January Spotlight

Alabama Living Magazine

AREA, electric utilities honored by secretary of state

Alabama Rural Electric Association president and CEO Fred Braswell, third from left, accepts an award from Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, fourth from left.

The Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), which publishes Alabama Living, was honored by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill for the work of its rural electric cooperatives to restore power after Hurricane Zeta. The category two storm made landfall in Louisiana late on Oct. 28, just days before the Nov. 3 general election.

Zeta brought substantial rain and wind damage to southwest and central Alabama, knocking out power to roughly 130,000 cooperative members. Polling places in more than 19 of Alabama’s 67 counties were left without power, Merrill says; electric utilities identified areas in need to restore power as quickly as possible and provide generators where needed. 

AREA’s president and CEO Fred Braswell accepted the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion, which recognizes individuals, groups and organizations for exceptional service and dedication to carrying out the mission of the NASS.

Merrill also recognized the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Alabama Office of Information Technology, Alabama Power, the Electric Cities of Alabama, and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative at the Dec. 2 ceremony at the Capitol.

Festival of the Cranes will go on this month

The annual Festival of the Cranes, sponsored by the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association, will go on this month. The festival celebrates sandhill cranes and rare whooping cranes, which are seen in very few places in the world. The migratory birds pass through or winter in Alabama, specifically at the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge in Decatur, which has a diverse habitat.

The refuge visitor center and observation building are closed due to COVID, but the grounds and fields around the center are open daily for viewing and photographing of the cranes. 

The festival, set for Jan. 9, will have presentations from master falconer Lauren McGough (via video), a live performance from the Auburn University Southeastern Raptor Center, a video presentation by Paul Bannick on the snowy owl, a live performance by instrumentalist Gareth Laffely and a live presentation by environmental journalist Ben Raines. These events will be at the Princess Theatre, 112 2nd Ave., Decatur. All events are free and first come, first served. Look for updates at FriendsOfWheelerRefuge.com, or find the group at Facebook.com/FOCatWheeler.

Take us along!

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: mytravels@alabamaliving.coop.  Please include  your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo. We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

Joyce Weiland of Decatur took her magazine to the North Dakota State Capitol grounds in Bismarck, North Dakota, while on a trip to visit her 92-year-old mother. The red flowers in the background spell out the state’s name. Joyce is a member of Joe Wheeler EMC.
Denise Marchman, a member of Cullman EC, enjoyed some reading while visiting Lake Michigan for a few days.
Dallas Ramsey and Emily Tyler visited their daughter in Washington state and took their magazine to the Dungeness Spit, the longest natural sand spit in the U.S. They are members of Black Warrior EMC. 
Mitch, Julie and Wyatt McKinney rented an RV and traveled to several national parks while doing virtual school, including Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in Grand Teton National Park. The McKinneys live in Russellville where they are members of Franklin Electric Cooperative. 


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Award-winning Alabama Living is the official statewide publication of the electric cooperatives in Alabama and the largest magazine of its type in the state, reaching some 400,000 electric cooperative consumers.

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