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Published for customers of


equine therapy and horse camp

JACKSON CO. CEO EXPO offers hands-on career planning FOOTBALL FRENZY Websites keep fans connected

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Aging in Place Broadband and telemedicine help seniors remain healthy in familiar surroundings


any elderly Americans, if given the choice, would want to live out their days in the safety and comfort of their own homes. Broadband Internet connections and new health technologies are allowing more seniors to do just that. The idea of avoiding long-term care facilities and being able to remain in one’s home is known as “aging in place.” According to the Administration on Aging, about one in eight Americans are 65 years or older, a number projected to jump to nearly one in five by 2030. A survey by the AARP found that nearly 90 percent of this age group want to stay in their homes for as long as possible, and that 80 percent believe their current residence is where they will always live. However, providing a way for these seniors to age in place can be challenging, particularly in rural communities where there are often fewer at-home support services. Rural areas also face a scarcity of doctors and hospitals, as well as a lack of

2 | September/October 2013

public transportation to help seniors attend medical appointments. Telemedicine — a concept that brings patients and health professionals together regardless of geographic location for consultations and ongoing care — is a key part of the solution. Through telemedicine, telecommunications technology is used to send medical information to doctors or specialists for analysis, to remotely monitor patients’ vital signs and for interaction between doctors and patients. Examples of telemedicine include: • email service between health care providers and patients • personal health monitoring devices to check vital signs • remote patient monitoring appliances • video teleconferencing systems in local hospitals, doctors’ offices and patients’ homes • Internet connectivity to provide access to general medical websites

Gary Capistrant, senior director of public policy for the American Telemedicine Association, says two telemedicine applications that can most help older citizens are video conferences with specialists and remote health monitoring devices. “Video conferencing allows a video visit with the doctor instead of traveling hours for a relatively routine matter or a followup consultation,” Capistrant explains. “Remote health monitoring checks the vital signs of patients with chronic conditions — diabetes, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart disease — and ensures that patients are getting the care they need.” These services are becoming increasingly accessible to rural communities as health providers adapt new technologies, and as cooperatives and independent telecommunications companies enhance their broadband networks. “Updated science and technology makes aging at home for the elderly in small rural communities more than possible,” says Elizabeth Crocker, executive director for the non-profit Foundation for Rural Service. “Local telecommunications companies in rural America are working hard to make this future achievable by expanding the newest and latest technology at affordable prices, including high-speed broadband services and giving assistance with setup and education. Telemedicine along with broadband services will allow seniors to comfortably live in their homes for a longer amount of time and in a safer environment.”  This article is adapted from “Aging in Place and the Role of Broadband,” a paper produced by the Foundation for Rural Service, sponsored by the Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative and written by Rachel Brown. To order a complimentary copy of the full paper, visit

〉〉 To learn more about telemedicine, contact your local telecommunications company or visit

Digital Citizenship


Making Smart Choices Help your children protect their reputations in a connected world By Carissa Swenson

hen I was a teenager, my Dad had one of those standard talks with me about making smart choices. There are lots of ways parents can approach this talk with their kids, and Dad chose the “you need to protect your future by making wise choices today” approach. I came back with the standard teenager reply: “But Dad, I’m guessing you made some bad choices when you were a kid and you turned out okay.” His casual nonanswer was, “things were different back then.” He was right, of course. He was protecting my future reputation and didn’t want his daughter to have a police record that might impact college scholarships or future jobs. The same holds true for the next generation. One day I will have the same talk with my sons, but I will have to add another layer to it — one that involves the use of the Internet and their “digital footprint.” I will tell them, “things were different back then,” referring to life before Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social media can be a positive tool if used responsibly. And yet young people don’t always stop to consider how their futures could be affected by the photos and comments on their feed or profile pages.

These public websites are a resource for colleges, scholarship reviewers, employers, coaches and teachers looking for information on applicants and prospects. How young people portray themselves online will follow them into adulthood. Here are some steps to help your children navigate the online world with their reputations intact:


GET INVOLVED Encourage your children to join social media sites. This may seem counterproductive, but by having a clean profile they can demonstrate they are a responsible user of the technology. Having no profile at all may raise concerns that a young adult deleted their information to hide the truth. PAUSE, PLEASE Remind your children — especially teenagers — to think before they post. A simple rule of thumb: “If you wouldn’t say it at a Thanksgiving table or during an open discussion at school, then don’t say it online.” FRIEND ME Connect with your children in their social media accounts so that you can monitor their activity. This is not an


invasion of privacy. What they put online is out there for the world to see, so you should see it, too. LIGHTS OUT Monitor Internet use in your home and restrict it when necessary. Many wireless routers can be disabled at specific times of day. For instance, you can “turn off” the Internet from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. After all, students need sleep — and they don’t need the Internet in the middle of the night. The most effective step of all is the simplest: talk to your children about protecting their reputation. It will mean more than you know. I still have Dad’s talk in my memory bank, and I’m hoping to have the same impact on my sons one day. It is our job as parents to protect our children. And just because we may not understand the technology they are using, we do understand the importance of their future reputations. 


Carissa Swenson is the owner and technology specialist of TechTECS, a technology training, education, consulting and support company.



Please “Look Up!” before you shoot

When you lift your gun this hunting season, make sure utility lines are not in your line of sight. September/October 2013 | 3

From the General Manager

No complaints The following is taken from Mr. Johnson’s remarks to the membership at the 2013 Annual Meeting of Members on August 3, 2013.

“I have enough for which to be thankful that I am not complaining about anything.” It is with those words that I most frequently answer questions from my colleagues within the industry when they ask how things are at FTC. For those of you who follow our company closely, you know that our industry is changing rapidly. U.S. government policy toward rural telecom carriers is in a state of much flux, and the effects upon FTC are far more than insignificant. We have our share of challenges. Still, we have much for which to be thankful. FTC is indeed fortunate to have embarked upon a technological improvement program while it was still possible to do so. Had we not acted when we did, the opportunity might have been forever lost. This conversion to an optical fiber-based platform will be substantially complete in the first half of 2014 and will reach approximately 82 percent of our members. An additional 10 percent of our members already have service over well-conditioned copper facilities that are capable of delivering world-class broadband. The remaining 8 percent will continue to experience the highly reliable traditional voice service they have come to expect, and will also have access to higher-capacity broadband through either our Exede satellite or fixed wireless products. We are also pursuing options for offering digital television to these customers, even though the construction of optical fiber to their homes is cost prohibitive. Either way, FTC remains committed to serving all of our members in the most efficient and value-adding manner we can. We have been quite fortunate to have the opportunity to extend our service offerings into neighboring areas and have taken advantage of that opportunity. Our success there has been quite significant. So much so, that as of the end of 2012 we had more customers than we did at the close of the previous year. This is in stark contrast to most of our brethren in the industry, and even more significant given the economic hardship experienced by much of DeKalb County. This expansion is directly responsible for helping us continue affordable service to our traditional members. We were even able to continue our retirement of patronage capital by returning almost half a million dollars to our members in July of this year. Whatever changes await our industry as a whole, taken together, FTC’s progress has already accomplished one of our most fundamental goals. The portions of DeKalb and Jackson counties we serve now have a worldclass communications infrastructure that will support any level of economic development that is foreseeable in our future. Such an accomplishment was critical to our focus on ensuring that the quality of life in our area never declined due to a lack of such infrastructure. To have this much opportunity is basis enough for my thankfulness. But without the leadership and support of our Trustees and the dedication and hard work of our employees it would be impossible for us to accomplish anything. For that support and dedication I shall remain eternally grateful. Thank you for your continued support of our cooperative. We remain absolutely dedicated to providing the critical infrastructure necessary to keep Jackson and DeKalb counties economically viable. Together, with your help, we will continue to Keep You Connected. FRED JOHNSON Executive Vice President and General Manager 4 | September/October 2013

“We Keep You Connected” is a member-owned corporation dedicated to providing communications technology to the people of Northeast Alabama. The company has more than 15,000 access lines, making it the state’s largest telecommunications cooperative.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Randy Wright, President Flat Rock Exchange Gary Smith, Vice President Fyffe Exchange Danny R. Richey, Secretary Geraldine Exchange Lynn Welden, Treasurer Bryant Exchange Kenneth Gilbert Pisgah Exchange Gregg Griffith Henagar Exchange Randy Tumlin Rainsville Exchange

Connected Vol. 17, No. 5

September/October 2013

is a bimonthly magazine published by Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative, © 2013. It is distributed without charge to all customers of FTC. Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. P.O. Box 217 144 McCurdy Ave. N. Rainsville, AL 35986 Telephone: 256-638-2144 Produced for FTC by: On the Cover: Sioux, a 20-yearold mare, is helping kids with mobility issues at Healing Hearts Farm in Bryant. See story Page 8.

Hands-on help choosing a career


hat do you want to be when you grow up? Some people know the answer as a young child, while others still don’t have a clue when they graduate high school or even college. But the Career Exploration Opportunities Expo, or CEO Expo, is intended to help ninth graders throughout Jackson County make that decision, or at least know some of their options. The organizers believe by receiving the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities in a number of fields, the students not only get a feel for potential careers but also become engaged in planning for their futures. That is why Northeast Alabama Community College has been a partner in the event since the beginning. “Partnering with these outstanding agencies and educational institutions helps us spread the word about all the career options that we have at NACC,” says Dr. David Campbell, NACC president. “The college is the gateway to just about any career. Partnerships like this expand everyone’s ability to help students in their career choices.” Now in its third year, the Expo will be held at the Jackson County VFW Fairgrounds on September 17. During the daylong event, students will not only hear about possible career choices but will participate in activities designed to give them a greater sense of some of the duties performed in a given day in that occupation. Area businesses will be on hand to show these ninth graders about the many jobs available in Northeast Alabama. There will be different sections, including:

• • • • • •

Manufacturing, Transportation, Distribution, Logistics Health Sciences, Human Services, Education & Training Architecture, Construction Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security, Government and Public Administration Arts, AV Technology and Communication, Agriculture, Food Finance, Business Management and Administration, Marketing, Hospitality and Tourism

Students will visit each section over the course of the day and perform activities such as drawing blood from a training mannequin, using a video camera, laying bricks and wiring an electrical outlet. Many students quickly learn about their likes and dislikes, which helps them narrow their career focus to certain fields of study. Organizers say determining one’s interests is important because the sooner a student determines their career goal, the sooner they can start preparing for their future. 

Learn more about the CEO Expo at

The CEO Expo is sponsored by: • • • • • • Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative

IMPACT Learning Center Northeast Alabama Community College Ernest Pruitt Center of Technology Jackson County Legislative Delegation Jackson County Economic Development Authority Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce September/October 2013 | 5

Photo courtesy of UA Athletics/Crimson Tide Photos

Websites bring fans together in a

By Brad Shepard

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Photo courtesy of University of Tennessee Athletics

Photo courtesy of Clemson Athletic Communications


en Johnson juggles numerous daily responsibilities in his systems analyst job, handling everything from user requests to computer maintenance. But the 47-year-old University of Alabama fan who lives outside Huntsville, Ala., still makes time to scour the Internet for information on his beloved Crimson Tide. From team-specific message boards to the melting pot atmosphere of, Johnson surfs any time he gets a free minute. “It’s an integral part of my day,” he says. “Checking fan sites is just like checking the news and weather for me.” For Darrin Wall, a 26-year-old native of Lincoln County, Tenn., getting his football fix is even more diversified. “I check the Rivals and 247Sports boards daily, and follow Twitter and YouTube channels for,” Wall says. “I also check blogs for pregame notes and postgame commentary.” They aren’t alone. The popularity of fan sites is at an all-time high. Even in these difficult economic times, Southern football fans find room in their budgets to shell out $100 or more a year for “premium access” to inside information on their favorite programs. The message boards give them an outlet to be able to vent in a public forum. Also capitalizing on the excitement are team-specific blogs that offer free content written by fans and read by many. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever for anyone to find an outlet for reading about and discussing football 24 hours a day. The 247Sports network is riding that popularity in its relative new arrival to the market, selling inside information for $10-12 a month. In a few short years, GoVols247 — Tennessee’s 247Sports site — has climbed to the fourth-largest team site in the network.

Publisher Kevin Ryan believes the reason for growth of sites like GV247 is threefold. “One is the fact that recruiting has become much more mainstream in the last decade,” he says. “Another is that more traditional media outlets have decided to go to premium offerings in recent years, and consumers are more accustomed to paying for quality, original

content. Finally, folks join sites like ours because they have access to the experts.” Glenn Logan, editor of Kentucky blog site “A Sea of Blue,” has enjoyed a similar boon. The content on his site — which is a member of the blog network SB Nation — is free, and the traffic there climbs as high as 500,000 page views per month, depending on the season.

He says since the hiring of basketball coach John Calipari at the University of Kentucky, A Sea of Blue has surged in readership, with around 5,000 members and as many as 300,000 unique visitors per month. “Fan websites may be the single most significant use of the Internet outside of news and politics,” Logan says. 

With dozens of free and premium websites, college football is no longer just a spectator sport. Pick your team below and use your Internet connection to become part of the conversation!

Where to go:, Bamaonline. com,, What you’ll find: The university’s source for information is, where you’ll find schedules, game notes, rosters and more. Bama Online and Tide Sports are pay sites with premium information on the defending national champions, including message boards and recruiting scoops. Roll Bama Roll is a free gathering place with an active fan community.

Where to go:,,, What you’ll find: is the official team site, with schedules, video, coach interviews and more. Auburn Undercover and Auburn Sports are the go-to places for premium information. War Eagle Reader is an eccentric stop for free content that promotes itself as “part game-day program, part yearbook, part academic journal, part Beat novel.”

Where to go:,, Kentuckysportsradio. com, What you’ll find: UKathletics has a userfriendly layout with general program information. Cats Pause is the leading 247Sports site for UK fans. A Sea of Blue is SB Nation’s offering and enjoys a very active community. Finally, Kentucky

Sports Radio markets itself as UK sports news “brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.”

Where to go:,,, What you’ll find: General team information can be found on Gamecocksonline. Go Gamecocks offers free info on the ‘Cocks as well as recruiting insight from analyst Phil Kornblut. The Big Spur provides premium news from the 247Sports network, and Garnet and Black Attack is the top fan site, as SB Nation bloggers provide free content on USC sports.

Where to go:, GoVols247. com,, What you’ll find: UTSports has a nice interactive site and even a YouTube page associated with its official athletics website. GV247 and VQ are the premium information sites where recruitingspecific and team reports are found. Finally, Rocky Top Talk is the Volunteers’ SB Nation affiliate and a community that reacts to UT news through commentary and reporting.

Where to go:,, Vandysports. com, What you’ll find: The university’s

general athletics, VUCommodores, is where you’ll find schedules, ticket info and more. The 247Sports site features national recruiting analyst Barton Simmons’ commentary, and is a must-stop for any VU fan wanting premium information. Anchor of Gold is a free fan site devoted to commentary on all things black and gold.

Where to go:,,, What you’ll find: The university’s site is, and it’s probably the first stop for any Tigers fan. The 247 site is the best site for premium information concerning recruiting. Tiger Net and Shakin’ the Southland have been fan favorites for a long time, and this is where you can get in-depth fan commentary on players, recruits and games.

Where to go:,,, What you’ll find: Louisville athletics are riding high, and fans can keep up with all the championship-level teams on the official page, Cardinal Sports and Inside the ‘Ville are the pay sites where a few dollars a month can take a fan inside the huddle for premium information. For a free stop to discuss Louisville, Cardchronicle is the place to go. September/October 2013 | 7

Horse Sense

Bryant couple uses horses to help children in many ways

Debbie Sherman says she knew Sioux was the perfect horse for their camp when she spotted the “heart” on her rear hip. By Kerry Scott


ebbie Sherman describes herself as a city girl. Moving to the small town of Bryant six years ago was quite a culture shock to the woman who had spent most of her life in larger cities like Dallas and Chattanooga. But the peace and quiet, close proximity to her parents and a home with wide-open spaces helped her adjust quickly to the slower pace. With plenty of space, and a desire to give back to the community that they have come to love, Debbie and her husband, Keith, began to seek God’s will for their lives. “We knew we wanted to use the property for something good and do some kind of ministry with kids,” says Debbie. “We just weren’t sure what we were supposed to do. So we began praying.” God heard their prayers and sent a helper. Debbie discovered that one of her church friends, Lindsey Slay, also felt burdened to do something. The pair began working through possibilities. “Lindsey’s knowledge and love of horses was something we knew we wanted to incorporate into whatever we did,” says Debbie.

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After much planning, all their hard work paid off and Healing Hearts Christian Horse Camp was established. One Saturday a month, children in first through sixth grade come to the Shermans’ farm for the free camp. They do a Bible study, crafts, learn about horses and much more. “Horses are important to the ministry we’re doing because they are trusting, accepting and non-judgmental,” explains Debbie. “The kids seem to really bond with the animals. We see their confidence growing, and they are learning responsibility, accountability and how to be sensitive to the needs of others.” Kids don’t have to know about horses to attend the camp. “That’s why I’m here,” says Slay, the equine trainer at Healing Hearts. “I teach them everything they need to know about horses.” Campers learn how to ride, groom, feed, saddle, clean tack and care for the horses. “We also have older kids here who act as volunteers,” says Debbie. “They are here to help the younger children, but they still learn a lot and have fun, too.” Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative


One of the first kids to attend the day camp was Emma McGee. She was 15 years old at the time and a double amputee with prosthetic legs. In realizing the difficulty that getting Emma on a horse presented, Debbie found a place called SpiritHorse at Eagles Rest in Flintstone, Ga., that offered specialized equine therapy for children with mobility issues. The goals of SpiritHorse are focused on the children and their needs. Children with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and mobility issues connect with the animals as they ride, which builds their confidence. Emma and Debbie were soon traveling to Georgia once a week for free therapy sessions. “To get her on a horse and see her face light up is a real blessing,” says Debbie. Seeing the good that came to Emma from her time at SpiritHorse, Debbie felt led to become a trainer herself. She went through all the necessary training through SpiritHorse and has become a certified trainer and facilitator. Now, through SpiritHorse at Healing Hearts Farm, Debbie can offer free equine therapy to those with a need. People won’t find another facility like SpirtHorse at Healing Hearts Farm anywhere within an hour’s drive of Bryant. “That’s one of the requirements,” explains Debbie. “Charles Fletcher, the founder of SpiritHorse, is a man after my own heart. He wants to help the most children possible, so he requires that centers be spread out to cover a greater area. “He also says his number one priority is ‘love the kids,’” says Debbie. “That’s mine, too. It’s like we’re kindred spirits.”


As if offering a free horse camp and equine therapy were not enough, there’s something else dear to the Shermans’ hearts. After getting to know Emma, they learned that, even with health insurance, the cost for prosthetics and supplies is tremendous. “We were trying to make sure she had everything she needed to

HEALING HEARTS CHRISTIAN HORSE CAMP: Horse trainer Lindsey Slay (top left) teaches children how to care for and ride the horses once a month during day camp at Healing Hearts Farm. safely ride horses,” says Debbie. When they discovered all of the out-of-pocket expenses associated with prosthetics, Debbie says she told Emma “We need to have a benefit for you.” They soon realized that one benefit for one person wasn’t what they needed to do. Instead, they formed a non-profit foundation —The Emmazing Mobility Foundation — to raise money to help children and young adults with mobility issues. “Our first benefit was to raise money to help Emma get prosthetic liners she needed,” says Debbie. “But Southeastern Orthotics, the company that made her prostheses, donated them. Now we’re looking for other children and young adults in the area who have a need we can help with.” There is an application process for those seeking assistance. “We have an application that has to be filled out, as well as a form for doctors. Our board will review every application and try to help whenever we can.” 

Learn more about these programs on Facebook by searching Healing Hearts Horse Camp or Emmazing Mobility Foundation. For more information about SpiritHorse at Healing Hearts Farm, call 256-597-2817.

Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative

September/October 2013 | 9

By Elizabeth Wootten


From iPads and apps to websites and television, technology offers new and exciting ways to learn. E-learning consists of many online learning experiences such as interactive reading, educational games, podcasts and more. Using technology in the classroom and at home could help your student or child stay motivated as he or she travels through multiplication tables, science fair projects and more this school year. But e-learning is not only for children. Parents, teachers and adults can also benefit from the educational resources available online and through television. Try some of these resources for new learning opportunities for you, your classroom or your families.

FOR PARENTS Many websites encourage learning with your child as a team. Here are a few websites that you and your child can explore together for fun games, cool crafts and tasty recipes. FUNBRAIN PLAYGROUND Designed for moms and preschoolers, amusing games teach kids how to use the mouse and keyboard while matching shapes, gathering stars and more with colorful characters. PBS PARENTS This site is a great source for informational articles on child development, education, parenting and more. You can also read about the PBS Kids programs your children enjoy. DISNEY FAMILY CRAFTS Here you can find printables, crafts and party ideas based on popular Disney characters. Let your child choose a tasty, new recipe from the site and plan a family dinner night. SCHOLASTIC A gold mine of information about books, school and creativity projects, you can use the Age-by-Age Quickfind feature to locate resources for your child’s age group.

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Keeping students’ attention can be difficult. Why not reach out to them through methods they already enjoy — Internet and videos?

Learning long division and cramming for tests can be stressful. Take a break and try these learning games and resources.

MAKE ME GENIUS Having a hard time piquing your students’ interest in science? This site has interesting facts, PowerPoint slides and videos that will engage your science students in topics like the solar system and photosynthesis.

FUNBRAIN For kids ages preschool through 8th grade, Funbrain lets you test your math skills through arcade games or take a break from studying with online comic books.

DISCOVERY EDUCATION Bring Discovery into your classroom with free teaching resources for students of all ages. Lesson plans, worksheets and brain boosters in core subjects provide high-quality activities and tools for the classroom.

FUNSCHOOL Geared toward school-aged children, kids can easily navigate through games and activities covering all subjects. Or, try the preschool page for games and activities on their level.

WATCHKNOWLEARN Approximately 50,000 educational videos on all core subjects are available on this site. No registration fee is required, and teachers can review, approve and suggest videos as well.

PURDUE OWL Purdue’s online writing lab answers all your APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association) formatting questions, tells you how to avoid plagiarism and explains grammar and mechanics, making term papers a breeze.

TED TALKS Thought-provoking videos which spread ideas about technology, entertainment, design and more, these videos cover a variety of subjects and are best enjoyed by middle- to highschool students.

QUIZLET Prepare for tests with this extensive quiz site. Choose one of many different topics or create your own quiz based on your notes. If you want to try something else, use the flashcards for studying vocabulary words.

Learning From A Distance

TELEVISION Adults and children alike enjoy taking a break and watching television after a busy day. Why not turn this time into a learning opportunity? With so many different cable networks to choose from, it is easy to find educational programming almost any time of day. Below are four engaging shows you may be missing. MODERN MARVELS (History Channel) One of the History Channel’s longestrunning programs takes readers into the creation of some of the greatest architectural and engineering landmarks of the modern age. Modern Marvels has explored 19th- and 20th-century feats such as the Erie Canal, nuclear submarines and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

CYBERCHASE (PBS) An Emmy Award® winning mathematics show for 8- to 11-year-olds, this show blends humor and action together for a fun, easy-to-understand program that is sure to drive home math concepts your child learns in school. Fractions, decimals, perimeter and diameter are a few of the areas your child will explore.

HOW IT’S MADE (Science Channel) Learn how everyday items are made by taking a virtual tour of assembly lines in high-tech factories all over the world. Frozen pancakes, radiators, snare drums and traffic cones are a few of the items that have been featured on How It’s Made. For kids who like to ask questions or adults who enjoy learning about the details, this show is a treasure chest of information.

MYTHBUSTERS (Discovery) Hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage use engineering and scientific methods to put urban legends and myths to the test in this series. Does the color red really make bulls angry? Do chili peppers work as shark repellent? Is yawning actually contagious? Join the team to uncover the answers to these questions and many more.

Are you a high school graduate having a hard time finding a job? Perhaps you’re a single parent who wants to provide a better life for your children. Maybe your new job requires new skills and you need training. People just like you are putting broadband connections to use through online classes and degree programs. Video conferencing, discussion boards and digital documents are a few of the tools learning institutions are using to create a more convenient learning atmosphere for distance learners. Find admissions information, degree programs and course schedules from these regional institutions and start your college journey today! ●● University of Alabama ●● Auburn University ●● University of Kentucky ●● University of Louisville ●● Clemson University ●● University of South Carolina

Apps make learning easier than ever. Check out these great homework helpers!

App Attack!

●● ABC Spy ●● iWriteWords ●● Stack the States ●● Bluster ●● Evernote Peek

●● The Chemical Touch ●● Math Formulas ●● Easel SAT Prep ●● myHomework ●● iTunes U

●● University of Tennessee ●● University of Phoenix ●● Walden University September/October 2013 | 11

r the 59th

fo on hand wd was ro c e rg A la FTC. eeting of Annual M

General Manager Fred Johnson outlined plans to give all members access to world-class broadband service.

Members re gistered to vote in boa elections a rd nd receive door prizes .

12 | September/October 2013

FTC has a game plan


eautiful skies and sunshine drew a large crowd to the Northeast Alabama Agri-Business Center on August 3 for the 59th Annual Meeting of FTC. The 602 registered members and their guests enjoyed entertainment by Pickett’s Charge, a progressive bluegrass band from Fyffe and this year’s state champion FFA String Band. Cheerleaders from schools throughout the service area were on hand selling spirit items ranging from pompoms to t-shirts to season passes. Every registered member received a stadium blanket compliments of FTCtv, and many went home with door prizes. The grand prize, awarded to Tony Brown, was one year of advanced services from the cooperative — including phone, world-class high-speed broadband and digital TV service — worth $2,400. In the vote to elect board of trustee members, both Randy Tumlin of Rainsville and Gary Smith of Fyffe were overwhelmingly re-elected to their seats on the board. FTC General Manager Fred Johnson spoke to those in attendance about the necessity for world-class broadband connectivity for all members. Decades ago, he explained, people chose where to live and work based on things like a quality source of electricity and water, good roads and infrastructure and reliable phone service. “World-class broadband — that’s high-speed connectivity to the Internet and other forms of electronic commerce — is every bit as essential to the economic health of this area as electric power is,” he said. “One of the first things that major industries ask about today is ‘Do we have access to essentially what we call world-class broadband service?’” He explained the cooperative’s game plan to have fiber optic connectivity available to roughly 82 percent of all members by the end of 2014. To put that in perspective, Johnson said, “You couldn’t find a more modern communications network anywhere in the world than you will find right here.”

as provided Entertainment w ge from Fyffe. by Pickett’s Char

Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative




for the future Another 10 percent of members will have world-class broadband service available, but over traditional copper connections. FTC also has plans in place to ensure that the remaining 8 percent of members will have alternative means of receiving video services, as well as high-speed broadband services. “While we will not be able to bring optical fiber to 100 percent of our members,” Johnson said, “I promise you this: nobody will be left behind.” These efforts have helped ensure that Jackson and DeKalb counties are capable of supporting job development, which in turn maintains the economic health of local communities. “Having been able to stand before you today and say that we have at least preserved the broadband infrastructure for the development of jobs and industry in this area is the most significant thing we could have done for any of you, and by the end of 2014 we will be able to claim success with that,” said Johnson. 

Cheerleaders repres enting schools from the service area sold spirit item s for their schools.

awarded r prizes were . o o d t a re g y Man eeting sion of the m at the conclu

Congratula tions to our prize w inners: • Tony Brow n: Grand Prize W inner of One Ye Services from FT ar of Advanced C

• Dianne Feltne

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• Darryl McKee :

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• Charles Whi taker: 32 • Conrad Ruck s: • Ella Mae Ford :

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Smart HDTV

HP Laptop Bund


• David Brown: Ki

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• Bob Hardin: Ki

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• Beulah Bapt ist

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Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative

Your 2014 Board of Trustees: (l to r) Da nny Richey, Gregg Griffith, Gary Smith, Kenneth Gilbe rt, Randy Wright, Randy Tumlin and Lynn Weldon. September/October 2013 | 13

Southern Kitchens

For Parker family, food and football is a winning tradition

Tailgating is as much a rite of fall as college football on Saturdays. Drive by any stadium when fans are arriving, and you’ll see tailgates down, grills smoking, coolers open and groups coming together to eat tailgate style. It’s a relatively recent phenomenon on the culinary front. I grew up in the 1970s and don’t remember there ever being a gathering of folks in parking lots filled with food before games. My college years were spent at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, a school known for a good football team every so often. Once again, tailgate parties were few and far between. But when I returned for games a decade later, tailgate parties were everywhere. Tailgate menus go beyond chips and sandwiches. Some fans arrive hours before the game to set up. I’ve seen shrimp and grits prepared on propane stoves; big pots of simmering jambalaya; and beer-braised brats on the grill. It’s become quite an American experience — a culture all its own. Find a good parking spot, let your tailgate down and spread the food. The people will come. It’s fall. It’s football. It’s fun. Let the tailgating begin! Email Anne Braly at

Anne P. Braly Food Editor

14 | September/October 2013

Photo courtesy of UA Athletics/Crimson Tide Photos

The perfect blend of sports and food

As football season kicks off, the tailgates come down and the tables go up. Gravy meets the gridiron, and tailgating is in full swing. University of Alabama alum Laurie Parker, of New Hope, Ala., along with her family (husband Mike, a graduate of University of Alabama at Birmingham, and grown children Adam and Amelia, both Alabama alums) are tried-and-true tailgaters. As they look forward to another winning season for the University of Alabama, they’re assembling their tailgating gear. While tailgating is a relatively new phenomenon at football games, the number of sports fans who regularly tailgate has risen 12 percent annually over the past five years, according to the American Tailgaters Association. But Laurie Parker can count herself among a select few who can claim tailgating on her family tree. It’s a three-generation event for her. “My mother and uncle are both Alabama grads and were both quite involved,” she says. “In the earlier days, Tuscaloosa hadn’t really grown to accommodate the fan base they had. There were few restaurants and other places for people to gather, so people were forced to tailgate. It was very primitive back then.” Parker says it’s phenomenal how tailgating crowds continue to grow, and equipment becomes all the more sophisticated. “People come outfitted to tailgate,” she says. “They have refrigerators, stoves, microwaves… and some tailgate parties are even catered. Tailgating just makes people happy. It’s a good way to get involved in anticipation of the game. It’s a home base for meeting old friends and making new ones. People recognize tailgate parties as the basis for that.” Of course, food is a key player at any tailgate party. “People just love going around sampling the food from different parties,” Parker says. “I’m a baker, so I take my chocolate chip cookies or brownies. We also like to have chicken fingers or some type of cold chicken or Mexican wrap. If we want to keep it simple, we order pizza and take it with us. We try to keep the food generational, with things everyone likes. But sometimes the food can be very creative.” Featured on the following page are two of Parker’s favorite dishes, both of which score big at any of her tailgate gatherings. 

favorite football foods TAILGATING:

by the numbers

Mike and Adam’s Chocolate Chip Cookies -1/2 cups butter-flavor Crisco 1 (no substitute) 3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar 1 can sweetened condensed milk (fat-free OK) 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract 2 large eggs 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream together Crisco, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and eggs. In separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda; add to creamed mixture slowly, mixing well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips and drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes (for chewy cookies) or 11-13 minutes (for crisp cookies). Remove from oven and cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet, then remove to cooling rack.

Crock Pot Chili 2 pounds ground sirloin 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes 1 can Rotel tomatoes 3 (15-ounce) cans chili beans 1 Caroll Shelby chili kit (or your favorite chili seasonings) Spray Crock-Pot with olive oil cooking spray. Brown ground sirloin and drain; place in Crock-Pot with remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Set timer for 2-4 hours on low. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese or your favorite toppings. Leftovers are good with hot dogs and taco salads.


of tailgaters never see the inside of the stadium.


of tailgating parties involves some sort of grilling and beverage consumption.



49% 8% 5% 59%

Amount the typical tailgater spends each season on tailgating food and supplies.

of fans travel less than an hour to the stadium.

of fans travel more than four hours to the stadium.

of tailgaters bring fast food or prepared food. The rest cook their food on site.

of tailgaters use a combination of grills, stoves and smokers to cook their food.

Source: September/October 2013 | 15

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