Cahaba Sun April 2024

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Vol 9 | Issue 5 | April 2024 As Trussville As It Gets MAKING THE TEAM See the All-South Metro basketball teams. 14 Right now, you can get your smile on fast with same day braces! Schedule your free consultation at Get the smile of a lifetime.
resident reveals strategies for 2 ‘Jeopardy’ episodes. 10




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There is a quote that circulates on Facebook from time to time that I have found resonates on a really deep level with me: “Surround yourself with people who fight for you in rooms you aren't in.”

When I see that quote, there are a few people who always come to mind immediately. I know for a fact they are the ones that have my back in every situation and don’t say negative things about me, even when it may be convenient to do so.

Those people mean a great deal to me, and I hope they know how much I appreciate that.

Also, when I see that quote, it makes me think about how I talk about people when they aren’t around.

I encourage you to find the people that are always in your corner. Don’t take them for granted. And on the same token, be one of those people for others as well.

Thanks for reading our paper! Reach out to me at with any tips or suggestions.

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Community Editors:

Sports Editor:

Contributing Editor:

Photo Editor:

Design Editor:

Page Designer:

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Contributing Writers:

Dan Starnes

Kyle Parmley

Jon Anderson

Leah Ingram Eagle

Kyle Parmley

Lee Hurley

Erin Nelson Sweeney

Melanie Viering

Ted Perry

Simeon Delante

Sean Dietrich

Gary Lloyd

Loyd McIntosh

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Warren Caldwell

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

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

COVER: Jake Garrett, a physical education teacher at Cahaba Elementary, at the front of the elementary school gym March 8. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

Express (2) Birmingham Orthodontics (1)
Legals: Cahaba Sun is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. Cahaba Sun is designed to inform the Trussville community of area school, family and community events. Information in Cahaba Sun is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of Cahaba Sun. We reserve the right to edit articles/photos as deemed necessary and are under no obligation to publish or return photos submitted. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 313-1780 or by email.
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Hewitt-Trussville students cheer for the Lady Huskies in the second half of the girls Class 7A state championship game at Legacy Arena at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex on March 2. Photo by David Leong.
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Business Happenings


in Trussville has reopened in the Trussville Crossings shopping center, 5915 Trussville Crossings Parkway, Suite 125. 205-238-5565,

The Ascension St. Vincent’s East Freestanding Emergency Department in Trussville, located at 6670 Green Drive, has opened. The facility has 12 treatment rooms, a decontamination treatment area, an onsite lab and imaging, and a helipad for air ambulance transfers.



Birmingham Realty Co. has acquired the Trussville Office Park for $6.125 million, according to the Trussville Tribune. Birmingham Realty Co. is an affiliate of Barber Companies. Barber has announced plans to renovate the facility at 3504 Vann Road in hopes of attracting new clients.


OS1 Orthopedic & Sports Injury Clinic, with locations in Hoover and at 5006 Pinnacle Square, Suite

106, in Trussville, has appointed Dustin Taylor as its new CEO. Dustin brings more than 10 years of experience to the company and helped open the clinic in Trussville.


RealtySouth has added Jayne Petty and Evelia Limon to its Trussville office at 183 Main St. Suite B. Jayne Petty: 847-494-4663, Evelia Limon: 205-467-4346;


If you have news to share with the community about a brick-and-mortar business in Trussville or the greater Birmingham area, let us know at

Two of our favorite foodie events are together again to showcase our local restaurants! For more information about these taste-filled events visit or contact the chamber at 205-655-7535 Trussville Civic Center | Tickets: $25 Sample signature dishes from local restaurants. Presenting Sponsor Taste of Trussville Trussville Restaurant Week Featuring Restaurant Week Bingo. Make a purchase at participating businesses during restaurant week and get your Bingo card stamped. Completed Bingo cards will be turned in by customers to the chamber for a chance to win prizes! Not valid on T2GO orders. Presenting Sponsor May 10-26 Thursday, May 9 5:30-8pm


Have a community announcement? Email Kyle Parmley at to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

Futsal gaining popularity in Trussville

It’s mid-afternoon on a December Saturday as a handful of families filter into the Trussville Parks & Recreation Red Gym. Instead of walking in with high-top sneakers and dribbling basketballs, these young athletes are wearing low-top, flat-bottom soccer shoes and carrying soccer balls under their arms.

The game they’re preparing to play this afternoon is called “futsal,” a variation of soccer that’s played on gym floors. Originating in South America, futsal has grown in popularity over the last decade among soccer players and coaches looking for ways to keep their skills sharp during the winter months.

Futsal was invented in 1930 by Juan Carlos Ceriani in Montevideo, Uruguay, as a recreational sport for play in area YMCAs. Using soccer as his template, Ceriani also borrowed heavily from other sports, such as basketball and water polo, to create the new game. It eventually developed into competitive leagues and tournaments throughout South America and Europe, drawing thousands of fans.

A futsal game is divided into two halves (20-minute halves for youth futsal in Trussville) and each team has five players on the court: four field players and a goalie. Unlike a version of indoor soccer popularized in America with walls keeping the ball in play, futsal uses boundary lines similar to basketball, forcing players to use a more controlled passing style rather than kicking and chasing the ball downfield.

Trussville Parks & Recreation offers futsal leagues for adults and kids from December through February.

development, especially among younger players still learning how to play soccer at a high level.

“The kids love it. It’s very fast-paced, and within 20 seconds every kid has touched the ball, so that’s one of the things they love,” Ruiz said. “It’s also a shorter field, and so they get a lot of touches.”

Futsal balls are slightly smaller and heavier than soccer balls and don’t have the same bounce. These differences mean the ball stays on the ground for the majority of a futsal game rather than being kicked high into the air, as is common in soccer.

“It helps players a lot with their touches,” Ruiz said. “In futsal, you see them passing the ball around more and it’s not bouncing around like on a soccer field.”

Trussville United director of coaching Scott Flowers said futsal forces players to focus on developing their foot skills, which American players typically lack compared to players from Europe and South America.

He also said futsal through Trussville Parks & Recreation is a more relaxed atmosphere, so the players feel freer to experiment and try new things without a lot of pressure to win, which helps young players build their confidence.

“Individual skills, ball skills, beating players 1-v-1, confidence on the ball and it’s very fast-paced, so you have to make quick decisions,” Flowers said. “It’s all about footwork, being under control, balance and coordination.”

Pedro Ruiz, a youth coach with Trussville United Soccer Club, said futsal is a great game for regular soccer players due to its fast play and the ability to get every player involved in the action. It also helps them keep up their skills in the off-season.

and we take two months off,” Ruiz said. “This just keeps the players engaged, so when we get back to the soccer fields they haven’t just been sitting at home playing video games.”

“We’re done with soccer in November

He added that the sport is great for skill

“It’s also a different environment,” he added. “It’s low-key, so the kids can just go out and have fun and express themselves using the ball.”

Learn more about futsal and other sports offered by Trussville Parks & Recreation at

Right: Gael Quezada kicks the ball during a game with the Trussville Futsal League in December 2023. Far right: Emma Ray blocks the ball at the goal Photos by Erin Nelson Sweeney. Ally Grace Free dribbles the ball downcourt, trailed by Brady Johnson.

Palmer seals primary victory in Congressional District 6

The stage is set for the Nov. 5 general election in Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District, with Congressman Gary Palmer securing a victory in the March 5 Republican primary.

Palmer, a resident of Hoover, won the Republican primary over two challengers — Gerrick Wilkins of Vestavia Hills and Ken McFeeters of north Shelby County.

Palmer captured 83% of the vote on March 5 with 76,063 votes, compared to 9,636 votes (11%) for Wilkins and 5,668 votes (6%) for McFeeters.

Palmer now will face Democrat Elizabeth Anderson and independent candidate Kevin Stewart in the Nov. 5 general election.

The Sixth Congressional District includes Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Trussville, Clay, parts of Homewood and Hoover, the northeastern part of Jefferson County, a small part of Talladega County and all of Shelby, Bibb, Chilton, Coosa, Autauga and Elmore counties.

that the results from the primary represent that voters in District 6 believe proven conservative leadership is what is needed for Alabama.

"Now that the primary and Super Tuesday are behind us, I will be focused on supporting other Republicans in their races so we can give President Trump a Republican majority when he is back in the White House,” Palmer said. “Thank you to the voters for their confidence in our vision and to those who supported our campaign. I am looking forward to getting back to work for you!"

Wilkins said it’s hard to beat an entrenched incumbent who spent more than $1 million on this campaign. Wilkins said he spent only about $300,000, and most of that came from himself and his wife.

the next generation involved in civic affairs and to pray for all elected leaders, including Palmer.

“Together, we can strive to secure a future that reflects our values and our aspirations,” he said.

McFeeters said he always expected Palmer to win the Republican primary, though maybe not by quite as much as he did.

“I didn’t run to win,” he said. He ran against Palmer to gain some attention for issues he feels strongly about, such as mandated vaccinations for children, doctors not being allowed to treat patients the way they believe is best and his belief that the Federal Reserve banking system is a bad idea.

“It’s an uphill battle, but it’s a battle I would do again because I think it’s important for us to have these conversations,” Wilkins said. “I will continue advocating for our conservative principles. I will continue advocating for term limits. I really do think that this is critical.”

“We’ve got seven Congress members in Alabama, and not one of them is talking about the Federal Reserve printing its own money and buying America with it,” McFeeters said. “I don’t understand that.”

Palmer, who is seeking his sixth two-year term, said in a written statement that he is honored to be the Republican nominee for the Sixth Congressional District again and

Now it’s important for Republicans to unite, he said.

Wilkins also said it’s important to get

“We have a leftist agenda that is continuing to push our country in the wrong direction,” Wilkins said. “We need to do everything we can to make sure we can get Biden out of that White House and to get President Trump re-elected. We need to push to get a larger majority in the House and take back the Senate.”

McFeeters said he self-funded his campaign with $25,000 and believes he did pretty good for spending that small amount of money. “You can’t win against a 10-year incumbent with $25,000,” he said.

But he’s glad he got into the race and got to meet some fantastic people during his campaign, McFeeters said.

Gary Palmer, the Republican candidate for Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. Photo courtesy of Gary Palmer.

Burt, CHHF win Gatekeeper awards

The Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce recently named its Ned and Goldie Paine Gatekeeper Award winners at its Toast of the Town event.

Hewitt-Trussville High School head softball coach Taylor Burt was named the individual Gatekeeper Award winner for 2023. The Cahaba Homestead Heritage Foundation won the group Gatekeeper Award. The event was held Jan. 29 at Corbeau Wine Bar in Trussville.

Burt, the head softball coach at Hewitt-Trussville High School since 2017, accepted the award from the previous year’s winner, Mayor Buddy Choat.

“She’s one of the most respected coaches in all of high school softball,” Choat said, reading from Burt’s nomination form. “Not only because of her stellar record, but because of the way her teams conduct themselves on and off the field. She’s a great ambassador for our city and always represents us with class and professionalism. She’s a true respected leader, not only in this community but around the state.”

Burt has led the Lady Huskies to three

Class 7A state championships and one state runner-up finish in her tenure at Hewitt-Trussville High School. She won the National High

flag football team, which won the

2021 state championship.

Cahaba Homestead Heritage Foundation

President Amy Peterson O’Brien accepted the group Gatekeeper Award from last year’s winner, Drew Lolley of Courtesy Buick GMC.

“For the past three years, the Cahaba Homestead Heritage Foundation has well educated Trussville citizens on the rich history of the city’s center, the Cahaba Project,” Lolley said, reading from the nomination form. “The CHHF’s mission is all about education, outreach and civic involvement, and they have stayed true to that mission.”

The CHHF was founded in early 2021 with a mission to support and enhance the Cahaba Project as a historic district, designated on the National Register of Historic Places, through education, outreach and civic involvement. Board members include O’Brien, Cathy Freeman, Meg Ward and Gary Lloyd.

Since 1965, the Gatekeeper Awards have honored outstanding service to the Trussville community.

Editor’s note: Gary Lloyd is a regular contributor to the Cahaba Sun, in addition to his service to the Cahaba Homestead Heritage Foundation.

School Coaches Association Coach of the Year Award in 2021. She has also been a coach for the girls’
Left: Courtesy Buick GMC’s Drew Lolley presents the Gatekeeper Group Award to Cahaba Homestead Heritage Foundation President Amy Peterson O’Brien. Right: Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat presents the Ned and Goldie Paine Memorial Gatekeeper Individual Award to Hewitt-Trussville High School head softball coach Taylor Burt. Photos courtesy of Melissa Walker/Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Sound Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness provides pet physical therapy

On Tuesday mornings, an 80-pound Labrador retriever named Mattie McElroy waits by the door, wagging her tail. She can hardly wait to get to Sound Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness. Mattie has been a patient of Dr. Noël McKnight, the only certified canine and feline rehabilitation veterinarian in the Birmingham area, for three years.

Mattie arrived at her first appointment in a cart. A disc in her back had ruptured into her spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed in the rear limbs. Despite the severity of the injury, her owners were determined to find Mattie the best possible care.

“Her parents are so dedicated,” said McKnight, a Trussville resident. “Mattie came to see us twice a week and still comes to this day.”

The Labrador went from barely using her back legs to walking on the underwater treadmill for 30 minutes twice a week. Now, she is completely independent.

As one of just four facilities of its kind in the state, Sounds Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness provides a wide variety of physical therapy and pain management treatments to help resolve mobility and strength issues

caused by injury, neurologic conditions, age or excess weight.

Hydrotherapy, like the treatment program that helped Mattie recover, is an underwater treadmill therapy that uses a pet’s natural buoyancy to help strengthen muscles and joints without stressing them.

“As they get stronger, we decrease the water levels and ask them to bear more weight,” McKnight said.

Sound also offers therapeutic exercise, which is similar to human physical therapy. McKnight said the treatment plans are customized to each dog’s health needs and motivation. Activities like moving through a small-scale agility course are particularly effective for dogs who like to play and interact, and it targets specific muscles at the same time, she said.

The clinic also has a Class IV laser that uses a near-infrared beam to treat pain and inflammation while promoting tissue healing. Other treatments include therapeutic massage, heat and cryotherapy, exercise programs and pain management through medication.

One of McKnight’s specialties is helping geriatric patients. Treating her own aging dachshunds’ partial paralysis fueled her

passion to help other pets stay active in their senior years. McKnight saw a need for specialized care of neurological and orthopedic diseases, soft tissue injuries and mobility issues.

Sound Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness

also offers stance analysis, for detecting early signs of injury, and mobility aids such as braces, orthotics and wheelchair fittings, as well as work sessions to help pets get used to moving around with a wheelchair. They will soon begin offering acupuncture.

McKnight is a certified practitioner through Fear Free Pets, a company that provides online education to veterinarians on ways to reduce pet stress levels during exams.

“Putting patients at ease is all about forming a bond with the animal,” she said. “It involves understanding what the dog is telling you and doing your job in a way that decreases stress and anxiety.”

A typical appointment lasts an hour or so, giving ample one-on-one time with each pet. McKnight said her team loves getting to know their patients and helping each one experience the best possible quality of life.

“I’ll see dogs waddle into the clinic, hardly able to bear weight because they are in so much pain. Then, a few weeks later, they’ll be running around the yard playing,” McKnight said.

Sound Rehabilitation and Fitness is located at 2114 10th Ave. S, Suite B, in downtown Birmingham. Visit soundanimalrehab-fitness. com to learn more.


9 APRIL 2024 | CAHABA SUN | CAHABASUN.COM Place items in trunk or bed of your vehicle - Remain in Vehicle (WILL ACCEPT) (WILL NOT ACCEPT) Adhesives / Epoxies Fillers / Resins (caulk, glue) Paint (latex, acrylic, oil, and spray) Stains / Sealants Varnishes / Shellacs Strippers / Removers Thinners / Solvents Turpentine Wallpaper Cement Stripper / Adhesive Asphalt Sealers Roof Cements Cleaners / Degreasers Rust Removers (carburetor, polish, soaps, solvents) Filters and Fuel Additives Fluids (antifreeze, brake, transmission)
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Chemicals (algaecides, chlorine) Insect Sprays and Powders / Fumigants (ant, flea, rat, roach, wasp) Septic Tank Additives Degreasers Yard Chemicals (fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides) Batteries (car, truck motorcycle, marine) Ammunition / Explosives Asbestos / PCBs Medical Waste Radioactive Materials Unidentified Materials 2024 Hazardous Waste Day Spring Collection Event April 13, 2024 @ 8:00am—11:30am For more information visit or call 205-325-8741 This event is funded by the City of Bessemer, Je erson County Department of Health, and the Je erson County Commission in partnership with the Cities of Gardendale and Irondale. First Baptist Church Gardendale-South, 940 Main Street, Gardendale, AL 35071 Classic Car Motoring, 3900 Grants Mill Road, Irondale, AL 35210 City of Bessemer Public Works Laydown Yard, 1205 15th Avenue North, Bessemer, AL 35020
Dr. Noël McKnight works with Mattie, a 10-year-old Labrador retriever, in the hydrotherapy tank at Sound Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness in Birmingham. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

COVER STORY: Trussville resident reveals strategies for 2 ‘Jeopardy’ episodes


Jake Garrett’s path to competing on “Jeopardy” twice started with a Google search.

Garrett, an assistant football coach for Hewitt-Trussville High School and the physical education teacher at Cahaba Elementary School, simply Googled, “How do you get on ‘Jeopardy’?”

He found the Anytime Test and took the 15-minute exam immediately. No studying, no special time set aside after feverishly flipping through encyclopedias. He passed.

Garrett first competed on “Jeopardy” on March 20, 2023, finishing $1 behind episode champion Melissa Klapper, a professor from Pennsylvania. Garrett held $12,400 entering “Final Jeopardy,” behind Klapper’s $24,400. Both answered the final question correctly. Garrett wagered all his game earnings, leading him to a $24,800 finish. Klapper wagered $401 and finished with $24,801.

Garrett was again chosen to compete on “Jeopardy” in the “Second Chance” competition, on Dec. 20, 2023. At the end of the “Double Jeopardy” round, Garrett was in third place with $17,900. Juveria Zaheer, a psychiatrist from Canada, led with $32,400 and Sam Claussen, a history professor from California, had $18,000.

Again in “Final Jeopardy,” Garrett wagered all his in-game earnings, finishing with $35,800. Claussen did the same, finishing with $36,000. Zaheer wagered only $4,000, but it was enough to finish with a game-high $36,400. Garrett can’t remember seeing a third-place finisher with that much money.

“After that second game, one of the producers came up to me and was basically just like, ‘That was one of the best games of ‘Jeopardy’ I’ve ever seen,” Garrett said.

There were a combined four wrong answers in the entire second game. Garrett answered 13 questions right and none wrong. In the March 2023 episode, he answered 21 right and just three wrong.

So, what’s his secret? Well, it’s complicated.

There’s about a month between the time a prospective contestant finds out they will be on the show and the taping date. How do you learn everything you need to know about the cultural heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or every English word that includes the letters “i” and “c” consecutively in 30 days?

“There are some people that say, ‘OK, you need to study your weaknesses,’” Garrett said. “And other people are like, ‘Well, study your strengths.’ And kind of my mindset was more of like, ‘OK, there’s absolutely nothing I can do in a month to learn any of these science categories, or to get anything more than a surface level of Shakespeare, or to dive into Baroque painters, or something like that when I’ve got life going on.”

Garrett proceeded to study the subjects he knew about already, to deepen his knowledge of already-familiar topics. Even then, where do you start? He spent a lot of

time on Sporcle, a website dedicated to providing quizzes on a wide range of topics.

He learned to identify every country in the world on a map. He perused previous “Jeopardy” questions on the fan-created J-Archive, a treasure trove of historical show information. Some contestants take job sabbaticals to study. Others form study boards or have their relatives quiz them on the history of opera.

Where was Garrett four days before the taping of his second episode? On the field at Warrior Stadium in Alabaster for the Class 7A playoff game against Thompson.

“I wasn’t doing much preparing for anything other than the past four years,” he said. “So, you know, I think that in some ways that could have put me at a disadvantage because they had stuff they were going over. And then in some ways, that could have put me at an advantage because I wasn’t. I didn’t have paralysis by analysis, like overthink stuff, and whatever. It was just kind of like, ‘All right, well, we’ll see how it goes.’”

Garrett had wanted to go on the show since high school, when Ken Jennings went on his historic “Jeopardy” run. In college, Garrett, a history major, used TiVo to record episodes while he was in class. He tested himself against the questions and stored trivia answers in his mind.

One of the questions Garrett correctly answered in December was the following: “In a 1594 play he tells his brother Marcus Andronicus that a woman’s tears are like ‘honey-dew upon a gather’d lily.’” How did he know the answer?

“I’ve never read ‘Titus Andronicus,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you anything about it. But I’ve heard the name of a play called ‘Titus Andronicus.’”

Another example: In the March 2023 episode, the clue

“Jeopardy!” host Ken Jennings, left, and Jake Garrett on the show’s set of in November 2023.

Garrett’s episodes aired in March and December 2023.Photo courtesy of Jake Garrett.

was, “Castells, or human towers, are created by amateur groups at festivals in this Spanish region that includes Barcelona and Tarragona.” Garrett correctly answered, “Catalonia.”

“So, it says there’s something in that question about a region space,” Garrett said. “That includes Barcelona and Tarragona. So, I guess Barcelona told me it was Spain. I’ve never heard of any region of Spain, other than Catalonia. So, let’s take a flyer on Catalonia. You can say it’s a pure guess, you can say it’s an educated guess. I don’t really know. A lot of times the questions will give you enough of a hint.”

History, for Garrett, was always like reading a story, like flipping pages of a novel. It’s what has strengthened his recall since high school.

“It’s still kind of surreal,” Garrett said. “Twice in one year, I was flown out to California to go on this show that I’ve been watching since I was in high school. And then to compete with the chance to win both games, really. It really was just kind of one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do.”

For Christmas, Garrett received a “Jeopardy” shirt made by a woman who creates season-specific shirts. It has his name, along with the names of other competitors from his season, on the back. He will likely not wear it in public, but it’s a tangible reminder of a twice-in-a-lifetime goal reached.

“It’s weird to me, people want to talk to me about ‘Jeopardy,’” Garrett said. “And I’m just like, ‘Yeah, sure.’ I’m kind of shocked that there’s enough people that are interested in it. It’s very flattering. And it’s been really cool to kind of see a hometown kind of be like, ‘Hey, you’re the ‘Jeopardy’ guy.’”


Trussville Library April calendar

Mondays and Thursdays: Yarn Manglers. Mondays 6-7:30 p.m., Thursdays 2-4 p.m. Knitters and crocheters, join for fellowship and creativity. Ages 18 and older.

Thursdays: Children’s Storytime. 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Join Ms. Alicia for stories, songs, bubble time and lots of fun. Birth through pre-K.

April 1: Learn to Knit. 6-7:30 p.m. Ages 18 and older.

April 2: Friends of the Trussville Library. 11 a.m. to noon. Ages 18 and older.

April 2, 9, 16 and 23: Crazy 8s Math Club. 4-4:45 p.m. Best for students who have previously participated in this program by completing Session 1. Grades K-2.

April 2: Ukulele Club. 6:30-7:30 p.m. We have a professional ukulele player here to help you learn and perfect your skills. All ages.

April 4: Pokemon Club. 4-5 p.m. Spend time playing Pokémon or enjoy watching a classic Pokémon show and creating

a craft. Registration required. Grades 1-5.

April 6: Adult Book Club. 2-3 p.m. This month’s title is “Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries” by Heather Fawcett. Ages 18 and older.

April 8: STEAM for Kids. 4-4:45 p.m. Join Ms. Jan, the science lady, of Dynamic Education Adventures for a science show highlighting Alabama Inventors. Grades K-6.

April 8: STEAM for Teens. 5-6 p.m. Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math club for teens. Grades 6-12.

April 8: Books and Brews. 7:15-8:30 p.m. An evening adult book club meeting at Ferus Artisan Ales. This month’s title is “Hollow Kingdom” by Kira Jane Buxton. Ages 18 and older.

April 15: Chess Club. 5-6 p.m. Learn the basics, cool tricks, strategy, opening and tactics in chess from a ChessKidsNation chess coach. Registration is required. Grades K-6.

April 16: Teen Advisory Board. 4-5 p.m. A place for teens to help out at the library. Registration is required. Grades 6-12.

April 16: Trussville Jeopardy. 6:30-7:55 p.m. Put your local knowledge to the test. Registration required. Ages 18 and older.

April 17: Video Game Tournament for Teens. 4-5:30 p.m. Video game tournament featuring a variety of games and prizes. Registration is required. Grades 6-12.

April 18: Pages and Panels. 4-5 p.m. Read the book or graphic novel or listen to the audiobook “Spy School” by Stuart Gibbs. Then, join us as we discuss the books and make a craft! Best for upper elementary ages. 3rd-5th grade.

April 26: Classic Cinema. 2-4 p.m. Come and watch classic movies in the library auditorium. This month’s movie is “Singin’ in the Rain.” Registration is required. Ages 18 and older.

April 29: Fun Day Monday. 5-6 p.m. Join us once a month for a challenge. Registration is required. Grades 6-12.

April 29: American Girl Club. 5-6 p.m. Enjoy discussing this month's featured American Girl, Nanea (1941). Participants will also play a themed game and make a craft together. Registration is required. Grades K-6.


All smiles

Lady Huskies earn 3rd red map

The smile could not be wiped off Tonya Hunter’s face following the Class 7A girls state championship on March 2.

On the scoreboard at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena, Hoover High School defeated Hewitt-Trussville 58-56. It was the fourth consecutive state championship for the Lady Bucs, and the third time in the last six years the Lady Huskies have earned the red map trophy as the runners-up.

For Hunter, her smile reflected her joy in realizing the immense progress the Hewitt-Trussville team made from day one to the end of the season.

“If you would’ve saw us this summer, you would’ve said there’s no way [they get to the final],” she said.

Hoover was clearly the better team through three quarters of the state championship, opening up a 43-33 lead.

But something was different in that final quarter.

Hewitt-Trussville refused to let Hoover coast in the fourth quarter. The Lady Huskies came out hot and cut the deficit all the way to 51-50, before Hoover sophomore Khloe Ford’s three-point play made it 54-50 with a couple minutes to play. Hoover held on

the rest of the way.

Jordan Hunter pointed to teammates Lauryn Holley and Ryleigh Martin as the reason why the Lady Huskies made that charge. They combined to score 13 of the Lady Huskies’ first 15 points of the final period.

“It took them awhile, and you could tell their eyes were big [at the beginning],” Tonya Hunter said. “I promised them at halftime that the fourth quarter was going to be different, and that it was going to be epic.”

Martin finished with 13 points in the game, with Holley adding nine points.

“To go out there and perform like we did one last time was great, especially from where we came from,” Holley said.

Hoover was a team prepared to weather that storm, though. Kaitlyn Gipson went for 12 points, Layla Cannon added eight, and Ariana Peagler and Kamryn Lee each scored seven.

“Hewitt gave us a fight,” Hoover coach Krystle Johnson said. “Jordan Hunter is one of the best players in the state, and she left it all on the floor.”

Jordan Hunter wrote the final chapter in her Hewitt-Trussville story, posting 24 points in the state final.

“Jordan has left her legacy at Hewitt-Trussville High School. She’s left her footprint,” Tonya Hunter said.

People are often prisoners of the moment, but there was a sincerity in Tonya Hunter’s assessment that this year’s team is one of her favorites that she has coached.

“This team will be talked about for a long time,” she said.

Left: Hewitt-Trussville head coach Tonya Hunter claps as her daughter, Jordan Hunter, is named to the All-Tournament team following the Class 7A state championship game at Legacy Arena at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex on March 2. The Lady Bucs defeated the Lady Huskies 58-56. Right: Hewitt-Trussville’s Ryleigh Martin (4) shoots a 3-pointer guarded by Hoover’s Ariana Peagler (14). Photos by Erin Nelson Sweeney. Hewitt-Trussville’s Jordan Hunter (2) shoots a 3-pointer guarded by Hoover’s Aaliyah Blanchard (13) in the first half of the girls Class 7A state championship game on March 2.
26th-28th May 3rd-5th Presented by:

All-South Metro Basketball: Hunters earn postseason awards

The 2023-24 high school basketball season has been completed, which means it’s time to recognize those with standout seasons on the annual Starnes Media All-South Metro basketball team.

Mountain Brook’s Ty Davis and Hewitt-Trussville’s Jordan Hunter are Players of the Year, as each capped off incredible careers. Both were coached by their parents and led their teams to state runner-up finishes this year.

Homewood’s Tim Shepler is the boys Coach of the Year, after leading Homewood back to the regional final for the first time since 2016. Tonya Hunter and Krystle Johnson met up in the Class 7A girls state championship game and both share Coach of the Year honors due to their stellar leadership.


► Player of the Year: Ty Davis, Mountain Brook

► Coach of the Year: Tim Shepler, Homewood


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

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


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

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

► Avery Futch, Chelsea: Helped the

Hornets to regionals by averaging 12.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

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

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


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

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

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

► Victor Odiari, Clay-Chalkville: Won area tournament MVP for a strong Cougars squad.

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


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

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

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

► David Stone, Homewood: The only double-digit scorer for a balanced Patriots team.

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


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


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

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

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

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

► Kameron Sanders, Clay-Chalkville: Led the Lady Cougars with 12.3 points a game.


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

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

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

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

► Maddie Walter, Mountain Brook: Went for 10 points and 8 rebounds a game.


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

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

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

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

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


► Emily Williams, John Carroll; Sadie Schwallie, Chelsea; Olivia Pryor, Chelsea; Mallory Ogle, John Carroll; Ashlyn Howard, Hewitt-Trussville; Ellis McCool, Homewood; Ava Robinson, Homewood; Mira McCool, Homewood; Savannah McDonald, Homewood; Lane Crowe, Homewood; Laine Litton, Homewood; Grayson Hudgens, Vestavia Hills; Ariana Peagler, Hoover; Aaliyah Blanchard, Hoover;

Layla Cannon, Hoover; Kamryn Lee, Hoover; Kamoriah Gaines, Clay-Chalkville; Ava Leonard, Spain Park; Tori Flournoy, Spain Park; Teagan Huey, Spain Park; Caroline Kester, Oak Mountain; Emma Stearns, Mountain Brook; Libby Geisler, Mountain Brook; Sarah Passink, Mountain Brook; Mary Beth Dicen, Briarwood Above: Hewitt-Trussville head coach Tonya Hunter highfives Kennedy Gill (23) in the first half of the girls Class 7A state championship game at Legacy Arena at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex on March 2. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney. Left: Hewitt-Trussville's Jordan Hunter (2) drives to the basket guarded by Hoover's Kamryn Lee (3). Photo by David Leong.

Huskies baseball coach wins 700th game

The number 700 has been important to baseball fans since Babe Ruth cranked his 700th home run in July 1934.

Ruth finished his career with 714, then Hank Aaron surpassed him in April 1974 with 715. Barry Bonds put his name atop the list in 2007, albeit with an asterisk, when he hit his 756th home run. Alex Rodriguez finished his career with 703 round-trippers.

Only those four players have ever sent more than 700 baseballs into and beyond outfield bleachers.

But the number is also synonymous with greatness in the Alabama high school baseball wins list, and Hewitt-Trussville head coach Jeff Mauldin has reached it.

The Huskies beat Pelham, the program Mauldin previously led, 11-0 on Feb. 27 to give Mauldin his 700th career win and his 306th with the Huskies. Mauldin won 218 games at Clay-Chalkville from 2000 to 2006 and 176 wins from 2007 to 2012 at Pelham. He’s been at Hewitt-Trussville since.

Mauldin led the Cougars to a state championship in 2003 and Hewitt-Trussville in 2016. The Huskies have finished as the state runner-up in 2013, 2018, and 2022.

“Honestly, when you get to certain numbers during your career, [you say], ‘Hey that’s neat. Let’s move on,’” Mauldin said. “I really try to focus on what we’re doing today for practice. Someone sent me something in the last few weeks, and it listed the AHSAA coaches and win totals. … It kind of stopped me in my tracks. I looked at it, and I saw the names on the list and where my name was. It was super humbling.”

The list ahead of Mauldin isn’t long,

HewittTrussville head coach Jeff Mauldin talks with pitcher Ryan Davis and catcher Drew Ollis on the mound during a game against Spain Park at Phil English Field in Trussville in April 2023.

regardless of source. The Alabama High School Athletic Association lists only five coaches with more wins: William Booth of Hartselle with 1,185 wins, William Murrell at Athens Bible with 910, Richard Patterson with 893 wins at four programs, Ken Whittle with 783 at Trinity Presbyterian and Richy Brooks with 711 wins at Tarrant and Benjamin Russell. A wins list from the Alabama High School Football Historical Society lists the same names, but also six others who have

won more than 700 games.

Regardless, Mauldin is up there. His winning percentage is one of the best, if not the best.

“How blessed I have been …,” Mauldin said, and he paused. “It’s really ‘we.’ Me and Coach [Jeff] Schrupp, my wife, my family. Schrupp and my wife … and Coach Schrupp’s wife, Kelly. We’ve all kind of been on this journey together.”

Schrupp has been on Mauldin’s various staffs since 2000. Naming the rest would be a task. Thinking back to players from ClayChalkville, Pelham and Hewitt-Trussville makes Mauldin emotional. He hears from former players still in the game in some way, but former players now with wives and children also come to Hewitt-Trussville games to support their former coach.

“God has truly watched over everything we’ve done,” he said. “And the people that have been placed in our paths that have been a part of it is unbelievably humbling.”

Mauldin would rather end the season with a state title than win his 700th game. But one couldn’t be done without the other.

“It’s about our team, it’s about our kids,” Mauldin said. “We always put our kids first.”

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Jefferson County
Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

Varsity Sports Calendar


April 2: @ Chelsea. 6 p.m.

April 4: vs. Chelsea. 6 p.m.

April 9: vs. Spain Park. 6 p.m.

April 11: @ Spain Park. 6 p.m.

April 16: @ Oak Mountain. 6 p.m.

April 18: vs. Oak Mountain. 6 p.m.

April 26: Playoffs begin.


April 1: Boys at Husky Invitational. Grayson Valley CC.

April 1-2: Girls at Hike the Hills. Highland Park Golf Club.

April 2: Boys at Panther Invitational. Huntsville.

April 8: Girls at Arab Invitational. Cherokee Ridge Golf Course.

April 8: Boys at Warrior Invitational. Timberline Golf CC.

April 15: Boys at Hoover Invitational. Hoover CC.

April 15: Girls at Wildcat Invitational. Terrapin Hills.

April 17: Girls vs. Vestavia Hills. Vestavia CC.

April 22-23: Girls at Bert McGriff Invitational. Cross Creek CC.

April 24: White Plains Invitational. RTJ-Silver Lakes.

April 29: Section tournament. TBD.


April 12-13: Mountain Brook Invitational. Mountain Brook High School.

April 19: Hewitt-Trussville Invitational. Hewitt-Trussville High School.


April 2: Girls @ Indian Springs. 5 p.m.

April 2: Boys vs. Briarwood. 7 p.m.

April 5: vs. Oak Mountain. Girls at 5 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

April 9: vs. Oneonta. Girls at 5 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

April 12: vs. Chelsea. Girls at 5 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

April 16: @ Spain Park. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

April 18: Boys vs. Helena. 5 p.m.

April 19: Girls vs. Westminster-Oak Mountain. 5 p.m.

April 22: Boys @ Leeds. 6 p.m.

April 23: Boys vs. Albertville. 7 p.m.

April 29: Playoffs begin.


April 4: vs. Springville. 6 p.m.

April 9: vs. Oak Mountain. 6 p.m.

April 11: vs. Chelsea. 6 p.m.

April 16: vs. Spain Park. 6 p.m.

April 18: vs. Plainview, Orange Beach. TBD.

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

April 22: @ Hartselle. 5 p.m.

April 23: vs. Curry. 6 p.m.


April 2: @ Hoover. 4 p.m.

April 8: @ Altamont. 4 p.m.

April 9: @ Chelsea. 4 p.m.

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Sports Editor’s Note By Kyle Parmley

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kyle Parmley is the sports editor at Starnes Media.

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Southern Musings

Hike, write might become tradition

My wife is awesome, so let’s just lead with that.

For my birthday, she booked a three-day, two-night stay for me and our dog, Sonny, in a Mentone cabin, five minutes from DeSoto State Park. Sure, she’d have been my first choice over the dog, but I don’t think our four-year-old is quite old enough to be the man of the house. Maybe next year.

So, the dog and I drove northeast and proceeded to have the quickest slow weekend I’ve ever experienced. We checked in twoand-a-half hours early, and we went hiking as soon as I could unpack. I grilled a ribeye for me and steak bites for Sonny that night, and we watched football as night fell.

We made our way to DeSoto State Park the next morning, where a light drizzle fell before we hiked almost five miles in two hours. I saw 30 deer and zero people in the woods, which was tremendous. It was refreshing to be somewhere the people

aren’t, where bulldozers aren’t pushing tree stumps and green away to make room for concrete and bricks.

It was nice that the steps in the woods were made from tree roots and stone, and that the waterfalls were natural instead of powered by electricity and illuminated by LED lights.

I wrote this column in the afternoon and rushed through most of it because the hot tub wouldn’t stop enticing me with its rumbles. I grilled more steak because what is a weekend getaway without steak at every meal?

That night, our last night in Mentone, I spent a lot of time writing. Another story, a book project I’m seemingly never going to finish and planning for more content

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope I am never an un-nice person. What would Mama think?

Mama is a woman who says things like:

were all things I touched on. Had I never figured out the Amazon Fire TV Stick — my wife has the technological know-how, and I do not — I’d have written approximately ten thousand more words. OK, probably not.

As much as I’d like what I came to call the Hike & Write to become an annual tradition, I know it won’t. Sonny is 9 years old and, despite his strong pull of the leash for nearly five miles, it will eventually weaken. As our son plays more sports and involves himself in other extracurriculars, I won’t be able to just leave for a weekend.

So, I’ll remember this weekend for what it was. Peaceful. Everyone who knows me knows how much I read Thoreau, especially

Sean of the South By Sean Dietrich Make Mama proud

“Don’t talk about yourself too much. It’s like passing gas in an elevator; people will smile, but they don’t mean it.”

And: “Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble.”

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

Also, I want to be the kind of man who dogs follow for no reason. I want to be the guy who does magic tricks for toddlers.

I want to go around reminding teenagers how important they are. I want to listen to the jokes old men tell when their wives aren’t around.

I want to hear long stories on porches, and I want to be the first to respond: “Well, I Suwannee.”

A good Suwannee is hard to find.

I want the “little guys” to be famous. I want the overlooked to be looked at. I

want to clap for the kid who dreams of singing on the Opry stage one day — like Mama clapped for me. I’ve never been on the Opry stage and never will, either. But Mama really believed I could have been.

I want to believe in people like she does. I want to watch sunsets with friends and convince them that they are the most “specialest” people in the world. And I want to use words like “specialest,” even though that word is English blasphemy.

I want cheap beer in the bottle. I don’t need a New York strip, just give me a hamburger and onion rings as big as hula hoops. Then, I want you to know that you can hug me whenever you want and get a hug in return.

A good hug is harder to find than a good Suwannee.

And if I live long enough to see my own

his Journal. On Jan. 7, 1852, 172 years before the day I spent hiking through DeSoto State Park, Thoreau wrote this:

“I go forth each afternoon and look into the west a quarter of an hour before sunset, with fresh curiosity, to see what new picture will be painted there, what new panorama exhibited, what new dissolving views. Can Washington Street or Broadway show anything as good? Every day a new picture is painted and framed, held up for half an hour, in such lights as the Great Artist chooses, and then withdrawn, and the curtain falls. And then the sun goes down, and long the afterglow gives light. And then the damask curtains glow along the western window. And now the first star is lit, and I go home.”

Gary Lloyd is the author of six books and a contributing writer to the Cahaba Sun.

Gary Lloyd is the author of six books and a contributing writer to the Cahaba Sun.

white hair, I want to be a man who is proud of people who don’t have someone to be proud of them.

I want my friends to succeed and surpass me. I want to be the one cheering for them in the bleachers. I want my funeral to be filled with people who say things like, “Sean Dietrich, wasn’t he a mess?”

And I want you to know you are magnificent.

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

I hope I am the sort of guy who is kind. But most of all, I hope to make my mother proud.

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

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