February 2017 | Volume 10 | Issue 6
neighborly news & entertainment
UNCOMMON STAR Jags’ Mary Katherine Tedder views clutch moments as just another chance ‘to be great’
By KYLE PARMLEY
omething is different about Mary Katherine Tedder. There is a quiet intensity that burns deep inside, a competitiveness that drives her, an unwillingness to lose in anything, whether it is the softball state tournament or a ping-pong match to her coach. Spain Park High School’s runner-up ﬁnish in the state softball tournament last season was a great accomplishment for the program, but the loss in the championship game was the “worst feeling in the world” for Tedder. Losing that trivial ping-pong match was not nearly as crushing, but it still bothered her. That competitive ﬁre burns like a blowtorch, especially in big moments. When the bases are loaded in the ﬁnal inning, Tedder isn’t shaking at the knees or having a case of the sweaty palms. “It’s just another opportunity to be great,” she said.
See TEDDER | page A30
Mary Katherine Tedder deﬂects the spotlight any chance she gets, but there’s no denying that she is a powerful force on and off the softball ﬁeld. Photo by Todd Lester.
Caroline Lollar delivers toys to children at King’s Home in late December. Caroline, 7, decided herself to donate her birthday presents to youth staying with their mothers at the shelter. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.
Acts of love not bound by holiday By SYDNEY CROMWELL
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Valentine’s Day may be meant for recognizing romantic love, but there’s more than one type of love that makes a community stronger. Every day, people choose to act with generosity, self-sacriﬁce and love for the sake of their family, their friends, their neighbors or even a perfect stranger. Most of these acts will be done with almost no fanfare or recognition. But here are the stories of four members
of the U.S. 280 corridor community who exemplify the ideals of selﬂess love.
The Lollar family was driving home from Kampﬁre for the King, an annual November event in support of King’s Home, when 7-year-old Caroline piped up from the back seat.
See LOVE | page A31 Sponsors .............. A4 280 News ............. A6
Business ..............A14 Chamber..............A16
Sports ................. A24 Opinion ...............A29
Events ................... B4 School House ..... B10
Faith .................... B26 Calendar ............. B29 facebook.com/280Living
Sales on the Rise
Running for a Cause
Area restaurants, package stores report increase of Sunday alcohol sales since Shelby voters approved 2016 measure.
Chelsea resident Ron Ramsey’s ﬁrst crack at a marathon carries deeper meaning: to beneﬁt The Bell Center.
See page B1
See page B8
A2 â€¢ February 2017
February 2017 â€¢ A3
A4 • February 2017
About Us Editor’s Note By Erica Techo Thanks to Valentine’s Day, the month of February is oftentimes associated with pinks and reds and hearts. And while I’m always a fan of chocolates and a romantic dinner, I think non-romantic acts of love get overshadowed by giant teddy bears or flower deliveries. In this issue, we tried to cover multiple forms of love. We talked to Ashley and Brad Evans, who met in the ninth grade and have been in love ever since. We also covered some people who are working to do great things in the community — from 7-year-old Caroline Lollar, who chose to collect gifts for King’s Home rather than herself, to Chelsea resident Josh Calhoun’s work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, to Heather Parramore and Roberto
Rodriguez, who investigate sexual abuse crimes against children across the country. There’s also Ron Ramsey, who is using Valentine’s Day to run the Mercedes Marathon and raise money for the Bell Center. It’s the second month of the year, and hopefully all of your New Year’s resolutions are still going strong. If you’re looking for a new one, though, consider showing love and support throughout the whole month — not just on Feb. 14.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
Alabama Department of Transportation workers change out the traffic light at the intersection of Shelby 47 and U.S. 280. By changing the traffic lights to a turn-on-green arrow only, Mayor Tony Picklesimer said he hopes the intersection will be much safer. Photo by Erica Techo.
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February 2017 â€¢ A5
A6 • February 2017
280 News No rate hike for Double Oak Water Reclamation customers By ERICA TECHO Chelsea residents who are customers of Double Oak Water Reclamation will not see an increase in their 2017 rates. Mayor Tony Picklesimer announced during his mayor’s report at the Jan. 3 Chelsea City Council meeting that customers could expect to receive notice regarding the lack of increase sometime the following week. “I am happy to report to you that due to operational efﬁciencies and continued growth in our market and also the prospective growth that we are experiencing here in our market, there will be a zero increase for 2017 by Double Oak Water Reclamation in either residential fess or in tap fees to our businesses,” Picklesimer said. Picklesimer met with the principals of Double Oak multiple times, during which Picklesimer said they discussed concerns of Chelsea citizens related to rate increases over the last few years as well as the increases in tap fees that are passed onto prospective and incoming businesses. Residents previously expressed their concerns regarding the tap fees, with one resident starting a petition that she presented to the Shelby County Commission. “The cost of sewer rates in Chelsea and some of the surrounding areas has risen from $45 to $81 since 2009,” resident Connie Gilliland read from the petition during the July 25 meeting. “Double Oak Water Reclamation increases rates every year. At this rate, it will be over
More Coverage • Double Oak Water Reclamation customers applaud decision about 2017 rates, A7.
$100 a month within three years. We need to put a stop to the automatic rate increases.” The petition, at that time, had received over 400 signatures. Picklesimer said on Jan. 3 that he was proud to relay the information of the zero increase, and he appreciated Double Oak leaving the sewer rates ﬂat. Also during his mayor’s report, Picklesimer commended citizens and city staff who assisted a man who went into cardiac arrest at the Chelsea Community Center. Some of the people at the center as well as a staff member performed CPR and used the on-site deﬁbrillator until ﬁre and rescue personnel could get to the scene. When Chelsea Fire & Rescue arrived, they took the man to Grandview Medical Center. “Nobody can ever know for sure, but there’s a good chance that if those citizens and that staff member didn’t step up like they did, that that situation would have turned out a whole lot different,” Picklesimer said. Chelsea Fire & Rescue Chief Wayne Shirley said he is thankful for the city’s support, which has helped put about 20 deﬁbrillators around
Mayor Tony Picklesimer announced there will be no increase in sewer rates for Chelsea residents for the 2017 billing period. Photo by Erica Techo.
Chelsea. The ﬁre department also provides free training to the businesses, schools and city buildings that house deﬁbrillators. “We put in place this program of public access deﬁbrillation several years ago in hopes that we would never need it,” Shirley said. “And for the most part, they’ve been equipment on the wall. …I’m just glad we had the opportunity to have one nearby when it needed to be used.” Shirley added that they are proud to have citizens willing to step up and help another person. Also during the meeting, the council: ► Approved a resolution for a retail beer and table wine license for Hallie Riha and Michael Lee at the 51 Country Store. Riha and Lee are the new owners of the store. ► Approved a resolution authorizing
Picklesimer to purchase security cameras for Chelsea City Hall. The equipment would cost around $4,952. Another option, costing more than $11,000, was presented, Picklesimer said during precouncil, but the difference in price only related to a difference in memory. The cheaper option will provide 30 days of memory, which Picklesimer said is sufﬁcient. ► Picklesimer said he plans to get three companies to look at rebuilding the inﬁelds of Chelsea’s softball ﬁelds on Highway 39. ► Approved a resolution to annex property owned by Michael Morgan along Highway 51. The council previously annexed a larger portion of the 18-acre property “half-by-half-by-half,” which is required by law. This was the ﬁnal portion of the property. ► Approved a resolution to pay the city’s bills.
February 2017 • A7
Chelsea resident Connie Gilliland speaks at a Coffee and Conversations event in October. At the event, she addressed state, city and county leadership regarding sewer rates. Photo by Erica Techo.
Residents applaud sewer rates decision By ERICA TECHO Many Chelsea residents were happy to hear Mayor Tony Picklesimer’s announcement that there would be no increase in Double Oak Water Reclamation sewer rates in 2017, especially Connie Gilliland. “I was ecstatic,” Gilliland said of her initial reaction. “I still am because there have been increases every year for six years.” The news that there would be no increase was even more exciting, Gilliland said, because she spoke with an individual at Double Oak several months ago, who was “almost certain” customers would face another increase. After seeing her rates rise by 8 to 10 percent for several years, Gilliland started a petition to ask the Shelby County Commission and other government entities to speak with Double Oak and question the continual rise in rates. She presented that petition on July 25, noting that rates rose from $45 to $81 since 2009, Gilliland said, and they were the same for all homes rather than being based on usage. She also attended meetings to talk with state representatives and asked for a change. Since the announcement, Gilliland said she has heard similarly positive reactions from the community. “I’ve had so many people tell me thank you, which of course I didn’t have that much to do with it. I just had the petition … and stayed on the mayor since the beginning,” Gilliland said, adding that she was thankful Picklesimer took the step to meet with Double Oak Water regarding the rate increases. “I couldn’t have done it without him stepping in.” Picklesimer met with Double Oak three times since taking ofﬁce in November, and announced during a Jan. 3 meeting there would be no increase in residential fees or tap fees to businesses in Chelsea. The decision was made due to “operational efﬁciencies and continued growth” in the Chelsea market, as well as growth that is expected to continue into the future, Picklesimer said. The announcement, however, only speciﬁed 2017. “I haven’t had anybody else ask the question, “What about next year?’” Gilliland said. “I’m glad we do have at least this break of this year, of it not increasing, which is just fantastic because that gives us 12 more months of not having to worry about more money going out.” She would like more certainty for the future, however, which is why she has approached Sen. Slade Blackwell with questions about the Public Service Commission. The PSC is the
The main thing is I want the lawmakers to do something that we can’t do as citizens — to say, ‘Hey, you can’t just keep raising rates.’ And these people have no choice [about the sewer system] unless they want to move.
only entity that could regulate sewers, County Manager Alex Dudchock said at the July 25 commission, and to do so would need approval from the state Legislature. While some utilities are monitored by the PSC, sewer systems are not one of them. The only systems under the PSC at this time are small operations — with 90 customers or less — in North Alabama. “I do know that it can be done,” Gilliland said. “I know it’s harder, and I’m like everybody else, we don’t like government interference in private companies, but there are times when you need that. We need to know that our rates are not going to keep going up.” Gilliland said while the Public Service Commission is one option, she is open to suggestions from lawmakers who might know of other options. Ultimately, she hopes they will be able to speak up on behalf of residents, especially those who could not afford continued rate increases. “The main thing is I want the lawmakers to do something that we can’t do as citizens — to say, ‘Hey, you can’t just keep raising rates,’” she said. “And these people have no choice [about the sewer system] unless they want to move.” A consistency in rates could help Chelsea residents and businesses, Gilliland said, noting that Dudchock conﬁrmed in July high sewer rates had negatively affected businesses in the past. “I just know that something needs to be done to help protect the residents and the businesses, and I’m very thankful to Mayor Picklesimer for sitting down with Double Oak Water Company three times and getting our rates frozen for at least this year,” she said.
A8 • February 2017
Commission passes amended Village at Highland Lakes plan By LEXI COON Just before the holidays, the Shelby County Planning Commission had an empty agenda after a request to review an amended master plan for The Village at Highland Lakes was carried to the meeting Jan. 17 so that representatives could answer questions from surrounding property owners. The original master plan for the neighborhood was approved in 2004 and had three more approved amendments, with the most recent being in 2013. Now, in the fourth proposed amended plan, the developers are addressing three aspects of the area: a reconﬁguration of the roads and addition of new common areas; a reconﬁguration of certain lots and the reduction of the number of lots; and an absorption of unusable common areas. According to the report read by senior planner Sharman Brooks, the new plans included an added detention pond in place of some former lots within the neighborhood as well as the designation of unusable areas for developments. “During the spring of 2015, Spectrum Environmental delineated some jurisdictional waters and wetlands in the southwestern corner of the project,” said Brooks. To incorporate the delineation, the master plan eliminates development in these areas and has instead constructed a trail as well as a detention pond. The amendment also proposed that some of the common area that was deemed unusable now be absorbed by some of the lots. According to Steve Castleman with Spectrum Environmental, although the previously marked common area would no longer be public, it would be used as a buffer for the lots and surrounding area. To work with the reconﬁguration of the unusable areas as well as loss of some lots, the roads have been redrawn within the neighborhood. “We’ve gone from a more concentric road layout to a more linear road layout,”
Fowler Lake resident Tom Jury speaks to the commission about his concerns with the buffer area behind the houses that are along the lake during the planning commission meeting on Jan. 17. Photo by Lexi Coon.
Brooks said. This has also affected some of the lots’ sizes, and Brooks said that the total number of 63-foot lots was decreased to 99 lots and has increased the number of 90-foot lots to 79 lots. According to representative Scott Vaughn, the fourth phase of the master plan is the only part being changed, and it “identiﬁes a total of 131 lots in phase four, and includes an overall reduction of 29 lots.” The reduction of 29 lots will leave the neighborhood with a total of 819 lots. Brooks also mentioned that currently, the neighborhood will not be conducting mass grading because it no longer cost effective for
the developer due to huge boulders coming out of the ground. “Sometimes, you have to take what the land gives you,” said owner Doug Eddleman. “We’re just trying to get back to normal sized lots.” While much of the amendment deals with the designation of common areas and lot sizes, two main concerns of residents during the meeting revolved around the residences along Fowler Lake and the lake itself. Because some of the homes back up directly to other areas within The Village at Highland Lakes, resident Tom Jury expressed concern about the proximity of the trail to the
homes along the lake. “If that trail comes through there, we’re going to have a summer full of kids that we aren’t responsible for,” he said. “That kind of concerns us only because of liability standpoint, just because it is a private lake and we don’t need a liability there.” He requested an increased buffer area, something that commissioner Michael O’Kelley echoed. Eddlemen noted that there is a fence to separate the homes along Fowler Lake, but if there is a portion of the trail that encroaches, then they will work to move the trail so it is on the proper side. Resident Terry Stiles Harrison, who also lives on Fowler Lake, brought to the attention of the commission that runoff from surrounding areas has been entering the lake. Her main concern was that the water that is supposed to be going into the detention ponds is instead going into Fowler Lake. Castleman responded to her concerns, noting that some of the lots were moved out of existing stream beds and that a large amount is done to control any sediment and erosion at the point of origin. “The collection efforts that we’ve made are more upstream or up-gradient in these locations than they are trying to catch these things in the lower part,” he said. “The efforts at this property are to, one, minimize the impact to the natural waterways, and that was the primary reason for reducing the number of lots. Secondly, reducing the area of cleared property.” After hearing from all residents who wished to speak, the planning commission voted to approve the amended master plan, with commissioner Bob Land abstaining. The commission also approved a request for a resubdivision of a 2.99-acre plat along County Road 47. Under the new subdivision, the plat will become two lots, one that is 1.9 acres and house a mobile home, and another lot that is 1.09 acres and maintains the current home and pool.
February 2017 • A9
Commercial property annexation OK’d By ERICA TECHO The city of Chelsea is getting an addition to its tax base following a recent annexation. On Jan. 17, the Chelsea City Council approved the annexation of a 9-acre property owned by First United Security Bank on Old Highway 280. The fact that this land is commercial property beneﬁts the city, said council member Scott Weygand. “This will be instant new revenue for the city on the sales tax base, and I’m very excited to grow our commercial base,” Weygand said. The annexed property includes four of the ﬁve buildings where the Ruff and Tuff was located, Weygand said. The annexation was unanimously approved by the council. Also during the meeting, Mayor Tony Picklesimer announced that CSX Railroad will begin to clear trees along County Road 47 starting in front of Information Technology Services and continuing around the bend leading toward the intersection of CR 47 and 39. The tree clearing will create a clear sight path for the road, and the work will be done at the cost of CSX. During his mayor’s report, Picklesimer also held up a packet that showed all of the new home building permits, as well as seven other permits. These permits were requested in the month of January, and the sheer number of them was indicative of how much the city is
The pink area, located off Old Highway 280 before it turns into Chelsea Corners Way, is the location of a 9-acre commercial property that was annexed into the city of Chelsea during the Jan. 17 council meeting. Map courtesy of the city of Chelsea.
growing, Picklesimer said. Also at the meeting, the council: ► Approved a resolution to authorize Picklesimer to sign a contract with Kellis Vegetation Management Inc. for maintenance on Chelsea’s sports ﬁelds. This contract was necessary, Picklesimer said, so that the city could maintain its now 13 athletic ﬁelds. After weighing the option between contracting out maintenance or hiring new city personnel and purchasing the chemicals necessary for the job, Picklesimer said he and the council decided the contract was the better choice for the city. ► Approved to pay the city’s bills.
Recreational Trails Program grant application approved By ERICA TECHO The Shelby County Commission has approved a grant application for future projects along the Cahaba River. During its last meeting of the year on Dec. 27, the commission approved a resolution authorizing the application for trails in the Shelby County Cahaba River Park Commissioners Robbie Hayes and Lindsey Allison at the Jan. 9 Shelby County Commission meeting. Photo by Erica Techo. and the Forever Wild Land Trust along the Cahaba Families Program, and Shelby County has River. The county plans to apply to the Alabama selected to apply for purpose area 1, superDepartment of Economic and Community vised visitation and safe exchange activities, Affairs for grant assistance, according to the and purpose area 2, court and other court-based resolution, and that funding would be used programs and services. The grant, if awarded, would be used to to build about seven miles of multi-use trails expand the county’s already established superalong the Cahaba River. The grant program will fund 80 percent of the vised visitation program in purpose area one project, with the county meeting a 20 percent and to establish a domestic violence court in match. The 80 percent match is not to exceed purpose area two. “I would just like to commend Reggie [Hol$200,000, and the proposed project is estimated loway] and his staff, because we had to work at $300,000, according to the resolution. The trails are intended for the north side very hard on very short notice through the holof the river, located in Hoover and Helena, idays to get this in by the 12th, and he really although that was not speciﬁed in the resolution worked hard over the holidays,” said Commisconsidered during the meeting. County Chief sioner Lindsey Allison. Also during the Jan. 9 meeting, county ofﬁDevelopment Ofﬁcer Chad Scroggins said the county would not have to specify the location of cials commented on the previous weekend, the new trails or facilities until the application which had below freezing temperatures and icy conditions. County Manager Alex Dudchock is submitted. Plans for the overall project include ATV said the response to the icy roads and winter trails on the north end of the river in addition to weather was a “ﬂawless” execution of the counhiking and mountain biking trails, said County ty’s operational plan. He also commended the Manager Alex Dudchock, and there will be no Sheriff’s Ofﬁce’s response and employees who motorized vehicle access in the Forever Wild helped over the weekend, saying the county has Land Trust property. That portion of land will some of the best people in the nation working only have hiking and mountain biking access, in situations like this. “It shows very well when we have those, and he said. “Nothing has changed in the master plan especially with the uncertainty that comes with this type of front,” Dudchock said. concerning that,” Dudchock said. Many employees took time to work over the When the application was submitted on Jan. 6, it speciﬁed what amenities are planned for weekend, said County Engineer Randy Cole. “We were very fortunate with the limited the property, Scroggins said. “We actually have to give them locations, amount of ice we had on the road,” Cole said. and if there’s anything else we want to put in “We had crews out until sometime in the evethere, whether it be a trailhead, pavilion or ning on Friday, sanding roads and bridges, and restroom, whatever it may be, we’ve got to put they came out and worked all day Saturday. And as far as I know, we didn’t have any kind it in the application,” Scroggins said. During its Jan. 9 meeting, the commission of major incident, so we’re very fortunate for approved another resolution to apply for a grant. that.” Water Services Manger Michael Cain said The grant, which is from the U.S. Department of Justice Ofﬁce On Violence Against Women, there were “no major incidents” over the weekis available for the ﬁscal year 2017 Justice for end during the cold weather.
A10 • February 2017
Shelby collects input on walking, bicycling conditions Analysis reports average ‘D’ grade for pedestrians, ‘C’ grade for cyclists By ERICA TECHO On a scale from A to F, Shelby County has an average grade of “D” for walking conditions and a “C” for bicycling conditions along its roads, according to an analysis by Sain Associates. These grades were presented with maps on Jan. 10 at Chelsea City Hall during a county-hosted public workshop. The ﬁrst of two public workshops, the three-hour stop-in meeting served as an opportunity for Sain and the county to gain an idea of locations where Shelby County residents would like to see increased bike and pedestrian amenities. The grades, identiﬁed as levels of service, were based on typical bicycling and typical walking conditions, said Alicia Bailey, a representative of Sain Associates. Elements such as lane width, shoulder width, paving, presence of sidewalks and other items were factored into the study. For bicycling conditions, a road received an A for the few interruptions and increased freedom to maneuver; a C for a smooth travel surface and moderate room to maneuver; and an F for a rough travel surface, poor maneuverability and high amount of ride interruptions such as high levels of trafﬁc. As examples, Highway 62 received an A, Valleydale Road received a C and the unpaved Gurnee-Straven Road received an F. The only roads that received an F were unpaved, Bailey said, because the uneven surface is not a smooth place for cyclists to ride. For walking conditions, an A was given if there was low to no competition with motorists and an available sidewalk; a C was given for moderate competition and adequate room for more than one person to walk; and an F was given for low level of safety and comfort and the highest competition with motorists. As examples, South Main Street in Columbiana received an A, Highway 31 a C and U.S. 280
More at 280Living.com • View Sain Associates’ maps that outline walking and bicycling grades for Shelby County roads.
Alicia Bailey of Sain Associates discusses the rating system of bicycling level of service during a public workshop on Jan. 10. Photo by Erica Techo.
received an F. Around Chelsea, there were several C and F roads for walking conditions, while walking conditions were marked E and F around Oak Mountain State Park and marked C and D around Dunnavant Valley. The highest graded walking areas were downtown Columbiana and downtown Montevallo, where there is a high concentration of sidewalks, Bailey said. For cycling, Chelsea roads received grades ranging from A to C, with U.S. 280 receiving a C on most segments of the road. Dunnavant Valley received Cs and Ds, while roads surrounding Oak Mountain State Park received Ds and Es. Dunnavant Valley resident Tom Opie has previously worked with the county to put up more “Share the Road” signs. An avid road cyclist, Opie said it is important to make motorists aware of cyclists and to make cyclists aware
of their responsibility to following the rules of the road. “I just want people to be able to have an alternative means of transportation and a safe way and place to ride their bike,” Opie said. In addition to maps marking the current state of roads, a demand map was also on display. This map showed where the highest need of better bike or walking conditions is expected, highlighting mainly high density areas such as the parts of Hoover and Pelham that border Jefferson County. “It looks at if there was a facility there, would it be used,” said Peyton McLeod, who was explaining the demand map to those in attendance. After looking at all of the maps and grades on display, residents were encouraged to respond to a survey about bike and walking conditions. They gave a desired level of service for the county as a whole on a scale of A to F, and they
also speciﬁed roads where they would utilize more amenities. “You can say, ‘I live here, and if those roads had accommodations, I’d ride my bike there,’” Bailey said. If survey respondents said they wanted to see an overall grade of “C,” Bailey said the county would know to focus more efforts on improving D, E and F roads. Or, if they identiﬁed a certain area as needing “B” roads, the county would know citizens see those roads as a priority. She also noted, however, that requesting an A on bike and walking conditions would increase the overall cost of the project in addition to extending the timeline for improvements. The input would allow for a “rational plan as funds come available,” McLeod said. Sally Kelley and Robert Kelley, residents of Yellowleaf Ridge Estates, both were also interested in looking at the current conditions of roads in the area. “Right now you take your life in your hands if you try to walk anywhere,” Robert Kelley said. Both would like to see more walking and bicycling areas around some of Chelsea’s shopping centers to allow alternative means of travel to those areas. On her survey, Sally Kelley said she would like to see A conditions in Chelsea, but Robert Kelley said he realizes it is a work in progress. “I realize we take it one step at a time, so I didn’t ask for As,” he said. The information gathered at the meeting will be used to construct a Bike and Pedestrian Plan for the county. That plan will be used as a reference in determining the priority of different projects as funding is acquired, McLeod said.
February 2017 • A11
Hoover approves zoning for Next Levl extreme rec center
The Hoover City Council rezoned 6.5 acres at 4670 Valleydale Road (outlined in black), next to Jefferson State Community College’s Shelby-Hoover campus, from a Shelby County agricultural district to a C-2 community business district in Hoover, subject to the property being annexed into Hoover. Map courtesy of the city of Hoover.
By JON ANDERSON The Hoover City Council has given conditional zoning approval for a new “extreme recreation” center called Next Levl, which will be in the Tattersall Park development off Alabama 119 near U.S. 280. The Next Levl facility will replace the Airwalk indoor trampoline park just down U.S. 280 in The Village at Lee Branch shopping center, according to CircusTrix, a national company that owns the Airwalk and Next Levl businesses. The new facility will be CircusTrix plans to build a 30,000-square-foot “extreme recreation” center called Next Levl on the 30,000 square feet, roughly twice the size of AirWalk, and site shown here in yellow near the corner of Alabama 119 and U.S. 280. Map courtesy of the city of Hoover. will contain more “extreme recreation” options than the existing facility, said James Bell, the project Wash. It will have 118 parking spaces, Bell manager for the new facility. said. In addition to trampolines, Next Levl will Mary Sue Ludwig, a representative for the contain rock climbing walls, foam pits, an Greystone Homeowners Association Board American Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course, of Directors, said her group is not happy with a ﬂying trapeze, aerial silks and slacklines, the way pieces of Tattersall Park are being Bell said. sold piecemeal without a master plan, but they There also will be special programs such have met with CircusTrix ofﬁcials and believe as ﬁtness classes, family nights, kid jumps, it will be a quality facility. club nights for teenagers and college nights. Visit circustrix.com for more information There is a growing demand for indoor rec- about the company. reational activities that allow kids and adults Another extreme recreation facility called alike to get up from watching TV and do High Point Climbing and Fitness opened in something active, Bell said. mid-December at 4766 U.S. 280 in the former Construction is just beginning on the Next Next Total Fitness location in Inverness Levl facility, and company ofﬁcials hope to between Inverness Plaza and the Goo-Goo have it built and ready to open in May, spokes- Express Car Wash. That facility has 32,000 man Marcus Hardy said. The building will be square feet of ﬂoor space, including 25,000 located behind the La-Z-Boy store and next square feet of climbing areas, and has ﬁtness to a recently approved Blue Rain Express Car facilities for yoga and aerobics.
Hoover council rezones 6.5 acres off Valleydale By JON ANDERSON The Hoover City Council on Jan. 17 rezoned 6.5 acres off Valleydale Road next to Jefferson State Community College’s Shelby-Hoover campus to make way for a convenience store and small strip shopping center. The property at one time had a mobile home park on it, Hoover planning consultant Bob House said. It now has one house, a couple of storage buildings, a mobile home and a barn, said Todd Thompson, an engineer representing property owner Shelia Vaughn. The plan is to demolish the house to make way for the commercial development, Thompson said. The property is currently zoned as an agricultural district in unincorporated Shelby County, and Vaughn was asking Hoover to zone it as a C-2 community business district. The zoning change won’t take effect until
Hoover annexes the property. Vaughn has an annexation request pending with the City Council. The council’s annexation committee on Dec. 19 recommended approval of the annexation, but Vaughn and city ofﬁcials wanted to address the rezoning request ﬁrst. The state Legislature changed the law ﬁve to 10 years ago to allow cities to zone property prior to annexation to give more certainty about land use prior to the annexation taking place, House said. The property is at 4670 Valleydale Road, on the north side of the road and across the street from the North Shelby Fire Station No. 1, Thompson said. There is an embroidery and screen printing business to the east (zoned as a Shelby County B-2 business district) and Jefferson State Community College to the north and west (zoned for ofﬁce and institutional use in Hoover).
A12 • February 2017
Hoover council appoints Cole, Sanford to library, park boards By JON ANDERSON The Hoover City Council in January appointed Paul Sanford to the Hoover Parks and Recreation Board and Ruth Cole to the Hoover Library Board. Sanford is ﬁlling the spot left from the resignation of Randy Lott and will complete the ﬁnal ﬁve years of Lott’s term on the park board. Cole is replacing longtime Hoover Library Board member Michael Krawcheck, whose ﬁfth four-year term ended in December. Sanford, 50, lives in Cahaba River Estates and has been a Hoover resident for 20 years. He spent many years serving in Hoover youth athletics, including 10 years on the board of the Hoover Athletic Association (many as treasurer) and as a member of the football steering committee for the Hoover Parks and Recreation Department, he said. He is proud of the work the group did to increase participation in youth football by several hundred boys, he said. Sanford also served as treasurer of the Buccaneer Touchdown Club the past couple of years and previously as the club’s president. He also was involved with the baseball booster club at Hoover High School. Sanford and his wife, Donya, have four children: Thomas (a third-year medical student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham); Preston (a science teacher and football and baseball coach at Hoover High); Sarah (a junior member of the track team at Samford University); and Sam (a junior at Hoover High).
Paul Sanford is ﬁlling the spot left from the resignation of Randy Lott and will complete the ﬁnal ﬁve years of Lott’s term on the park board. Ruth Cole is replacing longtime Hoover Library Board member Michael Krawcheck, whose ﬁfth four-year term ended in December. Sanford is the chief ﬁnancial ofﬁcer for the Barber Companies, where he has worked for 20 years. He also has served about 14 years on the board of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. He and his wife attend Riverchase Church of Christ. Hoover Councilman John Lyda, the council’s liaison to the Parks and Recreation Board, said more than a dozen people applied for the park board vacancy. Sanford brings the perfect mix of park and recreation experience and business acumen to the park board, Lyda said. He
is just what the city needs to help make the Hoover Metropolitan Complex the best it can be, and his experience with land management will be useful as the city looks to develop areas near the new sports complex next to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, Lyda said. Cole, 43, lives in Greystone and has been a Hoover resident about 12 years. She is president of the Berry Middle School PTO this year and previously served as president of the Greystone Elementary PTA. She and her husband, Doug, have a daughter, Addison, who is an eighth-grader at Berry and a son, Cooper, who is a ﬁfth-grader at Greystone. She previously has worked as an accountant and as an accounting consultant for a Fortune 500 company. She served on the Hoover school superintendent’s advisory committee and has been a Sunday school teacher, troop coordinator for American Heritage Girls Troop AL1720, First Priority Kids volunteer and a volunteer with the Delta Delta Delta sorority for at least 20 years. Councilman Casey Middlebrooks, the council’s liaison to the Library Board and a former Hoover Public Library employee, said there were 12 applicants for the Library Board position and he believes Cole will be a great addition to the board because of her strong record of community involvement. Cole said the Hoover Public Library is one of the pillars of the community and she looks forward to working with the staff and city ofﬁcials in the years to come.
Above: Ruth Cole, new member of the Hoover Library Board. Below: Paul Sanford, new member of the Hoover Parks and Recreation Board. Photos by Jon Anderson.
February 2017 • A13
Intersections update aimed at creating safer roads By ERICA TECHO The trafﬁc lights at the intersection of County Road 47 and U.S. 280 in Chelsea are a little different than they were in 2016, but that difference is something Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer hopes will keep drivers safer. Starting Jan. 10, the Alabama Department of Transportation made repairs to the trafﬁc lights in the intersection and swapped out a few of the turn signals. While the trafﬁc lights for those turning off of U.S. 280 previously had a green arrow and a green signal indicating “left turn yield on green,” those signals now have green, yellow and red arrows. Left turns when there is oncoming trafﬁc are no longer permitted. “I’ve always been of the opinion that if all left turns in that intersection at 280 and 47 were on green arrow only, rather than turn left on green when clear, that it would greatly reduce the number of accidents and the severity of accidents in the intersection,” Picklesimer said. The intersection, located in front of the Chelsea McDonald’s, has been the location for many accidents in the past, said Picklesimer, and improving safety there was a high priority. “I have actually had multiple meetings with ALDOT, three to be exact, and it was a big part of my campaign,” Picklesimer said. “I talked about how I feel we ought to have some input into ALDOT’s decision-making in Chelsea proper.” The changes to this intersection are a way to keep that promise of keeping Chelsea safe, Picklesimer said. In the weeks following the changes to the trafﬁc signals, Picklesimer said he had seen a decrease in the number of accidents at that intersection. “There’s already a drop in the accidents. It’s an immediate ﬁx,” Picklesimer said. “Not to say that was a correct all, ﬁx all, but that along with the awareness with all the extra work going on, I think that overall, it’s made a difference already. And I think it will
Drivers turning from U.S. 280 onto County Road 47 no longer have the option of turning left without a green arrow. This change, Mayor Tony Picklesimer said, will hopefully make the intersection safer. Photo by Erica Techo.
continue to do so.” In addition to the signal change, Picklesimer said the intersection will be repainted, which will also help increase safety. During his meetings with ALDOT, Picklesimer has discussed two other trafﬁc-related projects on U.S. 280, which have not yet been approved. This project was the ﬁrst to be approved,
and he said it is the “culmination of several meetings with several different people in it,” including current council members. While working to improve the safety on some of the city’s roads, Picklesimer said he appreciates the input from city ofﬁcials as well as ALDOT’s willingness to listen to his input. “I mentioned in several council meetings
keeping our promises is important to me, and my number one priority, the number one priority of a municipal government is keeping its people safe,” Picklesimer said. “That fourword sentence encompasses a lot of things, but I think this is a step toward keeping people safe. I appreciate ALDOT allowing me the meetings.”
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A14 â€¢ February 2017
February 2017 • A15 ordering via their website. 968-1588, sushivillageal.com
Now Open Soccer Post of Birmingham is now open at 5291 Valleydale Road, Suite 137. The store offers a wide variety of items for soccer players including footwear, equipment, accessories, team jerseys and more. 783-5556, soccerpostbhm.com
Chelsea Chiropractic & Acupuncture, 398 Chesser Road, Suite 2, is now an in-network Medicare provider. 678-1000, chelseafamilychiro.com
High Point Climbing and Fitness is now open at 4766 Highway 280. The facility offers bouldering walls, a kids zone, yoga and ﬁtness programs, and much more. 981-9190, highpointclimbing.com/birmingham
Coming Soon Whataburger will be opening on the site formerly occupied by Dixie Fish Co., 111 Resource Center Parkway. The restaurant will open alongside Panda Express and is scheduled to open this month. whataburger.com
Relocations and Renovations Chelsea Coffee House has relocated to 16688 Highway 280, Suite B, Chelsea, adjacent to Chelsea Apothecary. 678-4444, facebook.com/chelseacoffeehouse
Alabama Cardiovascular Group, 3686 Grandview Parkway, Suite 720, has hired Jimmie Dotson, Jr., MD, to join its practice as an interventional cardiologist. Dr. Dotson is board certiﬁed in cardiology. He is now accepting new patients. 971-7500, alcardio.com
Knotty Dog, a pet groomer located at 10699 Old Highway 280, Building 5, Suite 7, Chelsea, has hired Tracy Schumann, NCMG, to join their team. 678-8779, knottydog-alabama.com
The Little Donkey, a Mexican-themed restaurant with a location in Homewood, will open its second Birmingham-area location in Greystone at 5361 Highway 280. thelittledonkey.com
Hirings and Promotions
Steak ’n Shake has closed at 180 Inverness Plaza.
Elements Float Spa, 4851 Cahaba River Road, has closed.
Shane’s Rib Shack, 2673 Valleydale Road, has closed.
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Sushi Village 280, 601 Doug Baker Blvd., Suite 101, is now offering online
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Relocation Expansion The Homewood Homew ewood ew wood Star Email matthew@ starnespublishing.com
A16 • February 2017
Above: Rep. Arnold Mooney, while speaking at the 2017 Alabama State Legislative Preview luncheon, said state government faces a problem of being too big, which leads to the funding issues it is consistently facing. Left: Sen. Cam Ward said he believes the Legislature will face issues related to the prison system, budget and Medicaid starting Feb. 7. Photos by Erica Techo.
Delegation: Repeat issues to come up in 1st session of ’17 By ERICA TECHO The Alabama Legislature is likely to see some old problems return in its upcoming legislative session, according to members of the Shelby County Legislative Delegation. Members of the delegation spoke at the 2017 Alabama State Legislative Preview luncheon on Jan. 4. During the luncheon, hosted by the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Work Group and the Montevallo and South Shelby Chambers, legislators discussed what they expected to see in 2017.
The legislative session starts Feb. 7. “I would say the theme will be second verse, same as the ﬁrst,” said Sen. Cam Ward, “in that we’re gonna have some of the same problems we’ve had over the last few years again this time.” Some of those problems include the general fund budget — which Ward said “continues to be a nightmare” — as well as Medicaid funding and Alabama’s prison system. A federal lawsuit regarding mental health care in Alabama prisons could present funding issues for the state, Ward said, if U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson rules that the state
isn’t offering adequate services in its prisons. “It’s a federal lawsuit that the state of Alabama will lose, I can tell you,” Ward said. “And when we do lose, what Judge Thompson is liable to say is that we’re running an unconstitutional system of mental health and health care in our prison system, and he’s probably going to force us to hire a lot of new people and engage in construction projects.” If more services are required, the state might be forced to mandate an ad valorem tax to fund those changes, McClendon said. Other states have mandated the tax in the past, he added, and while most legislators do not want to mandate
the tax, it might be unavoidable. In regard to funding, many legislators were in agreement that the state’s budget would continue to be an issue. One reason, Rep. Matt Fridy said, is that the budget heavily relies on negotiation. “Agencies don’t come in and tell us, ‘Hey for this year for us to operate, here’s how much money we need,’” Fridy said. “They say, ‘We need this much,’ but it’s inﬂated.” It’s hard to know how much money agencies actually need, said Rep. Dickie Drake, because so many inﬂate the amount for which they ask. They might ask for an amount and then drop
February 2017 • A17
The 2017 Alabama State Legislative Preview luncheon was Jan. 4 at Jefferson State Community College.
it by $50 million without issue, Drake said, which shows there’s waste occurring in the government. The state government also faces a problem of being too big, which leads to the funding issues it is consistently facing, said Rep. Arnold Mooney. “There’s a real concern from some of us, and I don’t mind voicing it, that government is too large in this state,” Mooney said. “If we don’t begin to deal with the size of government, we will never solve the problem facing our state.” Budget issues also stem from discussions around Medicaid, which Rep. April Weaver said will likely take a lot of her time during this legislative session. “As you know, it took us to a special session in the fall, where we finally found $785 million to meet the request last year,” said Weaver, chairman of the
house health committee. “Since 2006, it has grown 59 percent. Everyone knows we can’t keep on trying to fund that kind of increases.” In 2016, Weaver discussed the creation of Regional Care Organizations to shift the Medicaid service to need for care, but that project has since been derailed. Now providers who see the problems occurring with Medicaid funding have decided to not participate “at the level they originally thought they were going to,” Weaver said. There are also questions about how the Trump administration will handle Medicaid, Weaver said, and what will replace it. “We don’t know what the Trump administration is going to do with the ACA [Affordable Care Act] and the Medicaid program,” Weaver said. “So that’s a wait and see game because with it being at the federal level, we have to deal with whatever they hand
down to us.” If President Donald Trump chooses to implement block grants, Weaver said those could beneﬁt the state by allowing more input on how Medicaid should work. “Right now the federal government tells the state of Alabama, ‘Here’s a list of patients,’” said Sen. Jim McClendon. “We don’t get to pick eligibility. They tell us, ‘Here’s the procedures you’re going to pay for.’ We don’t get to pick the procedures.” Block grants, McClendon said, would allow the state to adjust eligibility and procedures. Some beneﬁciaries of Medicaid are opposed to block grants, he said, because they like the federal government’s current system. “We have a very interesting session coming up, there’s no question about it,” McClendon said. “So much is contingent on what happens in Washington, D.C.”
The Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce will address the “State of Our Communities” during its February community luncheon. Set for Feb. 22, the luncheon will welcome mayors from Shelby County’s municipalities. The mayors will share their thoughts on what 2017 may hold for their respective communities. Doors at the Pelham Civic Complex will open at 11 a.m. for business networking, and the program will start at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $20 per person for chamber investors and $30 per person for “future” investors. The cost includes a luncheon buffet. For more information or to make a reservation, email the chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the chamber at 663-4542 or register online at shelby chamber. org.
A18 • February 2017
Previous Hoover Chamber president offers tips on impactful networking
Speaker Joe Thomas provided chamber members with tips on successful networking during the Jan. 5 South Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Photo by Erica Techo.
By ERICA TECHO For individuals hoping to kick off the new year with more networking, Joe Thomas had a few tips. Thomas, immediate past president for the Hoover Chamber of Commerce, offered up his keys to impactful networking to the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 5. As the ﬁrst chamber luncheon of the year, South Shelby Chamber Executive Director April Stone said she hopes members will take the tips to fulﬁll any 2017 resolutions of more or better networking. When it comes to networking, Thomas said some important points are knowing the best places to be, the right people to talk to and the correct things to say. He broke his discussion into 11 key points. He started with emphasizing the importance of attending the right events. “You can’t just go to any networking events and expect it to be fruitful for you,” he said. Sometimes good networking means attending an occupation- or industry-speciﬁc group, visiting hiring events or going to chambers of commerce. It all depends on the type of individual you are looking to connect with, Thomas said. He also encouraged planning in advance, bringing the correct marketing material for the event and researching the organization. “Say it with me, ‘Cyberstalking is OK,’” Thomas said, adding it is helpful to know the leadership of an organization as well as other important members. “The reason you want to do cyberstalking is you want to know what’s going to be appropriate at that place.
You don’t want to show up with all of your marketing materials and everyone looks at you like you’re crazy.” That point led into knowing the culture, meaning knowing the proper attire for the event, and being prepared with business cards, the appropriate marketing materials and a nametag. As an added step, Thomas said it is a good idea to join a chamber’s ambassador program so that you can get a permanent nametag — rather than a “Hello my name is” sticker. Chamber nametags also mean new members will likely approach you ﬁrst, and by introducing them to others, it helps foster a strong relationship with the new member. Knowing what to say and to whom you are speaking are two conversation tips Thomas discussed. At networking events, it is important to have a quick few sentences to answer the question “TMAY” — tell me about yourself. Having a condensed version of your bio that gets people’s attention can be vital in kicking off a conversation.
Reiterating that it is OK to “cyberstalk” or research individuals before networking events, Thomas encouraged people to gather information about potential valuable contacts. By gathering information, conversations will be easier and oftentimes more productive at the event, he said. “What’s the open-ended question you want to get them talking about so that you can twist the conversation to something where you can help them?” Thomas said. “It sounds very sterile, I know, but as you do this more and more, it’s going to become second nature. It’s going to get a lot easier.” No matter the networking, though, he said to make sure to get a business card. “Once you get their business card, they’ve given you the opportunity to follow up,” Thomas said. “If you want to separate yourself, it’s all about the follow-up,” Thomas said. Thomas is the author of “Everybody Knows Joe,” a book on his 11 keys to impactful networking.
February The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce’s second luncheon of the year will feature speaker Charles Ball, executive director of the Regional Planning Commission. Ball has served on the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham since 2006, and before Ball that he served as the director of planning for the city of Gadsden, according to his LinkedIn page. The RPCGB provides planning services, economic development services and initiatives throughout central Alabama. The luncheon will be Feb. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be catered by Sarah Beth’s restaurant. No RSVP is required, and the cost is $15 per person. The luncheon takes place at Columbiana First Baptist Church in Columbiana. For more information, go to southshelbychamber.com/ events/.
February 2017 • A19
Shelby partnership to focus on business recruitment A new economic development partnership in Shelby County will aim to advance economic and business health in the county. Photo by Erica Techo.
By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Shelby County will soon have a new economic development partnership to help recruit business to the area, as well as help established businesses grow. The partnership is a result of the recommendations of a group made up of representatives from Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, Shelby County Economic and Industrial Development Authority Board of Directors (SCEIDA) and associates of Shelby County. The group had weekly meetings for 10 months — dating back to fall 2015 — during which they analyzed economic development in Shelby County and how businesses are recruited. One of the group members, Chad Scroggins, chief development ofﬁcer of Shelby County, said many people are attracted to Shelby County because of the quality of life, school systems, parks and other places to enjoy. However, many travel out of the county to work. “One of the goals of this new entity is Scroggins to create opportunities in every corner of the county depending on their individual needs,” Scroggins said. “There is a structural imbalance between the number of residents and jobs. That won’t change overnight, but we can start working on it now.” The group looked at trends around the Southeast and the nation of what counties were doing right and wrong, then developed a recommendation focused on balancing job growth in the commercial, retail and industrial sectors in Shelby County. The group’s research concluded there has been a gap in the recruitment of retail and
commercial business entities, along with legal constraints to merge a nonproﬁt corporation, the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce, into a governmental entity (SCEIDA) and still be able to offer economic incentives. The mission of the new entity will be to advance economic and business health through a collaborative partnership among stakeholders, local government and the business community. Paul Rogers, chairman of the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce, said the group gathered information and spent time talking to people inside almost every city in Shelby County. “How the county grows affects everyone, so it was important we include all the perspectives to get a lot of insight into it,” Rogers said. “It’s the most comprehensive and collaborative economic development effort we’ve ever had in
Shelby County.” Some of the legal constraints in place have been interfering with the recruitment of new businesses. This newly developed entity will be able to help by retaining and growing existing businesses as well as recruiting new businesses. “Sometimes businesses need assistance to help get the business off the ground. This entity will have the ability to help recruit those businesses and also provide incentives,” Scroggins said. “We will walk with them from recruitment to construction to growth and development through the chambers efforts. They won’t be alone in this.” The entity will function as a support group, walking alongside businesses and helping with their needs in every way they can. They will take the strengths they already have and
build on those to make it even better, Scroggins said.. Now that the County Commission has approved the recommendation, it is in the early part of the implementation phase. They are in the process of formRogers ing the organization legally, and in the summer, leader and support staff will be hired. The kickoff for this new economic development partnership is Oct. 1. Their space will be in the Shelby County Services building in Pelham next to the chamber ofﬁces.
A20 • February 2017
Car wash construction underway at Tattersall Park development By ERICA TECHO Blue Rain Express Car Wash owner Brad Bailey would describe the business’s look as similar to a brewery. “It’s almost similar to what you’ve been to, maybe a brewery, where you go in and you can see the process,” Bailey said. “It’s an all-glass building where you can see the car go through. We’ve got kids that come, and they’ll press their face to the glass to watch the cars go through.” The building’s glass exterior and curved edges give Blue Rain Express Car Wash “eye appeal” and help the car wash stand out, said Bailey, who also owns a Pelham location along with his father and brother-in-law. Work began on the land of their second location on U.S. 280 at Alabama 119 in the Tattersall Park development in January. Bailey and his family ﬁrst considered opening a car wash a few years back, when they were looking for a “recession-resistant” business. They started researching options with a car wash, and in 2012, opened in Pelham. As they looked for a second location, Bailey said U.S. 280 popped out as an ideal spot. “I live on 280 now, and knowing
the 280 corridor, knowing that in that area, serving the Greystone, Highland Lakes, Shoal Creek, Chelsea, Brook Highland, Eagle Point communities, they’re all having to travel into Birmingham to get their car washed. Again, we saw a need,” Bailey said. The second location will have a similar look to Pelham’s and will offer the same services, including car wash packages ranging from $6 to $18, free vacuums and monthly memberships that include unlimited washes. They approached EBSCO, which owns the land for the Tattersall Park development, and received support for the idea. Their design, Bailey said, is one thing he thinks sets Blue Rain apart. “They embraced our project after looking at it and seeing what we were going to build because car washes in the past, not saying now, but car washes in the past have had a bad stereotype,” he said, adding that people sometimes think of car washes as grimy, dirty or not kept up properly. “If you think, that’s the way the owner keeps his wash, do I really want to send my car through that?” Bailey said. “We knew that, but after presenting our project to [EBSCO]
Blue Rain Express Car Wash is an all-glass building with curved sides. There are also free vacuums customers can use following the wash. Renderings courtesy of Brad Bailey.
and showing the type wash we wanted to build … they were very gracious.” In addition to the all-glass exterior of the building, Blue Rain Car Wash also has a dual-belted conveyor system and will have a polish tunnel. The conveyor system is similar to “people movers” at the airport, where a car will drive on top of them rather than link up to the chain conveyor
and rail system found at most car washes. “You drive on, and that allows us to wash low-proﬁle tires and not run the risk of doing any damage to rims,” Bailey said. The system also accommodates dual-wheeled trucks. The polish tunnel is an option for after the initial wash, where wax is hand-applied and the car goes through a series of wraps and
buffers to polish the car. They plan to begin construction in February or March, Bailey said, and hope to open the car wash in August or September of this year. “We’re excited to be in that Greystone area,” Bailey said. “We look forward to being a member of the community.” For more information, go to blueraincarwash.com.
February 2017 • A21
Mason Music, still focused on lessons, opens in Greystone By JESSE CHAMBERS Birmingham musicians Will and Sarah Mason started giving private music lessons in 2007 and soon built their passion — teaching students to play instruments in a safe, fun, nurturing atmosphere — into a thriving brick-and-mortar business. They opened the ﬁrst location of Mason Music in Cahaba Heights in 2012, a second studio in Mountain Brook Village in 2013 and a third location — serving Hoover and Bluff Park — in 2015 And in January, Mason Music opened a new studio in Greystone, to be managed by Ashley Windsor. “Greystone seemed like a natural ﬁt for us to be able to serve the folks who live down U.S. 280,” said Nicole Patton, Mason Music marketing director. With 11 classrooms, the Greystone location is the largest of the Mason Music facilities, and it has at least one distinctive feature, according to Patton. “The drum room floor in this studio is made out of real vinyl records, which is super-cool and sure to inspire the students who walk in the room,” she said. But the Greystone Studio offers the same popular lessons — in drums, guitar, piano, voice and violin — as the other facilities, Patton said.
And if trends hold, many of the students at Greystone will gravitate to some of the same instruments, she said. “Though the popularity of an instrument tends to vary based on cultural trends, we typically ﬁnd that most of our students are interested in either piano or guitar,” Patton said. In addition to lessons, Mason Music offers music camps, afterschool programs, a booking agency, a recording studio and other services. But music lessons remain the heart of the business. “Teaching, itself, is rewarding because you get to see firsthand when your students are growing and absorbing what you’re dishing out to them,” Patton said. “Add in the fact that we focus on music, which is an extremely meaningful form of art and self-expression, and you have something very special. To know that we play a part in passing that tradition along to the next generation is truly fulﬁlling.” The students at Mason Music range widely in age and ability, but there is a core demographic, according to Patton. “We do cater to school-age children, especially elementary and middle schoolers,” she said. Music lessons have beneﬁts that go beyond simply playing an instrument
Instructor Wes Chambers teaches Tanner Hutson about enharmonic notes on the piano. Photos by Erica Techo.
better, according to Patton. “There are a ton of studies out there that connect music to enhancing math, reading and other cognitive abilities, not to mention teaching life skills like communication, respect, patience, concentration, hard work and teamwork.” Mason Music will open registration for their spring break and summer camps Feb. 1. There will be a Spring Break Beginner Camp (ages 6-9) March 27-31, a Singing Safari Preschool Camp (ages 3-5) July 24-28 and the Mason Music Beginner Camp (ages 6-9) July 31-Aug. 4, according to Patton. For information or to register, go to masonmusicstudios.com.
Instructor Michael Shackleford teaches student Alia Bush a few tricks during her guitar lesson.
A22 • February 2017
Canine Country Club dog kennel opens facility on Chelsea Road
By ERICA TECHO
Opening a dog kennel has been on James Hale’s mind for about 10 years, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he took steps toward opening a boarding facility. The owner of James Hale Stables on Chelsea Road, James Hale and his wife, Jackie, chose to convert some of their horse stables and half of their barn into Canine Country Club. “We’ve always been dog lovers, and we used to have 44 stalls for horses, and I really didn’t want that many stalls anymore,” said James Hale. “So I thought, let’s do the dog thing.” The couple have 15 dogs of their own and said their love for dogs as well as their location made opening a kennel a good ﬁt. It’s also a good investment for the future, Jackie Hale said. “The kennels are also sort of a retirement plan. When we’re 65, we probably can’t still cowboy these [horses] up, but we can take care of a peekapoo,” she said. The boarding area is a 3,200-square-foot climate controlled space with 21 runs. Of those, 11 are standard “clubhouse” runs that are just indoors, and the other 10 are “patio” runs with doggy doors that connect to a covered outdoor portion of the kennel. “Dogs that are accustomed to being outside sometimes prefer to hang out out here, than to be inside,” Jackie Hale said. “And as we expand, we’ll just see what people want.” The runs are along the outside of the kennel, with a faux-grass area in the center. This K9Grass is created for kennels and allows a space for dogs to roll around or relieve themselves in case of bad weather. They also wanted to keep the area open, rather than cramming in as many kennels as possible. “We’ve had up to 40 horses in training, and
Jackie and James Hale sit with two of their 15 dogs in front of Canine Country Club, the kennel they have just opened. Photo by Erica Techo.
so we know there’s a point of diminishing return,” Jackie Hale said. “And that there is a point at which you can no longer do a fantastic job. We want to keep this manageable and where we can give a lot of individual attention.” While there is space for more kennels, Jackie Hale said they plan to wait to see what the demand is before expanding. Depending on what people want, they might add more patio runs, or even VIP rooms that are more enclosed
than the wire kennels. They also plan to fence in a large area in their yard as an off-leash running space in the near future. Each run has a “room card” that includes the dog’s name, feeding instructions, medication information (if necessary), special instructions and other information. The cards help pass information from person to person, so everyone know what the dog needs. Jackie Hale said there are a few things that
set Canine Country Club apart, including the fact they don’t charge for administering medications. As owners of 15 dogs, several of which are rescues, she said it is a goal to cater to special needs dogs, such as older dogs or rescues, and giving them medicine without charging per pill or per dose is one way to do that. Living on the property a few steps away from the kennel is also helpful, James Hale said, because they can administer care after normal business hours, if that is what a dog needs. James Hale’s daughter, Ashton, is a veterinary technician at Riverview Animal Clinic and lives across the street, which Jackie Hale said is an added help. The number of individuals interacting with the dogs will be limited, James Hale said, so that dogs will recognize who they are staying with. “You want to know your dog is happy. The dogs that we kept over the holidays, we’ve kept some of them again, and they ran in here. It wasn’t like they had to be pulled in here,” he said. “The dogs kind of get to know us while we’re here.” Although they are a few miles off U.S. 280, Jackie Hale said they have had dogs from the Greystone and Eagle Point areas, as well as Chelsea and Columbiana board with them. Their location, on the way to Lake Martin, Auburn and, for some, the beach, is something that she said makes them a convenient place for dogs to stay. “For the 280 corridor, we’re a little over the mountain, a little farther out, but [we’re here] if you wanted your dog to come to the country — if you’re going on vacation and want your dog to go on vacation,” she said. For more information, go to caninecountryclub.pet. There will also be an open house and ribbon cutting for the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce Feb. 16 from 4 to 6 p.m.
February 2017 • A23
Tyler Nash, left, and Giorgio Fareira serve Innova coffee at the Nash’s home. Rather than open a brick-and-mortar location, Tyler and Anna Nash chose to open their home to the community. Photo by Erica Techo.
Starting fresh (brewed) By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE On Saturday mornings in January, Tyler and Anna Nash had their home ﬁlled with people, some family, some friends and some strangers. All were there to support their new business: Innova Coffee. Instead of waiting to move into a permanent space, they decided to host gatherings in their Altadena home to get the word out and create a following in their new coffee business before they grow into a permanent space. “When you feel greatly supported with what we had envisioned, and to see it happening when we don’t even have space yet is very exciting,” Tyler Nash said. After spending 14 years in a corporate job, Tyler Nash inherited money and became an investor, or so he thought. “I spent about 10 years doing investing,” Tyler Nash said. “Honestly, probably by year ﬁve, I knew I wasn’t an investor, but could not say I had failed. I kept pushing and ﬁnally by year 10, we were just at the end ﬁnancially. We had built a beautiful home, sold it, and began a process starting over at age 50.” While looking for a fresh start, Tyler Nash heard about a coffee shop opening nearby and decided to apply for a job. He asked them to overlook his gray hair and consider him a college student with as many hours as they could give him. Tyler Nash described this as an extremely humbling experience, especially after putting up an image of success for the past several years. “The Neighborhood Brew was in an area where we knew a lot of people,” he said. ”I had to tell people hundreds of times that the shop wasn’t mine, that I just worked there. It was good for me to break down that facade of success. In that process two things happened: One was being broken. The other was discovering that I loved this. The space, the creating, the environment and staff.” Tyler Nash said there was a lack of life in him when he started working there, and his outlook was pretty dark. It wasn’t easy for him to start over, punching the clock at age 50. He said his wife, Anna, inspired him, and her constant encouragement and optimism made the process easier. While working as a barista, Tyler Nash said he realized his love for craft coffee and serving people. “If your passion really is to take care of people, it translates into what you serve and how you serve. That’s a natural tendency of mine, to want to take care of people,” he said. Tyler Nash decided it was time to turn his passion into reality. After three years working at The Brew, he and Anna Nash made the decision to launch their own coffee company. While this pursuit may be meant for young entrepreneurs, Tyler Nash said he isn’t worried about what he should be doing or look like at his age. The couple describe their approach as a grass roots launch that involves connecting with people before they have a space. They update through their website, blog and social media. They chose the name Innova, which means
“renewal” in Latin, because they believe coffee is more than just a drink, but an experience. The Nashes want their customers to experience a sense of renewal every time they have their coffee. “Innova gets back to our passion, what we want to create for people. Renewal is what we want people to experience by what we serve them, by our environment, the atmosphere we create and our staff,” Tyler Nash said. Anna Nash said the word Innova is the story of their life. “We’ve been renewed through this personally,” she said. “I love that it’s in another language. What happens is, people ask what the name means, and that paves the way for us to tell the story. Curiosity gives us the opportunity to speak about it.” Innova uses beans from Seeds Coffee Company in Homewood. They serve two ﬂavors, Guatemala and Sumatra, but they said they will introduce new ﬂavors as the seasons change. “Seeds’ passion is also about people, whether the farmer, staff or their guests,” Tyler Nash said. “That’s what drove them to start their company. They are excellent at what they do. They study the coffee and the regions. They have a passion for people and excellence in their work. In craft coffee, you’re preserving the soil climate in which it’s created.” Innova is offering samples with both varieties of coffee, as well as selling mugs and stickers with their logo. Anna Nash describes the process starting out as gradual and slow, and now they’re on the fast track. “It’s moving so fast we can’t even hold on,” she said. “It’s deﬁnitely been a roller coaster emotionally. So many people have walked with us, from graphic designers, videographers, everyone wants to do something. We don’t want it to be about us. We want everyone to be a part of this story.” The Nashes want their focus to be in the Altadena area, where they live. Their goal is to nail down a space soon for their brick-and-mortar location. In the meantime, they will continue to grow their following and choose a property as soon as possible. Until then, they will continue to host local gatherings and do pop-ups at coffee shops, including Sprout and Pour in Homewood. To keep up with Innova, Anna Nash handles the social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tyler Nash also blogs every other week as things progress and develop on their website at innovacoffee.com. Anna Nash said they want to be an inspiration to others, and that can be as simple as a cup of coffee. “We stumbled on the quote to ‘do what you have with what you have where you are,’ and that’s what we’re about,” she said. Tyler Nash said there was a time in the past when they had the money and could have gone out and built a shop, but at that time, did not have the vision or passion. “The idea birthed in us, and so the question was: What can we do right now?” he said. “This is what we can do. We can do what we love.”
A24 • February 2017
Jags pressing for postseason return 5 starters return to diamond, including 2 left-handed pitchers By KYLE PARMLEY The road in Class 7A baseball is tough. Just ask Will Smith, head baseball coach at Spain Park High School. After winning the state championship in 2014, the Jaguars have failed to reach the postseason in the two subsequent seasons, thanks to Hewitt-Trussville, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills being in the same area. Last season, Hewitt-Trussville went on to win the state championship, while Vestavia Hills was the top-ranked team in the class for much of the season. Hewitt-Trussville and Vestavia Hills are no longer in the same area, but Oak Mountain and Huffman enter Class 7A, Area 6. Oak Mountain is the team that knocked off the Rebels in the ﬁrst round of the playoffs in 2016. “This year will be no different,” Smith said. “Oak Mountain will be one of the favorites to make a run. Mountain Brook has everybody back. You’re going to have to play well to make the playoffs.” In 2016, Smith thought the Jags showed promise, but a few runs here and there proved to be the difference in the six-game area schedule. “We didn’t make the playoffs, but there were times I thought we were a playoff team, and
Will Battersby is one of Spain Park’s top returning pitchers, and will be relied heavily upon in 2017. Photo by Ted Melton.
other times I thought we weren’t very deserving,” Smith said. “But when you’re in the area with us, if you make the playoffs, you’ve got a chance to win the whole thing.”
The state champion has hailed from Area 6 two of the past three seasons, and Smith mentioned Mountain Brook among the top teams in the state two years ago, along with
Vestavia last season. As far as Spain Park’s chances this season, the Jags welcome back their top two lefthanded pitchers in Will Battersby and Spencer Graham. Hayden Freeman held down the second slot in the rotation slot last season, and Graham will be given the ﬁrst chance to secure that spot. As far as Battersby goes, Smith said he is working to improve his ability to ﬁnish games well and not allow slips in the ﬁnal innings. “You really need to have three or four guys to make a deep run in the playoffs,” Smith said. “We’re going to have to have two or three guys step up.” Smith said he feels like his team will be ahead of its normal schedule due to the ability to do some fall work. That will help, as the Jags have to replace ﬁve starters on the diamond. Kevin Hopkins primarily played left ﬁeld last spring, and will likely slide over to man center. Justin McClure and Jacob Rich return to make up the left side of the inﬁeld. Those three are the only mainstays from last year’s lineup who return, and all three are seniors. Michael Purser and Will Evans platooned in a few different spots last season and are expected to take on a position full time this season. Baseball in the Birmingham area boasts a number of high-level teams, and Spain Park is ﬁrmly in that mix of teams with potential to be a contender each year, something its head coach embraces. “Nobody puts more pressure on the program than myself and our coaches,” Smith said. “You create standards and expectations.” The Jags begin play Feb. 20 when they host Shelby County.
February 2017 • A25
Eagles’ seniors taking ownership in 2017 Oak Mountain returns its top two pitchers, including Joseph Hartsﬁeld, who threw consecutive shutouts in last year’s playoffs. Photo by Kyle Parmley.
By KYLE PARMLEY If the Oak Mountain High School baseball team is to replicate last season’s success in Derek Irons’ ﬁrst year at the helm, the players will be responsible for doing so. “I really try to get the guys to take ownership, especially the seniors,” Irons said. “I really like for them to set goals for the team and kind of what they want the team to be and to go a little deeper.” Irons wants the leaders on his team to set the goals and the standards themselves, but also to go deeper than simple clichés. Of course, each team wants to win the state championship, but smaller things are attainable. “Last year, one of our big things was wanting to win 90 percent of our home games,” Irons said. “It’s not just me telling them what I want the team to be. I want to know what they want the team to be. Hopefully, we have a clear vision before the season gets started.” As for Irons, he is much more comfortable with his surroundings and his group of guys as he enters his second season leading the Eagles. “With a ﬁrst-year coach, things just take longer — explaining drills and explaining expectations. This year, things will go quicker, and hopefully, we’ll kind of start at a little bit of a higher level this year,” he said. Last year’s squad likely surpassed many expectations, as Oak Mountain advanced to the state playoffs for the ﬁrst time since 2011 and upset topranked Vestavia Hills in the ﬁrst round before losing in extra innings of the rubber game of a second round
series to eventual Class 7A champion Hewitt-Trussville. “Along the way, we had ﬂashes of being really good. What was frustrating for our coaching staff was that, early on, we believed in our team more than our team believed in our team,” Irons said. “But when we put our backs against the wall, we answered, and that’s very encouraging.” That lack of conﬁdence should
be a thing of the past as the Eagles return their top two pitchers from a year ago — Joseph Hartsﬁeld and Gene Hurst. Hartsﬁeld threw consecutive shutouts in the postseason, dominating Vestavia and Hewitt on back-to-back weekends. “Both those guys pitched well for us all year in area play and in the playoffs. Any time you return your (No.) 1 and 2 starters, that’s a good thing,” Irons said. “There are also
several guys that are juniors that can give us some good innings.” Catcher Mason Williamson returns to keep the battery intact. All three starting outﬁelders are back as well. “There’s a lot of experience back,” Irons said. “We’re very fortunate to have so many guys back.” Irons prioritizes pitching and defense above all else, and those two things were constants for the Eagles in 2016. The offense had its ups and
downs, but that is to be expected with any team. Charles Henderson won consecutive Class 4A state titles in 2013 and 2014 under Irons’ guidance. Even at the 7A level, he has not changed much, if any, of his philosophy. “Baseball is baseball. The same principles that win in 1A win in 7A. If you can pitch and play defense and execute offensively, you’re going to win a lot of games,” Irons said.
A26 • February 2017
Above: The Samford Bulldogs, including Abbie Miranda of Vestavia Hills, are coming off their most successful season in school history. Photo courtesy of Samford Athletics. Left: Auburn Tiger Madi Gipson will get one more chance to play at her alma mater’s high school ﬁeld when Samford hosts Auburn at Spain Park High on April 5. Photo by Kyle Parmley.
Spain Park to host high-level college softball matchup By KYLE PARMLEY College softball is coming to the high school level. On April 5, Samford University and Auburn University’s softball programs will square off at Spain Park High School. The game will mark the second time Spain Park has hosted a college game, also holding a game between Samford and Jacksonville State in 2013. “Any time you can get two college teams that want to play on your campus, that’s really special,” said Spain Park athletics director Patrick Kellogg. According to the Bulldogs’ schedule release, Samford is looking to build off its most successful season in program history. The 2016
Samford team posted a record of 40-20 overall and 15-3 in Southern Conference play. Samford won the program’s ﬁrst SoCon Tournament title and earned the team’s ﬁrst NCAA Tournament bid. Auburn also is coming off its most successful softball season in school history, having advanced to the Women’s College World Series, falling to Oklahoma in three games and winning a school-record 57 games overall. “Each year we play a competitive home and away schedule, with last season being our highest RPI ﬁnish in program history,” said Samford coach Mandy Burford. “We play Alabama and Auburn each year, but this year we have decided to play Auburn at a neutral site.” Last year’s matchup between the two teams was at Samford’s softball ﬁeld, with
an announced crowd of 914, more than the stadium’s capacity. Samford does not charge admission at home games and is taking the opportunity to gain revenue from one of the most anticipated matchups on its schedule. “This will allow us to charge admission, and both programs will receive a portion of the revenue,” Burford said. “This also allows us to reach a fan base that might not drive across town to watch us play. We are looking forward to the opportunity to play in front of another large crowd against Auburn at Spain Park on April 5 and also against Alabama on April 25 at Samford.” Spain Park will make their own accommodations for the expected crowd. “As a precaution, we certainly are going to bring in bleachers,” Kellogg said. “The city of
Hoover’s Parks and Recreation always helps us out when we host the Hoover football game.” Kellogg credited the Lady Jags head coach, C.J. Hawkins, for establishing solid relationships with area college coaches. The game will provide Spain Park and other local players the opportunity to see the college level up close. “That’ll be special for our softball team so that they can see what the next level looks like, especially two great programs like Auburn and Samford,” he said. Auburn’s Madi Gipson (Spain Park) and Carmyn Greenwood (Oak Mountain) will get a chance to play close to home, while some future Tigers wait in the high school ranks. Hoover’s Abby Tissier and Spain Park’s Jenna Olszewski (both signed) and Maddie Majors (committed) all plan to play softball on the Plains.
February 2017 • A27
New Hornets abound for reigning 6A state champions By KYLE PARMLEY This year will undoubtedly be different for Chelsea High School, the reigning Class 6A state softball champions, but the expectations are no less for the Hornets. “The expectation is to win every ballgame, but every coach will say that,” said Heather Lee, entering her second season at Chelsea. “Like I said last year, we want to win every pitch, and we want to win our last game.” Last year’s state champion team rode the contributions of a seniorladen roster, led by the likes of Alex Smithson, Mallory Bradford, McKenzie Bryant, Tristan Ziannis, Lexi Preisendorfer, Bailey Coyne and Mallory Heisler. Their departures left many spots on the diamond up for grabs for the younger crop of players. “A lot of our girls were in our program last year and saw everything happen,” Lee said. “They’re hard workers, and they have a lot of grit and determination to them. It’s going to be a fun year.” Allie Miller is a versatile athlete who played second base for the Hornets last season, but she could end up anywhere on the ﬁeld depending on need. She also has the ability to hit anywhere in the lineup because of her ability to get on base in a variety of ways. Kathryne Shoop and Miranda
Traylor also return, two of Chelsea’s three seniors this season, along with Olivia Moody. “I think they’re going to do a great job leading our team,” Lee said. It remains to be seen which of the underclassmen will seize the opportunity to become key contributors this spring for the Hornets, but Chelsea has an ace in the hole that should make that process less stressful. Sarah Cespedes, who committed to UAB in the summer, will once again be in the circle for the majority of Chelsea’s games. She ﬁnished last season with a 22-8 record and a dominant 1.68 ERA. Cespedes struck out 233 hitters and allowed 46 earned runs. With much of last season’s offensive production having graduated, Lee said the team would focus on being strong defensively while making sure to retain the ability to manufacture runs. “It’s going to be different, but I think it can be as great as last year,” Lee said. “It’s going to be a fun year, and a learning year.” The good thing for Lee is that she and assistant coach Rebecca Roper both coach the junior varsity team as well, and many of those girls will comprise the varsity roster this spring. “Even though they don’t have varsity experience, most of our girls have played with us,” Lee said. It would be easy to lower
expectations with such a different team, but the Hornets have no intention of doing that. They have not avoided the elephant in the room. “Of course, (the state championship has been brought up),” Lee said. “For the most part, every girl in our program was there last year. They want that just as bad. But we’re going to have to work harder than we did last year, because people want to play us now.” Lee has strengthened her team’s schedule this year as well, including games against defending 5A champion Springville and Vestavia Hills, who advanced to the 7A state tournament last spring. “We’re going to be tested. We’re going to know pretty soon this year,” Lee said.
Left: Heather Lee is beginning her second season at Chelsea after winning the Class 6A state championship last year. Staff photo. Above: Sarah Cespedes compiled a 22-8 record and dominant 1.68 ERA last year and returns for her junior season. Photo by Kyle Parmley.
A28 • February 2017
Lady Hornets on the rise By KYLE PARMLEY Lori Weber is attempting to make the Chelsea High School girls basketball program one that is unable to be ignored. Weber, in her ﬁrst year as head coach, and assistant coach Lauren Swee, in her ﬁrst year back at Chelsea after playing there in high school, are well on their way to accomplishing that. The Lady Hornets began the season with an overtime win over Class 7A program Vestavia Hills, and rode that to a 6-0 start. Although the team hit a rough patch in December, it has rebounded and is playing some of its best basketball as the regular season nears its end. “They are coming together even better than they did in the summer,” Weber said. “We’re peaking at the right time.” Chelsea has proven that it can play with nearly anyone. But it is one thing to see the team’s ability to go out and beat nearly every team it faces. It is another to get the girls to believe that themselves. “A goal for us is for the girls just to have conﬁdence in themselves. That’s what we’re really trying to instill,” Swee said. The coaches also are attempting to create a family environment with the group, on and off the court. “I want them to learn how to be good teammates and learn the game of basketball and learn about life through basketball,” Weber said. “I think a huge part of our success this year has been to play together and give glory to the Lord,” Swee said. A conversation about the on-court product begins with sophomore Michaella Edwards, who has already eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone in her varsity career, which began while she was still in middle school. “She’s very driven,” Swee said. “She has a lot of passion, and it’s very evident in the way that she
practices and the way that she plays. She loves the game. She loves being out on the court.” Things have come full circle for Swee and Michaella Edwards. Michaella Edwards’ mother, Dr. Michele Edwards, coached Swee while at Chelsea. At the time, Michaella Edwards was 9 years old, and was around the team often. While Swee did not realize it at the time, her days as a high school basketball player inspired Michaella Edwards. Now, Swee is watching Michaella Edwards play high school ball. “It’s really cool that I get to see her play, and I get to encourage her, and I get to invest in her, and it’s even more of a privilege because I didn’t know I was investing in her when I was here,” Swee said. The number of games Michaella Edwards has scored at least 30 points in a game has reached double digits, but the Lady Hornets are not attempting to be a one-man show. “We don’t want the girls to feel like, ‘Oh, let’s just give the ball to Michaella,’” Weber said. “It goes back to playing together.” Allie Miller is the team’s leader in assists and steals, and her energy lifts the team. Hope Richard is a machine on the glass, as the team’s top rebounder. Kathryne Shoop is one of many other contributors for the Lady Hornets. Chelsea’s program is one that should continue to grow from this point, as there are nine freshmen in the program, four competing with the varsity squad. The goal for the Lady Hornets this year is to advance as far as they can, though. There is certainly an opportunity to advance to regionals in Montgomery if they are still playing at a high level once that time comes. “They’re good enough to beat anybody,” Weber said. “As long as we do what we can do, everything else will fall into place.”
Michaella Edwards has already surpassed 1,000 points for her career, and has a number of 30-point games this season. Photo by Cari Dean.
February 2017 • A29
Head coach Rick Smith, right, and assistant Joel Gonzales, left, are shown with the 201617 Berry wrestling team. Photo courtesy of Rick Smith.
Berry wrestling team looking for strong ﬁnish By KYLE PARMLEY The Berry Middle School wrestling team is nearing the end of what has proven to be a successful season so far. Rick Smith is currently serving in his second season as head coach of the team and is assisted by Joel Gonzales, and Smith credits Spain Park High School coaches Ryan Thompson and Matt Thompson for their efforts in helping to build the program. “We are in the process of building a championship wrestling program both at Berry and Spain Park,” Smith said. Recent results for the Jaguars include a 46-24 win over Oak Mountain on January 5. The win avenged a loss from earlier in the season, in which Oak Mountain won 51-36. The Jags hosted Prattville on January 12 and
posted a convincing 66-6 victory over Prattville before competing in the Buc Brawl at Hoover High School on January 14. In that event, Trent Thompson, Sims Hunter, Gage Hughes and Andrew Moses each placed in the top four of their respective weight classes. Fischer Harrison, Russell Partin, Nicholas Carlisle, Max Milazzo, Gabi Allan, Corrin Tandy, Brandon Fortenberry, Preston Kennedy, Marion Medley, Connor May, Steven Olsen, Kees Hudson, James Broderick, Reuben Morris, Logan Willis, Aiden Garver, Will Harper and Billy Vercher are also members of the team. Berry ﬁnished sixth in the Metro South Tournament last season and is hoping to improve that mark this year. This season’s tournament will be held February 3-4 at Vestavia Hills High School.
Opinion My South By Rick Watson
Our tenderhearted pets While packing my bag for were running rings around us a short Valentine getaway, I and barking with pure joy. tripped over our collie, CailOnce outside, I realized one lou, several times. He gets this of our chickens had hopped the look on his face that’s a cross fence and was cruising outside between curiosity and concern. for bugs that had popped out to I got a head start on Jilda and enjoy the sun. had my bags sitting by the door I alerted Jilda, and we were before she started packing. She in the process of herding the collected some things from her chicken back through the bathroom and when she came gate when Caillou realized back into the bedroom, Caillou we might need his assistance. was sitting in her suitcase lookHe charged the chicken as Watson ing at her with his sad face. if he were herding a wanHe has separation issues. dering cow, and the chicken When we headed out to leave, Caillou and freaked. I hollered at Caillou in a tone that Taz were stationed at the door. We petted them was harsher than I had intended. I wanted him up before heading out, but the last thing we to stop chasing the bird. But the tone of my saw before closing the door was the two critters voice broke his heart. looking at us as if we were leaving them at the Without realizing it, I’d crushed the joy of vet’s ofﬁce for euthanasia. his experience of walking with me. It was only an overnight trip, and we hit the He lowered his head and ran back through road for home before lunch and arrived about the gate and into the doggie door. Dang, I 3 p.m. The dogs were happy to see us, but the thought, that’s not what I had in mind. couch pillows and throws were on the ﬂoor, After getting the chicken back in the pen, I which made the living room look as if they’d went inside. He was at the foot of our bed lying partied while we were away. on his mat. I chided myself before sitting on the The miles make us weary, so a nap was the ﬂoor beside him. Petting him for a long while ﬁrst order of business, but after that, we decided and talking in soothing tones, I ﬁnally coaxed to walk. Both Jilda and I bought ﬁtness bands him outside, and we ﬁnished our walk. By the late last year, and we strive to get 10,000 steps time we got our steps in, he was ﬁne. each day. It’s easy to forget how sensitive animals We’d walked a few steps before we left the can be. Harsh words can cut deep, but they are hotel, but we needed more. quick to forgive, and I’m thankful for that. Both Taz and Caillou were beside themselves. The collie kept barking and pulling my Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His socks off as if that would help me get ready latest book, “Life Changes,” is available on more quickly. Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at As we approached the back gate, both dogs email@example.com.
A30 • February 2017
CONTINUED from page A1 Those are the things one would expect to hear from a star. She can, however, turn the pilot light off at a moment’s notice, transitioning into the type of teammate and friend who prompts peers to seek and enjoy her presence. If urged, Tedder is the type to walk into a local restaurant and yell, “Welcome!” because she has been convinced that doing so will net her a free sandwich. Tedder is the one of the main cogs in goofy videos the team makes and the instigator of spontaneous dancing. She’s one of the players teammates run to after a big victory, particularly in last year’s regional tournament after Spain Park clinched a spot at the state tournament. Those are not necessarily the things one would expect to hear from a star.
DODGING THE SPOTLIGHT
Tedder has played on Spain Park’s varsity team since she was in seventh grade. She has grown to be the main catalyst for the Lady Jags, playing shortstop and being the most feared presence in the middle of the lineup. She has signed to play at the University of Texas for coach Connie Clark. She holds the Spain Park record with 20 home runs in a single season, set last year. She received countless postseason accolades and should be accustomed to the attention. But when she walks into coach C.J. Hawkins’ classroom and sees a short article titled “Tedder named NFCA All-American” at the front of a standing file on Hawkins’ desk, she is not thrilled about it. “I wish I wasn’t [displayed] first,” Tedder said. When Tedder shows up for an interview, she wants to know what the topic is. When she is told she is the subject of the conversation — the subject that should be the easiest to discuss in-depth — she hesitantly continues. A series of questions about herself are met with muddied responses that display a desire to move on to a different point of discussion. But when her teammates are mentioned — specifically the senior class — her face lights up. That answer is easy. “My class has definitely been there through it all and been through a lot of different adversities through the years,” Tedder said. “We’ve learned from the past what to do and what not to do and to expect the unexpected when you don’t know what’s going to happen.” Even in a more relaxed state of mind, when the conversation comes back to her own accomplishments — whether it’s the NFCA All-American team or being named to the North-South All-Star team — she once again deflects the spotlight. “God is blessing me, and I give all the glory to Him,” she said. “I don’t like being on the front, but when it does happen, I’m just grateful. It should be about the team.”
NOT HOLLOW WORDS
Adults know how to guide their words to portray an image. An individual can always highlight strengths to influence perception. But a high school student’s peers typically
Above: Mary Katherine Tedder has signed to play at the University of Texas after her days at Spain Park High School are completed. Photo by Todd Lester. Left: One of teammate Caroline Parker’s favorite moments with Tedder was this embrace, after the Lady Jags clinched a state tournament berth. Photo by Kyle Parmley.
expose and define the true mark and impact of a person. “She’s one of the most fun people to be around. She could light up anyone’s day,” said Kendall Beth Sides, an Alabama signee and senior at Sumiton Christian School who is travel-ball teammates with Tedder on the Birmingham Bolts. “Every parent loves Mary Katherine because she’s so outgoing, and she’s honestly the one who will break out and dance in front of anyone.” Her school teammates feel the same way. “She’s one of the best teammates we have, and she’s always positive,” said Caroline
Parker, one of Spain Park’s six seniors. “She’s always upbeat.” There is a tendency for the most talented players to alienate themselves from teammates because of pride that creeps in. That has not happened in Spain Park’s dugout. “It definitely helps that we’re not bitter towards her talent,” Parker said. “We want to be around her because she’s our friend. It helps that we’re all such good friends.” One of Parker’s best moments through the years with Tedder was that clinching game of last year’s regional tournament. After the obligatory postgame handshakes were completed,
Parker made a beeline for Tedder, and leapt into her waiting arms. “That’s my favorite,” Parker said. Tedder’s leadership also commands the respect of her teammates as well, because she practices what she preaches. “You just have to be consistent in your behavior and do the right thing,” Hawkins said. “If you do the right thing and your example is what you say, it all lines up.” However, there is a reason Spain Park has aspirations of returning to and winning the state tournament this season. That senior class that Tedder spoke so highly of — consisting of Parker, Jenna Olszewski, Julianna Cross, Mary Kate Teague and Hope Maddox — is bearing its fair share of the load as well. “I’ve put a lot of responsibility on those six seniors to do their part. I’m not asking Tedder to be the only person, because you can’t have one. Everybody has to do their part,” Hawkins said.
A SPECIAL TALENT
The story could stop there if Tedder was simply an average talent on the diamond. But she’s not. The field house at Spain Park sits beyond the center-field fence, where Hawkins normally parks her minivan. She learned quickly that out there, it was not safe from the bombs Tedder hit. In practice, when it’s time for Tedder to hit, three players walk to the van and stand guard. “She’ll get into a rhythm, and she’ll just launch them onto the tennis courts, hit my van, hit the indoor facility,” Hawkins said. Tedder has the pedigree. Her dad, Scott Tedder, is in the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame and had a career as a professional baseball player. She excels at multiple sports, including cross-country, indoor track and formerly basketball. She’s an athlete so naturally talented, she would likely be extremely successful at any sport she chose.
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February 2017 • A31
Seven-year-old Caroline Lollar watches children pick out toys from the gifts she collected for her birthday to donate to King’s Home. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.
CONTINUED from page A1 Her birthday was coming up, and meeting the children who live at King’s Home gave her an idea: Instead of getting gifts for herself on her birthday, Caroline wanted to give gifts to King’s Home. “We were a little bit shocked that a 7-yearold came up with this, to be honest,” said Caroline’s father, Chris Lollar. Chris Lollar has been involved with King’s Home for several years and is on the board of directors, but he said it wasn’t his idea. It was all Caroline. When asked why she wanted to do this, Caroline said she wanted “to show the love of Jesus” to the children she had met on the hayride at Kampﬁre for the King. “Daddy almost cried. It was really sweet, and she really did think of this on her own,” Chris Lollar said. Caroline, who lives in the Altadena area near U.S. 280 and is a ﬁrst-grader at Briarwood Christian School, stayed true to her plan. Everyone invited to her birthday party was requested to bring a gift for children ages 10 and younger who are staying with their mothers at King’s Home. Caroline collected about 25 presents, including books, toy trucks, stuffed animals and more. Valerie Goodman, who works in the marketing department at King’s Home, said the mothers and children Caroline chose to donate to are most often ﬂeeing domestic abuse or homelessness. They come to King’s Home seeking protection, ﬁnancial support and guidance to put their lives back together, often with “just the clothes on their back and a bag — and sometimes it’s just a trash bag.” While King’s Home relies in part on the donations and volunteer work of adults in the community, Goodman said it’s much more rare to see the same generosity from young children. “It’s an incredible story of a child realizing that they are blessed and wanting to give back,” Goodman said. A few days after her Dec. 15 birthday,
Caroline showed up at King’s Home with her father, sister Lily and bags of toys in tow. She had been eagerly anticipating the chance to deliver the toys “because I’ve been waiting for I don’t know how long,” Caroline said. Caroline was grinning from ear to ear as she placed the presents under the King’s Home Christmas tree and watched the children start playing with the toys she had brought them. “I think it’s great for the community to see that, because generosity begets generosity,” Goodman said.
Calhoun’s little brother for his privacy, but Calhoun said he has been in the foster care system and moved between several homes. That can take an emotional toll, and Calhoun said he hopes his presence was helpful in those years. “I hope I’ve been — if nothing else — some consistency in his life these past seven years when he hasn’t had much consistency anywhere else,” Calhoun said. Their time together includes hiking at Oak Mountain State Park, dinners at Calhoun’s house, swimming, ﬁshing and watching football games. Calhoun said his little brother had to teach him about ﬁshing, and he helped Calhoun hang his Christmas lights this year. Dimick said he has been impressed with how Calhoun’s dedication has never wavered, even when he had to make the drive from Chelsea to Walker County just to visit his little brother at one of his foster homes. In a life where his little [brother] hasn’t had a lot of that, consistency has played a big role,” Dimick said. “He’s extremely selﬂess.” Over the years, Calhoun said he has encouraged his little brother to get more serious about his education, and his most recent foster family shares the same priorities. His little brother is now getting ready to graduate, studying to take the ACT and interested in work as an auto mechanic or AC technician. “I’m just proud of him for graduating high school at this point because education was not the most important thing to him early on. He’s really turned a corner,” Calhoun said. “He’s gotten a lot more serious about his schoolwork and his future. I wish that I could take some credit for that.” While Calhoun downplays his own participation, Dimick said the impact of a good big brother like Calhoun often reaches further than they realize. “That’s something Josh has never let him give up on is his education,” Dimick said. As his little brother grows up and ages out of BBBS, Calhoun said he has no plans to stop being a part of his life. He added that his little brother recently asked Calhoun to be in his wedding someday. “He’s got big plans for our future, and I certainly hope that turns out to be the case,” Calhoun said.
Photo courtesy of Josh Calhoun.
Working with Big Brothers Big Sisters requires not just a day of generosity, but dedication for several years. That’s why BBBS match support specialist Blake Dimick said Chelsea resident Josh Calhoun stands out as a Big Brother. “A big part of what we do is showing up, and showing up in the good times and the bad times,” Dimick said. “Josh is just so consistent.” Calhoun, who works in computer programming, has been part of BBBS for about seven years. His little brother was 12 at the time and, despite some initial adjustments due to the age gap, Calhoun said he now considers himself as much a friend as a mentor to the now-19-year-old. “We’ve just gotten to where we really have a great relationship,” Calhoun said. “We look back at some of the pictures from when we ﬁrst started hanging out and laugh at how we’ve both changed.” BBBS asked not to share the name of
Investigators Heather Parramore and Robert Rodriguez. Photo courtesy of Shelby County Sheriff’s Ofﬁce.
HEATHER PARRAMORE AND ROBERT RODRIGUEZ Shelby County Sheriff’s Ofﬁce investigators Heather Parramore and Robert Rodriguez have one of the hardest jobs in the sheriff’s ofﬁce: investigating sexual abuse crimes against children across the county.
“It takes a special type of investigator to investigate these types of cases, because you have to be able to cope with what you’re seeing and hearing,” community outreach Dept. Debbie Sumrall said. Their work is appreciated every day by Owen’s House Executive Director Cindy Greer. About 400 children come to Owen’s House for advocacy work and counseling each year, and the investigators often are involved in the case from the ﬁrst phone call to their court date a year or two later. “You can tell they’re investing their lives. It’s not just a job,” Greer said. “I think it’s so important for our families who have had their trust broken to have ﬁrst responders they know care.” However, even among the tragedies that Parramore and Rodriguez encounter every day, sometimes one stands out. In early 2016, they began investigating a case of a young child sexually abused by multiple adults. While Greer kept the details conﬁdential to protect the family’s privacy, she said the severity of the case touched hearts at Owen’s House and the sheriff’s ofﬁce. “The nature of this tragedy destroyed this family unit,” Sumrall said. When Parramore and Rodriguez ﬁnished their investigation and could have handed off the case for other organizations to take the next steps, they couldn’t get the family out of their minds. “We were standing on the sidelines, but they were looking for us to ﬁnd a way not only to cope with what’s going on, but ﬁnd answers to the tough questions,” Rodriguez said. “They wanted to help pick up the broken pieces,” Sumrall said. Parramore and Rodriguez knew the family was not only trying to heal from the heartbreak of a child’s abuse, but the nature of the case meant they had lost their income as well. The investigators held a food drive and a fundraising drive for the family, raising $2,000. Sumrall recalls seeing “two vanloads of all kinds of supplies” leaving the sheriff’s ofﬁce bound for the family’s home. “It was because they said, ‘This family is on our hearts and they need help,’” Greer said. Even now, months later, Sumrall said Parramore and Rodriguez continue to help this family. They took on the responsibility of delivering donations from several local organizations rather than subjecting the family to meeting a stream of unknown people. In late December, Rodriguez helped deliver donated beds to the family. It’s a simple act, but Greer said when a bed might trigger a child’s memories of abuse, having a brand new one can help the healing process. “A bed is more than a bed for this family,” Greer said. Greer said the two investigators are a source of “tremendous emotional support” for the mother and child in this family long after their job duties had ended. While the effects of abuse will be lifelong for that child, Sumrall said the consistent positive presence of Parramore and Rodriguez will help, in a small way, to repair the emotional damage. “I think in a way we’ve been messengers of hope to this family during this horriﬁc time in their lives,” Rodriguez said. “I think they play that role in a lot of cases, but this one touched everyone,” Greer said.
280 Living neighborly news & entertainment
B FEBRUARY 2017
Events B4 Community B6 School House B10 Faith B26 Calendar B29
Rise in alcohol sales seen following Sunday sales approval By RACHEL BURCHFIELD Last March, Shelby County voters went to the polls and voiced their thoughts on whether or not to allow people to buy alcoholic beverages on Sunday afternoons. About 70 percent of voters, or around 43,000 people, voted in favor of a local amendment allowing sales after noon on Sunday. Since the amendment went into effect on March 13, some restaurants and businesses have seen positive results from the change. Laura Strong, general manager of Big Bad Breakfast, said she has noticed patrons of the restaurant taking advantage of the new law. Big Bad Breakfast has seen an increase in alcohol sales of about $700 every Sunday, she said. “It helps our lunch, most deﬁnitely,” Strong said. “We get more people now, and sales went up a lot.” Pink Package Store owner Joe Rueschenberg had to hire more employees to handle the inﬂux of customers trickling in on Sundays. He no longer has any days off, but he said he isn’t complaining. “There’s really no downside to it as of yet,” Rueschenberg said. “Our sales are up because we are open four more days every month.” In addition to being able to create more jobs, Rueschenberg said he is generating more tax for the community and is working harder than ever. He said Sunday has become Pink Package Store’s third busiest day of the week — if not second
— and he said they are open four or ﬁve fewer hours than other operating days. While it is difﬁcult to have an exact number on sales increases per day, Butch Burbage, chief ﬁnancial ofﬁcer for Shelby County, said he believes Sunday alcohol sales more than likely have beneﬁted the county. “In total, it has been a beneﬁt, but it is hard to quantify that,” he said. “Restaurants report total sales, not food sales versus liquor sales — it’s combined. Overall, we have seen an increase [in revenue], but it is hard to give hard and fast numbers.” Burbage said he believes the increase in sales to be relatively modest — about a 3 to 4 percent increase — but he added it is difﬁcult to measure because of how sales are reported. “We don’t have it broken down by days of the week,” Burbage said. “We report total sales for the month.” Burbage said that, instead of a spike in sales on Friday and Saturday, sales are slightly more spread out now to include Sunday revenue. One area he said he has seen a more noticeable increase in revenue in is chain restaurants. “Particularly chain restaurants seem to have increased a little bit,” he said. “I don’t know how much it is weekend alcohol sales or just the economy being good and people eating out again. I have had discussions with local leaders, and they are seeing a larger increase in sales — people are coming through, eating out, and they do want to enjoy some kind of alcoholic beverage [with their meal].”
Since the vote to allow Sunday alcohol sales passed in Shelby County back in March 2016, local package stores and restaurants have seen a bump in sales. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.
B2 • February 2017
Are You a Your Health Today Groundhog? By Dr. Irma Leon Palmer
According to the University of Scranton, fewer than one in ten Americans stick to their New Year’s Resolutions. Well, January has already rolled by, and we are into February. Do you feel as though you are living the movie Groundhogs Day starring Bill Murray? Waking up every morning and going through the same routine, only to fall asleep and wake up to the same lackluster reality? If your answer is no, then great! However, if you are among the large percentage of people who identify with that feeling, lets dig a little deeper. One common deﬁnition for insanity is to repeat the same behavior over and over hoping to get different results. What behavior would that be for you? Do you ﬁrmly set goals every January, but ﬁnd yourself still eating, sleeping, and living the same way you did in November, December, and every month before that? That junk food in the break room at work unfortunately has not gotten any less tempting, so unless your mindset has drastically changed, your behavior will probably follow suit to the holiday indulgences. At Chiropractic Today, we recommend you strive for function versus feeling in 2017. We base a lot of our decisions on how we feel. “I don’t feel like exercising,” “My back feels stiff so I don’t feel like going for a run” or “I just don’t feel like going through the work of making a salad.” Our feelings often betray us. The human body seeks the path of least resistance and potential discomfort. However, when it comes to aches, pains and symptoms, the reason the
body does not feel well, is because it is not functioning well. Consistent chiropractic adjustments restore proper nervous system ﬂow so that every function of the body is working properly and you feel great! Even if you do not ﬁnd yourself in a cloud of symptoms and medications, do not automatically assume that you are healthy inside and out. Sleep, energy levels, mood, digestive function and hormone balance all are functions of your body and should be in full working order. Base your health endeavors off your involvement in true living. How involved are you in your family and kids’ lives, work life, hobbies? Do you see goals are achievable or daunting? Make incremental steps and then slowly build on your success! Do not set lofty goals you have never been able to reach in the past. Remember, there is a reason you set the same goals every single year! Identify the points of weakness that melt resolve and turn it into apathy and guilt. Identify emotional triggers that cause you to seek comfort in food or other unhealthy, misplaced habits. Here are a few tips to try and bring healthy change in 2017! 1. Constructive celebration: A common resolution revolves around food — eating less of the bad and more of the good. This is wonderful, but try to avoid rewarding good behavior with the very behavior you are trying to reverse! If you are aiming to reduce sugar from your diet, do not reward yourself with sugary indulgent foods. Try positively
reinforcing hard work with weekend trips, new running shoes, spending a little extra on specialty items at Whole Foods that make healthy eating fun. 2. Deﬁne your own health regime: Some people are runners, some people love yoga, and others really connect with group workouts like Iron Tribe. I recommend you give yourself a month or two to explore various forms of exercise until you ﬁnd something you really love. Barre workouts build strength and ﬂexibility in a class setting, while aerobic DVD’s in your living room can be fun for the whole family. Try out all the different classes your local gym offers. Do not deﬁne your workout by what someone else loves. That is not necessarily what you will love. 3. Write it down: Studies are constantly showing strong correlation between what we see with our eyes, and the action that follows. We are much more likely to overeat when we are surrounded by tantalizing foods and enormous portion sizes. The same principle pertains to writing down goals and reading them out loud daily. Yearly planners are popular right now, with monthly and weekly areas to break down goals into ﬁnancial, personal, health, business and fun goals. Find a planner that make you feel creative and excited to dream up a new reality, and write it down! Most importantly, check in with yourself daily and weekly to keep yourself on course. Stay inspired and excited to have the best life possible, not obligated and weighed down. Call us today to take the ﬁrst step towards your best life!
February 2017 â€¢ B3
B4 • February 2017
Events Wild About Chocolate gala returns to beneﬁt Alabama Wildlife Center Attendees meet a redtailed hawk at the AWC’s Wild About Chocolate gala in 2016. Photo courtesy of AWC.
By CAROLINE CARMICHAEL The Alabama Wildlife Center is gearing up for its 13th annual Wild About Chocolate fundraising gala. Scheduled for Feb. 11, the Valentine’s Day themed event will be at 7 p.m. at the Harbert Center in downtown Birmingham. “It should be a really fun evening,” said Executive Director Doug Adair of the Alabama Wildlife Center. “It is a critical fundraiser for the Alabama Wildlife Center.” The event will feature a live and silent auction, as well as musical entertainment from the band High Tide. Some of Birmingham’s ﬁnest foods and beverages will be catered, Adair said. Auction items will include South African photo safaris, entertainment and sport packages,
original arts and crafts, footballs autographed by Nick Saban and more. This year’s master of ceremonies is news anchor Brenda Ladun of ABC 33/40.
“We will be introducing AWC’s newest ‘education ambassador’ glove-trained raptors — a beautiful eastern screech owl, one of the smallest owls found in Alabama, and an
Team Kidney plans 3-day community hike at OMSP By ERICA TECHO Before taking off for Mount Kilimanjaro, Bob Kuykendall and his son Cade Kuykendall are planning a three-day hike a little closer to home. The pair is inviting the community out for a 20-mile hike at Oak Mountain State Park as a way to spread awareness for the Kidney Foundation, a cause they are raising money for through their trip to Mount Kilimanjaro. The trip was inspired by a desire to spread awareness about the Kidney Foundation and to help encourage people no matter the journey they are on, Kuykendall said. He became involved in fundraising for the Kidney Foundation after donating his kidney to friend Greg Hasberry, who will also go
to Mount Kilimanjaro, in 2015. The hike at Oak Mountain is free, and people are welcome to meet them on the night of Feb. 17 or the morning of Feb. 18 before hiking the North Trailhead to Saturday night’s camping spot and to Peavine Falls for lunch on Sunday. While there is no charge for the hike, Kuykendall said they will accept donations for the Kidney Foundation. And for those not in for a full three days of hiking, Kuykendall said Oak Mountain State Park has agreed to leave the gates open Feb. 20 so people can enter free. To donate to Kuykendall’s fundraising page for the Kidney Foundation, go to teamkidney.org and search “Mountain.” All money raised on that page will go to the Kidney Foundation.
amazing Eurasian eagle owl, the largest owl species in the world,” Adair said. Other “education ambassadors,” or non-releasable rehabilitated AWC patients such as a red-tailed hawk, great horned owl, American kestrel and barred owl, can meet gala attendees “up close and personally,” Adair said. Each year, the Alabama Wildlife Center rehabilitates and releases back into the wild almost 2,000 native wild birds from more than 100 species. The organization reaches more than 100,000 people each year with more than 350 presentations of conservation education programs. Tickets for the gala are $75 in advance, or $100 at the door. To register, go to awrc.org, call 663-7930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The threeday, 20mile hike will take place from Feb. 17 to Feb. 20 at Oak Mountain State Park. File photo.
February 2017 • B5 Plungers in their costumes at the 2016 Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. Staff photo.
Polar Plunge returns with new date By ERICA TECHO Members of the Giggles and Grace team pose at the consignment event. Photo courtesy of Giggles and Grace.
Giggles and Grace sale to offer deals on children’s items By SYDNEY CROMWELL Asbury United Methodist Church will open its doors this month to shoppers looking for gently used children’s items. The Giggles and Grace sale is Feb. 24-25, with consignors and sale volunteers shopping early Feb. 23. Sale co-chair Anna Garner said about 375 local sellers will be bringing clothes from sizes newborn to junior, shoes, accessories, books, toys, room decor and more. Baby gear such as strollers, car seats, cribs and swings also will be for sale. Consignors at Giggles and Grace get to keep a portion of their sales, with the rest of the proceeds beneﬁting Asbury’s children and youth ministries. Garner said one
new addition this year is that Asbury will track sales so consignors can see their sales records each night after Giggles and Grace closes. Garner said her favorite part of the sale is making friends with the new people she meets and familiar faces who return each year. “People keep coming back because they are able to get great clothes, toys, etc. at affordable prices all while having fun,” Garner said. The sale opens at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 5 p.m. for consignors and volunteers on Thursday. Asbury is at 6690 Cahaba Valley Road. Learn more about the sale at asburyonline.org/gigglesandgrace or the Giggles and Grace Facebook Page.
Cocoa, costumes, chilly water and maybe some courage — just a few of the things people will need at this year’s Polar Plunge at Oak Mountain State Park. Polar Plunge is an annual event that beneﬁts the Alabama Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. Each year, the Special Olympics hosts about 14,000 athletes participating in inclusive sports. While the OMSP Polar Plunge typically takes place in late January, this year the event has been moved to March 4. “A lot of law enforcement were getting involved in fundraising for Wings of Hope with No Shave November, so we wanted to give people some time between those two big fundraisers,” said Deputy Debbie Sumrall with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Ofﬁce. Pre-registration opened in January, and it will cost $25 to register through Feb. 24. From Feb. 25 to March 3, the cost goes up to $35 to register, and day-of registration will be $50. “We hope the new date and the drop in price is going to boost our plungers,” Sumrall said. The registration costs goes toward an opportunity to plunge — running into the cold lake — as well as a drink tumbler. T-shirts will
also be on sale at the event. Many plungers choose to dress up for the event, and there will be a costume contest prior to the plunge. “The costume contest is very competitive. I have people who have already started thinking about their costumes, and they are elaborate and impressive,” Sumrall said in early January. Spectators can also come to watch the plunge and stay out of the cold with hot cocoa and a large bonﬁre on the beach. “It is always fun. It’s hilarious to watch,” Sumrall said. “Even if you don’t want to take the plunge, come out and watch all the crazy people.” Check-in is at 9 a.m., and the costume contest is at 10 a.m. Sumrall said while there is on-site registration available, they’re hoping to get a majority of people to pre-register for the event. “It’s all for a great cause,” she said. “This helps us kick our fundraising year off for Special Olympics of Alabama. [The event] directly impacts our athletes here locally and all around the state. It also raises awareness for Special Olympics of Alabama.” For more information or to register, go to Oak Mountain State Park Polar Plunge for Special Olympics on Facebook.
B6 • February 2017
More than 260 people attended the Hoover Service Club’s 2016 Hearts and Harmony Gala. Guests shown here are, from left: Jason and April DeLuca, Dave and Emily Naefe, Allison and David Bradley, Melanie Bradford and Abbey Clarkson. Photo courtesy of Randall Veazey Studios.
Hearts and Harmony Gala set for Feb. 10 at new facility By JON ANDERSON The Hoover Service Club is gearing up for its 2017 Hearts and Harmony Gala on Feb. 10 at the new Carriage House at the Park Crest Facility on Little Valley Road. The event is a fundraiser for numerous charities and scholarships for Hoover and Spain Park high school students. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for a silent auction, Chinese auction, appetizers and cash bar in the downstairs portion of the building. Then guests will go upstairs at 7:30 p.m. for a seated dinner and live auction. The dinner will include rosemary roasted prime rib of pork over winter vegetable succotash and natural juices, a twice-baked potato, smoked Gouda, apple-smoked bacon and minted chocolate chip mousse with spiced rum caramel and candied spearmint. There also will be a vegetarian option of basil-buttered penne pasta with wilted leaf spinach, roasted sweet bell peppers and blistered sangria tomatoes. Music is by Dianne Shaw and her son, Hoover Councilman Mike Shaw. Hoover Councilman John Lyda and 2014 Mrs. Alabama America Jamie Nutter are scheduled to serve as auctioneers. Auction items will include art from local artists and galleries (including painter Daniel
Moore, sculptor Robert Taylor and Grifﬁth Art Gallery), jewelry pieces from Steed’s Jewelers and Anthony’s Jewelers, Disney World Park Hopper passes, backyard barbecues, tailgate parties, a Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama package and Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament tickets. The 2016 gala drew more than 260 people and raised about $46,000, Chairwoman Betty Daigle said. For 2017, organizers hope to have about 300 people and raise at least $50,000, she said. The Hoover Service Club already has awarded $11,500 from last year’s event to Oak Mountain Missions, the Green Valley Baptist Church United Way Food Bank, the Hoover Helps backpack food program for children, Focus on Recovery (a residence for women recovering from alcohol and drug addiction), Triumph Services (which serves adults with developmental disabilities) and the Hope for Autumn Foundation (which helps families of children battling cancer). The club plans to distribute another $11,500 to charities in the spring, plus $24,000 in scholarships, member Lynda Wasden said. Tickets for the gala are $125 ($60 of which is tax-deductible). To make a reservation, go to hooverserviceclub.com. For more information, call Martha Veazey at 903-4987.
Forest Oaks Principal Sasha Baker; DAR Alabama Bicentennial Chair Connie Grund; Alabama Bicentennial Ambassador Bobby Joe Seales; Chelsea Park Principal Dr. Jeanette Campisi-Snider; and Chapter Regent, Lily of the Cahaba, DAR, Susan Moore. Photo courtesy of Susan Moore.
Donation of Alabama biographies reﬂects chapter’s bicentennial spirit Members of the Lily of the Cahaba Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution recently presented a series of books, consisting of 45 biographies, to Chelsea Park Elementary School and a second set to Forest Oaks Elementary School. The Alabama Roots Series, published by Seacoast Publishing, included biographies on prominent ﬁgures in Alabama history such as Helen Keller, Daniel Pratt, Jesse Owens, William Gorgas and others. Students in the fourth- and ﬁfth-grade classes at Chelsea Park were on hand to express their appreciation to the Lily of the Cahaba Chapter for the gifts. The donations are part of the Hoover-based chapter’s Alabama bicentennial activities. Taking part in the presentation were Lily of the Cahaba Chapter Regent Susan Moore;
Connie Grund, DAR Alabama bicentennial chairperson; and Bobby Joe Seales, ambassador for the Alabama Bicentennial. Providing Alabama biographies to schools is one of the Alabama Society Daughters of the American Revolution (ASDAR) projects in support of Alabama’s bicentennial celebration. ASDAR also is raising funds for a contribution toward the Alabama Archives Bicentennial Fund for equipment. Jeanette Campisi-Snider is principal of Chelsea Park Elementary and Sasha Baker is principal of Forest Oaks Elementary, both K-5 schools. Both were on hand for the presentation at Chelsea Park Elementary. Several of the ﬁfth-grade students shared their thoughts with those present after reading some of the biographies in the series. – Submitted by Susan Moore.
February 2017 • B7
Money raised through the Southern Living Idea House totaled more than $32,000, which was donated to Children’s of Alabama and the Mt Laurel Public Library. Photo courtesy of Mt Laurel.
Southern Living Idea House in Mt Laurel raises over $32,900 After a six-month open house hosting thousands of visitors, the 50th Anniversary Southern Living Idea House, located in the Town of Mt Laurel, recently closed. Every year, the Southern Living Idea House is focused not only on creating an inspiring home, but also improving the surrounding community. During the six months the home was open for tours, each admission fee beneﬁted two Birmingham-based charities, Children’s of Alabama and the Mt Laurel Public Library. In total, the Idea House raised over $16,450 for each organization. “We are proud to have hosted so many visitors to our beautiful community,” said Julianna Vance, Mt Laurel’s marketing and community relations manager. “It was exciting to meet so many newcomers to Mt Laurel, whether they were from Birmingham or as far away as Texas or Pennsylvania.” Volunteers from both organizations have diligently served at the Idea House, welcoming visitors from across the country. In appreciation of their dedication, Mt Laurel and Southern Living hosted both organizations at the Southern Living Test Kitchens for a Volunteer Appreciation Party. The ﬁnal donations were announced there. Ann Price, president of Friends of the Mt Laurel Public Library, said, “The Friends of the Mt Laurel Library are thrilled and honored to receive the funds from the Southern Living Idea House. We’re excited about exploring ways to
use the proceeds to enhance the library’s programs and facility in the new year.” Children’s of Alabama plans to apply the donation to its Impact Fund. “The Impact Fund gives Children’s of Alabama the opportunity to purchase state-of-theart technology and pursue innovative programs without taking away from portions of the hospital’s general operating budget,” said Anna Blanche Pennington, coordinator of community development. “This separate fund enables us to purchase life-changing, and in some cases life-saving, equipment for our patients and doctors. Some of the services we have added through generous donations to the Impact Fund include artiﬁcial hearts, acute kidney dialysis equipment and surgery robotics.” Designed by Birmingham architect Bill Ingram, built by Mt Laurel’s own Town Builders, Inc, and decorated by ﬁve nationally renowned interior designers, the 2016 Southern Living Idea House was an inspiring home ﬁlled with thoughtful design touches and one-of-akind features. In celebration of the magazine’s 50th anniversary, its editors chose the Town of Mt Laurel as the location for the 2016 Southern Living Idea House. Located on the edge of Shelby County, Mt Laurel was a natural selection for the Birmingham-based publication, a tribute to its headquarters. For more information on the Town of Mt Laurel, go to mtlaurel.com. – Submitted by Mt Laurel.
3rd-grade Spain Park football wins league
The third-grade Spain Park football team after winning the Jefferson-Shelby Youth Football League. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bonamy.
The third-grade Spain Park football team won the Jefferson-Shelby Youth Football League with a 7-6 victory over Hoover on Nov. 19, lifting the Jags to a perfect 11-0 overall record. Players on the team include Alex Plaia, Semaj Snow, Aubrey Walker, TK Smith, Parker Wells, Brady Heath, Clay Bailey, Braden Dowling, JD Bonamy, Takuma Suzuki, Payton
Wood, Alex Davis, Ethan Boykin, Camden Major, Joe Cross, Carter Boyd, Jayden Starks, Zachary Brown, Durrell McGee, Jack Lutenbacker, Sam Fox and Demetrius Robinson. The team was coached by Mike Plaia, Greg Cross, David Heath, John Lutenbacher, Brian Smith, Chandler Boyd, David Bryan and Albert Walker. – Submitted by Jennifer Bonamy.
B8 • February 2017
Running FOR A CAUSE
Chelsea resident Ron Ramsey’s ﬁrst crack at a marathon carries deeper meaning Chelsea resident Ron Ramsey is training for the Mercedes Marathon, which will be his ﬁrst. He is a participant in The Bell Center’s BellRunner program. Photo by Sam Chandler.
By SAM CHANDLER
t 10 minutes till 8 on a cool Sunday morning, Ron Ramsey’s silver Nissan Titan pulls into an empty parking lot near the main entrance to Oak Mountain State Park. He has come here for a reason. The Mercedes Marathon is less than a month away, and Ramsey wants to ensure he is well prepared come race day. He knows the 26.2-mile trek up, down and around Birmingham will test the limits of his physical and mental endurance. He readies himself accordingly. After strapping on a Nike hydration belt equipped with two small water bottles and packs of energy gel, he bends down to stretch his legs. Then, he is off. Over the next two and a half hours, Ramsey will attempt to cover 18 miles on an out-and-back course along the park’s main bike path. Accompanied only by his cellphone, which gauges and records his pace, he will run in relative solitude. “I am cautiously optimistic that I’ll be able to complete it,” Ramsey says before setting off. “I feel pretty good at this point in my training. I don’t want to be overconﬁdent because it’s a little bit daunting, but I feel OK. We’ll just see how this morning goes.” It could’ve gone better. Caught off guard by the unseasonably warm temperature, Ramsey said it was the toughest long run he had completed to date. He ran out of water at mile 12, then stopped at mile 16. “Running in 65 degree weather versus 45 degree weather is a huge difference,” he said later in the day. “Lesson learned.” It’s not the only piece of knowledge the 44-year-old Chelsea resident has gleaned over the past four months as he’s trained for his ﬁrst marathon. He said friends and co-workers with previous running experience have become trusted sources of advice. One even suggested toting mustard packets on his long runs to help replace salt content lost through sweat. “I haven’t tried that, but it’s such a great tip that I am planning on having a few packets on hand for my next long run this Saturday,” Ramsey said the day after his 16-mile trek. Ramsey’s goal is to knock out a pair of 20 milers before he toes the starting line Feb. 12. Never before has he run that far. Prior to initiating his marathon training in October, Ramsey had been running 2 to 3 miles twice a week during his son’s soccer practices. The last race he participated in was a community 5K in 2012. So what made him decide to embark on such a challenging endeavor? “Back in October, I just thought, ‘You know, I ought to just
set a goal. I’m getting older. I was actually approaching my 44th birthday in November, and I just thought I ought to set a goal and try to do a marathon,’” Ramsey said. “Do I still have what it takes?” With only a couple of weeks left until the race, he’s inching closer to ﬁnding out the answer to that question. Ramsey now logs 4 to 6 miles twice a week before work in addition to his weekly weekend long run. But Ramsey’s ﬁrst crack at 26.2 miles is about more than himself. It’s also about children like 4-yearold Bentley Bryant, who was born deaf, blind and with neuromuscular weakness. Bentley attends The Bell Center, and Ramsey is a BellRunner. Bentley’s mom, Lindsay Bryant, is a Ron Ramsey is running in honor of 4-year-old Bentley Bryant, seated in the lap of longtime family friend of Ramsey’s. her father, Justin. Bentley was born blind, deaf and with neuromuscular weakness. She started attending The Bell Center when she was only three months old. Photo “I thought, ‘You know, if I’m going to put in the time and the effort by Providence Photography, courtesy of Lindsay Bryant. to do this, I ought to make it more Ramsey, like all BellRunners, has a goal of raising $100 per than just about me,’” Ramsey said. “I mile for The Bell Center in his marathon debut. One hundred think that’d be a great cause.” percent of the funds, Peoples said, go directly to the center. The BellRunner program is an initiative that beneﬁts The Peoples said there are typically between 250 and 300 BellBell Center and the children who come there. The Bell Center, Runners across all Mercedes races. Collectively, she said, they according to marketing and development director Kelly raise between $220,000 and $250,000 annually. Peoples, provides early intervention services like physical and As of mid-January, Ramsey was halfway toward reachoccupational therapy to infants and toddlers at risk for develing his fundraising goal. He said every donation he receives opmental delay — children like Bentley. makes a two-pronged impact. Bryant said Bentley has attended The Bell Center since she “Not only is it a donation to a great cause, but it’s also was three months old. The impact it’s made in their lives, she an encouragement to me, because when somebody donates, said, has been “huge.” they’re sending me a message that says, ‘You know, I believe “Until you’ve navigated this stage of life, you just don’t in you, and I know you can do it,’” he said. know what direction to go in,” Bryant said. “They helped so Ramsey said his goal is to ﬁnish the marathon in under four much with that in the beginning to establish our new normal hours. But even if he doesn’t hit that mark, he said he won’t and just get us on the right path with the right resources.” Ramsey was ﬁrst told of the BellRunner program by Ashley be disappointed. That’s because for Ramsey, the Mercedes is more than a Ross, a family friend who teaches at The Bell Center. On race race. day, Ramsey will run in a red T-shirt with a picture of Bentley To him, it’s an opportunity to prove that he has what it printed on the back of it. Bryant will wear one too. She and takes, and it’s an opportunity to help raise awareness and her husband will participate as BellRunners on a ﬁve-person money for an organization whose mission centers on helping marathon relay team. “I ran it last year by myself, and it was rewarding and it was children overcome their own set of inherent speed bumps. No matter what transpires on Feb. 12, Ramsey said he feels great,” Bryant said of the 2016 half marathon race in which more or less certain about one thing. she participated, “but when you have other people who are “I hope I don’t burst into tears,” he said. “I think it’s going BellRunners for your child ... it makes you feel like you’re not to be very emotional.” running this journey alone.”
February 2017 â€¢ B9
B10 • February 2017
School House BEST returns to OMHS Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) Robotics was founded in 1993 when Ted Mahler and Steve Marum of Texas Instruments saw a video of high school students building a robot at MIT. BEST is a competition where robots are designed to have the ability to carry out speciﬁc tasks. Mahler and Marum thought this might attract more students into the ﬁeld of engineering. The ﬁrst BEST competition had 14 teams when it began, and it has exploded to 875 teams in 2012 throughout the country in 16 different states. Blazer BEST at the University of Alabama at Birmingham began in 2008 and includes many local middle and high schools. The Oak Mountain High School team has had great success there, being promoted to the South’s BEST competition eight years in a row,
Students use the new lab equipment, which includes new sinks with water and gas lines, at Westminster School. Photo courtesy of Dale Carrell.
and making it to the world competition one of those years. As the end of the school year approached in 2016, UAB announced that it would no longer be hosting the Blazer BEST competition. Nearly 30 teams were displaced and many of those teams simply dissolved. This seemed like the fate of the Oak Mountain team as well, when its sponsoring teacher was transferred to another school. Fortunately, Central Alabama BEST in Talladega graciously welcomed Oak Mountain High Tech Solutions into their hub, and teacher Tommy Hayes agreed to be their sponsor. The unveiling of the course and the challenge for the year was issued Sept. 24 at Munford High School. This year’s game is called “Bet the Farm,” and it focuses on technological and
OMHS students at last year’s BEST robotics competition. Photo courtesy of Melissa Scott.
robotic applications in farming. The purpose is to build a robot that can plant, irrigate and harvest corn, to corral and feed pigs, and to pick hydroponically grown tomatoes and lettuce and bring them to market. To research one of the methods of growing crops, members of the team visited Hydro Ponics in Pelham to learn more about hydroponic farming. While they were there, the
members were able to ask all sorts of questions about hydroponics to learn the ins and outs of this unique farming technique. Oak Mountain competed with 14 other teams for two spots in the South’s BEST competition on Dec. 3 in Auburn and was named a ﬁnalist in robotics and received ﬁrst place for most photogenic robot. – Submitted by Melissa Scott.
Westminster School updates lab facilities By ERICA TECHO The Westminster School has updated its science lab facilities, providing more versatility for students. While students were able to learn all the necessary topics conceptually, there was not enough room for hands-on activities, said Dale Carrell, head of the school’s science department. “It was really crowded, so we couldn’t do what I call interesting labs,” he said. The school added a prep room, safety cabinets for chemicals, ﬁve sinks with water and gas lines and extra storage, which helps facilitate labs for a variety of classes. “We designed the room to not just be chemistry,” Carrell said.
The lab tables are also on wheels, which help the classroom quickly modify. The room easily can transform from a lab station setup to a lecture setup, Carrell said. Classes also can push all desks to the wall, opening up the center of the ﬂoor for experiments. “Because we can move the tables, the room becomes more usable,” he said. The decision to invest in new lab equipment came from feedback from former Westminster School students, who noted they were comfortable with science material in college, but not the labs, Carroll said. Since updating the labs, students have returned and said they are glad to see an increase in resources at the school, he said. “I walk in, and I’m still giddy,” Carrell said.
February 2017 • B11
The Junior League of Birmingham scholarships begin at $1,000. Photo courtesy of the Junior League of Birmingham.
JLB scholarships available for local women The Junior League of Birmingham will grant several one-year college and graduate school scholarships to qualiﬁed female applicants, and residents of Hoover are encouraged to apply. The scholarships will be awarded in the minimum amount of $1,000 each. The Academic Scholarship program was originally established in the 1950s to open the doors of opportunity for teachers in the area of speech and language development, and hopefully provide future leaders for the Junior League School of Speech Correction. Through the years this program has expanded, providing scholarships to women in all areas of study, both in undergraduate and graduate studies. For 95 years, the Junior League of Birmingham’s mission has been to develop the potential of women in our community. The Junior League strives to improve the lives of women and children in our community, speciﬁcally in the areas of education and ﬁnancial stability. Scholarships will be announced at the Junior League of Birmingham’s Community Circle breakfast on March 22, 2017, and will be awarded to qualiﬁed women who demonstrate a true willingness to better themselves and their community. “The Junior League of Birmingham believes that strong women lift each other up. As leaders, we are proud to invest in creating the future female leaders of our community,” said Lauren Roberts, president, Junior League of Birmingham. “As the females in our area seek an opportunity
to further their education, we are excited to support them in their endeavors. Our dream would be that wherever these women choose to pursue their degree, they will want to return to Birmingham with their newly acquired skills and education. Hopefully we are building the future of our city as we support these young women.” To be eligible for the scholarship, students must enroll as a full or part-time student in any private or public accredited two-year or four-year undergraduate or graduate college or vocational-technical school for the 2017-2018 school year. Scholarships are restricted to eligible women who fall into one of the following categories: ► Graduating high school seniors ► Currently enrolled college and graduate students ► Graduating college seniors ► Nontraditional students The completed application form and supporting documents must be submitted online at jlbonline.com no later than Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Since 2012-2013 the Junior League of Birmingham has given out 42 scholarships, totaling $96,000 for young women attending 20 different colleges. For more information about the Junior League of Birmingham’s academic scholarships, visit jlbonline.com/scholarships or call 879-9861. – Submitted by Junior League of Birmingham.
Hilltop Montessori celebrates diversity with Multicultural Festival Hilltop Montessori School celebrated diversity with their 2017 Multicultural Festival held on January 19 at the school. Each classroom in the school adopted a different country of study, and students prepared a celebration of each country with food, cultural objects, geography, history presentations and art. In the Montessori method, the presentations were child driven and implemented solely by the students, with the faculty serving as facilitators of the projects. The countries that the students chose to honor this year include: Thailand, Russia, India, Brazil, Uganda, China, Venezuela, France and the United Kingdom. The school celebrates diversity every three years by hosting the festival at the school. – Submitted by Michele Wilensky.
Zuri Patel dressed up for Hilltop Montessori School’s multicultural festival. Photo courtesy of Michele Wilensky.
B12 • February 2017
OMMS math teacher named Shelby County School District 2016 Teacher of the Year By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Vicki Jackson didn’t consider herself a great math student until her ninth-grade math teacher helped the concepts click for her. Now in her 12th year of teaching, she helps do the same for her students. “My teacher really pushed and motivated me. She took me under her wing and gave me the skills I was missing,” Jackson said of Marion Miles. “Everything started making sense, and I started helping other kids in high school with math. That’s how I ended up becoming a math teacher.” Jackson earned her B.S. in mathematics and minor in deaf studies from the University of Montevallo. She continued her education by earning her master’s in secondary education with a concentration in math. Jackson teaches eighth-grade Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 at Oak Mountain Middle School. She also serves on the School Leadership Team, Intervention/Advisory Action Team, is the seventh-grade math team coach, and team building coordinator for the eighth-grade White Team. She tutors students in math before and after school and also assists with robotics competitions. Since she wasn’t always strong in math, Jackson said she believes it gives her an advantage as a teacher because she knows her students feel frustrated and defeated. “I try to get them to push through and have perseverance and also be on the other side as their cheerleader helping them say ‘I can do this,’” she said. “We may have to do a different method, or work out problems differently for each student, but whatever I need to do, I do.” At a celebration at OMHS Dec. 5,
Jackson found out she was not only Oak Mountain Middle School Teacher of the Year, but also one of three Shelby County Teachers of the Year. “I was the last name they called for middle school, and I was shocked.” Jackson said. “It was very humbling, because Shelby County has great teachers who are passionate and love their students. To be honored in that capacity amongst my peers and colleagues was a huge honor.” Jackson said her students were excited for her, and some of them were featured in a video at the celebration saying things about her and how they enjoy her class and how she helps them learn. Over the last year, Jackson has been working on earning her National Board Certiﬁcation, which is an advanced professional teaching credential. She was awarded a grant from the Greater Shelby County Education Foundation for this, and is working on her last component. “It’s all about enhancing your practice,” she said. “Knowing your students, knowing how to instruct content, how to collaborate with parents and community leaders and learning different ways to meet every learner. It’s a difﬁcult and time-consuming process, but very well worth it.” Jackson has plans to obtain an administrative degree. She said she would love to support other teachers in some capacity, but for now, she still wants to be in the classroom. “I’m very grateful,” she said. “I’m around wonderful people all day long. I’m at a great school, teaching in a great school system and get to work with great administrators and teachers. I’m very thankful and blessed to be in this position.”
Middle School Teachers of the Year Ashley Evans (Chelsea Middle), Christopher Horton (Montevallo Middle), Melanie Thomas (Calera Middle), Anna Miller (Helena Middle), Krista Smith (Columbiana Middle) and Vicki Jackson (Oak Mountain Middle) at the Shelby County Schools Teacher of the Year Celebration on Dec. 5. Vicki Jackson (center) stands with Kendall Williams (left) and Superintendent Randy Fuller at the Shelby County Schools Teacher of the Year Celebration on Dec. 5. Photos courtesy of Shelby County Schools.
February 2017 • B13
Students from area high schools nominated to U.S. service academies Congressman Gary Palmer has announced the 27 students from the state’s sixth congressional district who have received nominations to attend U.S. service academies. The students come from 15 high schools, two military preparatory schools and one university, and they were recognized, along with their families, at a reception at Vestavia Hills City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Of those students, three are from Chelsea High School, four are from Oak Mountain High School, two are from Spain Park High School and one is from Briarwood Christian School. “Every year I have the honor and privilege of nominating outstanding students from the Sixth District of Alabama for an appointment to our nation’s service academies,’’ said Palmer. “Service academy recruiters often compliment Alabama’s Sixth District for the level of preparedness and exceptional achievements of students from our area. “ The application process for most U.S. service academies involves receiving a nomination from the student’s U.S. House representative, U.S. senator, the vice president or the president. These academies include the: U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York; U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. Once the nomination is conﬁrmed, the academy will review the whole candidate to determine admission. Students who are accepted become scholar soldiers at some of the most prestigious institutions in America. Each December, Congressman Gary Palmer partners with his Academy Advisory Board to interview and nominate outstanding students from the Sixth Congressional District for an appointment to one of our nation’s service academies. “Please join me in congratulating these students and their families for this major
Congressman Gary Palmer pictured with nominated students at a reception on January 17. Back, from left: Ryan Kirk, Tyler Ferguson, Daylen McGhee, Noah Probst, Gunnar Schultz, Jeffery Turnipseed, Duncan Morris, Robert Randolph, John Allen Bass, Thomas Jordan, Jackson Weyhe. Front, from left: George Moore, Jackson White, Elexus Oliver, Congressman Gary Palmer, Stav Pappas, Sarah Whitley, Sarah Rabenau, Kaitlyn Willis, Blake Randle, Savannah Stewart. Not pictured: Wiley Burns, Ethan Clarke, Cam Covington, Brianna Hebert, Davis Holley, Kaley Ann Fulton, Jackson McInvale. Photo courtesy of the ofﬁce of Gary Palmer.
accomplishment in the application process,” said Palmer. “I look forward to seeing how each individual goes on to serve this country in the future.” Nominated students from the 280 area are: Chelsea High School ► John Allen Bass, nominated for the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Naval Academy ► Sarah Rabenau, nominated for the U.S.
Air Force Academy and U.S. Military Academy ► Kaitlyn Willis, nominated for the U.S. Military Academy Oak Mountain High School ► Blake Randle, nominated for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy ► Gunnar Schultz, nominated for the U.S. Air Force Academy ► Ethan Clarke, nominated for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy ► Sarah Whitley, nominated for the U.S. Air
Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Naval Academy Spain Park High School ► Davis Holley, nominated for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy ► Thomas Jordan, nominated for the U.S. Military Academy Briarwood Christian School ► George Moore, nominated for the U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Naval Academy – Submitted by the ofﬁce of Gary Palmer.
B14 • February 2017
Brook Highland resident makes international connections Mark Jackson works with Birmingham Sister Cities Commission, a nonproﬁt group dedicated to cultivating cooperation and understanding with cities around the world. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.
By GRACE THORNTON When Mark Jackson was growing up in Bluff Park, he would set an alarm to wake himself up in the middle of the night, go get the phone book and hide in the closet. And then he’d start making calls — expensive ones. “I would go to the page that had all those country codes, and then I would dial until I could get someone to answer,” the Brook Highland area resident said. He did this all the way through middle and high school. His parents didn’t mind, he said, “but I had to do yard work to pay the phone bills.” Once, Jackson got someone in Luxembourg who could speak English, and she put him on the phone with her daughter, Mary Ann. “We stayed pen pals for 15 years after that,” he said. “She talked me into taking French.” Even now — just like then — Jackson ﬁnds it amazing that something as simple as a phone call can make friends in other countries. “My interest has always been global,” he said. “My father and mother always instilled in me that the world was bigger than Bluff Park.” That’s why Jackson, CEO of Moreson Conferencing and a Brook Highland resident, spends his life investing in organizations like the Birmingham Sister Cities Commission, a nonproﬁt group dedicated to cultivating cooperation and understanding with cities around the world. The group — which Jackson has served as chairman for the past four years — has led Birmingham to partner with 15 sister cities since 1982. Its ﬁrst sister city was Hitachi, Japan. Its most recent is Liverpool, U.K. And there are cities from Zimbabwe to China in between. “Your typical Sister Cities program focuses on things like education for schoolchildren, but it also can include commercial and economic partnerships, relationships from government to government, people to people,” he said. The organization was founded on the idea
that countries that are friends don’t invade each other, he said. That’s why he believes in the Sister Cities vision. And that’s why Jackson — an honorary consul general of Japan — is actively seeking the role of the next U.S. ambassador to Japan. “The U.S. and Japan are such strong allies,” he said. “I think we’ve got a tremendous relationship. When you think about our history with Japan, 73 years ago we were embroiled in a tremendous war with them. After that, we’ve worked together to rebuild two of the strongest economies in the world. Today, they are such an important partner for us. I’d like to be picked for that role.”
To be selected as an ambassador, you have to have a credible reason to be considered, Jackson said. In his role as an honorary consul general, he’s already functioning as a diplomat to Japan, “and they know me well and trust me,” he said. Jackson also has strong relationships with U.S. ofﬁcials involved in the selection process and has made his interest and willingness known. “I’ve let them know I would do my best to represent our country to Japan, and I think I have a good chance of being chosen,” he said. In his role with the Birmingham Sister Cities Commission, Jackson has also been a strong leader and diplomat and has “been very good at
helping us get sponsorships and more ﬁnancial support,” said Scotty Colson, assistant to the mayor of Birmingham and point person for the commission. “But even beyond that, where Mark comes and makes a difference is in is his genuine desire to see people come together,” Colson said. This Christmas, Jackson hosted a holiday party at his home for more than 130 people from 18 countries. “It’s not an act — it’s how he is,” Colson said. “He loves to bring people together — it’s the sort of thing that makes him giddy. It’s just an expression of who he is and where his spirit is.”
February 2017 • B15
High school sweethearts still going strong after nearly 2 decades By ERICA TECHO When Ashley and Brad Evans ﬁrst met when they were 14 years old, they did not know they were meeting their future spouses. The two met at freshman orientation at Sherwood Christian Academy, a private school in Albany, Georgia, in 1997 after a prompting by their mothers. Their moms met each other through Brad Evans’ little sister, who took dance at the studio where Ashley Evans’ mom worked, and she wanted to introduce the two because Ashley Evans was switching from public to private school for high school. At their freshman orientation for Sherwood, Brad and Ashley Evans’ ﬁrst conversation was brief. “Of course, I turned bright red because I thought he was so cute, and he did the same,” Ashley Evans said. “We both said our, ‘Hi’ and went our separate ways.” A few weeks later, however, Brad Evans asked Ashley on a ﬁrst date. “He had a friend of his at carpool shout across the way at me, ‘Hey, will you go to homecoming with Brad?’ And I said, ‘Well, I think he needs to ask me himself,’” Ashley Evans said. “So then he shouts across carpool, ‘Hey will you go to homecoming with me?’” From that point forward, the pair started hanging out more and talking at lunch. It didn’t take long to realize they were meant to be together, Ashley Evans said. “It was, for me, love at ﬁrst sight, and I kind of immediately was infatuated and just really enjoyed being with him,” she said. “We really seemed to hit it off and became friends really quickly.” Brad Evans realized they would be together
Left: Ashley and Brad Evans with their son, Brayden. Right: Brad and Ashley Evans at their homecoming dance in 1997. Photos courtesy of Ashley Evans.
forever early on in their relationship as well, and said a 1999 trip to Summer Jam, a church youth camp in Panama City Beach, solidiﬁed those feelings. “We had a blast, but Ashley became ill with sun poisoning,” he said. “I knew at that point that she was the one I wanted to be there for through the good and the bad forever, and would do anything I could for her to make any situation we face better.” Because their faith was an important part of their lives, Ashley Evans said it helped them become comfortable and conﬁdent in their relationship early on. “We had both always kind of prayed that the Lord would send us somebody that was
our perfect match and somebody that he made for us,” she said. “So I think we both kind of knew very soon.” As freshmen in college, the pair took a day trip to Mexico Beach, Florida, where they laid on the beach all day, and Brad Evans eventually wrote “Will you marry me?” with a ring in the sand. “He put the ring down in the sand, and told me to look,” Ashley Evans said. “And when he told me to look, it had gotten buried, so we’re digging around [for the ring]. We ﬁnally found it, and it was a good day for the two of us. … It’s something we’ll always remember — digging through the sand for the ring.” Both knew it would be a long engagement,
Ashley Evans said, and they remained engaged for a few years before getting married in December 2004. After that, they were almost immediately ready to start a family. It took longer than expected, Ashley Evans said, but on Easter Sunday two years into their marriage, they found out they were pregnant. “Having kids to share our love with was always a dream of ours,” Brad Evans said. “In 2006, God blessed us with a healthy son, Brayden. He is a wonderful son, and we feel blessed to have the opportunity to raise him.” Having Brayden is something that has further strengthened their relationship, Ashley Evans said, and helped them continue to grow. “It’s interesting to see the different way that you view your life partner when they’re a dad now or they’re a mom now,” she said. “It really warmed my heart to see Brad in that dad role instead of just my husband or my boyfriend or ﬁancé or whatever.” “I am truly blessed to be able to have a lifelong partner who I have grown up with. We have had so many memories together these 19 years,” Brad Evans said. “Our love for each other has evolved from friends, to sweethearts, to best friends, and to lifelong partners.” Being together since they were early teenagers means they have plenty of memories to look back on, and Ashley Evans said she looks forward to talking with Brayden about how they met and grew in their relationship as well as individuals and in their faith. “It’s so neat to look back and see pictures of us in high school and to be able to show those to Brayden, too and say, ‘Look at us when we were kids. Now this doesn’t mean you’ll marry the ﬁrst person you date,’” Ashley Evans said.
B16 • February 2017
Authentic tapestry carpet bag $325 Various sizes and styles available.
LOOK OF LOVE
Sterling silver hoop earrings $40 Various sizes available.
Paige Albright Orientals 2814 Petticoat Lane 877-3232
Renaissance Consignment 6801 Cahaba Valley Road, Suite 120 980-4471
OYOBox $135-$300 Mini (up to 4 frames) or maxi (up to 8 frames). Store and organize eyeware in this luxury box. Schaeffer Eye Center 4647 U.S. 280 995-2020
Mercury glass “Audrey” lanterns $137 Pick up this set of lanterns for the one who lights up your life.
Ruff Puppies collar $38+ (Pictured collar is $63) Pick your favorite leather, stones and accessories and design your own collar.
Urban Home Market 1001 Doug Baker Blvd., Suite 101 980-4663
Fancy Fur 5291 Valleydale Road, Suite 139 408-1693
February 2017 • B17
Live Laugh Love wooden hat and coat rack $185 If home is where the heart is, take your coat off and stay awhile.
Baccarat crystal oval eye vase $510 This vase features a wavelike design that creates a dazzling visual effect.
Window Decor HomeStore 1401 Doug Baker Blvd., Suite 109 437-9575
Bromberg’s 131 Summit Blvd. 969-1776
BEAUTY AT THE BARRE Sweetheart bundle $45 This bundle includes three Pure Barre classes and a pair of Barre socks. Pure Barre 610 Inverness Corners 991-5224
BACKYARD BEAU Costa del Mar Cat Cay sunglasses $149 Featuring a black frame and silver mirror lenses. Narrows Family Eye Care 13521 Old Highway 280, Suite 249 980-4530
FLORAL FLAME Arrangement in glass bowl $95 Mixed with hydrangea, pink and red roses, gerbera daisies, heather and other fillers and greens. Bloom & Petal 5511 U.S. 280, Suite 104 994-2434
SPARKLING SWEETHEART Amethyst and diamond yellow gold pendant necklace $1,435 This necklace is the perfect gift for the beautiful love of your life. Southeastern Jewelers 5299 Valleydale Road, Suite 111 980-9030
B18 • February 2017
The Weldon Store will be dismantled, and its doors and windows as well as planks from the building will be preserved to construct Weldon Pavilion. Photo by Frank Couch.
Chelsea mayor announces plan to preserve Weldon Building facade By ERICA TECHO After more than 100 years, the Weldon Building in Chelsea is going to come down. But it won’t be gone forever. During the Jan. 17 Chelsea City Council meeting, Mayor Tony Picklesimer announced plans to dismantle the building, salvage and preserve whatever materials possible and store those items with the plan to construct Weldon Pavilion at the city’s new sports complex on County Road 11. “My desire has been all along to honor the history of this building, and I am so grateful that this council chose to support me in a way to honor the history of this building,” Picklesimer said. The red front doors on the building, the store’s windows and its planks will be salvaged and stored for future construction of Weldon Pavilion. The pavilion will be built as a part of phase two of the Chelsea Sports Complex, Picklesimer said, and it will include a small hallway with restrooms on each side as well as an open area with a grilling pavilion, parking and a walking trail connecting the first and second phase of the athletic complex. Picklesimer recognized Chelsea resident Judy Isbell Galamore, the granddaughter of the Weldon store’s original owner, for her work in getting the building preserved. Galamore’s grandfather, George Weldon, built and owned the store from 1901 to 1951. After Weldon retired, Galamore’s aunt, Velarie Weldon, took over and ran the store until she died in 1980. From there, Galamore’s brother-in-law and cousin took over for a short period of time, and then the family rented the space to an antique shop before eventually selling the building to the city of Chelsea. Having grown up going to the store almost every day, Galamore said preserving the store was an important way to preserve her memories as well as an important part of the city’s history. “I think it is very special whenever a citizen in our city takes on a project that affects all of us, so I would like to tonight congratulate and thank Ms. Judy Galamore for her efforts to find some use for this building,” Picklesimer said. “She has worked diligently. She has got a petition with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of names on it. That building means more to her maybe than anyone else in this room.” While she had hoped for the building to remain in its original location and to be wholly preserved, Galamore said she is satisfied with the plan for Weldon Pavilion. “I’m OK with the compromise because it will still be used, and the history will remain,” Galamore said. “I hate that it’s way over there, but I think it’s a good compromise. And I can’t wait to see it when it happens, but I’ll cry when it’s coming down.” The store was recognized in December as a historical site in Alabama by the Alabama Historical Commission, placing it on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. “That was the best Christmas present I had, was for that to pass,” Galamore said. The distinction “carries no restrictions or financial incentives, and exists to bring attention to and promote the property’s historical significance, thereby encouraging its long-term preservation,” according to the Alabama Historical Commission. This
Above: The Weldon Store was built in the early 1900s and was once a go-to shop for residents. Photo courtesy of city of Chelsea. Left: Weldon Pavilion will include restrooms, storage areas and a grilling area where parties and events can be hosted. Its front will be modeled after the Weldon Store and constructed out of salvaged materials. Rendering courtesy of Lathan Associates Architects.
means a property can be listed on the register without permission of the owner, and the owner is not required to take any steps to preserve the property. After speaking with some of her immediate relatives, Galamore said they also think the project is a good compromise in preserving the store, and she is glad that information about the property’s position on the Alabama Register will be displayed once the pavilion is constructed. She also plans to work on national recognition for the site. “It’s still keeping history alive … and it’s much better than letting it fall down or burn down,” Galamore said. Picklesimer met with Galamore prior to the meeting, to discuss plans with her and get an initial reaction. “She was excited and I was excited that she was,” Picklesimer
said. “She has done so much, and having her blessing was a big thing to me.” To get plans into motion, the council approved a resolution allowing Picklesimer to sign a contract with Clements Dean Building Company for the project. The official resolution states that following the removal and dismantling of the building, the front of the building will be restored for future use, and additional lumber and windows will be used “by the city to recognize the historical significance of Weldon’s Store.” The cost for the project is $24,562, according to the resolution. “I’m excited to finally get this project underway,” Picklesimer said. “It’s been something we’ve been thinking about and talking about for a long time.”
February 2017 â€¢ B19
B20 • February 2017
Birmingham Community Deaf Church members Samantha Godbey, Cromwell Josey and Cherybe Thornton. Photos by Sydney Cromwell.
Heeding all the right signs Birmingham Community Deaf Church fostering fellowship for all for 60 years By SYDNEY CROMWELL
eople of all hearing levels are welcome at the Birmingham Community Deaf Church’s weekly Bible studies and worship services. Though most speak in sign language, the services include an interpreter for the “sign-impaired” who join them. The Birmingham Community Deaf Church has been an institution in the Birmingham area for nearly 60 years, said member Cherybe Thornton, and has been in many different churches, including the Church at Brook Hills and its home for the past two years at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. Thornton said what’s unique about the deaf church is they aren’t led by a hearing pastor who is helped by an interpreter. Their pastor, Cromwell Josey, has been deaf since childhood. “We encourage and support ministry led by the deaf,” Thornton said. One important part of that, Josey said, is that he preaches only in American Sign Language rather than speaking English and doing a word-for-word sign translation. ASL is distinct from English and has its own accents, slang and shorthand. For lifelong signers, hearing the sermon in ASL is a more natural and full experience. A worship service at the deaf church might be a little quieter than a regular service at Briarwood, but Thornton said the elements are the same. There is worship music, and those who can’t hear the music can still feel its rhythm. The sermon and prayer are delivered in sign language, with the help of an interpreter for the hearing. And in conversations, those who are able to will speak and sign at the same time, so no one is left out of the discussion. “A deaf worship service is the same as a hearing service except everything is done in
The Birmingham Community Deaf Church has about 25 to 30 regular members, with more coming for special events.
sign,” Thornton said. The Community Deaf Church has about 25 to 30 regular members, with more coming for special events. They include not only the deaf, but also their hearing family members, students learning American Sign Language, deaf education teachers and others. Each has a different path that led them to joining the church. Josey grew up in Georgiana and went to a school for the deaf as well as Gallaudet University, the only U.S. university specifically for the deaf. He had been involved in ministry for many years before moving to Birmingham in 2010. Samantha Godbey grew up in a regular church and had a hard time hearing the pastor or regular conversations. Her hearing loss has progressed over the years, though she still is able to use hearing aids,
but she heard about the Community Deaf Church before she learned American Sign Language. Godbey is now not only fluent in ASL, but also is heavily involved in the church and the Alabama Baptist Conference of the Deaf along with Josey. “I felt the Lord tell me that this was the right church,” Godbey said of her first time visiting the Community Deaf Church. Thornton can hear but grew up with deaf parents and has always been a part of the community and has served as an interpreter. “A deaf church has always been my home,” Thornton said. “When you grow up in the deaf community, you are family.” The church is not just a place for faith, Thornton said. The deaf live in a world where most people cannot speak their language, so the Community Deaf Church
offers a place to see friends and communicate easily with everyone in the room. In her parents’ time, Thornton said, the deaf tended to live near one another and build pockets of community. While the internet has made communication without hearing even easier, there are no longer these localized deaf communities. “We’re all just a family. The deaf are scattered,” Josey said. “Any time they have a chance to get together, they just fellowship,” Thornton said. The Community Deaf Church also provides ASL classes. Some of its members are regular teachers at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega, and the group raises funds for a summer camp for deaf children. Loneliness can be even harder for deaf children since, in some cases, their own families don’t even know sign language, Thornton said. As part of Briarwood Presbyterian, the Community Deaf Church also participates in frequent service work such as knitting or crocheting scarves and hats for the Lovelady Center. Thornton said the Christian Deaf Fellowship in Hoover works with the Community Deaf Church and other groups to provide scholarships for deaf men and women who want to enter ministry. All of these efforts build connections for Birmingham’s deaf population and also gives them the opportunity to learn about the Christian message in their own language. “We have a burden to reach the deaf for Christ,” Thornton said. The Birmingham Community Deaf Church meets at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in the Mountain View building on Sundays for fellowship at 9:45 a.m. and the deaf service at 11 a.m., as well as Bible study at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays. Briarwood also has an 8 a.m. service on Sundays with an ASL interpreter. Find them on Facebook.
February 2017 â€¢ B21
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B22 • February 2017
Kim Kreis takes on projects in a big way. With her art, she started her business before buying her ﬁrst canvas. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.
AN ADVENTURE IN
Local painter Kim Kreis ﬁnds afﬁrmation in ‘redirection’ that led her to vivid ﬂorals
By GRACE THORNTON
im Kreis likes adventure. In fact, she often takes it one step greater — she likes to try new things sight unseen. That goes for the small — she learned how to smock dresses by way of a friend giving her instructions over the phone. But that also goes for the big — she started up a stationery business with that same friend, Barbara Barker, without ever seeing anything Barker designed. “I’d never seen her draw, and she’d never seen me draw,” Kreis said. “But we were good friends, we both loved stationery, and both wanted to start a business.” So they got a business license, and Sweet Pea Designs was born.
February 2017 • B23
That was 28 years ago. “I asked them what they were doing here, “It’s been well blessed,” she said. what had brought them to Mt Laurel,” she said. Now with one daughter married, one daughTurns out — it was her. ter engaged, a son home from military deployTheir mother, Heather Devaney of the Chatment and two grandchildren, Kreis decided it tanooga area, had seen Kreis’ artwork adverwas time to add a new adventure. So this year tised and sent them to check it out. she got another business license and started “Her love of ﬂowers and color touch my Kim Kreis Art — a painting business — before heart,” Devaney said. “I need color, and she she ever bought the ﬁrst canvas. has a way of combining ﬂorals and abstracts “I bought my paint and bought my easels and that strike emotions. Her paintings have pasdecided if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do sion, and it stems from her passion of Jesus, it all the way — everything you do, do it to the and they make my heart sing.” Since buying the pieces, Devaney has hosted best of your ability,” she said. And with that, she dove right into a world of a show for Kreis at her house and connected her with friends who are also abstract ﬂorals. “I thought, ‘I’m going art lovers. to have to conduct this Kreis said connections the same way I did with like her friendship with It’s important to the other business,’” Kreis Devaney have been a gift look forward to said. “The important thing from God — afﬁrmation was to step out and do it she’s headed in the right each stage as a and ask God to give me direction. new adventure. favor if He wanted me to She had a similar bit of KIM KREIS go forward, and He would encouragement happen either bless it or shut it one day in the checkout down.” line at the grocery store, She approached a few she said. shops in the area to see if She’d been contacted by they would display her paintings, and right out one magazine, but she’d been praying for God of the gate, she got some “no” answers. to help her meet the editor of a particular other “Sometimes they didn’t carry art, or they magazine. didn’t like abstract paintings,” she said. “I was in the grocery store in front of the But Kreis wasn’t discouraged — she just magazines, and I apologized to the lady behind took that as God redirecting her, and she said me for taking too long to pick one out,” Kreis she could see his purpose unfolding when she said. “She said it was no problem, but she joked held her ﬁrst art show in June at the Loft above that I should probably get a particular one, Simply Infused in Mt Laurel. because she was the editor.” “I had a lot of sweet friends come by, and It was the editor she’d been praying to meet. some bought pieces, and that was lovely,” Kreis “I just started laughing,” she said. “We said. exchanged information, and she’s featuring my But she also had a group of college kids she ﬂorals in their spring issue.” didn’t recognize who just wandered around for Kreis said she takes that as encouragement in a while, she said. her new season — something she passes along After a while, she asked them if she could to the new mothers she mentors at the Church help them, and they said they were shopping at Brook Hills on Brook Highland Parkway. for their mom, taking photos and sending them “We are going to go through a lot of opporto her so she could pick out what she wanted. tunities to rewire our lives,” she said. “It’s “Later they came up and told me they were important to look forward to each stage as a ready,” Kreis said. new adventure.” And her jaw dropped when she saw how For more information, go to kimkreisart.net much they got. or follow her on Instagram at kimkreisart.
Kim Kreis paints mainly in abstracts and ﬂorals and said her love of color helps fuel her art.
B24 • February 2017
From trash to treasure North Shelby woman builds ‘junkyard bots’ to bring out the best in rubbish By MARYELLEN NEWTON As a child, Diana Vest dug through the trash to embellish her macaroni art with pencil shavings and broken crayons. Now, she loves collecting pieces to build what she calls her junkyard bots. “I’ve always had this quirky sense,” said Vest, a North Shelby County resident. “I love things that tell a story and have a history. And I love creating things out of items that other people may not see as valuable.” She ﬁnds these items in ﬂea markets, garage sales and estate sales. Vest looks for unique pieces she can envision ﬁtting together to make these miniature statues. A memorable bot is one she made for a woman in Texas whose mom has breast cancer. Vest added parts of pink ribbon, hair and cooking utensils because the woman’s mother loves cooking. Each bot presents its own set of challenges, Vest said, even down to their construction, which involves connecting all the pieces with bolts and screws. One of the most difﬁcult aspects to constructing the bots, Vest said, is ﬁguring out how she can attach all the pieces and what type of equipment she’ll need to do so. On the ﬂip side, there have been many positives, including the outcome of Moss Rock Festival in early November, Vest said. This is the ﬁrst show where Vest has displayed her work, and she she completely sold out. She hesitated to do the festival because she worried nobody would buy the bots, Vest said, and she would be the only one who liked these “off the wall” creatures. “The comments and people who came through my booth were so complimentary and supportive,” Vest said. “It was so much fun to
Diana Vest at her stand at Moss Rock Festival in November. Photo by Lexi Coon.
meet people and get ideas from them.” While selling out was an accomplishment in Vest’s mind, she still has other aspirations with her art. She hopes to see returning customers. It’s satisfying to her knowing somebody wants to continue to purchase her work. In addition to the bots, Vest also creates
other pieces of art out of items other people have given her. Once, her daughter and a granddaughter of Mickey Mantle, a famous baseball player for the Yankees in the 1950s and ’60s, had a class together. Mantle’s son and one of Vest’s friends came to her with one of his dad’s cigar boxes, and she created a watch box.
Even though she’s only been making the junkyard bots for a year, Vest has met people who share her sense of style, and this is something she loves. She urges anyone who wants a bot or has a particular item that carries sentimental value to call her and she will use it to make something special. She can be reached at 994-4126.
February 2017 • B25
Coffee with a side of camaraderie Area residents past and present nurture group friendship during quick pit stops
By SYDNEY CROMWELL A convenience store is just a quick pit stop for most drivers on their morning commute. But every Monday through Friday morning, the Kangaroo gas station on Valleydale Road is ﬁlled with talk — and plenty of laughter — from about 10 regulars who have formed an unofﬁcial morning coffee group. From 6 to 7 a.m., any topic is on the table: family, work, politics, news and — in particular — giving each other a hard time. Caldwell Mill area resident Bo Coshatt is called the founder of the group, as he and Chelsea resident Paul Orman and Wilsonville resident Joey Campanotta began meeting regularly at the Kangaroo about 16 years ago. “Best part of my day,” Campanotta said. Others have made the coffee group part of their routine over the years, some invited by friends and others who stopped at the Kangaroo for gas or coffee and wondered what the ruckus was about. “We all used to live around here … so we all ended up coming here,” Orman said. Not all the members of the group have been frequenting the Kangaroo for 16 years, but the group does have some longevity. Jack Hartsﬁeld, an Oak Mountain resident, still considers himself a newcomer after about seven years. Campanotta said there’s a common cord of friendship built in that hour each weekday morning over jokes, news and a cup of coffee. Though he has to leave early to make it to the Kangaroo before work, Campanotta said the payoff is worth it. “Normally I leave and go to work in a better mood,” Campanotta said. “This is my laughter for the day.” While they’re mostly Auburn fans and have a political stance that member John Pierce described as Republican “and hang a hard right,” their backgrounds vary. The regular
The Kangaroo gas station on Valleydale Road has been home to a weekday morning coffee group for about 16 years. The regulars include, from left: Steve Whone, Coco Campisi, Trey Bass, Bo Coshatt, John Moose, Paul Orman, Joey Campanotta, John Pierce and Jack Hartsﬁeld. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.
coffee group includes men who work in landscape supply, general contracting, publishing, military service, heavy equipment and casket sales. There’s also Steve Whone, a Connecticut native who Pierce described as the group’s “token Yankee.” “If we want the northern opinion — or the wrong opinion — we go to him,” Pierce said. The lively conversations each morning often draw in passing Kangaroo customers or Jefferson and Shelby county sheriff’s deputies while on shift, which Pierce said is part of the fun.
Though they occupy the coffee area of the Kangaroo or the sidewalk for about an hour each day, Hartsﬁeld said he doesn’t think the store employees mind. “We’re half their revenue for the day,” Hartsﬁeld said. “We drop some coin here,” Pierce added. Over 16 years, Coshatt said the group has lost a few members, added some gray hairs and there’s more talk of grandchildren now. But they’re an incredibly close group of guys and if someone doesn’t show up for a few days,
Coshatt said one of the other regulars is sure to call and check up on them. Inverness resident Trey Bass said he ﬁrst met the morning coffee group as a passerby who asked a question. Now they’re not only friends, but also a source of regular advice. “[It’s] an incredibly grounded group of men that bring a lot of family to me,” Bass said. True to the group’s character, Bass’ serious statement didn’t stand alone for long. “He [Bass] actually brings a lot of class to the group,” Orman joked.
B26 • February 2017
Faith Life Actually By Kari Kampakis
Want to like other parents? Presume positive intent It happened when my daughter was 9, and I knew immediately by the look on her face that something was wrong. While the kids around her were all smiling and running — thrilled that school had ended early — she was trudging toward me with her shoulders slumped and a defeated expression. Before I could ask, my daughter told me that a girl in her class had invited all her friends except her to eat lunch down the street. Pointing over my shoulder, she showed me the pack, and my heart ached as I turned around and indeed saw all her friends giggling and huddled tight as they waltzed away together. As my daughter tried not to cry, the Mama Bear in me woke up. I was angry at this girl and her mom, and when my daughter said, “This makes me want to plan something and not include her,” part of me agreed. Deep down, however, I knew that was an immature reaction. And since I was the adult, I needed to think like one. So I took a deep breath and tried not to assume the worst. I didn’t know how this lunch had transpired, and trying to guess would be speculation. Rather than go there, I focused on comforting my daughter. I told her we’d do something special too, and maybe this was an oversight, not an intentional act of meanness. Maybe we should give this girl and her mom the beneﬁt of the doubt. My daughter can’t keep things in, so the next day at school, she told this girl that it hurt her feelings being left out. That afternoon, the girl’s mom texted me to ask if my daughter could
play at their house on Friday. At ﬁrst my daughter was hesitant, but as we talked about how this might be a peace offering, she agreed to go. When I texted the mom yes, saying my child could come, I got a long text back. The mom said she and her daughter felt awful about hurting my child’s feelings, and it honestly slipped her mind to include us when sending out a quick text the night before. I thanked her for letting me know, and on Friday my daughter went to their house and had a great time. The incident was put behind them. It occurred to me as I picked my daughter up ― and she came sprinting down the driveway laughing like old friends with this girl — how differently the situation could have played if I’d followed my knee-jerk reaction and let Mama Bear take over. It could have started a dynamic where the other mom and I started intentionally leaving each other’s daughters out. It could have stirred up division, anger and suspicion. It could have ruined any chance we had of ever really liking each other. Sadly, this dynamic happens often these days, and the ones who pay the biggest price are our kids, who learn to trust their worst assumptions and never develop the skills they need to resolve relationship conﬂict. I once asked a principal whom I met through my work with teenagers what advice he had for parents. After thinking a few seconds, he said this: Presume positive intent. One thing he often sees is people jumping to conclusions about the intentions of others without knowing the facts. He believes the media fosters this mindset by
constantly feeding us stories of incidents gone wrong that make us naturally suspicious. To presume positive intent, we have to retrain our minds to 1) not automatically assume the worst and 2) presume that people go into situations with positive intent. Do some parents act deliberately mean and malicious? Of course. I’m sure everyone has encountered some parents who intentionally target victims (children and adults), stir up suspicion and craft sneaky schemes. But in my opinion, parents like that are not the norm. They’re a small part of the population who make life harder than it has to be. Sometimes it’s hard to think clearly when our emotions get involved. Sometimes our imaginations run loose and head straight into UMSU mode. UMSU is shorthand for the University of Making Stuff Up. In my daughter’s case, the UMSU story could sound like this, “You know, I once saw that girl’s mom scowl at my daughter. Come to think of it, she’s scowled at me before too. I bet she’s still mad about that time in ﬁrst grade when our kids exchanged words on the playground. She’s probably trying to steal my daughter’s friends and make her feel all alone.” That is how a mind presumes negative intent. Here is how a mind presumes positive intent. “Maybe my daughter was left out by accident. I know I’ve certainly done that before. Maybe the mom is busy and tired like the rest of us, or she’s driving the girls somewhere and only has six seats in her car. Whatever the case, I won’t let it rufﬂe my feathers. I have bigger
things to worry about, and I can use this event to teach my daughter empathy for people who get left out on a regular basis.” Yes, some parents are untrustworthy, but many are not. Many parents just want to raise good kids and be good parents, not intentionally harm others. As parents we have a choice. We can let the bad apples we know (or hear about) taint our view of every parent, or we can presume the best until the evidence proves otherwise. We can parent with skepticism or parent with joy, seeking truth and not revenge when conﬂict does arise. That incident with my daughter turned out to be a blessing. She and I both learned invaluable lessons that have helped us in other relationships. There is always more to a story than what we see or hear, and the key to liking other parents is to parent with that in mind, replacing knee-jerk reactions with honest conversations that allow issues to be resolved, relationships to be saved, and kids to develop the social skills they need to succeed throughout their lives. Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a Mountain Brook mom of four girls, columnist and blogger for The Hufﬁngton Post. She has written two books for teen and tween girls, “LIKED: Whose Approval Are You Living For?” and “10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know,” that are available online and everywhere books are sold. You can join Kari’s Facebook community at “Kari Kampakis, Writer,” visit her blog at karikampakis.com or contact her at email@example.com.
February 2017 â€¢ B27
B28 • February 2017
Real Estate Listings MLS #
4324 Ashington Drive
1201 Boundary Street
4960 Cahaba Valley Trace
133 Dunstan Drive
7204 Highﬁeld Lane
1288 Inverness Cove Drive
3025 Highland Lakes Road
26 Abbott Square
4072 Milners Crescent
4528 High Court Circle
332 Cedar Hill Drive
1000 Danberry Lane
1196 Highland Village Trail
3005 Brookhill Drive
1013 Cole Circle
678 Chelsea Station Circle
1072 Fairbank Lane
2303 Forest Lakes Lane
110 Flagstone Drive
105 Bolivar Circle
Real estate listings provided by the Birmingham Association of Realtors on Jan. 16. Visit birminghamrealtors.com.
4324 Ashington Drive
1000 Danberry Lane
February 2017 • B29
Calendar 280 Area Events Feb. 1: Greater Shelby Chamber Small Business Work Group. 4 p.m. Location varies. Visit business.shelbychamber.org. Feb. 1: Greater Shelby Ambassador Work Group. 11:30 a.m. Greater Shelby Chamber, 1301 County Services Drive, Pelham. Visit business.shelbychamber.org. Thursdays, Feb 2-May 4: Grief Share. 7 p.m. Faith Presbyterian Church (Room A103), 4601 Valleydale Road. Trained facilitators who have experienced grief just like you will guide you through one of life’s most difﬁcult experiences and provide you with the tools to move forward. Visit griefshare.org/groups/58606. Registration fee: $20 (includes workbook). Feb. 3: Greater Shelby Chamber Health Services Work Group. 8:30 a.m. Location varies. Visit business.shelbychamber.org. Feb. 7: Greater Shelby Chamber- Small Business Mentorship Program. 8 a.m. Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce, 1301 County Services Drive, Pelham. Visit business.shelbychamber.org. Feb. 7: Greater Shelby Chamber Existing Business & Industry Work Group. 8:30 a.m. Location varies. Visit business.shelbychamber.org.
Feb. 9: South Shelby Chamber of Commerce Morning Mixer. 8:30 a.m. Snider’s Pharmacy/Ground Up Coffee and Smoothies. Free networking event. Feb. 10: Lunch & Learn: “Atrial Fibrillation: From Diagnosis to Treatment.” Grandview Medical Center. Featuring cardiologists Drs. Joaquin Arciniegas, Jose Osorio and Anil Rajendra. Lunch will begin at 11:30 followed by the program at noon. Free and open to the public. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Call 971-7474. Feb. 14: Greater Shelby Chamber Education Work Group. 8:30 a.m. Location varies. Visit business.shelbychamber.org. Feb. 23: Greater Shelby Chamber Governmental Work Group. 8:30 a.m. Location varies. Visit shelbychamber.org. Feb. 25: Family Education Workshop. 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Crossbridge Church of Christ, 3039 Brook Highland Parkway. Featuring award-winning author Jill Rigby Garner. Parent forum on “Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World.” Family dinner and “Manners of the Heart” workshop for children. Tickets $10 adults and children K-5, $5 for childcare infants-age 4. Space is limited. Call 991-1978 to register.
Briarwood Athletics Feb. 2: Girls varsity basketball @ Chelsea 6 p.m.
Feb. 17: Boys varsity soccer vs. Guntersville at Mobile, 8 p.m.
Feb. 24: Boys varsity soccer @ Chelsea, 7 p.m.
Feb. 2: Boys varsity basketball @ Chelsea, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20: Boys varsity baseball @ John Carroll, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 24-25: Girls varsity softball @ John Carroll Tournament.
Feb. 3: Girls varsity basketball @ Montevallo, 6 p.m.
Feb. 21: Boys varsity soccer @ Altamont, 7 p.m.
Feb. 25: Boys varsity baseball @ Mt. Brook, 1 p.m.
Feb. 3: Boys varsity basketball @ Montevallo, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 21: Girls varsity softball @ Homewood, 5 p.m.
Feb. 28: Boys varsity baseball @ Pelham, 6 p.m.
Feb. 14: Boys varsity soccer v. Briarwood, 7 p.m.
Feb. 23: Boys varsity baseball vs. John Carroll, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 28: Boys varsity soccer @ Woodlawn, 6 p.m.
Feb. 17: Boys varsity soccer vs. UMS at Mobile, 3:30 p.m.
Feb. 24: Boys varsity baseball vs. Mt. Brook, 5 p.m.
Feb. 28: Girls varsity softball @ Pleasant Grove, 5 p.m.
Chelsea Athletics Feb. 2: Girls varsity basketball vs. Briarwood, 6 p.m.
Feb. 20: Boys varsity baseball vs. Calera, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 2: Boys varsity basketball vs. Briarwood, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 21: Boys varsity baseball @ Montevallo (Calera), 4 p.m.
Feb. 7-11: Boys and girls varsity basketball 6A Area Tournament, TBA.
Feb. 23: Boys varsity baseball @ Mt. Brook, 4 p.m.
Feb. 14: Boys and girls varsity basketball 6A Sub-regional, TBA. Feb. 16-22: Boys and girls varsity basketball 6A Regional, TBA.
Feb. 25: Boys varsity baseball vs. Homewood, 11 a.m. Feb. 27: 6A Final 48, TBA Feb. 28: Boys varsity baseball @ Shelby County, 6:30 p.m.
Spain Park Athletics Feb. 3: Girls varsity basketball vs. Hoover, 6 p.m. Feb. 3: Boys varsity basketball vs. Hoover, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9-11: Area 6 Tournament. TBA. Feb. 13: Boys varsity soccer @ Homewood, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13: Boys varsity soccer vs. Hewitt-Trussville, 7 p.m. Feb. 13: Boys varsity soccer vs. Thompson, 7 p.m. Feb. 20: Varsity baseball
vs. Shelby County, 1:30 p.m. Feb. 21: Varsity baseball @ Pinson Valley, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21: Boys varsity soccer @ Helena, 7 p.m. Feb. 24-25, 28, March 3-4: Varsity baseballBirmingham/Huntsville Challenge. TBA. Feb. 24-25: Boys varsity soccer @ Island Cup, Gulf Shores, TBA. Feb. 27: Boys and girls varsity basketball 6A Final 48, TBA.
B30 • February 2017
North Shelby Library Adults Feb. 8: Downloading Books. 10-11 a.m. Take some time to learn how to download books onto your device and learn about all the other e-resources available to you through your library. Registration requested. Contact Michelyn at 439-5510 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Feb. 9: Color Therapy. 6:30-8 p.m. Registration required. Disconnect from your busy day and just color it out. Light refreshments served. Feb. 16: NSL Book Club. 10:30 am-noon. Join us this month as we discuss The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Please call 4395510 or email email@example.com for more information. Feb. 23: Color Therapy. 6:30-8 p.m. Registration required. Disconnect from your busy day and just color it out. Adult Computer Classes Feb. 15: Intro to Microsoft Word (2013). 10:30 a.m.-noon. Registration required. $5 deposit required upon registration. Deposit returned upon attendance. An introduction to the word processing program, Microsoft Word. Learn how to create a simple document, edit and format text, correct spelling errors, and adjust the margins and more. Feb. 22: Intro to Microsoft Excel (2013). 10:30 a.m.-noon. Registration required. $5 deposit required upon registration. Deposit returned upon attendance. This class will cover entering text and numbers, formatting text and performing mathematical calculations. We will also be formatting and working with multiple sheets and charts. Children All month: February Craft. Stop by the Children’s Department to pick up a craft to take home or make in the department. All ages are welcome. Supplies are limited.
Feb. 1-10: Valentines for Children’s Hospital. Stop by the North Shelby Library February 1–8 to drop off your valentines or to make your own valentines for Children’s Hospital. Feb. 2: Hedgehog Day. Did you know that “Groundhog Day” was once “Hedgehog Day?” Celebrate with a drop-in craft, and don’t forget to say hello to our very own Oliver the Hedgehog! Feb. 4: Take Your Child to the Library Day: featuring Birmingham Children’s Theatre. 10:30 p.m. To celebrate “Take Your Child to the Library Day” on Saturday February 4, 2017, the North Shelby Library will host a free performance by the Birmingham Children’s Theatre. Perfect for kids 6 and under, the performance is free to the public, with no library registration required. Receive a prize for signing up for our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. Feb. 4: Lego Club. 10-11:30 a.m. The library provides the Legos, the kids provide the imagination and creativity. Families are welcome to drop in anytime between 10:00 and 11:00 to build spectacular creations. Creations will then go on display in the Children’s Department. All ages welcome. No registration is required. Feb. 14: Picture Book Club with Rosemary Wells. 10 a.m. Join us for stories, games, crafts, and snacks featuring a different favorite book character each month. All ages welcome. Registration required. Feb. 15: Homeschool Hangout: What’s the Flush? 1 p.m. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a news reporter? Join us as 280 Living Reporter, Lexi Coon, gives us the scoop on ﬁnding the news and becoming a reporter. Ages 7-12. Registration required. Feb. 23: Maker Madness. 4 p.m. Join us for an hour of STEM learning and creativity! We’ll explore a new tech each month — from robotics and electronics to engineering and design, come express yourself with us! For ages 8-12. Registration is required.
StoryTime Programming Mondays (Feb. 6, 13 & 20): Toddler Tales. 10 a.m. 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 (Feb.7 &21): Baby Tales. 10 a.m. 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. Birth to 18 months. Registration required. Registration will begin one week prior to program date. Wednesdays: Mr. Mac (Storyteller Extraordinaire!). 10:45 a.m. Stories, puppets, and lots of music for every member of the family. All ages. No registration. Thursdays (Feb. 9, 16 & 23): PJ Story Time. 6:30 p.m. Come in your PJs, have milk and cookies, and hear some wonderful bedtime tales. All ages. No registration required. Feb. 28: Sensory Story Time. 10 a.m. A snackfree story time for children with special needs with caregiver support, featuring fun picture books and songs, along with ﬁne and gross motor movement activities. Special supports like ﬁdget toys are available to help children be successful. Registration required. Teens Fridays (Feb. 3, 10 & 17): Gaming. 3:305:45 p.m. Come to the teen department each Friday afternoon for open gaming: board games, card games, Wii, XBOX ONE and Minecraft. Teens need a parent permission slip on ﬁle to attend. Contact Kate at 439-5512 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Feb. 9: Manga/Comic Book Club. 4 p.m. The library is starting a book club devoted to graphic
novels and manga. During this ﬁrst meeting, we’ll share with each other what we’ve been reading and decide what to read for next month. Snacks will be served. Contact Kate at 439-5512 or nsyouth@ shelbycounty-al.org for more information. Feb. 13: Anime Night. 6 p.m. Join us in the teen department for an evening of anime. The audience will pick what we watch. Treats will be served and costumes are welcome! Contact Kate at 4395512 or email@example.com for more information. Feb. 18: Volunteer Day. Help the library and earn community service hours! Volunteers can work 1-2 hours on a variety of tasks. Limit 5 volunteers; must be in grades 6-12. To sign up for a time, please contact Kate at 439-5512 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Feb. 20: Teen Tech Week Pixel Art Design Challenge – entries due. 5 p.m. The North Shelby Library invites teens (6-12th graders) to create a pixel art design. The top designs will be recreated in the interior Teen Department windows using sticky notes during Teen Tech Week (March 6-10). Entry forms are available at the library and on the teen section of our website (www.northshelbylibrary.org). Contact Kate at 439-5512 or email@example.com for more information. Feb. 23: Teen Leadership Council Meeting. 6 p.m. Teen Leadership Council members contribute to the library and earn community service hours by planning programs and participating in service projects. Applications are still available. Contact Kate at 439-5512 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Feb. 23: Teen Trivia. 6:30 p.m. A trivia night just for teens. Your team of up to four people will compete in a general trivia contest. Snacks and prizes! This program was planned by the Teen Leadership Council. Contact Kate at 439-5512 or nsyouth@ shelbycounty-al.org for more information.
February 2017 • B31
Chelsea Library Wednesdays: The Tot Spot. 10:30 a.m. A 30-minute story time for preschoolers. We read, sing, dance and sometimes craft. Visit chelsealibraryonline.com/calendar.html. Fridays: BYOC- Bring your own crochet (craft). 10
a.m. Audio/Reading room. Visit chelsealibraryonline. com/calendar.html. Feb. 11: Lego Club. 9:30 a.m. For ages 5 and up. Visit chelsealibraryonline.com/calendar.
Mt Laurel Library Feb. 1-8: Valentines for Children’s Hospital. Stop by the Mt Laurel Library February 1–8 to drop off your valentines or to make your own valentines for Children’s Hospital. Feb. 3 & 17: Toddler Tales. 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 story time. Ages 36 months and younger. Registration required. Register using the library’s online calendar at mtlaurellibrary. org or call 991-1660. Fridays (Feb. 3 & 17): All Ages Story Time. 11 a.m. Stories, music, and more for every member of the family. All ages. No registration required. Contact the Mt Laurel Library at 991-1660 or mtlaurel@ shelbycounty-al.org for more information. Feb. 11: Crafty Saturday. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Drop in to make a craft at the library. All ages with parent help. Registration is not required but supplies are limited. Contact the Mt Laurel Library at 9911660 or email@example.com for more information. Feb. 21: Picture Book Club – Rosemary Wells. 4 p.m. Celebrate author Rosemary Wells with stories and crafts. All ages welcome. Registration required. Register using the library’s online calendar at mtlaurellibrary.org or call 991-1660. Feb. 25: Lego Club. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The library provides the Legos, the kids provide the imagination and creativity. Families are welcome to drop in anytime between 11 and 1 to build spectacular creations which will be displayed in the library. Contact the Mt Laurel Library at 991-1660 or mtlaurel@
shelbycounty-al.org for more information. Adults Feb. 2: Mt Laurel Book Club – Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. 7 p.m. The Book Club will meet at the library to discuss Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. Contact Sara at 991-1660 or mtlaurel@ shelbycounty-al.org for more information. Feb. 16: Lunch and Learn - Planning Your Disney Vacation. 12:30-1:30 p.m. Bring your lunch and learn how to plan the perfect Disney vacation. Lisa Cross, a travel consultant, will be here to discuss Disney parks, the best times to travel, along with budgetary advice, and other helpful tips for getting the most from a Disney vacation. The library will supply lemonade, coffee and dessert. Registration requested. Contact the Mt Laurel Library at 991-1660 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Feb. 20: Mt Laurel Knitting Club. 6-8 p.m. Come to the Mt Laurel Knitting club for learning, socializing, and new ideas! Registration requested. Contact the Mt Laurel Library at 991-1660 or email@example.com for more information. Feb. 23: A Night at the Oscars in Mt Laurel. 12:30-1:30 p.m. With the 89th Academy Awards coming up Sunday, February 26, it’s time for a little pre-Oscar warmup. Join Dick Segreto as he reveals tantalizing facts about the Oscars, along with little-known stories from behind the scenes, mixed with liberal doses of humor and trivia for an entertaining lunch hour. Bring your lunch, the library will supply drinks and dessert! Registration requested. Contact the Mt Laurel Library at 991-1660 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
St. Vincent’s One Nineteen Mondays: Next Chapter Book Club/ Greystone Chapter. 4:30-5:30 p.m. Book club meeting follows the Hoover School System calendar. This group meets at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen in the Wellness Area. Wednesdays: Baby Café. 10 a.m.-noon. We invite breastfeeding moms to join us for our lactation support group meeting at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. Moms will have the opportunity to meet with a lactation consultant, as well as network with other breastfeeding moms. This event is free, but please call Rosie at 930-2807 to reserve your space. Feb. 4: Lupus Support Group. 10 a.m.-noon. This group supporting lupus patients and their families will meet the ﬁrst Saturday of every month at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. This month a discussion will revolve around a Q & A session. This event is free and is sponsored by the LUPUS Foundation of America-MID-SOUTH Chapter. Call 1-877-8658787 for more information. Feb. 7, 15, 23 & 27: Wake Up to Wellness. 9-11 a.m. To promote healthy living and to highlight the wide range of services and offerings here at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen, we will offer education at various times during the month. Stop by the Front Desk between 9-11 a.m. for the following events: February 7 – The Perfect Pair: Skin Care Products for Valentine’s Day; February 15 – Shop Heart Smart for Heart Month; February 23 – Physician or Urgent Care; February 27 – A 30-Minute Workout to Improve Your Heart Health. Feb. 14: Blood Pressure/Body Mass Index Screening. 8-11:30 a.m. A representative from Wellness Services will be screening for blood pressure and BMI in the front entrance of St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. These screenings are free. Feb. 17: Freezer Meal Workshop. 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Bring your groceries to our kitchen at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen and prepare seven meals to take home and place in the freezer for seven meals
of healthy eating. Some spices and condiments will be provided. Recipes will be offered so you can make these meals again and again. Register by February 15. The cost is $25 per person, plus your groceries. Call 408-6550 for reservation and shopping list, available with payment. A minimum of six people is needed to hold the workshop. Feb. 21: Comprehensive Diabetes Education. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. If you have diabetes or are at risk, this seminar at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen is a must. A physician’s referral is required, and pre-assessments given preceding the class date. To register, please call 939-7248. Feb. 21: Beautiful Beginnings. 5:30-7 p.m. If you’re thinking about starting a family or anticipating the arrival of a new baby, join us at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen for Beautiful Beginnings. This free event brings pregnancy healthcare experts together in one convenient location, just for you. You can expect an evening dedicated to education, resources, answers to your pregnancy related questions and lots of fun. Space is limited, register now for this free event at onenineteen.com. Feb. 22: Breakfast with the Doc – Matters of the Heart. 8-9 a.m. Join Edward Cullum, MD, a cardiologist with Southview Medical Group, PC, as he answers your heart health questions at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. He’ll cover a wide range of heart-related topics from recognizing the signs and symptoms of heart disease to treatment options to the latest advancements. Please call 408-6550 to register for this free seminar. Feb. 24: Wellness Screenings. 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. To stay abreast of your numbers, cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, BMI and waist circumference, screenings will be held by appointment at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen. Results and interpretation in 15 minutes with a simple ﬁnger stick. The cost is $20 for members and nonmembers. Call 408-6550 to register.