Sun Neighborly news & entertainment for Hoover
Volume 5 | Issue 3 | December 2016
SHINING STARS 2 tenacious boys chosen to light Hoover’s Christmas tree
By JON ANDERSON
t was just four days after Christmas two years ago when the diagnosis came for 6-year-old Lucas Dunigan. The kindergartner at Rocky Ridge Elementary School had leukemia. The cancer moved quickly, and within 24 hours of diagnosis, it had spread to 57 percent of his body, said his mother, Amy Dunigan. “The doctor said it was one of the most aggressive cancers he had seen in years,” Amy Dunigan said.
See STARS | page A30 Andrew Fambrough, left, a third-grader at South Shades Crest Elementary School who battled through a brain tumor discovered this spring, and Rocky Ridge Elementary student Lucas Dunigan, right, who overcame a leukemia diagnosis, will light the city of Hoover’s ofﬁcial Christmas tree Dec. 1 at the Hoover Municipal Center. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.
‘People of Greystone’ introduced through teacher’s photography
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Greystone Elementary art teacher Blue Horn with her tools for People of Greystone: a camera and a recorder. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.
By SYDNEY CROMWELL There’s a story behind each face that walks through the halls of Greystone Elementary. By the end of the school year, art teacher Blue Horn hopes to know all of them. Horn has taught in Hoover City Schools for 23 years — ﬁrst at Trace Crossings and Shades Mountain elementary schools, then at Greystone for the past nine years. About two years ago,
Sponsors .............. A4 News...................... A6
Business ..............A10 School House .....A18
Events ................... B6 Gift Guide ............. B8
she fell in love with the photography project Humans of New York and decided to propose a similar project at her school. “I was fascinated and taken by it all at once,” Horn said. With a name change to People of Greystone — to avoid the unﬂattering acronym
See GREYSTONE | page A28
Community ......... B10 Sports ................... B11
Real Estate......... B25 Calendar ............. B26 facebook.com/thehooversun
From Santa visits to church services and more, we’ve got your guide to what’s going on in Hoover during the holidays.
Although Bluff Park businesses offer a variety of services, each business owner agrees that working in Bluff Park is a pleasure.
See page B1
See page B20
A2 â€˘ December 2016
Turning Up the Heat This Winter!
December 2016 • A3
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A4 • December 2016
About Us Editor’s Note By Sydney Cromwell It’s the most wonderful time of the year. While the weather is still pretty warm as I’m writing this, the Christmas songs creeping onto my radio and my ever-growing gift list are getting me in the holiday spirit. Christmas lights are one of my perennial favorite parts of this season — with the food being a close second. The lights always remind me of Decembers as a child. I had a big book of Christmas tales and songs from around the world, which I would always read at night by the warm light of our Christmas tree. That’s why I enjoyed reading about some of Bluff Park’s brightest holiday decorators as well as this month’s cover story, about the children chosen to light
Christmas. We also have a Christmas gift guide from local retailers and a special advertising section spotlighting Bluff Park businesses. If you’re experiencing some Christmas overload, we also have previews of the basketball season and wrapups of the volleyball and cross-country teams’ performances, along with a feature on a local art teacher’s unique way of building community in her school. Whether you’re staying in town or traveling this holiday season, may your days be merry and bright. the city Christmas tree. Both boys have an inspirational spirit. Check out our guide to holiday events in Hoover, as well as our feature on local residents’ favorite things about
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
Dr. Drew Hataway, left, of Samford University passes a spider off to Cade Bennett, right, during a spider hunt on October 24, 2016, at Aldridge Gardens. Dr. Hataway gave a small lecture of spiders on Alabama earlier in the evening and took attendees out to explore the gardens in search of spiders afterward. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.
Sun Publisher: Managing Editor: Design Editor: Director of Digital Media: Director of Photography: Sports Editor: Page Designers: Community Editor: Community Reporters: Staff Writers: Copy Editor:
Dan Starnes Sydney Cromwell Kristin Williams Heather VacLav Sarah Finnegan Kyle Parmley Cameron Tipton Emily VanderMey Erica Techo Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Lexi Coon Emily Featherston Sam Chandler Louisa Jeffries
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For advertising contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact Information: Hoover Sun PO Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 (205) 313-1780 email@example.com
Please submit all articles, information and photos to: sydney@starnespublishing. com P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253
Published by: Hoover Sun LLC Legals: The Hoover Sun is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. The Hoover Sun is designed to inform the Hoover community of area school, family and community events. Information in The Hoover Sun is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of The Hoover Sun. We reserve the right to edit articles/photos as deemed necessary and are under no obligation to publish or return photos submitted. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 313-1780 or by email.
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December 2016 â€˘ A5
A6 • December 2016
New mayor, City Council sworn in By JON ANDERSON Lots of changes are taking place in Hoover’s city government with the swearing in of a new mayor and City Council. Retired Hoover Fire Marshal Frank Brocato recently began his four-year term as mayor after being sworn in by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo on Nov. 7. The same night, three brand-new faces — Derrick Murphy, Curt Posey and Mike Shaw — joined four returning members of the Hoover City Council for the 2016-2020 term. And one of those returning members, Casey Middlebrooks, has only been on the council since September, when he was appointed to complete the remainder of the late Brian Skelton’s term. The council chose longtime Councilman Gene Smith as its president, but the vote was split 4-3. Returning Councilman John Lyda made the motion to make Smith president, and then Middlebrooks nominated Murphy to be president. Smith received four “yes” votes from Lyda, Shaw, Smith and returning Councilman John Greene, while Middlebrooks, Posey and Murphy voted no on Smith. Because there were four votes for Smith, no vote was taken on Murphy’s nomination. Lyda said after the meeting that he nominated Smith for the president’s job because of the depth of his experience and institutional knowledge. “There’s no one on the Hoover council today that has more of those two traits than Gene,” Lyda said. Smith has served three four-year terms on the council and also served on the Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission and spent 16 years working for the Hoover Fire Department.
The 2016-20 mayor and City Council pose at their Nov. 7 meeting. Photo by Jon Anderson.
Posey, even though he didn’t vote for Smith, said he believes Smith will bring a lot of wisdom and discernment to the role. The council unanimously chose Greene as president pro tempore — basically a backup for the council president if he is absent — and Shaw as the council’s representative on the Planning and Zoning Commission. The new City Council made numerous appointments in its organizational session, including choosing Phillip Corley Jr. of the Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt law ﬁrm to replace Charlie Waldrep of the Waldrep, Stewart & Kendrick law ﬁrm as city attorney. Waldrep, however, will remain as city
prosecutor with a $75,000 annual salary, and Nic Waddell and Brandon Prince were selected as alternate prosecutors for when Waldrep is absent. The council kept Margie Handley as city clerk and Hoover Finance Director Robert Yeager as treasurer but chose the Barﬁeld, Murphy, Shank & Smith accounting ﬁrm as the city’s auditing ﬁrm, replacing the Borland Beneﬁeld accounting ﬁrm. The council elected to keep Brad Bishop as municipal judge for two years with an $80,000 annual salary, and named Hoover Court Director Susan Fuqua and Robin Grifﬁn, Marsha Headley, Terica Henderson, Tiffaney Brewer,
Anna McRae, Umang Patel, Darinda Poe, Jason Simpson and Leandra Burks as magistrates for the city. Regions Bank, Wells Fargo Bank and First National Bankers Bank were chosen to continue as depositories for the city. Brocato said he feels honored and blessed to become the 10th mayor of Hoover and he’s ready to hit the ground running. “The whole campaign we talked about working with our school system and helping them ﬁnancially, and we’re going to do that,” he said. “Our council people are all committed to doing that, so we’re going to get on that quickly — work on the budget and just see exactly what we can give the schools.” Master planning also was a key part of his platform. “It’s really important to all of us, and we’re going to start on that right away, so we’re very excited about a lot of great things happening in Hoover,” he said. Brocato said he feels good about the City Council that was elected this year. “They’re all very dedicated. I think we are fortunate that we have some veteran leadership on there, and then we have some new blood as well. I think it’s a great day for Hoover. I look forward to working with all seven of them.” Two of his ﬁrst acts as mayor were to appoint Ross Bridge resident Jason Lovoy to the Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission and Bluff Park resident Rebecca Hassee to the Hoover Beautiﬁcation Board. Other big changes happening in Hoover city government include former Hoover ﬁre Capt. Allan Rice returning as the city’s new executive director and a changing of the guard at the Hoover Public Library. Library Director Linda Andrews is passing the baton to one of her assistant directors, Amanda Borden, on Jan. 1.
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December 2016 • A7
By Frank Brocato I want to thank the residents Please take some time, if you haven’t been by City of Hoover for electing me as Hall, to see our Christmas your mayor. I am so excited and proud decorations and check out to have the opportunity to be a our gigantic city Christmas part of such a progressive and tree out front. Many people growing city! drop by and take their family I am looking forward to Christmas pictures in front of working with the City Counour tree, and we welcome you cil, the many boards and the to do that. numerous volunteers in our Please be careful during the community. holiday season as you are out You have elected leaders shopping. The Hoover Police who care deeply about the have their command bus set up direction of Hoover’s growth again and will monitor trafﬁc Frank Brocato and will work hard to keep closely for easier access at all Hoover and your neighborhoods safe and major roadways and busy intersections. family oriented. We have a fantastic school I am very excited about what 2017 has in system and library and will continue to promote store for us. Please be sure to let me know how learning and stress the importance of education we can assist you. The elected leaders and staff in our community. are here for you, so please feel free to call us We have something for all ages in Hoover, so at 444-7500 or visit our website at hooveralif you haven’t visited the Hoover Senior Center, abama.gov for information. please drop by when you have time and tour Once again, thank you for the opportunity to the facility. It is a gem in our city and promotes be your mayor and Merry Christmas! wellness and involvement for our seniors. Sincerely, It’s hard to believe the holidays are here, so my wife Frances and I would like to wish each one of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours.
Zoning board OKs 250-foot cell tower in Blackridge By JON ANDERSON The Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission on Nov. 14 approved ﬁ nal plans for a new 250-foot cell tower in the Blackridge community to be built south of Trace Crossings. The cell tower will be just south of the Lake Wilborn community, which is also under construction at the end of Stadium Trace Parkway, said Richard Johnson, a representative for Signature Homes. The tower is needed to provide better cell phone coverage to the 500 houses to be built in Lake Wilborn and the 650 houses that Signature plans to build on its portion of Blackridge, Johnson said. Plus, it should help provide better cell service for Hoover Metropolitan Stadium and the new $80 million sports complex the city is building next to the stadium, he said. Signature Homes has won approval from the city of Bob House, a planning consultant Hoover for construction of a cell phone tower in the for the city of Hoover, said the cell Blackridge community south of Traces Crossings. tower should serve the area within a The cell tower site is labeled here as “project site,” just south of the planned Lake Wilborn community. 3-mile radius. House said that when Hoover Map courtesy of city of Hoover. ﬁrst started reviewing cell tower applications, people pitched a ﬁt about them. But these days, unless the cell people will see as they head southwest on Statower is very close to their house, people don’t dium Trace Parkway, Johnson said. It will be care because they want better cellular service, more than 250 feet away from houses so that if the tower were to fall, it should not land on House said. Dan Mikos, chairman of the Board of Zoning houses, Johnson said. House said most of the towers in Hoover are Adjustment, which approved plans for the tower on Nov. 3, said people will have a chance 200 feet tall or less, but the taller the tower, the to know before they buy lots in Lake Wilborn fewer towers are needed in a given area. This also should help address complaints of or Blackridge that a cell tower is there. Nevertheless, BZA members sought assur- poor cell service at Hoover Metropolitan Staances from Signature Homes that as many trees dium, Hoover High School and Bumpus Middle would be left around the base of the tower as School, BZA members said. The Southeastern Conference told Hoover possible to help hide it. Johnson said it’s in the developer’s best ofﬁcials, when Hoover was trying to win an interest to make the tower as unobtrusive as extension on its contract for the SEC Baseball Tournament, that the city needed to provide possible so they can sell the lots. “We’re not going to do anything to harm better cellular service at the stadium, House said. ourselves,” he said. However, a single cell tower such as this But in today’s world, people see good cellular service as an amenity and to develop 1,150 one is designed to handle only 20,000 cellular homes without adequate cell service would be devices at a time, so there’s still a chance that signal booster devices will need to be brought foolish, he said. The tower will be on a 110-by-110-foot in to the Hoover Met or the new sports complex lot just south of the ﬁrst set of railroad tracks during peak usage events, House said.
A8 • December 2016
Borden lands her dream job Incoming Hoover library director unveils her vision for the future By JON ANDERSON When Amanda Borden was 21 years old and working toward a master’s degree in library science at the University of Alabama, some of her classes were boring her — until Hoover Library Director Linda Andrews came to speak to one of them. Andrews wasn’t the stereotypical librarian who stares down anyone who dares to make noise in her library. Instead, she made her library a fun and engaging place — full of life. “It was just like it clicked,” Borden said. “I knew I wanted to work for her and for the Hoover library. And if I couldn’t, I wanted to do what she had done here in another library.” Borden was able to snag an internship at the Hoover Public Library in the spring of 1993 and later a fulltime job. And come Jan. 1, Borden will succeed Andrews as director, becoming only the second director in the library’s 33-year history. “I have worked for this all my life,” Borden said. “It’s my dream job … I’m really just on top of the world.” Borden said Andrews has been her mentor and taught her that
customer service should be the No. 1 priority of any library.
“We believe when people come to the Hoover library, they would not want to see another stereotypical librarian that tells them to shush,” Borden said. “We believe they want to see a nice, smiling librarian that says, ‘How can I help you?’” The Hoover library, with about 100 employees, already has a customer-driven staff, she said. “They’re creative, innovative, passionate and driven.” However, Borden would like to implement cross training to improve employees’ knowledge about areas outside their department, she said. For example, some employees in the ﬁction department may not be able to answer patrons’ questions about the children’s department and vice versa. “Eventually, I would like to see everyone at every desk be able to answer every question,” she said. Borden said she hopes to carry on the legacy Andrews created and developed at the Hoover library over the past three decades — serving the public and making the library a community center where people gather
Amanda Borden said she’s ready to tackle the job of Hoover Public Library director and hopes to make her mentor, Linda Andrews, proud. Photos by Jon Anderson.
not only to read, research or study, but also to socialize, enjoy music and art, and even do business. She wants to encourage more events such as the Sci Fi Fantasy Fest that drew more than 2,100 people to the library over three days in October, she said. She also wants to continue encouraging lifelong learning, with book clubs, English classes for immigrants and educational programs, she said. And early literacy for children also will be a priority, Borden said. “Study after study has shown that if a child is read to in the ﬁrst ﬁve years in life, they are more successful
in school, so we consider it our mission to get them ready for school,” she said. The Hoover library has numerous programs designed speciﬁcally for preschoolers of different ages. Borden said she wants to make sure the library stays relevant — keeping up with technology trends and pop culture so the library can appeal to people. She wants to create private workspaces for tutoring and business meetings.
Borden also said she thinks it’s time to begin considering ways to
better serve people who live far away from the library. “People in the eastern part of town have to drive 30 minutes to reach the library,” she said. “That’s not convenient.” Carrie Steinmehl, the technology coordinator at the library, already is working on a grant application so the library could install off-site book retrieval and return centers in remote areas. That would allow people to order books online, have them delivered to the pickup location by a courier and then return the books to the same location instead of having to drive to the library.
December 2016 • A9
Hoover Public Library Assistant Director Amanda Borden shares her vision for the library during her interview for the director’s job with the Library Board on Nov. 8. She was approved unanimously.
However, that is a Band-Aid, Borden said. “What we really need are branches,” she said. Bowling Green, Kentucky, has 58,000 residents and ﬁve library locations, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, has 50,000 residents and three
locations, she said. Hoover has more than 80,000 people spread out over 48 square miles and only one library location, she said. “I believe we can do better, and I think the city is ripe for it,” Borden said. “I believe that our new
leadership is looking for new ideas, and I believe that they would be receptive to it.”
Borden has been an assistant director at the library for more than 10 years.
While Borden was the only applicant for the director’s job, Library Board Chairwoman Sara Rast said Borden was the most qualified person. Library Board members indicated when they posted the director’s job vacancy that they wanted someone with experience at the Hoover library. The other longtime assistant director, Patricia Guarino, indicated from the beginning she would not seek the director’s job, saying it might not be too many years until she retires as well. That made the decision easy for the Library Board, board member Michael Krawcheck said. One of the best things a leader can do is train someone who can do the leader’s job when the leader leaves, and Andrews aptly established a line of succession as she trained both Borden and Guarino, he said. Borden is a natural for the director’s job, and the fact that Guarino will stay on to assist Borden is a blessing, he said. “You complement each other,” he told the two women during the November board meeting. “We have a culture here that you two understand, and it’s very important that culture be understood and continue to be perpetuated. … To me, it’s a wonderful transition.” Rast said the Library Board, Andrews and her staff have worked hard to build a library where everyone feels welcome and the board doesn’t want to do anything to change that. “We want to keep it as close to we can as to how it has been,” she said. Borden is the right ﬁt to maintain the library’s success, Rast said. Not only is she well-trained by Andrews, but she also has a master’s degree in library science, 20 years under her belt as an administrator
and an understanding of how important it is to keep a balanced budget, Rast said. “If we could clone Linda, we would have gotten us another Linda, but this is as close as we could get,” Rast said.
Borden said she’s thrilled and excited to get the appointment and looks forward to working with the rest of the library staff and city leadership in the future. She has been preparing herself for this job for a long time, she said. When she ﬁnished her internship at the Hoover library in 1993, there were no full-time job openings there, so she got a job as a children’s librarian at the downtown branch of the Birmingham Public Library. She did that job for three years and then spent three years managing the children’s department at Birmingham’s Springville Road branch and about 1½ years managing the children’s and circulation departments at the Pelham Public Library before ﬁ nally landing a job at the Hoover Public Library as manager of the children’s department in 2001. After ﬁve years in that role, she was promoted in 2006 to assistant director and now oversees the 44 employees in the children’s, teen and circulation departments. Borden, 45, lives in Hoover’s Chace Lake community with her husband, Allen, and told the Library Board she is invested in the community and up to the task of being director. “There will be no one more committed to this library than I am,” she told them. However, Andrews leaves behind some big shoes to ﬁll. “I really want to respect her legacy in the way I perform this job,” she said.
A10 â€¢ December 2016
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Cricket Wireless has opened a retail store at 1631 Montgomery Highway. 502-7933, cricketwireless.com
The UAB Medicine Neurosurgery Clinic at Greystone has opened in the Greystone Neuroscience Center, 7500 Hugh Daniel Drive, Suite 200. The clinic is staffed by Dr. Thomas Staner and nurse practitioner Shannon Hall, CRNP. 991-4400, uabmedicine.org/locations/ uab-medicine-neurosurgery
ERA King Real Estate has opened a new ofﬁce at 3075 John Hawkins Parkway in the Galleries at Riverchase
Coming Soon Dixie Tan Spa will be opening in December at 1401 Doug Baker Blvd., Suite 110. The spa will offer tanning by using only all-natural tanning spray. 463-4943, dixietanspa.com
The Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders has broken ground for their new ofﬁce, to be located at 241 International Park Place. 912-7000, birminghambuilder.com
Relocations and Renovations Alabama Brick has moved its showroom from its previous location in Hoover at 2800 Greystone Commercial Blvd., Suite 3C, to a new location across the highway in unincorporated Shelby County, 5479 Highway 280, Suite 110, in the Arbor Place shopping center. 408-4284, alabamabrick.com
December 2016 • A11
News and Accomplishments William Hart of Farmers Insurance/ William Hart Agency, 2 Riverchase Ofﬁce Plaza, Suite 214, recently received the Blue Vase Reward from Farmers Insurance as well as the Topper Club trophy from Farmers for accomplishments in 2015. 444-1111, farmersagent.com/whart
Anniversaries Sweetspire Gardens, 2146 Tyler Road, Suite 212, celebrated its ﬁrst anniversary on Nov. 7. 968-1391, gardencenterhooveral.com
Bella’s Bridal & Formal, 4441 Creekside Avenue, Suite 125, is celebrating its 12th overall year in business this month. It has been in its current location in Hoover since 2011. 403-7977, bellasalabama.com
Southlake Orthopaedics, 4517 Southlake Parkway, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in December. 985-4111, southlakeorthopaedics.com
Jefferson’s Restaurant, 4524 Southlake Parkway, Suite 20, is celebrating its sixth anniversary this month. 989-9464, jeffersonsrestaurant.com
Green Valley Drugs, 1915 Hoover 12 Court, is celebrating its 55th anniversary in December. 822-1151
South Trace Pediatrics, 5356 Stadium Trace Parkway, Suite 200, has closed.
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A12 • December 2016
National event venue company Noah’s set to open 1st Alabama location in Hoover By GRACE THORNTON Noah’s, a national company specializing in hosting weddings, parties and other events, is adding Hoover to its party numbers, its ﬁrst event venue in Alabama. “Our development team does a really thorough analysis before selecting each new Noah’s event venue location, and Hoover has been on our radar for a long time,” said Noah’s spokeswoman Kirsten Mussi. “Based on our demographics research, we know there is a need for wedding and special-event space in the area, especially for a venue that offers so much ﬂexibility.” The ﬁrst Noah’s venue opened in 2007 in Utah. The second Noah’s to be built — a 32,000-square-foot venue in South Jordan, Utah — is still its largest. A typical Noah’s is 7,800 square feet divided into four rooms plus a catering prep kitchen and an outdoor patio. All together, the 29 Noah’s locations across the country host more than 8,000 weddings and special events every year. Six more will join them starting this year, including Hoover’s. Construction for the Hoover location began in October with plans for a summer 2017 opening. The people at Noah’s are excited about hosting Hoover’s weddings and parties soon, Mussi said. “But we are also excited to be located right off of I-459 and less than ﬁve miles from the Riverchase Galleria and a number of growing small- and mid-sized businesses who can use Noah’s for their corporate events, trainings and conferences,” she said. According to the Noah Corporation, its “unique, affordable, diverse and creative accommodations allow guests an opportunity to spend quality, wholesome time with family, friends and business associates.” Guests at Noah’s can expect amenities from
The ﬁnished venue will look similar to other Noah’s venues around the U.S. Photo courtesy of JF Studioz Luxury Photography.
state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment to free wireless internet throughout the whole venue. That audiovisual equipment — along with tables, chairs, tablecloths and setup and takedown — are included with every reservation at Noah’s, according to Mussi. Guests can rent rooms individually, and they also can customize their experience.
For instance, they’re welcome to use Noah’s decorations, or they can bring their own. They also can bring their own caterer or food. The space at Noah’s is elegant and classic, according to Mussi, and it’s built with ease of events in mind. For example, its movable ceiling design with patented technology allows for guests to hang decorations from the ceiling
without a ladder. It’s a concept Mussi said Noah’s is happy to bring to the area. “We are very excited about our ﬁrst location in Alabama, and we believe that Hoover is the perfect location for us to build,” Mussi said. For more information, go to noahseventvenue.com or noahsweddings.com.
December 2016 • A13
Veterans Memorial Arbor, Gateway Pentagon Plaza unveiled Counterclockwise, from left: More than 200 people gathered at Aldridge Gardens on Nov. 7 for the unveiling of the Veterans Memorial Arbor and Pentagon Gateway Plaza. Bryce Martinez, 23, a senior art student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham from Mountain Brook, sculpted this bronze bust of Thomas Rivers, a 22-year-old Marine from Hoover who died in Afghanistan in April 2010. With Martinez are Rivers’ parents, Tom and Charon Rivers, and sister, Rachel Walters. George and Marynell Winslow stand with a bronze bust of their son, Ryan Winslow, who was a 19-year-old Marine killed in Iraq in April 2006. Photos by Jon Anderson.
By JON ANDERSON Aldridge Gardens in November ofﬁcially unveiled its new Veterans Memorial Arbor, stretching about 200 feet across the dam that holds the lake at the gardens. The stainless steel arbor is supported by 16 columns, each dedicated to a different veteran. Every period of war and conﬂict since World War I is represented on the arbor, said Mark Davis, a U.S. Navy veteran who spearheaded the planning and fundraising for the arbor. On one end is an area with the U.S. ﬂag and ﬂags for ﬁve branches of the armed forces, and on the other end is an area called the Gateway Pentagon Plaza, designed to honor Hoover residents killed on active duty. Aldridge ofﬁcials plan to cover the arbor with blue wisteria vine and plant red and white knock out roses to provide a red, white and blue theme after the drought subsides. Aldridge and city ofﬁcials also unveiled bronze busts of two Hoover residents killed in action — Thomas Rivers, a 22-year-old Marine who died in Afghanistan in April 2010, and Ryan Winslow, a 19-year-old Marine killed in Iraq in April 2006. George and Marynell Winslow, the parents of Ryan Winslow, said their son’s bust was provided not long after his death through a “Bronzes of the Brave” project led by Sam Patterson of Memphis. However, they’ve never really had a good place to display it, George Winslow said. “It’s been in Ryan’s room, sitting on a table for nine years,” he said. He and his wife said they are very thankful for the city of Hoover and Aldridge Gardens providing a prominent place to display the bust. George Winslow said he has lived a lot of places in his 69 years, but Hoover is the best. Rivers’ bust was provided by the art department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham through a presidential summer research scholarship given to UAB senior Bryce
Martinez, who served as the sculptor. A third bronze bust is being created to honor Andrew Hand, another Hoover resident who was killed in Afghanistan in July 2010. It is being created by a retired Marine colonel in Tuscaloosa, Lee Busby, and should be cast in December, Davis said.
The original plan for an arbor over the dam was a $17,000 wooden structure, but Davis dreamed bigger and raised more than $130,000 to ﬁnance construction of the metal arbor. Including in-kind donations of materials and labor, the total cost for the arbor is about $250,000 he said.
Davis thanked ofﬁcials from the city of Hoover and Aldridge Gardens for their support and assistance with the project. The Hoover Beautiﬁcation Board and Heatherwood Garden Club provided money for the landscaping, and the staff at Aldridge made the project a reality, he said.
A14 • December 2016
MEMORIES & TRADITIONS
By JON ANDERSON ith the holiday season upon us, Hoover Sun recently took the opportunity to ask area residents to share one of their favorite Christmas memories or traditions: “Last year, for the ﬁrst time, we decided to go to Panama City for Christmas. We’re starting to like being away from home more than anything for Christmas. The food and having the kids not want to go to sleep the night before and waiting till midnight to open gifts. One of the things I like most about Christmas is how willing everyone is to give. It’s not just about giving to your family members anymore. It’s more so about doing things in the community that help you give back and helping people that are less fortunate.”
GIGI HAYES, RIVERCHASE LANDING
“Going to see Wright’s Lights in Florence, Alabama.”
ADAM TALMAGE, ROSS BRIDGE
“For Christmas, my whole family — we all go home to Troy. I’m the youngest of all the grandkids. There are about eight of us. We’ve done that for years. We all get together Christmas morning. I just like being with my family.”
ALLA SMITH, BLUFF PARK
December 2016 • A15 A favorite Christmas memory for Jay and Jeanna Sims of the Deer Valley community is from Christmas 2015, when they were able to celebrate the holiday with both of their 2-yearold twins, Mason and Gray, and their two older children, Parker and Addison. Mason was in and out of the hospital most of his life after being born at 28 weeks with complications. He died Jan. 29 of this year. “My family is thankful for the wonderful two years and six weeks we had him, and he impacted many lives,” Jay Sims said. In this photo, Jay and Mason share a fun moment together in front of the Christmas tree this past Christmas. Photo courtesy of Jay Sims.
“We have out-of-town family, and we always make it a point to stay at home on Christmas morning. We have monkey bread we make every Christmas morning — and bacon. Of course, we do cookies the night before for Santa, and they’re always oatmeal chocolate chip with M&Ms and chocolate milk for Santa.”
“Spending time with the family — waking up, them arriving at the house, everybody getting together and cooking food, the stories that are told.”
CAMERON CRUMMIE, RUSSET WOODS
MIRANDA WESLEY, ROSS BRIDGE Cameron, left, and Charlotte also pictured
“Just waking up before my parents and trying to sneak into the gifts.”
CULLEN BYINGTON, LAKE CREST
“My late dad was like a big kid. He loved Christmas. One of my favorite memories is going to his house, even after I was an adult and moved out, and hearing Christmas music and seeing him dressed up in a Christmas sweater. It’s just a big family time for us — time to reﬂect on the true spiritual meaning of Christmas. We always try to remind our children about the birth of Christ at Christmastime.”
CHIP BIVINS, TRACE CROSSINGS
A16 • December 2016
“One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to make gingerbread houses with my girls. Now, we invite two to three others to come over and do it with us, and we end doing a craft for the Christmas tree. Last year, we did pillowcases. Each girl made their own glow-in-the-dark Christmas pillowcase.”
SHARON CROSS, THE WOODLANDS
“We always get together Christmas Eve and make sherbet punch and then open one present, and it’s always pajamas. I’m not complaining, though. I got a onesie last year.”
REBEKAH ODLE, SOUTHPOINTE
“My parents didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, but I remember I asked for one of those Winchester riﬂes that actually made the sounds. I had to ask for it for ﬁve years before I ﬁnally got it. My brother and I were out in the front yard playing with it, and my brother swung it around and hit me with it. It gave me a mark on my eye. My dad took the gun and broke it down over his knee.”
RHETT WHITLEY, BLUFF PARK
“I guess my favorite Christmas tradition is going to the beach. We seem to do that now because my wife works at Samford, and she gets 10 days or so off, and I’m retired, so it’s a good opportunity for both of us to get away and get a little warmer. Sometimes both of my sons will join us with their families, and sometimes not.”
PAUL AUCOIN, BLUFF PARK
“My favorite Christmas memory is all the window decorations at Loveman’s and Pizitz downtown. It was a fantastic thing to see as a child. It was a memory I won’t forget.”
NICK PISSANOS, ROSS BRIDGE
“Getting together with my parents who live just two miles away. We go to the Christmas Eve service at church and then have snacks and appetizers and open gifts on Christmas Eve. All of our out-oftown family comes here. And then Christmas dinner on Christmas Day at my parents’ house.”
SHARON NEILL, HEATHERBROOK
December 2016 • A17
“I watch the Dean and Company Christmas special. It’s like a local family that does a Christmas special every year. It’s that family that lives in Mountain Brook. They put it on YouTube now, but it used to be on TV.”
JACK DEWBERRY, BLUFF PARK
“Mom and Dad on Christmas Eve put sticky notes around the house, saying go to this place and that place (around the house), and at the end, it tells you what the present is — the big present.”
JOSH TULLOSS, RIVERCHASE
“My most recent favorite Christmas memory was last year, going to the live Nativity scene at Briarwood, where the have animals and all. My wife and four children got to experience it. It made it come to life. They actually had camels there. That was really cool. We’ll deﬁnitely do that again.”
MATT HODGES, SOUTHPOINTE
“Getting together with family, making sure we have a time to share some gifts and be thankful for time together and to share another Christmas and celebrate what it means — the birth of Christ. And we love to ride around and look at lights and decorations.”
JIM MCCOY, PATTON CREEK CONDOMINIUMS
“I like getting the family together and playing music and cooking a Christmas brunch — a hash brown casserole, and I do fruit and grits and pancakes.”
MATALIE ACOFF, ALABAMA 150
“Just family getting together. We are spread out over the nation. It’s really nice to be at home with family in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And Mom’s turkey. We can never get away from that tradition. Also, my son and I always ﬁnd a family that is maybe not as blessed as we are, and we always try to give to that family.”
MICHELLE SCHOLTZ, TRACE CROSSINGS
A18 • December 2016
School House Hoover students rank in top 10 percent statewide academically Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy delivers a speech on the state of the school system to the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham — The Wynfrey Hotel on Nov. 17. Photo by Jon Anderson.
Superintendent gives update on well-being of school district By JON ANDERSON The Hoover school district is surpassing state and national averages for proﬁciency in English, math, science, reading and writing but still needs improvement, Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy told the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce in November. Murphy gave her speech on the state of the school system to about 160 people at the chamber’s Nov. 17 luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham — The Wynfrey Hotel. Most of her talk centered on the academic well-being of the school district. Data indicate that Hoover students rank in the top 10 percent in the state in all areas except third-grade math, and Hoover ranked 18th out of 136 school districts in third-grade math, Murphy said. She shared the following statistics about the achievement of Hoover students in 2016 compared to state and national averages in various subjects: ► English: 83.5 percent of Hoover students were deemed proﬁcient in English, compared to averages of 51 percent statewide and 61 percent nationally. Also, 75 percent of Hoover 11th-graders showed proﬁciency by scoring at least an 18 out of 36 on the English portion of the ACT college prep test. ► Math: 67 percent of Hoover students were deemed proﬁcient in math, compared to
23 percent statewide and 41 percent nationally. Also, 47 percent of Hoover 11th-graders showed proﬁciency by scoring at least a 22 out of 36 on the math portion of the ACT college prep test. ► Reading: 59 percent of Hoover students were deemed proﬁcient in reading, compared to 34 percent statewide and 44 percent nationally. Also, 54 percent of Hoover 11th-graders showed proﬁciency by scoring at least a 22 out of 36 on the reading portion of the ACT college prep test. ► Science: 57 percent of Hoover students were deemed proﬁcient in science, compared to 24 percent statewide and 36 percent nationally. Also, 45 percent of Hoover 11th-graders were
deemed proﬁcient by scoring at least a 23 out of 36 on the science portion of the ACT college prep test. Education ofﬁcials also now are measuring gains made by students. Tests indicate that 84.5 percent of Hoover students made at least one year’s worth of progress in English in 2016, which is a 2.7 percentage point increase from the previous year, Murphy said. Also, the percentage of students progressing at least one year was 89 percent in math (up 7 percentage points), 82 percent in reading (up 2.9 percentage points) and 84 percent in science (not measured the previous year). Among special education students, the percentage of students progressing at least one
year was 63 percent in English, 72 percent in math and 66 percent in reading and science, Murphy said. “That’s commendable, considering the struggles that so many of those students face,” she said. Ninety-three percent of the class of 2015 for Hoover’s two high schools graduated on a regular four-year schedule, which was a half-percentage point increase from 2014, Murphy said. Some of the other 7 percent are still taking classes to graduate in their ﬁfth year, and others completed special education courses but did not ofﬁcially graduate, she said. The actual dropout rate for Hoover City Schools is 2.3 percent, Murphy said. “We want 100 percent of them to graduate, but most school districts would just be elated to have (a) 2.3 percent (dropout rate),” she said. The average ACT score for students in Hoover City Schools was 22.5 out of 36 in both 2016 and 2015, Murphy said. That’s a drop from 23.3 in 2014, but 2015 was the ﬁrst year that all 11th-graders were required to take the test, so the scores were expected to drop, she said. In Hoover, the number of students taking the ACT increased from 889 in 2014 to 1,079 in 2015. Statewide, the average ACT score dropped from 20.6 in 2014 to 19.1 in 2015, Murphy said. Twenty-three percent of Hoover City Schools students — 244 — scored a 28 or higher composite score. One had the highest possible score of 36. On the individual parts of the test, 14 students scored a 36 in English, 10 scored a 36 in reading, nine scored a 36 in math, and seven scored a 36 in science. Murphy said she is pleased with where the school district is academically, but “we’ve not arrived … We have a lot of work to do.”
December 2016 • A19
‘Momma Lisa’ Yancey named schools’ Employee of Year By JON ANDERSON It’s not in her job description, but Lisa Yancey is known to make calls to shelters for homeless mothers, arrange food delivery for poor families and personally pick students up and take them to school until permanent transportation can be arranged. And she does it all with a smile — and sometimes a needed hug of assurance for a crying mother, said Wayne Smith, coordinator of student services for Hoover City Schools. Yancey, the ofﬁce manager for the department, does whatever needs to be done to help families, Smith said. It’s that loving touch that helped earn Yancey the title of 2016-17 Hoover City Schools Employee of the Year. Yancey was honored recently at the November Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham — The Wynfrey Hotel. Yancey has been with the Hoover school system for about 16 years. She spent about 11 years as the registrar at Hoover High School and has been in her current role with the student services department nearly ﬁve years. She helps manage things such as enrollment, zoning, and court and custody issues regarding students. The student services department deals with a lot of students and families that are struggling with various issues, including homelessness, poverty, hunger, a lack of transportation and changing family dynamics, such as a grandparent taking custody of a grandchild. Yancey follows the school district’s policies and procedures to make sure issues are handled legally, but she does so with a heart of compassion and care for the individuals involved, Smith said. She is a calming force in times of crises and
I get to tell them about our great city and our great school system and kind of feel them out to help them ﬁnd what they’re looking for.
can turn tears into laughter, he said. “She never gets angry. She never gets frustrated. She never gets stressed out while working in the most difﬁcult situations,” Smith said. When parents get through dealing with Yancey, she has a way of making them feel like their child is the No. 1 priority of Hoover City Schools, he said. “I could not imagine having to do my job without Lisa,” Smith said in a nomination statement. “I depend on her every day all day long.” She probably gets 100 calls a day from people outside the school system, but she also is a go-to person for district administrators when they need data and reports, Smith said. Yancey also volunteers with the Crossroads alternative school program and works with students who need some “Momma Lisa” from time to time, he said. And she goes into various schools to assist the ofﬁce staff when times of crisis hit. “She is truly a go-to person,” Smith said. Yancey said she ﬁnds it rewarding to be able to help people. It’s sad seeing some of the difﬁcult situations that people have to face, she said.
Lisa Yancey, the ofﬁce manager for the Hoover City Schools student services department, was named the 2016-17 Hoover City Schools Employee of the Year. Here, she sits in her ofﬁce based at Brock’s Gap Intermediate School. Photo courtesy of Hoover City Schools.
But her job also can be fun when she gets to help people relocating to Hoover from another state, she said. “I get to tell them about our great city and our great school system and kind of feel them out to help them ﬁnd what they’re looking for,” Yancey said. Each Hoover school has its own personality, and Yancey likes helping match people with their desires and explaining which neighborhoods are zoned for particular schools, she said. Yancey grew up in the McCalla area and graduated from McAdory High School. She received a computer programming degree from
Bessemer State Technical College and worked for AmSouth Bank for 15 years before coming to the Hoover school system. She and her husband, Ronnie, have lived in Hoover for 28 years and have two grown children. She also is a member of the Regular Runners of Hoover group and an active member of Southcrest Baptist Church. Other ﬁnalists for 2016-17 Employee of the Year were Andre Brown, a technology specialist who works at four Hoover schools, and Marc Hutchinson, the lead custodian at Spain Park High School. Brown has been with Hoover City Schools 13 years, while Hutchinson has been with the district about four years.
A20 • December 2016
Knitting club provides ‘oasis’ at Hoover High
Above: Sophomore Ashley Shanks works on a knitting project in the HHS Fiber Arts Club. Left: Margaret Splawn practices her knitting skills in the Fiber Arts Club, which is part of Hoover’s monthly activity period. Photos courtesy of Kellye Self.
By SYDNEY CROMWELL For a small group of Hoover High students, their backpacks carry something extra besides textbooks and pencils: a pair of knitting needles. The HHS Fiber Arts Club has existed for several years, but current sponsor Kellye Self took on the role about four years ago. Self has been teaching for 26 years, most of that time at HHS, and her classes include government, sociology and online classes. The knitting and crocheting club is one of many options for Hoover students in the “activity period,” a 30-minute period once a month for them to get involved in a group of their choice. Self said some of the activities include chess club, political groups, cooking clubs, book clubs and service organizations like Habitat for Humanity.
“The idea is for them to ﬁnd small pockets of belonging in such a large place,” Self said. Self said the knitting club typically has 10 to 12 students, but she sets a cap at 20 to make sure she has time to work with each student. Some students come in knowing how to knit or crochet, while others have no idea. Self uses the monthly activity period to teach the newcomers and help the more advanced crafters build on their skills. “The idea was to teach students to knit if they didn’t know how to and have a place to sit together and knit,” she said. Knitting is a hobby Self picked up years ago, and she said she enjoys sharing her interests with Hoover teenagers. “It is a stress reliever for me. I like creating things; I like the process. It’s a nice portable hobby,” Self said. Most of the students work on personal projects, such as
scarves and pot holders. More important than the projects they build on their knitting needles and crochet hooks, however, is the conversation that takes place in the club’s circle. “I think they enjoy the time to socialize with just a handful of people. It’s a nice quiet oasis,” Self said. Sophomore Ashley Shanks is in her second year with the club, but she learned how to knit the summer before seventh grade. Shanks said she likes having something to do with her hands, and she enjoys learning from Self in the club. “I enjoy knitting, and it provides me a way to learn new ways to knit,” Shanks said. Shanks also runs cross-country and track for Hoover. Her latest project is a scarf. “I always love seeing the ﬁnished project,” she said. At a school the size of Hoover, even 30 minutes a month can be enough for students to form friendships that extend outside Self’s classroom. “I think it’s important in this school for kids to ﬁnd a niche. In a student body of 3,000, it’s important for them to feel like they belong,” Self said.
December 2016 • A21
Matthew Green earns Scouting’s top rank
Hoover High School junior Matthew Green completed his Eagle Scout service project in April 2015. Photo courtesy of Jammie Cowden. Hoover High School junior Daniel Johnson will be marching in the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade as part of the Bands of America Honor Band. Photo courtesy of Music for All.
HHS band member selected to perform in 2017 Rose Parade Daniel Johnson, a junior at Hoover High School, was selected by Music for All to be a member of the Bands of America Honor Band in the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade. “To be selected for this opportunity is a oncein-a-lifetime experience for students and a testimony to their excellence and achievements,” said Eric Martin, Music for All president and CEO. “Daniel will be one of only 300 members chosen to be part of the Bands of America Honor Band, and his participation deserves the admiration and support of everyone in their community.” The BOA Honor Band is a 300-piece national ensemble with winds, percussion and a ﬂag and dance team, and Johnson was selected from a
pool of hundreds of applicants from across the nation. Bob Buckner, who recently retired as director of the Western Carolina University “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band, will direct the 2017 BOA Honor Band. Johnson plays trumpet and will spend a week in southern California, where he will have rehearsals, performances at the Tournament of Roses Bandfest and Disneyland, and a featured appearance in the world-famous parade. The 128th Rose Parade will take place on Jan. 2, 2017, at 10 a.m. The 5.5-mile parade will be broadcast on ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, KTLA, NBC, RFD-TV and Univision. – Submitted by Music for All.
Trustworthy. Friendly. Kind. These adjectives are not only three of the 12 parts of the Scout Law, but are also words that fellow scouters used to describe 17-yearold Hoover resident Matthew Green — the newest, and 167th, Eagle Scout from Boy Scout Troop 93 in Hoover. Green, a Hoover High School junior, completed his required Eagle Scout service project in April 2015, which provided a complete rework of his high school’s shot put throwing sector — the ﬁeld of crushed limestone where the steel ball lands. The existing throwing sector, although practically functional, did not meet AHSAA standards for state competitions. Green is a pole vaulter on Hoover High’s track and ﬁeld team and was responsible for obtaining the funding for the equipment and materials needed for the rework and managing all aspects of the project from beginning to end. In addition to his Eagle Scout accomplishment, Green also is an Ordeal member of Order of the Arrow, a society to honor
scouts who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law. “Matthew moved quickly through the ranks and leadership positions and was an effective leader throughout his time in the troop,” said Green’s scoutmaster, Terry Beckham, who is an Eagle Scout himself. “Matthew was formally trained through scout leadership programs as he progressed through his troop leadership roles and responsibilities. He is now more of a mentor to the younger scouts. With a wink and a laugh, yes, but he takes that leadership very seriously.” Green still has another year as a scout, but is already planning to join a Venture patrol, which is designed to provide older scouts with expanded social contact and physically challenging activities. As for leadership roles within the scouting organization, Green looks forward to one day serving as Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, to give back to new scouts. – Submitted by Jammie Cowden.
A22 • December 2016
Prince of Peace Catholic School has new assistant principal Prince of Peace Catholic School has announced that Andy Rothery has joined the school as assistant principal. Rothery has a solid background in Catholic school administration and classroom teaching. He was the school principal of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School and previous to that, assistant principal of Saint Rose Academy, both in the Birmingham Diocese. In addition, he has taught at two Florida Catholic schools: St. Michael’s Academy in Fernandina Beach, Florida, and Resurrection Parish School in Jacksonville, Florida. Rothery holds a master’s degree in education in supervision and administration from Marymount University in Virginia. He received
his bachelor’s degree in political science/history from the University of North Florida, Jacksonville. In addition to his administrative responsibilities at Prince of Peace, he will be teaching eighth-grade world history and co-teaching eighth-grade conﬁrmation classes this fall. “I am so happy to be here,” said Rothery. “The school has a great reputation. It’s the kind of school where you drive by it and say, ‘I want to be a part of that.’” Rothery lives in Irondale with his wife, Kim, and daughters, Abigal and Lily. He and his wife just celebrated their ﬁfth wedding anniversary. – Submitted by Jill Spero.
POP School Principal Connie Angstadt (left), Assistant Principal Andy Rothery (center) and POP Church Pastor Father John Fallon (right). Photo courtesy of Jill Spero.
Simmons Middle School dance team performs at The Bell Center The Simmons Middle School Dance Team performed at The Bell Center for Early Intervention’s annual Tailgate Challenge on Aug. 27. The event had teams competing for the best tailgate tent. One of the dance team members, Allie Simmons, is a graduate of the program. The Bell Center for Early Intervention provides intervention services in a center-based program in Birmingham. Infants and toddlers who are at risk for developmental delay receive services from a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech-language pathologist and an early childhood special education teacher as each child works on speciﬁc, individual developmental goals. The dance team members, made up of seventh and eighth-grade students, include Kirsten Estes, Annabelle Morrison, Kashyra Myhand, Kaelin Pettit, Haley Robinson, Allie Simmons and Kayva Young. They are led by advisor Amy Thorington.
The Simmons Middle School Dance Team includes, back row, left to right: Annabelle Morrison, advisor Amy Thorington, Haley Robinson and Kirsten Estes. Front row, left to right: Kashyra Myhand, Kayva Young, Kaelin Pettit and Allie Simmons. Photo courtesy of Michelle Berg.
– Submitted by Michelle Berg.
Hoover native completes basic training at West Point Cadet Jason Agsalud of Hoover has completed basic training at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Agsalud entered West Point on June 27 for an intensive six-week program that included mountaineering, ﬁrst aid, riﬂe marksmanship, hand grenades and nuclear, chemical and biological training. Classes began on Aug. 15, and Agsalud anticipates graduation in 2020 to be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. Agsalud is a Hoover High graduate and the son of Butch and Andrea Agsalud. – Submitted by Andrea Agsalud.
Jason Agsalud. Photo courtesy of Andrea Agsalud.
Spain Park senior receives rank of Eagle Scout Jonathan Della Manna, a member of Troop 69 at Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church in Vestavia Hills, has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Della Manna is the son of Angelo and Debbie Della Manna of Hoover. He joined Troop 69 in 2011 after earning his Arrow of Light award in Cub Scout Pack 69. He has earned 27 merit badges and has held various leadership positions with Troop 69 including senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, quartermaster and historian. This Scouting Jonathan Della Manna achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Photo journey he has courtesy of Angelo and Debbie Manna. enjoyed numerous campouts, participated in several com- Center can now accommodate the growing munity service projects and attended the interest in their archery classes, and have BSA Sea Base and Summit Bechtel high-ad- begun including it in their therapeutic program as well. venture bases. Della Manna is a junior at Spain Park For his Eagle Scout project, Della Manna, along with his fellow troop members, built High School, and will be honored for his a 5-lane archery range for the Hoover Rec- accomplishment during the Eagle Court of reation Center, complete with ﬁring line, Honor in October. – Submitted by Angelo and Debbie Della target stands and archery targets. With a new archery range, the Hoover Recreation Manna.
December 2016 • A23
Mays - Fonbah Mr. and Mrs. Alfonza Mays of Hoover are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Brittony Nichelle Mays to Joseph Munyeh Fonbah Junior, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Fonbah Senior of Tuscaloosa. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of the late Sammie and Mary Mays of South Carolina and the late Johnny and Ernestine Wright of Timmonsville, South Carolina. She is the goddaughter of George Myers of Huntsville, Catherine Player of Pinson, Carrie Bacon of Pinson and Carlton Randolph of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Miss Mays graduated from Hoover High School and graduated with honors from Clark Atlanta University and Samford University. She is currently the program coordinator of the Parenting Matters program at Family
Guidance Center of Jefferson County. She is also the new owner and director of Corky Bell School of Dance Fairﬁeld. The bride elect and her ﬁancé are co-founders of B.O.L.D Foundations. The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Isaiah Fonbah of Cameroon, West Africa and the late Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Russell of Hickory, Mississippi. Currently Joseph is studying medicine and chemistry at University of Alabama of Birmingham. He is one of the prevention specialists at Aletheia House and the pianist at Trinity Baptist church. The wedding will be held Dec. 3, 2016 at Saint John African Methodist Episcopal church. – Submitted by Brittony Mays.
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A24 â€˘ December 2016
RIVERCHASE GALLERIA tree lighting celebration
By ERICA TECHO The Riverchase Galleria once again welcomed families into the mallâ€™s food court for its annual Christmas tree lighting Friday night. Hundreds of guests gathered to listen to
holiday songs, meet popular characters and await the arrival of Santa Claus. There were also appearances from Mickey and Minnie Mouse, characters from Star Wars, Disney princesses and action superheroes such as Batman, Spiderman and Iron Man.
Families gathered at the Riverchase Galleria on Nov. 4 for its annual tree lighting celebration. There were rides, character appearances and a Santa sighting. Photos by Erica Techo.
Residents from all surrounding communities were welcomed into The Preserve for the annual Moss Rock Festival, which celebrates nature, smart living and art and design. Photos by Lexi Coon.
MOSS ROCK By LEXI COON
Eleven years ago, the city of Hoover welcomed the Moss Rock Festival. Since then, the event has been a hit for all surrounding communities and has seen thousands of visitors throughout each weekend. Held at The Preserve from Oct. 5-6, the festival was able to take some of its inspiration from the harmonious coexistence of the neighborhood with the Moss Rock Preserve. “That sort of helped us come up with the footprint of the festival,” said Alex Kunzman, co-director of the event. “[The residents] really seem to love the themes,” he added, which include art and design, smart living and nature. This year, the beer garden celebrated it’s ﬁfth year and showcased breweries from both in- and out-of-state, and The Sweetery offered sweet treat samples from local bake shops. Visitors were also treated to a smart-living marketplace which featured two “tiny houses” that guests were welcomed into, a lineup of live music, a plethora of food trucks and a variety of artists. To strengthen the connection with the outdoors, all artists were either inspired by nature, depicted nature or used natural materials in their work.
December 2016 • A25
A26 • December 2016
Photo by Sarah Finnegan. Hoover takes on Huntsville during the AHSAA volleyball state championship semiﬁnals Oct. 26 at the Birmingham Crossplex. The Buccaneers beat the Panthers 3-0.
Best of 2016 Photo by Ron Burkett.
Photo by Frank Couch.
Photo by Sydney Cromwell.
Clockwise from above: Jennifer Colvin, left, and Ann Williams hang from aerial silks in August, shortly after beginning the ﬁrst classes in Birmingham. Faith Bland, 6, runs past a group of ducks at Hoover’s Star Lake on a sunny April afternoon. Carnival rides and games attracted both children and adults during Celebrate Hoover Day.
December 2016 â€˘ A27
A28 • December 2016
CONTINUED from page A1 HOG — Horn brought the project to life this school year. Her goal is to feature the entire student body, as well as teachers, parents and all the other people who make an impact on the school. “I want to get everybody … because they’re all a part of our community and what makes our school function,” Horn said. The process is straightforward. Horn, along with two parent volunteers and peer helpers from Spain Park High School, choose a few People of Greystone subjects each week to take their picture and ask a few questions. Another parent transcribes the interviews to be posted on the website, peopleofgreystone.com, and music teacher Sara Womack posts them on the People of Greystone Facebook page. One of the big challenges, Horn said, is asking the right questions to draw out interesting answers, especially from elementary school students who clam up as soon as she turns on the tape recorder. She said the project has been a “big fat learning experience.” But along the way, Horn has discovered just how wide a web Greystone Elementary has in the community. It’s not just students, teachers and parents, but also grandparents, visitors, Hoover police ofﬁcers and even regular delivery drivers. These interviews often lead to much longer conversations after the recorder has been turned off. “The community, our little bubble here, is actually so much bigger, and it joins so many other parts of Hoover or Birmingham based on just who comes into the school,” Horn said. It also helps the students get to know people at their school who they otherwise would rarely meet. “It’s wonderful to spotlight people and their individuality and their diversity, and the kids love it,” Horn said. Some of the interviews are more serious, Horn said, such as a student who talked about his Tourette’s diagnosis or a boy with color blindness. However, most are fairly lighthearted, such as the young girl who just wanted to talk about how much she was enjoying the
Instructional support teacher I started working with kids with special needs, actually with adults with special needs, when I was a junior in high school … a long time ago. Let’s see, that would have been 1980. It was a service project. I went to Catholic high school and had to do a service project. So, I did that for a summer. Then, in my senior year, I decided I wanted to be in education and special ed was where I wanted to be. I have been doing for … this is my 32nd year in the classroom, all in special education. I don’t know about the specialness of the person teaching, but it takes a lot of endurance to be in this setting. I just heard someone say they have been doing this for 25 years, and I have passed that mark. I just don’t know how much longer my body is going to take it, and my mind.
Photos courtesy of People of Greystone.
Ms. Louis-Jeune Parent We were at Inverness before, but we moved into the Greystone area. This, so far, has been the best thing that has happened in our lives. I really feel like family when I come to Greystone Elementary. My kids, you can tell how much better they feel about this school. That brought a lot of happiness and joy to the home. As a mother, when your child is happy, you don’t have a choice but to be extremely happy. So, I thank God for this school and for all the teachers.
Max Greystone student I am thinking about that I can jump off the swing and touch the sky. I am thinking about that I am ﬁre resistant. That means I can walk on ﬁre without even dying.
taste of her gum. “The happy stuff is nice,” Horn said. People of Greystone has become popular with the school faculty and students. In October, the school turned Horn’s web project into
Mr. Richard Custodian What do I like about working at Greystone? I like just working, period. You know. It’s really great. I have been here since Day 1, you know.
an art installation at the entrance to the school. The pictures and interviews can be changed regularly, so there will always be a new person to learn about. Though she started the project and is still its
driving force, Horn emphasized that the focus shouldn’t be on her. “I really have a problem with attention on me, but I love shared attention for, really, all people,” Horn said.
December 2016 â€˘ A29
A30 • December 2016
Hoover Sun more lethargic, said parents Gene and Anna Fambrough. The Fambroughs went to the pediatrician’s office eight times in about eight weeks, plus at least two specialists. A gastroenterologist recommended an MRI, which on May 26 revealed a 5-centimeter oval-shaped tumor on the back of his brain that was causing a buildup of spinal fluid, his parents said. It was Memorial Day weekend, and the Fambroughs had planned to go to the beach. Instead, they were told to go immediately to Children’s of Alabama. Andrew had surgery the next day, and a post-operation MRI indicated they were able to remove the entire tumor. “They said it was one of the cleanest ones they had ever seen,” Gene Fambrough said. Andrew stayed in the hospital only about a week and was able to come home. He has struggled some with balance and coordination and had some infection on his incision, but other than the scar on the back of his head, you can’t tell by looking at Andrew that he’s had any problem, his parents said. Andrew did not have chemotherapy, but he did have radiation treatments five days a week for 30 days in July and August. He was able to start the third grade on time on Aug. 11 at South Shades Crest Elementary. His second-grade class from last year and new third-grade class held a celebration for him at school after he finished his radiation treatments Aug. 23.
CONTINUED from page A1 Lucas went from looking like a normal child to a boy who was jaundiced, bloated and bruised as if he had been beaten, she said. Lucas endured aggressive chemotherapy, a failed bone marrow transplant and more than 100 nights at Children’s of Alabama hospital, his mother said. He’s 8 now and still has leukemia but has been in remission more than seven months. Lucas is one of two Hoover children who were chosen to light the city of Hoover’s official Christmas tree Dec. 1 at the Hoover Municipal Center. The other is Andrew Fambrough, a thirdgrader at South Shades Crest Elementary School who battled through a brain tumor discovered this spring. The boys were chosen because they represent the best Hoover City Schools has to offer in terms of character, positive outlook and perseverance in the face of challenges, said Hoover City Schools spokesman Jason Gaston.
FIRST SIGNS OF TROUBLE
For Lucas, the first signs of trouble came about a week before Christmas 2014 when he wasn’t feeling well, and the glands in his neck were swollen. He was diagnosed with strep throat. Over Christmas break, Lucas was throwing up and not eating. He looked peaked and “he just seemed off,” so his mother took him to an afterhours clinic on the weekend. The doctor found his white blood cell count was off the charts. A follow-up office visit revealed an enlarged spleen and inflamed liver. Then, the doctor said they thought Lucas had cancer. Lucas went through aggressive chemotherapy, but it wasn’t working. The doctor said a bone marrow transplant was the only option. His 9-year-old brother, Riley, was a 99.9 percent match and was proud to donate for his brother, his mother said. The transplant was in October 2015, but it didn’t work either. The cancer returned. Lucas went back in the hospital and had more chemotherapy. Then, the doctors discovered through a genetic study that Lucas had a rare chromosome that was treatable with a drug, his parents said. His body is still producing leukemia cells, but a pill Lucas takes once a day prevents the leukemia cells from replicating, said his father, Michael Dunigan. Another bone marrow transplant could be an option, but for now, Lucas is continuing with daily drug treatment and chemotherapy every six weeks or so.
Above: Lucas Dunigan’s brother Riley was found to be a 99.9 percent match for a bone marrow transplant, which happened in October 2015. After the transplant’s failure, doctors discovered Lucas has a rare chromosome that, with treatment, could prevent leukemia cells from replicating. Below: During his illness, Andrew Fambrough had to cease playing contact sports but will likely resume playing soccer this spring. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.
‘MOM, AM I GONNA DIE?’
Battling cancer has been hard on Lucas, his parents said. After the bone-marrow transplant failed, he struggled with depression and wasn’t eating well. “He would sit in his room and just stare out the window for hours,” Michael Dunigan said. “It was just so sad because you didn’t know what was going on in his head.” Lucas said the hardest part was the transplant. “It hurt, and I was tired, and I didn’t like losing my hair,” he said. “And I couldn’t go anywhere.” At one point in the hospital, Lucas was on 17 types of medication, and he was ill and moody all the time, Amy Dunigan said. Lucas is a private boy and didn’t like all the interruptions by the specialists, physical therapists, teachers, volunteers, music and art instructors and dieticians, she said “They don’t let you lay around,” Amy Dunigan said. “It’s constant all day. You have no privacy at all.” Yet he also struggled with boredom, she said. And while he doesn’t comprehend the magnitude of everything he has been through, he’s an intelligent child and understood the seriousness of his situation, she said. She recalls sitting with him in the hospital one day watching “Spongebob Squarepants.” “He patted my arm and said, ‘Mom, am I gonna die?’” Amy Dunigan said.
GETTING BACK TO NORMAL
These days, Lucas said he is feeling much better. His hair has grown back, and he returned to Rocky Ridge Elementary in March. He was way behind but has done well in catching up thanks to the help of teachers, his mom said. In October, Lucas was named Student of the Month for his second-grade class. “He has a wonderful attitude,” teacher Kelly
Stokes said. “He is very conscientious about getting his work done. He’s always respectful — not just showing respect to his friends, but also showing respect to adults. He’s respectful of our learning time. He’s always on task. He’s always doing what he’s supposed to do.” Lucas is positive, even when he’s not feeling well, Stokes said. “Anything you ask him to do, he’s not going to grumble,” she said. “You ask him to work harder, you ask him to do something extra — he’ll do it for you. He’s really special.” Amy Dunigan said the teachers and staff at Rocky Ridge Elementary have been fantastic. When it looked like his transplant was not going to be covered by insurance, they raised $3,000, which is now helping Amy Dunigan pay her rent. Teachers visited Lucas and brought him gifts in the hospital. With his immune system weakened, they cleaned Amy Dunigan’s apartment thoroughly, had the carpets professionally cleaned and bought her a vacuum cleaner, new sheets and anti-microbial bed covers. They also provided Christmas gifts for Lucas and Riley.
potential for Lucas to die over and over again. There was no escaping the reality, he said. Everywhere he went, people asked about Lucas. “You just want to try to crawl into a hole, so nobody brings it up, so you don’t have to think about it,” he said. But “in order for me to cope, I had to come to grips very quickly that my son could die.” He’s so thankful that his son is doing and feeling better, he said. “He’s back to the Lucas we know,” Michael Dunigan said. “He’s such a resilient kid. He’s just a fighter. If there’s a brick wall, he doesn’t try to go around it or over it. He goes through it … He’s living the life of a normal kid now … He’s rockin’ and rolling.” Amy Dunigan said she’s so proud of him. “The tenacity in this child is just amazing,” she said. She said she’s thrilled her son is much improved but added it’s always in the back of her mind that the journey is not over. “We live in a scary world,” she said. “You just have to make the best of it and keep going.”
Andrew’s journey with cancer started similarly, with missed diagnoses, but has gone much more smoothly. Andrew began having intermittent headaches in late February or early March and started throwing up. His doctor at first diagnosed him with strep throat, but Andrew started having dizziness and double vision and was becoming
Lucas’ cancer also took an emotional toll on the family. One of the hardest parts for his mom was when the staff at Children’s of Alabama told her they needed to plan his funeral. She started, she said, but just couldn’t do it. Michael Dunigan said the experience has been like a roller coaster, living with the
ANDREW OVERCOMES TUMOR
Andrew said he didn’t like his hospital stay. “It hurt. It was painful. I was hungry. I couldn’t eat for three days,” he said. “I didn’t have a lot of channels on the TV. You couldn’t play. You could barely get out of your bed. You couldn’t do anything that involved getting down on the floor,” he said. “I was sad, and I was mad because I didn’t really want to go to the hospital for a long time and be in there. It was scary, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.” Andrew is an active child who loves to play tackle football and soccer, so getting him to restrain himself from contact sports has been challenging, his parents said. He won’t be able to play tackle football, but he should be able to play soccer in the spring, they said. He handled the brain tumor surgery with remarkable patience, Gene Fambrough said. “He was brave. He wasn’t crying at all. Of course, we broke down.” The brain tumor surgery was “the longest seven hours of my life.” Now, Andrew will go back to the doctor every three months for an MRI and see his oncologist. Then after two years, he’ll have checkups every six months, and after 10 years, he’ll see his oncologist once a year until he’s 21. While it’s not something they wanted, Andrew’s cancer experience has been an amazing journey, Gene Fambrough said. “To see how strong Andrew is, to see how much closer it has brought our family — unconditional love all the way around,” he said.
And the outpouring of support from family, friends, the teachers at South Shades Crest and all the doctors, nurses and staff at UAB has been incredible, the Fambroughs said. “Every moment was people caring about his well-being,” Gene Fambrough said. Andrew is a big fan of the University of Georgia (where his dad went to school), and Georgia football coach Kirby Smart sent him a signed football. Andrew’s favorite NFL team, the Green Bay Packers, also sent a care package. Now, they just have to keep Andrew from putting on the Packers helmet and playing rough football with it. Gene Fambrough is the interim band director at UAB, and UAB football coach Bill Clark invited Andrew to a UAB football practice at Legion Field, introduced him to all the players and recognized the boy at UAB’s homecoming scrimmage game. He also got to ride in a funky-looking threewheeled vehicle at the Birmingham Ride for Kids at the Barber Motorsports Park, benefiting the Pediatric Brain Cancer Foundation. Anna Fambrough said life is getting back to normal, but they still have occasional moments where emotions flare back up. Andrew’s prognosis is positive. Because of the type tumor he had, where it was located and the success of the surgery, there is a good chance of no recurrence, Gene Fambrough said. “That’s kind of what we’re holding onto,” he said.
December 2016 â€˘ A31
Gift Guide B8 Community B10 Sports B11 Business Spotlight B20 Calendar B26
Christmas: HOOVER STYLE Your guide to holiday happenings scheduled across the city this month
By MARIENNE THOMAS OGLE
From chasing Santas to admiring twinkling light displays, Hoover takes on a special glow at Christmastime. It may be one of Alabama’s biggest metropolitan areas, but residents, businesses and city workers take the time to smell the cocoa during the holidays.
ALL AGLOW IN BLUFF PARK
For the past seven years, Lights on the Bluff has offered participants a free fun-and-festive evening that includes music, food and hayride tours of the neighborhood home decorations on the second Saturday of the month. Hosted by Bluff Park Baptist Church, this year’s LOTB ► Map out is Dec. 10, from 5 to 7:30 your holiday p.m. at 2211 McGwier plans, B4 Drive. The evening includes Christmas carols around the church Nativity scene, children’s “make and take” holiday ornament table, snacking on boiled peanuts, toasting marshmallows around an open ﬁre and sipping hot chocolate, coffee and wassail. At 5:30 p.m., hayrides throughout the surrounding neighborhoods begin along predetermined routes to offer the best holiday
See HAPPENINGS | page B4
Jaime Thursby of On a Shoestring Antiques prepares Christmas decorations ahead of the holiday season. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.
B2 â€˘ December 2016
December 2016 â€˘ B3
B4 • December 2016
HOLIDAYS IN HOOVER: WHAT TO SEE ue 65
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► Saturday, De c. 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Aldridg e Gardens, 3530 Lorna Ro ad, free admit-65 tance. The Aldridge Ga rdens Annual Greene ry Sale will offer buckets full of fresh greenery branches ($1-$ 2 per stem), generous bund ay of mixed wles branchesse($ Pa5rkpe r bunch), rcha ivene grRee ry kits for mailb ox, table or mantel arra ngements, tree topper bows, or naments and much more. Transportation to your car 31 for large purch ases will be available.
CONTINUED from page B1 light displays. Bluff Park Baptist Church Pastor Tony Barber has helped organized Lights on the Bluff since its inception. “We love being a part of this special evening and presenting it as a service to our community,” Barber said. “A hayride is such a traditional, quaint and fun event, and enjoying the festive lights can really enhance the Christmas spirit.” Bluff Park also is holding a Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It will begin at the park next to Shades Cliff pool, go along Cloudland Drive, Lester Lane and Clearview Road, then cut through the Bluff Park Village Shopping Center before ending at Sweetspire Gardens with food trucks, music and activities for kids. People can register to be in the parade on the 2016 Bluff Park Christmas Parade Facebook page. Bluff Park resident Teresa Real is no stranger to the Christmas spirit — or the spirit of Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween, for that matter. “I’m a decorator. I decorate for every holiday though not as big as at Christmas,” Real said. “And each year it gets bigger and bigger. If it didn’t, my neighbors would be disappointed.” At home at 3882 Carisbrooke Drive in Bluff Park, Real has decorated her house inside and out for all of the 23 years she’s resided there. Beginning in November, passersby can see about a half dozen blow-ups, strings of lights throughout the shrubbery and an array of colored lights projected on the house, she said. “I get new things every year and change them periodically,” Real said. “We’ve had a variety of blow-ups including a gingerbread house with Santa peeking out, a snowman, Santa in an airplane and a lighthouse with a snowman. We even had a palm tree with a Santa
Children sing and dance during the 2015 Christmas tree lighting ceremony. This year’s event is scheduled for Dec. 1 at the Hoover Municipal Center. Staff photo.
but he had to retire.” Real said she comes from a festive family, and her family, including her four grandchildren and her great-nieces and nephews, thoroughly enjoys all the bright lights and fun ﬁgures. “And we always have people driving and walking by telling us how much they love it and how welcoming it makes the
neighborhood,” she said. A familiar Bluff Park neighborhood ﬁxture — the big, red caboose that houses part of On a Shoestring Antiques — will also sport a festive façade this holiday season. Rodney and Lee Thursby have owned On a Shoestring Antiques at 601 Shades Crest Road since 1982. They sell collectibles, classic
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vintage, and crafting and refurbishing items such as doors and windows, said their son, Jaime Thursby. Jaime Thursby is an apparel and sunglass wholesaler who recently moved back to Hoover. He joins his brother, Jay Thursby, his sisters, Amber Croy and Tara Graf, and Tara’s husband, Darrell Graf, to assist their parents
December 2016 • B5
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CHRISTMAS EVE SANTA RUN
► Saturday, Dec. 3, 10:30 a.m.: Spin-a-Santa, Youth Program Room, free. ► Saturday, Dec. 10, 10:30 a.m.: A Curious Christmas, Youth Program Room, free. ► Thursday, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m.: The New Present: A Christmas Musical, The Library Theatre, free. ► Wednesday, Dec. 21, 10:30 a.m.: Holiday Sing-a-Long Storytime, Youth Program Room, free. ► Wednesday, Dec, 21, 2 p.m.: Christmas Movie: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Library Theatre, free. Refreshments served.
► Saturday, Dec. 24, 4-8:30 p.m. Hoover Fire Department, free. Each of Hoover’s 10 ﬁre stations will transport Santa (no one knows which of the jolly fellows is the real St. Nick and which are his helpers) through their respective neighborhoods via the main thoroughfares. A more speciﬁc Christmas Eve Santa Run schedule will be posted on www. hooverﬁredepartment.org on Dec. 1. In case of inclement weather that includes precipitation, residents are invited to their local ﬁre station for visits with Santa from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.
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Santa Claus, seen here in 2015 at the Riverchase Galleria, will visit again this year with the Hoover Fire Department for their annual Christmas Eve Santa Run. Staff photo.
in the family’s operation of the antique shop. Those duties include decorating the caboose for the holidays for the ﬁrst time in nearly 20 years. “We used to do it years ago, but then all of us kids went away,” Jaime Thursby said. “But now we’re all back in one place and can’t wait to get started.” According to Jaime Thursby, the caboose will be outlined with red lights and feature garlands, bows and vintage lights. “We just love Christmas, and this will have a classic Christmas look,” he said. “We’re a small mom-and-pop store, and while we hope people will come and shop during the day, we want them to check us out at night. It’s great fun for us but also a fun tradition for the community.” Jen Mishalanie’s holiday decorating is twofold — at her home at 2317 Woodcreek Drive and her shop, Past and Presents, at 2145 Tyler Road. “I’ve been doing our house for 15 years, and while both our children are in college, I’d never stop because they’d miss it so much,” Mishalanie said. “We have a candy-cane lane, a blow-up Santa, trees, wreaths and make the two front windows into packages. And everything
has lights, including the rooﬂine.” Mishalanie also goes all out for the holidays at Past and Presents, what she calls an “antique boutique gift shop” she’s owned for four years. Built as a home in 1929, patrons to the cottage-style, six-room structure are greeted with a candy-cane forest, a front porch of dangling icicle lights, and wreaths and bows inside and out. “And we’ve got lots of trees of all sized and all colored lights,” she said. “And if you see it and ‘just have to have it,’ the trees are available for purchase.”
TOURING THE TOWN WITH SANTA
While Bluff Park homes are lighting up, the Hoover Fire Department will take on their annual Christmas Eve Santa Run, during which each of the city’s 10 ﬁre stations transport Santa Claus through their respective neighborhoods via the main thoroughfares. The trick is, no one knows who the real St. Nick is. According to Rusty Lowe, the Fire Department’s public information and executive ofﬁcer, this will be the 26th year for Hoover’s Santa Run.
B6 • December 2016
Events Churches plan Christmas events, services throughout December Valleydale Church holds its Christmas Eve candlelight service in 2015. Photo courtesy of Valleydale Church.
By JON ANDERSON Churches in the Hoover area have a multitude of events planned to celebrate Christmas this year. Some start in late November, but they’re spread all through December. As usual, there are a lot of Christmas Eve services scheduled. But with Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, many churches are holding Christmas Day services as well, though some are abbreviated or different than the usual format. Events include:
► Bluff Park Baptist, 2211 McGwier Drive: Nov. 27, 5 p.m., Hanging of the Green; Dec. 10, 5-7:30 p.m., Lights on the Bluff (live nativity, singing, hayrides to look at lights, free food, making Christmas ornaments). ► Bluff Park Community, 2269 Chapel Road: Dec. 18, 5 p.m., Carols by Candlelight. ► Bluff Park United Methodist, 733 Valley St.: Every Thursday Dec. 1-22, 7:30 a.m., Advent prayer with communion; Dec. 4, 8:45 and 11 a.m., Lessons and Carols; Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m. Christmas of the Bluff music and dance presentation. ► Briarwood Presbyterian, 2200 Briarwood Way: Dec. 7-9, 6:45-8:45 p.m., Walk Through Nativity (14 scenes depicting birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus); Dec. 10-11, 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 in Spanish and 6 p.m. on Dec. 11 in English, Briarwood Ballet presents “Light Eternal,” a concert of dance; Dec. 18, 6 p.m., Briarwood Christmas Festival: How Great Our Joy, featuring the Briarwood adult choir and orchestra. ► Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian, 2269
Chapel Road: Dec. 11, 10:30 a.m., Christmas music program. ► Christian Life Church, 2490 Valleydale Road: Dec. 18, 9 and 11 a.m., Christmas Worship Experience. ► Green Valley Baptist, 1815 Patton Chapel Road: Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m., Christmas Jazz Café (jazz band, hors d’oeuvres and desserts) for adults and Christmas parties for kids and youth; Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m., Christmas Family Night (Christmas songs, Christmas
story for kids, cookies and cocoa afterward). ► Hoover First United Methodist, 1934 Patton Chapel Road: Dec. 11, 4 p.m. Day School Christmas program; Dec. 18, 10 a.m., Lessons and Carols program. ► Hunter Street Baptist, 2600 John Hawkins Parkway: Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m. in the chapel, Joyful Singers senior citizen choir Christmas concert; Dec. 11 6 p.m., Christmas by Candlelight; Dec. 18, 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m., Christmas worship service.
► Lakeside Baptist, 2865 Old Rocky Ridge Road: Dec. 4, 5 p.m., multi-generational Christmas music program; Dec. 11, 5 p.m. “The Arrival” adult Christmas program; Dec. 18, 5 p.m., Songs and Carols of Christmas. ► Metropolitan Church of God, 2800 Metropolitan Way: Dec. 4, 10 a.m., children’s Christmas musical; Dec. 11, 10 a.m., adult Christmas musical; Dec. 4, 11 and 18, 9:30 a.m.-noon, live Nativity. ► Oakmont Presbyterian Church, 1817
HooverSun.com Patton Chapel Road: Dec. 4, 3-5 p.m., Advent Fair (crafts, food and music); Dec. 11, 11 a.m. “Night of the Father’s Love” cantata by choir and orchestra ► Riverchase Baptist, 2020 Crossvine Road: Dec. 11, 6 p.m., Christmas cantata; Dec. 18, 6 and 7 p.m., living Nativity. ► Riverchase United Methodist, 1953 Old Montgomery Highway: Dec. 11, 9:45 and 11 a.m., “Unto Us a Child Is Born” presentation by sanctuary choir and Alabama Symphony Orchestra. ► Shades Crest Baptist, 452 Park Ave.: Dec. 10-11, 6 p.m. on Dec. 10, 3 p.m. on Dec. 11, “The Journey for Finding Peace” Christmas musical; Dec. 18, 6, 7 and 8 p.m. live Nativity. ► Shades Mountain Baptist, 2017 Columbiana Road: Dec. 4, 2 and 6 p.m., “Thy Perfect Light” Christmas by Candlelight program; Dec. 18, 6 p.m., family Lord’s Supper. ► St. Peter the Apostle Catholic, 2061 Patton Chapel Road: Dec. 11, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Come to the Stable Nativity display. ► The Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles, 424 Emery Drive: Nov. 30-Dec. 21, Wednesday night Advent series “The Incarnation and the Apocalypse,” dinner at 5:30 p.m.; program at 6 p.m. each of those Wednesday nights. ► Valleydale Church, 2324 Valleydale Road: Dec. 4, 10:45 a.m. Advent Worship Service; Dec. 9, 7 p.m., Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God” concert, Tickets $20 at valleydale.org.
CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS DAY:
► Bluff Park Baptist, 2211 McGwier Drive: candlelight communion service at 5 p.m. Christmas Eve; 10 a.m. service Christmas Day. ► Bluff Park Community, 2269 Chapel Road: service at 5 p.m. on Christmas Day. ► Bluff Park United Methodist, 733 Valley St.: candlelight service at 4 and 6 p.m.; service at 11 a.m.
December 2016 • B7
Shades Crest Baptist Church celebrates the birth of Christ with a music and drama presentation in 2015. Photo courtesy of Ken Boyd.
► Briarwood Presbyterian, 2200 Briarwood Way: family candlelight services at 5 and 7 p.m. and candlelight communion service at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve; 10:30 a.m. service on Christmas Day. ► Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian, 2269 Chapel Road: candlelight communion service at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve; service at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► Christ the King Lutheran Church, 611 Riverchase Parkway West: candlelight communion services at 4:30 (children’s emphasis), 7 (youth and contemporary music) and 10 p.m. (adult and traditional music) on Christmas Eve; pajama service at 9 a.m. Christmas Day. ► Christian Life Church, 2490 Valleydale Road: service at 10 a.m. Christmas Day. ► Cross Creek Church, 4990 Ross Bridge Parkway: 5 p.m. service on Christmas Eve.
► First Baptist Church of Hoover, 2025 Patton Chapel Road: communion service at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve; service at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► Green Valley Baptist, 1815 Patton Chapel Road: candlelight services at 3 and 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. ► Hoover First United Methodist, 1934 Patton Chapel Road: communion service at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve; service at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► Hunter Street Baptist Church, 2600 John Hawkins Parkway: music and communion service at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 10 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► Lakeside Baptist, 2865 Old Rocky Ridge Road: candlelight service at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve; service at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day.
► Metropolitan Church of God, 2800 Metropolitan Way: candlelight communion service at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve; candlelight communion service at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► Oakmont Presbyterian Church, 1817 Patton Chapel Road: candlelight communion service at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve; Christmas carols service at 11 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► Riverchase Baptist, 2020 Crossvine Road: communion service at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve; worship service at 10:30 a.m. ► Riverchase Church of Christ, 1868 Montgomery Highway: services at 8 and 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► Riverchase United Methodist, 1953 Old Montgomery Highway: traditional candlelight communion services at 3, 5, 7 and 11 p.m. and contemporary candlelight communion service at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve; service at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► Shades Crest Baptist, 452 Park Ave.: candlelight communion service at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve; worship service at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► Shades Mountain Baptist, 2017 Columbiana Road: candlelight service at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve; worship service at 10 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► Shades Mountain Independent Church, 2281 Old Tyler Road: candlelight service at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve; service at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. ► St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, 2061 Patton Chapel Road: mass at 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. (Spanish) and midnight on Christmas Eve; mass at 9 a.m. on Christmas Day; carols begin 30 minutes before each mass. ► The Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles, 424 Emery Drive: children’s service with communion at 4 p.m., music at 7 p.m. and festival Eucharist at 7:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve; communion service at 10:30 a.m. ► Valleydale Church, 2324 Valleydale Road: family candlelight service at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve; family worship service at 10:45 a.m. on Christmas Day
B8 • December 2016
holiday gift guide
Hoover Sun For the
SASSY SOCK LOVER Zkano Lila Striped Crew Socks $16 Available in men’s and women’s styles. Made with organic cotton in Fort Payne, Alabama. Hoover Hometown Pharmacy 2801 John Hawkins Parkway #101A 650-1960
POWER NAPPER Malouf Shredded Gel Dough™ Pillow Sizes and prices vary Shredded Gel Dough™ clusters create a cooler, softer memory foam pillow that is breathable and moldable. Bedzzz Express bedzzzexpress.com
DECORATOR Pink Hydrangea in an Antique Drawer $40 Give someone a beautifully arranged hydrangea to tend to and enjoy. Sweetspire Gardens 2146 Tyler Road, Suite 212 968-1391
The Mazza Company Venetian Murano Glass Cameo and Sapphire Earrings $1,975 Give someone special these classically elegant and striking earrings.
Bromberg’s 131 Summit Blvd. 969-1776
Rosenberger’s Birmingham Trunk 2712 19th St. S. 870-0971
21” Leather Carry-on Duffel in Tan $199.99 (regularly $335) Also available in 18” and 25” sizes. Free personalization and gift wrapping options.
BUSY HOMEOWNER The Maids Gift Certificate Any amount Give the gift of a clean home. The Maids 871-9338 maids.com
December 2016 • B9
Wolverine Tools Prices vary Save 25 percent on any single Wolverine tool in stock through Christmas when you mention this.
True Grit Frosty Tipped Pullover $145 Throw on an extra cozy layer when cooler weather hits with True Grit pullovers at Alabama Outdoors.
Hanna’s Garden Shop 5485 U.S. 280 991-2939
Alabama Outdoors 108 Inverness Plaza 980-3303
Simply Noelle Bag $59.95
Unique Letter-Pressed Poster (13” x 20”) $50 Highlights places, areas and people that are original to Birmingham.
Hoover Florist 1905 Hoover Court 823-5273
Wrapsody 161 Main St., Suite 127 989-7277
TRENDSETTER Ray-Ban Cats 5000 Classic Sunglasses $150 Tortoise color frames with light brown gradient lenses. Tracey Mercer, Optometrist 2000 Southlake Park, Suite 100 968-1160
BEAUTY LOVER Skin Care Products $44-$281 Scientiﬁcally formulated advanced skin care products with growth factors, antioxidants, retinoids and more. Pure Dermatology & Aesthetics 5346 Stadium Trace Parkway, Suite 100 682-8022
B10 • December 2016
Community Stallworth earns Eagle rank Stallworth Triple Crown. Owen Jr. received Eagle in 1957, Tripp in 2013 and Sam in 2016. Photo courtesy of Tammy StallworthArnau.
Beauty is a Beast is an annual fundraiser for Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama. Photo courtesy of Sheila Lackey.
Aveda Institute holds its 3rd annual Beauty is a Beast pageant
The third annual Beauty is a Beast was held Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Aveda Institute in Hoover. This is an annual fundraiser for Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama sponsored by Somerby at St. Vincent’s, Afﬁnity Home Hospice, Brookwood Home Health, HomeWatch Caregivers and Aspire Physical Recovery Center. The womanless beauty pageant consisted of 12 toplevel senior executives throughout the senior community. Eli Gold, the Voice of the Crimson Tide, was the emcee for the evening. Each contestant was judged on his evening gown, talent, interview question and best pickup line. Talents included making milkshakes, lip sync, dancing, cheerleading, singing and
playing various musical instruments. Aveda Institute’s makeup artist made the dudes look like ladies. The $20 tickets included dinner and drinks. The dinner was provided by Somerby’s chefs, Adam Pouncey and Mike Cox. The drinks were provided by HomeWatch Caregivers’ owner, John Cochran. All proceeds to this event beneﬁt Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama, a local organization helping local families in which all of the money they raise stays in Alabama. The 2015 Ms. Beast, Dan Pahos, owner of Home Instead, passed his crown to the 2016 Ms. Beast, Scott Gill with Integra Care Pharmacy. – Submitted by Sheila Lackey.
Samuel Porter Stallworth, a member of Troop 93 at Oakmont Presbyterian Church, was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout in a Court of Honor ceremony on Oct. 9. Stallworth began his scouting career as a Tiger Cub with Pack 93 and continued through Cub Scouting to achieve the highest award of the Arrow of Light. He earned 24 merit badges, including the United States Heritage Award. He served as Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader and was inducted into the Coosa Lodge of the Order of the Arrow in 2012 and served as the Troop 93 representative for the chapter. Stallworth traveled with the troop on many camping and hiking adventures. He hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee and the Pinhoti Trail in Georgia. He attended many camp outings at Camp Sequoyah and Camporees at
Tannehill State Park, studied Indian lore at Moundville and whitewater rafted down the Hiawassee in Georgia. For his Eagle Scout Leadership project, Sam renovated room 105 at Oakmont. This room was set up for preschool classes but was needed as an adult small group meeting room. The renovation included cleaning, painting, replacing ceiling tiles, preparing for carpet and taking many other options from preschool heights to adult levels. Stallworth is a senior at Hoover High School and a member of Green Valley Baptist Church. He is the Hoover High School Band drum major. He is the son of Owen H. Stallworth Jr. and Tammy and Ted Arnau. He is the grandson of Owen and Edith Stallworth Sr. and the late Porter and Lena Cowden. – Submitted by Tammy Stallworth-Arnau.
December 2016 • B11
Sports The Hoover volleyball team advanced to the state ﬁnal for the second time in three years, both times falling at the hands of Mountain Brook. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.
Bucs ﬁnish season as state runners-up By KYLE PARMLEY The Hoover High School volleyball team scrapped to tie the Class 7A AHSAA State Volleyball Championship match with Mountain Brook at a set apiece, but ultimately fell to the Spartans, 3-1 (11-25, 25-23, 12-25, 19-25), on Oct. 27 at Bill Harris Arena. “It was really kind of us today, as much as it was that way yesterday, too,” said head coach Chris Camper following the match. “We were an absolute roller coaster all year. When we were up, we were the best in Alabama. When we were down, we were beatable. It was never down because we didn’t care or didn’t try. Today was just that day.” The Bucs (39-15) were at the peak of that
roller coaster the day before, sweeping Enterprise and Huntsville in a pair of impressive performances that added to the intrigue of their matchup with Mountain Brook in the ﬁnal. “I’m just proud of them. I really am,” Camper said. In the championship match, Hoover overcame a sluggish ﬁrst set to tie the match with a strong second set. Unfortunately, the third and fourth sets got away from the Bucs, as the Spartans marched away with their third consecutive Class 7A state title. Kyra Hunter, one of six Hoover seniors, led the team with 13 kills and also registered six digs. In her only season with the Bucs, she proved to be a force on the outside. But what she will remember most is the journey of the team.
“Just the ride,” she said. “How fun it was and how they accepted me so quickly to the team and just being able to be part of the experience was the best. Being able to play here was an amazing experience.” Nora Webster managed eight kills and nine digs, while Paige Shaw ﬁnished with six kills and 13 digs. Olivia Portera ﬁnished with 14 digs. Setter Grace Harris was in an untenable situation for much of the last two weeks, as she stepped in for an injured Spencer Downs. Just a sophomore, Harris stepped up following Jamie Gregg’s knee injury in the spring and Downs’ inability to continue. Despite the tough position, Harris left a positive impression on her teammates, on and
off the ﬂoor. “Grace is by far one of the nicest, sweetest girls on the entire team,” Webster said. “She wanted it just as bad as any of us.” “When she was on, she was just as good as our No. 1,” Camper said. Harris ﬁnished the title match with 27 assists. Hoover will see Portera, Downs, Webster, Maya Jones, Kasia Hunter and Kyra Hunter depart, as the seniors conclude their careers. “It means an unbelievable amount. I can’t even put it into words,” said senior libero Portera after the Bucs sealed their spot in the state ﬁnal. “This is such a special team, and we knew — not only with our talent, but how close we are — we were so close. We knew we could do it.”
B12 • December 2016
Striking it rich
Still-blossoming competitive high school sport — bowling — catching on with Spain Park girls
By KYLE PARMLEY t started out as something fun to do over two years ago. One would never assume that now while watching Spain Park’s Julianna Cross bowl. Cross looks up on the monitor and realizes it’s her time to step to the lane. She grabs her towel — a hand towel that appears to have been used heavily over the years — and begins wiping her hands meticulously, to ensure that no moisture or debris will alter her next frame. She grabs her personal bowling ball and inspects it by spinning it through her hands a few times. Her fingers fit the holes perfectly. She now turns toward the lane, her eyes peering over the bowling ball raised to her face. She aligns her feet with the target and flexes her knees. A few steps will get her from where she is standing to the foul line. Her approach has been repeated many times. She knows that rolling the ball squarely into the front pin would cause an undesired split. She hits the front pin slightly off-center. In the blink of an eye, the pins are gone. Strike. Cross attempts to hide the smirk of satisfaction on her face. After all, there are several more where that came from. “We’re all competitive, so winning’s obviously fun,” she said.
Julianna Cross has established herself as one of Spain Park’s top bowlers after picking up the sport on a whim. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.
Bowling is in its second year as a sanctioned championship sport with the Alabama High School Athletic Association and has quickly caught on with the Spain Park girls team. “Well, it started out as just kind of a fun thing, because the whole
HooverSun.com softball team did it,” said Caroline Parker, one of the Lady Jags’ top bowlers. “We just did it for fun. Then we realized that we were actually kind of good at it, so we just kept going.” Cross and Parker are two of Spain Park’s top softball players. Mary Katherine Tedder recently signed to play softball at the University of Texas, and is a natural in the bowling alley as well. The list goes on. C.J. Hawkins, who doubles as Spain Park’s softball coach, coaches the Lady Jags. Initially, that attracted solely softball players to compete on the team. But after two years of competing as a team — and one as a championship sport — the team is beginning to show some diversity. Volleyball players, a gymnast and others can be spotted on a given match day competing for Spain Park. Hawkins is by no means a “bowling whisperer.” But she does boast extensive experience maintaining personalities and coaching individuals, two things that lend well to competitive bowling. “Every game. Every tournament,” Parker said of when the team gets some sort of pregame talk from Hawkins. “She just tells us to stay focused and get as many pins as you can.” As far as the technical aspects of the game go, the Lady Jags have essentially ﬁgured them out on their own, through showing up at the lanes several days a week. “[Hawkins] doesn’t know how to correct us and we don’t know how to correct ourselves either, because no one’s done it before,” Parker said. “But we practice a lot. It’s all about repetition. That’s the only thing you can do to get better at it.” After bowling consistently over the last few years, Cross has started to notice the effects of ill form, and is ﬁguring out how to address them. “A lot of times, if you’re leaning and your hips are not square, that inﬂuences where the ball will go,” she said. That kind of technical talk comes from the same people who signed up for the team on a whim. Parker admitted, “Now we take it really seriously.” The Lady Jags back up Parker’s point. During a Nov. 14 match at Vestavia Bowl,
December 2016 • B13
Caroline Parker has learned the nuances of the game of bowling after playing for two years.
for example, Taylor Harrington bowled with the varsity team with a broken ﬁnger. Parker tweaked her hip and continued to participate. Neither had second thoughts. They won that day.
High school bowling matches are divided into two categories: traditional and Baker. Matches begin with a traditional round, where ﬁve bowlers from each team complete the normal 10 frames and their total pins are combined. The traditional round is followed by three Baker games, where the strength or weaknesses
of a team become readily apparent. All ﬁve bowlers combine to make one game in a Baker game, meaning each player bowls two frames in each game. The catch is that the players play in order, twice through. The person who bowls the ﬁrst frame also plays the sixth frame. The one who completes the second, also the seventh, and so on. The strongest player is given the anchor spot and bowls the ﬁfth and 10th frames, where extra pins are available. “The ﬁfth spot is deﬁnitely the most pressure,” said Cross, who occasionally takes claim to that spot, “because you can go into an extra frame. In the 10th frame, you need to get a
spare or a strike.” The scoring system in bowling can be complicated for beginners. Parker and Cross admitted as much but said they have a much better grasp on it now than when they started. “It took me a long time to ﬁgure out how spares work,” Parker said. “It’s plus-10 whatever you get [on the next roll]. Also, the 10th frame is worth 30 pins and is so important.” The Spain Park girls saw the boys team capture the state championship last season and are aiming for that accomplishment this time. The Lady Jags came in ﬁfth at state last year, but believe they are a year better and equipped to make a run.
B14 • December 2016
Hoover High School head cross-country and track and field coach Devon Hind has guided his program to 27 state titles since 2003. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.
IMMEASURABLE IMPACT Hoover head cross-country, track and field oach positions athletes for a lifetime of success
By SAM CHANDLER
hen Hoover High School assistant cross-country coach Leslie Pair visits her parents’ Bluff Park home, she can count on finding a wedding invitation tacked to their refrigerator. The couples who mail them, she said, share a common bond. “It’s always one of his old athletes,” Pair said of her father, Devon Hind. Hind is in his 14th year as the head cross-country and track and field coach at Hoover High School, where he has guided the Buccaneers to 27 state titles since 2003. That was the year he took over for longtime coach Mary Birdwell. But as indicated by the invitations posted on his fridge, Hind’s impact is not limited to grass courses and rubber tracks. According to Hoover runners from past and present, the investment that Hind makes in his athletes creates a lasting impact — one that positions them for annual success in the field of competition and sustained success in the race of life. “He’s been like my dad in a big way, a second father,” said Pat McGregor, a 2009 Hoover graduate who now coaches cross-country and track and field as an assistant at Samford University. “He’s just a guy who’s there to love you and help you no matter what.”
Hind first learned what it meant to be a good coach through the simple act of observation. As a prep cross-country runner at Avondale High School in Auburn Hills, Michigan, he witnessed a teacher with little knowledge of the sport turn his team into a state champion. Hind, who began running in 10th grade, said he and his teammates showed up to their first cross-country meet in gym shorts and white T-shirts — far from typical race-day attire. But that didn’t stop them. “We didn’t know what we were doing when I was in high school,” Hind said. “We didn’t even have a uniform, and we became state champions and one of the most dominant teams ever in the history of the state of Michigan.”
Hind said Avondale won every meet it entered during his 12th-grade season, and other teams couldn’t even come close. The success, he said, began with his coach. “He just invested in his kids and loved us, and we ran our guts out for him,” Hind said. The anecdote underscores a key concept — one that Hind has carried with him for the last 40 years. A team’s success, he said, hinges upon a healthy coach-athlete relationship. Hind, accordingly, places priority on establishing that connection. “If you like the coach, you will do anything you can for him, so I’ve remembered that in my coaching career,” Hind said.
A WINDING PATH
It’s a career that has come full circle. Hind was originally hired by Bob Finley as Berry High School’s cross-country coach in 1978 per the recommendation of John Mitchell, a coach at the University of Alabama. Hind was an All-Southeastern Conference performer for the Crimson Tide in the mid1970s. Under Mitchell, he set a school record in the 3K steeplechase and clocked a 4 minute, 3 second personal-best time in the mile. “Anything distance they needed, I did,” said Hind, who started his collegiate career at Michigan State before transferring to Alabama via community college. Hind spent three years coaching and teaching physical education at Berry, but he said he didn’t get selected for tenure after year three. As a result, his stint at the school came to a sudden end. “When that happened, I was determined nobody was ever going to fire me again,” Hind said. “So I started my own lawn service company.” Hind cut grass and provided other household services full-time for the next 16 years, from 1981 to 1997. He said his company, Dial a Handyman, developed a peak clientele of 750 customers. It wasn’t until 1993 that Hind re-entered the coaching ranks. At the time, he had a daughter who ran on the Simmons Middle School cross-country team, which was in need of a coach. Hind jumped at the opportunity and directed the Simmons cross-country program on a volunteer basis for the next three years.
He eventually accepted a full-time teaching and coaching position at the school, where he taught science from 1996 to 2003. For six of those seven years, he continued to manage Dial a Handyman on top of his other responsibilities. “I was very, very happy at Simmons,” Hind said. “I felt like I really had an impact on kids. I felt fulfilled.” But when Birdwell retired from Hoover in 2003, Hind interviewed for the opening and got it. He’s been teaching health and coaching the Bucs ever since. “It took me a long time to get back there,” said Hind, who waited 22 years for a second chance to return to the program where his coaching career began.
Hind’s tenure at Hoover has been marked by maps — blue maps, to be exact. The Alabama-shaped plaques outlined in blue are distributed at the end of each season to teams who win state titles. In one of Hoover High’s hallways, the cross-country and track and field maps are on display for all to see, lining a shelved wall like books at a library. Since Hind took over 13 years ago, the Hoover boys have captured 14 state victories; the girls have claimed 13. The number of individual champions is almost too many to count, but they are there too, immortalized on Hind’s version of a wall of fame. Every individual state victor in school history — dating to 1968 when Hoover was known as Berry — has a plaque with his or her picture hung on the wall. Hind said he first constructed the perpetually expanding project nearly 10 years ago. Whenever another Buc wins state, they get their own slice of history. “It’s a pretty good motivating tool,” Hind said. Hind also writes letters to his cross-country team after each meet, recapping its performance with analysis and encouragement. A collection of those letters was published in 2014 in a book titled “Run For Your Life.” Much of Hind’s coaching success, in fact, can be boiled down to his knack for inspiring athletes. “He reminds us that we can do things
Cross-country and track-and-field team trophies line a hallway at Hoover High School. Head coach Devon Hind constructed the project nearly 10 years ago as a way to commemorate and motivate.
that haven’t been done before,” said Hoover junior Sydney Steely, an All-State performer in cross-country and track. “He just has a way of motivating anyone and making them believe that they can do whatever it is he thinks they can do.” More often than not, Hind’s belief in his athletes exceeds their own. He holds them to his standard — a standard that may seem high, but one he knows they are capable of reaching. “It’s the same in the classroom or in life. You set the bar high, and people will rise to it,” Hind said. “You set the bar low; they rise to that, too. Why not set it high?” The explanation is meant more like a statement than a question. Or maybe it’s an invitation. If accepted, one day it might just be returned. “To have them come back at the end of their careers — sometimes it’s a couple years after they left — and they will send me a letter of thanks to tell me how much running changed them and their life,” Hind said. “That’s what is fulfilling.”
December 2016 â€˘ B15
B16 • December 2016
PREP HOOPS PREVIEW LADY
Former player becomes new leader of Lady Bucs By KYLE PARMLEY Hoover High School’s girls basketball team has a new but familiar face at the helm. Krystle Johnson was hired in May as the head coach of the Lady Bucs, now leading the same program she led to the 2001 state championship as a player. “I’ve always said I didn’t ever really want to coach anywhere but here,” Johnson said. “My heart has always been in Hoover.” Johnson played collegiately at UCLA and Alabama before returning to her high school alma mater from 2007-12, where she assisted with two more state championships for the Lady Bucs. Now, following a four-year run at Huntsville High where Johnson led the program to its ﬁrst two Final Four appearances in school history, she’s back as the head coach and hopeful to restore Hoover as a perennial contender and a feared program. “State championship here is just kind of mandatory,” she said. Having played Hoover a few times while coaching at Huntsville, Johnson has seen many of her new players in game action already, and she said she knows what needs to be worked on. “I played against them, so I know most of their weaknesses and most of their strengths,” she said. “That’s one of the things I worked on when I got here … I tried to correct those weaknesses.” One of those weaknesses Johnson observed was the inability to shoot the basketball at a high level. Each player is now required to make 1,000 shots per week, and it is the reason why players won’t be found lingering around the locker room before practice. “Everybody seems to be receptive to everything. Nobody seems to be ﬁghting or anything,” Johnson said.
Krystle Johnson is now leading the program she helped build as a player and an assistant coach. Photo by Kyle Parmley.
One area that is not an issue is athleticism, which the Lady Bucs have in abundance, she said. “I’m excited, because I know how much talent we have, but I also know how young our talent is,” Johnson said. That young talent will need time to mature, and Johnson said she is taking steps to bring the team along as it begins to navigate its schedule. “When the majority of your team is young — we’ve only got four seniors — it’s always going to take some time. Right now, we don’t have a vocal leader, so I’m having to basically do all the vocal leading at this point,” Johnson
said before the season. However, opposing teams will not be delighted to see junior forwards Angela Grant and Eboni Williams, who are both garnering looks from Division 1 programs. Joiya Maddox and Miya Kimber are sophomores who also will contribute in a big way. “At any given point, there’s no telling who will lead us in scoring or who will lead us in rebounding, because we’ve just got a lot of talent on this team,” Johnson said. Johnson said she will not keyhole her team into any single style of play, but that her team
will be able to adapt to any opponent. “We could play any brand of basketball,” she said. “We’ve got people who could go fast. We’ve got threats when it’s time to slow down. We’ve got people who can get to the basket. We’ve got people who can shoot. We’ve got people who can defend. The one thing I’ve always taught my players is to be versatile.” As for the maturation process of a young, talented team, whether the proper lessons are learned early or late in the season will determine how far the Lady Bucs advance in the spring.
December 2016 • B17
Tommy McDonough won the Class 7A state title on Nov. 12. Photo by Sam Chandler.
McDonough takes title, Hoover boys ﬁnish 3rd By SAM CHANDLER Tommy McDonough entered the Nov. 12 AHSAA State Cross Country Championships with a race strategy suited to his strengths. The Hoover High School senior, who has run a 4 minute, 13 second mile, said he wanted to stay relaxed, tuck behind the leaders and then use his speed to outkick the competition. He executed the plan perfectly. McDonough summoned his fast-twitch ﬁbers in the Class 7A boys race as he tore down the homestretch on a cool morning at Oakville Indian Mounds Park. Positioned in third with 400 meters to go, he blew past Auburn’s Joshua Escoe and then nipped Hewitt-Trussville’s John Ngaruiya at the line by one-tenth of a second. McDonough ﬁnished in a 5K personal-best 15:39.7, and Ngaruiya ﬁnished in 15:39.8. Escoe placed third in 15:42.26. “If I just stayed behind in the last 100 [meters], last 50 [meters], I could catch them,” McDonough said after the race, “because it’s easier when you’re behind somebody to catch them than to fend somebody off. I knew that coming in, so I just relaxed and just kicked.” McDonough’s photo-ﬁnish victory represented the ﬁrst individual state title of his prep career, though he had come tantalizingly close in the past. McDonough is a ﬁve-time state runner-up on the track in events ranging from 800 to 3,200 meters. Just minutes after capturing his long-awaited triumph, McDonough said he came into the race more concerned with helping his Hoover team than with garnering personal accolades. ‘It’s cool, but overall it’s the team that matters,” McDonough said, “and that’s what I love about cross-country — the bond and everything.” Notably, McDonough became Hoover’s ﬁrst state cross-country champion since former standout Pat McGregor took top honors in 2007. The senior’s gold-medal effort propelled the Hoover boys to a third-place team ﬁnish with
93 points. Auburn defeated Mountain Brook, 59-69, to defend its title for a fourth straight year. Hoover had entered the meet with championship aspirations, but fell short on race day. “Our guys did not run well. We beat ourselves,” head coach Devon Hind said after the meet. “We did not get beat today, and those are hard for a coach to swallow.” John Paul Rumore, a senior, was the only Hoover runner other than McDonough to place in the top 20. He earned All-State honors with a 15th-place ﬁnish in 16:16.24. John McCrackin (24th, 16:28.65), Alex Leary (32nd, 16:35.63) and Will Couch (40th, 16:47.59) rounded out the team’s scoring runners. Hind praised the performance of Couch, a sophomore who clocked a 36-second personal best when his team needed it most. “He was a bright spot,” Hind said. Propelled by All-State showings from Sydney Steely and Ava Weems, the Hoover girls tallied a fourth-place team ﬁnish with 96 points. Huntsville beat Mountain Brook, 51-61, to end the Spartans’ 13-year state title reign. “I’m not disappointed with our girls ﬁnish because we got beat,” Hind said. “We ran well, and we got beat, and I can live with that.” Steely placed eighth in 18:52.19, and Weems placed 13th in 19:00.96. Emma Langley (25th, 19:34.92), Erin Cannon (30th, 19:40.13) and Caroline Sall (33rd, 19:43.14) capped the team’s scoring runners.
The Spain Park girls posted a seventh-place team ﬁnish with 206 points. They were led by Mary Katherine Tedder’s 27th-place effort in 19:36.17. Although the Spain Park boys team did not qualify for state, it advanced three individuals. Morgan Becker (31st, 16:34.07), Charlie Trower (33rd, 16:35.93) and Jacob Warner (35th, 16:36.94) all registered personal bests on Nov. 12.
B18 • December 2016
PREP HOOPS PREVIEW HOOVER
Bucs looking to pick up where they left off last season By KYLE PARMLEY A team coming off a 16-19 record is not often considered among the favorites to win the Class 7A boys basketball state championship. That was the mark of the Hoover High School team last season when the dust settled. The Bucs replaced nine seniors from a 2015 championship team, and the win-loss record was not pretty to start out for a young team. “The schedule was unbelievably tough,” said head coach Charles Burkett. “We had one of two options: We could tank it, or we could get better. We got better.” A month through the season, the Bucs were stuck with a 2-9 record, but there were encouraging signs. “Our record didn’t indicate how well we played, because we got more losses than wins,” Burkett said. “However, the bulk of those games came down to the last three minutes. That’s where — over the course of the season — we gained that experience, and by the end of the season, we knew how to ﬁnish games.” The Bucs rode a wave of momentum all the way to the Final Four at the end of the season, but they fell in double overtime to eventual state
champion McGill-Toolen. “They feel as though we let one slip last year,” Burkett said. “We had an opportunity to play in the championship game to win a back-to-back, and they feel like we let that slip away … So we’re back to ﬁnish it this year. We’re going to pick up right where we left off and hopefully once we get on the big stage, we want to ﬁnish it this time.” Burkett’s cast of characters this year will largely resemble the ensemble he put on the ﬂoor last year, one where the go-to scorer could change from night to night, that could beat teams with excellent guard play or by dumping the ball into the paint. It combines that feature with one from the 2014 squad that won it all. Now the Bucs’ roster is loaded with seniors — eight, to be exact. Burkett said he could give “seven or eight names out there who are bona ﬁde leaders” of his team, including a young player who came on strong at the end of last year in guard Jamari Blackmon. He scored a game-high 29 points in the loss to McGill. “He’s so much more mature,” Burkett said. “He’s got a whole year under his belt. He knows how hard the game has to be played.” Marion Humphrey and Ahman
Jamari Blackmon scored a game-high 29 points for Hoover in the state semiﬁnal last year. He’s back and eager to lead Hoover back to the Final Four. Photo by Frank Couch.
Ellington played much of last season on the junior varsity team before being called up to varsity toward the end of the season. They will help comprise a dangerous backcourt that also includes Matthew Rickman, Tavian Roundtree, JD Gaines, Ellis Conwell and Darius Jenkins. Justin Rumph and Cam Jones are
two forwards who garnered minutes last year that will also contribute in a big way. “I think we have excellent guard play and experience. Mix that in, you have the potential to be pretty good. The only thing left for us to do is to go out there and do it,” Burkett said. That experience does not make
Burkett any less prone to play a demanding schedule. “I love this schedule because it’s preparing us. If there are any weaknesses out there, our schedule will deﬁnitely ﬁnd it for us. That allows us to go back to the drawing board and put in work and improve,” Burkett said.
December 2016 • B19
PREP HOOPS PREVIEW SPAIN
Jags focus on returning pieces to replicate last year’s success By KYLE PARMLEY The Spain Park High School boys basketball team is focusing on what it has, rather than what it lost. Gone is Auburn signee Austin Wiley, who chose to ﬁnish his prep career at The Conrad Academy in Orlando, Florida. Graduated is Justin Brown, a key cog to the Jaguars’ Final Four run a season ago. But the Jags do return one piece of the three-headed monster. Jamal Johnson, who recently signed with the University of Memphis, is now a senior and hoping to lead Spain Park back to the BJCC. “I feel like we can make another run for it,” Johnson said. “Everybody’s focused and determined to get back to that stage and the Final Four and to try to win it all this year. Even though one of our main guys left, I think we still have a good shot of making it.” Johnson knows he has to be the leader for the Jags, and his conversations with head coach Donnie Quinn have been to ensure that he and the team are moving in the right direction. “We’re going to have a more spreadout offense, and Coach said he’s going to have a lot of different sets to try to get me open because people will go box-and-one [defense] on me,” Johnson said. Quinn knows Johnson has the ability to play at an extremely high level, and wants to see him take a step in a different facet of his game. “It all comes down to leadership,” Quinn said. “He’s a great player. His leadership skills, if they can be better, he can really lead our team and have those
guys play around him. That’s going to be the difference for us.” One guy who is presumed to step in right behind Johnson is young guard Parker Boswell, only a sophomore but in his third season on the varsity squad. “He started at point guard as a freshman last year and he’s going to have to do more scoring than he did last year,” Quinn said. Other players that are expected to step up and ﬁll some of the void are Xavier Blanchard, Trey Johnson, Ronald Fortson and Justice Canady, among others. Blanchard is a player that both Johnson and Quinn singled out as an instant impact player. Blanchard was forced to sit out last year, and the Jags will certainly need his contributions this season. Trey Johnson is the younger brother of Jamal Johnson. As a sophomore, Trey is expected to “be a factor,” according to Quinn. Fortson and Canady do not possess the natural gifts that Wiley brought to the table, but both bring physicality and grit to the table to bridge the gap. “Everybody’s getting better each and every day, getting stronger, and I think all of them will be better players,” Jamal Johnson said. There are sure to be other players to join the fray and make their presence known this season, something Quinn knows all too well as a veteran coach. “Like all teams, you go into a season thinking you know what’s going to happen, then all the sudden this guy out of nowhere becomes a really big contributor,” he said. “All those things have yet to be determined. I’m looking forward to coaching these guys.”
Spain Park is looking to players like Parker Boswell to ﬁll the gap left by departures from last year’s Final Four team. Photo by Ted Melton.
B20 • December 2016
Blu˜ Park Bluff
Business Spotlight | Special Advertising Section
luff Park is a tight-knit community where you can ﬁnd that small-town feeling in the bustling city of Hoover. Inside this special section, meet some of the people serving the community. While these businesses offer a variety of services from storage to dentistry to child care to gardening and landscaping, each business owner agrees that working in Bluff Park is a pleasure.
BLUFF PARK LAWN CARE ................................. B22
ARMORSAFE STORAGE...................................... B20 KASEY DAVIS DENTISTRY ................................. B21 BLUFF PARK ICE CREAM SHOPPE .................. B22
PIONEER PLAYSCHOOL ..................................... B24
SWEETSPIRE GARDENS ......................................B23 SAMPSON DENTISTRY ....................................... B24
Safe • Secure • Clean If you have more belongings than space to hide them, ArmorSafe Storage can solve that problem. Ken Harden says there are a lot of factors that should tempt you to choose ArmorSafe Storage in the Bluff Park Village Shopping Center as the place to store that overﬂow of treasured items you just can’t part with. Access is available every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the climate and humidity controlled, one-level facility. Harden says the most important consideration is that you get your belongings out of storage in the same condition as they were when you put them in. Security is an important part of storage. Computer controlled key-card access, a high-tech security camera system and tamper-resistant locks add layers of protection to your storage experience. In addition, all units have their own burglar alarm that is controlled by your access card. Harden says lighting is important as well,
so he made sure the facility was well-lit both inside and out. Converting the old Delchamp’s into ArmorSafe Storage gave Harden a bonus to offer movers. A loading dock is available by appointment, which allows movers to walk directly into their truck without the need for ramps. Carts are available for use by any tenant to assist in their move, and covered loading areas at the front of the facility mean you can access the building even in bad weather. Moving supplies such as boxes, bubble wrap, tape and more are available for purchase with tenants offered a 10 percent discount. Online reservations and payments are available using the company website armorsafestorage.com. The ArmorSafe ofﬁce is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on weekends by appointment. For more information, call 205822-8528 or visit armorsafestorage.com.
Business Spotlight Special Advertising Section
December 2016 • B21
KASEY DAVIS DENTISTRY
Kasey Davis Dentistry is all smiles in Bluff Park Kasey Davis Dentistry has been serving Bluff Park residents from atop Shades Crest since August 2014. Located across from Lover’s Leap on Shades Crest Road, the charming ofﬁce offers a unique variety of quality services. “I’m always looking for training in the latest improvements,” Dr. Kasey Davis said, “and like to keep up with the newest advances in dentistry, while still staying true to the procedures that are tried and true and don’t need changing.” Davis is a trained provider in Six Month Smiles, a program providing clear, esthetic braces to adults to wear for an effective sixmonth period, and aims to practice sleep dentistry in 2017. Her present list of additional services is impressive. “I offer esthetic Botox and dermal ﬁller, and am a certiﬁed member of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics,” she said. “We also use Botox in situations where the patient suffers from bruxism and headaches due to bruxism, to relax the jaw muscles. It is an amazing addition to a night guard.” Kasey Davis Dentistry also offers a new whitening system called GLO Whitening PRO, a treatment Davis described as “the newest and best thing in cosmetic teeth whitening.” While some procedures such as impacted wisdom teeth and complicated root canals may be referred out, Davis tries to keep most services and procedures in-house. “One of my primary goals is creating a relationship of trust,” Davis said. “As a dentist,” she added, “I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do my absolute best to educate and let the patient know what they can expect and the possibilities involved.” Davis, who credits her strong work ethic to those of her parents, opened her own practice in Bluff Park after working nearly six years at a
small town practice in St. Clair County. She realized she had “hit a growth ceiling.” “I knew that it was time to take a leap of faith and open a practice for myself,” she said. “The time didn’t really seem great… But I’ve always heard if you wait until the perfect time to do something, you never will.” After some prayer, everything began “to fall into place.” Davis’ husband, a native of Bluff Park, discovered an ofﬁce space availability in his hometown — a space he was considering for
his own business, but surrendered to his wife with the certainty that she was meant to have it for her practice. It was located across from Lovers’ Leap, where the couple had become engaged years before. In a sense, Bluff Park picked Kasey Davis Dentistry. “I must say, from day one Bluff Park embraced us,” Davis said. “I quickly understood that Bluff Park was not just a place; it truly was a community.” “It’s so funny,” she said, “because my main
goal in owning a practice was to create an environment where my patients would walk in and almost feel like they were part of a family. But within just months, I myself felt like I had been accepted into and become part of a family: the Bluff Park family.” Eventually, Davis hopes to retire in the Bluff Park community. “It’s home to me,” she said, “and I can’t imagine myself practicing anywhere else.” For more information about Kasey Davis Dentistry, go to kaseydavisdentistry.com.
B22 • December 2016 BLUFF PARK ICE CREAM SHOPPE
The (delicious) inside scoop When it comes to ideal ice cream parlors, the Bluff Park Ice Cream Shoppe tops them all. “Bluff Park Ice Cream Shoppe was opened to create a fun, inviting destination for people to come enjoy delicious ice cream and to create memories,” said Alex Hare, daughter of owner David Hare. Located on Shades Crest Road, the shop serves its customers in a spacious atmosphere that blends classic ice cream parlor ambiance with a touch of modern ﬂair. A freestanding white marble bar with 10 barstools, a banquet bench that seats 20 customers, tables and chairs and exterior wooden benches are custom built to accommodate plentiful seating. Color changing spoons, generous scoops, unlimited samplings and low visual dipping cabinets displaying 32 ice cream ﬂavors are a child’s fantasy scene. Favorite ﬂavors include “This Just Got Serious,” salted caramel ice cream with sea
salt and cashews; “Zanzibar Chocolate,” all-natural chocolate ice cream with three types of cocoa; “Exhausted Parent,” bourbonspiked espresso ice cream with a swirl of bittersweet chocolate chunks; and other unique combinations. “When choosing the ice cream,” Hare said, “we wanted to make sure we had an option for almost everybody.” Besides 80 ice cream ﬂavors offered throughout the year, Hare’s shop serves additional treats in 30 ﬂavors of shaved ice, frozen Greek yogurt, caffeinated ice cream, dairy-free soy ice cream, no-sugar-added ice cream and coffee. “Our ultimate goal,” Hare said, “is to make sure every one of our customers leaves with a smile on their face and comes back to see us.” Bluff Park Ice Cream Shoppe, 815 Shades Crest Road, is open noon-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 1-9 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 205-423-5055.
Business Spotlight Special Advertising Section
BLUFF PARK LAWN CARE
Lawn care for all seasons Rob Elam and his wife, Cyndi Elam, always dreamed of starting their own small business. In April 2009, their dream became reality with the start of Bluff Park Lawn Care. Bluff Park Lawn Care has grown into a year-round business. It is open 12 months a year, sunup to sundown, Monday through Saturday. The company provides lawn and landscape maintenance during the late spring and summer. In the fall and winter it reconstructs lawns and landscaping, clears brush, provides water runoff solutions and installs or repairs irrigation systems. Bluff Park Lawn Care also works with Lawn Guard for all customers’ weed control and fertilization needs. “We are not like other lawn service companies,” Rob said. “We offer much more than just mowing lawns, and we transition from season to season to accommodate our
customers’ needs.” The Elams’ goal when starting the company was to be a small business owned and operated along Shades Crest Road. It took the company a few years, but now it has been able to unify a customer base. Bluff Park Lawn Care currently operates along Shades Crest Road from Interstate 65 to Russet Woods and throughout the Green Valley area to U.S. Highway 31. “I enjoy making people’s property look its best,” Rob said. “Some of my favorite memories come from driving by properties we maintain or yards we have reconstructed and realizing the difference we made for the neighborhood.” Bluff Park Lawn Care is open Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 205-478-8245 or visit facebook.com/ bluffparklawn/?fref=ts.
Business Spotlight Special Advertising Section
December 2016 • B23
Sweetspire Gardens cultivates community relationships Sweetspire Gardens is a quiet ﬂower shop nestled at the edge of Bluff Park Village, located off of Tyler Road. Since its roots ﬁrst touched soil in November 2015, the family-owned and family-run business has offered the Bluff Park community selections of quality plants, gardening instruments and tasteful décor. Owner Jason Cooper said that he personally selects “quality material” from trusted local growers. Fresh cut ﬂowers are available most weekends. Decorative merchandise of glass and iron has additionally dubbed the small establishment a go-to gift shop in the community. But its greatest appeal? Honest, personable customer service. Sweetspire aims to provide its best services to people and plants alike. As a result, customers frequent the shop for more than products. Some customers drop by to offer their own services or to visit with the owners. Others seek gardening and landscaping advice, which is provided by any of the Cooper clan. “You can come in and ask questions, and we’re not going to charge you for that, we’re just going to tell you what we know,” Cooper said. Cooper said that it is this community interaction that sets his business apart from others in the horticulture industry. For him, making business extends beyond making sales. In cultivating relationships with the Bluff Park community, he has reaped rewards for his own business. Other local businesses have initiated networking relationships with his shop while nurturing their own relationships with Sweetspire Gardens — a valuable commodity, as they sometimes partner for the promotion of their businesses or other community events. Such business relationships are unique to Bluff Park, Cooper said. Bluff Park prizes locally owned businesses
and locally grown products, and its residents shop accordingly, Cooper said. Cooper describes the Bluff Park community as socially close-knit and botanically knowledgeable. He said the community’s love for gardening and aesthetic landscaping has created a pleasant environment for his business. His attraction to the Bluff Park community decided Sweetspire Gardens’ location several years ago, when Cooper ﬁrst dreamed up the shop after working almost 23 years as a landscaping contractor. Cooper has visited many areas of design. For his ﬁrst portion of undergraduate schooling
at Auburn University, he pursued a career in graphic design even as he worked in construction and landscape design. “Whether it was on paper or whether it’s in the ground, design’s design — all the principles still hold true,” he said, “so lines, shape, form, function, color — it doesn’t matter if it’s on paper or in the ground.” This was the perspective that facilitated Cooper’s switch of major to horticulture. “Now I have to worry about if it lives or if it dies or what that canvas looks like in 10 years. The painting doesn’t change; the landscape does.”
As a garden shop owner, Cooper wears many hats. Cooper said his roles range “from landscape designer to accountant to advertising to IT support to watering the plants.” Running Sweetspire Gardens is a sweet collaboration of the efforts of Cooper, his wife, children and friends. Cooper hopes to witness an increase in business proﬁts and employment, but for now he is content to cultivate care for his plants and community. For more information about Sweetspire Gardens, go to sweetspiregardens.com or visit its Facebook page.
B24 • December 2016
Business Spotlight Special Advertising Section
Conservative treatments Preparing kids to succeed in a no-pressure setting When parents see what the Pioneer Playschool can do for their kids, the school impresses them. And then when they graduate, their kids go out and impress everybody else. “We teach the children to read by age 4,” said Stephanie Rye, director of Pioneer Playschool, which runs preschool programs in the morning and after-school care in the afternoon. “When they leave for kindergarten, they’re reading and have a really strong phonics foundation. Neighboring schools say that Pioneer’s students are very well prepared.” In the 3-year-old class, “we do a lot of emphasis on writing and ﬁne motor skills and a lot of holistic learning — they learn through their senses,” she said. When they get to be 4, they get a reading coach. “We are one of the longest-running daycares in the Bluff Park area — we’ve been
here 45 years,” Rye said. Pioneer Playschool — which has a western motif — sits on a couple of acres that offer trees and natural play areas. “We have a very rigid structure in the mornings, but in the afternoons, we have a lot of indoor or outdoor activities the kids can choose from,” Rye said. “They enjoy that home-like environment of free choice.” At Pioneer Playschool, choices range from art time indoors to organized game time outside, or they can swing, ride tricycles, play their own games and enjoy home-cooked meals and snacks, Rye said. They also provide holiday care, and in the summers, the school focuses entirely on its Christian curriculum. Pioneer Playschool is located at 2262 Chapel Road in Hoover. To learn more, call 205-823-2431 or visit their Facebook page.
James Sampson was drawn to dentistry because it was a profession that ﬁt his passions — relationships, artistry and health. It was an opportunity to serve others doing the things he was good at and enjoyed. This dental practice has been serving Bluff Park for over 40 years. Sampson took over eight years ago when he fell in love with the area and existing practice. “I chose Bluff Park because it is a wonderful neighborhood that has a small town feel,” Sampson said. The practice is conveniently located across the street from the Piggly Wiggly and the post ofﬁce in Bluff Park. They are a family dental practice and offer general dentistry services to all ages. Sampson Dentistry prides itself as a no-pressure dental ofﬁce that purposefully has a laid back atmosphere. Sampson said this is something his patients greatly appreciate. “Our patients know we are not going to
judge, intimidate or pressure anyone, and they feel safe to engage in dialogue with us about their concerns and goals,” Sampson said. Sampson has personally had a lot of dental work over the years and wants people to know he can relate and understands the perspective of a dental patient. “I struggle to ﬂoss and have a huge sweet tooth,” Sampson joked. He wants patients to know he is on their side. “I will always treat patients’ dental conditions as conservatively as possible like I would want for myself,” he said. “This is a huge reason why people have stayed with our practice for so long.” Sampson Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call at 205-823-2355. For more information, go to sampsondentistry.com and facebook.com/ SampsonDentistry.
December 2016 • B25
5235 Lake Crest Circle
Real Estate Listings MLS #
5235 Lake Crest Circle
4727 McGill Court
399 Renaissance Drive
100 Cliffwood Lane
317 Golf Drive
801 Castlemaine Court
1868 Mayﬂower Drive
3452 Conley Road
1816 Valgreen Lane
336 Burbank Drive
1312 Al Seier Lane
1076 Forest Brook Drive
1279 Atkins Trimm Boulevard
484 Matzek Drive
279 Cambo Drive
1731 Hummingbird Lane S.
5438 Colony Way
3401 Collingwood Road
623 Flag Circle
3458 Sawyer Drive
Real estate listings provided by the Birmingham Association of Realtors on Nov. 14. Visit birminghamrealtors.com.
279 Cambo Drive
B26 • December 2016
Calendar Hoover Events Tuesday nights: Kids eat free at Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato. 610 Preserve Parkway. (One child per adult). Visit vecchiabirmingham.com. Dec. 1: Economic Development Committee Meeting. 8:30 a.m. Hoover Chamber of Commerce. Visit hooverchamber.org. Dec. 1: Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. 5 p.m. Hoover City Hall. Visit hooveral.org. Dec. 3: Alabama Wildlife Center’s Holiday Craft and Bake Sale. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Veteran’s Park. Holiday-themed crafts, handmade items, baked goods and more. Santa, free refreshments and meet birds up close. Free. Visit awrc.org. Dec. 3: Holiday Greenery Sale. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Aldridge Gardens. Get greenery for wreaths,
garlands and other holiday decorations. Visit aldridgegardens.com.
Contacts. 7:30-9 a.m. Park Crest Events, 2030 Little Valley Rd. Visit hooverchamber.org.
Dec. 4: Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra Holiday at the Galleria. 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Free. Visit alabamasymphony.org.
Dec. 9: Horizons Luncheon. 11 a.m. Hoover Senior Center. Visit hooveral.org.
Dec. 6: Pottery Ornament Workshop with Lana Hobbs. 6:30 p.m. $45. Visit artistsonthebluff.com. Dec. 7: Southeastern Outings Weekday Dayhike. 10 a.m. Veterans Park. 3-mile guided tour of easily walkable trails. Bring water and wear walking shoes or boots. For information, call 205-317-6969. Dec. 8: Gifts of Art. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aldridge Gardens. Find original, affordable, hand-crafted works of art by Alabama artists just in time for the holidays. Dec. 8: Hoover Chamber Coffee &
Stardome Comedy Club Dec. 1: Shaun Jones. 7:30 p.m. $9.75.
Dec. 10: USATF National Junior Olympics XC Championship. All day. Veteran’s Park, 4800 Valleydale Road. Visit hooveral.org. Dec. 14: Christmas Celebration. 11 a.m. Hoover Senior Center. Visit hooveral.org. Dec. 14: Chamber Ambassador Meeting. 4:30 p.m. Hoover Chamber Ofﬁce. Visitors welcome. Visit hooverchamber.org. Dec. 15: Hoover Chamber luncheon. Hyatt Regency-The Wynfrey Hotel. 11:15 a.m. Networking, Noon Luncheon. Call 205-988-5672 or email email@example.com for reservations. Visit hooverchamber.org.
Hoover Public Library
Dec. 2-4: DeRay Davis. Friday, 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Saturday, 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. $33 reserved, $38 VIP.
Dec. 6-7: Darren Knight a.k.a. Southern Mama. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. $25.
Mondays: Together with Twos. 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.
Dec. 8-11: Tim Statum. Thursday and Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
Mondays: Story Lab. 4 p.m. Ages 3-8.
Dec. 14-18: Country Cool. Wednesday-Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. $14-$20.
Tuesdays: Mother Goose. 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays: Early Birds. 10 a.m.
December 2016 • B27
Hoover Public Library (cont) Wednesdays: Rockin’ Tots. 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Thursdays: ExploraStory. 10:30 a.m. Thursdays: PJ Storytime. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2: Movers & Shakers. 11 a.m. Frozen Flurries. Dec. 3: Spin-a-Santa. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 10: A Curious Christmas. 10:30 a.m. All ages. Dec. 12: Reading Sidekicks. 6:30 p.m. Favorite Seuss. Dec. 21: Holiday Sing-a-long. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 22: Christmas Movie: How The Grinch Stole Christmas. 2 p.m. The Library Theatre. Dec. 28: Movie: Finding Dory. 10:30 a.m. The Library Theatre. Teens Dec. 2: Tween & Teen. 4 p.m. Make a literary ornament. Dec. 5: Readers Café. 6:30 p.m. Fantasy. Dec. 6: Full STEAM Ahead. 4 p.m. Steamology. Dec. 13: Raging Readers. 6:30 p.m. Historical Fiction.
Dec. 5: Discoveries in the Making. 6:30 p.m. Theatre Level Meeting Rooms. Presented by the UAB Graduate School. Free event. Dec. 6: Spanish Conversation Club. 7 p.m.-8 p.m. Library Plaza. Practice your Spanish and celebrate the culture! Adults 17+. Dec. 8: Second Thursday Fiction Book Group. 10 a.m. Fitzgerald Room. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Dec. 10: Purl @ the Plaza. 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Library Plaza. Finish old projects before the new year! Come and knit, crochet or embroider. Dec. 11: Linda Andrews’s Retirement Celebration! 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Library Plaza. Everyone is invited to celebrate Linda’s 33 years as Library Director. Free refreshments. Dec. 12: Helping Hands. 3 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Adult Program Room. Drop in to make newspaper rolls for a local humane society. Teens and adults. Dec. 13: French Conversation Club. 7 p.m.-8 p.m. Library Plaza. Practice your French and celebrate the culture. Dec. 16: After Hours @ the Plaza: Bingo! 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Library Plaza. Join us for a library-themed Bingo night. Dec. 19: Monday at the Movies. 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The Library Theatre. “A Christmas Story.” Free admission and refreshments.
Dec. 2-3: Rhythmic Circus. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $25.
Dec. 27-29: The National Parks America’s Best Idea: A Film by Ken Burns. 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The Library Theatre. In honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, join us for a marathon screening of this award-winning film. Free admission and refreshments: “The Scripture of Nature (1851–1890),” 2 p.m.; “The Last Refuge (1890– 1915),” 6:30 p.m.; “The Empire of Grandeur (1915–1919),” Dec. 28, 2 p.m.; “Going Home (1920–1933),” Dec. 28, 6:30 p.m.; “Great Nature (1933–1945),” Dec. 29, 2 p.m.; “The Morning of Creation (1946–1980),” Dec. 29, 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 4: Sally Barris & the Birmingham Boys. 2:30 p.m. Library Plaza. Nashville based singer-songwriter performs an afternoon of holiday classics the whole family will enjoy.
Dec. 28: Arts & Crafts Show & Tell. 3 p.m. Adult Program Room. Show off your latest and greatest arts & crafts projects! Free. Refreshments provided. Adults and teens.
Dec. 15: The New Present: A Christmas Musical. 6:30 p.m. Adults Dec. 1: First Thursday Fiction Book Group. 10 a.m. Fitzgerald Room. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.
Area Events Dec. 1-3: Market Noel. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. BJCC Exhibition Halls. Junior League of Birmingham fundraiser. Visit marketnoel.com. Dec. 2-4 & 7-11: Holiday Spectacular 2016. RMTC Cabaret Theatre. Performances by the RMTC Conservatory Students along with local artists. Wednesday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. $19 and up. Visit redmountaintheatre.org. Dec. 2-4, 8-11 & 15-18: A Christmas Story: The Musical. Virginia Samford Theatre. Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 2 p.m. $15-$35. Visit virginiasamfordtheatre.org. Dec. 3: Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. 3 p.m. BJCC Concert Hall. $31.50$178.50. Visit nutcracker.com. Dec. 3 & 10: Birmingham Children’s Theatre presents: Twas the Night Before Christmas. 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. $20 adult, $15 child. Visit bct123.org.
Dec. 10-11 Birmingham Ballet: The Nutcracker. BJCC Concert Hall. $30-$48. Saturday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Visit birminghamballet.com. Dec. 11: Southeastern Outings Dayhike, Oak Mountain State. 1 p.m. 4-mile walk in the woodlands. Depart from the Oak Mountain Park ofﬁce parking lot. $5 park admission fee. Call 205-317-5868. Dec. 16: Handel’s Messiah & Vivaldi’s Gloria. 7:30 p.m. Presented by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Alys Stephens Center. $18-$80. Visit alabamasymphony.org. Dec. 17: Southeastern Outings Dayhike. DeSoto State Park and Lost Falls Depart 9 a.m. from the Applebee’s in Trussville. Call 205631-4680. Dec. 17: Dickens Vest Pocket Christmas Carol. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $8-$13. Visit alysstephens.org.
Dec. 4: UAB Gospel Choir featuring Alicia Olatuja. 6 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $18. Visit alysstephens.org.
Dec. 17: Voices of the South presents: Christmas at the Lyric. 7 p.m. Lyric Theatre. $15-$35. Visit lyricbham.com.
Dec. 5: UAB’s Music’s Christmas at the Alys. 7 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $8, $5 students. Visit uab.edu.
Dec. 29: 11th Annual Birmingham Bowl. 1 p.m. Legion Field. $30 general admission, $50 reserved sideline seating. Visit birminghambowl.com.
Dec. 9: Birmingham Ballet: The Mutt-Cracker. 7:30 p.m. BJCC Concert Hall. $20-$48. Visit birminghamballet.com.
Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve at the Alabama. 6 p.m. Ring in the new year with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. $18-$75. Visit alabamasymphony.org.