November 2022 | Volume 16 | Issue 1
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GEARING UP FOR
Chelsea couple Lisa and Lee Moffett fulfills winery dreams.
See page A14
Under the Lights
Highlights from the middle portion of the high school football season.
See page B4
INSIDE Sponsors .......... A4 City .................... A6 Business ........... A11 Chamber .........A16 Community .....A18
Schoolhouse...A20 Events...............A21 Sports................ B4 Opinion.............B16 Calendar...........B18
Shelby County Schools plan for next five years By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE
ach year, Shelby County Schools is required to update its five-year capital plan for each school in the district. Its purpose is to meet the needs of the school community based on the student population,
including building necessities both inside and out. In September, the Shelby County Board of Education approved the latest capital plan that includes projects going from fiscal 2023 until fiscal 2027. Projects that are estimated at $50,000 or more have to be included in the plan.
“The timelines are a little bit vague, but it’s designed where you know what you plan to do for at least the next two years,” said David Calhoun, assistant superintendent of operations. “These are planned projects, but they do not take into account when pipes
See GROWTH | page A26
Parents arrive at Oak Mountain Middle School for after-school pickup on Oct. 14. Photo by Erin Nelson.
Hoover council at odds over changes in video recordings
By JON ANDERSON
A screenshot of the Oct. 3 Hoover council meeting. Illustration by Ted Perry.
For more than five years, the Hoover City Council has been recording and broadcasting its meetings on a city YouTube channel, and those meetings were available for anyone to review at any time. That’s no longer the case. At some point this year, videos of previous Hoover public meetings were removed from public access on YouTube. The city also stopped broadcasting and video recording the public
comment section of council meetings at the end of the meeting. Those two decisions have drawn criticism from some council members and members of the public. A majority of council members — Steve McClinton, Mike Shaw, Sam Swiney and Casey Middlebrooks — said they were not consulted before videos were first removed. No elected official is taking responsibility for
See TRANSPARENCY | page A25
A2 • November 2022
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November 2022 • A3
A4 • November 2022
About Us Editor’s Note By Leah Ingram Eagle While I know last month was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I didn’t mention it in my editor’s note. I was waiting to write about that for this month. Nov. 26 will mark 10 years since I lost my sister to breast cancer. A whole decade. It’s still hard for me to comprehend even after all this time. She was in her mid-40s when she was diagnosed after an abnormal mammogram in April of 2012. When she told me the news and the plan for treatment, I didn’ even give much thought about how it would play out. She had chemo, a double mastectomy and in October, we were having a celebration dinner of her treatments being complete. We even went to an Auburn game, which we hadn’t done in years. Things seemed good, until they weren’t. A lot would change within the
next few weeks. In November, she wasn’t feeling well and went to the hospital to get checked out. After some tests, she was told the cancer had metastasized to her liver. She was gone in just a few weeks. Every Nov. 26 is an especially hard day each year. Since it falls around Thanksgiving, it makes that holiday bittersweet. Since my sister was the first person in our family to have breast
cancer, I’ve had to get mammograms since I was 33. In September, I finally decided to face my fears and do the BRCA genetic testing to see if I also have the gene. It took over six weeks, but I finally got my results back, and I’m grateful to say I was negative for the gene. However, since my “ lifetime risk calculation” is high, I’ll be having a follow-up call with my doctor to discuss a plan for the future. Breast cancer awareness doesn’t just need to be recognized in October, but every day of the year. Make sure you get yearly mammograms and prioritize your health.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
The Lady Lions come together after scoring a point in a match against Helena at Briarwood Christian School on Oct. 3. Photo by Erin Nelson.
Publisher: Dan Starnes Community Editors: Leah Ingram Eagle Jon Anderson Neal Embry Sports Editor: Kyle Parmley Community Reporter: Eric Taunton Design Editor: Photo Editor: Page Designer: Production Assistant:
Melanie Viering Erin Nelson Ted Perry Simeon Delante
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Published by: Starnes Publishing LLC 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.
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Find Us Pick up the latest issue of 280 Living at the following locations: ► Alabama Outdoors ► Cahaba Ridge ► Chiropractic Today ► Chelsea High School ► Chelsea Library ► Cowboy’s ► Danberry ► Edgar’s Bakery ► Edward’s Chevrolet ► Ground Up Coffee & Smoothies/ Snider’s Pharmacy ► Lloyd’s Restaurant ► Mt Laurel Library
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November 2022 • A5
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A6 • November 2022
Mayor gives ‘state-of-the-city’ update By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer shared that the city of Chelsea had an excellent FY2022 at the October meeting of the Chelsea Business Alliance. “The state of our city is still very good,” Picklesimer said. “We are pleased to see the amount of growth we’re seeing.” During his talk, Picklesimer discussed the housing market, commercial real estate, retail and business, education, and just how far the city has come since its inception. He said while the housing market has slowed down some, indicators show that 2023 will remain very strong. Chelsea Park continues to grow and expand, and there should be homes in two new subdivisions during this fiscal year that just started in October. There will also be several new sectors beginning in other subdivisions. Picklesimer said he has been told by a local realtor recently that there are simply not enough existing homes on the market for the demand. “I feel like it’s a good place to be,” he said. “Chelsea has been one of the hottest areas of Shelby County for a number of years now. We take a lot of pride in that, but we also take and feel a lot of responsibility in that. We need to continue to grow our city and offer amenities that make people want to come.”
The Chelsea Foothills Business Park is nearing completion and Picklesimer said the city owned development was created with a goal of bringing jobs to the city. The council also recently approved him to sign contract to sell the former Side Street Cafe/Bernie’s next to Station 31 Kitchen that will be transformed into an HDC Hunt Store and look similar to a hunting lodge. Picklesimer said that at one point last year,
there were five new businesses under construction in the city at one time. He mentioned the success of new businesses Las Mesas Cantina and Racetrac and added that construction should begin on the new LaQuinta Inn soon. The mayor has signed a contract to have an ABC Distribution Center constructed behind Elite Off Road Performance on U.S. 280 East. Currently operating out of the ABC store in the Winn-Dixie shopping center, a two-acre parcel will be constructed on the city-owned property brining 14 jobs to the city, while leaving two acres available to be developed. Another new business will be constructed behind Applebee’s. AIM Academy is building a location where they will offer a daycare and pre-K. The Pihakis Group is spending $16 million at the former of Treetop Family Adventure on County Road 41 to create a five restaurant development.
“Education and partnership with our schools will continue to be a focus for this administration,” Picklesimer said. “We will continue to focus this year on ways to partner with and help to improve the Shelby County Schools that serve our city.” In the 2022-23 general fund budget, the Chelsea City Council approved $130,000 to be divided equally between the four Chelsea schools. Picklesimer said the one-cent sales tax continues to pay tremendous dividends at the schools. The City of Chelsea is averaging $18 million per month in sales, an average of $180,000 per month. Picklesimer said they we have to share and to work with our schools and he looks forward to seeing what it will produce. The Nick Grant program has been successful and over $1 million in grants for our schools have
to our facilities.”
Mayor Tony Picklesimer speaks to the audience in attendance at the Chelsea Business Alliance meeting Oct. 5. Photo by Leah Ingram Eagle.
“Phase 2 is well underway at the Highway 11 Sports Complex,” Picklesimer said. It will have four new baseball fields plus a championship field that the high school will be using for their home games and it should be operational in spring season of baseball of 2023 with final completion in the summer. Picklesimer said the Chelsea Park and Recreation Department is bursting at the seams. The council recently approved a $3.6 million project for the Chelsea Community Center that will feature a second full-size gymnasium, locker room and several racquetball courts and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
been awarded to teachers and administrators. “This money was designated to improve the classroom experience, but it’s spilled over some and we’re able to do some other things.” Picklesimer said. The most recent project was the $1.7 million turf and track project at Chelsea High School was a general fund project for the city, in partnership with the Shelby County Commission, the city of Westover, and the Shelby County Board of Education. While the track project at the high school could not be completed prior to football season, but construction continued after the final Chelsea football home game of the season. Once completed, Chelsea High School will be able to host a track event for the first time ever. After the July election in which the Chelsea residents voted overwhelmingly against a property tax to form a city school system, Picklesimer said the council has turned their attention back to trying to work with the Shelby County Board of Education to “partner in every way we can to help make much needed improvements
Picklesimer said he is very proud of Chelseahow it looks and feels and said the All About Family slogan remains just as important today as it was 26 years ago when city was formed. “I look at cities around us most of them have more stuff than we do, but they also have been around for 100 years, we are still a baby when it comes to municipalities,” Picklesimer said. “For all the things we have to offer our citizens, all of the services that we have: our fire department is about 70 strong, we have three excellent Shelby County Deputies patrolling our city around the clock. We’re very thankful we can offer that.” The council recently approved the FY23 budget that was over $12 million. Picklesimer said Chelsea has come a long way from 1996 with a population of just over 900 people, now there are over 16,000 residents and the city continues to grow. “The future is very bring and I look forward to watching it grow,” Picklesimer said. “I have three more years to serve as your mayor and I thank you for the opportunity to do that.”
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November 2022 • A7
Chelsea schools continue to benefit from the city’s 1-cent sales tax as the council approved over $100,000 in grants during the Oct. 18 City Council meeting. Photo by Erin Nelson.
CARPET WAREHOUSE S 27 YEAR STRONG!
Council approves Nick Grant funding By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE The 1-cent sales tax in the city of Chelsea continues to provide needed items to the schools. At the Oct. 18 Chelsea City Council meeting, Nick Grant funds were awarded to all four schools, totaling $103,188. ► Chelsea Park Elementary School ($26,127): Items included reading curriculum, computer programs, four ViewSonic panels and carts, outdoor classroom and gardening materials. ► Forest Oaks Elementary School ($36,023): Items included four ViewSonic panels and carts, iPads, MacBooks, a hovercam, cornhole and pickleball sets, books and reading materials and an Osmo kit. ► Chelsea Middle School ($27,494): Items included six ViewSonic panels and carts, two MacBooks, a goggle sanitizing station, books, headphones and a camera. ► Chelsea High School ($13,544): Items included a light kit, software, printer, mentimeter, graphing calculators, camcorder and document camera.
The council also donated $10,000 to the Chelsea High School wrestling program. Mike Burroughs, a member of the Chelsea Wrestling Booster Club, said the money was needed to help pay stipends for assistant coaches. Burroughs said Heath Butler is the only coach who has wrestling experience, and they have several volunteers who help, but none with experience in the sport. “As coaches leave, it is a direct relation to how many of our athletes go to the state tournament,” he said. “It’s really hard to go get any assistant coaches to come assist if you can’t pay them.” Burroughs thanked the mayor and council for their donation and said it will make a difference. In his mayor’s report, Tony Picklesimer declared November 2022 as National Hospice & Palliative Care Month and Nov. 1 as National Family Literacy Day. In other business, the council approved the adoption of a cafeteria plan and for the city’s bills to be paid. The next City Council meetings will be Nov. 1 and Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.
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A8 • November 2022
Candidates gear up for Nov. 8 election By JON ANDERSON AND LEAH INGRAM EAGLE The Nov. 8 general election is quickly approaching, and 11 candidates are battling for legislative seats representing parts of the 280 Living coverage area at the federal and state level. U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, a Hoover resident who has represented Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District since 2014, faces Libertarian challenger Andria Chieffo, who works as an amnesty floor monitor at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer. At the state level, four legislative seats representing parts of the 280 Living coverage area have competition in the general election. In Senate District 15, incumbent Sen. Dan Roberts, a Republican from Mountain Brook, must overcome a challenge from Libertarian Michael Crump, who said he wants to ensure people can live their lives without government influence. State Rep. Arnold Mooney, who represents House District 43 (which covers north Shelby County from Meadow Brook to Riverchase), is facing a challenge from Democrat Prince Cleveland and Libertarian Jason Burr, both of whom are running for office for the first time. Mooney and Burr live in Meadow Brook and Cleveland lives in Inverness.
In House District 45, which includes parts of north Shelby County, eastern Jefferson County and southwest St. Clair County, Republican Susan DuBose of Greystone faces Libertarian Kari Mitchell Whitaker of the Dunnavant Valley community. The House District 48 race, which covers part of Greystone, Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook and north Shelby County, features incumbent Rep. Jim Carns of Mountain Brook versus Libertarian Bruce Stutts of Vestavia Hills. Also, Republican Erin Bell Welborn and Democrat Ashley Bell are seeking to become Shelby County’s next district court judge for Circuit 18, Place 1. Here are bios for Welborn and Bell. Stories about the federal and state legislative candidates can be found at 280living.com.
SHELBY COUNTY DISTRICT COURT JUDGE (CIRCUIT 18) PLACE 1
► Name: Erin Bell Welborn ► Party: Republican ► Residence: North Shelby County ► Professional Experience: Solo attorney practice (2007-2015); managing partner of J. Welborn & Associates (2015-present) ► Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Alabama at
Birmingham (2003); Juris Doctorate, Birmingham School of Law (2007) ► Main Issues: “I have spent nearly my entire career working in the Juvenile Court as a practicing attorney representing parents, grandpar- Welborn ents, children and as a guardian ad litem representing the best interests of children,” she said. “My experience has prepared me to provide an efficient, fair and honest court process for the children and families of Shelby County.” ► Motto: Faith. Families. Fairness. ► Website/social media: facebook.com/ WelbornForJudge ► Name: Ashley N. Bell ► Party: Democrat ► Residence: Chelsea ► Professional Experience: Bell is a fulltime practicing attorney in Alabama and is the founder of A. Bell Law Firm. As a practicing attorney, she has devoted her life to juvenile law, criminal defense, family law and domestic relations. She is licensed to practice in all
Alabama state courts, as well as the federal courts in the Northern and Southern District of Alabama. Bell is also a licensed master’s level social worker. ► Education: Bachelor’s degree in criminal Justice Bell from the University of Alabama at Birmingham; master’s degree in business management from Troy University-Montgomery; master's degree in social work from the University of Alabama; juris doctorate from Birmingham School of Law. ► Main Issues: “As a voice for the voiceless, I take pride in knowing that, as district court judge, I am able to reach a greater number of people and to be the voice for Shelby County," Bell said. She said children are the future, and society must do everything within its reach to make sure our children have a future. She sid everyone has a voice, and that voice should be heard. ► Motto: Faith. Family. Experience. Integrity. ► Website/social media: ashleynbell forjudge.com.
Commission hears revenue update Cheryl Naugher, center, presented a revenue update to the Shelby County Commission on Sept. 26, and the commission unanimously approved the report. Photo by Leah Ingram Eagle.
By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE All four of the county’s tax categories have positive budget variances going into the last month of fiscal year 2022. Shelby County CFO Cherly Naugher shared a revenue update during the Sept. 26 Shelby Commission meeting. Commissioner Lindsey Allison said that the important issue is that it looks like the county is “rolling in the dough,” but that’s not the case. “Our estimator [Naugher] does a very good job of being very conservative and tries to keep our operation expenses to a minimum in anticipation of problems in the future,” Allison said. “I always get nervous when you show the report because we look so good. The truth of the matter is that we’re trying to be really conservative with our operational expenses because we don’t know what’s coming.” Here are the numbers for FY22 through Aug. 2022: ► Highway gas tax and rebuild taxes: $947,289. These two categories were up 10.79% and 26.12%, respectively. ► Lodging tax: $2,183,316. There is still a steady increase in lodging, which is up overall year to date by 15%, Naugher said. However, there was no increase seen from visitors to The World Games in July 2022. “This is 15% over the adjusted budget rate. We did an amendment in the budget projecting
more revenues in March,” County Manager Chad Scroggins said of the lodging tax revenue. “We didn't have XTERRA this year, which is a huge draw for us. So, I think that 15% is with an asterisk — that's showing our investment is paying off already.” ► Rental tax: $2,461,614. Naugher said this category is more fluctuating than the other taxes, but is still up 13% year to date over the budget. ► Sales tax: $1,522,160. Even with the
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large budget increase approved in March, Naugher said these numbers still came in 7.5% above budget for the year. Scroggins said that the county saves money so it never has to borrow. “We always come in under budget with our expenses,” Scroggins said. “That gap both with savings of our expenses and overages of our revenues are put into fund balance reserves for future projects. We can invest those funds back into the infrastructure of our county.
That's what makes us significantly different from other counties in our state.” Commission Chair Kevin Morris said the one thing he heard from the evening’s financial conversation is the consistency to get better. “We are able to adjust the budget mid-yearend and still retain very good percentages,” he said. “We've been able to spend money prudently and advance the county in a lot of ways. It speaks volumes to the staff we have across the board.”
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November 2022 • A9
A10 • November 2022
Hoover’s 2023 budget includes 3.5% COLA for employees By JON ANDERSON The $154 million budget the Hoover City Council approved for fiscal 2023 includes a 3.5% cost-of-living adjustment for city employees and almost $15 million in capital projects. The COLA was the primary change the City Council wanted to make from the budget Mayor Frank Brocato proposed on Sept. 6, said Councilman Curt Posey, who is chairman of the council’s Finance Committee. While many cities are giving COLAs, Brocato originally proposed giving employees an extra step raise in the pay scale to help deal with inflation instead of giving a COLA. His proposal was to give an immediate 5% step raise for most city employees on Oct. 1 but also allow them to get their regular step raise on their employment anniversary date, as usual. Employees who were already on their 12th step would have been bumped to the final 13th step Oct. 1 and then given a one-time 5% bonus payment on their anniversary date, and employees who already have achieved their highest level of pay allowed (at step 13) would have received a one-time 5% bonus on Oct. 1. The idea was to provide current city employees a financial boost without permanently raising salary levels for future employees, but City Council members said they believed a COLA would be a better course of action than the extra step raise. Posey said council members were concerned that employees who already were at the top of their pay scale wouldn’t get enough of a benefit without the COLA. There are more than 130 city employees with 20 or more years of experience, and council members want to give them incentive to stay longer, he said. A 3.5% COLA also will better help Hoover stay competitive in the employment marketplace, Posey said. The 3.5% COLA will cost the city about $2.6 million, Chief Financial Officer Tina Bolt said. It also will be about $900,000 less than the immediate step raise in the short term but
Jacob Childers, a senior crew worker for the Hoover Parks and Recreation Department, cuts the grass at Hoover Sports Park Central on Sept. 27. He and other city employees received a 3.5% costof-living adjustment in their pay for fiscal 2023, which began Oct. 1. Photo by Jon Anderson.
will end up costing the city more in the long term because the COLA raises the salary scale, Bolt said. The budget approved by the council also gives city employees a discount on health insurance premiums if they voluntarily participate in a wellness program, with the city picking up 85% of insurance premiums instead of 80%. The wellness discount effectively gives employees 1.5% more take-home pay, Brocato said. It will cost the city about $900,000 but should pay dividends down the road with lower health care costs if employees stay healthier, City Administrator Allan Rice said.
The $154 million 2023 budget represents a 2.6% increase from the original 2022 budget and a 19% increase from actual expenses in fiscal 2021. It does not include “proprietary funds” (such as the sewer fund), for which the council budgeted $23.7 million. The $130 million general fund budget includes money to hire 17 additional city employees, among them 13 custodians. City officials believe they can get better custodial service by hiring more day-to-day custodial staff in-house rather than contracting the service out, Brocato said. They also believe it actually will cost about $89,000 less to make more of the custodians
city employees, records show. Other new positions approved include another plumbing, gas and mechanical inspector; a third animal control officer; a part-time police evidence control technician; and a fulltime senior recreation assistant at the Rec Center (to replace two part-time recreation assistant positions). In total, the new funding for all 17 new positions is about $95,000. The council also approved about $281,000 in salary upgrades for 14 job classifications. There are three jobs in particular where the city is finding it hard to compete in the job market with current salaries, including building inspectors, emergency communication officers and public works and park maintenance crew members, Rice said.
The budget includes $14.8 million for new capital projects, including $3 million for road paving projects, $2 million for sewer system upgrades, $1.5 million to design the proposed new Interstate 459 interchange near South Shades Crest Road and $1 million more for the widening of South Shades Crest Road. Other new capital funding includes: ► $827,050 for projects to improve stormwater drainage ► $700,000 to repay loans for about 15
police vehicles and a Fire Department vehicle ► $592,117 for emergency dispatch equipment and software ► $500,000 to go into a fund to replace turf on athletic fields at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex ► $300,000 for renovation of the Hoover Randle Home ► $266,887 to upgrade the traffic signals at the intersection of U.S. 31 and Patton Chapel Road North ► $265,000 for a building inspections/permitting software system ► $250,000 for renovation of the Hoover Lake House next to the Hoover Municipal Center ► $200,000 for Phase One of resurfacing the parking lot at the Hoover Public Safety Center ► $200,000 to replace body-worn cameras for Hoover police officers
CITY COUNCIL ADDITIONS
The City Council made several changes to the mayor’s proposed budget other than the COLA, including adding: ► $150,000 to contribute toward a golf tournament associated with historically black colleges and universities and the Magic City Classic weekend. ► $135,000 to raise salary levels for Hoover police lieutenants to bring them back in line with Fire Department captains. Fire Department captain salaries were recently raised with a restructuring of personnel that gave them additional duties. ► $100,000 for a music festival at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. ► $58,000 to fund projects at Hoover Sports Park East, Hoover Sports Park West, Hoover Sports Park Central and the city’s sports complex next to Spain Park High School. ► $23,569 for additional salary and benefits for the Hoover city clerk. ► $15,000 additional for hospitality and tourism efforts.
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November 2022 • A11
Business news to share? If you have news to share with the community about a brick-and-mortar business along the 280 Corridor, let us know at 280living.com/about-us
CAVA, a new fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant recently opened in Brook Highland Shopping Plaza in the former Zoe’s location. CAVA bought out the Birmingham Zoe’s locations in 2018 and has been in the process of converting those stores to their brand. A location is also slated to open at 20 Midtown soon. Online ordering and delivery are available. 659-250-0657, cava.com
in December, but no later than January 2023. scooterscoffee.com
debit card purchases, even after telling consumers they had sufficient funds at the time of the transactions. The bureau found that Regions leadership knew about and could have discontinued its surprise overdraft fee practices years earlier but chose to wait while the bank pursued changes that would generate new fee revenue to make up for ending the illegal fees. Regions issued a statement, saying that “although Regions Bank disagrees with the CFPB’s characterizations, the bank cooperated with the investigation and is pleased to move forward. Agreeing to the settlement reflects Regions’ desire to focus its attention on continuing to support customers through a wide range of account enhancements that have already lowered fees for many customers.” 205-766-8500, regions.com
NEWS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Mandy Davenport has just opened the doors to her first full service Hair Studio, and is accepting new appointments! She is available for appointments now, Monday-Saturday flexible times. 205-813-2391, smokeandmirrorsparlor. glossgenius.com
COMING SOON A new coffee shop will be built in the former Pizza Hut location on U.S. 280. The current building will be demolished and will be a drive-through only. This Scooter’s Coffee location will be the company’s seventh location and the first in the Birmingham area. Franchisee operator Grady Ross said he hopes the location will be open
Regions, with multiple branches in the U.S. 280 corridor, was fined $50 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and ordered to refund at least $141 million to customers the bureau said Regions harmed with illegal surprise overdraft fees. From August 2018 through July 2021, Regions charged customers surprise overdraft fees on certain ATM withdrawals and
Anatole’s Bike Skate Surf at 5413 U.S. 280, Suite 101, in the Cahaba Market strip center, is celebrating its oneyear anniversary in November. 205-536-6084, anatolesbikeskatesurf.com
CLOSING The OfficeMax location in Brook Highland shopping center has announced its closing. 205-980-2511, officedepot.com
Proud to serve the city I love for over 29 years.
A12 • November 2022
Burn Boot Camp expands to Meadow Brook Participants warm up during a class led by Ashley George at Burn Boot Camp in the Village at Brock’s Gap in Hoover on Sept. 12. A new Burn Boot Camp location is tentatively scheduled to open in Meadow Brook on U.S. 280 in December. Photo by Erin Nelson.
By JON ANDERSON Jim Safron has had good success with his Burn Boot Camp locations in Hoover and Homewood and now is opening a third location in Meadow Brook. The new location of the high-intensity workout gym is at the corner of Alabama 119 and Doug Baker Boulevard, in just more than 5,000 square feet of a new strip shopping center being built by developer Jim Mitchell. The company is planning a tentative soft opening for the Meadow Brook location in December and a grand opening in January. Safron, who lives in Hoover’s Blackridge community, had hoped to open there in June of last year, but there were a lot of challenges with development and construction of the strip center, he said. Safron said the U.S. 280 corridor actually was one of the first locations where he wanted to build a Burn Boot Camp in the Birmingham area, but opportunities solidified more quickly in Hoover and Homewood. He opened the Hoover location in The Village at Brock’s Gap in February 2019, and Homewood followed in January 2021. The Hoover location has grown to more than 600 members, and Homewood is nearing 600 members, he said. He sees great potential in the U.S. 280 corridor, and this spot is less than a mile off U.S. 280. He likes being close to the highway but not directly on it, and this shopping center should have good access in and out, he said. “I think the location is perfect,” Safron said. “I think it’s [been] worth the wait.” He’s also still looking for opportunities to open Burn Boot Camp locations in Mountain Brook and the Liberty Park section of Vestavia Hills, he said. Safron formerly worked in management for several big-box retail companies such as CompUSA, Gateway Computers, Office Depot, Office Max and Lowe’s. While he was working
in North Carolina as the Southeast manager of product protection plans for Lowe’s, his wife started going to a Burn Boot Camp in North Carolina. They liked the business model so much that he opened a Burn Boot Camp in Woodstock, Georgia, but he ended up selling it later because he didn’t see a lot of prime locations left to expand the franchise in the Atlanta area, he said. He and his wife saw a lot of opportunity in the Birmingham market and moved to Hoover. What he likes so much about Burn Boot Camp is that it’s primarily for women, he said. “It creates a very different environment when you don’t have men in the picture,” he said. “It creates a community.” The women who come to Burn Boot Camp end up forming new lifelong friendships, supporting and encouraging one another as they
work to improve their physical fitness, he said. But it’s certainly not like a book club, he said. “Our workouts are really hard.” Burn Boot Camp offers high-intensity workouts that vary from day to day. One day might be focused on cardio health, while other days the focus will be on upper body strength, jumping, arm days or leg days, he said. “It’s dynamic,” Safron said. “No workout is ever the same.” The gyms also offer child care and focus meetings where women can discuss goals they want to achieve with a trainer. And Burn Boot Camp is designed for women at any level of fitness. Amanda James, a 39-year-old Helena resident, said she started going to the Burn Boot Camp in Hoover about a year and 10 months ago after seeing her sister do it in Nashville. At first, she thought it would be way too hard
for her because she had never lifted weights or done boot camp-style core training before, she said. She had never done a pullup or burpee. Before, she couldn’t keep moving more than a minute or two at a time, and now her stamina has increased significantly, and she is getting stronger, she said. “I’ve lost about 20 pounds. I feel better. I sleep better.” The trainers are encouraging, know you by name and correct your form so you don’t get injured, James said. She likes the variety in the workouts and child care for her 4-year-old daughter. Also, she has developed a lot of new friendships with women who text and encourage each other daily. They even arranged a beach trip together in September. “I’ve made so many friends. It’s a super-encouraging atmosphere,” James said. “It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
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November 2022 • A13
Left: Millennial Bank sits on the property at 20 Meadowview Drive. This is the company’s second location and will also serve as its headquarters. Right: A Sonic is under construction at 30 Meadowview Drive. The drive-in restaurant is currently accepting applications for employment. Below: Total Care 280, the practice of Dr. Amy Bentley Illescas, sits at 10 Meadowview Drive. The business relocated from its previous location in Greystone. Photos by Leah Ingram Eagle.
Progress continues on Meadowview Drive By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE
In October 2022, a ribbon cutting was held for the Millennial Bank location at 20 Meadowview Drive. This is the bank’s second branch and also now serves as the headquarters. This was the second parcel sold at the property and is 15,000 square feet, built in the space of the former Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant. Lobby hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday with drive through hours extending to 5 p.m. For information, visit millennial.bank.
It’s been over two years since Millennial Bank bought the property on Meadowview Drive off U.S. 280 West. Situated on the hill between Valleydale Road and Brook Highland Parkway, the property sold for $2.9 million, ($606,695 per acre), according to Shelby County public records.
SOUTHERN CARE INTERNAL MEDICINE/DR. AMY BENTLEY ILLESCAS
After purchasing the property, Millennial Bank sold the first parcel to Southern Care Internal Medicine in September 2020 for $950,000, with Millennial providing $760,000 in financing, according to public records. The medical company is owned by Dr. Amy Bentley Illescas, who moved her practice from Greystone to 10 Meadowview Drive. The two-story building was built in the spot of the former Petruccelli’s restaurant and is also home to several other specialists. The practice is open Monday-Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit totalcare280.net.
MILLENNIAL BANK According to its website, Leeds-based Millennial Bank was chartered in 1997 as Covenant Bank, and the two merged in 2018. It is a full-service, locally owned and operated, locally managed, community-oriented institution.
“With roots in the Birmingham area for more than two decades, our relationships with our customers, employees and shareholders run deep,” the website said. “Our mission is to deliver quality financial services to our local friends and patrons in a manner reflecting the highest level of customer service and integrity.”
Millennial Bank sold a third piece of land at 30 Meadowview Drive, to AL Birmingham Meadowview LLC for $1.13 million, according to Shelby County records. The company was founded in 1998 and is a subsidiary of RealtyLink LLC out of Greenville, South Carolina. RealtyLink sold half of its plot to a local Sonic franchisee. The project was initially expected to open in Spring 2022 but is currently still under construction. Efforts to find out an opening date were unsuccessful as of press time. The company is in the hiring process; those interested can apply at careers. sonicdrivein.com/us.
A14 • November 2022
Chelsea couple fulfills winery dreams By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE After spending time in the wine trails of north Georgia, Chelsea residents Lee and Lisa Moffett decided to open their own winery when the opportunity unexpectedly presented itself. “I remember sitting out enjoying wine at Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris, Georgia, and looking out over the vineyard which one time was a farm,” Lee said. “It just reminded me of my grandparents' farm. I was thinking, ‘I could do this,’ and it always stuck in the back of my mind.” Lee is a civil engineer who continues to work as a consultant, while Lisa is a retired teacher from Westminster at Oak Mountain. She helped start the school in 1999 and taught there for 16 years. The Moffetts had some family land in southern Mississippi that they sold and decided to find somewhere not far from Chelsea to build a winery of their own. “I started looking for land, and the second piece of property that Connor Farmer was able to find for us was it,” he said. The location is at Risers Mill Mountain, about 30 minutes outside Chelsea near Majestic Caverns in Childersburg (Alpine to be technical). Lee bought the property and planted about 90 vines in 2014. He said around this time, his path began crossing with others in the wine industry, and he began to research what all goes into owning a vineyard and making wine. Lisa said that this change came during a difficult time for their family. Lee had cancer and was in treatment when he began the planting process. She said that she believes that God used it as a therapeutic healing for him. “It gave a new breath into him and into our family,” Lisa said. “We were weary and tired. This was extremely therapeutic for Lee, it changed him. This place has been great; it has brought our family together.” She chose the name Novi, which is a Latin prefix meaning “new.” It was a new business for them, but she said it also brought with it new
Novi Vineyards winery near Childersburg is owned and operated by Chelsea residents, Lisa and Lee Moffett. The couple opened their space in August 2021. Photo by Leah Ingram Eagle.
breath into them. The following year, Lee planted 1,500 vines and put up all the trellises. It takes five years for a vine to reach full maturity, which was in 2020. In 2020, Novi got its business license, and their idea finally came to reality. There are now 3 acres of vines growing on the property. Novi offers three varieties of French hybrid wines: a white Blanc duBois, a red Grove Allen Blend along with Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. “We are trying to carve a niche for ourself as having dry wine,” Lisa said. “Most Alabama wineries carry sweet muscadine. All of our wines are made from grapes, not muscadines. We are trying to be just a little different.”
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When the couple was dreaming about the winery, their desire was for their customers to experience a little bit of peace and rest and enjoy a good glass or bottle of wine, Lisa said. She wants to touch all the senses: seeing the beauty, tasting the wine, smelling their signature candle and feeling at peace. Novi Vineyards opened in September 2021, just one week after their oldest son got married. Guests on their opening day were many of their longtime friends from north Shelby County and from Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church. This year, they had a one-year anniversary party, and this time it was mostly locals who have become regulars at the venue. The Moffetts are reaching out to different
places to carry their wine and said the local farmto-table movement is something of which they want to be a part. The white barn is nestled in the trees and overlooks the vineyards. Inside is a tasting room, sitting area and the processing room. Outside are tables and chairs and rocking chairs so guests can enjoy their wine on the covered patio, or around the firepit flanked by trees. The winery can be booked for events, including parties, small weddings or a gathering with friends. It does include a prep kitchen, and catered food is allowed. Novi Vineyards is open Fridays and Saturdays from noon until dark. For more information, visit novivineyards.com.
November 2022 • A15
Cookie business ‘a passion’ for Eagle Point mom By GRACE THORNTON Melissa Espinoza has always loved to bake. “I’ve baked my entire life, starting with an Easy Bake Oven back in the day,” she said. But it really started to get real for her when she was pregnant with her first child in 2018. “I always saw decorated cookies and wanted to try and make them for my own baby shower,” Espinoza said. “I took one class and then tried on my own. It was a disaster, but they tasted amazing so I kept trying. I made them for every event and person I knew, and they kept getting better and better.” Her cookie fame spread through social media and by word of mouth, and four years after that determined start, she’s running a busy business called Cookies by Melissa Espinoza. “I love the freedom of being my own boss and running my own business at home,” said Espinoza, who lives in Eagle Point. “I can be a stay-at-home mom during the day and create cookies at night.” She said her favorite part of what she does is seeing the joy her cookies bring to children and their families. “I know it sounds silly, but cookies can truly make an event and make someone’s day,” she said. They’ve been uplifting for her too. When she was facing infertility, baking cookies was therapeutic. “We have always had infertility issues — we had to do IUI with our first child,” Espinoza said. “After we had him, we did IUI again and had two miscarriages, so we went through IVF so we could do genetic testing and make sure we were transferring healthy embryos. The whole process was long and awful, to be honest, but running my cookie business helped me have an outlet and helped me give back to some women going through the same situation.” She’s grateful to now have her twins, but she thinks often of women who are walking through what she walked through.
Melissa Espinoza, owner of Cookies by Melissa, decorates a batch of cookies. Photo courtesy of Meredith Rowlen Photography.
“I love to give away boxes of pineapple cookies — one of the symbols of infertility — to people struggling with infertility just as a little happy while they’re going through it,” Espinoza said. She recently posted a photo of a set of infertility-related cookies on Facebook with the note, “IVF cookies always bring me back — praying for everyone going through it right now.” She loves making themed cookies to give anyone in any situation a lift, from knee
replacement surgeries to back to school to family members facing diabetes. She also makes them for any party from birthdays to showers to anniversaries. “I always love making cookies for families through every event and every birthday,” Espinoza said. “It makes me so happy when I get to watch their children grow and get to make cookies for each birthday over the years.” For more information on Cookies by Melissa Espinoza, visit cookiesbymelissaespinoza. square.site or on Facebook or Instagram.
I know it sounds silly, but cookies can truly make an event and make someone’s day.
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A16 • November 2022
Chamber Right: Chelsea Fire and Rescue firefighter Ethan Redden and Chief Joe Lee. Far right: Shelby County Sheriff’s Capt. Clay Hammac, left and Sheriff John Samaniego, right, stand with Officer of the Year David Pressley. Photos by Leah Ingram Eagle.
Chamber recognizes police and fire heroes By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Ten police departments and eight fire departments throughout Shelby County recognized their nominees for policeman and firefighter of the year at the Shelby Chamber Public Safety Awards luncheon at the Pelham Civic Complex on Sept. 28. The annual luncheon, presented by the Shelby County Chamber, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence in public safety by presenting them with an award. “This program is an opportunity to personally thank the fire, police and sheriff personnel, and honor them for the outstanding service and sacrifices they make each day in keeping our respective communities a safe place to live, work, and play,” said Shelby Chamber President Kirk Mancer. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department nominee was Dept. David Pressley. He began his law enforcement career in 2019 after leaving a corporate leadership role in the private sector. The Oak Mountain High School graduate also served in Ukraine as a Christian missionary and wrote a book about his experience.
He graduated from the University of Alabama with a political science degree and came to work with the SCSO in 2019. Captain Clay Hammac said that during his short time at the SCSO as a deputy, Pressley has gone far above and beyond in his humble service to others in the community. “As one of the most proactive law enforcement officers in our Patrol Division, David never passes a cry for help or rests in his pursuit of seeking justice for a victim,” Hammac said. Pressley also serves as a member of the Project Lifesaver Team, which is dedicated to members of the community who struggle with Alzheimer’s, dementia or autism. Hammac added that Pressley is respected by his peers and also devotes his time training new patrol deputies as a field training officer. “His example of humble service, selfless leadership and unquestionable integrity is only one of the many reasons he is deserving for this year’s Public Safety Award,” Hammac said. Other police departments’ recipients: ► Hoover Police Department, Officer Blake Walker ► Alabaster Police Department: Police
Corporal David Sharpe ► Calera Police Department: Detective David Malpica and Detective Juan (Sebastian) Taborda ► Columbiana Police Department: Corporal Allexis Rittenhouse ► Harpersville Police Department: Sgt. Patrol Supervisor Kenneth E. Robertson ► Helena Police Department: Compact Detective Kenny Lowery ► Montevallo Police Department: Officer TJ Wolfe ► Pelham Police Department: Officer Daniel Turner ► University of Montevallo Police Department: Officer Josh Hammond The Chelsea Fire & Rescue recipient was firefighter Ethan Redden. Chief Joe Lee said that Redden puts service before self, including when he assisted an elderly couple whose dog passed away on the way to the vet. Redden helped them bury it at their residence and provided comfort care, going above the normal call of duty, Lee said. Redden also responded to a call of an elderly man who was filling his car at a gas station. When the man was transported, Redden filled up his tank with his own money
and moved the man’s vehicle to the fire station until he could retrieve it. Other fire departments’ recipients: ► Cahaba Valley Fire & EMR District: Battalion Chief John Roy, firefighter/paramedic Hillary Castleberry and firefighter/EMT Marissa Hays. These three responded to a house fire with a bedridden occupant. They were able to remove the occupant from her home and attend to her smoke inhalation, and then get her to the hospital. ► North Shelby Fire & EMS: Lt. James B. Miller. Miller responded to an infant cardiac arrest during childbirth. He was first on scene and initiated patient care, showing exemplary leadership and medical care throughout the emergency. ► Hoover Fire Department: fire medics Nathan Sweeney, David Edgar and Chase Lovett ► Alabaster Fire Department: apparatus operator Dylan Burke ► Calera Fire Department: firefighter Ethan Isbell ► Helena Fire Department: firefighter/paramedic Stone Pritchett ► Pelham Fire Department: firefighter/paramedic Brent Rejonis
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November 2022 • A17
Left: Kendall Williams and Brian Massey pose with Geri Roberts and Kim Mims from the city of Chelsea, and their Big Kaboom nomination. Center: Jane Ann Mueller with the Chelsea Community Center is presented with The Big Kaboom nomination. Right: Shelby County Tourism and Events Manager Kendall Williams, left, with Geri Roberts and Kim Mims from the city of Chelsea, along with Brian Massey with Ascension St. Vincent’s with The Big Kaboom nomination. Photos by Leah Ingram Eagle.
Chamber recognizes tourism and recreation winners By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Several businesses in Chelsea were nominees for the Shelby County Tourism & Recreation All-Star Awards at a luncheon Oct. 6 at the Grande Hall at Old Mill Square. In order to qualify, the nominated organization had to be engaged in tourism or recreation and meet one of the following: operates in Shelby County, have a Shelby County business license or be a participating organization with any of the following: Calera Main Street, Chelsea Business Alliance, Columbiana Main Street, Montevallo Chamber of Commerce,
Montevallo Main Street or The Shelby County Chamber, all of which were co-hosts of the event. Nominees were evaluated based on social media engagement, community engagement, a submitted information packet and participation/investment in any of the host organizations. The winners were: ► Restaurant: Oak Mountain Creekside BBQ ► Lodging: Hampton Inn & Suites — Pelham ► Attractions and Recreation: American Village
► Festival: First Fridays Calera Main Street Other nominees were: ► Amore Restaurant ► Arby’s — Chelsea ► Bellini’s ► Buffalo Wild Wings — Chelsea ► Candlewood Suites — Alabaster ► Chelsea Community Center ► ChelseaFest & The Big Kaboom ► Corbin Farms Winery ► DC Elite Productions ► Fairfield Inn & Suites — Pelham ► Half Shell Oyster House
► Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum ► Liberty Day — Columbiana ► Majestic Caverns ► Margarita Grill ► Melrose Park & Splash Pad — Chelsea ► Montevallo Arts Fest/Montevallo Arts Collaborative ► Oakhouse Restaurant ► Oak Mountain Amphitheater ► Oak Mountain State Park ► Pelham Civic Complex ► Pelham Palooza in the Park ► Pelham Racquet Club ► Station 31 Kitchen
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A18 • November 2022
Community Have a community announcement? Email Leah Ingram Eagle at firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.
New drug recovery, mental health center coming to Hoover By ERIC TAUNTON A new partnership between the Birmingham Recovery Center in Hoover and LIV Ventures plans to build three new drug and alcohol abuse and mental health facilities in Hoover, Madison and Baldwin County. The new Longleaf Wellness Center in Hoover will be a 15,000-square-foot facility in front of the Birmingham Recovery Center in International Park off Acton Road. It will be a partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient program with a capacity of 60 patients that will provide substance use treatment as well as serve as a recovery resource for the community, said Collin Harris, managing director of the Birmingham Recovery Center. When the Birmingham Recovery Center first opened at the end of June 2021, the center’s staff quickly identified a need for an outpatient facility that provided mental services. Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said he is excited to see the need for more mental health and addiction recovery facilities being filled. “I don’t know if you know this, but I was a firefighter and a paramedic for the city of Hoover for 42 years, and I can’t tell you how many calls I went on that involved people suffering from drug abuse and drug overdose, and we didn’t know where to take them and get them hospitalization,” Brocato said. “It was just as difficult to find somewhere to take people that were suffering from some sort of mental illness episode.” Longleaf aims to strategically expand in order to make intensive substance use
From left, Alabama Department of Mental Health Commissioner Kimberly Boswell, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, Birmingham Recovery Center Managing Director Colin Harris, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Birmingham Recovery Center Director of Business Development John Giannetto, Birmingham Recovery Center Executive Director Ian Henyon, Hoover City Council President John Lyda attend a groundbreaking at the Birmingham Recovery Center on Sept. 7. Photo by Eric Taunton.
disorder treatment more accessible to residents of Alabama, starting with its Madison County location. The new facilities will host support groups
and retreats and provide meeting spaces for people with an “invested interest in recovery support,” Harris said. Ian Henyon, executive director of
Birmingham Recovery Center, said the center has two overarching principles since it saw its first patient last summer: to be the gold standard for outpatient treatment throughout the mental health and addiction recovery industries and to improve the treatment experience for residents in Alabama. “With the formation of this partnership and the announcement of these three new facilities, Longleaf is setting a higher standard for behavioral health services here in Alabama,” Henyon said. “Our evidence treatment is trauma-informed and centered around attachment theory (a theory concerning relationships between people). Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said mental health and recovery facilities such as Longleaf are vital to the community because not enough resources have been put into mental health and recovery services. “This conversation about mental health has to be had,” Woodfin said. “Our Birmingham police and fire and rescue units respond to thousands of calls on a monthly basis every year. You can’t imagine the amount of calls where mental health services are needed.” Henyon said he challenges their competitors and organizations to “do better” when treating patients struggling with addiction and mental health. “The race to the bottom to provide the lowest cost and highest volume services does not lead the way to lasting healing and change,” Henyon said. “If we all do better, the standard of care gets raised for everyone.” The Longleaf Wellness Center in Hoover is expected to be completed in late 2023.
November 2022 • A19
Health and ‘Happy’ness
Horse’s health condition inspires local author to pen inspirational book
By GRACE THORNTON Phyllis Gentry said she’s known that Happy, a Tennessee Walking Horse, was special from the moment she bought him at two years old. But she wouldn’t have guessed that two decades later, she’d be going places with a lifesize cutout of him, selling books that she hopes will make children happy and handing out red balloons she says are “as big as his heart.” It all started one day when her trusty trail horse started losing his hair. “He started getting alopecia when he was five,” Gentry said. Equine alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss, is rare and Gentry said she’s never known another horse that had it. It made Happy have a hard time regulating his body temperature, so she had to dial back her use of him as a trail and lesson horse. But she did continue to let children ride him. “He’s so good with kids, especially kids with disabilities,” Gentry said. Then one day, she got the inspiration for a new way for Happy to help kids who need it most — a children’s book called “Happy the Helping Horse.” “I like to paint and draw, and I decided to write a book about him because he deserves it,” Gentry said of Happy, who is now 24. The book tells the story of a beautiful horse who begins to worry about himself when his hair starts falling out. “He was afraid the kids would laugh at him and stare, but he realized it was OK — he could still make kids happy,” Gentry said. “The moral is the more you give, the more happy you and others will live. Happy teaches us that our looks do not define us. Kindness to others is more important.” The book is available on her website and Amazon, but she’s excited that it’s also for sale at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. She said she hopes the book will encourage
Phyllis Gentry, author and illustrator of the children’s book “Happy the Helping Horse,” smiles as she walks Happy, a 24-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse who was diagnosed with alopecia at the age of 5, around the horse pen at her home Sept. 30. Photo by Erin Nelson.
children, especially those who feel like they look different because of hair loss from alopecia or cancer treatments. One of the reviews on her website said the book “inspires children to feel good no matter what they may be facing themselves.” “People have loved the message,” Gentry said. “I’ve had people cry, and there’s one little kid who almost has the book memorized — she
made a song out of it.” Horses are “healing animals” and have “a healing effect on people and children,” she said. Her own love of horses began when she was a child — her parents bought her first horse for her when she was 10. “I’ve shown them for years, but my main passion is trail riding. To me, you bond more with your horse that way,” said Gentry, who
lives between Chelsea and Columbiana off County Road 47. “I never thought I would write a book about one of them, but it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done.” And it’s a “tender feeling” to write and illustrate a book about Happy specifically “because he’s special,” she said. For more information or to purchase Gentry’s book, visit happythehelpinghorse.com.
A20 • November 2022
Schoolhouse Have a schoolhouse announcement? Email Leah Ingram Eagle at email@example.com to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.
Liberty Learning aims to educate Alabama students on civic responsibility Claire Hammer portrays Libby Liberty as she leads second graders in the Liberty Learning Foundation program at Chelsea Park Elementary School on Sept. 30. Photo by Erin Nelson.
By SARAH GILLILAND Patriotism in Alabama is making a resurgence, thanks to organizations like the Liberty Learning Foundation. In 2010, the founder and CEO of Liberty Learning, Patty Yancey, had the opportunity to participate in an honor flight, which offers veterans of U.S. wars the opportunity to visit memorials dedicated to the wars in which they fought. It was on this flight that Yancey had firsthand experience observing the generational differences in regard to civic knowledge, patriotism and civic ownership. She believed this needed to change. After her experience, Yancey partnered with several like-minded organizations and individuals to pilot what is now known as Liberty Learning’s “Super Citizen” program. Alicia Sherman, vice president of regional development for Liberty Learning, said the “Super Citizen” program was designed with students in mind. “The Liberty Learning Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded in 2010 which partners with local schools to teach students to be productive and engaged citizens,” Sherman said. “Our civic education programs are designed to teach, inspire and empower students to engage in their civic responsibility, personal character, financial literacy and career skills/exploration.” With early investment and support from companies such as AlaTrade Foods and Alabama Power, Liberty Learning was able to begin statewide education efforts during the 2012-13 school year, Sherman said. The program began serving around 14,000 students and
is now serving about 52,000 students this year. Any school can participate in the program, but there are a few prerequisites. “First, we have to be able to identify the source of funding that will sustain the program in that community for the long run,” Sherman said. “We never want to begin something that we can’t continue. Secondly, the teachers must agree and be “bought in” to the idea of implementing our program to fidelity in their classrooms. It is vitally important to us that the classroom teachers are eager and willing to provide this resource to their students. Otherwise, it does not leave its maximum impact on
the students.” Monetary donations are the most impactful way in which people can assist Liberty Learning, she said. “As little as $36 will sponsor the entire program for one child, and $900 will sponsor an entire classroom,” Sherman said. “We are open to involving volunteers. However, we encourage anyone interested to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can ensure that opportunity is the right fit.” Liberty Learning depends on donations to keep local schools from incurring any costs for these programs. The organization seeks local,
regional and statewide donors to sponsor costs so the schools never have to pay. The short-term goals for the organization are to bring these programs to as many Alabama students as possible, but the long-term goal is to expand the mission nationwide. While the focus remains on K-12 students in the state, there have been conversations about bringing these programs to the adult population. The group’s leaders are keeping an eye on expanding the program. For more information on how to get involved with the Liberty Learning Foundation, visit libertylearning.org.
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November 2022 • A21
Junior League Market Noel coming to Finley Center The 2021 Market Noel at the Finley Center in Hoover, Alabama, raised $235,000 for the Junior League of Birmingham’s community improvement projects. Photo courtesy of Junior League of Birmingham.
By JON ANDERSON The Junior League of Birmingham is gearing up for its 2022 Market Noel shopping event at the Finley Center in Hoover on Nov. 16-19. It’s a chance for people to shop from about 100 merchants that are expected to be selling clothing, jewelry, home décor, holiday items and other goods, said Jayna Goedecke, the Market Noel chairwoman this year. General admission tickets are $15, with proceeds being used to assist the Junior League’s 21 community projects to improve people’s lives in the areas of safety, crisis recovery, health and wellness, economic security, financial stability, education and culture. The Junior League’s partners include groups such as Cornerstone Schools of Alabama, Girls Inc., The Literacy Council, Youth Leadership Forum, The Foundry’s Hope Inspired Ministries, Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, Meals on Wheels, Crisis Center, Grace Klein Community, Mother’s Milk Bank of Alabama, NorthStar Youth Ministries and the YWCA. This year’s Market Noel will begin with a “Preview Noel” event from 7 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16, that gives people first dibs on merchandise available for sale. Guests that night also will be treated to music, food and drinks. Tickets for the Preview Noel are $55. The first 100 people to purchase tickets will receive a swag bag. General admission shopping is from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. On Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Texas Roadhouse is providing a free lunch for first responders. Then that night, from 5 to 8 p.m., an event called JLB Hearts Bham will allow shoppers to see performances by various choirs,
dance groups, cheerleaders and other groups. On Saturday morning from 9 to 11 a.m., there’s a special event called Brunch with the Big Guy, with Tre Luna providing biscuits, waffles and fruits, and kids will have a chance to do a craft and get a picture taken with Santa. There also will be mimosas for moms. Tickets are $12 for children and $28 for adults. Also, on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. will be a chance to have milk, cookies and a photo with Santa. A $36 ticket is good for two children and two adults. Extra children will cost $6 each. The Junior League also is offering people a chance to win a diamond jewelry item from Diamonds Direct valued at $5,000. A $48 ticket bought online gives you two chances to win. The winner will be drawn at the Preview Noel event, and the price goes up at the event.
For the men, there’s a cigar drop. For each $12 ticket bought online, you can get a cigar and one chance to win a men’s prize package valued at more than $300. The winner of the Cigar Drop also will be drawn at Preview Noel, and the price increases at the event. The final special item for sale is a cocktail kit from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, with a holiday-inspired specialty drink curated especially for Market Noel. The cost for the kit is $48. Goedecke said the Market Noel is an easy way to do a little holiday shopping for a good cause. “We help a lot of people out,” she said. Also, because there was no food at the 2021 event, this year, Olexa’s, a restaurant and bakery from Mountain Brook Village, will be selling breakfast, lunch and snacks at Market Noel, Goedecke said. Parking at the Finley Center will be free.
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2022 Market Noel • WHAT: Shopping event organized by Junior League of Birmingham • WHERE: Finley Center at Hoover Metropolitan Complex • WHEN: Nov. 17-19; Preview Noel Nov. 16 • TICKETS/INFO: jlbonline.com/ market-noel-2022-tickets
Last year’s Market Noel raised $235,000, and the goal this year is $250,000, Goedecke said. To buy tickets or for more information, go to jlbonline.com/market-noel-2022-tickets.
A22 • November 2022
Hundreds gathered at Veterans Park for the 2019 Out of the Darkness Walk, which aims to fight suicide and spread awareness about mental health. Photo by Erin Nelson.
People take part in the 2021 Walk to End Epilepsy at Railroad Park in Birmingham in November 2021. Photo courtesy of Kellie Franklin.
Out of the Darkness Walk set for Veterans Park Nov. 6 By JON ANDERSON The 2022 Out of the Darkness Walk for the Birmingham-Hoover metro area is scheduled to be Nov. 6, at Veterans Park off Valleydale Road. The walk, organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is one of six in Alabama and more than 350 walks scheduled around the country this year to remember people who took their own lives and raise money for life-saving research, prevention efforts and support for survivors and those who lost loved ones. Last year’s walk at Veterans Park drew 1,148 people and raised more than $101,000, said Marissa Grayson, chairwoman of the Birmingham area walk. The goal this year is $160,000. As of Oct. 20, 464 people had registered to participate this year either as individuals or as part of 90 teams, and they already had raised about $44,000, according to the event website. People are encouraged to register as individuals or teams in advance at afsp.org/Birmingham and collect donations for the walk. There is no fee to participate, but each individual who raises at least $150 will receive an Out of the Darkness Walk T-shirt. The walk, which is about a mile, is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m., but check-ins will begin at 1 p.m. People are invited to bring friendly dogs on leashes if they wish. There also will be food trucks, kids’ crafts, music, resource tables and a station where people can write out messages of
2022 Out of the Darkness Walk • WHERE: Veterans Park, 4800 Valleydale Road • WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 6, 2:30 p.m. • COST: Free to register, but donations sought • WEB: afsp.org/birmingham
hope, Grayson said. In 2020, 793 people committed suicide in Alabama, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more than two per day and 16 suicides for every 100,000 people who live in the state, which is higher than the national average. However, suicides in Alabama have declined since reaching 836 suicides in 2017. For every suicide death, there are four hospitalizations for suicide attempts, eight emergency department visits related to suicide, 27 self-reported suicide attempts and 275 people who seriously considered suicide, according to the CDC. People experiencing mental health-related distress or who are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support can call or text 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor for free, 24 hours a day.
Epilepsy Foundation sets $75,000 goal for 2022 Birmingham walk By JON ANDERSON The Hoover-based Epilepsy Foundation Alabama plans to hold its 2022 Walk to End Epilepsy at Railroad Park in Birmingham on Saturday, Nov. 5. Registration for the 1-mile walk is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., and a short program before the walk will start at 11 a.m., said Sara Franklin, a regional director for the Epilepsy Foundation. It’s free to participate in the walk, but organizers ask participants to find people and/ or companies who will sponsor them with donations. The Epilepsy Foundation uses proceeds to raise awareness about epilepsy, fund research and training programs on seizure recognition and first aid, and to improve access to specialty and supportive care for people with epilepsy. Last year’s Birmingham walk drew about 800 people and raised about $130,000, including corporate sponsorships, Franklin said. This year’s goal is $75,000, she said. This year’s walk also will be used as a time to celebrate the Seizure Safe Schools Act, which was passed by the Alabama Legislature
Walk to End Epilepsy • WHERE: Railroad Park • WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m. • WEB: walktoendepilepsy.org/ Birmingham
and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey in the spring of 2021 and went into effect this school year. The act allows non-medical school personnel who are trained to administer nasal anti-seizure medication to do so in emergency situations when a school nurse is not on campus. The act was similar to legislation that passed a few years ago, allowing trained personnel to administer epinephrine and insulin to students at school during emergencies, Franklin said. There are about 7,500 students with epilepsy in Alabama schools, and this new legislation could help save their lives in the event of a severe epileptic seizure, Franklin said. To sign up for the 2022 Birmingham Walk to End Epilepsy or for more information, go to walktoendepilepsy.org/Birmingham.
November 2022 • A23
Pro fisherman and 2014 Bassmaster Classic champion Randy Howell, at right, announces the winner of his boat giveaway at the 2021 Randy Howell Hope Festival, benefitting the King's Home in November 2021. Photo courtesy of Larry Dancy.
Parent Talk Line 205-605-1827
Randy Howell Hope Festival moves back to Chelsea By JON ANDERSON After a year at Veterans Park in Hoover, the King’s Home is moving its annual Randy Howell Hope Festival back to the King’s Home campus in Chelsea. Organizers decided the Chelsea campus had a more intimate feel and was more easily accessible to kids from the King’s Home, said Elishua Markham, the organization’s development director. This year’s Randy Howell Hope Festival, scheduled for Nov. 12, will include live music, a cornhole tournament, food trucks and vendors, but the highlights of the event are the fishing rodeo for kids, led by 2014 Bassmaster Classic champion Randy Howell, and a boat giveaway by Howell. This is the 12th year that Howell has given away a boat as a fundraiser for the King’s Home, which offers long-term shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence or homelessness. The organization collects donations, and for every $100 donated, donors get a chance to win the boat, Markham said. The boat Howell is giving away this year is a 2022 Triton 21XRT, which has a 250-horsepower Mercury Pro XS 4-stroke motor, T-H Marine Bluewater LED light package, Clarion Bluetooth stereo, ghost trolling motor
2022 Randy Howell Hope Festival • WHAT: Fishing rodeo, cornhole tournament, boat giveaway and fundraiser for the King’s Home • WHERE: King’s Home campus in Chelsea • WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 12 • WEB: kingshome.com/randyhowell and Triton trailer. It’s valued at more than $100,000, Markham said. Last year, the King’s Home raised $378,000 with the boat giveaway, she said. “It’s a really amazing thing that Randy Howell does for us.” The King’s Home operates 21 group homes on six campuses in four counties, Markham said. The nonprofit last year changed the name of its boat giveaway event from Campfire for the King to the Randy Howell Hope Festival. The day kicks off at 10 a.m., and Howell is scheduled to announce the winner at 2 p.m. People can make donations and get a chance to win the boat by going to kingshome.com/ randyhowell.
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A24 • November 2022
Fanfare and halftime performances in full swing as the regular football season wraps up in October. Photos by Laura Chramer, Todd Lester and Erin Nelson. The Chelsea drum majors lead the marching band at halftime in a game between the Hornets and Rebels at Vestavia Hills High School’s Thompson Reynolds Stadium on Sept. 30.
Above: Briarwood cheerleaders take pictures and cheer during homecoming festivities during halftime of the Lions’ football game versus Calera at Lions Pride Stadium on Oct. 7. The Eagles beat the Lions in triple overtime, 31-28. Below: Briarwood fans enjoy the game.
Above: An Oak Mountain band member performs during a game between Hoover and Oak Mountain on Sept. 30 at Heardmont Park.
Left: The Spain Park marching band performs at halftime during a game between Spain Park and Chelsea on Oct. 7 at Chelsea High School Stadium. Right: A Chelsea color guard member performs during the Spain Park and Chelsea game.
November 2022 • A25 The Hoover City Council holds a work session at Hoover City Hall on Oct. 13. Photo by Erin Nelson.
CONTINUED from page A1 the initial decision. Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said the change was made at the direction of the council and directed questions to Council President John Lyda. Lyda said he didn’t know who made the initial decision. Jason Cope, the city’s technology director, directed questions to the city’s public information officer, who obtained a response from City Attorney Phillip Corley. Corley asked that questions be submitted in writing and, when asked who made the initial decision to take down YouTube videos, said, “This was a council policy communicated by the council president to the city clerk. … The policy was communicated to the city clerk on Sept. 6, 2022.” However, videos from the past five years were taken down prior to Aug. 1. Corley did not respond to further questions about who made the initial decision. Corley did say he advised the city that state law does not require meetings to be videoed or livestreamed, or for recordings of meetings to be made or preserved. “However, temporary recordings should be deleted once minutes are approved according to the Records Disposition Authority issued by the Alabama Local Government Records Commission,” Corley wrote. “Another alternative would be to livestream only with no recordings or not to livestream at all. Transparency under Alabama law means that the meetings are open to the public and minutes of what was done at those meetings are made available to the public. The minutes are permanent public records and the official record of actions taken at a meeting.”
Lyda said he, in response to council members’ concerns, took input from council members and drafted a “compromise” policy that allows for videos of council meetings to stay online for 60 days or after the minutes of those meetings are approved, whichever occurs later. That was the first time an official policy had been created, he said. People also can download a copy of the videos before they disappear.
Lyda said council members’ opinions ranged from having no cameras at all to recording the meetings and keeping the recordings available forever, and he tried to find some middle ground. “I’ve not seen an issue in my tenure as president where we’ve had as wide an array of opinions as we did on this matter,” Lyda said. “My goal was to draft a policy that no one loves but everyone can live with.” Corley said nothing has been done wrong. “The city has not improperly deleted videos or records,” he wrote. “The city complies with Alabama law with regard to records retention. The city goes above and beyond state law requirements by streaming the meetings and making the videos publicly available.” But a majority of council members — McClinton, Shaw, Swiney and Middlebrooks — said they still actually prefer that recordings of council meetings remain online forever. Robin Schultz, a Bluff Park resident who spoke to the council about the matter on Aug. 1, said the recent changes in handling of videos go against the idea of transparency so frequently heralded by council members and asked them to make the old videos available again and keep making all meetings available going forward. Councilman Steve McClinton said he agrees. “I’m for total transparency,” McClinton said. “Why take them down? There’s no reason for that.” Lyda said state law determines what transparency is, and state law doesn’t require that meetings be recorded — either in audio or video format. However, the council wants to provide the YouTube videos, so the new policy he created is his attempt to define how those recordings
should be handled for this council term. “Our main goal and mission is to follow the law to the letter of the law,” Lyda said.
Councilman Derrick Murphy said that when the current mayor and five new council members were elected in 2016, their primary objective was to make viewing of council meetings possible for people who couldn’t make it to a meeting. That objective was met, and “outside of that is logistics,” he said. For government bodies that do broadcast or record meetings, each one does it differently, and he’s satisfied as long as there is livestreaming of council meetings and work sessions, he said. “I think we have to be fair,” Murphy said. “From a transparency standpoint, we have been transparent as a city. … A lot of processes have been put in place the last six years that this city never had. I’m proud of that.” Councilman Curt Posey said his original goal also was to have a live webcast, and that has been accomplished. Posey also noted that the council does record public comments that are part of official public hearings. Also, Lyda frequently will allow public comment on other votes that don’t require a public hearing, and those comments also are part of the council videos. The cameras now are being cut off only for the general public comment period at the end of the meeting, and that was recommended by the city attorney because of potential legal ramifications, Posey said. “You don’t know what a person is going to say,” Posey said. “The majority of us could care less if the public comment is on there.”
Shaw said cutting the cameras off for the public comment period doesn’t bother him because some people are reluctant to speak if they know they are being broadcast to the general public and have to give their name and address.
‘RIGHT TO BE HEARD’
But Shaw said the recordings should be left online for good for transparency’s sake. “I think it helps people see what their government is doing,” Shaw said. “Sometimes people want to go back and look at particular issues for historical purposes.” McClinton said while meeting minutes do record actions, it’s important for people to see and hear what was said and how it was said. “A piece of paper and words of minutes don’t capture the emotion and passion and somebody’s body language and the inflection of their voice,” McClinton said. Also, at Corley’s direction, the council meeting minutes contain much less information than they once did. Corley advised the city clerk that minutes only need to contain the actions taken by the council, not necessarily capturing everything that was said. The public comment portion of Hoover’s council meetings has drawn more people to the microphone — and more criticism of council decisions — following the flooding events of October 2021. People complaining about the council’s handling of stormwater flooding are frequent guests at the microphone, and Lyda has become more strict about enforcing a three-minute time limit for speakers, particularly those who are critical of the council or city staff. McClinton said it shouldn’t matter whether people are being critical. “We should always allow people who have complaints about Hoover to be on the record,” he said. “Whether I agree with them or not, they have a right to be heard. To censor it is very dangerous.” Swiney said the public comment portion of the meeting should be recorded just like the rest of the meeting. Middlebrooks said that would be his preference, too. However, he accepted Lyda’s revised policy as a compromise. Shaw said there’s ongoing discussion about it, and he doesn’t think the issue is dead.
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A26 • November 2022
Above: Chelsea High School’s gym will get upgrades as part of a five-year plan. Below: Chelsea Park Elementary School is slated to receive classroom additions to eliminate the outdoor classroom pod. Photos by Erin Nelson.
CONTINUED from page A1 burst or a tornado touches down. It's a bestguess estimate based on the data you have in your hands.” Calhoun said schools where there are space constraints are deliberately chosen for the plan. When the student population grows in a particular community to the point where there are more kids than available space, those needs are pushed up on the priority list. “The state requires the five-year plan to go in front of the school board at least once annually,” Calhoun said. “It is constantly being added to, and as projects get completed, they are being checked off, but the plan is ever changing and evolving in a living document.” Projects are based on the funding year. The current capital plan starts with item 20 because the first 19 items’ funding sources were either in fiscal 2021 or 2022 and are still ongoing. The funding year tells how urgent of a need that particular project is perceived to be. When the board approved the current capital plan, it recognized the projects were all needed, Calhoun said. Each project will go to bid and come back to the board for final approval once bids are received. The funding comes from the capital projects budget and a variety of other sources. All of the fiscal 2023 projects have had the source identified, but ones for future years will be categorized closer to when they are set to begin. Every year, the capital plan will include heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades, improvements and roofing projects, which are budgeted at $1 million to $1.5 million for reroofing portions of various buildings throughout the county. Other items that are almost always on the list are canopy projects, classroom makeovers and lighting upgrades in classrooms and hallways. “Those are just maintenance-type things, but doing so much of it, the cost is over $50,000,” Calhoun said. “In our seven-community school system, Chelsea, Helena and Calera are three communities where the growth is taking place right now.” Calhoun said there are more than 30 large projects he hopes will be completed in fiscal 2023. The following projects in the 280 Living coverage area are in the current fiveyear capital plan through 2026.
FUNDING YEAR 2023
► Chelsea Park Elementary School: Eight-classroom addition, with alternate bids for an auxiliary gym and two additional classrooms ($3 million). This would eliminate the outdoor portable classrooms. An alternate project that will be included in the bid is for a second gym similar to the one at Forest Oaks Elementary. This was added at the city of Chelsea’s request. “That's something they have expressed interest in and are wanting to test the waters and see what that bid comes in at and being involved in that project,” Calhoun said. Chelsea Park Elementary Principal Mary Anderson said she and her staff are very excited the district is moving forward with
the capital project for their school. “We look forward to having new classrooms, so we can have all of our students and staff inside the main building,” she said. “We are also excited about the possibility of getting a bigger gym. This will enhance our physical education program by allowing more space for students to have P.E. class. Our current gym was built for smaller-age children when the school only served grades K-3, and we have really outgrown that space. Our P.E. coaches will be able to do so much more if they have a bigger gym.” ► Chelsea High School: Upgrade of heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls ($165,000) ► Chelsea High School: Roofing 57,300 square feet ($500,000) ► Chelsea High School: Upgrade all existing common areas. Complete cosmetic renovation to all hallways and common areas throughout the original building. Install new bleachers and redo the gym floor ($750,000) Facilities Coordinator Barbary Snyder said the bleachers are the original ones from when the school was built. They had hoped to replace the bottom ones and do some cosmetic fixes to the upper ones, but all of those items to do so are discontinued. “We will replace the upper and lower deck bleachers, sand down the gym floor to the original wood, then rebrand it to include the Chelsea logo in the center,” Snyder said. “It will then be restriped, repainted and refinished hopefully over the summer so when the students walk in in August, it will look like a new facility.” ► Inverness Elementary School: Renovate the restrooms and do vinyl composition tile, lighting and ceiling grid in next wing ($100,000) ► Oak Mountain Elementary School: Demolish the red iron awning and add a barrel canopy section ($100,000) ► Oak Mountain Elementary School: Reroof the classroom wing and gym area ($250,000) ► Oak Mountain Middle School: Addition of a canopy to the front of the school ($100,000) ► Oak Mountain High School: Replace chair lift ($75,000) ► Oak Mountain High School: Upgrade ceiling and lights in main gym ($75,000) ► Oak Mountain High School: Roofing 45,200 square feet ($100,000)
FUNDING YEAR 2024
► Oak Mountain High School: Phase two renovation of the old fine arts areas to accommodate locker rooms, drivers education, athletics and physical education ($1.98 million) ► Oak Mountain Middle School: Renovate/add space for the fine arts programs ($500,000) ► Chelsea Middle School: Redo auxiliary gym floor, lighting, paint and ceiling grid/tile upgrade ($100,000) ► Chelsea High School: Tennis courts, expanded parking ($500,000)
FUNDING YEAR 2025
► Chelsea High School: Classroom addition and auxiliary gym ($6 million)
FUNDING YEAR 2026
► Forest Oaks Elementary School: Classroom addition ($3 million)
FUNDING YEAR 2027
► Chelsea High School: Add a new entrance/facade ($1 million) ► Other projects outside the 280 Living coverage area include:
FUNDING YEAR 2023
► Calera Elementary School: Roofing 21,400 square feet ($10,000) ► Calera Elementary School: Gym floor replacement ($60,000) ► Calera Middle School: Enclose breezeway ($300,000) ► Calera High School: Ductwork ($200,000) ► Calera High School: Create a surgical classroom ($150,000) ► Columbiana Middle School: Renovate next set of restrooms, vinyl composition tile, equipment, ceiling grid and lights in the next hallway ($100,000) ► Helena Elementary School: Reroof existing gym ($100,000) ► Helena Elementary School: Replace chair lift ($75,000) ► Montevallo Middle School: Renovation of office space to provide a barrier in the front office to reduce the opportunity for visitors to gain access to the administrative suite and the school ($100,000) ► Montevallo High School: Roofing 14,800 square feet ($10,000) ► Shelby County High School: Americans with Disability Act upgrades to stadium ($150,000) ► Shelby County High School: Gym floor replacement ($125,000) ► Shelby Elementary School: Restroom renovation, vinyl composition tile, ceiling grid and light upgrades in next wing ($100,000) ► Shelby County Board of Education: Renovate another set of restrooms at central office, lighting, ceiling grid, fixtures, partitions, floors, countertop moisture barrier and encapsulation in the crawl space below the Board of Education office ($75,000) ► Shelby County Schools: paving back parking area at Wilsonville Elementary Schools, entire loop at Career Technical Education Center, seal and coat and restripe Shelby County High School, Chelsea Middle School track, Chelsea Middle School cafeteria parking, bus shop and restriping ($500,000) ► Shelby County Schools: Renovate/
upgrade restrooms in the community education section and back hallway of Shelby County Instructional Services Center — epoxy, paint, new partitions, ceiling grid and lighting ($100,000) ► Vincent Elementary School: Convert existing locker rooms to support and storage areas ($125,000) ► Vincent Elementary School: Renovate another section of the media center — lighting, ceiling grade and painting ($100,000) ► Vincent Middle High School: Replace/ add canopy ($60,000) ► Vincent Middle High School: Renovate and update the art room ($75,000) ► Wilsonville Elementary School: Create a dedicated entrance with Americans with Disabilites Act ramping and canopy ($200,000)
FUNDING YEAR 2024
► Calera Intermediate School: Replace damaged wood at lobby entrance of gymnasium and sand wood, restripe, paint, brand, poly ($60,000) ► Calera Middle School: Four classroom additions ($3.96 million) ► Helena Elementary School: Renovation of pod areas, replace ceiling tile and grid in classrooms on main hallway, renovate all existing restrooms ($250,000) ► Shelby County High School: Renovate teacher workroom ($500,000) ► Shelby County Schools: Renovate space at the bus shop to provide a larger parts department ($75,000)
FUNDING YEAR 2025
► Calera High School: Auxiliary gym ($4 million) ► Career Technical Education Center: Enclose the breezeway and add restrooms in that area. Possibly renovate existing restrooms and replace existing ceilings in the main building ($1 million) ► Shelby County Schools: Reroof main area of the warehouse ($150,000)
FUNDING YEAR 2026
► Helena High School: Classroom addition/auxiliary gym ($6 million) ► Linda Nolen Learning Center: Replace rooftop heating, ventilation and air conditioning units ($50,000) ► Shelby County Schools: Upgrade remaining summit tracer systems to summit cloud — next four areas — Career Technical Education Center, Montevallo High School, Elvin Hill Elementary School and Montevallo Middle School ($1 million)
November 2022 • A27
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Left: Chelsea’s Dani Sulenski (12) hits the ball at the net in a match against Spain Park at Spain Park High School on Sept. 20. Right: Chelsea’s Madison Moore (5) serves. Photos by Erin Nelson.
Hornet seniors leave lasting legacy By KYLE PARMLEY Sports can be a cruel thing sometimes. No team knows that better this fall than the Chelsea High School volleyball team. A team equipped with talent and hopes of reaching the state tournament for the first time in three years saw its season end in mid-October at the Class 7A, Area 6 tournament. It’s easy to let a single result define a season, but doing so would be selling short what the Hornets accomplished this fall. Under second-year coach Jamie Gill, Chelsea won 32 matches and positioned itself as a top 10 team in 7A all year. Leading the charge for that team was the senior class, consisting of Emma Pohlmann, Ava Morris, Sydney Laye, Dani Sulenski and Madison Moore. Each of the seniors brought unique traits to
this year’s team, but one overriding factor was their collective volleyball intelligence and love for their teammates. Senior night celebrations on Sept. 27 emphasized that. The Hornets took care of business on the floor, beating Calera 3-0, but recognized the hard work those five girls put in over the last several years. “It was something we were all looking forward to,” said Moore, an accomplished setter. “Even though it’s been four years, it feels like just yesterday we were in eighth grade and even seventh grade. It doesn’t feel like we’re leaving this year.” Sulenski said the senior class and the team as a whole was able to become close this season, allowing them to push through tough times. Laye and Morris both played on the right side and as defensive specialists. Laye called senior night an emotional night, while Morris lauded the team’s effort and work ethic
as keys to having a strong team in 2022. Moore recently committed to the University of Mobile and Laye is still entertaining the option of playing in college, while Sulenski and Morris know this season was their final one. Pohlmann is headed to the University of North Florida to continue her volleyball career after a stellar run in high school. She said she’s been going to camps at UNF for 10 years and loves the coaching staff. “It’s going to be really fun and I’m really excited for it,” she said. Pohlmann was pulled up to the varsity team as a freshman, playing a supporting role as a freshman during the Hornets’ 2019 run to state. She’s been one of the state’s most dominant offensive players in the three years since. Pohlmann learned from some great players in her time at Chelsea, hitters like Zoe LaBreche and Hope Wright. She’s tried to
pass along many of those lessons to Lauren Buchanan, a sophomore who is quickly establishing herself as one of the top players in Alabama. Since Buchanan rose to the varsity team as an eighth grader, she and Pohlmann have been inseparable. “I took her under my wing right at that moment,” Pohlmann said. “From that point, we clicked. Our personalities go really well together. I don’t get jealous because I know my role and I know she can provide so much for our team and has provided so much for our team.” The baton will soon be handed off to the next class of Chelsea seniors, but this year’s senior group left an imprint on others that will be felt in the years to come. “I love all the seniors, they’re great people,” Pohlmann said.
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B2 • November 2022
Holiday Baking & Alternative Flour No longer do individuals needing to eat gluten-free (GF), wheat-free (WF), paleo, and/or keto lifestyle must wave good-bye to baked goods. Even for those healthconscious individuals, this is good news. After all, it is the season of breaking bread with family and friends. With today’s resources of alternative flours, online shopping sites and available recipes, it’s easier than ever to create tasty top-notch recipes that are rich in flavor, texture, added nutrients and…are potentially healthier for you. From ancient grains (like teff) to nut flours (like almond flour), you can create delicious recipes that are healthier for you and your family. However, be aware that not all alternative flours are good for you, such as corn flour and soy flour, because they are often produced from genetically engineered crops. Otherwise, here are some GF/WF alternative flours to try out. Amaranth: Rich in fiber. Amaranth was a staple food of South America. In baking, it can replace 25% of wheat flour when combined with other flours, and is great for tortillas, pie crusts, and bread. Almond: One of the most popular and versatile flours for all sorts of recipes like cakes, cookies, and breads. (I have a rich and delicious almond flour chocolate cake I make, and no one knows!!). Arrowroot/arrowroot starch: is tasteless and, an odorless light powder, similar to confectioner sugar. It’s a great
thickening agent, far superior to genetically engineered cornstarch. Great for breading or blended with other GF/WF flours to make baked goods. Buckwheat: Naturally GF, buckwheat flour is slightly gray in color and nutty in flavor. It’s a perfect pairing for blueberries in muffins or waffles. Cassava: From the cassava root, it’s a bit more dense, this flour is often a 1:1 swap in recipes. Chickpea: Made from ground up beans, it’s a protein powerhouse you can use in everything from pancakes to frittatas. It’s even great for thickening soups. Coconut: GF and low-carb, coconut flour lends a light and nutty flavor to recipes. It’s great for high heat cooking as well as for breading chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Tapioca: Tapioca flour is native to South America and the Caribbean, and works as a thickening agent in batters or helps make crisp pie crusts or chewy cookies. Teff: Teff is a GF ancient grain that hails from North Africa. When using it in recipes, sub it in for 25% of the white flour to enjoy added nutrition and rich flavor. The two newest flours on the block are derived from cauliflower and macadamia nuts. “Cauli-flour” is simply riced cauliflower that can be spiced up to make a tasty flatbread or pizza crust. You can rice cauliflower by placing pieces of raw, washed cauliflower in your food processor and blending it until it is reduced to tiny, rice-sized pieces. By using cauliflower
instead of grain flours for your homemade pizzas or flatbread recipes, you replace starchy carbohydrates with whole-food nutrition and cut calories, while satisfying your craving for bread. Similar to almond flour is macadamia flour. It’s produced by using your food processor to transform whole, raw macadamia nuts into a fine powder. Macadamia flour has a sweet, nutty taste and is a healthy GF, low-carb option. Macadamia flour is lower in both carbs and protein than almond flour. For a new taste twist, you can substitute macadamia flour into recipes calling for almond flour. Are you a first timer testing the waters with alternative flours? Here is some practical advise. Have patience, start with small recipes, practice and have realistic ‘taste’ expectations. With GF alternative flour baked goods, it’s virtually impossible to replicate the elasticity of gluten. The struggles and rewards of gluten-free baking come in blending several flours, adding eggs, coconut oil, and adjusting liquids. Eventually, you will enjoy the results of healthier, delicious recipes and baked goods without the potential stomach aches, bloating and inflammation. To purchase your alternative flour, consider these reputable companies: Bob’s Red Mill- since 1978, has been milling GF/WF flour in small batches and offering both the classics (like All-Purpose Flour) and alter-
native options like almond flour and Paleo baking mixes. A wide variety of selection is found locally or online. Otto’s Naturals- this brand is known for cassava flour, a dense grain-free flour alternative that can be used as a 1:1 substitute in many recipes. Thrive Market- an online membership site which has a wide variety of health products and alternative flours, recipes and articles. Vitacost- a non-membership online site with free shipping with orders over $50. Both, Thrive Market and Vitacost have a multitude of health-oriented products beyond the pantry. Locally, you can find Bob’s Red Mill products and other GF/WF brands at Publix, Fresh Market, Sprouts, Wholefoods, and Walmart. Lastly, online recipe resources. Here are a few of my “go to” sites to check out: Diet Doctor, Half Baked Harvest, Sweet Laurel-blog section, and Elana’s pantry. Then, I transition the recipe of choice to “healthy”. Would you like some of these delicious ‘transitioned’ recipes? Sign up for our newsletter via our website bc we include them in our monthly newsletter. As always, we are here to help transition individuals towards healthy living inside and out! Resources for this article: Top Gluten-Free Wellness Brands, Products, and Recipes/ ThriveMarket.com; mercola. com. thrivemarket.com/blog/cooking-withalmond-flour.
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November 2022 • B3
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B4 • November 2022
Sports Chelsea running back Emerson Russell has been one of the top runners in the region this season, constantly igniting the Hornets’ offensive attack. He eclipsed the century mark once again against Pelham, toting the rock 19 times for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
UNDER THE LIGHTS The high school football season has officially ended for many schools in the U.S. 280 corridor, including Briarwood, Chelsea, Oak Mountain and Spain Park. Here are some highlights from the middle portion of the football season. Photos by Shawn Bowles, Laura Chramer, Todd Lester, Erin Nelson and James Nicholas.
Above: Oak Mountain wide receiver Sawyer Smith has been a big-play target for quarterback Will O’Dell this season. In the Eagles’ loss to Briarwood, Smith caught seven passes for 114 yards and a score. Below: Briarwood quarterback Christopher Vizzina saved one of his best games of the season for crosstown foe Oak Mountain on Sept. 23 in a game the Lions won 34-14. Vizzina totaled five touchdowns, two through the air and three on the ground. He threw for just 83 yards but racked up 117 rushing yards.
Above: Chelsea quarterback Carter Dotson is just a sophomore, but he is showing that he can play at a high level. He had a strong showing in the Hornets’ game against Pelham, completing 19-of28 passes for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He threw a 38yard score to MJ Conrad and a 9-yarder to Jaxon Shuttlesworth, scores that tied the game at halftime. Left: Chelsea wide receiver MJ Conrad had a standout game against Pelham, as the Hornets narrowly lost 35-28 on Sept. 23. Conrad caught a highlight-reel 38-yard score in the second quarter and led Chelsea with five catches for 90 yards in the contest.
November 2022 • B5
Above left: Chelsea linebacker Anderson Brooks (9) was in the right place at the right time as he stepped in front of Pelham’s Clayton Mains’ pass for an interception. Brooks’ pick led to a Chelsea touchdown, which tied the game at halftime. Above right: Spain Park wide receiver Jonathan Bibbs (3) has been a bright spot in a tough season for the Jags. He caught nine passes for 93 yards in a loss to Vestavia Hills and caught two balls for 109 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Tuscaloosa County. Right: Spain Park running back Dakarai Shanks (20) had a strong game despite his team’s loss to Vestavia Hills on Sept. 16. Shanks ran the ball nine times, rushing for 63 yards and a 7-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Above: Briarwood defensive back Luke Reynolds (13) came up with a key interception for Briarwood in the big win over Oak Mountain. His interception led to a Briarwood touchdown, giving the Lions an early 14-0 lead. Right: Oak Mountain running back Trey Vassell has continued to be a workhorse for the Oak Mountain offense despite the Eagles’ struggles at times this season. In a tough 34-31 loss to Tuscaloosa County, Vassell (5) did all he could, rushing it 30 times for 164 yards. Below: Oak Mountain quarterback Will O’Dell has experienced some difficulties at times this season, but his performance against Tuscaloosa County was certainly a bright spot for the Eagles. In that game, O’Dell (18) was efficient, completing 8-of-13 passes for 124 yards and touchdown throws to Sawyer Smith and Jackson Blackwell. He also ran for an 11- yard score as well.
Above: Briarwood’s Cooper Higgins (13) has been a threat as a runner and a receiver at times this season. His best performance came against Helena on Sept. 30. Despite the Lions’ 31-21 loss, Higgins caught five passes for 93 yards, including a 20-yard score. He also rushed for 23 yards in the contest.
B6 • November 2022
Above: Oak Mountain’s Makayla Ragland (6) passes the ball as the Eagles face Helena during a match against Helena at Oak Mountain High School Sept. 22. Top left: Chelsea’s Reagan Sartin (8) hits the ball at the net in a match against Spain Park at Spain Park High School on Sept. 20. Left: Briarwood’s Anna Reid Frost (6) sends the ball over the net in a match against Helena at Briarwood Christian School on Oct. 3. Photos by Erin Nelson.
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When I became a business owner in Shelby County, I decided to join The Shelby County Chamber to meet and get to know other business people. While that has certainly been the case, I didn’t realize how active our Chamber is in a number of other important areas that impact our quality of life in our communities and throughout the County, including education.” There are a variety of events which our Chamber holds that will work for any type of business. Participating in these has helped me gain such positive exposure – and business – that my annual investment is more than covered. As long as I own a business, I will be an investor with The Shelby County Chamber!
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For more information on how your business can benefit by investing in The Shelby County Chamber, contact Chris Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org – 205-663-4542 ext. 103 1301 County Services Drive Pelham, AL 35124
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November 2022 • B7
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B8 • November 2022
Varsity Sports Calendar FOOTBALL Nov. 4, 11, 18, 25: Playoffs. TBD.
Nov. 19, 21-22: Girls at Spartan Turkey Jam. Mountain Brook High School.
Nov. 21-23: Boys at Thompson Thanksgiving Tournament. Thompson High School.
Nov. 5: State meet. Oakville Indian Mounds Park.
Nov. 29: @ Sylacauga. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 3: @ Homewood. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.
Nov. 8: vs. Fultondale. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 3: Girls vs. Mortimer Jordan. 6 p.m.
Nov. 11: Boys vs. Austin. Wallace State Community College. 4 p.m.
Nov. 5: vs. Murphy. Girls at 4 p.m., boys at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 8: Girls @ McAdory. 6 p.m.
Nov. 11: Girls vs. Cullman. Wallace State Community College. 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 8: Boys @ Chilton County. 7 p.m.
Nov. 14: Girls @ Parker. 6 p.m.
Nov. 10: vs. Northridge. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.
Nov. 14: Boys @ Vestavia Hills. 7 p.m.
Nov. 14: Girls vs. Mountain Brook. 6 p.m.
Nov. 15: Boys vs. Jacksonville. 7 p.m.
Nov. 10: vs. Vestavia Hills. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.
Nov. 17: @ Clay-Chalkville. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 18: @ Helena. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.
Nov. 10: vs. Benjamin Russell. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 17: @ Calera. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 21-23: Boys at Sneaky Pete’s Rebel Classic. Vestavia Hills High School.
Nov. 15: @ Homewood. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 19, 21-22: Girls at Spartan Turkey Jam. Mountain Brook High School.
Nov. 19, 21-22: Spartan Turkey Jam. Mountain Brook High School.
Nov. 21-23: Thompson Thanksgiving Tournament. Thompson High School.
Nov. 28: Girls @ Pell City. 6 p.m.
Nov. 17: vs. Childersburg. Girls at 6:15 p.m., boys at 7:45 p.m.
Nov. 29: vs. Ramsay. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.
Nov. 29: vs. Leeds. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.
Nov. 29: vs. Clay-Chalkville. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.
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November 2022 • B9
VOTE NOVEMBER 8 Several changes have been made to Shelby County voting locations to improve traffic flow, parking and handicap accessibility.
Postcards were sent to voters in March 2022 whose voting location has changed and/or who have had a change in their congressional or state legislative district due to the changes passed by the state legislature during the 2021 Special Session.
Information about voting in Shelby County https://election.shelbyal.com Check your voter information on the Alabama Secretary of State’s website www.alabamavotes.gov Check your voter registration at the Shelby County Board of Registrars website www.shelbyal.com/205/Board-of-Registrars or call 205-669-3913.
If you have further questions, please call Shelby County Department of Community Services at 205-670-6555
B10 • November 2022
Metro Roundup VESTAVIA HILLS
Medical Properties Trust announces new Birmingham headquarters coming to Vestavia Hills By ERIC TAUNTON
Medical Properties Trust President and CEO Edward Aldag speaks at a September announcement of the business’ plan to build a new headquarters in Liberty Park. Photo by Eric Taunton.
Medical Properties Trust, a real estate investment company specializing in healthcare facilities, recently announced a brand new, state of the art Brought to headquarters for you by our the Birmingham sister paper: area coming to Vestavia Hills. The building will make vestavia the surrounding voice.com forest visible from anywhere in the building and will harvest its own electricity from the sun and its own water from rainfall, said Bruce McEvoy, design director at Perkins and Will. “MPT started in Birmingham,” said Ed Aldag, president and CEO of Medical Properties Trust. “We’ve been around for 20 years and we’ve grown from zero to 200 employees and have built over 450 hospitals across the world. Our lease here — 1000 Urban Center Drive, Suite 501 — was coming up in a few years; we’ve outgrown the space so it was time to start looking for something else.” The Drummond Company offered land to MPT that is located down the road from their current office building, Aldag said. Aldag said he approached McEvoy
to design the new headquarters to be the most environmentally friendly facility in the state. “It’ll be the most environmentally friendly building built here in Alabama and certainly here in Birmingham,” Aldag said. “We’re excited to be the headquarters for Medical Properties Trust for many years after Bruce and I are gone.” The building was modeled after a property that EBSCO built on top of Oak Mountain, he said. “I fell in love with it the very first time I went there and saw the stream running under the building,” Aldag said. “When we got this particular site and I saw what we could do… this was always the vision.” Construction on the building began the week of Sept. 26, with construction expected to be finished in 2025, she said. In late September, residents and city leaders expressed their excitement about the construction of the new building at a gathering at the current MPT headquarters. “On behalf of the City of Vestavia Hills, I wanted to add that this is outstanding and exciting,” said Vestavia Hills City Councilor George Pierce. “I hope there’s an opportunity for our Vestavia Hills students to watch this project, study it. If you haven’t met [Vestavia Hills City Schools Superintendent Todd] Freeman, I’d like to
introduce you to him. I can see Vestavia Hills students, elementary through high school, wanting to study this and see what you do.” Aldag said he is passionate about the MPT headquarters being in Birmingham. “I think this is a trifecta of an experience in that it’s 200 jobs which any community would love and then it’s healthcare, which is what we know we do really well here in our region,” an audience member said. “To Vestavia, Birmingham and the entire county, hats off to you guys. This is truly an amazing opportunity for our region, not just Birmingham and not just Vestavia. I truly see this as catalytic in nature… We stand ready to continue to being a native support your efforts.’” He said MPT board member Steve Dawson can attest that “the very first thing my employment contract says is that they have to pay me a lot of money to move the headquarters outside of Birmingham.” “As the mayor knows, I am one of Birmingham’s biggest cheerleaders,” Aldag said. “I have the opportunity to host people from all over the world and I do absolutely everything I can to sing the praises of Birmingham. Not being a native here, I grew up in south Alabama, this has been a fabulous place to raise a family and I appreciate everyone so very much. This is the most welcoming place I’ve ever moved to.”
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November 2022 • B11
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further develop their fitness/ health. The community’s extraordinary fitness center is comprehensively outfitted for both individual training and enjoyable group sessions in the adjoining yoga studio. Organized gatherings might also include chess and billiards contests to keep the strategic wheels spinning. Overture Tributary exists to help residents develop strong community ties with one another. The idea is that your family lives nearby for regular visits, while your neighbors are right next door and ready to join you on the next fitness outing, game night, language course, spa day, or evening trip to a local restaurant. Choose how to spend each day, organize new activities of your own, have the family over for a meal, and treat every day as a chance to reach every wellness goal on your terms.
Annual Tree Lighting Festival Tuesday, November 29th | 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Please RSVP by November 28th
Enjoy entertainment, merchant give-aways, a visit with Santa, and the lighting of the tree. Vestavia Hills City Hall 1032 Montgomery Hwy, AL
B12 • November 2022
Duo expands their business Scenthound to Mountain Brook By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Brett Basik was working as an investment banker on Wall Street and Jacob Lee was working for a well known consulting firm. In 2021, the friends decided to go into business together. “We had always dreamed of being entrepreneurs and had that itch and were talking about it for about a year,” Basik said. “We pulled the trigger and did it this past summer [in 2021].” The duo opened their first Scenthound location off U.S. 280 in Greystone’s Lee Branch shopping center in February 2022. The business is a wellness-focused concept to keep dogs clean and healthy. Basik graduated from Briarwood Christian School and Lee is from Nashville. They said they are excited to open their businesses near where they grew up. They attended Auburn, where their wives were in the same sorority, but the two never crossed paths until they were in business school at the University of Virginia. Lee said while they were in the process of looking at different businesses and franchises, he remembered a colleague had told him about a business she had opened in South Carolina (Scenthound), and they were interested in the concept. They are preparing to open their second location in Mountain Brook on Nov. 1 and are already signing up members. Their goal is to open 10 stores over the next four years, including four in Birmingham and six in Nashville. Scenthound focuses on dogs’ overall health, and their routine care covers skin, coat, ears, nails and teeth. After the appointment, owners receive a copy of their dog's report for each item, rated on a scale from one to five. Scenthound also offers a membership model, making it a consistent monthly event
Tiffany McKinney bathes Sky, an Australian shepherd, during a grooming appointment at Scenthound Lee Branch in Hoover. Scenthound is set to open a new location in Mountain Brook Nov. 1. Photo by Erin Nelson.
for pet parents and their dogs. The convenient to all over-the-mounBrought to basic package includes a bath, tain neighborhoods.” you by our Bobby Turner, manager of the nail trim, ear cleaning and teeth sister paper: brushing. Lee Branch location, will launch Other add-on services include the Mountain Brook store, which will open with around eight haircuts, dog facials, deshedding treatments and more. 24/7 tele-vet employees. villageliving “We're providing that easy access is also available at an addionline.com button for people where they can tional cost. “With our focus on routine be great dog parents and don't have maintenance and basic hygiene for dogs, to think much about it,” Basik said. there is nothing quite like Scenthound in the Scenthound will be located at 354 HollyMountain Brook community and we felt we wood Blvd. and will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 could serve a unique need,” Lee said. “Being p.m. Monday through Saturday. right off U.S. 280, our location is super Lee said he and Basik have already signed
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November 2022 • B13
Caring for the Birmingham community since 1997 Complete Health Greystone 205-628-9167
Complete Health Greystone is Alabama's premier primary care and wellness clinic serving patients in Greater Birmingham. Formerly Birmingham Internal Medical Associates (BIMA), the practice has cared for our community since 1997. Primary care is critical to managing daily health needs. Research shows a long-term relationship with a primary care provider keeps patients healthier and lowers medical costs. Complete Health utilizes an outstanding "Care Team" model, innovative technology and patientcentered services to ensure effective and efficient treatment and first-class customer service. The Complete Health Care Team includes physicians (MDs, DOs), nurse practitioners (APRN, CRNP), physician assistants, chronic care managers, transitional care managers and member service representatives. “Our health care providers have decades of experience helping patients with all their health care needs,” said Stephen Hicks, DO. “Whether they’re dealing with a chronic condition that needs a custom treatment plan, or have a new injury or illness, patients can always count on our team to help.” Complete Health offers expanded access and availability, including appointments available same-day or next-day, telehealth visits, and state-ofthe-art diagnostics ensuring patients are not waiting for an appointment when more urgent care is needed. It also offers
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B14 • November 2022
Moss Rock Festival to highlight animals, nature, art By JON ANDERSON Animals and nature are recurring themes in the artwork of Jane Marshall, so it’s only natural that the organizers of the Moss Rock Festival chose her to be their featured artist this year. Brought to Marshall, an 85-yearyou by our old artist who has homes sister paper: in both Birmingham and Michigan, will exhibit a collection of her woodcut paintings, woodcut hooversun.com reduction prints and ceramics at the Moss Rock Festival, which is scheduled for Nov. 5-6 in the lower parking lot next to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The festival, now in its 17th year, is billed as an “eco-creative” event designed to celebrate art, nature, creative designs and ways that people can live wisely to sustain the natural environment. Marshall said art has been a focus and anchor for her throughout her life, providing opportunities to observe things people often see as mundane and translate them into a “rich, visual vocabulary.” She started drawing animals when she was 3 or 4 years old and is intrigued by the connection between animals and humans, she said. “We effect them, and they are important to us,” Marshall said. “If they aren’t surviving, we aren’t going to survive.” Marshall said she often uses animals in her art that sometimes are irritating to humans, such as deer (which eat people’s flowers), beavers (which tear things up to build dams) and raccoons (which get into trash and can ruin gardens or crops). Even though they can be nuisances at times, they really are beautiful animals, she said.
She often relies on her immediate environment to stimulate her art, from bird watching on her back deck to enjoying the greenery of spring and fall colors. Marshall has been a teacher in some form or fashion since she was 21 and spent many years teaching at colleges, such as the University of Wisconsin, Albright College, Saint Mary-ofthe-Woods, Kansas State University, Marshall University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. But she also has spent time selling art supplies and managing art supply stores. Alex Kunzman, co-director of the Moss Rock Festival, said he has known Marshall for years. She was part of the Magic City Art Connection’s exhibit of “Movers and Shakers:
Celebrated Women Artists of Alabama,” and he has his own personal collection of her artwork. Her pieces involving animals are very whimsical and full of personality, and they reflect the way animals relate to both nature and people, he said. “They’re just really colorful and beautiful,” Kunzman said. “She’s just a very talented artist we have in Alabama. We’re excited to be able to spotlight her this year out at Moss Rock. … She just embodies what the Moss Rock Festival is all about — the appreciation of animals, nature and wildlife.” In total, there should be about 100 artists at the festival whose work either depicts nature, is influenced or inspired by nature, uses natural
Artwork by Jane Marshall, an artist who splits her time between Birmingham, Alabama, and Michigan. Photos courtesy of Moss Rock Festival.
materials or uses recycled or repurposed objects in the art, Kunzman said. The design portion of this year’s festival will feature Storyteller Overland’s retrofitted vans for adventure travel. “They’re really cool,” Kunzman said.
SMART LIVING MARKET
The “Smart Living Market” will feature items for everyday living that include fresh, organic, locally made, sustainable products and consumables in the areas of food, home décor, body and health products and technology. For example, Jean’s Apothecare offers herbal
5299 Valleydale Road Suite 111 Birmingham, AL 35242 (two blocks from 280)
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November 2022 • B15 2022 Moss Rock Festival • WHERE: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium lower parking lot, 5310 Stadium Trace Parkway • WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. • COST: $10 in advance; $12 at gate; children ages 15 and younger get in free • PARKING: Free at Hoover Met Stadium • WEB: mossrockfestival.com
Jane Marshall will be the featured artist at the 2022 Moss Rock Festival in the parking lot at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Photo courtesy of Brett Levine.
seasonings, candles, aromatherapy, infused honey, lip balm, body butter and paper goods such as stationery. All the company’s botanicals are sourced from certified organic farmers, and its partners are ethical in their crop decisions and labor practices, Kunzman said. Chicken & Sweets Southern Yardbird offers handcrafted jams and preserves using locally sourced fruits and vegetables as much as possible, as well as pickles, candied jalapenos and squash relish, zucchini corn relish, chow chow, fresh peaches, crackling cornbread, ginger snaps, fried lemon pies and more. There also will be honey from the Ivy Brook Apiary in east Birmingham and Gitts Bajan Pepper Sauce made with fresh habanero and scotch bonnet peppers using a true Caribbean family recipe. The Hoover Public Library will have used books for sale, and the Grace Klein Community will have information to share about its program to recover leftover food and share with people who need it.
NATURE AND FOOD
Also, Colin Williams, an art professor and
director of new media at the University of Montevallo, will have 200 to 300 tree saplings for people to take and plant at home, Kunzman said. Each sapling will be trackable so Williams can tell where they end up as part of a project, Kunzman said. The festival also will include a Wonderkid Studio with interactive workshops for children. One of the workshops will let kids create three-dimensional butterflies using string, yarn, raffia, beads, pipe cleaners and jewels, and another workshop will allow young artists to explore all stages of a butterfly’s development. At least five Hoover schools are participating in an art project to creatively highlight the endangered monarch butterfly and the habitats that help it survive, Kunzman said. The Birmingham Quilters Guild will be exhibiting quilts from its 2022 Quiltfest as well as more quilts chosen especially for its fall festival showcase. There also will be a “sweetery” with goodies from award-winning pastry chef Susan Notter of Elizabeth Moore Chocolates and designer chocolates by Kathy D’Agostino of Chocolata. The Café by the Woods area will include Rae Rae’s Catering, which offers Polish sausage, jumbo hot dogs, chili and slaw dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, Philly beef and chicken cheese steak sandwiches, nachos, pulled pork and chicken, chips, lemonade and fruit punch. There also will be numerous food trucks,
CRESCENT STAGE PERFORMANCES Saturday ► 12:30-12:50 p.m. — IAmGreatness ► 1-2:10 p.m. — Alabama School of Fine Arts jazz ensemble ► 2:15-3 p.m. — Urban Sounds ► 3-3:15 p.m. — IAmGreatness ► 3:15-4:10 p.m. — M.U.A.D. ► 4:15-5:15 p.m. — CHEYLOE ► 5:30-7 p.m. — Kamal (VIP event) Sunday ► 11:15 a.m.-noon— Urban Sounds ► 12:10-12:30 p.m. — Dala ► 12:35-1:30 p.m. — NKOSI ► 1:45-2:15 p.m. — Rhea and Michael ► 2:30-3:30 p.m. — Bob Marston
including Cousins Maine Lobster (Saturday only), Nawlins Style Po’boys, Tamale Queen, Corazon Mexican and D&M Snow Cones. For those who want alcoholic beverages, the festival for the 11th year will feature a beer garden with about 50 craft beers to taste, as well as a home brewery group called the Car Boy Junkies, wine from Plenty of Vino and beer snacks, Kunzman said. The beer garden will have three sessions (12:30-2 p.m. Saturday, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday). Tickets for the beer garden cost $30 in advance and $40 at the gate, but the beer garden ticket includes festival entry and a commemorative beer glass sponsored by The Beer Hog. Festivalgoers also will have live music and dance performances throughout the day. For a list of artists who are signed up to come and a sample of their work, or for tickets or more information, go to mossrockfestival.com or call 205-595-6306.
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B16 • November 2022
Opinion Sean of the South By Sean Dietrich
Things I’m Grateful For My cousin’s daughter is making a list of things she’s grateful for. It’s a Thanksgiving-themed assignment for school. She asked for my help. And when a kid asks you for help, it makes you feel eleven feet tall. “It would be an honor,” I said. “Thanks for asking me.” “You’re welcome.” “What made you choose me?” “Well, I was thinking maybe you could write my list while I ride bikes with my friends.” “Wait a second. Aren’t you gonna do any work?” “Of course,” she explained. “I’ll be your editor. Now get busy.” Editors. Well, I don’t mind naming items for which I am grateful. I will start by writing that I am grateful for cold weather. Admittedly, I don’t love the weather itself, but I enjoy what the cold represents. It means November is here, it means the holidays are close, it means I have to put on my winter coat to use the toilet in my trailer home. Gratefulness item number two: cinnamon brooms in the supermarket. Man, I love these things. I could sniff them for hours in the grocery store. I am grateful for sweet potato pies, and Butterball turkeys that are deep fried by men who wear overalls. And for squash
casserole, green bean cascans of bacon grease, the serole, cheese potato cassetaste of pepper gravy, Conerole, hash brown casserole, cuh sausage, gaudy socks, and the aroma of truck collards, and cornbread dressing. exhaust on a cold morning. Reruns of the Andy GrifI am grateful for the way fith Show. My late father’s my wife looks when she’s sleeping. Her face relaxes, Case pocket knife. And good music. and she snores gently with This is the time of year her mouth open. when radio stations play the In moments like that, I old stuff. Nat King Cole, like to see how many cockDean Martin, Bing Crosby, tail peanuts I can carefully Dietrich Old Blue Eyes, and Alvin place into her open mouth and the Chipmunks. without waking her. My allI am grateful for the way dogs wake you time record is nineteen. When she awoke, up in the morning. And for Hallmark Chan- she spit out the peanuts, and tried to gut me nel movies. Especially the cheesy movies with a set of car keys. I am thankful for the way the sun comes that are about as clever as a scoop of ham out and warms the world when we need it salad. most. The sun is poking through the clouds The plots all go something like this: Beautiful young business woman from while I write this. And it’s enough to make big city visits her hometown after twenty you stop and stare. My cousin’s daughter is still riding bikes years and falls in love with a handsome flannel-shirt-wearing widower and former with friends, laughing. She breezes into country-music singer who owns a golden the driveway, then slams her brakes. She is retriever named Max and is trying to save out of breath, rosy cheeked, and alive with his town from bankruptcy by opening a childhood. An entire lifetime is ahead of her, Christmas bakery with his lovable but predi- and she doesn’t even know it. abetic grandpa, George. Boy gets girl. They I was her age once. I was happy, like her. kiss. The end. I could watch these movies And I believed in things. Big things. But until April. then life happened. Our family fell on hard I also love cast iron cookware, old coffee times, I lost myself. The details don’t matter
because my story is your story. Life is hard. Sooner or later, everyone learns this. It’s no revelation. Life is unfair, unforgiving, indifferent, and out to kill you — at least that’s what some people believe. But I don’t believe that. Not that it matters what I think, but if you ask me, life is artwork, hanging on a museum wall. Not a single stroke of paint is out of place. It’s magnificent. And I hope one day to see this painting from the Other Side. Maybe then, I’ll see how good things, bad things, and the sad things join to make a breathtaking portrait. And how everything matters. Both the great, and the minuscule. From cinnamon brooms, to the hours spent in a hospital waiting room. Neighborhood cats, cheesy movies, and the way my mother hugs me and refuses to let go before I do. “Are you done with my list?” my cousin’s daughter says. “Yeah, I’m done.” “Hey!” she says, inspecting my work. “You misspelled ‘cinnamon.’ I thought you were supposed to be a freakin’ writer, man.” Editors. 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.
17th year! November 5-6, 2022 Hoover Met Complex +
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www.mossrockfestival.com Art by Jane Marshall
Nature. Smart Living. Art + Design. SPONSORS: Storyteller Overland • Kroger Delivery • Joe Piper, Inc. • City of Hoover • Hoover Met Complex • EventWorks • The Beer Hog • Red Diamond Coffee & Tea • Coca Cola United • LeafFilter Gutter Protection • Precision Chiropractic & Rehabilitation • SAW’s BBQ MEDIA: Babypalooza • Bham Now • Birmingham Mountain Radio 107.3fm • B-Metro • EXCURSIONSgo • High Level Marketing • Hoover’s Magazine • Over the Mountain Journal • Starnes Media • The Birmingham Lede • WBHM 90.3fm
Holy Moly Motherhood By Alana Smith
Life Interrupted I am covered from head and runs her hands over her face. to toe in protective gear. As I I don’t always talk to the exhale, my glasses fog over family. That’s a job left to the from breathing into this mask. doctors, usually. But I knew this woman had to feel like she was I am standing in the ICU, at the head of my patient’s bed, drowning in the waiting room alone. As I leave, I thank my staring down at this 40-something, average Joe with a beard. lucky stars that my husband isn’t He is struggling to breathe, as the one in that bed. his lungs just won’t cooperate Sometimes on my drive anymore. Sometimes we aren’t home, after a bad shift at work, sure what the culprit is at this I can feel a wave of thankfulpoint — pneumonia, Covid, flu, ness come over me. Maybe it’s Smith heart failure — a host of things God’s way of helping us cope that could make it impossible to — a glimmer of light when the breathe. day has been dark. My blessings are brought I put the oxygen mask on his face, and tell front and center in my mind. My family, health, him what is going to happen. He looks up at me home, and job. A full belly. Transportation. And with panic in his eyes. I may be the last person he then I think of things that we take for granted, sees, if things don’t go as planned, so I have to be like breathing. I am so grateful that I am able to one of comfort. He has been working to breathe live another day. When I get home, I stare at my for so many hours today, that he is tired, and is husband a little longer than usual. grateful not to struggle any longer. Usually. I We never know what the future holds. And tell him I am going to give him medicine, and sometimes I fear that someone I love will be then I’ll help him breathe. He shakes his head gone too soon. I think that’s a fair worry, espein defeated acceptance. I don’t tell him my real cially with what we’ve endured the past few worries, that he may not come off this ventilator. years. But I encourage you to take a step back. As I begin to put him to sleep, it shocks me Take a deep breath and fill your lungs with air. at how much he looks like my own husband. I Tell your people that you love them. Love yourstop and ask a nurse, “Has he seen his wife?” At self. Think of the many blessings that fill your a time when he needs her the most, she is unable life, big and small, and bask in the glow of them. to come into this room. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. As I finish my work and the ventilator takes over, I pull off my gloves and gown, and head Alana is a nurse anesthetist, writer and boy to the sink. I scrub my hands, and listen as the mom (ages 7 and 2), who lives in north Shelby nurses work in his room. Alarms beep. Masked County with her husband, kids and Boxer, people come and go. My job is done, so I walk Sam. When she’s not writing or chasing little to the waiting room. It is oddly empty, except for humans, she can usually be found in the aisles one, tired woman. of Target. She shares her writings at Holy Moly “Hi. I was with your husband, and the breath- Motherhood (on Facebook and Instagram), ing tube is now in. They are taking good care where she takes on all things motherhood and of him. I’m so sorry you are here.” She exhales marriage.
November 2022 • B17
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As the weather cools and we move our activities inside, so do bugs. Prevent your home from being a cozy overwintering spot with these tips:
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B18 • November 2022
Calendar North Shelby Library North Shelby Library will be closed Thursday, Nov. 24 and Friday, Nov. 25, for Thanksgiving. FAMILY/ALL AGES Wednesdays: Storytime Friends. 10:30 a.m. Registration required. For ages 3-5, but all ages welcome. Noviembre 5: La Hora del Cuento. 10:30 a.m. Todas las edades. Se require registro. Ven con tu familia a escuchar cuentos, cantar y divertirnos en español! Este evento es para niños de todas las edades. Nov. 15: Toddler Tuesday Storytime: Artsy Tots! 10:30 a.m. Stories and creative art projects. Registration required. Ages 18-36 months. Nov. 12: Family Portrait Day. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call or email Vanessa at 439-5504 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a 15-minute family portrait session by Nov. 6. Pictures will be taken by an amateur photographer. Free sessions and digital files of the pictures will be emailed. By appointment only. CHILDREN Tuesdays: Tech Tuesdays. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Every Tuesday afternoon outside the Children’s Department is a weekly drop in tech-based activity. No registration. Nov. 3: Preschool Kitchen Science: Animals. 10:30 a.m. Preschool Ages 3-5. Registration required and opens 2 weeks in advance. Nov. 3 and 10: Family Fun Nights. 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday night family programming. No registration required. All ages. Nov. 16: Homeschool Hangout: Fruit Loop Art. 1 p.m. Grades K-12. Registration required. Nov. 17: Make a Dino Plushie Pal. 6 p.m. All ages with caregiver assistance as needed. Limited space. Registration required. Nov. 21-23: Drop-In Origami. No registration required. All ages. TWEENS Nov. 4: Spanish Club. 5 p.m. A club for those interested in
Nov. 18: Stuff a Turkey. 4 p.m. Registration required.
learning the Spanish language. For ages 8-17. Nov. 12: Tween Book Scavenger Hunt. 6 p.m. An after-hours adventure of solving puzzles and clues to find all the books on the mysterious hunt list. Registration required. Ages 8-12. Nov. 14: Mario Kart Tournament. 5 p.m. Registration required and opens two weeks in advance. For ages 8-17. TEEN
TWEENS Nov. 10: Tween Squishy Circuits. 4 p.m. Tweens will explore new tech toys that teach about electrical circuits. Registration required. ADULTS
Nov. 12: Teen Volunteer Day. Help the library and earn community service hours. Limit 5 volunteers per day. Registration opens 3 weeks prior. Nov. 14: Mario Kart Tournament. 5 p.m. Teens and Tweens. Registration required and opens two weeks in advance. For ages 8-17. Nov. 17: Teen Art Night: Book Covers. 6 p.m. Create cool, cute, or creepy book covers using different graphic software. Nov. 28: Teen Board Game Tournament. 6 p.m. Hang out with other teens and put your strategic skill to the test. ADULTS Nov. 1: Holiday Gnome - Acrylic Painting Program. 9 a.m. Paint a holiday scene. All supplies provided. Limited space. Nov. 9 and 23: Language Club. 5 p.m. Registration required. Nov. 15: Wreath Making Workshop – Holiday. 9 a.m. Make a holiday-themed wreath. Cost $15. All supplies provided. Nov. 15: True Crime Digital Book Club. 6 p.m. Covers true crime books and documentaries. Registration required.
Mt Laurel Library FAMILY/ALL AGES Nov. 22: Minion Cupcake Nailed It. 2-4 p.m. Create a minion cupcake masterpiece. Registration required. CHILDREN
Nov. 3: Mt Laurel Book Club. 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd. Nov. 14: Mt Laurel Knitting Group. 2-4 p.m. Bring knitting, crocheting or embroidery project and craft at the library. Hosted by Jamie Skripnik. Nov. 17: Cozy Winter Painting. 10 a.m. to noon. Local Artist Melony Allen will be leading us in painting a cozy winter scene. Registration required.
Chelsea Library CHILDREN Nov. 3 and 10: Kids Coding Club. 4 p.m. on the outdoor patio. Nov. 5 and 19: Chess Club. 2 p.m. on the outdoor patio. Registration required. Nov. 8: Virtual Music and Books Club. 5:30 p.m. A music class integra literacy with music for K–5th graders on Facebook live. Nov. 12: Lego Day. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Create with Legos and display your creation on the Children’s Floor. Nov. 26: KZT Hands on STEAM Day. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. TEENS Nov. 14: Teen Book Club. 5 p.m. Join Mrs. Amy for a book discussion and free dinner. ADULTS
Nov. 4 and 18: Ukulele Storytime. 10 a.m. No registration required.
Nov. 10: Book Club. 10 a.m.
Nov. 12: Crafty Saturday. Make a craft or take it to go.
Nov. 14: Medicare Info. 10 a.m.
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11th year | November 5-6, 2022 Hoover Met Complex | Hoover, Alabama 50+ Brews | Breweries | Homebrewers | Wine Beer Snacks | Mr, Mancave Football Games Display Tented + Open Air | Festival Entry $30 Advance | www.mossrockfestival.com
November 2022 • B19
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