Cahaba Sun May 2023

Page 1

Vol 8 | Issue 6 | May 2023 As Trussville As It Gets A TEAM EFFORT Huskies softball entering critical stretch. 15 With a lifetime guarantee, there’s more to smile about at Birmingham Orthodontics. Schedule a free consultation at Visit our new location now open in Trussville! SERVING TRUSSVILLE, THE 280 CORRIDOR, HOMEWOOD, HOOVER, MOUNTAIN BROOK AND VESTAVIA HILLS BROUGHT TO YOU BY ‘FIT’ FOR THE JOB Trussville Board of Education names Patrick Martin new superintendent. 10
(866) 946-3360 | Play for FREE in the Casinoverse app! ©2023 Wind Creek Hospitality. Management reserves all rights. See PLAYER SERVICES for details. ALL EXCITEMENT. NO WORRIES. *Minimum $75 loss required for FREE Play rebate. FREE Play will be added to account within 7-10 days of initial visit. Must be 21 or older. Valid for new Rewards Members only. Limit one FREE Play redemption and one Food Credit redemption per new Rewards account. May not be combined with other coupons. Photocopies and digital copies will not be accepted. NEW MEMBERS GET UP TO FREE PLAY * $1,000 BASED ON YOUR FIRST DAY’S PLAY. TO GET YOU STARTED, WE’LL GIVE YOU CODE: ?MWCHB50FP EXPIRES: 5/31/2023 CODE: ?MWCHB10FC EXPIRES: 5/31/2023 FREE PLAY! $50 FOOD CREDIT! $10 Present this ad to PLAYER SERVICES to redeem.

ClosER .

A New, Full-Service ER

Coming Soon to Trussville

When someone in your family needs emergency care, you want it fast. And soon, you’ll get the same quality emergency care that is available at Grandview Medical Center in our new Freestanding Emergency Department in Trussville. From treatment for broken bones to care for life-threatening conditions, count on the dedicated team at our new location.

Coming Soon

5542 Vanlerberghe Lane, Trussville

(Located at The Park at Hamilton Place on Hwy. 11)

• 9 exam rooms

• Fast Track rooms

• Imaging services include CT, X-ray and ultrasound

• Heliport on site

If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.


I tend to be busy.

It comes with the territory of being a reporter. We’re constantly on the move, seeing things, being at events, seeking the next story.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with being busy. But I get myself into trouble when I allow being busy to become a distraction from other parts of my life.


At times, I let everything going on distract me from cultivating relationships, being disciplined in my faith, spending time with family and other things. These are the times when I need to take some time to reset and reprioritize things.

It’s really easy to get wrapped up in everything going on around us, but we can’t let that chip away at the things that make up the fabric of who we are.

This spring, I hope you take the time to do a couple things: first, read this edition of the Cahaba Sun, because it’s a great one. Second, take a minute to make sure you are staying true to yourself, despite all the busy times in our lives.

Thanks for reading!

Please Support Our Community Partners

Bedzzz Express (20)

Birmingham Orthodontics (1)

Bromberg’s (17)

DeDe’s Book Rack (11)

Deerfoot Memorial Funeral Home (15)

Divine Residential & Commercial Roofing (6)

Gaynell Hendricks - Tax Assessor (6)

Grandview Medical (3)

Lee Marlow, RealtySouth (17)

Legacy Ridge Assisted Living (19)

Find Us

LPL Financial (9)

OLLI - Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (5)

Regions Tradition - Eventive Sports (11)

Southern Home Structural Repair Specialists (9)

Trussville Gas and Water (7)

USFL - Bruno Event Team (5)

Vapor Ministries/Thrift Store (7)

Wind Creek Hospitality (2)

Window World of Central Alabama (13)

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

Want to join this list or get Cahaba Sun mailed to your home?

Contact Dan Starnes at


Community Editors:

Dan Starnes

Kyle Parmley

Jon Anderson

Leah Ingram


Neal Embry

Sports Editor: Photo Editor: Design Editor: Page Designer: Production Assistant:

Contributing Writers: Graphic Designer: Client Success Specialist: Business Development Exec: Business Development Rep:

Operations Specialist: ON THE COVER:

Kyle Parmley

Erin Nelson

Melanie Viering

Ted Perry

Simeon Delante

Sean Dietrich

Candice N. Hale

Gary Lloyd

Loyd McIntosh

Emily VanderMey

Warren Caldwell

Don Harris

Madison Gaines

Sarah Villar

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 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. Please

The Diamond Dawgs youth baseball players run off the field following the national anthem at the start of an area game between Hewitt-Trussville and Spain Park at Phil English Field in Trussville on April 14. Photo by Erin Nelson.
recycle this paper.
Trussville City Schools Superintendent Patrick Martin at the central office. Photo by Erin Nelson.


Offering educational courses as well as entertainment through classes, bonus sessions, field trips, socials, special events, and travel, OLLI courses cover a wide range of topics and are taught by volunteers who share their knowledge and passions. You’ll find no homework, no grades and no required degrees - just learning for fun!

Classes offered in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Hoover, Vestavia Hills and Gadsden.

For questions or information about joining OLLI, call the OLLI Office at 205-348-6482 or email us at

Summer membership special: $25 Class locations: Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Hoover, Vestavia Hills and Gadsden

Where curiosity never retires. | 205-348-6482



Grandview Medical Center opened a freestanding emergency department at 5542 Vanlerberghe Lane in Trussville on April 5. Grandview’s FED will provide a variety of emergency department services. The facility is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with access to imaging, X-ray, CT scanning, ultrasounds and labs.



El Patron Mexican Restaurant is preparing to open in the former Ixtapa restaurant location at 4673 U.S. 280. The business currently has locations in Moody, Trussville and Gadsden. Restaurant hours at the new location will be 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every day.


Alabama’s second largest credit union, APCO Employees Credit Union, has merged with Atlanta-based Powerco Federal Credit Union effective April 1. Both credit unions serve employees of Southern Company and its affiliates. APCO has four locations in the Birmingham area, including 151 Main St. in Trussville. 205-226-6867,

America’s First Federal Credit Union, with a location at 1910 Gadsden Highway in Trussville, was selected as a 2023 Credit Union National Association Diamond Award winner for its 2022 annual report video. Each year, the credit union produces a video featuring company highlights. The 2022 video highlighted accomplishments such as 19,270 new members added, 13,971 new checking accounts, $560 million in new loans and a 2021 Summer of Freedom campaign, which received more than 1 million impressions and generated 2,248 new memberships. Additionally, America’s First raised its financial management assets by $9 million to a total of almost $107 million, brought in 87 new benefit partners through financial education offerings and completed 207 new enrollments in 2021. The video also addressed the credit union’s efforts during the global COVID-19 pandemic, providing 193 additional PPP loans to businesses in need and loaning $14.5 million to build local businesses throughout the community. 205-655-3360,


The University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System, which includes the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital Clinic in Trussville, has filled two senior positions in its leadership team. Brenda Carlisle was named CEO of UAB Hospital, and Susan Jennings has been named the chief financial officer for the Health System. Both had been serving in their respective roles in an interim capacity. Before assuming the position as interim CEO in November 2022, Carlisle had been vice president of clinical operations for UAB Hospital since 2017. Prior to joining UAB, Carlisle was chief operating officer, vice president of patient care services and vice president of operations at Brookwood Medical Center. She has more than 30 years of experience in nursing manage-

ment and health care operations in medical facilities throughout Alabama and Florida. Jennings has more than 35 years of experience within the healthcare industry, serving in a variety of roles focused on organizational financial health and strategic financial decision-making. Her responsibilities include financial reporting and budgeting for the Health System and UAB Hospital, as well as overseeing any debt/ financing initiatives across the enterprise. She joined UAB in 2006. Prior to being named interim CFO of the Health System, she had been CFO of UAB Hospital since November 2018. Before that, she spent 21 years with Ascension Health in Birmingham, serving in several financial roles that culminated as vice president of Seton Health Corp. 844-822-3937,


Nona Ruth’s, 115 Watterson Parkway, Suite 101, is celebrating its 11th anniversary in May. Nona Ruth’s is a home accessory and gift store, locally owned and operated, specializing in local art, gifts, dinnerware, bridal registry and interior design. 205-655-6599,

Birmingham Martial Arts, 1110 N. Chalkville Road, will celebrate its 18th anniversary in May. 205-990-3720,

The Tint Stop, 6897 Gadsden Highway, is celebrating its six-year anniversary in May. 205-655-8468,

Perfect Service Heating and Air, 6540 Trussville Clay Road, is celebrating its 21st anniversary in May. 205-453-4077,

Homeowners Ask about the special senior tax exemption Scan with your smartphone camera to access the portal or visit Homeowners 65+ are eligible for exemptions on property taxes. A message from Gaynell Hendricks, Jefferson County Tax Assessor CALL 205-325-5505 VISIT Four Offices: Hoover | Gardendale | Center Point | Downtown Birmingham Open Mon.-Fri. 8-5
Attention Jefferson County



bringing life to communities dying from extreme poverty.



Give Life

Still spinning

Cahaba Cycles celebrates 40 years

Forty years ago, Faris Malki’s father, Kal, went to a bike shop to purchase a bike for Faris’s sister.

That day, Kal made an agreement with a salesperson, Norman Lowrey, to open up what became Cahaba Cycles, with its first location in the Cahaba Heights neighborhood of Vestavia Hills. The store opened in an old Western Supermarket, run by Lowrey and the Malkis.

The store moved to its current location on Cahaba Heights Road near Satterfield’s in 2008, said Faris Malki, who now runs the shop.

In the last 40 years, the store has expanded to include locations in Cahaba Heights, Gadsden, Oak Mountain, Trussville and Homewood.

Malki grew up working at the store over the summer before taking a job in the IT world. He can still remember the “super sale” the store would have in the late 1980s and early 1990s. There would be a line out the door and around the block. While it was “really hectic,” it was worth it. The store would make as much money that weekend as they normally would in two or three months, he said.

Around 2002, Malki moved back and began helping his parents run the business. He knew he wanted to eventually own a business of his own. After a few years of helping them, he bought the business in 2016.

The bike shop offers a level of service and hospitality not seen in much of the retail

world, Malki said. They don’t just sell bicycles, but also service the bikes and offer oneon-one consulting. There are a “lot of hands” on customer service, he said. Employees are able to help customers find a good place to ride and outfit them with what they need.

Malki wears a lot of hats, he said, in the running of Cahaba Cycles. He oversees the company’s technology, finances and more, but he isn’t alone.

“I have a really good team at every store,” he said.

Each store has its own story, Malki said. Moving into the Trussville location was an easy decision, as Malki knew the market was up-and-coming, he said.

The internet has changed every business, including Cahaba Cycles, since it came into existence around 40 years ago, Malki said. The store has experienced all of the changes that have come with it, moving from physical catalogs to online shopping pages.

“The internet has presented a lot of challenges, but it’s provided us a lot of opportunity as well,” Malki said.

The bikes offered by Cahaba Cycles have also changed over the years, Malki said. When the store first started, there were two or three kids’ models and 10-speed bikes. Now, there’s roughly 30 different categories of bikes sold by the business, he said, from road bikes to fitness bikes and more.

“It’s just a lot more to manage now,” he said.

The biggest growth area in the bicycle world is for electric bikes, or e-bikes, which includes a lithium battery and small motor to allow cyclists to get up hills quicker, Malki said. It can double or triple power and takes away barriers to cycling, he said.

Being at Cahaba Cycles throughout the years has been a joy, he said. Coaching other

team members and leaning on them lends itself to great camaraderie, he said.

“I just love the team environment that we have,” Malki said.

During the pandemic, the store was one of few that may have benefited. With many seeking new activities outside, the bike business was booming, Malki said.

“The volume we encountered was just off the charts,” he said.

In the future, Malki said the store is “doubling down” its focus on customers, growing its e-commerce business and pushing to be the premier e-bike provider in the state of Alabama.

Forty years later, biking is an easy sell for Malki.

“It’s such a worthwhile product,” Malki said. “It’s good for your health, good for the environment.”

Top left: Ron McCurdy talks with Joe Dice about a new mountain bike at Cahaba Cycles in Homewood. Cahaba Cycles is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Top right: Chris Smith, a service advisor, works on a bike for a customer. Above: Bikes are seen outside of Cahaba Cycles on Main Street in Trussville. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Grandview freestanding emergency facility comes to Trussville

Grandview’s freestanding emergency department, located at 5542 Vanlerberghe Lane, opened in Trussville in mid-April.

Dr. Jeremy Rogers, the associate medical director for the Grandview Department of Emergency Medicine, said he is happy the company is expanding emergency access to the rapidly growing community in Trussville.

While Rogers will continue to perform services and administrative duties at the main campus, Dr. Kevin Cope will be the medical director for the Trussville FED. Grandview’s FED will provide a variety of emergency department services around the clock with access to imaging, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds and labs.

The FED will accept a wide variety of patients, from those experiencing the common cold to a heart attack.

“I’m very excited for the city of Trussville — it will provide 24-hour access to emergency care, quality and safety to patients, open access to Grandview Medical Center and being admitted to the hospital and our providers,” Rogers said.

The Grandview facility will house nine rooms

according to a press release. Rogers said it will have an individual ER physician, assistants, patient care technicians and staff technicians for the lab, X-ray and ultrasound services.

“Many patients in the northeast corridor come from and live in Trussville, so there was a need to get more beds and care to the area,” Rogers said. “In general, there is a greater need for ED beds across the entire state. The pandemic is truly affecting how hospitals deal with staff shortages and hospital bed availability across the state.”

While an FED has more “walk-in” patients, it should not be confused with an urgent care facility. An FED treats the same conditions that can be treated in an ER, but an urgent care clinic only treats minor injuries and problems.

“The FED is an extension of the hospital itself — the staff members and physicians offer the same level of expertise and care. Many of our protocols for patient care are very similar at the main hospital, like stabilizing patients for strokes and heart attacks and getting patients transferred to the main hospital for preventative care,” Rogers said.

9 MAY 2023 | CAHABA SUN | CAHABASUN.COM COMMUNITY Have a community announcement? Email Kyle Parmley at to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue. Helping professionals create, build, and protect their financial future. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through INTELUS WEALTH ADVISORY GROUP, a registered investment advisor. INTELUS WEALTH ADVISORY GROUP and INTELUS WEALTH MANAGEMENT are separate entities from LPL Financial. 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
The Trussville Chamber of Commerce and Grandview Medical Center board members and emergency room physicians participate in a ribbon cutting for the new freestanding emergency department behind the Trussville City Schools central office on April 3. Photo by Erin Nelson.

COVER STORY: Trussville Board of Education names Patrick Martin new superintendent


Just over a month after being named Trussville’s new superintendent of schools, Patrick Martin is still getting to know the community.

Most recently an assistant superintendent for Vestavia Hills City Schools, Martin has spent the last decade working in Jefferson County, and he has an appreciation for what Trussville schools have accomplished over the last 18 years.

“I've learned a lot from Todd Freeman, my superintendent in Vestavia, and so there are some things that I feel like I can bring,” Martin said. “I want to take Trussville from the very successful system that it is now and just continue to improve upon that.”

Martin was unanimously appointed by the Trussville Board of Education on March 23 following a four-month process to replace Dr. Patti Neill, who resigned under controversial circumstances last fall. In Martin, the Trussville BOE believes they have found the right person to lead the city’s school system into the future.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Martin on our team! As you know, our community leaders, stakeholders (parents, community members, faculty, administrators) and board members have participated in surveys and open forums to discuss the qualities Trussville is looking for in our next Superintendent,” said board Vice President Kim DeShazo in a written statement.

“We said from the start that we want to find the candidate that is the best ‘fit’ for Trussville, and we believe we have found that in Dr. Martin. Patrick has the experience, humility, character and energy to help Trussville City Schools reach its highest potential,” DeShazo added. “We look forward to his leadership for many years to come.”

“Dr. Martin possesses the qualities that make him the ideal person to lead the TCS into the mid-21st century,” board member Steve Ward said. “I look forward to working with Dr. Martin to continue providing the best possible learning environment for

students and teachers.”

Martin comes into the position with 24 years of experience in education, 19 of those years in administration. During his teaching career, Martin taught history and social sciences and also was involved in coaching in school systems in central Illinois. After completing a master’s degree in education, Martin served as a high school principal for several years, until he was approached about the vacant superintendent position.

“Four years into that position, our superintendent left, and the board president and vice president came to me and asked if I'd be interested in being the superintendent,” Martin said. “So, I served as the superintendent in that system and then another system, all of those positions in central Illinois.”

Martin moved to the Birmingham area after his wife, Taren, accepted a position as an assistant coach with the UAB women’s basketball program in 2012. Since relocating to Birmingham, Martin has held several administrative positions, including a fouryear stint as superintendent of schools for Gardendale as the city sought to organize a school system.

For the last five years, Martin has served as assistant superintendent of operations and services for Vestavia Hills City Schools. In his new position in Trussville, he takes over following the tumultuous departure of Neill, who resigned following a controversy surrounding written threats made by a HTHS student that went unreported to the school board, local police and, ultimately, parents for more than a year.

Initially, Martin wasn’t interested in the Trussville position, but not out of any concern regarding the recent controversy, he said. Instead, Martin said he didn’t want to subject his family to what was bound to be a very public process, especially his children, who were flourishing at Vestavia Hills.

“My reason for not going in initially was strictly family-based,” Martin said. "When you go through a public interview, you don't do that in isolation; your entire family goes through that public interview with you, and that was concerning to me."

Despite his hesitancy, Martin remained on the radar screen of many within Trussville’s education community. Martin officially threw his hat in the ring after a conversation with his wife.

“My wife came outside and asked me who was on the phone, and I said, ‘That was from Trussville City Schools.’ She and I had had several in-depth conversations about it,” Martin said. “Her comment to me was, ‘God’s just not going to let you out of this one, is he?’

“That to me was what I needed as an endorsement from my entire family. My wife, my four children, all of us, to make that move.”

As Martin transitions into the superintendent role, the top priority on the minds of many parents, faculty and other stakeholders is school safety. He says he will continue to build on the enhancements of interim Superintendent Frank Costanzo and the relationships he has developed with Mayor Buddy Choat and the Trussville Police Department. Moreover, Martin said, his role at Vestavia has prepared him for the challenge.

"I was the conduit with our Vestavia Hills Police Department,” said Martin. “So, I worked with all of our SROs, our sergeant and our two police captains to make sure that the city school system was safe and

secure for our students and faculty."

Academically, Martin said he intends to continue the progress that Trussville City Schools has made over the years, becoming a system that consistently ranks among the top school systems not only in Alabama, but in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report and In his first few months on the job, Martin said he intends to learn about what the system is doing right while evaluating areas for improvement.

“I think I want to come in and do a lot of listening,” he said. “Obviously, there is a lot that is being done right, so I want to talk with those key contributors to that process and see what has been working, but also talk with them a little bit about some tweaks that we can make to continue to improve the system.”

Even though Martin has only begun transitioning into his new role in April, he said he and his family already have fallen in love with Trussville and plan to move to the community as soon as possible.

“It’s just a really nice community. The more we drove around it as we were researching it, we realized it was a place that we wanted to live,” he said. “Our plan is to bring our family to Trussville and be part of that community.”

Trussville City Schools Superintendent Patrick Martin at the central office April 12. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Fallen Warriors Monument dedication planned for Memorial Day

The dedication ceremony for the Alabama Fallen Warriors Monument is planned for Memorial Day, May 29, in Trussville. It will begin at 2 p.m. The monument,

located in Trussville Veterans Park on Parkway Drive, will include all the 226 Alabama service members that have died since 9/11 during the Global War on Terror.

According to the Alabama Fallen

Warriors Project, 115 service members have been killed in action and 111 died a non-hostile death.

Construction on the monument began in August 2022 after supply chain issues and plan revisions postponed the project from

an initial completion goal of Memorial Day 2022. The project was first approved in November 2021, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held a month later.

For more information, visit alabama

11 MAY 2023 | CAHABA SUN | CAHABASUN.COM REGIONS TRADITION USED BOOKS Adult & Kids Don't head out without your Summer Reads! Visit DeDe's for your Beach & Vacation books 104 S Chalkville Rd Trussville 205-655-3332 Tuesday - Saturday 10-6 Closed Sunday & Monday
The Fallen Warriors Monument at Trussville Veterans Memorial in Civitan Park. Photos by Erin Nelson.


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

‘Everybody was crying’

50 years since Trussville school burned down

Blue spray paint was still wet on their shirts.

It was supposed to be Play Day, a celebration of the school year, when T-shirts were spray painted for afternoon fun. Many thought the smell of smoke was from a passing train. Fifty years ago, Hewitt Elementary School students were supposed to sign each other’s yearbooks and spend an afternoon participating in activities and games.

Instead, on May 10, 1973, Trussville children were sent running out of a 51-year-old building by orange flames and black smoke.

Hewitt Elementary School, the one located on North Chalkville Road near the former Trussville City Schools Central Office, caught fire around 11:30 a.m. that Thursday. The fire apparently started in the center of the building and spread throughout the woodand-brick building within seconds.

The cause of the fire remains a talking point today. Oiled wooden floors? Kids with matches? Something wrong with the lights?

Miraculously, not one of the nearly 600 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders was injured. Perhaps the biggest losses that day were 937,000 bottle caps that students had collected (the goal was one million), library books and many of those yearbooks.

Paul Bradford was in seventh-grade band class at the former junior high school when someone burst into the classroom yelling that the elementary school was on fire. Bradford and others ran to the elementary school. They stood on the playground and watched as firemen from Trussville, Center Point, Birmingham and Springville worked to extinguish the fire.

“Easily one of the most memorable days of our Trussville childhood, despite being a tragedy,” Bradford said. “People remember exactly where they were when they heard of it.”

The ordeal was such a big moment that the Trussville History Museum at Heritage Hall

features articles, photos and even a printed collection of student comments about the fire.

Bill Aliff said his class had just returned from lunch when a teacher hollered about the fire.

“We went outside and waited and after a while you could see the flames,” he said. “And then we could see our school was gone. And everybody was crying. Then we went in the church and sang until the bus got there. Then we went home.”

Mellonee Williams recalled that one girl had heard wires popping in the bookroom that morning.

“We didn’t panic or anything,” Williams said. “We trotted out in a line. There was smoke in the hall by our room when we got out. All the girls in Mrs. White’s class were crying, and so was she. By the time all the fire trucks got there, it was almost destroyed. They couldn’t put the fire out. There wasn’t anything standing by May 11.”

John Schuessler said that his class had been back from lunch for about five minutes when Mrs. Morris told Mrs. White that the school was on fire. Within five minutes, Schuessler said, firemen from various cities had arrived.

“They started spraying water all over the school,” he said. “I think it is a great loss to Trussville.”

That building had served as Trussville School from 1922 to 1926, R.G. Hewitt High School from 1925 to 1938 and then Hewitt Elementary School from 1938 to 1973. It included a concrete lintel over the school’s double doors, which came down in the fire but was salvaged years later and is now preserved, more than 100 years since its creation.

“When the decision was made to spruce up and open the museum for the public, this is the first thing we went looking for,” said Trussville Historical Board member Jane Alexander.

For the remainder of that school year, classes took place in the Trussville Methodist Church and the nearby former First National Bank building. Portable classrooms were used for the 1973 fall term until additions could be made to the annex school on Cherokee Drive, which became the only elementary school in the city at the time.

In the printed collection of memories from that day, Eddie Hocutt said junior high and high school students thought the elementary students “were lucky, but if they had been there, they wouldn’t have thought we were lucky.” Yearbooks, gloves, pads, pencils, pens, paper, books and desks were all destroyed.

“Everybody wished it would during the fire drills, but they didn’t want it to on May 10, 1973,” Hocutt said. “Almost everybody was in tears — adults and children. The old red brick schoolhouse is finally gone. It was 51 years old. Three generations have gone to that school.”

Historic photographs of the former elementary school that burned on May 10, 1973, are available for viewing at the Trussville History Museum. Photos courtesy of the Trussville History Museum.

Rotary Club celebrates Dr. Seuss birthday at Paine

Following a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rotarians were pleased to return to Paine Elementary to distribute Dr. Seuss books to the students in March.

Since 2013, this group from the Trussville Rotary Daybreak Club has worked hard to instill the love of reading by regular reading sessions with local students. Several members of the Club give their time every Wednesday morning to help these students improve their reading skills by listening while the students read to them, or by reading to the students.

Mary Jean Sanspree, an active member of the Rotary Club, came up with the idea of presenting books to the children annually around the time of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, which is March 2.

“The kids are always so excited to have their very own Dr. Seuss books,” she said. “It is great to see the smiles on their faces as each one opens his or her book.”

Rotarian Fran Aldridge now coordinates the program and said, “We are always looking for readers. We need more readers to meet the needs of more kindergarten classes.”

Rotarians helping out with this book distribution were Aldridge, David Cork, Renee’ LeCroy, Sanspree, Jeremy Tuggle and Van Horne.

For several years, Betty Cork has also made Dr. Seussthemed aprons for each of the participating teachers.

– Submitted by Diane Poole.

The Trussville Rotary Daybreak Club distributed several Dr. Seuss books to Paine Elementary students in March. Photo courtesy of Diane Poole.



Left: Hewitt-Trussville’s Seth Walker (7) heads the ball guarded by Boaz’s Paulo Neto (15) in a game at Hewitt-Trussville High School on March 22. Above: Hewitt-Trussville’s Katie Harbin (13) dribbles the ball downfield in a game against Shades Valley at Hewitt-Trussville High School on March 22. Above: Hewitt-Trussville’s Lily Buford (17) kicks the ball to score for the Huskies as they face Shades Valley at Hewitt-Trussville High School on March 22. Below: HewittTrussville’s Robert Wright (4) makes contact with the ball in an area game against Spain Park at Phil English Field in Trussville on April 14. Above: Hewitt-Trussville’s Kurt Kizer (13) moves to tag Spain Park’s Cole Edwards (4) out at second base on an attempted steal during an area game at Phil English Field in Trussville on April 14.

Huskies softball entering critical stretch

The Hewitt-Trussville High School softball team is holding its typical spot near the top of Class 7A as the postseason looms.

That has become the norm in recent years, as the Huskies have won two state championships and claimed a runner-up finish over the last four years. But there was some uncertainty surrounding the team entering this spring. Last season’s Miss Softball, Kenleigh Cahalan, graduated in December and enrolled at the University of Alabama, and the Huskies had a few more key positions on the field to replace as well.

But Hewitt-Trussville appeared to be rounding into form heading into April, fresh off a tournament win in the Gulf Coast Classic at the end of March. The Huskies were also off to a 4-0 start in Area 6 play as of press time.

It’s been a team effort for the Huskies to this point. The Huskies need hitting, pitching and defense to all work together in order to achieve their highest potential. They have a young pitching staff, led by junior and Maryland commit Sara Phillips. Kate Hicks, Zaylen Tucker and Kinley Poe have provided quality innings as well. All of them will be relied upon to pitch big games down the stretch.

“It’s something I’ve always been a firm believer in,” Hewitt-Trussville head coach Taylor Burt said. “The biggest thing is I know how in the postseason you can’t ride an

HewittTrussville’s Hannah Dorsett (15) makes contact during a Sidney Cooper Invitational game on April 7 at South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus, Georgia. Photo

arm. We want all of our kids to be as prepared as possible for postseason.”

Burt said the team’s defense has been pretty solid to this point behind those pitchers, and one of the main cogs to that is new shortstop Hannah Dorsett. Following the departure of Cahalan, there was a decision to be made about shortstop. Despite having always played second base, the UAB signee embraced the move and has grown more comfortable with each practice and game.

“She’s taken it and run with it and became the leader of

Hunter named 1st team all-state

Following a standout 2022-23 campaign, Hewitt-Trussville High School guard Jordan Hunter was named to the Class 7A all-state first team, as voted on by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

The 5-foot-10 junior helped lead the Lady Huskies to a 26-7 record and an appearance in the Class 7A Northeast Regional final.

Hunter, an Auburn University commit, was joined on the first team by Auburn’s Syriah Daniels, Hoover’s Reniya Kelly, Sparkman’s Kennedy Langham and Central-Phenix City’s Jabria Lindsey.

Hunter regularly filled up the stat sheet for Hewitt-Trussville throughout the season. She led the team with 15.4 points per game, while contributing 4.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per contest as well.

Hunter has played on varsity since seventh grade and now sits with 1,474 points, 502 rebounds and 548 assists for her career, with one year remaining.

In the Lady Huskies’ regional final loss to Sparkman, they led by as many as 10 points midway through the second quarter. But Sparkman turned the game around, taking a seven-point lead into the final quarter.

In that final quarter, Hewitt responded with an 8-0 run to reclaim the lead. Sparkman wrested the lead away again, however, and held on for the win.

Hewitt-Trussville won the regular season and tournament titles from Area 6. Following a three-game skid against three stout teams before Christmas, the Lady Huskies ripped off 16 straight wins before their final defeat.

Audre Benson, April Hooks, DeAndrea Powell and Lilly Gray were the team’s seniors this season.

the infield,” Burt said. “She’s done an incredible job with it.” Dorsett has even taken her bat to the next level this season, too. She’s a near-lock to reach base multiple times each game and has even hit the first few over-the-fence home runs of her varsity career.

“She’s the most selfless, just hard-working, ultimate teammate. She never gets the credit but deserves it,” Burt said.

Seniors Gracie Reeves and Rubie Simon have held down starting spots, and junior Division I commits Chaney Peters (Illinois) and Olivia Faggard (ULM) have provided plenty of run production in the middle of the order. Burt also pointed to the contributions of Tucker lately as well, solidifying the second spot in the order.

Burt also praised sophomore Ryleigh Wood for her play at second base and production in the ninth spot in the lineup. Others like AhKeela Honeycutt, Sarah Beth Golden and Lexie Kelly have come up in big spots as well in the bottom half of the order.

Getting consistent production out of that pitching staff and the rest of the lineup will be needed, as the Huskies attempt to navigate undoubtedly the toughest postseason road in 7A. An area with Spain Park, Chelsea and Oak Mountain, along with a potential regional featuring two of Vestavia Hills, Hoover, Thompson and Tuscaloosa County, will not be easy. The regional tournament is set for May 11 in Albertville and the state tournament for 7A is May 19-20 in Oxford.

HewittTrussville’s Jordan Hunter (2) dribbles the ball downcourt during the girls Class 7A Northeast Regional final against the Senators at Pete Mathews Coliseum at Jacksonville State University on Feb. 21.

15 MAY 2023 | CAHABA SUN | CAHABASUN.COM If you have news to share with the community about your brick-and-mortar business in Trussville, let us know! Business news to share? Share your news with us at Choose Quality. Choose Affordability. 205-655-3444 | 5360 Deerfoot Parkway - Trussville, AL | Offering Traditional Funeral & Cremation Services to fit your needs.
Photo by Erin Nelson. by Kyle Parmley.

Sean of the South

Graduating against the odds

The Northwest Florida State College parking lot is swarmed with cars. Families are hurrying toward the gymnasium, dressed in their Sunday best.

I pass a man wearing denim. There are grease smudges on his jeans. Holes in his work shirt.

“I’m gonna see my son graduate,” he tells me, lighting a cigarette. “I can hardly believe it.”

Tha man’s name is Danny, he drove here from DeFuniak Springs to see his boy walk across a stage to receive a degree.

“My son’s the pride of our family,” he says. “I love that boy so much.”

Inside the arena is a huge crowd. In the center of the basketball court are hundreds of students in black gowns and square caps. Their faces, happy. Their smiles, blinding.

I stand in the nosebleeds beside Danny. He uses his phone to capture this moment.

Danny tells me his bossman didn’t want him to leave work today. But Danny said, “I’m gonna see my boy walk, sir, and if you don’t like it, that’s too bad. I’ll be back after lunch.”

When we sing the national anthem, Danny removes his cap and holds it over his heart. He sings louder than anyone.

Then he waves at his son. But his son doesn’t see him.

“There he is,” Danny says, pointing. “See him?”

“I see him,” I say.

When I first attended this school, it was called Okaloosa Walton College. It was about the size of an area rug back then.

This was the only place that would take an adult dropout like me. And it is the only alma mater I have ever known.

It’s funny. I was afraid to enroll here as an adult. I was worried everyone would think I was stupid. I was embarrassed on my first day of class. But I got over it. It took me less than a week to fall into the gentle rhythm of academia.

I took math with Miss Bronginez — the woman was as downhome as a crop of peanuts. She knew how to explain the Pythagorean theorem to a man who still counted on his fingers.

And Doctor Schott, who sometimes delivered world-class lectures in the back of a double-wide trailer for night class.

And Miss Lopez. I loved her Spanish classes. I took every course she offered until there were none left to take.

I took music with Mister Domulot, who remains one of my closest friends. And Mister Latenser, who still helps me when I have car problems. And Mister Nida, who lets me play

in his band sometimes.

That’s the kind of smalltown institution I attended. It was home to me, the kid who had no home. A place where I learned what it meant to study something in earnest.

It was here that a faceless blue-collar man once sat in an English class with a teacher who said, “You really oughta consider a career in writing.”

Last week, I was in my office. I was writing. When it was lunchtime, my wife knocked on the door. She presented me with a turkey sandwich and a small gift bag.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Turkey on rye,” she said.

“I meant what’s in the bag?”

“Oh, I don’t know, it came for you.”

There was a card attached. It read: “Northwest Florida State College.”

Inside the bag was an award. A heavy one. When I saw it, I had to sit down.

The statue was made of crystal. There was writing on it. The trophy read: “Sean Dietrich, Distinguished Alumni, Against the Odds.”

It’s the only award I’ve ever received — unless you count the prize I won for safe forklift driving.

Southern Musings

But the inscription on the trophy is only half correct. Maybe the odds were against me, but they’re against everyone. All you have to do is ask the kids in black gowns.

Or better yet, ask Danny. He’ll tell you. Life is bone hard. And just when you think it can’t get any harder, it raises your insurance premiums.

Still, somehow education found me. And it wasn’t because I was determined, or smart, or because I pushed myself. It was because I was pulled. By good people who stand quietly in this arena.

The ceremony begins. My new friend Danny is all ears. We watch the candidates take the platform.

When they announce his boy’s name, Danny starts cheering so hard I can hear his voice break. Soon, the two of us are clapping and hollering for a kid I’ve never even met.

The boy walks across the stage.

“That’s my son,” Danny says to me. “That’s him, do you see him? That’s my little boy.”

I certainly do see him.

Every time I look in a mirror.

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.

The finest of dining establishments

A few months back, I wrote a column for this space that grilled — pun definitely intended — modern fast-food restaurant building designs.

I annihilated the analogous architecture and ignited the interior design with flammable words. I tried to use humor in places to soften my tone. I’m not sure it worked. I may have overcooked the whole thing. Last pun, I promise.

This column is also about dining establishments — one in particular — but my approach is as different as a renovated McDonald’s and a longtime family diner.

I recently had an hour to kill in the Birmingham area while our dog, Abby, nervously sat through a grooming appointment. I had asked on Twitter for lunch recommendations in the area, and the same diner continued to be the answer. So, I went, and I’m glad I did.

When I swung open the diner’s front door, Bob Seger was runnin’ against the wind, a

coming-of-age ballad only drowned out by the buzz of college football discussion and sizzling meat. The place was small. I counted eight counter barstools and three booths. All three were filled with folks who seemed to come here often. I sat at a small, square corner table a couple feet inside the front door.

Frayed and fading newspaper stories — those ancient pages that used to be printed seven days a week — were framed across the walls, featuring mostly Alabama and Auburn football players. Signs over the kitchen area recognized Mark Ingram’s 2009 Heisman Trophy win for Alabama and Cam Newton’s 2010 Heisman Trophy victory at

Auburn. I tried my hardest not to notice the latter.

“Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne played next, followed by James Taylor’s “Carolina In My Mind.” I ordered a Philly cheesesteak that was so good that it made me want to slap, well, someone who has ever made a lesser cheesesteak. Former CBS latenight talk show host Craig Ferguson ate here once, and he said on “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson” that the experience “shook me to the core.”

A man and his wife came in about 15 minutes after I ordered and sat in the booth in front of me. The man used a Canon camera to photograph everything, as if he were simply sitting down to

lunch at a museum’s cafeteria. I guess he was, in a way.

The diner owner, a man I read about in preparation for my lunch, was exactly as I had imagined from reading old news articles about the diner. He seemed to know everyone, and I got the impression I was the lone newbie in the place. He came over to my table, strongly patted me on the shoulder like an uncle would, and asked me if everything was good, and I could feel that he was inquiring about more than the food.

I had planned to stay a while and take it all in, to just observe, maybe to talk with the owner, but my phone buzzed, and the groomer let me know that Abby was already ready to go. My trip was cut shorter than expected. I’ll have to go back soon. I already feel like a regular.

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



May 4-7: Bible Reading Marathon. Begins at 7 a.m. on May 4. Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal, 90 Parkway Drive. Participants will read the entire Bible over the course of roughly 83 hours. Each participant will read for 15 minutes. go/BBRM2023.

May 8: Planning and Zoning Meeting. 6 p.m. Trussville City Hall.

May 9 and 23: City Council Meeting. 6 p.m. Trussville City Hall.

May 11: Taste of Trussville. 5:30-8 p.m. Trussville Civic Center. Sample foods from area restaurants, plus a cash wine bar. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at or at the chamber office, 400 Main St.

May 12-28: Trussville Restaurant Week. A two-week celebration of local restaurants and bakeries. Bingo cards will be available. Visit for more information.

May 15: Board of Education Meeting. 6 p.m. Trussville City Schools.

May 18: Board of Zoning Adjustments Meeting. 6:30 p.m. Trussville City Hall

May 23: Hewitt-Trussville High School Graduation.

May 24: Last Day of School.


Mondays and Thursdays: Yarn Manglers. Mondays 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursdays 2-4 p.m. Knitters and crocheters. Ages 18 and older.

May 2: Houseplant Care. 6-7 p.m. Learn how to select and care for houseplants. Presented by Jessica Watts, owner of House Plant Collective.

May 3: Computer Skills in Partnership with Trussville Senior Center. 2-3 p.m. Gain a basic understanding of technology-related terminology, the use of Windows 11, navigation of the internet, internet safety and more.

May 4: Pokémon Club. 4-5 p.m. 1st-5th grade. Play Pokémon or enjoy watching a classic Pokémon show and creating a craft. Kids can bring their own cards, but staff cannot supervise trading. Registration required.

May 8: STEAM for Kids. 5-6 p.m. Hands-on activities open to 1st-6th grade students. Registration is required.

May 8: Books & Brews. 7:15-8:15 p.m. Meets at the event

room at Ferus Artisan Ales. May’s title is “Sea of Tranquility” by Emily St. John. Ages 18 and older.

May 17: Adult Book Club 2023. 2-3 p.m. This month’s title is “Song of the Cell” by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Ages 18 and older. Meets third Wednesday of each month reading both fiction and nonfiction titles.

May 18: Understanding Medicare. 1-2 p.m. Educational seminar about Medicare options. Your questions will be addressed by Health Benefits specialist Linda Reynolds. Ages 18 and older.

May 20: World Turtle Day with Urban Turtle Project. 10-11 a.m. Outdoors under the oak tree in front of the library. Andy Coleman of the Urban Turtle Project will bring several species of Alabama native turtles for us to see and learn about.

May 22: American Girl Play. 4-5 p.m. A play in three acts about nine-year-old Molly McIntire, a girl growing up on the home front in 1944, and her dreams of a perfect Halloween during WWII. Kindergarten-5th grades.

May 23: Hospice 101. 1-2 p.m. An introduction into hospice care with Michele Carter of Journey Hospice. Learn who pays for hospice, what hospice covers and diagnoses that qualify for hospice care, as well as any questions you may have about this essential, if occasionally ignored, service.

May 30: Red Cross Blood Drive. 1-6 p.m. Make your donation appointment at

Lee Marlow REALTOR® 205.913.9559 The Trussville market is HOT Call Lee & list your home this spring. Take advantage of this great time to sell!
18 MAY 2023 | CAHABA SUN | CAHABASUN.COM Neighborhood Deals Explore savings and opportunities at local businesses Are you actually reaching new patients? Be the voice of your industry in the Medical Guide. Email for your Medical Guide Strategy Session
Now Open! | 205.661.9940 7868 Gadsden Hwy, Trussville, AL 35173 Brand New Trussville Memory Care



*Offers cannot be combined, some promotions may be limited to select sets. Not responsible for errors in ad copy. Quantities and selections may vary by location. Mattress images are for illustration purposes only Gifts with purchase (including gift cards and rebates) are not valid with any other promotions except special financing for 6 or 12 months.** Monthly payment is based on purchase price alone excluding tax and delivery charges. Credit purchases subject to credit approval. Other transactions may affect the monthly payment. *** 0% APR for 60 months financing available with purchases of $1999 or over and does not include sales tax. ** The special terms APR of 8.99% will apply to the qualifying purchase, and 48 monthly payments equal to 2.5090% of the original special terms balance are required.*** The Nationwide Marketing Group credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. The monthly payment for this purchase will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the promotional (special terms) period. The APR for Purchases will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. For new accounts, the APR for Purchases is 28.99%. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. This information is accurate as of 5/9/2023 and is subject to change. For current information, call us at 1-800-431-5921. Offer expires 6/6/2023. **** Free base offer applies to Queen set purchase of $799 and above or King set purchase $999 and above. King base applies to either one horizontal King Base or one of two TXL bases.***** Free Delivery on mattress sets $699 and up, Local area.

YORK STREET Triple Choice: Pillowtop, Firm & Medium Save $500 Our Best Selling Mattress PALM SPRINGS SELECT HYBRID Triple Choice: Firm, Medium & Plush Save $1,000 Plus Free 7 pc Bedding Bundle
Queen Mattress King Mattress $1299 $999 Queen Mattress King Mattress $999 $899
phone’s camera to go to our specials page.
Alabaster 621-7010 Gardendale 631-2322 Greystone 408-0280 Homewood 802-8888 Hoover 979-7274 Hoover 982-8006 Hueytown 744-4948 Inverness 739-2339 Leeds 699-7000 McCalla 426-1833 Mountain Brook 956-8033 Pelham 663-2337 Trussville 661-6200 Trussville 655-6906 Vestavia 978-3068 Bedzzz Express Outlet Greystone 408-1250 Bedzzz Express Outlet Pelham 664-0096