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Sun Neighborly news & entertainment for Hoover

Volume 5 | Issue 7 | April 2017

Spring Home Guide

Spring is in bloom, and it’s the perfect time to plant a garden, do some cleaning or start a home renovation. Find tips and tricks from area businesses in our Spring Home Guide to jump-start any project.

See page B1

Lasting Impact

Hoover High’s baseball head coach anticipates that the 13 seniors on the Bucs team will comprise a class that leaves a legacy that lasts well into the future.

See page C8

INSIDE Sponsors ......... A4 News ................. A6 Business .........A10 Chamber ........A12 Events .............A16

Community .... A23 School House.. A27 Sports ................ C1 Real Estate...... C17 Calendar ..........C18

G N I D TRETHNE RIGHT IN H N O I T C DIRE nks a h t 6 1 0 2 % in 6 s p o ort r p d p u s y t i Crime n mmu o c , k r o w to hard


oover started 2016 with a high-profile homicide in Lake Cyrus that rocked the community, but the year as a whole saw a 6 percent drop in crime, Police Department statistics show. The Jan. 5, 2016, fatal shooting of Lake Cyrus resident Mike Gilotti in front of his home got many residents talking about beefing up home and neighborhood security measures and helped prompt city officials to hire 10 more patrol officers. Hoover partnered with other agencies to quickly get leads on the four suspects in Gilotti’s killing and in less than three months had all four teenagers in jail and charged with murder.

See CRIME | page A31

Sgt. Matt Savage checks information on a computer in his vehicle. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

Fighting for Clara and a cure Pre-Sort Standard U.S. Postage PAID Tupelo, MS Permit #54


Jenny and Ryan Bragg with their children Clara and Tanner. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

In a matter of weeks, Ryan and Jenny Bragg went from uncertainty to despair to an unexpected hope. The Ross Bridge couple’s daughter, Clara, had started as a healthy baby, but at about 14 months, she stopped hitting the right milestones: She wasn’t walking independently, had stopped speaking and wasn’t using nonverbal communication. The Braggs enrolled Clara in therapy at the

Bell Center and began the hunt for a diagnosis. After neurologists, geneticists and rehab specialists, a full genome sequencing revealed in August 2016 that Clara has GM1 gangliosidosis. The disease, Ryan Bragg said, is similar to Tay-Sachs disease and destroys brain function through an inability to process and break down material in neural cells.

See CLARA | page A30

A2 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

April 2017 • A3

A4 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

About Us Editor’s Note By Sydney Cromwell Two months ago, I was talking about getting ready for my wedding day in this Editor’s Note. Now, my husband and I are on the hunt to buy our first home. I’m just a dog and a white picket fence away from the classic picture of the “American dream.” For me, buying a home is a stretch in more than just the financial sense. I could generously be described as “overly cautious,” and I hate making any decision without knowing every possible outcome, particularly the disastrous ones. That doesn’t really work in home buying. Last week, we sent our real estate agent a list of six homes we’d like to visit. By the time she had made calls to set up visits, four were already under contract. That snapped me to the realization that my standard decision-making procedure would need a major shift. It’s time to stop analyzing every

decision to death, and start putting a little more faith in gut decisions. I have to stop assuming every fork in the road will lead to the worst imaginable result, because none of the paths I’ve taken thus far have even come close to that outcome. It’s not as simple as that, but I keep

reminding myself that risk and a little bit of impulse will take me farther than a carefully managed, predictable set of decisions. If you’re also the type of person who gets paralyzed by decisions, I’d encourage you to try the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s trying a new hobby, taking a trip somewhere you don’t speak the language or that DIY home project you’ve got your eye on. Take a step, and see what it feels like to trust your gut. Spring’s here, with all its flowers, birds and that feeling of fresh new possibilities in tow. It’s time to live a little.


John Porter Collins, 1, tosses bread to some geese and ducks gathered at Star Lake in the Green Valley area of Hoover on Feb. 28. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

Sun Publisher: Managing Editor: Design Editor: Director of Photography: Sports Editor: Digital Editor: Page Designer:

Dan Starnes Sydney Cromwell Kristin Williams Sarah Finnegan Kyle Parmley Alyx Chandler Cameron Tipton

Community Editor: Erica Techo Community Reporters: Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Lexi Coon Emily Featherston Staff Writer: Sam Chandler Copy Editor: Louisa Jeffries Contributing Writers: Marienne Thomas Ogle Grace Thornton Carolyn Kolar

Advertising Manager: Matthew Allen Sales and Distribution: Warren Caldwell Don Harris Michelle Salem Haynes Rhonda Smith James Plunkett Gail King Eric Clements

For advertising contact: Contact Information: Hoover Sun PO Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 (205) 313-1780

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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April 2017 • A5

A6 • April 2017

Hoover Sun


City Council passes $133M budget for 2017 54% — $61M — to go toward Hoover personnel; health care expenses expected to rise by $3.6M By JON ANDERSON The Hoover City Council in March passed a $133 million budget for fiscal 2017 that includes a 50 percent increase in education funding. In addition to paying the full cost for school resource officers, the city plans to give the Hoover Board of Education $5 million in 2017 instead of the $2.5 million given in 2016. The contribution fulfills a campaign promise by Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato and many members of the City Council who were elected last year. Hoover Councilman John Greene, who in the past had voted against the city’s budget because he felt education was being underfunded, said he wished the city could give even more to schools, but this is a good start. “Hopefully, we can do more in the future,” Greene said. “For an initial increase, I’m very satisfied with that.” The 2017 budget is a 2.8 percent increase from the original $129 million budget approved for fiscal 2016 and less than 1 percent more than actual 2016 expenditures of $132 million. Those numbers do not include expenditures from proprietary accounts, such as the sewer fund. The mayor and council plan to spend $112 million from the city’s general fund, which is

a 12 percent increase from the original 2016 general fund budget of $100 million and a 19 percent increase from actual 2016 general fund expenditures of $94 million. However, 2016 general fund revenues came in more than $5 million higher than anticipated, at a record $111.4 million, and the city expects to rake in $112.3 million to the general fund in 2017. The budget includes $12.9 million in capital projects, including $3.2 million for a new sidewalk on John Hawkins Parkway between U.S. 31 and the Walmart Supercenter, $3 million for road paving, $2.6 million for renovations and repairs at the Municipal Center, $951,000 to replace an analog dispatch communications system with a digital system and $550,000 for other sidewalk projects. The capital budget also includes $2.1 million for 23 vehicles, mostly replacements, including a new aerial ladder truck and hazardous materials unit for the Fire Department. About 54 percent of the $112 million general fund budget — $61 million — is set to go toward personnel. The 2017 budget includes four new positions: an economic developer, an automotive mechanic and two part-time reserve school resource officers. The four positions together are expected to cost the city $278,476 for

2016 general fund revenues came in more than $5 million higher than anticipated, at a record $111.4 million, and the city of Hoover expects to rake in $112.3 million to the general fund in 2017. Photo by Jon Anderson.

salaries and benefits. This also will give the city 653 full-time employees, 105 part-time employees and 39 temporary employees. Personnel expenses are expected to increase by about $3.6 million, including a $2.3 million increase in health care expenses and $900,000 in step pay increases. About 57 percent of the city’s personnel costs go to pay for the police and fire departments. The city’s debt service payments go up to $13.3 million in 2017, an increase of $4.3 million from 2016. That’s due to the $68 million bond issue the previous City Council approved for the new sports complex next to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Debt payments are expected to fall to $12.8 million in 2018 and $6.5 million in 2023.

Some council members had questions about the mayor’s plan to cut overtime expenses from $2.7 million to $2.2 million. Councilman John Lyda particularly was concerned about the Police Department, whose overtime fund is being cut 17 percent from $960,496 to $800,496. City Administrator Allan Rice said he believes savings can be achieved through more administrative controls. City officials will continue to evaluate the overtime issue, he said. It could later be determined that more money is needed for overtime, but “it’s not an open checkbook for any department in the city,” Rice said. “It is a managed process. We’ll meet the needs, but we have to be prudent in how we do it.”

April 2017 • A7 The Hoover Public Library children’s department now has 53 Playaway Launchpad tablets available to check out. The tablets offer ad-free apps that are designed to be both fun and educational for children ages 3-10. Photo by Jon Anderson.

Mayor’s Minute

By Frank V. Brocato Spring is a very busy time in Hoover with lots of activity, travel for spring break and excitement about upcoming graduation ceremonies. We are very excited that Hoover will celebrate its 50th birthday this year at our annual Celebrate Hoover Day event Saturday, April 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Frank V. Brocato Many changes have taken place in the last 50 years, and we are looking forward to what the future holds. The Mayor’s Office, City Council and staff have been working hard on our vision for the future. We are in the process of hiring a city planner to help develop a master plan for smart growth. We don’t want to stifle growth but only to manage it. Having a master plan will help us revitalize some of the older areas, recruit new businesses and developments as well as retaining the businesses we have by keeping them viable. One of our goals is to diversify our economy by recruiting more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) businesses to Hoover. All age groups seem to be looking for a more urban effect and to live in walkable cities, with lots of green space and a city center. We are expecting this planner to direct and guide us on how to achieve that effect. As you can see, we have many plans that we would like to see accomplished. If you have any ideas to bring to our attention, let us hear from you. We want transparent government and citizen involvement, so please don’t hesitate to call my office. We are here to serve you! Best,

Library expands kids’ tablet offerings By JON ANDERSON The Hoover Public Library has expanded the number of Playaway Launchpad tablets it has available for children to check out, thanks to a federal grant and city funding, library officials said. The Launchpads are tablets especially designed for youth ages 3-10 and are preloaded with ad-free apps that are designed to be fun and educational. They feature learning packs with themes such as animals, princesses, fantasy and nature, and help kids with math and science content, critical thinking and creativity. The apps are grouped by subject area,

themes, grade levels and age, making it easy for parents and kids to choose a tablet with the content most appealing to them, library officials said. Every Launchpad is 100 percent secure, providing hours of interactive learning and play without the risk of exposure to unintended content, according to library staff. The Launchpads have a 7-inch high-definition touch screen, external speaker and a durable, protective bumper. No Internet connectivity or downloading is required, and the console allows parents and educators to get feedback about time spent on the tablet. The Hoover Public Library has offered

Launchpads for checkout since 2015, but a $25,000 federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences to the public libraries in Jefferson County allowed for the purchase of 10 more tablets for Hoover and expansion of the service to most libraries in the county, library officials said. The Hoover library also used money from the city of Hoover to buy 10 more Launchpads, which boosts the total number to 53, said Jeremy Davis, director of the children’s department. For more information about titles available, call the Hoover library at 444-7830 or search for Launchpad on the catalog at

A8 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

Council evaluates 3 board applicants By JON ANDERSON The Hoover City Council plans to pick the next Hoover school board member April 17 and is evaluating three women who applied. One is a retired teacher, another is a former teacher who now helps run a small business, and the third is a 25-year-old college student pursuing a career in education. Whoever is picked will replace Stephen Presley, whose five-year term ends May 31. Here is more about each applicant:


► Neighborhood: Willow Lake ► Occupation: Lead key holder at Plato’s Closet used clothing store; former manager there ► Education: Attending Miles College in pursuit of bachelor’s degree in secondary education ► Years lived in Hoover: 9 ► Hoover school ties: Graduated Hoover High School in 2010 with advanced academic diploma ► Reasons for applying: Ensuring current students have same wonderful experience she did; being a voice for millennial students entering a fast-paced world; helping prepare students for global success in an era of technology advancement and constant changes in education reform

Shekinah Lee

Susan Ogle

Amy Tosney

► Critical issues: Ensuring that every student is able to compete in every subject on a global level; having certified, more-than-capable professionals in every classroom; making sure school environments are conducive to peak learning

was team leader, department head, trainer and sponsor for several clubs at Simmons; earned 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and Simmons Middle School 1999 Outstanding Teacher Award ► Reasons for applying: Said she is vested and passionate about Hoover City Schools; wants to bring an educator’s perspective to the board; wants to make sure schools continue to compete for best teachers, technology and cutting-edge instruction while keeping classroom sizes small and classes as balanced as possible, racially and academically ► Critical issues: Rezoning is the most critical issue; if current plan is approved, multiple schools will become imbalanced with regard to race and family income, and there will be large learning gaps among students; several schools will have more students learning English as second language who need extra help; other issues include need for third high school and cooperation between school board and City Council to address impact of continued growth

► Occupation: Vice president and office manager at Magic City Door since January 2008; formerly taught preschool at Hunter Street Baptist Church Weekday Program for three years, kindergarten at Hilldale Christian School for a year and middle and high school at Erwin High School in Jefferson County for four years; also worked as interim librarian at Brookwood Forest Elementary in Mountain Brook ► Education: Bachelor’s degree in education from Jacksonville State University ► Years lived in Hoover: 9 ► Hoover school ties: Has 11-year-old at Gwin Elementary and 16-year-old at Hoover High; fundraising chairwoman for Hoover High Choir Booster Club and Paradigm Show Choir; registration volunteer at Hoover High for three years ► Reason for applying: Said she is passionate about making sure Hoover continues to provide superior education opportunities for its children ► Critical issues: Addressing space needs as the city and school system continue growing; more rezoning will come as city grows


► Neighborhood: Altadena Woods ► Occupation: Worked 20 years as sixthgrade science teacher at Simmons Middle School; spent more than two years as middle school science specialist for Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative before retiring in December 2016; serving as consultant for AMSTI until May 31; director of Homewood Day School from 1992 to 1994; taught 10 years at elementary and junior high schools in Lee County, Atlanta, Phenix City and Pell City ► Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Auburn University ► Years lived in Hoover: 26 ► Hoover school ties: Worked 20 years as sixth-grade science teacher at Simmons Middle School; two sons attended Rocky Ridge Elementary, Berry Middle and Spain Park High;


► Neighborhood: Lake Crest

April 2017 • A9

Constituents express concerns during Rep. Palmer town hall Members of the crowd raise their various signs as a member of the crowd speaks to Rep. Gary Palmer during a town hall meeting Feb. 25 at Hoover City Hall. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

Health care, immigration, public education funding among issues discussed By LEXI COON Hundreds of people gathered outside of Hoover City Hall the morning of Feb. 25 to participate in the town hall meeting held by U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, and while only approximately 140 guests fit in the chambers, they made sure their voices were heard. In the press briefing before the town hall, Palmer spoke to the idea to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or Obamacare, and echoed his sentiments from his Feb. 21 Eggs and Issues breakfast. “It’s failing,” Palmer said. “It’s collapsing under its own weight, and I think we have an obligation to tell the American people the truth and what it takes to fix it.” He continued, saying that currently they are looking at a plan that would “phase in,” and incorporate what he called a “health savings account” as well as “other options for pre-existing conditions.” “I’d hope to make sure that we have a plan to have all people insured,” he said to the crowd. Members of the crowd also questioned Palmer about what is being done and what will be done about recent threatening acts to local Islamic and Jewish communities. He said he believes it is a federal issue, and these issues should be addressed by law enforcement and through intelligence agencies. This conversation continued to hear from members of the community who are concerned with potential changes to immigration policies. “I want you to know that we feel, here, in Alabama, that we [as immigrants] feel less than equal and we should not feel like that,” said a local resident to Palmer.

Palmer agreed that everyone should feel welcomed as American citizens, but said that those who are here should become citizens legally. “As I’ve said, we’re not going to deport 11 million people … but at the same time, a nation without borders is not a nation,” Palmer said, adding he is for immigration reform. Others asked about public school resources and education funding under school choice. “I’m a 30-year public school teacher, and I believe that public education is a defense of democracy and freedom,” said a local resident. “We need to do everything we can to support public education in America because if we don’t, and it goes away to private and charter, we are diluting ourselves and we are deluding ourselves.” Palmer stated that he plans to continue to fund programs that are working and succeeding,

but said he is “not willing to confine people to a failed school if there is another option.” One of the final questions brought by a resident addressed the bill Palmer introduced to regulate the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency and what it could mean for both the agency and the environment. “What you’ve got to understand is that, if you allow agencies to make law … you can’t hold anybody accountable,” Palmer said. “They’re bypassing Congress, and what I’m saying is if we’re going to do this, we need to do it legislatively so that you can hold people accountable.” He continued saying that he does believe there is climate change, but only through natural variation. “I do not think our biggest problem is anthropomorphic climate change. And you’re wrong about the Arctic ice sheets,

they’re expanding,” he stated, which was met with outcry from the audience. While many questions and comments weren’t answered due to time constraints, resident Laura Nadell felt the town hall had a positive outcome. “I thought that we did a lot to hopefully convince other representatives to hold town hall meetings,” she said. “I don’t know that he necessarily answered a lot of questions pointedly … but I still respect him and thank him for coming out.” After hearing the requests of those who were unable to fit inside City Hall, Palmer did agree to schedule another town hall meeting in the future at a larger location. Check hooversun. com for the upcoming town hall’s date, time and location.

A10 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

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General and Cosmetic Dentistry

2006 Old Montgomery Hwy. Hoover, Alabama Call today to schedule your appointment


Now Open Cookie Destiny is now open at 2341 John Hawkins Parkway, Suite 129. The gourmet baking shop specializes in cookies, cakes and more. 913-0084,


Joe Hudson’s Collision Center is now open at 101 ATI Parkway, off John Hawkins Parkway near the Grove Boulevard intersection. 820-0001,


Hoover Sunoco has re-opened under new ownership. The gas station and convenience store is located at 1537 Montgomery Highway.


Upper Limit Learning is now open at 3601 Lorna Ridge Drive, Suite A. Owners Alex and Mary Grace Periera have opened the center and offer tutoring services for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Services include tutoring in all subjects, ACT preparation and ESL (English as a second language). 783-5103,


Steve Gathings has opened OFCworkscapes at 5033 Highway 280, Suite 109, in the Inverness Heights shopping center. This new location features a showroom for office furniture. 492-9937,


Legacy Chiropractic & Wellness has opened at 2100 Data Park Circle, Suite 100. Dr. Steven Johnson is the owner and clinic director. The clinic offers chiropractic care, massage therapy and various therapeutic modalities and is a holistic practice. 985-9888,


Relocations and Renovations ClearView Family Eyecare, formerly located in the Vestavia City Center at 790 Montgomery Highway, Suite 110, has relocated to 500 Southland Drive, Suite 149, in Hoover, behind the Ellis Piano shopping center. 979-3937,


April 2017 • A11

News and Accomplishments Greg Powell, president and CEO of Fi-Plan Partners, 5825 Feldspar Way, recently authored a book, “Better, Richer, Fuller,” now available for pre-order on 989-3498,


The Raceway at 5349 U.S. 280 now carries pies and pound cake from JaWanda’s Sweet Potato Pies. 995-6601,


Hirings and Promotions St. Vincent’s Primary Care, 1870 Chace Drive, Suite 160, has hired Mark Ticola, MD, to join their staff. Dr. Ticola is board certified in internal medicine. 733-7110,


Ponder Properties Commercial Real Estate, 850 Corporate Parkway, Suite 106, has hired Stan Bussey, who will handle commercial sales, development and leasing. 408-9911,


Coke Williams has been promoted to shareholder and president of residential sales for LAH Real Estate, 2 Chase Corporate Drive, Suite 15. He has been with the company since 1997 and most recently served as qualifying broker of the Homewood office. 440-4740,


RealtySouth has named Jonathan Chamness as qualifying broker for its Over-theMountain office located at 1220 Alford Ave. 822-2364,


Keller Williams Real Estate, 1 Chase Corporate Drive, Suite 150, has hired Deana Bermudez and Ashley Sellers as Realtors. 822-2272


Anniversaries Diamond Smiles Dentistry, 5336 Stadium Trace Parkway, Suite 102, recently celebrated its 20th year. 988-9700,


Storm drains clogged ? Erosion problems ? Standing water ? Heavy runoff ?

We can fix that!


SOLUTIONS 244-1114 Alabama GCL# 43737

A12 • April 2017

Hoover Sun


Preview of

Former Alabama football player gives April Luncheon update on son’s 2017 draft prospects Former Alabama football player Bobby Humphreys speaks at the March 16 Hoover Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Photo by Erica Techo.

By ERICA TECHO The NFL draft looks a little different in 2017 than in 1989, according to Bobby Humphrey. The former Alabama football player is going through the draft for a second time, Humphrey told the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce during its March luncheon. This time, of course, is with his son, Marlon Humphrey. Marlon Humphrey, who played at Hoover High School and followed in his dad’s footsteps to the University of Alabama, will enter the 2017 NFL draft and is currently going through the draft process. “The process is a lot different than it was when I came along,” Humphrey said. “… I didn’t have to go through the process they go through now.” His son decided to leave Alabama and enter the draft, Humphrey said, and has selected his representation, gone through the NFL Scouting Combine and Pro Day, and is now in the interview process. The next step is the draft on April 27 and then, hopefully, a team press conference to follow, Humphrey said. “Right after the draft, you’ll fly out to the team press conference, hopefully, if you’re drafted first round,” Humphrey said, “and that’s what we’re anticipating. We’re hoping and praying, anyway.” After the press conference, Marlon Humphrey will go through rookie camp and sign a contract. “Once he officially signs that contract, he receives a check and will have to find him a bank,” Humphrey, who is the vice president of development for Bryant Bank, said with a

subtle cough. “And I know a very good one.” The whole process is much more complex than it was when he went through the draft, Humphrey said, including the training and interview process. Marlon Humphrey did well during the NFL combine, his dad said, and is now talking with teams. “Team interviews. Every NFL team has up to 30 interviews. They can bring in 30 different players,” Humphrey said. “So between now and April 27, he’s going to be flying in and out of town to whatever team may be interested in drafting him.” Marlon Humphrey has already been to Philadelphia and Tennessee, Humphrey said, and “we don’t know how that list is going to grow.” The most nerve-wracking part, he said, is the draft itself. When he was going through the draft, Humphrey said he thought he’d be

drafted No. 3 to Tampa Bay or No. 10 to the Giants. Neither of those teams drafted him. Instead, he got a call from the Denver Broncos, drafting him at No. 15. “I had no clue of where I was going,” Humphrey said. “Many people ask, ‘Where do you think Marlon is going?’ I was like, ‘I have no clue.’ Everything can change in a draft. He’s been projected No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 10 — no one knows but that organization, and sometimes that organization can change. … But hopefully, on the 27th, we’ll be going high in the first round.” Selfishly, Humphrey said he hopes his son is drafted by a team that’s close to Birmingham. From his son’s perspective, however, the hope is to go somewhere he wants to play and he will be able to play. “It’s all an exciting moment, and we’re excited about it,” Humphrey said.

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens is scheduled to give his third annual State of the County speech to the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce on April 20. The chamber is moving its luncheons back to the Hoover Country Club permanently because of difficulty in getting the same room each month at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel, a chamber official said. The luncheon will still begin at noon, with networking starting at 11:15 a.m. Reservations are due by Monday, April 17, and can be made online at hooverchamber. org or by calling 988-5672 or emailing the chamber office at The cost is $20, payable at the door, for members with reservations, or $25 for nonmembers or people without reservations. Cancellations are accepted until the morning of the luncheon. Attendees can pay by cash, check or major credit cards. Stephens represents Jefferson County Commission District 3, which covers the western part of the county, including western Hoover. He is in his second term on the commission and was elected president in November 2014.

April 2017 • A13


Pepper jelly has always been a part of Tim Murphy’s life. His childhood memories include his grandmother standing in her Mobile kitchen, making jams, jellies and preserves. “It’s just an old tradition, and every year she would make a special pepper jelly,” Tim Murphy said. It’s a jelly so good that he brought it with him to Auburn University for tailgates, where his future wife, Heather, first tried it and thought: “This is good stuff.” The couple even gave out jars of pepper jelly at their wedding. “It’s always been a part of our life,” Tim Murphy said. “People loved it.” From his grandmother’s tradition, the Hoover couple created their own recipe and started their business, 5ive Oaks, to spread the goodness. 5ive Oaks started out selling jars at farmers markets in Pepper Place, Ross Bridge and the Summit, Heather Murphy said. Since then, 5ive Oaks jellies can be found at the Piggly Wiggly stores in Homewood, Liberty Park and Bluff Park; Alabama Goods in Homewood; Western Supermarket in Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills; and other stores in Birmingham, Huntsville, Gadsden, Mobile and the Peach Dish food delivery service in Atlanta. The name, Tim Murphy said, was the hardest part to create. He spent a long time thinking of possibilities before he remembered the set of five oak trees on his grandmother’s land, where he spent much of his childhood climbing trees, riding ATVs, hunting and playing. “What do I really remember from growing up down there? Five Oaks was the first thing that hit me,” he said. The name’s history fits, as Heather Murphy said their jelly has “a feeling of home and a feeling of local tradition.” Naming their company was difficult, but

learning to make pepper jelly was no walk in the park, either. His grandmother made it look easy, but Tim Murphy described his learning experience as “brutal.” “I’ll never forget it, the first time I processed a bunch of habanero peppers,” Tim Murphy said. He didn’t use gloves the first time he handled peppers, and a food processor incident landed pepper juice in his eye. Despite that painful beginning, Tim Murphy said he was determined to push forward. “She’s the master,” he said of his grandmother. “I wanted to be able to go back to her and say, ‘Look what I’ve done.’” After many test batches, the Murphys had a pepper jelly that was the right balance of sweet and spicy, with a red color Tim Murphy said

was difficult to get right without using food dyes. Since then, the 5ive Oaks jelly has been a hit at farmers markets and at stores. Heather Murphy said one of her favorite parts of the business is going to markets to watch people try the jelly for the first time and to hear from regular customers about their favorite recipes with pepper jelly. While it’s commonly served with cream cheese and crackers, Heather Murphy said pepper jelly can also be used with meats or vegetables. The 5ive Oaks website keeps a list of many recipes they’ve heard about or tried themselves. “It’s just so unique with how many things you can do with it,” she said. Tim Murphy said he also likes going to the markets, but for a different reason. His grandmother used to call him “the mouth of the

Hoover couple spreads love with homemade pepper jelly business 5ive Oaks pepper jelly is the creation of Tim and Heather Murphy, Hoover residents who live near Spain Park High School. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

South” due to his childhood chattiness, and even today, “I could probably talk to a brick wall,” he said. Meeting and talking with his customers is the fun part of the job. “When I get to personally see someone … and I see a reaction, I love it,” he said. Though they only sell the one type of jelly, Tim Murphy said one of his goals for this year is to start developing more flavors such as fruit pepper jelly and other preserves. Heather Murphy said creating those recipes will take “more tinkering in the kitchen.” Tim Murphy said he also wants to continue expanding the stores where 5ive Oaks products sit on the shelves. “I’ve got huge dreams and big ideas for the company,” Tim Murphy said. Learn more at

A14 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

Ted Breaux, founder and owner of Jade Liqueurs, pours out a Corpse Reviver at the Collins Bar. The drink features the anise-flavored alcohol absinthe, a liquor once banned in the country until Breaux's work helped clear up misconceptions about the beverage. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.


Hoover resident Ted Breaux works as absinthe distiller, educator By ERICA TECHO

The story of absinthe is not what everyone typically hears. There’s no wormwood-induced hallucinations, no poison. And to Hoover resident and Jade Liqueurs owner Ted Breaux, the real story is far more interesting. “What they’ve seen in movies and what they thought they knew is almost all wrong. But the truth is much more interesting,” Breaux said, who has been distilling absinthe in France for the last 13 years. “Everybody loves a good story, just like everybody loves a good movie.” The question “Why absinthe?” is something Breaux, an environmental biologist and chemist by trade, said he often asks himself. The truth is he came across absinthe by accident. “It was a situation where it was the right thing at the right time,” Breaux said. “This all hit me like a ton of bricks a long, long time ago, like around the end of ’93. It just got my attention.” Breaux came across a book about absinthe in a catalog, and then passed the Old Absinthe House in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where he lived at the time. “I asked a colleague of mine, ‘What is this absinthe?’ He said it was that green liquor that made people crazy,” Breaux said. Intrigued by the description, he ended up ordering a book on absinthe and quickly realized there was a lack of information on the subject. “There were just no credible sources of information,” Breaux said. “The information was there, but it was a hodgepodge of stuff that was believable and things that seemed far-fetched, so as a scientist I wanted to know.” He took on absinthe as a “pet project,” he said, and sought out answers rather than the speculation he kept coming across. He came across two bottles of vintage absinthe and was able to draw samples from the bottles. “Wherever there was a suspected environmental

It’s such an interesting, sordid story. It’s not just liqueur, but it involved culture, politics, economics, fake news and bad science.


problem, my job was to get in there and conduct analyses to determine if there was a problem; and if there was a problem, what that problem was and how extensive a problem [it was],” Breaux said. “So in a way, this was sort of parallel to what I did — why was this liquor a problem? And how is it that no one could solve this?” He analyzed the absinthe as he would have analyzed soil samples in his job as an environmental biologist, searching for some sort of contamination. “What I found was astonishing. There was nothing wrong with it,” Breaux said. “You could take those bottles of liqueur, those absinthe bottles, and put them on the shelves.” A second lab repeated his tests and had similar findings. The problem, Breaux said, wasn’t with absinthe itself — it was with the liqueur’s popularity. “I realized it was because this stuff was so popular, there were some economic and political interests that wanted there to be something wrong with it,” he said. “That’s always the case.” In the late 1800s, rumors about drinkers dying or hallucinating after drinking absinthe fueled a campaign to make the liqueur look bad, Breaux said. Those falsehoods are what also led to absinthe being made illegal

in the United States. And speculation about wormwood making absinthe hallucinogenic? Not true, Breaux said, because Jade Liqueurs uses wormwood. “Not only do we use it, we use historically correct amounts of it,” he said. As his interest in absinthe and his research base grew, Breaux also worked to combat the rumors and misconceptions surrounding absinthe. “For me, it was like swimming uphill against this wave of misinformation,” he said. “But eventually, the work I did, that began a whole paradigm shift. It took a minute to take root, but people started to realize it. … Getting absinthe re-legalized in the states, in the U.S. was really about that.” And on March 5, 2007, Breaux was successful. Absinthe was once again legal in the United States. “We’ve turned a tide. At the beginning, I was swimming against this strong current of information,” Breaux said. “We managed to turn that whole d--- thing around, so now, I’m swimming with the current.” That current is working to bring back “old-style spirits,” Breaux said, and coincides with a craft cocktail renaissance. People are learning more about absinthe and having their misinformation corrected, Breaux said, and when he’s not distilling, spreading the truth is one of his goals. “My life is about 85 percent education, 15 percent distilling,” Breaux said. Breaux hosts informational seminars around Birmingham and the United States, telling the true story behind absinthe and its renaissance in the U.S. Most people are surprised to hear how absinthe fell out of favor and became a mysterious green liquid. “It’s such an interesting, sordid story,” he said. “It’s not just liqueur, but it involved culture, politics, economics, fake news and bad science.” For more information on Jade Liqueurs, go to

April 2017 • A15

A16 • April 2017

Hoover Sun


Runs, walks abound across Hoover in April By JON ANDERSON

Department. Go to and enter “High Country 5K” to register. For more information, contact Johnson at 822-1360 or mjohnson@

As the days get warmer with the arrival of spring, more organizations are inviting people to get out and run or walk. Some of the Hoover runs and walks in April — most of which benefit charities — include:



The Birmingham affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is putting on its 2017 PurpleStride Birmingham event April 1 at Veterans Park off Valleydale Road. Registration for the 5K and 1-mile fun run/ walk opens at 8:30 a.m., and the opening ceremony is at 9:30. The 5K and 1-mile fun run/ walk begin at 10, and the closing ceremony is at 11. Registration before race day is $10 for youth ages 3-12 untimed, $15 for youth ages 3-12 timed, $25 for teens and adults untimed and $30 for teens and adults timed. The cost goes up $5 for each group on race day. Pancreatic cancer survivors participate for free. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome, but parts of the route are through wooded mulch trails and over hills. Pets are not allowed. Parking is available at Veterans Park and Spain Park High School. Organizers encourage participants to form teams and raise money for pancreatic cancer patient services and research. At least 45 teams have been formed this year, volunteer Karen Templeton said. Last year’s event raised $109,289, and the goal this year is $118,000, Templeton said. To register or for more information, go to


Shades Crest Baptist Church is holding its 16th annual High Country 5K Run/Walk April

The Autism Society of Alabama is putting on its annual Walk for Autism and 5K Race to Solve the Puzzle April 8 at Veterans Park. The 5K race starts at 7:30 a.m., and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m. The 5K race is $35, and the fee for the walk is $30. There is a $10 discount for children 10 and younger. Participants are encouraged to form teams to raise money for the autism society. Last year’s event drew about 200 people for the 5K and 400 for the walk and raised between $30,000 and $40,000, said Lauren Reid, the fundraising and events manager. The group would love to raise $50,000 this year, she said. The event in Hoover is one of 17 across the state. Statewide, the walks and 5Ks raised $150,000 last year, Reid said. To register, go to


People take part in the PurpleStride Birmingham event at Veterans Park in Hoover in April 2016. Photo courtesy of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

8 at the church at 452 Park Ave. Late registration and packet pickup is from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m., and the 5K run/walk starts at 8. A free 1-mile fun run is scheduled for 9. Entry fees are $10 for students with valid IDs, $25 from March 24 to April 7 and $30 on race day. The fee includes a pasta dinner in the fellowship hall at 6 p.m. the night before

the race and a pancake breakfast and awards ceremony after the race at 9:15 a.m. The race is rain or shine with no refunds. The first 300 5K runners to register receive a High Country 5K T-shirt. Last year’s event drew 275 people, Associate Pastor Mark Johnson said. This race is managed by the Trak Shak, and the course is monitored by the Hoover Police

The mid-south chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America is holding the 2017 Walk to End Lupus Now at Veterans Park April 9. Check-in for the event is 1 p.m., followed by a ceremony at 2:45 p.m. and 1-mile walk at 3 p.m. People can register as individual walkers or form a team. There is no fee to participate, but walkers are encouraged to raise money for lupus research and awareness. Last year’s event drew 965 walkers and raised $55,196, said Jess Williams, the midsouth chapter’s programs and outreach coordinator. The goal for this year’s walk in Hoover is $50,000, and as of mid-March, about $13,000 had been raised, Williams said. To register, go to lupusmidsouth. org.


The Greater Birmingham Auburn Club will hold the fourth annual Aubie 5K & 1-mile fun run April 22 at Veterans Park. This is the third year for the event held in memory of former Hoover The Diabetes Walk for Camp Seale Harris at High School track coach Meredith Veterans Park in Hoover in April 2016 raised about Maddox, who died in March 2015. $61,000 for the camp for children with diabetes Maddox did not attend Auburn Uni- and services for their families. Photo courtesy of versity but was active with the club, Southeastern Diabetes Education Services. and her father was president of the club when she died. Diabetes Walk T-shirt. The event in Hoover is Proceeds from the event go to the club’s one of five held throughout the state in April. Meredith LeAnn Maddox Memorial Endowed Last year, organizers raised about $100,000 Scholarship, which supports academically statewide, including about $61,000 from the gifted students who want to attend Auburn. walk in Hoover, said Rhonda McDavid, execRace day registration is at 6:45 a.m., while utive director for the camp. the 5K is at 8, and the 1-mile fun run is at 9. To register, go to The cost for the 5K is $35 for registrations postmarked by April 14 and $40 between then AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY and race day. The fun run is $20. The event RELAY FOR LIFE includes refreshments, door prizes, balloons The American Cancer Society is having its and a moonwalk. About 250 people came last Hoover Relay for Life fundraiser this year at year, club member Michael Lovett said. To register, go to Spain Park High School on Friday, April 28, For more information, contact Lovett at 966- from 4 to 11 p.m. People are invited to form teams to raise 6776 or or Nick money for the cancer society and to keep at Hall at 256-298-1494 or least one team member walking or running around the school tracks throughout the event. DIABETES WALK FOR The night kicks off with a lap for survivors CAMP SEALE HARRIS and then a lap for caregivers. There also will be The Southeastern Diabetes Education Ser- a luminaria ceremony in memory of those who vices group is holding the Diabetes Walk for lost the battle with cancer and a closing cereCamp Seale Harris April 23 at Veterans Park. mony. This year’s theme is Relaypalooza. Eight The event is from 2 to 4 p.m. and includes a bands will provide music throughout the night. 5K walk and fun run and 1-mile walk to raise Last year’s Hoover Relay for Life event money for a camp for children with diabetes raised about $42,000 for cancer research, said and services for their families. Christina Zabala, a staff partner helping orgaThere is no entry fee, but participants are nize the event. This year’s goal is $60,000. encouraged to make donations and raise money. To register or join a team, go to relayforlife. Those who raise $50 or more will receive a org/spainparkal or call Zabala at 930-8868.

April 2017 • A17

A18 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

City offers time, place to dispose hazardous waste By JON ANDERSON It’s that time of year again — when the city of Hoover offers residents a place to carry all their hazardous household items that shouldn’t go in the garbage. The city’s 19th annual Household Hazardous Waste Day is set for April 22 in the parking lot at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The event is from 8 a.m. to noon. Last year, 1,486 Hoover residents brought items to dispose, an increase from A worker stacks up paint brought to Hoover’s 2016 Household Hazardous Waste Day 1,081 in 2015, said in the parking lot at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Photo courtesy of Lance Shores/city Robin Mangino, the of Hoover. administrative services supervisor for the Police also will collect fireworks, flares, gunpowder, Hoover Public Works and Park Maintenance Department. The items included enough paint and paint-related military ordnance and souvenirs, explosives, reloading materials to fill three 30-yard roll off containers, 28 supplies and edged weapons. The Foundry Rescue and Recovery Center is expected boxes and 19 pallets of 5-gallon pails, city records show. Workers also collected 24 55-gallon drums of pesticides, to be there again, collecting electronic equipment such as nine 55-gallon drums of flammable liquids and solids, TV sets, printers, computers, keyboards, power cables, two 55-gallon drums of antifreeze, five 55-gallon drums radios and telephones. The Foundry will refurbish and and four 50-gallon drums of household batteries, and 50 resell usable items and recycle the rest. The city also collected about 100 U.S. flags last year that 55-gallon drums of other hazardous materials. Residents also brought 700 gallons of used motor oil, are received by the American Legion for proper disposal, 200 gallons of used cooking oil, 180 tires, 225 car bat- Mangino said. Household Hazardous Waste Day is open to Hoover teries, 12 boxes of aerosols, 32 fire extinguishers, 870 1-pound propane tanks, 45 20-pound propane tanks, residents only. Materials will not be accepted from people 1,990 compact bulbs and 596 fluorescent bulbs, records who live outside the city or from businesses. People should bring a valid driver’s license or current photo ID with their indicate. The Hoover Police Department last year took in 791 address included. The city once again has hired MXI Environmental Serpounds of leftover or expired medications, seven boxes of ammunition, one shotgun and three handguns, Lt. Keith vices to dispose of most materials in an environmentally safe way. B&B Tires takes the tires, Mangino said. Czeskleba said.

Household Hazardous Waste Day ACCEPTED ITEMS

► Aerosol spray cans (with content) ► Automotive fluids (motor oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, gas and/or mixed gas) ► Batteries (automotive and alkaline) ► Caulk/glue ► Drain cleaners/openers ► Fluorescent tubes/light bulbs ► Household cleaners (bleach, oven cleaners, metal cleaners, polishes, toilet cleansers) ► Oil and latex paint, aerosol paint, paint thinners, paint strippers, paint removers (Please note that empty latex paint containers or hardened solid paint are safe to put in the regular garbage. People can bring liquids to a solid by mixing the paint with cat litter, sand or sawdust. Paint lids should be removed before going in the trash bin.) ► Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers ► Polish (auto and furniture) ► Wood preservative ► Wallpaper remover ► Grease and rust solvents ► Stains/varnish ► Standard vehicle tires (No commercial or heavy

equipment tires will be accepted.) ► Preservatives ► Lighter fluid ► Kerosene ► Moth balls ► Insect repellent ► Waste cooking oil ► Fireworks, pyrotechnics and flares ► Gun powders ► Military ordnances/relics/souvenirs ► Ammunition ► Explosives and explosive materials ► Reloading supplies ► Firearms ► Edged weapons ► Prescription medication ► Non-prescription drugs ► U.S. flags


► Refrigerators/freezers ► Stoves/microwaves ► Toasters/toaster ovens ► Coffee makers ► Oxygen bottles ► Smoke detectors ► Lawn equipment (weed trimmers and mowers) ► Medical waste (syringes) ► Radioactive material of any kind ► Asbestos ► PCB ► Air conditioners ► Unidentified materials and containers

April 2017 • A19 Jazz musicians from Hoover High School play at the 2016 Denim and Dining event at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Photo by Erica Techo.

More than 30 tablescapes, including two that will be offered for sale, will be featured at the April 19 Tablescapes luncheon, sponsored by the Kings Home Shelby Auxiliary (formerly Hannah Home Shelby Auxiliary). Photo courtesy of Kings Home Shelby Auxiliary.

Tablescapes luncheon to support Kings Home

Schools foundation goes casual once again to benefit teachers



More than 30 different original and elaborate arrangements will be the focal points for this year’s Tablescapes luncheon, sponsored by the Kings Home Shelby Auxiliary, formerly the Hannah Home Shelby Auxiliary. The event is April 19 at the Metro Church of God, 2800 Metropolitan Way in Hoover, and is one of the host organization’s primary fundraisers in its support of the Kings Home Shelby (formerly Hannah Home). Doors open at 10 a.m. for a “sip and see” session that includes a silent auction, said Janie Dollar, 2016 auxiliary president. “The silent auction includes a wide range of items including certificates for hair and nail salons, restaurants and artwork,” she said. “And this year we will auction off two tablescapes — one of Sheraton china and the other Independence Ironstone tableware.” The noon luncheon will feature as primary speaker former Alabama first lady Patsy Riley, the first charter member of Hannah Home Shelby and lifelong advocate of women and children. The fundraising efforts of the auxiliary, a

ministry of Kings Home, go to support the 13,000-square-foot home in Shelby County which offers placement for women and children fleeing domestic violence and homelessness. The cost of housing a woman for one year is $17,000, and those seeking shelter there may stay for up to two years. Monies raised by auxiliary members go primarily toward operating expenses, including utilities, Dollar said. “The monthly utility bill averages $5,000 per month, and in 2016 we donated close to $26,000 for operational expenses, giving back about 81 percent of our net,” she said. Pam Bradford, King’s Home Shelby Auxiliary president and chair of the 2017 Tablescapes, said the group is looking to the coming years with great anticipation. “God has been faithful throughout the years of serving the women and children and in fact, has done so for 10 years now,” she said. “We are excited about what He has done in the past and look forward to the future with open minds and hearts." Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online at or by calling Barbara Brickner at 837-8175.

The Hoover City Schools Foundation is gearing up for its second annual Denim and Dining casual fundraiser. This year’s event is April 21, once again in the Michael Jordan Banquet Room at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium from 6:30 to 10 p.m. The night includes a barbecue dinner provided by Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, music and a silent auction, said Janet Turner, the foundation’s executive director. A five-piece jazz ensemble from Hoover High School and a small choral group from Spain Park High School will take turns providing music on the outdoor patio, while Hoover High junior Jordan Beam and Simmons Middle School teacher Robert Abernathy play the guitar and sing in the banquet room, Turner said. Abernathy plays frequently at Beef O’Brady’s at The Grove, Turner said. “He’s just really fun and energetic,” she said. As you might expect with the name of the

event, recommended attire is simply jeans, Turner said. Tickets are $50 through April 4 and $65 starting April 5 and include dinner, dessert and two drink tickets, Turner said. Drinks will include beer, wine, soft drinks and water. Last year’s inaugural Denim and Dining event drew about 175 people and netted about $16,000, Turner said. Organizers hope to double the attendance this year, but net proceeds likely will depend on how many sponsors there are, she said. The foundation, which provides grants to Hoover teachers for innovative projects and helps connect Hoover schools with the business community, is trying to expand its effectiveness with additional fundraising. The foundation in 2016 doubled its funding from $37,000 to $73,000 and hopes to double its funding again to $150,000 in 2017, Turner said. For tickets, go to

A20 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

Kiwanis tees up for 25th annual charity golf tournament April 10

Junior League preps for 2017 Bargain Carousel


By JON ANDERSON The Junior League of Birmingham is returning to the same spot in Hoover for the third year in a row for its 25th Bargain Carousel garage sale. The 2017 sale, which organizers say will contain more than 100,000 items from at least 1,000 families, is set for April 27, 29 and 30 at the former Winn-Dixie shopping center near the intersection of Interstate 459 and John Hawkins Parkway. The former grocery store will be set up to resemble a department store, divided into sections such as women’s clothing, children’s clothing, men’s clothing, kitchen, outdoor, toys, appliances and furniture, said Emily Norkus, chairwoman of the event. Junior League members started collecting items for the sale in July of last year, she said. There also will be a “new” section that contains unsold new merchandise from various stores, Norkus said. The sale kicks off with a Bargain Bash event April 27 that includes a silent and live auction, music, food and early shopping opportunities, she said. A $40 ticket allows entry at 6 p.m. for shopping, but the price for everything is double the amount on the tag. A $30 ticket allows entry at 7 p.m. More than 650 people came to the Bargain Bash last year, Norkus said. Tickets for April 29 go on sale from 2 to 6 p.m. April 28 and are numbered for order of entry. One woman last year slept in her car so she could be the first in the door, Norkus said. The doors open at 8 a.m. Saturday with a $10 admission charge, and at 10 a.m., the price drops to $5. “Last year, the line was wrapped around the building. They brought their own grocery carts, and they brought their own shopping

A woman shops at the Junior League of Birmingham’s 2016 Bargain Carousel garage sale at the former Winn-Dixie grocery store near the intersection of Interstate 459 and John Hawkins Parkway. Photo courtesy of Junior League of Birmingham.

bags,” Norkus said. On April 30, admission is free, and everything is half price. More than 550 shoppers came Saturday and Sunday last year, Norkus said. The event requires more than 200 volunteers, including more than 100 Junior League women on the Bargain Carousel committee. “It takes a village,” she said. Last year’s Bargain Carousel netted more than $130,000, which goes to help a multitude of organizations and causes supported by the Junior League of Birmingham, Norkus said. Those include the Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham Botanical Gardens programs for low-income children, Girls Inc., Better Basics, Children’s Literacy Guild, Pathways shelter for homeless women and children, Exceptional Foundation, Magic Moments, Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, Mother’s Milk Bank of Alabama, a diaper bank for low-income families and the Backpack Buddies program that supplies food for low-income children. “I’m really excited,” Norkus said, who lives in Vestavia Hills. “I’m so devoted to this.” For more information, go to

The Hoover Metro Kiwanis Club is preparing for its 25th annual charity golf tournament April 10 at the Riverchase Country Club. The event starts with lunch at 11 a.m., and play is scheduled for 1 p.m. with a four-person scramble format, said Chairwoman Deb O’Hara. The cost is $180 per person or $700 for a team of four players. The fee includes lunch, greens fees, cart and a gift bag. Teams, businesses and organizations also can buy sponsorships. A silver sponsorship is $850 and includes one four-person team and a sign at a tee or green. A gold sponsorship is $1,400 and includes two four-person teams and signs at both a tee and green, and a platHoover Councilman John Lyda putts the ball during inum sponsorship is $1,800 and includes up to three teams and the Hoover Metro Kiwanis Club’s 2016 charity golf signs on a tee, green and other tournament as a part of the Cotiviti Healthcare team. Other team members are Jason Fedgchin, Scot event locations. Andrews and John Watkins. Photo courtesy of Hoover Businesses also can provide Metro Kiwanis Club. gifts for golfers’ gift bags. The tournament will include Last year’s tournament netted at least competitions for the longest drive and the $24,000, and organizers hope to meet or closest shot to the pin. There also will be exceed that this year, she said. There were prizes for holes-in-one on several holes, about 25 teams last year, and organizers hope including a $10,000 cash prize on one of the to have at least 30 teams play this year, she holes, O’Hara said. said. Proceeds from the event will benefit Safe “Everybody’s working very hard. It’s lookHouse of Shelby County, Camp Smile-a- ing pretty good right now,” O’Hara said. “I’m Mile, Adaptive Aquatics, Children’s of Ala- very excited about it.” bama hospital, Hoover Helps (backpack food To register for the tournament or a sponsorprogram), Restoration Academy and college ship, contact Deb O’Hara at oharadsp@gmail. scholarships for students, O’Hara said. com or 515-7770.

April 2017 • A21

Lisa Hogan, Sav-A-Life executive director, addresses the attendees at the 2016 banquet. This year’s event is scheduled for April 27 at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel. Photo courtesy of Sav-A-Life.

Sav-A-Life to host annual Banquet for Life By MARIENNE THOMAS OGLE A crowd of about 500 is expected for the annual Sav-A-Life Banquet for Life on April 27 at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover. The fundraiser benefits the ministry’s work to provide free and confidential services to women, couples and families facing an unplanned pregnancy. “The banquet is a great opportunity for people to learn about the ministry of Sav-ALife and to see firsthand the impact this ministry has on the people we serve,” said Lisa Hogan, Sav-A-Life executive director. While there is no charge to attend, participants are asked to donate at the end of the

evening, said Beth Wintersteen, office manager of Sav-A-Life Vestavia. “People who are interested in attending can go to our website,, or they can call 979-6329, and we can register them,” she said. Founded in 1980, the ministry offers free pregnancy testing, ultrasound, prenatal assessment, STI/STD testing for men and women, childbirth education classes, parenting classes and fatherhood programming, Wintersteen said. The banquet’s featured speaker is Melissa Ohden, a survivor of an attempted abortion who spent years searching for her biological family and offered them forgiveness for the decision to end her life. For more information, go to

Aldridge Gardens hosting guided bird walks through November By MARIENNE THOMAS OGLE Grab your binoculars because you never know what you might see at Aldridge Gardens, which for the fifth year is offering guided bird walks under the guidance of Richard and Patricia Ryel. Scheduled for the third Saturday of the month, April through November, the free walks are 8-10 a.m. and available to garden members only. Memberships are available at or at the gardens at 3530 Lorna Road, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Walk groups are limited to 15, and members must register in advance by calling 682-8019. According to Richard Ryel, there have been 102 species of birds identified in the Gardens, and the number is expected to increase.

“This is certainly a testament to these 30 acres of native vegetation as an excellent birding site,” Richard Ryel said. “The number of bird species identified during the bird walks over the past four years averages between 25 to 30.” Located on 30 acres in the heart of Hoover that includes a 5-acre lake, Aldridge Gardens contains the three essential ingredients to support a thriving bird population: food, water and secure areas for nesting and raising young, Richard Lyel said. “The phenomenon of bird migration occurs primarily for two reasons: to ensure adequate food resources and reproduction, and is generally due to seasonal climate change and day length,” he said. “Aldridge Gardens is an oasis in a desert of asphalt and rooftops for transient birds to stop and refuel.”

More than a hundred species of birds have been documented at Aldridge Gardens, where free guided bird walks are available to members the third Saturday of each month, April through November. Photo courtesy of Scott Estes.

A22 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

An estimated 15,000 people showed up for the 2016 Celebrate Hoover Day at Veterans Park. Photo by Ron Burkett.

2017 Celebrate Hoover Day to mark city’s 50th birthday By JON ANDERSON If ever there is a year to “celebrate Hoover,” maybe 2017 — the city’s 50th birthday — is it. City officials are inviting the public to come out to Veterans Park for the annual “Celebrate Hoover Day” on April 29. The event started in 2007 as a way to celebrate the city’s 40th birthday and has continued every year since. An estimated 15,000 people attended last year, said Erin Colbaugh, the city of Hoover’s events coordinator. This year’s festivities begin at 11 a.m. with a dedication of pavers in memory of U.S. military veterans at the Veterans Memorial Plaza and continue until 3 p.m., Colbaugh said. After the paver dedication ceremony, officials plan to crank up a forklift and pull a giant apple pie (the pan is 10 feet, 3 inches in diameter) out of a specially-built oven and serve it with ice cream to attendees. There will be live entertainment, including

individuals and groups from Hoover schools, Colbaugh said. Kids will be able to play in a kids zone with carnival rides, inflatables and other games, and people are invited to display their antique vehicles, sports cars and other show cars at no charge on the festival grounds. The Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce also organizes an exhibitor tent in which businesses, nonprofit groups and other organizations in the Hoover area display and share information each year. The exhibitor tent typically has 100 to 125 participants, Colbaugh said. The Hoover police and fire departments also frequently have some of their specialized equipment on display, such as the police helicopters, Special Response Team gear, mobile command unit, a ladder fire truck and equipment for technical rescues. There also will be food and drink vendors on site, typically operating out of food trucks.

The Turkish Food Festival includes traditional food, music and items for sale. Photo by Ron Burkett.

4th annual Turkish Food Festival April 8-9 By ALYX CHANDLER The food festival scene is thriving in Birmingham, and coming up is a two-day festival featuring homemade Turkish food that locals and visitors alike won’t want to miss. The fourth annual Turkish Food Festival, hosted by the Istanbul Cultural Center, is April 8-9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Istanbul Cultural Center, 2146 Centennial Drive. In 2016, there were more than 2,000 people who attended the festival. This year’s Turkish Food Festival will be similar, with the addition of even more Turkish vendors. “It’s an opportunity for people of Birmingham and the surrounding areas to get familiar with Turkish cuisine, Turkish traditions and food-making,” said Ozar

Gafarov, one of the Turkish Food Fest organizers. Entrance to the festival is free, with affordably priced food. There will be live Turkish music and kids’ activities. Gafarov said the homemade Turkish main dishes include kabobs, marinated lamb cooked skewers; beef and chicken kafta, similar to meatballs but mixed with spices and onion; and shawarma, mixed meats grilled on a spit for a long time and served with sides. For dessert, he said there will be many options, including baklava, which is a popular sweet and doughy pastry soaked in honey. Turkish tea and coffee are also offered. “In general, it’s a positive, uplifting atmosphere for a family to be visiting,” Gafarov said. For more information about the festival, go to

April 2017 • A23

Community Bobby Horton receives his new membership certification from Howard Poarch. Photo courtesy of Howard Poarch.

Girl Scouts donate portion of cookie sale proceeds to ‘A Cure for Clara’

SAR installs new officers The Alabama Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) held its annual convention at the Embassy Suites in Hoover on Feb. 17-18. Presiding at the convention was President Dr. Fred Olive III of Vestavia Hills. The convention was attended by members from throughout the state. Also in attendance were the National SAR Secretary Mr. Larry Gusy and the Vice President of the Southern District Mr. Gerald Brendt. One of the major themes of this year’s program was the involvement of the Society in youth programs from early grade

school through high school. Eight students throughout the state were honored for their outstanding achievements. Entertainment at the Saturday night banquet was provided by SAR’s newest member, Bobby Horton of Three on a String. His music was from the Revolutionary time period. The closing ceremony was the installation of the new officers: President Harold Thornton of Crane Hill, Vice President Robert Alexander of Hartselle, Secretary Felton Mitchell of Opelika and Treasurer Charles Nuckolls of Birmingham. – Submitted by Howard Poarch.

The sixth-grade Cadette Girl Scouts from Prince of Peace Catholic School, Brock’s Gap Intermediate School and The Altamont School have donated $250 of their 2016 cookie sale proceeds to “A Cure for Clara,” which benefits the Cure GM1 Foundation. The Cadettes discovered A Cure for Clara while researching charitable giving as part of achieving their marketing badge. When they learned that their donation could help young Hoover resident and Prince of Peace Church member Clara Bragg, they were very happy. Clara is almost 3 years old and has GM1 gangliosidosis. There is currently no treatment Clara Bragg visits with the Girl Scout Cadette troop at Prince of Peace Catholic Parish. She and her mother, for this fatal genetic disease; Jenny, far left, accepted a check from the Cadettes to however, a human gene therapy help fund GM1 gangliosidosis disease research. Clara trial which could save the life was diagnosed with the disease in August 2016. Photo of Clara and other children with courtesy of Prince of Peace Catholic School. this disease awaits funding. The troop presented the check to Clara and her mother Jenny at a recent meet- $100 to the Prince of Peace Church building fund. ing at Prince of Peace. The Braggs established to “They were excited to meet her and hoped their efforts would help in saving her life,” help raise funds for the Cure GM1 Foundation said Cadette leader Beth Martin. “The girls to help fund such a clinical trial. A yard sale would like to continue to help in the future,” to benefit Clara was held recently in the POP church parking lot and the POP Mom’s ministry she added. The troop donated 75 percent of their 2016 is also actively involved in raising money for cookie sales to charity, according to Beth A Cure for Clara. – Submitted by Prince of Peace Catholic Martin. In addition to giving to A Cure for Clara, they gave $100 to the Suki Foundation, School. $100 to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and

A24 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

Troop 5 marks centennial anniversary Hoover’s Boy Scout Troop 5 celebrates its 100th anniversary this month. A centennial celebration is planned for April 29 at Christ Church United Methodist. Photo courtesy of Mark Rogers.

By SYDNEY CROMWELL One of the oldest Boy Scout troops in the nation meets every Monday night at Christ Church United Methodist on Caldwell Mill Road. In 1917, just seven years after the founding of the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 5 was formed. Later this month, the troop will celebrate 100 years of Scouting and service. Troop 5 has had more than 160 Eagle Scouts in its history, with its Scouts participating in community service projects, Appalachian Trail hikes, weeklong sailing trips and more. Doyle and Francis Kernea, who are among the troop’s longest-serving volunteers, started helping with the troop when their own two sons joined in 1976. “We could go on for days about memories in Scouting. It’s been a big part of our life for a long time,” Francis Kernea said. Doyle Kernea served as Troop 5’s Scoutmaster for 12 years. In that time, the troop held camping or hiking outings once a month and longer trips every summer — and Doyle only missed two. “That’s quite a record,” Francis Kernea said of her husband. “Scouts came first to him.” The Kerneas were among many parents and Scoutmasters who would serve as encouragers and advisers to generations of Troop 5 Scouts. While Doyle Kernea was Scoutmaster, Francis Kernea would help pack supplies and organize Eagle Courts for the young men receiving Scouting’s highest honor. “They were always eager to get their Eagle, and you wanted to encourage that,” Doyle Kernea said. After their own sons aged out of the troop, the Kerneas decided to stay just a little longer to make sure the next group of Scouts had a quality program. They never left. While the Kerneas don’t go on trips with Troop 5 anymore, they can still be found at the Monday night meetings and giving advice to Scouts and their parents preparing to receive

their Eagle Scout. They’ve stayed involved in the troop for so long partly because they believe strongly in its mission — Doyle Kernea can still name the 12 points of Scout Law — but also because of the good memories they have and the kids they’ve watched become adults. “We’ve had Scouts go into all areas of professions,” Francis Kernea said. “Sometimes from the merit badges they take, it sparks a little interest in something.” Among those good memories is a camping trip Doyle Kernea recalled, where the Christ Church pastor prayed for it not to rain during the trip. It didn’t rain — instead, the boys camped through one of the heaviest snowfalls the area had ever seen. “Be careful what you pray for” became an inside joke for Troop 5, Doyle Kernea said.

The outdoor adventures are one of the most memorable parts for Chris Rogers, one of Troop 5’s Eagle Scouts. Rogers said his father, Mark Rogers, was an Eagle Scout and wanted his son to complete the same honor. While he almost ran out of time to complete his project requirements before turning 18, Rogers said the experience was fun and “well worth it.” From friends he still keeps in touch with to memories of a campout where their tents flooded and the troop slept on a bus, Rogers said his Troop 5 experiences gave him valuable skills and memories that he carries into adulthood. “There’s at least one distinct memory from every single campout we went on,” Rogers said. “When I was doing it, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have, as I do now.” Brandon Lazarre, another former Troop 5

member and Eagle Scout, said being in the troop from 1993-99 was “one of the greatest times of my life” and he hopes his two sons will be in a troop of their own someday. Some of the highlights of his time in the troop, Lazarre said, included backpacking part of the Appalachian Trail, a sailing trip from Miami to Key West and back, cave exploration and the Jamboree that gathers troops from across the country every four years. “It’s just an honor to be in a long line of great men that have gone through it,” Lazarre said. Rogers, Lazarre and the Kerneas are all planning to come back for the centennial celebration on April 29 at Christ Church United Methodist, to reminisce and see old friends. After 41 years of service to Troop 5, it’d be hard to tear the Kerneas away. “We’ll probably keep going up to Scouts when we’re on our walkers,” Francis Kernea said.

April 2017 • A25

Bluff Park Boy Scout troop nears 100th anniversary By HOOVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910. Just eight years later, Troop 21 was chartered by the First Christian Church in Birmingham. It was re-chartered by the Bluff Park United Methodist Church in 1945. During the almost 100 years of its history, it has had 25 scoutmasters and more than 1,800 members. Troop 21 has seen more than 200 of its members achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Its scout hut was built in 1959 next to Shades Cliff Pool in Bluff Park. Inside hangs a “The Order of the Arrow ‘Chieftain’” painting. All members of Troop 21 Order of the Arrow since 1945 have signed this painting with their names and induction dates. A plaque sculpted by Bluff Park artist Arthur Umlauf decorates the hut and depicts the Scout Oath. The names and dates of each Eagle Scout are recorded and displayed on a black walnut stand built by Frank Nelson. An additional stand created by Cathy Kidd supports two Eagle Scout Project books. Troop 21 is active. It takes monthly trips as well as one or more High Adventure trips a year. High Adventure trips include backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, sailing and snorkeling at Sea Base in Florida or canoeing at the Northern Tier. Members have hiked the trails at Shiloh since 1956. William H. Proctor Jr. was scoutmaster in 1946-47. A newspaper article said Troop 21 was unique at this camporee because it used only rustic materials to make a table. Its tents even had “furnaces” in them: holes in the ground filled with heated rocks. Tommy Tucker, a 12-year-old Scout at the time, was warned not to use sandstone since it could explode when heated. Tucker said he has fond memories of Proctor, who drilled them to march in preparation for the Veterans Day Parade. Proctor taught the boys to camp, pitch tents and build a trench around each tent. Tucker credits his scoutmaster

for teaching him the skills that prepared him for Marine boot camp, where he even had to teach other Marines how to use a compass. He remembers helping the Bluff Park Volunteer Fire Department fight fires with other scouts long ago. Noted Hoover resident and Eagle Scout Frank Nelson (former Bluff Park fire chief) taught rifle skills, survival skills and camping. Troop 21 marches in the Birmingham Veterans Day Parade every year. For years, they have sold soft drinks and refreshments at the Bluff Park Art Show. Since 1967, Christmas trees have been sold to raise funds for the troop. Eagle Scout Paul Young has helped bring the Fraser firs from a Christmas tree farm in North Carolina. He said generations of families have purchased trees from the Bluff Park UMC parking lot. Some families will only buy their trees from Troop 21. Sales have grown from 150 trees a year to 600 trees this year. This year also marked the fifth year a yard sale has been held to raise funds. Sales from the Christmas trees and yard sales have allowed the troop to purchase a new bus and truck for trips and special events. They marched in the first Bluff Park Christmas parade this year. Troop 21 won the Award of Merit from President Richard Nixon in 1972 and again in 1979 from President Jimmy Carter. Life Scout Christopher Griffin was presented the BSA National Medal of Merit in 2012 for saving the life of a young girl choking on a piece of candy. Six adult leaders have earned the Silver Beaver award, the council-level distinguished service award. Dan Strunk is the troop’s current scoutmaster and has served more than 20 years in that role. In 2013, he was awarded the District Vulcan Award for service to troop, district and council. Troop 21 was recognized as an “Honor

Top: Walnut desks built by Troop 21 members. Above: A collection of badges are displayed. During the almost 100 years of its history, it has had 25 scoutmasters and more than 1,800 members. Photos courtesy of Carolyn Kolar.

Troop” by the Alabama Legislature. Scouting teaches loyalty, trustworthiness, independence, respect for self and others and many other traits. Paul Young said scouting has

influenced how he treats his customers and uses the scouting laws to run his business. He tries to pay it forward so other boys can enjoy the benefits of scouting.

A26 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

Every ability in mind at Hoover playground By GRACE THORNTON Exciting. Easy to use. Accessible. Those are some of the ways Dee Nance, superintendent of Hoover’s parks, describes the inclusive playground at Hoover East Park. But Hoover resident Jennifer Henderson says her main descriptor is this — it’s “Addie-friendly.” Henderson’s 9-year-old daughter, Addie, has microcephaly, which often makes maneuvering around playgrounds a little tricky. But the area at Hoover East — an inclusive playground built with the intent to accommodate every ability level — is built with Henderson’s daughter in mind, she said. “I was very impressed on our first visit to the park after it opened, and that is what has kept us going back,” she said. The ground was covered in one solid surface, so Henderson didn’t have to worry about Addie tripping and falling while she walked around the playground, she said. And the swings — “how we love them so,” Henderson said. “Addie was safe and snug and never got scared. She loved them, too. The slides were sturdy and safe and just the right height for Addie to gain her footing at the bottom.” And other than keeping Addie away from moving swings and watching her in the few open areas

Because Hoover does a great job replacing playgrounds with accessible playgrounds, we were able to jump on this project and make it a great playground.


on the playground equipment, Henderson was able to let her play with limited concerns. “Addie explored every inch of the playground, and we left only after she said she was ready,” Henderson said. “We had the best time.” That’s exactly what Hoover Parks and Recreation was going for when the opportunity came to renovate the playground in conjunction with the Miracle Field project, Nance said. “Because Hoover does a great job replacing playgrounds with accessible playgrounds, we were able to jump on this project and make it a great playground,” she said. Nance’s background is in therapeutic recreation, and she said making sure everyone has his or her

Jennifer Henderson pushes Addie, 9, on a swing at the Hoover East Park inclusive playground, which was built with the intent to accommodate every ability level. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

best opportunity to play is “the right thing to do.” That means making parks wheelchair accessible — but it also means accommodating children with vision and hearing impairments and other sensory issues as well as different physical abilities, she said. “All these things were taken into consideration when we selected the equipment,” Nance said. An example of the inclusive equipment is the Expression Swing, designed by GameTime to allow adults and children to sit facing each

other in a swing designed to hold them both. Other pieces include: ► A Merry-Go-All, a GameTime-designed merry-go-round with cupped seats to hold riders more securely. ► A Quattro Seesaw with easy transfer to and from wheelchairs. ► Interactive play panels with drums, bongos, sound and games. ► Wheelchair-accessible picnic tables and benches with handles. Making playgrounds as usable as

possible “is something that Hoover is very conscious of,” Nance said. “Inclusivity in general we are improving on, and it’s fun to see.” Other Hoover parks — such as the playgrounds at Veterans Park, Hoover Dog Park, Georgetown Lake Park, Wild Flower Park and Blue Ridge Nature Trail — have some inclusive elements as well, though Nance said they are continually looking for opportunities to raise the bar. “It’s a good thing to do, because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

April 2017 • A27

School House

Voters give big yes to renewing taxes for schools A sign along Old Rocky Ridge Road encourages people to pass the property tax renewal for Hoover schools prior to the March 7 vote. Photo by Erica Techo.

By JON ANDERSON Hoover voters joined others across Jefferson County on March 7 to overwhelmingly approve property tax renewals for schools. With 98 percent of the precincts counted, there were 2,470 votes (93 percent) in favor of renewing a 13.9-mill property tax specific to the Hoover part of Jefferson County, compared to 181 votes (7 percent) against the renewal. Also, voters across Jefferson County strongly favored renewing two countywide property taxes totaling 7.5 mills. Those renewals were approved by about 93 percent of voters, with nearly 26,000 votes cast across the county. Those countywide property taxes are split up among all the school districts in the county, based on enrollment. The Hoover tax and two countywide taxes combined bring in more than $21 million a year for Hoover City Schools, school officials have said. Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy said she is extremely grateful for all those people in Hoover and Jefferson County who took the time to go vote. “It’s so important to Hoover City Schools, so important to all Jefferson County schools,” Murphy said. Those three taxes were set to expire in 2021, and now they will be

extended another 25 years to 2046. That will help the school district not only in maintaining a terrific school district today but also will aid the system for an extended period of time as it looks at the possibility of capital projects to meet the growing system’s needs, Murphy said. This money will help Hoover with a variety of needs, such as maintaining smaller class sizes, providing desired electives and helping meet the needs of struggling learners, she said. Murphy said she was optimistic the vote would go this favorably. “You’re always hoping for the A. You’re always hoping to be in the 90s,” she said. “It’s always great when you see this kind of a margin. It

certainly signifies that all those who took the time to go out and vote did so purposefully and with the intention of helping children today. … I’m extremely excited for the children of Jefferson County.” Marlena Webb, the mother of a fifth-grader at Gwin Elementary School, was among those who voted in favor of the renewal. “Our schools need all the help they can get,” Webb said after exiting her polling place at Oakmont Presbyterian Church. She went to private Catholic schools, but she chose to put her daughter in Hoover schools and loves it, Webb said. She voted for the tax renewals because she said she doesn’t want the school system

PROPERTY TAX RENEWAL VOTES DISTRICT JeffCo (countywide) Bessemer Birmingham Fairfield Homewood

MILLS RENEWED 7.5 5.4 12.8 5.8 15.1

% VOTERS APPROVING 93% 94% 95% 96% 95%




Jefferson County Leeds Midfield Mountain Brook Tarrant Trussville Vestavia Hills

13.9 13.9 6 24.2 11.2 5.1 15.1

89% 95% 98% 98% 93% 86% 94%


to have to stop offering electives such as theater and music. “It takes a lot,” Webb said. “If you want a good education for your kids, you’ve got to be able to support it.” Yashica Elder, a resident in the Green Valley area with two young children at Green Valley Elementary and a preschooler, said she favored the tax renewals because education is important to her, and her children still have a lot of years left in school. She moved to Hoover because of the quality of the school system and “you can’t do it without money,”

Elder said. Amy McLemore, another Green Valley resident with a student at Hoover High, said the fact that this was a tax renewal and not a new tax made it easier to approve, but she likely would have voted in favor of it even it was a new tax. “We need to support our schools,” she said. In addition to Hoover, 11 other school districts in Jefferson County had tax renewal votes specific to their districts on the same day. All were easily approved.

A28 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

Students learn about movement, choreography and a variety of dance styles in the Trace Crossings dance lab. Photos by Sydney Cromwell.




Dance lab gets students moving at Trace Crossings By SYDNEY CROMWELL At Trace Crossings Elementary, about 170 kids have a little extra moving and shaking in their day thanks to the school’s new dance lab. The dance lab is the product of a $25,000 Alabama Arts Education Initiative grant, which physical education aide Michelle Knutson and art teacher Adriana Northcutt applied for and won in January 2016. The grant is used for three purposes: professional development, student exposure to the arts and the dance lab. The program began at the end of January of this year. Knutson, a former dance major at the University of Alabama and founder of the Sanspointe Dance Company, said the grant enables Trace Crossings to bring in professional dancers and dance companies to perform and talk to students about all the elements — such as lights, sound and choreography — that go into a performance. “We want to expose our students to what professional dance looks like,” Knutson said, who lives in Green Valley and has taught at Trace Crossings since 2008. “There’s nothing like live performance.” The school also has a group of teachers designated as the Moving Arts Faculty team “to connect curriculum and movement,” who attend training on incorporating dance with math, science, history and language and then bring that training back to share with the rest of the faculty. However, the morning dance lab class might be the most visible part of Trace Crossings’ use of the grant. Each morning from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m., Knutson leads students through a variety of dance, including routines, a ballet barre and free movement around their studio space. There’s plenty of giggling and excitement from the students as they get the chance to be creative and have an outlet for their energy. “I love it. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the morning,” Knutson said. Of the students who signed up, the K-3 participants have dance lab once a week for five weeks, while fourth-graders have the weekly class for 10 weeks through April 14. This gives

Michelle Knutson leads second- and third-grade students in the Trace Crossings dance lab. Above, students use a barre for balance while following dance instructions.

Knutson the chance to teach the older students more about “using space, time and energy” and even to try a little choreography. Dance lab includes elements of ballet, folk, modern and hip-hop dance styles. The school created a studio next to the gym with mirrors on the wall and ballet barres, and within that studio, Knutson said she tries to foster an atmosphere of creativity, leadership, experimentation and open minds. She said she was surprised — and delighted — to find that at least a few boys in each grade signed up for the class. “We can create a space where students feel like this is something unique and special,”

Knutson said. While it’s fun, the dance lab is still about learning. As students leap across the studio, Knutson teaches them terms like “grand jete,” and math is an integral part of understanding choreography. “At the heart of what it is, we try to connect math, science and language arts in the studio space,” Knutson said. In the first two weeks of the program, Knutson said she already had heard from a firstgrade teacher that her dance lab students come to their first class of the day more settled and focused. “They had moved all their energy out and

were ready to settle in and work,” Knutson said. “It benefits those who are natural movers.” Dance lab also gives students a chance to build confidence and see themselves as successful in a less academic setting, she said. “They can look in a mirror and see themselves and be proud of what they’re seeing,” she said. Knutson said she hopes to continue the dance lab with the grant next year, though there are details of the schedule to work out. “If one student really finds a connection and finds success … that’s what we’re here to do,” Knutson said. “We’re here to start their morning moving and creating and building community.”

April 2017 • A29

Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

A30 • April 2017 CLARA

CONTINUED from page A1 GM1 causes trouble with speech and mobility, and later more severe problems such as blindness, deafness, seizures and inability to eat. Jenny Bragg said the diagnosis meant instead of being upset their 2-yearold daughter wasn’t progressing, now they realized they should be glad that she wasn’t moving backward. “That was something to be celebrated,” Jenny Bragg said. A diagnosis of GM1, however, is always fatal. In Clara’s case, her late infantile case has an expected life span of 5 to 10 years. Ryan Bragg recalled being told their family had no options except to go home and enjoy their years with Clara while they had her. When they began researching advice on caring for a child with GM1, the Braggs were surprised to find a cure might be closer than they thought. At Auburn University, veterinary medicine professor Doug Martin has been studying GM1, which also occurs naturally in cats, for several years. He developed a gene therapy treatment that was successful in cats and is now ready for a National Institute of Health trial for a similar treatment in humans. “He’s been able to save a lot of their lives; he’s been able to restore a lot of their functions,” Ryan Bragg said of Martin’s work with felines. When they found out about Martin’s work in September 2016, Ryan Bragg said one of the major hurdles for the drug trial to start was about $1.5 million in funding. Less than a month after a diagnosis that they thought spelled the end of their daughter’s life, the Braggs jumped

Hoover Sun

This, I think, is a unique opportunity [and] a remarkable opportunity to solve something forever. In three or four years, people are going to be talking about GM1 the same way you talk about polio or smallpox or tuberculosis.

Clara Bragg has GM1, a genetic neurodegenerative disorder. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

with both feet into fundraising for a concrete cure. “At this point, it’s a matter of when, not if. Unfortunately for kids with this disease, they don’t have time. A few extra months can matter a lot,” Ryan Bragg said. “If there (are) delays, it’s not going to

be because they can’t pay the bill.” Since that time, the Braggs and other families with GM1 children have raised about $1.1 million through private donations and a variety of silent auctions, restaurant nights, fashion shows, cookie sales, movie nights and other fundraisers.

“Our goal is just, ‘Let’s make this trial happen,’” Jenny Bragg said. Day-to-day parenting of Clara is difficult, her parents said. She’s developmentally a 1-year-old, despite being nearly 3, and she doesn’t use verbal or typical nonverbal communication. Jenny Bragg said her daughter expresses most things with her face and understands simple commands, but it’s hard to tell how much she’s able to comprehend of the world. “It’s very hazy in terms of trying to figure out exactly what she understands, and maybe exactly what she chooses not to do,” Jenny Bragg said. Clara can walk with the help of a walker, but she falls easily and can’t be left alone. “There’s a lot of hazards for her,” Jenny Bragg said. “It’s hypervigilance. There’s no such thing as ‘Just let her play,’” Ryan Bragg agreed. This can take a toll not only on Ryan and Jenny Bragg, but also on their 5-year-old son Tanner. Meeting Clara’s needs means they don’t always have the free time they’d like to spend with Tanner, but Jenny Bragg said he’s always loving to his little sister and willing to help in small ways.


Ryan Bragg said they’re in a unique situation because they aren’t fundraising for a “someday” cure, but for a specific trial with a background that leaves them optimistic for success. If fundraising and other hurdles are cleared, he said the trial could begin as soon as the end of 2017. If Clara is accepted as a trial patient, she would receive a onetime gene-therapy treatment and be closely monitored for a few years, then remotely monitored for up to 13 years to track results. “This, I think, is a unique opportunity [and] a remarkable opportunity to solve something forever. In three or four years, people are going to be talking about GM1 the same way you talk about polio or smallpox or tuberculosis,” Ryan Bragg said. “That is what our sights are set on. From everything we’ve seen, this is it. This is our shot,” Jenny Bragg said. The Braggs’ next fundraiser will be a party for Clara’s third birthday from 7-11 p.m. April 8 at the Redmont Hotel. Tickets for the adultsonly cocktail are $75, and there will be drinks, food, music, a silent auction and a Kendra Scott jewelry pull. For more information on the event, go to

April 2017 • A31 Hoover Detective Courtney Pittman and Lt. Keith Czeskleba scroll through the Hoover Police Department Facebook page while at work. The Hoover Police Department has made use of social media to reach the public more effectively when looking for unidentified suspects. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.


CONTINUED from page A1 By the end of the year, the total number of crimes reported in Hoover had fallen from 5,085 in 2015 to 4,799 for 2016. That included three homicides in 2016, compared to five the year before. Police were particularly pleased to see only 41 robberies in Hoover in 2016. That was down 20 percent from 2015 and was the second lowest number of robberies since 2001, Capt. Gregg Rector said. Of those 41 robberies, nine were actually shoplifting cases that technically turned into robberies when the shoplifter struggled with someone trying to get away, Rector said. Twenty-seven were more typical robberies of individuals, and five were robberies of businesses, Rector said. There were no bank robberies in Hoover in 2016, he said. Police Chief Nick Derzis said having only 41 robberies is remarkable for a city with more than 87,000 residents. And while the typical police department nationally solves 30 to 35 percent of its robberies, Hoover police cleared 71 percent of their robberies with arrests, Derzis said.


The chief said he likes to think that the department’s reputation for aggressively going after criminals deters some of them from coming to Hoover in the first place. “We have had a great reputation of being able to solve crimes,” he said. That’s a combination of work by a lot of people, including patrol officers, detectives and crime scene technicians, Rector said. “We process a lot of crime scenes that other departments would never bother,” he said. Derzis said there’s no magic formula to solving crimes, but “our people do a heck of a job. We’re fortunate to have some great people.” He also thanked Hoover’s elected officials for providing the manpower and equipment needed to solve crimes, including fingerprint technology that allows for quick ID checks. In years past, Hoover police would have to send their fingerprint results









Domestic violence assaults




Other assaults




Forcible rapes




Forcible sodomy




Forcible fondling
















Promoting prostitution




Drug offenses



Weapon violations




Pornography/obscene material 8







Motor vehicle thefts




Other thefts



Stolen property offenses
















-8% +100%










5,085 3,330

4,799 3,119

-6% -6%

SOURCE: HOOVER POLICE DEPARTMENT to Jefferson County, Birmingham or the state for processing and sometimes would have prolonged waits to get answers, Derzis said. Now, they get results much quicker, he said. Hoover did have a 5 percent increase in assaults in 2016 to 857, but forcible sex offenses were down 6 percent to 45 cases, records show. There were four reported kidnappings — the same as in 2015. Domestic violence offenses (included in the assault numbers) were up 3 percent to 559, but the total number of domestic calls was down 5 percent to 984 calls. Hoover police also were pleased to see a decrease in several property crimes. Burglaries were down 28 percent to 226; motor vehicle thefts were down 2 percent to 102, and other thefts were down 11 percent to 1,974, records show. There was a 32 percent increase

in forgery cases to 100, but fraud offenses fell 12 percent to 424, and embezzlement cases dropped 8 percent to 76. Weapons violations were up 34 percent to 63, and vandalism was up 5 percent to 252 cases. The number of prostitution cases dropped from 15 to three, but that likely was because there was only one prostitution sting in 2016, compared to two or three in 2015, Rector said. It would be nice if they could do those stings once a month, but manpower is limited, he said.


The number of drug offenses in Hoover increased 7 percent in 2016 to 583. That included 215 marijuana possession cases, 180 drug equipment violations, 167 cases of possession of a controlled substance,

10 drug distribution cases, five drug trafficking cases, four attempts to commit a controlled substance crime and two cases of manufacturing a controlled substance. Other than marijuana, the biggest problem drugs are heroin and fentanyl, which is a painkiller, Rector said. The number of drug deaths in Hoover leveled off somewhat at 12 in 2016, and all were either related to heroin, fentanyl or a combination of the two, Rector said. However, the number of drug overdoses doubled to 52, he said. That means there are more abusers, but the Fire Department is saving more of their lives, sometimes saving the same person more than once in the same day, he said. The offenders are all ages, but most commonly are in their 20s and 30s, Rector said. Hoover police just entered a new effort with the Shelby County district attorney’s office and several other Shelby County law enforcement agencies to try different strategies to help people break their drug habits, Derzis said.


In addition to the Gilotti case, there were two other homicides in Hoover in 2016: ► Authorities in March 2016 charged 29-year-old Christopher Ammons Kemp of Center Point with capital murder, saying he killed the unborn child of a 28-year-old woman with whom he had a relationship when he attacked and beat the woman viciously at a residence on Larkspur Drive. ► A 45-year-old Hoover man shot and killed his stepdaughter’s 24-yearold boyfriend, Howard Marquise Anthony, after the two got into an argument at the Ashby Apartments in Ross Bridge in November. No charges were filed, but the case was taken to a grand jury to consider the evidence. Hoover had at least three more people charged with attempted murder in 2016. In January 2016, 59-year-old Mark Roland Ritchie was charged with attempted murder after police said he, under the influence of alcohol, intentionally struck a 34-year-old pedestrian with his vehicle. Then in September, two 19-yearolds — Chauncey Marcel Holman

and Anthony Rudolfo Major Jr. — each were charged with two counts of attempted murder following a shooting at The Park at Hoover apartment complex on Rime Village Drive. The suspects reportedly shot at two other people following a fight, prompting return gunfire from the victims, police said. In that case, police said testimony from eyewitnesses proved helpful in obtaining charges, and police noted Hoover residents tend not to tolerate such reckless behavior in their community.


Support from the community is a key component in solving crimes, Rector said. Hoover police don’t see a lot of people scared to come forward to report crimes, he said. “I hope that’s because we’ve earned their trust,” he said. Derzis said he is amazed at how many crimes get solved with the help of social media. “If someone would have told me we’d be solving crimes by using something called Facebook 10 years ago, I would have thought they were nuts,” Derzis said. But word spreads so quickly on social media, he said. “We’ve had suspects named within five minutes of posts,” he said. “It is intriguing to me how many people on social media know these people.” By sharing pictures through traditional media and social media, Hoover police are able to identify more than 90 percent of their unknown suspects, Rector said. “The community actually cares, and that’s a wonderful feeling,” he said. Derzis said 2016 was a rough year for law enforcement officers across the nation, but he’s never seen so much support for the Hoover Police Department by the community here. Parents have brought their children by the Police Department to thank officers for their service, Derzis said. Other people have dropped off food or even brought their grills and cooked for officers at the operations center. “This outpouring of support doesn’t happen in every city of America,” Derzis said. “Without the community, a police department has a very tough road.”


Spring APRIL 2017

Home & Garden Guide special advertising section


Spring is in bloom, and it’s the perfect time to plant a garden, do some cleaning or start a home renovation. Find tips and tricks from area businesses to jump-start any project in our guide.

DSLD Land Management ...................B2 NextHome Southern Realty .............. B3 Urban Home Market ...........................B4 Alabama Credit Union ........................B6 Carbon Recall ...................................... B7 EZ Roof .................................................B8 Erdos at Home .....................................B9 Issis & Sons ........................................ B10 Lucas and Associates ........................B11 Park 35 on Clairmont ........................B12

R&S Flooring .......................................B13 Sentry Heating & Air Conditioning ... B14 Spring-Green Lawn Care ..................B15 Sweetspire Gardens ..........................B16 Wedgworth Construction .................B17 Gardner Landscaping ....................... B18 Advanced Turf Care .......................... B18 Batts’ Chimney Services ..................B19 Brewer Cabinets.................................B19 Carpet Warehouse ........................... B20

Hanna’s Garden Shop ...................... B20 Hoover-Randle House .......................B21 Insurance Place ..................................B21 Julie Ivy White, Lucas & Associates.. B22 One Man and a Toolbox ................... B22 Paul Davis Emergency Services.....B23 Plumb One ..........................................B23 Swimming Pool Services .................B24 Volunteer Mortgage .........................B24

B2 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


Design your dream landscape DSLD Land Management is a full-service design/build landscape contractor firm. We are a family owned and operated company that strives to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients. During our initial consultation, all on-site factors are considered from function to form, with special emphasis given to economy and value added work. DSLD Land Management, Inc. opened its doors in 1983. Today, DSLD has built an excellent reputation in landscape construction as a prominent design/build company that services central Alabama. Over the past 30 years, DSLD has been recognized and featured multiple times in publications such as Southern Living magazine and Builder’s Architect Magazine. DSLD welcomes projects of any scope and size, and stands ready to serve our clients with a full staff of licensed and degreed designers, a full-time administrative assistant and one of the most experienced field service teams in the business.

DAVID H. SHARP Pursuing his life-long interest in horticulture and business, coupled with a background in drainage and soil erosion, David Sharp was inspired to create the ideal landscape construction company specializing in residential design and installation. This inspiration is now DSLD Land Management, a full service design/build landscape contractor firm founded in 1983. David studied geotechnical engineering

MEGAN A. MCNAIR Megan McNair is a landscape designer. She is a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in landscape horticulture with an emphasis in landscape design. While obtaining her degree from Auburn University, Megan was able to develop a strong foundation in landscape design. She has advanced training and specializes in software such as Dynascape and ProLandscape.

at the Ohio State University. While a student at OSU David was offered and accepted a scholarship to Samford University in Birmingham, where he graduated with a degree in business administration. Soon after graduating, David became interested in applying his background in geotechnical engineering and business administration to a new course of study in ornamental horticulture. In addition to learning from the environment around him, David has developed a more thorough understanding of various cultural landscape design applications from his travels throughout Europe and Asia visiting gardens and landscapes in over 20 countries. David firmly believes in the value of family. Not only does he enjoy his family, but also works to improve the lives of families with at-risk children. David sits on several national boards of directors where he volunteers on behalf of foster

and adopted children across the country.

J. COLE SHARP Growing up alongside his father, Cole Sharp learned the family business from the ground up. Cole attended Jefferson State Community College where he studied computer information systems technology and mathematics. In addition to his major courses, he took horticulture courses to enhance his knowledge of the family business. Today Cole is fully engaged in the dayto-day operations of DSLD; from sales to installation as well as providing technical support.

PEYTON MARKLE Peyton Markle is the newest DSLD team member. She is a senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Peyton originally joined the team as an intern, but quickly established herself as a strategic thinker and fast learner. As a result, she was offered the position of project engineer. Peyton loves the family business atmosphere at DSLD. “Everyone was so nice and welcoming when I came on,” Peyton said. “The work they do is amazing, and the people behind the work are even better.” For more information, call 437-1012 or visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B3


On the cutting edge of real estate Real estate is a constantly changing world for homebuyers and sellers, so the team at NextHome Southern Realty stays on the cutting edge of technology. Jean and Ben Burford and Randy and Sharon McMichael purchased a NextHome franchise in 2016. The franchise is based out of California and this is the second Alabama NextHome firm. Ben Burford said NextHome appealed to them because it kept up with the latest in marketing tools and online information in the age of social media, mobile devices, online listing programs, electronic signatures and more. Buyers and sellers now have more information available to them online than ever before, and it can be hard to figure out how to use that data to find the perfect home or get the best price when selling your house. The NextHome team have the expertise to help their clients understand the tools they have at their fingertips. “We wanted to embrace this consumer knowledge, rather than try to deny the fact that the industry had changed drastically. We wanted to use our professional knowledge to properly assist and educate consumers and help them interpret the information they were getting properly,” Burford said. Instead of a percentage commission, NextHome works for a low fixed price and offers the experience of four professional Realtors plus marketing and professional photography. Burford added that the firm’s signage and branding, designed by the

internationally renowned Pentagram agency, helps homes listed by NextHome stand out from the crowd. “When listing their home with NextHome Southern Realty, homeowners save a substantial amount of their hard earned money, plus have all the advantages of full service professional Realtors,” Burford said. “Homeowners keep more of their money when listing with us.” Burford said NextHome combines modern tools with the high level of customer care that makes a difference in their clients’ buying or selling experience. All four Realtors are Birmingham natives and have an extensive knowledge of the area. Whether first-time or experienced homebuyers, Burford said the NextHome team is the right choice to help clients navigate the market; with negotiations, inspections, financing, mortgage rates and moving. NextHome is committed to bringing clients all the way from their initial search to happy homeowners. “NextHome Southern Realty strives to offer superior, professional service and to match a client with the perfect home for their needs,” Burford said. “Working with NextHome Southern Realty will save you money without sacrificing full service real estate service. Our agents work hard along the process to educate and guide sellers and buyers through the real estate process.” For more information, go to or call 881-1600.

B4 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

Hoover Sun

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B5


Find your vision for your home with a business that treats you like family


rban Home Market not only knows their customers, we embody them. We are known for being a vibrant home for a variety of lighting, architectural pieces, gifts, home furnishing and design services, all collected in one 17,000-square-foot space. What you’ll find inside Urban Home Market is always different. Every season offers a chance to find new and unique products to fit not only your home, but your lifestyle. Shopping at Urban Home Market is never boring or intimidating. We want to immerse our customers in a complete experience that appeals to all of the senses, while staying authentic and approachable. While Urban Home Market is often

mistaken as an upscale retail chain, we are a family owned business that was spun out of a home and family-grown passion. Therefore, we offer personalized service and products that big corporations and big box retailers cannot. There is no national sales plan provided by a corporate office in another state, it is simply Kathy McMahon and her vision. Being local allows us to focus on the “family community” and serve each customer as a friend and neighbor. These friendships tie creativity and design with authenticity because of our knowledge of our customers. “Our customers are our friends and what we do is never, ever about selling to them,” Kathy said. Urban Home Market’s core philosophy

is guided by style, design and the passion to inspire imagination throughout our store. We have a dynamic, energetic team of designers and visual merchandisers who are responsible for every aspect of the store’s look and feel. “Storytelling” is a key focus for our showroom. Each vignette serves as a series of different inspirations created to be inviting and stimulating. Our merchandising does not highlight product so much as set a mood and create a starting point to direct the customer on their own path. Every season, our team of buyers travels across the country to attend major national furniture and accessory markets to find the latest product and design trends. This, combined with our

interests and the needs of our local customers, determines our inventory. Our merchandising mix is very dynamic, layered and dense. We have many humble, recycled and natural materials. Many of the store’s most striking visual effects have been crafted out of mundane materials. This adds a rich layer of artistry and visual wit to the store experience. To learn more about the coming trends for spring 2017, please be sure to connect to our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Our social media shows how to take trends and make them unique through our product shots and style tips for customers on the go. Urban Home Market is located at 1001 Doug Baker Blvd., Suite 101. Call 980-4663 or visit

B6 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

Hoover Sun


Financial services with a family feel Alabama Credit Union feels like family from the moment you walk through the door. “I love that aspect to it, it’s nice to come to work in a place where employees really like each other,” Cricket Stewart, Alabama Credit Union loan officer, said. Through personal one-on-one support and the latest technology, Alabama Credit Union offers a full range of financial products aimed to help members reach their financial goals. The company first started in 1956 on campus at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, eventually expanding to include 27 offices. They currently have over 70,000 members from Huntsville to the Birmingham area to the panhandle of Florida. “It’s a big family of co-workers and members. We never settle for less and always strive to provide the best service to our members,” Alabama Credit Union Marketing Manager Kelley Jones Porter said. Alabama Credit Union offers the following services: interest earning savings accounts, money markets, CD, IRAs, checking accounts with a free debit MasterCard that earns reward points with each swipe, loan programs designed to cover a wide range of expenses at the lowest available rates, including 15or 30-year fixed rate or 7/1, 5/1 or 3/1 adjustable rate mortgages. Auto loans, student loans and debt consolidation loans all come with competitive rates. They employ the latest technology that allows members to manage their accounts from almost anywhere. They also engage the communities they serve through multiple community service initiatives. Their signature charity program, Secret Meals For Hungry Children, provides weekend food packs to over 2,500 elementary schoolchildren across Alabama each Friday that school is in session. With 23 years of experience in the mortgage business, Stewart offers the following advice to homeowners: Take your time. “In my experience,” she said, “when you get in a hurry and rush, rush, rush everything, that’s when things go wrong. You will have at least a little buyer’s remorse, if not a lot.” She also advised people considering buying a house

to get pre-approved before they start shopping. “Then communicate, ask every single question you think of, as many times as it takes until you feel comfortable with your understanding,” Stewart said, adding that Alabama Credit Union will carefully take you through the process. Knowledge is power, after all, she said. “We look at the whole picture, and we are interested in what makes your credit score rather than blindly judging by that number,” Stewart said. “If we are unable to give immediate loan approval, we will tell you exactly

what you need and then to come back. We are also the only credit union in Alabama that offers mortgage payment protection.” If you live or work in the Birmingham area, you are eligible for a membership with Alabama Credit Union. There are three branches in Birmingham. Alabama Credit Union also has a new abbreviated online application that you can fill out where you put as little or as much information as you want. Call Stewart on her direct line at 849-0576 to ask any questions. Visit for more information.

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B7


Changing energy use benefits home, environment and wallet Making your home more energyefficient isn’t just good for the earth — it’s good for your wallet, too. Sebastien Kidd opened the Birmingham franchise of Carbon Recall after 24 years as an engineer and manager in manufacturing. Carbon Recall’s services, Kidd said, can reduce homeowners’ utility bills and increase their comfort and property value. “Carbon Recall Birmingham affords me the opportunity to go to someone’s home or business and help them, either by finding ways to improve energy efficiency or just to share or learn ways to change energy usage,” Kidd said. The company offers a wide range of energy-saving services, including building sealing and insulation, lighting, heating and cooling, air quality, plumbing and hot water heaters, electrical work and solar power. Kidd also offers a free in-home energy check-up with homeowners and a more extensive energy audit that determines the best actions to improve a home’s energy efficiency. Kidd said he also helps homeowners plan financially for energy decisions in the future, such as replacing a water heater or appliances. “We try to educate property owners on what are their big users and abusers of energy. We recommend solutions based on the property owner’s needs and wants. Our solutions are long term,” Kidd said. “For example, most homes would benefit from a programmable thermostat, but to get the most out of your thermostat and heating and cooling it is important you have good duct work. In the typical duct system, more than 20% of the air is leaking out or in to where you don’t want it. We can help you

get the most out of your investment.” Older homes can be major sources of energy waste, but Carbon Recall can also help make sure new homes are up to the latest energy standards and “future-proof” them for the next wave of improvements. Carbon Recall also offers evaluations and services for businesses looking to lower their energy bills. While Carbon Recall can help make major changes in a home’s energy efficiency, Kidd said there are little steps

homeowners can take on their own. These include closing fireplace dampers, buying Energy Star-rated appliances and equipment, lowering the hot water temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and using surge protectors or timers to turn off power to devices when not in use. “If the plug or electronic device is warm, it is using electricity,” Kidd said. Kidd holds several energy efficiency certifications, including the Building Performance Institute’s professional

building analyst, the Department of Energy’s home energy score rater, duct air tightness technician from the State of Alabama and qualified credentialed air tightness verifier from the Home Builders Association of Alabama. Kidd said he loves that his job gives him the chance to reduce waste and costs for Birmingham homeowners, plus he gets to learn from and teach others every day. For more information, call 205-719-6886 or visit

B8 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

Hoover Sun


What you need to know about roofing We asked roofing specialist Gerry Rotter of EZ Roof what homeowners should be aware of regarding roofs. Here’s what he had to say: Q: What advice would you give to homeowners thinking about replacing their roof? A: Talk to a professional. Find someone who is fully licensed and insured, with experience and a good reputation. Always use a company that is rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau. Remember, if you have any warranty issues that arise, you want a company that will be around — one that you can find years down the road. Look up the address of the business using Google Earth. Choose a company with a brick-and-mortar business versus one operating out of a basement. Find reviews and ask for references. The biggest thing is to ask questions. Your roofing contractor should be knowledgeable about products and solutions for your individual project. Also, ask about warranties. What extended warranties does the company provide? What is the warranty? Q: What are some signs that it’s time for a new roof? A: If you notice your shingles are curled, cracked or missing, or you find shingles on the ground, it’s time for an inspection. Age is also a big factor. If your roof is at least 20 years old, you may need a new roof. Are your neighbors getting new roofs? Homes built around the same time period and in the same location will experience the same types of weather conditions and natural wear. Did your neighborhood experience a hailstorm or high winds? You may have damage that is covered under your homeowner’s insurance. When in doubt, call a professional roofer for a free consultation. A professional can tell you how much life is left in your roof, if there is storm damage worthy of a filing a claim, and what action is recommended. Be careful, though. There are groups that I refer to as “storm chasers” that exclusively pursue insurance claims. These groups will encourage you to file a claim, whether there is one or not, which can increase your insurance rates. Make sure you are talking to someone

that has your best interest in mind. Q: Why should homeowners choose EZ Roof as their roofing contractor? A: EZ Roof is locally owned and operated, and has been in business for over 20 years. We are fully licensed and insured, and have worker’s compensation and general liability insurance. EZ Roof has an office and showroom located on Valleydale Road in Hoover. You can visit us in person and view real samples of the products we use. You can always put a face to the name. EZ Roof has a full-time staff, which means we do not subcontract out our work. You will always be getting someone reliable, professional and experienced on your job.

We also make payment easy. We do not collect anything up front, but rather upon completion and satisfaction of the job. Financing is also offered to help with the upfront expense of a new roof — including borrower-friendly plans like 12 months with no interest or payments*. We pride ourselves on our reputation and treating our customers like we would our own family. EZ Roof is top rated on professional roofing sites, has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and A rating with Angie’s List. I encourage you to read our reviews or even visit us in person to learn more. EZ Roof & EZ Restoration is located at 2078 Valleydale Road. For more information, call 968-1034 or visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B9


Let your home furnishings tell your story For some people, even the thought of furnishing a home seems like far too daunting of a task. “It shouldn’t be like that,” John Erdos, the new CEO of Erdos at Home, said. That’s exactly what he strives to avoid with his newly revamped and renamed store, Erdos at Home. In 2015, John Erdos joined the company, previously known as IO Metro since 2005. He rebranded it into Erdos at Home at the beginning of 2016. “I believe we took the best of IO Metro and added to it. With a new merchant team based in Dallas, we are sourcing from around the world for all various markets,” Erdos said. They want it to be an exciting and memorable experience, he said. By offering customers a refined shopping experience they can count on, Erdos at Home lets customers focus on personalizing their space to fit their own styles and needs. They encourage shoppers to tell their own story. The company sells everything for the home, including furniture, rugs and various accessories. Erdos also said he ensures that their offerings still come with an element of surprise and a dose of the unexpected. “We work closely with the store team to make sure the product we have will be well received by our customers in Birmingham,” he said. Erdos at Home focuses on inspiring customers, which is made easy by offering a diverse mix of well-made, functional furniture, all at a satisfying and reasonable price. Requests for specific items and furniture for customers are regularly sent to the merchant team. In addition, Erdos at Home gives people the opportunity to take

advantage of their in-home design services for free. This is where qualified stylists come and propose solutions to specific design needs in homes, with no obligations afterward. There are full lines of furniture offered for each room of the home, split into three categories. The first is Rockingham, similar in taste to “modern farmhouse”; the second is Tribeca, which is compared to the style of New York loft living or “industrial modern”; and the last is Davis, which is “Hollywood with a touch

of glam.” These lines of furniture and accessories are displayed at the store. “Designing a home should be an enjoyable experience, whether it be a room or an entire home,” Erdos said. “We are here to help and want to be part of your solution.” The design services that Erdos at Home offers allows people to get easy advice and feedback. Paired with a unique product mix, Erdos said the company brings a complete solution and a selection that no one else in

Birmingham offers. “Our team is there to listen. It starts with the people. Ashley, our store manager, is fully engaged in the business to help make sure we meet those goals. She has a team of people that want to be part of what we have created and that makes a difference,” Erdos said. Erdos at Home is located at 4431 Creekside Ave., Suite 109 in the Patton Creek Shopping Center. For more information, visit or call 444-0641.

B10 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

Hoover Sun


35 years of service and quality Issis & Sons has the furniture, flooring and more to turn your vision of your home into a reality. Owner Steve Issis began selling rugs and flooring 35 years ago. There are now two flooring stores in Greystone and Pelham and furniture galleries in Vestavia and Pelham, but Operations Manager Nancy Gowens said the mission of Issis & Sons has stayed the same. “What Issis was always focused on was service and quality,” Gowens said. In addition to home furniture, rugs and flooring, Issis & Sons also offers outdoor furniture, blinds, custom drapery and custom bedding. Gowens said most of their products are American-made by quality companies, and they choose sellers “who stand behind what they say, because that’s how Steve [Issis] built his reputation.” Issis & Sons is also committed to giving each customer a unique home, so Gowens said they don’t buy furniture pieces in bulk. “We try to carry unique pieces,” Gowens said. The company also provides design services at no cost to customers purchasing their products. Gowens said this is often the key to turning a great piece of furniture into a great room. “Most people, they know some things they like but they don’t know how to put it together,” Gowens said. “It’s hard to gauge what would look good in your home if you’re not accustomed to doing it every day.” Issis & Sons designers will make home visits to give advice on layout, color schemes, scale and more. Every designer

at Issis & Sons understands that their customers have different needs and wants, Gowens said, so the rooms they design always reflect the customer’s tastes. “It’s about the customer,” Gowens said. “Issis’ design team will help determine what your needs are.” Issis & Sons also offers many customized design services for clients looking to customize their furniture and white-glove delivery service. From in-home design to staff at their four locations, Gowens said superior service

has always set them apart. “Every job we do — it’s not a sale, it’s a relationship,” Gowens said. “We stay with you the whole way through.” After 35 years in business, Issis & Sons has developed a trustworthy reputation both in Birmingham and across the state. “You’re not going to have to worry, are they going to be there next year?” Gowens said. Gowens has been part of the business for more than 18 years, and she said her favorite part is the staff and the clients

she meets every day. In many cases, repeat clients become close friends. “Some of my best friends are my clients,” Gowens said. For homeowners ready to make a design change in their home, Gowens said to take time walking through one of the Issis & Sons stores. You can talk with designers and staff there and be confident that they will help find what you need and won’t waste your time. For more information about Issis & Sons’ locations, services and popular brands, visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B11


Focusing on individual client needs A home is the biggest purchase most people will ever make. Having the right real estate agent is key to finding a home you’re happy with. “You need to be able to trust that the person helping you with this investment is a professional that is highly ethical and has the experience and knowledge to handle the transaction,” said David Lucas, the owner of Lucas & Associates real estate agency. David Lucas and his wife Peggy opened their business in May 2009 after working for both independent and franchise real estate companies. He said their philosophy is to focus on the individual needs of their clients above all, and to strive for innovation within their business. “The agents that join L&A are business professionals that believe in building lasting relationships with their clients while growing a successful independent business,” David Lucas said. While there are many real estate firms in Birmingham, David Lucas said Lucas & Associates is unique because of the coaching and advice they provide to associates to help them develop their own business. “We place a strong emphasis on two factors: systems and

building relationships. We feel this creates a stronger sense of trust with all Lucas & Associates clients,” he said. In addition to running the day-to-day business with his wife, David Lucas is also the qualifying broker for the 24 agents in their firm. He focuses on finances and business coaching, while Peggy Lucas focuses on new agent training and her own sales business. “We expect our associates to be very knowledgeable of the real estate industry as well as what is happening in the Birmingham-Hoover Metro area. We feel that the greater amount of knowledge we have about the community, the greater ability we have to serve our clients,” David Lucas said. He said one of the most satisfying parts of owning Lucas & Associates is watching their associate agents meet their goals and build the business they love. “In the end it’s all about building a company that caters to the individual agent and individual client,” David Lucas said. Lucas & Associates is located at 100 Chase Park, Suite 128, in Hoover. For more information, call 733-4888 or visit lucasandassociatesonline. com.

B12 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

Hoover Sun


Park35 offers luxury living and amenities Park35 on Clairmont only began pre-leasing last summer and moved in its first residents last September, but its impact is already being felt. Park35 distinguishes itself in the Birmingham market as the only luxury, high-density apartment community located within an established high-end neighborhood with walkability to retail and restaurants. “Some of the newest communities in the area do not combine the levels of on-site amenities, high-end finishes, secured structured parking and adjacent retail that Park35 offers its residents, giving the community the ability to offer a superior product at a rent level that is competitive with other luxury communities,” said Kayla Bates, director of marketing for the Bristol Development Group. Bristol is a leading private residential real estate company that specializes in developing, building, marketing, operating, managing and selling urban and suburban multifamily communities. Established in 1999 by Ashlyn Hines, Dan Daniel and Sam Yeager, Bristol is research-driven, highly focused on its target markets, and has a distinguished history of successful development in the apartment and condominium sectors. “Bristol has been the lead developer in 34 projects in seven states, including more than 8,300 units of residential development that equates to over $1.1 billion in asset value,” Bates said. “Bristol’s current development pipeline is over $240 million.” Park35 fits into Bristol’s impressive portfolio of properties. All amenity spaces are conveniently located within one building, the clubhouse is outfitted with multiple TV screens for meeting and viewing parties, and there is a luxury pool — perfect for pool parties and sunbathing. The property offers two outdoor kitchens for gourmet entertaining poolside, a fire pit, outdoor televisions and a state-of-the-art fitness center with on-demand video access. There is bike storage and a maintenance shop and conditioned storage is available, as is rentable office space. There is even a complimentary latte lounge, access-controlled garage and a dog park and pet spa with deluxe grooming stations. All of this is in addition to AT&T U-verse high-speed internet and Wi-Fi, a package delivery and

storage system, and tree-lined streets, lush courtyards and generous balconies. Park35 offers one, two, or three bedroom floor plans, wood grain plank flooring in all living areas, quartz countertops with three unique finish options and custom cabinetry. Stainless steel appliances are in the gourmet kitchens, and the bathroom is all-tile. The space offers walk-in closets, 9-foot ceilings, a washer and dryer and 24-hour emergency maintenance. “It’s not the center of the universe, but it might just feel like it,” Bates said. “Because no residential location in Birmingham surrounds you with the incredible variety of choices you’ll find at Park35.

Whether you golf or not, you’ll love the lush, green escape of Highland Park Golf Course. And on the other side, there are restaurants, retail, grocery and more, literally at your door. The city’s hottest nightspots are close by in the Lakeview District. We’re also just a short drive away from Five Points South, UAB and some of the city’s largest employers. If you had the ideal checklist for where you want to be, you’ll find it all at Park35.” Park35, 3500 Clairmont Ave., is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call 322-3500 or visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

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Over 25 years of flooring expertise R&S Flooring has been in business since 1991. Birmingham is the second location for the company, the original being located in Nashville, Tennessee. We offer expert advice and analysis on all types of flooring projects. Our goal is simple: Provide the best service and selection of any flooring company in the area. Our continued growth has been a testament to our customer service and satisfaction. At R&S Flooring, we believe it should be all about you. Our main goal is to do everything possible to meet your flooring needs. With a vast selection of styles, we carry a complete line of products from the world’s leading manufacturers. We have experienced, quality-minded professionals in both residential and commercial markets. We install all types of hardwood floors and laminates for your home or office. Real estate agents agree that a nice hardwood floor does wonders to the value and appeal of a home on the market. Bring your home to life with hardwood floors and look no further than R&S Flooring. Our hardwood floor installation services include: ► solid and engineered pre-finished hardwood ► site finished hardwood ► custom stairs ► laminates ► luxury vinyl tile ► carpet ► tile Other services we offer include new installation of handrails, new installation of wooden newel posts and new

installation of iron and wooden spindles. All of our work has a limited warranty on all craftsmanship, in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty. With a new season upon us, customers tend to use the term “spring cleaning.” We recommend not using any products to clean your flooring that include wax-

based finishes. Over time, these products leave a residue film on your flooring and will eventually build up on your flooring’s finish. Simply be cautious with the products you use to clean your hardwood flooring. We would love to come look at any project and provide you with a free,

no hassle, in-home estimate. We offer interest-free financing for up to 12 months with approved credit. R&S Flooring is located at 4421 Creekside Ave., Suite 101, Hoover, Alabama, in Patton Creek Shopping Center. For more information, call 8813800.

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Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

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Offering fast, reliable, experienced service For all your HVAC, plumbing and generator needs, Sentry Heating and Air Conditioning is committed to a simple policy: solutions, not excuses. Charlie Conklin founded Sentry in 1987 with a vision of providing fast, reliable service from qualified technicians any time of day or night. Sentry added plumbing services in 2003 with Michael Tortomase bringing 30 years of plumbing and management expertise to the company. Sentry offers sales and service work for a variety of heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical needs, both for residential and commercial properties. Sentry can also perform historic building restoration, light industrial HVAC service or replacement and design/build installations for commercial and light industrial properties. Lauren Conklin Trim, who works with her father at Sentry as the chief information officer, said their technicians can solve a variety of problems. They can help reduce homeowners’ energy bills with proper maintenance or updating inefficient equipment, as well as offer zone systems and variable capacity systems to customize the temperature in each room of the house. Sentry can also prevent small problems from becoming major hassles by finding and treating the source of water leaks, bad wiring and more. “By having proper maintenance done on your HVAC system, you can avoid costly and untimely breakdowns,” Lauren Conklin Trim said. On the side of each Sentry technician’s truck is the “Comfort Guard” shield, a symbol of the company’s commitment to

their customers’ quality of life. Lauren Conklin Trim said each client is part of the Sentry family. “Sentry prides itself in taking the time to do every job the right way the first time and going the extra mile to ensure every customer is happy with the work that was performed. You will always encounter clean, friendly and well-trained technicians when you call Sentry,” she said.

Just like a car, the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems in your home need regular maintenance and service work. Lauren Conklin Trim recommended service calls twice a year to solve problems before they become serious. With spring in full swing, she also recommended that homeowners change their air filters monthly and make sure their HVAC systems are clean and

functioning at full force to help combat pollen and allergy season. “Regular maintenance can extend the life, warranty and efficiency of equipment,” Lauren Conklin Trim said. Sentry Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is located at 2490 Rocky Ridge Road. Visit or call 979-9864 for more information.

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

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Variety of lawn care services available Spring-Green Lawn Care makes it easy for you to enjoy a beautiful yard all year long. Owners Jeremy and Heather Leith said their personable, friendly approach sets Spring-Green apart from other lawn companies. Their goal, backed by the Spring-Green guarantee, is that they leave every job knowing their customers are fully satisfied. “We are a friendly, reliable company who puts our customers’ best interest first,” Heather Leith said. Spring-Green is a franchise with over 40 years of experience nationwide, but the Leiths’ location is entirely familyowned and operated. “With their help and knowledge, paired with our work ethic, the business has taken off like a rocket,” she said. Spring-Green’s services include fertilization, weed control, tree and shrub care, irrigation system maintenance, lawn disease treatment, lime treatments and aeration. The company also provides control options for a variety of insect pests, including mosquitoes, crane flies, grubs, fleas, ticks, fire ants and other surface or subterranean insects that can damage your lawn or make it hard to enjoy your own backyard. In addition to individual services, clients can also use Spring-Green’s Economy, Preferred or Preferred Plus programs to receive a variety of services, including multiple lawn care visits, at an affordable rate. As part of their commitment to beautiful lawns and happy customers, Spring-Green’s website also provides home and yard maintenance tips for customers, including lawnmower maintenance, flower care, seasonal preparations, turf care, pest control, lawn

talk podcasts and a glossary to introduce homeowners to commonly used terms. Heather Leith said their customers enjoy that Spring-Green takes the time to educate them rather than just trying to sell products and services. “People seem to appreciate what we bring to the table as far as giving a better customer service experience,” she said. Common concerns for yards in the spring include dandelions, clover and other weeds as well as the beginning of lawn-damaging insect activities. In

addition to proper fertilization and pest treatments, homeowners should also remember to raise their mowers in springtime so their grass can develop deeper roots. Heather Leith said spring is the right time to start a Preferred treatment program, as well as tree and shrub care and core aeration. “Core aeration for spring is definitely a necessity if they haven’t had one in recent years,” Heather Leith said. The experts at Spring-Green can answer all your lawn care questions to make sure you take the right approach to

aeration, fertilization, watering and more in every season. Spring-Green started in Illinois in 1977 and has expanded with locations across the U.S. The Leiths’ franchise is one of three in Alabama, and the only one in the Birmingham area. Spring-Green clients can count on having quality lawn care at affordable prices with a top-notch customer experience. For more information or to schedule a lawn evaluation, call 508-5085 or visit

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Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

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Bring your gardening, landscaping vision to life Jason Cooper had a friend tell him years ago, “If you’re going to get a job, make sure you enjoy doing it.” And he certainly enjoys his job as the owner of Sweetspire Gardens. Cooper opened his shop in 2015 in Bluff Park, after many years of planning and discussing the idea. He calls Bluff Park “a great place” and wanted to open in that neighborhood because of his strong ties with the community. “I wanted it [the shop] to be where we lived, where we hung out, where we shopped, where we chose to spend our time,” he said. “I felt like to be successful, we had to be tied to our community.” Through his shop, Cooper is able to provide local residents of Bluff Park and Hoover with reliable gardening services, such as landscape consulting and designing, landscape and garden planning and planting services. With Sweetspire, he is able to help his clients bring their gardening and landscaping ideas to life, and he offers insight into many gardening problems his clients may face. “I love to talk about plants,” Cooper said. “[I like] being able to share information with them [my clients] and give them what they want, and they go be successful.” He gains his knowledge from a degree in horticulture and from experience overseeing the grounds and sports fields at Birmingham-Southern College, where he worked on the welcome center, the football stadium and helped create a 1-acre urban environment park. “From a horticultural standpoint, those projects don’t come along every day,” Cooper said. In addition to advice, his storefront offers work from local artists, a variety

of gardening tools and plants, such as annuals and perennials, fruit trees, vegetable plants and what he calls some “not so common plants.” “Our goal is not necessarily to have the cheapest plants, our goal is to have good quality plants,” he said. The shop is also the only store in Bluff Park to offer fresh-cut flowers Thursday through Saturday from Valentine’s Day to Thanksgiving. Cooper also offers monthly classes for the community. “When we opened, I wanted to have a class a month,” he said. So far, class topics have included spring and fall container planting, spring herb gardens and terrariums, which he said the store had to turn people away from because of its popularity. But something that he said makes Sweetspire stand out is its service. “You’re going to come in here, and it’s the middle of the day, and it’s going to be the owner here [to help you],” he said. Cooper added his 7- and 9-year-old daughters, who have started to learn more about plants and how they can be planted together, may even be there to help customers. “We truly are just a little, small familyowned business,” Cooper said. He welcomes anyone to come in with a question or a problem they might need help with, and with his 24 years of experience to guide him, he will try to help with any gardening needs. “Really we want to just continue to grow in the community and to keep working with our vendors to make sure we’re providing quality plant material,” Cooper said. “We’ve got great community support, and we’re really fortunate to be in the community that we’re in.” For more information, call 968-1391 or visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


Build your dream home in one stop with Wedgworth’s expertise

Mike Wedgworth started Wedgworth Construction Company Inc. in 1979 doing remodeling and single-family homes. In the mid-1980s, it moved from remodeling to single-family-home custom construction exclusively. It added a land development and real estate company during the 1980s and became a one-stop shop to develop the land, build the home and market the home. In the 1990s, the company began doing the design build on its own lots, as well as continuing custom building on owner sites throughout the Over the Mountain area. The company’s main emphasis is design-building on its own lots, marketed by Wedgworth Realty and other real estate companies. Its neighborhoods include Viridian in Vestavia Hills; Glen Manor in Jefferson County surrounded by Vestavia Hills and Rocky Ridge Village; and Village Place in Mountain Brook near Crestline Village. “We work with clients to design and build their custom home,” said office manager/marketing director Patty Leeming, who has been with the company for 14 years. “First, we help them select their lot from one of our subdivisions, then we work with them to design their custom plan. Finally, we walk them though the building process with one of the Wedgworth team at each meeting to help them with their selections.” Wedgworth’s architect is semi-retired and designs home plans for the company and one other builder, she said. He has a history of designing homes in the Birmingham area and has been published in Southern Living and many other publications. Honey Miller is Wedgworth’s designer, and she has worked with the company for more than 20 years, Leeming said.

She knows the process and helps clients with all their decorative finishes and space planning. “She is very good at making sure their existing furniture does not look out of place in their new home,” Leeming said. All Wedgworth employees are involved during the home building process in sync as a team. The company has built more than 400 custom homes in Birmingham’s Over the Mountain area. Leeming assists the decorator helping with selections and keeps clients on their target budget. Patrick Gilbert, vice president of operations, oversees the aspect of implementing all the products chosen for the new home. Dillon Watts, superintendent, is on site managing the building of the homes. Wedgworth Corporation works hard when they give a client pricing on a home to have all possible items included. Doing few allowances, most products are listed, but the ones that are not, figures from previous houses are used to get a realistic allowance. “We are, to my knowledge, the only company that offers the entire building package in one package,” Mike Wedgworth said. “Our package includes the lot, the interim financing, the architect, the engineering, surveying, the landscape architect and the interior designer all in one lock-and-key package. All you have to do is pay.” Mike Wedgworth said he believes satisfaction is finding raw land and having a vision of a community, developing the raw land into lots and designing homes for each lot and buyer, then going back at the end seeing the final developed and occupied community. For more information, visit

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Landscaping with attention to detail Gardner Landscaping, serving Birmingham, is focused on providing homeowners and businesses with quality service. The professionals at Gardner Landscaping remember the details and how you want it done. “You can count on us to have the job done to your specifications,” owner Grant Gardner said. “Gardner Landscaping’s ultimate goal is to ensure your satisfaction. Each job is uniquely designed to suit the individual customer’s needs.” Gardner Landscaping employees are experienced and motivated to make sure their customers are satisfied. They have the ability to make any landscape look better and are very creative in their landscape design. All of Gardner Landscaping services are performed with the personalized attention to detail you deserve. The company is a full-service landscape company, and they are licensed and insured. They strive to

provide you with landscaping that you will be proud of and will increase your property value. “We work with all types of budgets and landscapes,” Gardner said. “Whether your landscaping needs are in Birmingham, or the surrounding area, we can meet those needs.” Spring 2017 is especially important for landscaping. “We want to be able to focus on replacing things that were lost in the drought at an affordable rate,” said Gardner. “We provide hardscape, drainage and landscape expertise. We can also do sprinkler system repair to make sure it is ready for spring.” Gardner Landscaping provides a number of other services as well to keep the landscaping process as low maintenance as possible for their customers. For more information, call Gardner Landscaping at 401-3347 or visit their website at

Eager to meet your yard’s needs Advanced Turf Care provides services in Birmingham and the surrounding area. Advanced Turf Care is a full service lawn care company that can provide all of your lawn needs. They care about the local community and they are “here to serve you.” Advanced Turf Care provides the highest quality lawn care. “We do this by having some of the best employees in the industry,” said Grant Gardner, owner of Advanced Turf Care. Advanced Turf Care will work with you to develop the type of lawn you expect. They will keep your landscape in excellent condition because they know how important curb appeal is to you and the value of your property. “Just as your lawn needs fertilization and protection from pests, so do

your shrubs and trees,” Gardner said. “Losing a tree or shrub can be a big loss and change the whole look to your landscaping. Protect your investment by letting us take care of your trees and shrubs.” Gardner said that turf maintenance is especially important this spring. “This spring we are really trying to take care of the turf that went through the fall without water,” Gardner said. “We are encouraging core aeration to get the nutrients back into the soil after the nutrients were dried up during the drought. Core Aeration drills holes in the turf, which allows water and nutrients to get directly to the root systems.” For more information, please call 3057949 or visit the Advanced Turf website at

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


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The perfect time for chimney repairs Why is it smart to have your chimney checked/serviced in the spring? If the chimney is checked/cleaned/ repaired at the close of season: ►The soot is cleaned out, reducing the acrid smell that lingers throughout the humid summer. ►The fireplace will be ready for the first cold spell with no waiting for an appointment. ►If repairs are needed, spring/summer time is the best time to do masonry and chimney repairs as opposed to cold weather, and they can be done without the worrying about the impending cold weather needs of the fireplace. “Time is critical to everyone,” Phillip Batts said. “Do what is necessary when it can be done conveniently and with low stress. How unnerving is it when James Spann tells us it is going to be cold? You call and find that the next appointment is so far off that it makes using your fireplace not so attractive, or you finally get an appointment to find something is structurally wrong and you can’t use it until repairs need to be done next spring.”

Family-owned, experienced and personal service

Tell us a little bit about Batts’ Chimney. We are a small business that will only send out certified technicians. We refuse to send out “flue-jockeys” that only clean and have no knowledge of safety inspection/remediation. We know our customers want their service when they want it, but we cannot compromise prudent practices. To learn more about Batts’ Chimney Services, visit or call 956-8207.

Jason Brewer, owner of Brewer Cabinets, has been in the business, well, as long as he can remember. “I literally grew up in a cabinet shop,” he said. His parents opened Brewer Cabinets in 1982, and the company is proud to be family owned and operated. But Jason Brewer isn’t the only one with ample experience in the field — his other two designers, Jerry Romano and Mark Gore, have been in the business for 40 and 20 years, respectively, and his installers, Tim McLeroy and Harold Hanks, have 35 and 30 years of experience, respectively. They also recently brought in a designer in training, Katlyn Blankenship. “Versus the big box stores, we have far more experience in design and installation and are still less expensive and offer more personal attention,” Jason Brewer said. “Versus a custom shop, we offer a more durable finish that is more consistent with a better warranty. All of our cabinets are made to order.” Brewer Cabinets designs, sells and

installs kitchen and bath cabinets and countertops and provides a quality product at a fair price. Brewer said one of his frequent challenges is creating his clients’ dream look within their budget. Finding the right people to do the job can make a world of difference in how the project turns out. “Hire a good contractor. It will make the project go quicker. If you contract it yourself, one mistake could cost as much as you would have paid a contractor,” Brewer said. The team at Brewer cabinets takes pride in what they are able to offer their clients. “I enjoy creating and designing something beautiful and functional, then seeing the finished product, especially when the customer is so proud of their new kitchen that they send me pictures or brag to their friends,” he said. Brewer Cabinets, 1553 Montgomery Highway, is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.5 p.m. For more information, call 942-4000 or visit

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Serving Birmingham for 20 years Carpet Warehouse has served the Birmingham area for more than 20 years. Locally owned and operated by Tim and Tracy Lanier, Carpet Warehouse is conveniently located on Highway 150 in Hoover, across from CarMax, and offers a wide selection of flooring from traditional to contemporary to fit every taste and need. Whether you are looking for carpet for your home or other types of flooring, including hardwoods, laminate, vinyl, LVT or LVP, they have something for everyone. They also offer in-home design services, free home consultations and free estimates. There are also trade discounts for contractors and do-it-yourself customers all at the guaranteed lowest prices. Carpet Warehouse prides itself on offering customers the best quality flooring at the lowest prices. “Our super low overhead enables us to truly sell for less,” said Tim Lanier. “Americans serving Americans — our crews are all time-proven American craftsmen.” Carpet Warehouse offers such top brands as Shaw, Mohawk, Masland, Armstrong, Bruce and Mannington, just to name a few. “There’s really too many to mention. If it’s flooring, we have it!” said Lanier. Some of their most popular types

For variety and expertise, it’s exclusively Hanna’s

of flooring are carpet, hardwood and luxury vinyl tile and planks. The luxury vinyl planks are perfect for families with children and pets. “They look like hardwood but they are waterproof and pet proof,” said Lanier. The Laniers enjoy sharing their high level of expertise with customers. “For more than 20 years, our family has served the Over the Mountain area. We are a company you can trust. The secret to our success is our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction at the lowest prices. You don’t survive for over 20 years unless you are doing things right,” he said. For more information, call 205-9895678 or visit

Days filled with warm breezes and sunshine are right around the corner. Get out in it and put something new into your landscape! Hanna’s has a great and exclusive selection of native plants that will be the highlight of your lawn. You’ll find Beautyberry, sweetshrub and sweetspire, as well as gorgeous native azaleas that are easy to care for and make stunning additions to your home’s landscape. People drive hundreds of miles to purchase these exclusive beauties from Hanna’s — just like their amazing camellia selection! Maybe try something new like Storm Series quince — it’s thornless and fruitless but with long lasting blooms in shades of scarlet, orange and pink that everyone will definitely “ooh” and “aah” over all through the spring. Of course we can’t overlook the Knockout roses, Limelight hydrangeas, Cherokee Princess dogwoods and Dynamic crape myrtles. Oh — and the vast selection of annuals and perennials, shrubs, fruit and shade trees and plenty of choice evergreens. You’ll find all these and so much more

in Hanna’s four acres at the foot of Oak Mountain — truly Birmingham’s best selection of plants, shrubs and trees. Hanna’s also carries everything you need for a lush lawn — including five varieties of sod (by the piece or pallet), soil testing kits and Fertilome lawn applications — to control pests and weeds, and nurture your yard now. Don’t have a lawn? Got a window? Hanna’s offers a vast selection of houseplants, seeds, succulents, herbs and veggies — and the perfect containers for them. They’ll even plant a container with plants of your choosing! If Hanna’s sells it, they can also deliver it — even the landscape rocks. Everything comes straight to your garden — healthy and ready to enrich your lifestyle. All from Hanna’s, the plant-savvy garden shop with a passion for growing things — and for sharing its unparalleled garden expertise. Hanna’s Garden Shop is located at 5485 U.S. 280 East. For more information, call 991-2939, visit or email

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


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What you need in an insurance agency

Host a special event at a lovely property in the heart of Hoover For your party or event, consider the Hoover-Randle house your home away from home. The Hoover-Randle Home and Gardens is a historic property on Tyler Road that became an event venue in 2016. It is now host to weddings, birthday parties, corporate lunches and more. “Any event will feel special here, even a board meeting seems like an ‘event’ when everyone is gathered around the custom-made Mackenzie Childs table that seats 16 people,” Stacy Randle said. “For any celebration, there are endless possibilities inside and/or outside in the garden and outdoor spaces.” The rental fee at Hoover-Randle covers use of the entire property, allowing flexibility for an event to be held inside, outside or both. Randle said the home accommodates about 100

people indoors and up to 250 outdoors. Guests can use their own catering, florists and other vendors, and Randle said pricing ranges from $500 to $4,000 depending on the day and the number of people at the event. Since the Hoover-Randle property was originally a family home, Randle said it’s the perfect place for events with a homey atmosphere. Randle recalls one guest who created the perfect Kentucky Derby party in the house and rose garden. “The Hoover-Randle Home is a home. It is filled with fabulous furniture and art. So, if you’re dreaming of hosting a seated dinner for 50, but your own home will not accommodate that many people, the dining room or the terrace here may be exactly what you want,” Randle said. For more information, call 957-9540 or visit

Insurance Place in Birmingham is an independent insurance agency serving clients in Alabama and the surrounding states. We are a Trusted-Choice and Secure-Risk agency member. With a strong stable of premier insurance carriers, we have a market for most any insurance need. A home is one of the biggest investments that a person will make. Properly insuring it in the event of a catastrophe can be vital in protecting one’s assets. A comprehensive homeowner’s policy will provide personal liability coverage for the household members and coverage for the physical structure and contents. In addition to evaluating the coverage limits and final premium, an important consideration should be the kind of claims service you should expect from a carrier. Prompt, courteous and professional service when you need it most is what you are ultimately hoping to purchase when buying a home insurance policy. To maintain favorable rates during

your relationship with your carrier, a homeowner should do the following: ► Notify the agent of any additions or changes to your home. Are you working from home? Have you added a deck or finished a basement? ► Let your agent know if you have any special collections that might not otherwise be properly covered on a standard home policy form (jewelry, guns, collectibles). ► Keep your property in good repair. A small water leak can cause significant damage over time and lead to a claim that could affect your rates in the future. ► Discuss a potential claim with your agent before making a formal claim. In some instances, a minor issue might be addressed by the homeowner without making a formal claim and affecting your future home insurance rates. (An example would be a broken window or minor damage to a garage door.) Insurance Place is always happy to discuss any insurance issue you may have. Please call us at 205-995-1956 or go to

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Julie Ivy White is ready to help with years of experience and expertise Julie Ivy White, a Realtor with Lucas & Associates in Hoover, is ready to help you list your home or find the perfect one. “I’ve been a real estate agent for 10 years, and I’m a former teacher,” White said. “I believe my education background plays beautifully into my real estate business because my goal is to educate my clients on all facets of home ownership.” White knows that home ownership really matters. “Being a home owner is so impactful in most every area of people’s lives,” White said. “We often hear about the financial aspects, but it goes far beyond that — reaching into social and emotional realms as well. Of course owning real estate other than just your own home, as a vehicle for investment, gives your financial portfolio variety, and the returns on real estate investments have

proven to be consistent and steady.” “Lucas & Associates may not be the first to come to mind when thinking of a brokerage company, but we have phenomenal agents who are extremely knowledgeable about our local market,” White said. “This is what’s needed to sell and buy homes successfully today.” White prides herself on being dedicated to providing excellent customer service to each of her clients. “If you call me because you want me to help you find or list a property, then you’re going to get 100 percent me, and that’s by design,” White said. “I’m hands on — at the helm — every single step of the way, working hard for my clients every day.” Contact White for more information at 796-7843 or visit the Lucas & Associates website at

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Committed to quality home improvement Since 1997, One Man & a Tool Box has been helping people with a variety of home improvement projects and repairs. “The company was started to fill a void in the market to provide professional contracting services for jobs too small for a general contractor to do. In many cases, small handymantype projects are done by unskilled, unlicensed, uninsured people working out of their trucks going from job to job — many times not completing jobs as they go, or not standing behind jobs after they are complete,” said Jay Moss, owner. One Man & a Tool Box is insured and bonded to further protect customers. “We offer carpentry, painting, minor plumbing, electrical, pressure washing, roof and gutter repair, appliance installation, drywall repair, door and

window repair and more,” he said. Spring is the perfect time to take care of home maintenance issues. One Man & a Tool Box’s affordable hourly rates can fit any budget. “We are a 19-year-old company,” said Moss. “We have invested in technology and skill enhancement of our technicians to ensure jobs are done timely and professionally.” Their technicians are skilled and professional. They pride themselves on getting the job done well and on time. “We have multiple technicians, so if you think a job is too large for one man and a toolbox, you can have two men and more if the job requires it,” he said. They service not only Birmingham, but Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Gadsden as well. For information, call 823-2111 or visit

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Pick Paul Davis Emergency Services to return your home, business to normal There’s never a good time for property damage, but Paul Davis Emergency Services understand the urgency of property damage emergencies and are available 24/7 to assist. They will provide estimates prior to repair and will work with your insurance carrier on a covered loss. Since 1966, Paul Davis has built its business on the promise to restore residential as well as commercial properties that have been affected by water, fire, wind or storm damage. Their location in Hoover is one of more than 300 offices throughout the country. They specialize in: - Water extraction and drying - Fire, smoke and odor cleanup - Mold remediation - Wind and storm damage - Biohazard/crime scene cleanup Water damage, whether resulting from overflowing bathtubs, broken

pipes or leaks from appliances, may begin small but if not properly handled, could result in further damage caused by mildew in the future. The Paul Davis staff has thorough industry expertise to repair and renovate to return your property back to its normal condition with the services they offer. They are dedicated to provide extraordinary care and service. What anchors Paul Davis Emergency Services of South Birmingham are its people, a set of values to always do the right thing, serving every customer by delivering an experience founded on professionalism, expertise and compassion. Paul Davis Emergency Services of South Birmingham is located in Hoover. 24/7: 205-428-6333 Visit south-birmingham.pauldavis. com for more information.

Quality service you can trust Plumb One is a family-owned company that began in the backyard of Robin and Barry Isbell’s Trussville home in 1997. After graduating from high school, Barry Isbell worked in plumbing for several years. It was at the advice of his boss that he opened his own business. With a borrowed van and $1,000, Plumb One was formed. Over time, Barry and his wife Robin grew their business. Now, the familyowned company has a warehouse, office and fleet of trucks and heavy equipment. Plumb One offers many plumbing services, including residential repair, 24/7 emergency service, new construction for both residential and commercial plumbing and sewer repair, maintenance and installation. Their services extend to water heaters, faucets, fixture replacements, disposals, water softeners, pumps, toilet repairs and water leak investigations

and repairs. Plumb One strives to offer the highest quality craftsmanship and service possible, always keeping up with the latest techniques and equipment, the Isbells said. “We wish to have complete satisfaction and low prices,” Robin Isbell said. “We will not overcharge nor will we suggest unneeded repairs or upgrades. We’re honest and trustworthy; we do what we say we’ll do whether it’s for a big company or small homeowner.” If customers want new style fixtures, they can buy through one of Plumb One’s vendors and have products shipped to them for installation. The Isbells still live in Trussville and serve the Birmingham community, both through their business services and involvement in their church, youth activities and charities. For more information, call 640-2848, email or go to

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Personal, professional service

Relax, enjoy your pool this spring, summer Swimming Pool Services has an unofficial motto that says their weekly maintenance customers only need to worry about two things between their services. One: keep the pool full. Two: enjoy. Swimming Pool Services is proud to be a part of the Hoover community since 2005, providing weekly pool maintenance, professional service of equipment and quality licensed pool construction projects. The company also has a retail store conveniently located in the Lee Branch shopping center (between Publix and Academy), stocked with a variety of much-needed pool equipment and parts, including spas, chemicals and even pool toys for the family. In addition, they offer special support for the DIY customers. This local familyowned company operates on the promise of premier service and quality products.

Swimming Pool Services also provides their customers with a free water test service. Just bring your pool or spa water sample to the store and they will direct you to the proper chemicals to get back in balance. This is a company that has a good time doing what they love while keeping up to date with all current standards and regulations in the industry. Glen Jacobson, the owner, is the current president of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) Alabama chapter. APSP is dedicated to the growth and development of its members’ businesses and to promoting the enjoyment and safety of pools, spas and hot tubs to consumers. With over 11 years of experience in the industry, Swimming Pool Services is here to serve their customers and community. Please call 205-601-3385 or visit

When it comes to mortgages for a home purchase or refinance, people want a process that is simplified and has their financial goals in mind, but they also want their mortgage loan officer to treat them personally with care, understanding, professionalism and empathy. Lauree Leyland with Volunteer Mortgage Inc. gets that. A self-described “people person,” Leyland has never met a stranger and loves helping her family, her community and her clients. “I love that I can work in an industry that many people find challenging and stressful, and have made it an outlet to make a difference in people’s lives and in the lives of their family and community as well. I have always been service oriented, whether it was on the mission field in the Cumberland Mountains, in Guatemala after the earthquakes or as a university administrator working one-on-one with students for 16 years,” Leyland said. “My career as a mortgage professional is another extension of that premier life goal. I am passionate about doing more than just ‘the job.’ I am passionate about what improves the well being and financial future of my clients, and I am passionate about making my clients feel that when the process is done, I am not only their loan officer, but a friend.” Volunteer Mortgage Inc. has a relationship with over 20 lenders offering

a wide variety of products and options that can be tailored to meet the individual needs of each client. This allows Leyland to find the very best fit for their financial goals with only one credit pull and one application. That is a big time saver. Whether it is a conventional loan, VA, USDA, FHA, Jumbo, Reverse Refinance or Reverse Purchase, having so many options is a big plus for clients. The professionals on her team at Volunteer Mortgage have a combined 50+ years of experience and share Leyland’s commitment to providing excellent, personalized services. For more information, call 205-994-1320.


Real Estate C17 Calendar C18

APRIL 2017

the value of

HARD WORK With a knee injury behind her, Jamie Gregg looking to make the most of her junior season

By KYLE PARMLEY If you tuned out during the nine-month period without high school softball, you missed the story of Jamie Gregg. As a sophomore at Hoover High School, Gregg put together an impressive sophomore campaign, one that netted her a first team all-state honor. The Bucs advanced to the North Central Regional, where their season came to a close in mid-May. Almost immediately following the school season, many high school players take to the travel ball circuit, including Gregg. However, Gregg would have no such travel ball season to speak of. During a situation in the first practice of the summer season, Gregg was the runner on first base. After a short fly ball was tracked down by the shortstop, she had to scramble back to first base. She did not have to dive back to the bag, but had to make an evasive move to get back to the base. When she did, her knee popped. “I was like, ‘Well, that didn’t sound good,’” Gregg said.

Thinking nothing of it, Gregg completed the three-hour practice with the idea that she had simply pulled a hamstring or incurred some other minor injury. But a doctor’s visit told a different story. “I went to the doctor, and he felt [my knee], and he said, ‘I can’t believe you’re still walking,’” Gregg said. Her ACL was torn. Gregg is no stranger to bumps and bruises, but broken bones and smaller nicks were nothing compared to the rehabilitation process she was about to undergo. “All through playing when I was younger, I would always have broken bones and little things to overcome,” she said. “But this is pretty much the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with.” So instead of enjoying the summer playing softball, Gregg instead had to endure daily physical therapy. “I never really knew the value of hard work until I had to go to therapy every day in the

See GREGG | page C12

Hoover High’s Jamie Gregg is back to full health coming off a torn ACL last summer. Photo by Kyle Parmley.

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Sports Jacob Rich was disappointed in his performance last season and is looking for a better season in 2017. Photos by Ted Melton.

DRIVING FORCES Seniors Will Battersby, Jacob Rich hope to propel Spain Park to playoffs



ill Battersby and Jacob Rich have no intentions of taking it easy during their final season at Spain Park High School. They watched as the Jags won the Class 6A baseball state championship in 2014, as the two were chomping at the bit to be included on the varsity roster. Both players garnered varsity experience the following season in 2015, but the team was unable to advance to the state playoffs. The same record replayed itself last spring. “It stinks not playing in the playoffs, especially because none of us have ever played in a playoff game before,” said Rich, the starting shortstop and a senior for the Jags. Class 7A, Area 6 has been a tough nut to crack for the Jags the last two seasons, boasting perennially tough teams Hewitt-Trussville, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills. But they don’t use that as an excuse. “We had chances to win games; we just never did,” Rich said. “Looking back at last year and having played that competition and knowing how important those games are, I think we’re going to make a lot more use of it and take advantage of it.” Battersby said, “It comes down to execution” if Spain Park is to advance out of Area 6 in 2017. Oak Mountain replaced Vestavia Hills, so although reigning state champion Hewitt-Trussville moved to a new area in favor of Huffman, things will not be much easier. “Doing every little thing right,” said Rich of what it would take to break through. “Trying to focus on the little stuff that when it comes down to the game, that ends up being big stuff and things that can change the game.” Battersby and Rich are part of a 13-player senior class for Spain Park, one that Spain Park head coach Will Smith is counting on to

Senior pitcher Will Battersby is embracing his role as the team’s ace pitcher to begin the Jags’ season. Battersby and Jacob Rich are part of a large senior class aiming to get Spain Park baseball back to the playoffs.

develop the habits that define a successful team. “I feel like if you take care of enough of the little things, every single day, every single drill, every single week, then the big things eventually take care of themselves,” Smith said. Battersby will be counted on to lead the Jag pitching staff through the season, now that he has a full campaign of varsity experience under his belt. “Last year, I felt I struggled toward the end. I didn’t carry my team down the stretch like I needed to. So this season, I’m going to work on that, to be the guy this year, and carry us down the stretch and let us be successful,” he said. His command escaped him at pivotal moments last season, and Battersby attempted to fine-tune his mechanics during the offseason to improve his control and add some velocity

to his arsenal. Battersby relies primarily on his fastball and changeup to get outs and is capable of racking up impressive strikeout totals, but he said he hopes to trust his defense as well this year. “Hopefully that will all work out this year, and we’ll be ready to go,” he said. The pitching staff behind him is not wealthy in varsity experience, but Battersby’s confidence rose throughout the offseason that the guys in the rotation behind him would be more than able to pick up the slack. “The rest of the pitching staff, I was a little worried about coming into this year, just because we lost a lot of seniors last year, but they’re shaping up to be a good group this year; they’ve improved a lot. So we’ll be a force up there on the mound this year,” Battersby said.

UAB will welcome Battersby to the Green and Gold next year, as Battersby has signed to play for coach Brian Shoop and the Blazers. His signature on the scholarship papers has done nothing to release Battersby of motivation to perform at a high level in his senior season. “Coaches are always looking at you,” Battersby said. “[Pitching coach Josh] Hopper still comes over here and watches me pitch. If you don’t do well, you’re going to get an earful afterwards. You always need to do well. It’s about this year at Spain Park. Sure, I’ve got UAB next year, but it’s about winning a state ring this year and being a dog out there for us.” As for Rich, he is coming off what he considers a disappointing season in 2016. The senior prides himself in getting on base and being a top-flight base runner. While he struggled defensively last spring, he said he hopes those days are behind him. “I thought I had a really down year last year,” Rich said. “I didn’t think I played up to my potential. I’m really looking to have a good year and help this team out.” Rich boasts a few college offers entering the season, but he said he is hoping a bounce-back senior campaign will attract others, as he has every intention of playing baseball at the next level. “They need to have good years,” Smith said of the senior duo. “They’re very capable. The way they work, the way they interact with their teammates is important.” Even through the inevitable peaks and valleys of the season, Smith is counting on them to pull the team through joyful and tough times all the same. “You’re going to have your ups and downs,” Smith said. “But the team that can do it consistently and stick with their routine and stays mentally tough, those are the ones that are successful in the area and in the playoffs, when those times come.”

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CHAMPIONS Hoover triumphs over rival Spain Park to clinch Class 7A state title By SAM CHANDLER


cluster of black jerseys spilled onto the court when the final horn sounded March 4 at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena. After 36 minutes of heart-stopping action that included five lead changes and buzzer-beating heroics, the Hoover High School girls basketball team could finally exhale. And it did — in the form of hugs, smiles, tears and cheers. In the immediate aftermath of the Lady Bucs’ 51-47 overtime victory against crosstown rival Spain Park in the Class 7A state final, there was no shortage of reasons to explain the whirlwind of emotion that engulfed Hoover and first-year head coach Krystle Johnson. Johnson, a former Lady Buc, helped lead Hoover to a state title in 2001. This year’s ride, she said, wasn’t comparable. “It’s completely different than my first as a player just to be here and see these girls grow throughout the season,” Johnson said through tears at the postgame press conference. “When I came back and took this job, it was a different type of pride that I had in getting these girls ready to win a state championship.” Johnson was hired as Hoover’s head coach last spring. Since then, she had been preparing her squad for moments like that day — when a game plan goes awry and shots refuse to fall. Spain Park’s Claire Holt exploded for 14 first-half points to give her team a 26-19 lead at the halftime break. Hoover, meanwhile, struggled to generate much offensive rhythm through the first two quarters. The Lady Bucs shot only 27 percent from the field. Hoover trailed for the majority of the contest until state tournament MVP Eboni Williams rolled in a steal-and-score layup with 1:29 remaining in the third quarter. Williams’ bucket gave Hoover a 30-29 edge. She finished with a double-double, totaling 10 points and 11 rebounds. “This is a really great feeling,” Williams said after the game, her voice quivering with emotion. “I wanted to play for our

The Cardiac Kids: Nickname sticks with Lady Jaguars

Above: Hoover and Spain Park players go after a loose ball during the AHSAA Class 7A state championship March 4 at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena. Top: The Lady Bucs celebrate their championship victory after their 51-47 win over the Lady Jags. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.

seniors and our coaches and our seniors from last year.” Hoover’s fortune turned in the second half as it relied on the post play of Williams and Angela Grant. The duo had its way in the paint, as both players were able to muscle down a smaller Spain Park lineup. Hoover led 44-41 with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation, but Spain Park didn’t wilt. The Lady Jags’ Sarah Ashlee Barker swished a 3 from the top of the key 2 seconds shy of the buzzer to send the contest into overtime. It was the third time in four games that Spain Park required an extra period to decide its final outcome. The Lady Jags slipped past Gadsden City in the region

semifinal, 52-49, and slid by McGillToolen in the state semifinal, 49-48. But in the end, the horn sounded. The bench cleared. A mob of dark jerseys and bright smiles jumped in euphoria, while the Spain Park players dropped their heads in disbelief. The four-point difference sealed Hoover’s first state title since 2013. The Lady Bucs hadn’t played in a state final since that triumph. Johnson portrayed the feat as a divine breakthrough, one that resulted from persistence, faith and a collective investment. “We’ve prayed all season for this,” Johnson said. “Our team is just really rooted in God, and we always lean on Him. This is just huge.”

Over the course of two-and-a-half weeks in late February and early March, the Spain Park High School girls basketball team earned every bit of the nickname that stuck: The Cardiac Kids. Urban Dictionary defines the name as “a title given to any sports team that displays a tendency to pick up nail-biting victories.” After watching Spain Park pull out a last-second thriller against Gadsden City in the Northeast Regional semifinals and essentially duplicate the feat against McGill-Toolen in the state semifinals, fans’ nails were already likely completely chewed up. Then, Sarah Ashlee Barker nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to send the state final game against Hoover to overtime. Anybody with nails left to chew likely had an appointment scheduled with a cardiologist the following week. Spain Park endured a season of peaks and valleys, playing with some of the top teams throughout the year while suffering some disappointing losses. After a pair of less-thanstellar games in the area tournament, expectations were not high for a postseason run. A month prior, Hoover and Spain Park met in the final days of the regular season, with the Lady Bucs coasting to a 66-40 victory. Their meeting in the title game could not have been more different. Although Hoover prevailed in overtime of the Class 7A championship game, the perspective of how magical the Lady Jags’ postseason run was not lost upon the locker room. “I know it’s really tough to lose a state championship game, but it’s still a huge deal for us to get here, and it’s a great experience,” Claire Holt said. Coach Mike Chase added: “There’s games that you win and beat people by 20, and you yell at them in the locker room, and then there’s games that you lose and you played amazing, and you praise them. I told them I couldn’t be any more proud of this team, how they played, what they represented.” – KYLE PARMLEY

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Seniors making lasting impact

Hoover Sun

Garrett Farquhar is shown in a game against Oak Mountain on March 8, 2017. He is one of 13 seniors for the Bucs this spring. Photo by Todd Lester.

By KYLE PARMLEY Roughly 10 years from now, if Hoover High School baseball coach Adam Moseley comes down with a stubborn case of the flu, he expects the doctor that he calls to be one of his former players from the class of 2017. That’s how highly he thinks of his current senior group. “From a character perspective, you know they’re going to be super successful in life,” Moseley said. “That usually translates to them doing well [on the baseball field], too.” Moseley anticipates the 13 seniors on the Bucs team comprise a class that leaves a legacy that lasts well into the future, in the same ilk of some of the ones he had in his career at Grissom. “There are a couple classes up there that I compare others to. I say, ‘Man, I hope they’re like this class.’ I think our seniors now are one of those classes,” Moseley said. Moseley believes the tight-knit community of Hoover will only benefit from this group as it moves into adulthood in the next few years. “These are guys that will come back and be leaders in that community,” he said. “Not that others haven’t, but this group, there’s a lot of it.” Garrett Farquhar and Drew Guffey are two guys who exemplify the Bucs’ senior class

and what it plans to accomplish on and off the diamond. Farquhar led the Hoover football team to a state championship from the quarterback position in 2016 and is the baseball team’s starting shortstop, also one of the most crucial positions to play. “It says a lot to be the quarterback and the shortstop at Hoover,” Moseley said. “That’s hard to do. That’s small town stuff, and he’s in the biggest school in the state doing it. He’s one of those guys that makes us go.” Farquhar has signed to play baseball at Wallace State Community College, and Moseley lauds him for the way he goes about his business. “He really has high standards for himself, and that’s why he’s so good. He doesn’t accept doing poorly,” Moseley said. As for Guffey, he is heading to Snead State

Community College to continue his baseball career, and Moseley calls him “one of the best defensive first basemen I’ve ever coached.” In Moseley’s third year, the Bucs believe their potential for success is great, largely because of two factors, according to Guffey. The team features a group of guys who all consider themselves good friends and is a team that has fun with everything. “When you’re this close, playing baseball is nothing,” Guffey said. “You’re out here with your buddies having fun, and that’s what it’s all about.” Another factor working in Hoover’s favor is everyone’s competitive nature in baseball and everything else. “They are competitors, and whatever we’re doing, they like to compete at it,” Moseley said. “I know that’s a cliché, but with this group, it really is true. You could put five cents on the

line, and they’re going to fight you tooth and nail for a nickel.” Farquhar has played on the varsity team since his sophomore season and has seen how previous senior classes molded the identity of the team. His class has taken lessons, both good and bad, and tried to apply them to maximize the team’s success this spring. The seniors at Hoover want to win first and foremost, but Ben Abercrombie, Brandon Agsalud, Devin Cole, Farquhar, Casey Gilliland, Brock Guffey, Drew Guffey, Kenly Hager, Tanner Hendrix, Jacob Kopkin, Ty Robinson, Kenneth Watson and Tyler Williams want to leave an impact on the program for future teams. “If we come out and just do it the right way and just really have an impact on the freshmen and sophomores, I believe that’s the best thing you can ask for,” Guffey said.

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Strong performances lift Bucs to 2nd place By KYLE PARMLEY

Austin Carter is shown after winning the heavyweight wrestling title Feb. 18 at the AHSAA Wrestling Championships. Photos courtesy of Danny Joiner.

Hoover rode the dominant performances of four individuals to a second-place finish at the 2017 AHSAA Wrestling Championships at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Feb. 18. With more individual titles than any other Class 7A school, the Bucs finished second with 107.5 points, trailing only Vestavia Hills, which compiled 131.5 points. Vestavia won its second consecutive state championship, this one under first-year coach Tee Adams after sending off longtime coach Steve Gaydosh with a title in 2016. D’Angelo Dewitt, Randy Jenkins, Patterson Huff and Austin Carter each secured state championships in their respective weight divisions. In the heavyweight division, Carter won the final over Jacob Edwards by a 5-2 decision. Carter finished the season 20-3 and kept Edwards from joining his twin brother, James (who won the 220-pound title), atop the podium. Carter also won his semifinal match by decision, besting Thompson’s Seth Whitlock. Carter was able to pin Matt Burrow of James Clemens in the quarterfinal match. Dewitt triumphed over the rest of the 195-pounders, as he also captured a state title. He won by a 9-4 decision over Huntsville’s Jaeger Clark and finished the season 35-3. To reach the final, he pinned his opponent in the semifinal (Smiths Station’s Austin Phillips) and quarterfinal (Mountain Brook’s Will Pitman) rounds. Jenkins pinned Buckhorn’s Jordan Thompson in 13 seconds to kick off his quest for a title in the 170-pound weight class, before winning by injury default over Vestavia’s Zachary Nelson. In the final, Jenkins (22-3) won by a 13-10 decision against Braedon Keith of Hewitt-Trussville. Huff was the other Hoover wrestler to win a crown, as he took down all the competition in the 138-pound division. Huff finished the year

Randy Jenkins defeated Braedon Keith of Hewitt-Trussville to win the 170-pound title.

with a record of 40-4 and narrowly defeated Carson Lester of Oak Mountain by a 2-1 decision in the final. To reach that point, he took down Mountain Brook’s Frank Brown and Sparkman’s Chris Evans. In the 126-pound class, Gage Camp finished fourth and rounded out his season with a 13-6 mark. He lost by decision to Hewitt-Trussville’s Braden Treglown in the quarterfinal, but he notched wins against Jordan Whalen (Bob Jones) and Nathaniel Nailen (Vestavia Hills) to reach the third-place match, where he fell to Maxwell Kauffman (Central-Phenix City). Larry Wallace also finished fourth in the 132-pound division. He was defeated by Heath Williamson (Hewitt-Trussville) in the quarterfinal, but, much like Camp, rallied to win his next two bouts. Wallace defeated Murphy McCallum (Vestavia Hills) and Daishun Mitchell (Bob Jones) to get a shot in the third-place match, where he fell to Blake Randle (Oak Mountain). Nick Smith (106 pounds), Alex Mason (120), Riley Huff (113), Jacob Brady (145), Robert Rudolph (160), Khalil Williamson (182) and Bryce Carnes (220) also contributed to Hoover’s strong effort.

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Jags hosting Alzheimer’s awareness event By KYLE PARMLEY The Spain Park High School softball team is hosting an event near to the hearts of many when the Jags play Huffman on April 12. The events surrounding the game will bring awareness to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Bracelets will be sold at the game, and proceeds will go toward disease awareness and prevention efforts. The Alzheimer’s Association and the Danberry at Inverness assisted living and memory care departments will be represented at the game. The Jags will also wear purple accessories during the contest. “This is good for community awareness and support for a disease that’s affecting so many people,” said Spain Park coach C.J. Hawkins, whose mother passed away from the effects of Alzheimer’s last spring. “There’s a lot of support out there, and we just want to be able to let the community understand what it’s about.”


Spain Park is shown after winning the Sidney Cooper Invitational on Feb. 25. Photos by Kyle Parmley.

Fresh off a runner-up finish at last spring’s state softball tournament, the Spain Park softball team has started the season strong. The Jags had won just two regular season tournaments in Hawkins’ nine years as head coach, but the 2017 team has more than doubled that total in the season’s first two months. Spain Park traveled to Columbus, Georgia, Feb. 24-25, for the Sidney Cooper Invitational hosted by Central-Phenix City High School. In pool play on the tournament’s first day, the Jags defeated Lee-Montgomery and Wetumpka to earn the top seed out of their pool. The tournament format on Saturday was a single-elimination bracket, one that the Jags survived each step of the way, even narrowly at times. They trailed in a one-run win over Dale County to begin bracket play before notching a 12-5 win over Handley in the quarterfinals. Hoover also participated in the tournament, as the crosstown schools matched up in the quarterfinals, a 6-1 win for Spain Park. The final game of the day was played between the Jags and James Clemens. Spain Park jumped on top early and held on for a 7-6 victory to win the Sidney Cooper Invitational, held in memory of the longtime Central-Phenix City coach. Spain Park’s junior varsity team finished second in the tournament. The Jags followed up the win the following weekend with a triumph in the Jag Classic, Spain Park’s own annual tournament. The Jag Classic win was the program’s first in Hawkins’ tenure at Spain Park.

April 2017 • C11 In pool play, Spain Park defeated Fayette County before taking down Helena, Brookwood, Leeds, Lincoln and Sparkman in bracket play. The 7-0 victory over Sparkman in the final was the first victory for the Jags in program history over the reigning Class 7A champions. The Jags also participated in Oxford’s tournament March 17-18, and won four games over Hewitt-Trussville, Pleasant Valley, Cleburne County and Oxford to win another trophy. The tournament was the culmination of the Jags’ 22-game winning streak to begin the season. “We have great senior leadership,” Hawkins said. “Our six seniors have all stepped up and contributed significantly, and we’ve got a lot of younger players that gel really well with the upperclassmen and have filled in nicely.” Hawkins added the team has depth at every position and cautioned the season’s early results mean nothing come postseason play. “It’s who’s healthy and hot in May,” she said.

Spain Park players exchange handshakes during a game against Oak Mountain on March 20 at Spain Park High School.

Spain Park JV softball finishes 2nd in Georgia tourney By KYLE PARMLEY The Spain Park junior varsity softball team finished second in the Sidney Cooper Invitational, held Feb. 24-25 at the South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus, Georgia. The Jags played with just nine players and no substitutes throughout the tournament, while having a handful of players play through injuries throughout the day. From left: Sarah Whitaker, Savannah Rogers, Imani Rogers, Martha Grace Maddox, Caroline Kendrick, Caroline Wooley, Lindsay Parker, Kate Thompson, Mackenzie Thompson and coach Ryan Thompson. Photo courtesy of Nicole Thompson.

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Hoover Sun

Gregg is hoping to build off her all-state campaign as a sophomore. Photo by Kyle Parmley.


CONTINUED from page C1 summer, and I really didn’t have the choice of doing anything else. That was the only option,” she said. With the kind of athlete Gregg is — she is also a key player for Hoover’s volleyball team — she excelled through rehabilitation. But there was a major setback in that process that only prolonged matters. Gregg was forced to undergo a major jaw surgery that not only sidelined her for a month physically, but made tasks such as eating complicated, as her mouth was wired shut. “Being down for four weeks in December and then trying to get back up — I was really feeling good, close to getting cleared, then boom, jaw surgery,” she said. “It was just really

hard to get back from that.” But she did get back from that, and pushed through the remainder of her recovery. As the season started in late February, she was nearly at full strength, proclaiming she was “ready to go.” On Feb. 27, she was cleared by her doctor. In a little more than nine months, exceeding 290 days — she kept count — Gregg was ready to resume her role as a lineup mainstay for the Bucs. She said she had no reservations about returning to her center field position, a position that typically requires fielders to be able to accelerate quickly and cover a large portion of the outfield. Rehab has given her the confidence to go all-out once again. “I’m going to be stronger and faster than I ever was,” Gregg said. “I’ve never worked this hard at just focusing solely on my body and

getting faster and stronger.” Through her injury, Gregg said she also learned the value of being able to lean on others. “I did hit that block mentally,” she said. “But all the people that have pushed me told me I have to trust it and keep going. Now I don’t even think about it.” Gregg praised how her teammates have responded to her throughout the process, as she only began practicing with the team about a week prior to the season. “They have been patient with me and understanding that I’ve got to basically start over, and they’re always encouraging me,” Gregg said. That support was never more evident than a moment after practice just a few days before the season started. “We stayed late for extra reps, and it was the first day I got cleared to start diving for balls,” Gregg said. “I dove in the gap for a ball, and all

my teammates came and tackled me. It was great.” Gregg already has committed to play at Mississippi State following high school. She became anxious about the recruiting process after visiting several and being left unsure of where she wanted to go. “I went on a lot of college visits,” she said. “They say you get that feeling, and I was thinking maybe I just don’t get that feeling. Then I went to Mississippi State, and it felt at home.” With her softball future settled, Gregg has no doubt that she wants to play volleyball again in the fall after missing the 2016 season. But for now, she is just happy to be back on the field. “I kind of can’t believe it’s here after nine months,” she said. “It just never felt like it would get here. Now I want to have fun and just always remember that that’s what it’s all about.”

Hoover resident and artist Rick Plasters with a piece of his scratchboard works. Photos courtesy of Rick Plasters.

A realism that wows

By SYDNEY CROMWELL Rick Plasters is a Hoover resident of 30 years and has a career in business communication solutions, though his background is in art and graphic design. Recently he has begun exploring his talents through “scratch art” and in January 2017, Plasters was invited to show his work at Artists Incorporated gallery in Vestavia Hills. The Hoover Sun sat down with Plasters to talk about his art and inspiration. Learn more about him at Q: Could you describe what type of art you do? A: Scratchboard refers to both a medium, and an illustrative technique using sharp knives and tools for etching into a thin layer of smooth, absorbent white kaolin clay that is evenly coated with black India ink. Scratchboard can also be made with several layers of multicolored clay, so the pressure exerted on the instrument used determines the color that is revealed. Scratchboard can be used to yield highly detailed, precise and evenly textured artwork that is unsurpassed by many other media. Depending on the intent of the artist, several areas may be cleared out for layering with watercolors, airbrush, ink, color pencil or acrylics. These ink and clay layers are then scraped off one by one to create different shades of color that blend into and highlight certain parts of the image. It can then be retouched with more paint as necessary. This technique can yield a very graphic image Plasters’ works “Ziggy Corrie,” top, and “Tiger Eye.” that can be quite detailed. Q: Where does your inspiration Q: What is the greatest compliment you’ve come from? A: I am detailed-minded and love what God ever received about your work? A: I have an online presence with the Facehas provided to me in nature as my inspiration, especially exotic animals and everyday animals book community that links to my website. The frequent accolades from postings online gives like birds and pets. Q: Is there a “dream” piece you’d like to me great compliments to do more. Recently, in 2016, I was recognized by the Bluff Park create? A: I love realism and all the details that Art Show and was awarded a $1,000 August nature has to offer in all types of mammals A. Moore Memorial Purchase Award for my and birds. My dream piece would be a lion and scratchboard called “Total Control.” My original work hangs in their personal gallery. lamb together.

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C14 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

It’s time to vote for your favorites for 2017 THE NOMINEES FOOD AND DRINK ► Most Friendly Service  Big Bad Breakfast  Front Porch  Tip Top Grill  Swamp Monster BBQ  Chick-fil-A  Customs Café  Brock’s Restaurant  Chick-fil-A  Panera  Beef ‘O’ Brady’s  Sneaky Pete’s Hot Dogs  Brixx Wood Fired Pizza  Edgar’s Bakery  Pita Café  Front Porch  Pie Five Pizza  Golden Rule BBQ ► Best Date Night  Ashley Mac’s  Firebirds  La Fiesta  Front Porch  Tip Top Grill  Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato  Tortugas  J. Alexander’s  Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato  Customs Café  Capers on Park Avenue  Ragtime Cafe  The Whole Scoop  Brixx Wood Fired Pizza  Baja Burger  Swamp Monster BBQ  J. Alexander’s  Pacific Rim  Ragtime Café  Brock’s Restaurant  Bluff Park Diner  Bonefish Grill  Amigos  Taste of Thailand  Bonefish Grill  O’Sushi  Mikey’s Grill  Perfect Note  East 59 Café  The Melting Pot  Yuki  Bellini’s  Jake’s Soul Food Café  Shula’s Steak House  La Brisa Mexican  Rock-n-Roll Sushi  Jim ’N Nick’s  Brock’s Restaurant ► Best Ladies’ Lunch Spot  Ashley Mac’s ► Most Kid-Friendly Restaurant  Front Porch  Brixx Wood Fired Pizza  Chicken Salad Chick  Chick-fil-A  Customs Café  Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato  Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato  Amigo’s Mexican Grill  Capers on Park Avenue  Frontera Grill  Swamp Monster BBQ  Zaxby’s  Edgar’s Bakery  Jason’s Deli  Beef ‘O’ Brady’s  Baumhower’s  Firebirds  Pablo’s Restaurante & Cantina ► Best Casual Dining  Front Porch  Front Porch  Pita Café  Swamp Monster BBQ  Newk’s  Customs Café  Swamp Monster BBQ  Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato  Baja Burger  Beef ‘O’ Brady’s  Ashley Mac’s  Jim ‘N Nicks  Customs Café  Ashley Mac’s  Beef ‘O’ Brady’s  Firebirds  The Whole Scoop  Cajun Steamer  La Fiesta  Brixx Wood Fired Pizza  Jim ‘N Nick’s  Taziki’s  Newk’s  Golden Rule BBQ ► Best Breakfast/Brunch  First Watch  Tip Top Grill  IHOP  Zoe’s Kitchen  Waffle House  Capers on Park Avenue


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J. Alexanders Tortugas Chicken Salad Chick Fried Green Tomatoes Jubilee Joe’s Ragtime Café

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Margarita Grill Pollo Lucas

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Front Porch Frontera Habañeros On Tap Sports Café J. Alexander’s

► Best New Restaurant (must have opened after February 2016)  Front Porch  Customs Café ► Best Dessert (name of the  Swamp Monster BBQ dessert and restaurant) ► Best Asian Food  Mr. Chen’s Authentic  Chicken Salad Chick  Tres Leches Cake  First Watch Chinese - El Mercado  Formosa  East 59 Café @ Hoover  Salted Caramel Crunch  Yuki Public Library Cookie - Brixx Wood Fired  O’Sushi  Bluff Park Ice Cream Shoppe Pizza  China Bistro  Chocolate pie - Jim ’N Nick’s  Stix  Strawberry Cake ► Best Burger  Taste of Thailand  Front Porch - Edgar’s Bakery  Sumo Japanese Steakhouse  Baja Burger  Carrot Cake  Panda Express  Five Guys - J. Alexander’s  Peking Wok  Green Valley Drug  White chocolate bread  Mandarin House  Swamp Monster BBQ pudding - Front Porch  Hunan  Tip Top Grill  Fried cheesecake  Pacific Rim  Steak ’n Shake - Cajun Steamer  Blue Pacific  Beef ‘O’ Brady’s  Strawberry cake  Rock-n-Roll Sushi  Gabriel’s Bar and Grill - Ashley Mac’s  Ginza  Molten cake  Shonos Japanese Grill - J. Alexander’s ► Best Pizza  Tortugas  Cookies n cream popsicle  Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato - Urban Pops ► Best Italian Food  Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato  Brixx Wood Fired Pizza  Pear tart - Customs Café  Tortugas  Front Porch  Key lime pie  Brixx Wood Fired Pizza  Johnny Brusco’s - Jubilee Joe’s  Pazzo  Marcos Pizza  White chocolate bread  Salvatore’s  Pie Five pudding - Vecchia Pizzeria  Costa’s Mediterranean Grill  Sanpeggios & Mercato  Bellini’s  Pazzo  Chocolate peanut butter  Johnny Brusco’s  Baker’s Famous Pizza shake - The Whole Scoop  Sanpeggio’s  Banana pudding  Deep Dish Pizza and - Swamp Monster BBQ ► Best Place for a Sweet Treat  The Whole Scoop  Gran Gran’s chocolate Italian House  Edgar’s Bakery cake - Customs Café  Bluff Park Ice Cream  Salted caramel chocolate ► Best Mediterranean Food  Taziki’s Shoppe cake - Front Porch  Costa’s  Front Porch  Lemon cakes  Zoe’s Kitchen  Yogurt Mountain - Nothing Bundt Cakes  Pita Café  Nothing Bundt Cakes  Caramel heath bar crunch  Purple Onion  Customs Café cheesecake - Capers on  Pita Stop  Ashley Mac’s Park Avenue  Urban Pops  Dessert pizza  Krispy Kreme - Brixx Wood Fired Pizza ► Best Mexican Food  La Fiesta  Gigi’s Cupcakes  Crème Bruleé cheesecake  Iguana Grill - Firebirds  Pablo’s Restaurante  White chocolate bread ► Best Cheese Dip  Iguana Grill & Cantina pudding - Front Porch  Frontera  Superior Grill  Turtle sundae  Amigos  La Fiesta - The Whole Scoop  Habaneros  Amigos  Brisa  Pablo’s Restaurante  Don Pepe & Cantina

Vote at by April 5. BEST OF HOOVER winners will be announced online and in the May issue.

April 2017 • C15

BUSINESSES AND SERVICES ► Best New Business (non-restaurant)  Hoover Hometown Pharmacy  SkyZone  Ryan Goolsby, State Farm  Fleming’s Martial Arts  Shannon Trotter, State Farm  Legacy Chiropractic and Wellness  Ross Bridge Animal Hospital  Nova Essence Medispa  Southern Grace  River Highlands  Lakeman Family Dentistry  R&S Flooring  Camellia Women’s Imaging  Perfect Note ► Best Place to Buy a Gift  Wrapsody  Lou Lou’s  Costco  Von Maur  Field & Stream  The Pink Tulip  Sweetspire Gardens  Lily Magnolia  Hoover Shipping Trade and Post  On a Shoestring ► Best Children’s Store

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Von Maur Once Upon a Child Kicks Shoes for Kids Wrapsody The Lego Store Sew Precious Gymboree Build-a-Bear

► Best Women’s Clothing Store  Von Maur  Plato’s Closet  Belk  The Pink Tulip  Lou Lou’s  Turquoise  Molly Green  Kohl’s  Southern Grace ► Best Store for Men  Johnston and Murphy  Jos. A Bank  Academy Sports and Outdoors  Field and Stream  Bluff Park Hardware  Men’s Wearhouse  Brooks Brothers ► Best Place to Buy Home Decor

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Home Goods World Market Hobby Lobby Wrapsody Urban Home Market Scandinavian Leather Gallery Kirkland’s Lily Magnolia Ashley Furniture On a Shoestring

► Best Customer Service (non-restaurant)  Publix  Plato’s Closet  Hoover Hometown Pharmacy  Wrapsody  Hoover Public Library  Von Maur  Dan’s Fan City  Pure Style Salon  Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa ► Best Veterinarian  Galleria Animal Clinic  Patton Chapel Animal Clinic  Lake Crest Animal Clinic  Ross Bridge Animal Clinic  Alford Avenue Veterinary Hospital

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Firestone Galleria Tire Hoover Auto Estes Warehouse Tires Christian Brothers Automotive Riverchase Automotive Stop & Start Auto Center Daniel Automotive Hoover Toyota John’s Tire and Auto

► Best New Car Dealership  Hendrick Chevrolet  Tameron Honda  Long-Lewis Ford  King Acura  Toyota Hoover  Mercedes of Birmingham  Crest Cadillac  Benton Nissan ► Best Used Car Dealership  CarMax  Tameron Honda  Hoover Toyota  Long-Lewis Ford Lincoln  Benton Nissan  Hoover Southtown Motors

► Best Mechanic Shop

HEALTH AND WELLNESS ► Best Salon  The Look  O’Hair  Stone Salon  Salon 150  T. Fox Salon  J. Dawson Salon  Pure Style Salon  Lavish Threading & Spa  Salon 31  Cache Salon  Ed & Company  Great Clips for Hair  Rich Unisex Salon  Polish to Perfection  Aveda Institute ► Best Golf Course  RTJ Ross Bridge  Riverchase Country Club  Hoover Country Club  Greystone Golf & Country Club  Inverness Country Club ► Best Grocery Store  Piggly Wiggly Bluff Park  Organic Harvest  Publix  Sprouts  Winn-Dixie ► Best Real Estate Agent  Steve and Anna Parker, Keller Williams  Donna Gaskins, ARC Realty  Patti Schreiner, RE/MAX Southern Homes  Joey Brown, Keller Williams  Ben Burford, NextHome Southern Realty  Julie Ivy White, Lucas & Associates  Dan Burns, RE/MAX Southern Homes  Kathy Smith, RE/MAX Southern Homes  Melvin Upchurch, LIST Birmingham  Brent Griffis, LIST Birmingham  Mary Leech, RealtySouth  John Franklin, RealtySouth  Dawn Kirkland, RE/MAX Advantage

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Chris Smith, ERA King John Holley, LAH Real Estate Kristi Parker, Embassy Homes Cindy Edmunds, ARC Realty David Potter, RealtySouth Peggy Lucas, Lucas & Associates Kelli Gunnells, RealtySouth Ben Tamburello, RE/MAX Southern Homes Thad Lowry, ARC Realty David Spurling, RE/MAX Over the Mountain Vicki Warner, ARC Realty Marguerute Haynes, Brik Realty Marcia Montgomery, Keller Williams Noodle Kannar, Realty South Kate Giffin, RE/MAX Advantage Renee Hamilton, E-21 Realty Blake Schultz, ARC Realty David Dutton, ERA King Marilee Cade, ARC Realty Gary DeLamar, RealtySouth Jessica Daviston, LAH Real Estate Drew Taylor, RE/MAX Southern Homes Susette Clark-Walker, RealtySouth Jamie Goff, LAH Real Estate Heather Goss, Brik Realty

► Best Dentist  Dr. Guy Rosensteil  Dr. John Freeman  Dr. Jennifer Morrissey-Patton, Hoover Family Dentistry  Dr. Don Romano  Dr. Kasey Davis  Dr. James LeCroy, Barganier and LeCroy  Dr. David Shepherd  Dr. Marc Moulton, Moulton Dentistry  Dr. David Hazouri, Riverchase Family Dentistry  Dr. Trent Buchanan, Greystone SmileDesign  Dr. Anna Marie DiChiaria  Dr. Monique Hill, Contemporary Smiles  Dr. Charles Yates, Hoover Family Dentistry  Dr. Thomas S. Jones  Dr. Todd Howell, Chace Lake

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Family Dentistry Dr. Marilia Tate Dr. Michael Anglin, Anglin-Nelson Dentistry Dr. Richard Real Dr. Gia Brothers, Ross Bridge Dental Dr. Edgar Luna, Diamond Smiles Dr. Michelle Groves Dr. Preston Reynolds

► Best Orthodontist  PT Orthodontics  Backus Orthodontics  Birmingham Orthodontics  Whitehead Orthodontics ► Best Workout Facility  Hoover YMCA  Planet Fitness  Hoover Recreational Center  OrangeTheory Fitness  CrossFit Riverchase  Iron Tribe Fitness  St. Vincent’s One Nineteen  Fitness 4U 24/7  Revolve Fitness ► Best Pediatrician  Dr. Toren Anderson, Greenvale Pediatrics  Dr. Jeffrey Stone, Greenvale Pediatrics  Dr. Brian Dudgeon, Greenvale Pediatrics  Dr. Anne Byars, Southlake Pediatrics  Dr. Jamie Odrezin, Greenvale Pediatrics  Dr. John Cortopassi, Greenvale Pediatrics  Dr. John Petelos, Greenvale Pediatrics  Dr. Amy McCollum, Greenvale Pediatrics ► Best Family Practitioner  Dr. Susan Clark  Dr. Carrie Huner  Dr. Jody Gilstrap  Dr. James Marshall  Dr. Darlene Trafenstat  Dr. Rebecca Lockhart  Dr. Marina Brainin

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Dr. Jill Arora Dr. Amanda W Robinson Dr. Rebecca Miller Dr. Darlene Travesdant Dr. Amy Bentley Dr. Ramona Roach-Davis Dr. Beth Hughes Dr. Lisha Thorton Dr. David Wilhelm Dr. Mark Ricketts

► Best Pharmacy  Walgreen’s  Hoover Hometown Pharmacy  Publix Pharmacy  CVS Chase Lake  Green Valley Drug  Mills Pharmacy Bluff Park  Costco ► Best Spa  Ross Bridge  Stone Salon and Day Spa  Nova Essence Medispa  Yeager Salon & Spa  Santa Fe Day Spa  Infinity Med-I-Spa  St. Vincent’s One Nineteen  The Aveda Institute  Lavish Threading and Spa  Foot Acupressure ► Best Chiropractor  Dr. Craig Catalfu, My Chiropractor  Dr. Trey Lott  Dr. Drew Klein, Lake Crest Chiropractor  Dr. Steven E. Johnson, Koenig Wellness  Dr. Phillip Fortmeyer  Dr. G. Forrest Edwards  Dr. Richard Scherer, Valleydale Chiropractic ► Best Orthopedist  Dr. Michael Ellerbusch, Southlake Orthopaedics  Dr. Jeff Davis, Andrews Sports Medicine  Dr. Scott Appell, Lemak Sports Medicine

C16 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

COMMUNITY ► Best Outdoor Space  Moss Rock  Veterans Park  Aldridge Gardens  The Preserve  Star Lake  Fresh Air Farm  Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa ► Best Community Event  Bluff Park Art Show  Taste of Hoover  4th of July at the Met  Whispers From the Past – Aldridge Gardens  Celebrate Hoover Day  Paws for a Cause  Hope for Autumn Foundation Crawfish Boil  Bluff Park Trucks on the Bluff  Star Lake Street Fair  Riverchase Art Show  Moss Rock Festival  Preserve Jazz Festival  SEC Baseball Tournament  Ross Bridge Tree Lighting  Pig Iron Classic  Uncorked! On the Green  Beauty Walk  Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Patty’s Day celebration ► Best Neighborhood  Bluff Park  Laurel View Estates  Green Valley

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Riverchase Lake Crest The Preserve Russet Woods Trace Crossings Ross Bridge Southpointe Birchtree Greystone Lake Cyrus Shades Mountain Arbor Hill Willow Trace

► Best Church Choir  Riverchase United Methodist Church  Bluff Park United Methodist  Prince of Peace Catholic Church  Shades Mountain Baptist Church  Hunter Street Baptist Church  Shades Crest Baptist Church  St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church  Green Valley Baptist Church  Chi Alpha Student Choir ► Best Teacher  Bridget Angstadt  Jana Flint  Janna Steel  Delle Kincaid  Teresa Muldowney  John Kincaid  Mark Conner  Carrie Wallace  Jennifer Plourde  Kristen Brand Majors

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Anthony Hamley Katherine Horn Lynne Lindsey Jeff Fondren Beth Hankins Reid Lochamy Donna Hecklinski Devon Hind Stephanie Prevatte Becky Roberson Megan Peoples Amy Everson Susan Worthington Susan Clopton Richard Neely Ellen Hottel Katie Woolard Martha Mackay Jennifer Kuklinski Ronda Vines Mary Beth Pugh Garrett Rogers Sallie White Belinda Walker Joni Chonoski Lindsey Nichols Monica Balaban Leigh Smith Heather Miller Leigh Smith Katie Woolard Linda Cronican Julia Aho Carrie Pomeroy Brittany Thomas Susan Norris Ashley Dark Peggy Eason

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Kristi Roberts Emily Barnes Amy Yew Julie Self Erika Russ Wendy Cramer Kathryne Flippo Jennifer Collins Laura Entrekin Krystal Pettit April Atkins Kristen Majors Sophie Slate Tara Bensinger Katie Gilliam Reagan Carlisle Laura Cater Linda Brown Linda Cronican Stacey Avant Carla Marchant Emily Barnes

► Best Place for Family Outing  Moss Rock  Aldridge Gardens  Birchtree Swim & Racquet Club  The Preserve  Hoover Public Library  SkyZone  Veterans Park  Star Lake  Patton Creek  Riverchase Galleria  Hoover Dog Park  Heritage Park  The Whole Scoop

Vote at by April 5.

April 2017 • C17


4868 Crystal Circle

Real Estate Listings MLS #







4868 Crystal Circle





464 Park Terrace





1241 Forest Brook Circle





2230 Southampton Drive





513 Park Ave.





2246 Capri Drive





718 Staffordshire Drive





4076 Noyak Road





1804 Napier Drive





739 Donna Drive





1106 Tiara Circle





4409 Village Green Way





5584 Colony Lane





2232 Rockcreek Trail





2467 Huntington Glen Drive





813 Vestavia Villa Court #813





2320 Savoy St.





1841 Tall Timbers Drive





1013 Castlemaine Drive





4027 Newtown Lane



Real estate listings provided by the Birmingham Association of Realtors on March 20. Visit

2467 Huntington Glen Drive

C18 • April 2017

Hoover Sun

Calendar Hoover Events Tuesday nights: Kids eat free at Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato. 610 Preserve Parkway. (One child per adult). Visit

April 9: Palm Sunday Worship and Communion. 11 a.m. Bryan Memorial Presbyterian, 2600 Valleydale Road.

April 1: PurpleStride Birmingham. 8 a.m. Veterans Park. Benefiting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Registration $10-$30. Visit

April 9: 2017 Walk to End Lupus Now. 12-4 p.m. Veterans Park, Hoover. Free, donations accepted. Visit

April 4: Minority Business Council. 8:30 a.m. Hoover Chamber Office. Visitors welcome. Visit

April 10: Beginning Zentangle Class. 10 a.m. to noon. Artists on the Bluff. $35 including supplies. Visit

April 4, 11 and 18: Zentangle Organics and Color. 2 p.m. Artists on the Bluff. $75 for three-week class, including all art supplies. Visit

April 11: The Cahaba Lilies and their River. 6 p.m. Aldridge Gardens. $20 members, $35 non-members. Visit

April 5: Mistakes 99% of Retirees Make When Applying for Social Security. 6 p.m. Riverchase Baptist Church. Presented by Wilson Financial Group. Call 745-3947 or visit April 6: Economic Development Committee Meeting. 8:30 a.m. Hoover Chamber of Commerce. Visit April 8: Walk for Autism and 5K Race. 8 a.m. Veterans Park, Hoover. $30 registration. Visit facebook. com/AutismSocietyAL. April 8: Mixed Media Canvas Workshop. 10 a.m.4 p.m. Artists on the Bluff. $75 including supplies. Visit April 8 and 9: Shades Crest Baptist Church 16th annual High Country 5K. 6 p.m. Friday at Shades Crest Baptist Church. Pasta dinner free for all entrants and families. Saturday, 5K run at 8 a.m. and 1-mile fun run at 9 a.m. Free pancake breakfast for race participants, friends and family following the run. Registration $10-$25. Visit

April 11: Zentangle Cross Class. 6 p.m. Artists on the Bluff. $35 including supplies. Visit April 13: Hoover Chamber Coffee & Contacts. 7:30-9 a.m. Grade Power Learning, Village at Lee Branch. Visit April 13: Hoover Service Club “Membership” Coffee. 10 a.m. to noon. Aldridge Gardens House. Visit April 15: Members Only Guided Bird Watch. 8 a.m. Aldridge Gardens. Free. Visit aldridgegardens. com. April 16: Easter Sunrise Service. 6:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Bryan Memorial Presbyterian, 2600 Valleydale Road. April 19-21: 2nd annual Business Writers Conference. Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa. Visit April 19: Chamber Ambassador Meeting. 4:30 p.m. Hoover Chamber Office. Visitors welcome. Visit April 20: Hoover Chamber Luncheon. Hyatt Regency - The Wynfrey Hotel. 11:15 a.m. networking, noon Luncheon. Call 205-988-5672 or email lisa@ for reservations. Visit April 21: Hoover City Schools Foundation's Denim & Dining. 6:30 p.m. Hoover Met. Featuring food and a silent auction. HCSF’s main fundraiser of the year. Tickets $50 through April 4, $65 after April 4. Visit April 23: Diabetes Walk for Camp Seale Harris. 1 p.m. Veterans Park. Visit April 26: Increasing Income for Retirement and Increasing Income while in Retirement. 6 p.m. Riverchase Baptist Church. Presented by Wilson Financial Group. Call 745-3947 or visit April 27: Sav-a-Life annual Banquet for Life. 7-9 p.m. Hyatt Regency Wynfrey Hotel. Visit Events/BanquetForLife. April 27: Business After Hours. 5:30-7 p.m. Brookwood Baptist Freestanding Emergency Clinic. Visit April 28-29: Spring Plant Sale. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Aldridge Gardens. Visit April 28: Medicare: Presented by OLLI of Greater Birmingham. 12:15 p.m. Hoover Senior Center. Free. Visit April 29: Celebrate Hoover Day - 50th Anniversary. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Veterans Park. Food, kids’ activities, car show, live entertainment and more. Visit

April 2017 • C19

Stardome Comedy Club April 6: Positively Funny Improv. 7 p.m. Broadway Room. $9.

April 13: Positively Funny Improv. 7 p.m. Broadway Room. $9.

April 7: Open Mic Night. 8 p.m. Broadway Room. $8.

April 20: Positively Funny Improv. 7 p.m. Broadway Room. $9.

April 7-8: Bob Saget. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Saturday. $33-$38.

April 21-22: Josh Blue. 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday, 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Saturday. $20.

April 10: Shane Torres. 7:30 p.m. $10.

April 27: Positively Funny Improv. 7 p.m. Broadway Room. $9.

Hoover Public Library Kids Mondays: Together with Twos. 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Mondays: Story Lab. 4 p.m. Ages 3-8. Tuesdays: Mother Goose. 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays: Early Birds. 10 a.m. 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. April 1: Crafty Characters: Chicken Little. 10:30 a.m. Hear a story and make a craft. All ages. April 4: Full STEAM Ahead. 4 p.m. Stop Motion Animation. Registration required. April 7: Movers & Shakers: Hippity Hoppity. 11 a.m. Registration required. April 8: Trolls Kids Kitchen. 10:30 a.m. Make treats inspired by Trolls. All ages.

April 9: B. Snipes. 2:30 p.m. Library Plaza. Drawing upon a range of influences from folk to indie-rock, his music is both nostalgic and new. April 10: Helping Hands. 3-8:30 p.m. Nonfiction Department. Drop in to make newspaper rolls for a local humane society. Teens and adults. April 10: Disneynature African Cats. 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The Library Theatre. April 11: Spanish Conversation Club. 7 p.m. Library Plaza. Adults 17+: Practice your Spanish and celebrate the culture. April 11: Glue Gun Gang: Scenes from Literature Marshmallow Peep Workshop. 6:30 p.m. Theatre Conference Room. BYOP (Bring Your Own Peeps!) to create a diorama for our National Library Week contest. Adults only. Registration required. April 12: No Reading Required: Back to the Future: Where’s My Flying Car? Noon. Theatre Level Meeting Rooms. Watch, read or listen, then join us. April 13: Second Thursday Fiction Book Group. 10 a.m. Fitzgerald Room. “The Nest,” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.

April 10: Reader’s Café. 6:30 p.m. Books to movies. Registration required.

April 13: Glue Gun Gang: Scenes from Literature Marshmallow Peep Workshop. 10:30 a.m. Shakespeare Room. Check April 11 for more information.

April 11: Raging Readers. 6:30 p.m. Registration required.

April 13: National Library Week Reception. 6:30 p.m. Nonfiction Department

April 12: Homeschool Hub. 2 p.m. Bully defense. Presented by Impact martial arts. Registration required.

April 15: D-I-Y Credit Repair in Five Parts. 10:30 a.m. Theatre Level Meeting Rooms. Session 4: Oneon-one sessions to review credit.

April 15: Spin-a-Story. 10:30 a.m. April 17: Reading Sidekicks. 6:30 p.m. Click, Clack, Read! Registration required. April 18: Full STEAM Ahead. 4 p.m. Cartooning workshop. Registration required. April 21: Tween Scene. 4 p.m. Book Bingo. Ages 10-14. Registration required. Teens April 24: Once Upon a Time. 6:30 p.m. Watch the latest episode, make a craft and eat snacks. Ages 14+. April 25: iHOLA! Spanish Conversations for Teens. 6:30 p.m. Practice Spanish and learn the culture. Grades 9-12. Adults Tuesdays, April 4-25: Adult English Classes. 6:30-8 p.m. Theatre Level Meeting Rooms. Free Basic or Intermediate English Classes. Thursdays, April 6 and 13: English Conversation Club. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Administration Conference Room. Informal English practice for speakers of other languages. April 1: D-I-Y Credit Repair in Five Parts. 10:30 a.m. Theatre Level Meeting Rooms. Session 3: Your Credit Report. April 2: Sunday NovelTea Fiction Book Group. 3 p.m. Plaza Reading Room. “Eligible,” by Curtis Sittenfeld. April 3: Friends of the Hoover Library Membership Coffee. 10-11:30 a.m. Library Plaza. April 6: First Thursday Fiction Book Group. 10 a.m. Fitzgerald Room. “Everything I Never Told You,” by Celeste Ng. April 8: Purl @ the Plaza. 1-5 p.m. Library Plaza. Brighten up your stash with some new spring knitting.

April 15: Insatiable Readers: April Fools ― It’s Always Good to Laugh. 10:30 a.m. Plaza Reading Room. Learn about nonfiction titles. April 17: Neuroscience Cafe: Breast Cancer Survivorship and Quality of Life ― Insights from Neuroscience Research. 6:30 p.m. Theatre Level Meeting Rooms. Presented by the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center. April 18: French Conversation Club. 7 p.m. Library Plaza. Practice your French and celebrate the culture. April 20: Music Trivia Night. 7 p.m. Library Plaza. Compete for prizes in our monthly trivia night. April 20-21: Alabama Troubadours. 7:30 p.m. The Library Theatre. Tickets $25. April 21: After Hours @ the Plaza: Bingo! 7 p.m. Library Plaza. Join us for a library-themed Bingo night. April 22: D-I-Y Credit Repair in Five Parts. Session 5: Protect Yourself from Identity Theft. 10:30 a.m. Theatre Level Meeting Rooms. April 22: Write Club. 10:30 a.m. Adult Program Room. Share literary works and network with other writers. April 24: Monday at the Movies. 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The Library Theatre. Free admission and refreshments. April 27: Mean Smoker. 6:30 p.m. Library Plaza. An improvisational collective, drawing on electronic music, funk, rock, and free and traditional jazz. April 27: Nighttime Nonfiction Book Group. 7 p.m. Theatre Conference Room.” Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage,” by Alfred Lansing. April 28-29: Blowout Book Sale. 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Theatre Level. See website for more information. April 29: International Tabletop Day. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Library Plaza. Join us for a daylong tabletop gaming event.

Hoover Sun April 2017  
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