July Spotlight

Alabama Living Magazine

Have a happy (and safe) Fourth of July

In 2020, at least 18 people died and over 15,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 66% of all fireworks-related incidents reported in 2020 occurred around the July 4th holiday. 

The safest way to enjoy a fireworks display is at a community-sanctioned, licensed event. Alabama law allows only consumer fireworks, formerly known as class C fireworks. Some municipalities outlaw fireworks altogether. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission prevents large numbers of hazardous fireworks from reaching consumers. Illegal mail order kits contain chemical mixtures that can explode unexpectedly and violently. M-80s, cherry bombs and quarter sticks are so highly explosive that they have been banned by federal law since 1966.

 If fireworks are legal where you live and you decide to set them off on your own, be sure to follow these important safety tips:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
  • Discuss safety procedures with children, including teaching them to “stop, drop and roll.”
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Never aim or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves and flammable materials.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.

Source: Alabama Department of Public Health

New program provides money for beginning farmers

If you’re a beginning farmer in the lower 40 counties served by Alabama Ag Credit, a $10,000 grant may help you jumpstart your farming dreams.

“We know that starting a farm is a challenge,” says Doug Thiessen, Alabama Ag Credit president and CEO. “Our team is passionate about supporting agriculture in Alabama, including these startup operations.”

Full- or part-time farmers who started farming within the past two years or who plan to start a farm business in the next year can apply for one of five $10,000 jumpstart grants. In addition to farming in the Alabama Ag Credit territory, recipients must submit a business plan and complete the AgBiz Basics educational program by July 31. Applicants need not be current Alabama Ag Credit customers.

To learn more, visit

Severe weather knows no seasons

Alabama is no stranger to storms, tornadoes, flooding and other weather-related events. It’s important to be aware of pending weather to remain safe. 

The Alabama Rural Electric Association safety staff offers these reminders as we continue into hurricane season:

  • Make a safety plan for severe weather. Pick an area of the home without windows, such as an interior bathroom, to seek shelter.
  • For smaller children use a bicycle helmet or other type helmet to protect their heads.
  • Make sure flashlights are charged or have fresh batteries. 

See more information at

Fuel your day with healthy snacks

Healthy Snacks with the Dip on the Plate

Carbohydrates and fats are our main fuel sources throughout the day. The more active we are, the more carbohydrates we need and use. Our bodies use fats too, but those require more oxygen and are typically for when we are at rest or moving slowly.

In contrast, good quality, nutrient-dense carbohydrates help us feel good and give us energy, alertness and focus for exercise. 

From HealthMed Inc., here are some healthy snack ideas to fuel your day:

Veggies (bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, etc.) with guacamole or hummus; Greek yogurt with mixed berries; apple slices with nut butter; hard-boiled egg; cheese stick with whole-grain crackers and a piece of fruit; air-popped popcorn; oatmeal with fresh fruit; smoothie made with fruit; edamame and frozen grapes.


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