kelly events associated with this program are scheduled from September 2017 through


January 2018. A “Celebrating The Kelly” event also will be planned in December. The Legends & Legacies exhibition on display all year at KFMG features works from historical and living artists associated with the Central Alabama region, including Kelly Fitzpatrick and artists who took part in the Dixie Art Colony. Tours of the Legends & Legacies exhibit can be arranged, and an online learning lab will include a slideshow of works, as well as plans for 11 lessons. Also on permanent display at The Kelly is the Southeastern Contemporary invitational exhibit, in which the art is rotated yearly to provide opportunities and exposure for additional artists. Coupled with this exhibit is an abstract art learning lab that includes videos and lesson plans. The Virtual Visions exhibit encourages multimedia artists to create their own animation videos, movies and games, including video storytelling and green screen use, smartphone videos, PowerPoint and gaming and coding. “We have focused on increasing membership and rebranding the gallery to nurture established and emerging artists and give them the opportunity to participate in professional quality exhibitions,” explained KFMG President Kathy Willis. “We look forward to broadening our outreach to more artists, students and adults throughout the state and the Southeast.” The Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery is a 501 (c) 3, tax-deductible organization. Download a membership form at or call the gallery at 334-567-5147.




334-567-2666 5266 U.S. Hwy. 231 Wetumpka, AL Winn Dixie Shopping Center • Behind KFC



Ella Grace and Karley Kate may score better on their tests with Captain at their feet



Classroom Companions Service dogs help kids score better grades


Story by Lonna Upton Photos by Suellen Young

opcorn noticed the boy as soon as he entered the hallway. Sensing his anxiety, the springer spaniel went to him and followed him as he hung up his backpack. Then, the dog accompanied him to his desk. This was the boy’s first day at Wetumpka Elementary School, and Brandi Reiske’s school service dog had sensed the child’s anxiety. It’s just one of the ways Popcorn, one of several trained school service dogs in the Elmore County School (ECS) system, helps to lower anxiety, encourage inclusion and raise test scores for students. “She is amazing,” said Reiske, a paraprofessional at the school. “Popcorn benefits all the kids. I meet with all the children at the beginning of the year to teach them the rules for Popcorn. They are not allowed to pet her in the hallway, for instance, but they can wave. Most of them say, ‘Good morning, Popcorn’ and wave to her. They are so sweet,” she said. Being paired with a professional allows Popcorn to work with students in regular education and special education class situations. When Reiske gets to the classroom each day, she lets Popcorn off leash. When the dog senses stress or anxiety in the students throughout the day, she goes to them, Reiske said. Popcorn puts her face on a child’s leg or on the desk, walks under the table or just stands beside one of the children. When a stressed out student pets Popcorn, the student

begins to relax. Popcorn is very good at noticing test anxiety. She will go to the child and crawl under the desk, so he can pet her. Since Popcorn began attending school with Reiske two years ago, test results for some students with test anxiety have risen as much as 10 points. Students who might be afraid to answer questions in class will answer when Popcorn is with them. The dog’s owner believes the students know Popcorn will not judge them, while some people might, so they relax and participate. Overall morale at the school is up as well, Reiske said. Students who might not like school are excited to get there to see Popcorn. She saw one child go from never completing his work to always completing it because he knew Popcorn was going to see if he did his work or not. The dog has crawled under the desk of a student who was kicking, and because the student would never kick Popcorn, the kicking stopped. Popcorn even crossed the graduation stage next to a child with anxiety who had been transformed in how he handled difficult situations because he had grown close to the dog. Both the child and Popcorn were announced as graduates that day, Reiske said. Popcorn is one of 11 dogs that have been trained for service in Elmore County schools, where the Follow the Lead pilot program has produced astounding results, said Alabama State Department of Education Assistant State Superintendent Dr. Jeff Langham, who was Superintendent of Elmore County Schools when the program started here in 2015.



Popcorn loves story time at Wetumpka Elementary School



“It thrilled me to see how enthusiastically our teachers and staff in Elmore County embraced this great work. It has been remarkable to witness firsthand the amazing work of these service animals and how their mere presence and demeanor can almost magically transform individual students and entire classroom environments,” Langham said. From his first meeting with Service Dogs Alabama (SDA) Executive Director Frances McGowin, Langham said, the partnership has been successful. “I was hooked on the concept of Service Dogs Alabama, and now that I am in a statewide role, it is exciting to look across other school districts to see the excellent work,” Langham said. Headquartered in Montgomery, McGowin said the pilot program goals were to reduce stress during classes, counseling sessions and testing and promote inclusion and participation. From the beginning, the collected data has shown tremendous success in reducing problem behaviors, as well as increasing test scores in students who have access to service dogs. “Ninety percent of our dogs are rescued from shelters, and 10 percent are donated by breeders. Then, over a two-year period, the dogs are trained for pattern intervention with children experiencing stress and anxiety from a variety of reasons,” McGowin explained. SDA partnered with the Alabama State Department of Education to provide financial assistance in getting the dogs to the schools and training the educators, and the school systems provide the additional funds needed to care for these dogs. SDA also relies heavily on grants and donations. School employees who agree to take the dogs for use in the schools become the dogs’ guardians. Dogs have never been returned to SDA after their service is done; instead, they have been adopted by the guardians that have taken them to school. Elmore County Schools had no problem finding educators who were interested in utilizing school service dogs to engage students in this cuttingedge intervention program, Langham said. Jessica Shields, a counselor at Holtville Middle School, said her dog Captain Jack has instant rapport with children who are in her office or in the classrooms she visits. “As a counselor, I need to build rapport with children before they will open up to tell me what’s



Leanna gives Popcorn a hug before class starts

Captain walks down the hall with counselor Jessica Shields and 5th grader Ella Grace


wrong or what happened. Captain does all of that for me in just minutes. With Captain, we can just be real. I also have stressed out teachers who stop by to visit with Captain, and that is great,” Shields said. Captain was rescued through the Humane Society of Elmore County; then, after professional training for public access and intervention in which he learned to recognize and comfort students showing signs of stress or anxiety, SDA placed him with Shields for service at Holtville. There, he puts his training to work. When he encounters an anxious child who is unable to sit still in the desks, he sits on the child’s feet, completely deflecting the anxiety, so the child will open up and talk or calm down enough to take a test or complete classwork, Shields explained. “In one classroom, Captain benefits students from the higher level of gifted education to the lowest level of special education. Even without a dog, teachers who use the curriculum have a dramatically lower number of discipline referrals than those who do not use it,” Shields said. SDA will place dogs in schools only with educators who agree to attend required training sessions. Teachers utilize a curriculum of intervention techniques that McGowin developed called Follow the Lead. The program techniques are designed to help educators create opportunities for inclusion and participation for all students, as well as deflect any opportunities for conflict and diffuse defiant and


disruptive behaviors. In other words, rather than call attention to problem behaviors, which often just makes the behavior worse, the teacher learns to recognize the signs of anxiety and stress that might lead to that behavior. She then could redirect a student's attention before the behavior escalated. Follow the Lead was modified to help educators use deflection, just like the dogs have been trained to do. Merry Katherine Hysmith teaches at the Elmore County alternative school with her rescued yellow lab Ranger from SDA. Children are placed at the alternative school for a specific amount of time, sometimes only a few months, due to emotional or behavior issues or after traumatic events in their lives. “Ranger is great with intervening. He can tell when a child’s blood pressure is up and their adrenaline is pumping. He can nudge or lay his head in their laps, and they calm down. They may just need to pet him, or sometimes I will say they can read to him,” Hysmith said. Ranger works as a resource for children who are not students in her classroom as well. The counselor can borrow Ranger when she senses that he could help in a difficult situation of stress for a child. Ranger has ridden the school bus to help with behavior problems in that environment as well. Hysmith said she is known as the crazy farm lady, because she has brought chickens and other pets to school, and she maintains a garden for the school. “The students don’t always realize the impact Ranger has. The older girls, when they get upset, they will come and ask if they can walk Ranger out in the garden. They know he can help them calm down, so they can get back to work,” Hysmith explained. Hysmith previously trained hunting dogs, and she also helps with the training of the SDA dogs when they are between the prison training program and the schools. She said the required professional development for educators who take dogs is excellent. “After they learn about Follow the Lead, even without a dog, teachers completely change the way they teach. They become more aware of preventing problems rather than punishing the child after something happens,” Hysmith

said. McGowin developed the techniques for Follow the Lead while teaching in juvenile delinquent facilities, and although the program works without dogs, data shows that, in a classroom where a teacher used Follow the Lead along with a dog trained for schools, students show significant growth in language arts, literacy and math, as compared to peers in classrooms without the program. Hysmith collected the data for the program in Elmore County. “Having Popcorn and Follow the Lead changes the way I assist in the classroom,” said Reiske. “Sometimes, she knows something that I don’t know. She is a lot smarter than I am. If she is nuzzling someone, I will go over to see if I need to help the student or if Popcorn has it under control.” McGowin said she always reminds interested educators and parents that the use of the dogs in schools is about inclusion and participation for all students. In addition, SDA places service dogs outside the school environment with veterans and other adults and children who have physical and mental disabilities. To find out more about SDA and to see the ECS achievement Ranger lays his results, visit servicedoghead on a student's lap to ease anxiety


Captain (left) and Mason take a break between classes


Movers & Shakers

Lee Macon


Story by Amy Passaretti Photos by Barry Chrietzberg

s a Wetumpka native, CrossFit enthusiast, avid golfer, chairman of charities and dance dad to two girls, Elmore County Revenue Commissioner Lee Macon juggles a life of business, government and family. Even though he reigns from a family of politicians, Macon’s life goal was always to be a financial advisor, and he had no desire to ever run for office. But he saw a great need for change throughout Elmore County, and with the support of family, friends and residents throughout the community, Macon offered to be a part of the growth. His mission and challenge for Elmore County is for all the towns to stand together and improve the divide that he witnessed as he grew up here. “There are these invisible walls we have in the county, which has gotten better over the years, but I want all of Elmore County to do some good. I think we’re on track now to work together and bring it together,” said Macon. He said the population and city structure is so different among Elmore County’s towns, but each has something unique to contribute. From the youngest, yet biggest, town of Millbrook with its close access to the highway, to the outdoors natural beauty of Wetumpka with the river as its center of attention, and Tallassee’s unique positioning for business growth, each area can help the other, which could help to unify the entire county. “Every area has its tweaks that make it special, and we want to try to make the best of it. There are good people all over the county, and I urge people to not be constricted to your area. Get out of your comfort zone, and I guarantee you’ll find something right around the corner that you’ll enjoy,” said Macon. His hope is that people will support the local businesses of other towns by visiting restaurants, local shops and


meeting residents. Communicating with one another is the only way to fix the problems within the county, Macon said. Personally, meeting people is one of his favorite things to do, and Macon enjoys learning about an individual’s story. This trait is what solidified his desire to be a financial advisor. He graduated Auburn University Montgomery with a degree in finance and worked for Merrill Lynch for nearly seven years. He had moved back home to Wetumpka with his wife Misty, to work as an appraiser in the Elmore County Courthouse for five years. Knowing Elmore County the staff and his predecessor, Mike Revenue Harper, made it an easier decision to Commissioner take on the role of revenue commisLee Macon sioner when it became available in 2013. “Everyone said ‘we want you to do this; you were there; you know how it works,’” Macon said. “I really didn’t want to, but they wanted to support me. I had clients relying on me, and it took some hard praying.” The fast-paced Macon is always on the go, and having fans from all areas of the county – due to his immense involvement – plays a great role in his success, he said. He’s been through the Leadership Elmore county class and later chaired the effort; has served on the board of directors for the Millbrook Area Chamber of Commerce; been a member of the Lions and Kiwanis clubs; and currently sits on four committees for the River Region United Way. He is the chairman of a local Mardi Gras krewe and works with three different committees of the Alabama Association of Tax Administrators (AATA). Macon is also the chairman for the Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce, which he said is a great learning tool at the moment. Being involved in the business side and seeing the chamber as a mechanism to grow the population and recreation reiterates his mindset that intermingling is the


only way to expand. His day job requires him to collect and distribute property tax, as well as map properties, appraise their value and assess them. Being conscious that his title and name is attached to everything, Macon said, Macon with his wife, and openly commuMisty and daughters, nicating with people Caroline and Mary are what he values Katherine at their most. Learning to home in Wetumpka deal with taxpayers and a myriad of questions are important to ensure residents feel well represented and safe, he said. He credits the ability to juggle so many tasks to his staff at the commissioner’s office. “My employees make it easy for me to be involved because when I walk out of here I represent them. They work hard for me, and I have a great group of supervisors who know I’m in and out all day,” said Macon, who is usually the first in the building at the start of the day and tries to speak with every employee in the office by 8 a.m. “When you have good people in your office, it makes your job easier and makes it worth it every day,” he added. With the help of five new county commissioners, the office will continue to push Elmore County as a whole to ease anxious minds of residents, he said. He wants the office to be as transparent as possible and to stay ahead of the technology curve, to give residents access to necessary information. However, enforcing deadlines is extremely important to ensure that his staff and he can stay organized.

“In this position, you also have to be willing to learn. We are always watching the legislatures, and things change all the time, so we continue to evolve,” said Macon. He’s personally invested since this is his hometown, he said, and he wants to see the area be the best it can. Macon comes from a closeknit family and lives in his grandfather’s old house three blocks from the courthouse, where his father also grew up. Macon grew up in the house next door. He learned community involvement at home. His mother, Kathy Willis, is a retired schoolteacher who is married to Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis. She is the president of the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery. Macon said the most important thing to him growing up was having his mom be the last one to wish him a good day and the first to ask how his day was after school. Not always being on the road for work anymore, he values the opportunity to pass this tradition to his daughters, Caroline, 14, and Mary Katherine, 11. He takes them to school and picks them up as often as possible and is even known to practice their dance team moves with them at home. “All we do is dance at our house. We twirl and spin through the kitchen,” said Macon. “And it’s like I always tell my children: To do what you want to do, you have to make time for it. You work as hard as you can if it’s something important to you.”



Join us for The Ridge Beach Bingo Open House Event. Pick up your map and bingo card at The Ridge Club. Tour at least 10 homes to be entered into a grand prize drawing for dinner in the WellHouse at SpringHouse! Join us at The Ridge Beach Park from 4:00 - 6:00 pm for beach games, prize drawings, and refreshments provided by Kowaliga Restaurant. See more details at

Becky Haynie • 334.312.0928

5A Ledges • 226 Ledges Trail $605,000

72 Stoney Ridge • $1,399,000

200 Laurel Ridge • $1,225,000

40 Ridge Point • $929,000

Becky Haynie • 334.312.0928

Becky Haynie • 334.312.0928

Mimi Rush • 334.399.7874

6D Ledges • $550,000


Becky Haynie • 334.312.0928


1085 North Ridge • $995,000 Becky Haynie • 334.312.0928

The Ridge Club

The Ridge Beach Park

5B Ledges • 224 Ledges Trail $669,000

4B Ledges • 250 Ledges Trail $559,000

82 Misty Ridge • $1,289,900

Rhonda Jaye• 256.749.8681

Rhonda Jaye• 256.749.8681

102 Misty Ridge • $1,449,000

883 North Ridge • $1,050,000

112 Stone Ridge • $918,000

India Davis • 256.749.7592

India Davis • 256.749.7592

India Davis • 256.749.7592

Rhonda Jaye • 256.749.8681 Dadeville 256.825.9092 I Ourtown 256.212.1498 I Willow Point 256.212.1498

45 Ridge Crest • $1,575,000 Randall Rogers • 334.707.5804

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Coming Soon! A preview of late spring movies due to release this month and next Springtime at the movies has ushered in several box office hits, including Beauty and the Beast; Kong: Skull Island; Logan; The Lego Batman Movie; and Get Out. It is particularly exciting to note that Get Out, a favorite of both audiences and critics, was filmed right here in Alabama in the Fairhope community. Now as summer is quickly approaching, moviegoers need to spring into action and catch a few of these upcoming releases during April and May.

April 21

Unforgettable – Features Katherine Heigl as a vengeful ex-wife who seeks to destroy Rosario Dawson, the new woman in her man’s life. Unforgettable is one of those movies that makes you wonder if the people making movies like this even read about or watch movies at all. This plot appears to be a retread of countless other women-in-peril films. Moreover, Katherine Heigl, rebounding from a television series,


Doubt, that was cancelled after just two episodes, is not exactly a top box office draw these days. Sadly, the prospects are dim that this thriller will live up to its title. The Promise – Sounds rather promising; no pun intended. Starring Christian Bale and Oscar Issac, this lavish historical drama centers around a tumultuous love triangle and is set in the final days of the Ottoman Empire in 1914. Please do not confuse this film with 1979’s weeper, The Promise, a film so romantically mushy and melodramatic that Danielle Steel novelized it in the early days of her career, and for her the rest is history. Leap! – Get ready for an enchanting animated film about an orphan girl whose dreams of becoming a ballerina lead her on a journey that takes her to a debut at the Paris Grand Opera House. Featuring the vocal talents of Elle Fanning, Nat Wolff and Carly Rae Jepson (the girl behind the world’s catchiest tune, Call


Me Maybe), here is a movie that truly celebrates girl power! Free Fire – Hold onto your hats for this British action-comedy starring Oscar winner Brie Larson and screen heartthrob Armie Hammer. Stay tuned; this little-known film could become a box office winner.

April 28

The Circle – Based on Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel of the same name, this film stars Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and the late Bill Paxton in his last film role. The Circle’s intriguing plot raises thought provoking questions concerning privacy, surveillance and freedom. The trailer looks enticing for this film, which may be a box office winner on the strengths of its leads, Watson and Hanks.

May 5

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – The sequel to 2014’s mega blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, reunites cast members Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper and adds some other familiar faces – namely, Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone – to the mix. Set three months after the first film, the Guardians, as they travel through the cosmos, will provide eager audiences with another round of adventures. My prediction is that the box office grosses on this film are going to be heavenly.

May 12

Snatched – Features an inspired bit of casting by teaming raucous comedienne Amy Schumer and screen icon Goldie Hawn as a mother and daughter entrapped in an outrageous jungle adventure. 20th Century Fox has also wisely selected Mothers’ Day weekend to release this wild romp. Goldie Hawn has been away from the screen far too long; perhaps Snatched will reignite her career. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Director Guy Ritchie is at the helm with tough guy Charlie Hunnam (TV’s biker drama Sons of Anarchy) in the title role. Hunnam receives able support from castmates Djimon Hounsou, Jude Law and Eric Bana. Unquestionably, audiences can never get enough of the Arthurian legend.

May 19

Alien: Covenant – This is the sequel to the 2012 film, Prometheus, the second chapter in the Alien prequel series, the sixth installment overall in the Alien film series and the third one to be directed by Ridley Scott. Admittedly, I found Prometheus to be somewhat of a disappointment, so I am crossing my fingers that director Scott and his cast and crew can recapture some of the classic science fiction horror that has been central to the Alien brand.

May 26

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Ready or not, here comes the fifth saga in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The always fascinating Johnny Depp reprises his role as Jack Sparrow. The film also stars Javier Bardem and features the return of Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, who was conspicuously absent in the last installment. Moviegoers should be wary of the fact that this latest adventure was initially planned for a 2015 release and has been delayed for two years due to script and budget issues. This could mean box office poison or a box office bounty. Who knows? With Johnny Depp leading the way in one of his most iconic roles, I’m counting on the bounty. Baywatch – Allow me to repeat a question directed at this film from one of my earlier Elmore County Living Movie Man articles: Is a big screen version of Baywatch necessary? Too late; here it comes, starring Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson and Zac Efron and featuring cameos from original castmates David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson. It will be interesting to see if this film “sinks or swims” at the box office.

Jeff Langham

MOVIE MAN Dr. Jeff Langham is State Assistant Superintendent for External and

Governmental Affairs and a lifelong lover of film.

So, get moving to your local multiplex as spring winds down. This summer’s movie slate is going to be jammed packed with big ticket releases, including The Mummy, Wonder Woman, Transformers and Spider Man, as well as stirring epics like director Christopher Nolan’s eagerly anticipated Dunkirk. Moviegoers unite and get caught up now on spring viewing, so your schedules will have room for these upcoming blockbusters.



Independent Creations Don’t miss these lesser known titles Often, we get hung up on the big video games – titles on which publishers have spent millions to create and promote; however, in recent years, there’s been a rise of independent video games. These are creations that are made with little to no corporate backing. Instead, the developers hope their games will bring players in by word-of-mouth or positive review. Independent development is risky, but there are major rewards to be reaped if successful. Let’s take a look at 10 indie games – in no particular order – that might have flown under the radar in April:


Release date: April 11 Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One, Switch Yooka-Laylee is one of the more highly anticipated indie games coming out in April. It’s got a team of industry veterans behind it and offers gamers a jump back to the platforming age;

platformers are games where players must jump, run and puzzle-solve their way to different objectives. The game is similar to a classic of the genre, Banjo-Kazooie. Yooka-Laylee’s creators have said they consider the game to be a “spiritual successor” to Banjo-Kazooie.

Outlast 2

Release date: April 25 Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Outlast 2 is the sequel to 2013’s Outlast. There are few horror games that get exemplary scores, as their stories are often trite and serve no purpose but to support violence or gore, though the Outlast series offers far more than an amazing story. The first game in this franchise was known for its pulsepounding action and terror-inducing thrills. If the second iteration is anything like the first, we’re in for a huge treat on April 25.


Release date: April 11 Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Rhythm games have taken a hit since the days of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, but that hasn’t stopped indie developer Mad Fellows from creating its own take on the genre. Aaero is a rhythm game disguised as a shooter, meaning that there’s a bit more action involved than seen in traditional, instrument-based versions. The graphics and music in Aaero look to be stellar, so this might be worth a look.

Syberia III

Release date: April 20 Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One, Switch At first glance, it might look like Syberia III is just a Tomb Raider clone, and though the series does hold many similarities to modern adventure games,



it strays from the path in some big ways. Chief among these is the influence of steampunk machinery on the game world.

Blackwood Crossing

Release date: April 4 Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One Blackwood Crossing is the latest in a line of first-person adventure games aimed at delivering players an intense, narrative-driven experience. There’s very little combat, if any, in these games and players are often asked to solve puzzles or make tough decisions. While the lack of action might deter some, Blackwood Crossing has jumped to the top of many most-anticipated indie games lists. And for what it’s worth, the game is absolutely gorgeous.

Armagallant: Decks of Destiny

Release date: April 4 Platforms: PlayStation 4 Armagallant is definitely a game for players who like strategy and card games. While many realtime strategy games have an extremely steep learning curve, Armagallant equips each player with a deck of cards. This, by nature, means that a player could sometimes win by chance. Not only is this unique in its gameplay, but also the art direction makes for some intriguing character and world design. It’s a visual treat that’s mentally challenging – what’s not to like?

What Remains of Edith Finch

Release date: April 25 Platforms: PlayStation 4 Much like Blackwood Crossing, What Remains of Edith Finch looks to take gamers down a route defined more by storytelling than combat. The title is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, which means that even though the

game is labelled independent, Sony’s likely got its hands on the project in some shape or form. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this game, as there are very few platform-exclusive games in the genre. And from what we can tell, the game’s graphics look brilliant – just another feather in its cap.

Symphony of the Machine

Release date: April 11 Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC Symphony of the Machine is one of the many games riding the wave of new virtual reality technology. For this reason, the game could be an absolute bust, but fans’ hopes are high; however, Symphony worries me because it’s so nebulous. The trailers released in anticipation of the game have all been vague at best, although they allude to a very puzzledriven environment. That said, the game stands to set the bar high for indie game development if it hits the mark.

Jacob Saylor

THE GAMER Video games journalist

Jacob Saylor has covered the massive

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. Follow Jacob on Twitter @skulldrey.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3

Release date: April 25 Platforms: PlaySation 4, PC, Xbox One Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is the latest in a franchise that has continually blurred the line between independent and publisher-driven game development. Each iteration in the series has delivered fun gameplay, impressive graphics and passable storytelling. While there’s no telling how well the third game will be received, all early indicators point to a resounding success. Good indie shooters are a rarity in the gaming world; so don’t pass up this occurrence.



Learn what triggers your symptoms Nancy rader

COMMUNITY CARE nancy rader is office

manager at ivy creek

healthcare's urgent care

of tallassee.


Grab the tissues, nasal sprays and allergy ing, congestion, runny nose and other bothermedication: This year is going to be a big one. some symptoms during the allergy season. Due to Alabama’s mild winter, doctors advise “There are a number of over-the-counter patients to preantihistamines pare for what and decongesDr. Podder recommends seeing they’re calling a tants for ala healthcare professional if more significant lergy symptoms pro-active care isn't enough to allergy season. that can be alleviate symptoms Those prone to taken,” Podseasonal allergy der said, but symptoms need he cautioned to be aware and never to take anticipate the more than the worst. recommended Dr. Uttam amount of these Podder, M.D., types of mediat Ivy Creek cations. Urgent Care of Nasal irrigaTallassee has tion (squeeze recommended bottle or a neti that seasonal pot) also can allergy sufferers directly flush need to be promucus and active instead allergens from of re-active the nose. in regards to If sympseasonal allergy toms persist symptoms. after using the Podder is a pro-active tips board certiat right, visit a fied internal primary care medicine physician and has been practicing physician for treatment with steroid nasal medicine since 1998. spays/pills/injections and other prescription The first step in a pro-active plan for seamedications. sonal allergies, Podder said, is to understand If a primary care physician is not available, what triggers the allergic reaction. Knowing an urgent care facility could be a great alternawhat kicks the allergy symptoms into gear tive. Most urgent care facilities are open for can help to prepare a pro-active plan of attack. extended hours, often seven days a week with Even with all the pro-active measures takevening hours, short wait times and without en, some people will always have the sneezan appointment.


Avoid seasonal allergies n Turn to a good weather app for answers. Check the local allergy forecast to know when pollen counts are elevated; and then, take steps to avoid exposure. When pollen counts are high try to spend more time inside, especially in the morning when the outdoor pollen levels are highest. n Anyone who works outside could wear a facemask and change clothes when going inside. n Use the air conditioning in your house and car. n Use high-efficiency filters and change the filters according to the filter instructions. n Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in the bedroom. n Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. n If seasonal allergies occur every year, prepare in advance. One or two weeks before symptoms typically begin, start using a cromolyn sodium nasal spray (such as NasalCrom). Over-the-counter nasal sprays are most effective when used before symptoms start.








Downtown Social


April 6, 2017 Tallassee 1. Linda Coopinger and Susan Bateman 2. Kami Scarborough and Melissa Hill


3. Melina Emfinger 4. Jennie Grant 5. Torran Smith 6. Allison Merchant, Kayla Paige and Cheyenne Morris 7. Mitchell Wright, Bryan Clayton, Matthew Higgins, Mike Anderson, Johnny Hammock, David Stough and Ken Smith








Millbrook Chamber of Commerce Luncheon March 16, 2017 Millbrook Civic Center 1. Rusty Smith, Hal Hodge, Larry Liveoak, Diane Liveoak


and Bart Mercer 2. Ashley McQueen, Amy Water and Jamie Brown 3. Tyra Rose, Cind Shelton and Alta Grace Toussaint 4. Selina Baker and Helen Brown 5. Brian Bradford and William Bergeron 6. Leslie Fuller, Katherine Thomas, Stephanie Gallenstein, Darlene Dickey, Nan Stinson and Brenda Kelley







Grand Opening





March 31, 2017 Adullam House Thrift Store 1. Alissabeth Taylor, Stacy Screws and Jennifer Hyatt 2. Rachel Harbert 3. Paul Blake 4. Naomi, Josh and Carter Hellums 5. Jamie Young 6. Emma and Josh Hamby 7. Pete Spackman and Gerry Purcell 8. Emily Armstrong










BMX April 4, 2017 Wetumpka Elementary School 1. Jon Dowker


2. Tyler Sparr 3. Doug Morrison 4. Minnie Pringle 5. Tracy Wright 6. Bonnie Sullivan

6 5






Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament April 7, 2017 Wetumpka


1. Bill Skinner, Brad Redden, John Matulia and Scott Grier


2. Ricky Roberts and Wayne Baggett 3. Britton Niemeyer and Bob Franklin 4. Brian Overton 5. Gary Sullivan and Brian Barrett 6. Sharon Mills and Penny O’Day

5 6












Tallassee Community Fish Fry April 7, 2017 Tallassee Tailgate Partners 1. Hunter Hammock 2. Dale Segrest


3. Terrel Brown 4. Damian Carr 5. Estella Cottrell 6. Herlane and Huston Martin 7. Keith Tuck and James Pruitt 8. Jamie Thompson and Coach Leslie Waters 9. Joyce Vella, Betty Segrest, Mariland Durham and Morris Hall








Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery




Reception April 4, 2017 Wetumpka 1. Rebecca Gregory and Wayne Turner 2. Marlene Goodman and Elizabeth "Ebba" Dunn


3. Harriet Landrum and Linda Lewis 4. Kathy Willis and Erin Rogers 5. Nadia and Wonbong Choi 6. Glen Zorn and Dottie Blair 7. Ellen Justice, Wanda Randall and Vanessa Love 8. Alain Gallet, Frank Hughes and Bob Scott





2 3

Dollar General Grand Opening April 8, 2017 Eclectic 1. Christian and April Collier


2. Michelle Lamkin 3. Flora Hardin and Rebecca Harden 4. Adrain and David Ingram 5. Brent and Hannah Grace Woodall 6. Joni Barron and Dean Dawson

5 6




April 22 Renew Our Rivers - Lake Jordan

Volunteers are needed for the annual cleanup effort on the Coosa River at Lake Jordan. Meet at Bonner’s Point Landing at 8 a.m. to pick up supplies and drop off collected trash. The cleanup will end at noon followed by a picnic lunch. For information, call Barbara Dryer at 334-567-7551.

April 24-25 Innovative Pastel Painting Workshop

Accomplished artist Cameron Hampton will teach an innovative way to use pastels during this two-day workshop at the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery in Wetumpka. Open to beginners and advanced artists. Class fee is $200. Space limited to 35 participants. For information, visit or email

April 25 Tallassee Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament

This tournament will be held at Wynlakes Country Club. Registration begins at 11 a.m., lunch at 11:30 a.m. and shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. For more information, visit

April 27-30 and May 4-7 The Odd Couple

This classic comedy at Millbrook Community Players opens in the messy bachelor apartment of Oscar Madison who takes in clean-freak Felix Unger whose wife has kicked him out. This famous Neil Simon production is a favorite with audiences across the country. Visit www. for performance times and ticket information.

April 27-May 13 Last of the Red Hot Lovers

Neil Simon’s charming comedy follows 47-year-old seafood restaurant owner Barney Cashman as he plans a passionate tryst before opportunity passes him by. For ticket information and details, call Wetumpka Depot Theater at 334-868-1440 or visit

April 29 15th Annual Cruisin’ fer Critters

Registration starts at 11 a.m. at DeJa Vu, 121 N. Burbank Dr., Montgomery, for the motorcycle ride and poker run to benefit the Elmore County Humane Society. Each hand is $15, and fee includes event patch, goodie bag, food and door prize ticket, as well as live music, bike/car wash and live auction at event. Best hand wins $250, second

Sign up now to win the Wild Game Cook-off Hosted by the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF), this event will be held April 27 at the AWF Headquarters Pavilion at 6 p.m. Cook teams can compete in three divisions including fish, fowl and game and first, second and third place awards will be given in each. Set up begins at 9 a.m., and judging begins at 4 p.m. Participants must register, for free, by April 25. There will be music, a silent auction and raffle. Tickets for the public are available for $50 at AWF office or and include one Alabama Wildlife Federation membership, subscription to Alabama Wildlife magazine and all the food you can eat.



Last year's AWF cook-off champs celebrate their win

best wins $100 and worst hand wins $50. For information contact Joe “Shaggy” Keithahn at 334-558-1423 or Sherri Clower-Kirkley at 334-207-3773.

May 6 Coosa River Showdown Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament

for one, two drinks and dinner; $100 drawdown tickets include admission for one, two drinks, dinner and a 1-in300 chance to win the big money. Drawdown tickets will be sold in advance only and are not available on the night of the event. Sponsorship packages are available. Register online and bring receipt to the chamber office to pick up tickets. Proceeds will benefit the chamber’s building fund.

Join the festivities at Gold Star Park from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., including the 5 p.m. Wetumpka Rotary Club’s River Region Duck Dash. There will be kayak safety tips, business demonstrations and food vendors. For more information, visit

May 11 Blue Jean Ball

Hosted by the Tallapoosa Community Development Corporation, this event will help raise funds for the Tallassee Police Department. Come mingle with the city’s police officers and enjoy a night of dinner, dancing and a silent auction. Entertainment will be by Todd Gantt. The ball starts at 6 p.m. and is located at the Benton Barn, 173 Benton Dr. in Tallassee. Tickets are $35 per person and attire is “your best blue jeans and your best bling.” For more information, contact Laura Leigh Peters at 334-558-7237 or

Season-Long Events Alabama Wildlife Federation Naturalist Hikes Hike the AWF trails with an experienced naturalist

May 16 Tuesdays with Kelly

W.A. Gayle Planetarium-Montgomery Director Rick Evans will talk about the night sky and bright stars at the garden wall at noon, 408 S. MainSt., Wetumpka.

May 23 Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce $10,000 Drawdown

Every Tuesday and Friday, from 10 a.m. until noon, hike some of Lanark’s 5 miles of trails with an experienced ANC naturalist by your side. Learn how to bird or ID plants and animals, splash through the creek, or catch insects in the meadow. General admission applies and is $5 per person with a $20 maximum per family. AWF is located at 3050 Lanark Rd. in Millbrook. Visit to check holiday closings.

​Alabama Wildlife Federation Creature Feature

Win $10,000 in the first-ever Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce Draw Down Silent Auction Banquet and Reception from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Wetumpka Civic Center. See a list of silent auction items at www. General admission tickets are $25 in advance ($30 at the door) and include admission

Every Monday and Wednesday, from 3:30 p.m. until 4 p.m., come learn about Alabama’s woods, water and wildlife. Get up close and personal with some of the creatures you may find in your own backyard. General admission applies and is $5 per person with a $20 maximum per family. AWF is located at 3050 Lanark Rd. in Millbrook. Visit to check holiday closings.

Country Music Jam

Every Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Red Hill Community Center hosts an open stage country music jam. All players, singers and listeners are welcome. Coffee



and snacks are provided at this family-friendly event. No admission is charged, but donations are welcome. The community center is located at the Old Red Hill School on state Route 229 south of Kowaliga. For information, email Paula Castleberry at

All sewers and knitters are welcome at Sit and Sew. For complete details, call 334-578-9485 or visit

Children’s Harbor Treasures and Thrift Store

The Civitans meet at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Budde Building on Gilmer Avenue. This volunteer organization serves individual and community needs by funding and hosting special events for people with developmental disabilities. A social time at 5:30 p.m. precedes meetings.

Located on state Route 63 just south of Lake Martin Amphitheater, the Children’s Harbor Thrift Store is open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You never know what you might find – from clothes and household items to boats. Proceeds help fund the activities at the Lake Martin campus of Children’s Harbor and the Family Center at Children's Hospital. Call 334-857-2008 for information.

Santuck Flea Market

Master Gardeners Lunch and Learn

Tallassee Civitan Club

Shoppers gather at the opening of Santuck's 2017 season

Bring a sack lunch to the Elmore County Extension Office in Wetumpka from noon to 1 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month for a gardening presentation hosted by the Central Alabama Master Gardeners Association. Event is free and open to the public. Drinks provided. For information, call 334-567-6301 or visit

Wetumpka City Pops

Wetumpka City Pops Community Band rehearses on Thursdays from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Wetumpka City Administration building. Any woodwind, brass and percussion players are encouraged to participate. The Santuck Flea Market is held the first Saturday of each month at 7300 Central Plank Rd., state Route 9 in Wetumpka.

Countywide Cleanup Day

The Elmore County Commission sponsors free cleanup days for residents on the second Saturday of odd numbered months. Drop off household and yard trash free of charge at the following locations: old highway department in Kent; old highway department shop in Holtville; Crenshaw Park, Sweeten School, Emerald Mountain Equestrian Center; county jail; Shaylee Place at U.S. Highway 231 and Tutus Road; Old Central Transfer Station; Anne Building in Elmore; CEW&SA parking lot at Redland Road facility.

Blue Grass Jam, Sit and Scrap and Sit and Sew

All three activities are held on the first Saturday of each month from 9 am. to noon at the Alabama River Region Arts Center in Wetumpka. All acoustic instruments and skill levels are welcome at the Bluegrass Jam. Scrappers and papercrafters are encouraged to attend Sit and Scrap.


Dixie Art Colony Foundation Exhibit

Regular gallery hours are held from 10 a.m. until noon on Mondays and Wednesdays at 219 Hill St., Wetumpka. Appointments and small group tours are available upon request. Special tours include a 16-minute video, Dixie Art Colony: A Look at Its Lasting Legacy. Exhibits rotate every four months. A selection of periodicals and books from the DAC Foundation Resource Library also are on display. For information, contact Mark Harris at 334-328-0730 or or visit the website at

Electronics Recycling

On the first Saturday of each month, electronic items are accepted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wetumpka Recycling Center on East Charles Avenue. There is a $10 fee to recycle tube televisions; other electronics incur no charge. Also accepted are computers, monitors, cell phones, chargers, modems, remotes, printers, batteries and more. To have your upcoming event featured in the Elmore County Living’s ‘Coming Up!’ pages, email information to editor@ by the first of the month.


Blue Jeans and Bling Story by Amy Passaretti


reak out the fancy blue jeans and help raise funds for the Tallassee Police Department (TPD) with a night of dinner, dancing and community. Hosted in conjunction with the TPD, the Tallassee Community Development Corporation (TCDC), a group of volunteer citizens whose goal is aiding in community development projects, is organizing a Blue Jean Ball May 11 at 6 p.m. Proceeds go toward the Community Crime Prevention Campaign, which includes the purchase and installation of a citywide surveillance system and new ballistic armor for the tactical unit of the police department, according to Police Chief Matthew Higgins. Laura Leigh Peters, member of the TCDC and organizer of the event, explained that various local departments supported the planning process. “The committee met with Mayor Hammock and the police department to discuss and prioritize items by need, and we chose to fund the top two requested items,” said Peters. The idea actually came from Hammock, who was interested in supporting the police department’s needs for new equipment and brainstormed the social idea of a ball. “We chose to make it a blue jean theme because we wanted it to be casual and welcoming to attract a broad audience. The attire is wear your best jeans and your best bling,” said Peters. Higgins said the other perspective on the theme is that its “blue,” symbolizing police officers, and the laid-back atmosphere also is to increase community involvement. “I think we’re trying to do something two-fold. It’s more than just raising money. We want people to

come out and get to know the officers who are working the city and are a part of the community. We want the citizens to mingle and ask questions to officers in a way other than when having to call one or be pulled over by one,” said Higgins, who hopes to make the event annual to further strengthen and maintain that relationship. The funds will assist with the purchase of a camera system throughout busy areas of the town to assist with crime investigation and ultimately, deter more crimes from happening. Higgins said the ability to see vehicles leaving shopping centers and witness burglaries and robberies first hand, aids the police in doing their job more efficiently. Also, the officers are in need of new tactical vests for safety. According to Higgins, the budgets nationwide are shrinking with law enforcement as they run entirely out of a city’s budget, and it can often be hard to keep up with the modernization of technology and new equipment without outside financial assistance. The original monetary goal for this particular project was in the $20,000$25,000 range, and Higgins said they have already almost hit that mark. “We have a lot of corporate sponsors who have really helped out. I’ve been really appreciative of the outpouring from the community and the support of civic organizations. A lot of businesses have jumped on board and people seem excited,” Higgins said. The event will be held at the Benton Barn in Tallassee, 173 Benton Dr., and will include dinner, live music from Todd Gantt and a silent auction for $35 per ticket. For more information, to purchase tickets or purchase sponsorship, call 334-283-6578.



Business & Service Directory


Pick up Elmore County Living at these locations: Eclectic


Karen’s Mane Tamers


Eclectic Town Hall

Lake Pharmacy

River Ridge Steakhouse

A Beautiful Creation


The Golden Frog

Emerald Mountain Store

Austin’s Flowers

Eclectic Library

The Boy’s Store

Redland Market

Camo Country

Johnson’s Furniture

First Community Bank

Seivers Accounting

Alabama State Employees

Wetumpka Depot Players

Credit Union

A Touch of Class

Smokin S BBQ

Kent Eagle

Angel Locksmith

Elmore Community Hospital

Y Petro

Verizon Wireless

Wetumpka Preschool

Russell Lands

Parker Tire


Wetumpka City Library

Russell Marine


Must Stop Café

Wetumpka Chamber of


Herron Hill Pharmacy

Alfa Realty Wetumpka


Cotton’s BBQ

Friendship Grocery

Century 21 Brandt Wright

City of Wetumpka

The Apothecary


Administration Bldg.

Community Hospital

Wachovia Bank

Coosa River Adventures

Verizon Wireless

Tallassee Health & Rehab


Stoddard’s Bait Shop

First Community Bank

5 Points Store

Jackson Thornton

Collier Ford

Lucretia Cauthen Realty

Ben Atkinson Motors

Lee’s Auto Repair

The Prissy Hen

Bliss Salon

McQuick Printing Company

Wee Ones Daycare

Millbrook Chamber of

Hankins Insurance

Wetumpka Health & Rehab

Hog Rock BBQ

Canal Grocery Kim’s Corner

Tropical Tan Zone


First Community Bank

Lake Martin



Commerce Realty Central

Bennett’s Archery

Wetumpka YMCA

Stone & Britt Law

First Community Bank

Adams Drugs

Gene Jones Insurance

Russell Do It Center

Bell Chiropractic


Wetumpka Urgent Care



Our Advertisers • To Join, Call 334-567-7811 Collier Ford.................................................................................................................................1 5 Community Hospital................................................................................................................3 Jackson Thornton....................................................................................................................4 5 Karen's Mane Tamers.............................................................................................................4 4 Kowaliga Whole Health.........................................................................................................4 4 Lake Martin Realty........................................................................................................... 24-25 Mark's Service Center...................................................................................................................... 1 5 Russell Lands....................................................................................................................................... 4 8 Russell Marine.............................................................................................................................2 Tallassee Health & Rehab, LLC.............................................................................................1 5 UAB Medicine...........................................................................................................................1 1 Wetumpka Flea Market.........................................................................................................1 5


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 Stacy Adams or Brandy Bowman at 334-567-7811 or stop by our office located at 300 Green Street, Wetumpka AL 36092


How to Cook the Perfect Easter Egg

MK Moore

SOUTHERN DELIGHTS Mary Katherine Moore is an Alabama State Fair pepper jelly

champion, has butchered a wild hog in

her kitchen and grows

heirloom to-

matoes in her backyard.


It is spring, and everywhere you look there are eggs, the symbol of birth and rebirth that perfectly captures this time of year. This is the time when the egg-dying kits hit the stores; the time when comes the realization that it is too late to do the fancy organic dye on Pinterest; the time to crave deviled eggs. And it all starts with boiling those eggs. For Easter eggs, go ahead and boil them up hard. Seriously, who is going to eat them? I wouldn’t eat them after they have been unrefrigerated for hours during the dying and then hidden outside for who knows how long. Just plop them in a pot and boil away until they are hard enough to withstand the rigors of the egg hunt. After the eggs have been hunted, admired and forgotten, chuck them. In their place, cook up some tender eggs with delicate whites and sunny yellow yolks with nary a green smelly speck. And that is where we are going to start. That gray, green scum that forms on the yolks. That green stuff, besides turning deviled eggs or potato salad an unappetizing color, is the product of a complex chemical reaction that takes place where yolk and white meet and heat is applied. Iron something blah, blah, blah, reacting with sulfurous something else blah, blah. Point is, it doesn’t take knowing the scientific details to discern how odiferous and foul that green stuff can be. The important thing is to know that it is completely avoidable with a few easy steps. First of all, don’t boil the eggs. Steam is hands down the best way cook an egg.

I found this method after having purchased some farm fresh beauties, only to be warned that they make terrible boiled eggs because peeling them isn’t possible. Well, I hit the internet fast on that one. And what I found was that steaming would take care of that little problem. I happen to have a steamer basket that came with a pot. A bamboo steamer basket also works – one of those little metal steamer thingies that fits in the bottom of a pan – or rig up a colander covered with aluminum foil. Put about an inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Put the eggs in the basket, cover and turn the heat to high. Start your timers and cook for exactly 12 minutes. While you are waiting for 12 minutes, fill a large bowl or the kitchen sink with ice and water. After the 12 minutes, carefully scoop the eggs out of the steamer and drop in the ice water. Again, there a few scientific things going on here, but basically this stops the heat as fast as possible, forcing the compounds in the white and the compounds in the yolks to retreat. Leave the eggs in the ice and water for about five minutes and peel away or store in the fridge for up to a week. Using this method results in a tender white (no more rubber) and a bright yellow yolk (no more green ring). For softer yolks, steam for six minutes. No need to fear using fresh eggs, which can be found in a variety of locations around the county. Enjoy the spring and Easter with the best eggs ever.


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Elmore County Living April 2017  

Enjoy our April issue of ECL with features about School Service Dogs, Alabama Jubilee at KFMG, Revenue Commissioner Lee Macon and Bezlo's Ca...

Elmore County Living April 2017  

Enjoy our April issue of ECL with features about School Service Dogs, Alabama Jubilee at KFMG, Revenue Commissioner Lee Macon and Bezlo's Ca...