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Social Security: Connect with Social Security via automated services

Every day thousands use it to do business with Social Security. We strive to offer the kind of services that meet people’s needs.  And sometimes you want fast and direct answers over the phone. We have that option. You can call us toll free at 1-800-772-1213. Our automated services are available 24 hours a day [...]

Rural Health: Stigma is an unnecessary barrier to mental health care

Several years back, I was conducting a community health assessment of a small, rural community in South Alabama to identify its greatest health issues and needs. My first job after finishing college was with the Alabama Department of Mental Health. Because of this experience, mental health care and needs have always been of special concern to me. [...]

Alabama Snapshots: Country Roads

Submit Your Images! June Theme: “Gone Fishing” Deadline for June: April 30. Submit photos online: or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124. Rules: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published [...]

Tying the knot in the country

Rural wedding venues growing in appeal By Lori M. Quiller Could the days of black-tie weddings be numbered? Probably not, but the number of weddings hosted in more casual, rustic settings are certainly on the rise in Alabama. According to, an online wedding resource, ranch or farm-style weddings have been on the rise since [...]

Songs about Alabama and the stories behind them

By Emmett Burnett Songs of Alabama have enriched lives since the state was a state of mind. But our songs in the heart, notes in the head, and lyrics in memory are more than meets the ear. How many tunes about the Heart of Dixie can you name? (And by the way, “Heart of Dixie” [...]

Famous art is right at home in Alabama

By Marilyn Jones Alabama may not be synonymous with fine art, but our museums are home to some truly world-class collections and pieces. You can appreciate their  beauty or perhaps their emotional power; some offer glimpses into our history, telling us about our culture and where we came from. Whatever the purpose, you can make [...]

Avoiding the ‘grandparent scam’

By Richard Bauman I answered the phone one morning and heard someone who sounded like our grandson, Edward, say, “Hi grandpa, it’s your favorite grandson.” And that’s how the “grandparent scam” usually starts. That jovial greeting is usually followed by a tale of woe. In this instance, Edward was supposedly in New York for a buddy’s [...]

Sweet surprise: Union Springs cook bakes up an unplanned success

Story and photos by Jennifer Kornegay Some say anything tastes better served on fine china and scooped up with a silver fork or spoon. At FPH Bakery in downtown Union Springs, you’ll find both fancy flatware and elegant plates in use, but the cakes, pies, soups, sandwiches and salads served here don’t need the aesthetic [...]

Spring planting time: Picking the perfect plants

If, like me, you’re looking forward to home-grown summer vegetables, herbs and flowers, it’s time to get planting. Those of you who thought ahead and started seeds inside or in a cold frame or greenhouse already have a great source of plant material ready to go in the ground. But don’t forget to harden them [...]

Birders take flight and travel the globe

By Gayle Gresham Looking for your travel to take flight this year? Become a birder and enjoy all kinds of new places to visit while adding bird species to your list and enjoying time spent wherever this activity takes you. Birdwatching is rising in popularity in the United States and throughout the world. Anyone can [...]

Singer, actor, dancer … doing it all

Alabama’s Jordan Fisher came to national TV prominence in November when he won the 25th season of “Dancing With the Stars” with his professional dancing partner, Lindsay Arnold. But some fans may not realize that Fisher has been acting, dancing and singing more than half his life. Born and raised in Birmingham, Fisher caught the [...]

Aim for quality when managing a renovation contractor

By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen Q: We followed your advice last month and hired a contractor we think will give us an energy efficient renovation. How do we manage the job to make sure the project turns out right? A: Last month, I offered tips on how to hire a good contractor, but it’s smart to [...]

Bears on the move

As bear and human populations increase, so do contacts By John N. Felsher As weather improves, more Alabamians venture outdoors to enjoy hiking, picnicking, turkey hunting, fishing and other activities, but they are not alone! Another very large, toothy Alabama resident could watch their every move. “Historically, black bears lived throughout the entire state,” says [...]

Knead some dough?

By Jennifer Kornegay / Food Photography by Brooke Echols A warm-from-the-oven slice of freshly baked homemade bread is worth its weight in gold and definitely worth the effort required to make and bake it. Bread has long been associated with money. The person bringing home the majority of a family or household’s income is the [...]

The discovery of the Orline St. John

William Harris was deadheading when he saw the hog chains. That was what he told me back in 1991 when I interviewed him in his store at ‘Possum Bend, west of Camden and not far from the Alabama River. “Deadheads” were sunken logs that had lain long in the water and had taken on the [...]