For the love of food

A Q&A with Stephanie Parker, a blogger from Birmingham, Alabama, who loves to share recipes and family adventures with fellow foodies on her blog “Plain Chicken.” Check out her blog …

What do readers find at your blog in addition to recipes?
Stephanie Parker: In addition to recipes, Plain Chicken posts about our world travels and our three cats, and we also post a weekly menu on Sunday to help get you ready for the week.

Why did you become a blogger, and how has blogging changed your life?
SP: Blogging started as a way for me to store recipes. I would make food and take it to work. People would ask for the recipe later, and I had to search for it. I decided to make a blog and store everything online. The blog started expanding because we were in a dinner rut. I decided to make one new recipe a week. Well, that morphed into four new recipes a week. Plain Chicken has totally changed my life. I was in corporate accounting for over 18 years. Plain Chicken took off, and I was able to quit my corporate job and focus solely on I am so lucky to be able to do something that I love every single day.

Everyone has different tastes, so when the extended family gets together, what kind of menu can you plan to please everyone?
SP: Pleasing everyone is always hard, especially nowadays with all the different diet plans people are on. I always try to have something for everyone. If you know someone is vegetarian or gluten-free, make sure they have some options. But for me, at the end of the day, I’m their hostess, not their dietitian.

What are some ideas for getting the children involved in preparing the holiday meal?
SP: Getting the children involved with preparing the holiday meal is a great idea. When making the cornbread dressing, let the children mix up the batter and crumble the cooked cornbread. Have the children mix the cookie batter and form the cookies. For safety’s sake, just make sure the adults put things in the oven and take them out.

Budgets play a big role in planning holiday menus. What are some ideas for hosting a party with “champagne taste on a beer budget?”
SP: Plan your menu early and watch the grocery store sales. Buy ingredients and store them for the holidays. Freeze what you can, and store canned/dry goods in the pantry. Wholesale clubs, like Sam’s and Costco, are also great places to buy large quantities of items and meats.

Do you have a good recipe for the holidays you’re willing to share?
SP: Yes. Spicy Ranch Crackers are a great snack to have on hand during the holidays. The recipe makes a lot, and the crackers will keep for weeks. They are perfect for unexpected guests and are also great in soups and stews.

Spicy Ranch Crackers
Spicy Ranch Crackers
1 (1-ounce) package ranch dressing mix
1/2 to 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 box saltine crackers

Combine dry ranch mix, cayenne pepper and oil. Pour over crackers. Toss crackers every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes, until all crackers are coated and there is no more oil mixture at the bottom of the bowl. Store in a resealable plastic bag.

Other food blogs that might tempt your palate:
This site combines a love of reading, writing and cooking into a blog that will keep you busy in the kitchen creating recipes that have been tested and tweaked for delicious results.
Even for people who work with food for a living, the editors at Saveur “were overcome with desire,” and named this blog its “Blog of the Year” for 2014.
This Prattville, Alabama-based blog focuses on Southern food with the idea that “food down South is not all about deep frying and smothering stuff in gravy.”

Connected Christmas

Your 2015 Gadget-Giving Guide

Ah, Christmas. It’s approaching quickly, and it’s never too early to start shopping. But are you struggling with what to buy that someone who has everything? Here are some of the season’s hottest items that are sure to impress that technologically savvy, hard-to-buy-for family member, significant other or friend.

Wocket Smart Wallet


If you’re tired of keeping up with all the cards in your wallet, the Wocket is for you.

The Wocket Smart Wallet is the world’s smartest wallet. How does it work? First swipe your cards using the card reader included in the Wocket. Information like your voter registration or any membership or loyalty cards with bar codes can also be entered manually.

The information stored in the Wocket is then transmitted through the WocketCard.
The WocketCard gives the information to the point-of-sale device when it is swiped, just as with a regular credit card.

For only $229, you can own the smartest wallet on the planet. Order yours at


The Lily Drone

Have you been considering getting a drone, but can’t bring yourself to pull the trigger? Meet Lily, the drone that takes flight on its own, literally. All you have to do is toss it up in the air, and the motors automatically start.

Unlike traditional drones that require the user to operate what looks like a video game controller, Lily relies on a hockey puck-shaped tracking device strapped to the user’s wrist. GPS and visual subject tracking help Lily know where you are. Unlike other drones, Lily is tethered to you at all times when flying.

Lily features a camera that captures 12-megapixel stills, and 1080p video at up to 60 frames per second, or 720p at 120 frames per second. You can preorder today, but Lily will not be delivered until May 2016. Expect to pay $999.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

If you’re looking for a new personal assistant, Amazon has you covered. The Amazon Echo is designed to do as you command — whether it be adding milk to your shopping list, answering trivia, controlling household temperature or playing your favorite music playlist.

The Echo, which uses an advanced voice recognition system, has seven microphones and can hear your voice from across a room. The Echo activates when hearing the “wake word.” The Echo is constantly evolving, adapting to your speech patterns and personal preferences. “Alexa” is the brain within Echo, which is built into the cloud, meaning it’s constantly getting smarter and updating automatically.

It’s available for $179.99 on



Have you ever wondered what your beloved pup is doing while you’re not at home? Wonder no more. iCPooch allows you to see your dog whenever you’re away. By attaching a tablet to the base of iCPooch, your dog can see you, and you can see them — you can even command iCPooch to dispense a treat.

Just download the free app to your tablet or smartphone and never miss a moment with your pup!

iCPooch is available for $99, not including tablet, from Amazon and the website

Classic Christmas Cookies

Hope Barker, of West Liberty, Kentucky

Hope Barker, of West Liberty, Kentucky, makes family cookie recipes her own.

Cookies so good Santa won’t want to leave

By Anne P. Braly,
Food Editor

We all know that holiday cookies are a lot more than sugar, flour and eggs. They tell a story. Remember walking into grandma’s house only to see warm cookies she just took from the oven sitting on the counter?

Hope Barker has similar stories when she reminisces about baking cookies with her mom. Her favorite recipe is a simple one: sugar cookies.
“My mom and I used to make these when I was young,” she recalls. The recipe came from an old cookbook — now so yellowed and worn with age that it’s fallen apart, but, thankfully the pages were saved and are now kept in a folder.

She learned to cook at the apron strings of her mother, Glyndia Conley, and both grandmothers. “I can remember baking when I was in elementary school,” Barker says. “My mom and I made sugar cookies to take to school parties. And Mamaw Essie (Conley) taught me how to bake and decorate cakes. From Mamaw Nora (Cottle), I learned how to make stack pies — very thin apple pies stacked and sliced like a cake.”

She honed these techniques and soon became known for her baking skills in her town of West Liberty, Kentucky, so much so that she opened a bakery business that she operated from her home, making cookies and cakes for weddings, birthdays, holidays and other special events.
During the holidays, cookies are in demand. Not only are they scrumptious, but just about everyone loves them, too. They make great gifts from the kitchen, and if you arrange them on a beautiful platter, they can become your centerpiece.

“Cookies are easy to make and easy to package,” Barker says. “They don’t require plates and forks, so they are more convenient than many other desserts. Also, because they are less time-consuming, you can make a variety in less time than many other desserts. They can be decorated many different ways. And who doesn’t love to get a plate of pretty cookies?”

But there is one big mistake some less-practiced cooks often make when baking cookies — overbaking.

“If you leave them in the oven until they ‘look’ done, they are going to be overdone,” Barker warns. “The heat in the cookies will continue to bake them after you have taken them out of the oven.”

She says the best outcome for pretty cookies is to start with the right equipment — a good, heavy cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. “This will keep them from sticking to the cookie sheet and help them to brown more evenly on the bottom,” she says. And when finished, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before putting them in a sealed, airtight container to keep them moist.

Barker no longer caters, but she continues to do a lot of baking during the holidays for family, coworkers and friends.
Cookies, she says, just seem to be a universal sign of welcome, good wishes and happy holidays.

Sugar cookies are a delicious and versatile classic during the holiday season. This is Hope Barker’s favorite recipe. They can be made as drop cookies or chilled and rolled for cut-out cookies. You can use the fresh dough and roll balls of it in cinnamon sugar to make Snickerdoodles, or use it as a crust for a fruit pizza.

Classic Sugar Cookies
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup milk
Additional sugar (optional)

Cream together the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix very well. Add flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Make sure all ingredients are well-incorporated.
For drop cookies, scoop fresh dough into 1-inch balls and place a couple inches apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Smear a small amount of shortening on the bottom of a glass, dip the glass into the sugar of your choice and flatten each dough ball into a disk about 1/4-inch thick. Continue to dip the glass into sugar and flatten the dough balls until all are flattened into disks. Sugar can be sprinkled on cookies at this point, if desired. Bake the cookies at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven when they begin to color at the edges.
For rolled and cut cookies, refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours or overnight. Roll out portions of the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Sugar can be sprinkled on cookies at this point, if desired. Place the cookies at least 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size/thickness of the cookies. Remove from the oven when they begin to color at the edges.

Sugar Cookie Variations

Various Sugar Cookies Frosted Cookies
Bake either the rolled or drop cookies. Prepare your favorite frosting recipe (or buy canned frosting) and frost the cooled cookies. Frosting can be tinted with different colors and piped on in seasonal designs.

When making the drop cookies, mix together 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon with 1 cup granulated sugar. Roll each ball of dough in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and then put onto the cookie sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a glass into a disk shape and bake as directed.

Maple Cookies
Replace the vanilla flavoring in the recipe with maple flavoring. Make rolled cookies with no sugar on the tops. On the stovetop, stir together 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons milk; stir well. (Be careful as the mixture will splatter a little when you add the milk.) Put saucepan back on stove and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat. Pour the mixture over 1 1/2 cups of sifted powdered sugar and mix on low/medium speed until smooth. Drizzle the warm frosting over the cookies with a spoon. Allow to cool completely.

Jell-O Cookies
Make rolled cookies with no sugar on the tops. When the cookies come out of the oven, spread a thin layer of light corn syrup on the tops with a spoon. Immediately sprinkle with Jell-O gelatin powder of your choice. Allow to cool completely.

Fruit Pizza
Use about a half batch of the dough and spread evenly in a greased jelly roll pan. This will be the crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough begins to get some color at the edges and on top. Let the crust cool completely. Mix together 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 7 ounces marshmallow creme. Spread this over the crust. Cut up about 4 cups of fresh fruit (strawberries, kiwi, bananas, mandarin oranges, grapes, apples, etc.) and stir together with a package of strawberry fruit gel. Spread the fruit mixture over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate before slicing and serving.

The Hair

Fred Johnson 2015By Fred Johnson
Executive Vice President and General Manager

If you know me well it will come as no surprise that I cannot stand hair on a bathroom sink. A bathroom sink is a special place. For most, it’s the last stop before bed and the first on the morning road to becoming presentable.

Such a place must be kept pristine. Thus you can imagine my dismay the other morning when while shaving I noticed the reflection of a huge hair in my mirror. Instinctively, I reached down to remove this aberration. Only, it wasn’t there. Immediately my mind — already thoroughly caffeinated for the day — reconciled that the hair had simply blown away. The shave resumed, and then — there it was again in the mirror. Thus began a chase to find the hair which was clearly visible in the mirror but otherwise nowhere in sight. I found the blasted thing only by doing so in the reflection of the mirror. You see, the mirror was flipped to its magnification setting since I can’t see without my glasses and using sharp objects when you can’t see is always a dicey proposition. Bottom line, I was looking for a hair the size of what I saw. No such hair existed. The real thing was an entirely different size, barely visible.

So what is my point? Am I simply trying to say that challenges we face often appear much larger than they really are? Yes, but that’s not all. There is also a flip side. Sometimes problems exist even when they are not readily visible or easily understood. Popular psychology or conventional wisdom would teach you that the most important issues are those most easily perceived or those that loudly demand attention. An old adage familiar to many is “the squeaky wheel always gets the grease.” However, true leadership and wisdom exact a much more difficult path. It is imperative that when we address matters of substance, either in our personal or professional lives, we strive to see challenges in a proper perspective. We neither overreact when we see something in magnification, nor do we glance casually at the landscape and pronounce it clean unless we see something huge staring back at us.

The rural telecommunications industry is undergoing a period of change unprecedented since the breakup of the Bell Company in 1983. Many of our challenges appear huge and demand immediate attention. Still, we must look beyond them to a new landscape and consider that some of the fundamental issues which must be addressed may not presently be visible in a casual sweep. Those of us charged with leadership cannot simply be excused by saying, “We didn’t see that coming.” I am grateful to our Board of Directors and to our national leadership for their support in allowing us to spend the time necessary to get these things right as we strive to keep FTC relevant to you and your communities.

I challenge you to apply the same principles in your business, family and relational lives. Remember that nothing worthwhile ever comes without some form of effort. Challenges are an inevitable part of life, some small and some large. Perspective makes a huge difference. So see things as they really are. Only then can your response be most efficient.

FTCtv Digital Television: Your source for all then scores and much more!

THE FTC LOGO-LettersOnlyIt’s shaping up to be another wild football season in the South, and FTCtv has your back — your quarterback, halfback, fullback and defensive backs in exciting local high school and college football programs.

FTCtv has recently added some great football programing to get you all of the highlights and insight, including some from the head coaches themselves.

FTCtv will provide broadcast schedule highlights each week. These can be viewed on channel 2, on our website, and on our social media feeds for Facebook and Twitter.

FTCtv Schedule highlights this fall:

FTCtv Channel 6

  • New and exciting football programming this fall, available only on FTCtv Channel 6.
  • Monday – JSU Today 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday – Auburn University Football
  • Everyday 7 p.m. followed by the Auburn University Coaches Review at 7:30 p.m.,
    High School Football – 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday – JSU Inside Gamecock Athletics – 7 p.m., JSU Football Game of the Week – 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday – University of Georgia Coaches Show – 7 p.m., Mountain Valley News High School Coaches Show 7:30 p.m., High School Football 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday – Repeat programming beginning at 7 p.m. – JSU Inside Gamecock Athletics, University of Georgia Coaches Show, Auburn University Coaches Show and Football Everyday.

WoLW Channel 7

  • Tune in each Friday night for the WOLW and Times-Journal scoreboard show that will keep you up-to-date with live score updates plus…
  • Highlights from previous weeks’ games
  • Band halftime performances
  • Cheerleader routine highlights
  • Watch these high school games each week…
  • Tuesday 6-8 p.m. – Fyffe High School, 8-10 p.m. – Fort Payne High School
  • Wednesday 6-8 p.m. – school to be announced, 8-10 p.m. – Fort Payne High School
  • Thursday 6-8 p.m. – school to be announced, 8-10 p.m. – Ider High School
  • Saturday 9-11 p.m. – Ider High School

KWNtv Channel 8

  • Starting at 11 a.m. each Saturday, KWNtv-Channel 8 will replay Friday night games from North Sand Mountain, North Jackson, Dade County and Whitwell High.
  • Watch the KWN Friday Night Scoreboard show to get all the score updates for teams in Jackson, DeKalb, Marion and Dade Counties, live each Friday during football season starting at 9 p.m. CST.

*All scheduled programs are subject to changes in broadcast times.

A promising public-private partnership

By Matt Ledger

Pictured from left, Brian Baine, Gov. Bentley and Jason Harper. (Governor's Office, Jamie Martin)

Pictured from left, Brian Baine, Gov. Bentley and Jason Harper. (Governor’s Office, Jamie Martin)

A few new faces with a fresh approach are revitalizing the Leadership DeKalb program.

Jason Harper attended the Marshall County Leadership program while working in U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt’s office and has worked for TVA in Huntsville for the past five years. “I looked at my home county and decided to take action and remedy the absence of a leadership program in DeKalb,” Harper says. “I started thinking of people willing to serve and truly engage themselves to help bolster a better DeKalb County.”

The first person that Harper contacted was Brian Baine,who he met several years ago while working with the Fort Payne Improvement Authority. Baine has worked his way through the ranks at Foodland during his 30-year career from intern to human resources manager.

Baine attended the same Marshall County Leadership program, as well as a prior Leadership DeKalb class in the 1980s. “I was young and saw it as a way to get out of work back then,” Baine says, with a chuckle. “Now, I am learning things and seeing amazing places, and this new program has even been very informative for me.” That experience may explain why he’s getting a lot more out of the new Leadership DeKalb program than he did the first time he participated early in his career.

State Senator Clay Scofield speaks to the leadership class during State Government Day.

State Senator Clay Scofield speaks to the leadership class during State Government Day.

Revitalizing under new leadership
For two years, Baine and Harper met to discuss the dynamics of their plan and to create the curriculum, which is focused on the areas of education, economic development, tourism and workforce expansion. “The county needed the synergy of all aspects of leadership, talking and working together,” Harper says.

The program aims to help the participants become well-rounded leaders, equipped to make the county better. “Going out and seeing these departments, instead of just hearing about them, makes more of an impact,” Baine says. “It will better inform these leaders and give them the tools they need to guide the future direction of DeKalb County.”

After an absence of nearly seven years, Leadership DeKalb restarted in 2014, with a renewed long-term focus on communication between the public agencies and private businesses in the county. Each month, the current class of 18 participants attend a program detailing aspects of county agencies and area businesses.

It took three years to revamp the new Leadership DeKalb program, made possible with a $25,000 TVA community relations grant that Harper secured. They formed a nonprofit with a board of directors that selected Baine as the president of the Leadership DeKalb program and Harper as the vice-president, then added Janet Hartline as the executive director.

To assemble the first class of students, which began meeting in August, Baine, Harper and the Board sought out current community leaders from various agencies, with an equal balance from throughout DeKalb County. The idea was that networking among these leaders would lay the groundwork to help move the region forward in the future.

The Leadership DeKalb group meets with Governor Robert Bentley during a trip to Montgomery. Front row, left to right: Jason Harper, board vice-president; Judy Davidson; Pam Clay; Dale Manning; John Dersham; Brandi Lyles, board member; and Janet Hartline, executive director. Second row Left to Right: Keri Hamrick; Joey Graham; Corey Ewing; Debbie Nickelson; Renee Simpson; Jenna Sue Payne; and Brian Baine, board president. Third row Left to Right: Buddy Goolsby; Michael Posey; David Clemons; Alabama Governor Robert Bentley; Kristen Emory; Nick Jones; and Bryon Miller.

The Leadership DeKalb group meets with Governor Robert Bentley during a trip to Montgomery. Front row, left to right: Jason Harper, board vice-president; Judy Davidson; Pam Clay; Dale Manning; John Dersham; Brandi Lyles, board member; and Janet Hartline, executive director. Second row Left to Right: Keri Hamrick; Joey Graham; Corey Ewing; Debbie Nickelson; Renee Simpson; Jenna Sue Payne; and Brian Baine, board president. Third row Left to Right: Buddy Goolsby; Michael Posey; David Clemons; Alabama Governor Robert Bentley; Kristen Emory; Nick Jones; and Bryon Miller.

Back to school … and other agencies
Nearly 20 professionals from around DeKalb County are learning about business, government and their community, with a new topic each month of the course. After the class members established relationships with one another, it was time to get down to business, like examining strengths and weaknesses within the community. “Let’s talk about the good and bad things,” Harper says. “Sometimes we are uncomfortable with that, so let’s take a comprehensive approach and look at all aspects of our county.”

The focus in the fall quickly became tourism, as fall colors began to blanket the mountain. The discussions were spearheaded by John Dersham, executive director at DeKalb Tourism and one of the program’s participants. “These public services are important to everyone and integral to a community,” Dersham says. “If all of the leaders in the community understand all of the processes within the community a little better, then I think it helps with our ability to communicate.”

The class also covered public services. “Public Service Day” included trips to the DeKalb Sheriff’s Department, Children’s Advocacy Center and Fort Payne Fire Department Training Center. Other classes in the program included health and social services, education, manufacturing, finance and media, while other activities had the class rapelling from the rim of Little River Canyon and blowing glass ornaments at a local artist’s studio.

In March, the group made its farthest trip during “State Government Day” to visit with officials in Montgomery, including Governor Robert Bentley. “Having citizens interface with leaders in their environment is really good for rural communities,” says Harper. Their final class will cover economic development, with graduation in May.

Class participants listen to Israel Partridge as he explains rock climbing and rappelling on the rim of Little River Canyon.

Class participants listen to Israel Partridge as he explains rock climbing and rappelling on the rim of Little River Canyon.

Planning for the future
Organizers hope the program is not a one-time class, but the start of something new. They’re working to establish a Leadership DeKalb alumni association to include anyone who attended the previous version of the program. The ability to network with peers is proving to be a major benefit of the class, and the participants believe that it will aid strategic planning for the county.

Those interested in enrolling in the next course can find more information on the Leadership DeKalb County Facebook page. Some of the presenters throughout the year have even asked about being in the next leadership class. “The word is getting out that this program has value and is a great networking system,” Hartline says.

This year’s graduates will take on that planning responsibility for the next group of applicants, with board members simply advising. The group will also complete a class project to benefit the community.

“Leadership is void without hands-on service that makes a difference,” Harper says. “There are many people around here who are ready to tackle any problems and revitalize our community beyond the status quo.”

For more details or for an application please visit the Fort Payne or Rainsville Chamber of Commerce websites., or


New FTCtv Everywhere allows you to watch shows anywhere

Families once huddled around televisions the size of a refrigerator to watch the latest episode of “The Brady Bunch,” “M.A.S.H.” or “Seinfeld.” Elvis Presley made headlines when his car was equipped with a television. Those days are long gone, and now, thanks to the Internet and an app called FTCtv Everywhere, FTC members can enjoy those classic shows or current prime-time hits from anywhere.

With FTCtv Everywhere, you could catch the ESPN pre-game show while tailgating in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Watching Captain Kirk match wits with Mr. Spock on a handheld device is no longer science fiction. It’s now a reality that you can enjoy the Syfy channel, and many others, once you sign up for the plan.

More than 35 channels are currently available for streaming shows on your computer, tablet or mobile device connected to the Internet.

How much does it cost?
Currently FTC provides this feature at no extra cost to FTCtv Expanded Basic subscribers. This may change over time depending on new requirements made by TV networks. Cellular data rates apply.

Where can I watch FTCtv Everywhere?
You can watch these channels from anywhere your device can receive an Internet connection. Wired connections and in-home Wi-Fi will provide the best quality, and picture quality is determined by bandwidth and signal strength.

What programs are available?
Each TV network makes their own decision about what to make available on FTCtv Everywhere, so it’s best to download the app and check for your favorite programs.

Why aren’t all programs available?
Broadcasting rights are complicated. A TV network may have the right to transmit a show or movie, but only to TV sets and not on FTCtv Everywhere. Once again, it depends on the TV network.

Will other networks become available?
Yes. FTC is working with many different program providers to expand the number of networks and programs available on

How do I sign up for FTCtv Everywhere?
If you’ve already signed up for
SmartHub, FTCtv Everywhere is simple. Register now to begin watching your FTCtv on the go. Simply login in to your SmartHub account. Click the “Edit TV Everywhere” link in the left sidebar menu and create a username and password. You will gain access within four to 24 hours. You will have to try logging in to a programmer’s site to see if your access has been accepted. To do this, click on one of the programmer icons at Select FTCtv as your provider and use your TV Everywhere username and password to watch live programming with any device connected to the Internet.

What networks are available?
ABC Family
Adult Swim
Cartoon Network
Disney Junior
Disney XD
Fox Business
Fox News
Golf Channel
NBC Sports Live Extra
Telemundo Now
To use FTCtv Everywhere…
1. Click the channel you want to watch. You will be taken to the channel provider website.
2. Select FTCtv as your television provider from the provider list on the site.
3. Sign in with the username and password you created when you signed up for FTCtv Everywhere.

Rainsville Freedom Fest 2015

2015 Rainsville Freedom Fest
Saturday June 27
Rainsville City Park

  • Free admission
  • Car, truck and motorcycle show
  • Vendor booths with a wide variety of food
  • Arts and crafts show
  • Live entertainment for the whole family

Festive fireworks finale after dark sponsored by FTC and the City of Rainsville

Rainsville Freedom Fest 5K and 10K Race
Saturday, June 20 at 8 a.m.
For more race details:

Email changes

As you may have already noticed, FTC is partnering with the Zimbra Collaboration Suite to provide our members with a new integrated email suite. This upgrade brings an efficient email hub for personal or professional task management. Each customer now has a customizable Web interface that makes it a breeze to add reminders to your calendar or pay bills online. App-style buttons allow you to easily navigate between social media pages, or to check the local weather before the kids head to the bus stop. Numerous tutorial videos describe the step-by-step process of a wide variety of functions, available online at

The last hurdle before the Battle of Chickamauga

By Matt Ledger

Charles Bass stands near the historical marker that he sought to commemorate a local slice of U.S. Civil War history at for Chestnut Grove Baptist Church.

Charles Bass stands near the historical marker that he sought to commemorate a local slice of U.S. Civil War history at for Chestnut Grove Baptist Church.

Gettysburg, Fort Sumter and Chickamauga are some of the most recognizable places from the U.S. Civil War. Lesser-known tales have become even more obscure in the 150 years that have passed since those bloody days of cannons and cavalry.

Uncovering some of those local accounts sent one area man on a mission to recognize the brave souls that crossed Lookout Mountain on their way to battle. It started nearly 10 years ago, when Charles Bass visited the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. While looking in the park’s bookstore, he wondered about a DeKalb County story he had heard regarding troop movements on Sand Mountain. That story would give Bass a set of marching orders of his own that would take years to sort out and end with a special historic marker designation.

The Path to Battle
Bass lives in Henagar and is a member of Chestnut Grove Baptist Church, a congregation that was formed in 1861. Through research, he learned that Highway 117 in Chestnut Grove was once called Caperton’s Ferry Road and carried travelers — crossed by Union troops during their Southern offensive in 1863 — from Stevenson, Alabama, to Rome, Georgia. “I’ve read where some of the troops that came through here describe DeSoto Falls in such detail you could tell where they were at on Lookout Mountain,” Bass says. For nearly two weeks during the Chickamauga Campaign, the 20th Army Corps troops were encamped near the church in Chestnut Grove, while General Alexander McCook’s headquarters occupied the Allen Plantation, near where Vulcraft of Fort Payne is now located.

Bass had a few questions and returned to Chickamauga to meet with park historian Jim Ogden. He also recruited David Rains, a retired judge and local history buff, to research the account of the Union Army moving through the area. Rains found some interesting details in the Civil War journal of Chesley A. Mosman, who had served as a Union lieutenant in the 59th Illinois Infantry Regiment. “The Rough Side of War” details Mosman’s firsthand experiences on the way to Chickamauga, including great visual descriptions of the journey. “We went on till we met open timber, chestnut and pine. There had been a hurricane across the mountain, and many trees were tore up by the root,” Mosman wrote, in early September 1863. Rains and others believe that he is describing a path carved by a tornado in the Town Creek area of Lookout Mountain, which was used as a makeshift encampment by Union forces on their way to battle. “While there were no major battles on these two mountains, Civil War records and Mosman’s journal indicate that there were almost daily skirmishes in the area,” Rains says.

Local history buff David Rains spoke during the unveiling in 2011. He researched through archives to find first-hand descriptions and other accounts in determining the Union troop movements on Caperton’s Ferry Road.

Local history buff David Rains spoke during the unveiling in 2011. He researched through archives to find first-hand descriptions and other accounts in determining the Union troop movements on Caperton’s Ferry Road.

Rains verified that the campsite existed in the Town Creek area, but was skeptical that a historical marker would ever be approved. Bass’ persistence paid off, and a dedication of the historical marker was held in 2011, ahead of the 150th anniversary of when the troops moved through the region. “In 2011, it coincidentally happens that another tornado ripped through that very same stretch of ground,” Rains says. Chestnut Grove Baptist Church now has an Alabama Historical Association designation as part of “The Road to Chickamauga.”
“It’s for those men who lost their lives. They were fighting for what they felt was right in their hearts and for the freedoms we have today,” Bass says.