Cahaba Sun December 2022

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to schedule a free consultation. More face time. Less wait time. Vol 8 | Issue 1 | December 2022 As Trussville As It Gets CONVOY FOR A CAUSE Witches Ride raises over $20,000 for 11-year-old. 8 ‘DRIVEN’ HTHS junior’s journey to be Navy pilot. 10
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It’s officially the holiday season!

When I was younger, I remember my parents and other adults telling me about the joy that came along with giving some one a great gift or doing a thoughtful act of service for someone.

But at that age, you’re just so consumed with get ting gifts at Christmas that you never think anything else of it.

At my current stage of my life, I have learned that I feel much better when I am the person trying to bring joy to others, as opposed to wishing that others make me happy and constantly having selfish motives.

This is a tough time of year for many people, so I encourage you (and myself) to try to have that mindset of bringing joy to others. An act of kindness or an encourag ing word goes a long way.

I hope you and your families have a wonderful Christ mas season! Thanks as always for reading the Cahaba Sun for another year.


Please Support Our Community Partners

Ascension St. Vincent’s Health Systems (9)

Bedzzz Express (20)

Birmingham Orthodontics (1)

Bonnie Hicks, ARC Realty (17)

Bromberg’s (15)

Children’s of Alabama (13)

CrossPoint Baptist Church (5 DeDe’s Book Rack (8)

Deerfoot Memorial Funeral Home 17

Donna O’Barr Robinson - Red Barn Real Estate (2)

Enroll Alabama (5)

ENT Associates of Alabama (15)

Faye Nichols Test Prep (6)

First Baptist Church, Trussville (3)

Homewood Carpet & Flooring (6)

IOP Services LLC (11)

Lee Marlow, RealtySouth (7)

Legacy Ridge Assisted Living (19)

McWane Science Center (18)

Sewing Machine Mart (8)

Southern Home Structural Repair Specialists (13)

Trussville Gas and Water (11)

Vapor Ministries/Thrift Store (7)

Window World of Central Alabama (2)

Find Us

Pick up the latest issue of Cahaba Sun at the following locations:

► Edgar’s Bakery

► Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce

► Trussville Civic Center

► Trussville Gas and Water

► Trussville Police Department

► Trussville Public Library


in Trussville.

Dan Starnes

For advertising contact:

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

Published by: Cahaba Sun LLC

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 ac curacy 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.

Please recycle this paper.

4 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm
Ethan Sutherland, a junior at Hewitt-Trussville High School, stands in the store at Bama Fever - Tiger Pride Sutherland works at the store after school during the week and on the weekends. Photo by Erin Nelson. Hewitt-Trussville’s Kinley Harris crosses the finish line during the girls Class 7A race of the AHSAA State CrossCountry Championships at Oakville Indian Mounds on Nov. 5. Photo by Erin Nelson.
Editors: Sports Editor: Photo Editor: Design Editor: Page Designer:
Designer: Sales Director:
Success Specialists:
Development Exec.:
Development Rep.:
Kyle Parmley Jon Anderson Leah Ingram Eagle Neal Embry Kyle Parmley Erin Nelson Melanie Viering Ted Perry Simeon Delante Sean Dietrich Gary Lloyd Emily VanderMey Eric Richardson Warren Caldwell Courtney Jordan Don Harris Madison Gaines Sarah Villar Publisher: Community

CrossPoint, a Southern Baptist Church 8000 Liles Lane • Trussville, AL 35173 • 205-655.0364 Ryan F. Whitley, Pastor

The Healtcare Marketplace is open Nov. 1- Jan. 15 HEALTHCARE MARKETPLACE ENROLLMENT IS open now CALL OR VISIT to see if you qualify 844-248-7698 ASSISTANCE & APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE TROUGH PHONE HEALTHCARE.GOV PAPER APPLICATION IN PERSON Come be our guest Sunday Schedule 8:00 AM - Bible Study 9:15 AM - Bible Study and Worship 10:45 AM - Bible Study and Worship
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Jiffy Lube is now open in Trussville at 1106 N. Chalkville Road. The location offers oil changes as well as service for brakes, tires, filters and more, and it is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. 659-287-0220,

Water Mountain Trail is now open in the Pinnacle Shopping Center in Trussville. The shop offers hiking and camping gear and apparel, swimsuits, sunglasses and more. 205-508-3681,


Avadian Credit Union, which has a branch at 2150 Gadsden Highway, has expanded its business services lending team. The team will be led by Larry Uptain, who was promoted to commercial lending manager, and includes Blake Watkins, Clint Phillips and Quintin Milton. 205-661-9712,

Madison Gaines in September joined

Starnes Media as a business develop ment representative. Gaines graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor's degree in marketing in May. She previously worked as a social media marketing specialist and sales representative for the Gaines Family Farmstead in Birmingham and a parttime leasing agent for College Station Properties in Tuscaloosa. Starnes Media, based in Homewood, publishes the Hoover Sun, The Homewood Star, Vestavia Voice, Village Living, 280 Liv ing and Cahaba Sun newspapers and websites and other publications such as The Birmingham Bar Bulletin. 205-313-1780,

Kemp’s Kitchen, Golden Rule plan Dec. 1 reopening

Kemp’s Kitchen & Bakery is planning to reopen in the former Golden Rule Bar-B-Q and Grill in downtown Trussville on Dec. 1. Golden Rule will be reopening as well. Construction began Sept. 28. According to owner Brian Kemp, the two restaurants — Kemp’s Kitchen and Golden Rule — will be located under the same roof.

“We are super excited to be a part of the [Trussville] Entertainment District and

completely back in Trussville,” Kemp said. “We are rebuilding from the ashes and coming back better than ever.”Golden Rule closed its doors after 30 years on South Chalkville Road on Aug. 12. Kemp's Kitchen opened its first location in Trussville in Novem ber 2017. It moved across the street from Golden Rule, in the former Hardee’s build ing, in August 2020 but closed due to a fire in November 2021.

6 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm
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A rendering of the new Kemp's Kitchen and Golden Rule Bar-BQue that is scheduled to open Dec. 1 Rendering courtesy of Kemp's Kitchen.

Christmas Parade planned for Dec. 10

The Trussville Christmas Parade is planned for Saturday, Dec. 10, throughout downtown and historic Trussville.

The parade begins at 3 p.m.

The event, free for spectators, begins on Parkway Drive and turns right onto Main Street before making another right onto North Chalkville Road. The parade will end after it passes by the Christmas tree on West Mall.

Prizes for the float competition will be awarded to Best Interpretation of Theme, Most Original, Most Innovative, Best Over all, Best Walking Group and several honor able mentions.

The Christmas tree lighting ceremony and community caroling event took place Nov. 27.

For more information, visit trussville or call 205-655-7535.


Christmas Parade

• WHERE: Throughout downtown and historic Trussville

• WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 10 3 p.m,.

• COST: Free

• CALL: 205-655-7535

• WEB:

7 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm Give Life SCAN QR CODE TO bringing life to communities dying from extreme poverty. MEET URGENT NEEDS END POVERTY SPREAD THE GOSPEL WE ARE... TOGETHER Lee Marlow REALTOR® 205.913.9559 If you are considering making a move in the New Year- call me! Happy Holidays Trussville
The Trussville Christmas Parade will make its way through downtown and historic Trussville on Dec. 10. Photo by Gary Lloyd.


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

The Trussville Witches Ride made its way from Cahaba Elementary through the Cahaba Homestead on Oct. 22, raising money for a good cause.

The convoy of local women dressed as witches, riding bicycles or low-speed vehi cles, were met with live music from the Highway 11 band at the beginning of the ride and a country western-themed after-party at Ferus with the Tommy Crowder Band.

The outfits ran the gamut from sparkling Disco Dolly Partons to a Sugar Skull coven, to 90s-themed “Saved by the Spell” witches. The theme that took first place for best group theme was “Fancy Like,” based on the lyrics of the hit song by Walker Hayes.

The Trussville Witches Ride board includes President Christy McDonald, Vice President Niki Lincoln, Treasurer Lindsay Rutland, Secretary Robin Ormond and Public Relations/Social Media Manager Karli Lang ner. The board determines which cause the ride will benefit through nominations from

residents of Trussville.

This year, the board unanimously decided that the funds should be given to 11-year-old Caleb Wilson, a Paine Elementary student. Caleb is fighting a type of cancer called neu rofibromatosis Type 1, which is characterized by the growth of tumors along nerves in the skin, brain and other parts of the body.

As the beneficiary of this year’s Truss ville Witches Ride, Caleb also served as the Grand Marshal as the parade of witches flew through the streets.

The Trussville Witches Ride had the support of 43 sponsors this year, more than double the number from last year, while 281 women participated in the ride. The com munity also purchased T-shirts and several individuals and businesses made donations, resulting in over $20,000 in funds raised for the Wilson family to assist in paying for Caleb’s treatments.

“We are completely humbled by this community’s love and support, whether that

be through the financial aspect, the mes sages, the phone calls, or the comments on social media,” said Caleb’s mother, Heather Wilson. “We don’t have a ton of family, so your support has felt like family to us.”

“We want to thank this community from the bottom of our hearts,” added Caleb’s dad, Matt Wilson. “The last year and a half have been incredibly difficult, and some people have walked through that with us. I’d be wasting a good opportunity if I didn’t use this platform to give honor to God because he has walked with us and sustained us throughout this entire journey. No one walks with you like Jesus Christ does, and for that, we want to give him thanks.”

The Trussville Witches Ride has only been around for three years, and it has grown sig nificantly from the 70 participants in its inau gural year. The board established the ride as a nonprofit in 2021.

The 2023 Trussville Witches Ride will take place on Oct. 21. Follow @

8 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm
trussvillewitchesride on Facebook and Ins tagram for more information.
300 Springville Station Blvd, Suite 800 | Springville, AL 35146 205.870.1931 | Open Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm, Saturday 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Keep up with our latest news, like us on Facebook @Sewingmachinemart Since 1950 CHECK OUT THE Solaris Vision Projector, Built-In Designs & Ability to Import Your Own Designs, Extended Hoop for Edge to Edge Quilting. Embroidery, Sewing, and Quilting Machine Learn more & see it in store USED BOOKS Adult & Kids Looking for a gift for a reader in your life? Let them choose their next read w with a gift card! 104 S Chalkville Rd Trussville 205-655-3332 Tuesday - Saturday 10-6 Closed Sunday & Monday Trussville Witches Ride raises over $20,000 for 11-year-old
Submitted by Karli Langner. Participants take off during the Trussville Witches Ride on Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of Shawn Bowles.

Cub Scouts beautify Cahaba Elementary garden

A local Cub Scouts troop recently improved the Cahaba Elementary School garden as a project.

The Scouts on Oct. 23 cleared weeds, added a birdhouse and added stepping stones. The garden coming to fruition was a long time in the making. In the fall of 2016, kindergarten teachers Angela Shorter and Marcia Segers approached Principal Joy Tyner with the idea of establishing a garden on campus to enhance the science curriculum for all students. Shorter had recently secured a grant from the Birmingham Audubon Soci ety to design a bird sanctuary and had the idea of creating a pollinator garden around the sanctuary, by planting local plants to draw pollinators that would also provide another food source for the birds.

Shorter also discussed the addition of a vegetable garden box for the community to maintain, in hopes of eventually expanding the garden into a community garden. Shorter wrote and submitted a grant proposal to the Trussville City Schools Foundation and in the winter of 2017 was awarded a $1,000 grant to establish a kindergarten garden on campus. It wasn't until the spring sun warmed the soil in 2017 that the first seeds were planted in a

rolling planter and a few plants were potted by two kindergarten classes.

Each year, a new group of kindergarten students is introduced to the garden and adds their touch to it. The number of garden boxes has increased to five from the initial two. Vegetables have been added. Over the years, many parents have donated seeds, plants, soil, tools and other necessities and volun teered their time through the school year and in the summers to maintain the garden and harvest the crops. Many teachers, bus driv ers, office workers and community members have had a taste of the garden.

In 2017, a sprinkler system was donated and installed. During the 2020-2021 school year, the virtual kindergarten students used the gardens as a means to connect to the school. They planted a fall salad with their families and maintained and harvested the crops. One student and her mom began painting the boxes to bring color to the area. In 2021-2022, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority – Progressive Pearls of Trussville – a local service orga nization, adopted the gardens. The ladies of AKA cleared the garden boxes, trimmed the trees and hedges and added some fall plants to beautify the gardens and prepare it for the

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9 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm
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students. They decided to adopt the gardens as an annual service project and have already been out this fall to work in the area and donate an arbor for the entrance. – Submitted by Trussville City Schools Trussville Cub Scouts and their parents gathered Sunday, Oct. 23, to work on their "Tiger Circles" service project for the kindergarten garden at Cahaba Elementary School. The scouts added steppting stones, trimmed trees, filled bird feeders, painted a brid house and tended to the garden boxes. Photo courtesy of Lauren Bone.



How, in a store with walls covered in crimson merchandise, could an August con versation be about anything other than the upcoming University of Alabama football season?

How, as a man perused through the vin tage logo hats — the logo with the elephant stepping through a block A and “Crimson Tide” printed at the bottom, the only logo that Alabama should print on shirts and hats — could a conversation about required read ing for AP English happen?

Well, that man was wearing a librarythemed black shirt. The lone Bama Fever-Ti ger Pride employee, barely 16 years old, approached him and asked, “So, do you like to read?”

The conversation was off and running quicker than a Crimson Tide wide receiver.

Ethan Sutherland is that 16-year-old, a Hewitt-Trussville High School junior who had only been working at the store for a few weeks. He said he was re-reading “The Sun Does Shine” by Anthony Ray Hinton as a refresher for his AP English class, and another book about confidence in public speaking to remind himself that he’s capa ble. He plans to read “Life Force” by Tony Robbins next.

Sutherland paces himself when reading so that he doesn’t burn out. His love for reading kickstarted almost two years ago when he read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter, which stresses the importance of financial literacy,

independence and building wealth.

“I couldn’t stop,” Sutherland said.

Spend 10 minutes in the afternoon among the Tide and Tigers jerseys when Suther land is behind the register, and a one-word description of him will be obvious – driven.

“Definitely driven,” Sutherland said. “It hasn’t always been like that, though.”

If he wasn’t achieving positive results right away on the football field or baseball diamond, he took time off. He didn’t try hard in school. He’s 16.

Sutherland said it took him a long time to figure out who he is, where he wants to go in life. He was tired of blaming coaches, teachers, others.

“I stopped making excuses, and I started working on it,” Sutherland said.

He hasn’t stopped working on it since the second semester of his freshman year. Sutherland has big plans for his career, and his drive is keeping him on the straight and narrow. He wants to be a Navy pilot, to fly the F-18 fighter jets. The dream traces back to watching “Top Gun” as a 6-year-old, and he’s clear that this desire began with the 1986 classic, not the 2022 follow-up that has stowed away more money than Fort Knox. Sutherland thought he wanted to fly cargo planes around the world, but a year ago he decided, once and for all, the F-18s were for him.

“It’s just always been appealing to me,” he said. “I’d rather work for not much money but enjoy what I do versus make a lot of money and hate what I do.”

He has backup plans of being an

entrepreneur and working as an exotic car salesman. The way he talks about pursuing the Navy, though, it’s hard to see Sutherland writing up the paperwork for a Lamborgh ini. On where he sees himself 10 years from now — that obvious yet ambiguous ques tion asked in thousands of corporate offices nationwide — Sutherland was clear.

“I’m going to say I’m going to be an F-18 pilot in the Navy,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll be married. I would say hopefully so. There’s no telling what state, city or country I’ll be in, depending on where I’m deployed, but I know I’m going to be a pilot. I know I’m going to be doing what I love and what I enjoy.”

Sutherland’s dad, Chad Sutherland, has seen that independent thought and noncon formity in his son.

“He’s got his head on right, he knows which direction he wants to go in life,” he said. “He works very hard. I can’t be any thing but super proud of the way he’s turned out and the plans he has.”

Sutherland said to become a Navy pilot, he must have a four-year college degree. He is being tutored to take the ACT in April and hopes to earn an ROTC scholarship. He wants to go through basic training during his senior year of high school and learn how to fly during college. After college, he plans to be in the air.

“He has always wanted to fight for our country, and he’s always wanted to fly planes,” said his mom, Jessica Self Suther land. “What better way to do it than to fly for the Navy?”

Sutherland knows his dream requires time and effort. He wakes up at 4:45 a.m. each weekday to get to the gym by 5 a.m., works out, showers in cold water and heads to school. After school, he goes to work. He has been prepping meals — chicken and rice and jambalaya are the recent dishes — to eat five times per day.

“It’s all routine,” he said. “If I get out of routine, I’m out of whack. I try to keep myself to a high standard and stay in routine.”

To maintain any routine, instant gratifica tion must be cast aside. Sutherland recently read a piercing quote about people giving up what they want most to get what they want now.

“I’m going to try not to do that,” he said. Wherever this dream takes Sutherland, his dad believes it’ll make him a superb moti vational speaker someday. He was reading a book about it, after all.

“I recently had a thought that I want someone to look at me one day and say, ‘I’m proud of what he’s accomplished, and I want to be like him. I want to have that drive for success, I want to have that desire to be really good at one thing or another,’” Sutherland said. “I want to have people look at me and say, ‘How did you come to this level in your life where you’ve achieved so much?’ I think that sounds kind of selfish, and I get that, but that’s something I’ve just been striving for. I want the ability to say I’ve achieved something I’ve always wanted to do. I want to be able to say I’ve done this. I set out to do this, I’ve done it and I’ve conquered it.”

10 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm
Ethan Sutherland, a junior at HewittTrussville High School, stands in the store at Bama Fever - Tiger Pride in Trussville, where he works after school during the week and on the weekend. Photo by Erin Nelson.
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Artificial turf coming for Hewitt-Trussville fields

Various Trussville City Schools athletic fields soon will have artificial turf, and part of a field will be covered.

The Trussville City Council on Sept. 27 authorized the release of up to $7 mil lion from the city’s public school capital improvement trust fund for phase one of Trussville City Schools’ athletics master plan.

Athletics Director Lance Walker said phase one includes turf fields for Goldie Paine Field for softball, Phil English Field for baseball, the competition soccer field and the field behind Hewitt-Trussville Middle School, as well as a half field covered beside the football fieldhouse on Husky Parkway.

“It certainly would be a good start,” Walker said. “It impacts a lot of sports and a lot of people.”

Walker said the projects must be bid out, making it “extremely tight” to have fields ready for the spring 2023 season. A more

likely timeline is starting work after upcom ing seasons end.

In other city news, the City Council on Sept. 27 approved an ordinance regulating

golf carts and other low-speed motorized vehicles on city streets. According to the ordinance, a city street is defined as any public street that is maintained by the city

Pattie Neill resigns as superintendent

Pattie Neill resigned as Trussville City Schools’ superintendent Nov. 1.

“I am proud of the accomplishments of the students, educators, and staff of Trussville City Schools during the time I have served as Superintendent over the last 10 years,” Neill wrote in her resignation letter. “I believe this is the perfect time for new leadership to con tinue the mission of Trussville City Schools, and I have decided to step down in my duties as Superintendent.”

Neill, the school system’s leader for almost 10 years, was placed on a 60-day administrative leave Sept. 30 in the wake of a Hewitt-Trussville High School student being suspended in September after making terror istic threats Sept. 16, almost a year after he created a “death notebook” that contained the names of 37 classmates, a notebook that did not come to light to authorities until almost a year later.

During the Trussville Police Department investigation, it was learned that the same student in October 2021 had created a “death notebook” that contained the names of 37 classmates. The department was not notified by school administrators of the notebook. Hewitt-Trussville High School Principal Tim Salem was placed on administrative leave

Sept. 27.

In her resignation letter, Neill wrote, “Also, the investigation being conducted by the Board will affirm that I did not know of the ‘death notebook’ prior to September 21st of 2022. I love Trussville and I wish the very best for Trussville City Schools in the future.”

Neill was under contract through June 30, 2026. After contract negotiations, Trussville City Schools will pay Neill through Oct. 31, 2023.

Board member Kim DeShazo said pros of the move is avoiding litigation and negotiat ing Neill’s contract down from four years to one. It allowed a chapter to close.

“It provides us an opportunity to move forward,” DeShazo said. “It provides us an opportunity to have a fresh start. Those are all good things. Those are all good things that our community needs, our community wants. That is what’s in the best interest of our community, of our students.”

Acting superintendent Frank Costanzo was subsequently approved as interim super intendent effective Nov. 1. Costanzo was hired Oct. 13 to lead the school system in an acting role. Costanzo retired as the super intendent of Tuscaloosa County Schools in 2012. He has more than 40 years of experi ence in education as a teacher, bus driver,

assistant principal, principal, central office director, assistant superintendent and super intendent. He has spent 10 years in educa tional consulting.

Board President Kathy Brown said the school system would be working with the Alabama Association of School Boards to aid in the process of finding a new superintendent.

Neill, after serving as the interim super intendent of Trussville City Schools in July 2012, was named the permanent leader in November 2012. Prior to Trussville, Neill was the superintendent of the Cumber land County School District in Crossville, Tenn., from 2003 to 2007. From then to her appointment as Trussville City Schools’ superintendent, she served as an assistant professor of graduate studies at Samford University in Birmingham, where she over saw elementary and secondary teachers earning master’s and doctorate degrees in education.

In Trussville, she was named the District V Superintendent of the Year in 2020. She led the school system in 2014 when the sev en-millage tax referendum passed that helped fund the construction of Cahaba Elementary and Magnolia Elementary schools. She was also the superintendent during the construc tion of Hewitt-Trussville Stadium. More

with a speed limit of 25 mph or less.

The ordinance states that any golf carts not designed or manufactured for operation on public streets are prohibited from oper ating thereon. Upon stopping or encounter ing a cart or vehicle not authorized under the ordinance, a Trussville police officer may “seize and impound the cart or vehi cle which shall be impounded by the City’s towing and storage vendor.”

The City Council also imposed a tempo rary moratorium on rezoning applications for certain residential classifications through Dec. 31. The moratorium does not apply to new rezoning applications seeking either R-1 or R-2 single-family residential clas sification. The moratorium will allow the city council time to update and modernize the city’s zoning ordinances.

The City Council also recently approved its fiscal year 2023 budget, which includes an estimated total operating revenue of $47.8 million and total operating expendi tures of $39.6 million.

recently, Hewitt-Trussville High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education and in April the new Trussville City Schools Cen tral Office was opened.

Neill said she’ll take the next year to explore new opportunities, to figure out what’s next.

“That will give me time to reset the course of my life,” she said.

12 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm
Phil English Field at HewittTrussville High School. The Trussville City Council approved a bid to convert the high school baseball, softball, soccer and football practice fields to artificial turf. Photo by Gary Lloyd. Trussville City Schools Superintendent Pattie Neill speaks during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Trussville City Schools Board of Education building on April 28. Neill resigned from TCS on Nov. 2. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Interim superintendent hits ground running

Trussville City Schools has its acting superintendent, and he wasted no time get ting started.

The Trussville City Schools Board of Edu cation on Oct. 13 hired Frank Costanzo to lead the school system on an interim basis. Costanzo retired as the superintendent of Tus caloosa County Schools in 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience in education as a teacher, bus driver, assistant principal, princi pal, central office director, assistant superin tendent and superintendent. He has spent 10 years in educational consulting.

“This school district has earned a rep utation for academic excellence, and the boundless opportunities offered beyond the classroom setting provide enriching learn ing experience for students at all levels,” Costanzo said.

Since retiring, Costanzo has served as interim superintendent in Demopolis, Talla dega, Sylacauga and Pell City. He currently is employed with Criterion K12 Consultants in Birmingham as an educational consultant as well as working part time with the Ala bama State Department of Education.

Board Vice President Kim DeShazo said Costanzo meets all the characteristics a

person can to meet the needs of this posi tion. He brings a level of experience, she said, that helps with crisis management.

“He just has a good demeanor about him,” she said.

Board member Steve Ward said he was impressed with Costanzo’s experience and called him an “ideal candidate.” The most impressive thing about him, Ward said, was his focus on students and teachers and not about himself.

“That, to me, probably hit home as much as anything else,” Ward said.

Less than a week into his acting super intendent role, Costanzo had to address a serious situation. On Oct. 19, he emailed parents and guardians of Trussville stu dents about a threat made by a student on a Hewitt-Trussville Middle School bus. Administrators and the school resource officer initiated the threat assessment pro tocol “to ensure student safety and assess the credibility of the threat.” All students and faculty were safe.

In part, he wrote, “I would like to ask each parent to have a conversation with your child. Please relay to your children the gravity and consequences of making statements of threats. Even playful, ‘just kidding’ statements must be investigated

and evaluated through the threat assessment protocol. Please stress the serious nature of threats to your children.”

Costanzo came to Trussville in October after Trussville City Schools Superinten dent Pattie Neill was placed on a 60-day administrative leave Sept. 30 in the wake of a Hewitt-Trussville High School stu dent being suspended in September after making terroristic threats Sept. 16, almost a year after he created a “death notebook” that contained the names of 37 classmates, a notebook that did not come to light to authorities until almost a year later.

Principal Tim

was placed on admin istrative leave Sept. 27.

“My role is to provide the leadership to continue to move the system forward,” Costanzo said. “It’s also my responsibility to provide the information and data to help the Board make the decisions that are in the best interest of students that we serve. I do not work in isolation. I will be open and transparent in all the work that I do.”

Costanzo noted that a lot of superinten dents and educators have retired and simply “gone away.” He’s an exception.

“I haven’t done that,” he said.

13 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm (7472) 205- 638 - PIRC The Psychiatric Intake Response Center (PIRC) is a FREE, confidential phone response center linking adult callers and community providers to the most appropriate mental health resources for teens and children. PIRC is NOT a crisis or suicide hotline. Call for mental health resources. The PIRC is generously supported by fund ng from the Anne B. LaRussa Foundation of Hope United Way of Central Alabama, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama and the Walker Area Community Foundation. REQUEST A FREE QUOTE TODAY 205-520-9777• FOUNDATION REPAIR BASEMENT WALL REPAIR FLOOR LEVELING CRAWLSPACE ENCAPSULATION FOUNDATION PROBLEMS? WE HAVE THE SOLUTION. Family-Owned and Operated Since 1996
Salem Trussville City Schools interim superintendent Frank Costanzo speaks during a press conference Oct. 13. Photo by Gary Lloyd.

Huskies embracing new coach, aiming for success

Jeremy Monceaux is ready to build some thing at Hewitt-Trussville High School.

Monceaux was hired as the Huskies boys basketball coach in April and is set to embark on his maiden season leading a program that is “hungry for some consistency.”

“We’re trying to generate some excite ment, trying to start that with our youth,” Monceaux said at the Birmingham Basket ball Media Day event at Thompson High in early November.

Monceaux has a long-term vision for what he wants to do with the Hewitt-Trussville basketball program, one that he hopes to see rival the ascent of the girls program over the last several years under Tonya Hunter. But merely looking toward the future would be a slight to the eight seniors on the Huskies roster this winter.

“When people get a new coach, there’s all this talk of building things. But I have a little bit of an urgency to make sure they finish well with what they’re doing as seniors,” Monceaux said.

Monceaux brought two of those seniors with him to Media Day, saying Emeka

Anwah and Legion Gaston were two of the first players to truly buy in to his vision for the present and the future.

“From day one, they were hitting the weight room hard, really doing all the con ditioning stuff in the offseason. There’s the buy-in that they’ve given us, and they’re leaders,” Monceaux said. “These two guys are bought in, they’re eating it up and we’re hoping to send them out on a good note in year one.”

Monceaux brings a pedigree of success with him, as both a player and a coach. He held the Alabama high school record for career points, racking up 4,555 points at Parkway Christian, until 2019. From there, he went on to play at Liberty University.

He made a few assistant coaching stops in the college ranks at Shelton State, Camp bellsville and Faulkner before getting the Clay-Chalkville High job in 2014. In seven years at Clay, Monceaux took the Cougars to the playoffs six times. The program’s best year was the 2020-21 campaign, in which Clay posted a 22-5 record and advanced to the regional final for the first time in school history.

Last season at Springville, the Tigers

Lady Huskies not shy about goals

It’s hard to argue with what the Hewitt-Trussville High School girls basketball program has done the last few years.

The Lady Huskies have been the Class 7A runner-up twice in the last four years and were put out in the Northeast Regional by eventual runner-up Vestavia Hills last winter.

But that doesn’t mean Hewitt-Trussville isn’t still striving for more. After all, that maiden state title has still eluded the program.

“The mindset this year is to win state,” senior guard April Hooks said at Birmingham Basketball Media Day at Thomp son High. “This being my last year, I want to go out with a bang.”

Head coach Tonya Hunter feels she has the personnel to make a run at that lofty objective. Hooks and junior guard Jordan Hunter are each entering their fifth season on the varsity squad. Those two, along with senior Audre Benson and others, give the Lady Huskies one of the top backcourts in Alabama.

“I think we have some of the best guards on one team,” Tonya Hunter said. “You usually don’t have three to four guards that can handle the ball and we do. We’re guard heavy. We have girls that can get downhill and shoot it.”

Many of Hewitt-Trussville’s top players this year have been in the program for years. There are no secrets as to what is expected of them.

“They know what our practice looks like, they know our goals, they know exactly what our program stands for, and

they’ve been a vital part of our program,” Hunter said.

Hunter also believes this year’s team can be a “player-led” one, a level she has been striving to reach for a few years now.

“It’s so much better when players are leading. When you’ve got young girls that you can trust and they can make decisions, we can coach from a different perspective,” she said.

Hooks is committed to play college ball at Alabama State University, while Jordan Hunter has made a pledge to Auburn. Benson also recently committed to the University of Central Arkansas. Hooks and Hunter flanked their head coach at the Media Day event and spoke to the team’s poise, aggressive ness and discipline as factors that will separate them from the rest.

“We’ve got a lot of girls that have played a lot of basket ball,” Tonya Hunter said. “We have a group of girls that love basketball and come to practice every day. That’s going to be outstanding for us to coach this year.”

Hunter lauded the efforts of the team’s other three seniors: Lilly Gray, Lily Burford and DeAndrea Powell. They have been part of the highly successful junior varsity team the last two years and are going to be asked to make a big impact on the varsity team this season.

“I’m excited just to see some of the girls that have been through our program in a different avenue to come out and contribute in their senior year,” Hunter said.

Olivia Burton, Ashlyn Howard, Mia Ada, Amber Newman, Sara Phillips and Jasia Reedy are also on the varsity team this year.

posted a 25-6 record and made it to sub-re gionals, where they fell to eventual state runner-up Huffman.

One of Monceaux’s main tenets is playing staunch defense, something the players have grown to understand quickly.

“There’s a certain way to play defense and he’s harped on that in practice,” Gaston said. “You’ve got to lock in every night on defense.”

Tyler Blake, Ray Rolley, Karnell Smith, Knox Baker, Braxton Brown and Hopkins Long are the other seniors on this year’s squad. Caleb Hooper, Jathan Fulmer, Reid Stodghill, Jaqson Melton, Larry Eddleman and Lake Williams are all juniors.

Hewitt-Trussville competes in Class 7A, Area 6 against Oak Mountain, Spain Park and Chelsea. Spain Park has advanced to the final four each of the last two years, Oak Mountain has a new head coach but has been on a string of successful seasons and Chelsea is ascending to 7A for the first time.

“We’ve just got to do the little things and commit to that defensive end, and have pride in how we’re going to play and how hard they’re going to play. The rest will take care of itself,” Monceaux said.

HewittTrussville’s Audre Benson (1) drives the ball downcourt as the Huskies face Sparkman during the first half of the AHSAA Class 7A girls Northeast Regional Semifinal at Pete Mathews Coliseum on Feb. 16. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Hewitt-Trussville competes in Class 7A, Area 6, with Spain Park, Oak Mountain and Chelsea. The Lady Huskies will enter the season as the favorites to win the area, but nothing is given in 7A ball.

“It’s still going to be a tough one,” Hunter said.

14 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm
Hewitt-Trussville’s Tyler Blake (1) shoots a layup in a game against Vestavia Hills at Braasch-Hatchett Court on Jan. 7. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Varsity Sports Calendar


Dec. 2: vs. Park Crossing. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

Dec. 5: vs. Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

Dec. 6: vs. Southside-Gadsden. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

Dec. 9: vs. Austin. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

Dec. 10: Girls vs. South Side (Tenn.). Jackson, Tennessee. TBD.

Dec. 13: @ Hoover. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

Dec. 15: @ Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

Dec. 16: Boys vs. John Carroll. 7 p.m.

Dec. 20: vs. Tuscaloosa County. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

Dec. 22: Girls vs. Mortimer Jordan. 4:30 p.m.

Dec. 22: Boys vs. Ramsay. 6 p.m.

Dec. 27-30: Girls at Hilton Sandestin Beach Blowout. Sandestin, Florida.

Dec. 29: Boys vs. Jasper. Plainview High School. 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 30: Boys vs. Columbia (Ga.). Plainview High School. 5:30 p.m.


Dec. 6: at Panther Classic. The Alley.

Dec. 7: vs. Center Point. Spare Time. 4 p.m.

Dec. 8: vs. Center Point. Spare Time. 4 p.m.

Dec. 14: @ Pinson Valley. Super Bowl. 3 p.m.


Dec. 10: Holiday Invitational. Birming ham CrossPlex. All day.


Dec. 2-3: Gardendale Invitational. Gardendale High School.

Dec. 6: Huntsville Quad. Huntsville High School. 5 p.m.

Dec. 8: vs. Chelsea. 6 p.m.

Dec. 9-10: Swede Umbach Invitation al. Auburn High School.

Dec. 15: vs. Hoover. 6 p.m.

Dec. 16-17: Jefferson Disaster Invitational. Jefferson, Georgia.

Dec. 21-22: Knockout Christmas Classic. Kissimmee, Florida.

Dec. 29-30: Hook ‘em Holiday Clash. Suwanee, Georgia.

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15 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm
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Southern Musings By Gary Lloyd A nosedive into the archives

As many in this world stare through a social media windshield without so much as a blink, my eyes fixate on the rearview mirror.

So many folks take blue-check tweets as gospel and offer acrimonious opinions based on inaccuracies, while I slide a new library card into my wallet. I had no idea that this new library card was a universal key to unlocking factual information, stories of the past and relics of journalism. I keep it in front of my Target RedCard. What a treasure.

If I had to swipe this library card like I do a Visa, it would fall short of its expiration date by three years. That little magnetic stripe would simply catch fire and probably burn my Levi’s. It has been magnificent to read past articles that predated Twitter, Buffer, Facebook, Bitly, Instagram, WordPress, TweetDeck, LinkedIn and probably a hundred more apps I don’t have space to rattle off here. To read these articles when they were timely, you had to have this

thing called a newspaper subscription, or venture out, with a few quarters in your cup holder, to find a news paper box.

I recently read a March 1994 article about Trussville foster parents; an August 1996 story about the Jack sons, 715 words about the Trussville couple’s quali fication for the Guys and Dolls national fishing cham pionship; and, of course, thousands of words under various headlines about the sinkholes that have long threatened to swallow Truss ville, one street at a time.

There was a distinct difference in those sto ries that yellowed in newsprint decades ago and the ones that live forever on the Web today. They were hyperlocal. Detailed. Unique. Just

Sean of the South

It was just the two of us, seated at dinner. Alone on Christmas night. Dressed in our Sunday best. Candles on the dining table. Choral music playing.

“This is weird,” said my wife, slicing her turkey. “Not having Mother with us.”

“I know.”

“I keep waiting for her to call me on the phone. I keep waiting to wake up one morning and figure out it was all a bad dream, and that she never really died.”


Long silence.

“Is this turkey too dry?” she said.

“Are you kidding? This turkey is so good it’s got an R rating.”

“How about the gravy?”

“I could water ski on this gravy.”

“You like the dressing?”

“I want to use this dressing in the shower.”

She smiled. “Do you recognize the plates that we’re eating off of?”

My wife lifted a dish. It had a simple green Christmas tree painted on it.

“These are your mama’s plates?” I said. She nodded. “We ate on them every Christ mas.” Then she inspected the plate and her eyes began to turn pink.

“And,” she said, “do you notice anything about this blouse I’m wearing?”

“Your mom’s blouse.”

Another nod. “Do you like it?”

“I do.”

“This strand of pearls is hers, too.”


“The perfume I’m wearing, can you smell


in reading them, I could tell the reporters had to dig for the story ideas, dig deeper for meaningful questions and type out a story worth reading. These days, the focus is often generating a three-paragraph web story, sometimes via an iPhone, to drive clicks to a webpage covered in ads for Vrbo homes in North Carolina and $2,000 exercise bikes.

I’d like to say I miss those golden days of journalism, before apps transcribed interviews for you and backpacking to city council meet ings with a tripod was part of the job, but the truth is that I began my journalism career at the ascent of social media. I took fuzzy photos of Julio Jones from the Bryant-Denny Stadium press box and posted them on Twitter. I post

almost all my stories on Facebook and Twitter because it’s where potential readers now live.

I have Tweeted more than 55,000 times since I joined in 2009. The math works out to more than 320 Tweets per month on average, or about 10 per day. That pace has slowed con siderably, because the older I get, the more I want to dive deep into stories and books. I have a bookshelf overflowing with forgetfulness and procrastination.

The online archives I discovered have sent me down a journalistic sinkhole of sorts, and I’m grateful for the merging of 30-year-old journalism with current technology. It has inspired me to go deeper in my reporting and writing.

After all, as one of the March 1994 articles was headlined, “Sinkholes are fact of life in Trussville.”

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

Sean Dietrich merry christmas

“I can. Was that your mother’s, too?”

“Yes. Do you like this perfume? Is it weird that I’m wearing an old woman’s per fume at Christmas?”

“I adore that smell. And there’s no such thing as an old woman’s perfume.”

She covered her mouth. Her head dropped. Her hair fell into her plate. She dropped her fork and her knife, and there was the light sound of sobbing. I stood and went to my wife. I wrapped my arms around her.

“She’s gone,” moaned my wife. “Why can’t I seem to feel that? Why do I keep thinking she’s still here?”

“I don’t know.”

“Where is she? Is she happy? I don’t want to do this without her. Christmas was her favorite day. I can’t do this.”


“How can an old woman seem so normal and healthy one year, and then just up and die? How? Why do people die? Why, why, why?”

“I don’t know.”

“I called her every single day. She called me every single day. We were best friends. This hurts so bad. I need a Kleenex, I’m getting snot all over your sweater.”

“I don’t care.”

“No. It’s a lot of snot. Get me a Kleenex.”

“It’s fine.”

“No, seriously, there’s so much snot on your

sweater, it’s getting all over your khakis. Take off your pants and shirt, let me go run them through the wash.”

“I am not taking off my trousers and eating Christmas dinner in my underpants.”

Silent crying into my chest for several minutes. The Vienna Boys Choir sang “Adeste Fideles” in the back ground. The food was getting cold.

“Do you think she can see me?” said my wife.

“Yes,” I said.

“How can you believe that?”

“I don’t know. I just do. I believe she sees you, and me, and all of us. And I don’t believe she’s really gone. I believe she’s with us, some how. I believe all our loved ones are with us.”

“You do?”

“I really do. I don’t believe she’s gone any more than I believe big waves on the ocean can truly disappear.

“I believe that waves take shape for a little while, and then they crash into the beach, and then they go back into the ocean. But they never disappear. They are always there. We are not a drop in the ocean. We are the ocean in a drop.”

“Wait. Did you steal that from a Disney movie?”


“Which movie?”

“I don’t remember. I think I heard it on

‘Finding Nemo.’”

My wife pushed her plate away. “That was a good movie.”

“Most underrated Disney flick of all time. Second only to ‘Apple Dumpling Gang.’” Silence.

She said, “Do you think Mother knows how much I miss her?”

“I know she does.”

“Do you think I’m crazy for talking to her like I do all the time?”


“Do you think she hears me?”

“I know it.”

“Can we talk to her now? You and me?”

My wife and I both bowed our heads. And the weight of holiday grief sort of pressed downward on my shoulders. My wife squeezed my hand.

“Dear God,” I began. “Please get a message to our loved ones. Please tell them how much we miss them, and how Christmas is not the same without them. And how this world will never be the same without them. And thank you for our lives, God. We are sorry if we don’t appreciate them enough.”

“Amen,” said my wife. Silence.

“I love you, Sean.”

“I love you, too, Jamie darlin’.”

“Merry Christmas.”

“Yes. It sure is.”

“Now take off that sweater right now.”

Sean Dietrich is a columnist and novelist known for his commentary on life in the Amer ican South.

16 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm


Mondays and Thursdays: Yarn manglers. Knit ters and crocheters, join for fellowship and cre ativity. Ages 18 and older. Mondays 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursdays 2-4 p.m.

Dec. 1, 8 and 15: Children’s storytime. Join Ms. Alicia for stories, songs, bubble time and lots of fun. Birth through pre-K. 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Dec. 1: Family & Friends Trivia Night. Get a team together of your family and/or friends to test your Christmas expertise and win prizes. Prizes will be awarded to the best ugly sweater, the best team name and to the winning trivia team. All ages, but each team must have someone 18 and older. 5-6 p.m.

Dec. 4: Heal Your Heart from Within. Presented by Tere sa Palmer, MSN, RN, NPC, author of “Heal Your Heart from Within.” Holistic self-care and stress relief. Ages 18 and older. 2-3 p.m.

Dec. 5: Santa’s Workshop. Visit Santa's workshop at the library. Craft stations and hot cocoa will be provided (while supplies last). Santa will stop by for photos. All ages. 5-7 p.m.

Dec. 6: Ukulele Club. Interested in learning the ukulele or looking for somewhere to play? We have a professional ukulele player here to help you learn and perfect your skills. This event is open to all ages. 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Dec. 7: D&D Holiday Heist – High School. Join the Teen Department for this special holiday themed Dungeons and Dragons one shot. Gifts have been stolen. Everyone is in disarray. It's up to our adventures to save the day. 9th-12th grades. 4-5:30 p.m.

Dec. 11: Holiday Painting. Paint a festive holiday design with Amy Phillips of Creative Mindz. Several options to choose from. Cost $12. All materials provided. Ages 18 and older. 2-4:30 p.m.

Dec. 12: Books & Brews. An evening Adult Book Club meeting in the event room at Ferus Artisan Ales. Connect with your community and share your thoughts about this month's book while enjoying delicious food and drinks. December’s title is “The Witch's Heart” by Genevieve Gornichec. Ages 18 and older. 7:15-8:15 p.m.

Dec. 14: Video Game Tournament. Each month we will play a different competitive game. Prizes for the victors, and refreshments for all! Registration required. 6th-12th grades. 4-5:30 p.m.

Dec. 15: Budding Bookworms: Narwhal and Jelly. Read or listen to "Happy Narwhalidays" by Ben Clanton before the program. Then join us for a special event as we discuss the book, play games, and make a themed craft. Registration is required. 1st-3rd grades. 4-5 p.m.

Dec. 15: D&D Holiday Heist – Middle School. Join the Teen Department for this special holiday themed Dungeons and Dragons one shot. Gifts have been stolen. Everyone is in dis array. It's up to our adventures to save the day. 6th-8th grades. 4-5:30 p.m.

Dec. 19: Take Home Craft – Paper Ornaments. Use the provided supplies to make book paper/paper ornaments. Pick up your bag in the Adult Department, but hurry to claim yours before they're all gone. Ages 18 and older.

Dec. 19: Chess Club. Learn the basics, cool tricks, strategy, opening and tactic in chess from a professional chess teacher. Registration encouraged. Parents are welcome to partici pate with their children. K-8th grade. 5-6 p.m.

Dec. 21: Preschoolers at Play. Join us for a guided sen sory time with Ms. Alicia, followed by free play at several stations set up around the large auditorium with various toys. Ages 2-5. 10:30-11:30 a.m.

17 December 2022 | CAHABA SUN | cAHAbASUN.cOm Calendar
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