280 Living April 2024

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Forest Oaks Elementary School celebrates 10 years

IThe Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and Jail in Columbiana.

Shelby County saw a decrease in crime in the past year. Photo courtesy of Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

While unincorporated Shelby County saw a decrease in crime in 2023, Shelby County Deputy Chief Clay Hammac said the complexity of the crimes was increasing.

“Specifically in response to financial exploitation cases, scams and identity theft cases, we are seeing an uptick in those,” Hammac said.

While there was a decrease in burglaries, auto burglaries, homicides and overall thefts and calls for service in 2023, the categories that increased from the previous year included robberies, auto thefts, sex crimes and assaults, according to statistics from the Sheriff’s Office.

CRIME | page A24

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t’s been a decade since Chelsea’s third elementary school opened its doors. Forest Oaks Elementary is celebrating its 10th year in 2024, and Principal Stevi Sims said she feels honored to have been a part of the entire process from the ground up. In 2013, the city of Chelsea was experiencing tremendous growth, and the need for a third elementary was evident. New attendance zones were drawn to determine which students would be zoned and divided among three elementary schools.
See FOREST OAKS | page A26
on March
Students in Casey Pate’s second grade class watch a video during a math lesson at Forest Oaks Elementary School in
Oaks Elementary School is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.
the numbers: A look at
crime stats from 2023
A2 • April 2024 280 Living

Benefits of using credit –keep your finances safe and earn rewards

Whether you’re running a million-dollar company or the “mom-ager” of a family of four, you’re susceptible to financial fraud. Every time you write a check or swipe your debit card, you’re at risk. But the good news is, there’s an easy way most anyone can protect themselves and that’s credit.

The layer of protection a credit card provides is just one reason to utilize it for your spending. Below are some of the many reasons I recommend always using credit to my banking customers.


As previously mentioned, using credit is a great first line of defense when it comes to protecting your finances because it puts a degree of separation between your bank accounts and your purchases. This means that if your credit card is compromised, you won’t be on the hook for the fraudulent charges and they won’t be able to access your financial accounts. You can think of your credit card as a layer of defense, shielding you and your accounts from fraud.


When making a major purchase for your family or your business, you often need a credit score. Using credit cards strategically and consistently can work to build your credit score and increase your chance of gaining future financing for a mortgage, vehicle, or other major purchase. Now here’s the easy secret process: make a purchase, pay off the monthly balance, and never exceed your credit limit - it’s that easy.


Having a credit card means carrying less cash and consolidating transactions in one place. This not only adds to your monetary safety, but it simplifies money management and helps track spending which is a must for effective budgeting. You can even add multiple users so your family or employees can all be on your credit account, keeping all your purchases in one place.


For business owners: A business credit card can be a great way to cover startup costs before you’ve optimized your cash flow or finance a major business purchase. Many business cards offer special financing for larger assets. You may also want to consider a travel card to maximize your business travel rewards.

For homeowners: Credit comes in many forms, not just a credit card. For example, a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) offers a flexible way to fund big purchases or home improvements by borrowing against your home’s equity. It’s a revolving line with typically lower interest rates than credit cards, but it requires careful financial planning due to the secured nature of the loan.


Most credit cards come with financial incentives offered by credit card companies, most notably cashback and travel rewards. These bonuses can offset costs or even fund corporate travel. Cashback reward is free money in the form of a statement credit earned by simply spending, while travel rewards can earn you free flights or other business travel perks. Such rewards are rarely associated with debit cards which makes a credit card an economically advantageous choice.

Overall, responsibility is key when using credit to ensure it remains a boon, not a burden. If you’re considering a credit card, it’s a good idea to assess your needs carefully with your banker. Reach out for advice and we can work together to select a credit option that aligns with your personal goals. No matter your needs and spending habits, we can help set you up with a credit solution that suits you.

280Living.com April 2024 • A3 This article is intended for educational purposes only. Valley Bank does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented. All loans products are subject to credit approval. Additional terms and conditions apply. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. ©2024 Valley National Bank. Member FDIC. Equal Opportunity Lender. Equal Housing Lender. All Rights Reserved. Justin Parrish is Vice President Market Manager at Valley Bank in Gardendale and has been in banking for 19 years.

About Us

One of the things that has changed most about me since the pandemic is my love of being at home.

Fortunately, my job allows me to work from home the majority of the time, minus meetings and other events I cover, in-person interviews and meetings at the office a few times a month.

Ever since we moved into our house in December 2020, I’ve told myself I was going to set up a dedicated office space to work in each day. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to cute home office setups and things I’d like to implement for mine. Currently, I have a desk/chair setup in our upstairs family room, but I usually only go up there to get things off the printer.

In addition to my two kids (ages 15 and 10), I’m also a dog mom to our two sweet rescue dogs. We’ve had Remy (age 6) since 2019 and just adopted the

second dog, Riley (age 1), in January. I love to be comfortable and cozy, and so do my dogs. Most days, you can find the three of us on the couch under a blanket (no matter the season!), with them lying on each side of me. It’s just been our routine for so long, I haven’t brought myself to break it.

I plan to keep that Pinterest board and maybe even add more ideas to it, but in the meantime, I think I’ll stay right where I am.

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A4 • April 2024 280 Living
OF THE MONTH Second graders at Greystone Elementary participate in the Super Citizen Kickoff event with the Liberty Learning Foundation on March 8. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney. Legals: 280 Living is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. 280 Living is designed to inform the 280 community of area school, family and community events. Information in 280 Living is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of 280 Living. We reserve the right to edit articles/photos as deemed necessary and are under no obligation to publish or return photos submitted. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 313-1780 or by email. Published by: Starnes Publishing LLC P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 (205) 313-1780 dan@starnesmedia.com For advertising, contact: dan@starnesmedia.com Please submit all articles, information and photos to: leagle@starnesmedia.com Join the conversation. Scan the QR code to read us online, join our newsletter and follow us at Get 280 Living in your mailbox, inbox and online. Find Us 280 Living is distributed through direct mail to 280 corridor residents. You can also find copies at a variety of locations throughout the community. For a list of pick up locations, scan the QR code below or go to 280living.com/about-us. Carmen Shea Brown Sean Dietrich Sarah Gilliland Loyd McIntosh Ashley Rogers Alana Smith Grace Thornton Warren Caldwell Don Harris Contributing Writers: Client Success Specialist: Business Development Exec: PLEASE RECYCLE THIS PAPER
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2 Chelsea Fire employees receive promotions

Two members of the Chelsea Fire and Rescue Department were recognized for their recent promotions during the Feb. 20 Chelsea City Council meeting.

The two promotions were part of the promotional process that began in Jan. 2023.

Firefighter Chase Richardson was promoted to lieutenant. Russell said that Richardson previously served in the military for the U.S. Marine Corps and completed two combat tours of duty in Iraq. He began his firefighting career at Bessemer Fire in 2012 before coming on board with Chelsea.

“We are glad to have him in Chelsea,” Russell said. “He’s a tremendous asset to our organization with his leadership qualities, fantastic work ethic and his selfless commitment to services.”

Lt. Zack Lee was promoted to captain. Lee has previously worked with departments in Concord, McCalla and Talladega before joining Chelsea’s department in December 2015.

“He is a tremendous asset, and beyond his normal duties he is also a department manager for vehicle and apparatus maintenance and is over tools and equipment as well as duties as fire captain,” Russell said.

Russell said he has no doubt the two will do great things for the department and said they are the next generation of leaders in Chelsea Fire and Rescue.

“We are blessed and proud of you and look forward to seeing what you can do for us in the future,” Russell said.

Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Russell also congratulated Fire Marshal Tommy King on his retirement from the Birmingham Fire Department after 20 years. King will now serve as Chelsea’s fire marshal.


Wrestlers from Chelsea’s middle and high schools and youth clubs were recognized for their recent achievements.

Chelsea High School wrestling coach Mike Merritt said that senior Tyler Rayford hit the 100-win mark, three wrestlers qualified for the state tournament and the CHS team placed second out of 16 during the Chelsea Invitational held in November 2023.

“The program is in a very good spot going

forward,” Merritt said. “We have a lot of tough kids, a lot of coachable kids. Most importantly, we appreciate all the support we get from the city of Chelsea.”

Coach Caleb Gore from Chelsea Middle School said his team started out small this season but was able to expand and grow and had some great accomplishments.

“We won some tournaments and placed high at others,” Gore said. “These kids put in a lot of hard work and only lost one dual

this whole year.”

Phillip Bolen runs the Chelsea youth and off-season wrestling programs, a feeder program for the middle and high schools. He shared that his program has been successful and included two wrestlers who placed at state last year.

Also during the meeting:

► Tyler Henden was appointed to the Chelsea Parks and Recreation Board

► A first reading was given to establish and appoint a code enforcement officer

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From left: Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Russell, Capt. Zack Lee, Lt. Chase Richardson and Fire Chief Joe Lee at the Feb. 20 Chelsea City Council meeting. Photo by Wayne Morris.

State grant to fund expansion of Double Oak Park amenities

The trail system in Shelby County continues to grow and expand.

The county was selected by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to participate in the Recreational Trails Program to expand the recreational amenities and opportunities at Double Oak Park.

At the Feb. 26 Shelby County Commission meeting, a bid was accepted from Flowmotion Trail Builders in the amount of $456,792.79 that will go toward creating 11.5 more miles of trails at the park. County Manager Chad Scroggins said this money was a combination of local and state funds.

Also during the meeting, the commission approved the transfer of $300,000 of remaining Shelby County Industrial Economic Development Authority funds to the county’s development arm, 58 INC.

“These are leftover funds that were budgeted from lodging tax from 2017 and prior years,” Scroggins said. “This will allow 58 INC to be able to retain staff and participate in some grant matches. I think it’s a good opportunity to infuse some capital into them.”

The installation of a Community Safe Room at Heardmont Park was also approved. The bid to construct the FEMA-funded storm shelter was awarded to Redguard Diversified Structures for $389,274.

Also during the meeting:

► Julius Cook and Angelica Burgos were both reappointed to six-year terms on the Department of Human Resources board.

The Shelby County chief financial officer position was posted in February, Scroggins said during his manager’s report. Current CFO Cheryl Naugher has announced her planned retirement on May 1, 2025, and Scroggins wants someone hired in a timely manner so they can work with Naugher through an entire budget cycle.

Commission awards contract for paving, resurfacing projects

The Shelby County Commission approved a paving and resurfacing bid from Dunn Construction, totaling nearly $3.8 million, during its meeting on March 11.

County Engineer David Willingham said they did something a little different this year by splitting the county’s projects into east and west and having two packages to bid. The west half bid was set to be opened March 21.

“I’m really happy with the bids we got, and it’s a $112,000 difference from top to bottom,” he said. “We were pleased with the bids looking at the unit prices, it’s about $80,000 cheaper than last year.” Dunn Construction’s exact bid was $3,791,416.70.

A three-person board of directors was appointed for the Dunnavant Valley Improvement District, consisting of developer William Thornton, Lauren Thornton Jameson and business owner Naseem Ailouny.

Since the improvement district was created by the commission, they have to appoint the members, County Manager Chad Scroggins said.

Scroggins shared during his county manager’s report that top candidates for the county’s chief financial officer position should be available for the commission by their last March meeting. The county is also hiring for a deputy county manager position, which was restructured with new job duties.

Progress is being made on ambulance and EMT transport services, Scroggins said. The commission approved the ability for staff to work with some of the areas in the county to try to incentivize additional transport services. Four ambulances are on order and set to arrive before Oct. 1 for Pelham and Alabaster and two additional units will arrive after Oct. 1.

CFO Cheryl Naugher shared that while there has been a decline in some budget areas, the county budget still has a positive overall budget variance of 1.9%.

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Double Oak Park will be expanding recreational amenities and opportunities thanks to a grant from the Recreational Trails Program. Photo courtesy of Discover Shelby.
A map shows the planned resurfacing and paving for the eastern part of Shelby County. Photo courtesy of David Willingham.

Chelsea Citizens Observer Patrol program celebrates 25 years

The Chelsea Citizens Observer Patrol celebrated its 25th annual awards meeting on Feb. 27 at the Chelsea Community Center.

The all-volunteer organization is sponsored by the City of Chelsea and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. It is composed of Chelsea citizens who, after receiving training, patrol neighborhoods and business areas around town to help deter crime and to assist in emergencies such as auto accidents.

The COP volunteers observe and report any suspicious activities or problem situations to the Sheriff’s Office for investigation and action.

The volunteers patrol in teams of two, and each member commits to a minimum of three

hours per week for patrols. Volunteers logged a total of 9,527 hours in 2023.

The following COP members were recognized with awards:

► 100% meeting attendance for 2023: John Waggener, Dale Neuendorf and Doug Thienpont.

► 150 or more volunteer hours for 2023: Dale Neuendorf, Mike Cooley, Joel Dauber, Roberta Dauber, Robert “Bob” Bush, Don Robinson, Dominique Dubois, Janet Shaw, Carlos Sanders, Stephen Lopez, Doug Thienpont, Kelly Paramore, Patrick “Pat” Linn, John Waggener, Hobert Fields, Alster Watters, Johnna Barnes and Jodi Hampton

► 1,000 or more total hours of volunteer time: Stephen Lopez

► 2,000 or more total hours of volunteer time: Dominique Dubois

► 3,000 or more total hours of volunteer time: Carlos Sanders and John Waggener

► Phase II training completed in 2023: Jodi Hampton, Michael Gabriel, Michele Cook, Paul Frey and Michael Broach

► 10 or more incident reports since joining the program: Carlos Sanders (30), Bob Bush (26), Dominique Dubois (22), Kelly Paramore (21), Johnna Barnes (21), Mike Cooley (19), Robert Barnes (15), Virginia Romero (15), Doug Thienpont (14), Pat McDanal (14), Al Watters (13), Dale Neuendorf (12), John Waggener (11), Hobert Fields (11) and Jodi Hampton (10)

► 5-Year Service Recognition Award: John

Waggener, Steven Jones and Stephen Lopez

► 15-Year Service Recognition Award: Martha Coffey

► Presidential Service Awards: Bronze: Virginia Romero, Robert Barnes and Jodi Hampton Silver: Kelly Paramore and Johnna Barnes; Gold: John Ed Andrews, Alster “Al” Watters III and Hobert Fields

► Rookie of the Year Award: Johnna Barnes

► Volunteer of the Year Award: Bob Bush

Chelsea Citizens Observer Patrol monthly meetings are at 6 p.m. on the last Tuesday of each month at the Chelsea Community Center on Shelby County 47 in Chelsea. Anyone interested in becoming part of the COP program is invited to attend.

A8 • April 2024 280 Living
Left: Carlos Sanders, left, with Johnna Barnes, the COP Rookie of the Year. Right: Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer speaks to the audience at the COP awards dinner. Photos courtesy of Carlos Sanders.
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Season of change

Hoover gains 3 new faces in key leadership roles

Over the past seven months, three new people have taken key positions of leadership in the city of Hoover.

Kevin Maddox was hired by the Hoover school board to take over as superintendent of the school system on Sept. 11, replacing Dee Fowler, who retired for a second time. Then on Oct. 30, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato brought Ken Grimes on board as the new city administrator to replace Allan Rice, who retired Aug. 1 after being placed on administrative leave.

The third major addition was Jennifer Cornett, who started in January as the city’s new chief financial officer to replace Tina Bolt, another retiree.

It’s a season of change for the city, and all three of these new leaders have been busy getting more acquainted with Hoover and diving into their respective roles. With a city as big and busy as Hoover, it’s been like “drinking through a fire hose,” Cornett said.


Grimes said while he may not have known all the inner workings of Hoover, he came into this job very familiar with the city. He grew up in Bessemer and remembers the opening of the Riverchase Galleria and the completion of Interstate 459 in the 1980s. He and his wife, Kelly, got engaged at Georgetown Lake.

Grimes previously served as president of the Bessemer Area Chamber of Commerce, then became president and CEO of the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce in 2001. He next spent six years as a special projects coordinator for the city of Orange Beach and more than 14 years as city administrator and parks and recreation director there, before moving into a new role of director of external affairs in November 2022.

Then Brocato came calling to gauge his interest in the Hoover job, and Grimes applied and was hired out of more than 50 applicants.

Grimes said he is passionate about local government and wants to finish his career strong, and he believes Hoover would be a good place to do that. “It’s kind of like coming back home.”

Grimes said one of the things that has impressed him the most since coming to Hoover is the level of professionalism he sees in city employees in all departments.

“There is a tremendous pride when they speak of the city of Hoover,” he said. “There is a tremendous history of service. People are proud to work for the city of Hoover. As an outsider coming in, seeing that is huge.”

It shocked him how many employees have been with the city for more than 25 years, he said.

He also is impressed with the level of service given by both employees and contractors, he said. Hoover is a clean and safe city with a great school system, which are foundational building blocks for any city, he said. “The machine is very well-oiled.”

And, as big as Hoover is, it still has that community feel, he said.

Grimes said he spent the first few months getting to know the staff, City Council, area legislators and civic and business leaders, and now he is ready to branch out more to officials in the Jefferson and Shelby county governments, though he already knows the county managers through the Alabama City/County Management Association.

He also has started diving into projects, such as the Exit 9 interchange being built on I-459.

Grimes, who is paid $222,086 a year, said he sees his primary role as managing the day-today operations of the city, overseeing personnel, resources, budgets and policies, but he also has to stay in touch with the community at large so

he can help make sure city government is meeting the needs of the community.

“I’m trying to improve the city every day for those who live here, those who own businesses here and invest here,” he said.

There are always going to be more requests for resources than there are resources available, so the key is prioritizing the needs and making sure the budget is tied to revenues and the economy, he said. He also wants to look for ways to make government more efficient, he said. Changes happening with garbage pickup right now are a prime example of that, he said.

“I would love to take Hoover from good to great, but it’s already great in so many areas,” he said.

Another goal is to make the city more transparent, he said. “You’re always striving to create trust in your local government.”

Hoover is blessed to have a mayor who is so engaged with the community, Grimes said.

“I’m very impressed with how much he loves this city and how long he’s served this city,” he said. “That’s not the norm — staying in one place that long. His passion shines through.”

Grimes said he also has relationships with former longtime Hoover Executive Director Allen Pate and former Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos, who have been open and willing to share their institutional knowledge. He also has enjoyed developing a working relationship with Maddox and Cornett and is impressed with their strong morals and integrity, he said.


Maddox, who spent 11 years as an assistant superintendent in Homewood and five years as a principal there, said he had a phenomenal job in Homewood.

“Had I stayed there and retired from there, it would have been great,” he said. “But this is one of those jobs I considered an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Maddox said he has always had his eye on the Hoover school district. “It has such a sterling reputation for academic success and having great community schools,” he said.

He also knows a lot of graduates from the former Berry High School and is impressed with them and the success they have had in life, he said.

Grimes said that when former Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy announced she was leaving to become president of Gadsden State Community College in 2020, he filled out an application for the Hoover superintendent job then, but he never officially submitted it. After doing some digging and realizing the Hoover school board at that time was looking for someone with superintendent experience, he decided to hold off.

But when the next superintendent, Fowler, decided to retire and the school board was more open to someone without experience in the top chair and willing to interview candidates privately, Fowler decided to apply.

Coming from a comparable and high-performing school district such as Homewood, “I feel like I know what success looks like and the recipe for it and the ingredients involved in the recipe, and I see all those ingredients here [in Hoover],” Maddox said.

Two of the measures of a great school district are whether the kids are happy and whether the teachers love kids, and Hoover checks both of those boxes, Maddox said. “I have seen evidence of it time and time again.”

It’s rare to see a school district as big and diverse as Hoover have the academic success that Hoover has, Maddox said.

Diversity is amazing but comes with its own set of challenges, he said. Another measure of a great school system is whether all children are learning and growing academically, and the data shows that all groups of children in Hoover are growing, not just one or two, he said.

“We have phenomenal people in this school district — leadership, teachers, staff, people who have been here a long time — who love this school district and who are invested and committed to this school district being successful,” Maddox said.

Maddox, who is paid $230,000 a year, said he’s not the kind of leader who spends a lot of time behind a desk in the central office. He likes to be out in the schools, but one thing he realized early on is that he may not be able to visit each school quite as often as he did in Homewood because of the number of schools and distance between them. However, in the first six months, he has been able to spend an extended amount of time in each school at least twice, plus shorter visits for certain activities, he said.

One thing that surprised him is that, despite its size, the Hoover school district still acts like a family, he said. When a student died unexpectedly in March, schools throughout the district sent staff to the schools most connected to that family, so staff members there could attend the funeral, he said.

While he feels good about what he sees so far, the district in April is surveying all staff to get feedback and hear about any needs and challenges, he said.

One big initiative already underway is the hiring of retired teachers to serve as academic interventionists to help kids who are at-risk or struggling. Federal COVID-19 relief money was used to hire 41 interventionists in the 202122 school year, but that money was temporary. Upon recommendation from Maddox, the Hoover school board in January agreed to hire 35 part-time interventionists for the rest of this school year, and 25 more are planned for next year, Maddox said.

Also, the district is hiring 14 more special education teachers, two more speech language pathologists and a couple of additional counselors to help support kids, he said. The school board is digging into its healthy reserves to cover that and believes it can do that for three to five years without spending too much of those reserves, he said. “We are full-court pressing the things we need,” Maddox said. “We’re focusing on at-risk students.”

Maddox also hired a new chief talent officer in the central office to bolster the district’s recruitment and retention of great teachers and

A10 • April 2024 280 Living
Above: Hoover City Schools Superintendent Kevin Maddox, Hoover Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Cornett and Hoover City Administrator Ken Grimes stand at the “Welcome to Hoover” gateway sign on U.S. 31 North. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney. Left: Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, left, has a private chat with Hoover’s new city administrator, Ken Grimes, during a Hoover City Council meeting in which Grimes was introduced in September 2023. Photo by Jon Anderson.

started staffing plans for the 2024-25 school year at least two months earlier than was the custom in Hoover.

He and his staff will continue to keep an eye on the city’s growth and its impact on schools, but he believes they have the classroom space they need for the near future. “Building schools is extremely expensive right now,” he said.

Maddox said he appreciates the support of the mayor and City Council and is working cohesively with them.


Just as Maddox had not been a superintendent before coming to Hoover, this is Cornett’s first time being a chief financial officer.

She began her career with more than a decade in the commercial lending business before going back to school to get a master’s degree in accounting and becoming a staff accountant at Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith. After

about 2 ½ years there, her husband, Chris, took a job at an obstetrics and gynecology clinic in Opelika, and she started teaching accounting at Auburn University.

Cornett fell in love with teaching, became a full-time instructor and stayed a total of 19 years at the university. About three years ago, her husband changed careers and they moved back to the Birmingham area, this time settling in Mountain Brook, next door to their best friends. This opened up more job options for her, she said.

When the Hoover chief financial officer job came open, she saw it as an opportunity for personal growth but also as a way to keep serving people, she said. “I’m really working for the citizens,” she said.

She has never worked in government accounting before, but as an auditor previously, some of her clients were nonprofits that used fund accounting, which is similar to government accounting, she said.

Cornett, who is paid $174,829 a year, said she sees her primary responsibility as twofold: providing accurate information to decision-makers about the financial accounts of the city so they can make good decisions and ultimately providing accurate information to the public because they are dealing with public tax dollars, she said.

Her team also makes sure the city is following financial reporting requirements for publicly issued debt and following laws related to public finance, she said. She is one of many voices at the table in terms of investment and economic development decisions, such as incentive packages for companies, though those decisions ultimately lie with the City Council, she said.

She is supervising more functions than she has ever done before, but she has supervised more people in her other jobs, Cornett said. One of her primary goals for her first six months is to get to know the people on her team better — understanding where they want to be and helping them

get there, she said.

There are 15 people in Hoover’s Finance Department, and probably half of them have 15 or more years with the city and bring a lot of perspective to the job, she said. Claire Hamilton, head of purchasing and budget division, did a great job of serving as acting chief financial officer after Bolt retired and kept things running smoothly, she said.

Also, the City Council brought back former Chief Financial Officer Robert Yeager to serve as city treasurer, and Yeager is serving as a consultant and advisor for the city right now as well.

“I feel like I’m really just scratching the surface,” Cornett said. “The city is big, and we have a lot going on, a lot of irons in the fire.”

Cornett said she is still in somewhat of an assessment phase for now and doesn’t want to cause disruption by changing things just for the sake of change, but she knows there are always opportunities for continuous improvement.

“I imagine in the coming months I will be forming a strategy about what to do next,” she said.

She hopes she will get to add a couple of new people to the finance team so they have time and space to be more proactive, she said. She also wants to be known for transparency, she said.

“Transparency isn’t just about sharing the right information. It’s also about timing,” she said. “If you’re sharing information and it’s six months old, that’s not as helpful in decision making or evaluating information.”

Cornett said she has been received extremely well by city staff and loves the spirit of city employees. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a group of people that were so in concert with one another,” she said.

She also has developed a new appreciation for the city of Hoover and how highly utilized city services are, she said. She came into the office one Sunday, and the library parking lot was packed, she said. After taking a turn in the simulator at the police training center, she also has a better appreciation for the work of police officers, she said.

As a new chief financial officer, “I expected I would have to kind of prove myself, and so I’m excited about that,” Cornett said. “I’m excited about the challenge. It’s been fun so far.”

Saturday, April 27 from 11am-4pm @ Cahaba


The Tanner Foundation supports patients with ALS, MS and Parkinson’s, and funds research at UAB.

· The AMP Ride brings the fun of stationary cycling outdoors!

· This relay style event features five team members each riding one 45-minute cycling segment.

· Each segment will feature a different celebrity instructor.

· All levels of riders are welcome!

· Register as a team or individual. Registration is $50 and includes a beer ticket, t-shirt and goody bag. Riders must raise $100 each to participate.

Use the QR code to register as a team or individual, volunteer or donate!

Our Herend Art Deco pattern combines the classic fishnet motif with modern geometric inflection points in 24K gold for dramatic pops of interest. Also available in blue, gray, green, raspberry, and rust.

280Living.com April 2024 • A11
Supporting the Tanner Foundation
The Inaugural AMP Ride
QUESTIONS? Contact Jenny Ely,
Left: Hoover City Schools Superintendent Kevin Maddox tests a hovercraft at Rocky Ridge Elementary School on Feb. 23. Photo courtesy of Sherea Harris-Turner, Hoover City Schools. Right: Jennifer Cornett, Hoover’s chief financial officer, talks with Virginia Foster, the city’s revenue analyst, about departmental codes. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

Business Happenings


The Culinary Dropout has recently opened the restaurant’s first location in Alabama in The Summit at 241 Summit Blvd, with more than 8,000 square feet and a 360-degree bar. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. on weekdays and has a sweet and savory brunch menu every Saturday and Sunday morning, beginning at 10 a.m. 205-545-4730, culinarydropout.com

Style of the South is now open at 16161 U.S. 280 in Chelsea. The store sells home decor and gifts and is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit “Style of the South” on Facebook.


Capstone Building Corp., 1200 Corporate Dr., Suite 350, has completed a $45 million resort-style residential development in Alcoa, Tennessee, called Vital at

Springbrook Farms. This project was developed in a joint venture by StoneRiver Co. and Bluedog Capital Partners and covers 311,996 square feet with 300 units, including 32 studio units, 176 one-bedroom units and 92 two-bedroom units.

205-803-5226, capstonebuilding.com


Local EXIT Realty affiliated offices recently announced the addition of several new team members. Katie McKeller, Tyler Wood and Jason Boner have joined EXIT Realty Cahaba office at 13521 Old Highway 280, Suite 249.

205-848-2228, exitrealtycahaba.com

RealtySouth has added Jean McIntire Danny Turner and Mike Elsokari to its Inverness office, at 109 Inverness Plaza #4800, and Amy Green to its Chelsea office, at 331 Chelsea Corners Way, Suite 101.

Jena McIntire: 205-253-0654, Danny Turner: 205-837-4097, Mike Elsokari: 205-365-4230, Amy Green: 205-404-5929; realtysouth.com

This year’s speaker is Sherri Burgess. Her story is one of hope and stands as an example of the joy we can have in Christ even in the aftermath of the most tumultuous of storms. Hers came on January 19, 2008, when she found her youngest son, Bronner, drowned in their family’s backyard swimming pool. He was only two. She and her husband, Rick Burgess, of the “Rick and Bubba Show,” wanted to know why, “Why does God allow such calamity, such heartbreak, such sadness in our world?” God answered them. It took five years, but Sherri is now ready to reveal all she learned about suffering in those quiet moments alone with God.

Tickets are $30 per person. Pre-reservations are required. To make a reservation, please email patriotgiftshop@americanvillage.org or call (205) 665-3535 x 1031



Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe has been open for 26 years, with several locations on the 280 corridor area. The restaurant is known for fresh, healthy Greek fare, including gyros, pitas, hummus and salads.

205-980-6063, tazikis.com

Element Wellness Center has been open at 6600 Tattersall Lane for one year. The practice uses eight elements of wellness to give patients natural healing and balance. Massage therapy, infrared sauna, IV vitamin infusions and nutritional guidance are among the services offered.

205-326-7333, elementwellness.me


Rack Room Shoes has recently closed its doors at 5287 U.S. 280 #231 in Brook Highland Plaza. The signs were removed and doors locked permanently. While there are other stores nearby, a representative for the footwear chain said the business is considering opening in another location in the future.

205-980-5750, rackroomshoes.com

Business News to Share?

Do you have news to share with the community about a business in Chelsea or the greater Birmingham area?

Let us know at starnesmedia.com/ business-happenings

A12 • April 2024 280 Living Business
National Day
Breakfast at American Village Thursday, May 2nd 8:00 a.m. 3727 Hwy. 119 Montevallo, Alabama
Building Relationships is Priority #1 MARTIN H. HILLIARD C.E.O. hilliard269@gmail.com Cell: 913-0404 hilliardirrigationservices.com •Repairs & New System Installation •French Drains •Landscape Lighting •Hardscapes
of Prayer

place along the way. Our goal is to provide residents with maintenance-free living in premium apartment homes and cottages while creating endless

At Overture you’ll experience endless freedom and new

It’s a new way of enjoying your retirement. Spend your days living as you choose with our extensive array of mind-body-social possibilities and resort-style amenities. Let’s face it, the kids are gone, you’ve been meaning to downsize (or as we like to call it) right-size your life, and there’s never been a better time than now. There is an art to living simply and reducing what you accumulate. The decision to right-size is a major one. After decades of home ownership, the thought of making the move to a 55+ apartment community can be

both exhilarating and daunting. While you long for a carefree, maintenance-free lifestyle for this phase of your life, you face a myriad of decisions. Let us help you navigate this process and realize your dream of a simpler, more fulfilled life.

Overture Tributary is now open and would be happy to provide you with more information on available apartment homes. Whether you are considering downsizing yourself or have a loved one far away that you want close, Overture is an exciting option right here in Birmingham.

280Living.com April 2024 • A13 Overture is an equal housing opportunity. Models do not reflect racial preference. Floor plans are artist’s rendering. All dimensions are approximate. Actual product and specifications may vary in dimension or detail. Not all features are avalable in every apartment. Amenities and services vary by location. Pricing and availability subject to change. *Please ask your Overture Tributary team member for full details. CALL TODAY TO LEARN MORE 855-233-1277 OvertureTributary.com 3171 Highway 280, Birmingham, AL 35243 IT’S TIME TO RIGHT-SIZE YOUR LIFE AND LIVE IT! 55+ Active Adult Community Overture embodies a visionary standard of 55+ living and takes the term “active
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55+ APARTMENT HOMES Spring Into Savings on Select Homes – Enjoy up to 2 Months FREE!* Get the Lifestyle You Truly Deserve YOU’RE INVITED! Coffee & Connections Open House Join us for coffee, pastries, and the opportunity to connect with neighbors and explore our enriching lifestyle. We can’t wait to meet you! RSVPs appreciated, walk-ins welcomed! Date: Thursday, April 4th Time: 9:00am - 11:00am Where: 3171 Highway 280 Birminghan, AL 35243

Culinary Dropout now open at The Summit

“We looked at The Summit and decided it would be a great space to add our Culinary Dropout concept to the area,” Justesen said.

The menu at Culinary Dropout Birmingham offers dishes such as house-made soft pretzels

with provolone fondue, crispy fried chicken drizzled in honey, meatloaf, vegan curry, 36-hour ribs and several fish dishes. Guests can also build their own charcuterie boards or order salads, sandwiches and Detroit-style pizza. The bar offers a wide range of signature cocktails and craft beers.

Justesen said his favorite cocktail is the “Playboi Stache,” which contains vanilla tea-soaked vodka, passion fruit liqueur and orange oil.

“It’s a fun menu to look through and eat through, but the environment is what really sets us apart,” Justesen said. “On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, we’ll have live music. We’ll have ‘NFL Sunday Ticket.’ Of course, we’ll have the college games on, too.”

For brunch lovers, Culinary Dropout Birmingham will offer a variety of dishes such as

sausage, bacon & egg pizza and banana bread French toast, along with brunch cocktails, every Saturday and Sunday.

Justesen describes the restaurant as a mix between casual and upscale, with food that is familiar and approachable but still held to a high technical standard.

“We change our menu a few times a year,” he said. “We will change the local beer lists. We’ll change the cocktail lists. That said, there are some Culinary Dropout staples that will remain on the menu.”

One such menu item is their fried chicken, which he promises is up to the standards of the discerning Southern palate.

“It is being dropped all day long, so it’s always fresh,” he said. “It will never be sitting under a heat lamp.”

On opening day, Culinary Dropout donated

30% of proceeds to The Exceptional Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving individuals with special needs in the greater Birmingham area. Justesen said that opening any new restaurant has its challenges, but hiring and training the Culinary Dropout team takes a lot of time because the menu is so specific and technical.

“It’s our responsibility to make sure our front of the house team has all of that information to share with the guests as well,” he said.

Culinary Dropout is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. Guests can also order online for in-store pickup or delivery through the Culinary Dropout website or DoorDash. Visit culinarydropout.com/locations/ culinary-dropout-birmingham for more information.

A14 • April 2024 280 Living Plant Sale Aldridge Gardens 2024 MEMBERS RECEIVE 10% OFF PURCHASES Plant Sale Dates: Thursday, April 18 - 9 am to 5 pm Friday April 19 - 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, April 20, 8:30 am to Noon www.aldridgegardens.com ALDRIDGE GARDENS | 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover, AL 35216 | 205-739-6558 Hydrangeas for sun and shade, wildflowers and azaleas, pass-alongs, and some old favorites. • Implant Dentures • Sleep Apnea and TMJ Treatment • Botox and Fillers • Teeth Whitening 2213 Cahaba Valley Drive, Birmingham, AL 35242 Appointments available Monday, Wednesday & Friday Insurance Accepted CALL TODAY! 205-981-0000 PrimeSmileDental.com Specializing in Family & Cosmetic Dentistry NOW OPEN on Cahaba Valley Rd Accepting New Patients Dr. Prabha Prattipati
Culinary Dropout, a restaurant born from the vision of a college dropout and his culinary partners, opened its 12th location on March 20 at The Summit.
by Sam Fox, the restaurant aims to deliver a dining experience based on classic meals and a welcoming atmosphere.
Justesen, regional manager
operations with Fox Restaurant
that their sister restaurant, North
been doing well
Summit location
Concepts, shared
Italia, has
in its
since it
in 2021.
live music
Above: Culinary Dropout’s menu includes charcuterie boards, ribs, honey-drizzled fried chicken, sandwiches, Detroit-style pizza, cocktails and more. Top right: Culinary Dropout’s first Alabama location is at The Summit, along with sister restaurant North Italia. Bottom right: The restaurant offers a casual, yet
upscale setting, according to its owners, and will feature weekend
brunch, college and NFL games on TV
a few
each week. Photos courtesy of The Culinary Dropout.

Grandview area to get new dual-brand concept hotel

The Grandview area is getting a new hotel soon — two new hotels, according to Mitesh Patel, chief operating officer and co-founder of RAM Hotels.

“We’re building a Courtyard and Residence Inn,” he said at a press conference and groundbreaking on Feb. 29. “It’s going to be two hotels in one.”

The 180-room, dual-brand concept will be built behind Marriott Birmingham, which is located just off U.S. 280 at 3590 Grandview Parkway.

“We’re going to have two very distinct brands,” Patel said. “Courtyard is a business travel brand. It’s a full-service hotel; it has a restaurant and bar — a very upscale product.”

Residence Inn, RAM Hotels’ extended stay brand, will offer one-bedroom suites with full kitchenettes.

“It is one of the most sought-after hotel products in the hotel industry,” Patel said of Residence Inn. “To get an opportunity to do both of these hotels over here is an incredible dream come true.”

The dual-brand concept has been a growing trend in recent years and offers wins for both hotels and guests — it cuts costs by sharing resources and offers the amenities of two hotels rather than just one, Patel said.

The new Courtyard and Residence Inn joins five other RAM Hotels in the metro area, three of which are in the Colonnade/Grandview area: Home2 Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites and Springhill Suites by Marriott.

The new dual-brand hotel is the “third go” at a build on that site, said Rinkesh Patel, CEO and co-founder of RAM Hotels. He said a developer acquired the property in 2002 and got a building plan approved for a Holiday Inn Express, but nothing ever happened. RAM Hotels eventually bought the land and got a design for a Residence Inn approved by local officials, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“We put it on a pause,” Rinkesh Patel said.

When they came back to the project, the option of a dual-branded hotel was possible, he said. “For us, it makes so much more sense.”

The doors should open in 18 months, according to Sherry Emmerke, regional director of sales for RAM Hotels. The cities of Birmingham and Hoover have both been in

support of the project.

“It’s important we all work together to bring great businesses into our city that bring great jobs into our city,” Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said. “People don’t know where the lines are; they know where the good restaurants are, as long as the food’s good and the service is good. … We all work very, very hard together to bring quality businesses, quality hotels, quality jobs and just a wonderful quality of life to this entire area.”

The 750,000 people who visited the Hoover Met complex last year made use of RAM Hotels around the city, Brocato said. “We all don’t have enough hotels in our particular cities, so thank you for investing in Birmingham, thank you for investing in Alabama, and we wish you all the luck in the world.”

280Living.com April 2024 • A15
Left: Matthew Robbins, financial and investment analyst for RAM CRE; Mark Robbins, vice president of development and construction for RAM Hotels; and Sherry Emmerke, regional director of sales for RAM Hotels at the groundbreaking of a dual-brand hotel concept on U.S. 280. Right: RAM Hotels held a groundbreaking on Feb. 29 for the future Courtyard and Residence Inn dual-brand hotel site. Photos by Kip Brannon.
Developing and sustaining a qualified workforce is a constant challenge for employers— especially after yet another paradigm shift caused by the global pandemic. The fact that the Chamber is working directly with the educational community at all grade levels in equipping our students to enter the workforce and now will leverage current programming by convening and collaborating with other stakeholders of likeinterest and additional training partners, is absolutely on the right track. For more information on how your business can benefit by investing in The Shelby County Chamber, contact us at info@shelbychamber.org – 205-663-4542 1301 County Services Drive Pelham, AL 35124 205-663-4542 shelbychamber.org How My Chamber Investment Works for Me Chris Wilder SEPCO (Sealing Equipment Products Company)
Genesis 2400

Redefining the common barbershop

Raul Chavez is reimagining the barbershop. The 29-year-old Hoover High School graduate recently debuted Barber Bar by Fade Parlor in Inverness Village, with the aim of updating the barbershop experience for the modern age.

The Barber Bar by Fade Parlor experience is, first and foremost, a bar — sort of. The interior resembles a cigar lounge and has music playing. Once settled into the barber chair, each customer is offered one complimentary drink from the shop’s collection of beers, whiskeys and bourbons.

Chavez created the concept because he wanted to fill what he sees as an underserved market, while adding a new twist to the mundane task of getting a haircut. He wants the Barber Bar to be a place where clients can mellow out and take a break from stresses in their lives.

“There’s definitely a shortage of good barbershops in the Birmingham area. I noticed that from the very beginning and, as time passed, I eventually talked myself into capitalizing on that opportunity,” Chavez said.

Chavez opened his first Fade Parlor in downtown Birmingham, followed by a location in the Green Springs area of Homewood. He quickly opened and closed a location in Vestavia Hills before opening the Inverness Village barbershop in October 2023.

“When I was developing my own concept, I thought it would be super cool to have a barbershop that has a man cave feel to it, where guys can come in and be themselves and talk about whatever they wanted to talk about and have a drink if they want,” Chavez said.

Chavez took over a space formerly occupied by another shop using the Barber Bar name. After that business closed, Chavez said some of their former customers started coming into his other Fade Parlor locations and talking about the defunct barbershop.

Sensing an opportunity, Chavez snapped up

the space and expanded his business’s footprint. He also decided to keep Barber Bar as part of the name and incorporate it into the shop’s concept.

Chavez was introduced to barbering by his mother, who owned a hair salon. In his teens and lacking direction, Chavez began working in his mother’s shop despite having no real interest in pursuing barbering as a career.

“It wasn’t something that I really wanted to pursue. My mom kind of talked me into it, but it ended up being a huge blessing, and it just kind of snowballed into what it is now,” he said.

Over time, Chavez learned the trade, grew to enjoy the business and even took on management duties, all while looking for ways to improve and implement his own ideas for the shop.

His mother’s salon was a unisex shop with a largely female clientele, and Chavez realized there was a lack of places in Birmingham for a man to get a quality haircut or a shave in a masculine environment. Allowing customers to have a beer at the shop, for instance, was a notion that didn’t go over well with the shop’s owner, i.e. Mom.

“It was a different environment. It was kind of uptight, honestly,” Chavez said. “She was never fond of having a beer at the shop or anything like that.”

Now, as he expands his business, including a planned Fade Parlor location in Avondale, Chavez is determined to transform the barbershop from a necessity into an event.

“I always tell my staff and everybody that surrounds me we’re not selling haircuts. If people want to just get a haircut, they can go to Sports Clips, Great Clips, and pay $15. But that’s not what we’re about,” Chavez said. “We’re selling a whole experience.”

Barber Bar by Fade Parlor is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. The business is located at 4700 U.S. 280, Suite 11. Visit fadeparlor.com for more information.

A16 • April 2024 280 Living isn’t for everyone. Because Doing it Yourself Residential Commercial Special Projects 205-823-2111 • OneMan-Toolbox.com One Man & a Toolbox Handyman Services HIT THE FIELD AT YOUR BEST Keeping You in the Game This Season At OrthoAlabama Spine & Sports, we are committed to providing you with excellence in patient-centered care. If a soccer injury is stopping you from playing the game, our doctors are here to help get you back on the field! Walk-In Clinic Available To schedule an appointment, call (205) 953-4338 or scan the QR code below. orthoalabama.com BIRMINGHAM Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. HOOVER Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Friday 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Stylists work with clients at the Barber Bar. The Barber Bar offers a unique haircut experience by offering clients a choice of beverages from the bar. Photo courtesy of the Barber Bar on Instagram.


10 AM-3 PM

280Living.com April 2024 • A17

Oak Mountain mom, blogger pens book to prepare children for surgery

It was while Alana Smith was on maternity leave in 2014 that she created her blog, Holy Moly Motherhood, as a way to vent and share her emotions as a new mom during sleepless nights.

Two years ago, the Oak Mountain mother began sharing more stories through a monthly column in 280 Living, and now Smith has become a published author.

At her day job, Smith has been working as a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) for the past 11 years. However, when she began looking for books for children heading into surgery, her search came up empty.

“As a mom to two boys, we love books, but I realized we didn’t have any books about surgery,” Smith said. “There was nothing on the market that would prepare my kids if they ever needed surgery. I was already in the writing space as a columnist, so I decided I would learn everything I could about picture books. Then, I wrote it.”

Smith paid a visit to her local library where she said she studied “probably 100 picture books” while writing her story to figure out what made readers want to turn the page and what made her as a parent love a book. Some of her favorites are “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin and “Stuck” by Oliver Jeffers, and she wanted her book to have the same fun, lyrical flow.

In her job, Smith said she knows that surgery can be scary for everyone, and most people don’t know what to expect unless they’ve been through it before. Even then, she said the anesthesia is what seems to scare people the most.

“I think it’s even scarier for kids because they have zero control over anything that happens in the hospital,” she said. “In most pediatric hospitals, kids are currently only given a paper

pamphlet about what to expect on surgery day. I want to change that.”

Smith initially wrote out the first draft of her book, “Magic Air: Ten Kid-Sized Steps to Surgery,” on paper and revised it over the next year.

Her sons, Cannon and Luke, were the inspiration for the characters in the book, and Smith believed it would be relatable to have an older

illustrated by Polish artist Roksana Barwinska, Smith knew she was the one.

From across the world, the two women collaborated and spent many hours in conversation over Zoom to get the illustrations just right. After six months, their creative process was complete.

Smith decided to independently publish her book in order to have full creative control, so she created Sleeping Bird Books. While she funded a large portion of the book herself, she created a Kickstarter campaign in 2023 for customers to preorder books. To her surprise, word of mouth spread quickly and she sold 1,100 copies in just 28 days.

“I was really pleased at how quickly it grew,” Smith said. “It raised over $24,000 in the preorder phase, and over 500 books are now being donated to pediatric hospitals and organizations across the state.”

The book was sent to the printer in January, and she expects copies soon. Once they arrive at her home in north Shelby County, she will sign, package and ship out the orders. After that, the book will be available for purchase on her website and on Amazon.

Smith said she would love to see “Magic Air” in hospital pre-operating bays, waiting rooms, pediatrician offices and hospital gift shops.

child who had been through surgery to tell younger children what happens. She said the young narrator’s voice and the fun illustrations make this scary topic approachable.

Smith said the search for an illustrator was the most time-consuming part of the project. She had five illustrators from different writing groups submit sketches, but when she saw a book

“I’d love for every parent that is facing a surgery for their child to know that this book exists,” she said. “I hope that any time someone has a child headed to surgery, that they will recommend this book as the go-to. This book will be a success if kids read it and think, ‘OK, I got this. I’m not scared anymore.’”

To order a copy of “Magic Air,” visit Smith’s website at sleepingbirdbooks.com. To arrange for bulk orders or book donations, email her at sleepingbirdbooks@gmail.com.

A18 • April 2024 280 Living Have a community announcement? Email Leah Ingram Eagle at leagle@starnesmedia.com to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue. Community ROOKS CONSTRUCTION SERVICES LLC @ROOKS-CONSTRUCTION-SERVICES Yard Drains | French Drains Home Repairs | Decks Handyman Services 205-568-3307 CALL TO KNOCK SOMETHING OFF YOUR TO-DO LIST Brett Rooks 5299 Valleydale Road Suite 111 Birmingham, AL 35242 (two blocks from 280) 205-980-9030 www.southeasternjewelers.net
Alana Smith, who works as a nurse anethestist, recently wrote a book for children to help them prep for surgery. Photo courtesy of Alana Smith.

Chelsea author focuses on church giving in new book

When Robert Gaston was in 4th grade, he was at dinner with his mother, Ruth, and his teacher, Barbara Wainscott, when Wainscott said something he never forgot.

“She told me I needed to be a writer,” Gaston said.

The only problem was that, for many years, he didn’t know what he would write about.

Gaston, now a Chelsea resident, got his bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from the University of Texas at Austin and worked in sales off and on for 35 years. Then, in August 2017, he paid a visit to a cousin in Cincinnati, whom he had not seen in more than 30 years.

“We were having lunch at a restaurant, and he asked my wife, Lori, and I if we had been going to church,” Gaston said. “I said no, and he told us his story. I felt convicted but not attacked.”

Gaston said he hadn’t been attending church regularly for 10 years, and his wife had wanted to go but did not want to do so by herself. A month after that visit, they found themselves sitting in the pews of Chelsea Church of God, right around the corner from their home.

Three months later, Gaston got involved with Heavenly Smile, a faith-based Shelby County nonprofit that operates a community food pantry, a jail ministry, financial classes and Christmas assistance for local families. After toying with the idea of writing a book for almost 20 years, he decided it needed to be for “the kingdom.”

“Giving: Relationship and Obedience,” which was published in February, focuses on the decrease in giving to churches and the overall decline in church membership, and what can be done to address them.

“I include detailed research from the last 30 years about the financial state of our country and how it affects both us and the church,”

Gaston said. “But mainly, I use the Word of God and the experiences God has shown me to discuss giving, rooted in the Word of God, for the benefit of everyone.”

Gaston said he believes that money — fear, greed and the love of it — is the number one reason for people leaving the church. He calls it “the elephant in the room.” However, lack of money is a contributing factor as well.

“Compared to the 1950s, people have a lot less disposable income,” he said. “The church is having to rely on a much smaller percentage of the population.”

Gaston noted that some churches have stopped passing around an offering plate because they don’t want people to feel uneasy.

“Money is a difficult subject. It’s very personal,” he said. “It even makes a lot of believers squirm.”

Gaston said the Bible talks about giving from cover to cover, and he uses his research and stories from the Bible to relate to the issues facing giving, both to and from the church.

“The Bible implies that we should live within our means,” he said. “We can offer our time, service and our prayers even if we can’t afford to give money. There are plenty of opportunities right here in Shelby County.”

Gaston said the book is for everyone, but he especially wants to reach those who are lost, searching or currently not coming to church for fellowship with other believers.

“The book is tough but gentle,” Gaston said. “My goal is to encourage people to strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Giving: Relationship and Obedience” is available through Amazon, Trilogy.tv and the Walmart and Barnes & Noble websites. Gaston is available for speaking to churches, fellowship groups and other organizations.

For more information, contact him by calling 256-267-8058 or email him at rgaston54@yahoo.com.

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Have a schoolhouse announcement? Email Leah Ingram Eagle at leagle@starnesmedia.com to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

Several newly National Board-certified teachers in Shelby County Schools were recognized during the Feb. 15 Shelby County Board of Education meeting. This brings the number of nationally board-certified teachers in the district to 107.

The certification is designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. It is a voluntary process created and assessed by teachers.

The certification process consists of four different components to show evidence of accomplished teaching:

► Computer-based assessment at a formal testing center

► Student work samples and the teacher’s ability to differentiate

► Video recordings of classroom instruction

► Effective use of assessment, family and community engagement Superintendent Lewis Brooks said the process takes from one to three years and 100 professional development hours are awarded for each component.

“The letters NBCT after a teacher’s name is the highest honor a member of the profession can obtain. We congratulate all of you on this accomplishment and your dedication to excellence,” Brooks said.

The following teachers received their initial 2023-24 National Board certification:

► Maria Clark, Calera Elementary (early childhood generalist)

► Rebecca Loveless, Forest Oaks Elementary School (early childhood generalist)

► Jennifer Slovensky, Oak Mountain Elementary School (early childhood generalist)

► Taylor Tidmore, Wilsonville Elementary School (early childhood generalist)

► Lindsey Kauffman, Helena Middle School (math)

► Christian Collins, Oak Mountain High School (science)

► William Dunham, Oak Mountain High School (science)

► Daniel Hines, Oak Mountain High School (science)

► Taylor Korson, Oak Mountain High School (exceptional needs)

These teachers received their

maintenance certificate after five years:

► Pam Clay, Helena Elementary School (early childhood generalist)

► Melanie Henderson, Helena Elementary School (early childhood generalist)

► Jan Hughey, Helena Elementary (early childhood generalist)

► Misty Stevens, Helena Elementary School (early childhood generalist)

► Rebekah Austin, Oak Mountain Elementary School (exceptional needs)

► Melody Byrne, Wilsonville Elementary (early childhood generalist)

► Kristy Bender, Helena Middle School (exceptional needs)

► Sara Stewart, Oak Mountain Middle School (exceptional needs)

► Kasey Hollington, Oak

Mountain High School (social studies)

► Susan Schwartz, Oak Mountain High School (social studies)

► Beth Fuller, Shelby County Schools Federal Programs supervisor (literacy)

Shelby County Schools Deputy Superintendent Lynn Carroll told the teachers, “We are very proud of all of you and appreciate that you have put so much time and dedication into working to improve your professional practice, and for that we know that our students will greatly benefit, so congratulations on your hard work.”

Also during the meeting, two projects were approved for Chelsea home bleachers for the football stadium, which is a partnership project being paid for by the city of Chelsea.

“We are going to manage the project, but it’s fully funded by the city of

Chelsea,” Assistant Superintendent of Operations David Calhoun said. “This involves the football field bleachers on what is currently the visitors side, and once the new bleachers go in, it will become the new home side.”

The bid was awarded to Williford Orman Construction with a base bid $1,048,880 and an alternate bid for a concrete walkway for $94,200, for a total of $1,143,080.

A new parking lot for Chelsea High School was approved as part of the five-year capital plan for 2024.

“This was a need we knew was going to be upon us, so we planned and budgeted for this to address sometime this school year,” Calhoun said.

“The project includes the creation of a new lot, so there will be some dirt work, leveling and paving of a new lot, as well as the milling down and resurfacing of the existing parking spaces already on campus. It’s quite extensive and will all be done during the summer.”

The board approved the base bid to Williford Orman Construction, and the total cost of the package with four alternates is $1,894,749.

A change order was approved for the Oak Mountain High School fine arts building, which will provide upgrades and renovations to the former choral room and former band room at a cost of $207,535. Calhoun said the task of rehabilitating the old space will begin by removing the former band practice rooms so the building can be utilized for another purpose.

A20 • April 2024 280 Living
County Schools honors national board-certified teachers From left: Taylor Korson from Oak Mountain High School, Taylor Tidmore from Wilsonville Elementary, Lindsey Kauffman from Helena Middle, Jennifer Slovensky from Oak Mountain Elementary and Maria Clark from Calera Elementary pose for a photo with Superintendent Lewis Brooks after receiving their NBCT certificates. Photo by Reisa Brooks. If your pest problem gets too much to handle... 205-663-4200 vulcantermite.com BACK... they’re Try this Homemade Fruit Fly Trap Bowl of Milk Sugar Ground Pepper + Microwave for One Minute Fruit Flies cannot resist this mixture & it leads to their quick demise Call The Best to Fight The Pest DHL FedEx UPS USPS DHL FedEx UPS USPS Need a little ‘tax relief’? Bring in this ad for 15% OFF Packing ‘n Shipping of one item?* ( Feeling better already, aren’t you? ) *Good for the month of April 2024 - USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL at Lee Branch 205.980.8879 www.pakmailleebranch.com Business news to share? If you have news to share with the community about your brick-and-mortar business along the U.S. 280 corridor, let us know! Share your business news with us at starnesmedia.com/business-happenings

Chelsea High junior Ali Mims crowned Miss Alabama's Teen 2024

Ali Mims, a Harpersville resident and junior at Chelsea High School, on March 10 was crowned Miss Alabama’s Teen 2024 at a competition at Thompson High School in Alabaster.

Mims, who was competing as Miss Hoover’s Teen 2024, was chosen from among 38 contestants and now will go on to represent Alabama in the Miss America’s Teen competition in Orlando.

Mims also won the Community Service Award. Several years ago, she created the Joyful Noise Foundation, which raises money to put musical instruments in special needs classes.

She already has raised more than $18,000 for the foundation with a talent show and sales of a book and coloring book she created and put musical instruments in at least 20 self-contained classrooms across Alabama and in Nicaragua.

Mims first won her talent preliminary and evening gown preliminary before being named in the Top 16. For her talent, she performed an opera song called “O Mio Babbino Caro,” which is about a woman who begs her father to let her marry the love of her life.

Julie Bentley, director of the Miss Hoover competition, said she was very excited for Mims.

“She is the hardest-working teenager. She truly cares about her platform. She will represent the state really well,” Bentley said. “She’s just such a sweet, sweet, funny girl. She tells dad jokes. I love her like my own, and I’m so proud of her.”

Mims plans to study music education and music therapy at Auburn University and hopes one day to do music therapy with children at somewhere like Children’s of Alabama hospital. She is on the varsity cheer squad and

Ali Mims, Miss Hoover’s Teen 2024, is crowned Miss Alabama’s Teen 2024 at Thompson High School in Alabaster, on March 10, by Elaina Burt, Miss Alabama’s Teen 2023, who is from Hoover. Photo courtesy of the Miss Alabama Competition Facebook page.

Student Leadership Board at Chelsea High School, as well as in the Key Club and Future Teachers of America.

This was her third time to compete in the Miss Alabama’s Teen competition. Two years ago, Mims competed as Miss Shelby County’s Teen, and last year she was Miss Tuscaloosa’s Teen.

Mims was crowned as Miss Alabama’s Teen 2024 by Miss Alabama’s Teen 2023 Elaina Burt, a resident of the Riverchase community in Hoover and senior at Briarwood Christian School.

A ribbon cutting was held for the newly renovated library at Oak Mountain Elementary School.

Photo courtesy of Shelby County Schools.

Oak Mountain Elementary School celebrated the opening of its newly renovated library and courtyard on Feb. 27. Thanks to Indian Springs Village, the school was able to completely renovate the library. Additionally, the school was able to turf

one of the courtyards at the school due to the generosity of two students’ parents. Stacy Stuart and Julio Tabin worked collaboratively to bring the dream of a beautiful courtyard space to reality.

– Submitted by Shelby County Schools.

The Linda

280Living.com April 2024 • A21
courtyard complete
Nolen Learning Center recently received a new facility dog, Guava. Dr. Scott Foster at Constant Companion Animal Hospital in Chelsea will be the veterinarian sponsor for Guava, who’s first day on the job is officially set for May 6th.
Submitted by Shelby County Schools.
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Showcase of Schools

Students and teachers from schools across the district recently held their annual Showcase of Schools to highlight how Shelby County Schools is empowering students to achieve academic excellence and make positive contributions to the world. The annual event was held Feb. 22 at the Shelby County Instructional Services Center in Alabaster. It provided community and business leaders with an opportunity to see firsthand the innovative

classroom practices happening in all 31 county schools. Guests were able to visit students from each school and see a demonstration of projects they’ve been working on during this school year.

This year, the event was hosted by Sarah Elizabeth Shelton, a senior from Shelby County High School. Ten-year-old Evan Riley from Mt Laurel Elementary sang the national anthem, and the colors were presented by the JROTC from Vincent High School. The Mt Laurel choir also performed several songs.

A22 • April 2024 280 Living
Top right: The three Shelby County Schools Teacher of the Year nominees: Anna McEntire from Calera High School, Jill Vaughan from Oak Mountain Elementary and Chris Oravet from Calera High. Top left: Victoria Quakenbush of Forest Oaks Elementary School explains her Hornet Buzz project to a guest. Above: Students from Oak Mountain Intermediate School explain their virtual courtroom project to guests. Right: Guava, the new service dog for Shelby County Schools, takes a rest. Below right: An Oak Mountain High School student works on a live painting. Below left: Student athletes from Shelby County Schools answer questions from attendees. Photos by Leah Ingram Eagle.
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There were 100 burglaries in 2023, down 6% from 107 in 2022.

There were two robberies in 2023, up from one in 2022.

Hammac said it’s important to understand the difference between theft and robbery. If someone comes onto a person’s property and takes something that doesn't belong to them, that is considered a theft. If someone takes a person’s property from them by force, it is considered a robbery.

The national robbery rate was 66 robberies per 100,000 people, according to Statista. Shelby County’s estimated population as of 2023 was just over 230,000 people, according to the department records, putting the county’s robbery rate below the national average.

“Rarely do we have armed robberies in Shelby County, and a couple things contribute to that,” Hammac said. “The vigilance of the law enforcement community, out on the hunt throughout patrol shifts, empowering our community to keep an open line of communication with us and our citizens knowing some of the cues to be on the lookout for. The greatest tool in fighting crime in Shelby County is the partnership we have with the citizens we serve.”

Hammac added that the sheriff’s office encourages the community to listen to their instincts and partner with the SCSO, and “if you see something, say something.”


There was one homicide in 2023.

The national homicide rate was 6.3 homicides per 100,000 people in 2022 (the most recent year available), according to Statista. Unincorporated Shelby County only had one homicide in 2023.

Hammac credits this stat to the “incredible law enforcement and multiple municipalities that do an excellent job making resources available to their communities.” He said participating with the Major Crimes Task Force is part of why the county has a high rate of solving crimes and making convictions.

When there is a major case, Hammac said the task force provides the “varsity team” of the best detectives from each municipality and the Sheriff’s Office to work together on the case.


There were 72 auto burglaries in Shelby County in 2023, down 36% from 114 in 2022.

There were 140 auto thefts, up 11% from 126 in 2022.

In 2023, Hammac said there was an organized crime ring (five or more criminals working together) from a neighboring county who targeted Dodge Chargers and Dodge Challengers for theft. Those models were targeted because they were being discontinued and their security features were easily manipulated, according to Hammac. Most of the vehicles were stolen in hotel parking lots and apartment complex parking lots, not business or single-family residential areas, he said.


There were 768 overall thefts in 2023, down 10% from 849 in 2022.

Hammac credits the decline in thefts to engagement with the community. The sheriff’s office encourages residents to “Lock it, hide it, keep it” to prevent them from being a victim of a theft. Residential cameras have also become more popular and can assist in capturing thefts on camera.

“It is helpful to us when the community is responsive and vigilant,” he said. People should not leave vehicles unlocked, as we rarely see a forced entry for vehicles.”


There were 42 sex crimes in 2023, up 10% from 38 in 2022.

Hammac said sex crimes need more discussion. He believes that it’s not necessarily that there is an increase in sex crimes in the county, but rather an increase in the reporting of them.

“We are working to educate the community, students and teachers through school resource programs,” he said. “We’re putting forth a lot of effort in community outreach programs through Compact and our community outreach unit at the sheriff’s office. We are having age-appropriate conversations

with students of all ages and young adults, and empowering them to know what is appropriate and what's not. We are also empowering them to feel safe and comfortable reporting a crime to law enforcement, so we can pursue those offenders. We will continue to foster that environment in years to come.”


The number of calls for service was 82,403 in 2023, down 7% from 88,853 in 2022.

Hammac said the 7% decline in calls is a big deal. He attributes that to the sheriff’s office partnering with the Shelby County Commission to increase staffing.

The top five categories in calls for service were:

► 15,638 traffic control/traffic stops

► 8,925 patrol requests

► 6,248 civil process

► 4,075 law enforcement assists

► 2,671 motor vehicle accidents

“Why does someone call 911? Because they need law enforcement,” Hammac said. “Calls for service does not include when a law enforcement officer is proactively out there patrolling and they initiate contact with a suspicious person or activity. We are looking for offenders in your community, and it’s a difference in my opinion being proactive vs. reactive.”


The number of pistol permits came in at the lowest rate since 2014, at 5,994 in 2023. That’s a 45% decrease from 10,806 in 2022.

Hammac said the decrease in permits is

likely due to new state legislation that allows residents to legally possess a firearm without a permit. Since this has passed, he said there has been a significant decrease in the permits being issued. So the question, he said, is if it’s not required, why are people still getting them?

Hammac said that Alabama is a reciprocal state, which will honor the concealed carry permit, but other states may not allow it at all or only with certain restrictions, so many people still choose to obtain a permit.

The price of pistol permits is set by the local legislative delegation at $20 per year, and those funds are collected and held in an account subject to public audit. That money is able to be used at the discretion of a local sheriff, as long as it’s for law enforcement purposes.

“Some of the things we've used that money for include recruit training, crisis intervention training, putting new recruits through police academy, purchasing equipment and more,” Hammac said. “It’s a great benefit, but as we see a decrease in pistol permits issued, there will be a decrease in line items of funding as well.”


The average number of inmates housed at the Shelby County Jail was 422 in 2023, an 11% decrease from 476 in 2022.

The inmates at the jail aren’t just from Shelby County. The jail has a contract with U.S. Marshals to house federal inmates as needed, which saw a decreased number last year. Another area that skews the numbers


► There were 100 burglaries in 2023, down 6% from 107 in 2022.

► There were 72 auto burglaries in 2023, down 36% from 114 in 2022.

► There was one homicide in 2023, down 75% from 4 in 2022.

► There were 768 overall thefts in 2023, down 10% from 849 in 2022.

► The number of calls for service for 2023 was 82,403, down 7% from 88,853 in 2022.

► There were two robberies in 2023, up from 1 in 2022.

► There were 140 auto thefts in 2023, up 11% from 126 in 2022.

► There were 42 sex crimes in 2023, up 10% from 38 in 2022.

► There were 180 assaults in 2023, up 12% from 161 in 2022.

► Incident/offense reports taken increased from 8,467 to 8,493.

► Traffic citations decreased from 1,277 in 2022 to 1,228 in 2023.

► Total number of cases assigned was 1,684 in 2023.

Note: These numbers are only for unincorporated Shelby County and do not take into account municipalities with their own departments.

is providing mutual aid for other jails when they need assistance in housing inmates due to space or natural disasters.

Hammac said he believes the greatest challenge that law enforcement will face is how to appropriately respond to mental health crises.

“We get a lot of questions about why it is such an issue now,” he said. “I don't think it's ever changed. It’s always been present, but what we can attribute to this now is better training. Our law enforcement professionals are now more in tune to someone in mental distress.”

The options have been to go to a hospital or go to jail, and Hammac said that’s not the right response for the patient or their family. He said as professional standards evolve and identify the need for mental health crisis intervention, there will be a trend in jails that have more medical personnel with mental health, and licensed counseling expertise, to sit down with the inmates to determine why they are there.

“They deserve the same respect and courtesy whether they are on one side of the jail cell or the other,” Hammac said. “Why don't we step up and address that and give them the resources they need and put them on a path to success? We will see this trend in law enforcement for the next generation to come.”

Above: Sheriff John Samaniego speaks at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office awards banquet in Feb. 2024. Photo by Leah Ingram Eagle. Top photo courtesy of Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
280 Living A24 • April 2024

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The initial letter went out to parents from former Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller, stating plans for a new capital project and grade realignment plan in the Chelsea school zone that included the construction of a new K-5 elementary school, set to open in fall 2013.

Resia Brooks was principal at the time and recalls vividly when Fuller visited her at Chelsea Intermediate School and shared the announcement of a new school.

“In preparation for the transition to our new school, I meticulously compiled a large binder that I titled ‘Operation Forest Oaks,’ covering every aspect of the transition process,” Brooks said. “Even now, I frequently revisit its contents for all the warm feelings and memories.”

Her husband, current Superintendent Lewis Brooks, was serving as assistant superintendent at the time. He said he remembers when the decision was made and it was necessary to change the grade structure.

“During that time, Chelsea Park and Mt Laurel were the feeders for Chelsea Intermediate,” Lewis Brooks said. “It was determined that having three K-5 schools that fed Chelsea Middle School was a better approach to a fast-growing community.”

Under the new plan, the district was able to increase facility capacity with the 4th and 5th grade structure with Chelsea Intermediate School being eliminated and Chelsea Middle School transitioning to grades 6-8. Changing the elementary schools from K-3 to K-5 created more continuity of instruction for students.

As the new school year began in fall 2013, Chelsea Intermediate was dissolved and Forest Oaks Elementary School was born, although it was housed in the Chelsea Intermediate building since the construction on the new campus was not yet complete.

Tours of the future campus for teachers were provided in late November, and all students visited on a field trip in December to see the building and visit their classrooms. Teachers used their planning periods to transport items over to the new location to begin setting up their classrooms, with many working over Christmas break to get everything ready.


Sims said it was like starting a new school year twice when Forest Oaks Elementary was completed. The move to the campus was made during Christmas break, and the doors officially opened when students came back to school in January.

“Students started their first day in the new building on Jan. 6, 2014,” Sims said. “Just like in August, we had to establish procedures for car riders, bus riders, lunch schedules, PE schedules and start from square one in the middle of the year.”

When FOES opened, 742 students were enrolled. There were 34 homeroom teachers, plus an additional 15 teachers for art, music, PE, special education and gifted programs along with six CNP (lunchroom) workers and 13 bus drivers.

“We did have a ribbon-cutting ceremony after we were in and established and invited the mayor and superintendent, assistant superintendent, central office members, board members and more,” Sims said.

Jennifer Quakenbush, a previous PTO member and mother of three daughters who have all attended Forest Oaks, was sending her oldest daughter, Tabitha, to kindergarten during the first year the school opened. She said it has been the best experience for all three of her kids.

“Our teachers and principals have been nothing short of amazing,” Quakenbush said. “Dr. (Reisa) Brooks made it her mission to personally greet every single classroom every single morning. She seemed to know so many details about all of the students and would make you feel like she was a family friend with how personable and genuine she was with not only the kids, but the parents too. Mrs. Sims has been a fantastic asset to this school, always greeting everyone with the biggest smile and working so well with the PTO, which I was lucky enough to serve

Left: Former Forest Oaks Principal Reisa Brooks and current principal Stevi Sims pose with the cake commemorating the school’s first year. Photo by Leah Ingram Eagle.. Photo courtesy of Reisa Brooks.

Below: Reisa Brooks and Tabitha Quakenbush. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Quakenbush.

on for a couple of the years that my kids have been there.”


After just three weeks in the new building, the “Snowmageddon” storm on Jan. 28, 2014 hit. What started as a dusting of snow quickly turned into much more and many students were not able to make it home. Sims said it was quite an adventure, with many children and staff stuck at the school and having to stay overnight.

“A lot of them were kindergartners who never spent the night away from mom and were scared and didn't understand,” Sims said.

Brooks decided to turn it into a night of

fun for the over 100 students along with the majority of the teachers and staff who couldn’t make it home and instead spent the night at “Camp Forest Oaks.” They enjoyed a dinner of chicken fingers, corn, broccoli and chocolate pudding thanks to the CNP workers.

The overnight extravaganza featured a disco party, a birthday celebration for two teachers, and the children read books and put together puzzles in the library, played games in the gym. The staff kept things fun with a mannequin fashion show and a dance party and the students enjoyed popcorn and a movie before hearing bedtime stories.

Brooks said night was one of her most cherished memories during her time at

FOES. She shared that after the students who stayed the night returned to school, they would ask when the next visit to Camp Forest Oaks would take place.


Brooks and Sims were a principal team from 2011-2014 at Chelsea Intermediate and then at Forest Oaks from 2014-17. In 2017, Brooks took a human resources position at the Shelby County Schools central office and Sasha Baker took over as principal for two years. In the 2019-20 school year, the year of the pandemic, Sims took over as principal and Carlyn Duncan became assistant principal.

Those kindergartners who were in the first class at FOES are now 10th graders.

At a recent Shelby County Board of Education meeting, Sims and Brooks brought a cake made by Forest Oaks parent Alexandra Lewis as a thank you to celebrate the anniversary. Many things from the school’s first year were represented on the cake, including mailboxes with packing tape in them, the FOES creed that was developed by Brooks that students still recite every morning, the initial letter from Fuller, room assignments, photos from the ribbon cutting and Snowmageddon and more.

“The last ten years have really gone by fast,” Lewis Brooks said. “It is a wonderful school and I am proud of Dr. Resia Brooks and principal Stevi Sims. Both ladies' impact on the success of the school is remarkable.”

Sims said it’s been fun and interesting to watch the school grow and watch the dynamics shift and change for the better of their students.

“It's an experience not many get to have, and I feel very blessed to still be here and be a part of it,” she said.

Above: Photographs from 2014 hang in a display case at Forest Oaks Elementary School in Chelsea on March 12. The school is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.
280 Living A26 • April 2024
Students in Sabrina Lynch-Castillo’s third grade class play kickball during physical education time in the gym at Forest Oaks Elementary School in Chelsea. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

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Lions, Hornets land players on 1st team


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2023-24 high school basketball season has been completed, which means it’s time to recognize those with standout seasons on the annual Starnes Media All-South Metro basketball team.
Brook’s Ty Davis and Hewitt-Trussville’s Jordan Hunter are Players of the Year, as each capped off incredible careers. Both were coached by their parents and led their teams to state runner-up finishes this year.
Tim Shepler is the boys Coach of the Year, after leading Homewood back to the regional final for the first time since 2016. Tonya Hunter and Krystle Johnson met up in the Class 7A girls state championship game and both share Coach of the Year honors due to their stellar leadership.
Metro Basketball
Chelsea’s Avery Futch (0) shoots a 3-pointer in the second half of the boys Class 7A Northeast Regional semifinal at Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum on Feb. 13. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

Are you among those looking to test out your green thumb this season? Consider going online to growhoss.com located in Georgia for online free resources, tools, seeds and other supplies for growing your own garden and food source. Also, check out the “Hoss University” tab to watch their YouTube videos and more. So, if you’re jumping into gardening for the first time, here’s a few veggies to try. These have high yield for your effort!

Potatoes – are easy to grow in the early spring and take about 85 to 100 days to mature, depending on environmental conditions. Nutritionally, potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamins B and C and minerals like potassium. They can be stored for up to 6 months in a dark, cool environment. Don’t refrigerate, they’ll get damaged by refrigeration. Plant potatoes two to three weeks before the last frost, in rows spaced 36 inches apart. Incorporate compost into the soil before planting. “Hill” your potatoes, meaning add additional soil to the bed and mold it around the plant’s base. Do this two or three times during the growing season bc potatoes are a part of the plant’s stem, not the root. The more “stem” you keep underground, the more potatoes will grow, producing a better harvest.

Green beans – offer a rich source of

vitamins A, C and K and manganese, fiber and folate, are another excellent, productive storage crop. They can be canned and fermented, or blanched and then frozen for up to a year. The recommended “bush” bean variety is the most productive variety out there, with high yields, concentrated harvests and high tolerance to stress. Plant beans in the spring after the last frost has occurred. To ensure beans the entire growing season, plant every couple of weeks in the spring and early summer. To maximize on planting space, make two rows of beans spaced 6 inches apart, with the double rows spaced 3 feet apart, use drip irrigation or a soaker hose, to both rows of beans at once.

Heirloom onions – are a truly sustainable food source which are rich in vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids and other phytochemicals. Onions store really well, keeping for two months or more after harvest. And, depending on variety, there is a continual seed stock that can be reused over time and shared with friends.

Carrots are another useful vegetable which are rich in valuable beta carotene. They can be refrigerated for two to three weeks, or blanched and frozen for even longer storage. To grow carrots, use double rows with irrigation in between. Plant rows

Gardening, Health and Longevity

6 inches apart, skip 3 feet, then plant two more rows 6 inches apart. It’s recommended that seeding carrots in a thick band creates a dense forest of carrots. This will allow a lot of production out of a little bit of space. Carrots do their best when planted in cooler temperatures during the early spring or fall.

Winter squash – with its thick skin, is another excellent food and great for storage purposes not requiring refrigeration. It’s a good source of vitamins K1, A, C and E, as well as B vitamins, calcium and magnesium. Be aware, winter squash produce only one harvest at the end of the growing season.

Okra – is a warm-weather crop. It’s high in fiber, offers vitamin K, manganese, folate and vitamin C, as well as plentiful amounts of flavonoids and antioxidants. It’s a high-producing crop with long-term production. The plants may start producing pods when they’re 1 to 2 feet tall and will continue producing, as the plants grow 5 to 6 feet tall. However, you can cut the tops off when it gets about 4 feet tall, and plant three succession plants per year, especially the most productive jambalaya variety. In the spring and again in midsummer and early fall, as it will grow up until the first frost date. Yum!

In addition to the vegetables mentioned above, other ideal, high productivity vegetables are tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, snow peas, spinach, lettuce and chard. All of which are easy to grow during the right season due our zones, growhoss. com has this info. Also, to secure success, don’t forget the #1 rule for growing nutrient-dense food is healthy soil. They’re a variety of ways to create this by adding nutrition, worms, compost etc. Evaluate what works for you and your conditions. Then, consider starting with one or two vegetables this season. This will provide you with a food source and giving you a pastime you can be proud of.

At the very minimum, gardening is great for your mental well being. A recent study in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports concluded, “A regular dose of gardening can improve public health,” noting that gardening is associated with reductions in depression and anxiety, increases in life satisfaction, quality of life and a sense of community. Also, gardening by older adults is linked to feelings of accomplishment, peace, and it has a protective effect on cognitive functions as well as the development of social links with other gardeners. So, give it a try and enjoy the veggies of your labor! Resources: mercola.com, growhoss.com

B2 • April 2024 280 Living
280Living.com April 2024 • B3

Varsity Sports Calendar



April 2: @ Athens. 4:30 p.m.

April 5: @ Vestavia Hills. 4 p.m.

April 6: @ Stanhope Elmore. Noon.

April 9: @ Calera. 6:30 p.m.

April 11: vs. Calera. 6:30 p.m.

April 12: vs. Spain Park. 6:30 p.m.

April 13: vs. Moody. 1:30 p.m.


April 2: vs. Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m.

April 4: @ Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m.

April 9: @ Oak Mountain. 5 p.m.

April 11: vs. Oak Mountain. 5 p.m.

April 16: @ Spain Park. 5 p.m.

April 18: vs. Spain Park. 5 p.m.


April 2: @ Spain Park. 5 p.m.

April 4: vs. Spain Park. 5 p.m.

April 9: vs. Chelsea. 5 p.m.

April 11: @ Chelsea. 5 p.m.

April 16: vs. Hewitt-Trussville. 5 p.m.

April 18: @ Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m.


April 2: vs. Oak Mountain. 5 p.m.

April 4: @ Oak Mountain. 5 p.m.

April 6: Doubleheader @ Tuscaloosa County. TBD.

April 9: @ Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m.

April 11: vs. Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m.

April 12: @ Briarwood. 6:30 p.m.

April 16: vs. Chelsea. 5 p.m.

April 18: @ Chelsea. 5 p.m.



April 4: vs. Helena. 5 p.m.

April 6: Jemison Round Robin. Jemison.

April 9: @ Vincent. 4:30 p.m.

April 11: @ Pelham. 5 p.m.

April 17: @ Helena. 5:30 p.m.

April 23: @ Homewood. 5 p.m.

April 25: vs. McAdory. 4:30 p.m.


April 2: vs. Spain Park. 4:30 p.m.

April 4: vs. Vincent. 4:30 p.m.

April 8: vs. Helena. 5 p.m.

April 11: @ Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m.

April 12-13: Pre-State Blowout Tournament. Cullman.

April 16: @ Oak Mountain. 4:30 p.m.

April 18: @ Vestavia Hills. 4:30 p.m.

April 19-20: Hoover Classic. Hoover Met Complex.

April 23: @ Brookwood. 4:30 p.m.

April 24: vs. ACA. 4:30 p.m.


April 1: @ Mountain Brook 5 p.m.

April 5-6: Pike Road Tournament. Pike Road.

April 9: @ Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m.

April 11: @ Spain Park. 4:30 p.m.

April 15: vs. Chilton County. 4:30 p.m.

April 16: vs. Chelsea. 4:30 p.m.

April 19-20: Hoover Classic. Hoover Met Complex.

April 22: vs. Pike Road. University of Montevallo. 5 p.m.

April 23: vs. Vincent. 4:30 p.m.


April 2: @ Chelsea. 4:30 p.m.

April 11: vs. Oak Mountain. 4:30 p.m.

April 16: @ Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m.

April 18: @ Tuscaloosa County. Noon.

April 24: @ Central-Phenix City. 5 p.m

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Sports Editor’s Note

2 winners?

We’ve officially put another winter sports season in the books, my ninth at Starnes Media.

I remember being thrown into the fire just a few months after I started, with Homewood High School’s boys basketball team putting together a run to the state championship.

There have been several state championship games and teams in the years since, but this year, I experienced something I had not previously.

Following the Class 7A girls state final, in which Hoover knocked off Hewitt-Trussville 58-56 in a highly entertaining game, both sides expressed jubilation and the satisfaction of a job well done.


Hoover won its fourth straight state title, but this one was different. The star power of alums Reniya Kelly and Aniya Hubbard had come and gone, but the Lady Bucs were on a mission to prove the program had staying power at the top of the heap. They did just that.

The emotion from head coach Krystle Johnson and her players after the game stemmed from the joy of achieving something many thought was not possible.

On the Hewitt-Trussville side, there were no sad or disappointed tears after the Lady Huskies lost in the state championship game for the third time in the last six years. In fact, Hewitt-Trussville’s fourth quarter rally made the game tight at the end and made an impression on everyone in the building.

Head coach Tonya Hunter beamed with pride while recounting the last six years coaching her daughter Jordan and realizing the other young stars ready to bloom in her program.

Johnson and Hunter are two of the best basketball coaches in Alabama, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to cover their programs in recent years. They are intentional leaders and constantly seek ways to grow and improve in their own craft.

They both had plenty to be proud of following this season, and that showed in their ear-to-ear grins following their teams’ stellar performances in the final.

It was as if they had both won. And in many ways, they had.

Kyle Parmley is the sports editor at Starnes Media.

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CONTINUED from page B1


► Player of the Year: Ty Davis, Mountain Brook

► Coach of the Year: Tim Shepler, Homewood


► Player of the Year: Jordan Hunter, Hewitt-Trussville

► Coaches of the Year: Krystle Johnson, Hoover, and Tonya Hunter, Hewitt-Trussville


► Salim London, Hoover: One of the top guards in the state, averaging 17.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4 assists for the state champs.

► DeWayne Brown, Hoover: Nearly averaged a double-double, with 15.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

► Avery Futch, Chelsea: Helped the Hornets to regionals by averaging 12.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

► Ty Davis, Mountain Brook: Capped off a brilliant career with 17.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per contest for the state runner-up.

► Drew Mears, Briarwood: Led the area in scoring, with 23.6 points per game this season.


► Jackson Weaver, Vestavia Hills: Went for 13 points per game for the Rebels.

► Korbin Long, Spain Park: Led the Jags with 14 points and 4 rebounds and assists per game.

► Devon McKinnon, ClayChalkville: Surpassed 1,000 career points and drained 75 3-pointers.

► Victor Odiari, ClayChalkville: Won area tournament MVP for a strong Cougars squad.

► Reid Stodghill, Hewitt-Trussville: Accepted a preferred walk-on offer to Alabama and eclipsed 1,000 points and 500 rebounds for his career.


balanced Patriots team.

► Grey Williams, Oak Mountain: Averaged 12.5 points per game.


► Seneca Robinson, Hoover; Gavin Collett, Chelsea; Aiden Owens, Chelsea; Christen Whetstone, Chelsea; Ben Evans, Vestavia Hills; Carson Romero, Mountain Brook; John Carwie, Mountain Brook; Jack Bakken, Mountain Brook; KJ Kirk, Clay-Chalkville; Kaleb Carson, Homewood; Aden Malpass, John Carroll; Braylon Bernard, John Carroll; Kevin Jasinski, Oak Mountain; Emanuel Johnson, Oak Mountain


► Adam Barksdale, Vestavia Hills: One of the Rebels’ top options, scoring 12.3 points per game.

► Jarett Fairley, Hoover: Went for 14 points per game for the state champion Bucs.

► TJ Lamar, Spain Park: A solid physical presence, averaging 13 points and nearly 7 rebounds a game.

► David Stone, Homewood: The only double-digit scorer for a

► Haley Trotter, Chelsea: One of two players in the area to average a double-double, with 18.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

► Jordan Hunter, Hewitt-Trussville: The Auburn signee helped the Lady Huskies to a state runner-up finish, going for 19.9

B6 • April 2024 280 Living
Above left: Briarwood’s Emma Kerley (32). Above right: Chelsea’s Gavin Collett (12). Left: Oak Mountain’s Raegan Whitaker (10). Left: Chelsea’s Haley Trotter (23). Right: Briarwood’s Drew Mears (1). Photos by Erin Nelson Sweeney. Left: Chelsea’s Caroline Brown (10). Right: Oak Mountain’s Grey Williams (4).

points per game.

► Sarah Gordon, Vestavia Hills: Led the area in scoring, with 20.3 points per game.

► Khloe Ford, Hoover: Burst onto the scene as a sophomore, finishing with 12.8 points and 7.8 rebounds for the four-time state champs.

► Kameron Sanders, ClayChalkville: Led the Lady Cougars with 12.3 points a game.


► Emma Kerley, Briarwood:

Has become one of the most versatile players in the area, going for 11.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

► Jill Gaylard, Vestavia Hills: All-around solid point guard, posting nearly 10 points per game as well.

► Brooklyn Phillips, ClayChalkville: One of the top 3-point shooters in the area, making 72 of them.

► Raegan Whitaker, Oak Mountain: Averaged a double-double in her final season.

► Maddie Walter, Mountain

Brook: Went for 10 points and 8 rebounds a game.


► Caroline Brown, Chelsea: The versatile forward averaged nearly 10 points per game.

► Ryleigh Martin, Hewitt-Trussville: Had plenty of flashes in her freshman season, including a 27-point outing late in the season.

► Kayla Warren, Homewood: Led a balanced team, with 9.8 points a game.

► Kaitlyn Gipson, Hoover: Surpassed 1,000 career points for the state champs.

► Ann Tatum Baker, Briarwood: The fourth-leading scorer in the area, with 13.4 points per game.


► Emily Williams, John Carroll; Sadie Schwallie, Chelsea; Olivia Pryor, Chelsea; Mallory Ogle, John Carroll; Ashlyn Howard, Hewitt-Trussville; Ellis McCool, Homewood; Ava Robinson, Homewood; Mira McCool, Homewood;

Savannah McDonald, Homewood; Lane Crowe, Homewood; Laine Litton, Homewood; Grayson Hudgens, Vestavia Hills; Ariana Peagler, Hoover; Aaliyah Blanchard, Hoover; Layla Cannon, Hoover; Kamryn Lee, Hoover; Kamoriah Gaines, ClayChalkville; Ava Leonard, Spain Park; Tori Flournoy, Spain Park; Teagan Huey, Spain Park; Caroline Kester, Oak Mountain; Emma Stearns, Mountain Brook; Libby Geisler, Mountain Brook; Sarah Passink, Mountain Brook; Mary Beth Dicen, Briarwood

280Living.com April 2024 • B7
Left: Briarwood’s Ann Tatum Baker (3). Right: Chelsea’s Aiden Owens (21).
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280 corridor events guide

April 6: Chelsea Community Christian Outreach Food Pantry. 10 a.m. to noon. Chelsea Church Of Christ, 10724 Chelsea Road. Held the first Saturday of every month for those in need of food items. Food will be distributed while supplies last. For more information, visit “Chelsea Community Christian Outreach” on Facebook.

April 6: Homeschool High School Workshop. 1-4 p.m. Chelsea Public Library. Join other homeschooling families who are preparing to homeschool high school students for encouragement, tools and resources. birminghamhomeschoolers.com/events/month/2024-04.

April 13: Mammoth March of Alabama. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oak Mountain State Park, 200 Terrace Dr., Pelham. Join the challenge of hiking 20 miles in eight hours along some of Alabama’s most beautiful and scenic trails. alapark.com/parks/oak-mountain-state-park/ park-events.

April 13: Mt Laurel Spring Festival. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Town of Mt Laurel. Enjoy the spring craft fair and farmer’s market. There will be food trucks, inflatables for the kids and a kids zone. mtlaurel.com/ blog.

April 14: Sean of the South — “On The Air” Series 2024. 4-6 p.m. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. Song Theater, 105 W. College Street, Columbiana. A series of live-broadcast performances featuring

Sean Dietrich and friends. Each performance will be recorded in the Song Theater for future broadcast, delivering a mix of humor, storytelling and eclectic musical performances. The audience will be part of the live recording. Tickets $30. shelbycountyartscouncil.com.

April 19: Denim and Dining Fundraiser. 6-10 p.m. Aldridge Gardens, 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover. This year’s event will feature Jim ‘n Nick’s BBQ, music by Jenna and Ben Kuykendall and live and silent auctions using the mobile app OneCause. All proceeds benefit Hoover City schools and their students. Early bird admission tickets are $85 each, with prices increasing to $100 after April. hoovercsf.org/events.

April 20: The Maverick Lounge Series Presents “Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young — The Music and History.” 7:30-9:30 p.m. Song Theater, 105 W. College Street, Columbiana. The music of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young played live, with the history of the band woven into the show. shelbycountyartscouncil.com.

April 27: Spring Craft Fair. 9 a.m. to 2p.m. Chelsea Community Center, 11101 Chelsea Road. Shop with vendors selling clothing, jewelry, handmade crafts, soaps, candles and other items that are one of a kind. There will also be food trucks. Free admission. cityofchelsea.com.

Chelsea Library


April 6: Homeschool High School Workshop.1-4 p.m. Provided by Birmingham Homeschoolers Community. Registration is required at birminghamhomeschoolers.com/event/homeschool-high-school-workshop.

April 13: Friends of Chelsea Library Book Sale. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

April 13: Lego Day. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

April 19: Homeschool Hangout — Journaling Workshop. 1 p.m.

April 27: K.Z.T. Steam Day. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Wednesdays: Tot Time. 10:30 a.m.

Thursdays: Mini Music. 10:30 a.m.


Mondays and Wednesdays: Dungeons and Dragons. Ages 12-14: Mondays 4-6 p.m. Ages 15 and older: Wednesdays 5-7 p.m.

Fridays: Theater Club. 2 p.m.

April 8: Teen Dinner and a Book Club. 5 p.m.


Fridays: Bring Your Own Craft. 1 p.m.

April 11: Adult Book Club. 11:30 a.m.

April 15: Beyond Books — Tacos and Trivia. 6 p.m.

Mt Laurel Library


April 5 and 19: Ukulele Storytime. 10 a.m.

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April 5: Make a Lamb Stuffie. 4 p.m.

April 10: Spring Storytime at O.Henry’s. 4 p.m.

April 20: Crafty Saturday. Take-and-go craft, while supplies last.


April 26: Pizza and Paint. 4:30 p.m. Ages 10-14. We will paint a piece of artwork and enjoy some pizza!


April 4: Mt Laurel Book Club. 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Discussing “The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post” by Allison Pataki.

April 8: Mt Laurel Knitting Group. 2-4 p.m.

April 18: Coffee Program at O’Henry’s Dunnavant Valley. 1 p.m.

April 23: Lunch and Learn — Local Author Mary Beth Dearmon. Noon.

April 25: Aromatherapy Bracelets. 4-6 p.m.

North Shelby Library


April 8-12: National Library Spirit Week! No registration. Dress up according to the theme on the day you visit the library and show a staff member to receive an entry form for a chance to win a prize basket. Monday: Favorite Sports Team, Tuesday: Wacky Socks, Wednesday: Favorite Book Character, Thursday: Patriotic, Friday: Green for North Shelby Library.

April 17: Homeschool Hangout — Stained Glass. 1 p.m. Registration required. Grades K-12.


Wednesdays: Storytime Friends. 10:30 a.m. Ages birth to 5 years.

April 2: Baby Tales. 10:30 a.m. Ages birth to 18 months.


All Month: Monthly Craft Kit-to-Go. Available starting March 1, while supplies last.

All Month: Monthly STEM Kit-to-Go. Available starting March 1, while supplies last.

All Month: Monthly In-House Scavenger Hunt — Flowers.

All Month: Financial Capability Month — Family Learning Kits. Stop by for your free kit.

Tuesdays: Tech Tuesdays. 3:15-4:15 p.m. Drop in for a weekly tech-based activity.

April 1-5: Eclipse Activity. Stop by for eclipse activity stations.

April 4: Make-A-Bunny Plushy Pal Program. 4:30 p.m.

April 5: Spanish Club. 4:30 p.m. For school age kids and teens.

April 11 and 25: Thursday Family Fun Nights — LEGO and Origami Bookmarks. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Drop in while supplies last.

April 17: K-5 Homeschool Art & Craft Kit — Oobleck Stress Balls. 1 p.m. Grade K-5 with adult assistance if needed.

April 18: PJ Storytime — Weather Tales. 6 p.m. All ages.

April 23: Jan the Science Lady — Alabama Inventors. 10:30 a.m. All ages.


April 4: Tween Leadership Council Meeting. 4:30 p.m.

April 11: Tween Taste Test Challenge — Pringles. 4:30 p.m.

April 12: Tween Open Gaming. 3-5:45 p.m.

April 15: Tween Book Club. 4:30 p.m.

April 22: Tween Dungeons & Dragons. 4:30 p.m.


Mondays: Teen Dungeons & Dragons. 6-7:45 p.m.

Fridays: Teen Open Gaming. 3-5:45 p.m. Play the Switch, XBOX ONE, Wii, Minecraft, board games and card games with other teens.

April 4: Teen Cozy Craft Night — Diamond Painting. 4-5:30 p.m.

April 5: Party Game Night: What Do You Meme? 4-5:30 p.m.

April 11: Teen Manga Club. 4:30-5:30 p.m.

April 19: Teen Cozy Craft — Beginner Crochet. 4-5:30 p.m.

April 27: Teen Volunteer Day.

April 27: Teen Leadership Council Meeting. 5:30-6 p.m.

April 27: After Hours Fort Building and Music Sharing. 6-8 p.m.


April 2: True Crime Book Club. 5 p.m.

April 8: House Healing. 6:30 p.m. This program is presented by Jason Kirby.

April 9 and 23: Language Club. 5 p.m.

April 16: Vintage Tractor Acrylic Painting. 10:30 a.m. Join us to paint this vintage tractor! All supplies provided.

April 17: Old School Scrapbooking Presentation. 10:30 a.m. Presented by writer and historian Jim Baggett.

April 18: NSL Book Club. 10:30 a.m.

April 23: Dr. Anita Lee — Less Stress, Better Sleep. 10:30 a.m. This program will focus on stress.

April 25: Silent Book Club. 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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Holy Moly Motherhood

By Alana Smith Contentment

Contentment: Being in a state of peaceful happiness and satisfaction.

Man, that sounds wonderful. I’m not sure I’ve quite found that state, but it sounds wonderful nonetheless.

When I was about to start nursing school, I had a little one-bedroom apartment that I could barely make the rent on. It was nice enough and it was safe, but it was lacking so much that I envisioned for my future. When I wanted to take my dog for a walk, I would drive over to a nice, quiet neighborhood and stroll down the street. I’d pass neat and tidy houses, with trees that I didn’t know the names of. Swings would be on porches, wreaths on doors and bicycles left in driveways. It was the American dream.

“When I get married, I am going to have kids in a house like that, on a street like this, with a yard in the back, for you,” I’d tell my Jack Russell. “Then, I’ll be content.”

Today, almost 20 years later, I’m walking a different dog, down a similar street, living out what I pictured back then. But as I walk, I still think of goals I’m chasing and have thoughts of “When we aren’t paying for daycare we will do this …” and “When I have more time I can do that … and then I’ll be content.”

I think we are all chasing contentment in some way. I know I am. I yearn to be satisfied and at ease. I hope that at some point in my life, after I’ve checked all the boxes and done all the things, that I’ll be parked on a lake pier somewhere, rocking my chair in contentment. I hope the wind is in my face and I’m thinking of a life well lived.

But, why wouldn’t I be content now, instead of

in the future? My kids are healthy. We have food on the table. I have a house to call home. A family. Some good friends. I have transportation to a job that isn’t too bad. I have a good dog that listens to me talk. The American dream, right?

Yet, I find myself searching for the next thing most of the time. I’ll finally reach the peak of something I’ve worked so hard for — and shortly after, I’ll want to go just a little further, or make something just a little better.

Some nights, I’ll sit on my porch and watch my kids play in the yard, and I’ll get a glimpse of contentment. I really am happy and fulfilled, honestly. But then, I’m right back after whatever thing needs to be done or planned.

I guess I just don’t like to be stagnant. And as a mom, we are all just busy tending to everyone. But even more than that, maybe it’s just human nature — the desire to improve, to better our situation for ourselves and the ones who depend on us. I don’t it’s a bad thing, when I think of it like that.

Maybe I need to focus less on the end goal and more on the journey. Because when I’m finally sitting in the rocking chair on the pier, the journey will be all that’s left to think about. And surely then I will be content.

Alana is a nurse anesthetist, writer and boy mom (ages 8 and 3), who lives in north Shelby County with her husband, kids and Boxer, Sam. When she’s not writing or chasing little humans, she can usually be found in the aisles of Target. She shares her writings at Holy Moly Motherhood (on Facebook and Instagram), where she

Sean of the South By Sean Dietrich Make Mama proud

I’d like to make my mama proud. That’s one of my main goals. If I’ve made her proud, well, then I’ve really done something.

My mother, you see, is the kind of woman who taught me how to be nice, and how to have manners.

Long ago, she would make me sit with my cousin, Myrtle, at covered dish socials, so Myrtle wouldn’t be sitting alone. Mama would say things like: “Be polite, and make sure you ask your cousin how her baton twirling is coming along.”

Admittedly, Myrtle was about as interesting as watching ditchwater evaporate. But, like I said, I want my mama to be proud.

Maybe I should back up and tell you where all this is coming from.

Earlier this week, I spent some time with people who were — how do I put this — not very nice. Now, they weren’t “mean” people, per se, but you don’t have to be “mean” to be un-nice.

I hope I am never an un-nice person. What would Mama think? Mama is a woman who says things like: “Don’t talk about yourself too much. It’s like passing gas in an elevator; people will smile, but they don’t mean it.” And: “Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble.”

I don’t aspire to much in this life, but I know that I want to be the kind of man who listens.

Also, I want to be the kind of man who dogs follow for no reason. I want to be the guy who does magic tricks for toddlers. I want to go around reminding teenagers how important they are. I want to listen to the jokes old men tell when their wives aren’t around.

I want the “little guys” to be famous. I want the overlooked to be looked at. I want to clap for the kid who dreams of singing on the Opry stage one day — like Mama clapped for me. I’ve never been on the Opry stage — and never will, either — but Mama really believed I could have been. I want to believe in people like she does. I want to watch sunsets with friends and convince them that they are the most “specialist” people in the world. And I want to use words like “specialest,” even though that word is English blasphemy.

And if I live long enough to see my own white hair, I want to be a man who is proud of people who don’t have someone to be proud of them. I want my friends to succeed and surpass me. I want to be the one cheering for them in the bleachers. I want my funeral to be filled with people who say things like, “Sean Dietrich, wasn’t he a mess?”

And I want you to know you are magnificent. Everyone and anyone. Landscapers, meter-readers, garbage men, abused spouses, ex-convicts, divorcees, jewelry artists, single mothers, lonely fathers, Mexican immigrants, nurses, attorneys, Waffle House waitresses, concrete layers, Baptists, insurance salesmen.

But most of all, I hope to make my mother proud.

Sean Dietrich is a columnist and novelist known for his commentary on life in the American South. He has authored nine books and is the creator of the “Sean of the South” blog and podcast.

B10 • April 2024 280 Living Opinion
PHONE: 205-668-2626 EMAIL: INFO@PARROTSTRUCTURAL.COM WEBSITE: WWW.PARROTSTRUCTURAL.COM Statewide Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Service
Helical Piers Dietrich Smith
280Living.com April 2024 • B11 TWO WEEKENDS! April 26th-28th May 3rd-5th Presented by: birminghamparadeofhomes.com
B12 • April 2024 280 Living Real Estate By the numbers: February 2023 vs. 2024 Note: Data provided by the Greater Alabama Multiple Listing Service on March 6, 2024 ► ADDRESS: 2233 Brock Circle ► BED/BATH: 4/4.5 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 3,785 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Brock Point ► LIST PRICE: $969,900 ► SALE PRICE: $975,000 ► ADDRESS: 2009 Lime Creek Drive ► BED/BATH: 4/3 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 3,042 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Lime Creek ► LIST PRICE: $529,900 ► SALE PRICE: $520,750 ► ADDRESS: 839 Griffin Park Circle ► BED/BATH: 4/3.5 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,672 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Griffin Park at Eagle Point ► LIST PRICE: $575,000 ► SALE PRICE: $580,000 ► ADDRESS: 6012 Mill Creek Drive ► BED/BATH: 3/2 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,837 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Greystone Farms ► LIST PRICE: $375,000 ► SALE PRICE: $361,000 ► ADDRESS: 516 Seven Oaks Park ► BED/BATH: 4/3.5 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 3,509 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Greystone Glen ► LIST PRICE: $499,900 ► SALE PRICE: $526,000 ► ADDRESS: 3039 Madison Lane ► BED/BATH: 3/2 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,855 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Chelsea Park ► LIST PRICE: $309,900 ► SALE PRICE: $305,000 Recently sold homes along U.S. 280 Corridor SOURCE: GREATER ALABAMA MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE


The talented Gardner Landscaping experts, all of whom are

“We have the people and resources to

your project done in a timely manner,” owner Grant Gardner says.

The company also seeks to provide clients with project quotes within 24 hours.

Autumn is a perfect season to have Gardner Landscaping beautify your property.

“Fall is considered the best time of year to plant new trees and shrubs,” Grant says.

However, you need help picking the perfect plants for you.

Many factors come into play, Grant says — sun exposure, soil type, landscape slope and your own preferences.

“We enjoy creating a plan that meets the needs of each customer and landscape,” he says.

The company staff specializes in beautiful landscapes but they’re also “very good at developing outdoor play

and entertainment areas,” Grant says.

The team stays abreast of the latest design trends and can satisfy any client’s taste with either traditional or unusual plant materials.

“More customers are spending more time around their homes,” Grant says. “We have the best prices locally on large and small trees and shrubs to create privacy screens, shade and curb appeal.”

Gardner Landscaping also does clean ups, drainage projects and landscape borders.

“We can get your property where it’s managed correctly,” Grant says.

Gardner Landscaping works with all types of budgets and projects in Birmingham, Auburn, Dadeville, Alexander City or Lake Martin.

For details, call 205-401-3347 or go to gardnerlandscapingllc.com.

280Living.com April 2024 • B13 Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section Special Advertising Section Spring is in bloom, and it’s the perfect time to plant a garden, do some cleaning or start a home renovation. Find tips and tricks from area businesses to jump-start any project in our guide. Home & Garden Guide 2024 Spring We’re committed to surpassing your expectations for your beautiful outdoor spaces by creating and maintaining landscaping, hardscape installation and effectively minimizing drainage and erosion issues. BEST PRICE for Trees, Shrubs, Privacy Screens & Astroturf Gardner has the Call to schedule your landscaping plan 205-401-3347 GardnerLandscapingSales@gmail.com GardnerLandscapingLLC.com Your Large and Small Tree, Shrub and Drainage Experts High Quality Service and Customer Satisfaction is our priority Spring is a perfect time to beautify your yard Gardner Landscaping • 205-401-3347 • gardnerlandscapingllc.com
but few
lots of landscapers
the Birmingham area,
measure up to Gardner Landscaping in Hoover.
residential and
and insured, have provided top-quality
since 2006.

Our annual transition from winter to spring is a classic human story line. As we come out of hibernation, our thoughts inevitably turn to new beginnings and spring cleaning.

“Winter’s always the dead time and spring’s the new life, and it’s about reevaluating the things that are no longer serving you,” says Kim McBrayer, owner of Space Cadets. “It’s great to look at the things you’re hanging onto and maybe let go.”

Space Cadets has many ways to serve customers in their effort to clean up their spaces, get organized and move forward with focus and clarity.

The company has professional organizers who can organize or declutter your house.

It provides custom closet design and installation, ranging from built-in closets to adjustable systems.

Customers can browse the Space Cadets retail and design center in Brook Highland Plaza for a huge selection of organization products for closets, kitchens and garages.

McBrayer founded Space Cadets in 2001 to help customers get organized and find elegant, cost-effective storage solutions.

In part, her goal was to share the life-changing value of

organization she had discovered in her own journey.

“Being organized facilitates the process for you to enjoy yourself and have a better quality of life,” she says.

Space Cadets also has information to share about its new offerings.

The store has a new closet vendor based in the Southeast, which will allow Space Cadets to get product shipped more

quickly for customers.

Not only that, but the new vendor offers a superior product.

“We think they have a lot more options, more colors and more opportunities for customization,” McBrayer says. “We’re excited about what they bring to the table.”

In the realm of cool, new products, McBrayer recently purchased a franchise with

Art of Drawers, which makes top-quality products to increase storage, organization and accessibility in kitchens, pantries and bathrooms.

Their products for the kitchen and pantry include custommade, solid wood pull-out drawers, as well as dividers, Lazy Susans and pull-down organizers.

These products can increase available space in existing

cabinets and pantries by up to 50%, according to artofdrawers.com.

To bring order to cluttered bathrooms, Art of Drawers provides custom pull-out shelves, organizers and lighting.

All of their products are made with high-quality materials from American producers.

McBrayer operates her Art of Drawers franchise separately as a sister company that complements the other Space Cadet products.

“It fits in perfectly and expands our offerings to help organize your home,” she said.

“Especially in the kitchen, where organization is so necessary, it makes things more accessible and brings the back of your cabinets out into the light, and you don’t have to crawl into your cabinets to get stuff.”

Space Cadets is now serving Huntsville and Gulf Shores, as well. McBrayer has Space Cadets employees based in those communities, and they’re eager to help customers in need of organization.

After nearly a quarter century, McBrayer continues her mission to decrease clutter and stress in peoples’ lives.

“Everything we touch touches the rest of our lives,” she says.

B14 • April 2024 280 Living Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section
Space Cadets Retail & Design Center Brook Highland Plaza 5287 Hwy 280 S. Suite 261 Birmingham, AL 35242 spacecadetsorg.com • 205.326.7025
PANTRY Custom Closet Installation Professional Organizing Services Retail Shop Everything you need to GET ORGANIZED in 2024! Get organized and enjoy life with custom closets that fit seamlessly into your lifestyle Space Cadets • 205-326-7025 • spacecadetsorg.com

BHMDEX can help you enjoy your life outdoors

BHMDEX LLC, located in Chelsea, offers complete outdoor project design services to create the best possible outdoor space.

Owner Blake Bassham shares BHMDEX’s goal is to help clients “enjoy life outdoors.”

“Our slogan is ‘Enjoy Your Life Outdoors,’” Bassham said. “We look to give people that nice outdoor space to enjoy. With more and more people choosing ‘staycations,’ you need to enjoy the space you have.”

Bassham studied Industrial Design at Auburn University and later fell in love with creating outdoor structures.

“I have always had an interest in architecture,” Bassham said. “After leaving Auburn, I went into the exhibit design industry and managed my own design/build firm where we built retail stores, museums and other interior-type projects. I later got into construction and enjoyed all aspects of that, but later fell in love with creating outdoor structures.”

BHMDEX, LLC offers complete design services for their clients’ outdoor projects.

“We will consult with our clients and then come up with the best possible solution for their problem or their dream project,” Bassham said. “We develop 3-D computer renderings so that our clients can see what the project will look like once built.

”If you are looking to build a new deck, pergola, fence, playhouse, patio or other outdoor structure at your home, we can help,” Bassham said. “Most of our clients have an old deck that needs to be replaced or has requested the addition of a new structure to an otherwise unused portion of their property. We can come in and

create a plan that will maximize their enjoyment of their backyard.”

BHMDEX LLC uses the best possible materials for your dream project.

“We are always striving to better ourselves and the projects that we create,” Bassham said. “We are known for overengineering the construction of our projects, especially our decks.”

“Far too often we see decks that are separating from a house or simply have not been constructed properly. We take pride in building our structures to last.

We also want you to be able to enjoy your deck with as many people on them as you would like and not fear that the deck will not support it.”

BHMDEX LLC counts it a privilege that clients welcome them into their homes.

“Every one of our clients are treated as if they have a million-dollar project,” Bassham said. “Whether it is a small set of stairs that needs a repair or a 1,500-square-foot deck, we are grateful that they have chosen us.”

Not only does BHMDEX LLC share the

value of their services, but keeping their clients educated throughout the process is also important.

“We always want our clients to be educated on what they are looking for in a project,” Bassham said. “This includes the types of materials available, the pros/ cons of the materials, and ways to repair/ maintain what they currently have. We are also always trying to educate ourselves on the best building techniques, and new trends that will give our clients the best possible project.”

280Living.com April 2024 • B15 Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section
BHMDEX LLC • 205-516-3105 • bhmdex.com
Blake Bassham

Shop local at Budget Blinds for great service and window covering selection

Many people like to shop local as much as they can to support the locally owned businesses in their communities.

One of those businesses in Vestavia Hills is Budget Blinds of Birmingham.

The company is owned and operated by Steve and Michelle Thackerson who live and work in Vestavia Hills and support the community, including youth programs.

They also offer all types of custom window coverings, and their highly trained personnel take the time to understand their customers and provide them with top-quality window coverings designed for their lifestyles.

Customers can also take advantage of the buying power of Budget Blinds, the world’s largest retailer of custom window coverings.

And when you call the Budget Blinds location in Vestavia Hills to get information or to schedule an appointment, you speak to someone in the local office, not a call center or remote person.

“All of our staff is employed with us and has been with us at least 10 years,” Thackerson said. “We don’t subcontract any workers out. All scheduling is done by us — not remotely or by a third party. We have total control over the scheduling.”

All window coverings are custom made to fit to each home, and all in-home measuring and installation is taken care of by Budget Blinds local employees.

“We install them, so anything that’s purchased from us, we’ll custom measure your windows and professionally install them,” Thackerson said. “We

control everything from setting up the appointment to the final installation.”

You can request a free in-home consultation or visit the showroom.

Some of the top sellers at Budget Blinds are shutters, solar shades and woven wood products.

Motorization and cordless options

for window coverings remain popular. Motorized options allow you to control blinds, shutters, solar shades and draperies from anywhere, and can be used with your home’s automation system.

“We can usually tie our product into any system you might have,” Thackerson said. The store now carries Zebra Shades,

originally in Australia and now available in the United States. It is a unique product with both beauty and function. By combining roller shades and horizontal blinds, Zebra Shades allow you both privacy and great light control.

Budget Blinds also sells blinds with traditional cords. Due to changing national safety standards, these products are no longer available at the big-box retail stores. Budget Blinds sells the products and educates customers about using the blinds safely.

Customers at Budget Blinds of Birmingham take advantage of the long relationships Thackerson and his wife, Michelle, have built in more than 30 years in the business, as well as the national presence of Budget Blinds.

“Because of the nationwide volume of Budget Blinds, we get exclusive warranties others cannot offer,” Thackerson said. “Our manufacturers may also sell to our competitors, but they don’t give them the same warranties they give us. That sets us apart. We get the same products but better pricing and better warranties because we are the largest retailer of custom window coverings in the world.”

Budget Blinds of Birmingham is also consistently in the Top 20 Budget Blinds franchises for volume.

You can visit the showroom at 2130 Columbiana Road anytime Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, go to budgetblinds.com/birmingham or call 205-824-3300.

B16 • April 2024 280 Living Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section
30% OFF SELECTED SIGNATURE SERIES WINDOW TREATMENTS Excluding Plantation Shutters. 205-824-3300 | BudgetBlinds.com 2130 Columbiana Road, Vestavia AL 35216 Schedule your FREE in-home consultation today! BUDGET BLINDS OFFERS A WIDE VARIETY OF ENERGY-SAVING WINDOW TREATMENTS BEST WARRANTIES IN THE INDUSTRY
Budget Blinds • 205-824-3300 • budgetblinds.com/birmingham

Are you a homeowner who is sick and tired of your grass not growing?

Would you like to stop spending thousands of dollars sodding your lawn over and over again?

Are you tired of incurring all of the expenses in mowing, watering and fertilizing your grass?

If so, you should call the skilled professionals at Gardner Astroturf and have Astroturf installed at your home.

You’ll be joining a growing trend, because the popularity of artificial grass has grown tremendously in the past decade.

Artificial turf has even attracted positive attention recently from such trendy media outlets as House Beautiful and Architectural Digest.

Consumers should be aware that artificial grass looks and feels much closer to real grass than it did in the past, thanks to improvements in technology

and manufacturing.

They can save lots of money on maintenance of their lawns if they choose Astroturf.

Astroturf is also very versatile and is often used not just for whole lawns, but for children’s play areas, decks, patios, putting greens and other spaces.

The skilled professionals at Gardner Astroturf deliver top-quality service to homeowners with a friendly, personal touch.

“We give individualized attention to our customers the big companies can’t,” owner Grant Gardner says.

The company’s employees are “some of the best in the business,” Gardner says, with knowledge, experience, attention to detail and a passion for customer service.

“We want our customers to have an enjoyable experience,” he says.

For details, call 205-401-3347 or go to gardnerlandscapingllc.com.

Cottage Supply Company • 205-618-8001 • cottagesupplycompany.com

Chelsea now has a locally owned, customer-friendly store where designers, builders, contractors and homeowners can buy everything they need to transform a home.

Cottage Supply Company, which had its grand opening at 20 Chelsea Corners in March, features tile, countertops, flooring, carpet, wallpaper, window treatments and hardware, as well as Benjamin Moore paint and Minwax stain and sundries.

A one-stop shop for interior spaces, Cottage Supply Company allows customers to make all of their selections under one roof rather than driving from store to store with samples and paint chips in hand.

The advantage is not just time and convenience, because the store’s customer service is second to none.

The experienced decorators, designers and project managers at Cottage Supply Company can look at the big picture with the customer and help them put their entire project together.

Cottage Supply Company offers customers a seamless solution for their renovation jobs.

This seamless solution includes design flow – making sure that, for example, your cabinets complement your floor and enhance your countertop, which in turn meshes with your backsplash tile.

It also involves excellent

communication. The professionals at Cottage Supply Company aim for clarity and accessibility in all they do. They want their customers to trust them and feel that they’re all on the same team.

The new store also offers far greater customer service and quality than you’ll find at a big-box home improvement store.

Based in Birmingham, Cottage Supply Company now has five locations in Alabama, including Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham and Tuscaloosa.

For more information, call 205-618-8001 or go to cottagesupplycompany.com.

280Living.com April 2024 • B17 Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section Tired of maintaining your lawn? Try astroturf
Landscaping • 205-401-3347 • gardnerlandscapingllc.com
GardnerLandscapingSales@gmail.com GardnerLandscapingLLC.com Call Gardner Landscaping Today 205-401-3347 •Spring Clean Ups • Mowing • Pruning • Mulch • Straw • Seasonal Color • Weed Control and Fertilization to Lawn Areas • Tree and Shrub Care • Fire Ant Application • Weed Control in Natural Areas • Aeration Leave the landscaping maintenance to Gardner. INTERIOR FINISHES SHOWROOM NOW OPEN IN CHELSEA 20 Chelsea Corners, Chelsea, AL 35043 | 205-618-8001 cottagesupplycompany.com Also in: Pelham | Downtown Birmingham | Hoover | Tuscaloosa BRING IN THIS AD FOR ONE FREE BENJAMIN MOORE COLOR SAMPLE
Find everything for your next project at Chelsea’s one-stop
home improvement store

Realtor Carrie Lusk treats her clients ‘like friends and family’

Carrie Lusk, Keller Williams • 205-427-5591 • carrielusk.kw.com

As a sales associate at the Keller Williams–Vestavia real estate agency, Carrie Lusk enjoys what she does, especially working with clients.

“I’m an extrovert who truly loves helping people,” Lusk says. “I treat everyone like friends and family. My philosophy is that relationships are more important than transactions. I try to keep the people who are going to be my neighbors happy.”

Lusk became a Realtor in 2018. She has been at Keller Williams since April and formerly worked at RE/MAX Southern Homes.

A Mt Laurel resident since 2004, Lusk specializes in properties in North Shelby County, including Chelsea, Shoal Creek and Greystone. Since 2020, she has sold or listed more than twenty homes in Mt Laurel alone.

Lusk says she “loves the energy” at Keller Williams, located at 595 Grandview Parkway. “The staff and support, the training and continuous education with the recognition are incredible.”

Her previous career was staffing and recruiting, and she notes some similarities in her new vocation.

or selling a house is a similar process.”

Lusk often partners on listings with veteran Keller Williams agent Kimbo Rutledge who says she tries to make buying or selling “as easy and seamless” as possible.

Door Restore can keep your door looking its best

Door Restore • 205-492-5866 • door-restore.business.site

An entry door is a great feature and can make a first impression when it comes to your home’s curb appeal. However, years of exposure to sunlight, rain and frost can cause significant damage and leave signs of wear on wood doors and iron doors.

Door Restore has been restoring doors since 2004, offering maintenance and restoration to clients in the Birmingham area.

“We only work on doors; it’s our specialty,” owner Van Etheridge said. “We never take your door away to refinish it, keeping your home secure.”

Etheridge likes working with his hands. Majoring in art, Etheridge took his talents painting murals and specialized in wall finishes while restoring iron and wooden doors.

“I thrive on getting to know people and their stories,” Lusk says. “I matched people with jobs and careers. Making a big life decision with a job or with buying

Carrie states, “We provide education up front, explain how the process works and give the clients lots of helpful checklists and other information,” she says.

“I try to take as much stress off my clients as I can,” she says.

“When the economy crashed in 2008, I went to work selling pharmaceuticals,” Etheridge said. “I was still restoring iron doors part-time on the weekends for a prominent builder. When the pharmaceutical company sold and laid off the sales team, I started back working with my hands and started Door Restore.”

Door Restore offers a maintenance program that will keep your door looking its best for years while saving you money.

“Wood doors weather quickly and

need top coating every one to two years, depending on exposure to sun and rain,” Etheridge said. “This is why when you use Door Restore, we choose a maintenance program for our clients that provides maintenance once a year including a top coat to save the homeowner money in the future.

“Iron doors have a special oil rubbed bronze finish or other metal hues in them,” Etheridge said. “We are able to restore your door to the original finish.”

B18 • April 2024 280 Living Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section
Door Restore can expertly restore your door on-site without removing it, keeping your home secure. Don’t replace your door... Restore it. FREE ESTIMATES • 205-492-5866 door-restore.business.site EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE ARE THE KEYS TO UNLOCKING YOUR DREAM HOME! Kimbo Rutledge 205.542.7371 kimbosold@bellsouth.net kimborutledge.kw.com Carrie Lusk 205.427.5591 carrieluskrealestate@gmail.com carrielusk.kw.com YOUR DUNNAVANT VALLEY & NORTH SHELBY COUNTY REAL ESTATE EXPERTS! #1 TEAM IN ALL KW SOUTHEAST REGION 105 Courtyard Dr • Chelsea Shoal Creek Golf View & Interior Lots Available 1246 Woodbury Pl • Sterrett 707 Carnoustie • Shoal Creek 100 Great Horse Way • Chelsea 131 Stonegate Dr • Birmingham

Capstone Village: Active living with a campus connection

Capstone Village • 800-799-5099 • capstonevillage.ua.edu

Tuscaloosa’s Capstone Village is a luxury retirement community for active retirees.

Capstone Village offers worry-free living while encouraging lifelong learning and healthy activities.

Located on the historic campus of The University of Alabama — the vitality of collegiate life is brought right to your doorstep.

“We take full advantage of our location at UA. Residents are provided with many opportunities to pursue fun, vibrant, active lifestyles.” said Jana Smith, Director of Sales and Marketing for Capstone Village.

The residents at Capstone Village enjoy university amenities — athletic and cultural events, access to campus libraries, auditing of classes and access to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Many Capstone Village residents are volunteer instructors and OLLI members.

Capstone Village emphasizes health and wellness for residents by offering onsite fitness classes, including yoga, dance and strength training. Residents also receive memberships to the well-equipped student recreation center located directly across the street. “The special relationship between the University and Capstone Village is something our residents cherish. Most of them worked on campus, attended school here or are huge Alabama fans,” Smith said. Residents enjoy having UA students from various departments and sports teams volunteer at Capstone Village. Students present musical concerts, host health clinics, facilitate special events, socialize with the residents and even work on research projects.

For more information or to request a tour, call 855-406-8242 or go to capstonevillage.ua.edu.

As the chill of winter fades away, we look forward to seeing all the wonderful colors provided to us by the arrival of spring. The mood created by these colors is so important to our wellbeing and provides a sense of balance in our lives. The same is true of the use of colors and textures in our homes. While the use of lighter and cleaner color design remains important, the use of the vibrant colors and textures of nature is highly desired. The one constant goal is always true: We want our rooms to be beautiful and bring us joy.

So, how do you bring color into your home’s interior?

“When thinking about bringing more color into the home, think splashes, not pops,” Angelia Spraberry of Oak Highland Design advises. “Your furnishings should anchor your space like a canvass with color coming from art, rugs, vases, bowls,

plants, wood tones, and other accessories to add that splash of needed color. Using textured fabrics and having custom details on upholstered pieces can add interest to a room’s décor as well as make a stunning statement.”

Angelia Spraberry of Oak Highland Design is a local designer that understands the importance of using color to anchor and balance interior spaces. She is eager to help guide you through the design process.

“My role as a designer is blending my client’s personal tastes with emerging trends to create and implement a custom design that is both beautiful and functional and fits the lifestyle of my client.”

At Oak Highland Design, the first in-home visit is complimentary. To schedule your complimentary design appointment call 659-207-0735 or go to oakhighland.decoratingden.com

280Living.com April 2024 • B19 Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section
Color changes everything! Oak Highland Design – Decorating Den Interiors 659-207-0735 • oakhighland.decoratingden.com THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA® 601 Peter Bryce Boulevard | Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 The Capstone Village lifestyle is open to everyone regardless of University affiliation. As The University of Alabama’s retirement living community, Capstone Village provides residents the freedom to enjoy active living and easy access to lifelong learning at its finest. Our caring staff, lifestyle amenities and commitment to safety are unmatched. You don’t have to be an Alabama fan to join our community, but you may become one! apartments communityengagement campus resources garden homes Meaningfulfriendships active living fun events & celebrations SCHEDULE A GARDEN HOME OR APARTMENT TOUR TODAY! Visit capstonevillage.ua.edu or call 855-406-8242
*Offers cannot be combined, some promotions may be limited to select sets. Not responsible for errors in ad copy. Quantities and selections may vary by location. Mattress images are for illustration purposes only Gifts with purchase (including gift cards and rebates) are not valid with any other promotions except special financing for 6 or 12 months.** Monthly payment is based on purchase price alone excluding tax and delivery charges. Credit purchases subject to credit approval. Other transactions may affect the monthly payment. *** 60 month financing is subject to approved credit *** The Nationwide Marketing Group credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. The monthly payment for this purchase will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the promotional (special terms) period. The APR for Purchases will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. For new accounts, the APR for Purchases is 28.99%. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. This information is accurate as of 3/16/2024 and is subject to change. For current information, call us at 1-800-431-5921. Offer expires 4/2/2024. **** Free base offer applies to Queen set purchase of $799 and above or King set purchase $999 and above. King base applies to either one horizontal King Base or one of two TXL bases.***** Free Delivery on mattresses $999 and up, Local area. $20 Mattress Disposal. BRING THIS COUPON TO THE STORE AND TAKE AN ADDITIONAL Does not apply to previous sales. Does not apply to manufacturers MAP prices. Limited time only. Ends 4/15/24 10% OFF Scan with your phone’s camera to go to our specials page. OPEN: MON - FRI: 10AM - 7PM SAT: 9AM - 6PM SUN: 1PM - 6PM bedzzzexpress.com Alabaster 621-7010 Gardendale 631-2322 Greystone 408-0280 Hoover 979-7274 Hoover 982-8006 Hueytown 744-4948 Inverness 739-2339 Leeds 699-7000 McCalla 426-1833 Mountain Brook 956-8033 Pelham 663-2337 Trussville 661-6200 Trussville 655-6906 Vestavia 978-3068 Bedzzz Express Outlet Greystone 408-1250 Bedzzz Express Outlet Pelham 664-0096 FREE ADJUSTABLE BASE OR UPGRADE & SAVE ON A WELLNESS ADJUSTABLE BASE with purchase of Sealy, Beautyrest, Serta, Nectar, Purple or Cahaba Bedding mattress sets. UP TO A $400 VALUE • SEE STORE FOR DETAILS • NOT VALID WITH OTHER PROMOTIONS QUEEN FOR TWIN $599 REG. $1,398 KING FOR QUEEN SEALY ROSEWOOD HALL HYBRID MATTRESS $1,299 KING MATTRESS SAVE $1,000 BEAUTYREST PALM SPRINGS FREE 7 PIECE BUNDLE DAYDREAM $499 QUEEN Save $400 ON THE PURPLE PLUS® MATTRESS Save $400 UP TO 4/2 - 4/15 TAX REFUND TAX REFUND BIRMINGHAM OWNED AND LOCALLY OPERATED FOR OVER 30 YEARS SAVE UP TO $1,000 STOREWIDE Transform Your Tax Refund into a Night of Better Sleep
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