Page 1

September 2021 | Volume 15 | Issue 1



A New York City firefighter looks up at the remains of the World Trade Center after its collapse during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy.

Recalling 9/11, 20 years later Auburn University students Dalton Odom, this year’s mic man, and Parker Mercier, one of this year’s four drum majors, are alumni of Chelsea High School. Odum is a fifth-year senior, and Mercier is a junior. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Performing on The Plains

Chelsea alumni Dalton Odom, Parker Mercier leading Auburn fans this season By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE


hen Auburn kicks off its season opener the evening of Sept. 4, two former Chelsea graduates will be leading the fans in the stands. Dalton Odom, from the Class of 2017, will be leading the crowd as Auburn’s mic man. He will be on the 50-yard line leading the Tigers’ cheers, then move to the sidelines and take his place atop the platform in front of the student body to help the cheerleaders lead throughout the entire game.

Parker Mercier, from the Class of 2019, is one of four drum majors for the Auburn University Marching Band. He will lead the band as they run out of the tunnel for their pregame festivities, then direct music in the stands before and after their halftime performance. Although they were two years apart in high school, they did know each other, but Mercier graduated with Odom’s younger sister. They will get to know each other better this year as they communicate with each other across the


See AUBURN | page A24 Sponsors............... A4 280 News.............. A6

It’s going to be a whole lot of fun, and I’m excited to get to represent Auburn like this. I’m thrilled and honestly honored to do it.

Business...............A10 Chamber..............A19


Fall Medical Guide...................B1

Biking for Braxton Canadian man Jarrod Russell bikes 745 miles to aid 9-year-old Greystone boy with cancer.

See page A16

Chelsea, Hoover residents share memories of living through, documenting terrorist attacks By NEAL EMBRY As he traveled on the last ferry out of New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, Les Pasternack noticed he had soot on his clothes. It wasn’t much, but it was a reminder of the devastation he had been lucky to escape and of the lives he had just seen end in front of his eyes. Pasternack, who now lives in Hoover, along with Todd Eagle, a Chelsea resident who works as a photojournalist for WVTM13, shared their stories of living through and documenting 9/11 and the days that followed with 280 Living.


Pasternack worked for a German bank at Two World Financial Center in 2001, which was connected to the World Trade Center

Sports.................... C5 Schoolhouse......... C11

See 9/11 | page A26 Education Guide... C14 Real Estate.......... C19

Climbing a Hill Former Montevallo baseball player finds life calling in teaching sport to others.

See page C1

A2 • September 2021

280 Living

What's the health of your Crawlspace?

Call us TODAY!

205-252-9506 Or visit:

September 2021 • A3


Grandview Medical Group makes it easier to see a primary care provider in Birmingham – quickly. Just call 205-971-DOCS. Most calls will result in a same-day appointment with a physician or a nurse practitioner at one of our 14 primary care locations. Walk-ins are welcome, too. If you or a family member age five or older needs to see a doctor fast, think Grandview Medical Group.

Visit or call 205-971-DOCS to schedule your same-day appointment.

Chelsea • Columbiana • Grandview Physicians Plaza • Greystone • Homewood Hoover • Lee Branch • Liberty Park • Springville • Trussville • Vestavia Hills

109410_TRIN_PCP_9_75x15_52c.indd 1

Look Forward.

3/5/20 10:25 AM

A4 • September 2021

280 Living

About Us Editor’s Note By Leah Ingram Eagle Welcome September! I’m so happy we’ve made it to month nine of 2021, and we’ll soon be getting ready for fall. I’ll probably be getting out my pumpkin décor soon! College football returns this month, which will also bring a lot of joy to a lot of people. Stadiums are back to capacity, and game days will be back to what we’re used to. At Auburn University, two former Chelsea High School graduates will be in prominent positions during the Tigers game days. Dalton Odom will be the mic man leading cheers and keeping the crowd engaged in the game. Parker Mercier will be on the field as one of the drum majors for the Auburn University Marching Band. Make

sure to read the cover story to find out more about them and their roles on The Plains this fall. This month also marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Our Vestavia Voice Community Editor, Neal Embry, spoke to Chelsea resident (and my husband) Todd Eagle,

who is a photojournalist for NBC-13 and went to New York City the day after the attacks and again for the one-year anniversary. He shares his memories of what it was like to be there after one of the worst attacks on our nation’s soil. This month’s issue will be the first featuring a column from Sean Dietrich (aka “Sean of the South”). One of my favorite writers, he graciously agreed to let us print his column each month in our paper. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Happy reading!

Please Support Our Community Partners Ace Hardware Dunnavant Square (C2) Advanced Surgeons, P.C. (B20)

One Man and a Toolbox (A14)

All of Us UAB Research Study (B9)

Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic

Ascension/St. Vincent’s Health Systems (A17) Assisted Living Locators (B13)

Pak Mail (B23)

Benton Nissan of Hoover (A23)

Patti Henderson, Flat Fee

Brookwood Diagnostic Center (B18) Budget Blinds (A27) Cabinetry Refinishing & Restoration (A1)

Water Safety (C18) Sewing Machine Mart (A25)

Clean Surface LLC (A11)

Shelby County Chamber of Commerce (A13)

Compact2020 (C19)

Sikes Children’s Shoes (A21)

Complete Health/BIMA Greystone

Skin Wellness Center Dermatology (B17) Southeastern Jewelers and Engravers (A15)

Danberry at Inverness (B19)

Southern Air - Skeltons (A12)

DSLD Land Management

Southern Blood Services (B18) Southern Home Structural Repair Specialists (A20)

Gardner Landscaping (A8)

Space Cadets (A27)

Grandview Medical Center (A3, B10)

SpyGrass (C12)

HaMi Boutique (C13)

Stacy O’Shields - Goosehead

Hearing Solutions (B12) Hilliard Irrigation (A15) Insurance Place Birmingham (A19) Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy (C17)

Please recycle this paper.

Rockett’s Bug Juice Gardens (C13)

Chiropractic Today (C2)

ENT Associates of Alabama (B1)

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.

Renew Dermatology (B3)

Senior Placement Services (B19)

– Aquascapes (A6)

Legals: 280 Living is published monthly. Reproduction or use of

Financial (C12)

Children’s of Alabama (B11)

Cremation Center of Birmingham (A21)

Director of Sales: Patrick McDonald Advertising: Michelle Salem Haynes Don Harris Jarrett Tyus Warren Caldwell Kentevious Forehand Stacey Hatcher Hazen Hoagland Cal Larsen Administrator: Anna Jackson

Red Mountain Associates Thrivent

Sara Beth’s Gymnasts - Splash

Cool Breeze Inc. (A2)

Published by: Starnes Publishing LLC

Homes (A19) Piggly Wiggly (A10)

Royal Automotive (C20)

Northside Medical (B15)

Client Success Specialist: Anna Bain Content Marketing Manager: Erica Brock Graphic Designer: Emily VanderMey

Peck Barham, RE/MAX Southern

Cardinal Roofing (C3)

Clearview Strategy Partners (B20)

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

Real Estate (A11)

Cahaba Glass (A21) Carpet Warehouse Galleria (A9)

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

School (C15)

Bellini’s Ristorante (A18)

Brookwood Baptist Health, Tenet

For advertising contact:

Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Over the Mountain Glass (C6)

Health Resources (C1)

Publisher: Dan Starnes Managing Editor: Nick Patterson Community Editors: Leah Ingram Eagle Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Neal Embry Ingrid Schnader Sports Editor: Kyle Parmley Design Editor: Melanie Viering Photo Editor: Erin Nelson Page Designers: Kristin Williams Ted Perry Contributing Writers: Kari Kampakis Sean Dietrich Interns: Eric Taunton Hannah Urban

School (C14)

Bedzzz Express (A28, C1)

Bromberg’s & Company Inc. (A20)

Lightning strikes near U.S. 280 as thunderstorms roll into Chelsea on Aug. 11. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Decorating Den (C10)

Alabama Mold & Mildew Solutions (A2)

Birmingham Botanical Gardens (A12)


Oak Highland Design/

Insurance (C7) The Bluffs at Greystone - A Phoenix Senior Living Community (C9) The Harbor at Lay Lake (C3) The Tanner Foundation (A8)

Kete Cannon, ARC Realty (A7)

TherapySouth – Greystone (B5)

Kiddie Academy (C18)

TrustCare Urgent Care (A25)

Luckie’s Pinestraw (A1)

UAB Health System (B7)

Max Transit (A13)

Urban Home Market (B24)

Medicare Advisors of Alabama (B16)

Village Dermatology (A5)

Melissa Wise, RealtySouth (A14)

Vulcan Termite & Pest Control (C6)

Mr. Handyman of Birmingham (A18)

Weigh To Wellness (B14)

Nature One Landscape Design (C10)

Window World of Central Alabama (A17)

Find Us Pick up the latest issue of 280 Living at the following locations: ► Alabama Outdoors ► Cahaba Ridge ► Chiropractic Today ► Chelsea High School ► Chelsea Library ► Cowboy’s ► Danberry ► Edgar’s Bakery ► Edward’s Chevrolet ► Ground Up Coffee & Smoothies/ Snider’s Pharmacy ► Lloyd’s Restaurant ► Mt Laurel Library

► North Shelby Library ► Oak Mountain High School ► Spain Park High School ► St. Vincent’s 119 ► Somerby at St. Vincent’s ► Winn-Dixie Chelsea ► Winn-Dixie Inverness Want to join this list or get 280 Living mailed to your home? Contact Anna Jackson at ajackson@

September 2021 • A5

A6 • September 2021

280 Living

280 News City officials to participate in development academy Members of the Chelsea City Council during its Aug. 17 meeting. Screenshot by Leah Ingram Eagle.

By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE The Chelsea mayor and several Chelsea City Council members will be taking part in the Alabama League of Municipalities Economic Development Academy. This new program, being offered by ALM, launched in 2021 and is designed to educate and engage municipal officials on the essential elements and phases of economic development while highlighting their vital role in economic initiatives and projects within their communities. The academy engages elected officials from select cities and towns with municipal peers and colleagues from their region to prepare their communities for growth. An orientation will take place in the fall and participants will then meet four times throughout the year to complete assignments and develop strategies to enhance economic development in their communities. Each municipality selected is required to implement a community program/project and to report on its progress. Academy graduates will be recognized during the ALM’s annual Municipal Leadership Institute each fall with a certification via ACCS and ALM. Mayor Tony Picklesimer said that fortunately they have five members who have committed to go to the academy, which will meet four times in the next calendar year. During the Aug. 17 meeting, the council approved: ► The purchase of a 2021 Icon LSV utility golf cart for the community center/splash pad area. (This will help with transporting trash from the splash pad to the community center until a dumpster can be installed at the splash pad). ► To approve the city’s participation in the ALM Economic Development Academy.

► A moratorium on issuance of certain business licenses and building permits (mini storage). ► Approval to pay the city’s bills. Three annexation ordinances were approved for residents in the Forest Lakes subdivision: ► Terry and Eloise Bailey for 0.38 acres at 4076 Forest Lakes Road. ► Donna Coleman for 0.41 acres at 4064 Forest Lakes Road. ► Anthony Walker for 0.24 acres at 2430 Forest Lakes Lane. During the community forum, Emily Sims from the Chelsea Public Library announced that Tot Time has moved to two days, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and will be at 10:30 a.m. at the community center before moving to the library’s outdoor patio in September. Also, the coding clubs and homeschool hangouts will start back in September. Jane Ann Mueller from the Chelsea

Dates to remember ► Sept 6: City Hall closed for Labor Day ► Sept. 7: Council meeting at 6 p.m. ► Sept. 15: Nick Grant application deadline ► Sept. 21: Council meeting at 6 p.m.

Community Center said that room rentals at the community center are picking up. Also, the Splash Pad at Melrose Park has had 3,389 visitors for the month of August. They will be monitoring the numbers this week to determine a possible schedule change since school has started back.

Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Russell and Fire Chief Joe Lee recently attended the annual fire chiefs conference where they gained helpful info as it relates to fire department operations. They also received additional information related to COVID-19 response because of the increase in the number of Delta variant cases. They also participated in a roundtable forum of fire chiefs across the state who presented questions to each other to determine resolution strategies that affect them daily. CPR Saturdays have returned at the Chelsea Fire and Rescue Department. This community outreach program is for residents of Chelsea and surrounding areas to come and receive CPR certification. “The more people we have trained, the more impact we can have,” Russell said. Participants can learn CPR, how to use an AED device and basic first aid techniques. Anyone interested should call 205-678-6060 to be placed on the schedule.

September 2021 • A7

Splash Pad at Melrose Park reporting high attendance Left: The Chelsea City Council discuss items on the agenda at the Aug. 2 meeting. Below: Mayor Tony Picklesimer recognized Zachary Beneke during the meeting for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and presented him with a certificate and a pin. Photos by Leah Ingram Eagle.

By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE The new Splash Pad at Melrose Park has been a big success community leaders said, with thousands using the facility since July 20. According to Chelsea Community Center Activities Director Jane Ann Mueller, the highest attendance day saw 333 people and the lowest had 109. The average attendance per day is 256. “I think that’s fantastic,” Mueller said during the Aug. 2 Chelsea City Council meeting. “Those are pretty great numbers. We’ve had to close a few times due to weather but were able to open back up all but one of those days.” The cost for an all-day wristband is $2, and pavilions may be reserved in advance. She also added that all fall sports registration information is on the city’s website under park and rec. During his report, Mayor Tony Picklesimer recognized Zachary Beneke for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and presented him with a certificate and a pin. In council business, a renewal contract with HdL auditing services was approved. From Feb. 20 to July 21, the company completed six audits with one still in progress. Picklesimer said those audits have generated $25,814 in missed revenue. “We aren’t after a penny we are not entitled to, but [we] don’t want to miss a penny of revenue that you as citizens are entitled to,” he said. “There’s no way a city our size can have its own audit department, so it is a wise use of taxpayer money to have HdL do this.” A rezoning request submitted by Brett Boudoin for his property at the end of River Birch Circle from A-R to E-1 consisting of roughly 15.5 acres was approved by the council. Several neighbors signed up to speak during the public hearing and wanted to make sure there would be a 30-foot buffer zone at the property line, erosion issues would be taken care of and also asked about horses and all-terrain vehicles on the property. The council also accepted a low bid from

Apel Machine & Supply Co. for utility improvement on the Shelby County 49 water main project, although it was higher than budgeted. Shelby County is paying its portion, and there is $150,000 from the developer of Chelsea Ridge. The city will pay the rest. “All we needed was an 8-inch water line, and the county wanted a 12-inch line, and they will pay the difference,” Picklesimer said. “Running a 12-inch water line from Shelby County’s main along the gas line up [Shelby County] 49 past Chelsea Ridge to Covington Place will open up several hundred acres for future development. As a city, we are having to put money out but will get it all back.” Other items approved by the council include outsourcing of payroll and human relations functions to a third party based out of Gardendale and paying the city’s bills. During the community forum, Emily Sims from the Chelsea Public Library said they wrapped up the summer reading program with big numbers. The total number of registered participants in the summer reading challenge was 493 across all age groups; total program

attendance was 1,524 for programs, and the total number of library visits in June and July was 5,276. The Chelsea Historical Society will be

observing Constitution Week on Sept. 17-23 with videos on its YouTube channel. Its quarterly meeting will be Oct. 24 with author Kim Johnson.

Whether Buying or Selling a Home, Call Me for WINNING Results TODAY!

Kete Quick Cannon 205.601.4148 One-of-a-Kind Name, One-of-a-Kind Service KeteC_half_0921_2021_222_1_1_948724_SP__B_UD1_V1a

9.75” x 7.59”

12th Aug. 2021

A8 • September 2021

280 Living

County closes on 2 properties for recreational opportunities By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Two property closings that were approved Aug. 9 will provide recreational opportunities in Shelby County in the future. The property is the land that the county made a budget amendment for in May. It will create another county park that will total 750 acres between Shelby County 41 and Shelby County 43. It will be for trail running, walking and hiking. “This will be a long-term project to preserve and create space for residents to get out and enjoy the environment,” County Manager Chad Scroggins said during the Aug. 9 Shelby County Commission meeting. Ten acres of the property, formerly the Mt Laurel organic garden, will become the new Dunnavant Valley trailhead. There is minimal parking at the current trailhead, and this location will provide more spaces for trail users. “This is a significant purchase by the county to set space available for many years to come,” Scroggins said. The second closing that took place the first week of August was the Forever Wild Land Trust board approving a second appraisal and purchase for property at Oak Mountain State Park. If it meets within guidelines, over 1,100 acres will be added. The property is what is seen at the King’s Chair area. Scroggins said it’s exciting to have both projects going on at the same time. County Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Naugher gave a monthly budget update and said all of the actual variances from July 2020 through July 2021 are positive. Sales tax, rental tax, lodging tax and highway gas taxes have all seen an increase. Naugher also updated the commission on the FY22 projected budget, saying she used a conservative approach to be able to balance budget expenses versus revenues because there is so much uncertainty in the global market. Some items on the FY22 proposed

The Shelby County Commission during its Aug. 9 meeting. Photo by Leah Ingram Eagle.

budget included: ► Property tax: Projected budget of $16,873,338. ► County sales and use tax: Projected budget of $17,030,456 . ► Rental tax: Projected budget of 2,685,397. ► Building permits: Projected budget $1,068,944. ► Simplified sellers use tax (online purchases): Projected budget $1,250,000, which goes back to the local school boards. ► School safety initiative: Projected budget $687,255, which will include an increase for the law enforcement contracts, whose costs have not changed since 2010. ► The highway budget has a slight increase

from the past several years, with a total projected revenue of $19,007,775. ► The landfill has an increase of 7.9% over the 2021 budget at $5,730,000. ► Water services had an increase of 3.3% at $12,482,024. ► The subtotal of the general fund revenue projection for FY22 is $72,532,459. “Cheryl has done a great job going through this, line by line, using different types of projection models and meeting with each department head,” Scroggins said. “I feel comfortable with the revenues and her conservative approach.” The commission passed three resolutions that included: ► Accepting a bid for liquid copper sulfate

to the lowest bidder, Thornton, Musso and Bellemin, for $9.87 unit price per gallon. ► Accepting a bid from UWS Inc. for $6,885,201.27 to replace the water line along Old U.S. 280. This will include funds from the American Rescue Plan. ► ADECA Community Development Block Grant Support to build a community center in the town of Wilton. Shelby County will provide grant assistance, project management and funding to support the town of Wilton’s application for CDBG. The estimated cost is $523,785. The CDBG funding is limited to $300,000, and Shelby County will provide a maximum of $75,000 to assist in the completion of the project if grand funding is awarded.



TEAM COMPETITION Purchase your tickets or donate to Team ALS, Team Parkinson's or Team Multiple Sclerosis. The Tanner Foundation will make a donation, from a portion of the proceeds to the winning Team’s local organization.




The Tanner Foundation seeks to enhance the lives of individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and ALS through promoting, conducting, and sponsoring research, donating grants, and offering educational opportunities.

September 2021 • A9


Waterproof Flooring

We Pay the Sales Tax! • Home Stores • Fancy Stores • Chain Stores

Construction is underway to create a new intersection at Shelby County 39 and Shelby County 47 in Chelsea. The project began in May and is expected to be completed by November. Photo by Leah Ingram Eagle.

Shelby County Commission adopts FY22 County Transportation Plan By HANNAH URBAN At the July 26 Shelby County Commission meeting, County Engineer Randy Cole explained the adoption of the County Transportation Plan for fiscal year 2022. “The law requires that we specify how we plan on spending next year’s allocation,” Cole said. “Of course we’re doing that based on projections.” The Rebuild Alabama Act provides funds to the county for the construction of roads and bridges and for maintenance. The approved transportation plan gives a detailed list of the projects utilizing those funds. It will be sent to the Association of County Commissions, which will compile all 67 counties and report it to the governor, the lieutenant governor, the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. Once complete, Cole said, it will be posted on the county’s website, at the highway department and at the courthouse to follow the accountability clause in the Rebuild Alabama Act. Commissioner Lindsey Allison asked Cole if the first five projects on the plan would be completed in order by number as the money comes in, or if they already have the money in hand. Cole said even if all of the needed funding doesn’t come in, “because we are who we are” the projects will get done. They will take the people they have and do them anyway. He also said “a little sunshine would help us all,” because the constant rain has kept them from mowing grass, cleaning ditches, working on dirt roads and paving, so not a lot of maintenance has been done lately. Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Naugher has been working on projecting revenues and pulling together the expense numbers so the commissioners can review them electronically prior to the next meeting. “We are excited about being able to take the resources that the people provide and serve the people with those resources,” Shelby County Manager Chad Scroggins said. “That’s all we’re here to do.” A budget hearing was to take place on Aug. 23 before the next commission meeting. Scroggins said in his report that most of what

We are excited about being able to take the resources that the people provide and serve the people with those resources.


he and his department are currently working on is budget review. He also assured commissioners that they are watching the variants of COVID-19 closely and encouraging residents to get vaccinated. Although the county is no longer hosting vaccination clinics, they are still offering resources to those who are interested in going online and registering for a vaccine. The commission also approved to modify available funds for the Recreational Trails Program grant application project. It will add over 9.5 miles of trails and more pavilions in Cahaba River Park and the Forever Wild Land Trust along the Cahaba River. The original plan was a 67%/33% split between the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and Shelby County. However, ADECA said in order to receive the grant, the split will need to be 51.9% county funding and 48.1% ADECA funding. Resolutions approved by the commission also include: ► Lease of a large format printer to CPC Office Technologies. ► A precast concrete vault with meter and accessories for the Shelby County 49 meter pit to Central Pipe Supply Inc. for $30,265.00 and $3,667 per foot of additional height above six feet. ► Levies for the new ABC license types for alcoholic beverage distributions that are effective June 1, 2022. ► Nomination of Commissioner Kevin Morris to the 2021-22 ACCA Legislative Committee.


We Beat Them All!

Lowest Prices in Town GUARANTEED!

Hardwoods 5” Hardscraped starting at $5.49 sq. ft. installed

SPECIAL PURCHASE: Carpets Purchase 3 Rooms - $699 Based on 12x12





Stain & Soil Warranty

FREE Whole House Carpet Installation


Stain & Soil Warranty



Quality Warranty

with purchase of carpet and pad. Minimum purchase required. Basic installation. CARPET WAREHOUSE 205-989-5678 Not valid with any other offer. Expires 9–30-21.


2711 HWY 150, Hoover • 205-989-5678 • *Basic labor only on free installation. **Same exact product with written veritiable proof. Must present coupon at time of purchase. ***Sales tax paid on installed items only. Not valid with any other offer or prior sales. Unless otherwise specified, all prices are for materials only. We cannot be held liable for typographical errors, manufacturer’s changes or misprints.

A10 • September 2021

280 Living

Business Happenings NOW OPEN Dawson True Heating and Cooling, 817 Florentine Drive, is now open and offering HVAC services. First time customers receive 15% off repair services. 205-383-6639, Keel Point, 29 Olmsted St., a wealth management company, is now open. Its financial advisers help clients manage the responsibilities by providing strategy-based, individualized options for personal, family and philanthropic wealth management. 256-261-3621, HaMi Boutique, a mother-daughter boutique, recently had its grand opening at 300 Carlow Lane, Suite 101, in Dunnavant Square. It offers a variety of clothing styles for girls and women. 205-834-8833, Square 1 Nutrition recently opened at 5291 Valleydale Road, Suite 119. The smoothie and juice bar offers loaded teas, meal replacement shakes and health shots. 205-789-2278, square_1_nutrition Taziki's founder Keith Richards recently opened GRK Street, 5291 Valleydale Road, a new fast-casual restaurant inspired by the fast-paced food found in the streets of downtown Athens. 205-383-3193,

RELOCATIONS AND RENOVATIONS Merle Norman Cosmetics and Hair

Salon of Chelsea has moved to 90 Chelsea Corners in the Winn-Dixie Shopping Center. It is a full-service hair salon and skincare and cosmetic studio. 205-678-5944, merlenormanchelsea


NEWS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS Owned by Bill and Rebecca Rowley, Ingadi Flower Farm, 4867 Shelby County 39, Chelsea, now offers classes, a roadside flowerstand and is at The Marketplace at Lee Branch and the Valleydale Farmers Market each Saturday. 205-831-2581,

The Luxe Group at White House Real Estate has moved its headquarters to 1 Perimeter Park S., Suite 155, in Inverness. The new facility more than doubles its previous space. 205-213-5388, Simply Infused Olive Oils has relocated to inside The Mercantile, 5287 U.S. 280, in the Brook Highland Shopping Center. It carries 70 flavors of olive oils and balsamics, olives from Spain, pasta from Italy and other gourmet foods. 205-408-4231, Aloft Birmingham SOHO Square, 1903 29th Ave., Homewood, is set to do a full renovation of the property in 2023. Aloft features venue amenities suited for engagement parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners or family brunches, including a bar and 600 square feet of flexible indoor space can hold up to 40 guests and can be combined with our Re:mixSM Lounge for additional space. 205-504-8356,

Highlands College, 1701 Lee Branch Lane, has received a $20 million donation from Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green and the Green family that will fully fund the institution’s first of two residence halls. Highlands College officials will break ground for the residence hall later this month. Plans call for a five-floor facility with more than 68,000 square feet and 126 rooms for 252 students. Completion is expected in late 2022. Students will move in soon after. Because of the Green family gift, Highlands College will construct the residence hall debt-free. Highlands College is a private two-year institution that is scheduled to offer a four-year program within a few years. Its strategic plan calls for growth to 1,000 students by 2029 with a vision for all students to graduate debt-free. A new 70-acre campus located in the Grandview area of Birmingham set to open later this year features a student center, 19 learning studios, eight hands-on ministry training labs, multiple collaborative areas, dining facilities, cafe, library, fitness and recreation facilities, a multi-purpose auditorium and the latest in audio-visual

technology. 205-731-7339, BJ at 12 Fitness Studio, 15 Olmsted St. in Mt. Laurel, is now open and offering early morning and evening hours. He offers one-on-one instruction training, small group training and nutrition plans. 205-678-1237, TherapySouth, 100 Chelsea Corners, Suite 100, welcomes Stephanie Fant, DPT, as a new staff physical therapist. 205-678-7272,

PERSONNEL MOVES Belk, based in Charlotte with a location at 221 Summit Blvd., has promoted Nir Patel from president and chief merchandising officer to CEO, replacing Lisa Harper, who had been CEO since July 2016. Patel joined Belk in 2016 as executive vice president and was promoted to chief merchandising officer in 2018 and president in 2020. Before coming to Belk, he was a senior vice president with Kohl’s, a vice president at Land’s End and worked for Abercrombie & Fitch, Target and Gap. Belk also promoted Don Hendricks from chief operating officer to president and hired Chris Kolbe as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Harper now is serving as executive chairwoman of the Belk board of directors. 205-968-4200,

ANNIVERSARIES Bella Couture, 104 Croft St. in Mt Laurel, is celebrating its 15-year anniversary. 205-995-3444, Chef Luis Delgado and Miami Fusion Cafe, 5511 U.S. 280, Suite 114, are celebrating the location’s one-year anniversary. The cafe features a fusion of flavors from the Caribbean and beyond. 205-593-4945,

September 2021 • A11 Founders and owners Matthew and Lauren Zauchin are celebrating the twoyear anniversary of Village Drug Co. The pharmacy offers personalized patient health care with an upscale small-town feel, focused on a modern approach to health and wellness. 205-713-8393,

Full Service


The Woodhouse Day Spa, 125 Summit Blvd., is celebrating its two-year anniversary at The Summit. It offers a variety of treatments, including facials, massages, body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing and more. 205-905-7676, birmingham. The husband-wife team of David Ray and Colanda Vu are celebrating the second anniversary of their practice, Valley Ridge Family Dentistry, 13521 Old Highway 280 in The Narrows. 205-739-2175,

Gourmet cinnamon roll bakery Cinnaholic, 270 Doug Baker Blvd., Suite 300, in The Village at Lee Branch, is celebrating its first anniversary this month. Guests can customize their creations with madefrom-scratch sweets. 205-573-6166,

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

Share your business news with us at

patti HENDERSON 205.585.0233 FLAT FEE

Real Estate B• I• R •M• I •N• G •H •A• M

Helping Buyers & Sellers Locally Owned & Operated 2828 Old 280 Ct, Ste 136, Bham 35243

Make your home or business COVID's worst enemy with CASPR technology.

Contact for your FREE Quote TODAY! 205-974-2310

A12 • September 2021

280 Living


Picking their passion Chelsea couple Bill and Rebecca Rowley create Ingadi Flower Farm Rebecca Rowley, right, owner of Ingadi Flower Farm, trims leaves from zinnias in her garden as she cuts flowers, left. The couple named their farm Ignadi, which means garden in Zulu, as a nod to their time in Brazil, where Rebecca is also from. Photos by Erin Nelson.

By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Drivers heading down Shelby County 39 in Chelsea near the intersection of Shelby County 36 and 69 have probably noticed a big green barn. The barn, along with a 6-acre farm, belong to Bill and Rebecca Rowley, who have been Chelsea residents since 2006. After spending seven years in Brazil working as missionaries and school administrators while starting a university there, the pair returned home in 2019. “As we were coming back stateside, we had a desire to have a farm at our house in Chelsea,” Bill Rowley said. “My wife wanted to have a flower farm.” The couple named their farm Ingadi, which means garden in Zulu, as a nod to their time in Brazil, where Rebecca is also from. They began their business toward the end of 2020 and began growing flowers in the spring. Currently growing on less than an acre, Rebecca has done most of the plant selection, which features local flowers, sodded flowers and a combination of seeds and buds. Rowley said that with so many people working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, they wanted to try to bring joy and happiness into their work environment. Now with in-person events happening, Ingadi Flower Farm has two booths on Saturdays: one at The Marketplace at Lee Branch and the other at the Valleydale Farmers Market. They bring pre-made bouquets, arrangements and houseplants. Customers also have the option of making their own bouquet with the flowers that are there. From 4-6 p.m. on Mondays

and Thursdays, they also have a flower stand at their farm. Ingadi offers subscriptions that feature a weekly delivery of flowers. Businesses or individuals can sign up and either pick flowers up at the farm or have them delivered for a small fee. Ingadi also sells boutonnieres and corsages and can do arrangements for events. The Rowleys offer flower arranging classes at the Chelsea Community Center, where Rebecca discusses basic flower care, how to make arrangements and teaches participants to build and create flower arrangements. Classes in September will feature fall arrangements that will include sunflowers. When the weather cools off, they will grow flowers in their non-temperature controlled greenhouses. Bill Rowley said he is also in the

When your team is on TV... THE LAST THING YOU WANT IS A BROKEN A/C Free Estimates on New Installs 100% Money Back Guarantee 10 Years Parts and LABOR Warranty 100% Comfort Guartaneee CALL TODAY AND MENTION 225 FOR A $69 TUNE UP! 205-289-7121 I WWW.SKELETONSAIR.COM AL CERT# 02054

process of building a 7-by-30-foot house that will extend their growing season. As they move into upcoming seasons, they plan to do another seedling sale in the spring, offering vegetables and herbs. Types of flowers grown at Ingadi include zinnias, sunflowers, celosia, cosmos, dahlia, ammi dara, gomphrena, ageratum, lisianthus, anemones, delphinium, poppies, stock, ranunculus and more. “Next year we plan to expand that out to be more local, but also offer specialty seedlings as well,” Bill Rowley said. “Classes will expand to include home gardening classes and microfarm basic and intermediate. We also want to help people who want a small 10-by-20 greenhouse see if it will be a good fit for them and possibly even build it on their property.” Bill said he and Rebecca pretty much run

Upcoming flower arranging classes Held at the Chelsea Community Center: ► 9:30 a.m., Sept 9: Sunflowers theme ► 6:30 p.m. Sept 21: Sunflowers theme For schedule running through the end of the year, visit ingadi

the business themselves, and it’s a full-time job. The last of their three sons recently headed off to college. Ingadi Flower Farm’s business has grown by word of mouth, friends, social media and people driving by their farm. Its website,, features all of its offerings and class signups.

September 2021 • A13 Far left: A map of Athens, with photographs from Keith Richards and his family, fills a wall inside GRK Street. Left: A Village salad bowl, loukoumades and a Greekstyle beef and lamb gyro are a few of the menu items at GRK Street on Valleydale Road. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Taziki’s founder bringing GRK to BHM By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE It was after a trip to Greece with his wife, Amy, that Keith Richards fell in love with the food and culture. It was 24 years ago that the couple spent 13 days soaking up the culture, atmosphere and, most of all, the food. When they arrived back in Birmingham, Richards went back to his job working with Frank Stitt at Bottega. “I just felt like something was missing, and I wanted my own restaurant,” Richards said. “I had been in management and started a couple of businesses and just loved the food business and wanted to do my own thing.” Richards said creating Taziki’s was a challenge and they didn’t have any money, but they made it work. Now 23 years later, Taziki’s has grown to 92 restaurants across the country. The idea for a new venture came to Richards during COVID-19 when he saw what it did to his businesses, although he didn’t lose any employees during the pandemic. “It basically shut down our inside dining experience, and so we did a lot of curbside

and pickup and some delivery,” he said. “That started part of my pathway to think of a smaller form of Taziki’s.” The concept was a smaller space focusing on takeout with delicious products similar to authentic food from Greece. “I thought, ‘Why don’t I create a brand using Grecian delights and make authentic street food from Greece?’ So that’s pretty much what I did,” he said. When looking for a spot, he knew he wanted it to be a smaller location, easy curbside parking and a pickup window. “The spot we are in now on Valleydale Road, when I saw it was available, I jumped on it as soon as I could,” he said. His new restaurant, GRK Street (Greek Street) opened July 6 in the Inverness Village shopping center, which is a short drive from his home in Inverness. The space is 1,200 square feet, whereas most of his Taziki’s restaurants are around 2,800 to 3,400 square feet. Richards said he loves the restaurants in Greece that are tiny and jampacked, and that’s what he wanted this space

to feel like. “I love the intensity, a lot of people inside, the music going, hearing the grill sizzling ... I need that for my inspiration,” he said. “Inside we have a map of downtown Athens. We have started pinning customer photos on it to places they’ve been.” Richards’ daughter, Charlie, also painted a lot of the artwork. Inside seating is limited, and everything is made to go. There are also several tables outside. Richards created a new menu based on his memory of his multiple trips to Greece. A few items at GRK Street were brought over from Taziki’s, including the hummus, whipped feta and cucumber salad. Doing authentic Greek food just didn’t fit, so he wanted to make it approachable for the average Joe (which is coincidentally his father’s name). He worked with his culinary sidekick Raul Hernandez, who helped him get the food to match what he wanted. So far, the beef and lamb gyro is the No. 1 selling item on the menu, followed by the marinated souvlaki chicken bowl. Richards said

GRK Street • WHERE: 5291 Valleydale Road • HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday • CALL: Orders can also be placed by calling 205-383-3193 or through their app • WEB:

his favorite dish is the village salad bowl of Greek-style lamb and rice. “After Taziki’s, we opened Baja Burger eight years ago, and the same way with GRK Street. We want it to have the same fresh, friendly feeling,” he said. Since opening, Richards said the response has been awesome. He has future plans to open more GRK Street locations in the Birmingham area when he finds the right locations, Richards said. For more information, visit

Serving our community by connecting people to places

Enhance your travel experience using your smartphone!

Travel tools and resources are available on our mobile friendly website View and download routes and schedules Access the Trip Planner feature to pre-plan your next commute

Download the MyStop Mobile App to access unique features for navigating our system Track your bus in real - time Receive immediate service alerts Set favorite routes and stops Free download available on any Apple or Android device

BONUS Enjoy our free Wi-Fi and access the Birmingham Public Library catalog on all MAX buses and at Central Station with QR code

Birmingham - Jefferson County Transit Authority 1801 Morris Avenue Birmingham, AL 35203 (205) 521 - 0101

A14 • September 2021

280 Living

Mother-daughter duo open HaMi Boutique Michelle and Haleigh Smith inside their brickand-mortar store, HaMi Boutique, located in the Dunnavant Square shopping center. HaMi Boutique currently carries around 3035 vendors and offers clothing, shoes, jewelry, purses, hats and giftables. Photo by Ingrid Schnader.

By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE What began as an online boutique has grown into a new store in Dunnavant Square shopping center for Michelle and Haleigh Smith. After doing several successful pop-up shops in Helena and at The Outlets at Grand River, Michelle and Haleigh decided it would be a good idea to open up a storefront for HaMi Boutique. “I think it was late March or the first of April, we were getting such positive feedback at the outlet pop-ups,” Michelle said. “Our boutique started with some casual conversations, which turned into excitement about the future. After much prayer, we decided to open up our own brick-and-mortar boutique.” After working in retail for 14 years, she realized she wanted to help customers and provide an in-person shopping experience. While looking around at different places, Smith knew she didn’t want to be in a spot where she had to be open set hours every day. After checking out several areas around town, she said she felt like the Lord brought her to Dunnavant Square. “I was praying for a 1,200-square-foot space, and this one is 1,160,” she said. “We were hoping to be open July 15, and it was seven weeks until we opened.” The store’s name, HaMi Boutique, comes from a combination of the two letters of their first names. Smith said the key to their philosophy is having a place that has clothing options for both mothers and daughters. “We have tasteful, classy clothes,” Michelle said. “We also carry some high-end brands and some cut-to-order brands. We also have some blazers, suits and dresses for people who are going back to work.” Everything that goes into the shop is handpicked, and Michelle said she wants her customers to find something to brighten their day — either for an event or everyday wear. Haleigh, a senior at Harding University, said

when they first started, over half of the clothing was geared toward young people, but now options are more even between younger and older women. “We will wait and see what kind of response we get here,” Michelle said. “If someone wants a certain vendor, we can get that. Lot of brands are wide open, and we can’t wait to try some new vendors.” HaMi Boutique currently carries around 30-35 vendors and offers clothing, shoes, jewelry, purses, hats and giftables. It also offers

its own candle line with fun names including Sunday Nap, Simma Down Now and Hey Girl Hey. Michelle said they feel like God has blessed them tremendously in this process. “He has gone before us and found a person that did our build out,” she said. “My husband has built half the things in here. Friends have come out of the woodwork to help with merchandise and hang mirrors. I just don’t want to take any of the credit because I feel like God’s just blessed me so far.”

The Smiths now live in Chelsea, where they moved after raising their children in Helena. Michelle’s son graduated from Auburn University, and her husband works for EBSCO. A friends and family event was held July 14, and HaMi’s official grand opening was July 15. HaMi Boutique is located at 300 Carlow Lane, Suite 101, next to the Colorbar Hair Salon. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. It is closed Sunday and Monday.

One Man & a Toolbox Handyman Services

Let's unlock your dream home together!


Doing it Yourself isn’t for everyone.


Residential Commercial Special Projects 205-823-2111 •

September 2021 • A15

Lifetime business owners use fresh start to open smoothie and juice bar By HANNAH URBAN

Square 1 Nutrition, located at 5291 Valleydale Road, opened in June. Square 1 Nutrition has locations all over the U.S., but this is the first location in the Birmingham area. Photo courtesy of Alison Nichols.

Alison and Justin Nichols have been business owners their entire lives. For 30 years, they owned a company manufacturing lift chairs for the elderly. Alison’s parents started the business when she was 12, and after graduating from college, she came back with Justin to help run it. A year-and-a-half ago, they had to close their family business. In need of a way to start over, they opened a different kind of business in Birmingham: Square 1 Nutrition smoothie and juice bar. Square 1 Nutrition has locations all over the U.S., but this is the first location in the Birmingham area. The Nichols completely renovated the building on Valleydale Road all on their own, laying hardwood floors and building countertops to make the space ready for its June 18 opening. “It has multiple schools close by, a hospital and lots of clinics and offices. Lots of families live really, really close. It’s just a perfect location,” Alison Nichols said. Square 1 Nutrition has a menu they share with other locations, but it also features a special menu with options only available in the Birmingham location. All the menu items contain safe and natural products. They include meal replacement shakes, loaded energy teas with collagen and biotin for hair, skin and nails, specialty teas with energy and protein and health shots. There is a donut shot for weight loss and appetite suppressant, a gut shot for stomach issues and a headache shot for headaches and migraines. Some customer favorites include the fried Oreo shake, the banana pudding shake, the Malibu Barbie beauty tea and the Captain America tea. The Nichols, who have two daughters and a son, have been using Square 1 Nutrition products for about two years. Her son uses the

Most people do not eat well. We say we do, but we don’t when it comes down to it.


hydration supplements because he plays a lot of sports. One of their daughters uses the gut shot, and the other uses the headache shot. “That’s actually how we introduced the health shots ... we do them at home, and we’ve seen how it’s helped them,” Nichols said. “Nobody has the headache or the gut shots. [Those are] the ones we came up with.” This is one of the reasons Nichols wanted to open a health-centered business. Seeing how Square 1 Nutrition products helped her family made her want to give the same opportunities to the community. Personally, she wants to be able to keep up with her children, and because she has been using the products for a while, she knows they work. She said what makes their business unique is the vitamins and nutrients they offer in their products, which often aren’t found in the foods people eat. “Most people do not eat well. We say we do, but we don’t when it comes down to it,” Nichols said. “These products give you a lot of the vitamins and things that you need, as well as that energy.” They are hoping to add another location once the first one is well established in the community. Square 1 Nutrition is at 5291 Valleydale Road, Suite 119. For more information, visit facebook. com/Square-1-Nutrition-174711704179462/.

Hilliard Irrigation Building Relationships is Priority #1

MARTIN H. HILLIARD C.E.O. Cell: 913-0404

• • • •

Repairs & New System Installation French Drains Landscape Lighting Hardscapes

A16 • September 2021

280 Living

Biking for Braxton Canadian man bikes 745 miles to aid 9-year-old Greystone boy By JON ANDERSON


raxton Weidman was 8 years old when he and his parents found out he had an aggressive cancerous brain tumor in September 2020. The past year has been a difficult journey for the Greystone family of five as Braxton endured two brain surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy and started a new immunotherapy trial in early August. His symptoms have worsened as the disease has progressed, but the Weidmans say they’ve been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received from neighbors, an amazing array of celebrities and now all the way from Canada. A 45-year-old man from Lloydminster, a city that straddles the line between Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada, undertook an effort to ride 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) on his recumbent tricycle during August in honor of Braxton and other children battling cancer. The man, Jarrod Russell, found out about Braxton’s cancer journey after seeing a feature that ESPN aired describing how Alabama Coach Nick Saban and numerous Alabama football players rallied around Braxton after learning he was a big Alabama fan. Braxton’s story hit home with Russell because he was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 4 years old. Russell had three major surgeries as a child and has been cancer-free for many years, but he is partially paralyzed on his right side, has language delays and he suffers from epilepsy due to scar tissue from his surgeries. “I felt connected to him,” Russell said of Braxton, communicating by email due to language difficulties. Despite being nearly 2,200 miles apart, Russell wanted to do something to bring attention to Braxton’s story, as well as to help the Weidman family financially. For the past six years, Russell has participated in the Canadian Great Cycle Challenge, which raises money for the Sick Kids Foundation that supports children and families of those battling childhood cancer. He raised more than $147,000 in the first five years and this year plans to give part of his money raised to the Weidmans to help them pay medical bills or other bills associated with Braxton’s care. As of early August, he had raised more than $10,000 this year, he said. All the money raised directly through Russell’s Great Cycle Challenge page will go to the Sick Kids Foundation, but Russell plans to give a portion of money collected through other fundraisers to the Weidmans, said his sister, Lana Lane. “He’s just got such a care and concern for kids that are going through what he went through as a little guy,” Lane said. Russell fell behind in his training for the Great Cycle Challenge this year because he broke his collarbone in April, but he was determined to complete the challenge, Lane said. He had to average 39 kilometers (24 miles) a day to reach his goal, and that’s not easy for someone who is partially paralyzed, she said. Russell and his sister have been communicating with Braxton’s parents, Chris and Brandie Weidman, and Russell sent Braxton a Great Cycle Challenge jersey, which Braxton wore to one of his radiation treatments.

Above: Braxton Weidman, 9, sits on his bicycle as he wears his Great Cycle Challenge biking jersey, given to him by Jarrod Russell, a resident of Lloydminster, British Columbia. Photo by Erin Nelson. Below left: Russell, 45, broke his collarbone in April, but that didn’t stop him from his effort to ride 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) in August to raise money for the Sick Kids Foundation and Braxton, who lives in the Greystone community. Braxton is battling brain cancer, as did Russell, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 4. Photo courtesy of Geoff Lee/Meridian Source. Below right: Braxton wears a Canadian Great Cycle Challenge jersey sent to him by Russell. Photo courtesy of Chris Weidman.

“It’s awesome that he wants to do all that to support me and how much he has been focused on helping me get through all this,” Braxton said. “Everything that he has done for me is just a blessing.” Chris Weidman said Russell is a really sweet guy, and the Weidmans greatly appreciate what he’s doing.


The Weidmans first noticed something was wrong with Braxton around Labor Day of 2020 when they went deep sea fishing. Braxton was lacking energy and didn’t want to fish, and then he threw up in the car on the way home from the beach. His lack of energy continued, which was unusual for him because he is an avid outdoorsman and athlete and was in the best shape of his life, his dad said. “He was just sleeping constantly. We couldn’t figure it out,” his mother added. They had taken him to the doctor for numerous tests but came up with nothing. Then on Sept. 15, Braxton had a seizure while he was sleeping. His parents took him to Children’s

of Alabama, where an MRI and CT scan revealed an ominous image of his brain, his mother said. “He literally had three-quarters of his brain covered in cancer,” his dad said. “Some of it was operable. Most of it was not.” Braxton had his first surgery at Children’s, which relieved some of the pressure off his brain that was causing his fatigue and led to the seizure. But the Weidmans believed the first surgery wasn’t aggressive enough and sought out Dr. Frederick Boop, chief of the pediatric neurosurgery division at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, who performed a second surgery two weeks after the first one. “We wanted to get as much of the tumor out of him without him losing himself and his ability to function,” Chris Weidman said. “It came out great.” But Braxton still needed treatment. The Weidmans scoured the country — from Boston to Atlanta, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. — looking for the best possible solution. They put him in a trial for six to seven months but in late June, an

MRI revealed a small spot in Braxton’s cerebellum that had not been there before, indicating that Braxton’s treatment was not working. Braxton had begun to exhibit additional symptoms as well, with his coordination, balance and walking impacted. “It was apparent now the disease has progressed,” his mother said. In early August, Braxton started a new immunotherapy drug treatment coupled with chemotherapy and radiation. His dad said it’s Braxton’s best chance at an extended life. Doctors initially told the Weidmans that Braxton likely had 12 to 18 months to live. It has been almost a year now, and “we’re hoping to beat that,” his dad said.


The whole ordeal has been a nightmare, the Weidmans said. “It’s awful. You’re angry. You’re scared. There’s nobody to be mad at,” Chris Weidman said. “It’s just like the universe picked your kid and it’s going to take your kid away for no reason. It’s frightening. You’re helpless.”

Chris Weidman said he has had night terrors, but Braxton has handled it like a trouper. Braxton, now 9, said it has been hard, but once he learned more about his condition and began to understand it, it has been easier for him. The toughest part has been not being able to do as many things as he wants, he said. “I’m not as energetic as I used to be. I can’t go as far as a normal kid,” he said. “Before I was diagnosed, I was doing everything. Now I can’t.” The Weidmans said the support from the community has been fantastic, from the staff at Greystone Elementary School to businesses offering free and discounted services and neighbors cleaning their home and bringing them food and money. Saban and the Alabama athletics department have been incredible, and the exposure Braxton received through ESPN has opened doors for the Weidmans to get access to premier doctors and nutritionists, Chris Weidman said. The Teutul family from the “Orange County Choppers” TV show is auctioning off a bike to raise money for Braxton, and the winner is scheduled to be announced at the Oct. 2 Alabama-Ole Miss football game. The fundraiser as of early August had raised more than $16,000. “It’s really just a blessing how everybody’s been behind my back, and how everyone is doing things for me is absolutely awesome,” Braxton said. Brandie Weidman echoed that sentiment and said while the journey has been hard, the Weidmans are trying to stay positive. “We can’t be sad while he’s here with us. We have to enjoy every day with him,” she said. “That’s one thing we’ve learned — live for the moment, not for the future.”

September 2021 • A17

Personalized care in your neighborhood Don’t delay the care you need Whether it’s a chronic condition or an unexpected concern, count on the compassionate, personalized care teams at Ascension St. Vincent’s Primary Care Greystone Village. Dr. Tracy Jacobs listens to understand you and your health concerns, and delivers the care you need. And we are maintaining strict safety precautions to protect you and your family while in our care.

To schedule an appointment, call 205-922-6663

Ascension St. Vincent’s Primary Care Greystone Village 7500 Hugh Daniel Drive, Suite 100 Birmingham, AL 35242

Tracy Jacobs, MD Family Medicine

© Ascension 2021. All rights reserved.

A18 • September 2021

Inside a pastor’s mind By HANNAH URBAN Wayne Honeycutt keeps a notebook in his red Nissan pickup truck, and if he has an interesting thought, he’ll pull off to the side of the road and write it down. Over time, his collection of thoughts led him to write a book. Honeycutt was a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church for 37 years, retiring in 2006. In December 2019, he published “Things Your Pastor Would Never Tell You But You Need to Know,” a 36-page booklet about the things a pastor goes through on a daily basis that people don’t think about. Honeycutt, 80, and his wife, Mickey, live in Chelsea. They have been married for 14 years. She has two daughters, and he has a son who recently retired from the position of fire chief in Pelham. Honeycutt has been going to church his whole life. On July 2, 1964, at 5 a.m. he was in the hospital getting ready for an ulcer removal surgery when his pastor came in and prayed for him. Later in the day, the pastor asked him, “Wayne, if you died today, where do you think you would spend eternity?” After realizing he could not answer definitively, he discovered his need to know Jesus personally and accepted Christ into his heart. After his conversion, Honeycutt had several opportunities to speak at churches and events before he officially became a pastor. One Sunday morning at a Methodist church, he shared his story, and 11 young people came to know Christ. He never wanted to be a preacher, but the Lord called him to it on a

Sunday night at his church service’s invitation to the altar. “The Lord seemed to say, ‘You get down to that altar right now. I’m calling you to preach,’” Honeycutt said. “By the time I got down there, a whole altar full of people said we knew God was gonna call you to preach, we just didn’t know when.” Though now retired, Honeycutt said no pastor ever retires from being a preacher. He is currently a member at Liberty Baptist Church, where he teaches a Bible class on Tuesdays. By writing his book, Honeycutt’s goal was not to make money. He encountered a lot of poor people as a pastor, and he knew that if he made it expensive, it would not be as accessible to them. It can be purchased for $5 on Amazon, and he wants it to be available to as many people as possible. He said any churchgoing person can read it, whether that be a rabbi, priest, reverend, elder or any member of a body of believers. “It’s not about a denomination. It covers anybody who goes to a church to see what pastors or rabbis have dealt with,” Honeycutt said. “I promise out of this book there’s at least one section in there they’ve dealt with. I did on a regular basis.” Honeycutt writes on many subjects, including people’s reluctance to allow change in the church, the 24/7 servanthood of a pastoral position, elder and deacon positions and other common things the church deals with. “It’s the heartbeat of a pastor,” Honeycutt said. His hope is that the book will make people aware and able to pray for their pastors in ways they couldn’t before.

280 Living

Wayne Honeycutt shares his experiences from church work Wayne Honeycutt holds his book, “Things Your Pastor Would Never Tell You But You Really Need to Know.” Honeycutt said any churchgoing person can read it, whether that be a rabbi, priest, reverend, elder or any member of a body of believers. Photo by Erin Nelson.

September 2021 • A19



Chamber’s Minute

By The Shelby County Chamber

Public safety key to quality of life, growth Runners participate in the 2020 Blanket Fort Hope run. Proceeds from the event go to the nonprofit that assists victims of child sex trafficking. Photo courtesy of Blanket Fort Hope.

Hold the Fort 5K returns to OMSP By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE Nonprofit Blanket Fort Hope, based in Shelby County, will host its annual Hold the Fort 5K and 10K at Oak Mountain State Park on Sept. 18. All events will begin at 8 a.m. Blanket Fort Hope is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to restoring child survivors of human trafficking. This year’s proceeds will be dedicated to raising $1.5 million to construct Blanket Fort Hope’s restorative therapeutic housing center and ensure ongoing operations in training, development and advocacy in the community. The 5K and 10K are simultaneously timed. There will be 14 award categories, refreshments and free park access. Cash prizes will be given to the top 10K male and female.

Hold the Fort 5K and 10K • WHERE: Oak Mountain State Park • WHEN: 8 a.m., Sept. 18 • COST: 5K registration $30; 10K $35; 1-mile warrior walk $25. • WEB:

Registration for the 5K is $30 and 10K is $35. The deadline to register is Sept. 18. A 1-mile warrior walk option is available for $25. The race is COVID-19 compliant. For more information or to volunteer or register, visit

we care about your community. because it’s our community too. simple human sense

All of us who live along the 280 corridor — and throughout Shelby County — know what a tremendous “quality of life” we enjoy. Our economic development partners at 58 INC., the economic development corporation of Shelby County, work every day promoting many of the things newcomers and businesses looking to expand are seeking. This “quality of life,” which many other areas throughout the nation wish they had, includes excellent schools, access to outstanding parks and recreation, beautiful neighborhoods, diverse culinary options and a burgeoning cultural scene. Another significant aspect to this excellent “quality of life” we enjoy is the safe environment that is created by the outstanding men and women who serve in law enforcement and as firefighters throughout our county and our communities. These efforts are essential to the “quality of life” we all enjoy and are one of the major reasons people and businesses move into our area.

The Shelby County Chamber has hosted its annual Shelby County Public Safety Awards Luncheon for the past 27 years. In hosting this annual program, the chamber seeks to raise public safety awareness and provide positive attention to the teamwork that makes our county and each of our communities even better places to live and do business. The 2021 Shelby County Public Safety Awards Luncheon, which will be Sept. 29, will allow us to recognize outstanding achievement and to express our appreciation to the fire and police departments throughout Shelby County that provide leadership in — and commitment to — public safety on a daily basis. If you’d like to join us in saluting the 2021 recipients at our annual Public Safety Awards Luncheon program or want to find out more about other programming at The Shelby County Chamber, please feel free to give us a call at 205-663-4542 or visit our website,

Do you know your Home’s Value?

Peck Barham, Realtor®

Jessica Smith & Matt Smith

R e q u e s t Yo u r H o m e Va l u a t i o n R e p o r t T o d a y


t e x t k e y w o r d : H o m e Va l u e to: 205.293.2845 NO HASSLE – CANCEL ANYTIME

Motivated. Professional. Authentic. • Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated



A20 • September 2021

280 Living

Boswell gives update on 2022 World Games Kathy Boswell, vice president of community engagement for The 2022 World Games, was the guest speaker at the July 28 luncheon hosted by The Shelby County Chamber. Boswell gave the crowd information on the upcoming 2022 World Games. Photo by Leah Ingram Eagle.

By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE At the July 28 luncheon for The Shelby County Chamber, Vice President of Community Engagement for The 2022 World Games Kathy Boswell took questions from the audience about the upcoming event that will take place at locations in and around Birmingham from July 7-17, 2022. Originally planned for 2021, TWG had to be pushed back a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the running against Birmingham to host the games were Peru and Russia. Birmingham was chosen, and this will be the second time in the history of TWG, which began in 1981, that it will be hosted in the United States. The first games were in Santa Clara, California. “The team put together a bid, and we were very fortunate [to have] Ron Froehlich, who was president of TWG for over 20 years,” Boswell said. “He lives here in Birmingham, and he was a big part of why we were entrusted to host the games. He has put on nine TWG events across the world.” Boswell said because the U.S. has only hosted the event once, there is no playbook to go by. “We are writing the book and creating an experience based on very little information,” she said. Some of the numbers about the 2022 TWG include: ► 3,600 athletes ► 34 sports ► More than 100 countries represented ► More than 1,500 credentialed media ► Projected 500,000 spectators ► Estimated $256 million economic impact to the city “We have to provide housing for dignitaries, athletes and media for the event, and we have already booked over 32,000 nights in hotels alone to accommodate all required guests,” Boswell said. Approximately 75% of the athletes will reside on campus at the University

of Alabama at Birmingham, and the other 25% will be housed at Birmingham-Southern College. For the first time in its history, TWG will feature an adapted sport. Wheelchair rugby will be played at the Birmingham CrossPlex, and Lakeshore Foundation is the sponsor for the inclusion initiative. Those athletes may also have their housing there, as they are equipped with the accommodations they will need. Outside of Birmingham proper, the city of Hoover and Oak Mountain State Park will host four events. The canoe marathon, wakeboarding and waterskiing and orienteering will be held at OMSP. while the softball games will be





Family-Owned and Operated Since 1996

played at the Hoover Met. TWG has signed an agreement with CBS and CBS Sports to negotiate a specific amount of airtime that the games will be broadcasted. Boswell said TWG needs about 3,000 volunteers for more than 133 different areas and opportunities where they will be able to serve. Each volunteer is asked to serve a minimum of 20 hours, as the event takes place across 11 days. “We have five values of willingness,” Boswell said. “Be willing to serve, willing to listen, willing to respect others, willing to be solution-centered and willing to be a great teammate.” The opening ceremony will take place

July 7 at Protective Stadium with a kick off at sunset. The games begin July 8, and the closing ceremony will be July 17. Five Alabama natives have been selected to be honorary co-chairs for TWG: Charles Barkley, Randy Owen, Vonetta Flowers, Noah Galloway and Cat Reddick Whitehill. Competition venues include the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham-Southern College, Legion Field, Oak Mountain State Park, Railroad Park, the Hoover Met, Birmingham CrossPlex, Sloss Furnaces and UAB. For more information about TWG, visit

September 2021 • A21

Bedsole speaks on Sheriff’s Office mission By HANNAH URBAN Shelby County Jail Commander Russell Bedsole told a chamber lunch crowd that partnerships are the key to professional success as either business leaders or law enforcement officers. “Only through partnerships can we be professional. The men and women of the sheriff’s office do not simply see the words as words on a page but our professionals live this out every single day,” Bedsole said Aug. 5 at the Chamber Connection Luncheon hosted by The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. Bedsole spoke in place of Sheriff John Samaniego, who was unavailable. He addressed two main topics: the relationships between citizens and the sheriff’s office and the accomplishments of the office since Samaniego became sheriff. “Why is it important that we hear from our law enforcement professionals? As the chamber, community leaders and business leaders, why is it so important?” Bedsole asked. His answer centered on two words: “Our mission.” The sheriff’s office and the chamber have similar mission statements, the common theme being partnership. The annual event shares the mission of the sheriff’s office, calling on them to partner with their citizens, business owners and civic organizations, just as the chamber seeks those partnerships, Bedsole said. “Your sheriff and all the employees in the sheriff’s office believe that only through partnerships can we be professional.” Bedsole said. “The men and women of the sheriff’s office do not simply see the words as words on a page, but our professionals live this out every single day.” Shelby County has 139 deputies patrolling the streets, 71 jail deputies and 19 support staff personnel who are working to give citizens real, high quality public service, he said. Bedsole acknowledged how none of them could do their jobs without a good team and


Cremation SERVICES

Jail Commander Russell Bedsole was the guest speaker at the Aug. 5 luncheon hosted by The Shelby County Chamber. Photo by Hannah Urban.

the partnerships of the men and women in the room, quoting American businessman Andrew Scholz: “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” The list of accomplishments Bedsole gave from Samaniego’s time in office so far is a long one. Since his election in January 2015, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has become the first office in the state to become accredited through the Commission of Accreditation of Law Enforcement (CALEA). He implemented crisis intervention training, a week-long class to help deputies deal with people in a mental health crisis, for all patrol deputies and jail deputies. Within the jail, the staff earned a perfect score in their first attempt to receive accreditation, and then another perfect score this year. They created a critical care team that includes Bedsole, his lead classification officer, the nurse supervisor and someone appointed by mental health with a goal to assemble the best mental and medical health

care possible for the inmates experiencing the most issues. An electronic medical records system was implemented “to maintain continuity of care for everyone in our facility,” Bedsole said. Their doctor can now pull up records and offer treatment from anywhere outside the office. On patrol in the streets, the deputies have responded to over 564,000 calls in Samaniego’s time as sheriff. He revived the aviation unit to continue this patrol leverage, which has helped patrol with the Colonial pipeline explosion, tornado damage assessment, hazmat incidents from a railroad accident, wildfire damage assessment, search warrant assistance, missing person searches and even traffic flow. On top of all of the work Samaniego has done, Bedsole emphasized how much his creation of the community outreach unit has increased community policing to a whole new level. “Constant engagement in person and by social media has strengthened the bonds with the citizens like no other time in our history,” Bedsole said.







Located in Pelham, AL Proudly serving all of Shelby and Jefferson counties since 2008!

We provide free estimates!


2719 19th Place S Downtown Homewood

205-879-7681 or 205-879-3433 sikesshoesandjacknjillshop

We specialize in... Window Glass Replacement. Mirrors Shower Enclosures. Automotive Heavy Equipment. Commercial

A22 • September 2021

280 Living

Build UP Birmingham Changing families’ lives one home at a time By BOB BLALOCK, ALABAMA NEWSCENTER he low rumble of a tractor-trailer’s idling engine punctures the stillness of a late spring night in Homewood. Workmen talk in small groups and make last-minute preparations for the precious cargo on the 18-wheeler’s trailer. Clusters of residents watch the proceedings. At 10:30 p.m., the driver revs the engine, and the truck lurches forward, crawling down Kensington Road on its way out of the Mayfair neighborhood in this Birmingham suburb. Men walking on both sides of the truck shepherd it around mailboxes, under power, phone and cable lines, and past poles and trees and shrubs near the street. One-third of what had been a three-bedroom, 2½-bath, 1,929-square-foot house makes its way to a lot near the Birmingham City Jail, where the house’s three sections will rest until it is ready for reassembly. Alan and Lisa Engel bought the home earlier this year and donated it to Build Urban Prosperity Birmingham, which launched in 2018 in the community of Ensley in western Birmingham as a nonprofit that takes a multifaceted approach to ending poverty and building prosperity. Students entering ninth grade enroll for six years of private school education and earn a high school diploma and a college associate degree. They also receive paid apprenticeships in the real estate and construction sectors to help them learn skilled trades as they refurbish houses that have been moved into their community like the one the Engels donated. To graduate, students must complete one of three options on what’s known as the Path to the Middle Class: continuing their education at a four-year college or university, accepting a job with one of Build UP’s partners, or creating a small business. When they graduate, each student will own two of the refurbished homes: one to live in and one that will be rental property to earn income and build wealth. For the Engels, who are building a new home on the lot in Homewood, donating the existing home was a no-brainer. “(It was an) easy decision. We could pay to demolish the house and send it to a landfill or spend roughly the same dollars on moving the house and have it become a home again for a deserving family,” Alan Engel said. “In addition, once we understood Build UP’s program and the training they are giving these kids, we were sold.”



Mark Martin is Build UP’s founder and CEO. Hearing the Huntsville native describe what went into creating Build UP, how it works and his vision for its future sounds like a TED Talk in the making. He is thoughtful and polished, the result of sharing his story many times with parents, potential donors, partners and the media. With students building a pergola in the background, he details a 17-year odyssey of teaching and learning, of questioning traditional approaches to education, of others’ good ideas “begged, borrowed and stolen,” and of immersing himself in Ensley in an audacious attempt to turn around residents’ lives. Build UP was birthed out of Martin’s frustration during his first teaching job with Teach for America. “I started teaching first grade in Georgia’s most heavily incarcerated ZIP code,” said Martin, who graduated from the University of Alabama in 2003 with a finance degree. “I saw a lot of issues with children who need the most help because of their home environment, their surrounding environment of the local community being so utterly economically depressed, so underresourced.”

Top: Students work on a pergola as part of a summer Build UP Birmingham improvement project. Above: A student works on a pergola as part of Build UP Birmingham’s summer program to improve Birmingham communities and properties. Right: Build UP Birmingham is rewarding for all involved. Photos by Dennis Washington, Alabama NewsCenter.

Driving everything was a debilitating poverty that determines the fate of many poor children. “Too often, if you are born in a certain ZIP code to a certain set of parents who may not have gotten a quality education and may not have much in their bank account, then your destiny is pretty much defined for you, and we don’t believe that’s right,” Martin said. The burden of teaching in the midst of poverty is immense, he said. “We put so much weight on a teacher’s shoulders to be all these things to children, and it’s just too much, so we burn out a lot of really quality teachers who would love to make careers of this but they just can’t do 60 to 70 hours a week.” After a stint in post-Katrina New Orleans, where he co-founded and served as director of Langston Hughes Academy, Martin hoped a doctoral program at Harvard University would offer solutions to the problems through which he’d lived. “I was hoping to find all the answers there, the pinnacle of the ivory tower. Unfortunately, a lot of my colleagues there in education leadership were struggling with the same things.” Martin looked to Europe for answers. Switzerland, Germany and some other countries rely on businesses to help prepare high school students for the real world. The businesses offer apprenticeships to students, pay them, give them the tools for success and then hire them, Martin said. “It’s just not putting all that weight of preparing America’s future talent and workforce on the shoulders of educators.” Cristo Rey, a national nonprofit network of private schools that prepare children from

low-income families for college, has adopted a similar model. Martin cites Cristo Rey, which has a Birmingham campus, and Habitat for Humanity as inspirations for what would become Build UP. From Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program, Martin has developed a similar program for students to develop career skills working with partner companies, such as Brasfield & Gorrie and Hoar Construction. From Habitat, Martin has incorporated 0% interest mortgages for the homes that the students will own. “It’s not just coming up with one unique idea but batching together a bunch of ideas that have been tried and done well, although when you put them all together it makes for a more comprehensive program overall, and that’s what we think is the big difference-maker,” Martin said. That, and the homes. “House moving is new. We’re the only group like this in the country that’s doing this, but we see it as a critical component to reaching our mission,” Martin said. The homes become real-world classrooms for students to learn and hone construction skills. Working together with construction professionals, they reassemble and refurbish the homes for their families to move into. The homes also generate revenue to help fund Build UP, including through rent the families pay. “All of our families are paying rent. Instead of paying rent to a slumlord that’s not investing in this community, we can get them into our houses and stabilize their housing,” Martin said. “It just improves everything.

When home is stable, everything else is much easier.” Build UP often receives money from the donors of the homes, who save on demolition costs and earn a sizable tax deduction for donating the home. “So it’s a win-win all the way around. It keeps the home from the landfill, which obviously is good for Mother Nature and our environment, and it is also really launching someone’s career as it becomes a starter home.” Most importantly, the homes revitalize the community and build wealth for the students in the program through home ownership. “We’re helping low-income youth to become landlords and see how they can put capital to their advantage in this country. We tell our kids, ‘earn money while you sleep’ by owning a rental property.” Build UP also relies on student tuition, much of it subsidized by a $10,000 tax credit scholarship for low-income students zoned for failing schools, as well as with students’ wages from their apprenticeships. Other sources of revenue and resources include national and local foundations, local and state governments and corporations. The Alabama Power Foundation, for example, provides a low-interest line of credit to Build UP that helps it move more homes. The short-term capital covers the gap between when the home is donated and when the house is refurbished and ready to be lived in again, which may not be until the following year. Martin said he appreciates the support of the foundation as well as from leaders in the company. Myla Calhoun, president of the Alabama Power Foundation, said the organization looks for innovative ways to use its assets to generate sustainable social and economic change in the communities served by Alabama Power. “Build UP is putting this concept into action with its work in Ensley,” Calhoun said. “By blending workforce development, education and community revitalization, Build UP helps students invest in their own neighborhoods and create lasting, positive change not only for their community, but in their lives and the lives of their families.” In Martin’s view, Ensley was the perfect place in which to launch the program. The once-vibrant community fell on hard times fueled by white flight and the collapse of the local steel industry, which had provided thousands of jobs. The working-class community had 40,000 residents in its heyday but now has fewer than 5,000 people, and abandoned homes and businesses scar many areas. “When we’re only 10 minutes from downtown Birmingham and have seen how quickly that area can go from being blighted, with a lot of places abandoned, to now being pretty vibrant, we see that as a possibility here,” Martin said. “I feel very fortunate. I don’t want to be anywhere else. I don’t want to do anything else. I love this and feel like I’m very blessed to be part of it.” Martin said his work with Build UP is “definitely more than just a job for me. It’s a passion project. It’s being able to see tangible change in people’s lives.” His work is also driven by his religious faith. “I didn’t want to have to crawl out of bed wondering where the Lord would lead me that day, who he would lead into my life,” he said.


Sharon Davis is happy Martin loves what he is doing. She has two sons in Build UP — Jomaree and Bishop. Davis learned about the program from a flier a coach at the nearby McAlpine Park Recreation Center gave her. “I immediately got on it. When I knew it was centered around children and teaching

September 2021 • A23 other grandchildren and children around the country.”


Sections of a house sit together after being removed from their original location. Photo by Wynter Byrd, Alabama NewsCenter.

them a skill, I was all in,” she said. “It’s just a wonderful experience. … It’s been awesome.” Davis says she lost a home during the Great Recession because of “predatory lending.” “To get a house is easy. To keep it is the thing. I ended up losing my house,” she said. “I learned a lot, and now I’m ready for home ownership. I will never be house-poor, ever again.” Davis and her sons were living with and caring for her disabled sister, which she said “wasn’t the worst situation, but we had lived better and they knew that.” After Davis’ sister died, Jomaree wrote a letter to Build UP about the family’s situation, and soon they were moving into the first home that Build UP students renovated in the summer of 2018, which had been its first, temporary school. (Build UP’s school is now at Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church, formerly Ensley Baptist Church, on Avenue E in downtown Ensley.) “It was really a turning point because I knew then that my son understood something about life,” Davis said. “He saw a need, and he was trying to fill it the best way he knew how.” Davis had watched the students working on that home, which makes living in it even

more special. “A lot of spirit and hard work, blood, sweat and tears went into that house. I saw them there. I imagine them being in there,” she said. “I enjoy what they did.”


Among Build UP’s many other fans is Birmingham Councilman John Hilliard, whose council district includes Ensley. Hilliard has become a strong supporter of the program, which has resulted in city dollars helping fund Build UP. On the day the children are erecting the pergola — the last day of summer boot camp — Hilliard is there to speak to them at lunch. He offers a preview that morning of what he will tell them. “Learning to use your hands will help rebuild America,” he said. “I knew I was right in the midst of something awesome and something great.” “I believe that we can empower these young people with thoughts and words and help them take it to the next generation, because they will be the architects, they will be the Egyptians of the pyramids of the future,” Hilliard said. “They will define America in a whole new light. They’re going to be the mentors for my grandkids and

Martin understands that Build UP has a long way to go. “We’re not waiting six years to see if we’re on the right track,” he said. The staff has to ensure that students grow academically, that they get homes completed and families move in, that they meet financial obligations and goals and other benchmarks. The oldest students are still three and four years away from graduating, which is when he will know whether the program really works, Martin said. “Everything that I’ve said, everything that John Hilliard has said to this point, is still a hope, still a dream and is several years off,” he said. Even so, Martin is focused on expanding into nearby Titusville, Smithfield and beyond. “Our goal is just to grow from there, but we have to grow talent, we have to grow staff and we also have to be successful with the students who are working with us right now, and that’s the most important piece.” Martin already envisions the Build UP model spreading across the nation. “We want to be everywhere. We’ve known that from the beginning,” he said. Word of the program continues to spread. Martin said a foundation in Cleveland awarded Build UP a $50,000 exploratory grant to consider expanding to its first out-of-state site in Ohio. Also, Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage company, chose Build UP as one of five proposals nationwide for the $10 million Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge. Martin said the Fannie Mae grant confirms the value of Build UP and will “help us expand this thing nationwide. So we are on a roll.” Martin noted that every year, more than 60,000 good homes are demolished to make way for new, often larger homes. “But these are homes that can go to really building a community,” he said. In Martin’s view, they could become the mother lode for building prosperity in distressed areas across the nation, one home at a time.

A24 • September 2021

280 Living


CONTINUED from page A1 stands to keep the momentum going during the games.


Dalton Odom said he has wanted to be the mic man at Auburn since he was 13 years old. “I remember watching the Georgia game and seeing this guy up on the stand and he looked like a cheerleader and he was leading the student section,” he said. “I did that in high school, and I knew I wanted to do that when I got to Auburn. Odom comes from a family divided, with his mom being for Auburn and his dad for Alabama. His mother’s dad went to pharmacy school at Auburn in the 1970’s and Odom grew up going to games with him and his mom and aunt. “We always tried to go to the first game of the year wherever it was and we made that a tradition,” he said. I’ve always been an Auburn fan. I grew up coming down here going to games. Every time I came down here, I felt like I was back home. I never saw myself going anywhere else.” Although there wasn’t a mic man position at athletic events at Chelsea, Odom said he and his friends were always in front of the student section at basketball and football games engaging the crowd. His house became the spot where many of his friends came to get ready for games, build floats for homecoming and prep for game days. For Odom to make his dream a reality, he had to attend cheerleading clinics and then had to participate in tryouts for mic man. During the process, he met the squad coaches and learned the routines and worked on perfecting his mic man voice. “I went in and they played the fight song and made it like a game day situation, they make sure you know all of the cheers and judge you off of that,” Odom said. “From there, I made it to the next round to have an interview. You need to be a good cheerleader, but more importantly, be a good representative of the university whether you are in uniform or not.” Odom was up against three other people vying for the position. As part of the tradition, winners are announced at Cater Callouts, where every major campus organization calls out their new leaders on the steps at Cater Hall. “Normally mic man is the first name called out, but this time I was the last one called out. I was shaking and I was so nervous,” Odom said. “They finally called out my name and I got to lead my first War Eagle with the new [cheer] team with all my family and friends around.” Lots of work goes in before the first game of the season. The team had two official practices in June and July while doing strength and conditioning throughout the entire summer. From Aug. 1 through Aug. 15, Odom said they go nonstop. “I am putting in just as much work as the cheerleaders, but am not having to toss girls in the air all day, so I’m not as physically exhausted. We work 10 hour days for those two weeks,” he said. After football season, Odom will also be on the mic at other sporting events including volleyball and basketball, along with making three to four appearances each week. “It’s going to be a whole lot of fun, and I’m excited to get to represent Auburn like this,” he said. “I’m thrilled and honestly honored to do it.” Odom said he plans to try out again for the position next year. He is in his fifth year at Auburn for his undergraduate studies and will continue to graduate school next year for his public relations major.


Parker Mercier started playing trombone for the Chelsea High School band when he was in 6th grade and began marching band in 8th grade. “I always said I was going to Auburn and be in the marching band. I was a drum major at Chelsea and knew I would try out in college,” Mercier said. He tried out going into his sophomore year for the experience and was named trombone section leader instead. The second time was a charm though, as he made the cut from 24

Auburn University students Dalton Odom, below left, this year’s mic man, and Parker Mercier, below right, one of this year’s four drum majors, are alumni of Chelsea High School. Odum is a fifth-year senior, and Mercier is a junior. Photos by Erin Nelson.

people and six other finalists. Tryouts take place near the end of football season in November and are a month-long process consisting of two rounds. In the first round, anyone is welcome to try out and then six finalists are chosen. They go through live band conducting, runout on the field and game day scenarios. The winners are usually announced after the bowl trip, but since there wasn’t one last season, they were announced at the end of year banquet, where only seniors and leadership were present. Mercier was there as the trombone section leader. “When they announced my name, I was very excited,” he said. “I was pretty confident in my ability throughout the audition process.” While the majority of drum majors who are chosen are seniors, this year there are two juniors and two seniors in an entirely different group from last year. There is one head drum major and the other three are equals. They each have their strengths and are put in different positions throughout the semester. For marching shows, they each rotate between the center ladder and

I always said I was going to Auburn and be in the marching band. I was a drum major at Chelsea and knew I would try out in college.


three side ladders. Preparations began in January for camps and auditions throughout the spring semester. The band’s first live performance was in April for the annual A-Day game. Band camp ran from Aug. 2 through Aug. 16. Practices were 12 hours per day with lunch and dinner breaks. The drum majors also meet once a week to prepare their routines. Once classes begin, the band practices from 3:30 to 4:50 each day and have full days

on Saturdays. The band will perform three different shows throughout the season. The first will be a Roaring 20’s theme, one will be a special Sept. 11 tribute show and the third one is to be announced at a later date. The drum major role runs from January to January. After the marching season is over, Mercier is involved in other campus ensembles including syphonic, winds, jazz band and pep band. He will later go through another audition process for next year’s drum major. Mercier said he knew that Odom wanted to be the mic man at Auburn since they were in high school and that was his dream. “We haven’t really met up much, but we’ll be working together at the games,” he said. “We do a lot of energetic things in the stadium and we will coordinate through hand signals inside the stadium.” Mercier is looking forward to the first game when he gets to run out of the tunnel for the pregame show and high stepping with his mace across Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

September 2021 • A25




3965 CROSSHAVEN DRIVE | CAHABA HEIGHTS | 205-582-1222 Visit our website for hours at each location


Great deals onSALE sergers, OUR BIGGEST SALEOF OF THEmachines, YEAR! OUR BIGGEST THE YEAR! sewing sewing machines, sewing machines, DON’T MISS OUT! MISS OUT! Greatdeals deals sergers,machines ISS OUT! embroidery Great ononsergers, embroidery machines embroidery machines sewing machines, sewing machines, and quilting machines. DON’T MISS OUT! and quilting machines. and quilting machines. DON’T MISS OUT! embroidery machines embroidery machines Since 1950

andquilting quiltingmachines. machines. and

Items on sale for

Since 1950

Since 1950

Since 1950 Since 1950

Items on sale for

Items sale onon sale ItemsItems on sale forforfor

to 70% OFF 25 to 70%25OFF 25toto25 70% OFF 70% OFF

25 to 70% OFF

stock left in store Limited stock left in storeLimited stockLimited left in store Limited stock left in store visit us today to find out more! visit us today to find out more! visit us today to find out more!

visitstock us today to in findstore out more! Limited left visit us today to find out more! We SERVICE makes and models sewing machines, embroidery machines& &sergers. sergers. VICE all makes and models of sewing machines, embroidery machines & machines sergers. We SERVICE allall makes and models ofof sewing embroidery We SERVICE all makes and models ofmachines, sewing machines, embroidery machines & serg

Sewing MachineMart Mart Financing Available WeTake TakeTrade Trade Ins Sewing Machine Financing Available We Ins ERVICE all makes and models of sewing machines, embroidery machines & sergers. Sewing Machine Mart vailable Financing WeMart Take Trade Insby appointmentWe Sewing Machine 1722 28th AvenueAvailable S. | Homewood 205.870.1931 | Open Tuesday-Friday 9:30-4:30 and Saturday only Take Tr

S. | Homewood

1722 28th Avenue S. | Homewood 205.870.1931 | Open Tuesday-Friday 9:30-4:30 and Saturday by appointment only Open| Tuesday-Friday 9:30-4:30 and Saturday appointment only 1722205.870.1931 28th Avenue|S. | Homewood 205.870.1931 Openby Tuesday-Friday 9:30-4:30 and Saturday by appo

g Available

nue S. | Homewood

Sewing Machine Mart

205.870.1931 |

We Take Trade Ins

Open Tuesday-Friday 9:30-4:30 and Saturday by appointment only

A26 • September 2021

280 Living Left: Plumes of smoke fill the air after two hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center towers Sept. 11, 2001. Screenshot courtesy of Below left: Todd Eagle, a photojournalist with WVTM-13 in Birmingham for 23 years, sits on the porch swing at his home in Chelsea. Below right: Eagle shows a video from the news station in 2001 while describing his experience covering the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Photos by Erin Nelson.


CONTINUED from page A1 by a bridge. On the morning of Sept. 11, Pasternack was walking down to the cafeteria at Two World Financial Center to get breakfast when the first plane hit. Because the cafeteria didn’t have any windows, he had no idea what was going on. But when he got back to his office, he saw what had happened. The image of the North Tower being on fire is etched into his memory. “The jet fuel had such a fluorescent orange [color] to it,” Pasternack said. People in the North Tower began choosing to jump to their death rather than being burned alive, he said. Watching the scene unfold, Pasternack walked into his boss’s office. “I remember being in the door frame of his office, and I turned to leave,” Pasternack said. Suddenly, his boss began screaming. “Holy [expletive]! Another [expletive] plane!” Pasternack recalled him saying. After the second plane made impact, Two World Financial Center shook, and the force of the collision threw Pasternack into the wall. Leaving his office, Pasternack took the last ferry off of the island before ferries were shut down and was able to make it home. Watching the events unfold from afar, Pasternack felt horrible watching so many people lose their lives. “It was just the most helpless feeling you could have,” Pasternack said. “I know we had people in our building that lost people.” When he got home, Pasternack said, his neighbor came out crying, as they didn’t know whether he had survived the attacks. Like many Americans, Pasternack spent his time watching the news in disbelief. He and a friend had eaten lunch at the World Trade Center and contemplated what it would mean if the towers ever fell. He never thought it would actually happen.

said. “I try to put myself in other people’s shoes.”



Todd Eagle had always wanted to go to New York, but his first trip probably wasn’t what he expected. Eagle was in his third year working as a photojournalist for WVTM13 on Sept. 11, 2001. He normally woke up in the mornings to the sound of music on the radio, but that morning, he woke up to the news about the terrorist attacks. He turned the TV on and saw the second plane hit the South Tower. Later that day, while watching the news with his then-girlfriend, Leah, who’s now his wife and the community editor of 280 Living, Eagle got a phone call from his boss at the station. “My phone rings,” Eagle said. “[Leah] had a look in her eyes. She knew.” He and reporter Bill Fitzgerald would be heading to New York to provide coverage for WNBC. “Why she [our news director] picked me, I don’t know,” Eagle said. The airports were still shut down, so the pair had to drive to New York City, a day-and-a-half trip. When they got there, they went to Javits Center, a convention center area where media were doing live reports to their stations, with the presumption that President George W. Bush was coming, though he did not come that day, Eagle said. There were buses loaded with people coming to help at Ground Zero, Eagle said, and the days for reporters and photographers were long. Each day, Eagle and Fitzgerald were sent to different areas to talk to people impacted by the attacks, from those looking for lost loved ones at

Footage shot by Eagle shows a sign on a fence that reads “We mourn the victims, we cheer the rescuers,” shown in a video from the news station in 2001. Photo by Erin Nelson.

a Red Cross station to the streets of Manhattan, interviewing residents. “I was still very, very much ‘green,’” Eagle said. “It was overwhelming.” Interviewing people was tough, as was seeing all of the memorials created for loved ones, he said. One interview in particular sticks out. A young dad whose own father was missing told him that his son kept asking, “Where’s grandpa? Where’s grandpa?” Eagle can still remember the “thousand-mile stare” in his eyes. He said capturing the human element and the raw emotion of New Yorkers was powerful. “Those people were holding out hope,” Eagle said. Days after the attack, Eagle said there was no getting around the many

reminders of what had been lost. “I can still see a pile of rubble that was … who knows how many piles high,” Eagle said. “The smell of jet fuel and burning metal permeated the New York City air.” After working 12- and sometimes 14-hour days, Eagle would walk to Times Square at night just to clear his mind. “Mentally, your brain’s just going and going,” Eagle said. The Eagles have since been back to New York several times, but Eagle’s first trip back was in 2002 for the first anniversary of the attacks. Eagle and the rest of the media were set up on a balcony overlooking Ground Zero, but to get there, they had to walk through offices where people were working. “I just felt like I was intruding,”

Eagle said. “I didn’t know if they lost people [on 9/11].” When his family visited the city in January 2020, he said going to the 9/11 Memorial was “really tough,” as it brought back memories of his experience. Twenty years later, Eagle said New York City is back to being “hustling and bustling,” except for the memorial, which is quiet, a “very sacred place.” As he continued in his photojournalism career, Eagle said being on the ground after 9/11 helped him better interact with the public, knowing when to keep the cameras out of people’s faces after a tragedy, but also being available when people want to talk, to find some release through sharing their story. “I’ve never been pushy,” Eagle

Each year, as the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks come around, Pasternack and his wife find themselves watching all of the remembrance shows and documentaries about the attacks on TV “like zombies,” he said. Reflecting on what happened 20 years later, Pasternack said it stays with him. While he didn’t lose anyone he knew personally, he saw what happened to so many. Watching the events happen live is part of why he left New York shortly after the attacks. While he was 26 at the time of the attacks, Pasternack said 9/11 forced him to grow up even more quickly. “It was truly the end of my childhood,” Pasternack said. After nine days in New York, Eagle knew it was time to go home, so he left New York and drove back to Birmingham. Three years after 9/11, Eagle took over as the lead photojournalist for WVTM-13’s sports department. He said he enjoys telling people stories and got tired of the “depressing” news. But, looking back on his time in New York, Eagle said he wishes they could have told more stories. He finds himself each year, like Pasternack, watching all of the documentaries and shows on TV. When he came back home, he put together a package that showed photos and videos from his time in New York, which was then shown on NBC 13 for their viewers. Watching it 20 years later, it still takes him back to those moments in New York, he said. “Being a young guy and covering an event like that, I’m grateful, but I don’t know what I did to deserve that,” Eagle said.

September 2021 • A27

Schedule your FREE in-home consultation today! 2130 Columbiana Road, Vestavia AL 35216 (Next to Charter Communications)


205-824-3300 |


Birmingham’s #1 Sleep Store

MATTRESS SS SALE LE LE Our Best Selling Mattress HHH


H Save $800 H





King or Queen Mattress • Triple Choice: Extra Firm, Medium Firm, or Plush Pillowtop


with purchase of Sealy, Beautyrest, Nectar or other mattress sets SEE STORE FOR DETAILS • UP TO A $799 VALUE

Available Exclusively at Bedzzz Express




with purchase of Nectar Mattress Pillows, Mattress Protector & Sheet

H Save $300 H

H Save $200 H






Queen Mattress Gel Memory Foam + Cooling Cover

Queen Mattress • 800 Pocketed Coils • Medium Firm

Queen Mattress • Responsive Open Coils SealyCool™Gel Foam






Target Shopping Center

Fieldstown Road next to AutoZone

Highway 280 next to Driver’s Way

28th Avenue South next to TCBY Yogurt







Hwy 31 across from Crest Cadillac

Hwy. 150 Across from CarMax



Hueytown Allison-Bonnett Memorial Dr.



Hwy 280 between Subway & Studio 21


Leeds In Front of Walmart and Lowes



Tannehill Promenade Next to Publix


Mtn. Brook Shops of Montevallo Montevallo Road






Pelham Pkwy. Across from Valley Elem.

Gadsden Hwy. Across from Starbucks

Chalkville Mtn. Rd. between Sam’s & Kmart

Next door to Honey Baked Ham





Bedzzz Express Outlet Greystone

Bedzzz Express Outlet Pelham

Hwy. 280 Next to Issis & Sons

3 Doors South of Pee Wee’s Pawn



Buy Local. Buy Online. Same Low Prices. Open Monday - Friday 10am - 7pm • Saturday 9am - 6pm • Sunday 1pm - 6pm

*Some promotions may be limited to select sets. Not responsible for errors in ad copy. Quantities and selections may vary by location. Offers cannot be combined. Mattress images are for illustration purposes only Gifts with purchase (including gift cards and rebates) are not valid with any other promotions except special financing for 6 or 12 months. 0% APR for 60 months financing available with purchases of $1999 or over and does not include sales tax. **Monthly payment is based on purchase price alone excluding tax and delivery charges. Credit purchases subject to credit approval. Other transactions may affect the monthly payment. ***The Nationwide Marketing Group credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. The monthly payment for this purchase will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the promotional (special terms) period. The APR for Purchases will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. For new accounts, the APR for Purchases is 28.99%. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. This information is accurate as of 8/15/2021 and is subject to change. For current information, call us at 1-800-431-5921. Offer expires 9/13/2021. **** Free base offer applies to Queen set purchase of $799 and above or King set purchase $999 and above. King base applies to either one horizontal King Base or one of two TXL bases.***** Free Delivery on mattress sets $699 and up, Local area.



Faith B21 Opinion B21 Metro Roundup B22 Calendar B23

ENT Associates of Alabama, P.C........................... B1 Renew Dermatology.............................................. B2 TherapySouth........................................................... B4 O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB...................................................... B6 UAB’s All of Us Research Program......................... B8 Grandview Medical Center................................. B10 Children’s of Alabama......................................... B11 Hearing Solutions................................................... B12 Assisted Living Locators........................................ B13 Weigh to Wellness................................................. B14 Complete Health.................................................. B15 Medicare Advisors of Alabama.......................... B16 Skin Wellness Dermatology.................................. B17 Brookwood Baptist Imaging................................. B18 Southern Blood Services....................................... B18 Senior Placement Services................................... B19 Danberry at Inverness........................................... B19 Wellness Weight Management and Infusion Center.......................................... B20

ENT ASSOCIATES OF ALABAMA, P.C. 10 offices conveniently located across Central Alabama 888-368-5020 Q: How has the practice grown and changed over the years? A: In July 1971, ENT Associates of Alabama, P.C., started out with 2 physicians, including Dr. Morton Goldfarb, who is still practicing today. We have grown substantially in our 50 years, going from a single office with 8 employees to our current size of 15 physicians, 14 audiologists, 3 MLPs, 10 locations and close to 100 employees. We are now the largest ear, nose and throat specialty practice in Alabama; however, one thing has not changed, and that is the way we care for our patients. We provide the best, most up-to-date care. That has always been and will remain our top priority at ENTAA. Q: What is it about the practice that has made it so successful? A: One of the main reasons we have been so successful is our staff. We have been very fortunate to obtain and retain the best of the best. We have over two dozen employees who have been employed with us for more than 20 years, and we think of them all as family. Q: How is the practice celebrating its 50th anniversary?

A: Every year we do an employee appreciation week during the summer. We devote an entire week to celebrating and appreciating our staff and the hard work they do for us all year round. This year, we created a theme of “Through the Years” to commemorate our 50th anniversary. We picked a different decade each day, and all employees were encouraged to dress up according to the clothing and traditions of that decade. We also gave daily gifts and treats and hung signs that coincided with the day’s era, and we included a lot of fun trivia. The physicians of ENTAA believe that a positive experience is important to both patients and staff. Therefore, we do our best to create a balance that includes excellent care in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. Q: Is there anything else you want people to know? A: We opened our 10th location in August on Valleydale Road in Hoover. Visit for more information.

When It Comes To Your Health

Experience Matters

ENT Associates of Alabama, P.C. is the largest Otolaryngology practice in Alabama with 9 locations, 15 physicians, and over 600 years of combined staff and physician experience. Our practice includes general ear, nose, and throat, head and neck diseases and surgeries, cosmetic surgery, robotic procedures, in-office balloon sinuplasty, allergy treatment, and hearing solutions. We concentrate our training and experience in these areas to provide the best possible medical care for our patients. At ENT Associates of Alabama, P.C. the patient’s experience matters. We treat each patient as a person, not just another case. We pride ourselves in delivering a positive personal experience along with a positive outcome.

Birmingham - Princeton - Hoover - Cullman - Gardendale - Alabaster - Jasper - Pell City - Trussville or call toll free 888-368-5020

B2 • September 2021

280 Living


1651 Independence Court, Homewood, AL 35209 Q: Your team offers both medical and cosmetic dermatology. Can you explain the difference? A: Medical dermatology includes the evaluation and assessment of your hair, skin and nails for comprehensive management of diseases and disorders of the skin. This includes, but isn’t limited to skin cancer, “rashes” and external manifestations of internal diseases that may affect your skin. Cosmetic dermatology incorporates not only improving skin appearance, but helping to maintain a more youthful aesthetic globally for our patients. At Renew, we combine all of our expertise to focus on the entire health of the skin. Q: How often should someone see their medical dermatologist? A: We recommend yearly medical visits for most patients, which often includes a full body skin exam. If you have a history of skin cancer or any skin issues that may need continuing management, your visits may be more frequent to address these specific concerns. Q: Do you conduct a medical analysis before completing cosmetic services? A: A thorough medical history is taken for all patients, and that is vital to providing the best cosmetic care. Most of our cosmetic patients quickly become medical patients as well. Q: Tell me about your skin care philosophy? A: Our skin care philosophy is focused on making sure the

205-580-1500 non-professional “influencers” on social media are full of beauty advice and are too numerous to count. As the old adage goes, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” We just encourage patients to ask their boardcertified dermatologist prior to starting any new skin care routine.


appropriate categories of skin care for each individual patient are all included in your regimen versus specific products. In order of importance, this includes sunscreen, retinol, antioxidants and growth factors. How many of those categories are needed is based on your age and history of sun exposure. Specialty products such as eye creams, neck creams and linespecific treatments can then be incorporated. Q: For someone who has never had cosmetic treatment, what are the best aesthetic treatments to start with? A: Beginning a quality skin care regimen, founded on sun protection, should be the first step. Then, it depends on the individual patient. Most patients begin with a neuromodulator, such as Botox or Dysport, while others may choose to begin with resurfacing procedures such as microneedling or lasers. Q: What are some common areas of concern for your cosmetic patients? A: Fine lines and wrinkles, skin unevenness and discoloration, and volume deficits with skin

laxity are common areas of concern for cosmetic patients. Q: How do you treat those areas? A: This is where that global assessment comes into play, because each patient is different. We will typically first address the area of concern that most bothers the patient, but we also develop a comprehensive plan that may incorporate skin care, lasers, resurfacing treatments, fillers, neuromodulators or other modalities. All of this is chosen and catered to the specific needs of the individual. Q: Men have been getting into the cosmetic side of skin care a lot more in recent years, but they usually have no idea where to start. What are some common aesthetic issues for men and how do you treat them? A: We are seeing many more men requesting Botox to relax lines on the forehead and between the brows. In addition, improvement to the jawline and chin is particularly popular with men. Q: A popular beauty trend right now is “Skin-imalism” or focusing on skin care and

minimizing the amount of makeup you wear each day. What treatments do you offer that can boost the brightness, clarity and texture of your patients' skin, giving them the confidence to pursue a minimalist approach to makeup? A: Much of makeup application is to hide uneven skin tone and texture. Procedures that remove pigment and soften surface irregularities, such as chemical peels, lasers and microneedling, help to even out the skin surface and tone and thus decrease the need for makeup. One of our favorite all-around skin tone correcting procedures is BBL (Broad Band Light). This heat-based procedure helps treat both reds and browns, thus evening out the color that is reflected from your skin. Additionally, skin care can be key, and combination products that include a sunscreen with a mild tint can help even skin tone and decrease the need for the extra step of makeup. Q: Are there any trends you would advise your clients to steer clear of? A: Unfortunately, non-medical,

Q: People start anti-aging treatments a lot earlier than they have in the past with many teenagers already purchasing anti-aging products. What is your No. 1 bit of advice regarding aging skin for people in each age group? A: Teens should begin using a daily moisturizer with sunscreen, aiming for one that is oil free to help prevent breakouts. A nightly regimen of washing your face should be incorporated, as well. During your 20s, continue a daily sunscreen regimen, and consider adding in a retinol to help keep the dermis thick and prevent easily wrinkling of the skin. When you reach your 30s, it’s a good idea to add an antioxidant, such as a Vitamin C, to reverse damage from UV rays and pollution. Consider adding in a specialty product such as an eye cream. People in their 40s and older should continue the basics of sunscreen, retinol and antioxidants daily and add in growth factors to really boost your skin's ability to repair damage and reverse signs of aging. Additional specialty products such as a neck cream can be added, as well. At Renew Dermatology, we have chosen the best individual products from high quality medical grade lines to help take the guesswork out of choosing great skin care.


September 2021 • B3

B4 • September 2021

280 Living


Greystone: 2823 Greystone Commercial Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35242 Chelsea: 100 Chelsea Corners Way, Suite 100, Chelsea, AL 35043

205-408-1713 205-678-7272

Patchwork Farms: 3056 Healthy Way, Suite 116, Vestavia Hills, AL 35243


Q: What is TherapySouth, and how can they help me? A: TherapySouth provides physical therapy and hand therapy services in the outpatient clinic setting. Our focus is to provide personalized, hands-on care. Our goal is to help our patients get back to the activities they enjoy most, such as sports, hobbies, family time, work and more. Q: How long have you been in business? A: TherapySouth has been serving the greater Birmingham community for 15 years! Q: Do I need a doctor’s referral to schedule an appointment at TherapySouth? A: Patients are welcome to schedule an initial evaluation appointment without a physician’s referral. Your therapist will perform an initial evaluation to determine if therapy is appropriate for you and communicate with your primary care physician or physician specialist to obtain approval for ongoing treatment. You can also receive wellness services depending on the nature of your problem. To schedule an appointment, patients can call the clinic directly or visit our website to check appointment availability. Q: What would you like potential patients to know about your practice? A: We take our core values very seriously. We are a company based on faith that believes in family, integrity, service, compassion, fitness, perseverance and giving. We try to instill these values in all of our employees and encourage them to live them out not only at work as professionals, but also in their personal lives. Q: What separates TherapySouth from other companies in the industry? A: The patient-focused approach of all our staff, our community involvement, core values, clinical excellence and training of our therapists is what makes TherapySouth unique. Q: What type of services does TherapySouth provide? A: TherapySouth provides services for after-surgery

rehabilitation; work or sports injuries; sprains and strains; back pain; neck pain; pelvic health therapy; headaches and TMJ/TMD dysfunction; industrial safety and wellness; vertigo; balance strengthening; and more. We also treat many other musculoskeletal conditions. We encourage an annual screening to determine if your body is moving to its fullest capabilities. Feel free to call us or visit a local clinic to discuss your needs. Q: Who benefits from the services that you provide at TherapySouth? A: We treat patients of all ages who are looking to create a healthier lifestyle, recover from an injury, prevent future injuries or who suffer from chronic pain conditions. Q: What does a first visit look like at TherapySouth? A: During the initial evaluation, your therapist will take a thorough history of your condition or injury and review past medical history that may influence your

case. Appropriate baseline objective measures will be recorded to evaluate throughout your treatment, such as range of motion and strength. Together, you and your therapist will discuss and set goals to help you achieve maximum function. Your therapist will determine a treatment plan and prescribe a home exercise program for you to perform independently. Typically, some hands-on treatment will be given at the first appointment, if time permits. Your therapist will communicate and coordinate with other health care professionals as needed to provide optimal care. Q: What is your approach or philosophy to customer service? A: Our patients and their outcomes are the key to our success. They are at the center of our practice and are treated like family. We are thankful to have many returning patients and new patient referrals though word-of-mouth.

September 2021 • B5




TherapySouth celebrates 15 years of serving the communities where we live and work! Thank you for placing your care in our hands (literally!) and for allowing us to provide physical therapy for the friends in our community. TherapySouth is an outpatient physical therapy practice with a fun, family-oriented environment. Our experienced physical therapists know our patients by name and strive to help them achieve their movement goals. We know you have a choice for your healthcare, and we love being your physical therapists.

Visit our website for contact information on the clinic near you: ALABAMA Andalusia Auburn Chelsea Clay Crestline Cullman Florence Fultondale Gadsden Greystone Helena Homewood Hoover Hoover Hwy 31/I-65

Hueytown Huntsville Huntsville Airport Rd Jasper Lakeview Leeds Liberty Park McCalla Montgomery Opelika Patchwork Farms Pelham Pell City Riverchase

SoHo Talladega Trussville Tuscaloosa Vestavia Woodlawn GEORGIA Athens Columbus MISSISSIPPI Gluckstadt

B6 • September 2021

280 Living



The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB serves patients in Alabama, across the region and from around the world by providing leading-edge cancer care that is personalized and team-based. The only National Cancer InstituteDesignated Cancer Center in the state, we are a pioneer in shaping the future of cancer care. We provide the most advanced treatment options through clinical trials, and we offer patients a wide range of new therapies, diagnostic testing, prevention strategies, survivorship care and community-based studies — some of which are only available at UAB. When it comes to cancer, it matters where you’re treated first. Our experienced teams are committed to delivering exceptional and compassionate care when patients need it most. Two of our cancer specialists — Dr. Trey Leath III and Dr. Jeffrey Nix — share their thoughts on the latest advancements and why you should consider UAB for cancer care. Q: How does cancer affect people in Alabama, and what is the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB doing to help? Dr. Leath: Advances in cancer care and treatment are based on a continual process. This includes evaluating how current treatment approaches are used, but also ways that these approaches can be improved. These evaluations and improvements are usually done as part of clinical trials, which often are not available outside of academic medical centers such as UAB. And for cancer specifically, they are usually only done at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. While not all patients seen at UAB will be enrolled in cutting-edge clinical trials, most patients will have the opportunity to consider participating in tomorrow’s therapies today. Q: As we gear up for both Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September, what is UAB doing to raise awareness and improve care for these cancer patients? Dr. Leath: The UAB Division of

DR. TREY LEATH III Gynecologic Oncology’s Comprehensive Ovarian Cancer Program, within the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a program unique to the southeastern United States and one that offers more than just treatment. This program is focused on centralizing our approach to patients with ovarian cancer and all of their potential needs. This includes not only therapy, but also other supportive interventions such as nutrition, genetics, precision medicine, and even clinical trials, when appropriate. Dr. Nix: UAB continues to focus on communicating with our patients about the importance of getting regular screenings for prostate cancer. Research shows significant concerns about delays in screening for many cancers due to COVID-19 and its limitations on health resources for our patients.

We offer services for our prostate cancer patients that are not available at many other medical centers. Our Urology Oncology Clinic, for example, is focused on a patient-centric model of treatment that includes multiple medical specialties. This focus allows us to personalize care for each of our patients, from active monitoring for low-risk prostate cancer to clinical trials for advanced disease. To improve diagnosis and staging for prostate cancer patients, the UAB Program for Personalized Prostate Cancer Care offers the MRI/Ultrasound Fusion-Guided Prostate targeted biopsy technique. We have the most experience of any center in the Southeast with this technology, which marks one of the most significant advances in prostate cancer diagnosis in 30 years. We also offer the most advanced treatments for prostate cancer, including

DR. JEFFREY NIX robotic surgery, proton therapy, highintensity focused ultrasound therapy and much more. Q: What is the easiest way for patients to get an appointment at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center? Dr. Leath: Your doctor can refer you by calling 800-822-6478, or you can visit for information about scheduling an appointment. Our trained nurse navigators will guide you through every step of your treatment plan. Nurse navigators at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center interact with patients multiple times, and most patients have their first interaction even before their initial consultation. If you’re a cancer patient at UAB, you can rest assured that your nurse navigator is always in your corner.


September 2021 • B7

B8 • September 2021

280 Living



Q: Could you explain what the All of Us Research Program is? A: The All of Us Research Program aims to enroll at least 1 million people throughout the United States, with a special effort to include persons historically underrepresented in biomedical research. Clinical, genomic and other biomedical information provided by participants will be available to a broad array of researchers to lay the groundwork for precision medicine that will benefit the full diversity of populations in the country. Q: What will participants be asked to do? ​ A: After learning about the program and providing consent, participants are asked to do several things. They complete a set of brief online surveys about their health status and make an appointment to come to an enrollment site. There they have basic measurements done (e.g., height, weight, blood pressure) and provide blood and urine samples. They receive a $25 gift card upon completion of these steps and consenting to allow the health system where they enroll to share data from their electronic health record. They also are asked to continue to fill out occasional online surveys about their health. Because the All of Us Research Program includes analysis of participants’ DNA, the consent process also involves deciding whether a participant would like to have their DNA analyzed, and whether they would like to receive feedback about important findings about their DNA. Q: How long will the program last? ​ A: Enrollment will continue over a period of five years, but overall the study will last at least 10 years. Q: Who is eligible to enroll?  A: Any adult (older than 19 years of age in Alabama) is eligible to enroll. There is no requirement to have any specific medical or health issue. The program is especially interested in enrolling individuals from groups who are historically underrepresented in biomedical research. Diverse participation is critical if the findings from study of the data will be meaningful to all people across the country. It can’t be assumed that specific health or disease associations found in one population, say persons of European ancestry, will also apply to those of other ancestries, for example African Americans. That is why it is so important that individuals of diverse backgrounds participate in the program. Q: Where can participants enroll in the All of Us Research Program?  A: Initial enrollment and consent can be done online at www.JoinAllofUs. org/UAB. We have enrollment centers at multiple sites, including The Kirklin Clinic, UAB Hospital-Highlands, Medical Towers, North Pavilion, Cooper Green Mercy Health Services, UAB Selma Family Medicine, UAB Montgomery Internal Medicine Clinic, UAB Huntsville Regional Medical Campus, and the University of Alabama, University Medical Center. Individuals who do not have computer or internet access can complete the consent process and surveys at an enrollment site. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (833) JOIN-UAB. Q: What are some of the benefits for a program participant? ​ A: All of Us is built upon a principle that participants are partners and that


information learned about a participant is shared through the participant portal. Perhaps most importantly, participants can opt into having DNA analysis done and data from this analysis are shared with the participant. This includes genetic analysis of ancestry (what part of the world did your ancestors come from), traits (e.g., do you like or dislike the taste of cilantro), actionable medical variants (do you carry a genetic variant that might put you at increased risk of a preventable condition such as cancer or heart disease), and pharmacogenetics (are there particular medications that you should avoid due to risk of side effects, or should medication dosage be customized to how your body reacts to the medication). Only a small proportion of participants are expected to receive findings of an actionable variant, because these are rare. These individuals will have a free-of-charge genetic counseling telephone or telemedicine consultation to help them understand the implications of the finding for themselves and family members. Aside from these personal benefits, there is, of course, the knowledge that a participant is helping to pave the way toward better health care for future generations, and that this is being done so that all persons, regardless of background, will have the chance to benefit. Q: What would you say to someone who’s hesitant about signing up for the All of Us Research Program?  A: The All of Us Research Program is a partnership between participants

and researchers, and we realize that sharing health information, including genomic data, is a big step. The program uses state-of-the-art measures to protect the privacy of participants and to keep data secure. Participants are also protected by a Certificate of Confidentiality that protects the data from being accessed by outside groups, including law enforcement and the courts. There’s been a lot of publicity about people who share their genomic data being subject to law enforcement investigation, but that can’t happen with All of Us data. There might also be concern about whether a participant with an actionable genomic finding (for example, risk of cancer) might be at risk to lose health insurance. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act makes it illegal to deny a person health insurance in most instances on the basis of genetic information. Genomic information could potentially affect ability to obtain life insurance or long-term care insurance for individuals found to have an actionable variant, but this risk must be balanced against the benefit of knowing that a person who carries such a variant could benefit from a prevention strategy to avoid disease. Finally, it should be noted that participants are involved in every aspect of the All of Us Research Program, including oversight of the protocol and participation on the panel that reviews the protocol to ensure that it is conducted ethically. Q: What if I am already a member of the program, is there more that I can do? ​

A: If you are already a member of the All of Us Research Program, please keep an eye on email notifications and your participant data browser. This is how you will be aware of ongoing surveys and also of any information that might be learned about your health. Ongoing involvement is critical if we are going to have a clear picture of your health and take maximum advantage of the ability to develop new knowledge and approaches in precision medicine. By joining All of Us you are joining a team, and we hope that you will make the most of the chance to contribute to biomedical research. We also hope that you will share your All of Us experience with friends and relatives who might be interested in joining. Q: If a participant doesn’t have access to a computer, how can they stay involved in the program? ​ A: We realize that not everyone has ready access to a computer or the internet or has experience in working online. There are alternatives to completing surveys in these situations. For example, working with a study navigator in a videoconference or telephone interview is now possible. We hope to soon have our mobile unit travel around the state to help participants access ongoing surveys and information to help them make the most of their participation as well. For more information or to sign up for the program, call (833) JOIN-UAB, visit UAB, or email


September 2021 • B9

B10 • September 2021

280 Living


GRANDVIEW MEDICAL CENTER 3690 Grandview Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35243 Q: What is Cardio-Oncology? A: Cardio-Oncology is a relatively new field that has evolved rapidly over the last decade. The field focuses on new or developing cardiovascular disease occurring during or after cancer treatment therapy. The goal of a cardio-oncologist is to assist and advise the oncology team so that we can work together to get the patient through his or her treatment while protecting the heart and cardiovascular system. Q: What is your mission at Grandview Medical Center? A: I have an opportunity to use my knowledge and experience to help people every day. That doesn’t always mean through medicine. Sometimes it’s just being there for people — the patients and their families. That's probably even more true for cardio-oncology, because you're dealing with people who have either already gone through cancer treatment, who are preparing to go through cancer treatment, or who are currently undergoing treatment. Q: How did Cardio-​Oncology become your specialty? A: I have always steered towards cardiology because in many ways my mind processes similar to an engineer or a mechanic. I have been drawn towards machines and understanding how they work. The human body and, in particular the heart, is the most amazing machine that I couldn’t help but want to learn more about. Even though my focus has been primarily on cardiology, I have also had a lot of exposure to oncology throughout my training and career. In medical school I participated in basic research involving cancer cells. When I was at Duke University completing my residency, we had the opportunity to work with and learn from their excellent oncology program. During my


fellowship at the Baylor Texas Heart Institute in Houston, I was able to spend time learning from the experts at MD Anderson. Because of my educational background, I was asked to start a Cardio-Oncology program at my previous practice in Baton Rouge, and now I will be assisting Grandview as we develop a program here in the Birmingham area. ​ Q: Why is it important for oncology patients to have a Cardio-Oncology specialist? A: Cancer and heart disease are the two leading causes of death nationwide. Caring for patients with cancer can be very complex because they are receiving different agents that affect the heart and the cardiovascular system in many different ways. Cardiology is just one small part of oncologic care. It really takes a whole team that includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pharmacist and all the nursing and ancillary staff that goes along with a comprehensive cancer care team. Q: Do all oncology patients need a Cardio-Oncologist? A: These patients can be identified by their oncologists as needing a referral to a Cardio-Oncologist. The oncologist will make the referral when necessary. Q: Will you provide other medical services at Grandview? ​ A: Yes. I am a general cardiologist, and it’s my privilege to take care of any general cardiology needs. I perform diagnostic cardiac catheterizations and have advanced training in echocardiography. I am board certified in cardiovascular disease, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and cardiac CT.



Grandview Medical Group makes it easier to see a primary care provider in Birmingham – quickly. Just call 205-971-DOCS. Most calls will result in a same-day appointment with a physician or a nurse practitioner at one of our 14 primary care locations. Walk-ins are welcome, too. If you or a family member age five or older needs to see a doctor fast, think Grandview Medical Group.

Visit or call 205-971-DOCS to schedule your same-day appointment.

Chelsea • Columbiana • Grandview Physicians Plaza • Greystone • Homewood Hoover • Lee Branch • Liberty Park • Springville • Trussville • Vestavia Hills

115807_TRIN_PCP_9_75x7_59c.indd 1

Look Forward. 7/30/21 5:20 PM


September 2021 • B11

Children born into all kinds of circumstances have dreams and dreams are powerful. WE DO WHAT WE DO BECAUSE CHILDREN HAVE DREAMS.


CHILDREN’S OF ALABAMA 1600 Seventh Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35233 205-638-9100 Q: Dr. Garland “Gigi” Youngblood, one of the first lines of defense against undiagnosed childhood illnesses is pediatric wellness visits. To get the full benefit for their child, how often should parents schedule a pediatric visit? A: Newborns should be seen roughly 3-5 days after they’re discharged from the hospital depending on the baby’s initial health. Following the first visit, our practice usually schedules a one-month visit, but some practices wait until the second month and quickly follow up with a fourmonth and six-month checkup. After the six-month checkup, babies should be seen by a pediatrician every three months until they are 2 years old. The primary reason for these early visits is to administer vaccinations and to monitor growth and development. Typically, when babies are sick, they don’t grow well. So, delayed or stagnant growth is usually the first indicator of nutritional deficiencies or undiagnosed chronic problems. Unless a chronic illness is detected, parents should schedule continuous annual visits after the second year of life. At Children’s of Alabama, we also do a lot of what is called anticipatory guidance. We discuss with parents what they should expect from their child in the upcoming months or year and some of the safety issues they might encounter. Q: After those initial precarious years, it’s not uncommon for parents to miss a few check-ups. Can you explain why it’s important to continue annual check-ups? A: Parents are very busy people and kids in general are very healthy. Often, parents may think, “If they don’t need vaccines, I don’t need to schedule a visit,” but it’s still very important to touch base with your pediatrician every year. After vaccinations are completed, we

are still testing and monitoring for the development of heart murmurs, asthma, allergies or eczema. Unfortunately, in Alabama, young patients are actually more likely to have one of these issues than to not have one. Throughout the years we are also making sure there aren’t any new life stressors and monitoring for things such as learning disabilities or ADHD. Q: Among the top 10 pediatric health concerns in America are childhood obesity and bullying. How do wellness visits help tackle these issues? A: The great thing about Children’s of Alabama is that we are a large network of primary pediatricians and sub-specialists. We have a clinic dedicated to treating childhood obesity and a full mental health care service. We’re able to provide a holistic, team-based approach to each patient’s care. During wellness check-ups, primary pediatricians discuss healthy habits with the whole family. We also do a confidential, mental health questionnaire during the check-up and, with parental permission, we take this opportunity to confidentiality speak with older, teenage children about any issues they may have. Q: With school starting back and the joint concern of flu and COVID-19, is there anything extra you would advise parents to do to keep their children safe? A: Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. It is safe and effective. A misconception about the flu vaccine is that it is meant to keep you from getting the flu. It does prevent some cases, but the real goal is to keep you or your child from dying from the flu. That is what the vaccine is very good at doing. So everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. If your child is eligible, please get them vaccinated against COVID-19, as well.

1 6 0 0 7 T H AV E N U E S . BIRMINGHAM, AL 35233 (205) 638-9100

B12 • September 2021

280 Living





HEARING SOLUTIONS 3000 Meadow Lake Drive, Suite 108, Birmingham, AL 35242 Q: What does the team at Hearing Solutions treat? A: We have three doctors of audiology who provide care for balance, hearing loss and tinnitus, as well as hearing protection, hearing aids and testing. Q: What solutions do you offer to your patient for hearing protection? A: We offer custom hearing protection for both recreational uses, such as hunting and target practice, musician monitors or custom swim plugs. We recommend that people working in very loud environments have professional hearing protection as well. Q: Can your office qualify patients for cochlear implants? A: Yes. Cochlear implants are specifically for patients with profound hearing loss. The testing is usually takes

about an hour and a half to complete. If a patient qualifies, they are referred to an otologist for surgical candidacy evaluation. A month after surgery is completed, patients return to our office where we will install and activate the external portion of the implants. Q: Do you offer additional testing services? A: Many of our patients are referrals from primary care doctors or come to us when children have failed a school screening. We also do hearing conservation for OSHA testing and preemployment testing. Q: Are there any common signs of hearing loss that parents or family members should be aware of? A: People experiencing hearing loss often have to ask for people to repeat


things. They may turn the volume of the television up to a point that is too loud for others in the room. It’s also common for people experiencing hearing loss to start avoiding social interaction. Another thing that is commonly experienced alongside hearing loss is tinnitus. Any noise that you are hearing that isn’t actually in the environment is typically tinnitus, which usually presents as a low ringing noise or a buzz in one or both ears. The noises may be intermittent or constant, and it can cause irritability, headaches and even prevent people from falling asleep. Q: When should children be tested for hearing loss? A: Most children are checked at birth and then again during pre-school, but if you ever suspect that your child is not responding correctly and may be suffering

from hearing loss, you should have them tested immediately. Early intervention is the absolute key to success. If they do have hearing loss, we don’t want them to get behind in their speech production or in school. Q: How often should adults be tested for hearing loss? A: Adults should make an appointment as soon as hearing loss is suspected as well. Sudden hearing loss can be a sign of something more serious happening in the body and should never be ignored. Mother Nature is going to start reducing your ability to hear by the age of 50 due to the sounds and noises that you’ve been exposed to throughout your life. So, if no hearing loss is suspected, you should have your first adult test at the age of 50 and schedule an annual check-up every year afterward.

We truly believe that better hearing leads to a better life.

Dr. Melissa Richardson

Dr. Dana Walchek

Dr. Abby Ryan

Your local hearing specialists for personalized Hearing Solutions: Hearing Aids, Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants Curbside Drop Off / Pick Up Hearing Aid Service Available | 205.739.2242 3000 Meadow Lake Drive #108, Birmingham, AL 35242 | By Appointment Only


September 2021 • B13

ASSISTED LIVING LOCATORS 205-775-6006 Q: Sarah, what sets you and Assisted Living Locators apart from other senior placement services? A: I am local in the community, I have visited each senior living community and evaluated it, and I have a medical background. Prior to starting my business, I worked as a Registered Dietitian in food service, behavioral health settings, hospitals, wellness centers and retirement communities. Q: Describe the process of utilizing Assisted Living Locators. A: It is our job to give you straight answers on the best place for mom, dad or another loved one and to guide families to the right choice. We can quickly answer questions such as: Which communities can manage diabetes? Which are best for people with early stage memory loss? Which are luxury independent communities? Which places can we afford on a fixed income? We’ll talk to learn about your needs, we’ll help you with tactics and strategies, we’ll develop a list that fits your criteria, and then we’ll go with you to tour communities. Q: What is the biggest challenge you help your clients overcome? A: Making the right decision for you or a loved one is not only stressful and confusing, but it’s also one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. There are so many options out there to sort through if you do this on your own. I have already done the research and can save you time, money and stress by narrowing your options to the most appropriate places for your individual needs, and I can give you the information you really need to ensure you are heading in the right direction. Q: What does it mean to be dementia certified? Why is it important?

A: This means that I have special training to understand the condition and challenges that those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, along with their caregivers, face. Having the training and certification allows me to better educate seniors and their families about the disease and what facilities are best suited for their needs. Q: What is the cost of utilizing a Care Advisor? A: Our service is provided to you at absolutely no charge because we are paid referral fees by the communities. Q: How do you ensure the quality of the facilities that you utilize? A: I study the health scores of each facility through the Alabama Department of Public Health, I visit each place in person, and then I gather feedback from clients about their experience there. Q: What precautions are put in place for residents with Alzheimer’s? A: Memory care communities offer services similar to an assisted living environment with the addition of secured entrances and added memory care services and activities designed for those with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. There is a registered nurse present on-site, and they have a higher staff-toresident ratio than a traditional assisted living community, which is mandated by the state. Q: What about more active seniors — does your network provide arrangements for them as well? A: Yes, I have a whole database with information on each place, and I am familiar with which communities have active, friendly and social residents with amenities and programming to support this.



• • •

Senior Apartments/ Independent Living Assisted Living Homes & Communities Alzheimer’s & Memory Care Communities


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 |

B14 • September 2021

280 Living


WEIGH TO WELLNESS 4704 Cahaba River Road, Suite A1, Birmingham, AL 35243


Q: What is Weigh to Wellness? A: A medically supervised weight loss clinic offering a customized approach with various options including nutritional guidance, protein supplements/meal replacements, prescription medications and injections, among many other tools. Our program is uniquely individualized based on your health characteristics, lifestyle and weight loss goals. Whether a patient is looking to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, we have a plan for you!

lifestyle. Benefits to keeping a food diary are ensuring adequate protein and water consumption, controlling portion sizes, keeping you mindful of nutrition and often identifying triggers to unhealthy eating. Patients who keep a food journal typically lose twice the amount of weight of those who don’t. Q: Do I have to buy special meals or supplements? A: No, but Weigh to Wellness does offer convenient meal replacements and protein snacks. Most patients love these healthy options because they are great for grab and go!

Q: Who is on the Weigh to Wellness staff? A: Owner Leslie Ellison has acquired a wealth of knowledge with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. Dr. Timothy H. Real is the medical director and is board-certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine. We also have full-time registered dietitians and nutritionists. Our staff is able to recognize many psychological and genetic factors that cause obesity and then design processes specific to each of our patients for the best results. Q: What results do patients typically have? A: Patients typically lose an average of 2-5 pounds weekly. It is inspiring to see how excited our patients get when they see great results. It keeps them motivated and focused! Since opening in June 2014, we have celebrated more than 25,000 pounds lost! Q: How much does the program cost? A: We always offer a free consultation for anyone interested in learning more information. A medical evaluation that includes an EKG, lab tests, body composition analysis and a physical with

Q: Does the program provide ways to deal with issues such as a social or holiday eating, changes to work schedules, lack of motivation and injury or illness? A: Yes. There is no perfect time to diet. Our experienced staff is used to working around any of these issues. We encourage each of our patients to think of it as a lifestyle change, not necessarily a diet. Q: Will Dr. Real work with my health care provider if needed (for example, if I lose weight and my blood pressure medications need to be adjusted)? A: Absolutely! We are happy to follow up with your primary care doctor or specialist at any time with your consent.


Dr. Real is required to start any program — the fee for the medical evaluation is $150. Programs can range from $13-$100 weekly. Costs vary depending on if the patient chooses to use any meal replacements, protein snacks, prescription medication (if applicable) or injections that may enhance weight loss. Everything is a la carte! There are no contracts and no sign up fees. Q: Does the program have one-onone counseling that will help develop

healthier habits? A: Yes. Patients are typically seen on a weekly or biweekly basis for one-on-one counseling and behavior modification. Accountability and structure are key to every patient’s success. Q: Do I have to follow a specific meal plan or keep a food diary? A: There are many options offered, but the patient picks and chooses the aspects of the program that best fits their

Q: Does the program include a plan to help me keep the weight off once I’ve lost weight? A: Yes, we offer a free lifetime maintenance program and it is the most important part of the program. Patients can continue to come weekly, biweekly or monthly for maintenance and there is no charge!

watch the weight

Fa Off

(205) 994-2393

September 2021 • B15


COMPLETE HEALTH One-Nineteen Health and Wellness, 7191 Cahaba Valley Road, Suite 300, Birmingham, AL 35242


Q: Dr. John Farley, chief medical officer for Complete Health, tell us why primary care is so important to all your patients. A: At Complete Health, we want everyone to know that the absence of disease does not equal health. Your primary care team is the first line of defense against all the issues that threaten health. Routine primary care check-ups are critical to patient health, well-being and identifying issues before they become larger or chronic. Regular primary care just might save your life. Q: In the age of a pandemic, how is care being administered differently and perhaps, more efficiently? A: The pandemic has changed a lot of things in medicine. One of the main issues we’ve all faced during the pandemic is keeping our routine health appointments for various reasons, mostly related to concerns over the transmission of the virus. Complete Health has many options for our current patients to see their physician, including a host of enhanced protocols for in-person visits to all our clinics. It is crucial that our patients have a safe and virus-free visit to their primary care physician and can keep their appointments for optimal health. Of course, we also offer access to the COVID-19 vaccines right in our offices for those patients who have not yet been able to get one. Q: What is Complete Health 360? A: Complete Health 360 provides Medicare-eligible patients access to specialized services including an exclusive Member Support Representative (MSR). Our Complete Health 360 evaluation helps our patients assess their whole health care program and coverage, reducing costs

and hassles. Member Support Representatives help reduce daily anxiety by identifying resources to make our patients’ lives easier. These include assistance with prescription drug costs, help with transportation costs, help with special health care needs and assurances that the specialists they need are in their coverage network. Member Support Representatives are our patients’ go-to partner for Medicare-related questions. Q: What makes Complete Health different from other primary care groups?

A: Complete Health is led by our physicians who are patient-focused. We treat patients how we would like to be treated. We leverage technology to help keep us connected to our patients including offering a robust patient portal and virtual visits. Our team of trained nurses work as a coordinated care team to help patients with chronic conditions stay healthier. Patients who remain in contact with our care team have better health outcomes. We guide them with the knowledge on how to take care of themselves with modern approaches and information.

Q: What should every patient know about primary care at Complete Health. A: Complete Health puts patients first, always. Our teams across Alabama are available six days a week, and most practices have extended hours, same-day appointments and even expanded services for our Medicare patients. Easy access helps our patients avoid delays in care that could lead to more serious illnesses, or worse, visits to the emergency room or even hospitalization. All of our clinics in the Birmingham metro area are accepting new patients and are focused on helping all our patients be healthy and happy.

B16 • September 2021

280 Living


MEDICARE ADVISORS OF ALABAMA 2116 Columbiana Road, Birmingham, AL 34216 Q: Who is Medicare Advisors of Alabama? A: We are a locally owned insurance agency that specializes in helping Alabamians better understand Medicare. Medicare is overwhelming, but once someone with patience and knowledge teaches you the questions to ask and then guides you through the process, the whole thing becomes much less stressful. That’s what we provide: a stress-free Medicare experience. Q: What does your service cost? A: Our service is absolutely free. We’re only paid by insurance companies if we help you enroll in a plan. We live by the Golden Rule and that means we treat our clients like we want to be treated. We think of ourselves more as Medicare educators with insurance licenses. Our goal is to use our experiences to help you make an educated Medicare decision, not just sell insurance policies. Q: Why does someone need a broker/adviser? A: There are so many advertisements and plans available that it’s becoming almost impossible to sort everything out on your own. A good broker will help you see the positives and negatives of the plans and will work to find the best solution for their client and not the insurance company. Q: When does someone need to help me with Medicare? A: If you’re turning 65 years of age, you have a 7-month window to enroll in Medicare. It's also when our team can really help you understand your options. However, if you are still working, you may not want or need to enroll. Deciding when to enroll and what to enroll in are


our two most asked questions, and our team can help you make an informed decision. Q: What if I keep working past age 65? A: Many people think they’ll face penalties if they don’t sign up for Medicare at 65. That can be true, but not always. You can postpone enrollment beyond age 65 if you or your spouse are still working and you have health insurance under an employer plan. Q: What is AEP? A: AEP (or Annual Enrollment Period) runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. If you are already enrolled into Medicare, it’s the time of the year you can make changes to your plan for the upcoming year. Q: What is an ANOC Letter? A: An ANOC Letter (or Annual Notice of Change) is what you get from your insurance plan in late September that tells the changes for the upcoming year. If a person needs to make changes, they can use AEP to make those changes. Q: Where can I get help with Medicare? A: You can schedule a consultation with someone on our team. We can talk over the phone, meet virtually via Zoom, in-person at our local office, at your home, your business or even out at a coffee shop. Once a month we teach a class called “Prepare for Medicare” at our local office. We have lots of fun, and it’s very educational. No specific products are discussed, but it’s a great way to learn the basics of Medicare and get your questions answered.


September 2021 • B17


SKIN WELLNESS DERMATOLOGY 398 Chesser Drive, Suite 6, Chelsea, AL 35043


Q: Dr. Hartman, you and your practice have become known as one of the best cosmetic dermatology centers in the area. Was that your goal when you opened your practice? A: I knew cosmetic dermatology was an area that people would be excited about exploring, but I also knew that I wanted to develop a trusting relationship with my patients. The best way to do that is to provide great medical dermatology care so that when patients are ready to explore the cosmetic side, we don’t have so many barriers to overcome before they will trust us to enhance their appearance. Q: Do you have cosmetic dermatology patients who are not medical patients as well? A: Yes. My practice takes a holistic approach to skincare and establishing a trusting relationship goes both ways. When I first began, I met most of my patients on the medical side of dermatology, and they later became cosmetic patients as well. As my reputation as a cosmetic dermatologist grows and my practice has become more focused on cosmetics, I meet a lot of my patients on the cosmetic side first. Q: What trends do you see emerging in cosmetic dermatology? A: As we have better technology and more tools at our disposal, one trend in my office

has become a more public conversation. I think social media has helped to demystify cosmetic dermatology, and as it enters the mainstream it becomes less of a taboo topic. It has naturally become something that people feel more comfortable sharing. It used to be that nobody would talk about Botox, but now people come with a group of friends to get Botox.

DR. COREY HARTMAN and among many of my peers is to create more customized and tailored treatment plans for each patient. Instead of addressing one issue, we take a holistic approach. If you don’t, you are never going to truly make the patient happy. We develop longitudinal plans to help our patients have success right now and place them on a preventative path for the future. Even if you are coming to me for Botox, we also

have to talk about your skincare regimen, your lifestyle, your diet and your habits. Q: How do you handle cosmetic dermatology consultations? A: Cosmetic consultations and visits are less regimented than the medical ones. When people come to me for help, I start by asking what they have noticed that they are not happy with, or what they would like to improve.

The patient is always most important to me, and I want to understand what is important to them. My practice is very big on educating our patients and letting them move forward at a pace that is comfortable for them. Q: Do you think that cosmetic dermatology and injectables have become more commonplace? What do you think is contributing to that? A: Cosmetic dermatology

Dr. Corey Hartman Dr. Rayna Dyck Dr. Deborah Youhn Brittany Rigsby, CRNP Alison Hayes, CRNP 205.871.7332

HOMEWOOD 3415 Independence Dr.,

CHELSEA 398 Chesser Dr.,

Ste 200, Birmingham, AL 35209

Ste 6, Chelsea, AL 35043

Our Providers: Dr. Corey Hartman Dr.

Q: What advice do you have for patients new to cosmetic dermatology? A: Go very slowly and choose someone who you really trust. Cosmetic dermatology is a field of medicine that combines art and science. It’s important to find a doctor who listens to you. As a dermatologist, I always want to be mindful of the patient’s budget, how the product is going to feel on their faces, the downtime and long-term treatment goals. I customize a treatment plan for each patient. All of that information comes from educating and listening to the patient. My best advice is If you don’t feel heard, then you might not want to proceed with that doctor. Q: What interests you most about cosmetic dermatology? A: I love helping people to wake up in the morning feeling confident and their absolute best. My specialty as a dermatologist isn’t always about saving lives, but it is definitely about enhancing people’s lives.

B18 • September 2021

280 Living


BROOKWOOD BAPTIST IMAGING 513 Brookwood Blvd., Building D, Suite 100, Homewood, AL 35209 7131 Cahaba Valley Road, Hoover, AL 35242 2006 Brookwood Medical Center Drive, Women’s Medical Center, Suite 112, Homewood, AL 35209 205-802-6900 Q: How do Brookwood Baptist Imaging’s three locations serve the community? A: We provide convenient and affordable diagnostic imaging services such as MRI, CT, X-ray, ultrasound, mammography and bone density exams using advanced technology. Our licensed technologists and radiologists work to provide high quality care and professionalism to each patient and his or her family, for all ages. Q: Are 3D mammograms available at Brookwood Baptist Imaging? A: Yes! We offer 3D mammography at our Women’s Medical Center, located on the campus of Brookwood Baptist Medical Center in Homewood, as well as our location on Cahaba Valley Road. Mammograms can detect breast cancer as many as three years prior to feeling a lump in your breast. Because breast cancer develops in one out of every eight women, don’t delay getting your mammogram. Q: What sets apart Brookwood Baptist Imaging? A: Our facilities provide safe, convenient care. Schedule your appointment Monday

SOUTHERN BLOOD SERVICES 3800 Colonnade Parkway, Suite 200, Birmingham, AL 35243 205-967-8189

through Friday at any of our three locations. Same-day and Saturday appointments are available, as well. Throughout the pandemic, safety has been the top priority for our patients and staff. We continue to follow the recommended state and CDC guidelines, such as practicing social distancing and utilizing plexiglass screens during registration, along with additional safety measures. Our goal is to provide quality imaging services to our community in a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment. Q: What are your hours of operation? A: Our Homewood locations are open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Our Cahaba Valley Road location is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with Saturday appointments also available.

Q: What do you do at Southern Blood Services? A: Southern Blood Services is a specialty plasma center that collects high quality, antibody-enriched plasma that is processed into life-saving, plasma-based therapies. We are a small specialty center and offer one-on-one service. Q: How does the Mothers Needed Program help save babies’ lives? A: One of our favorite programs is the Mothers Needed Program or Rh Incompatibility Program. When a mother has a negative blood type and her baby has a positive blood type, there is a risk that the mother’s antibodies will attack the baby’s blood. This can cause the baby to become sick and even die. However, pregnant women with a negative blood type can safeguard the lives of their babies whose blood types are incompatible by receiving a medication called Rho D immune globulin, that is produced from

plasma provided by our donors. Q: How does that work? Do you need plasma donors to help with that? A: Southern Blood cannot run without the caring individuals who are willing to donate their plasma. There is also a possible financial compensation for donors of up to $700-plus per month, and the comfort of knowing they are helping others. Q: What other programs do you offer? A: We also have a Rabies Antibody Program and a more general Red Cell Antibody Program that can help people who have been exposed to viruses by boosting their immune system with those antibodies. If you have had the immunizations for these viruses or have another antibody of some kind, your donations could help someone have immunity against a virus to which he or she has been exposed.

September 2021 • B19


DANBERRY AT INVERNESS 235 Inverness Center Drive, Hoover, Alabama 35242


Q: What does Senior Placement Services provide? A: Senior Placement Services is a free concierge service for seniors and their families. We handle the time-consuming and often frustrating process of finding the right retirement community for your financial, health and social needs completely free of charge. Q: How do your services work? A: In order to help our clients choose the best community, we start with a discovery meeting that can be completed virtually or in person. We first evaluate the cognitive and physical abilities of the client to determine the level of assistance they will need: independent living, assisted living or memory care. Our goal is to eliminate communities that don’t offer the care you need. An official assessment will be completed by the retirement community

the family chooses. The discovery meeting also helps us determine their social and entertainment needs. We want our clients to be happy in the community they choose. If you enjoy arts and crafts, having space to walk, sitting outdoors or being close to your child’s job, these are things we want to know so that we can find a community that provides that. Q: How does your process differ from other placement services in the area? A: We act as our client’s adviser and advocate. We do all of the legwork for our clients: We make the calls, do the research and set up the tours. Because we have a relationship with all of the retirement communities in the area, we’re able to guide our clients to the one that is best for their physical needs and their mental and social well-being, as well as their budget.


Q: What levels of supportive care do you offer at Danberry at Inverness? A: Independent living provides a carefree, modern lifestyle of leisure, comfort and wellness support, as well as the peace of mind of on-site health care if needed. Assisted living offers freedom and flexibility with a helping hand. And leading-edge programming in memory care helps residents enjoy a rich and rewarding lifestyle and gives families the confidence their loved one is safe and happy.

A: We focus on residents’ quality of life, from maintenance-free living to extensive amenities and packed monthly calendar of activities (Pinot & Paint, Karaoke & Cookies and happy hours are just a few examples). Overall wellness is a big passion of ours. Emphasizing all eight dimensions — physical, emotional, intellectual, social, vocational, environmental, health and spiritual — means residents can enjoy a happier, healthier and more purposedriven retirement.

Q: What amenities are available? A: Hospitality, staff and amenities are second to none. Residents enjoy an on-site wellness center, heated indoor saltwater pool, beautiful walking trails, movie theater, spa, library, fitness center and more. Many say living at Danberry is like checking into a resort … a wonderful resort of wellness and hospitality.

Q: What’s the staff like at Danberry at Inverness? A: We’re proud of our dedicated staff, all of whom have a passion for serving seniors. Many of our team members have been with us since we opened in 2009, including our executive director. Our low employee turnover means team members value our culture and believe in our mission of serving residents. The advantage of a long-tenured staff is better quality care, provided by people who know and love each resident like family.

Q: What sets Danberry at Inverness apart from other area senior living communities?

Join the waitlist!

Get more out of life at Danberry at Inverness Even more than larger floor plans, gorgeous architecture, and outstanding amenities— Danberry at Inverness frees you to create a lifestyle all your own, with Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care all right here. More peace of mind. And a lot more fun!

Call 205-443-9500.

Residents enjoy: • Flexible dining options • Transportation • Housekeeping • Fitness Center • Wellness Clinic • 24-hour nursing • Indoor resort-style pool • Full-service salon & spa • Card & billiard rooms • Creative arts studio

235 Inverness Center Drive Hoover, AL 35242

• Movie theater • And much more!


B20 • September 2021

280 Living


Schedule a Consultation

WELLNESS WEIGHT MANAGEMENT AND INFUSION CENTER 3686 Grandview Parkway, Suite 400, Birmingham, AL 35243 205-716-6100 Q: Can Wellness Weight Management and Infusion Center help me reach my weight loss goals? A: If you’re ready to reach your goals and model a healthy lifestyle, Wellness Weight Management and Infusion Center has developed a comprehensive, medically supervised program to simplify weight loss and maintenance. We’re dedicated to comprehensive care and commitment to help you achieve long-term, sustainable weight loss. Many of our patients are tired of the “one-size-fits-all” approach of other programs. We combine the latest weight management medication (when needed) with a personalized, 12-week jumpstart meal program to help you meet your health goals. Q: How is WWMIC different? We value being transparent with our clients around the costs of our services. The initial visit with physician, including all necessary lab work, EKG, weight loss medication prescriptions and wellness team support is $200. ​We have a range of services and

products from as low as $30-$60 per week that support you in balancing your hormones and developing a healthier relationship with food. We offer weight management counseling, nutrition education and exercise plans, meal replacements, appetite suppressants, B12 injections to boost your energy and help your liver metabolize fat, supplements to supercharge your metabolism, exercise education and coaching to help you form the habits that will help you succeed.

We o er weight management counseling, nutrition education and exercise plans,meal replacements, appetite suppressants, B12 injections to boost your energy and help your lier metabolie fat,supplements to super charge your metabolism, exercise education and coaching to help you form the habits that will help you succeed.

Q: How do I enroll? You can schedule your initial visit today by calling our office or booking an appointment online. We are looking forward to meeting you!

205-716-6100 3686 Grandview Parkway, Suite 400 Birmingham, AL 35243

Struggling to align your people strategy with your business strategy? THERE’S A SOLUTION FOR THAT Members of a high-performing team go above and beyond because their role, team, manager and culture engages and inspires them.

Our solutions have been used for more than 60 years and offer:

In order to have a high performing team, not only must you have the right people in the right roles, but you must also know how to manage them in the way in which they will respond.

• Data from more than 30 million assessments

We unleash the power of behavioral analytics to allow you to achieve both of these objectives. Then, we transfer the knowledge to you and allow you to build a winning-culture with ongoing support.

• Unparalleled leadership development

• More than 500 validity studies • EEOC friendly

CONTACT US TODAY for a free six-minute demo and learn how to make your organization a high performing culture.

September 2021 • B21

Faith Life Actually By Kari Kampakis

The challenge of our 40s: Learning to ‘be the adult’ A sorority sister of mine came in town for a funeral. A high school friend had lost her dad, and she told me this was her ninth funeral to attend in six months. All her friends were losing parents, and we talked about how this is, sadly, our current stage in life. I have another friend whose mom has dementia. While she is thankful her mom is alive, she misses the strong Southern woman who raised her. “I just wish she’d call me,” my friend says, “and tell me to get off the couch and quit being lazy. She was funny like that, and I miss it.” When my husband and I got married in our 20s, we entered the wedding season of life. We had a party every weekend as our friends tied the knot. In our 30s, those same friends got pregnant, and the celebrations continued as we entered the baby season of life. Now, in our 40s, the overarching theme is funerals. Everyone our age is either losing parents or taking care of ailing parents. This isn’t a joyful, party-filled season. There is no playbook to go by as the roles reverse and the generation ahead of us starts to depend on us — ­ and slowly slips away. What nobody tells us when our kids are young is how there comes a day when we realize WE are the adults. We are the grown-ups making hard calls. We are the leaders called to be wise and strong.

We are the ones getting stretched too thin as multiple generations depend on us and the demands for our time and energy amplify and multiply. It seems ironic that when we need our parents most — while raising teenagers and watching them leave the nest — they face challenges that take them away from us. They can’t support us like they did when our kids were babies because they’re dealing with health scares, memory loss, doctor appointments, chronic pain and other issues. To complicate matters, our 40s are when Big League Stress kicks in. Realities like death, divorce, cancer, health issues, financial strain and tragedies emerge. Many families fall apart due to infidelity or addiction, and problems that seemed minor in our 20s — a kink in a marriage, a small drinking problem that went ignored — have had time to escalate and implode. Even if you don't face a crisis, you'll walk through a crisis with someone you love. Our 40s are also the time when our babies grow up. They become teenagers who pull away to create an identity and life of their own. I love teens, and I wrote a book about teen daughters, but parenting teens is stressful. There is constant mental juggling and unprecedented levels of fear, worry and self-doubt. My 40s have been good to me, and I wouldn't trade the wisdom of age for anything, but this decade has required a whole new level of faith, resilience and trust in God. Letting go is the

theme, and while I'm thrilled for my high school senior who will soon head college (thankfully, I loved college, which keeps me optimistic and excited for her) I’m also aware of the void her absence leaves. Our home and family won’t be the same, and just the other day, as I sat at my computer and listened to her favorite song, I cried as this truth sank in. The torch gets passed in our 40s from one generation to another. Here we are, called to “Be The Adults,” yet many of us don't feel ready. For years I wrestled with all the life changes and higher expectations. I struggled to articulate what I felt God doing inside me and guiding me toward. Then one day, in His mercy, He opened my eyes as I read “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Henri Nouwen. Feelings that eluded me suddenly made sense as Nouwen explained how the ultimate goal of the spiritual life is to become the compassionate Father. As we mature, we move past being the prodigal son and the jealous brother to become the merciful Father who stretches out his hand in blessing and receives his children with compassion regardless of how they feel or think about him. To me, this encapsulates the shift of our 40s. All the changes set in motion lead to a transition, one that makes us rise to the occasion and ultimately model God’s selfless, life-changing love. I’ve grown a lot in my 40s, and I have growing left to do. I’m thankful for friends who

understand the highs and lows of this season. My friend Jennifer has lost both parents, and shortly after her second parent passed, she realized her parents had spent their entire lives preparing her for this day: the day she’d have to stand on her own two feet. They taught her how to handle life without them, and now it’s her turn to do the same. Our parents can teach us everything except how to stop missing them. We never stop craving the love and strength of those who raised and shaped us. While our 40s are not a joyful season as we keep our black dresses ready for funerals, this can be a time of deep growth, renewed purpose and intimacy with God. Even in death, He is a God of life. He refreshes us and gives hope, promising eternal life through Jesus and equipping us to meet new challenges as we rise to new positions in the circle of life. 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 or find her on the “Girl Mom” podcast.

Opinion Sean of the South By Sean Dietrich

The Birmingham speed demon BIRMINGHAM — Early morning. The sun is low. Fog rests on the trees. And I have a persistent case of writer’s block. I leave my hotel on foot because I love morning walks. They help in more ways than one. When I walk, I’m able to think in straight lines, clear my head and most importantly, pull a hamstring. I see a pest guy spraying outside my hotel. He wears a COVID mask and carries a spray canister of noxious chemicals. “How’re you doing this morning?” he asks. “I have writer’s block,” I say. “Oh, no. I used to get writer’s block, but I don’t get it anymore.” “Really? What’s your secret?” “I had four kids.” I make my hike across a nearby parking lot, aiming toward a shopping complex. Outdoor malls are great places to walk. This is when I hear tires squeal behind me. I turn to look. It is a bad dream happening in slow motion. A white Mitsubishi swerves through the parking lot like a runaway diesel, roaring straight for me. The vehicle fires forward and misses me by an eyelash. I don’t even have time to shout any religious language at the driver. I am left standing on the pavement. Adrenaline has made me cold. I am doubled over. The guy with the sprayer calls out, “You okay?” All I can do is nod. “Just dandy,” I say. It takes a few minutes to gather myself. I am still sick to my stomach. But I keep

walking. “No, I was in a parking I walk across culverts, lot.” ditches, decorative shrub“You should be more bery, thorny bushes and careful. Cars drive through steep embankments until I parking lots.” reach the mall. My nerves “Not doing 90, they are shaken, but I’m alive, don’t.” and that’s the important But she’s done paying thing. me any mind. And in her The shopping complex is defense, I don’t think she is empty this morning except being rude. She is just sort for a few older women out of, well … elderly. power-walking. She offers no apology. Dietrich I pass a slew of employShe shows no remorse. She’s ees in shopfronts. They’re too busy. The lady lugs the unlocking display windows, doing inventory, bag of dry food toward the dumpster. and drinking coffee from paper cups. And I She whistles once and 3,532 cats creep am finally starting to calm down. out of the nearby trees to swarm her. You’ve When I reach the end of the complex I am never seen so many ferals. They just keep about to turn around and head to the hotel. slinking from the woods. But I don’t. Because I see a white Mitsubishi. She fills several bowls behind the dumpThe car is parked beside a large dumpster. A ster and uses a high-pitched voice to remind silhouette of the driver sits in the window. each cat to be nice, behave, be sweet, share, The door opens. Out steps an old woman. use manners, brush their teeth, pay their She is hunched and wiry. She has over-the- taxes, take their Omega-3s, etc. counter red hair, and tattoos on her white “They’ve all been spayed and neutered,” lower legs. she says to me. “You can tell ‘cause of their She sees me looking. “What’s up?” she clipped ears. See how their ears are all says. clipped?” This gal is something else. She walks to This woman goes on to say that this mornthe back of the Mitsubishi and opens the ing she still has hundreds of local cats left to hatch. She removes an enormous bag of cat feed. Hundreds, she says. food. And even though I hate to be Captain The cats are located all over town. In every Obvious, I feel it’s my civic duty to speak up. side street, dumpster and back alleyway. She “You almost hit me,” I tell her. says she’s been feeding cats for 20 years in “You were in the road,” she says. Birmingham. Every morning she does it.

“You’d be surprised where cats hide,” she says. “They’re smart. They know who they can trust.” I ask how she got into taking care of cats. “My dad,” she says. “He used to always feed strays. Didn’t matter whether it was a cat, dog or turtle … Once he even had a goat. He’d take me out looking for animals back in Texas. That’s where I growed up. He was a good man. Never turned an animal away. Real good man.” She loads the food into her Mitsubishi. Slams the trunk door. Then she fires up her little car. The asthmatic engine spits out blue exhaust. Before she leaves, she leans out the window and locks eyes with me. It looks like she’s going to finally apologize. She says, “You’re in my way. Move, dadgum it. I’m backing up.” Our little Hallmark moment is cut short when she guns her four-cylinder until it throws a rod, then peels away like Dale Jr. on a liquor run. I’m not sure if this was her version of an apology or not. But I guess it doesn’t matter. After all, she’s a busy woman, and I can understand that. She is doing important work this morning. She has a lot of mouths to feed. And thankfully, I’ve got something to write about. Sean Dietrich is a columnist and novelist known for his commentary on life in the American South. He has authored nine books and is the creator of the “Sean of the South” blog and podcast.

B22 • September 2021

280 Living

Metro Roundup HOOVER

Hoover plans to change garbage, recycling collector By JON ANDERSON The Hoover City Council has cleared the way for a new company to take over the city’s garbage and recycling collection beginning on Oct. 1 with some changes in service and cost savings to the city. Hoover’s current collection company is Republic Services, which picks up resiBrought to dents’ garbage twice a you by our week and recyclables sister paper: every Wednesday. The Cahaba Solid Waste Disposal Authority, a consortium formed by five cities (including Hoover), has been negotiating a new agreement with Amwaste. Under that proposed agreement, Amwaste would pick up garbage and/or recyclables twice a week, with the items commingled together. All items collected in the first pickup of the week would go to a landfill, and all items collected in the second pickup would go to a company in Montgomery called RePower South, which would sort the materials and pull out any items that can be recycled, Hoover City Administrator Allan Rice said. Residents would no longer be required to separate their recyclables, but people who want to make a special effort to recycle could save those items to put out for the second pickup, Councilman Casey Middlebrooks said. Amwaste has been providing this type of service to Vestavia Hills for 10 months and has actually increased the volume of recycled materials coming from Vestavia Hills by 75%, Rice said. Running the garbage and recycling trucks

Sanitation workers for Republic Services pick up household garbage in the Scout Creek section of the Trace Crossings community in Hoover. Photo by Jon Anderson.

twice a week instead of a combined three times a week saves money. Residents’ pickup days could change because the city will be switching from two routes to three routes, Rice said. Now, some residents’ garbage is picked up on Mondays and Thursdays or Tuesdays and Fridays. The new proposal is to have pickup on Mondays and Thursdays, Tuesdays and Fridays, or Wednesdays and Saturdays. Amwaste, once officially approved as the service provider, was to draw up proposed new routes and pick up zones for the city to approve, Rice said. RePower South’s sorting facility in

Montgomery accepts a wider variety of recyclable materials, including all types of plastics with recycle markings — not just plastics with a No. 1 or No. 2 on them, Rice said. Another big change is that residents now will be required to bag any leaves they want picked up, instead of having a leaf vacuum truck pick them up, Rice said. The leaf vacuuming has proven to be an inefficient way of collection, and Hoover is one of the last cities in central Alabama that still vacuums leaves, he said. Residents will place their bagged leaves by the curb for pickup either with regular garbage (if in a small quantity) or by a boom

truck (for larger amounts of leaves), Rice said. Bagging the leaves will result in a substantial savings in money and fewer leaves being washed into stormwater drains and waterways, he said. It also should make leaf collection go more quickly because vacuuming leaves takes longer, especially when leaves are wet, Rice said. Currently, Republic uses nine leaf vacuum trucks and 10 boom trucks in Hoover to pick up yard debris and large bulk items such as furniture and appliances. The new proposal is for Amwaste to use 12 boom trucks (and no leaf vacuum trucks) in Hoover. Hoover currently pays Republic about $8 million a year to pick up garbage, recycling and other waste from 26,514 single-family houses and condominiums, Rice said. With escalating costs, if Hoover were to keep the same kind of service provided now, the city would pay $9.57 million a year, he said. The new proposal (with the different level of service) would cost the city $7.17 million, which is about $892,000 less than the current cost, Rice said. Amwaste is in the process of trying to acquire the garbage and recycling carts already being used in Hoover, and if Amwaste is successful, residents would simply keep the carts they already use, Rice said. Councilman Mike Shaw said he initially was skeptical of the proposed changes but after reviewing them more carefully believes it will be a smarter way to do recycling. Council President John Lyda said he had been concerned the city would not be able to continue offering a recycling option due to escalating costs in that industry, but the creativity and ingenuity involved with this new proposal is remarkable and much appreciated.


Fall Plant Sale returns to Birmingham Botanical Garden on Sept. 11 The nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens will host its annual Fall Plant Sale on Saturday, Sept. 11, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. outdoors at the facility’s Formal Garden and Hill Garden. Hundreds of plants will be on sale, including dozens of varieties of natives, perennials, herbs, tropicals, houseplants, camellias, trees and shrubs. Photo courtesy of Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

By JESSE CHAMBERS The nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens will host its annual Fall Plant Sale on Saturday, Sept. 11, at the gardens. The sale, which is free and open to the public, will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. outdoors in the facility’s Formal Garden and Hill Garden, Brought to according to a Friends you by our news release. sister paper: Hundreds of plants will be on sale, including dozens of varieties of natives, perennials, villageliving herbs, tropicals, plants, camellias, trees and shrubs. The proceeds from the sale, which has been held each year since 1993, will support the Gardens. The sale helps the gardens carry on its important work in a variety of ways, Friends Executive Director Tom Underwood said. “Each year we educate thousands of schoolchildren about the science of plants and grow thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables to combat hunger in our community,” Underwood said. “We also help maintain the gardens, spearhead much-needed improvement projects and work to promote the gardens as a destination of local and regional significance.” A facility of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, the gardens is a public-private partnership between the city of Birmingham and the Friends, according to the facility’s website. Many of the plants on sale have been nurtured at the gardens by the Friends’ dedicated

volunteer growing groups. Other plants at the sale are especially selected by the growing groups and ordered from regional nurseries, Friends spokesperson Mindy Black told Village Living. All of the plants are chosen for the sale because they have been shown to thrive in Southern gardens, Black said. Attendees at the sale can also obtain expert advice from the seasoned volunteer gardeners, many of whom have been trained in the Jefferson County Master Gardener program. “Fall is a wonderful time to plant, and the [sale] offers our community a terrific opportunity to talk with experts about plants that thrive

in Southern gardens and to discover tried-andtrue tips and tricks for caring for them,” Underwood said. The sale is a great opportunity to talk to the expert gardeners “about varieties and cultivars they love, companion plantings and their favorite growing tips,” Black said. “Many of our volunteers have tested our plant sale offerings in various conditions in their personal gardens so they can share proven advice with shoppers.” “Our volunteer growing groups are passionate about plants — and their passion is irresistible,” Black said. “Whether you are a seasoned or an aspiring gardener, you’ll enjoy the chance to connect with fellow plant lovers and to learn

from their knowledge and experience. Plant enthusiasts love sharing ideas and inspiration.” Members of the Friends will enjoy in-person priority shopping at the sale on Friday, Sept. 10, from 4-5:30 p.m. Members will also receive their annual member plant gift: a hydrangea serrata, or “Blue Billow,” courtesy of Leaf & Petal garden shop. Shoppers are encouraged to bring portable shopping carts to the sale. Attendees can check the event website — — prior to the sale for updates regarding COVID-19 safety protocols.

September 2021 • B23

Calendar 280 Area Events Thursdays: GriefShare. 7-8:45 p.m. Faith Church, 4601 Valleydale Road. For those who have lost a spouse, parent, sibling, child or other close family member. Trained facilitators who have experienced similar grief will lead the meetings, which will be online and at Faith Church. Join any time during the 14-week series. For college ages or older. Registration fee: $20 (includes workbook and refreshments). For more information or to register, email or visit Sept. 18: Hold the Fort 5K and 10K. 8 a.m. Oak Mountain State Park. Hosted by Blanket Fort Hope, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to restoring child survivors of human trafficking, with proceeds going toward the construction of the nonprofit’s restorative therapeutic housing center. For more information, visit

Chelsea Public Library

North Shelby Library North Shelby will be closed Sept. 5-6 for Labor Day. Registration link: FAMILY/ALL AGES Sept. 1 through Nov. 30: Autumn Family Geocaching Scavenger Hunt. The library provides clues and GPS coordinates along with pictures and written clues to find items at a local outdoor location. Registered teams of one to six family members with adult supervision required. Registration required. Sept. 1-30: Celebrate Mr. Mac Storyteller Extraordinaire. Philip "Mr. Mac, Storyteller Extraordinaire" MacEntee is retiring from his Mr. Mac Storytime. Stop by the children's department during the month of September to sign a community thank you card or write or draw letters to Mr. Mac. CHILDREN Beginning Sept. 1: Activity Bundles for Pre-K through first grade. Each activity bundle comes with a themed picture book to borrow and a free activity bundle to keep with worksheets to promote literacy skills for children in preschool, kindergarten and first grade. Visit the children's department to pick up a bundle. Beginning Sept. 1: Monthly Craft Kitto-Go. Create a jeweled autumn ornament. Visit the children's department to pick up a kit. Beginning Sept. 1: Monthly STEM Kitto-Go. Build a puff ball launcher. Tuesdays: Tech Tuesdays. 3:30 p.m. Weekly drop-in with tech-based activity.

Hangout. 1 p.m. Virtual trivia game with questions about reptiles and amphibians. Registration required.

6 p.m. In person. Registration required.

Sept. 15: K-5th Homeschool Art Craft Kit-to-Go. 1 p.m. Paper chain snake art. Registration required.

Sept. 11: Teen Volunteer Day. Help the library and earn community service hours. Registration required.

TWEENS (AGES 8-12) Beginning Sept. 1: Tween Activity Kit. Decorate your own picture frame. Tuesdays: Tween Minecrafternoons. 4 p.m. Registration required. Sept. 9: Tween Writing Club with Ms. Emma. 4 p.m. Join YA fantasy author Emma Fox for a fun writing club just for tweens. Snacks provided. In person and via Zoom. Registration required. Sept. 16: Choose Your Own Adventure Book Club. 4 p.m. Registration required. Ages 8-12. STORYTIME PROGRAMMING Sept. 8 and 22: Virtual Zoom Storytime. 10 a.m. Registration required.  Sept. 23: Virtual Zoom Pajama Jam Storytime. 6:30 p.m. Registration required. TEENS Sept. 2: Teen Dungeons and Dragons.

Sept. 15: K-5th Homeschool

Sept. 6: Teen Chess Club. 4 p.m. Practice and learn new chess skills.

Sept. 11: Teen Game Night: Among Us IRL. 6 p.m. In person. Sept. 15: Teen Homeschool Hangout – 3D Printing. 1 p.m. Registration required. Sept. 15: Teen Homeschool Art Kitto-Go. 2 p.m. Registration required. ADULTS Sept. 13: “Reading in the Trees” Virtual Painting Kit-to-Go. Registration required. Pick up a to-go kit. Sept. 14 and 28: Language Club. 6 p.m. For those who want to practice with like-minded individuals who all have the same goal of improving their language education. Sept. 21 and Sept. 23: Doodle & Paint Animal Portrait. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and 6 p.m. Thursday. Registration required. Sept. 16: NSL Book Club. 10:30 a.m. Meeting in person and via Zoom, discussing “Deacon King Kong” by James McBride. Registration required. Sept. 21: True Crime Digital Book Club. 6 p.m. Covering true crime books and documentaries. Registration required.

KIDS/TWEENS Thursdays: Tot Time. 10:30 a.m. Outdoor patio. Join Mrs. Emily for stories, music, games and more.

Mt Laurel Library

Sept. 11: LEGO Day. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 13: Teen Book Club. 5 p.m. Join Mrs. Amy for a book discussion and a free dinner. Sept. 14: Virtual Music and Books Club. 5:30 p.m. Online music and books club with Ms. Samantha.

Mt Laurel Library will be closed Sept. 5-6 for Labor Day. FAMILY

Sept. 25: KZT Hands On S.T.E.A.M. Day. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sept. 13-17: Roald Dahl Scavenger Hunt. Celebrate Roald Dahl’s birthday by stopping by the library to participate in a Scavenger Hunt. One participant will win Chrissie and Emily’s favorite Roald Dahl books.



Sept. 9: Book Club. 10 a.m. Outdoor patio. Discussing “Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger. Sept. 13: Medicare Info. Outdoor patio. Get answers to Medicare questions.

Sept. 3 and 17. Mt Laurel Toddler Tales. 10 a.m. Story program for 19-36 months and a caregiver. Programming will be in person outside weather permitting. Masks are encouraged. Due to social distancing, space is limit-

Let us help spread the news! Email to submit your announcement.

ed. Registration required.

meeting room.

Sept. 11: Crafty Saturday. 10 a.m. All ages with parent help. Registration is not required but supplies are limited.

Sept. 23: Tween Stress Relief. 4 p.m. Make calming glitter jars and water bead stress balls. Registration required.

Sept. 18: Dynamic Education Adventures. 2 p.m. Super Science Show. Limited attendance. Registration required. Sept. 25: LEGO Club. 11 a.m. Explore, create and build with LEGO and DUPLO blocks. TWEENS Sept. 2: Tween Clay Challenge. 4-6 p.m. Clay and challenges will be available in the

ADULTS Beginning Sept. 1: Tiny Art Show. Pick up a tiny canvas to paint and return to the library by Sept. 20. For teens and adults. Registration not required, supplies limited. Sept. 9: Mt Laurel Book Club. 7 p.m. Discussing “Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto” by Tilar J. Mazzeo.



Sports C5


Schoolhouse C11 Education Guide C14 Real Estate C19


Climbing a Hill By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE as 1-2-3 Easy

Former UM baseball player opens sports facility in Chelsea as 1-2-3 Easy 1 YEAR






From having only about 30 at bats in high school to now owning a baseball training facility, Andrew Hill has come a long way. Hill began his business in December 2019 and opened the Omri Training Facility in September 2020. A former walk-on for the University of Montevallo baseball team, Hill went on to earn a scholarship and became a captain and a twoyear starter in his time with the team. Hill has had an interesting road to get him to where he is today, starting with playing defense on the varsity team at Pelham High School and walking on at the University of Montevallo. “I played shortstop [in high school], and that’s all I would do,” he said. “They would DH [designated hitter] for me.” Looking back, Hill said he never hit because he didn’t know what he was trying to do. Although his role was embarrassing in high school, he said, he wouldn’t trade the experience because he wouldn’t have had the chance to walk on at Montevallo, play for head coach Chandler Rose and have what he has today. “They want you to hit the ball hard, but no one explained to me how to do that. That’s the big difference when I got to college,” he said. “I started learning and understanding, and being around great people is when [my hitting] really took off.” Being surrounded by good guys and good coaches, Hill said, is when the transition in his baseball career began. He went from being a

See HILL | page C4

Andrew Hill, founder of Omri Training Facility in Chelsea, tosses balls to Nolan Forehand, a middle infielder at Lawson State Community College and Chelsea High School graduate, during an Aug. 4 hitting lesson. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Take a stand against vein disease.

Your Leg Pain Can’t Wait How do you know if you are suffering from vein disease? Answer these questions: Do you have ankle and/or leg swelling? Do you have a dull ache or heaviness in the legs after standing or sitting for long periods of time? Do you have tired legs? Do you have enlarged veins close to the surface of your skin? Do you have changes in skin color including brown, red or pink areas? Do your legs feel leathery or itchy? The Vein Clinic at Cardiovascular Associates (CVA) is here for you. Under the direction of Dr. Tom Eagan and Deborah Riemer, PAC, RPhS, our team is committed to treating your leg pain, diagnosing your condition and working with you on a solution for recovery.

3980 Colonnade Pkwy. • Birmingham, AL 35243

To make an appointment, call 205-541-6074 or visit

C2 • September 2021

280 Living

Let’s get started! The best time to start your paint project is now. Come in today to The best time to start your paint project is now. find room your new favorite room color. Come in today to find your new favorite color. Let’s Get Started!

Shop your favorite Benjamin Moore® colors. Dunnavant Valley Ace Hardware 300 Carlow Ln Ste 108 Birmingham, AL 35242 (205) 980-7221 | Web

©2019 Benjamin Moore & Co. Aura, ben, Benjamin Moore, Color Lock, Gennex, Regal, and the triangle “M” symbol are registered trademarks licensed to Benjamin Moore & Co. All other marks are the property of their respective owner. 10/19

The All New

Dunnavant Valley Ace Hardware 300 Carlow Ln Ste 108, Birmingham, AL 35242 (located on Hwy 41 next to Piggly Wiggly) (205) 980-7221 Open 7 Days a Week

September 2021 • C3

Live easy on Lay Lake Z Custom built 3 Bedroom 2.5 Baths 4 Bedroom 3.5 Baths

Z Only 5 minutes away from world class golf at FarmLinks at Purcell Farms

Z Built with high quality products & finishes

Z Private swimming pool

Z Solid stone counter tops, custom cabinets, stainless appliances

Z Private boat launch & dock space

Z Main level garages

Z Phase one SOLD OUT

Z Unfinished daylight basement and/or lakeside garage access for water craft storage

Z Only four homes remaining

Z Private & secure gated community

Z HOA maintained community

Z Homes available for move in October 1!

Live The Harbor at Lay Lake Life A L u x u r y Tow n h o m e D e ve l o p m e n t


Ca l l to d ay to s c h e d u l e yo u r p e rs o n a l to u r of o u r m o d e l h o m e !

CHRISTIE HECKMAN 205-706-4444 KARL HECKMAN 205-492-5669

340 Mickey Lane, Sylacauga

Fall Roofing Tips: 1. General Leaks - Check for water stains on your ceilings and in your attic. Pay close attention to places where vents penetrate your roof and where two roofing slopes form a valley. 2. Damaged Shingles - After violent winds, look for missing, lifted, warped or curled shingles. Also check for branches on your roof and shingle fragments in your yard. Shingles have a 12-15 year life and should be inspected frequently after year 10. 3. Gutter Issues - Clogged or damaged gutters redirect the natural flow of water. Both the weight of the gutters and the water flow can cause major roofing issues if left unaddressed. 4. Chimney Issues - Whether you used your fireplace over the winter or not, the winter season is hard on your chimney. Deteriorating chimneys are notorious for causing leaks and should be checked regularly. 5. Critters - Animals become more active in the spring. Hearing critters in your attic could indicate a hole or other damage to your roof.

Cardinal Roofing owner, Adam Winger, with his wife, Casey, and their three children.

C4 • September 2021

280 Living

Andrew Hill, founder of Omri Training Facility in Chelsea, pitches balls to Nolan Forehand, a middle infielder at Lawson State Community College and Chelsea High School graduate, during an Aug. 4 hitting lesson. Hill and his team have more than 100 kids come through their doors every week, ranging in age from 6 to college athletes. Photos by Erin Nelson.


CONTINUED from page C1 good player to being a great player. He became a student of the game, began switch hitting and didn’t miss a day of hitting for four years. “I had a pretty good college career for someone who maybe shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Having not learned a lot when I was actually playing set me up for what I’m doing now,” he said. After his college career ended, Hill stayed away from baseball for an entire year, not even watching games on television. “It kind of hurt to have something taken away, and I didn’t know how to cope with it,” he said. Hill’s uncle asked him to come watch his fifth grade cousin, Nolan, play, and Hill said he felt like he needed to go. Nolan then asked him if he would work with him because he wanted to play college ball just like his cousin had. Hill began working with Nolan, who recently graduated; this year, he will be attending the University of South Alabama as a pitcher on the baseball team. “It went full circle: I thought I was helping him, but he was helping me,” Hill said. “That decision of him asking that question put me on the path I’m on now.” He began working with a friend of Nolan’s, who like himself, hadn’t hit much in high school. After two years, his team went on to be state champions, and he also ended up playing college baseball. “I realized I can help a lot of people who, like me, were looking for someone to help them,” Hill said. He soon had more clients in the Chelsea area. His day job wasn’t going well. After he and his wife talked about him doing training as a full-time gig, he decided to go for it. He said she never doubted him, and it was the biggest decision they had made as a couple. “I heard someone talking about what is the value of happiness,” he said, “and I was chasing a lot of things that seemed

great, trying to make more money, but what if I could do what I loved and be content?” Hill said he doesn’t know how it happened, but his business began to grow, so much so that he needed his own space. He came across a building in Chelsea, checked it out and quickly knew that was the spot for him. Soon, Hill went from working with a bunch of Chelsea kids to working with more than 70 kids from 10 different high schools, plus 15 to 20 college players or college commits. He said working with 85 guys on his own became overwhelming and he realized he needed more of a work-life balance. It was then he asked his former teammate, Will Fulmer, to join him. Fulmer, who specializes in hitting, pitching and infield, came on board in January. He was a four-year starter at the University of Montevallo and selected by the New York Mets in the 2014 MLB Draft. After his playing career, Fulmer became a national scout for Prospect Wire Baseball before moving on to work with the Miami Marlins in its youth baseball and softball departments, focusing on development of youth programs, leagues and clinics in the south Florida area. Hill recently added a third staff member, Trey Santos, who was also drafted into MLB in 2013 by the San Diego Padres. Santos will be working as a hitting and pitching instructor. With the continued growth, Hill decided to more than double the facility’s size and expand Omri’s building off Old U.S. 280 in Chelsea. They also have sliding nets that have capabilities to go from one to five cages at any given time. Hill and his team have more than 100 kids come through the Omri doors every week, ranging in age from 6 to college athletes. “It’s been super humbling and crazy to see how much it’s grown,” Hill said. “[I was] a guy who didn’t hit in high school and now I help kids understand how to hit. When you love something and want to be good at it, you have to put in the effort and make it happen.” For more information, visit

Left: Hill and Nolan discuss hitting techniques. Below: Nolan practices in a batting cage at Omri Training Facility, which features sliding nets that have capabilities to go from one to five cages at any given time.

September 2021 • C5


Grateful coaches F

ootball coaches are routineoriented by nature. Aside from the health concerns brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone’s normal schedule was completely thrown out the window last fall. Many coaches admitted to learning the value of certain aspects of preseason camp, team building activities and much more. The 2020 season definitely included many obstacles, including the absence of spring practices, teams not being able to meet in full and the forfeiture of games due to COVID-19 issues. The hope is the 2021 season is void of those game cancellations and the season is able to go off without a hitch. One thing all coaches agree on is the relief of being able to get back to doing certain things, such as going through spring practice and having the entire team together throughout the summer months leading up to the season. Here’s what some of the local coaches had to say about the challenges and lessons learned from last fall and the excitement level of getting back into that routine they are so accustomed to:

Last year, I just scrapped the calendar. Every Sunday I’d sit down and send a weekly email to the parents and that would change four or five times. To get through what we did last year, it was amazing. SHAWN RANEY, SPAIN PARK

Considering everything we went through with COVID and having a new [coaching] staff, it’s pretty remarkable, because we didn’t have a lot of time, didn’t have spring practice, didn’t have a lot of time to get the team to jel, no opportunity to get the team bonding. A lot of it was done right there at the fieldhouse and on the field. It was very special. It was probably my most memorable year in football.


It’s really good to be able to get everybody together. That was a big hurdle that everybody had to face last year and it never made the season feel normal. There’s a lot of culture and team building that you’re able to do now that you weren’t able to do before. The game is about team and together. DUSTIN GOODWIN, CHELSEA

It’s been great. I’m tickled to death that we have to work around construction as opposed to working around something we don’t know the end point (the pandemic). It’s so refreshing. We learned a lot from COVID. We’re still taking a lot of the learning techniques and teaching techniques from that. We still do Zoom calls with our players on days we don’t have practice. There’s a lot of great things that came from that. The most incredible thing if you were a football player that you learned, your life kept going. You were figuring out trying to find a way to move forward. What a great lesson that was.


That’s the hardest part of human nature, because last summer was the greatest summer ever in terms of gratitude and working together. But as you get into a routine, a lot of people tend to forget that. It’s still something I’ve tried to bring up a couple times this summer, aren’t we grateful to be out here this summer? MATTHEW FORESTER, BRIARWOOD

C6 • September 2021

280 Living

Taking the reins New coaches take over pair of Region 3 programs By KYLE PARMLEY There are a couple new high school football coaches in the Starnes Media coverage area this fall, both of them in Class 7A, Region 3. At Vestavia Hills, Sean Calhoun has the daunting task of following Buddy Anderson, who the field at Thompson Reynolds Stadium is named for. Tyler Crane is attempting to help Oak Mountain build upon one of its best seasons in school history in 2020, after Cris Bell left to take the job at Scottsboro. Here’s a look at how they got there and plan to attack the 2021 season.


Sean Calhoun, the new Vestavia Hills High School head football coach, stands at the 50-yard-line at Buddy Anderson Field. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Calhoun’s football life has taken him to places near and far, but his new gig will be his first experience in the state of Alabama. He coached in the high school ranks in the state of Georgia the last several years, serving as an assistant coach at Berrien, Collins Hill and Colquitt County — coached by former Hoover High School head coach Rush Propst — before landing his first head coaching job at Carrollton. He was the offensive coordinator for a Colquitt County team that went 30-0 across his two seasons there, winning a couple state titles along the way. At Carrollton, he won 51 games over the last five years, each year advancing to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. No matter who took over at Vestavia Hills,

I’m going to continue the foundation and fundamentals of coaching and running a successful program with loyalty, honesty, hard work, pride and being committed.


following the legendary career and legacy of Anderson would be no small task. Although he has never coached in this area before, Calhoun is getting brought up to speed quickly on how Anderson was able to have such a strong impact on his players and the community. He has no desire to alter that foundation. “I’m going to continue the foundation and fundamentals of coaching and running a successful program with loyalty, honesty, hard work, pride and being committed,” Calhoun said. “A man is not going to be somewhere 43 years as the head coach unless he’s doing things the right way.”

September 2021 • C7

I have worked my whole life for this moment. It’s a big deal to me. I take a lot of pride in what I do.


Although, Calhoun knows he cannot do things exactly the way Anderson did things. Each person is unique and leads in a different manner. But the pillars that the Rebels’ program has been built on will not change, he said. “The things you see on Friday night may look a little different, but the effort is still going to be the same. The commitment to winning is still going to be the same,” Calhoun said.


Crane nearly passed out when he got the phone call. He has long strived to be a head coach, and Oak Mountain is the place he will get his first shot to be just that. “I have worked my whole life for this moment,” Crane said. “It’s a big deal to me. I take a lot of pride in what I do.” Crane’s coaching career has been a winding road to this point, taking him across the state. One of those stops was Oak Mountain, where he served as an assistant coach for two years, 2016-17. He graduated from Jacksonville State University and has coached at Sand Rock, Winterboro, Cherokee County (twice), Foley, Northridge and most recently Central-Phenix City. He spent last year as part of Patrick Nix’s staff at Central. Taking over a program he is already familiar with is something Crane counts as a great benefit. “It helps a ton,” he said. “I know what kind of community we have. I know some of the things that we can make better. I know all that

Tyler Crane, the new head football coach at Oak Mountain High School, at the Oak Mountain football stadium at Heardmont Park.

going into it.” In Bell’s tenure, Oak Mountain was known for its run-heavy, option-based offensive attack. Crane plans to be malleable to fit what his players do best. “I want to make sure I can put these guys in

the best scenario possible,” Crane said. Upon getting that life-changing phone call from Oak Mountain Principal Dr. Kristi Sayers, Crane immediately called wife Megan to deliver the exciting news. “We love the Birmingham area,” Crane said.


C8 • September 2021

280 Living

Right: Briarwood’s Mae Shaw (21) returns the ball as Mountain Brook’s Greer Golden (5) blocks the ball at the net in a 2020 match at Briarwood Christian School. Far right: Oak Mountain’s Kathryn Smith (12) sets the ball during a match against Hoover on Oct. 6 at Hoover High School. Photos by Erin Nelson.

High school volleyball preview Jaguars, Eagles, Lions, Hornets aiming to build on last season By KYLE PARMLEY

coaches and athletes. We’re ready,” Burgess said.

High school volleyball season is here, with schools up and down the U.S. 280 corridor looking to put together strong 2021 campaigns. Spain Park is aiming to back up its Class 7A state runner-up finish last fall, Oak Mountain and Briarwood are continuing to build under second-year coaches and Chelsea has a new coach, Jamie Gill.



Hannah Josey was encouraged by the progress she witnessed last fall. In her first season as the Briarwood Christian School head coach, the Lions improved throughout the season. She wants to continue to see that progress in the development of the players that she has back this season. “It was a lot of learning who I have,” Josey said. “We did a fairly good job. This year, we’ve upped it a little bit. If you’re on varsity, you should be able to do a little bit tougher things and hopefully we can throw in some different things.” Josey sees the Lions being more than capable of doing those tougher things. “This team is smart,” she said. “I can throw in something different and they are going to be able to pick up on it. Their volleyball IQ is very high.” The Lions have four seniors this year, including Mae Shaw. She steps in as the team’s primary outside hitter after playing different positions last year. Sarah Frances McLoud is a senior setter, while Claire Lehane and Emma Ward are defensive specialists. Bradford Latta and Lindsey Butler are middles, Stella Helms hits on the right side, Jolee Giadrosich and Colleen Lehane are setters, Caroline Jones and Katherine Jones are defensive players and Lindsey Weight is an outside hitter. Briarwood has no easy road this season, playing in Class 6A, Area 9 with Mountain Brook, Chelsea and Homewood. “We are excited about it, but also

Left: Chelsea’s Emma Pohlmann (17) sends the ball over the net in a 2020 match against Hoover. Right: Spain Park’s Brooke Gober (14) spikes the ball in a September 2020 match against Hoover.

we know the talent level we’re playing against. I believe when it comes time to play, we’ll be prepared to play,” Josey said.


Jamie Gill has been here before, literally. This fall, she takes over as the Chelsea High School volleyball coach, a position she once held for six years. Previous head coach Jessica Pickett was promoted to an administrative position at Chelsea and Gill was hired to take the reins of a program at the height of its power. The Hornets advanced to the state tournament as recently as 2019. “It’s exciting to get to build from a higher place than from the bottom,” Gill said. “I’m very thankful for all the work [Coach] Pickett has done to get them where they are and to see if I can keep them going in the right direction.” While many of the top players from that 2019 team have since graduated, the Hornets still look the part of a contender. Over the summer, many coaches noted their impressive performances at team camps and in a summer league at Hoover. “We’ve got a lot of talent,” Gill conceded. Gill has two of the strongest

outside hitters in the area in junior Emma Pohlmann and freshman Lauren Buchanan. “They’re both standout all-around skill players. They’ll definitely lead our team offensively,” Gill said. Landi Rutledge returns as a middle, as well as libero Anna Sartin. Madison Moore and Morgan Martin both got plenty of time setting last fall and are back for another season. Addy Evans and Mackenzie Pierce are back on the right side. Ava Morris, Mary Kendyl Dojonovic, Reagan Sartin, Danielle Sulenski, Carsyn Polk and Ashley Washington will also be expected to step into roles as well. Chelsea plays in one of the most difficult areas in the state, with Class 6A, Area 9 boasting Mountain Brook, Homewood and Briarwood. “Everybody in our area knows that we have to play at a really high level to come out of area, because we have several strong teams to compete against,” Gill said.


Grace Burgess has simple daily expectations for her Oak Mountain High School volleyball team. “Work hard every day, be disciplined, be grateful and show growth,” she said.

In her first year as the Eagles coach, Burgess laid the foundation for what she wants her program to look like. This year, it’s time to take the next step. “Year one, I was coming in and making relationships so that they would know me. Year two, there is a higher level of expectation and the execution of our plan. They hold themselves accountable to do that every day,” she said. Jayni Thompson and Kathryn Smith participated in the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game in Montgomery in July and are two of six seniors expected to lead the way for Oak Mountain this year. Olivia Steed, Makenzie Price, Smith and Nora Ohlson joined Burgess at the Over the Mountain Volleyball Media Day event and echoed largely the same sentiments. “We have worked a lot harder than any other year,” Ohlson said. Smith added, “We’re a lot more competitive. Knowing that we have a hard area, we just have more drive behind us and more energy and effort.” In Area 5, Oak Mountain will go up against the likes of Hoover and Thompson, two of the preseason favorites in Class 7A, along with Tuscaloosa County. “It’s just unreal to be able to play against those types of teams and

Many have named the Spain Park High School volleyball team as one of the preseason favorites in Class 7A. For good reason. The Jaguars put together the best season in school history in 2020, finishing as the state runner-up to crosstown rival Hoover. They also return many of the key players from that team and should be one of the top teams yet again. But head coach Kellye Bowen is having none of it. She knows what her team is capable of, but she is guarding heavily against losing the edge and hunger required to put together another great season. “Our goal is to get one percent better every day,” Bowen said. “Wherever that lands us, it lands us. Our goal is to get better every single day.” The conversation for Spain Park starts with Florida State University commit Audrey Rothman. Bowen believes Rothman is not only the top player in the state at the moment, but that “Audrey is one of the best players to ever play in Alabama high school volleyball.” Emily Breazeale is another outside hitter who supplies Spain Park with plenty of offense as well. She stepped up in some of the biggest moments last year, including registering 19 kills in the semifinal win over McGill-Toolen. Rothman is one of five seniors on the team. Paige Ingersoll is a versatile player Bowen believes is due for a breakout season. Olivia Myers is a middle blocker, while Brooke Gober and Bella Halyard can play multiple positions. The rest of the varsity roster is composed of juniors. McKinney Shea, Brooklyn Allison, Lilly Johnson, Ashley Fowler, Macie Thompson, Haley Thompson and Nora Dawson will look to lift the Jags to another strong season. Spain Park competes in Area 6 with Vestavia Hills, Hewitt-Trussville and Gadsden City.

September 2021 • C9

Hoover native Tedder to play final year at Samford By KYLE PARMLEY There’s one final chapter in the playing career of Mary Katherine “MK” Tedder. After spending the past four years playing at the University of Texas, the Hoover native is returning home to play her final season for Samford. Tedder was granted a fifth year of eligibility due to the NCAA’s decision to allow all spring athletes an additional year, stemming from the 2020 campaign that was cut short due to COVID-19. “My excitement level would probably be through the roof,” Tedder said. There are many benefits to Tedder playing her final season at Samford, chief of those being the fact that her family and friends will be able to see her play much more frequently. “It means a lot to me and my family that I get to play in front of them a lot more, instead of them having to miss work,” she said. “It’s exciting for me to be able to play in front of friends and family and also do it at a university I’ve grown up hearing about and going to games.” Samford recently announced the hire of new head coach Kimball Cassady, who spent the last 11 seasons as the head coach at Birmingham-Southern College. In her time with the Panthers, Cassady's teams posted a record of 319-126-1. Tedder said Cassady’s call came soon after her hire. Once she extended Tedder a scholarship offer, the decision to commit came quickly. “As soon as she offered me, I decided that’s where I wanted to go,” Tedder said. Tedder will spend her final collegiate year playing less than 10 miles away from where she starred at Spain Park High School. She completed her prep career with a .433 batting average, 276 hits, 221 runs scored, 57 doubles, 17 triples, 36 home runs, 214 runs batted in, 32 stolen bases and 97 walks. As a junior in 2016, she led Spain Park to a second-place finish at the state tournament with a school record 20 homers and 70 RBIs on the season. She received several accolades

Texas outfielder MK Tedder gets ready to field a ball. Tedder, a native of Hoover and alumna of Spain Park High School, is transferring to Samford University this fall and will join the Bulldogs on the field this spring. Photo courtesy of the University of Texas.

that season, including NFCA second-team All-American, USA Today second-team All-American, MaxPreps and was the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) Alabama Class 7A Player of the Year. She was also a finalist for Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior. At Texas, Tedder put together a solid career. She started 59 games at third base as a freshman in 2018 before playing in the outfield primarily over her final three seasons. One of her

career highlights included a game-tying home run against Alabama in the Tuscaloosa Super Regional. She also hit over .300 in each of her final two seasons. Tedder said she loved her time in Austin and will always cherish it. “It was honestly all you could’ve dreamed of, because you dream of that as a little kid to play Power 5 ball,” she said. “I’m very grateful for my time there because I had the time of my life.”

There are a handful of players on Samford’s roster from the Birmingham area who Tedder competed with and against over the years. She also played travel ball growing up with Timberlyn Shurbutt. Tedder used the word bittersweet when describing what she hopes is a successful final season of college ball, but she’s certainly looking forward to playing in front of friends and family and giving back to the game and community she loves.

I n d e p en d en t Li vi n g , A s s i s ted L iv ing & Mem or y C a re NOW OPEN ASK ABOUT OUR MOVE IN SPECIALS We offer an outstanding quality of life for our active residents as well as those who might need more assistance and care as they age. Featuring a robust activity calendar and delicious restaurant-style dining, our beautiful community is designed to serve seniors and their families.

At Phoenix, When it comes to your loved one, everything matters!

Call our Sales Team at ( 20 5 ) 379 - 0 322 to schedule your personal tour

C10 • September 2021

280 Living

Varsity Sports Calendar FOOTBALL BRIARWOOD Sept. 3: vs. Chelsea. 7 p.m. Sept. 10: @ Woodlawn. 7 p.m. Sept. 16: @ Huffman. 7 p.m. Sept. 24: vs. Mortimer Jordan. 7 p.m. Sept. 13: vs. Benjamin Russell, Shades Valley. 4:30 p.m.

CHELSEA Sept. 3: @ Briarwood. 7 p.m.

Sept. 16: vs. Mountain Brook. 6 p.m.

Sept. 28: vs. Briarwood. 6 p.m.

Sept. 9: vs. Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m.

Sept. 30: vs. Homewood. 6 p.m.

Sept. 14: @ Thompson. 6 p.m.


Sept. 16: @ McGill-Toolen. 4 p.m.

Sept. 24: vs. Pelham. 7 p.m.

Sept. 18: Supreme Courts. Guntersville High School.

Sept. 2: vs. Briarwood. 6 p.m.

Sept. 21: vs. Vestavia Hills. 6 p.m.


Sept. 21: @ John Carroll. 6 p.m.

Sept. 7: @ Vestavia Hills. 6 p.m.

Sept. 23: @ Mountain Brook. 6 p.m.

Sept. 3: vs. Gadsden City. 7 p.m.

Sept. 23: vs. Homewood. 6 p.m.

Sept. 9: @ Pelham. 6 p.m.

Sept. 10: @ Vestavia Hills. 7 p.m.

Sept. 28: @ Chelsea. 6 p.m.

Sept. 10-11: Bayside Tournament. Bayside Academy.

Sept. 24-25: HeffStrong Tournament. Finley Center.

Sept. 17: vs. Hoover. 7 p.m.



Sept. 3-4: Foley Labor Day Classic. Foley High School.

Sept. 16: @ Hoover. 6 p.m.

Sept. 7: @ Briarwood. 6 p.m.

Sept. 21: @ Tuscaloosa County. 6 p.m.

Sept. 9: vs. Alexandria, Lincoln. Alexandria High School. 4 p.m.

Sept. 23: vs. Thompson. 6 p.m.

Sept. 2: Warrior 2 Mile Invitational. Thompson High School.

Sept. 10-11: Rocky Top Classic. TBD.

Sept. 24-25: HeffStrong Tournament. Finley Center.

Sept. 11: Chickasaw Trails Invitational. Oakville Indian Mounds Park.

Sept. 14: vs. Mountain Brook. 6 p.m.

Sept. 28: vs. Jasper. 6 p.m.

Sept. 18: The Southern Showcase. John Hunt Running Park.

Sept. 16: @ Homewood. 6 p.m.

Sept. 30: vs. Tuscaloosa County. 6 p.m. SPAIN PARK

Sept. 18: Oak Mountain High School Invitational. Heardmont Park.

Sept. 7: vs. Chelsea. 6 p.m.

Sept. 18: Husky Challenge. Hewitt-Trussville High School.

Sept. 9: @ Homewood. 6 p.m.

Sept. 23: vs. Pelham. 6 p.m.

Sept. 1-4: Nike Tournament of Champions. Orlando.

Sept. 25: Spain Park Twilight Meet. Veterans Park.

Sept. 10: vs. Homewood. 7 p.m.

Sept. 3: @ Hewitt-Trussville. 7 p.m. Sept. 10: @ Thompson. 7 p.m. Sept. 17: vs. Gadsden City. 7 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL BRIARWOOD Sept. 2: @ Oak Mountain. 6 p.m.

Love Where

You Live!

Angelia Spraberry, Allied ASID 659.207.0735 • Fine & Custom Furnishings • Bedding • Lighting & Accessories Wall Coverings • Window Treatments • Area Rugs

Sept. 14: vs. Homewood. 6 p.m.

Sept. 28: @ Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m. Sept. 30: @ Hoover. 6 p.m.


September 2021 • C11

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

Property, sales tax revenues up for Shelby schools By JON ANDERSON Revenues for the Shelby County Board of Education are expected to come in stronger in 2022 than in 2021, but the school board plans to spend less in 2022, according to a proposed budget. The school system expects revenues of $289 million in fiscal 2022, which begins Oct. 1, compared to $280 million in 2021, records show. The school system’s chief financial officer, John Gwin, said property and sales tax revenues have been strong in 2021, and he expects that to continue in 2022. With tight demand in the housing market, home values have been increasing, resulting in increased property tax revenues. The school system expects to receive $66.5 million in local property tax revenues in 2022, compared to $64.6 million in 2021. Also, sales tax revenues are expected to be $13.9 million, up 28% from $10.9 million in 2021. Meanwhile, the school system plans to spend $298 million in 2022, compared to $300 million in 2021. School system leaders expect to end fiscal 2022 with $44.6 million in the bank, which is enough to cover school system expenses for 1.45 months. The state recommends school systems keep enough money in the bank to cover at least one month’s worth of expenses. One noteworthy increase in expenditures is in salaries and benefits. The state Legislature approved a 2% raise for employees in steps 0-8 on the pay scale and 2-4% raises for employees on steps 9 or higher, Gwin said. Those raises and 27.5 new positions added since the 2021 budget originally was passed will cost Shelby County Schools an extra $6.42 million, and the school system will have to come up with about $1.05 million of that from local funds, Gwin said. The rest of the increase is covered by state and federal funds, he said. About 88% of the budget for Shelby County Schools goes toward salaries and benefits. Also in the 2022 budget is about $41 million worth of capital projects, including $38 million worth of construction projects announced

Revenues for the Shelby County Board of Education are expected to come in stronger in 2022 than in 2021, but the school board plans to spend less in 2022, according to a proposed budget. Photo courtesy Shelby County Board of Education.

in February. Those projects include about 80 additional classrooms in communities across the county that have experienced growth. Projects for schools in the 280 Living coverage area include: ► 10 classrooms at Chelsea Park Elementary ► Classroom renovations at Chelsea Middle  ► Expanded student parking lot and paving at Chelsea High  ► New fine arts building and renovations of existing rooms at Oak Mountain High The school system also will be making use of additional state and federal funds being provided for COVID-19 relief and recovery. The state is giving Shelby County a one-time allocation of $3.5 million to make up for funds lost due to decreased enrollment numbers associated with the pandemic, Gwin said. The federal government has also dispatched

additional funding to help with projects to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 disease and instructional efforts designed to deal with learning loss associated with the pandemic. Some of that money already has been spent, but school districts have until September 2024 to spend the rest, Gwin said. Here are a few other noteworthy items in the budget pointed out by Gwin: ► The state increased funding for each teacher’s supplies from $500 to $700 and funding for each teacher’s technology from $350 to $500. ► The state increased funding for school nurses in Shelby County by $166,000, from $765,926 to $932,311. Shelby County has at least one nurse for each school, plus some floaters, Gwin said. ► State funding to help at-risk students in

Shelby County fell by $62,000, from $404,788 to $343,172. ► Money from the state Advancement and Technology Fund for capital projects dealing with technology, transportation, operations and maintenance increased by $346,000, from $5.56 million to $5.91 million. ► State funding is tied to enrollment. Shelby County Schools started this school year with about 18,840 students, records show. ► The school system started this school year with 2,906 employees, including 1,417 teachers, 1,278 non-certified support personnel (office staff, custodians, lunchroom workers, bus drivers, etc.), 108 administrators, 50 counselors, 34 librarians and 19 certified support personnel, such as curriculum specialists. The school board plans to vote on the 2022 budget Sept. 16.

BOE approves supervisor position, reviews financial reports By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE The Shelby County Board of Education held its last meeting before the new school year began July 29. Superintendent Lewis Brooks said during his report that back-to-school administration meetings were held July 21 and 22 and were great days of fellowship and learning. “It’s the first meeting we have all been in one room in last year,” Brooks said. “We are working on leadership development this year and are excited about that training.” He also mentioned the most recent flooding that happened at the Shelby County Instructional Services Center in Alabaster. He thanked all those who helped for their hard work and said they are analyzing the damage and working with an architect about the flooding problem. The board approved Elizabeth Fuller as the supervisor of federal programs. Fuller has 21 years of experience in education and currently serves as the school improvement/federal programs supervisor for Shelby County Schools. “Thank you all for giving me this opportunity,” Fuller said.”It’s a blessing and honor to work in Shelby County Schools and there’s no

better place to be.” Supervisor of Accounting and Finance Lacey Motes gave the financial reports for the month of June. The unreserved fund balance was $40,508,748.02. She said that at this point in the year, about 75% of the budget has been spent. So far, 72% of the general fund of the budget has been spent, 66% of the special revenue fund has been spent and 88% of the debt service has been spent, most of which is scheduled for February. In reviewing the local tax revenue comparison from last year, Motes said categories across the board have increased: ► Property tax is up 4.8% ► Car tag revenue is up 13.1% ► Sales tax is up 23.52% ► Alcohol beverage tax is up 2.77% The board also: ► Approved personnel actions ► Approved bus subs and aides ► Rejected a bid for the batting practice facility at Shelby County High School. The project was due to storm damage last school year that destroyed the batting cages. None of the three contractor quotes that were submitted were within budget.

Members of the Shelby County Board of Education, along with Superintendent Lewis Brooks, right, discuss items during its July 29 meeting. Photo by Leah Ingram Eagle.

C12 • September 2021

280 Living

Hilltop Montessori welcomes new head of school By ERIC TAUNTON Dave DeHarde was hired as the new head of School at Hilltop Montessori School in March, bringing almost 20 years of experience working in Montessori schools in Virginia, North Carolina and now Alabama. DeHarde’s journey began while working at a summer camp in the 1990s. “I just really got into being with kids and being around kids,” DeHarde said. After being miserable waiting tables and selling cars, he decided to pick up his phone to start calling daycares. The first daycare hung up in his face. The second told him they didn’t hire men. However, the third time was the charm, as he was hired on the spot at a school in Jamestown, North Carolina, but the job wasn’t what he expected. “The first day I went in, [it] was some of the worst things I’ve ever seen in my life,” DeHarde said. “It was rough. We saw everything you could possibly think of.” He only made $19,000 his first year working at the school with overtime. He also spent time as a theater student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. “UNCG is a really big theater school,” DeHarde said. “Of course I went to LA and was there for a year, and I was like, ‘I gave it a year, I’m going home.’” DeHarde then began playing for a band in Greensboro. He went on tours, but decided it was time for another career change. “I just played around with some guys and then started getting a little age on me,” DeHarde said. “Once I got to about 25, I realized that if this was going to happen, it probably would have happened,” he said. Not knowing what to do next, his roommate’s mom made a suggestion. She mentioned Montessori schools and his interest piqued. After an interview, he was offered a part-time position, but that wouldn’t work for him. Then came an unexpected surprise. “A week before school started, they called me up and

Dave DeHarde, the new head of Hilltop Montessori School in Mt Laurel. Photo by Erin Nelson.

said, ‘Somebody quit’ and asked me if I wanted the job, and I said ‘Sure,’” DeHarde said. “It changed my life.” He was able to play music in the evenings and on the weekends and had summers off. After

seven years of working at the school, DeHarde decided to act on his desire to go into school administration. He went back to UNCG to obtain his master’s degree while working at the Montessori school. Then in 2009, the recession hit.

“I remember my co-teacher and I sat in the room with parents with a box of Kleenex as we had parent-teacher conferences and they were like, ‘We got to pull our kids out, we don’t have money to send our kids to school here anymore,’” DeHarde said. “I remember turning to her and saying, ‘One of us is losing our job.’” That’s exactly what happened. On the last day of school, the head of the school called DeHarde into his office and told him that he had to be let go, but also offered some words of encouragement. “He said, ‘Everybody else here is here for the rest of their lives,’” DeHarde said. “‘You’re in grad school, you’re going to land on your feet, and you’re going to be gone in a year or two anyway.’” After completing grad school and interning at Guilford County Schools in Greensboro, he started his career in school administration. He worked at several Montessori schools, eventually becoming assistant head-of-school in Durham, North Carolina. “My plan was to become head-of-school there, but after nine years, I was like ‘Well, I probably need to look at some other places,’” DeHarde said. He told one of his old bosses that there was a potential job opportunity in Birmingham. “He goes, ‘Which school?’ and I said ‘Hilltop,’ and he goes ‘I know that school! I love that school,’” DeHarde said. His former boss knew Michele Wilensky, former head of school at Hilltop, and a connection was made. Wilensky was about to retire after 24 years and decided DeHarde would be a perfect fit for the school. “The plan was for us to do things together for the rest of the year, and I think I was here for about a week and she goes ‘I think you got it,’” DeHarde said. DeHarde is excited for his students to start the new school year. He says the school is still figuring out how they will handle school with the rise in COVID-19 cases, but he’s confident for his kids to make new friends and enjoy the school.

Who needs an estate plan? You. You’re invited to a special event, Prepare Wisely: Estate Strategy Essentials, hosted by Tom Noon, Financial Consultant with Thrivent. Refreshments will be served. Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 6:00 p.m. Hoover Public Library, Fitzgerald Room 200 Municipal Dr, Hoover, AL Please email to reserve a place for yourself and a guest. No products will be sold. Thrivent and its financial professionals do not provide legal, accounting or tax advice. Consult your attorney or tax professional. For more information visit • 800-847-4836

27878A R1-21

September 2021 • C13

A new art studio is nearing completion at Briarwood Christian School. As the fine arts program has grown over the years, so has the need for more space. This left image shows the plans for what the finished project will look like. Photos courtesy of Stacy Richardson.

BCS debuts art studio for new school year By LEAH INGRAM EAGLE As the visual arts program at Briarwood Christian School has grown over the years, the space they were in became too small to accommodate the needs of the program. “We were serving over 340 students in our visual art classes at the Upper School in only two small classrooms,” Department Chair Belinda Youngblood said. About five years ago, the board and school began to look at creative ideas that would benefit the fine arts students, focusing on the visual arts program that had grown so much. The plan was to transform the space across from the Barbara B. Barker Auditorium into a new fine arts studio. That unused space would be repurposed for the art program’s continued growth and development. “What we have seen is a huge interest in our student body for the fine arts. It’s just been a really exciting time for our school,”

Youngblood said. The announcement about the project was made during the end of the school year at the fine arts festival. The gymnasium was filled with people and over 5,000 pieces of art. Youngblood said there were students who were crying because they were so excited. “It’s something they always dreamed would happen at their school and the opportunity to help that program grow and come to life was a very sweet encouraging time,” she said. “The momentum and excitement was off the charts.”


All students at BCS are required to have at least one fine art class to graduate. Youngblood said they usually find out that they want to take more. “Part of the curriculum will offer advanced art class and two honors classes. Students work on their portfolio through their senior year to get them get recognized by colleges,” she said.


Bug Juice Gardens

Where Flowers Will Brighten Your Day!


A Wine, Garden & Gift Shoppe

The new visual arts space will be one large room that can be divided in two with a partition. Youngblood said it’s meant to be open so they can rearrange and allow for options to grow with the students and their interests. It will provide a place for students to create, build community and work together. They can also come in during their free time to work on projects. “The old art room will become solely for junior high art students and provide a facility which we feel will be a great space for them,” Youngblood said.


The BCS fine arts program does outreach with local organizations in the community and also internationally. They have student artwork that’s permanently on display in China, Haiti and New Zealand. Some are also featured in pamphlets in Iran. “We partner with places within the

community downtown and other things where we really can do what we can we do to help use our gift and abilities,” Youngblood said. “One of the amazing things we have as a private school is the ability to take the students off campus and have opportunities with other artists in our community who train them and help expose them to different art forms.” BCS Superintendent Stephen Steiner said that while learning how to be technically proficient is important, the heart behind what they do is for the glory of God and being a blessing to the city and community. He believes the new space will be a way to create more opportunities for the students who have been limited due to scheduling and spacing. “We really have an outward focus in our visual arts program to use our gifts and abilities so we can have the opportunity to encourage others,” Steiner said. The new visual arts facility will be ready for students this fall.

NOW CARRYING Vintage Havana Crosby Ripley Rader Easel Judy Blue Kan Can Dear John



*Excludes Landscape Services • Limit 1 Per Customer • Expires 9/30/2021

BUGJUICEGARDENS.COM | 205.981.1151 1402 Dunnavant Valley Road, Birmingham, AL 35242 Near The Town Of Mt Laurel


Education Guide

C14 • September 2021

Advertorial Section

280 Living

Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School.............. C14 Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School.......... C15 Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy................ C16 Sara Beth’s Gymnasts........................................ C18 Kiddie Academy................................................ C18

Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School

Established in 1896, Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School fosters the religious, academic and social development of every child. We are accredited by Cognia and take pride in educating our students in 3K through eighth grades. Our high academic standards have allowed our students to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., and to qualify and be recognized as a part of the National Duke Talent Identification Program and the National Junior Honor Society. In recent years, we even had a contender in the Scripps National Spelling Bee! Based on their solid elementary foundation, many OLS School alumni have received unlimited scholarship opportunities with several being honored as National Merit Scholar finalists over the years. Our school provides a comprehensive, academic, Christ-centered curriculum with a variety of enrichment opportunities for your child in a safe school environment. Enhancements include such resources as advanced math, STEM program, robotics, Spanish, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (Atrium), fine arts, leadership possibilities, competitive athletics and more. School counselors and resource teachers are also on staff to help ensure a positive academic experience for our students. Before- and

Growing our children in knowledge and faith... Experience the Difference

○ Grades: 3K through eighth grade ○ Where: 1720 Oxmoor Road

Homewood, AL 35209

○ Call: 205-879-3237 ○ Web:

after-school care are offered, as well as other additional after-school programs. To learn more or to complete an online application, visit our website. To schedule a personal tour, please call our school office. Tuition support is also readily available. Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School consults with the Diocese of Birmingham Catholic Schools Office, the CDC guidelines and the recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics to maintain a safe school environment for our students. We are growing our children in knowledge and faith … find out how you can “Experience the Difference!”

Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School

Scan the code to visit our website at or call 205.879.3237 for more information Facebook: olsschoolhomewood

Instagram: our_lady_of_sorrows_catholic

Education Guide

Advertorial Section

September 2021 • C15

Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School

From the moment we become parents, doing the best for our children becomes paramount. And choosing the right learning environment that will allow our children to thrive becomes one of the most important decisions we can make. At Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School, we offer an environment steeped in Christian values and high academic goals to help students rise above and beyond expectations. The small, private pre-K-through-eighth-grade school, located in Indian Springs Village, has a stellar reputation for excellence in academics, athletics and fine arts. It has twice been named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education and most recently was named Best Private School in Shelby County by Shelby Living magazine. Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School is a Christ-centered learning community that fosters academic excellence, positive moral development and community service. We encourage students to reach their full potential in a creative and nurturing environment that promotes Gospel values. Our comprehensive curriculum is designed to help students develop critical thinking skills. We emphasize the importance of students applying those skills and knowledge to their everyday lives. Teaching methods such as the use of project-based and problem-based assignments in all grades help students of different ability levels work collaboratively to learn and explore. School highlights include: ○ The OLV Science Olympiad program is consistently among the top three in the state. ○ The OLV drama department is one of only nine schools in Alabama that holds a Junior Troupe membership in the International Thespian Society and the only one to regularly compete on a national level. ○ OLV students are consistently


























solving skills. We also offer students the chance to participate in Spanish club, cheerleading, choir, band and individual piano and voice lessons. Students begin each day with prayer, attend weekly Mass and regularly participate in community service. Our Lady of the Valley is fully accredited by AdvancEd/SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), an important indicator of a school’s quality. We begin enrolling students at 3 years old, where they participate in specialty classes including Spanish, music, art and computer lab. After-school care is available

○ Grades: Pre-K through eighth grade ○ Where: 5510 Double Oak Lane,

Birmingham AL 35242

○ Call: 205-991-5963 ○ Web:

to all students in 3K through eighth grade. See what OLV has to offer and whether it is a good fit for your child. Call 991-5963 or visit to learn more or schedule a tour.













recipients of honors in academic competitions such as the spelling and geography bees and science fairs. ○ A high percentage of OLV seventh graders qualify each year for the Duke Talent Identification Program based on their standardized test results. In addition to strong academic excellence, OLV offers dozens of clubs, organizations and athletics for students to explore their options and find their niche. Students can flex their athletic skills by participating in soccer, basketball or our volleyball teams. Our chess and debate teams help students raise their problem-



At Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School our mission is to provide an environment in which God’s children become self-directed, lifelong learners. Schedule a visit today and discover why for more than 30 years parents have partnered with OLV to give their children a faith-filled future. Voted Best Private School in Shelby County

205.991 . 5963 • o l vbi r m i n gh am . c om 5510 Do ubl e O a k La ne, Bi r m i n gh am , A L 3 5 2 4 2

Education Guide

C16 • September 2021

Advertorial Section

280 Living

Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy


rior to switching over to the Montessori curriculum, Gisela WesterKamp’s son was struggling in a public school setting. But, when he found the individualized curriculum at Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy, everything changed, she said. “Once we switched over to the Montessori school, he just did so much better,” WesterKamp said. “He flourished.” The difference? WesterKamp chalks it up to the school’s individual learning plan for each student. “The beautiful thing about Montessori is the fact that there’s no cap on learning,” she said. “If your child is excelling, they will continue to see that, because everyone has an individual learning plan. As a group, they have things they have to accomplish. But if your child is doing fantastic in reading or math, they will continue to challenge them in those areas.” Individuality is one of the core tenets that sets Montessori education apart, along with self-regulation, freedom, self-assessment, active learning and community. According to the American Montessori Society’s Montessori Method — practiced at Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy — “given the freedom and support to question, to probe deeply and to make connections, Montessori students become confident, enthusiastic, self-directed learners. They are able to think critically, work collaboratively and act boldly — a skill set for the 21st century.” So, while there are teachers at the school to guide students’ learning, this curriculum allows students the freedom to set a pace that works for them and lean into academic and extracurricular areas that particularly

○ Grades: 3-year-olds through eighth graders ○ Where: 5509 Timber Hill Road

Birmingham, AL 35242

○ Call: 205-995-8709 ○ Web:

pique their interest — a curriculum that follows the child. Perhaps the highest compliment that can be paid to Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy is that many of its teachers enroll their own children in the school, including teachers Chelsea Hayes and Rachael Jamison. “He loves it,” Hayes said of her son, who is a student at Joseph Bruno. “Everything is very hands-on. There’s a lot of tactile experiences that he gets to have. There’s a lot of free movement around the classroom, and he can go to the bathroom whenever he needs to. He takes a nap when he wants to. I think he really enjoys the freedom.” At Joseph Bruno, children do have independence, but also ample responsibility. Hayes said if a child drops something on the floor, they are taught to sweep it up themselves, without asking an adult how to do that. Her son is able to match socks and fold clothes, she said. In addition to an academic curriculum, these students are learning life skills that will benefit them now and in the future, Jamison said. “One of the big parts of Montessori education is practical life,” she said. “It’s really about fostering independence and good work.” “The Montessori curriculum is built on different levels,” Jamison said. Every level a child advances to builds from a level they’ve just completed. And subjects like reading,

math and science aren’t segmented or isolated, they’re integrated into a well-rounded curriculum that compounds into a challenging and rewarding education. “With integrated lessons, if students are working on a writing project, it’s probably related to what they’ve been studying in science, history or another lesson that they’ve just had. Every class flows into the next.” The curriculum is so individualized that teachers are able to instinctively pick up on what subjects their student is drawn to and are able to capitalize on that interest. “It’s very much about observing them to see what they’re interested in, what they’re doing really well, and what they’re maybe not quite ready for,” Jamison said. “And then finding the right lesson that you can plug in at the right time to make sure that they’re getting that perfect next step to help them build their knowledge and skills.” Once teachers discover that a student is interested in a particular subject, they dive deep into that subject with the student, Hayes said. “Montessori educators guide — it’s our job to facilitate [students’] growth ... pull them along and show them interesting new things in the fields that they’re interested in,” she said. Also different than a public school curriculum is that there are no formal assessments; rather, the teachers take part in small group lessons with their students and ask each student questions to gauge where they are with the concept, rather than a student sitting down with a traditional pen and paper, taking a test, and getting a grade. “If a child isn’t quite understanding a concept, we have time to slow down and work with them on that concept,

rather than just pushing through,” said Kathy Maxfield, also a teacher at Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy. “That’s been the thing that I’ve enjoyed [about teaching at a Montessori school]: It feels more personable, spending time with the children in the small group so that I know where they are not only academically, but socially and whatever’s going on at home or in their peer groups.” Hayes said she has heard from parents that, because of this way of learning, their children’s anxiety about school has been lifted exponentially. “I think in a smaller environment, some of the bullying and cyberbullying issues, like academic competition, fall to the wayside a little bit,” she said. “I think it’s a more egalitarian, relaxed environment. And a lot of kids feel like they can breathe.” This freedom extends to extracurricular activities, as well. Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy offers a wide range of extracurriculars giving students the opportunity to explore, learn what they have an aptitude for and expound upon it. “I love the fact that we have such a large offering of extracurricular activities,” Maxfield said. “I think it opens the children up to a larger variety, and, overall, they’re not hesitant to try something new.” Maxfield said last year, because of COVID-19, Joseph Bruno saw an uptick in enrollment, parents and children who had never been in Montessori before. “I feel like, overall, every parent I had who was new to Montessori, the parents were like, ‘This is a different child — my child wants to come to school every day,’” she said. WesterKamp understands the feeling. “Once we found the Montessori school, there was no going back,” she said.

Education Guide

Advertorial Section

September 2021 • C17

Joseph S. Bruno Montessori Academy

Primary - 8th grade (3 to 14 years of age) Our peaceful and prepared environment fosters independence, respect, and joy in learning while embracing a child’s natural wonder and curiosity.

Why choose us: • Successfully educating children since 1982 • Individualized instruction • Low student-teacher ratio • Promote student responsibility • Encourage creativity • Situated on a lovely 20+ acre campus with easy access from I-65 and Highway 280

Enroll today!

Scan QR code and start the process

Education Guide

C18 • September 2021

Sara Beth’s Gymnasts

Q: How soon should students start training if they want to be Olympic gymnasts? A: Typically, Olympians start gymnastics between ages 2 and 6, reaching the elite level around age 14. As we’ve seen, though, anything is possible with the right determination and support. Q: Tell us about your Preschool Gymnastics program. A: We’re so excited to kick off another year of Preschool Gymnastics! This is the first class without a parent as the gymnast gains independence. The types of movement that gymnastics offers preschoolers is amazing. Their development is top-notch because they need to flip, jump, twist, turn, pull, kick, swing and tumble for vestibular and fine and gross motor development. We use muscles they ordinarily wouldn’t engage otherwise. These younger gymnasts have a strong advantage over their health, development, and physical and mental well-being because of gymnastics, and it’s fun! Q: Do adults have a longer learning curve? A: Gymnastics with adults varies

○ Ages: Walking to adult ○ Where: 10699 Old Highway 280

Building 2, Suite 2

Chelsea, AL 35043

○ Call: 205-910-3668 ○ Web: greatly due to their past experiences. Oftentimes adults have less flexibility and strength than when they were younger, but it comes back over time. This doesn’t mean gymnastics is less fun or beneficial for adults, though, because the basic skills still require a great deal of strength, which is developed simply by practicing gymnastics. Gymnastics can be really fun for adults because they typically don’t get to move that way in their daily lives. Q: Are you offering any discounts this school year? A: Yes! When a current SB Gym family refers a new family who registers, they both earn a $10 referral credit.

Start at any age. You’ll be glad you did. Come join us! With over 20 years of gymnastics experience and over 15 years of coaching experience, we want you and your children to grow in the most amazing and healthy ways.

Advertorial Section

Kiddie Academy

At Kiddie Academy, its rock-solid curriculum is built on four pillars: A developmentally appropriate curriculum, technology education, health and fitness, and character essentials, which are designed to meet the needs of every child in Kiddie Academy’s care. “It’s a play-based curriculum,” said Kiddie Academy’s Jeanie Walls. “Let’s just say you have 15 children in the classroom, but they’re all different. They’re all going to learn at different speeds, different levels. The curriculum is designed to meet that child where they are.” At Kiddie Academy — an educational childcare program located in Greystone — playing is learning, and children have a great time while also learning new skills. Technology is a big component of Kiddie Academy teaching style and their transparent relationship with parents. The staff at Kiddie Academy has integrated technology into learning activities for the children and a safety feature for parents. The center utilizes an app called Watch Me Grow, through 205-910-3668

Sara Beth also offers swim lessons and a number of Red Cross courses from Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguarding to First Aid/CPR/AED and Basic Water Rescue.


4.79” x 7.59” 2nd July 2021

○ Ages: 6 months to 6 years old ○ Where: 5412 U.S. 280,

Birmingham, AL 35242

○ Call: 205-644-8585 ○ Web: birmingham

which parents can see what goes on throughout the day even as they are away from their child, making them feel even more involved in the educational process. Safety is paramount, Walls said, all in an effort to keep the focus on where Kiddie Academy wants it to be: the education and well-being of the children who attend, preparing them for kindergarten or whatever educational milestone is next on their journey to learning. “I feel like our curriculum is really our biggest draw,” Walls said. “I think that we do a fantastic job with the curriculum.”

Life Essentials, the Heart of Life-Long Learning At Kiddie Academy, we believe care and learning go hand in hand, and both should be served with a BIG DOSE of FUN

We’re excited to offer Adult Gymnastics, Boys Gymnastics, Homeschool Gymnastics, Ninja class, Tumbling, Pre-Team and Competitive Team Gymnastics, Private lessons, Parties, and Field Trips!

280 Living

September 2021 • C19


Real Estate Listings MLS #








3312 Culloden Way




5020 Forestwood Lane





5248 Birdsong Road





1208 Hunters Gate Drive





1195 Greystone Crest





1190 Inverness Cove Way





4284 Ashington Drive





127 Narrows Creek Drive





3520 Chickering Circle





1209 Greystone Cove Circle





5018 Cameron Road





104 Austin Circle





145 Oaklyn Hills Drive





209 Liberty Lane





401 El Camino Real





212 Windstone Parkway





4003 Park Crossings Drive





49 Beech Circle





212 Polo Field Way





109 Bolivar Lane



3312 Culloden Way

145 Oaklyn Hills Drive

Real estate listings provided by the Birmingham Association of Realtors on Aug. 16. Visit

Business news to share? If you are in a brick-and-mortar business along the 280 corridor and you are... Now open Coming soon Relocating or renovating Announcing a new owner Celebrating an anniversary Hiring or promoting an employee Announcing other news or accomplishments Let us know! Share your news with us at

Parent Talk Line 205-605-1827

Concerned about your teen? Wondering how to handle your teen’s choices? Just need someone to listen to you? Want to talk to another parent confidentially?

Talking helps.

The Compact Team Parent and Teen Talk Lines are available Monday - Friday between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. Messages will be returned the following business day. *For emergencies, please dial 9-1-1.

Teen Talk Line 205-605-1830

Need help working through a problem? Stressed out? Concerned about things in life? Just need someone to listen to you?

Talking helps.

Dr. Justin Aldred with his brand new 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD AT4

Just What The Doctor Ordered! We’re thrilled when our Royal family grows! In fact, watching families grow is

something we have in common with Justin Aldred, D.O. As a dedicated OB-GYN

with Obgyn South, P.C., Dr. Aldred helps Alabama families flourish. When he’s not

doing the vital work of caring for women in the Magic City area, Justin loves to get outdoors with his wife, Chelsea, and their children.

That’s where Dr. Aldred’s brand new GMC Sierra 2500 HD AT4 comes in! With up to 18,500 pounds of trailering capacity, the Aldreds’ new heavy-duty pickup can tow all the toys they could ever want while exploring Alabama. Stop by the corner of I-65 and Highway 31 to find your next perfect vehicle for work or play.

(205) 823-3100 · 3010 Columbiana Rd · At the Corner of I-65 and Highway 31 in Vestavia

Profile for Starnes Media

280 Living September 2021  

280 Living September 2021  

Profile for 280living

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded