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280 Living

neighborly news & entertainment

November Features

Volume 5 | Issue 32011 | November 2011 | November | w






















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Chelsea’s Christian to play the PGA By WILL HIGHTOWER It’s been a long, strange path for Gary Christian. It began in England, and made stops at several houses, colleges, country clubs, tournaments, and – oddly – at a Clinique Cosmetics seminar. And the journey has come to this: at the age of 40, Christian will play his first tournament on the PGA Tour in 2012 after his win at the Mylan Classic in September. “It was a long journey,” the Chelsea resident said. “Now, it is a dream come true.”

Sports | Section B Editor’s note


Auburn fan Lyn Scarbrough


Sicilian cooking classes


People you should know


OM State Park history


Ministry Spotlight


Local authors


Restaurant Showcase


Business Spotlight


School House




Library Happenings


Gary Christian holds the Mylan Classic trophy that secured his place in the 2012 PGA Tour. Photo courtesy of the PGA.



Kari Kampakis


Paul Johnson


280 Business Happenings


Calendar of Events


Music Listings/Classifieds


At Christmas Oak Mountain Missions connects area residents with their neighbors in need. Longtime volunteer Mike Collins adds a special touch to the Christmas season by dressing up like Santa. He starts growing his beard in the fall for the full effect. “I’ll be dressed up and help load items into the client’s cars when they pull around to the warehouse,” said Collins. “You should see the look on some of the kids faces. It means a lot to me.” Preparations for the holiday season come early at Oak Mountain Missions Ministries, a non-profit organization located off Highway 31 in Pelham. It is their mission to demonstrate the love of Christ by providing food, clothing, furniture and financial assistance to those in need in Shelby County and the greater Birmingham area. “Our Christmas ministry connects these clients directly to those who want to help such as churches, clubs, businesses, even individuals,” Stokes said. “Area churches who have angel trees will take some of the names for their trees. The families list items needed from clothing to


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Oak Mountain Missions links community with families in need

Rick Watson

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A risk with a boyhood game Most people had kids’ TV shows and plastic toys surrounding them in early childhood. Christian had golf. “I was brought up around the game,” Christian said. “My brother is named after Lee Trevino, and I am named after Gary Player.” Christian’s childhood home had a golf course behind it, and the Christian boys could be seen practicing their short game in their yard, chipping and putting for hours on end.

“It’s amazing to think how small I was when I started learning about the game,” the golfer said. “I was very small. I learned the basics by age 7. We all played, and mom always enjoyed watching and being outdoors, so I was very fortunate to be brought up with that kind of family.” However, even with golf seemingly engulfing him during his childhood, Christian was not always fully focused on the game. Growing up in Carshalton, England, he played several sports. “When I started school, I started playing cricket and rugby,” Christian said. “I was a pretty good athlete, but I always seemed to be on bad teams. We never won anything.” They say that everything happens for a reason. The bad teams on which Christian played, which seemed simply boring and not fun at the time, appear to have had an important effect. “I decided to give golf another go. It appealed to me as an individual

Mike Collins volunteers as Santa during the holiday season at Oak Mountain Missions Ministries. Collins prepares a special area with donated toys to give to children that come by the mission with their parents. Photo by Kathryn Acree.

food and toys.” By early October, 115 Shelby County families and 40 seniors had filled out forms listing wants and needs for Christmas. An overflow list is maintained and will have

approximately 200 names of families in need. The mission’s clients are asked to list

See MISSIONS | page A13



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280 Living

| November 2011



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November 2011


Welcome Friends

280 Living neighborly news & entertainment

Editor’s Note

As this thanks-themed season arrives, I want to not just routinely list off my gratitude for “friends, family, faith and health” when we go around in a circle before Thanksgiving dinner. Going forward I want to meditate on and journal about each little blessing, to tell each person who is special to me what I admire about them, and to give thanks for the abundance of silver linings in the everyday and in the not-so-sunny parts of life. I am thankful for the intimacy of being part of a community; the pages of 280 Living always remind me of how connected I am to its people and places. It was fun to remember going to high school with Butch Burbage’s daughters (A11) and Brannon Sirmon (A14), to run into author Claire Datnow (A15) at an art festival and hear about her new internet-book integration project, and to learn about the 9/11 commemoration spearheaded on a street in Brook Highland where I walk my parent’s golden retriever, Molly (A16).

I am thankful for the autumn hues on Double Oak Mountain illuminated on a blue-sky, sunny day as I drive down Highway 280. I am thankful to learn the fascinating stories people are living out around me: Lyn Scarbrough’s (A8) passion for sports writing and Auburn games (370 consecutive games!), Mary Jo Gagliao’s Sicilian cooking (A10), the power of storytelling for author Justin Fisher in his battles with cerebral palsy (A15), the determination of paralympic athlete Alex Richmond (B12) and the elementary school students who wrote to Alabama and Auburn football players (B6). I hope we all take the advice of Kari Kampakis in her column this month’s to live a joyful life of gratitude—not just because of a season but because reflecting on blessings makes life all the richer. With gratitude for each of you for reading and making the 280 area what it is,

Meet our intern

Krysti Shallenberger writes a lot, especially as a senior English major at Birmingham-Southern College. She grew up on a farm outside of Cullman, Alabama. Her favorite authors include Margaret Atwood and John Steinbeck. Her alter ego/dark side loves Star Wars, barrel racing, hockey, exploring her neighbor’s property and frequently quoting from movies. She hopes to obtain her MFA in creative writing and publish short stories to pay for her horse habit.

Fan Giveaway Four-year-old Megan Prevallet enjoys the colorful fall mums on display at the Mt Laurel Harvest Festival. Photo by Kathryn Acree.

Staff & Friends Contributing Writers

Paul Johnson | Athena David| Lisa Culotta Johnsey Brent Watson | Rick Watson | Kari Kampakis Kathleen Thompson | Patrick Thomas

Contributing Photographers Cari Dean | Barry Clemons


Editor at Large

Dan Starnes

Joe Samuel Starnes

Creative Director


Keith McCoy

Krysti Shallenberger

Community Editor

Sales and Distribution

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Dan Starnes | Angela Morris

Managing Editor

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Contact Information: 280 Living P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 (205)-370-0732

280 Living is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. 280 Living is designed to inform the communities along Highway 280 of area school, faith, family and community events. Information in 280 Living is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/ photos submitted become the property of 280 Living. We reserve the right to edit articles/ photos as deemed necessary. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 370-0732 or by email. Please recycle this paper

Congratulations to the winner of the November Facebook fan giveaway:

Lydia Deaver Hendrix

Remember only Fans who “like” our Facebook page are eligible for the monthly giveaway. This month’s winner will receive:

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280 Living


| November 2011



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November 2011

| 280 Living


An Oak Mountain Christmas set for Dec. 9th

NOVEMBER 16 -19, 2011 Thursday, November 17 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Friday, November 18 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 19 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Wednesday, November 16 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.



Thursday, November 17 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m

. TICKETS $12 General Admission $24 Market & Muffins $36 Sneak Peek Party $24 3-Day Must Have Pass All events open to the public. Stroller-Free Thursday & Friday until 2:00 p.m. Strollers welcome Thursday & Friday after 2:00 p.m. and all-day Saturday.

For more information or to purchase tickets:


Kristian Alfonso will join us as our celebrity guest and vendor. This accomplished actress, best known for her starring role as Hope Williams in the hit soap opera Days of Our Lives will showcase her jewelry line- Hope, Faith, Miracles. Originally, the jewelry design was inspired by and centered on the fleur de lis symbol. Kristian has expanded her line of earrings, bracelets, necklaces/pendants, watches and rings to include many elegant and affordable designs.

BB&T . Birmingham Coca-Cola . Birmingham Magazine Changing Spaces Moving . Chris Mason, Certified Wealth Strategist Circa Marketing . Diamonds Direct . EBSCO . Huie, Fernambucq & Stewart Inverness Dermatology . Lehr, Middlebrooks and Vreeland Mauldin & Jenkins . Michael S. Beckenstein, M.D. Park Lane Construction . Thomas E. Jernigan Foundation Total Skin & Beauty All proceeds benefit the mission and community projects of the Junior League of Birmingham

Carrie Tillis will be back to perform with the Oak Mountain High School Band at “An Oak Mountain Christmas” on Dec. 9 at the Alabama Theatre. Photo courtesy of the OMHS Band Boosters.

The award-winning Bands of Oak Mountain will perform with special guest Carrie Tillis in the second annual An Oak Mountain Christmas. The event will be held Fri., Dec. 9 in the historic Alabama Theater. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the performance begins at 7 p.m. Tillis will perform a range of music with Oak Mountain High School’s nationally-recognized jazz, symphonic and wind ensemble bands. This special evening also will include music before the show by the Alabama’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ. An internationally known vocalist, Tillis is the daughter of country music legend Mel Tillis and sister of superstar Pam Tillis. She is known for standout

performances, which includes standing ovations for her rendition of “O Holy Night” that will be performed at this special event. She has worked with singers, musicians and conductors worldwide. All seating is general admission. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for kids 12 and under. Tickets are available from any OMHS band or visual student. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more; contact the ticket group at tickets@ for pricing and additional information. All proceeds benefit the Oak Mountain band program. For more information about the event, visit www.

Educating community on Alzheimer’s By KRYSTI SHALLENBERGER When Frank Edmonds died from vascular dementia, his wife, Sunny Meadows resident Ellen Marie Edmonds, realized a growing need for family members and friends left behind to speak about their experiences. A retired CEO with AT&T, war veteran, Golden Eagle Boy Scout leader and former aide to the Secretary of the Army, Frank Edmonds left an enduring legacy not just in the United States, but also in the 280 community, where he was a member of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church. As a widow, Ellen Marie Edmonds began organizing campaigns to create awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia. She also wanted to help families caught who also had a family member suffering from dementia. After several appearances on EWTN global television and radio, Edmonds began hosting a weekly radio show called “Embracing Alzheimer’s in Mind and Heart,” sponsored by the United for Life Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to helping families and individuals in crisis situations like Alzheimer’s. In “Embracing Dementia – A Call To Love,” Ellen Marie Edmonds shares her personal account of her late husband’s disease. “The dementia journey was difficult and painful for our entire family,” she said. “Many valuable lessons were learned that I now share with millions

Frank and Ellen Marie Edmonds on a vacation. Photo Courtesy of Ellen Marie Edmonds. of people worldwide to bring hope and practical help.” She now serves on the board of United for Life Foundation located just off Hwy 280 in Cahaba Heights, which created Legacy Fund in honor of Frank Edmonds. She will be speaking at United for Life Foundation’s annual “Hearts of Hope” Alzheimer’s Fundraiser Dinner on Nov. 17; the event benefits the Frank Edmonds D.E.A.R Legacy Fund for Dementia Education And Research. For more information, visit www. or call 408-0438. For Alzheimer’s educational resources, visit www. EmbracingAlzheimer’

Choirs to host dessert cabaret The choirs of Oak Mountain High School will host a dessert cabaret on Friday, Nov. 18. Show times are 6:30 and 8 p.m. with entertainment provided by the showchoirs, honor and concert choirs of OMHS. In addition, selected choir members will perform solos and duets with a few surprises in store for the evening. The cabaret will be held in the gym of Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church, 5080

Cahaba Valley Trace. Tickets are $10 per person with proceeds benefitting the choral department of Oak Mountain High School. Admission includes a selection of a dessert and choice of available beverages. For more information on ticket purchases or available sponsorships, contact Patti Cato at catofam@bellsouth. net.

280 Living

| November 2011



Gifts and Gratitudes a vendor at Briarwood Christmas Shop

many great looking handmade items made by very talented people,” Macoy said. “I know many people who do the bulk of their Christmas shopping there.” In addition to Macoy, 70 vendors from all over the state are expected, and door prizes will be given away. Booths include jewelry, clothing, crafts, baby items, gift baskets, decorative items and more. It’s a great one stop shop for Christmas gifts or something special for yourself. The event is a fundraiser for Briarwood’s PTF and will be held at the Briarwood Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall. Admission is free. The Briarwood Christmas Shop is open Nov. 10 from noon – 6 p.m. and Nov. 11 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Briarwood Presbyterian Church is located at I-459 on Acton Road. Macoy’s Gifts and Gratitudes offers a website,, where customers can shop online. The storefront location is a booth space in the Interiors & Antiques Market on Highway 31 located across the street from Red Lobster, 1069 Montgomery Highway.

Oak Mountain sophomore crowned Miss Shelby County’s Outstanding Teen

Mary Ann McDougal, Miss Shelby County’s Outstanding Teen, with Jenny Miller, Executive Director of the Shelby County Humane Society, at the “Bark in the Park” event in Alabaster. Photo courtesy of the McDougal Family.

Mary Ann McDougal, a sophomore at Oak Mountain High School, was crowned Miss Shelby County’s Outstanding Teen on September 10. She will represent the Shelby County area in Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen March 2 – 4, 2012, the winner of which will represent the state at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in August 2012 in Orlando. Mary Ann is an advanced diploma candidate and honor roll student who is also a junior varsity cheerleader. She is a member of the OMHS advanced girls show choir, “Chanter”, the Diamond Dolls,

French Club and Drama Club. She is also active in her church youth group at Oak Mountain Presbyterian. With a passion for animals, encouraging adoption and advocating quality animal care is something Mary Ann enjoys promoting. She volunteers with the Shelby County Humane Society, most recently at the annual “Bark in the Park” event in at Veterans Park in Alabaster. She also promotes her original program, “P.E.T.S.” by hosting fundraising events, most recently raising more than $300 for the Shelby County Humane Society.

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Gifts and Gratitudes owner Adrienne Macoy will be one of more than 70 vendors at the annual Christmas Shop fundraiser for Briarwood Christian High School held Nov. 10–11. A Birmingham resident with a storefront location in Vestavia, Macoy has enjoyed being part of the Briarwood event for the past four years. “It’s a happy and festive show that will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit,” Macoy said. “I participate in several shows throughout the year and this is definitely one of my most favorite shows that I do.” Macoy’s Gifts and Gratitudes booth will offer unique gifts and accessories. Some of her most popular selling items include handmade yarn scarves, stretchy beaded cross bracelets and necklaces, unique art with crosses, churches and angels, burlap cross pillows and jewelry. New items this fall includes monogrammable rain boots, distressed belts and belt buckles and personalized bible verse cards. Macoy is impressed with the Briarwood Christmas Shop’s unique flair. “You’ll find clothing, art, jewelry, stationery, food, Christmas decorations and

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Adrienne Macoy, owner of Gifts and Gratitudes, will be a vendor at the Briarwood Christmas Shop. Photo courtesy of Adrienne Macoy.

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November 2011


280 Living

For the love of the game By KRYSTI SHALLENBERGER Lyn Scarbrough has attended 370 consecutive Auburn games and sat in section 9, row 23 and 24 at Jordan-Hare Stadium since 1970. “It’s my passion,” said Scarbrough, “I love Auburn, love sports and love good sports journalism.” A Highland Lakes resident, Lyn Scarbrough travels the South writing, editing and directing marketing for Lindy Sports, one of the top sports magazine publishers in the nation. He covers Major League Baseball, the Superbowl, NFL Draft, college football and basketball and even fantasy football. Scarbrough’s father, who played freshman football under Ralph “Shug” Jordan, took him to his first Auburn football game against Mississippi State in 1957. “We won 15 to 7,” he said. Although a passionate Auburn fan, Scarbrough appreciates the traditions and passion of the fan base for all college teams. “Just because I’m an Auburn fan, doesn’t mean that I don’t love the night games at Baton Rouge in Tiger Stadium and the Volunteer navy at the University of Tennessee among other fantastic traditions,” he said. A Birmingham native, Scarbrough graduated from Hueytown High School and wrote for The Birmingham News as a journalism student at Auburn. He has worked in all avenues in journalism, from PR to print sales; he also hosts a radio show on ESPN Louisiana. “You won’t get rich in journalism,” said Scarbrough, “but the benefits and perks are intangible. I have interviewed every Heisman Trophy winner that Auburn had, as well as Tim Tebow and wonderful coaches and players. I can call up a high

Lyn Scarbrough in his section in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Photo by Rob Markham.

school and tell them I’m in the area and want to cover their game, and I will have a press pass, parking spot and seat in six hours.” Scarbrough is also a committee chairman and on the advisory board for local bowl games such as

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and the BBVA Compass Bowl. Outside of the sports, he has served on the board for Lifesong, formerly known as Life International, the first international non-denominational ministry group to minister to orphans In Birmingham, Scarbrough is on

the board of directors for the Greater Birmingham Auburn Club and sings in the men’s choir at Green Valley Baptist Church. He has three sons, who each attended Auburn University. Nov. 27 will be his 51st Iron Bowl game.


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280 Living

Christmas tree pickin’ at Old Baker Farm

| November 2011





Customers take a hay ride in the Christmas tree plot at Old Baker Farm. Photo courtesy of Sandi Herron.

By KRYSTI SHALLENBERGER A trip to a Christmas tree farm is a journey, from the drive listening to traditional Christmas songs like “White Christmas” and “Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer” to smelling spicy pine trees and wintry air. Your family can take that journey to Old Baker Farm this season to find the perfect tree for your home. The farm also adds hay rides, hot apple cider and candy canes to the experience. Originally a cotton farming family, the Bakers decided to look for a new crop in the 1980s as cotton farming became less profitable. After considering alligators and strawberries, they decided on Christmas trees because they required the least financial investment. Jerry Baker and his father, the late Earl Baker, converted a couple of cotton wagons into hayride wagons, painting them bright red and green. Soon, 300 to 400 of the trees were ready to sell. The Bakers placed homemade signs on the edge of Highway 280, and they invited a few local elementary schools to bring their first graders out to cut their own real Christmas tree for their classrooms for free. The students and their teachers took

a hayride around the farm and enjoyed apple juice and candy canes. The adults were offered sweet, spicy hot apple cider. This tradition of cider and snacks continues at the farm today. Besides being a learning experience for teachers and children alike, a visit to the tree farm has become part of many families’ yearly traditions. Old Baker Farm now sees the children of their first customers return and experience the same rides, cider and cutting down Christmas trees with their families. The Old Baker Farm Christmas tree farm is open the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve. Admission is free. They offer several types of trees including Virginia Pines, Leyland Cypress, Caroline Sapphire, Arizona Sapphire and limited Red Cedars. Hayrides, apple cider and candy canes are complimentary on a visit. Old Baker Farm, an approximately 25 minute drive from the Inverness area, is located at 1041 Farmingdale Road, Harpersville, and is open 9 a.m. until dark daily. For more information, visit or call 672-7209.

Junior League Market returns You can find unique gifts at pocketbook-pleasing prices for your loved ones this holiday season this Nov. 16-19 at The Market!. The Junior League of Birmingham’s Market meets holiday shopping needs and helps improve the lives of Birminghamarea women and children. “Shoppers can feel good about the gifts and goodies they purchase at The Market because a portion of all their purchases makes a difference in the life of someone in the Birmingham community,” JLB Market Chair Holly Stiles said. Located at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center on Highway 280, The Market includes merchants from all over the state of Alabama and Southeast. Special events include the Sneak Peek

Party on the evening of Wed., Nov. 16, which offers guests the chance to win a one-carat diamond valued at $6,000 from Bromberg’s. Also, the Market and Muffins event on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 17, is an opportunity to dine on delicious brunch fare such as Millie Ray’s orange rolls while listening to the sounds of the Alabama School of Fine Arts Orchestra Ensemble while shopping stroller free. Additionally, book signings with special guest writers will take place during the Author’s Corners events throughout The Market. Market general admission tickets are $12. All Market events are open to the public. For special event tickets, stroller free shopping hours and more information, visit

Bone Marrow Registry Drive There will be a Bone Marrow Registry Drive on Tuesday, Nov 15 at St. Vincent’ s One Nineteen. Donors from all backgrounds are needed for the Be the Match Registry. Attracting a diverse donor base is especially important so that all people have an equal chance at the hope for a cure. Brook Highland resident Pam Allen shared why she everyone in the area to come to the drive: “Our miracle is a 9-year-old little boy, our nephew Brennan, who needed four transplants to cure his leukemia and anemia. Throughout the past

nearly three years, Brennan has challenged us to intertwine faith, laughter, hope, love and humor together so that you can experience the incredible journey that he has experienced.” “A bone marrow transplant is a lifechanging treatment for children with leukemia and many other diseases. A transplant may be the only HOPE for a CURE! But patients need donors who are a match, or at least a close match.” If you have any questions regarding this Donor Drive, contact Pam Allen at or 919-0370.

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November 2011


280 Living

Inspiration from Italy

Hands-on Sicilian cooking classes are an international escape By MADOLINE MARKHAM La Tavolo is a hidden gateway from to Europe. The new cooking school advertises teaching authentic Sicilian recipes from owner Mary Jo Gagliano’s family, but what they really offer is a trip to Italy without getting on a plane. You know you are in the right place for the class when you pull up to what appears to be an Italian villa just a few minutes off Highway 280 in Chelsea. Gagliano invites you through stone archways into her home kitchen. The space beckons groups to cook with its commercial gas range and refrigerator, three sinks and Italian décor and dishware. Background music helps foster an atmosphere that inspires the risottos, pastas and other authentic Sicilian dishes, as much if not more than the instruction and ingredients. Most of LaTavolo’s dishes aren’t complicated; you just need to know how to do them right. Gagliano provides her favorite ingredients, recipes and kitchen equipment and lets you learn the cooking yourself with her to guide you along in the two-hour class. We did all the chopping and stirring ourselves but relied on her to make sure we were doing it right and help us taste test to see when our risotto was the perfect texture. The classes are small and intimate. Four to six people for each class is ideal, but Gagliano will take up to eight. “It’s always exciting to see excitement on someone’s face when they don’t cook much,” the former realtor said. “They are like a first time home buyer.” Gagliano throws out cooking tips while the class prepares the recipe. Don’t cut off the root of the onion. Prep

LaTavolo owner Mary Joe Gagliano taste tests risotto in her hands-on Sicilian cooking classes held in her Chelsea home. Photo by Madoline Markham.

everything for the risotto in advance. Use unsalted butter, always. Finish the dish with freshly grated Parmesan at the table. Remove seeds from tomatoes for a prettier presentation. Use a paper towel to wipe the dirt off of mushrooms. Classes vary by season. Past classes have included a dessert class complete with how to make your own limoncello as well as learning to make a cauliflower frittata, a quick and easy one-dish meal. This month there will be a class on Sicilian-

style stuffing/dressing with chestnuts and Italian sausage and a Sicilian-style stuffed turkey breast. Perhaps the best part of the cooking classes is the hands-on dining to complete the Italian experience. After our risotto had cooked, we moved to the dining table of the home’s piazza, a back deck overlooking her garden and a private lake. There we relished the flavors we had prepared while sipping red wine and talking about visiting Italy and the art of entertaining.

Over the years Gagliano travelled to Sicily to visit her husband’s relatives. In Sicily, you don’t go into the kitchen; you are a guest. Family members there would give Gagliano their recipes, and she would return home to try them and exchange cooking ideas with a Sicilian cousin who lives on Staten Island. Sicilian recipes evolved from years of poverty. The dishes were created from readily available ingredients and incorporated flavors from all nine countries that had invaded their country over the years. For 47 years, Gagliano cooked these flavors for her family and entertained friends in Birmingham. Twenty-five of those she was a realtor by profession. Then, when her four children were over at the house for a Sunday meal earlier this year, they had an idea. “Mom, you should do this,” they suggested. “You should teach people how to make fantastic meals.” Gagliano thought about it. Cooking, entertaining and meeting people were her passion, and her father had always told her to make her work something she was passionate about. “Why not share my culture with other people?” she thought. “You don’t get meals like this in Birmingham restaurants.” And so she began hosting La Tovolo cooking classes and creating a website to sell Italian olive oil and balsamic vinegar and other items handmade in Italy and Sicily. Gagliano wants to show the younger generation how to entertain. The hostess sets an example with grace and arms her classes with recipe cards, aprons and many tips. “The table should always be beautiful,” she said. “That tells guests that they are special to me.” As for me, I left the Italian haven La Tavolo completely relaxed, refreshed and full of inspiration to host my own risotto dinner party. The classes make an ideal date night or girls’ night. I certainly plan to return with some friends. Classes are $50 for one or $40 for groups of four to six. For more information on La Tovolo classes and products, visit

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280 Living | November 2011

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Shelby County Finance Manager Butch Burbage outside the Inverness Corners license office. Photo by Kathryn Acree.

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By KATHRYN ACREE A trip to your local Shelby County license office may not always be the bright spot in your day, but Finance Manager Butch Burbage works to ensure it is a professional and speedy experience. As the first and only finance manager in county history, he manages both the license and accounting divisions under the umbrella of County Manager Alex Dudchock. We sat down with Burbage, a North Shelby resident, and asked him about his role in county government and his personal interests. Are you a Birmingham native? How long have you served as Shelby’s first Finance Manager? I was born in Philadelphia, Pa., but my family moved to the Birmingham area when I was three. I’ve been working for Shelby County for nearly 16 years. My background is as a CPA, and I worked for Philips Petroleum for many years, living in Oklahoma and California. How has the county changed since you were first tapped to be finance manager? Well obviously we’ve experienced incredible growth. When I first started in 1993, the county’s total budget was approximately $15 million a year with about 200 county employees. Now the total budget is approximately $81 million with around 575 employees. When I was hired to manage the license office, it moved from being under the direction of a probate judge like is often done in small towns. Now our county probate judge only handles probate matters. Also, we’ve added the license offices in Pelham and Inverness for the convenience of residents in the north end of the county. Have the satellite courthouse closings in Jefferson County affected the Shelby

license offices? Most definitely. We estimate an increase of 35 to 40 percent in license renewals between the Inverness and Pelham offices. Just to be clear, Jefferson residents can only renew their driver’s licenses in Shelby, not their tags. Will the Inverness license office ever offer the driver’s license test? I doubt it because there simply isn’t a means to do that at Inverness. It was never our intent to bring that up here but that decision falls under the Department of Public Safety. I don’t think anyone wants to see 16 year olds out trying to pass their driver’s test on 280!

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Jeff State named in top digital colleges Jefferson State Community College has been named as one of the top 10 digital colleges in the country in the seventh annual Digital Community College Survey. “This recognition demonstrates the emphasis Jefferson State places on providing the absolute best technology for our students and the faculty and staff who serve them,” said college president Judy Merritt. “We are extremely proud of this recognition and our efforts to enhance student success through technology.”

The survey looked at technology integration into college curriculum and campus life, documenting use of online admission processes, distance education, technology training for students and faculty, use of Web 2.0 social and collaborative capabilities as well as online tutorial and advisory services. Use of mobile devices was also a key indicator of success. In the seven years of the survey, this is the second time Jefferson State has ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

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November 2011


280 Living

A national recreation area in our backyard? A history of Oak Mountain State Park By KATHRYN ACREE As we welcome the beautiful colors of fall and the cooler temperatures, there is no better place in our area to enjoy being outdoors than Oak Mountain State Park. Did you know that until the 1940’s, plans were in the works for it to be national park? The park was originally established in 1927 with 940 acres in the current Peavine Falls area on Double Oak Mountain. The National Park Service became interested in developing the park further, and according to park records, called it “The Oak Mountain Recreation and Demonstration Area.” The development meant the park service would buy 8,000 additional acres and construct roads, trails, recreational facilities, cabins and pavilions through two Depression area programs, the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In the fall of 1935, local newspapers reported that the federal government wanted to purchase the additional acreage quickly and cheaply. Once the project was underway, infastructure work by the CCC began and lasted until 1937 when these men were moved to work on Yosemite National Park. Nearly 1,000 WPA men would stay on at Oak Mountain until the start of World War II. The war years of 1941-1945 drained the manpower and resources originally intended to complete the national park. In April of 1943, the park service deeded back to Alabama the purchased land, making the park the nearly 10,000 acres it is today. The area hosted scout camps in the 1940s such as Camp Tahali, whose remains are now in inaccessible areas of the park. Funds to continue development of a state park were passed by the Alabama

CCC workers cleared the trail for Peavine Falls at Oak Mountain State Park in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Oak Mountain State Park.

The postcard shows campers at the former Camp Talahi in the 1940s in Oak Mountain State Park. Photo courtesy of the Shelby County Historical Society.

legislature in 1967, and construction on what we know today as Oak Mountain State Park began in 1971. An article from the Shelby County Reporter in July 1973 shared that although the park was still not open to the public, it would be “the most imaginative recreational complex planned in the state… the most ambitious and will probably serve the greatest number of people.” The construction had endured months of unexpected rainy weather that had also delayed the opening of Birmingham’s new airport terminal. On April 18, 1974, the Shelby County Reporter’s cover read “Oak Mountain Park to Attract Millions,” touting the muchanticipated opening of the park that week. At the time, the park lured visitors with its two restaurants, demonstration farm, golf course, beach and a lodge where guests could play billiards or football. Furnished cabins could be rented for $24 a night “in a lovely wooded area on a lake.” When the area opened, there was no charge to drive through the park, but venues such as the picnic area charged 25 cents per person. Although some original features of the park have closed, such as The Foothills Restaurant formerly located in what is now the Alabama Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, other attractions have been established. The Oak Mountain Interpretive Center is a new interactive learning facility and this summer the park opened a new 200-foot fishing pier. An additional expansion of the mountain bike trail system is scheduled to open soon and the park hosted its first Fall Festival in October. Oak Mountain State Park remains the largest state park in Alabama, and with its ideal location south of Birmingham just off I-65. Writer’s note: Many thanks to Oak Mountain State Park and the Shelby County Historical Society for their assistance in this article.

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280 Living

| November 2011



Ministry Spotlight

From one community to another Woman organizes medical trips to Ecuador

Volunteer Stephanie Rubens and Ecuador Dr. Beatriz Engalls, who organizes medical mission trips to her home country. Photo by Krysti Shallenberger.

By KRYSTI SHALLENBERGER Dr. Beatriz Engalls moved away from Ecuador but hasn’t moved on from it. She knew she was lucky to earn a medical degree and make a life in Birmingham, and she wanted to help the kids her in home country become the catalyst for a better society. “I felt there was a need to help people over there,” said the Brook Highland resident. Once a year for the past 20 years, she and two of her brothers, both physicians, organize a trip to Ecuador. Engalls’ team includes surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, pharmacists, mechanic and physical therapists. Volunteers come from UAB and around Birmingham as well as the states, some as far away as Oregon and California. According to Engalls, in Ecuador, the public hospital care is free to the public, but medical supplies are almost nonexistent. “They tell people that they can get help free, but they have to buy their own supplies,” she said. “So it’s free, but it’s not free.” Engalls’ mission trip focuses on providing free surgeries to the impoverished population of Ambato, a town two hours from the capital city, Quito. She works with the local rotary club in Ambato to coordinate her visit with the two local public hospitals. “We do reconstructive ear surgery

because some children are born missing part of their ear,” she said. “It usually takes three or four surgeries to correct that, and I am only there for two weeks. I like to go back and see patients that we help get better.” The team focuses primarily on women and children to better the future of individuals and the country. “We try to catch their problems early so we can correct them and they won’t have to suffer when they get older,” she said. “Healthy children are necessary to a healthy society.” The mission team does reconstructive, pediatric orthopedic and eye surgery; they also work with clubbed feet and provide physical therapy. “Many of the people believe children who are born with a cleft lip are cursed,” said Engalls, “so the parents hide them.” Now volunteers are gathering at the trip’s supply center at Engell’s home to help prepare for her next trip in February. “We welcome donations,” she said, “all kinds from money to medical supplies such as sutures, eyeglasses and hearing aids. We need volunteers to help us pack up the supplies for the trip.” To donate supplies, make a donation or volunteer your time, contact Beatriz Engalls at or call 859-967-8561.

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CONTINUED from page A1 three wants and three needs, but senior citizens often have to be persuaded to actually list “wants.” They only focus on the basics, not the frivolity of things unneeded. “We tell them it’s OK to put a few things down,” said volunteer Alison Stokes, who helps coordinate the holiday ministry. “Families will list specific items they’d love to have as gifts, especially for their children. Seniors need assurance that asking for help or for some small, special item isn’t wrong.” The year-round needs at the mission continue to be greater each year. “We served 103 more families by July 2011 versus July 2010,” said Dianne Cesario, assistant director of the mission. “We were led to be part of the spring tornado relief efforts as well. $2,000 was spent on cleaning supplies that were delivered to the town of Phil Campbell. We served 15 tornado victims directly here at the mission.” Clients come to the mission by referral

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only from 21 approved agencies, including Aletheia House, Brother Bryan Rescue Mission, Greater Birmingham Ministries and the Lovelady Center. A network of churches supply the mission with food, toiletries, diapers, clothing, household items and of course, financial support, and they are always looking for more donations as needs continue to grow. The mission’s Christmas ministry continues to seek sponsors for families or seniors who’ve applied for assistance. Individual, church or corporate sponsors are encouraged to contact Oak Mountain Missions Ministries directly. “We always accept gifts of turkeys or hams as special items we’d like to provide to families on the overflow list or our seniors,” Cesario said. “Gift cards to grocery stores or Walmart are also a need. Ideally cards in the amount of $25 are best.” For more information at Oak Mountain Missions Ministries, visit oakmtnmissions. com or call 685-5757.

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November 2011

| 280 Living

Heroism is a matter of witnesses Oak Mountain grad shares a soldier’s story

By KATHRYN ACREE While searching his parents’ house for something to read over Christmas in 2009, Brannon Sirmon came across his great-grandfather’s World War I journal. He didn’t e realize at the moment, but the journal would shape his passion for history and re-telling his relative’s story. Sirmon delved into the pages of That’s War, realizing his great-grandfather’s accounts were worth being re-published. This summer he self-published the book through Xlibris; his great-grandfather is listed as the author and he as the “reproducer.” The original journal had a small publishing run by Lemon Publishers in Atlanta, but their publishing rights from 1929 extended only 75 years. The 2005 Oak Mountain High School graduate and Indian Springs resident is now actively out sharing William Arthur Sirmon’s war accounts. The elder Sirmon was born in 1894 and lived until 1971. He entered the Army as a young southern soldier in 1911 and served in the Philippines before going to England. After the U.S. entered World War I, Sirmon kept meticulous accounts of his war experience in France with the 82nd Division in a journal he later entitled That’s War. The diary covered events from January 1, 1918 until Armistice Day, November 11, 1918. William Arthur Sirmon quietly served with distinction, most notably receiving the Legion of Honor of France, the Distinguished Service Cross and the Croix de Guerre with Palm alongside famed hero Sergeant Alvin York in 1919. Additionally, separate from York he was

OMHS graduate Brannon Sirmon has republished his great-grandfather’s WWI journal, That’s War. Photo by Kathryn Acree.

awarded England’s highest honor, The Victoria Cross.

Brannon Sirmon said involvement with the diary has transformed him.

“I was in my fourth year studying at Alabama but not really knowing what direction I wanted to go in,” Sirmon said. “Coming across this account has given me something to be passionate about.” Ideally, Sirmon hopes to transform his great-grandfather’s war diary into a screenplay following in the paths of other first-person war accounts such as Band of Brothers and The Pacific. He recently travelled to Los Angeles to promote the book to movie producers. “There is definitely movie interest out there, but my job now is to get readers familiar with his story,” Sirmon said. Part of the influence the book has had upon Sirmon is a renewed fascination with history. “My great-grandfather’s account has humor in it at the beginning but then moves into a daily account of his unit with humble, patriotic tones,” Sirmon said. “One of my favorite quotes of his is, ‘Heroism is a matter of witnesses.’” That’s War is available for purchase through, barnesandnoble. com and Sirmon’s website, www.thatswar. com. Sirmon has stayed busy in recent months promoting the book on local television programs, appearing at events like Tannehill Trade Days and talking with groups such as local American Legion chapters. He will be a featured speaker November 6 in Columbiana at a veteran’s ceremony sponsored by the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce on the courthouse lawn. If your group or civic organization would be interested in meeting Sirmon, contact him by email at Brannon@thatswar. com or 901-0959.

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280 Living

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Stories of life with cerebral palsy By KRYSTI SHALLENBERGER Born with cerebral palsy, economics instructor Justin Fisher had to overcome physical difficulties in order to pursue his dreams. Above all, Fisher is intentional about showing the mercy of God through his story. “I grew up in rural Mississippi, which is very poor,” Fisher said. “Entertainment mostly consisted of storytelling because radios and TVs didn’t really exist. I couldn’t go outside and play football or sports with my cousins because of my condition, so I sat inside and listened to my grandparents tell stories about their lives and family.” Through emails to friends he conveyed his love of storytelling and Jesus Christ. “I blogged before blogging existed,” Fisher said. “I would think of something that happened and how I felt Jesus used that experience to teach me something, wrote it down and sent it to friends.” He saved his emails and took the advice of a literary agent friend to publish them in his new book, I Can’t Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand). Written from his perspective dealing with cerebral palsy, the book contains forty vignettes that he hopes point people in the direction of Jesus Christ. Fisher teaches economics at Jefferson State Community College, where he received the Phi Theta Kappa Outstanding Faculty award. He has also served on the Board of Directors for Special Equestrians Incorporated, a therapeutic horseback riding facility. The author is also actively involved in the church. He has taught small groups, spoken at youth meetings and given motivational speeches. He and Kelly, his wife of four years, are members of

Justin Fisher will be holding a Nov. 9 signing for I Can’t Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand), a book of vignettes about life with cerebral palsy. Photo courtesy of www.

Valleydale Church, where they serve in the children’s ministry as well as in a leadership role in their Life Connection Group. They have two children, Adam and Morgan. Fisher will be holding a book signing Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Jeff State on Valleydale Road in the Health Science Building Multipurpose Room. I Can’t Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand) can also be purchased on He will also speak at the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Prayer Breakfast on Nov. 22. See page B13 for more information on this event.

New young adult book to have interactive technology

Author Claire Datnow. Photo courtesy of Claire Datnow.

By MADOLINE MARKHAM Greystone author Claire Datnow is incorporating new technology into the release of the third book in her young adult eco mystery series, The Adventures of the Sizzling Six. While reading The Living Treasure, you will be able to scan QR codes using a smart phone or iPad to experience the same things that the characters are. “The technology is not a gimmick,” Datnow said. “It’s an enhancement to make the book come alive.” The Living Treasure follows two teenage girls on a treasure hunt involving an exotic pearl inside a rare freshwater mussel. At appropriate points in the text, optional QR codes lead readers to videos such as one on the unique lifecycle of mussels that can be shown uniquely from words on a page. “Teens and tweens are so comfortable

with their mobile devices and technology,” Datnow said. “Here I have seamlessly integrated printed books and technology so they have the best of both worlds.” In market testing, fifth through eighth graders found it to be a natural process to go from print to video, just as Datnow and her husband, Boris, intended when creating the interactive components. “I am a book lover and writer and reader but am also active in the technology world,” Datnow said. “I am excited to take two worlds and put them together for teens.” For more information about this project, visit To read more about Datnow’s work including her memoir on living in apartheid South Africa, visit

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November 2011


280 Living

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Vic and Kim Atherton organized selling bows from their Brook Highland home. Photo courtesy of Kim Atherton.


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Brook Highland resident Kim Atherton could imagine the horror of flight attendants before they crashed into the twin towers in 2001. She herself has worked as a flight attendant for both Eastern Airlines and Southwest Airlines. “It had just been two days since I’d had a personal crisis,” she said of the day. “I wanted to be alone with my own thoughts.” Her brother, John Akin, a firefighter, had been among a special forces unit in Sacramento that responded to the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. “That made the bond to 9/11 and the firefighters even bigger,” she said. Ten years later, Atherton decided she wanted to use her personal skills to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 in her neighborhood. As a floral designer specializing in both silk and fresh floral designs for www., she knew what to do. She would hand-tie bows. She would make red, white and blue bows for the USA and add a yellow ribbon for the valiant people who were affected by that gut-wrenching day. Atherton phoned to get an email distribution list for the neighborhood, and the project was launched. She and her husband, Vic, would fund the project, she would hand tie the bows, and anyone in the neighborhood who wanted a bow of ribbons to attach to a mailbox could pick it up at her house.

When Jennifer Robertson was returning home from work as a Registered Nurse on September 10, she saw neighbors picking up bows from Atherton. She stopped. That day she had administered immunizations to military troops who would be departing for Afghanistan either in October or November as a art of her job with a home health contractor. “It was the coincidence that was so touching to me,” Robertson said, “remembering the lives that were sacrificed for our country and knowing that sacrifices were still being made by our military.” One-hundred, thirty-five bows were picked up by neighbors. When neighbors began asking about the cost of the bows, Atherton thought about taking donations to the Leary Firefighters Foundation in New York City. $722 was donated ranging from quarters, $20 bills, and one personal check for $30. “All this exceeded my wildest expectations,” Atherton said. Mardi Grant, Director for the Leary Firefighters Foundation in New York, was grateful to receive the donation. She posted the 9/11/2011 Brook Highland Bow Project on their website, along with pictures of the event at What about next year? “I definitely plan on doing this annually for our neighborhood,” Atherton said. “It is my wish for every mailbox in Brook Highland to have a 9/11 bow on it.”

Editor publishes second novel Fall Line, the second novel by Joe Samuel Starnes, editor-at-large for The Homwood Star, hits bookstore shelves and e-book readers this month. Born in Anniston, Ala., Starnes grew up in Cedartown, Ga., and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1989. His first novel, Calling, was published in 2005, and he has had journalism appear in The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other places. He now lives near Philadelphia with his wife and daughter. The novel, published by NewSouth Books of Montgomery, unfolds on Dec. 1, 1955, as floodgates are poised to slam shut on a concrete dam straddling the

fictional Oogasula River, creating a lake that will submerge a forgotten crossroads and thousands of acres of woodlands in rural Georgia. The day’s action is viewed through the eyes of Elmer Blizzard, a troubled ex-deputy; Mrs. McNulty, a lonely widow who refuses to leave her doomed shack by the river; her loyal, aging dog, Percy; and a rapacious politician, Senator Aubrey Terrell, for whom the new lake is named. Fall Line is now available through bookstores and online book retailers. For more information, visit www.

280 Living | November 2011

Your Health Today By Dr. Irma Palmer

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are, once again, almost upon us. It seems like just yesterday we were lighting sparklers and celebrating our country’s birthday on July 4th, and now we’re planning family get togethers for Thanksgiving and (yikes!) the Christmas holiday season is just around the corner. Does thinking about everything you have to do and everywhere you need to be during the holidays stress you out? If so, you’re not alone, but you need not suffer. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), more than half of all women and men in the United States experience heightened stress during the holidays – enough stress to put them at increased risk for physical and mental health effects. With some advance planning, the holiday season can be a time to truly thrive, not just “survive”. Here are some great tips to help you navigate the holiday season with as little stress as possible: Identify: What usually stresses you out during the holidays? Is it spending time with your extended family? Is it finding the “perfect” gift for everyone on your list? Is it worrying about how you’re going to afford travel, gifts and entertaining? Identifying what stresses you out is the first

step to reducing stress. Make note of what stressors you have, and use the tips that follow to help exert control over them. Prioritize: Recognize that you can’t do it all. If you accept every party invitation you receive, join every friend’s cookie exchange, shop on every lunch hour, and never say “no”, you will definitely not thrive this holiday season. It’s okay to say “no” and prioritize how you spend your time. The key is to set your parameters NOW, before the invitations start rolling in, and before you are inundated with requests for your time. Stay active: With so much going on during the holidays, it’s an easy time to let your exercise routine fall to the wayside. However, the benefits of physical activity include improving your mental health and mood, strengthening bones and muscles, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and even your risk of some cancers…and that’s just the beginning! If you don’t have time for regular workouts, try burst training at home. Running in place, jumping rope, or doing jumping jacks or squats in 30-60 second bursts, 4-6 times a day will get your heart rate up and energize you to take on the holidays. Eat and drink right: With holiday



Don’t “Survive” the Holidays…THRIVE!

and party food aplenty, the holidays are a tough time to stay focused on eating right. Next month we’ll look at some specific ways to navigate holiday eating, but for now, just focus on eating regular meals and limiting “recreational” eating. Put more “God-made” food in your body than “manmade” food, and drink plenty of water to assure proper transport of nutrients to all cells and tissues of the body. Stay positive: It may sound corny, but looking on the bright side will de-stress your holidays. You are more motivated to get things done and more likely to achieve your goals when you have a positive attitude. When you face a problem, consider how you can turn that into an opportunity. You’ll have more perseverance if you expect things to work out well in the end. Multi task while socializing: Consider teaming up with friends to tackle your holiday “to do” list. Shopping with friends is always more fun, but have you considered having friends over for a holiday decorating party? Or getting a group together to address holiday cards? These are easy ways to double your productivity. Stay healthy: Germs are everywhere, and the best way to keep them from making you sick is to wash your hands frequently.

Don’t smoke, and avoid exposure to second hand smoke. Be smart about food and alcohol poisoning by keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, and keeping alcohol out of reach of children. Keep your spine in line by continuing chiropractic care. I often hear “I’m not coming in for my adjustment because I think I’m coming down with something.” Actually, that is the BEST time to come in. Regular chiropractic adjustments restore the body to its optimal form and function, allowing you to be healthy enough to maintain the hectic holiday schedule and be at your best while doing so! Next month, look for more specific health tips to increase your enjoyment of the holidays while decreasing the stress that often accompanies them. In the meantime, give my office a call to start or continue your chiropractic care to keep you at your healthiest during this busy time of year. And if you want even more information about how to stay healthy during the holidays, attend one of our FREE Wellness Workshops on 11/7 or 11/21 from 6:15-7 p.m. Just call to reserve your spot!

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November 2011


280 Living

There’s an app for that Student designs app for Berry Middle School By JASON GASTON For Ozair Patel, creating a website is nothing. The same goes for creating forums, editing movies and repairing smartphones. His latest accomplishment, however, has the official stamp of approval from Apple. Ozair has created his own “app” designed just for Berry Middle School. “Over the summer, my mom and I were talking about how I could improve for eighth grade,” Ozair said. “We talked about how easy it was for me to lose papers and things sent home from school.” For Ozair, a solution to the paper problem came quickly. “I can create an app,” he told his mother. The eighth grader then began his two-month journey of creating Berry School Mate. Free and easily found in the iPhone App Store, it offers the function of viewing school calendars, teacher contact information, homework assignments and much more. “I thought most of assembling the appwas just easy,” Ozair said. ”But some steps were hard to understand. After a few days of programming it became easy.” So how does a 13 year old construct an app for the iPhone from scratch? Well it helps if your dad is a Chief Technology Officer for a local software company. “The way I teach is people have to work on their own,” said Dr. Maqbool Patel, Ozair’s father. “I can only guide them.” That guidance began after some initial resistance. Upon hearing his son’s plans, Patel told Ozair the process of creating an app was complicated. There

Berry Middle School eighth grader and Berry School Mate App creator, Ozair Patel and his father, Dr. Maqbool Patel. Photo courtesy of Jason Gaston.

are the complexities of x-code, computer programming and debugging. But, Ozair persisted and work on the app soon got underway. Patel was quickly impressed at his son’s work. “My wife has already checked this app so many times,” Patel said. “All of it is there for her. It’s easy and intuitive. It is very helpful for when parents want to communicate with the teacher.”

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Berry School Mate continues to gain traction. Tracking already shows scores of downloads in its brief existence. Ozair and his dad creation has spawned the idea of an after-school App Club. Still in its infancy, Ozair has big plans for Berry School Mate. After all, he’s got the drive, know-how and even his own business license (Ozair Mobile Media,

Inc.). He’s already been approached by other school systems for app development and plans on developing game-themed apps, too (think “Angry Birds”). As for his parting advice to others looking to follow in his footsteps, he has one word: patience. Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Jason Gaston, Office of Public Relations/Media Relations, Hoover City Schools.

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280 Living

| November 2011


Pink out pep rally

Spain Park High seniors lead the cheers at the school’s Pink Out Pep Rally. Photo by Kathryn Acree.

On September 30, Spain Park High School hosted its annual Pink Out Pep Rally to raise breast cancer awareness. The

pep rally was held the afternoon of the Jags football game against Mountain Brook.


CONTINUED from page A1 sport. If you played well, you got all the glory, and if you played badly, you had no one to blame but yourself.” Individual glory, competition and a desire to succeed. The characteristics that pushed Christian toward the game of golf seem to go hand-in-hand with the characteristics of a certain place across the pond, with lush courses, great weather and college scholarships awaiting. England does not provide a conducive atmosphere to young golfers. To be an amateur golfer, you either have to have rich parents that can fund the career, or you have to work a night job, play during the day and find spare time to sleep. Not to mention the blustery weather, with winds and rain that can take your ball and force it into the rough, even on a well-hit drive. This situation was where Christian found himself as a young adult. He couldn’t see himself living that life of little sleep and a lot of work. The weather wasn’t helping. To Christian, America looked like the land of opportunity for his golf career. He could play in college and hopefully play well enough to turn professional. The weather conditions were much better in comparison to England, and the golfer would actually have time to sleep. Christian’s move to America to play golf on scholarship at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville was still a difficult decision. “I took a pretty big risk leaving my family and friends and going to another country,” Christian said. “It was a long journey. I had a commitment to the game.” Christian’s willingness to take that risk paid off: “I think because of that risk I took it [golf] means more to me than most people.” From Wallace to Chelsea to the PGA It was a normal afternoon at the Inverness Country Club. Christian, in the middle of his day as the membership director for the club, remembers it vividly. “That’s the day I met my wife,” Christian said. “She was there doing a Clinique Cosmetics seminar while I was working, and we met and started chatting and began dating.” Just to get to that point, though, Christian had taken a whirlwind ride through his new country. After a short stint

at Wallace State, he played well enough to go on scholarship to Auburn. “I am very grateful for college,” Christian said. “After I left Auburn, I lived in Irondale with a family I actually met while I was tailgating before an Auburn football game.” Eventually, Christian moved to Chelsea with his family. “Chelsea is a great place to live,” Christian said. “I’ve always loved the 280 corridor; it has everything you could ask for. I can play golf, go out with friends to eat…it’s a very nice place to live.” Christian is now a member at Vestavia Country Club. His family – both sons named after golfers, of course – attends Morning Star United Methodist in Chelsea, an aspect of life Christian says has helped his golf game: “My spirituality has helped me center myself in life and in golf.” Meanwhile, his golf game was stalling. Most golfers either move up quickly to the next level, or go back down below. Instead, Christian stayed an agonizing ten years on the Nationwide Tour, not playing well enough to finish in the top 25 that moved up yet playing well enough to stay on it. Finally, in September of this year, he took the last step of his journey toward the big leagues. Christian won the Mylan Classic on Sept. 4 by one stroke, ensuring his finish in the top 25 on the money list and his spot on the long-awaited PGA Tour starting in 2012. The 40 year old says it was worth the journey, and that now he intends on staking his place on the PGA Tour. “I have every intention of playing on the PGA Tour for the rest of my career,” Christian said. “I am very consistent in my ball striking, meaning I hit a lot of greens and fairways. I think that will translate well at the next level. I am quietly confident about next year on the Tour.” “My goal is to finish in the top 125 next year to guarantee that next year on the PGA Tour. And hey, maybe I’ll have one of those freaky years and end up playing in the Ryder Cup, who knows?” Gary Christian is a busy man as he finishes up the 2011 Nationwide Tour. But his dreams are about to be realized, and his long journey will have taken another step to success.

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A20 |

November 2011


Foods & Flavors

New Thanksgiving sides to try By LISA CULOTTA JOHNSEY If you are looking to prepare something a little different this Thanksgiving, I hope you will enjoy these recipes from my table to yours. Growing up my mother and grandmother brought American and Italian traditions to the table weekly with our Sunday lunch but especially at the holidays. Over the years I have adapted these traditions to be part of my own family’s holiday meals. Several years ago, while visiting Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, I purchased some roasted chestnuts from one of the local purveyors. The chestnuts reminded me of a dressing that my grandmother used to make at Thanksgiving, so I decided to recreate and update her dressing for my family’s Thanksgiving meal. In our house, we also stray from the traditional green bean recipes. My husband’s grandmother introduced me to a wonderful green bean dish using brown sugar and vinegar. The recipe adds an interesting twist to an old favorite and pairs well with the turkey and dressing.

Grandmother’s Green Beans 4 cans cut-style green beans 1 small onion, diced ¾ cup brown sugar ½ cup white vinegar 1 teaspoon dried mustard 1 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt 3-4 strips bacon, sliced small Drain green beans. Place green beans in a greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Chop onion and add to beans. Add bacon to beans and onion. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and seasoned salt.

Homemade Grandma’s Dressing features pancetta, Italian sausage, cranberries, apples and chestnuts. Photo by Lisa C. Johnsey.

Pour sauce over green beans. At this point, the casserole may be refrigerated until ready to bake. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes covered and then 30 minutes uncovered.

Grandma’s Dressing 1 stick unsalted butter, divided ½ pound pancetta or thick sliced bacon, diced (see note 1) ½ pound Italian sausage, casings removed 2 large onions, diced small 2 to 3 carrots, diced small 3 to 4 celery stalks, diced small 2 to 3 small stems rosemary, chopped 3 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped 1 pound fresh chestnuts (if available) or 1 large jar prepared chestnuts, coarsely chopped (see note 2) 1 handful of parsley, chopped 1 large loaf of crusty artisan bread (Ciabatta or French), one day old ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated ¼ cup Romano cheese, grated ½ cup cranberries 2 small Granny Smith apples, diced 1 cup or more low sodium chicken broth Salt and pepper to taste 2 eggs, beaten

Grandmother’s Green Beans are coated with a sweet vinegar sauce. Photo by Lisa C. Johnsey.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an extra large baking dish (15x10-inches) with 1 tablespoon butter. Melt 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté pancetta in butter until crisp. Drain and put into a bowl. Remove some of the grease from skillet. Sauté sausage and drain and put into the bowl. Again, remove some of the grease from the skillet. Melt the rest of the butter and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary and garlic for around 15 minutes until very tender. Add the prepared chestnuts and parsley to the pan. Cook until all of mixture is warm; add to the meat mixture. Add the cranberries and diced apples to the mixture. Add cubed bread and cheeses. Stir to coat bread with mixture. Add enough chicken broth to moisten dressing but not soak the stuffing. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Add eggs and stir again. Put mixture in prepared casserole dish and cover with buttered tin foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes covered and then 15 minutes uncovered until golden and crisp. Notes: 1. When purchasing the pancetta, have

it sliced around ¼ inch thick so that it is easier to dice. 2. To prepare chestnuts: Score the bottom (wide end) of the chestnut with an X. Place chestnuts in water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Keep chestnuts in pan with the hot water until ready to peel them so they will be easier to shell. You can prepare these the day before and store them in the refrigerator in some of the liquid used for boiling. If you cannot find fresh chestnuts, you can purchase prepared ones at specialty stores. You will need around a pound of chestnuts either way. 3. Since preparing this dressing is a labor of love, you can prepare some of the ingredients ahead of time. The day before, chop the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and place in a zip-top bag. You can also dice and store the pancetta. Finally, you can grate the cheeses in advance. Store all of these items in the refrigerator. The day of baking, you can prepare the rest of the recipe. Lisa Culotta Johnsey is a 280 area wife and mother of three. She has a home-based catering business and can be contacted at 13sweets@

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280 Living | November 2011

Thanksgiving Essay Contest winners 280 Living would like to thank everyone who submitted essays for our first Thanksgiving Essay Contest. We enjoyed reading each of your stories about turkeys, families and all that you are thankful for. Special thanks goes to Mrs. Gilliland, Mrs. Bartle and Mrs. Mackay’s classes at Greystone Elementary whose whole class sent us essays. It was tough to choose, but we loved

how Taylor Lovell brought her holiday memories to life and reminded us to appreciate all the quirks of family. Caroline Mills’ essay made us laugh more than any other. Caroline, we were impressed by how you used so many vivid details to share your story; I think we can all relate to things not going quite as planned at the holidays. -MM

Reflecting on Thanksgiving



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270 Doug Baker Blvd, Lee Branch • 991-1995 • Mon - Fri 10am - 6pm, Sat 10am - 5pm

By TAYLOR LOVELL, Berry Middle School When I am at the Thanksgiving dinner, I look around at my family and wonder why I’m even there. What could be the answer to that question? As I look back on the events people have discovered or experienced on Thanksgiving, I realize it could be meaningful. And as I reminisce on the memories that I have of Thanksgiving, those must be pretty important, too. All the time, I wonder what the true, profound definition of Thanksgiving is. And, by far, experience weighs in on that definition, majorly. All the experiences that I have had on Thanksgiving have been, usually more heartfelt than materialized. Every story I hear about a person’s Thanksgiving consists of, of course, food, but also family. There’s always the aunt that asks if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend. And the grandma who tries her best to stuff you full of food. There’s also always the image of a grandpa sitting in his rocking chair with his glasses and you in his lap. My memories consist of all of these things but also some different stories. You know, I still remember the time that my cousin brought her newborn to the Thanksgiving dinner; it was the first time I had seen her. It was a beautiful and warm sight. And, I have never forgotten that feeling or how the baby looked. I love every Thanksgiving with my family because sometimes, it is the only time I get to see them, once a year. That’s why you should appreciate your family while you still have them. Be there to share the laughs and create beautiful memories. Make it, as they





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Gobble Gobble!! GOBBLE!! say, “something to remember.” Family is the biggest part of Thanksgiving, anyway. I have always wanted to know, not the exact definition, but the true, and profound definition of Thanksgiving. I truly believe that it is family. I believe it is the bonding of family and the comfort of going, possibly back home again. Even if it is just for one day. Thanksgiving’s purpose is finding yourself in your family. It’s to find you and your faith again while you chow down food and talk uncontrollably to your kin. So, now, when you are at that table eating, know that the reason that you are there is to experience the events that happen with your family. And also to create notable memories that you and your kinfolk can laugh about later. Also, remember, that those crazy aunts and wacky cousins are the basic definition of Thanksgiving. Not the dictionary form, but the profound meaning. And, from now on, I ask of you, to embrace that one day with your family. Because, what if they all stopped coming to that dinner?

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My most memorable Thanksgiving By CAROLINE MILLS, Greystone Elementary My most memorable Thanksgiving is when my mom went crazy at the grocery store. I was at least 7 years old when this had happened. So we had headed to the grocery store to buy the ingredients so we could cook. Well, it took at least two hours to shop for the ingredients! After shopping for about three hours, we checked out. Somehow, it ended up being $400. It was really funny because after she found out, I sad, “Ooo, you’re going to be dead once Daddy finds out!” And then when we got home, all we saw was this black smoke. And then we found out that my brother, Read, almost burnt down the house. He had put one of those popcorn bowls in, and it was supposed to be in a 150 watt microwave and we had a 200-watt microwave. It smelt like burnt popcorn. So now we had a burnt house and spent $400 at the grocery store! As you see, this was a very stressful day for my mom. What could get worse? After the kitchen had cooled down, my mom and

I had started making our famous cherry cheesecake, and right in the middle of making it my mom realized that we didn’t’ have any measuring cups. So we had to go down to the grocery store at 9:00. Everything was sold out. At the corner of my eye, there were measuring cups at the very back of the shelf. After that, they called me their hero. And that was my stressful but very funny Thanksgiving.

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A22 |

November 2011

Restaurant Showcase

Restaurant Showcase


Area 41 Pizza Company



30 Manning Place, Mt Laurel 995-4141

Mon. – Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri. – Sat., 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Area 41 Pizza Company is all about good pizza but just as much all about people. The neighborhood pizza joint is like a family-friendly pub. There’s a wide selection of beers on tap, TVs for game watching and a menu just for kids. When the weather is nice, you can relax on the patio under the trees Mt Laurel prides itself on and even bring your dog to eat with you. Regulars, who come up to four times a week, chat with the bartender, but firsttimers are always welcome too. It was the pizzeria’s first customers who helped name it. Owner Patrick Hankins wanted to work Highway 41 into the name. Someone who came in before the restaurant opened suggested a play on the name Area 51, and Area 41 stuck. Many of the pizza names come with stories. Classic three-cheese pizza Faceman was named for Hankins’ friend Michael Murphrey after they joked that he would be the “faceman” of Mt Laurel. Action Jackson, with pepperoni, Italian sausage and onion, is named for Hankins’ original business partner. Vegetarian pizza Paco Hancenelli is Hankins’ namesake; an Irish chef he worked for in Rhode Island gave everyone in the kitchen an Italian name, and Paco Hancenelli was his. (Hankins is not a vegetarian though.) Hankins calls his New York-style crust “crispy,” but to me it is a bit more chewy than chain restaurant thin crust with just enough crisp. Northerners tend to become loyal devotees to the Area 41-style pizza

Chef and owner Patrick Hankins prepares an Area 41 Special pizza, which is topped with roasted garlic, goat cheese, Italian sausage and fresh tomatoes. Photos by Madoline Markham.

because, they say, the crust is what they are used to. It seems rightly so after Hankins lived in New York and returned for a weeklong visit to try different pizzerias before opening his Mt Laurel restaurant. Hankins fell in love with the Mt Laurel community at its Spring Festival seven years ago. The Birmingham native had recently moved back after restaurant stints in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans and was looking for a change from fine dining. The corner storefront most visible from Highway 41 was vacant and caught his eye that day. Everyone loves pizza, he figured. Why not open a pizza place? What came out of his idea was a casual neighborhood restaurant that subtly echoes Hankins’ fine dining touch. In addition to standard pizza toppings, you can add fresh basil, roasted garlic, sundried tomatoes, feta, goat cheese and roasted chicken to top off Area 41’s signature four-ingredient dough. You can start your meal with baked

Breakfast with the Doc Maximizing Your Vision for a Lifetime Monday, November 7 8:00-9:00 a.m. Join us for breakfast as Price Kloess, MD, with Alabama Vision Center shares the technological advances in eye care. Vision does not necessarily worsen with age. Regular eye exams and a healthy diet/ lifestyle can help preserve it.

chicken fingers and grilled cheese for kids. At lunch, you can get a plate-sized slice of pizza for $3.25 or add a salad to it for $5.75. They also offer meatball sub and a Chicken Parmesan Panini sandwich specials mid-day. The beer selection includes standard domestic drafts but also pleases customers who like a step up with Guinness, Newcastle, Peroni, Magic Hat #9, Sweetwater IPA, Terrapin Hopsecutioner, Truckstop Honey Brown and others. Wines are available by the bottle ($28-36) or glass ($6-9); on Tuesdays wine bottles are half price. Likewise, on Wednesday pizzas are buy one, get one half off. Hankins has just expanded the menu to include a new goat cheese appetizer and new pizza creations. The Forager boasts four different types of mushrooms drizzled with white truffle oil. But why change the menu when it sells well? A little change up was what the customers wanted at their Area 41.

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feta or a caprese dish of oven roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pine nuts and pesto. Salad selections include a Chopped Salad, Greek Salad and Arugula Salad with blue cheese, walnuts, apples and balsamic vinaigrette Hankins’ favorite pizza is the Area 41 Special. For this, he spreads roasted garlic on the dough and tops it with goat cheese and better-than-your-average-pizza-joint Italian sausage. He bakes it in his pizza oven, adding fresh tomato on top just before it is done. Another menu favorite, Hula Hoedown, is a cross between more standard Hawaiian and barbecue chicken pizzas. The Blonde Ambition has no need for red sauce with its roasted garlic, herbed ricotta, mozzarella and fresh basil. Pizza is the biggest seller on the menu, but they also offer sandwiches and pastas like Simple Spaghetti tossed with roasted tomatoes, olives, herbs, Parmesan and herbs. Plus, there’s a selection of pasta,

Business Spotlight

| November 2011

Heritage Medicine

Business Spotlight





5479 Highway 280, Suite 114 637-3469 Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekends and after-hours by appointment Heritage Medicine, a family practice, operates a little differently than most doctor’s offices. “We want to approach the whole person, not just their immediate problems, and get to know them personally because this helps us treat them better as a whole,” said Dr. Matthew Parker, owner and primary doctor at Heritage Medicine. Parker’s patients know that he is available after-hours for them and that he makes house calls regular practice. “I called him at 7 p.m. just to ask him about a prescription problem, and he got right on that phone and helped me out,” “ said patient Clint Welch. The practice at Heritage Medicine is not to treat the outward symptoms but to dig at the root problem and treat the whole person. “For instance,” Parker said, “obesity affects a lot more than just not feeling good. High blood pressure, diabetes and even your basic aches and pains can be cured with weight loss. So what we do is look at the patient’s lifestyle, see what they need to do and help them accomplish it.” Parker first came to Alabama as a traveling doctor. Going from place to place around the northeastern part of the state showed him several different office styles that he wanted to incorporate in his own office. However, he felt frustrated that using all the medical technologies available to to help his patients was not enough. “Most people come in with viruses, aches and pains and other ailments that can

Dr. Matthew Parker discusses health and life with patient Sandy Setson. Photo by Krysti Shallenberger

be treated with a prescription that cures those symptoms, but doesn’t address the root of the problem,” he said. He saw that in his own life and family as well and began researching new ideas about medicine that allowed him to do more than merely treat symptoms with a prescription. “Most of the time [patients] just need to adjust their lifestyle, what they eat, watch their weight, watch their stress levels,” Parker said.

At the same time, Parker integrates prescriptions and conventional medicinal tactics in combination with holistic practices. On his busiest days, he sees 20 patients. During those visits, he takes the time to learn about them enough to figure out if they need a prescription or a more natural practice. Parker’s natural approach is a way of life for his sons too. “They don’t know candy,” he said,

“We eat fruits and more organic foods that you find at the local farmer’s market.” Parker recommends this lifestyle for everyone. “We are supposed to be comfortable here on earth,” he said, “We have what we need to survive without all those things added to enhance it. Natural foods and a healthier lifestyle go a lot farther than only getting treated for one symptom while you might have other health problems.”

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November 2011



Pizza Lovers! |

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November’s Pizza of the Month:

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Turkey and Dressing with Cranberries (Trust us, it’s Really good)

You keep Telling Yourself You Can Stop After Just One More Slice After Every Last Bite of the Deliciously Crunchy Crust is Eaten, You Begin Obsessing About Your Next Perfecto Pizza Experience! You Immediately Cease Buying Bland, Fast Food Pizza from Anywhere Else, as You Now Insist on Selecting From Over a Dozen FREE Toppings, Fresh Ingredients, and a 100% Money Back Guarantee Available Only With Every Perfecto Pizza… Only from Wes’s Pizza Express. * 9/16/11

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Giving Back to Our Community This holiday season, we would like to partner with our customers to give something back to those among us in need. From now through Dec. 1st, Pizza Express will donate $1 the school/charity of your choice for every medium, large and x-large pizza purchased and indicated on the form below Simply complete the form and give it to your delivery driver or server and we will take care of the rest.

If you choose to dine-in with us, Pizza Express will double the contribution to $2 for every pizza!

Schools and Organizations: • • • • • • • • • • • •

(school/organization) (customer name) (date) (number of pizzas purchased)

Greystone Elementary Inverness Elementary Mt. Laurel Elementary Oak Mountain Elementary Chelsea Park Elementary Oak Mountain Intermediate Chelsea Intermediate Berry Middle School Oak Mountain Middle School Chelsea Middle School Oak Mountain High School Spain Park High School

• • • • • • • • • •

Chelsea High School Briarwood Christian School OLV Catholic School The Salvation Army of Greater B’ham Jimmie Hale Mission Shelby Humane Society The Foundry Rescue Mission American Red Cross St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Big Oak Ranch

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The Perfecto Get your fix by calling or visiting Pizza Express from: Pizza Experience 11am-9pm Sun-Thurs; 11am-10pm Fri & Sat; (Tues 4-9pm) Addictively Delicious. 5479 Highway 280 Across from Lee Branch Taste Responsibly. (205) 637-7997 • TM

280 Living

neighborly news & entertainment



| November 2011

School House/B2


Sports/B7 Columns/B10 Business Happenings/B13

OMHS athlete plays paralympic goalball By PATRICK THOMAS Some people accept adverse circumstances. Others take their challenges and pursue greatness. Alex Richmond has been dealing with Cone-Rod Dystrophy, a deteriorating eye condition, since the age of seven. Now a 15-year-old sophomore at Oak Mountain High School, Alex has traveled to Oregon, Colorado and even the Netherlands to compete in Paralympics events. He will also compete with his team at the Lakeshore Foundation in Homewood at the beginning of November. While his eye condition may have worsened since childhood, his familiarity with sports has created a smooth transition into his new career. “I have always played a little of everything,” Alex said. “Mainly the visual ball sports-baseball, football, and soccer. They were a part of my life before my eyes began to worsen.” His athletic experience laid the groundwork in Paralympics sports such as track and field, swimming and his favorite, goalball. In this game, each player on a three-player squad is blindfolded and can only score or defend their goal based on their sense of touch or sound. Metal rings are placed inside the ball, which can be heard or felt when rolled. “The game is designed after a volleyball court but follows more closely to soccer rules since shootouts can occur,” Alex said, “but the ball must be rolled into the other defender’s net at each end of the floor in order to count as a score.” Passion may be an understatement

OMHS sophomore Alex Richmond plays goalball in the Youth Paralympics Camp in the Netherlands in September. Photo courtesy of Mathilde Dusol.

when describing Alex’s enthusiasm for sports. Like any athlete, Alex is aware of his emotions before any competition begins. “Nerves are big,” Alex said with a smile. “The adrenaline is huge because you are practically blind. Therefore, your other senses are heavily magnified.” Last year at Florida’s National High School Championships, Alex’s goalball team, consisting primarily of 12 and 13-year-olds, finished in third place against competitors up to age 21. Along with team success, Alex was named an All-American in the long jump as an eighth grader and again in the shot put as a freshman. His achievements even garnered him a recent selection to an International Paralympics Youth Camp in the Netherlands in September, a first taste of international travel that he hopes will culminate in competing in the World Paralympics in 2016. “The most memorable aspect of traveling is that I get to meet people from all over America and the world,” Alex said. Alex spends time not just on the field but also in his books. “I am proud of the fact that Alex not only excels in sports, but he is a straight-A, honors student,” said his father, Richard Richmond. “Routinely he stays up till midnight after practice doing homework with a magnifying lens.” This special magnifying lens allows Alex to read his schoolwork because of his condition. Last summer Alex even left a Paralympics event in Colorado Springs, Colo., in order to compete in a National

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November 2011


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The first annual Make Chelsea Pink, held on Oct. 7, was the idea of the Chelsea Fire Department to recognize the struggles of breast cancer patients all over the world. The fire department designed pink T-shirts and sold them in Chelsea to help “Make Chelsea Pink.” The fire department made no money with the T-shirts they sold. All profits from the t-shirts went to the Breast Cancer Research Center of Alabama. Chelsea High School supported the cause in their football game against Centerpoint. All of the yard line numbers were outlined in pink, and the fighting Hornet in the middle of the field was spray painted pink. In addition to the pink markings on the field, the Chelsea cheerleaders showed off pink hair ribbons and cheered for the football team with pink pompoms. The dance team spray-painted part of their hair pink and both the dance team and color guard wore pink wristbands.

The game’s theme was originally “Beat the Eagles Black and Blue” with each grade wearing either black or blue. However, to show support, the school suggested that Chelsea fans wear pink. T-shirts are still available at the Chelsea Fire Department with the goal of raising $10,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Center of Alabama. Make Chelsea Pink is an event the fire department hopes to continue in the future reaching out to others and helping find a cure for breast cancer. Tabitha Fulton is a senior at Chelsea High School. She is on the school dance team, serving as the captain. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta, Key Club, Diamond Dolls, and active on the school newspaper staff. Tabitha plans to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and study to become a neonatal or pediatric nurse.

The Westminster School at Oak Mountain

Foundation of a classical school is connection between subjects By ANNA PARSONS

Situated on the corner of County Road 14 and Highway 119, the Westminster School at Oak Mountain, formerly known as Oak Mountain Classical School, is often overlooked. However, the small school located in the facilities of Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church is truly unique in that it is the only K-12 classical school in the city of Birmingham. What most people think of when they hear the term “classical school” is students studying Latin. While this is true, there is much more to it than that. Being a classical school means that Westminster is a liberal arts school that focuses on a holistic approach to education by engaging students in “the great conversation,” the timeless debate of ideas through the ages, and teaching them to think and reason. As a liberal arts school, Westminster does not teach subjects in isolation, but instead it recognizes that knowledge is interrelated. Students are shown the connection between subjects and how they all come together to form one picture of the world. The most prominent example of this is the humanities courses. History and literature are combined and taught together so that the literature is read in the context of the time in which it was written. This allows the students to see that the historical context shapes the literature and that the ideas of the literature in turn drove the development of history. In the humanities classes, students read original sources and the great books

that have stood the test of time. This allows the students to stretch their ability to comprehend difficult works and to read directly what the authors wrote rather than depend upon interpretations provided by others. Classes are discussion-based, and the students examine the ideas they have read and engage in constructive debates about these ideas and how they contribute to their worldview. Furthermore, students are not merely taught facts, but they learn the reasoning behind them. In the science and math classes, students are not just taught formulas and how to plug in numbers; but they are taught the reasons that the formulas work and the concepts that drive them. Students also study logic and rhetoric so that they can reason and express themselves well through both speaking and writing. Westminster is not a school for only exceptional students, but it provides all students with exceptional opportunities. Westminster’s approach to education equips students to reach their full potential and provides them with a truly extraordinary education. Anna Parsons is a senior at The Westminster School at Oak Mountain. She is also Senior Editor for the yearbook and a frequent contributor to the school paper. She is active in athletics and her local church with which she has been on several mission trips. Anna’s junior research paper was voted best overall by the upper school faculty.

School House

| November 2011



Briarwood Christian High School BCS Homecoming a big hit By COLLIER KAUFFMAN Homecoming is one of the most memorable events in any high school, and this is certainly true at Briarwood Christian High School. The week consists of dressup days, parades and football and ends with an incredible night of dancing and socializing. Briarwood’s homecoming week in late September celebrated with the theme “Dub-Step Dega,” and the hallways were decorated in strobe lights, caution tape and streamers. The Lions took on the Talladega Tigers for the homecoming game and blew it away with a 48-0 victory over the Tigers. This big margin of victory meant a lot of young players were able to gain experience. Throughout the week, there were specific dress-up days. Tuesday was Blue and Gold day. Students showed their team spirit through wearing BCS T-shirts and blue jeans. Wednesday was neon day. Because neon colors are a part of the “Dub-Step” theme, everyone wore neon colored t-shirts, hats, socks, shoes, etc. Thursday was “send Dega to the E.R. day.” Students came to school dressed as doctors and nurses. That same day was the homecoming pep rally at which the cheerleaders performed their routines and the traditional Spirit Stick was awarded. Finally, Friday was the day in which students wore their homecoming T-shirts that read “Dub- Step Dega” and blue jeans. The homecoming parade was held on Friday as well. The parade consisted of the class floats, athletes from the football and cross-country teams, the Briarwood Lions Marching Band and the cheerleaders. Every year, the classes compete for the best float. This year’s junior class won with

their float, “Tee Off Talladega.” The float portrayed a Lion teeing off a tiger head on a golf course. It also included a creative water fountain and a gopher installed on the float. In another homecoming tradition, students from different classes voted for one male student to be the “King for a Day.” The selected “kings” from each class compete with one another to see who can raise the most money for the Daniel Cason Ministry, which provides food for those who are in need. On Friday, the “king” who raised the most money gets to do whatever he wants in each class period. Usually the “king” will choose to go outside or just hang out in the classroom. This year’s “King for a Day” was twotime winner, sophomore Cannon Acton. “It feels amazing to be king again,” Cannon said. “It’s really awesome to have broken the previous fundraising record by raising $1,500 overall. I hope it will be a blessing to the Daniel Cason Ministry.” At the end of a fun-filled week, students celebrated with the homecoming dance. Students dress up and have a great time with friends. This year the Student Government Association hired a D.J. for the dance on Saturday night, continuing this much-loved tradition for another year. Collier Kauffman is a sophomore at Briarwood Christian High School and returns as our veteran writer for a second year. He plays football and tennis for Briarwood and enjoys fishing and spending time with friends and family. He would like to be a sports writer in the future and is considering majoring in either journalism or business when he heads to college.

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Oak Mountain High School A new star shines By JESSICA HECKMAN Two stars fought to shine on the Oak Mountain offense, one old, Mickey Forrest, and one new, Jake Adams. Head Football Coach Jeff Harris said both were “very strong on the field, and had given him no reason to choose one above the other.” As a freshman last year, Forrest was brought from the freshman/junior varsity team late in the season and was selected as the varsity quarterback. During practices, he showed a consistency as well as confidence that was needed as a

quarterback, and those qualities translated well on the playing field. The pressure, it seemed, did not bother him. When asked about how much he wanted that spot, he said, “Well, not one spot defines the team.” Coming to Oak Mountain from a 5A school and one that was a perennial favorite to win their area championship, Adams did not have the same first-string experience, playing linebacker instead. His leadership abilities and hard work in the weight room, as well as the on the field, helped him gain confidence in the offensive line. Harris worked with both players to decide who would lead the Eagles to brighter days. When it came down to it, Adams’ performance at the Oak Mountain Sports Festival in August and the early season Buckhorn game put him over the top. “He is truly a force to be reckoned with,” Harris said about the 6-foot, three-inch , 220-pund junior. The biggest issue both Harris and Adams had to hurdle was the Hoover game. Last year, the Eagles were obliterated 60-0. Both Harris and Adams said that it would not happen again, and sure enough, it did not. Although Hoover ultimately came out ahead, Adams shone the brightest, helping lead the Eagles to putting the most points on the board that they had in almost six years. Eagles fans feel that Oak Mountain is ready to shine and ready to win. Jessica Heckman is a senior at Oak Mountain High School and currently active with the Soccer Sweeties, the girl’s showchoir, Chanter and the Honor Choir. She would like to attend either Auburn University or the New Oak Mountain junior Jake Adams. Photo courtesy of York School of Fine Arts. Jessica Heckman.

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Greystone Elementary second grader Mia Land blogs during language arts time in Carol McLaughlin’s class. Photo by Kathryn Acree.


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The question, “What is this?” sits below the image of two eyes peering out of multi-color shapes and bumps on the computer screen. Students in Carol McLaughlin’s second grade class at Greystone Elementary crowd the comment box of their teacher’s blog with their answers, mostly agreeing it is a grasshopper. As Miss Mac’s Busy Bee’s will tell you, blogging isn’t just for the grownups anymore, and these students are as techno-savvy as you’ll find. The idea to have second graders blog everyday started last year. Each student got their own blog through, a free, and most importantly, safe website for use by educators and students whose access and postings are controlled by the classroom teacher. The students blog during language arts or computer lab time during the school day. Many are so excited so share news or comments that they blog from home too. They comment on pets, sports,

and places they’ve traveled or hope to one day. They are allowed to post photos, but for safety reasons, they cannot be in the photos themselves. The teacher reviews all comments and images before publishing them for others with approved access. “It’s something they really get into and they’re developing skills while doing it,” McLaughlin said. “I’ll post a question or two myself that coincide with what we are learning at the time and they enjoy responding quickly.” McLaughlin checks the blogged comments for spelling or grammatical errors, seizing the opportunity to keep learning at the forefront. “There are times I leave the wording as it is realizing they are excited to be talking about something they really enjoy,” McLaughlin said. “One student wrote about her dog being an Australian Shepherd. Well, I don’t expect a second grader to have that one spelled correctly. It’s more about them sharing and interacting.”

Spirit of Cahaba Marching Band shines at BBVA Compass Bowl Band Competition







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Oak Mountain High School Marching Band members celebrate their big achievements at the BBVA Compass Bowl Band Competition. Photo courtesy of the OMHS Band Boosters.

The Oak Mountain High School Spirit of Cahaba Marching Band participated in the BBVA Compass Bowl Band Competition hosted by Homewood High School on Saturday, Oct. 1. In Class AAAAAA, they won best in class in the categories of Drum Major, Majorettes, Dance Team, Color

Guard, Percussion and Band. They were also awarded best overall “Gold Division” (classes AAAA-AAAAAA) Drum Major, Majorettes, Dance Team, Color Guard, Percussion and Band. Outstanding Solo Award for the entire contest was won by Daniel Tuggle.

OMHS Robotics starts another competition season

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The Oak Mountain High School Robotics Team is looking forward to another exciting season of competition after finishing fifth for the BEST award in the 2010-2011 season at the National/ World BEST

The team began this year’s competitive season in October at UAB’s BEST Competition. This year’s theme was “Bugs”; the Oak Mountain team’s interpretation of the theme is “Bugs in Black- Bugs in the Box, not in the ‘Bot.”

School House

| November 2011


Scarecrows of Inverness

Cat and Cupcake and Beaver were among the winner’s of this year’s scarecrow contest. Photo courtesy of Inverness Elementary

By KELSIE THOMAS We have all noticed the scarecrows in font of Inverness Elementary School; how can we miss them? Except for that one year when there was a scarecrow snatcher among us. But besides that, we have all wondered at one point in time, why are they out there and where did they come from? “It started eight years ago as a fall fundraiser by the schools PTO,” Principal Christine Hoffman said. Each class has their own scarecrow sponsored by a local business. Sponsoring is a good way to get a business’s name out in the community because a lot of people get out of their cars to look at these scarecrows. “It’s a great way to bring the community together,” said kindergarten teacher Jamie Cox. The scarecrows are put on display

outside of the school from the end of September until the middle of October. Then they are taken to the Birmingham Zoo for exhibition at the annual Boo at the Zoo along with the sponsor’s name. “They’re excellent, extremely creative and a unique use of resources” said gifted learning teacher Maria Beard. Not only is this a fall fundraiser, but it is also a competition. Each year a celebrity guest such as James Spann or Mike Kolen of the 1972 Miami Dolphins comes and picks the class with the best scarecrow. But this year was different. Each grade voted for a grade level and overall winner. Winner were Angry Birds (Beno’s kindergarten class; overall favorite), Cat and Cupcake (Clum’s first grade), Reese’s Puffs (Reese’s second grade) and Beaver (Beavers’ third grade).

LPMS inducts new SGA representatives

The new SGA representatives for Liberty Park Middle are William Morhard, Britton Copeland, Madison Henkey, Leighton Martin, Haley Harmon, Jessica Compton, Meghan Levant, Lily Rumbley, and Rachel Nesbitt.

An induction ceremony was held recently for the new 2011-2012 Liberty Park Middle School student government representatives. Several Vestavia Hills High School SGA representatives administered the oaths to the new officers. The duties of the new officers will include planning parties for the student body, coordinating fundraisers, serving in the community and acting as representatives for students to teachers and

administrators. The new student officers are Rachel Nesbitt - president, William Morhard - boys vice president, Haley Harmon - girls vice president, Meghan Levant chaplain, Madison Henkey - secretary, Jessica Compton - parliamentarian, Britton Copeland - sergeant at arms, Leighton Martin - treasurer and Lily Rumbley historian.

LPMS band to perform in Montgomery The Liberty Park Middle School Symphonic Band has been invited to perform at the Alabama Music Educator’s Conference in Montgomery on Jan. 20. The performance will take place at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center.

Performances at this event are by invitation only and reserved for only the premiere bands and choirs in our state. Eighty-six seventh and eighth grade musicians are in the Symphonic Band under the direction of Travis Bender.





November 2011


School House

Mt Laurel students write UA and AU pen pals

The students in Emily Heisler’s class at Mt Laurel Elementary enjoy writing to Alabama and Auburn football players. Photo courtesy of Athena David.

By ATHENA DAVID Students in Emily Heisler’s third grade class at Mt Laurel Elementary School have been writing weekly letters to Alabama and Auburn football players. What started out as a letter-writing activity has turned into the students becoming pen pals with many of the players. Not only are the students learning practical writing skills, the football players are reminded that they have a responsibility in these positions to the young people watching and looking up to them. The letters were mailed to the Auburn and Alabama Athletic Departments not knowing if they would make it to the players. However, a quick first response came back from Alabama Coach Nick Saban with an autographed picture. One student’s letters to Alabama’s Carson Tinker impressed Tinker so much he posted them on Twitter for his 3,200 followers to read. Another student from Heilser’s class called out to her pen pal, Alabama player Courtney Upshaw, as he was leaving the stadium, “Hey it’s me, Molly, your pen pal!” Upshaw remembered her letters and

later came by her tailgating tent to meet her family. The students make a point of writing positive and encouraging letters. A classmate has told Auburn’s Chad Slade that he is “the strongest, fastest, and smartest on the AU team. Smush the LSU Tigers!” The student’s notice the ups and downs a player may be experiencing throughout the season. Auburn’s Mike Dyer was told in a letter, “even when you are hurt, you pick yourself to help your team.” “The students have this personal connection with the players and enjoy watching them play on Saturday,” said Heisler. Sportsmanship is typically discussed by students in class on Monday mornings. “They pay close attention to the players’ actions on the field especially after a flag or the whistle is blown.” “These football players probably have no idea what an amazing and positive impact they are having on their little pen pals,” said Heisler. “Life lessons are being learned on both sides, on and off the field.”

Chelsea’s Virginia Trawick participates in UA Early College Virginia Trawick, a junior at Chelsea High School, has been selected to serve as a 2011-2012 University of Alabama Early College ambassador. Virginia joins students across the United States who are earning college credit at The University of Alabama while remaining in high school. “Deciding to be involved in UA Early College was a great decision,” Virginia said. “Not only has it allowed me to get college credits, but also it has taught me new ways to study that I can apply in my high school

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classes.” Early College credits transfer broadly to most colleges and universities across the nation. Students who complete 17+ UA Early College credit hours with a 2.5+ grade point average are eligible for admission to The University of Alabama without submitting an ACT score and receive priority assignment for housing. UA Early College students also benefit from a partial tuition scholarship that reduces the cost of tuition.

Greystone professional development Greystone Elementary’s Professional Learning Communities allows teachers to meet outside of their classroom to discuss emerging ideas for providing the best learning environment and techniques for their classes. The teachers typically meet for 45 minutes three times a month. to set and discuss goals for their grades as a group and share comments on books they’re reading. The development program is funded by the school’s PTA and is seen as an opportunity to let teachers step back and look at what works in the classroom. “Teachers have said they need the time made available to do this,” said Greystone

Elementary principal Maurine Black. “They need the opportunity to be away from the classroom and then go back in to apply what they’ve learned.” Each grade level has a different focus and materials they are reading and discussing. The second grade teachers, for example, have read Of Primary Importance by Ann Marie Corgill, which emphasizes working on student’s writing skills. “This is exactly what we are here for,” said Black. “Our goal is the long-term development of students and how we can provide the best learning environment for them to succeed while they are here before they continue on.”


| November 2011



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Give us your overall thoughts on this year’s cross country season. There are so many good runners that the competition is unbelievable. We train really hard and give 100 percent, or you will get left in the dust. Our coaches encourage us to “pr,” personal record, and it’s great to see so many individual pr’s race after race. What are your future college/career aspirations? I would love to go to Clemson. It is really expensive since it is out of state, but that gives me plenty of motivation to work hard in school and on my running. I am also considering Alabama.

Emily Stevens Oak Mountain High School Junior Cross Country, Track Runner Emily Stevens was recommended by OMHS Athletic Director David Hogue. Emily is vice president of this year’s junior class and active with the Student Government Association. She is a member of the Spanish club and on the Relay for Life committee. How long have you been involved in cross country? I started running both cross country and track my freshman year at Oak Mountain. I received my varsity letter for track in both my freshman and sophomore years. I was part of the 4X800

Tell us about your family. Do you have siblings involved with sports? My brother is in the eighth grade at OMMS and runs cross country and plays golf. He also has played lacrosse, and he wrestled last year. My entire family plays tennis, and we enjoy snow skiing together. When I played softball, my dad coached the team, so we spent a lot of family time at the ballpark. Oak Mountain junior Emily Stevens. Photo courtesy of the Stevens family.

relay team that went to state when I was a freshman and part of the 4X800 and 4X400 relay teams and ran the 400-meter at state my sophomore year. What is the best thing about being part of the Oak Mountain team?

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I like every single person on our team, which makes practice and meets so much fun. We are all close and have grown together both as a team and personally. All of our coaches are incredibly supportive. I especially enjoy our pasta parties we have every Friday night before meets.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I enjoy hanging out with my friends and visiting new places with my family. I also enjoy cooking and eating really good food. I have a part-time job at the tennis club, so I don’t really have a lot of spare time right now.

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The Chelsea Dance Team entertained the crowd as part of halftime festivities at the Hornets game against Pinson Valley. Team members include Mackenzie Payne, Keely Pownall, Raven Whitfield, Taylor Johnson, Jessica Flaherty, Rebecca Johnson, Hannah Radermacher, Camilla Cortes, Emily Smith, Tabitha Fulton and Audra Daniels. Photo by Cari Dean.

Inverness Ladies MemberGuest Golf Tournament The Inverness Ladies Member-Guest golf tournament was held Oct. 4 and 5. A practice round was played on the Oct. 4 with a pasta bar dinner after play. On Oct. 5, a Mexican buffet luncheon preceded the announcement of the following winners: A low gross team score of 342 was won by Lori Eans, Sue Clements, Shawna Harmon and Vickie Hunkler. Two low net prizes were won by the following teams: 1st place- Lois Mores, Rosemarie Hurley, Jennifer Bondi and Kathy Babin. 2nd place - Ann Fulmer, Jean Friday, Nancy Jordan and Christa Sligh. 3rd place- Margie Kirkland, Janet McPhereson, Janet Barnes and Valerie Mennen.

4th place- Joyce Bonovitch, Bobbie Hallmark, Pam Burleson and Myrna Scotch. 5th place- Pat Engel, JoAnn Davis, Pat Burton and June Travis. 6th place- Janet Haines, Mary Weldon, Carol Lell and Sandy Berglund. Other winners are as follows: Closest to the pin on #3 – Margie Kirkland Closest to the pin on #13 – Elly Hurley Closest to the line on #7 – Kathy Babin Longest drive on # 8 - Bobbye Pearson Longest drive on #14 - Christa Sligh Door prizes were also given, and everyone enjoyed the game.

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Expires 11/30/11

Expires 11/30/11

by Brent Watson The bowl picture is beginning to clear as we head into November, but there will be some key games coming up in the Southeastern Conference and around the nation in college football that will decide many teams’ postseason fate. Alabama and LSU are obviously the strongest two teams in the SEC, and they will be facing off in what should be an SEC classic on Nov. 5. Both of these schools will be playing in a January bowl game. One could very possibly be playing for a national championship. Stay tuned. Arkansas is another strong team and one that I see playing in a big bowl in January. The Razorbacks only have one blemish on their record thus far, which came out of Tuscaloosa verses the Tide. If the Hogs can keep things going, they could end up in a Bowl Championship Series bowl game. Auburn, another team out of the SEC’s western division, is still in position for a nice bowl depending on how they finish. November will be a tough month for the Tigers, but my money is on them playing in post season. The Gators have found themselves in

unfamiliar waters and will have to fight hard with young quarterbacks to make a trip in January. I expect them to go bowling and maybe even be the SEC’s east champ again. We’ll see. Georgia went into Knoxville and picked up a big win over the Volunteers. The Bulldogs have bowed their backs and sharpened their teeth a little. So expect them to be knocking on the door to the Georgia Dome on Dec. 1 as well. South Carolina will be another team that will battle for a shot at the SEC’s western champ. The Cocks have tripped up some but should be seasoned, barring injury, to finish strong and find themselves in a bowl. It is very obvious that the western division of the SEC is better than any team in the east. Now, since they only play once in the championship game, an eastern division team could win. Very doubtful though. The muscles of the SEC are flexing again this season, and I’ll be very surprised if a national championship is not reclaimed by the conference. Some feat when you think about it.

280 Living | November 2011

Library Happenings North Shelby, Mt Laurel and Chelsea Public Libraries

November Happenings North Shelby Please note: The library will be closed from Wednesday, November 23 to Friday, November 25 in observance of Thanksgiving.

Special Programming Saturday, November 5, 10-11:30 a.m., Lego Club. The library will provide the Legos and snacks, the kids will provide the imagination and creativity. Families are welcome to drop in anytime between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. to build spectacular creations. Creations will then go on display in the Children’s Department. Snacks served. All ages welcome. Registration required. Thursday, November 11, 4:00 p.m., Craft – Paper Plate Scarecrow. Celebrate the fall season with this super cute scarecrow. All ages welcome. Registration required. National Gaming Day, Saturday, November 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. So you think you’ve got game? Read, learn, play during National Gaming Day @ your library. On Saturday, November 12, the game is on at the North Shelby Library. Stop by the Children’s Department to participate. There will be various types of games available for families to play. Wednesday, November 16, 1:00 p.m. Homeschool Hangout: Exploring Space Through Student Databases. Join us for an in-depth look at three different educational databases made specifically for students. Ages 8-12. Registration required. Thursday, November 17, 4:00 p.m. B’Tween the Pages Book Club. Join us to discuss great fantasy books you have been reading and create book reviews. Snacks served. Ages 8-12. Registration required. Saturday, November 19, 2– 3:30 p.m. Movie – Cars 2. Mater and Lightning McQueen head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix race. Things get a little tricky when Mater is mistaken for an international spy. All ages welcome. No registration required. Snacks served.

Story-Time Programming Mondays, November 7, 14 and 21, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Toddler Tales Stories, songs, fingerplays and crafts make up a lively 30-minute program designed especially for short attention spans. Registration will begin one week prior to each storytime. Ages 19-36 months. Registration required. Tuesdays, November 1, 8, 15 and 22, 9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Baby Tales Story Time A story time designed especially for babies and their caregivers. Stories and music provide interaction for the babies and time for caregivers to talk and share with each other. Ages: Birth to 18 months. Registration required. Registration will begin one week prior to program date. Wednesdays, November 2, 9, 16 and 30, 10:45 a.m. Mr. Mac (Storyteller Extraordinaire!) Stories, puppets, and lots of music for every member of the family. All ages. No registration. Thursdays, November 3, 10 and 17, 7 p.m.

P. J. Story Time Come in your PJs, have milk and cookies, and hear some wonderful bedtime tales. All ages. No registration required. * For more information or to register for any of our programs or storytimes, call or email the Children’s Department at 205439-5504 or

Teen Happenings November 2011 National Gaming Day Saturday, November 12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. So you think you’ve got game? Read, learn, play during National Gaming Day at your library. On Saturday, November 12, the game is on at the North Shelby Library. There will be open gaming (board, card, & Wii) from 10 a.m, - 4 p,m and a Super Smash Bros tournament from 2 -3 p.m. in the Teen Department. Visit www. for more details and call 439-5512 or email to register for the tournament. Teen Advisory Council Monday, November 14, 6 p.m. Interested in helping the Teen Department be even better than it is now? The Teen Advisory Council is the place for you! The TAC meets the second Monday of each month to work on projects for the library. Bring your ideas and your appetite! Snacks served and community service hours earned. Call 205-439-5512 or email Kate at for more information or to sign up. Teen Book Club Monday, November 21, 6 p.m. The Teen Book Club will meet to discuss I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. “In rural Ohio, friendships and a beautiful girl prove distracting to a fifteen-yearold who has hidden on Earth for ten years waiting to develop the Legacies, or powers, he will need to rejoin the other six surviving Garde members and fight the Mogadorians who destroyed their planet, Lorien.” Grab the book and start reading and stop by to let us know your opinion! Snacks served. Call or email Kate or Daniel at 439-5512 or nsyouth@ for more information. Breaking Dawn, Part 1 Premiere Event Thursday, November 17, 5:30 p.m. Be ready for the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn, Part 1! Join us in the meeting room for a screening of Eclipse. Treats will be served and we will be making Twilight-inspired keepsake boxes. Call or email Kate or Daniel at 439-5512 or for more information.

Mt Laurel Public Library Storytime Programming Toddler Tales Wednesdays, November 2 and 16 – 10 a.m. Stories, songs, fingerplays and more make up a lively 30 minute program designed especially for short attention spans and their caregiver. Registration begins two weeks prior to each storytime. Ages 36 months and younger. Registration required. Call or email the Mt Laurel Library at 991-1660 or mtlaurellibrary@ for more information or to register. Storytime with Ms Kristy Wednesdays, November 2 and 16 – 11 a.m. Stories, music and more for every member of the family. All ages. No registration required. Call or email the Mt Laurel Library at 991-1660 or mailto:mtlaurellibrary@gmail.comfor more information.





Special Programming National Gaming Day Saturday, November 12 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stop by anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to join in the gaming fun. A selection of board and card games will be available to play. Call or email the Mt Laurel Library at 991-1660 or mailto:mtlaurellibrary@ for more information.

Chelsea Public Library Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m.- Tot Spot. Reading program for 2’s, 3’s and 4’s. Friday mornings at 10 a.m.- BYOC, Bring your portable craft (knit, crochet, crossstitch, quilt etc.) and craft with friends.

5291 Valleydale Road 980-3661 Join us on

B10 |

November 2011

| 280 Living

Come Discover



The BEST Kept Secret on 280

Our house is a jungle! It happens every year when Jack Frost comes a-nipping. We have a yard full of tropical and semitropical plants that summer just outside our living room windows. But in the fall at the mention of cold weather, we haul them inside. When you walk into our house, you’ll see lemon, orange, grapefruit, avocado and mango trees as well as a ton of other plants that I challenge you to name. Mammie, my wife Jilda’s grandma on her father’s side of the family, had a modified storm pit that her grandpa built for storing plants in the winter. It was below ground, which kept the temperature stable. It had windows on the roof and in the door that allowed in enough light in for the plants to survive until spring. We don’t have a room like that, so all our plants must come into our living room, which makes life interesting for several days after the move. Cohabiting with our green friends is not easy. Each winter when we bring them in, we have to rearrange our living space to make room for them. It takes weeks for me to stop kicking pots and getting poked in the eye by low hanging limbs. It is not uncommon when we move the plants inside to bring in “guests” who’ve made their summer homes in our greenery. Tree frogs, chameleons, spiders and all kinds of bugs have at one time or the other come in with our plants. A burrowing chipmunk, hidden among the roots of our giant philodendron, found himself trapped inside. I was at work at MaBell at the time when I got a frantic call from Jilda. She was standing on the kitchen table with our then-5-year-old

niece, Samantha. Apparently the tiny striped squirrel had come out to forage for food in the den and had an unfortunate encounter with the girls. The two were held hostage by a menacing quadruped that was not much bigger than a well fed mouse. I listened helplessly on the phone line as Jilda tried to shoo the little bugger out. He mounted an unexpected counter offensive and it was not going well for the home team. They left the front door open and the tiny beast finally scurried out screeching and chattering. Jilda and Samantha were both convinced that the chipmunk had said unkind things about their linage as he darted by them. But these close encounters with the natural world are a small price to pay for an indoor greenroom. Plants kind of grow on you (pun intended). We’ve had some of ours for many years. I have a fichus plant that my friends at work sent when my father passed away in 1986. Jilda has a plant that belonged to her grandmother that was full grown when granny gave it to Ruby (Jilda’s mom) in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson was president. The citrus trees were all planted from seed by Ruby. I really need to build a plant room suitable for our plants to thrive and survive when the mercury plunges. I’ll put that on my ever-expanding to-do list. But tonight, we’re in the living room listening for jungle sounds and on the lookout for “guests.” You can learn more about Rick Watson at He is available for speaking engagements and other events. Contact him at

Oak Mountain Con Brio showchoir wins Glee for All

Open House

November 10th , from 5-9 Greystone Antiques & Marketplace 995-4773 5475 Highway 280

(Across from Jim & Nicks) Hours: Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 1-5

Congratulations to Con Brio, the mixed show choir of Oak Mountain High School, for winning the FOX 6 “Glee for All” competition on Oct. 1. Twenty senior members of the choir performed before judges and fans at Colonial Brookwood Village and beat out choirs from Vestavia Hills, Homewood, Centerpoint, Hueytown and Albertville to win $3,000 for their choral program and a chance to be a part of the upcoming BBVA Compass Bowl. Photo by Kathryn Acree.


CONTINUED from page B1 Science and Math Camp. “He had already set a world swimming record, and all his teammates and friends told him, ‘Alex please don’t go, you’re going to break so many records,’” said Cindy Richmond, Alex’s mother. Alex is an anomaly for a boy his age.

Sparked by ambition toward continual success, his athletic achievements and scholastic accolades should make him complacent. Fortunately, though, Alex doesn’t understand what complacency means.

280 Living

| November 2011



LifeAct ually The Rusty Dime !


By Kari Kampakis

An attitude of gratitude What if you woke up tomorrow with only the blessings you gave thanks for today? This question was posed on Facebook by a former roommate of mine, and it really got me thinking. Like many people, I tend to think of blessings on a general scale, citing ones commonly named: family, friends, good health, a roof over my head. But imagine how long my list and yours would grow if the slate could be wiped clean tomorrow. Things we take for granted–eyes to see, legs to run, ears to hear, hands to feel– would suddenly seem paramount if we thought we’d lose them. I suspect we’d rack our brains to make sure we left nothing out. And it is this attitude–an appreciation for fine details that make our lives better, easier or more beautiful–that I believe leads to fulfillment. In fact, when I look at people who seem genuinely happy, accepting of whatever cards they’ve been dealt, I notice a distinct ability to see the silver lining. Regardless of their situation, they understand there’s always someone worse off. They compare themselves to those who have less, not more, thus realizing how fortunate they are. As I think about gratitude and how healing it is to be specific, I’m reminded of an article I read in which Maya Angelou recounted a dark period early in her career. Severely depressed, she went to see her mentor and told him she was going crazy. “Here is a yellow notepad and a ballpoint pen,” he said. “Write down your blessings.” “I don’t want to talk about that,” she replied. “I’m telling you I’m going crazy.” Her mentor replied, “Think of the

millions of people who cannot hear a choir, or a symphony, or their own babies crying. Write down, I can hear - Thank God. Write down that you can see this yellow notepad, and think of all the millions of people who cannot see a waterfall, or a flower blooming, or their lover’s face. Write down, I can see Thank God.” As Maya filled the pad with blessings, she realized how much she had. That was more than 50 years ago, and since then she’s written every book, poem and speech on yellow notepads, saying, “As I approach the clean page, I think of how blessed I am.” As you count your blessings this Thanksgiving season, go beyond the obvious. Imagine things you couldn’t fathom losing tomorrow, and write them down. If you’re really ambitious, follow Maya Angelou’s lead and compile a list on a yellow notepad. I have no doubt that, given enough time and thought, any of us could fill an entire pad–perhaps even two or three. As for me, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, my readers. You are a tremendous blessing to me. I’m grateful for everyone who takes the time to read my column, stops me to say they enjoyed a particular piece or encourages me to keep writing. Thank you for sharing your stories and inspiring me to share mine. We’re all in this world together, figuring life out one blessing at a time. Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a Birmingham mom of four with a background in PR, writing and photography. Learn about her blog and fiction writing at or find her on Facebook and Twitter. Email her at

Cookie and Bake Swap at Birmingham Bake & Cook Company

A 3rd Annual Holiday Cookie swap is happening Nov. 14 at Birmingham Bake and Cook Company from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event combines recipes, friends and getting to experience a variety of holidays, including Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. Cookies must be registered ahead of time to ensure a variety of types. Cookies may include but are not limited to rolled cookies, drop cookies, decorated cookies, Ice Box Cookies, bars and brownies. Participants should plan

to bring four dozen cookies. Birmingham Bake and Cook Company will provide serving platters, napkins, plates and other serving accessories to set up a Cookie Swap Buffet. Bags will be provided to take cookies home. There will be a People’s Choice Award and voting. The winners will go home with a Birmingham Bake and Cook Company gift certificate. For more information, email, or call 980-8662.


o up t 0 F 3 OF mber

5S0ale%ends Nove

Art • Antiques • Books • Home Decor THE VILLAGE AT LEE BRANCH • 995-4005

(Next to the Rave Theater) TUES - SAT 11AM - 6PM • SUN 1PM - 5PM

World Famous Gingerbread Houses

Gifts Galore! AU, AL, TN, GA and LSU Specialty foods and much more! Come see us at the Junior League “The Market” November 16 -19th

3431 Colonnade Shopping Center

970-2683 • 995-9280

Inspired Design and Remodeling

Good design makes all the difference when remodeling. Make sure your project is timeless, efficient and beautiful by choosing CASE. Our award-winning team of designers and craftspeople are committed to exceeding your expectations. Our initial consultations are free and our advice is priceless, so call today to learn about the CASE Design/Build process. 205.968.6000

Salvation Army bell ringers needed The Shelby County Salvation Army is seeking seasonal volunteers for our Red Kettle and Angel Tree Programs. Kettle bell ringers are needed from Nov. 18 through Christmas. Angel Tree volunteers are

needed now and during the holiday season. Some employment is available to qualified individuals. For more information, call their Shelby County service center at 6637105 or 356-8451.

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November 2011


280 Living

That’s Life

Fancy Fur

By Paul Johnson, Samaritan Counseling Center

New winter clothing, carrier purses, dog necklaces, and great giftable pet items! totes, collars, t-shirts, cheerleading dresses, bowls and people jewelry Beds • Bowls • Picture Frames • Treats •Jewelry Collars • Harnesses • and More!

5291 Valleydale Rd •

408-1693 •

Fall Fashions! Girls Clothes Sizes 7-16 Miss Me, Erge, Gypsy Daisy, Plum, Pink

Ginger, Anita G, Mis-Tee-V-Us and Lime Apple Hwy 280 - Greystone next to Driver’s Way Hours: 10-6 Monday-Saturday

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We Deliver

Of fish and feelings Remember last month I said that I’m not a big fan of holding a fresh fish, though eating a fresh fish I have no problem with. I’d like to pick it up from there. Kind of. My preferred way of dealing with fish is either eating them or observing them at an aquarium. My boys are not fans of eating fish yet but are fans of the aquarium. Watching fish slowly swim by can be a rather soothing and fun venture. The boys and I will pick a spot and just stand there and observe. Eventually, one of them will say, “Ooo, look at that one. What is that, Daddy?” And the questions will follow, and the attempts at answering are made. We observe, and thankfully no touching (and thus no juggling) occurs. Nice, calm, tranquil. Emotions are best when they are observed. I don’t recommend emotion as a menu item; they are best if not stuffed and served with a side of broccoli. They do not serve us well either if they are shoved aside, ignored or repressed. Our emotions serve us well, as I mentioned last month, when they are considered as a piece of information. They are pieces of information that are rather like signals or flags, trying to get our attention about something that is occurring or potentially occurring within our internal environment. They are saying, “Hey, I need you to notice something here.” The kicker is that emotion is not a neutral, objective piece of data or fact that just lies there (like a dead fish, sans the bad smell—ooo, that’s like repressed emotion; more on that later). No, it’s rather subjective and experiential; it lets you know that you care and are very much involved with what is going on. So emotion grabs your innards and shakes you around (kind of like a small child who really wants your attention about something) so that you cannot help but notice. Problem is that most of us, rather than investigating the emotion, treat

it as the final destination. “I’m mad.” “Well, why?” “I don’t know, but I’m mad, and that’s all that matters. Hold still while I bite your head off.” Feelings are not reality but an indication of a reality. Remember Chicken Little, who felt a knock on the head. It hurt yet due to a lack of understanding of what else was in the environment, made an assumption of reality based on the worst fear that doom was occurring and the sky was falling. Panic ensued and infected everyone else as Chicken Little careened around the barnyard, emoting, declaring, blaming, without investigating. If feelings and emotion are an indication of reality, it is important to discover the “actual-ness” of the reality and not merely reacting to the assumption of the reality. Emotion begs for an action to be taken, but the action taken depends on the actual reality at play. Perhaps the sky was falling; perhaps it was merely gravity working upon an acorn. Trouble is, Chicken Little did not take the time to find out, and the difference between the sky and an acorn falling is rather huge. If the sky is falling, yeah, we’re all in trouble. If it’s just an acorn, then move over. So, the next time you feel an emotion (which for most of us will be within the next few seconds), take a breath, a good deep one. And think aquarium: “Ooo, look at that one.” And then ask, “I wonder what that’s about?” It is a great question, one that will lead you to an actual internal reality. To talk further about learning to observe your internal world, or to make sense of what you do observe, please consider Samaritan Counseling Center for your counseling or consultant needs. You can contact them at 9673660 or Paul Johnson is the executive director as well as a professionally licensed marriage and family therapist and an associate licensed counselor at Samaritan.

Sheriff receives Rotary award

Dinner Specials Ribeye Steak & Scallops served with Rice


Whole Flounder with Shrimp served with rice


Famous “Joy Young” recipes Egg foo Young Chicken Chow Mein Egg Rolls

Best Egg Rolls in Birmingham

Famous Joy Young Recipe

5511 Highway 280 • Greystone Park Open 6 Days a Week, closed Sunday’s • 11:00 AM -9:00 PM


Rotary members at the luncheon honoring Sheriff Chris Curry: John Valieant, past Rotary district governor; Martin Uptain, Rotary district governor; Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy John Samaniego; Earl Niven, N. Shelby-Inverness Rotary president; Terry Sutton, Montevallo Rotary president; Ryan Nelson, Hoover Rotary immediate past president. Curry was not able to attend the event.

Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry has been presented the Rotary District 6860 Vocational Service Award. The award recognizes a non-Rotarian who demonstrates excellence in performing his or her vocation with the highest ethical standards. The 6860 district is composed of 56 Rotary clubs in North Alabama stretching from the Tennessee border to just north of Montgomery. The North Shelby-Inverness and Hoover Rotary clubs jointly nominated Curry for the award. Both clubs, in addition to the Alabaster-Pelham and Montevallo Rotary Clubs, honored Curry at a combined luncheon meeting on Sept. 28 at Greystone Founders Country Club. The North ShelbyInverness Rotary also Curry an honorary member of the club at this meeting.

“The competition is keen for this honor, and Sheriff Curry is certainly a welldeserving recipient,” said former District Governor of District 6860 John Valieant. “In his two terms as sheriff of Shelby County Curry has exemplified (the ethical) principles (of the award).” The mission of Rotary International is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. Rotary has been active in Shelby County since 1946 when the Montevallo club was chartered, followed by the formation of the Alabaster-Pelham club in 1970, the Hoover club in 1977 and the North Shelby-Inverness club in 1985.

280 Business Happenings

| November 2011



280 Business Happenings Busy Bee Burger now Bonnie’s Diner

New learning center

Busy Bee now operates under the name of Bonnie’s Diner. The restaurant now specializes in Blue Plate specials from local farmers and serving families home-cooked meals. The Busy Bee burger and fresh shrimp and grouper from Gulf Shores are still regulars on the menu along with new desserts. Bonnie’s Diner offers eat-in, carry-out and drive through service. Their hours are Monday - Saturday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. They are located on ‎16634 U.S. 280. For more information, visit or call 678-7000.

A new LearningRx braintraining center is now open on Cahaba River Road. LearningRx specializes in identifying and correcting the underlying cognitive skill deficiencies. Personal brain-trainers use one-on-one game-like exercises to quickly enhance attention, memory, processing speed, and problem solving. They are located at 4851 Cahaba River Road, Suite 129. For more information, call 970-2070 or visit birmingham-south.

Gravelee Fitness set to move to Mt. Laurel on November 1 Gravlee Fitness is set to move to Mt. Laurel on Morning Place next door to Area 41 Pizza. They offer yoga, pilates, boot camp, kids fitness and senior fitness classes. Owner Lee Gravlee has operated Gravlee Fitness in Birmingham for over 20 years. They are the fourth oldest gym in Birmingham. Both Lee and his wife, Amy, hold bachelors and masters in exercise science and physiology and are certified by the National Strength and Conditioning, which qualifies them to train world class and Olympian athletes.

Rock offers physical training Rock offers sports training, personal training, and functional strength group training. The sessions involve body weight, plyometric and olympical training. Workouts are 15 to 20 minutes and include cardio workouts. Groups hold four to six people at $10-$15 dollars per session. Personal sessions cost $40 per session. They host a Speed Camp that focuses in speed and agility training Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Their hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. They are located in Chelsea behind Ruff ‘n Tuff. For more information, call 618-9344.

Mitchell’s Paper Mitchell’s Paper Etc., a family-owned and operated business, is opening in the Village at Lee Branch. The store offers fine stationary, accessories and gifts from name-brand companies. Their hours are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. They are located on 300 Doug Baker Blvd, Suite 300. For more information, call 4924345.

Massage Envy Massage Envy is moving to a new location in Lee Branch Shopping Center. They will be located next to For Mere Megatans. Massage Envy offers facials and massages by appointment. Their hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 408-1882

Window Decor Home Store “Gotcha Covered” has changed its name to Window Decor Home Store. They offer custom-made home accessories designed by two licensed designers. They are located at 1401 Doug Baker Blvd, Suite 109. Their hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays by appointment only. For more information, call 437-9575.

November Events for the 280 Area 11/2- Sporting Clay Shoot. Selwood Farms. Shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Register online at or call 663-4542. 11/17SpeedNetworking. Greater Shelby Chamber. 8:30 a.m. No cost. Bring plenty of business cards! 11/22- Prayer Breakfast. Pelham Civic Complex. 7:30 a.m. $17 per person ($25 for non-Shelby Chamber members). Register online at or call 663-4542. Keynote speaker: Justin Fisher, author of I Can’t Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand).


280 Living neighborly news & entertainment

For information about Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce events, go online to: or call 663-4542.

The holidays are almost here!

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Holiday Catering We have Full-Service Catering for your family, party or company event Your Home or Office/Our Event Rooms Only $9.99 per person It's not too early to order your holiday baby bites, cupcakes, and cakes at Pastry Art Bake Shoppe. Baked fresh daily. NEW LOCATION! 940 Inverness Corners


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Or...Order and Take Home our special holiday entrees, sides and desserts! Just re-heat and serve.


Order your holiday cakes and desserts early

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Mon-Sat: 11am - 9pm Sun: 10:30am - 4pm


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November 2011

280 Events


November Calendar of Events email your events to

11/5 - Military Family Fun Day. Face painting, games, food, raffles and prizes and

more. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Veterans Park, Valleydale Road. More information: 2499524 or

11/5- Heroes and Horses. Family fun day for family members of military and

veterans. Spirit of Hope Youth Ranch. More information: http://www. Registration contact: 937-8651 or

11/6 - Little Hands Big Hearts. St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. 2:30p.m. to 4 p.m. An afternoon playshop for children to learn how to help mom and dad relax after a stressful day with a good shoulder, neck and back massage. Dress comfortably; bring a blanket, a pillow and a good sense of humor. Recommending ages 6-12. More information: 540-2438.

11/7 - Safety Tips for Women. St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike DeHart will be coming to One Nineteen to talk about personal safety in the home, in your vehicle and during daily activities. Admission: free. Registration required. More information: 408-6550.

11/8- Free flu shots for senior citizens, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Heardmont Senior Center. It

is recommended that you call ahead a make a reservation and be prepared to show your insurance card. Those with no insurance plan may receive a vaccine for a fee. More information: 991-5742.

11/9- I Can’t Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand) Book Signing with

Justin Fisher. Jefferson State Community College, Health Science Building, Multipurpose Room. 6:30 p.m.

11/10-11 Christmas Shop. Benefitting Briarwood Christian High School. Briarwood Presbyterian Church. Thursday 12-6 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

11/11 - Ballroom and Line Dancing. Heardmont Park Senior Community Center 7

p.m Singles and couples are welcome. Admission: $5. More information: 9915282.

11/11 - Harry Potter DVD Release Party. The TownHouse Tea Shoppe. 11 a.m. to 8

p.m. Wear your best Hogwarts costume. Door prizes and food will be offered. Admission: free. More information: 529-0081 or thetownhouseteashoppe@

11/ 14 - Football 102 For Women. St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. 6 p.m. to 8:00

p.m. A.C. Carter, former Alabama player and current Samford University coach, will teach some football basics for women who want to understand football more intelligently. A healthy tailgate meal will be on hand to add to the atmosphere. Certificate of completion will be presented following the workshop. Registration required. Admission: $12. More information: 408-6550.

11/15- Bone Marrow Registry Drive. St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. More information: or 919-0370.

11/3- 11/19 - Quilters at Birmingham Festival Theatre. A play about a series

of short tales matched with musical numbers.. Each woman sews a quilt block that reflects her story. Free opening night reception on November 3 Thursdays to Saturdays at 8 p.m., November 13 at 2 p.m. Admission: $20. Student discount and group rate: $15 except November 10 which is $7. 1901 ½ 11th Avenue South. More information: 933-2383 or

11/2 - Little Black Dress Luncheon and Fashion Show. A fun event to raise money for the nonprofit programs of Assistance League of Birmingham. Admission: $40. For more information: call 879-5555.

11/3- Christmas Village Festival. Exhibition Hall, BJCC. Christmas Village is the

largest indoor arts, crafts, and gifts festival in the south. November 3-5 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; November 6, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $20 More information: or 836-7178.

11/6 - Best in Show. The annual fundraising event for Birmingham Boston Terrier

Rescue features silent and live auctions, food, cash bar, door prizes, dogs in haute couture, and great music. 4 p.m. to 7p.m.Tickets are $15. Bottletree Café, 3719 3rd Ave S. More information: 266-4625 or

11/8- Hoover Public Library presents “Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS

Houston, FDR’s Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors,” November 8, 12:30 p.m. Admission: free. More information: 444-7800.

11/11-11/13 - Willy Wonka Junior at Red Mountain Theatre. The stage

adaptation of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory features a cast of 7th-12th graders. Friday 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m; Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission: $20. More information: or 324-2424.

11/12 & 11/19 - Hogwarts at the Birmingham Zoo. All ages are welcome. 5 p.m.

to 9 p.m.; Yule Ball from 7:30p.m. to 9p.m. Registration required. Admission: Members - $5 non-members - $8. More information: www.birminghamzoo. com or 879-0409.

11/15- ALFRA: The Alabama Family Rights Association. 6 p.m. Hoover Public Library, 200 Municipal Drive.. Reestablish the concept of family. More information: 626-9458 or alfra.bhm.epr@gmail or

11/16-19- The Market. Held by the Junior League of Birmingham. Cahaba Grand Conference Center. Tickets: $12. More information:

11/20 – Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of the Brookwood Women’s Center. 1:30 p.m. ribbon cutting. 2 p.m.-4 p.m. facility tours.

11/26 - Old Baker Farm’s Christmas Tree is open daily starting today, 9 a.m. to

dark, through Christmas Eve. Choose from Virginia Pines, Leyland Cypress, Caroline Sapphire, Arizona Sapphire and Limited Red Cedars. Prices range from $15-$100. Cash or check only. Admission: Free. More information: 6727209 or

11/18- Dessert Cabaret with entertainment by choirs of Oak Mountain High

School. 6:30 and 8 p.m. Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church, 5080 Cahaba Valley Trace. Tickets: $10 More information: Patti Cato at catofam@bellsouth. net.

Save the Date 12/1 – 12/3 – White Christmas. 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Samford University Wright Center. Admission: Adults: $12, Seniors: $9 and Students/Children: $6. More information:

12/2 – 12/4 – Cirque Dreams Holidaze. The performance will light up the 2011

holiday season when it transforms the stage into a wonderland of fantasy and disbelief. 1 p.m., 2 p.m. 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. BJCC Concert Hall. Admission $25-$65. For more information:

12/3 – “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” 10 a.m. BJCC. Admission: $8-$12. More information:

12/9- An Oak Mountain Christmas. Featuring Carrie Tillis and the Bands

of Oak Mountain. Alabama Theatre. 6 p.m. doors open, 7 p.m. show. Tickets: $20 for adults, $12 kids 12 and under. More information: tickets@

12/9-10- Hollydazzle Craft and Gift Market. More than 85 vendors will be

present. Brookhighland Plaza next to Ulta Beauty. Free. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. More information:

Music & Arts 11/2 - Disney On Ice Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey. BJCC Arena.

November 2, 7 p.m.; November 3-4, 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.; November 5, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; November 6, 2 p.m. Admission: $29-$174.

Special Events

Food 11/1 - Pot pie lessons with Virginia Hornbuckle of Hoffman Media. Birmingham Bake and Co. November 1, 6:30 p.m. to 9p.m. Her menu includes a traditional Chicken Pot Pie with a homemade Pâte Brisée Crust, a beef and mushroom pot pie with red wine and a parmesan black pepper biscuit topping, and a creamy Seafood Newburgh pot Pie encased in phyllo. Admission: $35. More information:

11/3 - Authentic Rugelach Workshop with Susan Green. Birmingham Bake

and Co. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. In this workshop, you will make a traditional cream cheese dough-cinnamon-raisin-walnut rugelach as well as the hugely popular chocolate rugelach. Admission: $35. More information: info@

11/8 - Cookie Decorating with Vanessa McNeil Rocchio of the Southern Living

Test Kitchen. November 8, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Birmingham Bake and Co. Rocchio will demonstrate classic cookie decorating techniques and some of her own time-saving shortcuts. Admission: $35. More information: info@

11/10 - New England Thanksgiving Cuisine at One Nineteen St. Vincents. 6:30

p.m. to 8 p.m. Join Chef Gray Byrum for a great demonstration and dinner using New England recipes. Registration required. Nursery provided with advance registration. Admission: $25. More information: 408-6550.

11/10 - Crepe making with Susan Green. Birmingham Bake and Co. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.Learn make sweet and savory crepes with foundational batters and also buckwheat – based crêpes, called galette de sarrasin. Admission: $35. More information:

11/14- 3rd Annual Holiday Cookie Swap. Birmingham Bake and Cook. 6:30-8:30 p.m. More information: or 980-8662.

11/11-11/13 - My Fair Lady. BJCC. November 11, 8 p.m.; November 12, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; November 13, 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Admission: $25. More information: or 458-8194.

11/18 – The Blind Boys of Alabama with special guests Sara and Sean Watkins.

Winners of six Grammy awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, and with a career spanning over 70 years, The Blind

11/19 – Christ Tomlin in concert. 6 p.m. BJCC Arena. Admission: $30. More information:

11/19 - Shop ‘til you flop arts and crafts show at the Wynfrey Hotel in Riverchase

Galleria. November 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vender booths are available but space is limited. Admission: free. More information:, or 690-0773.

Wednesdays- Painting classes. 6:30 p.m. Bryant Art Gallery, 5361 Highway 280 South. More information: 408-4402.

Thursdays- Coffee and Canvas. 9:30 a.m. Bryant Art Gallery, 5361 Highway 280 South. More information: 408-4402.

November 2011

HEARDMONT PARK SENIOR CENTER CALENDAR NOTE: Please reserve meals in advance. Outings are limited to 12 people, so sign up early.

Center Manager: Theresa Green Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 991-5742 Fax: 991-5657 Email: MONDAYS

9:30 -10:30 a.m. – Tai Chi 9:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.- Mah Jongg 10:30 a.m.- 3 p.m.- Canasta


10-11 a.m.- Aerobic Workouts 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.- Bingo & Board Games (8/2 & 8/9 only) 11 a.m. 12 p.m.- Bible Study 12 p.m. - Lunch 12:30 p.m. – Wii bowling with Betty


9 a.m.- 12 p.m.- Bridge Club 11:30 a.m.- 3 p.m.- Rummikub 12 p.m.- Lunch


10-11 a.m.- Aerobic Workouts 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.- Bingo & Board Games 12 p.m.- Lunch


9-10 a.m.- Zumba Gold 10-11 a.m.- Intermediate Line Dancing 11 a.m.-12 p.m.- Beginning Line Dancing

280 Living | November 2011

280 Live Music Listings HOGANS Irish City Vineyard The Fish Market Arbor Place Restaurant Pub & Grill 507 Cahaba Park Circle 995-0533

Every Wednesday / Thursday 8 p.m. Live Music by Razz Ma Tazz Every Friday / Saturday 9 p.m. - Until Live Music by Razz Ma Tazz

CAFE FIRENZE 110 Inverness Plaza 980-1315

Call for this month’s music listings.


Restaurant and Cantina 3439 Colonnade Parkway 969-1411

Live music Wednesday and Thursday, 6 – 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 6 – 10:30 p.m.

Village Tavern The Summit, Lower Level 970-1640

Every Wednesday and Thursday, 6:30 - 9 p.m. Artist Jeff Tyler performs. Fridays, 9 -11:30 p.m., Various live music.

5479 Highway 280, Suite 102 437-3360 Every Friday Night live music, 7-10 p.m. on the patio. Inside, they have a wine tasting, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

GREYSTONE 5407 Highway 280 980-8600

Every Thursday night live music with Jeff Taylor. All Parrotheads are invited.

Courtyard Oyster bar & grill 280 band and dj schedule

11/1-Erica and Eric 11/2-Matt Hill and Sean Bunn / Matt Barnes and David Koonce 11/3-Heath Shoemaker / Will and Bobby 11/4-After the Crash / Matt Hill band 11/5-Todd Simpson and the Mojo Child / Heath Shoemaker 11/6-Heath Shoemaker 11/8-Erica and Eric 11/9-Matt Hill and Sean Bunn / Matt Barnes and David Koonce 11/10-Will and Bobby / Heath Shoemaker 11/11-Atticus Avenue / SK5 11/12-The Serial Killers / Heath Shoemaker 11/13-Heath Shoemaker 11/15-Erica and Eric 11/16-Matt Hill and Sean Bunn / Matt

Barnes and David Koonce 11/17-Heath Shoemaker 11/18-Wasted Glory / Matt Hill band 11/19-Gentleman Zero / Heath Shoemaker 11/20-Heath Shoemaker 11/22-Erica and Eric 11/23-Matt Hill and Sean Bunn / Matt Barnes and David Koonce 11/24-Todd Simpson and the Mojo Child / Heath Shoemaker 11/25-Ray Gun Adminstration / SK5 11/26-4th & 1 / Heath Shoemaker 11/27-Heath Shoemaker 11/29-Erica and Eric 11/30-Matt Hill and Sean Bunn / Matt Barnes and David Koonce Mondays-Dj Kop




Community Contributors Wanted 280 Living is looking for people in the area to contribute news and write stories. Email

Store Manager Needed

Gift Shop on 280 Full Time, Some Weekends, Must be creative & enjoy working with people, Self-motivator, Must have retail experience and be computer literate $20,000-$25,000 Send Resume to Store Manager 45 Hunters Trace Pelham, AL 35124


Opportunity for full time and part time associate. Full time: lady’s fashion sportswear & shoe buyer. Eye for fashion essential, retail back ground helpful. Part time: 25-30 hours a week, sales associate. Apply Rogers Trading Company, hwy 280, resource center parkway: send resume or application to No phone inquiries accepted


Your Community, Your 280 Living 280 Living neighborly news & entertainment

In your mailbox each month. Always online.

To inquire about advertising, contact Dan Starnes, publisher, 370-0732 or


water heater replacement water service repair bath remodeling faucet repair disposals Located in the valley on Highway 119 near North Shelby Library 5600 Cahaba Valley Rd. • 991-2022


November 2011


Diabetic Testing Supplies Free Talking Meter with every new prescription

Your locally owned Mobility Equipment & Medical Supply Source Conveniently Located in Chelsea on Hwy 280 Next to Snider’s Pharmacy

Come visit us soon! We have a new Lift Chair Display just in time for Christmas Shopping!

15582 Hwy 280 Chelsea, AL

205-678-8755 Owner: Georgia Lay

We are happy to bill & accept assignment on most insurance plans & workers comp. Preferred Provider for BCBS & Blue Advantage Humana . Medicare . Medicaid . Viva

280 Living November 2011  

News, sports, and entertainment for the 280 Corridor in Birmingham

280 Living November 2011  

News, sports, and entertainment for the 280 Corridor in Birmingham