Good Day Alabama: Dec. 1, 2015

Good Day Alabama: Dec. 1, 2015

Here's what you saw on Good Day Alabama:

JEH JEH LIVE - Jeh Jeh joined us live from the Birmingham Zoo as part of Red Rock Tuesday. He learns more about the Cahaba Road "Zoo Loop" that connects the Birmingham Zoo to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System will connect existing trails and parks connecting our communities while improving the health, economy, and quality of life for our region.  For more information on the many hiking trails and future plans, visit

MONEY TUESDAY - Stewart Welch joined us to explain one penalty you'll want to avoid.  If you or someone you know are age 70½ or older this year, don't forget that you must take a Required Minimum Distribution -RMD- from your retirement accounts before Dec. 31 of this year.  The federal penalty for failing to do so is 50 percent of the amount of the distribution you should have taken. Stewart explained the exceptions to the rule and some options to consider for how to handle the situation for yourself. For more information, visit

GREENE COUNTY JOB FAIR - The Alabama Commissioner of Labor Fitzgerald Washington joined us with details on a job fair in Greene County tomorrow. It's the last in a series of job fairs held by the Alabama Career Center System this fall in counties with traditionally high unemployment. The others averaged 200 people attending and 30-plus employers. Dozens of employers and state agencies will be present at the Greene County Job Fair tomorrow.  Job seekers need to come dressed for success and prepared to interview.  Bring current copies of your résumés. The Greene County Job Fair runs from 9 a.m. until noon tomorrow at the Greene County High School Gymnasium - 14223 U. S. Highway 11 South, Eutaw, AL 35462.

GARDENING - Sandra Reaves joined us to discuss herbs, greens, and natural and free resources - pine straw and leaves - to use during the cooler months.
• Some herbs are evergreen and can be harvested fresh throughout winter.
• Often included in over-the-counter and prescription drugs, herbs have an ancient medicinal history.
• "Scientific evidence is accumulating that many of these herbs and spices do have medicinal properties that alleviate symptoms or prevent disease." -- from NIH article, "Antimicrobial and Chemopreventive Properties of Herbs and Spices."

• Most greens are cool season crops and some can grow all through the winter in most years.
• A mess of greens in the South usually means the leaves from turnips, collards, mustard, and tender greens - a cross of spinach and mustard.
• Other greens for the winter garden include cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, chard, beets and lettuce.
• Dark-leaved -red, purple, or blue - tend to be colder hardy.
• Many varieties in the greens family are also ornamental enough to be planted in the front yard. 
Natural resources: 
• The best soil is always "made from scratch!"
• Fall and winter are a wonderful time to compost because earthworms readily come up to aid decomposition.
• If you don't have your own, there are plenty of free bags of OPL - Other People's Leaves.
• Pine straw takes longer to decompose.  It's great for ornamental areas and for lightly covering veggies when frost threatens.
• More natural resources: egg shells, coffee grounds, worm castings
• Make a worm bed for free castings!
For more information, visit her Facebook page - it includes lots of pictures, tips, how-to videos, and info on veggie trials going on in the garden.  It's a "real time, real life" look at home gardening and food preservation. You can find her at or

NEW IN BOOKS - Susan Swagler writes about books at her "Turn the Page" blog and in Birmingham Magazine. She introduced us to books for tasteful gifting. Give the gift of a great local cookbook. Our independent bookstores have these titles for sure. You also can buy some of them directly from the chefs at their restaurants … and get them personalized. This sort of gift never goes out of style. Today she introduced us to:
            "Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook" from by Chris and Idie Hastings
            "Frank Stitt's Southern Table" by Frank Stitt
            "Bottega Favorita" by Frank Stitt
            "Birmingham Food" by Emily Brown

BETH K - UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth Kitchin joined us to explain what you need to know about genetically modified salmon. Last week, the FDA approved a genetically modified animal for sale as a food. The animal is an Atlantic salmon contain genes from the Chinook salmon that accelerates growth. It also contains a gene that keeps the Chinook gene turned on. Atlantic salmon have their own growth hormone but its activity waxes and wanes throughout their lifespan. The GM salmon can grow to market size in 18 to 20 months while regularly farmed salmon take 28 to 36 months to grow to market size. It will take at least two years for any of the salmon to reach the market. The FDA evaluated the fish for consumer safety, safety to the animal, and that the fish do indeed grow significantly faster. Several consumer advocacy and environmental groups were opposed to the approval. The salmon will not be required to be labeled as GM – labeling will be voluntary. Many stores have vowed not to sell it including Costco, Whole Foods, Target and Aldi.

• If the GM fish escaped into the ocean, they could reproduce, competing with wild salmon and diminishing their population.

• Overfishing of wild salmon threatens the population so better farming methods could save the wild population.
• Fish farms on land could save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions from shipping wild salmon long distances.
• Salmon has health benefits, but the cost of wild salmon can keep some consumers away. Traditionally farmed salmon is farmed off the coast and introduces contaminants into the ocean. Because the GMO salmon must be contained on land to prevent the salmon from escaping into the ocean, it should reduce pollutants.

A New York Times poll found that 75 percent who answered would not eat the salmon. Is the fear and backlash warranted? Genetically modified foods sound scary because most people don't really understand them. GM foods have a gene introduced into them to produce the desired effect. Genes tell your body to produce a specific protein that then does something – in this case, it makes the fish grow faster. All plants and animals contain genes in their cells – essentially, we eat genes all the time. The possible danger to humans is if they are allergic to the new protein being produced in the food. But the FDA requires testing for an allergy introduction into the foods.  The more important concern is the effect on the environment. Concerns that the fish could escape the pens and breed with wild Atlantic salmon and somehow alter the population is a more legitimate concern. But the producers will be keeping the fish in pens well away from the ocean and also will be making the fish sterile so they cannot reproduce. Still, the unknown consequences can be scary to people.

Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama, we talk football and the conference championship games with Lars Anderson! Enjoy some tamales just in time for the holidays! We explain how you can get some great ones and help out a great cause! The doctor joins us to take your questions about your health! We check out your entertainment news! Join us for this and much more tomorrow on Good Day!