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April 2019

Elmore County Living

Coosa Cleaver now open

Talent soars in Tallassee n Love runs deeper than blood


300 Ridge Watch Becky Haynie - 334.312.0928 $1,295,000

Join us for The Ridge open house Tour all homes to be entered into a grand prize drawing. For all event details visit LakeMartinRealty.com 2

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72 Stone Ridge India Davis - 256.749.7592 $879,000

152 Ridgeview India Davis - 256.749.7592 $1,100,000

79 Ridge Crest Becky Haynie - 334.312.0928 $1,495,000

43 Stone Ridge Court Mimi Rush – 334.399.7874 $649,000

41 Misty Ridge India Davis - 256.749.7592 $449,000

179 Ridge Crest Becky Haynie - 334.312.0928 $1,025,000

123 Ledges Trail India Davis - 256.749.7592 $525,000

29 Eagle Ridge Becky Haynie - 334.312.0928 $1,225,000

175 Cedar Ridge Becky Haynie - 334.312.0928 $990,000

Dadeville

256.825.9092

Willow Point 256.212.1498

Ourtown

256.212.1498

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From the Editor's Desk

STAFF

When I first heard that Coosa Cleaver was opening in Wetumpka, I was eager to see the menu, the ambiance – the entire style of the restaurant. For those of you who may not know, I have a culinary degree,as well as a Bachelor's in journalism. I am always intrigued when a new establishment opens. Sitting down with Ryan Friday, co-owner of Coosa Cleaver, and his wife, Danyalle, I could relate to the 16-hour days with which they have become accustomed. They jokingly asked if I wanted to re-enter that world and for a moment, fond memories flooded my mind of the adrenaline, food, fire and fierceness of a kitchen. Alas, I also reminded myself why I switched back to my first love – writing. The bulk of our conversation turned to the renovations and re-build, along with the saga of Little Sam’s Café. That restaurant was a staple in the Wetumpka community and much of Coosa Cleaver’s décor pays homage to that. The majority of the flooring, wood and brick are original to the building or were incorporated. On page 8, read about the community love that’s evident in both the owners and location. Not to mention, the chef-inspired counter service menu will make your mouth water. While culinary work could be considered art for some, Tallassee students are leaving no question as to their gifted artistry. The music department in the Tallassee City Schools has a long history of excellence, and on page 16, we delve into the leadership behind that talent. From awardwinning choral groups to a superior-rated marching band and layers of fine art offerings, Tallassee has an all-encompassing music department. Talent doesn’t stop in Tallassee. Students throughout Elmore County are recognized for their artwork at the annual Sparking the Arts reception in Wetumpka. The Elmore County Art Guild hosts this event to increase awareness of the arts for the youth. Read about the program on page 26. Speaking of youth, three local foster families share the joy, obstacles and heart-warming tales of their involvement with the Elmore County Department of Human Resources on page 22. DHR hosts classes twice a year for those interested in becoming foster parents. Read about the experiences of these families who went through the program – it might inspire you to consider this role in the future. This spring already seems to be jam-packed with events. Turn to page 40 to review the list of activities slated for the coming month. For adventure seekers or just lovers of food, like me, I recommend the AWF Wild Game Cook off in Millbrook. I was honored to be one of the judges last year, and although skeptical of what I would encounter, it was definitely worth it. While Alabama has some food items that were new to me, there is no doubt that culinary talent abounds. The best places are the locally owned that create dishes you can’t find elsewhere – or those that seem familiar but have their own twist. Grab a meal at the Coosa Cleaver any day of the week, and try the grilled-cheese burger, fried green tomato BLT or lobster mac and cheese. Is your mouth watering yet?

Amy Passaretti, Editor

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Chairman

KENNETH BOONE kenneth.boone@alexcityoutlook.com

President & Publisher

STEVE BAKER steve.baker@alexcityoutlook.com

Managing Editor

BETSY ILER betsy.iler@alexcityoutlook.com

Editor

AMY PASSARETTI amy.passaretti@alexcityoutlook.com

Distribution Manager

ERIN BURTON erin.burton@alexcityoutlook.com

Marketing Consultants

MARILYN HAWKINS marilyn.hawkins@thewetumpkaherald.com SHANNON FILYAW shannon.filyaw@tallasseetribune.com TIPPY HUNTER tippy.hunter@alexcityoutlook.com KATIE WESSON katie.wesson@alexcityoutlook.com JULIE HARBIN julie.harbin@alexcityoutlook.com JOLIE WATERS jolie.waters@alexcityoutlook.com

Creative Services

AUDRA SPEARS audra.spears@alexcityoutlook.com SHELLEY MCNEAL shelley.mcneal@alexcityoutlook.com DARLENE JOHNSON darlene.johnson@alexcityoutlook.com

Digital Services

KAT RAIFORD kat.raiford@alexcityoutlook.com ELLE FULLER elle.fuller@alexcityoutlook.com

Contributors Kenneth Boone Jeff Langham Carmen Rodgers Jacob Saylor MK Moore Sharon Fox

Marty Edge Shannon Middleton Kathy Monroe Suellen Young Willie Moseley Donald Campbell

To subscribe to Elmore County Living, $25 a year for 12 issues, please call Erin Burton at 256-234-4281 All content, including all stories and photos, are copyright of

Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc. P.O. Box 999 300 Green Street, Wetumpka, AL 36092 334-567-7811


CONTENTS

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ON THE COVER Ryan Friday owns Coosa Cleaver in Wetumpka with his brother Benji. The counter-service styled restaurant opened downtown in December after renovationing a wellloved building. Photo by Suellen Young

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28 Columns

In Every Issue 6

EXTRA! EXTRA!

8 34

Features

22

MOVIE MAN

2019 Spring Lineup

12

ARS BIO RELEASED

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

28

BACK IN THE DAY

16

SPARKING THE ARTS

OUT & ABOUT

30

THE GAMER

18

FOSTER CARE HOMES

24

ARTISTRY SOARS

News Briefs

Coosa Cleaver

In Elmore County

Dangers Endured on Old Road

Prequel Adds Depth to Character

40

COMING UP

32

DOLLARS & SENSE

44

WHERE TO FIND US

33

COMMUNITY CARE

46

SOUTHERN DELIGHTS

Fun for Everyone

Distribution List

Local Writer Interviews Band ECAG Honors Student Work Families Share Experiences Tallassee Music Department

The Economy Ticks Ahead

Vaccinations Prevent Outbreaks

Merengue Possible Year Round ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

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EXTRA! EXTRA! News from Elmore County and surrounding areas

Shoe drive helps needy countries The Eclectic Public Library is hosting its annual shoe drive to raise funds to maintain the library and its programs. All kinds of shoes are accepted, but they must be in pairs. The shoes will be cleaned, repaired and recycled for developing nations through the help of a nonprofit organization. The goal is to collect 2,500 pairs. Drop-off locations include Eclectic Public Library, Eclectic UMC, First Baptist Church of Eclectic, First Community Bank Eclectic, Eclectic Municipal Building, Rushenville Baptist Church, Santuck Baptist Church, Central Baptist Church, Frazer UMC and Eclectic Senior Center.

Depot Players are headed to nationals

The cast of The Diviners

At a recent competition of community theater organizations from across the Southeast, 15 actors and cast members representing the Wetumpka Depot Players won and also got their tickets punched to go to the American Association of Community Theaters’ AACTFest19 to compete against others from around the country. The Wetumpka Depot Players took top honors at the Southeastern Theater Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, with its production of Jim Leonard’s play The Diviners. The prestigious national festival features 12 companies from across the U.S. and will be hosted by the American Association of Community Theaters in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in June.

Purcell resigns after serving community and chamber Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gerry Purcell announced his resignation last month. “I took the executive director position three years ago as a nonprofit sabbatical to serve this wonderful community,” Purcell said in a press release. “It has been a privilege serving the business community and our citizens. Now it’s time for the next season and next challenge. Having been in business for so many years, the pull of the marketplace is strong, and I look forward to diving back into a new business venture.” Purcell said he feel he accomplished what he wanted to in this position. Purcell said one thing that factored into this decision was damage his house

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suffered during the Jan. 19 tornado, said Purcell. Believing it will essentially be a full-time job to complete repairs to his home helped lead him to make the decision to step down. Prior to moving to Wetumpka, Purcell ran a successful national consulting practice from Atlanta and was heavily involved in startups in recent years. In his three-year tenure, Purcell said the chamber added nearly 150 new members, held more than 50 ribbon cuttings – including for the chamber’s Innovation Center – reached a $200,000 budget for the first time, tripled the chamber’s presence on social media and improved revenue from events by more than 30 percent.

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Gerry Purcell recently resigned from the Wetumpka Chamber


Titus man raises enormous funds for cancer Titus resident Bubba Wood said he enjoys taking part in local Relay for Life events, and he has been highly successful in raising money for the organization, which aids cancer patients and survivors. “This will be my 30th Relay for Life,” Wood said. “Since I started participating, I have raised nearly $90,000. Currently, I’m about $2,500 short of that.” Wood said raising nearly $90,000 since first participating in the Relay for Life is not a common fundraising plateau for individuals to reach,

especially in rural areas. He also said it’s motivating to know most of the monoey stays in the local area. Not only does Wood enjoy taking part in Relay for Life, but it holds personal significance to him, as a 13year survivor of melanoma. For those interested in contributing to Wood’s fundraising efforts in preparation for the 2019 Tri-City Relay for Life event in April, he said people can go to his personal Facebook page, where they can find a link to his donation page. Donors could also mail checks made out to

Tales Through the Eyes of the Elderly Copies of the new release, The Nursing Home Book by James Ray Brown, are on shelves at The Apothecary, located at 1405 Gilmer Ave. in Tallassee. Ray’s book gives voice to those in nursing homes, who are often unheard. “It’s a series of short stories, or vignettes, based on the lives of the residents,” Brown said. “Some of what happens is there in the nursing home, but the biggest part of this focuses on their lives prior to landing in the nursing home.” According to Brown, these short stories take readers back in time to tell what the lives of residents were like before checking into the facility. The 130-page book includes 39 stories, including the prologue, which is based on an actual multi-generational family caretaker and her experiences. The book is intertwined with fiction and reality, according to Brown. About a third of the stories are based on his background, and the rest is about real people. “While this effort may seem gloomy, humor and nostalgia can be found here,” he said. “Those who enjoy talking with their grandparents or the elderly and hearing their stories, this is for you.”

the American Cancer Association to Wood at 1271 Jackson Trace Rd., Titus, AL 36080.

James Ray Brown is author of The Nursing Home Book

Casino donates funds to Mt. Vernon Theatre Wind Creek Casino donated $10,000 to the Mt. Vernon Theatre to assist with continuing renovations, ongoing needs and operational costs. Wind Creek Public Relations Director Magi Williams said, “We partner with local groups such as Tallassee Mt. Vernon Theatre, Inc., because these groups know what the real needs are ... it’s clear the impact is to bring the community together and to revitalize the downtown. By preserving that history, we can create a brighter future together.”

Wind Creek presents a check to community theater

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The original brick was exposed during building renovations

Coosa Cleaver

Counter-service restaurant pays homage to Wetumpka history Story by Amy Passaretti Photos by Suellen Young

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s Ryan and Danyalle Friday began renovating the downtown Wetumpka building in which Coosa Cleaver now serves up mouth-watering fare, a host of history unfolded, and the couple knew they had to preserve it. The location

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was originally Little Sam’s Café, a staple in the lives of community members throughout Wetumpka. Between décor and structural components, Coosa Cleaver pays homage to that iconic setting that locals loved. “The history of this building and the restaurant in the community is extensive,” said Ryan Friday. “We stuck to the building’s roots and incorporated

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what we could into the re-build.” A project that took about four months, Coosa Cleaver opened in December and was the flagstone project initiated by the newly formed Downtown Redevelopment Authority to stimulate growth in Wetumpka. Friday and his brother, Benji, opened Cork & Cleaver in Montgomery in April 2017. While they always intended


Business Spotlight

to expand, Friday said, they assumed it would be in a larger metropolitan area. “A friend set up a meeting with DRA who had recently purchased this building, so as a courtesy, we took it,” said Friday. “Four meetings later, we were signing the paperwork.” Other projects competed for the building’s use, but Coosa Cleaver ultimately won.

“We really fell in love with it – the project, the building, the community,” said Friday. “We had a vision and design when we came in, but kind of figured out things as we went to respect the history that unfolded.” Having grown up in Elmore County, it was a homecoming for Friday who also has a background in contract work. He did about 70 percent of

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the renovations on his own, with the help of a plumber, electrician and also Charles Stever and his crew. Work began on the downstairs portion first where the original exposed brick and shiplap were discovered, and what was in good condition, remains part of the restaurant’s interior. “When we gutted the building, we found flood lines from the historic

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The upstairs area is called 1909, where two large garage windows were installed

The original Little Sam's sign was refurbished by local artist Shellie Whitfield flooding in the area,” said Friday. The upstairs flooring was reverted back to original wood, and the plywood paneling on the walls was painted metallic to retain the texture but appear metal. The rest of the walls were re-painted. The majority of the wood found in the building was refurbished and incorporated into the re-build. “All additional wood used was purchased locally from Berkstresser Mill or a sawmill in Greenville,” said Friday. While the original building dates

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to pre-1900, the upstairs might have been added in the ’30s or ’40s, based on structural assessment and old photos. The upstairs portion is named 1909, which is when the original restaurant opened in this location. An old piano was left on site, which Friday incorporated into both the hand-built bar and used its interior workings as wall décor. Large garage windows were installed upstairs as well to entice customers to check out the second floor. The original Little Sam’s signage was refurbished by artist Shellie

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The insides of an old piano left in the building are used as wall décor

Whitfield and now hangs inside the Coosa Cleaver. Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis donated a barstool from Little Sam’s, and other community members chipped in, as well. “A lot of people contributed to this effort. There were a lot of unsolicited photos and décor from locals,” said Danyalle. “But we also heard so many great stories about the restaurant and the owner that was deeply admired. It was such a part of people’s lives that we put a lot of thought into re-building that history here.”


Coosa Cleaver is a chef-inspired counter-service concept, which has been a bit of a hurdle as the first of its kind to the area. Friday said it’s what’s really trending right now in the service industry, but people are still warming up to the quick, casual service as opposed to full service. “We brought in about half the menu from Cork & Cleaver to incorporate here, but added some other items that were more relevant to this restaurant’s style,” said Friday. Customers order their food downstairs at a counter but have the option of sitting upstairs. There is a limited selection of package beer and wine downstairs, with a full bar and growing cocktail menu upstairs. “Our vision was to catch the best of both worlds in this area. Downstairs is more representative of the Coosa River, and the upstairs is more symbolic of Lake Martin,” said Friday. The ADA-accessible bathroom downstairs is designed with rough-cut

Ryan Friday is part owner of Coosa Cleaver

wood to resemble an outhouse, and a donated canoe hangs on the wall. While Coosa Cleaver currently features some local products, the goal is to incorporate more in the future, said Danyalle. “We’re going for quality, artisan, Southern pub fare,” she said. By partnering with other local businesses, Coosa Cleaver’s opening has

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increased downtown traffic all around, said Friday,who spoke with other business owners. As the initial project by DRA, Coosa Cleaver hopefully will kick-start redevelopment. DRA collaborates with Main Street Wetumpka, the City of Wetumpka and the Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce to inspire local growth. “We really want to do the best we can, and if this project works well, DRA can continue to grow downtown and bring in more businesses,” said Friday. Coosa Cleaver is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and stays open until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. They’ve started a Trivia Night every Tuesday and plan to host monthly special events. “We are here for the long term. We want the community to know that,” said Danyalle. Coosa Cleaver is located at 106 Company St. and can be reached at 334-7311190. For information, visit its Facebook page or CoosaCleaver.com.

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ARS chows down at Atlanta's famous Varsity Drive-In in 1980

Tallassee's Moseley publishes Southern rock band's bio Photos Courtesy of Willie Moseley

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allassee resident and acclaimed music writer, Willie Moseley, has published his 13th book and second in 2018, biographically telling the story about the Atlanta Rhythm Section – a popular rock band from the ’70s. The Atlanta Rhythm Section: The Authorized History was released at the end of last year and is the only one written about the band. “The genesis for the book began a few years ago when a former roadie of the band contacted the office of Vintage

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Guitar Magazine, for which I am the senior writer, asking for an interview with founding ARS guitarist Barry Bailey,” said Moseley. Bailey retired from the group in 2006 after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The other original guitarist, J.R. Cobb, was then interviewed as well, and at that point, Moseley said, he knew he wanted to build on this initiative. Having a snowball effect, interviews led to other referrals, which resulted in Moseley interviewing all four of the sur-

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viving founding members of the band, along with ones that joined later. Additional resources came from other business managers, recording engineers, fans, roadies and members of notable bands – such as 38 Special, Kansas, The Charlie Daniels Band and The Kentucky Headhunters. “There are musicians, and there are rock stars. The membership of the Atlanta Rhythm Section has always consisted – and still consists – of musicians,” said Moseley. ARS will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020 and has had hit songs, gold and platinum albums and performed at both mega-concerts and overseas. Hit songs include So Into You, Champagne Jam, Doraville, Spooky, Imaginary Lover and many others. The ensemble is still active, with founding members Dean Daughtry on keyboard and Rodney Justo on vocals. One of the guitarists, Steve Stone, has been with the band for more than 32 years. “The band didn’t put on much of a show, but their sonic presentation was precise, yet soulful,” said Moseley. The producer/manager/co-songwriter Buddy Buie was from Dothan, and he also managed K-Otics. This ’60s band featured three members that were from Tallassee in Elmore County, including singer Tommy Mann, bassist Ray Goss and drummer Kim Venable. Mann and Goss still live in the area. The unique history of the Southern rock band ARS embraces the frontline studio band that wrote and recorded its own songs and toured to support its music. “No other band at the time had ever taken that approach, anywhere,” Moseley added. In March, Moseley joined Kentucky Headhunter guitarist Greg Martin on his Lowdown Hoedown radio show in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to discuss the ARS book and play some lesser-heard, rare versions of the band’s songs. Martin contributed some recollections of his own to the biography.

Originally from Montgomery, Moseley has lived in Tallassee since 1994 and has written for Vintage Guitar for 13 years, along with writing for The Tallassee Tribune since 1996. He still contributes to both publications. Vintage Guitar is the oldest, largest and most widely read periodical of its kind in the world with readers in all 50 states and 31 countries. During his tenure, Moseley has conducted approximately 1,000 interviews and was even kicked out of one rock concert. “I used to play in bands myself, but writing about guitars has taken me further than playing them ever would have. These days I’d rather ‘play’ a word processor keyboard,” he added. Moving on to his 14th novel, Moseley is highly knowledgeable about music, guitars and the industry.

Willie Moseley (right) discusses his book with Greg Martin

The Atlanta Rhythm Section performs for a crowd estimated at 80,000 at the Texxas Jam in 1978 in Dallas

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The WETUMPKA DEPOT PLAYERS are heading to finals at AACT Fest ‘19 in June!

Wetumpka

We have two fundraiser performances:

Flea Market & Antiques BOOTH SPACE AVAILABLE STARTING AT $118/MONTH FOR 6’X10’

ONE NIGHT ONLY May 30th The Diviners The Alabama Shakespeare Festival

June 27-30th Second Samuel The Wetumpka Depot

All proceeds will help with travel expenses to Nationals.

Please support your local theatre and help the Depot shine in the national spotlight!

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

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Member FDIC

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Sparking the Arts

Reception honors talents of Elmore County students Story by Amy Passaretti Photos Courtesy of Shirley Esco

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bout a decade ago, the Elmore County Art Guild created Sparking the Arts, a program for students in Elmore County to be recognized for their artwork and originality. With limited opportunites for fine arts in the school system, the nonprofit art organization hoped to bring awareness to that field. “When we started this, we decided it would be a good way to get Elmore County art students involved. Over the years, more and more schools are incorporating art programs and participating,” said Shirley Esco, chair for the program. This year’s reception will be held May 18 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wetumpka High School Atrium. Chosen artwork will be exhibited for community members to admire. First-, second- and third-place winners within different grade levels also will be recognized. Artwork is judged in three categories: kindergarten through fifth grade; sixth through eighth grade; and ninth through 12th. At each level, about 10 pieces from the students’ nominated artworks are selected for the program reception. “Students choose to put their pieces into the running, and when one is chosen, we leave an invitation to the reception,” said Esco.

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Volunteers travel to the qualifying Elmore County schools – both public and private, at all grade levels – collecting the artwork. All forms of media are considered – including but not limited – to painting, photography and sculpture. A juror within the ECAG designates first, second and third places for each category of students. First-place winners receive $100 scholarships. When the guild began giving scholarships in 1993, the focus was on students who needed assistance with supplies or art lessons. The program then grew into what it is today with the contest and reception. “That’s kind of why we got this all started. There used to be not much art within the school systems at all,” said Esco. Teachers and art instructors now are familiar with the program and always anticipate the annual Sparking the Arts, she said. “When I contact them, they’re always glad to be back in touch about the show,” said Esco. “And I think since the beginning, the students have been really excited to have their artwork recognized. There are just not many art competitions for youth.” For more information, contact Esco at shirleyesco1945@gmail.com.

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A student shows off her winning piece from last year's event

Children's artwork is collected throughout the county

The reception offers light refreshments

First-, second- and thirdplace awards are given in three different gradelevel categories


Love for family runs deeper than blood Foster parents provide homes for needy children Story by Amy Passaretti Photos by Donald Campbell & Courtesy of Tonya Ballard, Colleen Blecher and Keith Matthews

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roviding a comfortable bed, a caring atmosphere and a safe environment could mean just about everything to a child who has recently been removed from home. Elmore County Department of Human Resources works with willing families to provide immediate, short-term or long-term residences for children who have experienced some form of abuse or neglect. “Foster and adoptive families are a valuable resource for children. They provide love and encouragement, along with a loving home, which contributes to healing from childhood trauma,” said Cathy Tylicki, social worker and Elmore County DHR foster parent recruiter and trainer. There is no definition of what a normal family may look like, and the foster/adoptive system is a reflection of that illustration. The Ballards, who live in Wetumpka, are currently a household of 12 – some blood-related, some adopted but all family. Tonya and Todd Ballard have 10 children between the ages of 26 and 2 years old. “I just felt a calling. In nursing school, I trained under someone who was a foster parent, so when my youngest turned 5, we applied to foster,” said Tonya Ballard. Even though she had four biological children at the time,

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Foster care homes require support from the entire family Ballard said, the experience has been a blessing. Keith, Sarah and Logan came to live with the Ballards when Keith was 5. Now, at age 17, he is the captain of the soccer team, does well at Eclectic High School and plans to be a firefighter. “The second week of kindergarten, when we first fostered Keith, he had already been in three different schools by this time,” said Ballard. “The three sibling were with us for two years before we officially adopted them.” While foster parents have the option to specify age, sex and other factors for a child they would prefer to take in, it doesn’t always work out as planned. “We wanted to start with younger ones, and one at a time,” said Ballard. “We ended up breaking all of our rules by taking on three kids at one time. But the kids made it easy. I said, ‘We need to do this; they need us.’” The Blecher family always knew adoption was in the cards for them, as Colleen Blecher’s sister was adopted. Originally planning to adopt internationally, Blecher said, they kept getting what they called ‘signs’ to try fostering and

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began to recognize the local need. “When we first started, we had seven different kids come to us within two months,” said Blecher. “We quickly realized the need for these children to have a home – whether temporary or permanent. They may not be our kids, but they’re ours to care for, for now.” While many foster situations do result in adoption, the main goal is for reunification among families, said Tylicki. DHR is legally bound to make reasonable efforts toward reuniting children with their parents or relatives and expect the foster families to encourage this process. “We rely heavily on the foster family to assist with visitations, transportation to appointments and at times, interacting with the birth parents,” said Tylicki. If parental rights are terminated while a child is in the foster care system, the current family of that child is offered first the option of adoption. Ben and Charlie, biological brothers, came to the Blecher household in July 2017 for a temporary stay, but by July 2018, they were legally adopted into the family. “We had a big celebration for them. Family flew into town,” said Blecher. “It’s important for them to feel like part of the family and let them know this is their home.” Though the Blechers ay have hit ’pause’ on fostering duties for the time being to focus on Ben and Charlie, they are open to respite care for families needing a weekend break or during emergency situations. Darlene and Keith Garrett Matthews have three adult children, plus they took in and helped raise a girl more than 15 years ago without an official foster or adoption process who is now 30 years old. With their kids now out of the house, the Matthews decided to finally implement their long-intended plan of

fostering. “Kids just take to my husband and I,” said Darlene Matthews. Being raised by her grandmother, Matthews appreciated the additional people that took care of her over the years, since her mother was not in an ideal situation. “I think, ‘If they hadn’t done that for me, where would I be today?’” she said. After setting a deadline for their decision, the Matthews ended up calling DHR, which happened to be the day before foster classes started. “The dominoes just started falling into place,” said Matthews. The day they were certified, the Matthews received a call to take in four siblings under the age of 8. While the children came with some anger and behavioral issues, Matthews said, the experience has been and continues to be rewarding. About a year after their arrival, Radric, 9; Angel, 6; Chase, 4 and Taleria, 3, were officially adopted by the Matthews. “It just brings such joy to see how far these kids can come with love and a little discipline. Their grades have improved significantly,” she said. “You have to love these kids and be willing to help them through their issues.” When Blecher and her husband, Korey, first thought about fostering, they wanted to include their biological children in the conversation. Rian and Ethan, 9 and 12 at the time, were offered the choice based on available family funds between either a trip to Disney World or for the family to adopt, and they chose adoption. “We are so proud of our kids. That was definitely a proud Momma moment,” said Blecher. “It’s been the best decision we’ve ever made.” The children quickly adapted to the foster children that

Classes are taught twice a year for interested foster care parents

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The Matthews adopted four foster children

Rian, Korey, Charlie, Ben, Colleen and Ethan Blecher came through and were heartbroken to see them go. “You need to discuss this decision as a family. Everyone has to be on board because it’s a team effort,” said Blecher. When Ballard decided to take in more children, her biggest fear was how it would affect her biological ones; however, the 10 kids all bond as siblings, she said. “You have the love in your heart just the same as family. Everyone is kind of different, but I have been blessed to watch them grow into good children,” Ballard said. Both Keith and Sarah said they would want to adopt in their futures to give others the chances they were given. “It’s easier living now,” said Keith. “I used to take care of my siblings; now, someone is taking care of me.” There are certainly challenges and obstacles that accompany the experiences, along with the unknown; however, it’s worth the heartache of letting foster children go, knowing The Ballards are a family of 12

they had a loving environment, said Blecher. After a few placements came through their household, the Blechers were going to take a break from fostering until the call for Ben and Charlie came. “We gave our kids the option if they wanted to take in these boys, and they did,” said Blecher. “It’s so good to see them learn how to be selfless, give and make sacrifices. It’s truly brought them joy, too.” The Ballards kept their foster license for nine years but finally let it lapse four years ago. “We’ve got our plate full with teenagers now,” said Ballard. “We have challenges just like everyone else. If I had to do it over again, I would not change a thing.” While it was not always easy and Matthews’ heart broke the first time her foster children were reunited with their birth mother before adoption, she said. Still, she would not


indle the Past, LL K e with Jimmy & Judy

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The Matthews family made T-shirts for the children's adoption ceremony

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take anything in place of the process. “No amount of money would ever be worth giving them up,” Matthews said. “When we adopted them, I just could not stop myself from crying. My heart would melt as they called each name.” Foster parents must undergo a 12-week class to be certified in the system. “Classes involve self-reflection and the assessment of your strengths and needs to determine your ability to serve with DHR,” said Tylicki. The first 10 classes are designed to help families develop the skills needed to be successful foster/adoptive parents. The final two provide CPR and first-aid training, along with water safety certification. To be qualified, potential foster parents must be at least 19 years old, and single parents are definitely accepted. If married, couples must be married for at least one year to foster or three years if they want to adopt only. A stable environment with a home inspection, medical clearance, criminal background check, financial stability and adequate space are also necessary requirements. “The kids almost always arrive scared and with nothing but what they have on them,” said Blecher. “There is the stereotypical honeymoon phase, which seems great and easy, but all situations come with challenges.” The Matthews have been asked in the past to be on the panel at the end of foster care classes. It provides new foster parents the opportunity to ask questions and hear firsthand experiences of people who have been through the process. Elmore County DHR Service Supervisor Carter Taunton encourages people to come to a class and check it out. “You can never really explain in its entirety until you see it for yourself. If it is something you think isn’t a fit for your family, you can decide that after attending a class,” said Taunton.

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2019

spring lineup Biographies and thrillers among seasonal showings WELCOME TO SPRING!

Jeff Langham

MOVIE MAN Dr. Jeff Langham is State Assistant Superintendent for External and Governmental Affairs and a lifelong lover of film.

Before we delve into spring at the movies, let’s do a quick recap of the first quarter of 2019, the winter months at the multiplex. This period ushered in several box office hits including The Upside; Glass; The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part; Alita: Battle Angel; and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. The first weeks of April have featured two films of interest. Shazam! is yet another superhero extravaganza, this time chronicling the adventures of teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who can transform into an adult superhero, played by Zachary Levi, via the magic word, “shazam.” Pet Sematary, a chilling remake of the 1989 film based on horror meister Stephen King’s creepy novel of the same name, has garnered strong reviews and interest at the box office. 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 19th The Curse of La Llorona (also known as The Curse of the Weeping Woman) – Linda Cardellini (Green Book) stars in this supernatural thriller from producer James Wan, the mastermind behind the gory Saw series. Set in the 1970s, this chilling story revolves around a widowed social worker that combines forces with a disillusioned priest to fight La Llorona, a female ghost from Latin American folklore, who arrives to wreak havoc (and terrify moviegoers).

May 5th The Intruder – You’ll hurry home to lock your doors and windows after viewing this psychological thriller about a couple (played by Michael Ealy and Meagan Good) who buy a house in the country, only to realize its previous owner (Dennis Quaid) refuses to let it go. It is interesting to note that this film is touted as a loose remake of the 2003 film Cold Creek Manor, which also starred Dennis Quaid. Long Shot stars the hilarious Seth Rogen and the alluring Charlize Theron in one of those rom-com plots that requires


an extra dose of suspension of disbelief. Rogen portrays a hapless, unemployed journalist who courts his childhood love interest and former babysitter (Theron), who now just happens to be the nation’s secretary of state.

May 17th

May 10th Tolkien – Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite) and Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror) star in this powerful biography about the English professor, philologist and author J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. The Hustle – If you enjoyed 1988’s hilarious Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Steve Martin and Michael Caine, get ready for this female-centered remake of Scoundrels starring Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway. Just the premise sounds like comic heaven, and the raucous Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect) never disappoints in garnering laughs with her on-screen antics.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum stars the inscrutable Keanu Reeves as the title character in the third installment of the John Wick film series, following John Wick (2014) and John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017). It also stars Oscarwinner Halle Berry and Laurence Fishburne and promises action and carnage galore. A Dog’s Journey – Dog lovers, get out the hankies for this film based on W. Bruce Cameron’s 2012 novel of the same name. The film stars Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid and Marg Helgenberger and hopes to enjoy the same box office popularity as the similarly themed 2017 heart-tugger, A Dog’s Purpose (also from the pen of author Cameron).

May 24th Aladdin is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1992 animated film and features the charismatic Will Smith as the Genie. Save your wishes; this will be box office gold. Brightburn – Trailers for this thriller emphasize that this is a superhero hor-

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ror film and asks the question, “What if a Superman-like hero came to earth to be the “end of days” instead of “saving the day?” Yikes! Elizabeth Banks and David Denman star in what may end up as the one of the spring’s most talked about films. Ad Astra is a science-fiction dazzler with a galaxy of talent including Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland. For fans of Interstellar, this sounds like it may be the ticket!

May 31st Rocket Man is a biographical film based on the life of iconic musician Elton John. Starring Taron Egerton in the title role, the film follows John’s early days at the Royal Academy of Music up to his eventual musical partnership with Bernie Taupin and the legendary music the two of them created. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the sequel to Godzilla (2014) and will be the 35th film in the Godzilla franchise. This film stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown from Netflix’s popular Stranger Things. Ma – After their teaming up in the award-winning box office and critical smash The Help, director Tate Taylor and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer have joined forces again for this psychological horror film. So, get moving to the local multiplex before spring slips away. This summer’s movie slate is going to be jammed packed, so don’t let these late spring releases roll by. Until next month …

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Artistry soars in Tallassee schools Music department inspires community pride Story by Amy Passaretti Photos Courtesy of Michael Bird

M

The Divas perform in show choir competitions throughout the Southeast

ichael Bird grew up listening to his parents’ record collection and toying with their stereo equipment. It was this early memory of music that stands out as the catalyst for his future teaching career, he said. Currently one of the choral and band directors at Tallassee High School, Bird is part of a team that inspires music education for 200 students daily. The dynamic, burgeoning music department throughout Tallassee City Schools is made up of talented leadership. “Tallassee’s fine arts department is well known across the state and region for its tremendous successes and student participation in band, choral and theater programs,” said Bird. There are 441 students in the Tallassee schools’ music program, with 285 of them at the high schoollevel band and choir. With a population of about 600 students at THS, that means around half are involved in musical performances. Amanda Anderson is in her second year as choral director for the two women’s show choirs, Divas and New Image, as well as the concert choir and the chamber choir, Voltage, which is mixed vocals. The Divas is the advanced ladies’ show choir and is one of the most decorated programs in the Southeast. The group recently placed fourth at the 2019 Southern Showcase and third at the 2019 Foothills

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Members of THS perform a number from 2018's Guys and Dolls Show Choir Classic. Anderson choreographs the shows for New Image and Voltage, and her responsibilities include preparing dance moves, teaching them to students and ensuring they are executed properly and confidently. She also helps with the Divas choreography. Gold Edition is the longest-running, all-male show choir in the Southeast, and the choirs have performed in various cities throughout the country over the last decade. The Pride of Tallassee is the name designated for the band program, which began in 1938 as Long Blue Line. “Our band is one of the oldest continually operating bands in Alabama. We have people working with our band on a long-term basis, such as Vicki Baker who has been the majorette instructor since 1962. The choral program existed for many years at Tallassee, but it really took off in the late ’90s when Jerry Cunningham became the director. By the early 2000s, around 75 percent of the student body was participating in the choir at the high school,” said Bird. Cunningham now serves as the executive director of Tallassee Chamber of Commerce, but remains a respected figure for his trailblazing efforts on behalf of music education in Alabama, said Bird. Robby Glasscock has been a band

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director in Tallassee since 2001 and since his employment, the THS band has received more than 25 superior ratings at Alabama marching band competitions, as well as with the Alabama Bandmasters Association State Music Performance Assessment. “The music department as a whole serves as an ambassador for Tallassee High School and for the City of Tallassee,” said Glasscock. “Through our performances, we have been able to bring recognition to our small town, which serves as a source of pride.” Glasscock, who attended Troy University with Bird, recommended him to become assistant band director when Bird was looking to move to Tallassee

THS choral directors Amanda Anderson and Michael Bird work together with 200 students daily

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after serving as Robert E. Lee High School’s band director. “Mr. Bird has always been a champion for the students of Tallassee. He is full of energy and ready to help anyone who asks,” said Glasscock. One of Bird’s proudest moments came when Melanie Perry, a student of his for four years, was hired as his replacement at Southside Middle School and as an assistant to Glasscock. “She is probably one of the greatest, most dedicated band students I ever knew,” said Bird. “Now, Melanie’s an even better director than I ever was. It’s provided me a real ‘circle-of-life’ moment to see her succeed in my old job.” Perry said Bird has influenced the way she approaches that job, following in his footsteps. “I know how he inspired a great love of music in me and makes kids love music and band. I wanted to be sure I continued that,” said Perry. Having heard that Tallassee is a strong and loving community, Perry has had the opportunity to connect with this firsthand. “Mr. Bird always talked about how great Southside is and how I would love these kids, and he was right!” Perry said. Anderson was new to Tallassee when she arrived in her position, and she said, the program has been extremely welcoming. “It’s clear that this town has a great


Harley Yankey earned a full scholarship to continue singing

Jazz Fest planning committee includes Mike Hammonds, Michael Bird, Melanie Perry, Robby Glasscock and Dr. Mike Pendowski with AU love and respect for music. I have been very impressed with Tallassee’s music program,” she said. “To see one like this flourish in a small town is truly remarkable.” Establishing a strong connection to the community has been an important element as well, said Anderson. The department hosts several significant fundraisers throughout each year. The Capital City Classic show choir competition is the largest. It’s held at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center and features 35 show choirs from around the country. Other important events that support the department include the Tallassee JazzFest each April and Fabulous Follies, where community leaders participate in silly skits and sketches. With the administration’s support, the music department has been able to grow over the years and create new opportunities for students, said Glasscock. “The music department at Tallassee is very unique. You will not find many other places where all aspects work so closely and so well together. This gives students the opportunities to explore many different areas of music,” said Perry. The fine arts department also includes drama and theater, majorettes, color guard and choreography. Each fall Tallassee’s music department

Tallassee throughout the country, instages a Broadway production, some of which have included Guys and Dolls, cluding in New York City, San Antonio, Chicago, Philadelphia, Orlando and The Music Man, Bye Bye Birdie and others. Grease. The middle school program includes “We have performed many classics, more than 160 and our students students who are are afforded the involved with opportunity to symphonic band, have a well roundconcert band and ed experience beginner band. through all facets “The rest of the of music educa~ Amanda Anderson, program’s suction,” said Bird. cess can really be The high school choral director attributed to the band program instudents. These cludes symphonic kids have remarkable talent, and I can band, concert band, the Pride of Tallastell the bulk of them has a true love for see marching band and jazz band. music,” said Anderson. The marching band has represented

“It's clear that this town has a great love and respect for music.”

Gold Edition is the longest-running, all-male show choir in the Southeast

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Travelers endured dangers along Old Federal Road

Sharon fox

BACK IN THE DAY Sharon Fox is the curator at the Elmore County Museum in Wetumpka.

The Old Federal Road began as a mail route long before the Pony Express was created. The glorified horse path was, in some places, nothing more than ruts deep enough to turn a wagon on its side – and they often did. Those mail carriers and travelers brave enough to use the old road were up against many dangers, including the possibility of encountering unhappy Creek Indians. The road conditions were subject to the weather, and travelers often found themselves stuck in flooded creeks and swampy areas. The road became so bad at times that the mail coaches weren’t able to run, and letters had to be carried through on horseback. Even then, the mail carriers sometimes would have to walk their horses through the worst areas.  Due to the dangers and difficulties they expected to encounter on the trips, travelers were, during the worst part of the season, better off hiring a private coach at great cost. The private coaches were first-come, first-served, and most of them were nothing more than broken down horse-drawn wagons. The drivers were experienced, and while the passengers might wonder if they’d survive the trips, the drivers were used to the conditions. They were described as calm and philosophical, as they kept going through creeks and swamps where on occassion water was high enough to soak the passengers. An 1835 journal entry taken from The Very Worst Road by Jeffrey C. Benton stated, “What rendered it really amusing was, that we were con-

stantly obliged to draw up our limbs on the seat, for the water was at least eight inches deep in the bottom of the carriage and went splashing about in the most extraordinary manner. I cast a look now and then at my companion who looked woebe-gone, and was constantly exclaiming, ‘Mais quel pays! A-t-on jamais vu de pareils Chemins?’” This meant, “What a country! Have we ever seen such paths?” The Federal Road was upgraded in 1805 when the Creek Indians gave the U. S. government permission to cross their lands. The road was widened, and bridges and ferries were added to include tolls given to the Creeks as compensation. The improvements made it a more efficient way for settlers, mail coaches, the military, merchants, travelers and troupes of entertainers to make their journeys to the South. One such entertainer was future circus entrepreneur, Phineas Taylor Barnum, otherwise known as P. T. Barnum. When Barnum was younger, he was known for his variety troupe, Barnum’s Grand Scientific and Musical Theater. The most famous performers of that show were Gen. Tom Thumb and the Feejee Mermaid. Barnum brought his traveling exhibits to Montgomery in 1837 by way of the Federal Road. The road, during the time Barnum traveled it, had become quite dangerous for new reasons. A week before his crossing, a mail coach had been attacked, the passengers were killed and the coach was burned. The driver, left for dead, survived to tell the story. Barnum described the trip in his autobiography The Autobiography of P. T. Barnum. He wrote, “None of us felt ashamed to acknowledge that we dreaded to incur the risk, except Vivalla. He was probably the greatest coward among us, but like most of that class, he swaggered and strutted about, laughing at us for our fears.” Barnum and his troupe later played a nasty trick on Vivalla, who was a juggler with the troupe, which resulted in his change of attitude. For more information about the Old Federal Road, be sure to attend Mystery and Mayhem on the Old Federal Road with Raven Christopher on Oct. 20 at the Elmore County Museum.


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Red Dead prequel adds 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.

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In many ways, it feels like the sun has set on Westerns. As in reality, bank-robbing gangs and the outlaws who comprise them are mostly relics of the past in media. The genre’s 30-year domination of the box office from 1930 to 1960 is now distinctly in the rearview. Comic book heroes who were popular in print around that same time now dominate today’s film industry. In many ways, the two genres are very similar: grizzled antiheroes, some amount of violence and moral ambiguity farther than the eye can see. It’s no surprise, then, that 2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2 revived interest in the ailing Western. It’s the younger brother to Red Dead Redemption, which came out eight years prior. This relationship’s a little fuzzy, though, because the second game’s a prequel. The first was an exceptional lesson in game development. The massive, open world gave players copious opportunities for exploration, and its story was second-to-none. While we got a definitive, satisfying ending, it was a conclusion that made many wonder what happened before. The first Red Dead was a title built on the mystery of main character John Marston’s past. Red Dead Redemption 2 delivers that story in exemplary fashion. It is a beautifully unrelenting tale of a fictional, turn-of-the-century, waning Western told through the eyes of main character Arthur Morgan. A member of the Dutch Van Der Linde Gang – named after its roughriding, fast-talking leader – Morgan is a typical outlaw. He beats, shoots and steals to his heart’s content, only ever stopping momentarily to ponder the

moral quandary that is his life. As the player, it’s sure fun to let loose now and again in the role of someone unbound by the law. These early portions of the game are a stark contrast to the later acts, creating an image of Morgan that’s not particularly sympathetic. As Morgan continues his rampage with the gang, he contracts tuberculosis from a sickly debtor. The man, Charles Downes, has fallen on harderthan-average times and was forced to take a less-than-average loan from Dutch’s gang. Downes is a minor character in the grand scheme of things, but that’s part of the irony that makes Red Dead 2 so fantastic. When Morgan finds out he’s gotten sick, it’s a reaction similar to one I’d think most people would have. In truth, it took me a long time to realize just how Morgan might have gotten the disease. When I figured it out, it was a shock. This revelation changes the game in a way that’s totally apparent for some and quite clouded for others. There are so many ways to play the game, many of them somewhat miscellaneous in nature. Maybe, as Morgan, a player has gone shopping for a new set of clothes. He’s sat at the campfire and revelled with other members of the gang. He’s woken up early in the morning for a cup of coffee, hurling playful quips at hungover, still-sleeping friends. In an open-world game like this one, a player feels the need to take a step back from the game’s main storyline to really become immersed. These quiet, contemplative moments give Morgan more personality and invest the gamer more fully into his actions. Morgan’s tuberculosis diagnosis is

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depth to main character a soul-crushing blow to the way a player interacts with the game world. Once the reality of his situation settles in, the importance of sitting down for a game or two of blackjack – or any of the aforementioned activities – becomes far less present. The truth of the matter is that in 1899, the disease is a fatal one. Morgan is dying, and as the game’s main character, players must choose a path forward with the little time he’s got left. This is something of a trope in all sorts of different media, but developer Rockstar Games manages to put an effective spin on the old formula; we are talking about Westerns here. What Morgan loses in time, he gains in perspective. Just before the game’s final acts begin, the normally stoic character admits to a confidant that he is, in fact, scared. It’s one of the game’s most emotionally diverse moments and drives home the notion that Morgan is a seriously multilayered character. This isn’t just a big moment for him, though; it’s also an important point of inflection for the player. Red Dead 2 offers gamers multiple chances to affect how the game’s story plays out. Will a player choose to continue being a force for bad? Or will he upend a life of crime to try and do as much good as fast as possible? As the game winds down, so too does the story of Arthur Morgan. While we won’t venture much further into spoiler territory for those who may not have had a chance to play it yet, know that it’s a truly special spectacle.

There’s a realism in Red Dead 2 that’s unmatched by any other piece of Western-centric media before it. This aspect of the game really shines through as the gun smoke, punches and sunsets begin to take center stage near story’s end. In this way, the game becomes much more similar to the Westerns we’ve loved and lost. But with the depth of Morgan’s character, a host of equally fleshed-out compatriots and a game world that’s brimming with nuance, I’m doubtful we’ll ever see a more fitting ode to the Old West.

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The economy constantly ticks ahead A long-term outlook is best to acheive goals

Marty edge

DOLLARS & SENSE Marty Edge is a financial advisor with First Financial Services, an affiliate of First Community Bank of Central Alabama.

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I have always had a fascination with clocks and watches. I admire the craftsmanship that goes into their designs. Digital clocks are fine, but I prefer traditional clocks and watches with minute and second hands. There is something about the consistent reliability of watching the hands move around the face of a clock. No matter what stage of life you are in, time never stops moving forward. The hands of the clock are a metaphor for life. The good and bad times are never permanent, and as we move through life, we experience both. When things are going well, we want those experiences to last. In contrast, when we go through hard times, we want those periods to end as quickly as possible; however, time never stops. It just keeps moving forward. The clock can also represent the cycle of our economy. Think of 12 o’clock (represented at the top of the clock) being the best of times and 6 o’clock (represented at the bottom of the clock) being the worst. The hands of the clock will be at each of these positions at some point; however, they will not stay at either one forever, and we will spend most of our time in between. The economy is always moving through cycles. We are either moving up toward 12 o’clock (exemplified by the growth we saw from 2009 to 2017 due to renewed expansion and investor confidence) or down toward 6 o’clock (illustrated by the recession of 2008

caused mainly by subprime lending issues and the credit crisis). For these reasons, long-term investing is very important. As mentioned previously, the year 2008 was comparable to being at 6 o’clock. It was a terrible time in our country, and one of the worst economic periods in modern history. As the years moved forward, we progressed out of that time and began to recover. For nearly 10 years, we have watched the hands of the clock move toward 12 on a steady climb. We have experienced good economic and market growth throughout the past decade. Unfortunately, sooner or later the hands will begin to slowly move past 12. We will eventually see a return to the bottom of the cycle and experience a recession. No one really knows when it will occur, how long it will last or how bad it will be. The only thing we are certain of is that it will happen at some point. Fortunately, no recession has ever been permanent. Time will continue to move forward, and our economy will eventually begin to move back toward 12. The clock never stops moving and neither does the market; that’s the cyclical nature of our economy. Approaching investing with a long-term outlook is always the best way to achieve your goals. If you maintain that perspective, the time on the economic clock will not matter in the long run.

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Vaccinations prevent outbreak of transmittable diseases In the news lately, there are reports of vaccine-preventable diseases making a comeback in the U.S. For example, between Jan. 1 and March 21, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 314 cases of measles in 15 states. Measles outbreaks are generally attributed to travelers who have measles and bring it back to the U.S. Measles then spread further in U.S. communities through pockets of unvaccinated people. This same scenario could apply to any number of communicable diseases, which have been almost eradicated through a very successful vaccination program in the United States. Many countries in the world do not have the benefit of vaccination programs to prevent these diseases, so the diseases are still around to be transmitted to those who are unvaccinated. An alarming number of parents in the United States are choosing not to vaccinate their children – some for religious reasons, some for mistrust of the vaccine itself, along with several other reasons. While their concerns are well intended, the choice not to vaccinate leaves a child susceptible to infectious diseases and also allows that child to pass along these diseases to others who are susceptible. Individuals who have a weakened immune system and those who are too young to be fully vaccinated are examples of those who are at risk.

Some parents feel that these “childhood diseases” are not all that serious; however, in some cases, these infectious childhood diseases can have severe outcomes. The CDC reports that about one in 15 children with measles will develop pneumonia, and one in 1,000 will develop brain inflammation. One in 5,000 children with mumps will develop brain inflammation. Mumps can cause infertility or permanent deafness. Chicken pox can lead to severe infections of the skin, swelling of the brain and pneumonia. Children die each year due to complications from influenza. Even with none of the severe complications, these infectious childhood diseases cause a child to be sick and miserable. Why expose a child to these risks? Before vaccines are approved and given to children, they are tested extensively and carefully evaluated. Because of advances in medical science, it is possible to safely provide protection from more diseases than ever before. Parents want what is best for their children. They recognize the importance of car seats, safety locks, baby gates and any number of other ways to help keep their children safe. One of the very best ways to help protect children is to make sure they are up to date on all vaccines. Contact a healthcare provider to discuss a child’s vaccination schedule. While doing so, parents should ensure they also are up to date.

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Kathy Monroe

COMMUNITY CARE Kathy Monroe works with Community Hospital Tallassee.

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OUT & ABOUT

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AWF Easter Eggstravaganza

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March 30, 2019 Alabama Nature Center, Millbrook 1. Katie, Madilyn, Maleah, Macey and Blake Ball

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2. Marshall Dillon, the turkey, and Logan McCord

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3. Stephen and Cliff Last 4. Lucen and Lilly Johnson and Sofia and Gabriel Guenette 5. Meredith and Brent Ingram, Shelley McCoy and Owen and Stephanie Park

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OUT & ABOUT

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Getting Down with the Dawgs

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March 15, 2019 Wind Creek Casino, Wetumpka 1. Bryan, Liz and Danielle Brasington, Dusty Horne and Tori and Jason Salter 2. Henry and Mary Hines 3. Rea Cord and Jimmy Monk

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4. Tina Hall and Casey Martin 5. Sandra Crowley, Jennifer Sweatman and Marilyn Hawkins 6. Brian and Christen Bozeman, Claire Will and Donna Marietta 7. Kelsey Shepherd, Dana Perry and Mary Eckels

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OUT & ABOUT

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Combat Bikesaver Ribbon Cutting March 24, 2019 Combat Bikesaver garage, Tallassee 1. Mike Hornsby, Noah Griggs Jr., Derek Gentle, David and Christy Stough and Torie Suggs 2. Jerry Anger and Alan Bowser

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3. Rob Dinsmore, Jason Zaideman and Bryan Jones 4. Robert and Shonda Shupe 5. Ren Apache Arredondo and Mark Fronduti 6. Lynette “Peanut� Bates 7. Sarah Stephens 8. Kim Morgan, Jennifer Fussell, Jim Turpen and Terry Morgan

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Lake Martin Mini Mall Grand Re-Opening March 8, 2019 Lake Martin Mini Mall, Eclectic

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1. Billy and Eileen Kennedy and Bob and Millie Rocheleau 2. Janelle MacLaughlin and Tyler Norris 3. Laura and Cecila Smith 4. Beth Baker and Rick Jackson 5. Shaun Parrott and Annie Bartol 6. Ken and Annette Funderbunk and Phil Spraggins

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OUT & ABOUT

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Eclectic Trade Days

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March 9, 2019 Eclectic Town Hall parking lot 1.Leeann, Clint and Scarlett Collier and Ruger 2. Sabrina Durham

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3. Carmen Winslett and Tecumseh 4. Amari Parker and Lexii and Bre Hutchison 5. Chris McElvaine 6. Paul and Crystal Henderson 7. Wayne and Angela Cumbie 8. Amanda Watley and Bethany Lee

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OUT & ABOUT

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Red Hill Spaghetti Dinner

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March 30, 2019 Old Red Hill School Building 1. Ray Cox, Sarah and Wayne Banfield, Cecil and Cathy Malone and Steve Ducker 2. Danny Phillips 3. Sue Roberts and Rosalina Crum 4. Bro. Steve and Dee Scarborough 5. Tom VanNewkirk and Debra Roberson 6. Marty Kennedy and Jan VanNewkirk 7. Jim Taylor

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ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

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Coming Up CALENDAR OF EVENTS

April 18 Tallassee Chamber Golf Tournament

April 20 VFW Crawfish Boil

The Tallassee Chamber of Commerce will host a golf tournament at Wynlakes Country Club. Registration will be at 11 a.m., and tee time is 12:30 p.m. There will be prizes for the first, second and third place teams, along with door prizes; closest to the pin; and longest drive. Lunch and snacks will be provided. To sign up or for information, call 334-283-5151 or email chamber@tallasseechamber.com.

The VFW Post 5035 in Tallassee will host is third annual crawfish boil and will start serving food at noon. Crawfish plates with the fixings and a bottle of water will be $15, and shrimp plates will be $20. There will be T-shirts for sale for $15. The VFW is located at 313 Riverside Dr. For more information, contact 334-283-6636.

April 18 Bingo Night Kent Community Center will host bingo night for $8, which includes eight cards. All money raised will go toward the building fund. For more information, contact Pat Colvard at 334-558-7155.

Landscape watercolor by Arthur Stewart

April 20 Millbrook’s Big Fish Bass Tournament Millbrook Area Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Big Fish Bass Tournament on Lake Jordan from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Opportunities available for hourly weigh-ins, and the top three big fish per hour will win $300, $200 and $100, respectively. The overall big fish of the day wins $1,000. The biggest fish for an angler under 16 years old wins $300. The weigh-in will take place at Bonner’s Landing off Bonner Point Road in Wetumpka. Registration is $60 per angler. To sign up or for information, visit millbrookareachamber.com.

April 23 Art Under the Stars Wetumpka Elementary School will host its annual art show, themed Wetumpka Strong, Alabama Proud. Student artwork will be on display throughout the school. From 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., WES will celebrate Alabama’s bicentennial year by highlighting local and state artists. For information, contact Ethel Price at ethel.price@elmoreco.com.

April 18 DAC Foundation: An Evening with the Stewarts Join the Dixie Art Colony Foundation at the home of the nephew of DAC artist Arthur Walter Stewart for a retrospective of his works. This event will take place at the home of Rusty and Carol Stewart, 2641 Crest Rd. in Birmingham at 6 p.m. Guests will have the opportunity to view a slideshow of rare vintage photographs of Arthur and examples of his artwork.

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April 25 AWF Tri-County Wild Game Cook-Off Alabama Wildlife Federation will host its annual TriCounty Wild Game Cook-Off at its headquarters, 3050 Lanark Rd. in Millbrook. The event will start at 6 p.m. for the public, and admission is $50 for two adults. Tickets include free tastings, live music and a silent auction. Get tickets at the gate, online at alabamawildlife.org or at Millbrook Chamber of Commerce, Prattville Chamber of Commerce or Powersports of Montgomery. Additional information can be found at alabamawildlife.org.

ELMORE COUNTY LIVING


April 25-26 Plein Air Workshop

receive prizes. Go to the Roaring 5K event page on Facebook for more information or to sign up.

Held at Gold Star Park, this workshop will be taught by Sylacauga’s famous plein air painter and teacher, Perry Austin, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

April 27 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

April 25-28; May 2-5 Independence Day at Happy Meadows This hilarious play will be performed by the Millbrook Community Players at the Millbrook Community Theater, 5720 Main St. Four elderly ladies plot their break-out from the nursing home where they live. They’re tired of the rules, regulations and the mean owner. Tickets are $12 in advance; $14 at the door; and $8 for children 12 years old and younger. For more information, visit millbrooktheater.com.

April 25-May 11 Bright Star: The New Musical The Wetumpka Depot will host this award-winning musical with styles of bluegrass, country and Americana all rolled into one. The story is appropriate for the whole family. Tickets and information are available online at WetumpkaDepot. com or by calling 334-868-1440.

April 26-28 In-Water Russell Marine Boat Show Check out the hottest new 2019 boats and demo the new Sea-Doo models at Russell Marine’s annual in-water boat show. Russell Marina will have more than 70 boats in the water and 70 more on land for lake-goers to explore. The pro shop will be stocked with everything needed for a fun day in the sun. Register to win great prizes. Enjoy live music, food and more. Visit russellmarine.net/events for details.

April 27 Tulotoma Art Trail The Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery and Main Street Wetumpka team up to present this official Tulotoma Snail Trail art walk through downtown for the second year. There will be exhibits and demonstrations from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be live music in the alleyway, along with a steampunk art competition reveal at 4 p.m. in Merchants Alley. Event is free to the public, and local shops will host open houses, along with the participating artists. If interested in participating, email thekelly36092@gmail.com.

April 27 Lions Club Roaring 5K Tallassee Community Development Corporation will host this run/walk 5K from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. starting at Tallassee High School, located at 502 Barnett Blvd. The race begins at 8 a.m., and registration is $30. The top three winners will

The Drug Enforcement Agency will host a drug take back day at Jones Drugs, 4117 state Route 14 in Millbrook. They will collect any unused or expired prescriptions to be disposed of properly. It is important to never flush or throw away these drugs. Getting them out of your home will lower the risk of potential break-ins and chances of being found by children. Stop by between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. For more information, contact 334-523-8921.

April 27 Wetumpka Pride Earth Day The City of Wetumpka will host an Earth Day celebration from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Wetumpka Recycle Center, 205 E. Charles Ave. There will be free compost, plant swap, free plant care advice, and the first 50 people will receive T-shirts. The recycling center will be open for drop-offs. For more information, contact 334-567-5147.

April 27 French and Indian War Encampment Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson Park will host its French and Indian War Encampment from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be living history demonstrations of military, Indian and civilian life with re-enactors dressed and equipped as if it were the 18th century. The park is located at 2521 W. Fort Toulouse Rd. in Wetumpka.

April 27 Renew Our Rivers Lake Jordan Hosted by Lake Jordan HOBO, this cleanup day will begin at Bonner’s Landing boat ramp on Lake Jordan, and all collected debris should be returned there. Volunteers will receive free T-shirts and lunch. For more information, contact Brenda Basnight at 334-478-3388.

May 1 Hydrangea Festival The Alabama Wildlife Federation will host its annual Hydrangea Fest from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to educate about the unique history of hydrangeas. Maria Pacheco-West, Lanark grounds specialist, will present a Hydrangea talk at 10 a.m. followed by a tour of the Heirloom Garden and around the pond. Bring hydrangea gardening questions for expert advice. Lanark Gardens also will have a plant sale on site, and the proceeds will benefit the AWF gardens. General admission applies and is $5 per person, with a $20 maximum per family. For more information, visit alabamawildlife.org.

ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

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May 3-4 ASABFA Fishing Tournament

May 4 Wetumpka Community Expo

The Alabama Student Angler for Bass Fishing Association will host a two-day tournament on Lake Jordan. Weigh-in will be at Mill Creek Sports Complex.

Hosted by the Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce, this is the largest outdoor community expo in Wetumpka for vendors around the area to display their services and products. Starting at 9 a.m., businesses will be set up throughout downtown, including East Bridge, Court, Hill and Company streets. Business, arts-and-craft and food vendors are all accepted. For a 10-foot by 10-foot space, the cost is $75 for chamber members. Vendors must bring their own tents, tables and chairs. There also will be music, a car show and other entertainment until 1 p.m. For more information, visit wetumpkachamber.com.

May 3-4 Wetumpka FFA Alumni Championship Rodeo The Wetumpka FFA alumni will host its second annual rodeo at the Wetumpka Sports Complex, located at 2350 Coosa River Pkwy. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. each day, and events start at 8 p.m. The FFA strives to stregnthen agricultural education with this familyfriendly weekend. Admission is $10 and proceeds are put back into programs for Elmore County FFA students. TJ WilTJ Williams will be this liams will be this year’s rodeo year's rodeo clown clown. There will be a range of events, including a junior riding event. Food vendors and other activities will be on site. For information, email wetumpkaffaalumni@gmail.com.

May 4 Derby Day with the Naturalist This year’s Derby Day will get the kids active with a very gentle live horse. Children will learn about safety around horses, brushes and supplies. Bring apples, carrots or sugary treats for the horse. This free activity will take place at the Naturalist Cabin from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Call Naturalist Marianne Hudson at 256-496-2710 for details.

May 4 Derby Day at The Stables Gather at The Stables at Russell Crossroads from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to watch the Run for the Roses and help support the work of Children’s Harbor at this annual celebration. This free event includes snacks, drinks, a hat contest for the ladies and a most-dapper contest for the gentlemen. For more information, call 256-397-1019.

May 4 Walmart Supply Drive for Humane Society The Humane Society of Elmore County will host a supply drive at Wetumpka’s Walmart, located at 4538 U.S. Highway 231, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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May 4 County Line Cemetery Cleanup The County Line Cemetery Association will host its annual family gathering, business meeting and scheduled workday to maintain the cemetery grounds at 10 a.m. Bring chairs, food and drinks to share during mid-day meal. Appropriate clothing and insect repellent are recommended. Bring tools of your choice to help to the best of your abilities. The cemetery is located on Windermere Road, about 2 miles north of Kowaliga Bridge. For more information, contact Neal Taylor at 334-869-0585.

May 4 Master Gardeners Plant Sale Central Alabama Master Gardeners Association will host its annual plant sale from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 5375 U.S. Highway 231 in Wetumpka. This is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year and raises money to support its programs. For more information, contact Sandy Rosamond at 334-652-4552.

May 11 Southern Gospel’s Alabama Homecoming Four premier gospel artists, Holy Destiny, Wilburn & Wilburn, Mark Lanier and Bob Sellers, will perform at Mt. Vernon Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For tickets, visit mtvernontheatre.net.

May 11 Cops and Kids Day Millbrook Area Chamber of Commerce and the Millbrook Police Department will host this annual event at the Village Green Park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is free and will include food, games, bounce houses, T-shirts and more. Demonstrations by the Millbrook PD will include police dog presentations. There will be department cars on display, along with fire trucks. Important information on how to prepare for emergency situations will be available.

ELMORE COUNTY LIVING


May 16 Bingo Night Kent Community Center will host bingo night for $8, which includes eight cards. All money raised will go toward the building fund. For more information, contact Pat Colvard at 334-558-7155.

May 17 Main Street Wetumpka’s Third Annual Wine Pull As it’s primary annual fundraiser, Main Street Wetumpka will host its annual wine pull at Wind Creek Hotel and Casino’s Penthouse Suite at 6 p.m. This event will offer an evening of stunning views, along with food and wine pairings from the award-winning Fire Steakhouse. Each pair of attendees will pull a bottle of wine and walk away with two signature wine glasses. Limited tickets are available for this event. For more information or to purchase a ticket, visit mainstreetwetumpka.org.

May 18 Plants and Pollinators Festival Alabama Wildlife Federation will host its annual festival day to draw attention to the growing importance of pollinator conservation, both in Alabama and worldwide. Attendees will enjoy honey-extraction demonstrations at the apiary; plant and gardening presentations; specialty vendors; the annual Lanark plant sale and more. Custom collected and bottled Lanark honey will be for sale. General admission applies and is $5 per person, with a $20 maximum per family.

May 18 Sparking the Arts Hosted by the Elmore County Art Guild, this annual student art show reception will be held at the Wetumpka High School from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature selected artwork from public and private Elmore County school students. The event is open to the public, and light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Shirley Esco at 334-399-5115.

May 18 Wetumpka Antique Tractor Show and Pull Southern Antique Iron Association will host its annual tractor show and pull at the Wetumpka Sports Complex, located at 2350 Coosa River Pkwy. Gates open at 8 a.m.; the tractor pull starts at 10 a.m.; games and the parade start at 12 p.m. Admis-

sion is free, and there will be all types of antique equipment and tractor games. For information, contact Tony Martin at 334-285-3810 or Cliff Hornady at 205-586-5930.

Season-Long Events Haunted Wetumpka Investigations In-depth paranormal investigations will take place in the Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce building from 7 p.m. to midnight on the second Saturday of each month. Cost is $50 per person, and reservations are required. Call 334-567-4811 or email jyoung@wetumpkachamber.org for information and registration.

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 mcasby53@windstream.net.

Alabama Wildlife Federation Naturalist Hikes Every Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., 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 alabamawildlife.org for information.

Eclectic Trade Days The second Saturday of each month, the City of Ecelctic will host trade days from 8 s.m. to 1 p.m. featuring local vendors at 145 Main St., next to Town Hall. A booth costs $10 to set up. For information, contact Carmen Winslett at 334-201-0092.

Millbrook Farmers Market The City of Millbrook will host its 10th Annual Farmers Market at the Village Green every Tuesday until Aug. 13 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

To have your upcoming event featured in Elmore County Living’s ‘Coming Up!’ pages, email information to editor@lakemartinmagazine.com by the first of the month.

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Business & Service Directory COSMETOLOGIST WANTED

Karen’s

Mane Tamers Family Hair Care

8711 U.s. Highway 231 Wetumpka, AL

334-514-1958

Pick up Elmore County Living at these locations: Eclectic

Gene Jones Insurance Liveoak Agency

Bezlo's Bar & Grill Cornerstone Cafe Red Hill Gallery Eclectic Town Hall Eclectic Library Johnson Furniture 1st Community Bank Eclectic Do-It Center Trustmark Bank

Slapout

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

Tallassee

Lake Martin

Russell Lands Kowaliga Marina Lake Martin Dock Lake Martin Mini Mall Nail’s Convenience Store Children's Harbor Cotton’s BBQ Oskar's Cafe

Millbrook

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

Kent Eagle Y Petro RoadRunner Convenience Store Herren Hill Pharmacy The Apothecary Community Hospital Tallassee Health & Rehabilitation 5 Points Store Tallassee Automotive Tallassee Rehab 1st Community Bank PrimeSouth Bank Tallassee Chamber of Commerce Tallassee Community Library Wal-Mart District Nineteen St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church Three Lakes Dental Ivy Creek Game Day Clips

Mitchell Veterinarian Hospital True Value Parker Tire

Wetumpka

Aldridge Borden Company Bennett’s Archery 1st 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 BB&T Jackson Thornton Lee’s Auto Repair McQuick Printing Company Hankins Insurance Hog Rock BBQ

Singleton’s

Alignment & Muffler Service, LLC • ALIGNMENTS • EXHAUST • TIRES/BRAKES • OIL CHANGES

334-567-6760

220 Company Street • Wetumpka, AL 44

ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

Wetumpka YMCA Adams Drugs Bell Chiropractic Wetumpka Urgent Care A Beautiful Creation Austin’s Flowers Camo Country Alabama State Employees Credit Union Smokin S BBQ 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 Wee Ones Daycare Wetumpka Health & Rehab Canal Grocery Kim’s Corner Wetumpka Flea Market River Perk Hampton Inn Valley National Bank


Our Advertisers • To Join, Call 334-567-7811 Alabama Power.........................................................................................48 City of Millbrook........................................................................................29 Gene Jones Insurance.................................................................................1 5 Jackson Thornton.......................................................................................1 1 Jim Debardelaben, Attorney at Law...............................................................15 Karen's Mane Tamers.................................................................................4 4 Kowaliga Whole Health.............................................................................4 4 Lake Martin Realty.....................................................................................2-3 Liveoak Agency, Inc....................................................................................14

Don't see your ad in this issue of Elmore County Living? Neither did the thousands of potential customers who read our magazine monthly.

Mark's Service Center......................................................................................29

To advertise please contact:

Poor House Boat Outlet..................................................................................45 Rekindle the Past, LLC......................................................................................25 ReMax/Beyln Richardson.............................................................................2 5 River Bank and Trust.....................................................................................15 River Region Dermatology................................................................................4 4 Russell Marine.................................................................................................47 Singleton's Alignment.......................................................................................4 4 Tallassee Health & Rehabilitation, LLC...........................................................1 4

or stop by our office located at 300 Green Street, Wetumpka AL 36092

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Wealth Mark.............................................................................................2 9

DE-WINTERIZATION Now Is The Time To ATION De-Winterize Your Boat DE-WINTERIZATION To DE-WINTERIZATION Now Is The Time To

Wetumpka Depot Players...........................................................................14

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Wetumpka Flea Market...............................................................................1 4

Boat

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Now Is The To •Check/Replace Water Separating Filter •Check BatteryTime Condition (Fluid) Capacity De-Winterize Your Boat •Check Engine and Apply Corrosion Protection •Inspect Fuel Line & Primer Bulb De-Winterize Your Boat N SPECIAL INCLUDES

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$

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mier Honda Dealer! Technicians with allYour Honda Premier SALESPremier • SERVICE • VALET SERVICE We’re Honda• STORAGE Dealer! We’re Your Honda Dealer! ms, at Both Locations These areas ofThese your boat will need beforewill making it ready for the summer months. Right now, our service areas of attention your boat need attention before making it ready fordepartment the summer months. Right now, our service department has the time and stock toand perform theseinneeded and make these sure youneeded are ready to go boatingand comemake early spring. hasparts thein time parts stockservices to perform services sure you are ready to go boating come early spring.

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ouse 256-825-8366 B rancH Marina P oor H ouse P oor House arina 256-268-2939

ELMORE COUNTY LIVING 7062 Stemley Road on Logan Martin Lake • Talladega

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Merengues made possible year round 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 tomatoes in her backyard.

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How many of y’all will be up to your eyeballs in eggs this April? It is Easter, after all, plus this is the time the hens get to laying. Fresh eggs, really fresh eggs from a farmer, are a delight. To use up some extra eggs, try this merengue for an unusual spring treat. Once you get the hang of it, it is super easy. Having made a bunch of lemon curd from the six lemons off my potted lemon tree, I had loads of egg whites leftover. Like making custard, lemon curd only requires the yolks. So what do you do with the whites besides making eggwhite omelets? Bleh! I turned again to my old pals on The Great British Bake Off for inspiration. What did I find? Merengues! Now, these merengues go beyond the soft, sweet, weepy merengues we usually see on pies around here. Merengues can take the form of crunchy cookies, or they could be crisp on the outside but marshmallow-y on the inside. Why don’t we see more of these in the South? You might see a seven-minute frosting, which is actually a merengue, sometimes. By now, you are nodding your head and thinking, “You and I both know exactly why we don’t have merengues in the South. Humidity.” The very same thing that keeps us from having nice hair will kill a merengue, too. Or does it? Hand on my heart, I made merengues during the rainy deluge. And they turned out great. This recipe can be piped or spread into all sorts of shapes. It turns into a crispy shell that can be topped with just about anything. Before you start: Take the eggs out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. Wipe the bowl and beaters for the mixer with a little lemon juice. Fat, even trace amounts from a fingerprint, can deflate the merengue. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Don’t use convection. Trace a 9-inch circle on parchment paper. This is to make one big one. If you want individuals, trace a bunch of 3-inch circles. Put the paper on a baking sheet. Or just go wild and free hand it. Directions: Take the four eggs and separate

whites from yolks, making absolutely sure there are no yolks in the whites. A smidge of yolk in the whites won’t beat up. It helps to do each egg over a separate bowl; and then, add the white to the main mixing bowl. That way if you mash a yolk, it doesn’t contaminate all the other whites. Trust me on this: I speak from experience. Add one pinch of salt into the mixing bowl with the whites. Start mixing on low speed until the eggs start looking foamy; then, turn the mixer up to medium-high. In about one minute, you will see the eggs get firmer; then – and only then – start adding sugar. Add one cup of sugar very, very slowly, one spoonful at a time, letting that sugar dissolve before adding more. You don’t want to deflate the eggs with a bunch of sugar. And you sure do not want the sugar to make the merengue grainy. After all the sugar is in, beat until the eggs are firm and glossy; then stop. Add one teaspoon of cornstarch and one teaspoon of white vinegar (or lemon juice). This sounds weird, but the acids will keep the merengue crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. You won’t taste it. Add it to the eggs, and mix on low for 30 seconds. Now the fun part, and there are lots of things you can do here. Pile all the mixture in the circle, spreading to the edges, and make a dent in the middle for filling. Or you can get fancy and pipe the circle with a tip. Or you can put the eggs in a Ziploc and cut off the corner for a cheater-piping bag. You can make small individual meringue cups. Whatever you do, do it quickly. Pop the merengue in the oven for one hour; then, turn off the oven and let it completely cool. Do not even think about opening the oven. This is the part that makes merengue work in Alabama’s humidity. For a Sunday treat, get the merengue in the oven for the hour bake time, and turn it off while you are at church. When you get home, it will be ready to fill for dessert. So on to the fillings. I’m going with straight up strawberries and sugar, just like shortcake strawberries. I put a layer of whipped cream on the merengue and top with strawberries. It’s so much better than those weird spongy cups that come from a package. You can also use fresh fruit or ice cream and chocolate sauce. Banana pudding merengue sounds divine. Get to whipping!

ELMORE COUNTY LIVING


ELMORE COUNTY LIVING

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Join one of the nation’s largest river cleanup initiatives. Over the span of 20 years, Alabama Power’s Renew Our Rivers has grown into one of the nation’s largest river cleanup initiatives, removing over 15 million pounds of trash and debris from Alabama’s waterways. Alabama Power is committed to protecting our river ecosystems for generations to come and invites you to join us in carrying out that mission.

April 27: Lake Jordan (Coosa River) Contact: Brenda Basnight at 334-478-3388

Learn more at AlabamaPower.com/RenewOurRivers.

Profile for Tallapoosa Publishers

Elmore County Living magazine April 2019  

This issue of Elmore County Living includes Coosa Cleaver now open; Talent soars in Tallassee; Love runs deeper than blood and many more ins...

Elmore County Living magazine April 2019  

This issue of Elmore County Living includes Coosa Cleaver now open; Talent soars in Tallassee; Love runs deeper than blood and many more ins...