Good Day Alabama: Jan. 3, 2017

Here's what you saw on Good Day Alabama:

JEH JEH LIVE - Jeh Jeh joined us live from Ruffner Mountain to learn how it is the Freshwater Land Trust's Red Rock Trail plan. He learned about future plans to connect Birmingham to Ruffner Mountain through the Red Rock Trail. One of the goals at Ruffner Mountain is to educate guests on native Alabama plant species. Often times non-native plants will overtake an area, which causes a loss of biodiversity due to reductions in habitat and food sources available to local organisms which threaten the delicate balance of the ecosystem.  Native plants are especially important to pollinators, who feed off the nectar of native plants. Ruffner Mountain wants to promote healthy, native environments both at the Mountain and in peoples' back yards! Ruffner is an incredibly important component to the Red Rock Trail because one of the primary goals of the trail system is to link people to outdoor recreational opportunities. Ruffner Mountain is a great spot for people to reconnect with nature while exercising and learning about their local environment.

There are plans to connect Ruffner Mountain by the sidewalk and shared bike lane starting in the Lakeview District and connecting to Ruffner Mountain via 5th and 1st Avenue South. There will also be a loop of sidewalks and shared bike lanes running around the South East Lake Neighborhood that will lead into the Ruffner Nature Center. While at Ruffner Mountain you can see local animal species! Urban wildlife is a vital component to the ecosystem and many of the urban species can help reduce pests, like mosquitoes and rodents. They are threatened by loss of habitat but through educational programming coming to Ruffner Mountain in 2017, it hopes to educate people on how to help protect these animals.

In 2016, Ruffner Mountain focused work around the core values: education, land conservation, recreation and serving as a valuable resource for the community. In 2017, it plans to focus programs on educating constituents on the importance of sustainable, ecologically sound community recreational spaces, specifically in urban areas. In 2016, Freshwater Land Trust continued to add to the Red Rock Trail system, and in 2017 it will see the start of construction for some exciting projects, including the link to Ruffner Mountain and the extension of the Vulcan Park trail. The Fresh Water Land Trust works to preserve open space and build the Red Rock Ridge & Valley Trail System because it allows communities to reconnect to each other, to neighborhood amenities, to parks and greenspaces, all in an effort to improve health and the connectivity of our community. For more information on the many hiking trails and future plans, visit

NEW IN BOOKS - Susan Swagler writes about books at her "Turn the Page" blog and in Birmingham Magazine. She introduces us to a few ways to start the year off with the right read. There's even a smart self-help book … of course. Today she introduced us to

"The Myth of Water" by Jeanie Thompson

"The Second Mrs. Hockaday" by Susan Rivers

"Butter:  A Rich History" by Elaine Khosrova

"Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert

GARDENING - Sandra Reaves of Josie Gladys Gardens discussed root crops and how they help solve soil problems! She says cover crops are planted for the purpose of smothering weeds and improving the soil. Root crops can reach several feet down into the soil. The roots take up minerals from deep in the soil and bring it to the surface. Left in place when leaves have been killed by frost, the dead leaves cover the soil and prevent weed growth. Crops such as radishes, turnips, and carrots drill into the soil, opening up large holes for water and air to enter. Later crops will use these as pathways for their roots. Roots crops left to rot leave deposits of nutrients that are available to feed whatever is planted afterwards. 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

BETH K - UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth Kitchin joined us with tips to spotting – and avoiding – a fad diet! She sees this all the time. Someone she knows starts the latest fad diet. They're excited. They're losing weight – sometimes too much. She smiles when they tell her about it but in her head she knows that they'll likely gain some or most of the weight back within a year. So, as the New Year begins and weight loss resolutions abound, let's all pull out the fad diet detector kit to spot them and avoid them! How to spot a fad diet:

  1. It Promises Big Results: Promising quick weight loss – think "30 Pounds in 30 Days" – is the hallmark of a fad diet. Everyone is different and loses weight at different rates. There is no way you can guarantee how much weight any single person will lose on any one particular diet.
  2. It's Extreme: Fad diets are often low in calories – really low. While this can help you lose weight quickly - see #1, it usually backfires because you get really hungry, overeat, or even binge.
  3. It Focuses on a Few Foods: Fad diets often eliminate whole categories of foods like carbs or sugar or dairy foods or recommend you only eat certain foods – like meat and vegetables. Unless you have a medical condition like celiac disease or a food allergy or you decide to go vegetarian, you don't need to cut out whole categories of foods.
  4. It Has a Crazy "Theory": Fad diets often have an unproven or exaggerated theory or hypothesis: cheese is like crack cocaine, sugar is toxic, you need to eat like your paleo ancestors.  They may also claim that their shake or supplement is just what you need to burn off those calories. But these claims are usually just a gimmick.
  5. It's Costly: Often, fad diets will cost you some big money. You have to buy the book, the supplement, the meal bars, the shakes, the pre-packaged food, the program. If the program is good – like Weight Watchers – it may be worth it. But many are just a waste of money.
  6. It's Temporary: Some fad diets suggest that you only do them for a short period of time. You probably want something that will last you a lifetime.

In the next few weeks, we'll talk about the best diet plans and how to calculate how many calories you need.

FINEBAUM ON FOOTBALL - Janice talked with sports analyst Paul Finebaum about football headlines including Lane Kiffin leaving early at Alabama to take over his duties in Florida, his relationship with Coach Saban, Sarkisian taking over, and Auburn's injuries and loss in the Sugar Bowl.

RINGLING BROS. CIRCUS CLOWN - Come one, come all... the Ringling Brothers Circus: Out of This World is rolling into town! This world-famous circus has been astounding audiences across the globe for over a hundred years. Ever since the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circuses merged their traveling shows in 1919, the legendary circus has more than earned its moniker of The Greatest Show on Earth. The show packs in every single type of circus performance that you can think of, forming a spectacular cavalcade of clowns, trapezists, gymnasts, and escape artists. Bringing the circus right up to date and beyond,

Out of This World is unlike any show Ringling Brothers And Barnum Bailey have ever created. It's an intergalactic adventure, on which we join the circus' host of performers as they journey on their spaceship from one planet to another, in an epic battle of good vs evil. To bring this space-age story to life, Out of This World employs cutting edge lighting and projections. Among the many talented acts are a troupe of skating uni-cyclists and contortionists suspended 50 feet above the air in glowing plastic spheres. Plus, the proceedings are all accompanied by a live band! Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus: Out of This World plays in Legacy Arena at The BJCC in Birmingham, AL, January 19 - 22, 2017.

MONEY TUESDAY -  After thirty-something years working with people and their finances, Stewart Welch developed an ability to predict their financial future…usually after as little as a five-minute visit.  He can even do it if he's never met you.  Kimberly Reynolds with The Welch Group joined us with Stewart's predictions for your success in 2017:

  1. Stewart predicts… that if you create financial goals for 2017, you'll increase your chances of significantly improving your finances by 20%.  I'm reminded of the scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice, seemingly lost, reaches a fork in the road and notices Cheshire the Cat is perched in a tree.  Cheshire asks, "Where are you going?"  Alice responds, "I don't know."  Cheshire says, "Then any road will take you there!"  Most people have no specific goals and wonder why their finances are in such disarray.  Financial success starts with goals and a plan for achieving those goals.
  2. Stewart predicts… that if you write down your goals, you'll raise your chance of success to 60%.  It's not enough to just 'think' your goals.  Research suggests that the mere act of writing down a goal significantly increases the chance of achieving it.

Here's Stewart's recommendation:  grab a pen and sheet of paper right now…don't wait!  Write down one to three simple, achievable financial goals for 2017.  Examples might include:

  • Reducing your debt by a specific dollar amount;
  • Increasing your long-term savings and investing by a specific dollar amount;
  • Starting a college savings plan for your child or grandchild.

Don't just 'think it', write it down.  It's the act of writing that makes the difference.

  1. Stewart predicts… that if you place your goals where you'll see them every day, your chance of success will rise to 80%.  Stewart uses four-by-six index cards…one for each goal and keep them on his desk next to his phone so that he sees them every day. Each day ask yourself, "What can I do today to move me towards one or more of my goals?"
  2. Stewart predicts… that if you 'automate' your goals, you'll raise your chances of success to 90%.  The single best way to achieve a goal is to set in motion an automated system for achieving it.  For example, let's assume one of your goals is to save $1,000 towards your child's college education.  Automate your success by going to website; open the account; then have $83.33 automatically drafted from your checking account each month.  In other words, "Talk is cheap.  Action speaks volumes!"  The single best way to fail to achieve a goal is to rely on your own self-discipline. Achieving financial goals often comes down to the simple choice between satisfying an immediate 'want' versus the delayed gratification of a future desire.
  3. Stewart predicts… that if you create a big enough 'Why' related to your goals, there's a 100% chance that you'll achieve your goal!  There's a saying, "If you create a big enough WHY, the 'how' will take care of itself."  Take a moment to look at the goals you've written down.  Why is each one important to you?  Whatever your WHY is, write it down next to the goal.  For example, we have a client whose parents never saved enough for retirement.  They required financial support from their children and were miserable in their circumstances. His client vowed to 'do whatever it takes' to be certain their own finances were sufficient that they'd never have to turn to their children for financial help.

Stewart bets that if you follow all five steps you'll be happy with your results.