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The Homewood Star | February 2012 |

neighborly news & entertainment for Homewood

Volume 1 | Issue 11 | February 2012

GianMarco’s - pg 11

Sweaty Moms Club - pg 8

Photographer & blogger Virginia Jones- pg 6

A love that lasts By RiCK WATSon

The seven-decade-long love story of Jake and Margaret Monte fills volumes. Margaret keeps the letters and love poems Jake wrote to her while he was abroad in the Army during World War II in a box and re-reads them from time to time. The two, who have lived in Homewood since 1954, celebrated their 71st anniversary on Jan. 30. The couple married January 30, 1941 and welcomed their first daughter, Concetta, the following year before Jake went off to war. Some of the words in his letters were cut out by Army censors who feared the information might fall into enemy hands. When Margaret told Jake about the omissions, he started making up code words whose meaning she quickly caught on to. His letters stopped being censored. When Jake returned from the war, the two wasted no time getting back to the family life. They had two more daughters, Josephine and Marguerite. They also had their only son, Dominic. Today, the

See MONTE | page 17

Margaret and Jake Monte have been married for 71 years and have lived in Homewood for 54 years. Photo by Rick Watson.

Editor’s Note


Taste of Homewood set for Feb. 23

City Council



Mayor’s Minute


Upcoming events


King cakes


Love for Homewood can usually only be rivaled by love for a a Pastry Art baby bite, Demitri’s barbecue, a Pinches taco, a Nabeel’s gyro, an O’Henry’s coffee, a Jackson’s Cookie Dough Egg Roll, an Urban Cookhouse orange roll, or whatever your favorite Homewood dish may be. Fortunately, we can get a taste of all Homewood’s dining scene in one place once a year. The annual Taste of Homewood event will take place Monday, Feb. 23, 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Rosewood Hall in SOHO. There will be food and drinks from around 50 vendors. Entertainment will be provided by Alan Barlow. “Taste of Homewood gives you the opportunity to experience Homewood’s best in food service and catering vendors and an opportunity to socialize with other folks from Homewood,” said former Homewood Chamber of Commerce president Phillip Poole. “It’s a wonderful showcase for what our city is all about.” Residents and restaurant owners both anticipate the annual event. “Taste of Homewood allows us to see our customers and gives us an opportunity to showcase things that we do that other stores don’t do,” Andy Virciglio of Piggly Wiggly said.

February Features

Business Spotlight


Restaurant Showcase




School House


Homewood Happenings


Lauren Denton


Calendar of Events


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Ruth Chris Steakhouse serves a taste of their menu at last year’s Taste of Homewood at Rosewood Hall in SOHO.

Last year at the event the Pig introduced their new house line of wines and offered a tasting of crab cakes and remoulade sauce. “It’s a great forum to introduce your food to a lot of people who haven’t tried it

Hunter’s Cleaners loves Out Takes

Fabric of Homewood

yet,” said Pinches Tacos owner Ty Taylor. “I also really enjoy the great atmosphere and great energy there.” The Chamber started the Taste of Homewood 11 years ago with only a few restaurants participating, and it really started to grow after finding a new home at Rosewood Hall. “Since I started (as chamber director) four years ago, we’ve tripled the attendance and grown our number of vendors,” said Homewood Chamber of Commerce Director Tricia Ford. This year the Chamber anticipates hosting around 500 guests and 50 vendors. Ford said there is also increased interest in the event from all over Birmingham and the state. All money raised will go back to the Chamber to support local businesses. “My favorite part is seeing how much fun everyone else is having and what a celebration of Homewood it is,” Ford said. “Even the vendors have a good time.” Tickets to Taste of Homewood are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the Homewood Chamber of Commerce, located in the Homewood Library; at BB&T Bank, 1900 29th Avenue South; or online at www. For more information on Taste of Homewood, call Tricia Ford at 871-5631.

A Father and Sons Operation Mon-Thur: 7-7 Fri: 7-6:30, Sat: 9-4 1915 Oxmoor Rd. • 871.6131


| February 2012 |

The Homewood Star

Editor’s Note

The Gann Family enjoyed their holidays in Orange Beach this year: Doug, Brooke, Tripp, Macy and Kate.

Staff & Friends Contributing Writers Anna Cate Little | Barbara Jones | Lauren Denton Rick Watson | Blake Rhodes | Amanda E.H. Pritchard Anne Wood | Merrick Wilson | Mary Ellen Snell

Contributing Photographers Anna Cate Little | Rick Watson

Publisher Dan Starnes

Editor Ashley Berkery

Managing Editor Madoline Markham

Creative Director Keith McCoy

Editor at Large Joe Samuel Starnes

One down and 11 to go. Months, that is. It’s hard to believe January is already behind us, but it is and 2012 is off to a great start. There is a lot going on in February, even though it’s our shortest month. This is the month for the giving of valentines and for letting the good times roll. St. Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras are both special occasions – and so we have highlighted ways to plan your celebration of those occasions. Homewood has several places where you can purchase your Mardi Gras king cakes (page 9), and we are excited to be able to share with you Homewood resident Jennifer Champ Wallis’s red velvet cupcake recipe for your Valentine’s sweet treat. If you are looking for a romantic evening with your spouse or loved one, make reservations at GianMarco’s far in advance. If you live in Homewood, you have most likely dined at this upscale Italian eatery on Broadway, or at least heard of it. It has been the talk of the town for years now. The Respinto family has perfected the venue, the service, and – most important – the menu, and it is a great spot to wine and dine on any night of the month, especially February 14. This time of year, we begin to think about the coming of spring. The days have been getting longer since December 22, but even though we have been blessed with a mild winter so far, it can still be daunting to entertain your small children every day when it’s tough to get outdoors. Read on page 9 about some Homewood hot spots where you can have fun indoors during these last cold weeks of winter. In case you are not aware, February is

National Dental Month. Read all about it in our business spotlight on page 10 as Dr. Deanne Vail and Dr. Julie Webb of Homewood Family Dental share their expertise on how to keep your mouth clean and healthy. This month we have a number of interesting people featured in this issue. When former Shades Cahaba teacher, Virginia Jones, retired, she discovered her passion for photography and has since shared her love of Paris, France, with the world via her daily photo blog. She also, in turn, has shared photos of our quaint community with the world – showcasing Birmingham and Homewood in magnificent lights (literally)! If you are still on the fitness bandwagon – good for you! Several hip Homewood moms have started a unique fitness group called the “Sweaty Moms Running Club.” Check out their story on page 8 to see how to get involved and/or purchase their new line of sweaty moms clothing – “Sweaty: the New Hot.” As we hopefully move away from winter soon and step into spring, we would love to hear from you on any story ideas you may have for our paper. We would also love to showcase any sports photos of your children or members of your family, so please feel free to submit those to me at As always, thanks for reading The Homewood Star!

Spring break photos Show off your love for Homewood on your spring break trip. Take a photo with your copy of The Homewood Star with your destination in the background and send it to us, and we’ll run our favorites in our April issue and all the entries on our website. Email your photos to

Meet our Intern Brooke Boucek Brooke Boucek is from Memphis, Tenn., and is a junior at Birmingham-Southern College. While studying English, she spends much of her time reading books and writing countless papers. Apart from her studies, Brooke enjoys cooking, going to the lake or beach, watching movies, reading a good book or laughing with friends.

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Intern Brooke Boucek

Contact Information: The Homewood Star #3 Office Park Circle, Suite 316 Birmingham, AL 35223 313-1780

Please submit all articles, information and photos to: P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 Legals: The Homewood Star is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. The Homewood Star is designed to inform the Homewood community of area school, family and community events. Information in The Homewood Star is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of The Homewood Star. 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

Correction In the Business Spotlight on Wallace-Burke in our December issue, we misspelled co-owner Preston Foy’s name. We apologize for our mistake.

Please Support our Sponsors Aloft (5) Armor Insurance (8) Brandino Brass (16) Briarcliff Shop (11) D1 Sports (13) Dale Snodgrass (17) First Lenders (15) General Pest Control (14) Harmony Landing (13) Homewood Antiques (5) Homewood Chamber of Commerce (20) Homewood Dental (6) Homewood Music (14) Homewood Parks and Rec (12) Hunter’s Cleaners (1)

InShapeMD (11) Jazzercise (17) Lulie’s on Cahaba (7) Medhelp (14) Michael’s (9) Middle Mediation (15) Oxmoor Orthodontics (17) Piggly Wiggly (7) Renaissance Consignment (19) Salem’s Diner (14) Skin Wellness Center of Alabama (9) The Diamond Dealer (16) The Wade Team (8) UAB Medicine (3) Wallace-Burke (10)

The Homewood Star

| February 2012 |


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| February 2012 |

The Homewood Star

Meet your City Council members Allyn Holladay - President

Allyn tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you have been serving on our council? I grew up in Memphis, went to college in Charleston, S.C., and then did graduate work at the University of Memphis. We moved to Homewood when my daughter was about to start kindergarten. My children, Nora (14) and Landon (9), are not only supportive but also serve to inspire me with my council work. They have both “grown up” on the council, and it is fun to watch them interact with the other councilors, the Mayor and employees. As constituents, they are my toughest critics by far. Ironically, I never intended to be in politics; however, in 2002 the City started forward motion on developing the property behind my house. I immediately became active— other members of the community got involved, and today that land is Patriot Park. I remained involved with the Parks and Recreation Board and stayed in contact with my ward representatives. Steve Chambers was ineligible to run again for his slot and strongly encouraged me to take on the challenge. I won that election in 2004 and have now served on the council for seven years. During my first four years, I served on both the Finance and Special Issues Committees. I ran unopposed in 2008 and continued on both committees, serving as Chair for Special Issues and adding President Pro Tempore to my duties. I became president upon the former president’s resignation. I also serve on both the state and national Energy Environment and Natural Resources Steering and Policy Committees. How does your role as president of our council differ from when you were a member? The president serves as parliamentarian and does not have a vote on agenda items in committee—a small nuance that has been a huge adjustment for me. Committees really do the majority of the “work” of the council and prepare items for resolutions or ordinances—that work is then either approved or disapproved by the full council. Now, I preside over the council meetings, staying in touch with the issues in all of the committees, and then voting in council after they have been vetted in committee. As president I also have to adjust and be prepared for

proactively to address, with the help of our Chamber of Commerce, some of these challenges and strive for revitalization in both of these areas. I am also proud of the council’s teamwork and commitment and look forward to another year with this group—finalizing some big projects—and starting others. There are still some board vacancies available. Explain how residents may become involved with the council in this particular area? I strongly encourage anyone interested in becoming involved in the City to check out the City’s website and look at the boards and commissions and what seats are available. Call your ward representative if you would like to talk about any of the openings and have questions. You never know—after a couple of years serving on a board, you might find yourself in a council seat!

City Council President Allyn Holladay

surprises on council Mondays—occasionally, an item doesn’t pass or fail smoothly—or an item is extremely dear to constituents and they want to be heard. We are the servants of the public—and stewards as well—sometimes that is a hard balance. What are some goals you have for the council moving forward in 2012? I think, for me, the primary goal is to maintain our economic position—better yet—improve it! We have seen positive changes on Greensprings the last several years. However, we still have some challenges on both Greensprings and in Wildwood. The Council is working

Is there any particular issue or project you have taken a personal interest in? Yes, there is one in particular that stands out, The Sims Garden. Several years ago, Catherine Sims bequeathed her house and land to the City, if the City would agree to establish a botanic garden on the site. Ms. Sims was an avid plant collector, especially of native species. She also had a reputation for sharing the wealth of her garden. I am sure that many Homewood yards have the fruits of her labor. This particular project has taken five years, but is finally coming to fruition. In the summer of 2011, the City did some minor updates on the house—both interior and exterior—cleared the second house from the property and signed an agreement with Birmingham-Southern to create and maintain the garden. An Americorps volunteer lives in the home as caretaker and with others works in the garden. The City also has generous assistance from The Community Foundation—via a legacy to them from Ms. Sims. There has been tremendous progress over the fall, a rear parking pad and paths have been made—some initial clearing and plantings have also taken place. By spring, I hope we see parts of the garden Ms. Sims envisioned in full bloom. I believe Ms. Sims would be proud of the small community garden we are establishing for her neighbors and the city.

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The Homewood Star | February 2012 |

Mayor’s Minute Dear neighbors, On Jan. 17, I had the opportunity to present my third State of the City address at the Homewood Chamber of Commerce meeting. The purpose of this article today is to relay a small portion of the message I delivered that day. I believe it is an important message; the same characteristics that are important in your home and in your business apply to the city as well. Homewood became a city 85 years ago. We had one police car, one fire truck and no garbage trucks. So many things have changed since then, but there are a few things that have remained constant. We still have great neighbors, we still have great businesses, and Homewood is still on the rise! The message is constant: all of our decisions for the city must be based on character, honesty, vision, civility and truthfulness. With the absence of even one of these fundamental qualities, you end up with a government that is greedy and broken, serving no one but those in charge. President Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address, “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.” I am so grateful I have an administration and a city council that understands this concept. We are so fortunate to have a wonderful school system led by our neighbors allowing our children to learn in some of the finest facilities from some of the finest educators. We all pay a tremendous price to live in Homewood, and our goal is to ensure the services and amenities expected are provided and that we have a responsible government working for you.

This coming year will prove to be very exciting. We will invest nearly $1 million in sidewalks for our communities and begin the process of improving West Oxmoor Road. I also know this road needs restriping and funding is in place. Portions of West Oxmoor Road are owned by Jefferson County, and we are waiting on approval by the Commission to proceed with improving their

road. I was pleased to announce the Homewood Fire Department answered 3,430 calls this past year and our Police Department answered 30,255 calls in the same time period. All city departments have worked very hard to make Homewood a better place. It has been said that government does not produce revenue and that it consumes it. But I am happy to report for the third year in a row this city has created more revenue than it has consumed. Final audits are expected to be completed in the next week, and we are expecting over a $500,000 surplus. It serves as a great example of how neighbors serving as mayor and council can work together within our means and to furthermore prove there are still communities that believe in the words of Lincoln— creating governments of the people, by the people, and for the people. With kindest regards I remain Sincerely,

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New recycling bins The city of Homewood distributed new 95-gallon recycling bins in January. The recycling company will still only pick up every other week and will only collect what is actually in the bins; walking crews no longer accompany the recycling truck, saving the city $200,000 a year on its recycling expenses. If you did not receive one of the new

bins and would like one or if you would like to swap your 95-gallon bin for one of a smaller 38-gallon bin, contact your city council representative. You can also return your bin, but the city pays a flat fee for recycling whether you participate or not. If the city hauls something to the dump that could have been recycled, they end up paying twice to dispose of it.

New Chamber Board members

Red Balloon Sale Saturday February 25th! antiques, furniture, artwork, gifts, children’s items, custom nursery bedding, area rugs, jewelry, home accessories, lamps, monogramming, upholstery service, custom slip covers, and so much more!!!

Chamber board members Diane Litsey, Merrick Wilson, Steve Preston, John Christopher Batts and Chamber Director Tricia Ford. Photo by Madoline Markham.

The Homewood Chamber of Commerce welcomes its 2012 board members: Stephen D. Preston, Brookwood Medical Center, incoming president; Trey Schaefer, Art Promotional Service, incoming executive vice president; Patrick Barker, Dent, Baker & Company, LLP, secretary; John Christopher Batts, BB&T, treasurer; David Watts, Watts Realty Company; Michael Morgan, Samford University; Paul DeMarco, Parsons, Lee

and Juliano, PC and State Representative; Darlene Negrotto, Vulcan Park and Museum; Kerry Adkins, On Time Electric; Laura Wilson, Four Seasons Antiques, Art and Botanicals; Josh Watkins, Feld, Hyde, Wertheimer, Bryant and Stone; Merrick Wilson, Homewood Board of Education; Michael Brandt, Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt; Elizabeth Green, The Barber Company, Inc.; and Brian McCool, MD, McCool & Bhuta, ENT.

Regional Planning Director to speak Charles Ball, Executive Director of the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, will speak at the Homewood Chamber of Commerce Luncheon on Feb. 21 at the Homewood Library. Ball will


speak about what is new in the area and plans for Homewood.Reservations may be made online at thehomewoodchamber. com by Thursday, Feb. 16.

930 Oxmoor Road (205)414-9945


| February 2012 |

The Homewood Star

The world through her lens Shades Cahaba teacher-turned-photographer shares Birmingham on blog

By ASHLEY BERKERY Virginia Jones started posting a photo a day to her Birmingham blog in June 2008 and quickly made friends all over the world. “My blogger friends were amazed at how beautiful Birmingham is,” said the retired Shades Cahaba Elementary third grade teacher. “They had preconceived notions of Alabama until they saw my photos. They said they always thought it was just an old steel town.” Today her Birmingham Alabama Daily Photo blog has 1200 readers a week, where Jones adds her own flavor and voice to each shot she shares of her city and of Homewood. “I love shooting places and people in Homewood,” Jones said. She especially likes to photograph Sweet Peas garden shop, kids looking through the glass at smiley face cookies at Savages, Homewood parades, the star on 18th Street and anything in Homewood at night. Without fail a new photo appears on Jones’ blog each day—even when she is traveling and shooting abroad. Although she had always photographed her students for an endof-the-year slide show, Jones had never enjoyed sight and street photography until she traveled abroad. “The first time I went to Paris was in 2007, and that was the turning point for my photography,” Jones said. Her Paris photo journal,, has now been going three years strong and featured on several French websites, including, parisiensalon.

Blogger and photographer Virginia Jones in Paris at the Eiffel Tower.

Virginia Jones loves shooting kids picking out cookies at Savages. Photos courtesy of Virginia Jones.

com, and belleinspirationmagazine, an online magazine. She has published many of her images in a new book, Paris Rouge Through My Lens. Jones’ interaction with her blogging friends extends beyond the sphere of the internet. She met up with blogging friends in Paris in 2008, and one blogger friend from Florida was so amazed by Jones’ blogs that he gave her a round trip ticket to Paris. “My experiences in Paris have been a

testimony of the power of blogging on the internet,” she said. “I have yet to meet a blogger that isn’t what they seem to be. We all laugh about how each personality is the same in person as it is online.” For Jones, making friends all over the world has just been one facet of her adventures in photography. “Since retirement my life has completely surprised me with more than I ever expected,” Jones said. “Photography

has allowed me to reinvent myself and now it is my passion. C’est magnifique!” Ever the educator, Jones now teaches a five-week “From Snapshots to Photographs” class for the amateur photographer who wants to improve the quality of their shots. To inquire about classes, visit www. Jones’ photos can be seen on birminghamalabamadailyphoto.blogspot. com.


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The Homewood Star

| February 2012 |

Chili Cook-off to benefit the Exceptional Foundation h t i W e c n a m Ro g i P e Th Chili taste testing at last year’s cook-off.

Northwestern Mutual of Alabama is presenting its eighth annual Chili Cook-off on March 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cook-off will feature music by Sweetwater Road and benefit the Exceptional Foundation. Corporate sponsorships are available, and event organizers remind everyone that they are what makes the event possible. Beginning with corporate sponsors, teams are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Through the use of sports, games, activities, arts-and-crafts, and field trips, The Exceptional Foundation helps its participants achieve a higher level of confidence and gives the participants the opportunity to lead a more “normal” life. Admission is $10 in advance or $15 at the gate. Children 12 and under are free. The event will take place at 1616 Oxmoor Road. For more information call 870-0776 or visit

Swan Lake at Wright Center The Alabama Ballet is presenting Tchaikosvky’s Swan Lake at Samford University’s Wright Center Concert Hall this month. The ballet tells the story of Prince Siegfried, a young man whose love leads to eventual betrayal of a swan queen. While hunting the prince sees a swan that he takes aim to shoot but then watches her turn into a beautiful woman, Odette. The woman tells him that she is a princess under a spell that can be broken if a virgin prince swears eternal fidelity to her. Although the virgin prince falls madly in love with Odette, the evil sorcerer casts him under a spell. The prince accidentally proposes to another woman believing she is Odette. Princess Odette feels hopeless and throws herself into the lake. The prince feels remorse and follows her, where they are transformed into lovers in the afterlife. Alabama Ballet will perform Swan Lake Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 25 at 2:30 p.m. and

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7 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $20-55. For more information, call 975-2787 or visit

Muscle Walk in Central Park The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is hosting its third annual Muscle Walk on Feb. 25 at Homewood Central Park. Registration is at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m. This is the largest gathering of families and MDA partners for the sole purpose of raising funds and awareness to eliminate neuromuscular disease. The event will be fun for the whole family with performances, a DJ, local mascots, activities

for the kids and more. MDA is a national organization covering over 40 different neuromuscular diseases including ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. All monies raised stay local to benefit local families with medical care, equipment repair, a summer camp for children and a vast research effort. For more information contact Terri Wilson at 823-8191 or

Birmingham Fashion Week

The second annual Birmingham Fashion Week (BFW) will be held Feb. 9-11. Participating businesses from Homewood include Soca, Theadora, Bella Bridesmaid and Shaia’s. Last year’s event raised over $17,000 for Camp Smile-A-Mile and $5,000 for tornado victims. The Birmingham Fashion Show will be at Pepper Place, 2829 2nd Avenue South from 7-10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 7-11 p.m. on Saturday. Thursday’s official after-party will take place at Bottega, Friday at Avondale Brewery and Saturday at Cantina. Admission is $35, $20 for students; VIP is $55 for Thursday, $65 for Friday, $75 for Saturday. For more information, visit www.

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Models walk the runway during the finale of Birmingham Fashion Week 2011. Photo courtesy of Leslee Mitchell.



| February 2012 | The Homewood Star

Sweaty Moms Running Club By ASHLEY BERKERY It’s ironic how an off-handed comment can sometimes fuel a brilliant idea, even a new business endeavor. That is exactly how it all began for the Homewood moms of “Sweaty Moms Running Club.” Five women, four of whom are Homewood residents, began their “club” with the original goal of simply running faster. Their quest brought them together once a week on the track where they focused on intense speed training. “We are serious runners who don’t take ourselves too serious,” founder Mary Ben Fitts said. “Being moms we all wear many hats, one of which is now a runner. In the process of multi-tasking, sometimes running has to be squeezed in between the kids’ school, sports and after-school activities.” The story began when one of the moms in the group rushed in a run during her child’s after-school activity. Another mom later heard this mom referred to in conversation as always being “so sweaty,”

Sweaty moms Julie Croushorn, Jennifer Andress, Mary Ben Fitts, Jen Jackson, Marian Dill. Photo courtesy of Wynter Davis.

and thus the name was born. Fitts says they are not ashamed of the title but proud to earn their “sweaty” status. The group’s philosophy has now evolved into being about community. “It’s about pushing beyond your

physical limits,” Fitts said, “and replacing ‘I can’t’ with ‘Look what I just did.’ ” Sweaty Moms Running Club participates in several race expos each year in Birmingham and surrounding cities. They have even developed a line of t-shirts

with various slogans including ”Sweaty, the new hot.” For more information on products and ordering information or how to become part of the Sweaty Moms Running Club, visit

Homewood Rotarians support Toys for Tots Homewood Rotary Club members collected about two dozen dolls, games and other fun items for the 2011 U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. Club members and guests brought the toys to their Dec. 15 Christmas banquet in the dining room at Regency Retirement Village. The toy collection effort was part of Homewood Rotary’s community service initiative, which seeks to improve quality of life in the Homewood area throughout the year. The club meets Thursdays at noon at Homewood Library. Photo courtesy of Mary Wimberley.


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The Homewood Star | February 2012 |

Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe Jennifer Champ Wallis, a vegan of more than three years, adapted this recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and shared it with us. Wallis, an attorney at Wallis Law Firm who lives in the Mayfair area, likes to mix a small batch of the icing with food coloring then pipe it through a pastry bag to decorate. We’ve included options for a nonvegan variation as well if that better suits what ingredients you have on-hand. Red Velvet Cupcakes 1 cup vanilla soy milk (or 1 cup milk) 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or canola oil) 2 tablespoons red food coloring 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon almond extract 1 teaspoon chocolate extract, optional Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with cupcake liners. Whisk together soy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl and mix well. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the curdled soy milk and whisk well. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry, mixing until large lumps disappear. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full, place in hot oven and bake 18-

We tested Jennifer’s recipe with a non-vegan variation. Photo by Madoline Markham.

20 minutes. Let cool before frosting with vegan cream cheese frosting. Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting: 1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine, softened (or ¼ cup butter) 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, softened (or ¼ cup cream cheese) 2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


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With a large spoon, mix together margarine and cream cheese until just combined. Using a handheld mixer, add the powdered sugar in 1/2 cup batches, mixing until smooth and creamy. Mix in the vanilla. Store in refrigerator until ready to frost cooled red velvet cupcakes. Do you like to cook or know someone else in Homewood who has a great recipe collection? The Homewood Star is always looking for area residents to share seasonal recipes with us. Email to let us know.


SWCA_HomewoodStar_feb.indd 1

Homewood Gourmet owner Chris Zapalowski with a king cake. Photo by Brooke Boucek.

Do It Yourself Crafts

Let your kids explore their inner creativity as they paint their own pottery or work with tie-dye, mosaics and glass fusing. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, 12-5 p.m. 1909 Oxmoor Road, 8684346

Homewood Public Library

Enjoy Mommy & Me Story Time with your small children birth – 30 months. Check their website for monthly dates and times. 1721 Oxmoor Road, www.

Mommy & Me Bootcamp

This interactive workout is for both you and your baby or toddler and involves push-ups, sit-ups, and planks that involve leaning in to kiss and sing to your little one.

Hart & Soul Coffee Company

You can enjoy a steamy Hart & Soul specialty mocha latte with a friend and let the kids enjoy themselves in the back play room. Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.- 9 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. -9 p.m. Sunday, 8 a.m. -5 p.m. 1014 Oxmoor Road, 871-4220


This full-service bead store with a variety of gemstones and beads is a great place for grown-ups and kids alike to create fabulous jewelry with little cost. Instruction is free and a great way to bring out the inner jewelry designer in you. Available to host a variety of parties and group activities. Mon- Sat 10a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 309 Oxmoor Road, 943-0499

1/11/12 8:27 PM

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with the baby and decorative beading on top. Call 871-4901 to place your order. Publix on Green Springs will be selling two different sized king cakes. The large ($7.49) serves about 15 people, and the smaller cake ($5.49) should serve 8 to 10 people. For more information, call 9441101.

Wednesday 9 a.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. Our Lady of Sorrows gym, 1728 Oxmoor Road,


- introducing -

Michael’s Chefs also prepare select featured entrees each lunch and dinner.

Family fun for frigid days Here are a few creative activities to do around our community with your kids.



King cakes available

Traditional New Orleans king cakes are available around Homewood. The cake is traditionally eaten forthe Feast of Epiphany in January through the Mardi Gras Day, the day before Ash Wednesday. The hollow, circular shaped cakes represent a crown and are decorated with purple, green and gold colored sugar. These classic carnival colors represent justice, faith and power. Inside each cake, a small prize is hidden, usually a plastic baby, pecan half or a dried bean. According to tradition, the person who finds the small prize is to provide the king cake at the next party. Homewood Gourmet sells authentic King Cakes with an older Creole tradition prize of a half pecan. The plain cakes with cinnamon brown sugar are $25, while the cream cheese cakes are $30. The cakes are 16 inches and should serve about 15 to 20 people. Call 871-1620 to place an order. Savages Bakery sells king cakes for $17.95 that should serve 6 to 8 people. The cake comes in cream cheese or cinnamon



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| February 2012 |

Business Spotlight

Business Spotlight

Homewood Family & Cosmetic Dentistry |


1752 Oxmoor Road 868-4577 Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Customers age two to 98 come to Homewood Family & Cosmetic Dentistry for everything from routine cleanings to veneers, whitening and implants. Homewood resident and mom-of-four Deanne Vail, DMD and her partner, Hoover resident Julie Webb, DMD have been in practice on Oxmoor Road since 2006. While February is officially “National Children’s Dental Health Month,” this Homewood business is dedicated to children’s (and adults’) oral health each and every month. “February is an optimal time to reinforce the importance of good oral health,” said Vail. “We always stress to our patients that regular dental cleanings and checkups every six months are vital to maintaining the health of one’s mouth.” Each February, the staff visits local elementary schools and preschools to educate kids on proper brushing and flossing in both technique and frequency. They also discuss the importance of a balanced diet in minimizing the effects of dental decay. “Our goal in February (and all yearround) is to teach these children that good oral health starts early,” said Vail. Among the schools they will visit are Shades Cahaba, South Highland Presbyterian and The Exceptional Foundation. Vail is no stranger to the threat young kids have on their developing teeth and jaws. With four young boys all involved in sports, she stresses how important a role mouth guards play in contact sports. With this in mind, Vail and Webb have taken on a major charitable service to all Homewood residents, whether or not they are patients.

Julie Webb, DMD and Deanne Vail, DMD of Homewood Cosmetic and Family Dentistry. Photo by Anna Cate Little.

“We are offering free custom mouth guards to our Homewood athletes,” Vail said. “We’re doing what we can to help prevent any injuries to their developing teeth or jaw growth.” Parents can simply call to make an appointment. An impression of the teeth is made, which only takes about five minutes, and within a day or so, the parent can come back by to pick up the custom-made mouth guard. Already, 300 members of the local recreation basketball league have signed up. “We are dedicated to these kids,” said Vail. As a full-time dentist, not to mention a

wife and mother, Homewood is fortunate to have both a resident and business owner committed to working overtime to serve our community. “I lived in Homewood during dental school, and [my husband and I] loved it so much that we decided to make Homewood our [permanent] home,” said Vail. As for their business, “Dr. Webb and I both felt like Homewood is such a central location that not only would allow us to serve our community here but also allow us to serve surrounding communities as well, which it does,” Vail said. Homewood Dentistry prides itself on being family friendly while offering life-

changing cosmetic procedures. Flat-screen plasma TVs and relaxing gas make regular visits as comfortable as possible. Yet, the art of porcelain veneers, dental implants or complete restorative dentistry is what gives patients something to truly smile about. “Dentistry is certainly an art that can absolutely change someone’s life,” said Vail. “We’ve seen so many times over the years the increased confidence that patients get from having a pretty smile. Honestly, your smile leaves a lasting impression, so it makes a big difference in your overall attitude and confidence level.”

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| February 2012 |




Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. There’s a reason you have to call GianMarco’s at least two weeks in advance to get a dinner reservation and that it filled up for Valentine’s Day around the first of the year. The white tablecloth restaurant, hidden among Edgewood homes on Broadway, is known for its lively, energetic atmosphere as well as its upscale authentic yet innovative cuisine. “It’s Italian-based, but it’s not your typical Italian restaurant,” owner Giani Respinto said. “We do Asian dishes. We do whatever we feel like doing. You can have spaghetti or lasagna, or you can have olive oil-poached sea bass.” The menu is always evolving but is always guaranteed to have some favorites such as pan-roasted grouper, lunch pizzas and fettucine alfredo with gulf shrimp. “We are always trying to get better, but the basic idea will never change,” Respinto said. Respinto owns the restaurant with his brother, Marco, and father, Giovanni. The New York-native brothers were raised in Giovanni’s restaurant, Rocco’s in Greenwich Village. “Where I grew up, every neighborhood had a restaurant,” Respinto said. And 10 years ago this March, he brought a new restaurant to his new-found neighborhood: Homewood. Respinto originally moved to Birmingham from south Florida to open a location of East City Grill at Colonial Brookwood Village. He ended up liking the city enough to get his brother and father to join him here and open a restaurant

Giani Respinto (left) owns Edgewood’s GianMarco’s with his brother, Marco, and father, Giovanni (right). Photo by Madoline Markham.

together. Today he lives next door to GianMarco’s, and his kids attend Edgewood Elementary. His father also lives in Homewood. Respinto said he loves having his dad around GianMarco’s and that everyone else who comes in the restaurant agrees. “There aren’t many 77-year-old guys still working,” Respinto said. “No one should retire.” GianMarco’s has never advertised but still draws diners from Atlanta or the beach or Montgomery to eat. “We love the loyalty of our customers,” Respinto said, recalling how he has seen

many people come in for a first date then get engaged and later have children. “Over the years they become part of you.” Wanting to build on their reputation for an expansive wine list and perceived value, GianMarco’s opened a wine shop and bar behind the restaurant in the fall. It’s in a quaint building on the creek that seats about 28. Everything on their restaurant wine list is available there for retail price. You can drink a bottle there or take it home with you. The full restaurant menu is also available at the bar. The bar offers a different selection of wine by the glass than the restaurant.

“Between the front and the back, we offer about 100 wines by the glass,” Respinto said. The wine shop is open from 11 a.m. until close, Monday-Saturday. After living in Birmingham more than a decade, Respinto has learned to talk Alabama football, but he said he was neutral in the Alabama-LSU national championship game. “I was glad Alabama won though,” he said. “It’s good for business.” You can view GianMarco’s menu online at Profile/GianMarcos and keep up with their latest updates on their Facebook page.

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| February 2012 | The Homewood Star


Homewood Community Center Activities Yoga with Kelly Creel!

Kid’s Class: Cost: $20 per month (4-5 classes per month). Class offerings: Tuesday afternoons, 3:30 - 4:15pm. Adult’s Class: Tuesday & Thursday 8:00 - 9:00am. Cost: $20 unlimited class times per month or $5 drop-ins; your first class is FREE. For more information please email Kelly Creel at or call 529-9360

Young Rembrandts

Draw amazing things with Young Rembrandts! We believe that drawing is a skill that can, and should be learned by all children. Young Rembrandts classes are both fun and educational, and our step-by-step curriculum is developed to teach fundamental art skills in a nurturing environment that gives children an academic advantage. Our weekly classes are for boys and girls 5 to 12 years of age. Class will be held every Wednesday at the Homewood Community Center starting at 3:30. Enroll anytime—all new lessons each session and each year. Please contact Chris Roberson at 943-1923 for more information or to register.


Classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Homewood Community Center from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm in the Auditorium. Monthly tuition is $55 - $65. Classes are for children and teenagers ages 4 and up. For more information please contact Master Joe at 966-4244.


Burn up to 600 calories in one fun and powerfully effective, 60-minute total body workout. Every Jazzercise group fitness class combines dance-based cardio with strength training and stretching to sculpt, tone and lengthen muscles for maximum fat burn. Choreographed to today’s hottest music, Jazzercise is a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, hiphop, and kickboxing. Start dancing yourself fit and change the shape of your body today! All ages, levels and sizes welcome. Go to: for class information or call 1-800-FIT-IS-IT Call your Homewood class owner, Beth Gilbert at 205-966-9893 for class days and times. The original dance fitness program, Jazzercise!

Head Over Heels Gymnastics!

Gymnastics promotes coordination, flexibility and balance. We teach gymnastics at your child’s individual level in a fun, creative and positive environment, therefore developing self-confidence, a love for fitness and a sense of achievement. Skills are taught on the Swing Bar, Balance Beam, Trampoline, Springboard, Tumbling apparatus, and other fun props! Dates: 2nd session: Jan 12 – March 1st 3rd session: March 8 – May 3rd (no class March 19-23) Day & Times: Thursdays: 3:30 – 4:15 pm for Ages 3-5 4:15 - 5:00 pm for Ages 6 & up Fee: $80.00 for Homewood residents, $85.00 for non-residents

Kindermusik with Kelly Alligood

Kindermusik is the best choice in programs for you and your child. As the world’s recognized leader in early childhood music and movement, Kindermusik offers a musical learning adventure that will impact your child now and for years to come! This is accomplished through our extraordinary classroom experience and unsurpassed At Home materials. There’s simply no better way to foster your child’s love of music and love of learning. Classes are available for ages 0 to 5 years. Classes are held January through May and August through December. Enroll now! Call me at 205-552-6129 or email me at Kelly.alligood@ for more information. You may also visit my website at for more information or to enroll. @homewoodparks

Children’s Ballet with Claire Goodhew

Your child can be a fairy, a princess or a butterfly while keeping ballet traditions alive and having fun with classical music. The beginning ballet moves taught are the important foundation for many types of dance. The French names for steps will be introduced. Students will work on coordination, balance, rhythm and flexibility while developing listening skills and strengthening muscles. The environment provided is a happy and age appropriate one. Claire has been teaching ballet since starting as a teenager in Montgomery. Then, after moving to Birmingham, she started teaching with Birmingham Ballet. She has taught preschoolers in Mother’s Day Out and Day Care as well. The program runs thru the school year. Girls may wear any color leotard and tights for class, with pink ballet shoes. There will be a short low key recital in May. Classes meet once a week on Mondays at The Homewood Community Center. Please contact Claire to enroll or for additional Information: (205)879-8780


ZUMBA is the new craze sweeping America! It is Latin inspired aerobic dance and every class feels like a party. ZUMBA is for all ages, and both sexes! You can burn 500 to 1000 calories in one fun hour! Homewood Community Center now has two instructors offering classes: Instructor: Camille Scruggs Contact Info: 256-452-2500 or Days & Times: Homewood Community Center Auditorium Tuesday 5:30-6:30pm Thursday 5:30-6:30pm Saturday 9:00-10:00am (No Saturday Class Jan. 7th)

Belly Dancing with Aziza

Homewood Community Center Auditorium Class fee: $60 cash only For more information contact Aziza at 879-0701 or Learn the ancient art of Middle Eastern belly dance (classic Egyptian style) with Aziza, award winning dancer, with 36 years of experience in performance and instruction. Women only, ages 13 and up are welcomed in class with no dance experience necessary to enroll. Each session is 5-weeks long on Tuesday night for beginners, Wednesday night for intermediates and Thursday night for advanced. Times are 7:00-8:30pm for beginners and 7:00-8:45pm for intermediates and advanced. Beginners start with the basic steps, isolations and shimmies and progress to the intermediate class where you will learn to put the dance together with more advanced steps and combinations plus dancing with the veil; advanced classes include performing with zills, cane, veil with more advanced and longer performances. The classes are for anyone who wants to dance for fun and fitness, as well as those who wish to perform. Aziza has trained dancers to perform for many events in the Southeastern area in addition to dancers who perform regularly at Ali Baba Persian Restaurant in Hoover.

Homewood Senior Center

Big Steve’s Winter Boot Camp at Patriot Park

Runs Sat, Jan 14th and continues through all of Feb on Saturdays, 8:15-9:45. For registration/pricing, contact Steven Alexander (205) 492-7253 bigstevefit69@yahoo. com.

Women’s Self Defense Course

Taught Detective Juan Rodriguez of Homewood Police Dept Tuesdays in Feb @ 10:45-11:45am. FREE. (Homewood Senior Center) Hands-on course to learn how to physically respond if you are approached/ attacked.

Zumba Fitness

Taught by Jerri Haslem. Open to general public, any age adult. Thursdays (ongoing) @ 6:00pm. $5 payable to instructor. For questions, call Jerri @ (205) 542-5391.


Homewood Softball

Homewood Parks and Recreation offers Girls Softball. Games are played during the months of March thru May with Allstar play in the month of June. Registration Ends — Friday, February 3rd, 2012 Program Fee: $75 Homewood Residents, $100 Non-residents Age Groups: 6 & Under / 8 & Under / 10 & Under / 12 & Under / 14 & Under Age groups are determined by the child’s age on December 31, 2011: for the Spring 2012 Season. Important Dates Sunday, February 12th: Player Evaluations (Location to be announced) 8U – 1:00pm 10U – 2:30pm 12U – 4:00pm 6U Player Evaluations – Date and location to be announced 14U Player Evaluations – Conclusion of Middle School Season Jakob Stephens – 332-6709 (or) jakob.stephens@ Rusty Holley – 332-6705 (or)

Second Season Wrestling 2012

Ages: 2nd thru 11th grades; younger participants allowed with coaching staff permission only. Registration: Homewood Community Center – Prior to Friday, February 24, 2012. There will be no on-site registration at the first practice Program Fee: $100 Practice Begins: Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 5:45pm Practice Location: Cahaba Heights Elementary School (Vestavia Hills, Alabama) Practice Days & Times: Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays: 5:45-7:15pm / Sunday 1:30-3:00pm Each participate is allowed two practice days per week For more information contact: Linda Sellers at 332-6706 (or)

Spring Adult Softball – Coed and Men

An organizational meeting for the 2012 Spring Adult Softball League will be held on Wednesday, March 7th at 7:00 p.m. at the Homewood Community Center in Room 100. All participants must be 19 years or older. If you are interested in participating in one of these leagues at Homewood Park you must attend this meeting and have your registration money at this time. Resident teams only may register prior to the organizational meeting beginning on February 20th. Games will be played at West Homewood Park fields. Coed will play Mondays or Thursdays, men will play Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Fees will be $400 for all teams. The minimum number of teams is 7, the maximum is 9. Fee includes officials, trophies and tournament play. Play begins in April. For information about upcoming seasons contact Linda Sellers: (205) 332-6706 (or)

Guys & Dolls Dixieland Band

Guys & Dolls Dixieland Band, comprised of seniors ranging from ‘Baby Boomer’ age to 80+. Performance/rehearsal on Mon, Feb 13 & 27, 1:303:00pm. Free. Homewood Senior Center Band leader: James Rayburn, (205) 932-5456.

Health Talk: Rehab Options for Congestive Heart Failure

Presented by Jinnie Lacey, RN, Healthsouth-Lakeshore Rehab. Free Thursday, February 9th @ 12:15pm. At Homewood Senior Center. Extra seating will be available for seniors who do not attend the county-sponsored lunch program which occurs immediately prior. Program will include question/answer opportunity, give-aways, & take-home literature on topic.

Tai Chi for Older Adults

Taught by Galina Waites, certified by Arthritis Foundation. Thursdays (ongoing) @ 1:45pm. Free to Senior Center members. $5 for non-members

Homewood Sports

| February 2012 |

Homewood Sports

Coach Shepler reaches 400th career victory


Joy League Baseball registration

Homewood Joy League is beginning its 55th consecutive season this year. Registration for boys and girls ages 4-12 begins Saturday, Feb. 4 and continues each Saturday in February from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Edgewood Elementary School. Cost per player is $30. Each team practices one hour per week, and league games are played on Saturday mornings beginning March 31. Games run through the end of June. A watermelon picnic will follow the last game. Now serving its third generation of players, the Joy League has been an important part of youth life in Homewood since 1958 when the league was founded by the late John J. Smith, Sr. Mr. Smith, an attorney, was serving as the league’s commissioner-emeritus at the time of his death in 2008 at the age of 96. “We have always lived by the motto

The 2011 Cards baseball team of the Joy League in Homewood were last year’s 3A division champions. Photo courtesy Bill Hutto.

that there are no bench warmers in the Joy League,” Commissioner Perry Akins said. “Every player gets to play in every game. We want the players to have fun and learn the great game of baseball.”

Parks & Rec basketball HHS Principal Dr. Kevin Maddox, Coach Tim Shepler and Athletic Director Kevin Tubbs.

Homewood City Schools surprised Homewood High School Basketball Coach Tim Shepler with a signed game ball from all of his players for his 400th career victory

before their game against Pleasant Grove. Shepler reached his 400th career victory with a 52 to 37 win against Pelham.

Spring 2012 Baseball registration Homewood Patriot Youth Baseball League registration for 2012 is now open through Feb 6. To register, simply go to the website at www.homewoodyouthbaseball.

The Homewood 9-10 year old basketball league Mavericks play versus the Lakers game at Homewood Park & Rec. Photo courtesy Keith Stansell.

com and click on “registration” or email for more information.

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| February 2012 | School House


Coins from Caring Hearts


Musical Instruments in great variety BUY-SELL-TRADE-REPAIR subscribe to our mailing list

Inventory updated Daily|205.879.4868|




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Monday–Saturday 6:30am to 3pm


Hall-Kent students, HK counselor Jackie Hughes, and art teacher Kelly Berwager present Jimmie Hale Mission representatives Terry Preston and Rev. Green Calhoun with a donation to help provide holiday meals for those in need. The students also decorated placemats to help inspire all the homeless men, women and children the Mission serves.

Hall-Kent Elementary students and teachers participated in a school-wide fundraiser, “Coins from Caring Hearts.” They donated their loose coins to help the Jimmie Hale Mission during the holidays. Just $1.95 provided a holiday meal to the homeless and hungry, and Hall-Kent’s goal was to purchase as many meals as possible for those in need. The students hoped their donations helped make someone else’s holiday brighter. “Our area is blessed with caring,

compassionate, giving people,” said Tony Cooper, The Jimmie Hale Mission’s Executive Director. “So it does not surprise me, however it is inspiring that the children follow in the adult’s steps in helping the less fortunate. During this time of year the children bless us at The Jimmie Hale Mission ministries by coloring holiday placemats, volunteering or participating in donation drives. These children truly exemplify the Christmas spirit and the holiday season.”

National Board teachers

Congratulations to the following five teachers who have gained their National Board certification:Abby Becker (HallKent), Nathan Carlson (HHS), Georgia Miller (HMS), DeLaine Ragland (Shades Cahaba), Doris Sankey (Edgewood). Homewood is proud to have 45 National

Board certified teachers. National board certification is a rigorous teaching credential achieved upon successful completion of a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize effective teachers who meet high standards.

SC students paint Sam’s windows

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December marked the 11th year Shades Cahaba Elementary School students have painted the holiday windows for Sam’s Super Samwiches in downtown Homewood. Five fifth grade students were chosen for their talent, attitude and love of art for the project: Jim Haines, Peter Finch, Eleanore Yarbrough, Rachel Ross-Davis and Abby Bottleson. This year’s theme was A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Shades Cahaba gives back

??? Shades Cahaba students in Rebecca Smith’s fourth grade class rang the Salvation Army bell at Belk at Brookwood Mall, filling shifts from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here Lydia Estes, Zoe Nichols, Bruno Ioselli, Jake Nequette and Kate Graphos spread cheer and work to fill up a heavy bucket of change and bills for the Salvation Army.

School House | February 2012 |

HCS Teachers of the Year

Congratulations to Homewood City Schools’ Teachers of the Year. A committee of teachers, administrators, and community members selected Celia Castle as Homewood’s Elementary Teacher of the Year and Kelly Reaves as Homewood’s Secondary Teacher of the Year.


Jody Brant

Edgewood Celia Castle was selected as Edgewood Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year and also Homewood City Schools’ Elementary Teacher of the Year. She has been working in education for seven years and has served as Edgewood’s art teacher for two years. Castle received the University of Alabama STAR grant which allowed her to travel to Europe to study art history for curriculum development. Castle has been a presenter at the National Art Education Association National Conference, and she is currently nearing completion of the National Board Certification Process.

Homewood High School Kelly Reaves was named Homewood High School’s Teacher of the Year and Homewood City Schools’ Secondary Teacher of the Year. Reaves has taught chemistry and AP chemistry at HHS since 1999. She is also the sponsor the National Honor Society. In addition, Reaves is part of the Alabama Science in Motion program as an advanced level teacher and served as the High School District Director for the Alabama Science Teachers’ Association.

Pam Smith

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Shades Cahaba Elementary School Lisa Mooresmith was selected as Shades Cahaba Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year. Mooresmith came to Homewood serving as an instructional assistant for a year and has been teaching first grade at Shades Cahaba for 10 years. While at Shades Cahaba, she has helped establish an after-school service learning club for fourth and fifth grade girls.

Homewood Middle School Seventh grade mathematics teacher Sherry Putt was selected as Homewood Middle School’s Teacher of the Year. Putt has taught at HMS for 10 years. Throughout her career she has worked with the Heritage Panel, helped develop a Math Club for students who wanted to “have fun with math” and has worked with the Greater Birmingham Math Partnership. Hall-Kent Emily Strickland was chosen as the Teacher of the Year for Hall-Kent Elementary School. She has 29 years of teaching experience and has served at HallKent for six years as the school’s librarian. Strickland received a degree in education from Birmingham Southern College and a master’s degree in Library Science from The University of Alabama.

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Homewood City Schools’ fourth graders were featured in their schools’ holiday programs. The students performed for their peers and parents and spread cheer throughout the schools.



| February 2012 | Homewood Happenings

Homewood Happenings

New AL Allergy & Asthma Center Alfredos Pizza Café new location Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center has opened a new location near Brookwood Hospital and expanded its physician facilities. The patient care center offers respiratory care, allergy treatments and asthma management services. Alabama Allergy also includes a Clinical Research Center of Alabama, in which a research group performs various clinical trials on volunteer patients. The new location is

located at 504 Brookwood Boulevard. Clinic hours are Monday 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 7 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Allergy shot hours are Monday 11 a.m.-6p.m., Tuesday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday 8:30 a.m.-4:30p.m., Thursday 7 a.m.-6p.m. and Friday 8:30 a.m.-4p.m. Call 871-9661 to set up an appointment at Alabama Allergy’s new location.

The Little Donkey Taco Shop opening soon on Central The Little Donkey (El Burro) is opening on the corner of Central Avenue and Reese Street in downtown Homewood. Unlike typical Mexican cuisine, the restaurant will serve soups, sandwiches, tacos and more. The taco shop will grind

their own corn to make flour tortillas while using free range chicken and beef. Everything will be made from scratch daily with fresh ingredients. The restaurant will be located at 2821 Central Avenue.

Mission Possible Center Sale In celebration of “the Big Game,” all shoppers at Mission Possible will receive 20 percent off their entire purchase. Customers will be able to register for a chance to win a share of $460 in gift certificates. All proceeds go to helping the Jimmie Hale Mission ministries, a Christianbased organization that includes homeless

shelters, Bible-based 12-step recovery programs, and learning centers for education and career readiness. The sale will be from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m at 800 Greensprings Highway and all other Mission Possible Bargain Centers. For more information visit www.jimmiehalemission. com.

Alfredos Pizza Café opened another location next to The Baskits in Homewood this fall. The restaurant has been in The Eastwood Festival Center for 16 years and is known for its gourmet Italian dishes at reasonable prices. Other than pizzas, the menu includes subs, calzones and muffalettas. New menu items include

shrimp primavera, shrimp pesto, veal parmigiana, minestrone and Italian wedding soup. All menu items are available for dine in or carry out. The new location is 803 Green Springs Highway. Hours are 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. Call 917-3737 for more information.

Championship flags at Tidmore 2011 Alabama National Championship flags are on sale at Tidmore Flags. You can choose from various styles of banners, garden flags, car flags, decals, magnets, mouse pads, floor mats, license plate frames

and more. The store has all the hardware to go with the flags, including poles, brackets and stands. For more information call 871-1775 or visit the store at 3040 Independence Drive.

DeVinci’s now serving breakfast DeVinci’s Pizza in downtown Homewood is now serving breakfast every day of the week. The casual, home-style breakfast includes popular items such as hotcakes and omelettes.

The restaurant is open for breakfast Monday through Friday 6-10:30 a.m., Saturday 7-11 a.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. DeVinci’s is located at 2707 18th St. South. Call 879-1455 for more information.

Harmony Landing Super Bowl event Harmony Landing will host its annual Super Bowl sale event Feb. 3-5. Everything in the store will be 10-60 percent off with deeper markdowns on Sunday, Feb. 5.

Regular store hours are 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and special event hours are 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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The Homewood Star

| February 2012 |

Ordinary Days


I feel some changes comin’ on By LAUREn dEnTon

Lately, I’ve been reading up on budget decorating blogs and home improvement websites. I’ve also been trolling Craigslist for things like a double jogging stroller or an old dresser I can remake into a changing table. (Believe it or not, the double stroller is more important. I can change a baby on the floor if necessary, but there’s no squeezing two kids into a single Bob stroller…legally anyway.) Yes, this means we’re expecting another baby! Come August, Lord willing, we’ll again be in the new baby world, but this time with a toddler in the mix. We’re very excited about the coming changes, including the prospect of turning our converted attic space into our “master suite.” I say that a bit tongue-in-cheek because it’s hardly a suite. It used to be the attic, and a previous owner converted it into a bedroom with a small full bathroom. We’ve been using it as a guest room, but when baby #2 comes, Mama and Dada will be moving upstairs and the new baby will take over our bedroom across the hall from our daughter, Kate. It’ll be quite a full house, but we’ll make it work. And this is where the home makeover websites and secondhand furniture stores come into play. Our goal is to do this without breaking the bank because I’m assuming adding another child to the family will only add to the amount of money flowing out of our hands. Luckily, we don’t need near as much as when we had Kate. All we really need for the new nursery is that dresser/changing table— Craigslist and consignment stores, here I come. Oh, and the daybed my husband

and I are attempting to create out of an old headboard and footboard that have been sitting in our garage for a few years. Just a little DIY project, surely we can handle that, right? And then there’s the small job of converting an old TV armoire into a “closet” for new baby’s hang up clothes and diapers. We’ll also need a builder to create a door at the top of the stairs for our new bedroom. Oh, and figure out how to add some kind of storage for our clothes upstairs since the closet we built is hobbitsized. We’ll also be wiring wall lamps next to our bed, but that’s just a bit of electrical work, no big deal! All in all, we have about six months to do all this plus potty train a two year old, move her out of a crib and into a big girl bed, and figure out a way to help her stop dissolving into tears when I so much as touch another baby. That may be the biggest job of all! Yes, some changes are coming to the Denton household in the next several months, and for a stick-to-the-routine person like me, it may be a tad difficult. However, when changes come because of something as sweet as a new baby, it’s definitely a good thing. Here’s hoping that Kate gets over her extreme distaste for seeing Mama holding another baby before the baby actually gets here and that we can accomplish all the necessary house tasks without coming completely unglued. I’ll keep you posted. Lauren can be reached at LaurenKDenton@


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CONTINUED from page 1 Montes have 10 grandchildren and 7 greatgrandchildren. Margaret was born in Ensley in 1919, and Jake was born in Cardiff, a town just west of Birmingham, in 1913. Jake was a bread delivery man in 1940, and Margaret worked in her father’s grocery. He took notice of her while making his rounds at Ragusa’s store. They hit it off and married soon thereafter. “We didn’t have a big fancy wedding,” said Margaret. “There were only four people in the wedding party, but our whole family came.” Afterwards Jake and Margaret headed off to Texas on their honeymoon. After the war, Jake remained in the food business as a bread salesman and later as a milkman. “He never made big money,” said Margaret. “But he always had a job, and we got by just fine.” Jake went to school with Joe Bruno, who was the patriarch of the Bruno’s (and later Food World) grocery chain. “It didn’t hurt being Italian and being in the food business,” Jake said. Jake and Margaret raised their four children in Homewood, where they attended Our Lady of Sorrows and John Carroll Catholic Schools. Their granddaughters J. Shay McNamee and Jacqueline Dillon DeMarco now reside in the area, too. The couple are longtime members of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, are active at the Homewood Senior Center and have always frequented the Homewood Pool with family members. Jake is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, American Legion and VFW. When the subject turned to what makes a marriage last, Margaret raised a conspiratorial eyebrow and smiled: “It takes a lot of patience.” “We learned to put up with each other,” Jake said. “You can’t go running to mama when the other one makes you mad.” Margaret also said that trusting the

Lord is essential. Jake and Margaret don’t dish out advice to younger folks. “Most of them don’t want to hear what we have to say,” she explained. But DeMarco said her grandmother gave her good matrimonial advice: “Don’t do anything on the first day that you don’t want to do the rest of your life.” “I used to polish Jake’s shoes every morning, but that wasn’t something I wanted to do,” said Margaret. So Jacqueline was forewarned. Jake, 98, and Margaret, 92, are not as strong as they once were. For many years, she cooked dinner for the entire family every Sunday, but it got to be too much. The family still gathers on holidays, but everyone pitches in with the cooking chores. “We have Grandma’s recipes, but the food doesn’t taste as good as it did when she cooked it,” said DeMarco. Jake has a hard time hearing these days and doesn’t get around as well as he once did, according to Margaret: “He spends most of his days napping by the window in his recliner.” He’s fallen several times so he moves around the house on a walker. Margaret also uses a device when she walks. But they still live alone in their Homewood cottage. “We’re at a point in our lives where we can’t take care of ourselves, so we take care of each other,” she said. “We lean on each other’s shoulder.” Grandma Margaret Monte’s Chili In the cold winter months what is better than warm homemade chili? Margaret Monte has passed down her Italian chili recipe to her granddaughter Jacqueline DeMarco, and they graciously share their recipe with us. Visit for the recipe.





| February 2012 |

Homewood Events

Calendar of Events

2/4 - Get Hooked. Homewood Public Library. 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. Ages 10 to Adult.

6600 or http://homewoodpubliclibrary. org.

2/1-6 - Spring 2012 Patriot Youth Baseball League. Registration is now open through Feb 6. To register visit www. or email

Saturdays - Aqua Zumba. Wallace Pool at Lakeshore Hospital. 8:30 a.m. Admission: $8. More information: Ashley Harris 212-4697 or zumbafitnesswithashley@; Neki Garrett 249-6561 or

2/9 - Samurai Animanga Club. Homewood Public Library. 4 p.m.-5 p.m. Grades 6 - 12 only. 2/9 - Legacy League Meeting. Featuring national civil rights and social justice speaker Carolyn McKinstry. Samford University’s Hodges Chapel. 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. More information: 726-2247 or www. 2/10 - Mardi Paws. UCP LINKPoint, 100 Oslo Circle. 7-11 p.m. Tickets, $75 per person. More information: www. or 240-5216. 2/21- Homewood Chamber Membership Luncheon. 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Homewood Library. Tickets: $17. Register online at 2/22 - Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show Fundraiser. The Salvation Army, 76 Green Springs Highway. 10 a.m. Miss Alabama, Courtney Porter and other volunteers will display the latest clothing the store has to offer. More information: 328-2430. 2/23 - 2012 Annual Taste of Homewood. 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Rosewood Hall, SOHO. Admission: $30 in advance; $35 at door. More information: 871-5631 or www. 2/25 - The 3 Annual Muscle Walk. Homewood Central Park. Registration at 8 a.m; Walk at 9 a.m. More information: Terri Wilson 823-8191 or twilson@mdausa. org. rd

2/29 - Cake Pops!!. Homewood Public Library. 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. Supplies provided. Groups of 5 or more please call ahead. Grades 6 – 12 only. More information: 332-

Special Events 2/4 - Beaker Bash 2012: Expeditions Through Science. McWane Science Center. 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission: $30 for Kids; $50, Adults; $150, Family Four Package; $500, Explorer Package (6 tickets and V.I.P. lounge). More information: www.mcwane. org/events. 2/16 - 2/19 - Birmingham Home and Garden Show. BJCC. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 19. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: $10 for adults; $3, child ages 6-12; free, child 5 and under. More information: 2/16 - Wine Down with the Arc. The Wine Loft, 220 1st Avenue North. 5:30-7 p.m. Join the Arc of Shelby’s Junior Council for wine specials, give-aways and music. For more information: 667-9313 or www. 2/18 - Jazz Cat Ball. WorkPlay. 7 p.m. - 12 a.m. Benefitting the Birmingham Humane Society. Admission: $75. More information: 942-1211 or 2/18 - Big Machines Day. McWane Science Center. Admission: included in cost; free, members. More information: www. 2/20 - American Red Cross Babysitting Training Course. Levite Jewish Community Center. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission: $120, members; $140, nonmembers. Register by Feb 17. More information: 879-0411 or www.bhamjcc. 2/25 - 2/26 - Ovarian Cycle 2012. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Feb. 25 at The Gardendale Civic Center and St. Vincent’s 119; Feb. 26 at

the Levite Jewish Community Center. Admission: $40 registration fee. Each participant must raise a minimum of $100 for every hour they ride. More information: Susan Greene at susan@

Music and Arts 2/1 - 2/17 - BCT Presents: Sacagawea. BJCC. 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission: $10, adult; $8, kids. More information: 2/1 - 3/17 - BCT Presents: The Little Engine That Could. BJCC. 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Admission: Adults, $10; children, $8. More information: 2/10 - Rascal Flats - Thaw Out 2012. BJCC. 7:30 p.m. Admission: ranges from $34.75 to $72.90. More information: 2/11 - Takes Two To Tango. Children’s Dance Foundation. 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Admission: $75 Couple. More information: 870-0073. 2/15 - 3/4 - Broadway in Birmingham: Wicked. BJCC. Admission: $37.50 $132.50. More information: 2/16 - 2/18 - Step Sing. Samford University’s Wright Center Concert Hall. 7 p.m. See the students perform in the tradition of this musical production. More information: 726-2853. 2/24 - 2/26 - Alabama Ballet Presents: Swan Lake. Samford University’s Wright Center Concert Hall. Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 25, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Feb 26, 2:30 p.m. Admission: $20 - $55. More Information: 975-2787 or www. 2/24 - 2/26 - VST STARS Presents: Cats. Virginia Samford Theatre. Feb 24-25, 7:3p.m.; Feb 25-26, 2:30 p.m. Admission: $20, Adults; $15, Students. More information: 251-1206 or www.virginiasamfordtheatre. org.

Sports 2/9 - Samford men’s basketball v. UNCG. 7 p.m. Samford University. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children. More information: 2/11 - Samford men’s basketball v. Elon. 7 p.m. Samford University. 2/18 - Samford men’s basketball v. Furman. 7 p.m. Samford University.

Save the Date 3/1 - Spring Fashion Show. a.k.a. Girl Stuff, 2906 18th Street South. Seats available at 5 p.m. Show starts at 6 p.m. The 10th annual event is a one-day sale with door prizes and the latest spring style. More information: akagirlstuff@msn. com. 3/3 - Chili Cook-off Presented by Regions Bank. 10:30 a.m.-3p.m. Admission: $10, in advance; $15, at gate; Free, children 12 and under. 1616 Oxmoor Road. www. 3/3 - Cajun Cabaret. 4 p.m. Support Red Mountain Theatre Company’s Young Executive Council in this lowcountry cookout fundraising event. Proceeds benefit the James Hatcher Fund. Admission: $15 with raffle ticket; $5 for additional raffle tickets. More information: 324-2424. 3/3 - Casino Night Gala. This event will raise money for the nonprofit programs of Assistance League of Birmingham. More information: 870-5555. 3/10 - 2012 Dawson Memorial Perseverance 5K. 8 a.m. Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, 1114 Oxmoor Road. Admission: $15, 5K Run/Walk; $10, 1 Mile Fun Run; $50, Family Maximum Fee. An additional $5 is added to admission if you register after March 3. More information: event_detail.cfm?event_id=2006152.

Your Friends Your Neighbors Your Community

In your mailbox each month. Always online. To inquire about advertising, contact Dan Starnes, publisher, 370-0732 or

The Homewood Star

| February 2012 |

Our Biggest, Baddest

Blowout Sale Ever! We are Alabama’s largest selection of consigned designer fashions. We feature two loft-style stories of over 6,000 sq. ft. of fabulous clothing, shoes, purses, and accessories that will take you from everyday to that special formal event.

Discount taken off original consigned price on all items with tag colors of: PINK • ORANGE • DARK BLUE • TAN • GRAY • MINT GREEN • PURPLE • YELLOW

Bring this slip for early 9:00 am Admission

6801 Cahaba Valley Road (Hwy 119) 1/4 South of Hwy 280, Along with Bellini’s, Cantina, and Edgars Bakery Opened 10-6 daily with extended hours on Thursday until 9 pm. Closed on Sundays.



| February 2012 |

School House

11th Annual

Homewood Chamber of Commerce

Taste the best food & beverages Homewood has to offer! Thursday, February 23, 2012 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Rosewood Hall at SoHo Tickets are available online at, at the Chamber office or BB&T $30 in advance • $35 at the door for more information call 205-871-5631

Title Sponsor:

Supporting Sponsors:

The Homewood Star February 2012  

News, sports, and entertainment from Homewood Alabama

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