Archived Story

Nettles remembers area fondly

Published 2:29pm Thursday, July 5, 2012

On a chilly Saturday morning in February 2010, I trekked across a muddy Russell Forest wearing dress clothes and high heels. I was there to cover the first annual Russell Forest Run for both Lake and The Alexander City Outlook, and I was a mere week into my job as staff writer with Tallapoosa Publishers.

“What are you wearing heels out here for? Do you want a ride in the golf cart?” Russell Lands Vice President Roger Holliday asked out of sympathy as he saw me attempting to make my way from the start to the finish line in order to interview the winners after they reached the finish line.

I gladly accepted the offer, got my story and vowed to never wear high heels to the lake ever again.

Nearly two and a half years later, I don’t think I’ve broken that vow. And my happy feet have carried me all over the Lake Martin region to cover countless events and interview numerous wonderful people.

Much of that work was for Tallapoosa Publishers’ two newspapers, The Outlook and The Dadeville Record. But after Lake’s previous editor Katie Cole moved to Birmingham a year ago, I was named senior writer of Lake and took over many of the editorial duties before taking the reigns as managing editor of both Lake and our sister magazine Lake Martin Living early this year. The experience I’ve gained with both the magazines has been invaluable, and I’ve had so much fun along the way.

I’ve climbed to the top of the Smith Mountain Fire Tower, toured Martin Dam and interviewed great people like the Oak Ridge Boys’ William Golden, Admiral Bill Goodwin and Auburn’s Jonna Chizik.

I’ve learned more about lake levels than I ever thought possible as I covered the Martin Dam relicensing efforts and witnessed the strength of the community after an EF4 tornado pummeled through the Lake Martin area in April 2011.

I’ve cheered as several of our Lake columnists achieved professional accomplishments in recent months: Pro angler Greg Vinson finished second in the Bassmaster Classic this year, SpringHouse Executive Chef Rob McDaniel assisted Chris Hastings of Birmingham’s Hot and Hot Fish Club in defeating celebrity chef Bobby Flay on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and golf pro Lee Williams recently got his first Nationwide Tour win when he won the Mexico Open.

The July issue of Lake brings you a fresh batch of stories to read, from our cover story on Jim Scott’s garden to a preview of Fourth of July events.

It’s another issue I’m proud of, and I’m sad to say it is also my last. I’m leaving Tallapoosa Publishers at the end of June to pursue new opportunities in the Huntsville area. I’m leaving the magazines in good hands, however, as Betsy Iler has been named the next managing editor of both Lake and Lake Martin Living. You can reach her at or 256-234-4281.

As for me, I’d like to say a big thank you to each and every one of you who has helped me over the years – whether allowing me to write a story about you or your business, calling me with a story idea or simply saying kind words about the magazines or papers. I hope to be back to the lake area to visit you all soon.

Nettles is the outgoing editor of Lake and Lake Martin Living magazines.