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July 2013

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The Homewood Star Volume 3 | Issue 4 | July 2013

Farewell for now

neighborly news & entertainment for Homewood



Hall-Kent Principal Gina Dorough’s journey is just beginning as her mission in life moves from classroom to campground.

Community page 9

A ‘rare’ find

Meet a few of the members of your community who, knowingly or unknowingly, work daily to define it. See page 10 for our special section.

Okinawa may be one of Wildwood’s hidden gems, but those who have found it sing its praises.

Eyeing greener pastures

Food page 8

As the city focuses attention on Green Springs, retailers are doing the same

INSIDE Sponsors ................. 2 City ........................... 3 Business .................. 4 Community ............. 6 Food ......................... 8 School House ......... 17 Sports ...................... 20 Calendar ................. 22 Opinion .................... 23

Pre-Sort Standard U.S. Postage PAID Birmingham, AL Permit #656

By JEFF THOMPSON Cutting right through the heart of Homewood, Green Springs Highway appears to drivers as a two-mile mass of posts, power lines and signage. It’s anchored at both ends by the city’s only concentrations of fast food eateries, and most of its shopping centers, while modern in appearance when they were built, have seen styles change numerous times since their most recent facelifts. Retail companies sometimes describe it using the phrase “discount district.” But there are two things every Homewood shopper should know about the area, and neither is a reason to worry about the health of the corridor.

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

First, companies already consider it prime real estate. Second, it’s soon to be even more appealing. Homewood’s most visible plan to both improve the stretch from Lakeshore Drive to Valley Avenue was the creation of the Green Springs Urban Renewal District (GURD). The zoning ordinance prevents unattended businesses – such as vehicle dealerships – from locating along the corridor. It also adjusts signage regulations to improve the look of Green Springs, thereby attracting more mid-range and high-end retailers and assisting businesses currently operating along the highway. “You kind of have to go back several years,” Mayor Scott McBrayer said. “I

remember even before Publix located there it was just a vacant piece of property, and Green Springs was really suffering. It’s taken a while, but (GURD is) beginning to do what we’d hoped.” Dunn Real Estate Company took a look at both the numbers and Homewood’s commitment to improving the corridor and jumped on board in late 2011. The company purchased the former Mazer location with the intention of developing it into a retail hub but wasn’t sure which businesses would be interested. “Green Springs always had that stigma to it, one that is more negative unfortunately than positive,” Dunn Real

See GREEN SPRINGS | page 21

We Love Homewood Hunter Payne and sons Winston and Collier

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The Homewood Star

About Us Photo of the Month

Please Support our Community Partners (left) The Raptors were the 5-year-old t-ball champions of the Homewood Park Youth Baseball League.  Front row: Henry Delk, Charlie Mitchell, Campbell Hughey, Evan Ausmer, Drew Vail. Second row: Cooper Sain, Sawyer Cook, Asher Colvert, Paul Drake. Back row: Kyle Sain, Tyler Vail, Jon Delk. Photo courtesy of Laura Reeves.

AccelAbility Physical Therapy (10) Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center (16) Alabama Power (4) Bedzzz Express (24) Birmingham School of Music (21) Birmingham Speech and Hearing Associates (13) Brandino Brass (11) Briarcliff Shop (13) Bromberg & Company, Inc. (8) Brookdale Place (15) California Closets (20) Children’s of Alabama (5)

Publisher’s Note By Dan Starnes

Defining community When it comes to shopping areas in Homewood, there’s 18th Street with its quaint shops. There’s Edgewood with its neighborhood flair. And then there’s Green Springs Highway. As everyone is well aware, its character is a stark contrast to other parts of our City. It’s an area that City Council President Bruce Limbaugh spoke passionately about changing when he was campaigning last year, and it’s an area that we are now happy to report is looking toward a brighter future. Be sure to read details about plans for new development there in our cover story. Exterior spaces are a big part of our

community, but we all know it’s the people who make Homewood the place we love. For this issue we sat down with a few of our friends and neighbors to talk about what they do behind the scenes for Homewood. And wow, we were blown away by how each of them daily displays love for the City by answering residents’ questions, mentoring middle school boys, planning an annual or weekly festival or caring for children daily. Do you know others who do a lot for our community? Be sure to send us your ideas for future Faces of Homewood, as

well as any other story ideas, at editor@ I hope you and your family have a wonderful Independence Day celebration. Be sure to stop by Our Lady of Sorrows’ festivities and say hello to Joe Falconer — and other Faces of Homewood you might run into — before finding a good spot for watching the fireworks at Vulcan. And as for the rest of the month, be sure to try Okinawa, our restaurant spotlight in this issue. It’s one our favorite spots for dinner.

D1 Sports (20) Defining Home (16) Escape (9) Fair Haven Retirement Community (17) Hamilton Mortgage (15 ) Harmony Landing (14) Homewood Antiques and Marketplace (9) Homewood Chamber of Commerce (23) Homewood Family and Cosmetic Dentistry (7) Homewood Mortgage, Inc. (21 ) Homewood Parks and Rec (18) Hunter’s Cleaners (1) Indian Springs School (12) Jacqueline DeMarco (17) Jo Jo’s Diner on Broadway (19) Joe Falconer (17)

The Homewood Star neighborly news & entertainment for Homewood

Publisher : Creative Director : Managing Editor : Executive Editor : Advertising Manager : Sales and Distribution :

Dan Starnes Keith McCoy Madoline Markham Jeff Thompson Matthew Allen Rhonda Smith Warren Caldwell Michelle Salem Haynes Keith Richardson Contributing Writers : Lauren Denton Merrick Wilson Nathan Kelly Interns : Caroline Drew Will Hightower Chandler Jones Intisar Seraaj-Sabree Published by : Homewood Star LLC

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

For advertising contact: 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

Julie Ivy White (23) Mary House Kessler, Ph.D (19) Mosquito Squad of Birmingham (6) Oxmoor Valley Orthodontics (9) RealtySouth Marketing (3) Red Mountain Theatre Company (6) Regency Retirement Village (11) Salem’s Diner (14) Dorm Suite Dorm (12) Simply Ponds (21) Skin Wellness Center of Alabama (10) The Wade Team (19) Watkins Cleaners (14)

July 2013

City Mayor’s Minute Dear friends and neighbors, Summer is here, and it’s a great time in Homewood. I trust all of you are enjoying your summer and planning some great vacations. A couple of years ago I started a new service offering residents and business owners in Homewood a way to have their home or business monitored. As a reminder, if you are going to be away on vacation, simply call the Homewood Police Department and give them the dates you will be gone, and they will go by your home each day to check on it and your property. The program has been a huge success, and we have received many compliments and letters of thanks for the men and women of the Police Department going above and beyond. For those of you who will be in town for the Fourth of July holiday, I hope you will come to downtown Homewood to celebrate and watch the fireworks. It’s a great day filled with activities, and so many of you join in on the events each year. Many of the businesses are open to some extent, and my employees at Ridout’s Valley Chapel are always there setting up and giving away free soft drinks. Many believe it’s a private party, but it’s not! It’s free and everyone is welcome. We make sure the building is open to the public, and it’s a great place to cool off or use the restroom. We look

forward each year to everyone gathering at the corner of 18th Street and Oxmoor Road for a wonderful time to celebrate and thank all those who have served and are serving our country in the armed forces. I always look forward to the Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church Barbecue. It is truly a tradition everyone in Homewood enjoys. They have all kinds of games, desserts, a dunking booth, music, and last but not least — barbecue. If you have never attended the OLS Barbecue, make sure you and your family come to visit and start the tradition this year. For those of you who already come each year, I look forward to seeing you again. These are just a few of the reasons that make Homewood such a wonderful place to live, work, and play. Have a wonderful summer, and we will see you soon! With kindest regards I remain Sincerely,

Scott McBrayer Mayor City of Homewood

Homewood police dogs, officers part of state legislation signing In early June, state leaders and Homewood police officers joined forces to put a new law on the books. A ceremonial signing of the new law with Governor Robert Bentley marked an historic day for police K9s and search and rescue dogs. It was also a proud moment for all Homewood citizens. In October, Homewood K9 Officer Keith Smith contacted Rep. Paul DeMarco about a current law that failed to adequately protect working dogs in the line of duty. With the support of Homewood resident attorney Tom Hale, who has been a long proponent of law enforcement safety, they lobbied to increase the protection afforded to these service animals, resulting in the creation of HB259. The law now makes interfering with or harming a police K9 or search and rescue dog a Class C Felony. Officer Smith and his K9 partner, Shiloh, stood alongside Officer Jeremiah Mote and his K9 partner, Justice, as the governor signed the new bill. This brings Alabama’s law in line with others around the country. -Submitted by Homewood Police Department

Homewood police officers and dogs in the K9 unit were a part of new legislation to protect search and rescue dogs.

Douthit now on School Board partners with AWS Properties The Homewood City Council has appointed Charlie Douthit and Utility Power, Inc. He has served as president of the for the Homewood Board of Education position for Ward 4. American Heart Association Each of Homewood’s school Metro Board of Directors, on board members are appointed the Board of Directors for the by the Homewood City Council American Red Cross, and as to serve on the board for a term a committee chairman for the of five years with a limit of Boy Scouts Troop 83. He is also two terms. Douthit’s term was a member of Dawson Memorial effective June 1. The position Baptist, where he serves as a deacon was recently held by R. Scott and youth Sunday school teacher. Williams, who rolled off the He is married to Beverly board after serving two fiveDouthit, and they have four Charlie Douthit year terms including board vice children: Bailey (Homewood president and president. High School graduate), Elton Douthit owns Alabama Weatherization (sophomore), Joshua (eighth grader) and Services in Birmingham, and he is business Cooper (fifth grader).

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The Homewood Star

Business Spotlight

Read past Business Spotlight at

2610 19th Street South 414-6689 Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Gauntlet Fitness By NATHAN KELLY Gauntlet Fitness is the first workout facility of its kind in Birmingham. Aaron Crocker and David Shernan started with a simple idea — create a fun venue to improve fitness with an emphasis on kickboxing. The result is a 16-stage circular kickboxing station that guarantees clients never have the same workout twice. They named it the “Gauntlet.” Bolted into the ground, the Gauntlet’s design is meant to perfect each kickboxing move without having to attack another person. “Our strike pads don’t move and are positioned for any kind of attack,” Shernan said. “Most punching bags aren’t the best tools for using your entire body as a weapon. Our custom-designed strike pads don’t swing away when they are hit and are perfect for the training routines our clients learn.” Shernan is Gauntlet Fitness’ martial arts specialist. He has trained and taught martial arts since he was stationed in Korea with the U.S. Military. “Our training isn’t meant for Mixed Martial Arts, we are a fitness facility. That doesn’t mean kickboxing won’t get you out of a bad situation in your life,” he said. In Korea, Shernan was approached by two men who had been drinking. One was carrying a knife. The knife

Gauntlet Fitness trainers David Shernan (left) and Aaron Crocker (right).

carrier attempted to cut Shernan, but his training kicked in and he immediately knocked the man off his feet and escaped from danger. Crocker not only finds kickboxing as a useful skill, but also an excellent way to lose weight and stay in shape. In preparation for his gym’s grand opening in January, Shernan and Crocker spent months perfecting workouts from Crocker’s garage. He invited a few people to test out his workouts to see if he was heading in the right direction.

One of those trainees is April Shaling. She and Crocker met at a yogurt restaurant, and Crocker convinced her to test out the workouts he had prepared. Shaling, a six-time state champion in track and cross country in high school, said Gauntlet Fitness has gotten her in the best shape of her life. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I was confident going in knowing my background in training for track,” Shaling said. “The first time I tried the Gauntlet, I was sweating more

Members at Gauntlet Fitness run the Gauntlet. Photos by Nathan Kelly.

than I had in my life. Now I love it so much they have to tell me not to come in when I’m sick.” Crocker said one of the best things about his workouts is anyone from any background can start from scratch. Kickboxing requires no prior knowledge of martial arts, he said. New clients to Gauntlet Fitness are put through the “Gauntlet Fundamentals” training program. The program teaches the correct techniques and forms to use for the Gauntlet and gradually increases

intensity until the client is ready to move on to the full workout. Gauntlet Fitness is unique to any workout lover or simply someone who is looking to get fit. Crocker said 30 days at Gauntlet Fitness can and have been a life-changer for people with ranging fitness goals. “Our clients learn something new each workout and have a renewed, refreshed quality of life,” Crocker said. “Here you’ll find the best fullbody workout around and a team that you can feed off of.”

July 2013

Business Backstage Dance Centre has new location In its 13th season, Backstage Dance Centre has moved from its home on Montgomery Street to a more visible location on Oxmoor Road. Kelly Holt, director and owner of Backstage Dance Centre, believes that being more visible and closer to locations like Shades Cahaba Elementary and Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School will encourage participants to come to dance class right after

school or work. The center offers musical theatre, tap, adult tap, pointe, hip-hop, jazz and ballet classes to people of all ages, whether for fun or professional training. Backstage Dance Centre is located at 1911 Oxmoor Road to the right of Hunter’s Cleaners and behind Piggly Wiggly. For more, call 871-6131 or visit

Iron Tribe moves to larger facility Iron Tribe, a growing fitness chain founded in Homewood in 2010, is moving its original Central Avenue location across the street. Its new location is 2740 Central Ave. The move was to a larger building to better serve its customers’ needs, according to Jim Cavale, COO of Iron Tribe. “Forrest Walden, our founder and CEO, and I are excited to return to Homewood where it

all began,” he said. “It’s our clients who really make it what it is, and they deserve nothing but the best. We’re determined to bring that to them with this project.” Customers can expect the usual Iron Tribe services with variation in the layout of equipment. For more visit or call 874-6300.

Musicians start new music school Allen Barlow and Rob Gannon, professional musicians and music instructors, recently started the Homewood School of Music. The school offers lessons in acoustic and electric guitar, bass, piano, voice, drums, strings, brass and woodwinds. It prides itself on having Birmingham’s best and most experienced musical instructors. Barlow received his bachelors of music in guitar performance from the University of Montevallo in 1996. In addition to private lessons, he began his teaching career at Fretted Instruments of Birmingham. He has given private lessons since 1992 and played

at countless events and with numerous bands and organizations, including The Birmingham String Jazz Quartet and the Birmingham Art Music Alliance. Gannon graduated from the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles in 1988. He began his teaching career in Birmingham at Bandstand Music and Fretted Instruments of Birmingham. Barlow is one of Gannon’s many successful students. The Homewood School of Music is located at 1736 Oxmoor Road, Suite 207. For more, call 701-2144 or visit

Four Seasons Gallery invites public to flock to new exhibition Birds of a Feather, an art exhibition showcasing work inspired by birds, will feature the work of seven artists on Aug. 1 from 5-8 p.m. at the Four Seasons Gallery, located at 2910 18th St. S. Those who attend can expect to see various art styles, including oil painting, mixed media and abstract art.

Birmingham artist Phyllis Gibson, a featured artist in the show, uses the inspiration from her home’s view of the Cahaba River. With a contemporary style, Gibson is known for her abstract art, unique angles and largerthan-life illustrations. The event is free to the public. For more call 803-4059 or visit

Track Shak’s Retro Run 5K gets runners into the groove The 15th annual Retro Run 5K will have runners’ hearts racing to the groove this month. The Trak Shak will host the 5K and a kids’ half mile run on Saturday, July 20 at 6 p.m. With approximately 800 runners expected this year, the Trak Shak will award its participants with a T-shirt, prizes for a best dressed contest and a dinner hosted by Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q all to the beat of a retro DJ. “We encourage people to dress in retro outfits from the 60s, 70s and 80s,” said Tracy

Tools, a Trak Shak Sales associate. The winner of the best dressed retro contest will receive a $100 prize. Registration for the 5K is $30 before July 17 and $35 after. Registration for the kids’ run is $10 before July 17 and $15 after. Participants can register on or at the Trak Shak, located at 500 23rd St. S. Packet pickup and start and finish lines are at the Trak Shak. For more visit, call 870-5644 or 870-7771.

Bridal Show coming to SoHo Engaged: A Wedding Library boutique is hosting its sixth annual SoHo Bridal Show at Rosewood Hall on Sunday, Aug. 4 from 1-4 p.m. This year’s show will feature five wedding styles based on different florists, cake decorators and caterers for brides to browse. Brides in attendance can look forward to live entertainment, food tastings, meeting up to 60 different wedding vendors and a chance

to win $500 towards wedding bands from Diamonds Direct. To pre-register for the show, visit Tickets are $10 online or $15 at the door. The first 100 brides to register will receive a free swag bag. Rosewood Hall is located in SoHo at 2850 19th St. For more call 332-6119 or visit

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The Homewood Star


A start for new Fresh Start 5K

A group of West Homewood residents has been organizing to build community through a farmer’s market and a community exchange the past couple of years, and now they are bringing a 5K race to the area with the same end goal in mind. “Our hope is that the community will gather together in groups to prepare for the run,” market manager Kenyon Ross said. “We will be providing tools to help people find groups to train together and are excited that something like a run can bring so many people together!” The Fresh Start 5K will be held Saturday, July 27 at 8 a.m. The course, which starts and ends at the West Homewood Farmer’s Market at 160

Oxmoor Road, will take runners through the streets of the local West Homewood community. In addition to the 5K race, there will be a 1-mile fun run. Runners (or walkers!) of all ages are invited to participate in what organizers hope will become an annual event. Proceeds from the race will be used to improve the West Homewood Farmer’s Market, whose goal is to benefit the local community as well as local Alabama farmers. “We wanted to have the race on one of the Farmer’s Market’s days, and so we pushed it out until the last Saturday giving people plenty of time to get ready for the race,” Ross said. “Supporters who aren’t running in the

race can hang-out at the market and enjoy what the market features every Saturday: great locally grown food; specialty items such as cheese, pickled vegetables, homecooked cinnamon buns (not so healthy I know!); activities for kids; arts and crafts; live music; and so much more.” Participants can register for either the 5K race or the fun run at homewood-al/fresh-start-5k-2013. In addition to prizes for the first overall male and female finisher, there will be prizes for the top three male and female runners in each age group for the 5K race. The cost of the race is $10, with the optional purchase of a T-shirt for $20-$25. For more visit

Saturday workdays for community garden The Homewood Community Garden is now holding “Second Saturdays” volunteer workdays. The first workday was held in June, and the second will be Saturday, July 13. All work will begin at 8 a.m. “This is our first real summer in the garden, and it’s going to take a lot of hands to make this work,” Garden Coordinator Julie Gentry said. “We need your help.” Gentry encourages volunteers to bring gloves, cardboard and any other useful tools. Homewood Community Garden is located at the old Homewood Middle School site at the intersection of Evergreen Avenue and Grace Street.

A festival fit for the Fourth: Annual OLS event returns

The Trash ‘n’ Treasure team launches a rummage sale that is a popular part of the Independence Day Festival at Our Lady of Sorrows Church.

Birmingham’s oldest Independence Day festival will return this July 4 with all its fanfare: a barbecue, raffle, games for all ages, and the popular Trash ‘n’ Treasure rummage sale. The 64th Annual Our Lady of Sorrows Church Independence Day Festival will run from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on the church grounds at 1728 Oxmoor Road. The Knights of Columbus #4304 coordinates the festival and welcomes everyone to the fundraiser. Melanie Falconer, rummage sale chairman, revealed the goal of this year’s sale as $66,000 and has announced that this year the furniture

tent, which will be 50 percent larger than last year at 4800 square feet, will accept credit cards. Gymnasium doors will open at 8 a.m. for the first 400 people who donate $5 for early bird admission tickets. Other bargain hunters can enter for free at 9 a.m. Hundreds of pairs of shoes have been repaired and spruced up at the Homewood Shoe Hospital for the sale. “We have a very well run, very organized set up, it’s merchandised to the hilt,” Falconer said. For more updates, visit the Trash ‘n’ Treasure page on Facebook.

July 2013

Vulcan fireworks return to the mountain

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Celebrations Gaulden - Brandt

Vulcan is the centerpiece of the annual fireworks show.

This year’s Thunder on the Mountain, the Fourth of July celebration in Vulcan Park, will make the mountains rumble once again. Thursday, July 4 at 9 p.m., Homewood’s skies will illuminate the eyes of onlookers with an exciting 20-minute fireworks show. Celebrated as one of the biggest and most extravagant Independence Day traditions in

Alabama, the Thunder on the Mountain fireworks show will present new colors and patterns choreographed to a musical soundtrack of crowd favorites and patriotic tunes. Vulcan Park & Museum is located at 1701 Valley View Drive. For more call 933-1409 or visit

Edgewood Elementary graduates celebrate 60th reunion The 1953 class of Edgewood Elementary School gathered for their 60th reunion in April. During the summer of 1953, after the group’s graduation, the original site for Edgewood Elementary burned down. Despite the burning of their physical connection, the class of 1953 remained close.

Although members of this group have spread out across the nation, four reunions have brought back members from as far as New York and California. As they continue the tradition of reuniting, the class of 1953 has made donations to Edgewood in an effort to guarantee that significant traditions continued.

The Art of Dentistry

Sarah Elizabeth Gaulden and Alan Brandt married May 18 at Trinity United Methodist Church. Dr. Andrew R. Wolfe officiated the ceremony. A reception was held afterward at Vulcan Park and Museum The bride is the daughter of Linda Gaulden and Mike Gaulden, both of Birmingham. The groom is the son of Jennifer Brandt of Tuscaloosa and Mike Brandt of Mobile. Both bride and groom are Homewood High School graduates. The bride was given in marriage by her father. She chose a fit and flare lace gown with lace straps and a sweetheart neckline. Jessica Leigh Repole, college friend of the bride, served as maid of honor. Bridesmaids were Brittany Bowman, Laura Johnson, Lesley Newell, Heather Britnell, Erin McGarrah and Katie Daniel, all of Homewood; and Mary Katherine Poole of Dayton/Marengo County. The groom’s father served as his best man, along with his brother, Matthew Brandt of Homewood. Groomsmen were Robert Brudi, Drew Simmons, Page Martin, Clay Gaulden, all of Homewood; Josh Britnell of Hartselle; Christian Simpson of Trussville; and Joey Pearse of Tuscaloosa. The ring bearer was Kylen Newell. Following a honeymoon to Antigua, the couple resides in Homewood. Have an engagement, wedding or anniversary announcement? Email to have it included in an upcoming issue!


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The Homewood Star

Restaurant Showcase

Read past Restaurant Showcases at

148 Wildwood Parkway 917-1111 Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-11 p.m. Sunday, noon-10 p.m.


Sushi & Hibachi Steak House By JEFF THOMPSON Nestled near the back of the Wildwood Shopping Center is a slumbering giant in Homewood’s food scene – Okinawa Sushi & Hibachi Steak House. In its two years of operation, the quaint eatery has established itself as a destination for quality sushi at competitive prices. Its friendly, attentive wait staff and skilled chefs have attracted a stream of customers who rave about their experiences. At first glance, Okinawa’s exterior is unassuming. But once inside, it’s easy to see the owners have applied great effort to making the restaurant warm and inviting. The spacious dining room is softly lit in blue and accented by a falling water feature that both serves to calm the atmosphere and set a romantic mood. In the far corner of the restaurant, sushi chefs prepare rolls in full view behind a glass case that displays fresh ingredients ranging from eel to baby octopus. Okinawa’s location, near the Wells Fargo and State Farm Insurance offices, has made it a popular lunch stop, Manager Alex Siow said. The restaurant’s Bento Boxes and Hibachi Specials start at $8.99, but the sushi special is the primary draw. Customers can order combinations

Okinawa’s Homewood Roll wraps shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and avocado in soybean seaweed.

Popular sushi rolls include the Dancing Dragon Roll, front. Okinawa’s Sashimi Deluxe and Homewood, back.

of two ($7.99) or three ($9.99) rolls from a list of 28, and Siow said he sees people return multiple times to try different combinations. In the evening, the hibachi fires stay hot as the kitchen sends out sizzling plates of steak or seafood paired with rice and vegetables, and the sushi chefs perfect their special rolls, each more vibrant than the last. Siow said the more popular

Chefs at Okinawa Sushi in Wildwood prepare sushi in the kitchen.

choices of the special roll menu ($10.99-$16.99) include the Dancing Dragon Roll and the Tuna Amazing Roll. The Dancing Dragon features

spicy shrimp, jalapeño and tempura topped with spicy crab meat, while the Tuna Amazing has spicy tuna, avocado, tempura white fish topped

with pepper tuna, masago, and mango and eel sauces. Another often-ordered option is the city’s signature dish – the Homewood Roll. It contains shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and avocado wrapped in soybean seaweed. The entire 10-piece roll is then topped with a tangy, sweet sauce that ties the flavors together. Siow said Okinawa is promoting itself through its Facebook page and The restaurant’s lunch crowd has boomed in the past year, according to Siow, and dinner service has experienced steady increases as more Birmingham-area residents learn about the restaurant. Out-of-town business has been good to Okinawa as well, he said. “When people from New York or California stay in the hotels nearby, they often find our menu or stop in to see how we compare,” Siow said. “They always leave happy.” Online Okinawa is rated 86 percent positive on, 4.5 out of 5 on and 5 out of 5 on Reviewers commend Okinawa’s sushi as “beautiful” and “the best in town,” and the service as “friendly,” “eager to please” and “wonderful.” A meal at Okinawa is an inviting, memorable experience, and it’s impossible not to leave with a piece of the pride the restaurant’s staff displays for each of its customers.

July 2013

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To another kind of classroom By MADOLINE MARKHAM Gina Dorough always thought she’d teach at Hall-Kent Elementary School forever. It’s where she had her first full-time teaching job and for the past 12 years has served as third grade teacher, assistant principal and most recently principal. She said it has always felt like home. But over the past few years she has begun to see how her time at the school has not been an end unto itself but rather preparation ground for a new place of learning and discovery. This summer Dorough and her family of five have left Homewood to serve at a Bible camp on 84 acres on Lookout Mountain in Mentone, Ala. And they plan to stay for as far in the future as they can see. The Doroughs’ journey to Ponderosa Bible Camp started three and a half years ago when her husband, Chris, reconnected with a former colleague who had gone on to become the camp’s director 15 years ago. The Doroughs ended up going to visit Jeff and Ann Nelson at the camp on their way to Chattanooga soon thereafter. (Jeff actually grew up not just as a Ponderosa camper but also a student in Homewood schools.) The family liked it and decided to go back. Before long, they were there for days and weeks at a time and started to support the camp financially as they fell in love with its ministries, Dorough said. While the couple began to pray about what their place was in the camp going forward, Dorough felt like they were being called to the camp full-time. Six months later, her husband began to feel the same way, and they started to raise financial support to work for the camp, as they are responsible for raising all funds to live off of while on staff. In fact the family was ready to move to camp after the 2011-2012 school year when Principal Carol Lord was in car wreck and unable to return to work. With these new developments, Dorough decided to stay at Hall-Kent another

Gina Dorough and her son Braeden canoe at Poderosa Bible Camp last summer.

year as principal and continue to raise support. And she can see the purpose in this past year, too. “Being principal for a year really prepared me to see the bigger picture,” she said. “Here at HallKent you work hard and give 110 percent. I am not above anything. I am here to serve others, to ask what my blessings and gifts are and see how I can use them to serve.” Dorough also talks about how she will take other things she learned at Hall-Kent with her to camp: how to work with kids and see their needs above and beyond what they say; Gina and Chris Dorough with children Caleb, 7, how to see adults’ strengths and put Braeden, 4, and Ella Grace, 23 months. them in their best spot to do what is activities like horse back riding and swimming. best for the students; and how to talk to parents “It’s about presenting the gospel and being about their concerns about their children. intentional about sharing with the campers,” During the summer, Ponderosa welcomes Dorough said. “We are excited about building campers ages 7-19, with different weeks relationships with campers over time.” designated for different age groups. The During the school year, the camp facilities camp also plays host to teen staff members are used for retreats, but the staff still spends and college-aged counselors to help lead the most of their time reaching out relationally. As campers through Bible studies and the fun of a part of a “mailbox ministry,” they mail age-

Red Balloon Sale Saturday July 20th!

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appropriate Bible lessons to first through 12th graders for a sort of Bible correspondence class. But the aspect of working at Ponderosa Dorough is most excited about is teaching the Bible to students in Dekalb County Schools in “Released Time Bible Studies.” Through this program, more than 900 second through sixth graders go off their school campus each week with a Ponderosa staff member to attend a Bible class. “I’ll still get to teach and be in schools, just in a different way,” Dorough said. The Doroughs will live on camp property along with several other staff families, including two of the Pierces’ 11 children, now grown and married themselves. Her husband, Chris will be in charge of grounds keeping and hopes to start a garden, while Gina will provide first aid, lifeguard, help with administrative duties and run the snack shack. But regardless of specific jobs, Dorough said all the staff must be a jacks-of-all-trades, taking on whatever duties present themselves. Dorough said it’s bittersweet to leave HallKent, where everyone has been sad to see her go but supportive and encouraging in her new endeavor. Her kids are quick to remind her that they are excited to go to Ponderosa. Caleb, 7, cried when his mom told him they decided not to move to the camp fulltime after last summer. Every time Braeden, 4, goes to camp he asks, “Are we going to be there forever this time?” The family has sold their house and much of their belongings. Once at camp, they will live in a two-room nurses’ headquarters for the first six to eight months until new staff housing is built. “We feel like God has called us there, and we’ll be there until he calls us away,” Dorough said. “We feel like we were called to step out in faith and trust that if we are supposed to be there God will provide. We are growing in our faith more than anything else.” To learn more about Ponderosa and the Doroughs’ journey, visit ponderosabiblecamp. com and

10 • July 2013

The Homewood Star

A look at the members of your community who help define it


here are well-known – and unknown – people who give Homewood its appeal, representing the City by their everyday actions. On the pages to follow, we highlight a few of these people and how they are shaping different parts of our community. Some are faces you will know, others might work so far behind the scenes that they are unfamiliar at first glance. But all of them make our City what it is.

They might have formal titles, but what stuck out about each of them is the spirit they bring to neighborhoods, schools and wherever they go in Homewood. Suggest more Faces of Homewood In choosing whom to feature in this section, we knew one thing: this list would only be a small start in highlighting the many faces behind Homewood. We plan to feature many more in issues to come, so please send us your ideas for faces to feature

in the future. Is it someone from your child’s school? Is it an extracurricular coach? Is it a quiet volunteer, someone with no “official” title at all, humbly doing his or her part to keep Hoover at its best? Email your nominees for future Faces of Homewood to editor@ Please include the person’s name, professional affiliation, if applicable, and a brief description of why you think he or she is a Face of Homewood.

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July 2013

• 11

Linda Cook City Clerk, City of Homewood

Age: “60 plus” – Homewood resident since 1986 Since 1989, Linda Cook has been the first person many residents speak to when they contact the City of Homewood. “I really get a wonderful feeling helping my community in answering their questions or directing them to the right persons who can give them the answers,” said Cook, Homewood City Clerk. Cook runs much of the city’s day-to-day business behind the scenes. She handles the details of city elections, public records, ordinances and legislative acts, public meetings and more. When a resident wants advice on how to prohibit their neighbor’s cats from being on their roof, what to do about a neighbor’s tree leaning over on their property, or how to approach a neighbor about the noise from his leaf blower, they come to Cook. “Citizens are sometimes surprised at the information given to them, such as the animal ordinance that requires cats to be on leashes,” she said. Last December the employees of the Fleet Maintenance Department and Cook’s staff assembled a float with lights powered by an on-float generator for the Council to ride in Homewood Christmas Parade. “As employees, I feel that we recognize that we are a part of a fine family of government, and we respect that,” she said. Outside of City Hall, Cook has been involved with Grandpals Day at Edgewood Elementary School, Friends of the Homewood Library, Summer Reading Program for Children at the Homewood Library, Career Day at Homewood High School through the Rotary Club and food drives for the Senior Citizen Program.

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12 • July 2013

The Homewood Star

Star Spangled Girls Homewood High School’s Dance Line Homewood tradition since 1972 The Star Spangled Girls are not just a group of dancers. They are a symbol of the community, and have been since Homewood High School opened. “It’s an honor to be known as a Star Spangled Girl,” senior Caroline Harris said. “All the little girls look up to you.” The team of 29 sophomores, juniors and seniors performs dance routines at half time shows, pep rallies, parades, contests, dance camps, kids’ clinics, and any other performances the marching band schedules. Their biggest showcase of the upcoming year will be in January at the Rose Bowl Parade. Being a Star Spangled Girl involves more than just entertaining an audience though. The girls are representatives of the community, and they know that comes with a lot of responsibility. “They are part of a big tradition that has been here since the beginning,” choreographer Jennifer Ayers said. “We expect the girls to be leaders and role models for their community and their peers.” This sense of leadership was instilled in Ayers when she herself was a Star Spangled Girl at HHS. She was trained by Cindy Wade, who retired from the position 16 years ago and called up Ayers to take her place. The two are the only choreographers to have led the girls over the past 41 years. And much has stayed the same over that time. Their uniforms are similar to the original ones, and much about their field show routine is similar to what Star Spangled Girls of the past remember and pride themselves in. Pictured are Star Spangled Girl lieutenant Caroline Harris, captain Courtenay Pyburn and lieutenant Carmen Chappell.

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July 2013 • 13

Steve Sills

Computer Applications Teacher, Homewood Middle School Age: 33 – Homewood educator since 2005 Steve Sills is not just a teacher but also a mentor and friend to at least 100 Homewood Middle School boys each year through Homewood Men Striving for Success. “I try to teach them to be young men of character,” Sills said. “No matter what situation or background the kid comes from, good or bad, he has a choice to make.” Sills said he wants the young men to know the importance of service and leadership. Together students in the club have held supply drives for tornado victims, raised $1,000 for Relay for Life by sponsoring a talent show, cheered for athletes with special needs at the Exceptional Foundation and volunteered at elementary school festivals. When a family lost everything to a house fire, it was the club that raised funds to replace the member’s Xbox. When a member was diagnosed with a tumor, it was Sills who facilitated raising money to help with medical bills. “I cannot adequately put into words the love, devotion, energy, time, blood, sweat and tears that this man pours into countless lives at HMS,” parent Rashel Post said. “His dedication to nurturing men of character is inspiring. He pushes the young men to give their best in every aspect of life; the boys look up to him and live by his example.” Parent Nancy Hall expressed similar sentiments: “He has made such an impact on my son and on the lives of hundreds of Homewood kids. If you ask anybody about him, you will get an earful of what an incredible man he is in Homewood.”

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14 • July 2013

The Homewood Star

Sandra Vella Homewood City Schools

Retiring Community Education Coordinator and Director of Extended Day Program and Summer Enrichment Age: 66 – Homewood resident since 1972 Sandra Vella’s involvement in Homewood PTO led to a 27-year career. “As I got involved in the schools, I saw there was a need for an after-school program,” she said. “When my (three) kids were younger, more moms stayed home with their kids, but we were seeing more latch-key children with single moms who worked or two parents working.” In 1986 Vella started a pilot after-school program at Hall-Kent Elementary that later spread through the school system. Today at all Homewood schools, children gather after school for study hall and then have their choice of activities like Legos and Lincoln logs, playing on the playground, and arts and crafts — all thanks to Vella’s vision. “I enjoy children and love working with them every day,” she said. “And I enjoy working with high school and college students. It’s a good way to help prepare them for real life.” Over the years the program has employed many college students who have gone on to become teachers in Homewood schools, Vella said. As she heads into retirement this month, Vella wants to spend more time with her grandchildren, travel to Spain and Portugal and other places, and make frequent trips to her house on Lake Logan Martin. “I will miss the interaction every day with different ages of children and friends I have made through the years, but I intend to visit often,” she said.

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July 2013 • 15

Joe Falconer

Co-Chairman, Our Lady of Sorrows Fourth of July Festival Age: 49 – Homewood resident since 1979 With 90 percent of his real estate business in the area, Joe Falconer has honed his skills at selling Homewood. But that’s just the surface of what he does in the community. His family moved to West Homewood when he was 11, and he attended Hall-Kent Elementary, where his son, JoJo, 11, just completed fifth grade. When it came time for him to buy his own house, Falconer chose one right down the street from his childhood home. He’s been there since 1989. “We refuse to move,” Falconer said. “We love our neighbors and have know them many years. West Homewood is now up and coming.” As a member of the City Council from 2000-2008, Falconer helped push through approval to build Patriot Park, a place he now sees as a magnet for young couples and families. Each Fourth of July he and his wife take the week off work to dedicate themselves to preparing for the festivities at Our Lady of Sorrows, where he’s attended since 1974. He’s served as the co-chairman of the event since 1993, and in those 20 years estimates he’s cooked 100,000 pounds of meat for the barbecue. His dedication doesn’t stop there. When his mom died a few years ago, he bought a new Toyota from Bruce Limbaugh and raffled it off at the event in his parents’ memory. The raffle raised about $47,000 for the church. “It’s easy to give back when you are happy doing something in life,” he said. “I love my job, and we love getting involved with the church and community. I am blessed with a good real estate business, and my father always taught me to give back.” Falconer is also active with West Homewood Lions Club, which he describes as “just a bunch of Homewood guys getting together and having fun for the city,” and has been a member of the Homewood Planning Commission since 2008.

16 • July 2013

The Homewood Star

Kenyon Ross

Market Manager, West Homewood Farmer’s Market Age: 43 – Homewood community member since 1989 Many community initiatives have been brewing in West Homewood, and Kenyon Ross is at the heart of them. Ross and his wife, Ami, graduated from Samford University 20 years ago and have been active in Shades Valley Community Church for almost 18 years. Over those years, he’s facilitated a church men’s group, served as a cub scout leader and organized church retreats. He also created a kid’s night out event for children of single moms, where he and other male role models spend time with children who don’t have a father figure in their lives. After living in Homewood for many years, he and his family now live in Bluff Park and by day he works as director of marketing at Staypoints, a nationwide guest reward program, but they spend much of their time investing in West Homewood. On Tuesday nights Ross meets with a group of 15 fellow church members to discuss “What is Good” initiatives. They strive to seek the good of their community with neighbors through activities that encourage relationships and build trust — all to share together that which is good. It is from these ideals that the West Homewood Farmer’s Market was born. “We decided early on that our market would be intentionally kept small in size where we never plan on having more than 14 booths,” Ross said. “We really don’t have any other agenda other than to host and to enjoy a really good farmer’s market. It’s great to see the neighborhood attending the market and bringing their pets with them.” Ross said he hopes for the market to welcome food trucks in the future as well as add specialty vendors, but overall they simply want it to be what the neighborhood and church desire it to be. To learn more about the market, visit

July 2013 • 17

School House

OLS students witness metamorphosis First graders at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School were in a flutter with excitement as they participated in a special science project about the life cycle of a butterfly. As a part of their study of butterflies, the students watched their caterpillars grow into beautiful creatures. The project included feeding and caring for the insects. Students wrote about their observation of the butterflies in a personal journal each day as they watched them transform from caterpillars to the chrysalis stage and finally to butterflies. As a continuation of their study, the first grade class visited the Granny’s Butterfly Garden exhibit at the Birmingham Zoo. Upon their return to school, each child released his or her “school grown” butterfly one by one in the school’s prayer garden.

Art for show Shades Cahaba Elementary students’ artwork was on display at the Superintendent’s Statewide Art Show in Montgomery recently. First grader Maddie Klimcak, third grader Elizabeth Snow and first grader Macey Atkins.

Hall-Kent students meet Samford pen pals

Teacher Jenny Plourde helps her students release butterflies they raised at school during a science project about the lifecycle of a butterfly. Pictured here with her is first grader Noah Elmore.

History students square off in Washington More than 1,000 high school students from across the United States, including Homewood students Jonathan Brown, Sammy JaneAkson (team captain), Jordan Blow and Eden Harris, recently converged in Washington for a weekend full of history competition. This annual National History Bee and Bowl National Championship featured 198 teams and more than 800 students from all across

the country, and as far away as Guam and international schools from London and Tokyo. Over the course of the weekend, students competed both with their school in “bowl” events (pitting teams of four students against each other) and individually in “bee” events (pitting students against each other in head-to-head competition). Homewood’s History Bowl Team is sponsored by Linda Delahay.

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Hall-Kent students meet with their Samford University pen pal.

Since fall 2012, two Hall-Kent second grade classes have been writing to undergraduate students at Samford University. Earlier this year the second graders met their Samford pen pals and shared their love of literature together by reading Earth Day from the Black Lagoon. This project has helped second graders apply

friendly letter-writing skills in a meaningful way. Students were eager to receive “mail” and write back each month. Meanwhile, future educators at Samford have been able to observe and analyze the writing of these students, which helps teachers gauge approximate reading levels, language development and other literacy skills.

18 • July 2013

The Homewood Star

HOMEWOOD PARKS & RECREATION Temporary Fitness & Programs Facility Programs and services from Homewood Community Center are now located at our temporary facility which is the site of the former Jefferson County Satellite Courthouse, 809 Greensprings Highway, Homewood, AL 35209. Services at this facility include cardio & weight rooms, programs room for fitness and instructional classes, and administrative offices.

Temporary Fitness & Programs Facility Hours Monday – Thursday: 5:30am – 8:30pm Friday: 5:30am – 7:00pm Saturday: 8:00am – 6:00pm Sunday: 1:00pm – 6:00pm Business Office Hours Monday – Friday: 8:00am – 5:45pm

Belly Dancing with Aziza

Class Location: Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility 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 welcome; 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 times are 7:00-8:30pm. 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.


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 have relocated to the Homewood Parks Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility. You can enroll for classes at anytime! For more information call or email Kelly at: (205) 552-6129 (or) Please visit http://kellyalligood.yourvirtuoso. com for more information or to enroll


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 classes are for boys and girls 5 to 12 years of age. Classes have relocated to Homewood Parks Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility. Summer camp session classes are listed below: Late Summer Camp Session: July 29th – August 2nd / 9am-Noon Please contact Chris Roberson at (205) 943-1923 for more information and to register or visit www. to enroll anytime.


ZUMBA 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! Instructor: Camille Scruggs Contact Info: 256-452-2500 or Location: Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility Days & Times: Monday 5:30-6:30pm Tuesday 5:30-6:30pm Thursday 5:30-6:30pm Saturday 9:00-10:00am


Classes are held at the Temporary Fitness and Programs Facility at various times based on age and level of experience. 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

Summer Pool Information Pool Hours & Information West Homewood Pool at West Homewood Park

Pool Hours Monday – Saturday: 10am – 7pm Sunday: 1pm – 6pm Deck Phone: (205) 942-4572

2013 Pool Memberships

Purchase and Renew Pool Only Memberships at The Temporary Fitness & Programs Facility Business Office 809 Greensprings Highway, Homewood, AL 35209 (Former Jefferson County Satellite Courthouse) Homewood Residents: $75 Single - $125 Family Non-Residents: $150 Single - $250 Family Membership Notes: West Homewood Pool will be the only pool open for 2013 Summer Pool Season All pool memberships will expire at conclusion of 2013 pool season (Labor Day) Pool membership prices prorate the 1st and 15th of each month


Homewood Soccer Club

Homewood Soccer Club is dedicated to creating a balanced youth soccer program for residents of Homewood and is also open to others with payment of a non-resident fee. There are four levels of play in the Homewood Soccer Club program: Patriots: For age groups U-4 through U-8. Players play once a week with a practice followed by a game. U-8 players have a one time a week practice and play a game on Saturday each week. For all Patriot ages it is an intramural program without any travel. Red Teams: Recreational teams for ages U-9 and up. Generally Homewood Soccer fields red teams up to U-14. Teams practice twice a week and play one game a week. Recreational teams are focused on maintaining a balance of player development, playing with friends, having fun, and a lower level of serious commitment. Teams play 4 home games and 4 games at other clubs in the Birmingham area. White Teams: Recreational Plus for ages U-9 -U-11. Blue Teams: For ages U-11 through U-18. Blue Teams are select teams, put together through competitive try outs. The teams play in the competitive AYSA State League. Games are played state wide, although most are in the Birmingham area. Teams will play two tournaments and an annual State Cup Championship. The required level of commitment is high and there are additional costs above those of Red Teams. Detail information about all three levels, including deadlines, fees and Club philosophy is available on our web site at , or call David Putman, Soccer Director, at 979-8974

Homewood Patriot Youth Football League HPYFL is responsible for organizing youth football in Homewood and oversees its operation. Please visit their website for more information. Please visit our website for more information:

2013 Fall Softball Information

Registration Period: Begins early August Age Divisions: 8 and Under / 10 and Under / 12 and Under / 14 and Under * Fall Ball playing age uses the age group you will play in the spring of 2014. Additional information will be released as details are finalized Jakob Stephens at 332-6709 (or)

Homewood Senior Center Fall Senior Adult Trip to Destin, Florida

When: Monday, October 21st – Wednesday, October 23rd; 2013 Costs: 3 days, 2 nights for $350 (Lodging $200 / Activity Fee $150) Organized by: Alabama Parks & Recreation Association (ARPA) Trip Includes: dinner for 2 nights, a cruise, souvenir shirt, and a few other things. Trip is open to members of Homewood Senior Center. Activity can be paid in installments - 1st installment of $75 due by August 1st. For more information contact Aimee or Dottie at Homewood Senior Center at 332-6500

Clay Class with Jo Ann

Mondays at 2:15pm Recently retired Edgewood Elementary teacher Joann Brown will facilitate this class for adults age 55-and-up. Joann holds 3 different Alabama teacher certifications, one of which is art. Projects created in the class will be suitable for display and gift-giving. Participants will hand-build objects of clay and glaze them for firing in the kiln. Free to Senior Center members. Space is limited, so those interested should call Center Director Aimee Thornton to register or get on the waiting list: 332-6502.

Special Events

July 4th Festival Downtown Homewood

Thursday, July 4th 2013 The City of Homewood and Homewood Parks & Recreation will celebrate the 4th of July in Downtown Homewood. The streets in Downtown Homewood will be closed for vehicles to make way for pedestrian traffic. Our event opens to the public at 5:30PM. There will be a combination of children’s attractions and rides placed in the streets; unlimited rides wristband will be available for $10. A DJ will provide music and interactive activities for the patrons at the event. Downtown Homewood is by far one of the best locations in the entire metro area to view the “Thunder on the Mountain” fireworks show from Vulcan Park. All of our activities will end at the beginning of the fireworks show.

July 2013 • 19

Altamont students recognized with awards

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Two Homewood youth who attend the Altamont School were recently recognized. 2013 graduate Stephen McMahon was selected as one of 20 in the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program at the University of Texas at Dallas. The scholars are selected on their promise of being leaders for Dallas, the United States and the world community during the 21st century. Stephen was involved in numerous activities in high school. In addition, rising senior Elizabeth Anne Brown was recently chosen as a winner in the National Council of Teachers of English 2013 Achievement Awards in Writing Competition. She is the only winner from Alabama and one

Stephen McMahon

of only 11 winners in the Southeast. A total of 753 juniors from the U.S., Canada, Virgin Islands and American schools abroad were nominated by their schools to participate in this year’s competition, and only 155 students were chosen as outstanding writers. Due to Altamont’s size (fewer than 500 students), the school was only allowed to nominate one writer for entry. The theme for this year’s competition was “Personal Mount Rushmore” in which students were to imagine they had been asked to choose four figures for their own personal Mount Rushmore; the figures were to represent personal ideals.

Edgewood’s McKibben in running for Grammy education award

Theresa McKibben

Edgewood Elementary School music teacher Theresa McKibben was named a quarterfinalist for the Music Educator Award presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. Only two teachers in Alabama were named quarterfinalists. The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. A total of 217 music teachers from 195 cities across 45 states have been announced as quarterfinalists for the Music Educator Award. In total, more than 30,000 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states. One recipient is selected from 10 finalists each year. The winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award, attend the Grammy Awards ceremony, and receive a $10,000 honorarium. The nine finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists also will receive matching grants. The semifinalists will be announced in August. For more, visit

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Across the street from Homewood Park 205-870-5000 Retiring educators were recognized at the end of the school year.

Homewood City Schools recognized the 2012-2013 retirees during the May Board of Education meeting. The board thanked them for their years of service and dedication to helping students reach their unique potentials. Homewood High School: Lynn McGuffey (not pictured), Dickey Wright Homewood Middle School: Wanda Adams,

Norma Aldridge, Pam Brown, Cherry Jenkins, Margaret Norman Edgewood Elementary School: Carol Reamey, Johnny Washington Hall-Kent Elementary School: Carol Lord, Barbara Merryweather Shades Cahaba Elementary: Ruth Dozier, Sue Grogan, Sandra Vella Central Office: Diane Tucker

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20 • July 2013

The Homewood Star

Sports HHS golf makes first state tournament appearance

Sims to play in 2014 Army All-American Bowl

Jordan Sims

Homewood High School’s Jordan Sims has been selected to play in the 2014 U. S. Army All-American Bowl. The event takes place on Jan. 4, 2014 in the Alamodome in San Antonio. Many current NFL players participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and it is considered the premier event to showcase the country’s best senior high school football players and marching band members. The 6-foot-4-inch, 330-pound rising senior received First Team AWSA 5A All-State honors as a junior and has received scholarship offers from Auburn University and The University of Alabama, as well as from colleges across the country.

U11 soccer named state champs U11 Homewood Liberty were state champions in the U11 Boys Division of the Alabama Youth Soccer Association 2013 State Cup.

Duncan McDuff, Alex Drummond, Sebastian Cannova, Nolen Langford, Parker Smith, Sam Goldasich, Aaron Stansell, Crawford Flach.

The Homewood High School boys golf team completed its season with a fifth place team finish at the State Tournament at Robert Trent Jones-Shoals “Fighting Joe” course. This was the first time in school history for the team to qualify for the state tournament. Crawford Flach finished fifth individually with scores of 73-76 (149). Sam Goldasich finished 13th with scores of 75-83 (158). The team’s postseason began by winning the Sectional Tournament at Timberline. Flach finished second individually with a score of one-under par, 69 (his HHS career best round). Goldasich shot two-over par, 73 (also an HHS career best round) and finished tied for fourth. Alex Drummond shot six-over par, 77 (HHS career best) to finish tied for seventh. Sebastian Cannova played as an individual

in the tournament, and his score of 80 (HHS career best at the time) qualified him for Sub-State. At Sub-State, held at TimberCreek Golf Club in Spanish Fort, the team finished third, at one shot ahead of Briarwood, to advance to the state tournament. Flach made par on the 18th hole to secure the third place finish. He and Parker Smith finished tied for eighth individually with scores of 77. Cannova finished his high school golf career with a career best round of 79, although it didn’t advance him to the state tournament. Team members are Sebastian Cannova (senior), Alex Drummond (sophomore), Crawford Flach (sophomore), Sam Goldasich (sophomore), Nolen Langford (freshman), Duncan McDuff (freshman), Parker Smith (junior) and Aaron Stansell (junior). The team is coached by Keat Litton

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Front row: Mason Boyd, Ryan DeMontluzin, Hader Ahmed, Andrew Waston, Kamal Nasser, Eric Wang. Back row: Noah Klein, Mac Wagstaff, Julian Kersh, Hampton Terrell, Jake Nequette.

July 2013 • 21


Estate president Chris Hoyt said. “It has everything retailers want, but it’s a funny location.” Terra Equities, a minor partner in the deal with Dunn, lists on its website that 190,000 people live within five miles of the location and more than 29,000 cars pass by on Green Springs each day. Dunn explained that all companies find those numbers attractive. However, some are more drawn to Green Springs’ availability to Homewood and Vestavia residents, and some are attracted by its access to the more densely populated Birmingham Southside. “You have a market that could support two classes of retailers,” Hoyt said. “It’s never going to be The Summit, but it can support both mid-range and low-end. Where we are, as we’re moving forward with redeveloping our property, is we want to bring in a higher-end retailer that does not currently exist on Green Springs.” First up, a Pep Boys Supercenter is projected to open in the near future on Dunn Real Estate’s property. The business is slated to occupy more than 17,000 square feet and will be one of only three of the company’s Supercenters in the state. After that, Hoyt anticipates Pep Boys’ presence will help fill remaining spots on the property. “We’ve had a lot of interest, but it’s been a little tough getting people to sign leases,” he said. “That has less to do with the property and more to do with the broader economy. Retailers in general all got burned with the collapse of 2007 and 2008, and many are just now looking again at areas that have long been established but have gotten

a little stale – areas that need to be spruced up, like Green Springs.” But according to McBrayer, GURD isn’t the City of Homewood’s only plan to impact future development on Green Springs. He said the Council is primed and ready to spend approximately $5 million on its second phase – West Homewood. Since November 2012, the public has been aware of the City’s desire to create a new zoning district west of I-65 that would mix in neighborhood-friendly retail to reshape the area’s identity. The City brought in the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham (RPC) to study what residents wanted, and together they organized a plan to give it to them. Of course, there’s no immediate connection to Green Springs, but McBrayer sees the investment in West Homewood as something like an economic trap for the corridor. “I believe developers are watching us, and when they see and hear about the improvements being made from Green Springs down to (Barber’s Dairy on West Oxmoor Road), they’ll know we’re committed,” he said. “Developers will say, ‘Good lord, a quarter of a mile from here the City is investing $5 million in upgrades.’” To McBrayer, that investment will “attack both sides” of the Green Springs corridor. With Edgewood, Vestavia Hills and West Homewood on the rise, he said he believes it won’t be long before the face of Green Springs fits in with its neighbors. “West Homewood is going to be the key,” he said. “It’s where our residents are, and they’ve just had nothing for years. What we’re going to do on that side of I-65 will create the perfect storm. Some said it’s backward thinking, but I felt if we just hopped over, it would have to meet in middle.” The City Council had already

The former Lovoy’s restaurant building on Green Springs Highway stands vacant with overgrown greenery, reminding passersby of room for new development on the corridor.

A Pep Boys Supercenter will soon open on the former Mazer property on Green Springs.

seen the RPC’s plan for redevelopment and pushed it through committee as of deadline. It was scheduled to appear for approval on the Council’s agenda in its meeting June 24. McBrayer believes it will pass and begin a transitional phase for parts of

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Homewood he said have long deserved it. “I just want to see (Green Springs) improved,” City Council President Bruce Limbaugh said. “I want it to be a place that’s safe for my three grandkids as they become teens and young adults.”

The Homewood Star is interested in what you think. Is the GURD zoning district working to improve the corridor? Will developing West Homewood attract high-end retail to Green Springs? Email your thoughts to

22 • July 2013

The Homewood Star

Calendar Homewood Events Saturdays: Homewood Farmer’s Market. 2850 19 St. S., SoHo. 8 a.m.-noon. Visit

Independence Day Festival. 1728 Oxmoor Road, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Saturdays: West Homewood Farmer’s Market. 160 Oxmoor Road, 8 a.m.-noon. Visit

July 10: Kids Room/Nurseries. Moxii, 111 Broadway, Suite 3, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Moxii is hosting workshops to give basic understandings of design principles. Call 637-1756 or email

June 23-Aug. 3: The Joy Gallery Exhibit for Anne Baguley. Homewood Columbiana Presbyterian Church. Call 942-3051. July 4: Thunder on the Mountain. Vulcan Park, 1701 Valley View Drive, 9 p.m. Call 933-1409 or visit July 4: All Saints’ Boy Scouts Garage Sale and Electronics Recycling. All Saints’ Episcopal, 110 West Hawthorne Road, 6:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Call 879-8651. July 4: 64 Annual Our Lady of Sorrows Church th

July 13: Second Saturdays Workday. Homewood Community Garden, 8 a.m. July 17: Living Room. Moxii, 111 Broadway Suite 3, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Moxii is hosting workshops to give basic understandings of design principles. Call 6371756 or email July 15-19: First Baptist Birmingham Vacation Bible School. 9a.m. - noon. Grades K- six. Theme: “Babylon: Daniel’s Courage in Captivity.” Visit vbs. to register. July 15-18: Trinity United Methodist Church Vacation Bible School. 1400 Oxmoor Road, 9 a.m.noon. For children 3K through second grade. Call 879-1737 or visit July 20: Seeds Presents: Darren Michaels. Time TBD. Visit July 20: Retro Run 5K. 2839 St. S., 6 p.m.. $10 before July 17 and $15 after. Visit to register. Visit or call 870-5644 or 870-7771. July 24: Master Bed Room. Moxii, 111 Broadway Suite 3, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Call 637-1756 or email info@ July 26-28: Oakmont United Methodist Church’s

Vacation Bible School. 914 Oak Grove Road, Friday: 5:30-8:00 p.m., Saturday: 8:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sunday: 9:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Call 942-4622. July 27: Fresh Start 5K. West Homewood Farmer’s Market,160 Oxmoor Road, 8 a.m. 5K and 1-mile fun run. $10. Visit fresh-start-5k-2013 or July 31: Preparing your Porch for Football. Moxii, 111 Broadway Suite 3, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Call 637-1756 or email Aug. 1: Birds of a Feather Art Exhibit. Four Seasons Gallery, 5-8 p.m. Features the work of seven artists. Call 803-4059 or visit Aug. 2: Seeds Presents: John Ball w/ Aaron Krause. Time TBD. Visit

Homewood Public Library Events Kids Programming

July 18: Jones Valley Farms. 6:15 p.m. July 19: Water & Melon Play Day! 10:30 a.m.

July 2: Ronald McDonald. 10:30 a.m. July 3-24: Summer Story Times. 10:30 a.m. Large groups call 3326619.

July 20: Say Hola to Spanish! 10:30 a.m.

Adult Programming

July 23: Rocking Farmer Jason, In Concert! 10:30 a.m.

July 8: Learning Indian Cuisine with Chef “E.” Large Auditorium, 6 p.m.

July 8 & 22: Monday Movie. 3 p.m.

July 25: ‘Dr. Dinosaur’ by Lee Bryan ‘That Puppet Guy.’ 6:15 p.m.

July 9: BSC Southern Environmental Center. 10:30 a.m.

Teen Programming

July 11: Juggling Money. 6:15 p.m. July 12: Leaps and Bounds. 10:30 a.m. Ages 2½ to 4-years-old. Registration required. Call 332-6619. July 13: Cereal and Cartoons. 10 a.m.-noon July 14: Ice Cream SUNday! 2-5 p.m. July 16: Maynard, Magic & Music. 10:30 a.m.

July 30: Teen Movie Madness. Large Auditorium, 3 p.m. For reservations call 332-6620 or email

July 10: How Your Bedroom Can Get You Want You Want With Feng Shui. Large Auditorium, 3 p.m. July 15: What’s Hot and What’s Not in Making Healthy Snacks. Large Auditorium, 3 p.m. For reservations call 332-6620 or email lwest@ July 23: The Teen Boss Workshop with Tommy Johns. Large Auditorium, 6:30 p.m.

July 9: The Oxmoor Page Turners Book Club. Boardroom, 6:30 p.m. July 16: The A,B,C’s of Medicare. Room 116, 12 p.m. & 6 p.m. July 18: Food Integrated Training with Jennifer Cole Conn. Round Auditorium, 6 p.m. July 22: “Green” Feng Shui with Katie Rogers. Large Auditorium, 6 p.m. July 31: Better Than Therapy Book Club. Boardroom, 2 p.m.

Summer Fun Photo Contest

Capture the fun of summer with your camera, and send us your favorite shots of the backyard, lake, beach, mountain, neighborhood, and wherever you and your family are. Our staff will choose the images that most colorfully capture a summer experience. Prizes will be awarded to contest winners. Category One: Any summer fun photo Category Two: A summer fun photo displaying a copy of The Homewood Star wherever you are To enter, email your photos in a jpeg format to Please send high quality images and include a caption and photo credit. Only four entry photos are allowed per person.

The Homewood Star

Deadline for entries is August 1, 2013. We will publish the winners in the September issue as well as post them on our Facebook page and

July 2013 • 23

Calendar Community Events July 4: Jazz in the Park. Railroad Park, 6 p.m. Free admission. Visit

Birmingham Duplicate Bridge Club, 144 Business Center Drive, 2 p.m. Call 560-0706.

July 4: Independence Day 1776 Fireworks Show. American Village, noon. $5 admission. Free admission for veterans and military. Call 665-3535.

July 19-20: Bridge Tournament for Newcomer/ Intermediate Players. Birmingham Duplicate Bridge Club, 144 Business Center Drive, games at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Call 560-0706.

July 4-8: Birmingham Barons vs. Mississippi Braves. Regions Field, 6:30 p.m. (Thursday), 7:05 p.m. (Friday), 6:30 p.m. (Saturday), 3 p.m. (Sunday), 7:05 p.m. (Monday). $7 general admission. Call 988-3200. July 5-7: “Annie Get Your Gun.” Virginia Samford Theatre, 7:30 p.m. (Friday and Saturday), 2:30 p.m. (Sun). Directed by Jack Mann and choreographed by Carl Dean. $35 for center seats, $30 for right and left seats. Call 251-1206. July 8-Sept. 30: The Stand Against MS. 813 Shades Creek Parkway, Suite 100B. Call 1-800-3444867 or visit to register. July 9: America’s Most Wanted Festival 2013. Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, 7 p.m. Starring Lil’ Wayne, T.I., 2 Chainz, G-Eazy. $73-$441 admission. Visit July 9-Aug. 30: In the Gallery Art Exhibition By Daniel Moore. Aldridge Gardens, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 682-8019 or visit July 11: Luke Bryan Concert. Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, 7 p.m. $70-$87 admission. Visit July 11: Meet-the-Artist Reception with Daniel Moore. Aldridge Gardens, 5-7 p.m. Artist Daniel Moore is famous for his Alabama Crimson Tide paintings. July 12: Corey Smith with Lynyrd Skynyrd. Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, 6 p.m. $54-$244. Visit July 13: McWane Science Center’s 15th Birthday Party. McWane Science Center, 10 a.m. Call 7148300 or visit July 18: Newcomer Ice Cream Social.

July 19-20: Widespread Panic. Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, 8 p.m. $77-$232 for admission. Visit July 19-21: “Beauty and the Beast Junior.” Red Mountain Theatre Company Cabaret Theatre, 7:30 p.m. (Friday) and 2 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday). $20 admission. Call 324-2424. July 20: 12th Annual Market Day. Mountain Brook Village, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sidewalk and tent sale flea market with discounts up to 75 percent off. July 20: International Festival at the Birmingham Zoo. Birmingham Zoo, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Enjoy a wildlife show, unique foods and animal greetings. $14 adults, $9 for children and seniors. Call 879-0409. July 23-27: Birmingham Barons vs. Mobile Baybears. Regions Field, 7:05 p.m. (TuesdayFriday) and 6:30 p.m. (Saturday). $7 general admission. Call 988-3200. July 23-27: Birmingham Children’s Theatre presents “Cinderella.” Birmingham Children’s Theatre, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. $10 for adults and $8 for children. Call 458-8181 or visit July 25: Concert with Bo Barry, Tommy Stewart & J.J. Paterson, “Lou Rawls Review.” Aldridge Gardens, 6-8 p.m. Tickets available at or Renasant Bank locations. Alabama Theatre Summer Movies in July. Alabama Theatre. July 12, 7 p.m. Blazing Saddles. July 14, 2 p.m. The Help. July 19, 7 p.m. Cool Hand Luke. July 21, 2 p.m. To Kill a Mockingbird. July 26, 7 p.m. Grease (Sing-Along Version). July 27, 2 p.m. E.T. July 28, 2 p.m. Sound of Music.

Opinion Ordinary Days By Lauren Denton

Recovering dreamer When I was younger, I was a her head and a heart almost bursting romantic. I don’t mean romantic with hopes and dreams. I assumed in the lovey-dovey sense. I mean I she was gone, replaced by someone had big hopes and dreams. I craved more mature and grounded, less apt adventure and true love. I wanted to be carried away by flights of fancy. to move to Europe and drink coffee Then I get in the car to drive by and write books. Perhaps most myself to Atlanta for a baby shower. importantly, I listened to music that It starts raining and I get tired, so I gave words to the yearnings in my turn on some music. Before long, heart I couldn’t put into words. the music is so loud I can’t hear the My Auburn roommate and I used pounding rain. I’m singing, but I’m Denton to sit outside on our teeny porch and also remembering not just who I listen to Joni Mitchell and talk about what we used to be, but also dreams that are still buried in hoped our future life would look like. We would my heart. I remember hopes and yearnings that drive down country roads with windows open didn’t disappear now that Jack Johnson sings and music blaring— Paul Simon or Counting about Curious George and sitting on the back Crows or some college garage band. We wanted porch means playing house and drawing with to savor that fleeting moment that only comes sidewalk chalk. along every so often —and mostly only to the At the shower, I found myself talking to young — when you grasp that the world is a big two girls holding their small babies. After place, you’re a small but important part of it, and some polite conversation, they started asking you really can do anything you want. questions. Nursing, how long to wait before After college, many of my friendships having the second child, feeling overwhelmed. revolved around music. We listened to it, I answered honestly and encouraged them as talked about it, went to hear it live. I had a best as I could. Their questions made me long zip-up CD case as big as a suitcase. I was for my own two children tucked into bed and my always reading liner notes to find lyrics that husband waiting for me at home. articulated the exact notion in my heart. When The day was a strange mixture of the I couldn’t put it into words, U2 or David Gray woman I am now and the romantic girl I used or Josh Ritter could. to be. I am 100 percent sure I am exactly Fast-forward a few years and I’m married where God wants me to be; otherwise, I would with children. My life is full and chaotic and be somewhere else. But I was so happy to run incredibly blessed. I have no idea who Florence into the girl who used to turn the music up, and the Machine is, or Bruno Mars or Drake. roll the windows down and dream big dreams. Instead, the “No More Monkeys” Pandora I’m glad she hasn’t totally disappeared. All I channel is in top rotation. The only CDs I have needed was a stretch of highway, some good are kids’ music. Liner notes—what are those? music and time to remember. I still think about that young, idealistic girl I Lauren can be reached at LaurenKDenton@ used to be, the one with a tune running through

24 • July 2013

The Homewood Star

The Homewood Star vol 3 iss 4 july 2013  
The Homewood Star vol 3 iss 4 july 2013  

news, sports and community news source for Homewood Alabama