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January 2021 | Volume 14 | Issue 5




Scott Stantis, left, on his wedding day with his brother, Marc. Photo courtesy of Scott Stantis.

Multiple Shelby County, Chelsea construction projects to kick off, continue in new year

Epilepsy foundation celebrates 50th year



f all the county projects for 2021, the largest will be the new Shelby County Services Building on U.S. 280 at Shelby County 41. The threestory, 46,000-square-foot building is set to open July 1. The former Blackwatch Sports building was torn down, and construction began on the building in the last quarter of 2020. The new building will house a license office that is moving from Inverness, which will have four Alabama Law Enforcement Agency personnel who can handle driver license testing and issue STAR ID cards. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will also relocate its North Shelby precinct there. Shelby 911 will have a new modern space, moving from its offices in the county services building in Pelham. Central Alabama Wellness and 58 INC. will also be housed in the new building, which will include space for future expansion. “We are bringing services closer to our residents,” Shelby County Manager Chad Scroggins said. “This will give them the ability to do some of these transactions closer to where they live.” Construction will also begin on a project 10 years in the making. The Inverness Greenway project has been in design and waiting on

See PROJECTS | page A30

By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Many people may know Scott Stantis from his career as a political cartoonist for The Birmingham News and the Chicago Tribune. But what most people don’t know is that he lost his brother, Marc, to epilepsy in 1986 when Marc was just 31 years old. Marc was the third of four boys, with Stantis being the baby of the family. “Marc had epilepsy and development issues, and that makes you a different kind of person having a sibling like that,” Stantis said. “I had just gotten a job at the Memphis Commercial-Appeal and had been there for about a month when I got a phone call from my older brother that Marc had died. He had a seizure in his sleep and asphyxiated himself.” Marc rarely had the type of seizures where he would collapse and convulse.

Construction is underway on the new Shelby County Services Building located by the SportsBlast 1996 Fields Complex. Photo by Erin Nelson.

See FOUNDATION | page A31


Sponsors............... A4 280 News.............. A6

Business...............A10 Community..........A16

Schoolhouse.......A20 Faith..................... A26

Opinion................ A27 Sports.................... B4

Women In Business.............. B9 facebook.com/280living

Forever Homes

Women In Business

The Cavalier Rescue facilitates second chances to ‘medically fragile’ Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Get to know some of the faces behind the success of many of the businesses in the area in our annual Women In Business section.

See page A18

See page B9

A2 • January 2021

280 Living

Karen Watson has two guiding principles for providing great customer service.

Can you guess what they are? In eight years of helping customers with everything from billing questions to establishing new service, Customer Service Representative Karen Watson has applied two basic principles. “It’s all about treating people the way you would want to be treated and being knowledgeable about the company’s policies,” Karen said. “When I’m the customer, I want and expect great service. So, I’m always determined to give that to our customers.” In fact, even if you’re not a SouthWest Water Company customer, Karen can be helpful. She keeps a current list of the customer service lines for all of the major utilities in the area, to help make certain any caller gets the help they need. Karen says, “The company invests in us, to make sure we have the training and skills we need to be effective in dealing with whatever issue a customer may have. So, call me. If I can’t assist you, I will find someone who can.” SouthWest Water Company is committed to providing every customer with the best possible service—every day and in every way. Karen Watson and her guiding principles help us make good on that commitment.

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January 2021 • A3

A4 • January 2021

280 Living

About Us Editor’s Note By Leah Ingram Eagle Happy New Year! I love a new planner — a clean slate — and most importantly to say goodbye to the year that was 2020. Our family is embarking on a new beginning this year. Last month, we moved from the house my husband and I bought after we got married and lived in for 15 years, the house where we brought our two kids home (who are now 6 and 12) and made so many memories. It was an unplanned move, as our house wasn’t on the market, but everything worked out. It was a whirlwind four weeks, but we are excited to be in our new home — still in Chelsea. Chelsea’s motto is all about family, and it’s where we love to live while still being near everything on the 280 corridor.

Shelby County and the city of Chelsea each have a lot of new projects planned for the new year. In this month’s cover story, we take a look at what’s ahead for 2021. I’m also excited to share the Epilepsy Foundation Alabama is celebrating its 50th anniversary. I enjoyed talking to nationally known cartoonist (and Shelby

County resident) Scott Stantis, and hearing his personal story of how epilepsy affected his family. Sports Editor Kyle Parmley shares about the three-time national champion Briarwood fishing team, along with the all-metro football and volleyball teams. We also honor our teachers of the year, and what a year it has been for them. I’m so appreciative of our administrators and educators and all they’ve done during this very difficult school year. I wish you all a very happy 2021, and thanks for reading 280 Living!

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Publisher: Dan Starnes Director of Operations: Mindy Dent Community Editors: Leah Ingram Eagle Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Neal Embry Ingrid Schnader Sports Editor: Kyle Parmley Digital Editor: Cathlene Cowart Design Editor: Melanie Viering Photo Editor: Erin Nelson Page Designers: Kristin Williams Ted Perry Contributing Writer: Kari Kampakis Creative Director: David McMath Account Managers: Layton Dudley Ted Perry Graphic Designer: Emily VanderMey Local Sales Manager: Gregg Gannon Client Success Specialist: Anna Bain Marketing Consultants: Warren Caldwell Don Harris Michelle Salem Haynes Business Administrator: Anna Jackson

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Contact Information: 280 Living P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 (205) 313-1780 dan@starnespublishing.com

Please submit all articles, information and photos to: leagle@starnespublishing.com P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253

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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January 2021 • A5

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A6 • January 2021

280 Living

280 News City declares January 2021 Human Trafficking Awareness Month At the Dec. 15 Chelsea City Council meeting, a proclamation was approved making January 2021 Human Trafficking Awareness Month in the city. Screenshot by Leah Ingram Eagle.

By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE At the Dec. 15 Chelsea City Council meeting, a proclamation was approved making January 2021 Human Trafficking Awareness Month in the city. Julia Myers, chairman of the Anti-Human Trafficking Committee for the Junior League of Birmingham, was in attendance and spoke during the meeting. She said the JLB has 2,300 members and a lot of them are from Chelsea. “Chelsea is one of the first municipalities to make this proclamation,” Myers said. “We partner with End it Alabama on the statewide level and bring awareness across the state. In addition, we partner locally with the Child Trafficking Solutions Project. Approximately 40 different organizations from the Child Trafficking Solutions Project work together to combat trafficking. “We know our own roles and positions and don’t overlap, and each have our own spot and share information,” Myers said. Myers said that in the Birmingham metro area, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates the commercial sex industry at $110 million industry annually. The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking estimates that 90% or more of people who are prostitutes are actually being trafficked. Later in the meeting, the council passed a resolution for a new security system to be installed at the Shelby County 39 softball complex. One annexation request was approved from Jerry Arnold for his property on Shelby County 32 in Chelsea consisting of 21 acres. City Attorney Mark Boardman did the first reading of Ordinance 848, a Chelsea traffic safety ordinance. It stated that except for

pedestrians crossing from one side of U.S. 280 or an intersecting road to the opposite side, pedestrians are not allowed to congregate or walk along motor vehicle traffic when stopped at any intersection on U.S. 280 within the Chelsea city limits. Mayor Tony Picklesimer read a letter from Chelsea High School science teachers thanking the Nick Grant Committee for approving their $15,000 request for microscopes. “Nearly every student will get multiple chances to use that equipment throughout their four years at Chelsea High School,” the letter said. Finally, another Chelsea promotional video that was released earlier in the day was played during the meeting. “Chelsea: Living Above” is another video in the series that promotes

the city. During its Dec. 1 meeting, the council reviewed the city’s second communitywide COVID-19 testing drive that was Nov. 30 at Liberty Baptist Church. Picklesimer said 130 people showed up to be tested at the first one, and 90 people at the second one. “Several people have already called the church requesting another event,” he said. “We appreciate Liberty making their facility available and thanks to Golden Point Labs for putting these events on.” Picklesimer also mentioned that Chelsea recently lost one of its unsung heroes: Alverdean Huggins Bonner recently died from surgery complications. Her father, Eddie Huggins, was one of the first Chelsea COPs and served for many years. He also recently died

and is survived by his wife, Cora. The former exercise director at the Chelsea Community Center will be honored with a plaque in the exercise room, per the request of her class members. Also during the meeting: ► A bid was accepted for the sports complex’s batting center project from Southeastern Construction partners for $362,010. ► One annexation ordinance was also approved for Brett & Karen Ferrel’s property totaling about an acre at 1523 Hwy 440.


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A8 • January 2021

280 Living

Another traffic signal coming to Chelsea By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE The Shelby County Commission approved another traffic signal to be installed in the city of Chelsea during its Dec. 14 meeting. It will be located at the intersection of Shelby County 36 and Shelby County 11 at the railroad crossing. The project will cost $144,062.50 and will be done by the only responsive bidder, Stone and Sons Electric. Shelby County Engineer Randy Cole said the city of Chelsea agreed to split the cost with the county. The signal will also include a gas generator that will automatically switch on when the electricity goes out. Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer attended the meeting and said he appreciated the partnership of the commission on upcoming projects, adding that it’s remarkable what the two entities are doing together. “Our playground at Melrose Park is absolutely awesome,” he said. “We are excited about the 5-mile track at the Chelsea Athletic Complex. We appreciate the help with the light at [Shelby County] 36 and [Shelby County] 11. We are looking forward to the [Shelby County] 39 and [Shelby County] 47 project going out for bid in January. It’s good to be part of Shelby County, and that’s one of the reasons I gladly accepted a second term as mayor.” In addition to the traffic signal, several other resolutions were approved, including: ► A bid for liquid aluminum sulfate to Southern Ionics for $0.1625 per dry pound. ► A bid for a refurbished L3 WESCAM MX-10 camera package to Global Aviation Helicopter Division for $170,300. This will help in search and rescue situations and be available to all municipalities in the county. ► A retail liquor and retail beer license for CJ’s Liquor located at 5485 Chelsea

The Shelby County Commission approved a new traffic signal for the city of Chelsea at its Dec. 14 meeting. Screenshot by Leah Ingram Eagle.

Road, Columbiana. During the county manager’s report, Chad Scroggins said the county is highly sensitive to the COVID-19 environment more so than ever as case numbers continue to rise. “We are missing a few today, and missing several staff members,” he said. “We had the first death among our staff members, a young man who worked for the county who was 27 years old. Over the next few weeks with the holidays, we are stressing the severity of what’s going on amongst staff members and remain at a high level of concern.” Scroggins mentioned the continual progress being made on the new 280 County Services


building and the successes in the economic development area. CFO Cheryl Naugher gave a financial update. Since the county budgeted a 6% down turn, the rental tax is holding steady. The lodging tax is still lagging behind there (down 33% from last year). Gas taxes still have a slightly negative variance compared to last November, and the Rebuild Alabama funds are slightly below in actual collection to actual variance. Scroggins said that in 2021, Shelby County will brand and market itself more aggressively and more proactively and will entail a tie in with event recruitment. “We are aggressively trying to do a better

job in tourism recruitment to generate more lodging tax funds,” Scroggins said. A resolution was read honoring the retirement of Carol Hill, a retired educator who served in the Shelby County School System for 25 years, a board member with the Shelby County Arts Council and served in the role as chairman of the Voter Registrar’s Office. The commission “thanked her for exceptional record of professional achievement and dedicated service” and offered her best wishes for good health and happiness during her years of well-deserved retirement. The commission approved to have its next scheduled meeting Jan. 11 at 8:30 a.m.

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January 2021 • A9

The former Whole Foods Market next to PetSmart in Hoover has remained vacant since the store closed in 2019. Photo by Erin Nelson.

COVID-19 question marks linger for Hoover businesses in 2021 By JON ANDERSON The word for Hoover’s 2021 business forecast seems to be recovery. At least that is what city and business leaders say they hope will happen in the new year. The COVID-19 pandemic was a setback for the economy in 2020. The city’s sales tax revenues for fiscal 2020, which ended Sept. 30, came in at $83.7 million, according to preliminary and unaudited numbers. That was about $2 million less than original projections for the year and about $1 million less than actual sales tax revenues in fiscal 2019, said Tina Bolt, the city’s chief financial and information officer. Greg Knighton, Hoover’s economic developer, said he doesn’t expect to see a lot of new commercial construction in 2021, though there is some on the horizon. There more likely would be infill of existing shopping centers and office complexes, he said. However, “COVID is just a big question mark behind what retailers are going to be doing,” Knighton said. “COVID is leaving a lot of question marks.”


Some big-box vacancies have recently been filled, including Dick’s and Golf Galaxy in the former Academy Sports + Outdoors space at The Village at Lee Branch. There also are large pieces of vacant commercial land in several shopping centers, including The Grove, The Village at Lee Branch and Tattersall Park. Filling large spots like those is difficult in today’s retail environment, when many retailers are closing big-box stores or replacing them with smaller ones. Knighton said he wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the city’s neighborhood shopping centers break up their large vacant spaces for smaller tenants. But filling up existing space likely will be the priority, he said.


The same is true for office space, he said. Several entities are renovating office space in Hoover. Harbert Realty Services has been marketing three buildings in Inverness Center North formerly occupied by Southern Company Services. Each is about 150,000 square feet,

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said West Harris, executive vice president for Harbert. Building 44 already has been renovated and leased to the FIS financial services company for a couple of years, Harris said. Next is Building 42, which is slated for a renovation that includes a new lobby, restrooms, elevators, conference and training center, gym and cybercafé, he said. Building 40 likely will be renovated after that, he said. The latter two likely will be used by multiple tenants, Harris said. The property includes a walking trail around a lake and a connection to the city of Hoover’s 77-acre Inverness nature park, which has a walking trail and disc golf course. The 500 Building at Meadow Brook Corporate Park also is being renovated, Knighton said. The COVID-19 business shutdowns that pushed many people to begin working from home have caused many businesses to re-evaluate their need for office space and the location of that space, Knighton said.


On U.S. 280, another new small retail center called Cahaba Market is planned next to Tattersall Park and Cavender’s. The 12,600-squarefoot strip center is being developed by D&G Development Group of Atlanta and will include a Dunkin’ doughnut shop, Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Heartland Dental office, according to the company’s website. Greystone resident Tami Manofsky said she has signed a lease there for a 1,200-square-foot bicycle, skateboard and surf shop called Anatole’s. There are two other spaces in the center. The Cahaba Market is scheduled for “delivery” in the fall of 2021, according to D&G Development’s website. Greystone Chiropractic is moving from the Greystone Terrace shopping center to a new building in Tattersall Park and is expected to open in February. Another new commercial development expected to open in 2021 is the PetSuites Resort, a 14,240-square-foot pet boarding facility under construction on 2 acres near the CVS at Shades Crest Road. And work is proceeding on the relocation of Oak View Animal Hospital from Pelham to a 1.6-acre lot next to Christian Brothers Automotive at 1820 Southpark Drive.

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A bird’s-eye view of a $3 million, 2-acre Village Green entertainment district that Broad Metro plans to develop in Stadium Trace Village. Current plans include an amphitheater for concerts, plays and other performances, an artisan market, about six executive putting greens, a children’s play area with a Buccaneer ship and an indoor/outdoor restaurant space that includes barbecue and pizza vendors. Rendering courtesy of Chambless King Architects.

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A10 • January 2021

280 Living


FROM HOBBY TO HOT ITEM Left: Katie Kerr, owner of Over the Mountain Candle Co., at the Christmas Market held by the Women’s Ministry at Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church on Dec. 3. Far left: Some of Kerr’s hand-poured candles are displayed. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Katie Kerr launches Over the Mountain Candle Co. from Brook Highland home

By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE What started as a quarantine project with her daughter has now turned into a thriving business for Brook Highland resident Katie Kerr. “This is 100% a business that came out of quarantine,” Kerr said. “Everybody was at home, and my daughter and I were playing around with things from craft stores and sold some soaps in our neighborhood.” Kerr said when things started opening back up and people began getting back out, her daughter left the crafting to her. She decided to see if she could make candles, so she went to Hobby Lobby and got some supplies. She soon realized that to make quality candles, she had to do a lot of research on where to buy the best wax and fragrance oils and joined several Facebook candle groups. Kerr began making candles to give as gifts to friends, then her venture became more than a hobby. “Sept. 25 is when I started posting about Over the Mountain Candle Co. on Facebook, and it has snowballed from there,” she said. “I never in my wildest dreams thought it would happen this fast. The whole community has been so awesome to really support me and welcome me.” During the Christmas season, Kerr

received big orders from companies that wanted to put them in gift bags in lieu of having a Christmas party. She also had real estate agent and hairstylist friends requested bulk orders for client gifts and made special request candles. One thing she has learned is not to overspend on items like vessels, packaging and labels. “I want to produce quality candles that smell good that people can buy multiple times,” she said. “That’s one thing I really like, not undercutting, but being really well priced.” Kerr uses soy wax and clean scent fragrance oils from a phthalate-free company. She has been told by some customers that they had to give up candles due to headaches, but hers

do not cause that problem. “Finding the notes to put together to create a scent is like a challenge for me,” she said. “I love to work with people one on one to find out what they want and figure out how to make that scent.” For Christmas, Kerr had around 12 scents in her holiday line and has around 20 to 30 more scents. She said she is always trying to think ahead and is looking ahead to what scents she will have for the new year. Her creations come in small mason jars, travel tins, dough bowls and more. In addition to candles, other items include wax melts, soaps and room sprays that can also be used as a body mist. For now, Kerr is working out of her dining room and kitchen, but

she plans to move to a room in her basement to give herself more space. She enjoys having customers come by for local pickup and also offers shipping. She has been in talks with a few boutiques about having her candles in retail stores, but she said she doesn’t want to “lose the overthe-mountain-side-of-town special touch, where customers can get in touch with her for what they need.” A former kindergarten teacher,

Kerr works two days a week at Meadowbrook Baptist Church preschool and said she has been working a lot of late nights making candles. “I have always loved making gifts for people, so this has been a great blessing,” she said. “It’s what I’ve been asking for the last year but just didn’t know what it would be.” Over the Mountain Candle Co. can be found on Instagram and Facebook @overthemountaincandleco.


January 2021 • A11


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A12 • January 2021

Liberty Pkwy


Doing it Yourself isn’t for everyone. Residential Commercial Special Projects 205-823-2111 • OneMan-Toolbox.com



Now Open Christian Brothers Automotive opened a new shop at 6612 Tattersall Lane in the Tattersall Park development next to Greystone. This is the Houston-based company’s fifth shop in Alabama and third in the Birmingham area. The company delivers a variety of auto care services, including upkeep, maintenance and repair. 205-727-9519, cbac.com


Coming Soon A Dunkin’ doughnuts and coffee eatery is planned for a new 12,600-square foot retail center proposed for construction at 5415 U.S. 280 next to Tattersall Park, to be called Cahaba Market. The strip retail center is being developed by D&G Development of Atlanta. dunkindonuts.com


Five Guys Burgers & Fries is planned for a new 12,600-square foot retail center proposed for construction at 5415 U.S. 280 next to Tattersall Park, to be called Cahaba Market. The strip retail center is being developed by D&G Development of Atlanta. fiveguys.com


Greystone resident Tami Manofsky has signed a contract to open a 1,200-square-foot bicycle, skateboard and surf shop called Anatole’s at 5413 U.S. 280, Suite 101, in a new 12,600-square foot retail center planned next to Tattersall Park to be called Cahaba Market. Anatole’s will sell and repair road bikes, mountain bikes, BMX bikes, skateboards, as well as sell biking, skateboard and surf apparel, Manofsky said. The shopping center, being developed by D&G Development of Atlanta, is not yet under construction.


Relocations and Renovations 5

Capelli Salon will move Jan. 5 to its new location at 5287 U.S. 280 in the Brook Highland Shopping Center next to Lowe’s Home Improvement and Sally’s. 205-408-0303, capellisalon280.com

News and Accomplishments BBVA USA Bancshares, which has 637 bank locations in seven states including 105 Doug Baker Blvd. and 104 Inverness Plaza, is being acquired by PNC Financial Services Group for $11.6 billion. PNC, which has $300 billion in assets, plans to convert BBVA locations, which have $104 billion in assets, to the PNC brand. Once the acquisition is complete in the third quarter of 2021, PNC will have a presence in 29 of the nation’s top 30 markets. 205-297-1986, bbvausa.com


Regions Bank and its partners were able to raise a record $1.2 million for charities across Alabama in 2020, even though they were not able to proceed with the Regions Tradition golf tournament due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Regions has locations at 5420 U.S. 280, 102 Inverness Plaza and 341 Summit Blvd. 205-766-8500, regions.com


Mark Ware, president of Clean Surface, Alabama’s distributor of Caspr products based in Dallas, is beginning to market his products throughout the state, focusing on schools, churches and nursing home facilities. The technology converts moisture in


January 2021 • A13 the air to hydrogen peroxide particles and has a kill rate of 99.6 percent against bacteria, viruses and mold on surfaces. The products are installed into HVAC systems and disinfect the air and surfaces within a facility. The products are now available to homes and businesses. 205-601-6036, cleansurface.info Bin There Dump That, a residential-friendly dumpster franchise founded in Canada in 2001 and franchising in Canada and the U.S. since 2003, was recently ranked 246 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s prestigious Franchise 500 list. Chad Ezell’s Birmingham East franchise, 311 Applegate Lane, serves cities in the greater Birmingham area, including Chelsea, Trussville, Homewood, Hoover, Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook. 205-406-5850, birminghameast.bintheredump thatusa.com





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Personnel Moves Realtor Ryan Grater has joined the Gwen Vinzant team of RealtySouth, 109 Inverness Plaza. Grater has been with RealtySouth since July 2016. Prior to that, she served as the community relations and volunteer coordinator for the Grace Klein Community. 205-991-6565, gwenvinzant.com


Dr. Beau Grantier has joined the Grandview office of Southlake Orthopaedics at 3686 Grandview Parkway, Physicians Plaza, Suite 430. 205-605-8180, southlakeorthopaedics.com



Hoover resident Lawren Pratt has joined Barge Design Solutions, 3535 Grandview Parkway, Suite 500, as the civil engineering manager of the company’s Birmingham office. Pratt has 30 years of experience as a consultant and project manager in site and civil engineering and land development and in client program management. He will provide leadership to the company’s technical services and staff and be responsible for supporting the growth of its civil site and land development services, focusing his efforts in Alabama and Florida. He is a licensed professional engineer in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, Maine, New Hampshire and Texas. Pratt earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He serves on the board of the American Society of Civil Engineers as a society director and on the Board of Zoning Adjustment for the city of Hoover. 205-298-6074, bargedesign.com


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DSLD Land Management Co., 1178 Dunnavant Valley Road, recently hired Bill Gilley as a production manager. Gilley graduated from Auburn University with a degree in horticulture and brings with him 25 years experience in the landscape construction industry. DSLD Land Management also welcomes Jason Ford to the company as a civil engineer. Jason is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with 23 years experience in surveying and engineering. 205-437-1012, dsldland.com


Anniversaries Gagliano Mortgage, 4500 Valley14 dale Road, Suite F, celebrated its 25th anniversary with a celebration with the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 10. 205-390-7041, birminghammortgagecompany .com

Business news to share? Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux, 6401 15 Tattersall Drive, celebrated its 1-year anniversary Dec. 9. 205-538-2700, walk-ons.com

If you have news to share with the community about your brick-and-mortar business along the 280 corridor, let us know!

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A14 • January 2021

280 Living

Craft studio moves to Village at Lee Branch By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Crafters and creatives can make unique decor at the newly relocated Hammer & Stain at the Village at Lee Branch. The store originally opened near the Riverchase Galleria in October 2019 but made the move to the 280 corridor this past October. Owner Robyn Gayheart and her husband Mark moved to Shelby County from Indiana in July 2019 to be closer to Mark’s brother. Mark is a pharmacist by day but enjoys woodworking as a hobby, so he creates all the items for the shop at their home. “He loves woodworking, so that’s why we got into this business,” Gayheart said. “It’s his therapeutic quiet time.” A typical day for Gayheart is dropping off her twins at school, working on behind-thescenes responsibilities like office work and printing off vinyl for customization. She also teaches classes in the evenings, along with two other instructors. The concept of Hammer & Stain is to take a raw piece of wood and transform it into a wall-worthy piece of art to be displayed. Customers visit the website and pick out their project. Once they arrive at the studio, their custom-made piece is waiting for them, along with all the supplies to create it. A guided instructor teaches the class and helps customers as needed. Other workshop options include pallets, framed signs, knit blankets and more. During the workshops, everyone doesn’t have to do the same project; customers choose what they’d like during their registration. Gayheart said in addition to items in their workshops, they can also do custom orders that people find on Pinterest or other sites. The most popular item at Hammer & Stain are the round boards. They are completely customizable and can become door hangers, lazy Susans, trays and more.

Hammer & Stain patrons show off their crafts. Owned by Robyn Gayheart, the store recently moved its location from Riverchase to the Village at Lee Branch. Photos courtesy of Robyn Gayheart.

“You paint the background of the board or stain it, and then apply the vinyl of other customization. After painting over the vinyl, you have a perfect crisp, clean project that you created,” she said. Gayheart also offers at home kits, hosts birthday parties and corporate parties at the studio and does fundraisers as well. “During COVID, we have been doing offsite kit fundraising,” she said. “We put everything together in a kit, and the organizer picks them up and distributes them. A certain amount as decided by organizers is given back to an organization of their choice.” While she has scaled down quite a bit on

size of classes during COVID-19, she has also pivoted the business and created take home kits called “Hammer at Home projects.” She is gearing back up to do her monthly subscription boxes. For January, she has planned for a wooden pedestal with a customizable wood plank sign hanging off of it. The kit will arrive with everything needed to create the project except a hot glue gun. Gayheart said the response at Lee Branch has been wonderful since the move. “Most of my classes are people who have never been before,” she said. Most of the projects are between $40 and $70, and guests can bring in their snacks and

beverages of their choice. The workshops usually last one-and-a-half to two hours. The studio is open by appointment during workshops and private parties. Times are arranged for people to pick up their take-home kits. All ages are welcome at the workshops, but Gayheart suggests younger children be able to do the project on their own without any assistance and have a supervised adult with them. Hammer & Stain is located near the Taziki’s at 611 Doug Baker Blvd. For more information, visit hammerandstainbham.com.




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January 2021 • A15

Chelsea audio/visual company MediaMerge marks 20 years By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Located off Old Highway 280, MediaMerge has been in business in Chelsea since 2000. The company helps organizations transform communications and engage audiences through the strategic use of audio, video and lighting systems. “We primarily help churches, museums and large corporations,” MediaMerge President Ken McKibben said. “We have done projects in 20 states and four countries, and [we’re] just having a good time with it.” Years ago, McKibben, along with business partner and MediaMerge co-owner Tim Ogletree, met while working in Birmingham at a subsidiary of IMAX. That experience exposed them into the museum world because that is where most of those film protections systems were located. “At one point, we were the world’s largest third-party service for IMAX theaters,” McKibben said. “Now that digital has taken over, the maintenance of digital does not require the effort that IMAX did.” Museums began to approach MediaMerge for help with exhibits. They would present an idea, and it was up to MediaMerge to tell the story. Clients include the Chicago Museum of Science Industry, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and, locally, the McWane Science Center. The company also partnered on a project with ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History in Dallas that was completed just over a year ago. The center wanted its guests to experience being in the universe along with science and astrophysics and things surrounding the origins of the universe, so MediaMerge created a 250-degree projection screen that goes all the way around the room with a sphere in the center. Another project MediaMerge did for ICR is

Above: MediaMerge assisted Green Valley Baptist Church in Hoover with its technology setup. Left: MediaMerge also designed this room in the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History in Dallas. Photos courtesy of MediaMerge.

Ice Age, a history and geology of an ice age themed environment. The room is set at 58 degrees, and guests come in and watch a video while having an immersive experience. “We can create emotionally engaging experiences that make things memorable,” McKibben said. “People may leave museums feeling like they can’t remember all the specifics scientifically, but we want them to remember the emotional impression in hopes to grow their knowledge after they leave the facility.” The bulk of MediaMerge’s clients are churches, which are who the business originally served. It works with many throughout Alabama and the Southeast to create sound, video and lighting to incorporate into their worship services. Like with the museum side, Media Merge takes concepts to communicate to leave lasting impressions on people. “We started out doing museum technology, and it wasn’t long before people began asking us to help with content,” he said. Other MediaMerge projects are at the Boston

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Tea Party Ships & Museum, one of the highest paid attractions in Boston. That project led to a relationship with the Boston Symphony. When it hired a new conductor, the symphony wanted MediaMerge to do something cutting-edge to introduce him, which was a hologram project. MediaMerge has also done work for Legoland and the new DC Comics attractions at Six Flags. Outside of the country, it has done work for Warner Brothers Movie World DC comics attraction in Australia, along with a project for the government of Peru tourism. Locally, MediaMerge is working with American Village in Montevallo to create a major 12-minute feature film. It involves many extras, people in costume and explosions. Some of it is being shot in Richmond and some at American Village. Most business comes by way of referrals from previous clients. McKibben said the company is focused on customer services and committed to clients having a great experience during the process and enjoying the final product.

Business did slow down during COVID-19 shutdowns, but MediaMerge worked with its client bases, as museums and churches began to implement advanced conference technologies. It has been getting more requests for broadcast or video streaming. “That paradigm has changed, and it’s been wonderful for us on the sales end,” McKibben said. “Everyone accepted this screen-share meeting, and this new normal has been a good thing for us. It allows us to do a lot more and spend less time traveling.” Another recent project that MediaMerge did was work with the new entertainment district in Trussville. It features an outdoor concert venue, a 27-foot-wide LED screen backdrop and a pavilion area. “We always strive to take a holistic approach beyond just technical solutions,” Ogletree said. “Ultimately, the success of a project is not judged by equipment or technology but by how well it serves the needs and the exciting experience it creates.”

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A16 • January 2021

280 Living

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

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office promotes Fondren, Hammac Following the retirement of Deputy Chief Ken Burchfield, Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego announced the promotions of Capt. Jay Fondren and Capt. Clay Hammac to the rank of major effective Nov. 27. He said the two men have decades of combined Fondren experience and leadership with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and said he knows they will continue to serve the citizens and employees with distinction. Maj. Fondren will command the Administrative Division and the Jail Division. Maj. Hammac will command the Patrol Hammac Division, the Investigative Division, the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force and Compact 2020. Maj. Fondren’s law enforcement career began in 1996, and he joined the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in January 2008 as a deputy sheriff. He served as a patrol deputy, a criminal investigator and a member of the multijurisdictional Crisis Negotiations Unit. He was appointed Division Commander of the Jail Division in August 2011. During his tenure in the Jail Division, he earned his Certified Jail Manager (CJM) certification through the

American Jail Association. Under his command, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office became the first jail in Alabama to undergo and successfully meet accreditation requirements through the National Institute for Jail Operators (NIJO). In July 2018, Fondren was transferred to the role of Administrative Division Commander, where he has served since. Maj. Hammac has been with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office since 2004 when he began work as a patrol deputy. He was later transferred to the Criminal Investigations Division, during which time he served on the Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force. After his promotion to sergeant, Hammac served as patrol supervisor and was later promoted to the rank of lieutenant and served as the Assistant Division Commander of the Administrative Division. In 2015, he assumed command of Shelby County’s Drug Enforcement Task Force. During his command he was promoted to the rank of Captain and began additionally serving as the Executive Director of Compact 2020. – Submitted by Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Grandview selected as Project 4 donation recipient Grandview Medical Center is one of 10 national hospitals to receive a NICU donation as part of Project 4, an initiative sponsored by Project Sweet Peas, a national nonprofit organization that supports NICUs and NICU families, and 4moms, the makers of the mamaRoo infant seat. In its fourth year, the Project 4 “Nominate a NICU” program invites parents, families and hospital employees to share their stories about their incredible NICUs and NICU staff for the opportunity to become one of 10 hospital donation recipients. The mamaRoo infant seat is currently used in more than 375 hospitals across the country. Doctors and nurses find the natural bouncing and swaying motion of the seat to be transformational in caring

A room inside Grandview Medical Center’s NICU. Photo courtesy of Leisha Harris.

for preemies and babies with severe conditions such as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). “We are grateful for the donation,” said Stephanie Armstead, director of Women’s Services at Grandview Medical Center. “The mamaRoo is a favorite with NICU nurses and families, and these five seats will be put to good use.” – Submitted by Leisha Harris.

Grandview Physicians Plaza II under construction Grandview Medical Center’s presence along U.S. 280 will soon increase as cranes rise for construction of a new multimillion dollar medical office building: Grandview Physicians Plaza II. The seven-story, 200,000-square-foot structure is a significant investment and visible sign of Grandview’s growth since opening in 2015. The hospital held a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 30 with Gov. Kay Ivey participating. “The growth happening at Grandview Medical Center helps further solidify our position as a national leader in top-notch medical care,” Ivey said. Daniel Corporation, in partnership with Seavest Healthcare Properties, is the owner and developer for Grandview Physicians Plaza II. Grandview has signed a master/long-term lease to be the anchor

tenant, leasing a significant portion of the building for physician offices and hospital services. The building is designed to support ease of access and a positive patient experience, with covered deck parking and a connector to the other buildings on campus so patients, physicians and employees can easily move between facilities. Additional surface parking will be adjacent to the structure. Benefits to the local economy include capital spending, increased construction and clinical jobs and expansion of clinical services. Daniel Corporation plans to open Grandview Medical Plaza II in the second quarter of 2022. Brasfield & Gorrie is the general contractor for the project, which was designed and engineered by ESa Architecture and Schoel Engineering. – Submitted by Leisha Harris.


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A18 • January 2021

280 Living

Finding a home for every Cavalier Brittney Wilk, co-founder of The Cavalier Rescue, loves on Blossom, Watson and Hannah at Camp Cavalier after Wilk, Lisa Thompson and Kim Preskitt documented the dogs’ current states, bathed them and administered medications Oct. 3. The dogs are three of 44 King Charles Cavaliers rescued from a hoarding animal cruelty situation by the Charlotte Animal Control in North Carolina. in August. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Local rescue provides a 2nd chance to ‘medically fragile’ dogs By INGRID SCHNADER The Cavalier Rescue may not have a physical location, but this breed-specific pet rescue has made a big impact on the Birmingham metro area. Mountain Brook’s Richard Force is a shining example of that impact — he’s adopted three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels from the rescue and has fostered two others. Force has always been a dog owner, he said. Before meeting the people at The Cavalier Rescue, he would go to reputable Cavalier breeders to bring home new four-legged family members. “Our first cavalier was just a wonderful dog,” Force said. When he returned to that same breeder to bring home another Cavalier, the breeder told him that this was the mother’s last litter. After both of their original Cavaliers passed away from natural causes, Richard’s wife, Mary Louise, saw The Cavalier Rescue on social media. Together they decided to bring home a Cavalier from the rescue named Tango. Then, they adopted Harper Lee and Rocky. “Rocky will be 14 tomorrow, but he acts like a 6-year-old,” Richard said in October. Throughout their time with The Cavalier Rescue, they have also fostered two Cavaliers: Harvey and Felicity. “We thought we were going to keep Harvey, but my wife and I went on a trip, and they found somebody for Harvey,” Richard said.

“In a way, it broke my heart. But it was fine because the home he went to was outstanding.” Harvey has a few imperfections — he’s 13 years old and blind in one eye. “He’d look at you and turn his head, and I said, ‘You focused with that one eye?’” Richard said. “And Harvey loved to go in the car. I have a Ford Escape that we call The Bus that ferries the dogs around. Harvey would look at

that bus and turn his head, and he would bark so hard that his front feet would come off the ground.” Richard and Mary Louise have been fostering Felicity since July. She’s deaf, but Richard said she’s a great dog. “She’s a very adoptable dog,” Richard said. “She’s currently curled up next to Harper Lee, and they’re sound asleep together. I would

love to keep her. But because she is so adoptable, if they find a home for her, she won’t rebound.” Richard said Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the sweetest dogs he has ever met. “I know people will say that about other dogs, but to me, they really are,” he said. “There’s a saying that you can’t catch two rabbits at the same time — you’ll only catch

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January 2021 • A19

Far left, top: Brittney Wilk cleans the ears of Watson. Far left, bottom: Lisa Thompson, co-founder of The Cavalier Rescue, administers eye ointment in the right eye of Hannah. Left: Kim Preskitt holds Hannah’s head up as Lisa Thompson documents the current state of Hannah, Blossom, bottom left, and Watson. Above: Blossom sits in the lap of Brittney Wilk.

one of them. Well I have a saying with Cavaliers. You can catch 10 Cavaliers at once, all you’ve got to do is scratch one of their heads. They’ll all come over. They’re very jealous.” Throughout his time with Tango, Harper Lee and Rocky, Richard has kept in contact with The Cavalier Rescue. One time, when Richard and Mary Louise were about to go to a Cavalier Rescue pool party, they thought they lost Harper Lee. “We were loading up the car,” he said. “I thought, there’s no way he got out. We wound up posting on a Facebook group that we lost Harper Lee.” Two Cavalier Rescue volunteers who were at the pool party saw the Facebook post. “They came over to our house to help us

look for Harper Lee,” he said. “We looked everywhere for him and could not find him. “My wife went up into our attic on the second floor one more time, just to double check, and all of a sudden this little dog sheepishly stuck his head over the steps and looked at me.” This experience speaks to how much the team at The Cavalier Rescue loves the dogs from its organization, Richard said. “Boom, immediately, the two of them were here asking if I needed help looking,” he said. Brittney Wilk, one of the organization’s co-founders, said the organization is special because they are breed-specific and are “Cavalier experts.” “We’re able to service and meet the needs

of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels better than a mixed-breed rescue or a shelter,” she said. They’re also a foster-home-based organization. They don’t have a central facility — this means that once the dogs come in, there is nowhere else to go for them except into a loving foster home. They receive care here until they are placed in a forever home. “So they’re never in a facility,” she said. “There’s no boarding situation. They are immediately put into a family situation.” The level of care and medical attention given to the rescue dogs is something The Cavalier Rescue specializes in, Wilk said. “Thankfully, that just comes down to resources,” she said. “We are just extremely blessed and fortunate to have the financial

support so we can say yes to the dogs that are most in need.” The rescue is often contacted for the most medically fragile dogs, she said, because The Cavalier Rescue is known for having the resources to help these dogs. In October, Wilk flew to North Carolina to help dogs in need. “There were 44 dogs in a hoarding situation,” she said. “Out of all of those, we took the four that were the most medically fragile. That’s not by mistake — that’s designed because they’ll be able to receive the best care here with us.” It’s a rewarding experience, Wilk said. “Rescuing puppy mill dogs, rehabilitating them and getting them to a point where they are adoptable and can be successful in a home and a family, and watching them thrive and grow — its extremely rewarding and something not a lot of other rescues will seek out to do.” For more information, visit thecavalier rescue.org.

A20 • January 2021

280 Living

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

Chelsea math teacher named 2020 Teacher of the Year Melanie Elliott, a seventh grade accelerated math teacher from Chelsea Middle School, was recently honored by the Shelby County Board of Education and the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation as the 2020 Middle School Teacher of the Year. She was recognized at the Dec. 15 Shelby County Board of Education meeting by Superintendent Lewis Brooks. Brooks said he was “especially proud of her because he hired her 16 years ago when he was principal at Thompson Middle School.” Elliott has been teaching for 26 years. She has served 16 years with Shelby County Schools, including the past 10 years at Chelsea Middle. She is the sponsor of the seventh grade math team, the coordinator of the seventh grade awards day and coordinator of the school mentors. She also serves on the school’s Continuous School Improvement Team. Elliott said engaging middle school students is often a tough task, especially when it comes to mathematics. Once she has taught a concept, she likes to incorporate mathematical group tasks to help the students dig deeper. The students compare two problems, use reasoning skills to explain how the problems are alike or different, and then create their own problems using the concept that is being taught. “Middle school students love group tasks, but they need guidance in the beginning so that they will know what is expected,” Elliott said. “They quickly learn that they are expected to collaborate to come to an agreed solution. Oftentimes, they need to be redirected with a question such as ‘What about this?’ Through this positive questioning, I can keep students engaged.”

Melanie Elliott, a seventh grade accelerated math teacher from Chelsea Middle School, was recently honored by the Shelby County Board of Education and the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation as the 2020 Middle School Teacher of the Year. Photo courtesy of Cindy Warner, Shelby County Schools.

Elliott said students are influenced by this learning. The students become better mathematicians, and their confidence is increased. They learn to collaborate with each other, and they learn to accept each other’s opinions even

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if they do not always agree.” “Several aspects of this lesson demonstrate my beliefs about teaching,” she said. “I believe that I should not always be the one to deliver the lesson. I sometimes need to step back and

be the facilitator in order to allow the students to take ownership of their learning.” “The students become empowered young people, which is what my goal would be for them in the end,” she said. This year had already proven to be a challenging year due to the coronavirus, but Chelsea Middle was also faced with a shortage of math teachers. Elliott took on the double duty of 10 classes of students to teach, rather than five. “For the next seven weeks, I had one mission, and that was to make sure that 200-plus math students progressed in seventh grade math,” Elliott said. Elliott pulled out an old laptop she had tucked away when she received a new one. She set both laptops up as a technology station that also included a screen with a projector in her classroom and a screen with a projector in a classroom down the hall. “I set out to be two places at the same time,” Elliott said. “Throughout that time, I taught via Google Meet to my new friends down the hall. They could participate in the chat, and I could give them positive feedback to their responses along with my team of students in my room. “Even though this was a crazy time, it was still rewarding for me because I was allowed the privilege to impact, not one but two teams of students in a positive way,” Elliott said. “Having the students prepared, I paved the way for a smooth transition when they received their new teacher. As crazy as it may sound, I would do it all over again.” – Submitted by Cindy Warner, Shelby County Schools.



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January 2021 • A21

Teachers of Year named for 2020

Kendall Williams, left, director of the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation, poses with Celia Dozier, Sara Patrick and Superintendent Lewis Brooks at the Dec. 15 Shelby County Board of Education meeting. Photo courtesy of Shelby County Schools.

By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE The winners for Shelby County Teacher of the Year were announced during the Dec. 15 Shelby County Board of Education meeting. The awards were presented by the Shelby County Board of Education and the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation. Superintendent Lewis Brooks said it was his great honor and pleasure to recognize them. “We are very proud of all of our teachers and excited they are being recognized today,” he said. The top three winners were: Sara Patrick, a third grade math and science teacher from Calera Elementary School; Melanie Elliott, a seventh grade accelerated math teacher from Chelsea Middle School; and Celia Dozier, a biomedical science teacher from the Career Technical Educational Center (CTEC). Patrick has been teaching for six years, the past four of which have been at Calera Intermediate School. In addition to her teaching duties, she also works in the After School Care Program at CaIS. Last school year, she helped plan the Family Fun Night and the CaIS pageant. She is currently participating in a cohort at the University of Montevallo pursuing her National Board Certification. Other School Teacher of the Year winners (Elementary Level) were: ► Calera Elementary: Kristi Brooks ► Chelsea Park Elementary: Jennifer Martinez

► Elvin Hill Elementary: Shanna Petty ► Forest Oaks Elementary: Mari Newton ► Helena Elementary: Meghan Handley ► Helena Intermediate: Kaitlin McGuirk ► Inverness Elementary: Mauri Crisler ► Linda Nolen Learning Center: Staci Egan ► Montevallo Elementary: Kamie Jones ► Mt Laurel Elementary: Heather Braswell ► Oak Mountain Elementary: Melanie Fitzmorris ► Oak Mountain Intermediate: Kimberly Ethridge ► Shelby Elementary: Kaleigh Lamar ► Vincent Elementary: Ginger Forsythe ► Wilsonville Elementary: Tiffany Collins Melanie Elliott, a seventh grade accelerated math teacher at Chelsea Middle School was named middle school teacher of the year. (See story on A20). Other School Teacher of the Year Winners (Middle Level) were: ► Calera Middle: Nina Frazier ► Columbiana Middle: Brad McClaran

► Helena Middle: Chad Sorrells ► Montevallo Middle: Matthew Williams ► Oak Mountain Middle: Carla Higginbotham Celia Dozier, the biomedical science teacher from the Career Technical Educational Center (CTEC), was named the 2020 High School Teacher of the Year. Dozier has been teaching in Shelby County for three years. She taught biology and forensics at Helena High School for two years before becoming the biomedical science teacher at CTEC this school year. She serves as the HOSA (Future Health Professionals) advisor and as a Summer School ACCESS teacher. She also serves on the school’s budget committee and instructional leadership team. Each summer, she creates and teaches a science curriculum at Samford University through Gear Up to students from the Birmingham City School District. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has also volunteered as a tutor for virtual students in inner-city schools. School Teacher of the Year Winners (High School Level) were:

► Calera High: Tamika Whitt-Wright ► Chelsea High: Ashley Stuckey ► Helena High: Anita Lewis ► Montevallo High: Jessica Gothard ► New Direction: Mary E. Woolard ► Oak Mountain High: Danny DuBose ► Shelby County High: Marisol Lilly ► Vincent Middle High: CSM Mary L. Kyser In other business: ► A bid was approved for a riding mower for the maintenance department to Columbiana Tractor for $8,600. ► Sasha Baker was named principal of Helena Intermediate School ► Assistant Superintendent of Operations, David Calhoun, discussed new paving and repairs for six of the county schools. The lowest bid was from Norris Paving in the amount of $1,706,700. The first semester ended Dec. 17 for students and Dec. 18 for teachers. The second semester begins Jan. 11 for teachers and Jan. 12 for students. The next board meeting will be 5 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Central Office in Columbiana.

A22 • January 2021

280 Living

Shaw named permanent director for schools foundation Shelley Shaw, executive director of the Hoover City Schools Foundation, seen Nov. 24 at Aldridge Gardens. She joined the board of the Hoover City Schools Foundation in 2017 and served as the foundation’s secretary and vice president before she was asked to become interim executive director and later the permanent director. Photo by Erin Nelson.

By JON ANDERSON The Hoover City Schools Foundation, like many nonprofits, had a challenging year in 2020 but was able to bring on a new executive director on a permanent basis. Shelley Shaw, the wife of Hoover Councilman Mike Shaw, had been serving as interim executive director for the foundation since October of 2019, following the departure of former Executive Director Janet Turner. A year later, the foundation’s board of directors unanimously decided to make that a permanent change. Foundation President Jason DeLuca said Shelley Shaw is a great fit in the executive director role. As a former board member of the foundation, she is very familiar with the organization, as well as the various PTO, PTA and PTSO groups and their parent organization, the Hoover Parent Teacher Council. Shaw has had two children in Hoover schools. Her daughter, Melodi, graduated from Spain Park High School in 2017, and her son, Canon, is a sophomore at Spain Park this year. Shaw served as president of the Rocky Ridge Elementary School PTO in the 2013-14 school year and later vice president of programs for the Berry Middle School PTO and president of the Hoover Parent Teacher Council. She joined the board of the Hoover City Schools Foundation in 2017 and served as the foundation’s secretary and vice president before she was asked to become interim executive director. DeLuca said Shaw is well respected in the community and has the skills needed for the job. “We’re just thrilled to have her,” he said. “There certainly is no learning curve on day one.” After graduating from Vestavia Hills High School in 1990, Shaw earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Auburn University in 1994. She spent a year as an account executive for the WBRC TV station in Birmingham and then

four years as the state communications director for the Alabama chapter of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, where she earned several awards and recognition for effective public awareness campaigns promoting prenatal care and the prevention of birth defects and infant mortality. She has been a homemaker since 1999 and spent about 2½ years as a part-time recreation and fitness coordinator at

Hunter Street Baptist Church from August 2001 to December 2003. Shaw has been involved with her children’s activities in Cub Scout Pack 5, Berry Middle School Choir and the Spain Park band and color guard. She is a graduate of the inaugural class of Leadership Hoover and served as an active member of the Superintendent’s Advisory

Council, Hoover Service Club, Hoover Historical Society and Shades Mountain Baptist Church. She also continues to serve as president of Destination Hoover International, which focuses on citizen diplomacy and scholarships for Hoover City Schools graduates with international interests. During football season, Shaw coaches the Spain Park Jaguarettes and facilitates the Jaguar Twirling Club for K-12 students through the school year. Shaw said it’s an honor to work alongside the foundation board of directors. She was interested in the executive director job because she truly believes in the organization’s mission and has the energy and time to commit to it, she said. 2020 was particularly challenging because the foundation was not able to have its biggest fundraiser, Denim & Dining, due to COVID19. The 2019 Denim & Dining event netted more than $50,000. Shaw said the foundation’s total income for 2020 was down by more than half from the previous year, but the foundation will work hard to make it up in 2021. The foundation still was able to give out eight grants totaling $15,600 to classroom teachers in 2020, plus $20,500 in SeedLAB grants for special projects organized at the school system’s central office in response to COVID-19. The organization hopes to have its fifth Denim & Dining event in 2021, though it could be different, she said. Also, Shaw said she is working to build relationships with new partners, including real estate agents who believe schools are a strong selling point for real estate in Hoover. While 2020 was a difficult year, “we are very grateful for those who have had the opportunity to give, in spite of recent events,” Shaw said. “Students and teachers have suffered in this pandemic, especially through the domino effect of COVID-19. It is a privilege to support them at any level that we are able to fund during this unprecedented time.”

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January 2021 • A23

Superintendent search a top priority for board in 2021

Construction work continues Nov. 19 on the new addition to Berry Middle School. The addition includes 10 classrooms, three science labs, a teacher workroom and an enclosed walkway. All the projects should be complete by the end of June. Photo by Erin Nelson.

By JON ANDERSON As a new year dawns, one of the biggest tasks for Hoover City Schools in 2021 is to hire a new superintendent, school board President Deanna Bamman said. “There’s a lot going on, but we need to get a strong superintendent in place,” Bamman said. Her desire is to have someone selected to replace departing Superintendent Kathy Murphy by April 1, but that may be an aggressive timeline, she said. State law requires school boards to fill superintendent vacancies within 180 days. Murphy, who resigned to become president at Gadsden State Community College, agreed to stay with Hoover through the end of 2020, so that gives the Hoover school board until near the end of June to hire a permanent replacement. However, Bamman said there is too much happening in Hoover City Schools to wait that long. Bamman some one of the key things she would like to see in a new superintendent is someone with a proven track record of strong leadership. She also wants someone with high integrity, a positive and caring spirit, knowledge, practical mindset, accountability, strong oral and writing skills, and good interpersonal skills. Hoover’s next superintendent should be proactive, an advocate for all students, an effective communicator with different kinds of groups, someone who makes data-driven decisions and someone who is able to think outside the box, Bamman said.

“That’s especially important right now,” Bamman said. “You’ve got to think outside the box because things aren’t normal. How can we educate these kids in a pandemic?” It also would be a plus to find someone who is familiar with desegregation issues, Bamman said. Hoover school officials have said they want to do what’s right for all students and make sure there are no institutional barriers or obstacles for students of any race to succeed. The school system must prove that to the federal court to be released from a decades-old Jefferson County desegregation court case. Bamman said the new superintendent needs to be able to carry that torch forward so the school district can achieve that goal. Murphy said the school system already has put together a new plan to ensure its program for gifted students is accessible and beneficial for students of all races and a plan to make the racial makeup of faculty and staff more

reflective of the student population. Those plans have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice and NAACP Legal Defense Fund for their review and will be submitted to the federal court at a later date, she said. Murphy said she hopes the Hoover school district should be able to prove in 2021that it has met federal desegregation goals in several areas. Proving completion of all goals may take longer, she said. Bamman said another goal for 2021 is academic improvement and growth. That’s always a focus, but it will be particularly important in 2021 to help students recover from any “COVID slide” that may have occurred due to not having access to in-person instruction, she said. It’s not just about catching up either; it’s about taking kids to the next level, Bamman said. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Hoover school board was very close to setting a date to have an election to raise property



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taxes in Hoover for schools, but that effort was stalled by the pandemic. “This is not the time to go out and get an election out there to ask people for more money,” Bamman said. Now, it could be 2022, or it could be 2025, she said. Several important capital projects are scheduled to be complete in 2021, including an addition at Berry Middle School, renovation of the original part of the old Bluff Park School, window and roof replacements at several schools and new controls for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems throughout the district. The Berry addition includes 10 classrooms, three science labs, a teacher workroom and an enclosed walkway. All the projects should be complete by the end of June, said Matt Wilson, the school system’s operations coordinator. The school board also has been evaluating potential theater upgrades at Hoover and Spain Park high schools that could take place in 2021.

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A24 • January 2021

280 Living






Family-Owned and Operated Since 1996

Chelsea Middle School Principal Caroline Obert recently received the District 5 Principal of the Year Award. Photo courtesy of CLAS Leaders.

Chelsea’s Caroline Obert honored, named principal of year finalist By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Chelsea Middle School Principal Caroline Obert was named District 5 principal of the year and is one of three finalists for the state principal of the year award. District 5 is made up of Shelby, Jefferson, Walker and Tuscaloosa counties. An email is sent out to all of the principals in the district with the option to nominate a principal who has served for at least three years. Obert is in her fourth year as principal at

Chelsea Middle School. Prior to that, she spent two years as assistant principal at Oak Mountain Middle School and two years at Hueytown Middle School. She was informed by email that she was one of 10 winners in the state of Alabama and attended a three day AAMSP Conference at Gulf State Lodge. “I felt very humbled,” Obert said. “My colleagues in Shelby County are obviously a big part of who I am. I couldn’t do what I do without their constant support.”


January 2021 • A25

Montevallo named best teaching school in Alabama The University of Montevallo has been named the best school in the state and one of the top schools in the Southeast for graduate programs in instructional media design, specifically instructional technology. Teaching Degree Search recently released its 2021 Best Teaching Schools rankings, and UM was named the best instructional media design school in Alabama, the best instructional media design graduate school in Alabama and one of the top 10 instructional media design schools in the Southeast. The rankings were compiled using data from the U.S. Department of Education and other factors such as salaries of graduates, average student loan debt and graduation rate. UM’s top ranking means the university offers a high-quality, affordable education to

students interested in earning a graduate degree in instructional media. “The Ed.S. in instructional technology is an innovative program that is available to professionals from P-16 educational environments as well as those in business training fields,” said Courtney Bentley, dean of UM’s College of Education and Human Development. “This fully online program provides convenient and robust advanced preparation for educational professionals seeking to learn more about leadership, training and the integration of technology to aid in reaching the instructional goals of their respective organizations.” To learn more, visit montevallo.edu/ college-of-education. – Submitted by Neal Wagner.

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Ages 5-15 Open to the Public! Registration opens Jan 4, 2021 The University of Montevallo in November voted to freeze tuition rates for the third consecutive year. Photo courtesy of Neal Wagner.

UM freezes tuition for 3rd straight year To help maintain its status as one of the best quality-for-cost higher education institutions in the state, the University of Montevallo has frozen tuition for the third straight year. The UM Board of Trustees voted to approve the tuition freeze during its Nov. 4 meeting. “Montevallo’s tuition freeze is yet another example of our family of learners putting students first,” said UM President John W. Stewart III. “The trustees, faculty and staff are here to serve students first and freezing tuition for yet another year is one more way we can help UM students prepare for exciting and meaningful futures.” In September, the university also announced it has temporarily waived the ACT/SAT test

score requirement for admission and is offering scholarships to students based on their high school GPA. UM made the decision to waive the test score requirements for admission due to the cancellation and limited availability of standardized testing dates because of the COVID19 pandemic. As a result, students who do not submit ACT or SAT test scores when applying for any term in 2021 will not be disadvantaged in the application or scholarship review process. The university will award scholarships to students without test scores who have at least a 3.0 cumulative high school GPA. – Submitted by Neal Wagner.

Briarwood junior obtains perfect ACT score David Houston, a junior at Briarwood Christian School, attained a perfect score of 36 on the ACT test in October. A perfect score means a student missed six or fewer questions of the entire 215 question exam. More than 1.67 million students took the ACT during the 2019-20 academic year. Of those, only 5,579 students scored a 36 Houston which is only 0.334% of all tests. David is currently the founder of the Tutoring Club at Briarwood, a member

of the Physics Club and a member of the BCS soccer team. This past summer, David was named a National Award Winner for the CLT College Admissions Exam as one of the top 1% of scorers across the country for the 2019-20 academic year. As one of the 52 students across the U.S. receiving this honor, David will receive a $2,500 scholarship to any CLT partner college. – Submitted by Brent Latta.

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Chelsea’s Blair named Teacher of Month Noemi Blair, a Chelsea High School ESL teacher, was recently awarded the title of Alexander Shunnarah’s “Teacher of the Month,” for October, which highlights superstar teachers in Alabama making a difference in their student's lives. Blair was nominated by fellow teachers, students, and parents for the incredible attention she has shown her students throughout this school year. Since the initiative began in September 2019, the firm has received more than 500

submissions of deserving teachers who are making a difference. This year, Alexander Shunnarah has expanded and increased the initiative to reach and celebrate more deserving teachers in Alabama. Every month, Alexander Shunnarah will be nominating two teachers in Alabama and gifting them a $250 American Express gift card and displaying their photo on an Alexander Shunnarah digital billboard for a day. – Submitted by Chelsea Eytel.

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A26 • January 2021

280 Living

Faith Life Actually By Kari Kampakis

You don’t have to struggle alone One motto that can benefit any family is this: Don’t struggle alone. It sounds like common sense, but these words deserve to be articulated, especially to our children. After all, we live in an age where people are lonelier and more disconnected than ever before. We get bombarded by messages that suggest everyone else is living the dream, which makes us feel more alone or embarrassed about our issues. As parents, we can’t always assume that our children will come to us if they have a trial or struggle. While some kids are vocal and naturally open up, a vast majority don’t have this initiative, at least not yet, and they need gentle prompting to get the words out. There’s a common misperception that Christians should not have problems, but the truth is, life is hard for everyone. We all have crosses to bear, problems to walk through and inner struggles to wrestle with. In John 16:33 Jesus tells us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” God doesn’t promise anyone a life free of pain, but he does give us the hope of heaven that makes earthly pain bearable. He also gives us Jesus — and other people — to walk through our pain with us and comfort us in times of need. It takes tremendous courage to not struggle alone, because when we’re in this place,

it’s tempting to withdraw. It’s tempting to turn inward instead of outward and suffer alone. The enemy wants this because then we might fall for his tricks. We might start to believe the lies he plants in our head. Wrapping our mind around just one lie from the enemy can turn us away from God, but by bringing our struggles to light and by admitting them to people who have earned the right to hear them and can speak the truth and pray for us, we have protection from the one who enjoys luring us to dark places. In the book “Boundaries,” the authors say that even when your life seems to be in order, isolation guarantees spiritual vulnerability. “Evil can take over the empty house of our souls,” they write. “It’s only when our house is full of the love of God and others that we can resist the wiles of the Devil. Plugging in is neither an option, nor a luxury; it is a spiritual and emotional lifeand-death issue.” It is therapeutic to get the truth out in the open, even hard truths, because it is through honest conversations that we discover comfort, direction, and epiphanies. I can’t tell you how many times I have wrestled with a fear that seemed less scary or made more sense once I voiced it out loud. God created us to live in community, and it is no accident that when we feel weak and lost, when we’re struggling and can’t think, God

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will put people in our life to help us bear the burden. There is a saying in addiction recovery that you’re only as sick as your secrets. While I don’t believe in sharing your secrets with everyone — or blindly broadcasting them on social media — I do believe it’s healthy to share them with the right people. And by staying ahead of this conversation, and teaching our children early that there is no shame in admitting the things that make them feel restless, anxious, sad, tempted, regretful, angry, fearful or just uncomfortable in their own skin, we open the door to crucial conversations that might help someone not withdraw. Recently I read a book that is popular in the Greek Orthodox church. It is called by “Dorotheos of Gaza: Discourses and Sayings.” Dorotheos was a Christian monk who lived in the 6th and 7th centuries, and this book is packed with timeless wisdom on peace and harmony. Dorotheos writes, “We should not believe we can direct ourselves. We need assistance, we need guidance in addition to God’s grace. No one is more wretched, no one is more easily caught unaware, than a man who has no one to guide him along the road to God. Those who have no guidance fall like leaves.” One theme that Dorotheos repeats is how we have a lot more power to conquer our struggles early when they’re small and

before they become ingrained habits. He says if a man depends on his own strength and has nobody to support him, if he does not bring to light everything about himself, make a habit of revealing his inner thoughts and seek godly counsel, then the enemy can make a plaything of him. Just bringing the truth to light makes the devil flee. When you or someone you love are caught in a struggle, remember this: Push through the awkwardness and do the hard thing of laying it all on the table. It may not look pretty, and it may not feel good in the moment, but where truth exists, so does hope. Even if there’s just one person who is willing to hear your deepest truths, that is a great start. That is enough to build your confidence in showing the real you and experiencing more relationships with deep, genuine and authentic connection. Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a Birmingham area mom of four girls, author, speaker and blogger. Her new book for moms, “Love Her Well: 10 Ways To Find Joy and Connection With Your Teenage Daughter,” is now available on Amazon, Audible and everywhere books are sold. Kari’s two books for teen and tween girls — “Liked” and “10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know” — have been used widely across the country for small group studies. Join Kari on Facebook and Instagram, visit her blog at karikampakis. com or find her on the Girl Mom Podcast.

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January 2021 • A27

Opinion LETTER TO THE EDITOR Inverness Greenway will trade nature for concrete I don’t know if you have seen pictures of the old train station in downtown Birmingham. It was a great piece of city history and architecture that was lost due to highway construction, never to be recovered. Although America has lost some iconic structures to progress over the years, there are also some other points of beauty that can be endangered by urbanization. My example here is the Inverness Greenway project that the city of Hoover will soon begin. It is essentially a super-sized sidewalk up to 10 feet wide that will stretch from Valleydale Road to the Hoover Inverness Nature Park, a distance of several miles. It amounts to miles of concrete and has been under consideration and back and forth talk for 15 years. If you have not, I would encourage you to drive Inverness Parkway that connects Valleydale and U.S. 280. It is a grass and tree-lined two lane connecting various neighborhoods. Take a look at the roadside as you drive. Where else in our area can you find such a road with trees, grass and some nice curves and hills along the way? It is a rarity, and it is about to be altered for the worse. Ten feet of concrete will mean the loss of trees and sloping shoulders. It is meant to be a pathway for bikes and walkers, but there are many streets and lanes on either side of the “parkway” to accommodate those activities. The Hoover City Engineer’s office said it will not be open to motorized vehicles, but such is unenforceable and there are plenty of golf cars in the area that will challenge that. I walk the “parkway” shoulder most every

day and knobby tired pickups, squeaky trailers filled with grass-cutting equipment and largetruck cut throughs from U.S. 280 to Valleydale create a good amount of noise pollution, making walking often less than pleasant for your piece of mind. The real question here is why do we need a lane of cement up to 10 feet wide? If you want to accommodate walkers and bikes, does a bike lane or 3 feet of cement work as well? I would answer yes to that, and yes to less hot cement replacing air cooling trees. I would encourage you to drive Inverness Parkway, look at it as it is now and imagine it with a cement path up to 10 feet wide on one side. Some things are better left the way they are to enjoy now and for future enjoyment. If you would, park and walk along the parkway and experience the sound of the traffic. This parkway looks great, but it is not a park like the walking path at Spain Park or the main road through Oak Mountain State Park where groups of bikes often rule the road. One final thought: If you live on or near the parkway on either side, think about how the removal of trees that buffer the sound of the traffic will affect the “quiet enjoyment,” as lawyers would call it, of your property. That loss of a noise buffer will mostly fall on the shoulders of certain residents of Selkirk, Summerwood, Kirkwall, Woodford, Afton and Inverness Point. I understand we are only a short time away from this project, but I would urge the city of Hoover to rethink its plans and scale them back or do away with them entirely. Clifford Brane Inverness resident


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A28 • January 2021

280 Living


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January 2021 • A29

Calendar North Shelby Library


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The library will be closed Friday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day and Monday, Jan. 18, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. FAMILY/ALL AGES PROGRAMMING Through Feb. 28: Winter Family Geocaching Scavenger Hunt. Virtually aided, socially distanced, seek and find scavenger-style hunt using a GPS along with picture and/or written clues to find waypoints at a local public community venue. Registered teams of one-to-six family members with adult supervision required. All ages. Registration required. CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING Monthly Activity Bundles. Each activity bundle comes with a themed picture book to check out and a free Activity Bundle to keep with eight fun worksheets to promote literacy skills for children in preschool, kindergarten and first grade. Email nscurbside@shelbycounty-al.org to request a bundle for check out. Through Jan. 30: Reading Wonderland. Using the craft balls included in the provided kit as a base, create a snowman version of a favorite children’s book character. Participants will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $25 gift card prize. All ages with adult assistance. Registration required. Tuesdays: Weekly Craft Kits-to-Go. 10 a.m. A new craft kit is available each Tuesday for pick up through our curbside service. Registration required. Jan. 5 and 19: Bi-monthly STEM Kitsto-Go. 10 a.m. A new STEM kit available for pick up through curbside service. Registration required. Jan. 8: Tween Advisory Council virtual

meeting. 4 p.m. Meet to plan programs via Zoom. Applications available on the Children’s page of northshelbylibrary.org or in the Children’s Department. For ages 8-12. Jan. 14: Tween Writing Club with Ms. Emma. 4 p.m. Join YA fantasy author Emma Fox for a virtual writing club just for tweens. Registration required. For ages 8-12. Jan. 20: Homeschool Hangout – Creative Writing Workshop. 1 p.m. With novelist and poet Tina Mozelle Braziel and the Cahaba River Society. Learn to write an ode and anti-ode poem and well as a romantic lyrical writing piece. Registration required. Jan. 20: Homeschool Art Club – Mini Terrarium. 2:30 p.m. Join Ms. Kaitlyn to learn how to make a mini terrarium. Registration required. Jan. 21: Virtual Pet Show. 4 p.m. Show off your pet through Zoom. Each child will choose a special title for their own pet such as “Most Fuzzy” or “Most Colorful.” With permission, we will announce the pets' names and titles along with pictures if provided on our children's blog after the show. Registration required. For ages 12 and younger with adult assistance. STORYTIME PROGRAMMING Jan. 12: Puppet Play. 2 p.m. Storytime video featuring puppets and then make your own puppet craft using a provided kit or with items from home. Registration required. Jan. 21: Virtual Family Storytime. 10:30 a.m. All ages. Registration required.

Mt Laurel Library The library will be closed Friday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day and Monday, Jan. 18, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS Through Jan. 31: Get Yeti to Read Winter Challenge. Ages birth through fifth grade. Registration required. Jan. 9: Crafty Saturday. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pick up a fun craft at the library. All ages with parent help. Registration is not required, but supplies are limited. Jan. 12: Puppet Play. 2 p.m. Enjoy a storytime video featuring puppets and then make your own puppet craft using a provided kit or with stuff you have at home. Subscribe to the library’s YouTube channel to see the next video or view previous ones. Registration required. Jan. 20: “Fly Guy” Birthday. Celebrate the birthday of the author of “Fly Guy,” Tedd Arnold! Don’t get too “buzzy” to pick up this fun kit. Registration required. Jan. 21: Virtual Family Storytime. 10:30 a.m. Subscribe to the library’s YouTube channel to see the next story time or view previous ones. All

Jan. 9: Lego Day. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come and create with Legos! Be sure to display your creation

Wednesdays: Minecrafternoons. 4 p.m. Join other sixth through 12th graders on the library’s Minecraft Realm. Registration required. Jan. 7: Teen Leadership Council Virtual Meeting. 6 p.m. Make plans for programs via Zoom. Applications available on the library’s teen page. Jan. 11: Teen Take-Home Craft Kit. Make a starry wall hanging. Registration required. Jan. 11: Among Us. 6 p.m. Play via Zoom. Registration required. Jan. 20: Homeschool Hangout – Creative Writing Workshop. 1 p.m. With novelist and poet Tina Mozelle Braziel and the Cahaba River Society. Bring a pencil and paper and write an ode and anti-ode poem and well as a romantic lyrical writing piece. The event will be a pre-recorded video where we draw inspiration from nature. Registration required. Jan. 20: Homeschool Art Club – Mini Terrarium. 2:30 p.m. Join Ms. Kaitlyn to learn how to make a mini terrarium. Registration required. Jan. 21: Dungeons & Dragons interest meeting. 6 p.m. Interested in playing or learning how to play DnD? Attend this Zoom meeting to help decide how the library Dungeons & Dragons group will meet this spring. Registration required.





205.970.6886 cremationcenterofbirmingham.net

Your Health and Safety Are Our

Biggest Concerns

TWEEN PROGRAMS Jan. 14: New Year, New You – Tween Bullet Journal. 4 p.m. Tweens will pick up a bullet journal kit and meet over Zoom to decorate and organize their journals. For 8- to 12-year-olds only. Registration required. ADULT PROGRAMS Jan. 7: Mt Laurel Book Club. 7 p.m. The Book Club will meet over Zoom to discuss “When Crickets Cry” by Charles Martin. Registration required. Jan. 25: New Year, New You – Clipboard Organizer. It’s a new year — let’s get organized! Adults can pick up a take-home kit to make a clipboard organizer with a pocket. Registration required.

The library will be closed Friday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day and Monday, Jan. 18, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Fridays: BYO Craft. 10 a.m. Join other crafters for fun and fellowship! Bring your portable craft, or come to learn.

Through March 1: Minecraft Speed Run Contest. Complete the Minecraft story in a record amount of time. Registration required.

ages. No registration.

Chelsea Public Library Thursdays: Tot Time. 10:30 a.m. Join Mrs. Emily each week for stories, music, games, and fun.


with a name tag for all to see for a week on the children’s floor. Jan. 11: Teen Book Club. 5 p.m. For ages 12 and older to come eat dinner and discuss books! Check the website and Facebook for more info. Jan. 12: Music & Books Club. 5:30 p.m. Register online for music and books club with Ms. Samantha.

We Are Open and Available To

Serve Our Patients

All of us at ENT Associates of Alabama, P.C. are extremely grateful to our patients for their loyalty and patience during this crisis, and we are working hard to be available to you. As always, the health and safety of our staff, our patients and their families are our top priority.

All patients are required to wear a mask for their appointment and while in our lobby. During these difficult times, it is even more critical that those in need of healthcare services have access to treatment, while practicing social distancing and exposing them as little as possible to any potential infections. In order to continue serving our patients and be considerate of their safety, we are temporarily limiting our appointment hours during this crisis. Please call our office or visit our website for specific office hours at each of our locations. Birmingham - Princeton - Hoover - Cullman - Gardendale - Alabaster - Jasper - Pell City - Trussville

www.entalabama.com or call toll free 888-368-5020

A30 • January 2021

280 Living

New softball/baseball fields are underway at the Chelsea Sports Complex, seen from Weldon Pavilion on Dec. 7. Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer said the four new fields should be ready for play by the fall of 2021. Photo by Erin Nelson.


CONTINUED from page A1 Alabama Department of Transportation approvals for many years. “The project has been bid and awarded, so we are now looking forward to the upcoming start of construction,” Scroggins said. The multiuse trail will be 8 feet wide and go from the fire station to the Hoover Nature Park off Inverness Parkway. Safety improvements and bike lane construction will be made to Oak Mountain State Park Road from the front entrance to the Alabama 119 intersection. Scroggins said people going to restaurants and staying at nearby hotels can use the park for the day and ride their bike or walk in there. “We are going into the year really excited about wrapping up some projects we’ve had going and getting started on new projects,” Scroggins said. “Obviously it’s been challenging with everything going on and the high degree of uncertainty associated with a global pandemic, so it provides a lot of opportunities to work through it. It’s challenging, but also good things that come out of it.” A traffic signal will be placed at Shelby County 41 and Hugh Daniel Drive. The bid was awarded to Selective Inc. for $503,363.50. This was the second time the project has been up for bid. The first came in at over $100,000 over budget and was rejected. “We are tickled to death to get this price, [and] although it’s still more than we’d like to pay, we are signing contracts,” County Engineer Randy Cole said. “They are ordering materials from subcontractors, and we are anxious to get that in as soon as we can.” Other FY2021 capital projects and initiatives include: ► The return of the Parks and Recreation Grant Funds ($150,000): The grants went away during the economic downturn in 2008-09 but are being brought back this fiscal year. The grant is used to assist communities, school systems or any type of park and recreation board improvements to facilities that serve Shelby County residents. “The grant is open to any municipalities or communities that might need to make improvements to playgrounds or recreation structures,” Scroggins said. “It can be based on need.” ► Additional trails are planned for Cahaba River - Shelby County Park in Helena: Mountain biking and hiking trails have already been constructed, and this project will be an extension of those. ► Continued work to extend Dunnavant Valley Greenway: Work will be done to extend the trail from the SportsBlast 1996 Fields Complex to Mt Laurel. ► Bridge work: The Norfolk Southern

Left: Construction is underway on the new Shelby County Services Building located by the SportsBlast 1996 Fields Complex. Above: Construction crews continue work on the new splash pad at Melrose Park in Chelsea. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Railway Bridge on Shelby County 55 in Sterrett will be replaced. The city of Chelsea also has several projects planned for 2021. Phase 2 of the Chelsea Sports Complex near the high school should be finished by the third quarter of this year. It will feature four new softball/baseball fields. Mayor Tony Picklesimer said the fields should be ready for play by the fall of 2021. There will also be the addition of a cross-country track that will be approximately 3

miles long. It will be used by the Chelsea cross-country team and also open to the public. Both Phase 1 and 2 will be interconnected by trails and walking paths, along with a stocked lake for fishing. The playground at Melrose Park opened in November, and two more projects are underway behind the community center. A splash pad is set to open May 1 and will include a variety of water activities and a zero-entry wade pool. “This is something Chelsea has been asking

for for years, and it’s almost here,” Picklesimer said. A restroom/100-person storm shelter building should also be finished by the same time the splash pad is completed. The next project will be the amphitheater, which will be for 2022. Work on the land for the Chelsea Business Park has been underway for several months, and Therachem will be the first tenant to begin construction after the first of the year. After a long process, work at the intersection of Shelby County 39 and Shelby County 47 will be a joint project with Shelby County and the city of Chelsea. Bids for the project are scheduled to go out on it later this month. “I’m glad to see our parks and facilities growing as our city grows,” Picklesimer said. “We also should have about 250 more new homes built in our city. With more people coming in, we will need more ballparks, along with the playground and splash pad to provide more things for families to do.” A new Racetrac gas station should begin construction in the first quarter at the corner of Shelby County 39 and U.S. 280, and several more restaurant deals are in the works. Auto Zone should begin construction in the first quarter next to Taco Bell. 280 Living will keep our readers up-to-date on these projects as they progress.


January 2021 • A31


CONTINUED from page A1 Sometimes they were the type where he would zone out and you could tell he wasn’t there. Stantis’s wife Jeanine was pregnant with their first child at the time and gave him the middle name Marc so his name would live on. Stantis said the death of his brother was shocking, and he has since dedicated himself to being involved in the Epilepsy Foundation. For several years, he provided children with epilepsy the opportunity to attend camp with his reprint checks from his cartoons. He currently serves on the Epilepsy Foundation Alabama’s advisory board. “The last thing he ever said to me face-toface, as I was getting in the car on Christmas Day to leave to start my job in Memphis, he pulled me aside and said ‘I want you to know I’m really proud of you.’” Stantis said that last moment with his brother taught him to always say “I love you” when he leaves his wife or children because “you don’t know if it will be the last time you may see them.” Marc passed away several weeks later in February. Stantis said his brother was in a good place and that maybe it’s not such a tragedy to leave the world when things are going well. He really wanted Marc to meet his kids, but losing a sibling steals those moments away. Stantis said having Marc as his brother helped him to learn compassion, and that while there are people with different skills, they are still amazing and wonderful people. “One of my main goals in life is not just to help find a cure for epilepsy and facilitate social support for them, but also find out more about SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) and why it happens. I think about my brother everyday, and if I can make some kind of homage to him by doing this, I’m glad to do it.” Stantis recently stepped back from his fulltime role at the Chicago Tribune and moved back to Birmingham a year-and-a-half ago. Although he and his wife lived in Chicago for 10 years, they kept their home near Indian Valley in Shelby County and moved back into it. He currently freelances for the Tribune doing two cartoons a week, has been writing the comic strip Prickly City since 2004 and most recently began working part-time at the Alabama Policy Institute as the public affairs officer. Executive Director Sara Franklin began her role in September 2019 and is working with people who know the history of the foundation. One in every 10 people will have a seizure, and Franklin said that epilepsy is more common than people realize. “People don’t talk about epilepsy, and we are working to reduce the stigma of it,” Franklin said. Franklin had her first seizure in August 2018. A 30-year-old new mom, her husband woke up to her convulsing in the bed and called 911. Franklin was taken to the ER. She had three more seizures between then and April 2019, but she found the right medicine and has been seizure-free since then. She said she had to step away from her job at a PR firm. In Alabama, every time someone has a seizure, they can’t drive for six months. “It affects people’s lives in so many ways, and we want people to know they’re not alone,” Franklin said. “We offer things like monthly support groups, the Walk to End Epilepsy and connect people to treatment resources and ultimately save lives.” Franklin said anyone’s brain has the potential to seize, that seizures do not discriminate and that anyone can develop epilepsy. Although it is most common in children and senior adults, it can occur in those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, in college students who are stressed or not getting enough sleep, or in veterans. Seizures are also common in infancy and when puberty begins. SUDEP deaths are 1 in 1,000 people, and 1 in 50 people die with uncontrolled seizures. More common than Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), SUDEP isn’t talked about much, and Franklin said there are ways to reduce the risk and hopes to raise awareness of it. The foundation is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021. A livestreamed celebration is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 26. Franklin said she chose that night because the statistic of 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives. The 26-minute event will be presented on Twitch and later available on the foundation’s social media channels.

Above: Epilepsy Foundation Alabama Executive Director Sara Franklin with U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer at the 2020 Epilepsy Foundation Alabama event. Below left: Last year’s Epilepsy Foundation Alabama event was held at Railroad Park. Due to COVID-19, its 50th anniversary event will be virtual on Jan. 26. Photos courtesy of Sara Franklin. Below middle: Garland Stansell, right, with his father Thurman Stansell, left, mother Linda Stansell, center left, and wife Anne Stansell at the 2019 Walk to End Epilepsy. Photo courtesy of Garland Stansell. Right: Scott Stantis, seen inside Tribune Tower, is a nationally recognized editorial cartoonist and also serves on the board for the Epilepsy Foundation Alabama. Photo courtesy of Scott Stantis.

During the event, guests will hear from physicians from across the state, neurology teams, board members and clips of people sharing information about the 50-year history of Epilepsy Foundation Alabama. “We want to celebrate the fact that we made it through this milestone,” Franklin said. “Even making it through the pandemic is quite a milestone. We want to thank people for their support over the past 50 years.” Franklin said she also wants to emphasize the importance of people becoming seizure first-aid certified. A virtual program can be done online at epilepsy.com/firstaid. It includes a pretest, an hour long webinar and a post-test. It shows how to recognize different types of seizures, how to properly assist someone and when to call 911. Garland Stansell serves as the advisory board chair for the Epilepsy Foundation Alabama. He has first-hand experience living with someone with epilepsy: his mother. She began suffering seizures after falling from a tree and sustaining a head injury when she was about 11 years old. After much testing, she finally received an epilepsy diagnosis in her 20s and began taking medication. He said one of his earliest memories was when he was about 4 years old and she had a severe seizure. “I was not sure what it was, but I knew something was happening,” Stansell said. “Once she stopped seizing, I went into the bathroom, put her head in my lap and put a wet washcloth on her head. I can remember my younger brother being in the playpen and crying.” Stansell’s dad worked a blue-collar job that required long hours, so growing up, he ended up being his mother’s main caregiver. Along with the seizures, the epilepsy caused other issues like depression and anxiety. “I was more of her confidant and able to help her in being a sounding board to listen when she

was having different types of struggles with the emotional part,” he said. After years of going to a neurologist and taking medication, Stansell said, “for the most part her seizures were under control, and she had very few.” After going through menopause and having a hysterectomy in her mid-50s, her seizures almost completely stopped. Stansell said she has been mostly seizure free for about 20 years now. Married for 61 years, she is now the caregiver to his father, who suffers from dementia. “I’ve been involved for about 21 years with the Epilepsy Foundation Alabama and became involved as my mother’s seizures began to evade because I wanted to be able to give back.” Stansell, who has worked as the chief communications officer at Children’s of Alabama for the past 26 years, said growing up with a parent with epilepsy gave him a different perspective. Prior to that job, he worked at Alabama Goodwill Industries and found early on in his professional career he wanted to do something that would make a difference in people’s lives. “Early on you learn people are different, and some people have what others consider disabilities,” he said. “I think it does help you develop more compassion for people who are struggling.” Funds raised during the 50th anniversary virtual event will go toward supporting Epilepsy Foundation Alabama efforts that include seizure first-aid virtual trainings and certifications, school personnel and school nurse seizure first-aid trainings in Alabama, monthly support groups, Epilepsy Foundation Kids Crew memberships and activities, the SUDEP Institute, summer camp scholarships, research and more. People who have either been touched by Epilepsy Foundation Alabama or know about the

Epilepsy: Fast Facts ► Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt other brain functions and cause seizures. ► 3.4 million people live with epilepsy in the United States. Their families are impacted, too. ► 150,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed each year in the U.S. ► In Alabama, there are more than 54,100 people living with active epilepsy. ► People with epilepsy often experience changes in their quality of life, such as less mobility, as well as the impact on learning, school attendance, employment, relationships and social interactions. ► The Epilepsy Foundation fights to dispel myths about epilepsy and seizures, yet fear, misunderstanding and discrimination still exist. This can lead to feelings of social isolation, helplessness and depression, which causes some people to hide their disorder. SOURCE: EPILEPSY FOUNDATION

history of the organization are encouraged to email their memories and photos to alabama@ efa.org. To register for the 50th anniversary event, visit epilepsyalabama.org/50th. There is no mandatory fee to register, but households are encouraged to donate $126 or more if they are able.








Genuine solid wood is used on all exterior panels and shaped edges to provide quality and heirloom beauty that will last for generations.

Most manufacturers use thin veneer construction DECORATIVE PLASTIC OR WOOD EDGE.




Many furniture manufacturers only use solid wood on drawer fronts, while the remainder of the product is veneer over particleboard. Edges are typically “banded” with a strip of solid wood to simulate solid wood construction, but below the veneer is particleboard.














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Kincaid, in keeping with its tradition in styling, materials and finish, crafts its furniture collections using primarily solid woods selected for grain clarity, color coordination and design. Combinations of different solid wood species are used within each collection. Not all exposed surfaces of every collection are constructed of solid wood. Wood products, multi-layered plywood, veneers and laminates are used for certain structural elements, including exposed surfaces that support leather, cane wicker and other non-wood materials, as well as in select components including some decorative table tops, table skirts, bed rails, interior surfaces, back panels, pullout trays, serving surfaces, etc. Some of our furniture features metal, stone, marble, granite or a composite material with the appearance of these elements.



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Lions hook 3rd title in a row J.T. Russell, Tucker Smith and Hayden Marbut with their plaques following Briarwood’s third straight national championship victory. Photo courtesy of Tucker Smith.

By KYLE PARMLEY Winning the national championship once was a dream come true for Tucker Smith. He accomplished that in 2018. Then, again in 2019. And, somehow, he pulled off a threepeat in 2020. Smith, a recent Briarwood Christian School graduate, took to Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee, and helped his boat win the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors for the third straight time in October. “It was super shocking,” Smith said of winning the tournament yet again. “Just to get to that tournament is a huge deal. To win it in one year is crazy. Everyone wants to win a national championship.” Smith won the first two titles for Briarwood with fishing partner Grayson Morris. This time around, he fished with Hayden Marbut, but the result was the same. “We do the same kind of things, and we were pretty comfortable in the boat with each other,” Smith said. “He did good. He carried his weight and caught some big fish.” In 2019, Smith and Morris pulled off a thrilling finish on day three to win the tournament. But this time around, Smith and Marbut got off to a strong start and set the tone for a strong event. They secured a huge 22 pounds, 2 ounces on the first day of the three-day tournament, before finishing with a total of 47-5. That first-day success gave the duo plenty of confidence heading into the final two days. “It took a lot of pressure off,” Smith said. The duo earned $5,000 in scholarship money and another $200 for the big bass of the tournament, a 7-5 catch on the first day.

Marbut said the big bass of the tournament hit his topwater bait close to the boat and came unbuttoned as soon as they netted it, according to Bassmaster. Smith and Marbut fished mostly the same way on day two. But on day three, “a strong cold front sent temperatures south and created windy and wavy conditions on Kentucky Lake, putting an end to their topwater bite.” “Back-to-back was historic,” Briarwood Athletic Director Jay Mathews said. “Now that you have a national championship three-peat, I can say that will never be done again.”

Making the third consecutive victory even more impressive was the fact that this year’s national championship was contested under much different conditions. As opposed to the event being held in August, this year’s was conducted in October. “It was colder, and the fish were not in the same areas, so we had to scrap our other game plan and fish completely differently,” Smith said. J.T. Russell served as the boat captain for the third consecutive year as well, with Mathews attributing the success in large part to how well

Smith and Russell work together. Mathews calls starting the bass fishing program at Briarwood one of the most gratifying things he has done in his career, as he has seen the program grow to having 30 to 40 kids in the club on an annual basis. Curtis Gossett now coaches the team at Briarwood. “He’s done a great job training the next generation,” Mathews said. “It’s been quite a satisfying thing, mainly because the great kids we’ve had come through the program. The program has been a real blessing to this school.”



• • • •

Senior Apartments/ Independent Living Assisted Living Homes & Communities Alzheimer’s & Memory Care Communities Nursing Homes or In-Home Care


LET’S TALK Knowing who to trust is intimidating. We’ll listen to your story, ask thoughtful questions and address your concerns in a way you’ll feel good about. MAKE A PLAN You’ll get honest, easy-to-understand advice that cuts through the confusion and makes your situation easier. REVIEW YOUR OPTIONS Almost every senior living community looks great online. When working with us, you’ll get the real information you need to make a great decision that supports safe and happy aging. MAKE THE MOVE Moving is a big step. We’ve helped dozens of families make a successful transition. We’ll help you, too, whenever you need us - both now and in the future.

ABOUT SARAH GARCIA My job is to help families find senior living housing that fits the needs of their loved one. I am a registered dietitian and prior to coming aboard with Assisted Living Locators, I worked in skilled nursing and assisted living.


(205) 775-6006 | AssistedLivingLocators.com/Birmingham

B2 • January 2021

280 Living

Your Health Today Written by Dr. Palmer

For many, the starting of a New Year begins with a reflection of what was and was not accomplished. Some common areas of reflection are one’s health, exercise/fitness, weight gain, relationships, and financials. Enthusiasm, motivation, and a strategic plan are often prepared to execute day one after the new year. Eager and determined, many embark on a plan of exercise for weeks or months before the inevitable human body response of “you’re overdoing it” appears. These signs and signals appear as injuries or illness. The intention is to cause a pause for recovery. “You’re only able to make fitness gains when your body has time to recover from the training loads you put it under,” explains Chris Carmichael, founder of Carmichael Training Systems in Colorado Springs, CO. “The harder you push, the more carefully you must adhere to the low points of your periodization (training) schedule”. For his elite athletes, Carmichael not only inserts rest days into a training schedule, but he also prescribes rest weeks or even months based on the event, i.e. Ironman competitions, Crossfit games, or 100-mile races. After every three days of hard training, he instructs them to take a 24- to 48-hour break. This is important!

This type of regeneration period allows your body to recharge, not only physically but mentally. “It’s important to always keep in mind why you are training and to remember that strategic periods of rest and recovery are part of every good training plan”, says Ian Adamson, a cyclist and record-holding endurance kayaker from Boulder, Colo. “If you have a consistent workout regimen, you don’t need to live in fear of losing all momentum the instant you take your foot off the pedal”. Melinda Sothern, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans stated, “most athletes won’t lose ground nearly as rapidly as they fear.” Additionally, she explains, “it is important to understand that failing to take breaks, going too hard for too long, too often can harm your performance, immunity, mood, and even deplete your energy reserves.” This is where one gets set up for failure and disappointment because signs and signals such as injuries, illness, depression, and burnout may develop. It can also take the fun out of fitness. “Many athletes put themselves in a near-constant state of overtraining”, notes Sothern, “and unnecessarily sacrifice energy and vitality as a result”. Knowing when and how to



Serving the Birmingham community since 1958

Strategic Recovery for Training

moderate your training plan is crucial to your success and overall health. By pushing your body to its limits, you can compromise your immune system causing it to release stress hormones, including cortisol. As this hormone rises, immunity takes a nosedive. Additionally, your body can’t adequately repair the muscles, nor can it effectively fight off bacteria and viruses. “Periodically, lowering your training load reduces cortisol levels, allowing your body to recover better from your training,” says Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., a psycho-nutritionist, veteran Ironman triathlete, and ultra-marathoner. “It also reduces your chances of sustaining an injury or getting an illness that could sideline your training for an extended period”. Keep in mind that a tough strength-training or cardio workout inflicts small tears along with the outer coating of your muscle tissue. During your downtime, your body treats the tiny tears much as it does an injury, and satellite cells rush in to patch them up. The repair process creates longer, thicker muscle fibers which can be good for attaining one’s goal. Something else that may occur when you’re overtraining is reduced energy and motivation. If you’re overtraining, or if some other aspect of your life is exerting

a significant toll and you haven’t adjusted your exercise accordingly, there’s a good chance you’ll see your outlook and enthusiasm suffer. Part of this may be psychological when you feel pulled in too many directions or another part of it could be physiological, a biochemical reaction to nutritional and hormonal depletion. Therefore, to start a successful plan one would ideally include a formal training schedule that calls for “light” periods with days of rest. And then, particularly if life throws you for a loop, there may be times when power walking is a better plan for that day. The bottom line in those cases is to recognize your body’s warning signs and signals to avoid setbacks. Personally, as an athlete myself with 17 completed marathons as well as a holistic-based chiropractor, I encourage, guide, and coach many through training cycles with recovery periods blended in to attain the ultimate goal of reaching your goal. Contact us today to be your accountability doctor so that you can attain your successful outcome in 2021. We are here to serve! Article information gathered from Experience Lie Magazine

At Guin, we feel great pride and responsibility in carrying on the legacy of honesty and hard work that began 62 years ago. Joseph Braswell,Owner of Guin Service


205-595-4846 | www.guinservice.com



January 2021 • B3

NEW YEAR NEW YOU 2021 is here and we are here to help you take care of your skin. Call (205) 580-1500 to make an appointment, or te)t us through Klara, our secure messaging app, at (205)  0-285 MEGAN CHERRY, MD KRISTY CURL, DO LAUREN HUGHEY, MD CAROLINE WILSON, CRNP SHELLEY WINZELER, PA-C

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B4 • January 2021

280 Living


Oak Mountain quarterback Evan Smith (9) runs for a touchdown during a game against Hewitt-Trussville on Oct. 23 on Husky Field at Hewitt-Trussville Stadium in Trussville. Smith was named the Offensive Player of the Year and first-team quarterback for the All-South Metro team. Photo courtesy of Shawn Bowles.

Waugh, Smith, Bell earn season awards By KYLE PARMLEY


he 2020 high school football season was one unlike any other. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic forced forfeits, limited capacities in stadiums and many other irregularities. But that did not prevent players and teams throughout the area from putting together spectacular performances worthy of the All-South Metro team. This fall, Briarwood’s Tyler Waugh earned the overall and Defensive Player of the Year honors, thanks to his outstanding production as a linebacker and goal line runner for the Lions. Oak Mountain quarterback Evan Smith ran wild all season and is the Offensive Player of the Year. The Eagles had a terrific season, leading to Cris Bell being named Coach of the Year. Buddy Anderson completed his 43rd and final season as the Vestavia Hills head coach as well. He won 346 games in an outstanding career. ► Player of the Year: Tyler Waugh, Briarwood ► Offensive Player of the Year: Evan Smith, Oak Mountain ► Defensive Player of the Year: Tyler Waugh, Briarwood ► Coach of the Year: Cris Bell, Oak Mountain ► Lifetime Achievement Award: Buddy Anderson

1ST TEAM OFFENSE ► QB: Evan Smith, Oak Mountain – led the area with 1,719 yards, albeit from the quarterback spot. He scored 29 total touchdowns in a stellar season. ► RB: Armoni Goodwin, Hewitt-Trussville – capped off a brilliant career with 1,422 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. ► RB: Judah Tait, Oak Mountain – complemented Smith with 1,412 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns as part of a dominant ground attack.

Above left: Briarwood linebacker Tyler Waugh (30) tackles Mountain Brook quarterback Strother Gibbs (12) during an Oct. 8 game at Lions Pride Stadium. Photo by Todd Lester. Above right: Oak Mountain head coach Cris Bell meets with the offense during the final timeout of a game against Pelham on Aug. 28 at Heardmont Park. Photo by Erin Nelson.

► WR: RJ Hamilton, Hoover – the dynamic sophomore eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, catching 53 passes and nine touchdowns with 1,063 yards. ► WR: Cooper Kelley, Spain Park – led an explosive Jags passing attack with 1,002 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns on 53 catches. ► WR: Marquarius White, Clay-Chalkville – emerged as the Cougars’ go-to receiver and had 13 receiving touchdowns with 877 yards. ► WR: Omari Kelly, Hewitt-Trussville – finished the year with 710 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. ► OL: Riley Quick, Hewitt-Trussville – a punishing blocker who paved the way for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. ► OL: Carson McKeen, Briarwood – played four positions along the line throughout the year and had 31 pancakes for the Lions. ► OL: Nick Paradise, Hoover – has provided

stability at the center position for several years for the Bucs. ► OL: Jack Smith, Mountain Brook – allowed just one sack all year, finishing with 34 pancakes and 48 knockdowns. ► OL: Nic Rigdon, Oak Mountain – paved the way for an Eagles’ ground attack that averaged 328 yards per game. ► ATH: GaQuincy McKinstry, Pinson Valley – did a little bit of everything for the Indians, notching over 600 receiving yards and intercepting two passes for touchdowns. ► K/P: Jaren Van Winkle, Clay-Chalkville – a four-year starter for the Cougars, making all 54 of his extra points and all eight of his field goal attempts, along with averaging 38 yards per punt. ► K/P: Hogan Morton, Oak Mountain – made 37-of-39 extra points and 5-of-7 field goals. He finished his career with 88 points.

DEFENSE ► DL: Justice Finkley, Hewitt-Trussville – finished with 82 total tackles and 24 quarterback hurries despite battling double and triple teams all season. ► DL: Lawrence Johnson, John Carroll – put together a strong season for the upstart Cavs, finishing with 20 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. ► DL: Gavin Nelson, Oak Mountain – led the Eagles defense with 7.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. ► DL: Braxton Wetzler, Mountain Brook – plugged up the middle for the Spartans, notching 56 total tackles and six tackles for loss. ► LB: Parker Hutson, Briarwood – racked up 110 tackles and did a little bit of everything for the Lions, including contributing on offense. ► LB: Jonathon Harris, Clay-Chalkville – the most valuable force of the Cougars defense,


January 2021 • B5

Above left: Spain Park wide receiver Cooper Kelley (10) makes a catch during a game against Hueytown on Oct. 29 at Hueytown High School. Photo by Todd Lester. Above right: Briarwood’s Parker Hutson (11) tackles a Homewood wide receiver during an Oct. 23 game at Waldrop Stadium in Homewood. Photo by James Nicholas.

► K/P: Matthew McMeans, Vestavia Hills – made 30-of-31 extra points for the Rebels. DEFENSE

Oak Mountain running back Judah Tait (33) breaks through the line and runs for a touchdown during a game against Spain Park on Oct. 2 at Heardmont Park. Photo by Todd Lester. Below left: Oak Mountain kicker Hogan Morton (20) kicks the extra point during a game against Clay-Chalkville on Oct. 29 at Cougar Stadium in Clay. Photo by James Nicholas. Below right: Briarwood’s Tyler Waugh (30) runs the ball as Hartselle defensive back Tevin Shields (9) attempts to stop the run during a Nov. 6 game at Lions Pride Stadium. Photo by Erin Nelson.

finishing with 93 tackles. ► LB: Mike Edwards, Hewitt-Trussville – contributed 84 tackles and four interceptions for the Huskies. ► LB: Charlie Goode, Homewood – wrapped up a stellar career with 109 tackles for the Patriots. ► DB: Alastair Harris, Briarwood – the Swiss Army knife of the Lions defense, finishing with 79 tackles and two interceptions. ► DB: Trey Washington, Hewitt-Trussville – the Ole Miss commit covered the opposition’s best receiver each week, finishing with 54 tackles and a couple picks. ► DB: Blake Pugh, Mountain Brook – picked off four passes and recovered two fumbles while finishing with 49 tackles. ► DB: Joseph Sullivan, Vestavia Hills – was all over the place for the Rebels, intercepting two passes and contributing 87 tackles. ► ATH: Tyler Waugh, Briarwood – led the area with 165 total tackles, while contributing two defensive touchdowns as well. He also rushed for 13 touchdowns in goal line packages.

2ND TEAM OFFENSE ► QB: Bennett Meredith, Spain Park – led one of the state’s most explosive passing attacks, finishing the year with 3,106 yards and 24 touchdowns. ► RB: Edward Osley, Clay-Chalkville – rushed for 1,328 yards and 15 touchdowns. ► RB: Luke Reebals, Briarwood – a terrific all-around player, rushing for 1,149 yards and receiving for 499 more, with 10 total touchdowns. ► WR: Jaylen Ward, Spain Park – as the second leading receiver for the Jags, finished with 876 yards and five touchdowns. ► WR: Malik Thomas, Hoover – capped off his career with 724 receiving yards and 10 scores. ► WR: Len Irvine, Homewood – had 51 grabs for 694 yards and four touchdowns as the Patriots’ primary pass-catching option. ► WR: Brooks Donnelly, Briarwood – returned from injury to catch six touchdown

passes with 537 yards. ► OL: Will Grant, Mountain Brook – had 32 pancakes and 42 knockdowns as the Spartans’ center. ► OL: Drew Rowland, Oak Mountain – graded over 85% for the season for the Eagles. ► OL: Dawson Ray, Vestavia Hills – paved the way for an always strong Rebels rushing attack. ► OL: Rayvon Crum, Pinson Valley – the North Texas commit was the leader on the Indians’ line. ► OL: Izziah Williams, Clay-Chalkville – the Cougars’ highest-graded lineman, playing every position throughout the year. ► ATH: Carter Short, Hoover – the Bucs’ long snapper is committed to be a preferred walk-on at Alabama. ► ATH: Quad Harrison, John Carroll – had 403 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns and also intercepted four passes. ► K/P: Drake Tabor, Spain Park – a kicker in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Classic, converted 37-of-42 extra points on the year.

► DL: Markus Clark, Hoover – was a force on the line for the Bucs, causing three fumbles and making five sacks. ► DL: Bryce Littleton, Vestavia Hills – had 11 tackles for loss. ► DL: Julian Peterson, Pinson Valley – finished the year with 7.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. ► DL: Daniel Corbin, Briarwood – had seven tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. ► LB: Marcus Williams, Hoover – broke up five passes, intercepted two and finished with 52 total tackles. ► LB: Landen Berguson, Hewitt-Trussville – led the Huskies with 135 tackles. ► LB: John McMillan, Mountain Brook – had 85 tackles and eight tackles for loss. ► LB: Dean Null, Oak Mountain – played his best in big games, finishing the year with 62 tackles and four fumble recoveries. ► DB: Cal Higdon, Briarwood – broke up six passes and blocked two kicks. He also finished with 82 tackles. ► DB: Zach Taylor, Oak Mountain – picked off four passes and broke up five others. ► DB: James Nichols, Mountain Brook – the ball-hawking defender intercepted six passes. ► DB: Amon Scarbrough, Pinson Valley – finished with five interceptions and more than 60 tackles.


► QB: Christopher Vizzina, Briarwood; Khalib Johnson, Clay-Chalkville; Cade Ott Carruth, Hewitt-Trussville; Josh Lundy, Hoover; Strother Gibbs, Mountain Brook; Braden Glenn, Vestavia Hills; Zachary Pyron, Pinson Valley ► RB: Collier Blair, Chelsea; Sean Jackson, Hewitt-Trussville; Jayden Taylor, Hoover; Michael Brogan, Mountain Brook; Justin Pegues, Spain Park; Landon Neese, Vestavia Hills; Taiyo Crawford, Vestavia Hills; Kenji Christian, Pinson Valley ► WR: Micah Woods, Pinson Valley; Jordan McCants, Clay-Chalkville; Noah Young, Oak Mountain; Cole Turner, Vestavia Hills; Charlie Hughes, Vestavia Hills; Adam Reaves, Chelsea ► OL: Alex Moorer, Briarwood; Ahmante Altman, Clay-Chalkville; Corey Calvin, ClayChalkville; Hoke Smith, Vestavia Hills ► DL: Jacob Katona, Oak Mountain; Micai George, Oak Mountain; Samuel Garibay, Spain Park; Mike Lawrence, Vestavia Hills; James Perkins, Pinson Valley; Tradarrius Swanson, Pinson Valley ► LB: Chandler Pruitt, Chelsea; Jamarcus Dunn, Clay-Chalkville; Jason Riles, Hoover; Trent Wright, Mountain Brook; Kaniji Chandler, Pinson Valley ► DB: Haddon Stubbs, Briarwood; Jayden Sweeney, Clay-Chalkville; Kameron Peterson, Clay-Chalkville; Matthew Palmer, Hoover; Brock Payne, Mountain Brook; Jimmy Harris, Oak Mountain; Tomas Wesley, Pinson Valley ► K/P: Sam Niven, Chelsea; Luke Harris, John Carroll – Starnes Media produces seven monthly newspapers, and members of the All-South Metro team include players from Briarwood, Chelsea, Oak Mountain, Hoover, Spain Park, Homewood, John Carroll, Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Clay-Chalkville, Hewitt-Trussville and Pinson Valley. The team was compiled by the staff of Starnes Media in consultation with local coaches.

B6 • January 2021

280 Living

Chelsea, Oak Mountain notch individual state championships

Left: Chelsea’s Miles Brush comes down the final stretch in the Class 6A, Section 4 meet, hosted by Spain Park High School, at Veterans Park on Nov. 5. Below: Oak Mountain’s Cole Walker pushes to the finish line during the Class 7A, Section 3 meet at Veterans Park. Photos by Erin Nelson.


17:26) and Luke Black (63rd, 17:26) also made their mark on the scoresheet. Bryce Caton, Josh Stidfole, Noah Arrington, Matthew Womack and Michael Marvin ran for the Eagles as well. The girls were paced by Lauren Cole, who finished 21st overall with a time of 20:33. Emma Grace Phillips was also strong, finishing in 26th in 20:44. Lexi Ray (66th, 21:43), Katie Wright (79th, 22:01) and Savannah Michael (92nd, 22:26) were the scorers for the Oak Mountain team. Also running for the Eagles were Avery Welch, Madeline Hubbert, Meredith Shoemaker, Sydney Heidrich and Lizzie Trammell. Briarwood’s teams also featured really strong runs in the 6A race, with the Lions girls finishing fourth and the boys placing fifth. The Lady Lions were led by Mary Grace Parker, who finished fifth with a time of 19:26 and earned All-State honors. Bela Doss (29th, 20:37), Adrienne Goolsby (32nd, 20:50),

Lena Anne Parker (46th, 21:26) and Brighton Bell (68th, 22:01) were the other top runners. Briarwood earned the fourth-place mark via tiebreaker over Northridge, as Sophie Galvin’s finish was better than Northridge’s sixth runner. Kelly Rollins, Anna Ferguson, Lauren Luker and Maddie Henderson also ran for Briarwood. Joseph Bell led Briarwood’s boys, as he ran his race in 17:04, good for 17th place. Ford Thornton (31st, 17:25), Luke Thompson (37th, 17:32), Joseph Hopkins (49th, 17:42) and Noah Williams (68th, 17:59) were the scorers for the Lions. Also running were Brandon Dixon, Patrick Hnizdil, Luke Baldwin, Jay Greene and Jackson Moore. Spain Park also had runners at the state meet, with Keith Warner (17th, 16:23) leading the boys team in the 7A race. Mackenzie Culpepper (eighth, 19:43) was an All-State honoree in the girls race.


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Miles Brush and Walker Cole earned individual cross-country state championships at the state meet Nov. 6 at Oakville Indian Mounds Park near Moulton. Brush, from Chelsea High School, won the Class 6A race with a time of 15 minutes, 21 seconds, more than 20 seconds quicker than his next competitor. Oak Mountain’s Cole paced the 7A boys field, beating everyone by 10 seconds with his race-winning time of 15:13. In the 6A race, Chelsea’s boys team finished sixth and the girls placed 10th. After Brush, Andrew Fielding (44th, 17:37), Thomas Ludwig (56th, 17:49), Luke Price (67th, 17:59) and Bay Brush (78th, 18:10) scored points for the Hornets. Alex Davis, Camden Thomas, Elijah Williams, Joseph McGaha and Jett Thomas also ran in the race. Chelsea’s girls were paced by Cady McPhail, who earned All-State honors by placing 10th in 19:44. Avery Thompson (42nd, 21:16), Claire Neuberger (60th, 21:51), Ty Cason (90th, 22:31) and June Price (112th, 23:06) also scored points. Also running for the girls team were Joss O’Kelley, Caroline Moore, Anna Nettuno, Alana McCulla and Emma Anderson. Oak Mountain’s boys were sixth in the 7A race, with the girls coming home 10th. Along with Cole, Hunter Wright was an All-State runner by way of his 10th-place run in 16:05. Reese Bell (34th, 16:47), Kenny Chavez (62nd,



January 2021 • B7

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B8 • January 2021

280 Living

Above left: Chelsea’s Amaya Rudolph (7) spikes the ball as Hoover’s Mel Jones (13) guards the net in an Aug. 27 match at Chelsea High School. Above right: Spain Park’s Audrey Rothman (8) spikes the ball in a Class 7A state semifinal match against McGill-Toolen during the state championship Oct. 28 at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Photos by Erin Nelson.

All-South Metro Volleyball: Rothman, Rudolph named to 1st team By KYLE PARMLEY The third annual Starnes Media AllSouth Metro volleyball team comes on the heels of a 2020 season that saw Mountain Brook and Hoover high schools capture state titles. Mountain Brook won the Class 6A championship, while Hoover claimed the 7A crown, its first in program history. The players of the year came from those teams, with Hoover’s Rya McKinnon earning Offensive and overall Player of the Year honors. Mountain Brook libero Evelyn King was named Defensive Player of the Year. John Carroll’s Michael Heard earned Coach of the Year recognition for leading the Cavaliers to the state tournament in his first season. ► Player of the Year: Rya McKinnon, Hoover ► Offensive Player of the Year: Rya McKinnon, Hoover ► Defensive Player of the Year: Evelyn King, Mountain Brook ► Coach of the Year: Michael Heard, John Carroll


► Outside hitter: Rya McKinnon, Hoover, junior – won Player of the Year honors with 543 kills and 234 digs for the 7A champion. ► Outside hitter: Audrey Rothman, Spain Park, junior – had 512 kills, 244 assists and 172 digs for the runner-up Jags. ► Outside hitter: Olivia Brown, Homewood, junior – had a strong balance of 362 kills and 318 digs for the Patriots. ► Outside hitter: Celie Field, Mountain Brook, senior – led the Spartans to the state championship, tallying 317 kills and 327 digs in a stellar season. ► Setter: Aly Durban, Hoover, senior – piled up 1,262 assists in an outstanding senior season for the champs. ► Setter: Hannah Parant, Mountain Brook, freshman – racked up 897 assists and 237 digs as a firstyear player. ► Libero: Evelyn King, Mountain

Above left: Oak Mountain’s Landry Frisch (6) spikes the ball during a match against Hoover at Hoover High School on Oct. 6. Above right: Chelsea’s Hope Wright (1) spikes the ball in a match against Homewood during the Class 6A, Area 9 tournament Oct. 13 at Mountain Brook High School’s Spartan Arena. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Brook, senior – the Defensive Player of the Year had 676 digs on the year. ► Libero: Amelia Ragusa, John Carroll, senior – had 497 digs and wrapped up a five-year varsity career by leading the Cavs to the state tournament. ► Middle hitter: Gabrielle Essix, Hoover, senior – the Florida signee had 378 kills and 83 blocks as a powerful force for the Bucs. ► Middle hitter: Greer Golden, Mountain Brook, junior – finished with 306 kills and 84 blocks in a championship-winning season. ► Right side: Amaya Rudolph, Chelsea, senior – played four years for the Hornets, capping her career with 233 kills, 137 digs and 31 blocks. ► Right side: Mackenzie Yoakum, Homewood, junior – despite missing time, the lefty finished with 199 kills, 75 digs and 42 blocks.


► Outside hitter: Sydney Melton, Hoover, senior – wrapped

up her career with 237 kills. ► Outside hitter: Landry Frisch, Oak Mountain, senior – finished her high school career with 285 kills and 153 digs this season. ► Outside hitter: Hope Wright, Chelsea, senior – finished out her career with a strong season, contributing 273 kills, 252 digs and 81 aces. ► Outside hitter: Emily Breazeale, Spain Park, sophomore – finished with 263 kills as a strong complement to Rothman. ► Setter: Madison Moore, Chelsea, sophomore – was one of the team’s two main setters, registering 477 assists, 138 digs and 53 aces. ► Setter: Olivia Outman, Homewood, junior – ran the Homewood offense with 682 assists and 210 digs. ► Libero: Ava McMillan, Vestavia Hills, senior – finished a stellar career with over 1,000 career digs. ► Libero: Sarah Smith, Homewood, senior – the Memphis signee had 595 digs in her final season.

► Middle hitter: Kayla Jemison, Hoover, senior – had 141 kills and 70 blocks for the Bucs. ► Middle hitter: Hannah Hitson, Mountain Brook, junior – put forth 201 kills, 75 blocks and 61 digs for the Spartans. ► Right side: Angelica Vines, Vestavia Hills, junior – had 288 kills and 91 digs for the Rebels. ►Right side: Riley Kelner, John Carroll, senior – had 390 kills, 75 aces and 156 digs.


► Outside hitter: Emma Pohlmann, Chelsea; Lacee Sheaffer, Oak Mountain; Lilly Gilbert, Mountain Brook; Emma Crawford, Briarwood; Stella Yester, John Carroll; Megan Walker, Vestavia Hills ► Setter: Morgan Martin, Chelsea; Kathryn Smith, Oak Mountain; Lilly Johnson, Spain Park; Sara Archer, John Carroll; Alice Armstrong, Vestavia Hills ► Middle hitter: Morgan Scott,

John Carroll; Erin Jenkins, John Carroll; Lily Janas, Homewood; Stella Helms, Briarwood ► Right side: Bella Halyard, Spain Park; Mel Jones, Hoover; Sims Kilgore, Mountain Brook; Jayni Thompson, Oak Mountain ► Defensive specialist: Anna Sartin, Chelsea; Eva Guenster, Hoover; Paige Ingersoll, Spain Park; Brooklyn Allison, Spain Park; Halley Callaham, Homewood; Peyton David, Hoover ► Libero: Sydney Jaffe, Oak Mountain; Katelyn Walsh, Spain Park; Kendal Youngblood, Hoover – Starnes Media produces seven monthly newspapers, and members of the All-South Metro team include players from Briarwood, Chelsea, Oak Mountain, Hoover, Spain Park, Homewood, John Carroll, Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook. The team was compiled by the staff of Starnes Media in consultation with local coaches.


January 2021 • B9






n e m o W IN


1 2 0 2 • R O D I R R O C 280

Running a business takes ambition, smarts and a lot of drive. The women who run businesses along the 280 corridor have all three, plus a passion for what they do. Presented by

From retail and food to health care and fitness, our annual Women In Business feature is a chance to get to know some of the faces behind the success of many of the businesses in our area.


If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to clean up around your house and get more organized, Space Cadets is here to help. The business offers home organization, closet and garage design and installation, and a retail shop. It will also offer different workshops and classes in 2021, owner Kim McBrayer said. “We provide solutions to simplify the challenges that clutter and disorganization bring to life,” McBrayer said. “With the right tools and the new disciplines we teach, our clients find that living an organized life is within reach.” After getting a hold of her own mess, McBrayer said she had others ask her for help with messes of their own. “I realized the impact and value being organized had on my life and love sharing the concepts that have changed my life,” McBrayer said. Space Cadets offers solutions for every room, style and budget, and also offers closet systems, professional organizing and accessories. They will do “as little or as much” that a client would want, McBrayer said. One woman who received a new closet slept in it because “it was the prettiest room in her house,” McBrayer said. Another woman who had a brain tumor moved to the Birmingham area to be closer to her family, and though she was initially overwhelmed setting up her new home, McBrayer and Space Cadets were able to help her overcome that and settle in, McBrayer said. McBrayer said she aims to simplify the lives of her clients one space at a time, and it’s something she’s been doing for 20 years. One of the tips McBrayer offers people looking for better ways to organize closets is by flipping the way she hangs

► WHERE: 5287 U.S. 280 S., Suite 261 ► CALL: 205-326-7025 ► WEBSITE: spacecadetsorganizing.com clothes, putting the pants on top and shirts on the bottom. It allows more light in and fewer shadows from the sleeves, and also allows access to the middle shelf to store folded items. Over the years, numerous successful projects have allowed one family to keep custody of their child, to another woman who avoided eviction, but Space Cadets has also helped many clients to just add a custom closet or organize their pantry and garage. With the recent COVID-19 developments, Space Cadets has also discovered families needing a space at home for school or work and has created unique workspaces to accommodate various spaces and budgets. “We have been conducting our design review meetings via Zoom, and clients are texting photos with measurements to get the design process started instead of us visiting the actual job site,” McBrayer said. “We also launched our online store with curbside pickup or delivery for those people who are unable to shop inside. The retail store offers different items that can help simplify spaces, such as three-tier divided bins, two-tier organizers, expanded cabinet shelves and

much more. “We are always looking out for new opportunities to grow and better serve the needs of our clients, whether it be adding new product lines or expanding our coverage area,” McBrayer said. “We look forward to changing the lives of more

people with our message of simplifying their spaces. Our passion to help people by simplifying their life through organization. We believe that when you love what you do, it is never work and we are blessed to have the opportunity to help people.”

B10 • January 2021


The Women of Girls Inc. of Central Alabama


n order to grow the business and community leaders of tomorrow, Girls Inc. is inspiring today’s girls to be strong, smart and bold. Girls Inc. of Central Alabama has been in Birmingham since 1938 providing a progirl environment, research-based programs and mentoring relationships. Girls are encouraged to take risks, get dirty, ask questions and find their unique voice. When asked what they learned at Girls Inc., the most common word alums use is “confidence.” A recent study (Strong, Smarter, Bolder: Girls Take the Lead) showed how the confidence girls find at Girls Inc. prepares them for leadership roles in business, politics and their communities. While there are more women today in key leadership positions than ever before, there still exists a pervasive gender gap in top leadership. Girls Inc. seeks to eliminate this gap by providing the support that girls need to become leaders. The study found that Girls Inc. offered four fundamental supports that turn girls into leaders: providing mentoring relationships; encouraging girls to develop and use their voices; promoting positive self-image; and fostering intellectual confidence. These supports help girls navigate and overcome the personal and societal barriers they face. “All girls deserve equity of access to wellbeing and opportunity, and we have to see the whole girl, in her context and community. That’s what Girls Inc. has always done, and we believe that’s a key to the success we’ve achieved,” said Stephanie J. Hull, Ph.D., president and CEO of Girls Inc. Regardless of demographic, academic and social characteristics, girls who participated in Girls Inc. were outpacing their peers in multiple areas of success and were more likely to: • See themselves as leaders, with the skills and capabilities to influence and improve their local communities. • Exercise regularly and participate in sports teams. • Have higher standardized math test scores and self-confidence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and MATH (STEM) subjects, as well

► WHERE: 5201 Eighth Ave. S. ► CALL: 205-595-4475 ► WEBSITE: girlsinccentral-al.org

as see themselves in STEM careers. • Be engaged in and attend school, avoid serious disciplinary action including being suspended, and be prepared for life after high school. “When half of a community and the majority of consumer-buying power is female, companies are stronger if women/girls fill roles throughout an organization,” said Brooke Battle, founder and CEO of Swell. “The business community needs us to invest in the female leadership of tomorrow. Further, the benefit is mutual and multiplies.  When a girl is resourced to become a leader, she will positively impact everyone around her.” Girls Inc.’s focus on STEM helps girls remain engaged in math and science through high school, preparing them for a world that is increasingly technological. The true value of this program is captured in the faces of girls learning to make clouds from liquid nitrogen, through the Girls Inc. scholar alumna who just graduated with a plan for medical school, and through the simulated Moon Camp and Re-entry mission concluding the Lockheed Martin shadow program. The Girls Inc. approach to STEM education works because it focuses on girls who are too often left out of the math-science pipeline: girls of color, from lower socio-economic households, girls who are the first in their families to pursue a college education, and girls achieving at an average academic level. Whatever their interests, Girls Inc. helps girls reach their goals. Whether it is exploring future careers, applying for a first job, or going on a college visit, Girls Inc. offers the support girls

need. For Trinity, a high school senior, this meant a summer internship that helped her prepare for college. She said, “At Girls Inc. it is never a maybe, or a wait a minute, they help you when you need it.” This help has become even more critical for girls this year. The agency’s focus for 2020, particularly since the onset of COVID-19, has been to “Listen to the girls.” Girls Inc. of Central Alabama CEO Connie Hill, Ph.D., says that, “Through our listening we’ve discovered that many struggle with anxiety, uncertainty and overwhelming worry about school, their parents returning to work, fear of being victims of racial targeting and adjusting to the new normal of virtual schooling. However, we have also discovered that girls are eager for a supportive place to connect with each other and supportive adults. Whether in person or virtually, Girls Inc. provides a safe space for girls to continue to grow, learn, explore, and most importantly, find confidence.”



Janice Folmar



anice Folmar of RE/MAX Southern Homes – 280 specializes in real estate services on all levels. “Whether you’re purchasing your first home, are a moveup buyer, a move-down buyer or selling your home and simply want to make a change, I am available to assist you and your family.” Buyers and sellers in all price ranges will find that Folmar is thorough and compassionate about their needs and wishes for their daily lifestyle. “As a full-time Realtor, I am constantly trying to make sure I assist with the entire process,” she said. “It starts with the client’s search for their next home: ensuring the lenders are working on their side of the process and guiding buyers and sellers through the inspection and appraisal processes. These clients become your friends, and I take pride in making sure the home buying or home selling process is a good experience.” Folmar has been a real estate agent for more than 20 years, ever since the company she worked for as a personnel director decided to move their headquarters to Iowa. Moving to Iowa wasn’t an option for Folmar and her family, so her friend suggested she get her real estate license. It’s been a rewarding profession from the very first transaction she had through today. Some of Folmar's clients have worked with her on their first home purchase, and others are on their fourth home purchase with her. There is never a dull moment in her career, and she has had some wonderful experiences. She loves having a life filled with so many great opportunities to help people find their “next move.” She enjoys working with people and families making the most important decisions of their lives and believes service and compassion is the key to providing open communication and helping the buyer or seller enjoy the experience. In her more than two decades as a real estate agent, she said her passion and ambition set her apart from other agents. She always does what’s best for clients. If something doesn’t feel right, she does her due diligence to find out why. “Your care and commitment must go way beyond the listing or the closing of a property,” she said. She tries to make herself accessible at all times for her clients. She never turns off her phone and is thankful for her family’s patience through it all. Her passion and hard work have not gone unnoticed. She has received many awards throughout the years, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Diamond Club Award, Club of Excellence Awards, Chairman’s Club, Platinum Club, Top Realtor Dixie Region - RE/MAX, Top 10 Sales Team in the Dixie Region and numerous other awards. Each award is evidence of her dedication to her clients and her profession. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate market is continuing on a strong level, she said. Still, some of her clients are unsure whether to buy or sell a home during the pandemic. Folmar has a favorite response to that. “I say, ‘If you don’t like where you are, then move. You are not a tree.’ That seems to lighten the mood and gives them reassurance that we all have changes in priorities on a regular basis.” Although the pandemic created uncertainty and stress, Folmar said it did make many people aware of what’s important to them: their homes. “They have become our haven, our daily retreats,” she said. “And our families, friends, neighbors and communities are more valuable than ever.” When families are seeking a new home, so many factors play a role in their decisions, she

said. School remains a top priority, but the total community concept has become a dominating factor in choices. “Knowing you will be in a neighborhood where values will remain steady is very high on the list of buyers. Therefore, they can feel confident their property will be considered for future buyers’ needs.” As president of Greystone Golf & Country Club, Folmar has had a rewarding relationship with the club members and the Greystone community. “We all embraced the uncertainty we faced in 2020 with the COVID-19 events, and our community — and our Club — has been very successful in turning negative into positive.” She watched the Club embrace the solutions to the pandemic, providing a safe environment so members could enjoy the golf outings, special events and food offerings on a daily basis. She also had to embrace change in her real estate career in 2020. “Everyone in all types of business had to adapt this year, and mine was no exception,” she said. “Many normalcies were lost, and creative thinking took over our daily business. While we respected


► CALL: 205-222-2028 ► EMAIL: janice folmar@aol.com ► WEBSITE: janicefolmar.net

the serious impact of COVID-19, we have been available for our clients and their needs full service as usual. Of course, we followed all the safety guidelines daily.” If there’s anything 2020 taught her, it’s to stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start getting excited about what could go right. Her goal for 2021 is the same goal she has had since she became a Realtor: Always strive to be your best each day. “What a rewarding life and career I have experienced,” she said. “It’s not because of me but because of my family who understood my passion and dedication; and because of my clients who trusted me with their most important decision and purchase in their lives. They kept me in a successful mode on a daily basis! Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2021!

B12 • January 2021


Judith Crittenden, Laura Montgomery Lee, Paige Yarbrough, Deborah Gregory, Kathryn Henry, Nicole Saia CRITTENDEN PARTNERS

When Judith Crittenden completed her law degree in 1970, she was one of only two women in her graduating class. Fifty years later she is the leader, advisor and mentor to five phenomenal female attorneys. She is regarded as one of the top domestic relations attorneys in the state of Alabama, and the firm she built continues to flourish under her name. Crittenden entered private practice in 1977 and began building what is known today as Crittenden Partners. Crittenden Partners, P.C. was formed in 2014 out of The Crittenden Firm with Crittenden, Laura Montgomery Lee and Paige Yarbrough as three of the original partners. Since that time, the firm has expanded to add three additional partners in Deborah Gregory, joining in 2017, and Kathryn Henry and Nicole Saia, both joining in 2019. Lee, the Managing Partner of Crittenden Partners, describes herself and her partners as mediators for and champions of families in crisis. Lee’s passion for family law began early in her career when she helped a young father win custody of his son during her third year of law school in the University of Alabama civil law clinic. “It gave me a lot of passion to work with someone on an issue that was the most important thing in this man’s world,” Lee said. This past year has presented Crittenden Partners with challenges much the same as it has for other business owners. “We are in an unusual and isolated circumstance,” Lee said before elaborating on the measures that she and her team have taken to keep their clients safe while still providing superb representation during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the unique challenges of the current time is evaluating income of individuals and marital businesses during divorce disputes. During the pandemic, many businesses have seen a decrease in profit that may not reflect the

potential of the business long term. In addition, may individuals have seen a decrease in income and find themselves unsure of when, if ever, their income will return to its prior level. While one party cannot commit to payments that exceed their current income, the other party does not want to commit to receiving less than what would be appropriate should that income return. Despite the unprecedented nature of the past year, Lee has faith in her team's abilities. “We have a really dynamic group of lawyers,” Lee said. “We have over 100 years of experience collectively and a diverse set of skills that can handle any matter with the utmost expertise.” Lee explained that having a diverse group of lawyers to assess problems has enabled

them to formulate responses to unique issues in the past to resolve cases in the best interest of their clients. Crittenden Partners specializes in domestic relations, divorce, child custody, estate planning, paternity matters, adoptions, and prenuptial, postnuptial and appeals in the family law arena. “To our practice we bring sympathy and compassion, but we also bring experience, diplomacy, integrity and strength,” Lee said. “Our benchmark of success is when a client’s case is resolved in a way that the client can feel confident, secure and emotionally capable of moving forward. We want to ensure that our clients feel that we have made one of the most difficult times in their lives easier to manage and that they have come through that time stronger.”

► WHERE: 1 Independence Plaza, Suite 305, and 4000 Eagle Point Corporate Drive, Birmingham ► CALL: 205-874-8680 ► WEBSITE: crittenden partners.com No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

Jaclyn Horsley Shiflett THE DANCE STUDIO

Jaclyn Horsley Shiflett at The Dance Studio believes you don’t choose dance — it chooses you. “I remember my mom picking me up from school one and day and telling me I was going to start classes that night,“ Shiflett said. “I cried, I was so happy. I haven't been out of the studio since.“ After graduating from Birmingham-Southern College with degrees in finance and dance, Shiflett had a successful career in the financial industry. Throughout the pursuit of her financial career, she never stopped teaching and studying dance across the Southeast and in New York. It was always her dream to open a school in the Birmingham area, and now she is the Founder and Artistic Director at The Dance Studio in Hoover, enjoying their third season. She is entering her 18th year as an educator training dancers in Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Contemporary and Jazz. “My focus has always been to build a strong, healthy foundation first so dancers' bodies are correctly conditioned to handle the exciting challenges associated with becoming an advanced dancer and artist,“ she said. It is important to Shiflett that her students believe in themselves and their ability to set and achieve goals. The discipline and perseverance required to become a successful dancer are important skills that translate into all areas of students lives. Teaching dance isn't just about teaching the steps — it is about teaching commitment, discipline,

Mary T. Miller


► WHERE: 2674 Valleydale Road ► CALL: 205-377-8798 ► WEBSITE: thedancestudio. art perseverance and teamwork, skills important to acquire whether you intend to pursue dance at the collegiate/ professional level or pursue other career opportunities. The sky is the limit if you practice the skills necessary for success. The Dance Studio is a fun and safe environment for dancers to learn and grow under educated, experienced and caring professionals.

Enhancing the lives of people living with complex neurological diseases is a daily mission for Mary T. Miller. As the executive director of The Tanner Foundation, her organization gives grants, funds research and provides educational events for individuals with ALS, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. Grants help individuals pay for medical bills, therapy and equipment. “We are here for those in the community with these complex neurological diseases to help them navigate and support them throughout this journey,” Miller said. Miller has worked in fundraising and events since she graduated from college, eventually moving to her current fundraising post 17 months ago. “We are a very small organization,” Miller said, “but after receiving a handwritten note after one of our events thanking me for what we are doing to raise awareness ... it made me realize that even though we are very

► WHERE: 3105 Independence Drive, Suite 105 ► CALL: 205-803-2210 ► WEBSITE: tanner-foundation.org small, we can have a big impact.” Miller is thankful for the committed work of her board of directors who make things happen. She also applauds her generous donors. “You can never thank a donor enough,” Miller said. “They are giving to your organization because they care about it.” Along with many organizations this year, fundraising and education have been virtual. Current plans are underway to co-host a 450-mile bike ride for multiple sclerosis in April. “Working together with other local organizations, instead of competing with them, will only bring about positive things for this community. We are all in this together.”



Terry Marlowe


ne in a million. Those were the words Birmingham Realtor Terry Marlowe received March 4, 2020, the day after her birthday. Dr. Edward Levine, a nationally recognized surgical oncologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in WinstonSalem, North Carolina, told her she had Stage 4 LAMN (Low-Grade Appendiceal Mucinous Neoplasm), a rare appendix cancer. A few months earlier in January, Marlowe was admitted to Grandview Medical Center with an enlarged appendix. After having it removed in February, it was discovered that cancer had spread throughout her abdominal cavity. Dr. Heather Waldrup had only seen one other case like Terry’s and referred her to Dr. Levine. Her surgery lasted over nine hours, and Terry had her right colon removed, plus the abdominal cavity along the ovaries and omentum. She then received heated intravenous chemotherapy at 104 degrees for more than two hours. This procedure, known as CRS-HIPEC, can only be performed in certain hospitals. “The recovery was horrendous to say the least,” Terry said. “But during these months I was able to continue to do some real estate business.” Even though Terry wasn’t able to get out of the house during the recovery period, she was able to work from home. She only missed about nine weeks of work, from the time of her surgery to the first of July. The timeline for a full surgery recovery is around a year. “As soon as I started feeling a little bit better, the phone started ringing,” she said. “Past clients began calling wanting to list and buy. Within a six-week period, I had almost $11 million in sales.” Terry runs her business on her own without the help of an assistant. She inputs everything, does all her paperwork and manages all the real estate duties. She said her work was a blessing while going through this journey. Focusing on her clients helped her to not think about herself and her situation. She wasn’t sure how much more she would work, but she said she felt it must be what God wanted her to do. “I prayed if He didn't want me to do any more real estate, I wouldn’t do it,” she said. “This cancer has a five-year survival rate, and I had it almost three years ... The surgery was a success and has hopefully bought me many more years, although Dr. Levine says I don’t have an expiration date and I am truly a cancer survivor. How was I going to use this God-given time, and what was I going to do now? I’ve helped a lot of people over


► CALL: 205-704-4111 ► EMAIL: terrymarlowe@yahoo.com ► WEBSITE: tmarlo.com

the years, and now this career was somehow helping me. Real estate was my saving grace.“ Terry set up a Facebook page chronicling her journey through appendix cancer and invited past clients, family and friends to follow along. She was put on prayer lists at many different churches and received an outpouring of support of gifts, thoughtful cards, flowers and dinners each day for several weeks, of which her husband was very appreciative. This month marks one year since her diagnosis and also the first of the CT scans she will have to have every six months. Now 58, Terry has been working in real estate for almost 20 years. Her career began in Birmingham in 2003. She moved after two years to Georgia where she became a broker and owned a real estate firm. Then about six years ago, Terry moved back to Birmingham to begin where she said she planned to retire in

the business one day. She wrapped up 2020 with three big closings, putting her in the top 10 of the company. Although it's been a difficult year, Terry said she has been really blessed. She has passed many of the top hitters in her office this year, saying that “blows her away.” She said it’s God blessing her through a terrible time, helping her to persevere “through the most difficult time I have ever had to endure with determination to see things through.“ Terry also recently became a part of the council for the Appendix Cancer Pseudomyxoma Peritoneum Research Foundation (acpmp.org), a nonprofit that was started in 2008 by appendix cancer survivors. The organization raises awareness and funds for cancer research and clinical trial, and it is a source of information for new patients. “I will be one of 28 council members for this patient advisory

council, and we will have our first meeting in January and then quarterly. We will come up with ideas to raise awareness. Actress Audrey Hepburn and ESPN anchor Stuart Scott both died from the disease.“ She describes her experience as “having to go through hell to get to heaven” but feels like God has carried her through the entire way. She's also looking forward to having a new grandchild born in January. She’s gotten one every three years for the last 12 years and says they are the light of her world. Terry will continue to use her platform to raise awareness about appendix cancer and plans to continue her real estate business as long as God sends her business. “If I can help somebody else, that’s all that matters,” she said. “As long as people need and request me, I’ll keep working." She is strictly working referrals now and said she has no plans to advertise or fight for business; however, she will fight for her clients. “I will do the very best I can do,” she said. “I have a lot of knowledge and experience. If I sell five houses or 35 houses, that's more than enough for me. I just want to do what God sends my way.” Find out more about Terry’s business at terrymarlowe. arcrealtyco.com.

B14 • January 2021


Chelise Storace

CRESSBROOK STABLES Chelise Storace, owner and operator of Cressbrook Stables, has always had a love for horses. When she was a little girl, she began horseback riding with her mother and her two sisters. Soon after, her mother passed away, but Storace continued to ride, feeling closer to her mother whenever she did. She developed a passion for the equestrian sports through the years, and for the past 28 years she has been sharing that passion with younger animal lovers. In 1992, she opened Cressbrook Stables in New England, where she taught students who went on to become professional riders and equestrian business owners. In 2014, she moved the stables to the Birmingham area to be closer to her sister and her niece who are also avid riders. The new location sits on a 40-acre lot in Sterrett, Alabama. The lot accommodates 18 stalls available to the public for rent on a monthly basis, plus lesson horses are also available. “We have a beautiful facility,” Storace said. “The facility has excellent footing, multiple arenas and a large covered arena, so no matter what the weather is you are able to enjoy your riding time.” She even keeps the stables accessible to the owners 24/7

Dr. Amy Herrington ALTADENA EYE CARE

Altadena Eye Care owner Dr. Amy Herrington has always known that the eyes have it. It was at age 11 when she began wearing glasses, then moving to contact lenses the following year, that she first developed an interest in optometry. “It astounded me that a little piece of plastic could change how I saw the world,” Dr. Herrington said. Optometry grew to be the perfect path for her to follow, as it’s her passion to care for medical issues while also helping patients choose attractive frames or evaluate them for their first pair of contact lenses. “I never tire of hearing that a patient is thrilled they see better for their job or sport … or that they get tons of compliments on their new spectacles,” Dr. Herrington said. With 31 years of experience in optometry, Dr. Herrington believes it’s important to give patients more personal attention, education and options than the average retail practice can provide. Her newly located practice provides adults and children with routine eye exams for spectacles and contact lenses, as well as care for ocular health issues. “You never know what you may find in a routine eye exam,” Dr. Herrington said. “Many years ago, I detected a case of leukemia in someone who was unaware of the condition. The patient received treatment and recovered due to timely detection.”

► WHERE: 2409 Acton Road, Suite 161 ► CALL: 205-542-3357 ► WEBSITE: altadenaeyecare.com

With its new location serving Vestavia and its surrounding areas, Altadena Eye Care is set for a great year. “Let me help you see your best with eyewear that’s tailored for you,” Dr. Herrington said.

► WHERE: 169 Rolling Hills Road ► EMAIL: showjumping47@ yahoo.com

► CALL: 603-781-5815 ► WEBSITE: cressbrookstables-alabama.business. site

so that they are able to come say hello to their equestrian friends whenever the mood strikes them. Although Storace has led an amazing career, learning from Olympic coaches and riding with professionals like Chris Kappler and Jeff Cook and taking clinics with Greg Best, she doesn’t force her students to compete. “I am not one of those barns that requires every student to be competitive,” Storace said. Storace’s students can compete in hunter jumper competitions, three-day eventing shows or dressage. They can go to the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, Ohio, or compete in Germantown, Tennessee, and several locations in Georgia. Or students can simply learn the joys of riding. While her goal is to teach her students to be excellent riders, one of the first lessons she imparts to her students is understanding, kindness and love for the animals. Through Storace’s classes, students learn basic equestrian care, riding

skills, jumping skills, and — surprisingly — how to manage their emotions. “No matter what has happened throughout the day, [the students] can’t take their frustrations out on the horses,” Storace said. “They can talk to me or to a staff member to work through it.” Another surprising benefit of working with Storace and her ponies is confidence building. “I’ve had very shy children who didn’t speak when they first started, but after several months of riding, you can’t get them to be quiet,” Storace said. “Something about being around the horses just brings them out of their inner shell.” Storace takes on students from any age range from beginning rider to advanced, from as young as 3 to adult. Cressbrook Stables are open for classes seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Classes are scheduled in one-hour blocks with Storace when she is in town or with staff members when she is taking her more advanced students to competitions.

Jessica Smith

LEGACY INSURANCE Jessica Smith, co-owner of Legacy Insurance (formerly Insurance Place), loves her job. She specializes in many lines of insurance, from personal to commercial, start-up small businesses to large ones. She’s been in the business for about 20 years, starting with a nationally-known carrier before going out on her own with her husband. But the reason she loves what she does? The ability to connect with people. “We’re all about building relationships with our clients,” Smith said. “We don’t want to just have your policies; we want to know you and know what’s important to you so we can properly protect you.” Smith’s client base is a group of people she takes pride in getting to know on a personal level. She also wants to make sure those people feel at ease with their insurance policies. “We are very client-focused,” she said. “We want to sit down, we want to take the opportunity to go over everything to make sure that you have an understanding. We’re unique in that we don’t just tell you what you need; we help you understand why we feel like you need what we’re recommending.” Smith’s company has done as much as possible to help out the local school systems throughout the hard times brought about by COVID-19. She has regularly supplied teachers with funds

► WHERE: 2225 Cahaba Valley Drive ► CALL: 205-995-1956 ► WEBSITE: legacyinsurance.org to purchase cleaning supplies, and her company has helped deliver food to kids in need. Over the next year, Smith is looking forward to continued growth within her company and seeks to find even more opportunities to assist the schools and local communities.




Terry Crutchfield, after having built another successful business, chose to enter the real estate market during the housing crisis as she saw an opportunity to help people navigate the very challenging market. As the real estate market recovered, Terry’s business grew steadily based on many referrals from past customers, expressing how Terry helped them in tough times. She now has a team of agents to assist clients at every price level of the market. A 30-year resident of Birmingham, Crutchfield is one of the top sales agents in Shelby County, specializing in selling homes along the 280 corridor. Crutchfield & Co. has been the top selling team in Highland Lakes for several years running. For homebuyers, Terry takes time to understand the unique requirements of each buyer. She uses her excellent negotiating skills to ensure the buyer is well protected and assists them throughout the entire transaction from the first meeting to the closing table. For sellers, Terry and team offer a full range of services not always provided by other agents. Some of the services include: suggesting improvements to maximize profitability; explaining current trends in the market that buyers are looking for; staging the home (if necessary); providing names of contractors or service providers for various projects and repairs needed; determining a selling strategy; and using comparable homes that have sold nearby to get a recommended price. Crutchfield assists her clients in finding homes in a highly competitive

► WHERE: 110 Inverness Corners ► CALL: 205-313-8500 ► WEBSITE: birminghamproperties forsale.com and low-inventory market and helps sellers maximize their investment. “We work with first-time homebuyers to the seasoned agent and all sellers in all price ranges,” she said. What makes her team different is their availability to their clients and attention to detail. “The details do make the difference,” she said. Her mission is integrity, honesty and treating each client as if they were a family member. One of the most valuable tricks of the trade she has learned over her years as a Realtor is the importance of integrity and full transparency. “Crutchfield Cares” is her business’ motto. They do things to help the community including hosting coat drives for the needy, organizing food drives, collecting items for the Shelby County Humane Society, participating in neighborhood events and local charities. Having found ways to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic, Crutchfield and

her team practice safety that includes wearing masks and using hand sanitizer. If needed, they also provide sellers with booties, masks and sanitizer for their home showings. She expects 2021 to be a great market for buyers and sellers and is looking

forward to getting back to a normalcy and a thriving real estate market. “Call us at Crutchfield & Co. at RE/MAX Southern Homes if you are wanting to buy or sell,” she said. “We truly provide a level of service above and beyond anyone else in the business.”

of their clients safely and conveniently. “Every ounce of our efforts are dedicated to getting you into the home that you desire,” Tatum said. Her staff can also help homeowners who are interested in refinancing but

may not be sure if they qualify. They are even available for questions you might have about your current home mortgage. No matter what your mortgage concerns are, “We will put your worries to rest. That, we can assure you.”

Erin Tatum

CLASSIC HOME MORTGAGE, INC. For more than a decade, Erin Tatum and her team at Classic Home Mortgage, Inc. have used their combined experience and industry knowledge to give future homeowners a stress-free experience. Although the firm has been established for a little over 11 years, Tatum has been in the business of helping others secure the funds for their perfect home since 1995. She started as a receptionist in a mortgage firm and quickly became a specialist in mortgage lending. The extensive knowledge she gained through her years as a loan processor shines through in the way that she streamlines the process to keep each closing on schedule and mistakes minimal. “With decades of combined experience in the mortgage industry, we know how to make your home dreams happen,” Tatum said. The work isn’t always easy, but if you were to ask Tatum what she does for a living, she would tell you that she spends each day “funding home dreams,” and that makes it all worth it. According to Tatum, when someone’s dream home is on the line, they need to be able to trust everyone involved. Tatum and her staff serve their clients with integrity and always keep their best interest at heart. At Classic Home Mortgage, Inc., “Customer service is our top priority, whether it’s a new mortgage or a refinance,” Tatum said. She genuinely cares about her clients and understands the stress that can come with purchasing or refinancing a home. She works hard to keep her clients informed of everything involved with consistent updates.

► WHERE: 1904 Indian Lake Drive ► CALL: 205-444-5866 ► WEBSITE: fundinghomedreams.com When asked if there are any tricks of the trade she has picked up over the years, Tatum said: “It’s not a trick. It’s pretty easy: communication and honesty through the entire loan process.” She even takes things a step further, educating her clients about the mortgage process so that they have an understanding of what is happening at each stage. According to one homebuyer, “The staff [at Classic Home Mortgage, Inc.] made everything incredibly easy and smooth. They always got back to you in a timely manner if you needed anything, and when I didn’t understand something, they explained it multiple times. They were very patient and kind.” This year, the team will be opening a second location on Lorna Road in Hoover. “2020 is a year none of us will ever forget,” Tatum said. "We pride ourselves in keeping our employees and clients safe during this pandemic. We are very fortunate that all of the loan process can be done via email and online, so we’ve been able to keep our clients safe.” Even so, the team has worked carefully to limit the number of clients in the office, and the second location will make it easier for the staff to meet the needs

B16 • January 2021

280 Living

Dr. Jessica Palmer


EYES ON CHELSEA VISION CARE Eyes on Chelsea Vision Care has been serving patients for 13 years, providing excellence in patient care, clinical education and optical services: a vision that was clear to owner Jessica Palmer since the beginning. Before opening the practice in 2007 Palmer worked in the field as an optometry technician. “I began at a private practice and at the Eye Foundation Hospital and worked my way up,” she said. “I love helping people to see more clearly. “I envisioned Eyes on Chelsea Vision Care to grow with the community,” she said. “We have moved into a larger space to accommodate more than one doctor in the future and continue to aim to offer the latest and greatest glasses technology and medical equipment to our patients.” Eyes on Chelsea Vision Care handles everything from adult and children’s eye exams and hard-to-fit contact lenses, to eye emergencies, treatment of eye diseases and co-management of eye surgery such as LASIK. Eyes on Chelsea Vision Care also offers an industrial farmhouse appeal welcomed by a friendly and knowledgeable staff who treat their patients like family while providing eye health exams, contact lens fittings and vision therapy. Other products and services include contacts, glasses, Ortho-K lenses (a special

► WHERE: 10699 Old Highway 280, Building 2 ► CALL: 205-980-4530 ► WEBSITE: eyesonchelsea.com contact lens that allows nearsighted individuals clear vision throughout the day without wearing glasses or contacts) and sunglasses. “There are many online eyeglass options, and the saying of ‘you get what you paid for’ serves true in most cases,” Palmer said. “You may be able to find cheaper items from online retailers, but you may be sacrificing quality and expertise. Nothing can replace having an optician spend time helping you to find frames that are suitable for your face shape and lenses that best suit all of your needs.” According to their website, staying current with the latest developments in eye care, prescription lenses and advances in contact lens technology, Eyes on Chelsea Vision Care can provide you with the best vision, advice and fit today. They take pride in building lasting relationships with their patients, which is

why the staff takes the time to get to know their patients, their vision requirements and lifestyle needs. “I love helping people to see more clearly,” Palmer said. “If I can make a difference in someone’s life by doing


Going to the dentist biggest thing is being able to see how teeth can be scary for a are forming and child, but Dr. Rosalynn educate parents about Crawford-McKendall habits that impact the at Indian Springs Pediatric Dentistry has teeth. Dr. Crawford23 years of experience ► WHERE: 6496 Quail Run Drive McKendall sees patients in making children feel ► CALL: 205-739-7773 up to age 17 and always comfortable. ► WEBSITE: indianspringskids When kids come into makes sure the older dentistry.com the office, the colors children aren’t treated are bright and inviting, like 3-year-olds. Some of her former patients now bring their and she and her staff get to know each children. Her primary client base is from child and try to focus on something the children like, whether it be Spiderman Hoover, Pelham, Indian Springs Village, or dinosaurs. Chelsea and nearby areas, but she also Kids can watch cartoons on TV while sees patients from areas like Tuscaloosa and Montgomery. their dental work is done, and they Dr. Crawford-McKendall, a native of always get a prize when they leave. Greene County, has practiced dentistry Dr. Crawford-McKendall recommends since 1998, including a private pediatric parents start bringing children to the dentist within six months of getting practice in New Jersey and public health that first tooth or at least by their first dentistry in Maryland. She also taught birthday if teeth are coming in. Some at New York University and LSU. She moved back to Alabama and started wait until 18 months, and by then there seeing patients here in 2014. may be a lot of cavities, she said. The

something I enjoy, that’s success to me.” Over the years, Eyes on Chelsea Vision Care has grown to provide quality eye care to the Chelsea and surrounding communities. “As a resident of Chelsea, I am truly honored to

be a part of the local businesses and schools in our community,” Palmer said. “I have been so overwhelmed and pleased by the support of the surrounding community. We are excited to be part of such a growing and supportive area.”

Ashley Pigford

HILLTOP MONTESSORI SCHOOL As the Community Kitchen Manager at Hilltop Montessori School, Ashley Pigford tries to strike a balance between offering unique, healthy options for student lunches, but also food that the kids will actually eat and their parents will be happy ordering for them. “We offer a scratch-made, healthy, hot lunch to the students at Hilltop Montessori,” Pigford said. “We try to emulate the Edible Schoolyard program in Berkeley, California. We love the connection of the garden to the school kitchen.” She hopes their unique school lunchroom approach is interesting to those who want to make changes to their current school lunch program. She also wants to inspire students to try new things and take their newfound interests and make them at home. “We hope to show students and parents that eating healthy and trying new things is fun,” she said.

► WHERE: 6 Abbott Square ► CALL: 205-437-9343 ► WEBSITE: hilltopmontessori.com She gets plenty of feedback from the students on a daily basis. Her favorite thing is the look of excitement in the students’ eyes when she gives them their meal or the chant of “Hot lunch! Hot lunch!” when she delivers their lunches. This is the fourth year of cooking lunches on campus, and Pigford said she is looking forward to resuming cooking classes next school year. She said she loves watching the kids learn new things in the kitchen and become empowered to make new things. “We have big plans for the years to come but are slowly able to incorporate them as we grow,” she said.


January 2021 • B17

Dr. Vivian Yeilding


BROOKWOOD BAPTIST HEALTH Hearing the word “surgery” can be terrifying. It often invokes images of long and dangerous operations with even longer recovery times. But that doesn’t need to be the case. With the help of an esteemed team of surgeons, Brookwood Baptist Health Primary & Specialty Care Network has incorporated cutting-edge robotics into their practice. Since the first robotic surgery was performed in 2009, they have continued to see amazing results. Robotics and the talented surgeons who utilize them can drastically reduce recovery times and minimize the invasiveness of many operations. Dr. Vivian Yeilding is one of the leading general surgeons providing robotic surgery at Brookwood Baptist Health. “I grew up in a medicine family,” Dr. Yeilding said. Her mother led a successful career as a nurse, and her father continues to practice as a hematologist/ oncologist. “I saw the incredible rewards both [parents] received from their careers. This made me focus on medicine early on with early jobs in hospitals as a patient care assistant in Carraway Methodist ER and Brookwood's ER.” Her experiences throughout her young career eventually led her to follow in her father’s footsteps, becoming a doctor herself. “It was incredible to watch physicians transform patients' lives and watch the incredible bond created between each patient and physician,” Dr. Yeilding said. Now, Dr. Yeilding experiences that bond herself and does everything she can to provide the best possible health care. “General surgery came natural to me, as one of my favorite courses was anatomy and I love to work with

► WHERE: 2022 Brookwood Medical Center Drive, Suite 415 ► CALL: 205-877-2814 ► WEBSITE: bbhcarenetwork.com/ specialties/general-surgery my hands,” she said. “It is an exciting field that is constantly evolving due to the advancements in medicine and technology. Surgery is often very gratifying, as it involves a wide range of pathologies including some acute lifethreatening illnesses that can be cured with one operation.” Thankfully, she can now offer many of those operations with the help of robotics. “I am trained and certified in robotic surgery and enjoy using the daVinci robotic platform to assist in my operations to allow for a minimally invasive approach and improved patient outcomes,” Dr. Yeilding said. With the da Vinci®Surgery system, surgical incisions that might have been inches long can be minimized to only a few millimeters. This increased precision allows many procedures that might have required hospitalization to be performed outpatient. Others procedures may still require inpatient care but in a significantly reduced timeframe. Utilizing the da Vinci®Surgery system, Dr. Yeilding and other Brookwood Baptist Health surgeons can use minimally invasive surgeries throughout the body, treating a diverse range of ailments. Some of the procedures and

Sara Beth Gilbert

SARA BETH’S GYMNASTS Sara Beth Gilbert, owner and founder of Sara Beth’s Gymnasts, has been honing her gymnastics skills for more than 20 years. In January of 2018, Sara Beth decided to use her skills to teach and guide younger gymnasts, and opened her studio with just 12 students and seven class options. “We teach children how to be successful in and out of the gym,” Gilbert said. “They learn unique physically challenging skills along with mental and psychological skills and behaviors.” Students develop focus, body awareness, confidence, self-reliance, motivation and pride. They learn the value of encouraging and celebrating the achievements of their fellow gymnasts as well. Sara Beth and her team have a lot of growth and achievement to celebrate this year. They have grown from their humble beginning to now serving over 150 young gymnasts, with 30 different class offerings spanning all experience levels, despite the pandemic. “We pride ourselves on small classes and low instructor-student ratios so your children benefit from a truly personal experience with staff who really care about each and every child,” Sara Beth said. They also have moved into a much

► WHERE: 10699 Old Highway 280, Building 2, Suite 2, Chelsea ► CALL: 205-378-6840 ► WEBSITE: sarabethsgymnasts.com larger gym and added a number of exciting new options to their curriculum. “We started pre-team, ninja, homeschool classes, and special events both public and private such as parents night out, birthday parties, field trips and more summer camps,” she said. “The gym’s third birthday party is Jan. 16, 2-3:30 p.m., and is open to the public,” Sara Beth said. “Help us celebrate three years of flips, fun and serving our community in and around Chelsea!”

operations Dr. Yeilding performs in general include thyroid/parathyroid surgery, ultrasound- and mammographyguided breast biopsies, gallbladder removal, appendectomy, hernia repair, vascular access/port a cath placement, spleen removal and many more. “I treat each patient as I would want to be treated and am very invested in their

health and well being, not just their general surgery needs alone,” Dr. Yeilding said. Brookwood Baptist Health is a leader in health care. With cuttingedge innovations and a wealth of knowledgable doctors, nurses and staff, Brookwood Baptist Health is committed to improving each patient's quality of living with every encounter.

Tammy Holcombe

HOLCOMBE DOORS AND WINDOWS Holcombe Doors and Windows is a millwork company specializing in premium windows, doors, moldings, finished pattern lumber and timbers, and stair parts for residential and commercial buildings. It also offers installation. Tammy Holcombe works alongside her husband Van, who is the owner of Holcombe Doors and Windows. “Our staff always listens to what the customer wants because without the customer we wouldn’t have a business to run,” Tammy said. Holcombe Doors and Windows’ product assortment of high-end windows, doors and millwork has one of the greatest impacts on the exterior of a new home and building, Tammy said. “My husband and I can drive back by a job that we did over 20 years ago and still see the impact of the different products,” she said. “These products play a huge role in the aesthetics of a home or building structure.” Tammy described the work as nothing short of hard. “Being a woman in business means hard work,” she said. “This is not a standard 8-to-5 workday. I am lucky to have a great husband who owns and runs the business. I am just an employee who works hard to provide good work and support my husband’s business.” Tammy feels she has a lot to offer by being a woman in this industry. “I can offer a woman’s point of view as far as design, price and function goes for new projects and replacement products for homes and commercial

► WHERE: 120 Atchison Drive, Chelsea ► CALL: 205-991-3667 ► WEBSITE: holcombedoorandwindow. com properties,” she said. “I think I have an advantage.” At the end of the day, Tammy isn’t satisfied unless her clients are. “My benchmark of success is seeing a client happy with the purchase they made and the outcome of each beautiful project,” she said.

B18 • January 2021

280 Living

Laura Robinson



Laura Robinson and her staff at M&M Jewelers have served the Birmingham community for nearly three decades. M&M Jewelers specializes in design, appraisal, watch and jewelry repairs, insurance replacements, engagement rings, exotic color stones and pearl jewelry. For Laura Robinson, the sole owner of M&M Jewelers, the most rewarding part of her job is the imagination and creativity that goes into creating custom pieces for her clients. “I love designing new pieces and introducing somebody to an idea that they weren’t even aware that they could do or add to their old piece of jewelry,” she said. If clients see a design they like, Robinson can replicate or tailor the piece to fit their budget, relying on her 30 years of jewelry experience and her gemologist education from the Gemology Institute of America in Santa Monica, California. Robinson’s creativity is only part of the benefit of working with M&M Jewelers. Her team makes an effort to give each customer a personalized shopping experience. “Our goal is customer service and to keep the hometown jewelry store atmosphere,” Robinson said. “We strive to help with everything from a simple watch battery to an extravagant engagement ring purchase.” “We want to take care of our customers


► WHERE: 440 Inverness Corners ► CALL: 205-991-0593 ► WEBSITE: mmjewelersbirmingham. com and develop long-standing friendships,” she added. “We love to be there for them in all of their life events, like engagements, birthdays and anniversaries.” “That’s one of the benefits of shopping local,” Robinson said. “You get to know the faces who help you with your important pieces of jewelry.”

Alicia Cuevas

CUEVAS AND COMPANY, LLC Alicia Cuevas says that when she was 22, an uncle who was a homebuilder in Texas got her interested in real estate. It wasn’t long before she was sold. These days, Cuevas works in several different ways to help people find their dream homes. She has been a Realtor for the past 14 years in Birmingham and is with Re/MAX Southern Homes. But she and her husband, Kirk, also run Cuevas and Company, LLC, a real estate investment company Laurel, and that buys, renovates, they regularly sells and leases property. teach marriage “We love helping buyers enrichment and sellers with their real courses estate,” she said. “We like together. to say ‘Let The Cuevas ► WHERE: 110 Inverness Corners Cuevas is also a Crew Work For You.’” ► CALL: 205-276-3095 board member Cuevas brings a lot of ► EMAIL: soldbyaliciacuevas@ for Alabama different passions to the gmail.com Childhood Food table. She loves giving Solutions. the personal attention “We love to take the grace that God that’s important to people, something has given us in business and bless she learned while working as a shopper others with that,” she said. for Nordstrom in Washington, D.C. And And seeing people get in a home they she and her husband love giving back love will never get old, Cuevas said. “We to the community — they helped start love seeing dreams come true.” Double Oak Community Church in Mt

Pam Mitchell says the best thing about her job is that it doesn’t feel like a job at all. “I never feel like I’m at work,” she said. She’s a lover of fabric, and she loves windows and people, too. “It’s more than window treatments to me, it’s building relationships with my customers,” said Mitchell, owner of Window Décor & Design. She’s been in the window treatment business since 1997. Originally from the way,” she said. Cayman Islands, she was a “I love what I decorator internationally do — getting and got her degree in into the home, interior design. But along talking with the way, she found that people and though she loved it all, she ► CALL: 205-437-9575 finding out had a special knack for ► EMAIL: windowdecorpam@ what they’re windows. gmail.com like and what “There are just such a they use the wide variety of options room for. I’m just really passionate when it comes to window treatments,” about it.” Mitchell said. “Not every type of window Mitchell said she also loves all the new treatment works on every window.” things the industry has to offer. She doesn’t have a physical “Motorization is big now,” she said. showroom anymore because she prefers “There’s voice command, or you can use to take her showroom with her, get to an app on your phone or a remote to know her clients and their windows and control your window treatments. For me then show them their options in person. personally, it’s so interesting.” “I find that it’s more personable that

Karen Hammond



When it comes to providing comprehensive medical care for patients struggling with fertility issues, as well as other issues that effect reproduction, America Institute of Reproductive Medicine (AIRM) in Birmingham is versed in the latest technologies. “We are a reproductive endocrinology private practice,” said Brook Highland resident Karen Hammond, CRNP, DNP. “We provide comprehensive medical care for patients struggling with fertility issues, as well as other issues that affect reproduction, including endometriosis and uterine fibroids.” Hammond began practicing in reproductive medicine in 1985. “It has been absolutely amazing to be in this field since soon after the first IVF baby in the country was born,” Hammond said. “The rapid development, progress and success of available treatments compels me to not only stay abreast of current ► WHERE: 1 Independence Plaza, Suite 810, research, but also to conduct Homewood independent research.” ► CALL: 205-307-0484 ► WEBSITE: alabamainvitro.com Hammond said since joining AIRM, her passion for helping “The journey to build a family is very advanced infertility treatment personal and emotional,” she said. “I become more accessible has grown. love walking with my patients every step “I had a strong desire to make of the way. I celebrate their joys and advanced infertility treatment more mourn their sorrows. I am truly blessed accessible to more people,” Hammond to be able to accompany each patient said. “Unfortunately, many of the advanced treatments are cost-prohibitive on their journey. I am passionate about treating every single woman and couple to most patients, so I developed our Affordable IVF Program that has reduced with the skill, compassion, empathy and respect that I would want for myself and the patient cost to about one-third the cost of traditional IVF.” my family.”


January 2021 • B19

Dr. Dana Walchek



A board-certified audiologist for 23 years, Dr. Dana Walchek at Hearing Solutions enjoys helping people enhance their hearing. “I love helping someone hear their family, friends and favorite music again,” Walchek said. “The stories of how someone’s life has improved due to regained independence, participation with previous activities, getting that much-needed job or simply being able to hear the pastor again are the best.” Walchek and Dr. Melissa Richardson provide hearing and balance testing and treatment to patients of all ages. Hearing Solutions assesses hearing acuity, hearing loss, ringing in the ears and dizziness. Walchek and Richardson offer pre-employment testing and follow-up for failed hearing screenings. They also provide hearing aids and assistive-listening devices, including custom earplugs for musicians, swimmers, hunters and workers in noisy environments. Hearing Solutions tailors its services for each patient and follows a clear mission: “A strong patient-provider relationship based on honesty, integrity and values is what we strive for, and we feel that this is the best approach to making sure you don't miss any of the precious moments in your life,” Walchek said. “We want our patients to feel like family.” Walchek urges patients to treat hearing loss early. “Your hearing keeps you connected with friends and family, and most services are covered by insurance,” she said.

► WHERE: 3000 Meadow Lake Drive, Suite #102 ► CALL: 205-739-2242 ► WEBSITE: hearingsolutionsalabama. com To ensure little or no wait time and to keep patients safe during COVID-19, Hearing Solutions works by appointment only. Hearing Solutions also provides curbside services for patients having problems with their hearing aids or other devices.

Spring Home & Garden They want curb appeal. You’ve got it! Don’t miss our Spring Home & Garden issue. Advertise in 280 Living’s spring home & garden issue, you’ll reach nearly every home along the 280 corridor with your brand’s message plus a free story about your business. With newspapers in 6 other areas — including Homewood, Birmingham, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Trussville — you can advertise and reach more than 100,000 homes. Email Gregg Gannon at ggannon@starnespublishing.com today! Publishes in April 2021

B20 • January 2021

280 Living

Metro Roundup HOMEWOOD

Under new ownership

The Mobleys will soon call famous Pink House home

By INGRID SCHNADER Homewood residents Clayton and Rachel Mobley have a lot on their plates this year. Not only are they having their first child together in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’ve also just purchased the famous Pink House at 214 Edgewood Blvd., Brought to and they plan to restore you by our the house and grow sister paper: their family there. The Pink House has had a wild ride over the past few years. thehomewood The house was built in star.com the 1920s by Georges and Eleanor Bridges and was known for its pink stucco exterior and its “secret garden.” In 2018, a developer who owned the property presented plans to the Homewood Planning Commission to tear down the house and subdivide the property into six lots. An effort arose in the community to save the Homewood Pink House. After more than a year of the community raising money and spreading awareness about the property, the house was sold to a private buyer, Holley Ellis, and her family in the fall of 2019. The Mobleys live in Edgewood near the Pink House. When the pandemic hit, they began taking morning walks on different routes around their neighborhood. “We started looking forward to walking by the Pink House and seeing that beautiful building,” Rachel said. The property wasn’t for sale, but Rachel laughed and said they were “busybody

Clayton and Rachel Mobley, the new owners of the historic Pink House in Homewood, stand in front of the house. Photo by Erin Nelson.

neighbors.” They decided to email the Ellises, and the Mobleys asked if they could hear some stories about the property or maybe take a peek of the Pink House. “They were very kind and so excited to share all of the stories,” Rachel said of the Ellises. From these early stages of friendship,

Clayton had already begun thinking about making an offer on the house. He didn’t think there was much of a chance, he said, laughing, and he didn’t have high hopes. But to the Mobley’s delight, the Ellises were willing to sell. The Mobleys plan to bring the Pink House back to its “historic glory,” Clayton said, and they are currently working on plans for the

property while still living in their Edgewood home. They will do their best to keep the historic integrity intact during the restoration process, he said. The process will be a balance though. Clayton said they plan to live on the property for the rest of their lives and raise their children there. They will have to balance what they personally want in a house with what historical qualities they need to preserve, he said. Many of the building materials in the Pink House are not only unique and old, but they’re also fragile, Rachel said. She said they will work with builders and architects who are sensitive to completing a historic preservation. If anyone is fit to lead this project, though, it’s the Mobleys. Clayton is cofounder and CEO at a real estate investment company called Green Rock, and he said this has given him experience in historic preservation. “We feel equipped to mix the practical with the history,” he said. “Right now the state of the Pink House is rough, and there are parts of it that are in danger of falling in. So it will be intricate to keep as much of the structure and support as we can and keep that historic quality to the house.” The house won’t be ready to move in before Baby Mobley is due to be born. Rachel wanted to do it right, she said. “We want to make choices that, number one, won’t drive me into an early delivery date because of stress,” she said, laughing. “But also, we need to do this project right and do justice to doing all the research and looking at old photographs. “It’s going to be meaningful. This is going to be our home.”


Work continues on the new Unless U building in Vestavia Hills on Nov. 23. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Unless U building ‘coming along’ as organization adapts to COVID-19 By NEAL EMBRY The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on Unless U, but the organization, which provides continuing education for adults with special needs, continues to adapt as it prepares to Brought to move into its future you by our home. sister paper: “It has been pretty stressful at times,” Executive Director Lindy Cleveland said. vestavia “We’re serving a highvoice.com risk population.” Cleveland said she and her staff made changes to rules and procedures, including the wearing of masks at all times, social distancing and offering virtual education. Unless U has been fortunate to have only one student test positive as of late November. Cleveland said the organization learned the student did not pick up the virus at the school

and did not come to school while contagious. “We’re pretty proud of that,” Cleveland said. “We’re just very, very cautious.” Unless U closed from mid-March until June but offered virtual education during that time, Cleveland said. While classes have resumed, Unless U’s annual talent show, Unless U Got Talent, has been postponed, probably until the summer. “It was really difficult at first, trying to teach students with different ways of learning,” Cleveland said. “Teachers have done a good job learning how to teach.” Students are able to pick up their work in person or download it, Cleveland said. For virtual classes, teachers use popsicle sticks with a red circle or green circle to show students if they should be muted or not. “Our parents have been very, very pleased,” Cleveland said. Cleveland has created a teaching assistant role, which has been beneficial for her staff. She also said she thinks they will continue to offer virtual classes even after the pandemic is over. Offering virtual classes has given

students on the waiting list for enrollment a way to join Unless U. Cleveland said 30 students are on campus and 40 students attend virtually. In addition to those students, the organization has partnered with Vestavia Hills High School’s Life Skills class, where 10 students Zoom in as Unless U and VHHS teachers co-teach the class, Cleveland said. “Everybody was stressed out trying to teach in person and virtually in those classes,” Cleveland said about the Life Skills class. So, after speaking with Meredith DeFore, director of special education for the school system, Cleveland offered to jump in and help. “It’s been a blessing in the midst of this,” Cleveland said.


The group is also preparing to move into its new building near Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church. Cleveland said while she had hoped to move in by the end of 2020, that wasn’t possible. She’s hopeful to move in by February at the latest. “It’s coming along,”

she said. The pandemic has created a pause in the supply chain, causing a shortage of material, Cleveland said. Unless U still has to purchase items for the building’s interior, and Cleveland said she is about to start fundraising for sound equipment and furniture. The group passed its initial fundraising goal of $1.6 million to build the building, but Cleveland said it would be great to raise another $30,000 to $50,000. That money will go toward appliances, furniture, a lounge, sound equipment and more, she said. “We want it to be nice,” Cleveland said. “We want to give our students the best.” The building will offer the group much more space. The organization has maxed out its space at its current home at Shades Mountain Baptist Church. People can still give to Unless U’s capital campaign through 2022, Cleveland said. For those who made pledges to donate in the future, they can pay in advance, which would be helpful as the group prepares for its move.


January 2021 • B21

Winter Blues AT

Urban Home Market


Urban Home Market 205.980.4663 | urbanhomemarket.com In The Village at Lee Branch 1001 Doug Baker Blvd. Suite 101, Birmingham, AL

B22 • January 2021

280 Living


MOUNTAIN BROOK A watercolor of Mountain Brook Village by Bob Moody. There is a study underway of new design and landscape options for Village Circle. Watercolor courtesy of Mountain Brook Board of Landscape Design.

Blood drive set at Hoover Rec Center to honor Mike Gilotti By JON ANDERSON

Work underway on study of new plantings, designs for Village Circle By JESSE CHAMBERS Village Circle in Mountain Brook Village is “a historic American landscape,” said Sim Johnson, chair of the city’s Board of Landscape Design (BLD). The members of the BLD and local and national experts are working to give the Brought to iconic site a fresh you by our look. sister paper: With the help of city funding and private donations, the BLD has assembled villageliving what Johnson calls online.com “a dream team” of experts in a study of design and landscape options for Village Circle. Those options include the introduction of native plants, combining the traffic islands on Cahaba Road in front of Realty South and Gilchrist and perhaps adding some seating. The project may take advantage of what is likely the permanent closure of

Canterbury Road at Cahaba Road. However, that closure is not due to the Village Circle project, but rather other traffic concerns. Work on the study began in October, Johnson said. The lead firm in the study is The Olin Studio, a landscape architecture firm in Philadelphia. Olin is developing three conceptual design options for the project for presentation in January, Johnson said. Joel Eliason of Nimrod Long and Associates in Birmingham is working with Olin. The team lead for the planting design is Landau Design + Technology in Philadelphia. The local expert is Al Schotz, a botanist from Auburn University, Johnson said. After Olin presents the three designs this month, organizers “will have to figure out what it will cost to build depending on what design the City Council likes best,” Johnson said. That money for the completion of the project will be raised in the spring and summer, he said. “I anticipate installation will be next fall,” Johnson said. However, “that could be pushed back,” he said.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is holding a blood drive in honor of the late Hoover resident Mike Gilotti at the Hoover Recreation Center on Jan. 29. The blood drive is being held roughly five years after Gilotti was killed outside his Lake Cyrus home when Brought to he found someyou by our one breaking into sister paper: his vehicle in his driveway early one morning in January 2016. He was hooversun.com 33 with a wife and two children. LifeSouth plans to have at least two buses in the parking lot at the Hoover Rec Center for the blood drive from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., said Cindy Peek, a donor recruiter for LifeSouth and friend of the Gilotti family. Gilotti’s wife Heather, who now lives in south Alabama, will be returning to Hoover to be at the blood drive, Peek said. Mike Gilotti served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, It’s a great opportunity to pay tribute to a including 15 months as a tank commander in Iraq. man who served his country in the U.S. He was killed outside his home in the Lake Cyrus Army, including 15 months as a tank com- community in January 2016, and prosecutors were unable to obtain a conviction against the suspects mander in Iraq, Peek said. in the case. Photo courtesy of Heather Gilotti. At the same time, the remembrance of him is helping save lives, she said. “One disinfected between each donor, she said. People pint of blood can save three lives,” she said. LifeSouth will be following COVID-19 guide- with COVID-19 symptoms are asked not to come. Donors must be at least 110 pounds and at least lines outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Peek said. Workers 17 years old, or 16 years old with parental permisand donors will be required to wear masks, and sion. Donations typically take about 15 minutes, donors will be separated from one another to including filling out the paperwork, Peek said. follow social distancing guidelines, she said. LifeSouth prefers for people to register for the Also, blood donor seats will be cleaned and blood drive in advance at lifesouth.org.





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January 2021 • B23

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All living things, from plants to people, need water to live. Water sustains the life of our economy as well, from generating electricity to producing goods and services. Understanding the tough times we are in, the Birmingham Water Works Board has voted for no rate increase for 2021 while still meeting our financial obligations. For life and for business...water is essential.

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