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Sun Neighborly news & entertainment for Hoover

Volume 5 | Issue 9 | June 2017

WEATHERING A STORM Brittany Schultz, who works at Christian Brothers Automotive, is one of the few female automotive mechanics in Birmingham. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

Under the hood and on top of her game

Brittany Schultz, 23, finds her place in auto garages By SYDNEY CROMWELL During her first automotive maintenance class, Brittany Schultz fell in love with taking a look under the hood. That she was the only woman in her class didn’t faze her a bit. “I still have not met another female mechanic. I have heard they exist,” Schultz said. “I was the first girl to graduate my school with an automotive major.” Schultz, a 23-year-old Hoover resident, has worked as a mechanic for about two years, including nearly a year at her current shop, Christian Brothers

Pre-Sort Standard U.S. Postage PAID Tupelo, MS Permit #54

See SCHULTZ | page A30


As volatile retail market reshapes malls across US, Riverchase Galleria adapts to remain viable

$500M $416M $400M

$430M $423M





$200M $100M 0





*2012, 2013 data not available SOURCE: CITY OF HOOVER TAX RECORDS

More than $120 million was poured into renovations of the Riverchase Galleria campus in 2012 and 2013, helping bring new vibrancy to the state’s largest enclosed mall. Photo by Jon Anderson.


Sponsors .............. A4 News...................... A6

ith traditional retail juggernauts J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Sears all closing large numbers of stores across the country this year, times are tough in the shopping

center business. But the owner of the Riverchase Galleria, which contains all three of those department stores in anchor positions, remains optimistic about the 31-year-old mall’s future. The Riverchase Galleria was spared from the closure lists of those three iconic companies, and the mall also has seen the expansion of Belk and addition of Von Maur department stores in recent years.

Business ..............A10 Chamber.............. A12

Events ..................A18 Community ........ A22

Annual sales at the Galleria dipped 1.6 percent — from $430 million in 2015 to $423 million in 2016 — but still are 13 percent higher than the $375 million total in 2011, tax records from the city of Hoover show. And Alabama’s largest enclosed mall — with 1.5 million square feet of leasable retail space — is 98.5 percent occupied and has been for quite a while, said new General Manager Mike White. “We’ve been really fortunate,” he said. “This is a class A retail property. It’s always going to thrive. We have such a great piece of real estate. It has such great access.” The mall is at the intersection of Interstate 459 and the busy U.S. 31, and about

Sports .....................B1 School House ...... B9

See GALLERIA | page A28 Real Estate......... B24 Calendar ............. B26

How to Win

100 Years of Life

Everything came together for the Hoover High School track and field team at the state outdoor meet.

Hoover resident Florine Harper celebrates her 100th birthday, remembering world travels and life stories.

See page B1

See page B8

A2 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

June 2017 • A3

Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

A4 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

About Us Editor’s Note By Sydney Cromwell The best part of my job is that I get to interview people way cooler than me. Brittany Schultz, in one of our cover stories this month, definitely fits that description. She didn’t shy away from a career as a vehicle mechanic just because it’s typically a male career, or even because she had no experience under the hood before her first class. Schultz saw something she enjoyed and didn’t let anything prevent her from pursuing it. Because she kept pursuing it, Schultz found a job where her co-workers don’t look at her as a weak link just because she doesn’t fit the typical mold. Though she’s still new to the field, Schultz is part of the team and clearly enjoys what she does. That — and the fact that I can barely do anything with my vehicle besides change a tire — made

customer desires. Malls caused a drastic shift in the way we shop when they first started to appear, and I’m interested to see what changes lie ahead. Lastly, we covered our fair share of spring sports last month as several teams’ seasons came to a close. In addition to our sports news inside this issue, I’d encourage you to visit hooversun. com and sign up for our email newsletter if you’d like to follow our coverage of sports and other events on a daily basis. Schultz one of my favorite interviews this month. Besides her story, we also took a look at the financial health of the Galleria, as malls around the country are going through a change in market and


The Hoover baseball team piles up on the field after defeating Vestavia Hills 3-1 in an AHSAA semifinal playoffs match on May 13 at Hoover High School. The match qualified the Bucs for the state finals in Mongomery the following weekend. Photo by Barry Stephenson.

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

Dan Starnes Sydney Cromwell Kristin Williams Sarah Finnegan Kyle Parmley Sam Chandler Alyx Chandler Cameron Tipton Melanie Viering Community Editor: Erica Techo Community Reporters: Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Lexi Coon Emily Featherston Copy Editor: Louisa Jeffries

Contributing Writers: Grace Thornton Marienne Thomas Ogle Chris Yow Sarah Cook Chris Megginson

Advertising Manager: Matthew Allen Account Manager: Layton Dudley Sales and Distribution: Warren Caldwell Don Harris Michelle Salem Haynes Rhonda Smith James Plunkett Eric Clements Vicky Hager

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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Please Support Our Community Partners Alabama Outdoors (A10) Alabama Power (B21) Anglin-Nelson Dental Office (A3) ARC Realty (B14, B20) Archadeck (A13) Bedzzz Express (A32, B1) BenchMark Physical Therapy (B4) Birmingham Broadway Theatre League (B13) Birmingham Music Club (B27) Birmingham Orthodontics (A1) Birmingham Water Works Board (A27) Blair Remodeling (A31) Bluff Park Ice Cream Shoppe (B5) Brewer Cabinets (B24) Brookwood Baptist Health (A23) Bromberg & Company, Inc. (B9) Carbon Recall (B10) Carpet Warehouse Galleria (A9) Case Remodeling (B13) Children’s of Alabama (B1) Closets by Design (B11) Construx (A20) Customs Café (A7) Cynthia Vines Butler LLC (B10) Danberry at Inverness (B18) Encore Rehabilitation (B1) EZ Roof & EZ Restoration (A21) Flat Fee Real Estate (A3) Galleria Woods Retirement Community (A19) Gardner Landscaping (A6) Grandview Medical Center (B17) Hanna’s Garden Shop (B19) Heather Goss, Brik Realty (B24) Hoover Antique Gallery (A13) Hoover Florist (A24) Hoover Hometown Pharmacy (A29) Hoover Public Library (A29) Inverness Country Club (B12) Issis & Sons (A17) J. Wright Building Company (A11) Jets Pizza (A1) Kasey Davis Dentistry (B3) Kelli Gunnells Group (A27) Kete Cannon, RE MAX Southern Homes (A6) LAH Real Estate - Hoover Office (B25) Lakeman Family Dental (A8) Lucas and Associates (B2) Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (A14) Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese (B13) NextHome Southern Realty (A12) O’Sushi Express (A9) OFC WorkScapes (A15) Outdoor Living Areas (A18) Over the Mountain Glass (A16) Oxmoor Valley Orthodontics (B19) Patti Schreiner, Re/MAX Southern Homes (A5) Paul Davis Emergency Services (A28) Pollo Lucas (A16) Pure Dermatology & Aesthetics (B3) R & S Wood Flooring (A28) RealtySouth Marketing (B8) Red Mountain Theatre Company (B26) Ridout’s Valley Chapel (B9) Sarver Orthodontics (A14) Schaeffer Eye Center (A5) Shades Valley Dermatology (B6) Shannon Trotter State Farm (A7) Shoal Creek Properties (A22) Shuttlesworth Lasseter LLC (B17) St. Vincent’s Health Systems (B7) Sugar Sands Realty (B26) Sweetspire Gardens (B6) Swimming Pool Services (A15) Target Auction Company (B15) Tenet Physicians Resources (A30) The Maids (B15) UAB Health System (A2) UAB Medical West (B28) Vestavia Hills Lutheran Church (B5) Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church (B18) Virginia Samford Theatre (B27) Vulcan Termite & Pest Control (A24) Wedgworth Construction (A25) Weigh To Wellness (B2) Wrapsody (B25)

June 2017 • A5

A6 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

City After 11 years of trying, couple convinces council to annex home into city By JON ANDERSON It took 11 years and a lengthy discussion by the Hoover City Council on May 1, but Dan and Teresa Browning finally got their house near the Ross Bridge community annexed into Hoover. Annexation has become a hot topic in Hoover, with school board members warning the city that Hoover schools aren’t prepared to handle new homes that likely would come with significant expansion of the city limits. The Brownings started building their home off Silver Spur Lane in 2002 and quickly learned that Hoover was annexing what is now known as the Ross Bridge community. In 2006, as homes began to sell in Ross Bridge, the Brownings submitted a petition for Hoover to annex their 7-acre property, which adjoins the Ross Bridge property. Ross Bridge actually surrounds the Brownings’ land and nine other parcels that are unincorporated. The Brownings’ daughter was 2 years old at the time, and they wanted her to be educated in Hoover schools. But the Hoover City Council at the time had taken a stance that it would not annex additional property

and never acted upon the annexation request. In 2012, as the Ashby Apartments were being built on the east side of Ross Bridge Parkway, near where the Brownings live, they asked for annexation again. In May 2013, the council’s annexation committee met for the first time in seven years and considered the Brownings’ petition. The matter was sent to the full City Council but was removed from the agenda after the Hoover Fire Department said their house was not close enough to a fire hydrant. In October 2013, the Brownings had a fire hydrant installed and applied for annexation again, but their request was tabled in February 2014 and ultimately denied in July 2014. Some council members expressed concern about whether the Brownings might subdivide their property and allow more homes, even though the Brownings said that was not their intent. Council members also questioned whether their driveway was wide enough for a Hoover fire truck. With a new City Council elected last year, the Brownings decided to ask for annexation again, and this time it passed, with a 5-2 vote.

Dan and Teresa Browning were finally successful in getting two parcels they own at 2161 and 2169 Silver Spur Lane near Ross Bridge annexed into the city of Hoover. Their parcels are the white ones outlined in red. Areas in blue are in the Hoover city limits. Map courtesy of the city of Hoover.

Councilmen Mike Shaw and John Lyda cast the dissenting votes. Shaw said if the decision were based on the Brownings being good people and their sincere desire to be Hoover residents, he would have voted yes. But he believes annexing land into the city is a big deal and he didn’t believe this was in the best interests of the city. Shaw and Lyda said certain aspects of the Brownings’ property, such as their unpaved driveway, do not meet city specifications. Lyda also said annexations of property not immediately surrounded by the city limits open the door to what could be a lot of growth. The city’s infrastructure has not caught up with growth that

already has occurred, he said. Council President Gene Smith said the issue of fire protection and their driveway was moot because the fire department already has agreed to serve their property if they paid fire dues. Councilman Casey Middlebrooks said that, to him, the Brownings’ property is surrounded by Hoover. They don’t have the option to annex into any other city, and in his view, the city has left them out in the cold. “To me, this is more about the idea of quality of life for these homeowners,” he said. “They have shown dedication and passion to wanting to be a part of this city, and I applaud them for that.”

Councilman Curt Posey said the Brownings have only one child that might enter Hoover schools. He said he might feel differently if this were a larger tract of land, but they have only 7 acres and no intention of subdividing their property further. Councilman Derrick Murphy, a former school board member, said city officials should sit down with school officials and develop a plan and process for considering annexations. In this case, however, he believes the homeowners did what was asked of them and should be annexed. After the vote, Teresa Browning said she felt great about becoming a Hoover resident finally. “Persistence pays off,” she said.

June 2017 • A7

Mayor’s Minute

By Frank Brocato Summertime is here and Hoover has boomed over the Frances and I are looking forlast 50 years, and our City ward to spending some extra Council wants to plan the time with our grandchildren! future steps of our city very Summer not only means carefully. school’s out, it means picWe will be enlisting public nics, swimming and cookouts involvement in our smart where folks are grilling! This growth projects, so be sure time of year is peak season and stay tuned to our Facebook for grill fires, and roughly page as well as media outlets half of the injuries involving to find out how to get involved grills are thermal burns. Be and when these public meetsure and visit the Hoover Fire ings will be held. Department’s Facebook page, The city of Hoover will be where we have listed numerhosting our annual Freedom Frank Brocato ous safety tips to keep you and Fest on the Fourth of July at your family safe while you are cooking out this the Hoover Met Stadium. This family friendly summer. event will feature live entertainment and the Part of my vision as mayor was to hire a city evening will close out with a magnificent fireplanner to lead the city’s efforts to develop and works show. Don’t forget we have plenty of implement a new comprehensive master plan free parking and easy access in and out of the and to recruit quality commercial and residential Met. For additional details about the event, you developments. I am very pleased with our new can visit our website at or city planner, Mr. Mac Martin, Jr., who started call City Hall at 444-7500. mid-April. Mac is a real asset to our city and will Hoover really does have something for folks help us as we plan for the future. Hoover turned of all ages. We are here to serve you so please 50 years old in May, and we want to be sure we get involved, come to meetings and be a person have a plan for smart growth. who makes a difference in your community. I would like to see more walkable neighbor- I can assure you, you won’t be sorry! Please hoods where you can walk out your front door don’t hesitate to call our office if we can assist and stroll down to a coffee shop or walk to a you. neighborhood restaurant. Ross Bridge is this Best, type of neighborhood and so is the Preserve. I would like to see more of this in the future. I like to call my plan “retrofitting suburbia.”

A map of the 62-home Smart Neighborhood, set to start construction this summer. Rendering courtesy of Alabama Power.

Smart Neighborhood coming to Ross Bridge A new “Smart Neighborhood” is set to come to Ross Bridge. The 62-home community will be located at the Reynold’s Landing community in Ross Bridge, according to a release from Alabama Power. The neighborhood will have a community-scale power system, and the homes will have energy-efficient materials and appliances. The power system is called a “microgrid,” according to the release, and is composed of solar panels, battery storage and backup generation. Called Smart Neighborhood, the community will serve as a research and demonstration project, and energy usage and performance data from HVAC systems, heat pump water heaters and other technologies will be collected, according to a release. That information will then be analyzed and used to improve how homes are built and function. “Customers today expect energy solutions that fit their lifestyles, and

that is the idea behind Smart Neighborhood by Alabama Power,” said John Hudson, senior vice president of marketing and business development. “Our goal is to continue to enhance our customers’ experience and to ensure they have more control over their energy use.” The project is in partnership with Signature Homes, Southern Company and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Signature Homes is the community developer, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a research partner. Construction is set to begin this summer and will be completed by spring 2018, according to the release. “Hoover has always been a strong community that leads in so many ways, and I am thrilled Hoover residents will have the chance to experience the technology and stateof-the-art benefits of Smart Neighborhood,” Mayor Frank Brocato said in the release. – Submitted by Alabama Power.

A8 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Hoover council to consider Trace Crossings rezoning plan By JON ANDERSON The Hoover City Council on June 5 is expected to vote on a controversial rezoning plan for the Trace Crossings community that would add commercial development across from Hoover Metropolitan Stadium and 495 houses. Of those 495 houses, 441 of them are houses that originally were slated to be built in other areas farther south. U.S. Steel has a decades-old annexation agreement that allows for 2,300 houses to be built south of Shelby County 52, and if this rezoning plan is approved, 300 of those housing units would be moved into Trace Crossings. Another 141 of the proposed new houses for Trace Crossings would come from houses currently allocated for the Blackridge community on the north side of Shelby County 52. The additional 54 houses that U.S. Steel wants to put in Trace Crossings would be “new” housing units in a proposed mixed-use area across from the Hoover Met. The biggest objection from residents so far has been the proposed commercial property across from the stadium. Trace Crossings residents for at least a year have staunchly fought additional commercial development in the middle of their community, saying it is better left along John Hawkins Parkway. But U.S. Steel Corp. pressed ahead and, after months of negotiations, was successful in getting the city’s zoning board to give its approval for a multifaceted rezoning effort that includes a commercial component. There currently are 110 acres along Stadium Trace Parkway across from the Hoover Met that are zoned for industrial use. Half of the property has restrictions on it that prevent typical retail commercial development, and half of it

The Trace Crossings rezoning plan recommended by the Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission would include 24 acres of commercial development (Parcel 6 in pink) and 28 acres of mixed commercial and residential development (Parcel 10 in peach) across from Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Yellow areas would be residential. Map courtesy of Signature Homes.

does not. U.S. Steel initially sought to allow typical commercial development on all the property and later submitted amended plans to add more residential property as a buffer to existing homes. Residents continued their opposition, so U.S. Steel in April submitted another plan for the 110 acres that has 58 acres for 100 single-family houses, 24 acres of typical commercial development (including hotels) and 28 acres of

a mixed-use area, which includes up to 111,000 square feet of commercial businesses and 54 townhouses or buildings that have commercial or office uses on the first floor and residential uses on the upper floors. However, U.S. Steel agreed to prohibit auto dealerships, building material sales, domestic equipment rental, car washes, automotive service and gasoline stations. Furthermore, any neighborhood hardware stores or restaurants, cleaners or pharmacies with a drive-through

would have to come back to the city for “conditional use” approval. No buildings would be more than three stories, except a hotel or motel more than 500 feet from the boundary of the Chestnut Ridge community could be four stories. All buildings in the mixed-use residential area would have to have pitched roofs, and all mechanical equipment on roofs of the rest of the commercial property must be screened so it is not visible from Stadium Trace Parkway. Many Trace Crossings residents told the zoning board on May 8 that the latest plan is worse than the previous one and still doesn’t give specifics about what U.S. Steel has in mind to develop on the 24-acre “planned commercial” parcel. Zoning board Chairman Mike Wood said that the proposed commercial portion of the development has been reduced from 110 acres to about 36 acres and that resident involvement has improved the proposal. Hoover Councilman Mike Shaw, who also sits on the zoning board, said he doesn’t understand the opposition to the zoning changes that put more restrictions on commercial property than the current zoning that is in place. While the new plan is not perfect, it’s an improvement from what is allowed on the property now, Shaw said. Hoover Councilman Curt Posey said a rezoning request of this magnitude should be delayed until a comprehensive plan for the city can be developed. The rezoning plan also involves the annexation of 211 unincorporated acres in Shelby County into the city limits of Hoover, the construction of two new connector roads linking Hoover High School to Bumpus Middle School and Stadium Trace Parkway, and the allocation of 282 acres for park space that does not exist today, including three miles of frontage along the Cahaba River.

June 2017 • A9

Murdock: Christians should engage society, not retreat

State Supreme Court Justice calls for faith during prayer breakfast

Comfortable Christianity is no more. There is a price to be paid. It’s not Palm Sunday anymore. It’s Friday. The crowds in America today yell ‘Crucify him. Give us Barabbas.’

By JON ANDERSON Alabama Supreme Court Justice Glenn Murdock called on attendees at the 2017 Hoover Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast to not retreat from a society that has turned its back on God, but instead to engage in civic life and fight for the Christian beliefs on which he said America was founded. Murdock told the crowd of more than 500 people in the banquet room at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham — The Wynfrey Hotel that America is in a somber situation and faces a grave threat to religious liberty. “Despite unparalleled blessings of liberty and prosperity for this country, we have turned our back on God in so many ways,” Murdock said. America has quit valuing common Christian beliefs such as the preciousness of life, the institutions of marriage and family and even creation as men and women, he said. “Now those who speak against the modern orthodoxy and adhere to their traditional beliefs are labeled bigots and intolerant and sent to tolerance classes in corporate America or suffer the risk of fines, in some states, that might put them out of business,” Murdock said. Hollywood glamorizes sex and violence more than ever, and churches substitute popular psychology for biblical Scripture, he said. Murdock cited the Catholic theologian Robert George, who said most people grew up in the “Palm Sunday” days of America when Jesus was cheered and welcomed into the city and when being a Catholic or evangelical Christian was comfortable.


Alabama Supreme Court Justice Glenn Murdock delivers the keynote address at the 2017 Hoover Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel. Photo by Layton Dudley.

“Comfortable Christianity is no more,” Murdock said. “There is a price to be paid. It’s not Palm Sunday anymore. It’s Friday. The crowds in America today yell ‘Crucify him. Give us Barabbas.’” Christians today face a choice, Murdock said. They can withdraw from society and try to protect themselves and their families from the corrosive effects of modern culture, or they can get engaged and try to affect society for the better, he said. He believes the latter is the better choice, he said. Jesus faced opposition, but he engaged the political and religious leaders of his day and implored his followers to be salt and light in the community, Murdock said. Modern-day Christian leader Franklin Graham saw polling data that showed 20

million to 30 million Christians did not vote in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, so he spent the year before the 2016 election traveling to every state capital, Murdock said. Graham compelled Christians not only to vote, but to volunteer for good candidates, make campaign donations and run for public office themselves, he said. “Franklin Graham knows that if we abandon the playing field to those who reject our beliefs, then it is those who reject our beliefs who will make the laws by which our children and grandchildren must live,” Murdock said. Murdock stressed that each man is not to decide his own personal truth by searching his personal feelings. Rather, he said, there are universal truths that come from an external source — men are “endowed by their creator

with certain inalienable rights,” he said, quoting the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. Murdock cited George Washington, who said “religion and morality are indispensable supports” for political prosperity. “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle,” Washington said. Murdock also quoted the second U.S. president, John Adams, who said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Murdock noted two biblical stories: first, that God didn’t build the ark for Noah to escape the flood; he had Noah build it. Second, God also had Esther, a former queen of Persia, to use her voice to influence the king of Persia to save the Hebrew people from destruction, he said. “I pray we would have the strength and courage to be on our knees, crying out to our Father in Heaven, how should we use our voices to engage the society around us? How should each of us use our hands and feet to be your hands and feet in this physical world to build a nation that would honor you, to build a city that would honor you,” Murdock said.

A10 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

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Now Open The MarketPlace at Lee Branch, 611 Doug Baker Blvd. [near Carmike Theater], an Alabama certified farmers market, is now open every Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to noon (rain or shine) through August 26. The market offers fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers, grass-fed beef and pork, free-range chickens and eggs, nuts, prepared foods, gourmet organic popcorn, traditionally made relishes, cheeses, preserves and breads. Plus, local artisans and craftsman will be on site with their items for sale.


Sushi Express is now open at 3076 2 O John Hawkins Parkway, in the former Pacific Rim location. The restaurant brands itself as Birmingham’s first restaurant where you can create your own sushi rolls, sushi burritos and poke bowls. 502-7221, Mobility Massage Therapy is now open in Bluff Park at 2170 Clearbrook Road, Suite 103. Owner Ellen Roberts is a licensed massage and neuromuscular therapist and is also certified in holistic, manual lymph drainage therapy. She is available by appointment only. 907-4656,


Triple J’s Sno Biz is now open in Bluff Park to the right of Wings Plus [755 Shades Mountain Plaza], in the Shades Mountain Plaza shopping center.


Coming Soon CB&S Bank will open a loan production office at 2807 Greystone Commercial Blvd., according to documents filed with the Alabama State Banking Department.


Relocations and Renovations AT&T has announced that it will relocate all employees currently housed at its downtown Birmingham office, 600 19th Street North, to its AT&T Data Center, located at 1876 Data Drive in Hoover. The move is expected to be complete by March of 2018.


TrueWealth Advisors, LLC, has relocated from 22 Inverness Center Place, Suite 555, to its new office in Hoover


June 2017 • A11 at 2000 Southlake Parkway, Suite 200. The independent wealth management firm offers expertise in investment management, qualified plans, insurance and tax strategy, and has a second office in Montgomery. 588-4800, Image is Everything Barber Shop, formerly in the Crossroads at Greystone development at the corner of Highway 119 and Highway 280, has moved to 5291 Valleydale Road, Suite 131, in the Inverness Village on Valleydale. 980-3046,


Campbell Law, PC, has relocated from Chase Corporate Center to 5336 Stadium Trace Parkway, Suite 206. The firm specializes in pest control litigation, deceptive business practices and employment discrimination. 278-6650,


News and Accomplishments Expedia CruiseShipCenters, 270 Doug Baker Blvd., Suite 500, was awarded the “Star of Stars” award at its North American Conference recently. The award is given to the #1 Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise, second year in business, in North America (U.S. and Canada). 437-3354, GreystoneAL


Anniversaries Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese Cooking, 1917 Hoover Court, is celebrating its sixth anniversary in June. 824-8283,


Bluff Park Ice Cream Shoppe, 815 Shades Crest Road, is celebrating its first anniversary in business in June. 423-5055,


Aldridge Gardens, 3530 Lorna Road, is celebrating its 15th anniversary in June. 682-8019,


Closings Dallas-based Erdos at Home, with a location in Patton Creek at 4431 Creekside Ave., Suite 109, has closed all seven of its stores in Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. The store, formerly known as I.O. Metro, was unprofitable and investors made the decision to discontinue funding for the company.


Business news

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Relocation Expansion Anniversary

If you are in a brick and mortar business in Hoover and want to share your event with the community, let us know.

A12 • June 2017

Hoover Sun


Preview of

Birmingham-Hoover metro area is quiet economic engine for Alabama


By JON ANDERSON The Birmingham-Hoover metro area is the economic engine that drives the state of Alabama, but people don’t seem to realize that, a Birmingham Business Alliance official told the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce at its May luncheon. Many people have heard about economic activity in Huntsville and Mobile, but the seven-county Birmingham-Hoover area is responsible for 31 percent of the state’s gross domestic product, said Rick Davis, the Birmingham Business Alliance’s vice president for economic development. The bulk of that is in Jefferson and Shelby counties, Davis said. In 2016, companies announced they were going to create 14,500 jobs and invest $5.1 billion in Alabama, Davis said, citing a state scorecard released in May. The Birmingham-Hoover metro area accounted for about 20 percent of those jobs and 25 percent of the capital investment, he said. Jefferson County alone was responsible for 1,436 of those announced jobs and $506 million in capital investment, Davis said. Jefferson County led the state in capital investment and was third in announced jobs, behind only Montgomery County and Madison County, he said. “Money is coming in here. People are investing here,” Davis said. The Birmingham-Hoover metro area, with close to 1.2 million people, is the 49th largest metro area in the country and has a gross domestic product of about $64 billion, Davis said. The metro area has seen job growth for 69 consecutive months and is the only one of

Rick Davis, vice president of economic development for the Birmingham Business Alliance, speaks to the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce at its May 18 luncheon at the Hoover Country Club. Photo by Jon Anderson.

Alabama’s four largest metro areas that can say that, he said. The unemployment rate, while still too high, is one of the lowest in the state at 5.4 percent, second to only Huntsville, he said. And 34 percent of the state’s retail transactions occur in the Birmingham-Hoover metro area, he said. “This economy here is a pretty big engine for growth,” Davis said. “You ought to be proud of what’s happening here. We are really doing some great things here. It’s just not occurring as fast as we’d like it to.” When people think of technology

companies, they frequently think of the Huntsville area because of the Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal, but the Birmingham-Hoover metro area has about 750 technology companies, compared to about 400 in Huntsville, Davis said. The area has more than 520,000 jobs, which is just slightly below its highest employment level of 533,000 jobs in 2006, Davis said. “We’re going to get there,” he said. “It’s steady and solid, and we’re growing every month. It’s just not fast enough.”


Alan Miller, the chief assistant district attorney for Shelby County, is the scheduled speaker for the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon on June 15 at the Hoover Country Club. Miller is the director of Compact 2020, a collaborative drug enforcement and prevention effort aimed at combining the efforts of law enforcement, the courts and the Shelby County Drug-Free Coalition to enhance drug prevention in the county. Miller is a graduate of Tulane University and the University of Alabama School of Law. He has been with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office since 2003. He also serves as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and 2008 and was scheduled to return from deployment in Jordan at the end of May. He and his family live in Chelsea. The June 15 luncheon is scheduled to begin at noon, with networking starting at 11:15 a.m. Reservations are due by Monday, June 12, and can be made online at 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 non-members or people without reservations.

June 2017 • A13

Businessman from Hoover joins U.S. Senate race Dom Gentile, 51, of Hoover is running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. Photo courtesy of Dom Gentile.

By JON ANDERSON A 51-year-old businessman from Hoover joined the race for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions and now held by Luther Strange. Dom Gentile, the franchise developer for the Jan-Pro commercial cleaning company in the Birmingham and Huntsville markets, describes himself as a political outsider who wants to take the state back from politicians who have done their best to mess it up. Gentile said he considered running for governor in next year’s gubernatorial election but decided, once Gov. Kay Ivey moved up the special election for the Senate seat to August, that he had a better chance to win the Senate seat because corruption is still fresh on the minds of Alabamians. “I truly believe the people in this state are ready for somebody to lead in the U.S. Senate who doesn’t have any baggage,” Gentile said. “I don’t have any baggage. I owe nobody.” Gentile said he won’t take campaign contributions from special interests or big groups — only small donations from individuals. And he pledges, if elected, to only stay in office for one full six-year term following the completion of Sessions’ term, which ends in January 2019. Gentile said skyrocketing healthcare costs is one of the most important issues that spurred him to run. When he started his franchising company for Jan-Pro in Alabama in late 2004, his family’s healthcare premiums were $700 a month, he said. Now, they are $2,200 per month, he said. “As a small business, it’s very difficult for us, and it’s very difficult on normal folks,” he said. Gentile also said he will fight to end the monopoly that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama has on the insurance industry in the state. He also favors a 20 percent flat income tax for individuals and allowing corporations to repatriate their overseas profits without being taxed. Gentile also wants to dramatically reduce the size of the Internal Revenue Service. He said he wants to ensure that programs such as Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ benefits are not reduced, pass a balanced budget amendment, protect the lives of unborn babies, build a wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the country, deport criminal immigrants, support local government decision-making for education and expand innovative, economically feasible and environmentally responsible energy sources.


Gentile grew up in Miami and moved to Alabama in 1984 to

attend college at the University of Alabama, where he was the backup walk-on kicker to Van Tiffin on the Alabama football team. After graduating from Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1987, he worked 10 years in sales for the Duracell battery company. Gillette bought out Duracell, and after two years with Gillette, he joined Sara Lee. Gentile said his work took him all over the United States and to more than 25 countries. He lived in Asia for a while and describes himself as an internationalist with a global perspective. His wife wanted to move closer to her parents in Huntsville, so he took on the Jan-Pro franchising for Birmingham and Huntsville and has spent the past 13 years growing that business to 50 franchise owners who clean about 7.5 million square feet of office space each month, he said. The company has multi-million-dollar revenues each year, he said. He and his wife, Karen, have lived in Hoover’s Lake Cyrus community since 2005. They have three sons: a 23-year-old who is a U.S. Air Force officer, a 22-year-old who is a graduate

student at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and a 16-year-old sophomore at Hoover High School. Gentile served several years on the Hoover City Schools Foundation and has been an adjunct marketing instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Huntington College. Gentile is one of 11 Republicans seeking the Senate seat. Others are Strange, James Paul Beretta, Joseph Breault, Randy Brinson, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, Karen Haiden Jackson, Mary Maxwell, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, Bryan Peeples and state Sen. Trip Pittman. Eight Democrats also are running: Will Boyd, Vann Caldwell, Jason Fisher, Michael Hansen, Doug Jones, Robert Kennedy Jr., Brian McGee and Nana Tchienkou. The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 15, while the primary runoff is set for Sept. 26 and the general election for Dec. 12. Find out more about Gentile on his website at gentileforsenate. com. He also is on Facebook under Dom Gentile and on Instagram and Twitter under @DomForSenate.

A14 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Bluff Park to get new coffeehouse, gift shop, tutoring center By GRACE THORNTON The rumors have been flying ever since a “sold” sign went up outside the house in Bluff Park just behind On a Shoestring. Don Bennett says some are true, and some aren’t. It’s not going to be a strip mall. It is going to be a coffeehouse — and a lot of other things. But most of all, Bennett and Lyn Culwell, his fiancée and business partner, say they hope it’s going to be something the Shades Mountain and Bluff Park communities will soon see as a piece of who they are. “We want to maintain the historic local charm,” Bennett said of the house with the yellow door across the street from Tip Top Grill. “Bluff Park is like a gem on Shades Mountain, and we want to complement what’s already here, not change it or compete with it.” The soon-to-be coffee shop, called Linger Longer Brews, is named after the Linger Longer Lodge, a historic social club that used to be near the place where Shades Mountain and I-65 meet. “We want to serve the community,” Bennett said, “and we feel like the community really needs a place to hang out with good Wi-Fi, good coffee and good teas.” Linger Longer Brews will offer walk-up service, inside seating and outdoor space on a patio and deck with great views of the Bluff Park sunset, Bennett said. He and Culwell said they hope it will become a community hangout. It will serve coffee, yes — but the building also will house a gift shop run by Culwell called Yellow Door Market. A small schoolhouse-style building out back also will house a tutoring center called Education Station run by Bennett’s sister, Tara, a retired Hoover teacher. Culwell said she feels the business venture as a whole is a “divinely appointed” opportunity.

Lyn Culwell, left, and Don Bennett pose in front of the building that will house their new business ventures, Linger Longer Brews and Yellow Door Market, a coffee shop and gift shop. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

“I’ve wanted a gift shop ever since I was a kid,” she said, “and now it can be a way to serve the community.” Yellow Door Market will feature a variety of old and new, Culwell said — gifts for women, men and children. “I love to find things other people would like,” she said. As she and Bennett have been working

on making the house into a coffee shop and store, they’ve welcomed input from community members who have walked up and asked questions, curious about what’s going on. “We want the community to have a part, and we welcome suggestions about what they’d like to see,” Bennett said, noting that they’ve added new features from people’s ideas. Eventually Bennett said he hopes to use the

lot behind the house as parking and a green space for food trucks, hanging out and maybe even a dog park. “We want it to be a place you can come, relax and commune with the neighbors,” Culwell said. Bennett and Culwell said they expect the three businesses to be open by the end of summer.

June 2017 • A15

8-year-old Lucas Dunigan ends struggle with leukemia By JON ANDERSON An 8-year-old Hoover boy, who was one of two children to light the city of Hoover’s official Christmas tree in December, lost his battle with leukemia on May 8 but won freedom from a 2½-year struggle with cancer. Lucas Dunigan, a second-grader from Rocky Ridge Elementary School, was first diagnosed with leukemia in December 2014 and went through aggressive chemotherapy, a failed bone marrow transplant and more than 100 nights at Children’s of Alabama hospital before going into remission around the end of February 2016, his parents said. Doctors found a drug that kept the cancer cells from replicating, but Lucas relapsed early this year after 10 months of remission, his father, Michael Dunigan, said. He went back in the hospital for more treatments, but they were unsuccessful. Lucas was released to go home on hospice in early May. “He was just so incredibly strong through the entire thing. Toward the end, he just wouldn’t give up,” his father said. “To go through everything he went through, I could not have done it. There was no quit in him. He was all in … He was just such an amazing kid.” His mother, Amy Dunigan, said in a Facebook post that she would never want anyone to have to go through cancer with their child. “It was the absolute hardest thing I have ever watched and had to be a caregiver for in my entire life,” she said. “I am completely broken.” Michael Dunigan said it’s hard to put into words how he feels. “When you lose a parent, you’re an orphan. When you lose a wife, you’re a widower. When you lose a husband, you’re a widow, but when you lose a child, there’s just no word for it, and that’s the truth. That’s just the complete truth.” When Lucas finally breathed his last, his father said a sense of calmness and release came over him. He was happy Lucas would not have to endure it anymore, he said.

Above: Lucas Dunigan, at right, and Andrew Fambrough, at left, were chosen to light the city of Hoover’s official Christmas tree with Mayor Frank Brocato in December 2016. Photo by Jon Anderson. Right: Lucas Dunigan, an 8-year-old who attended Rocky Ridge Elementary School, died on May 8 after a 2½-year battle with leukemia. Photo courtesy of Michael Dunigan.

“We’re the ones that have to live with his loss,” Michael Dunigan said. “He’s the one that gets to gain everything.” In his eight years on Earth, Lucas touched so many people’s lives in so many ways, he said. He just hopes Lucas’ story helps motivate

other people to be better parents and understand that their children’s lives are so easy to take for granted. “When you lose a parent, you lose your past, but when you lose a child, you lose your future,” he said. “That’s our legacy.”

A16 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Hoover, Spain Park students grant 4-year-old’s wish for beach trip Four-year-old liver cancer survivor Henri Villatoro, at left, pours sand into a bucket on the beach volleyball court at Veterans Park after learning the students at Hoover and Spain Park high schools had raised money to send him and his family to the beach in Destin in conjunction with MakeA-Wish Alabama. Photo by Ron Burkett.

By JON ANDERSON Four-year-old Henri Villatoro has never been to the ocean, but he gets to go to Destin with his family in June thanks to the generosity and work of students at Hoover and Spain Park high schools. The Student Government Associations at the two schools partnered with Make-A-Wish Alabama to grant the special wish for Henri, who was diagnosed with liver cancer before he was 8 months old and underwent a liver transplant before his second birthday. The students surprised Henri with the news at the 2017 Celebrate Hoover Day at Veterans Park at the end of April. Henri, who is from Opelika, at first seemed overwhelmed at the huge crowd and attention he was getting at the festival’s main stage, clinging to his mom. But he broke out of his shyness once he got to the sand volleyball court at Veterans Park, where the high school students had new luggage and a host of beach-related gifts and toys for him and his family. Henri’s father, Savino Villatoro (who speaks Spanish), said through an interpreter he was amazed at everything being done for Henri and their family. He has never experienced this kind of generosity and care from a community like this and was even more impressed that the effort was led by a group of high school students, he said. He’s glad to see there is a new generation of young people like this growing up in the world, he said. Henri’s mother, Vanessa Villatoro, said their family has been to parks with water, but Henri has never been to the ocean and has been saying he wanted to go to the beach and build sand castles. Now, Henri, his three siblings and parents all will make the trip together in June for Henri’s fifth birthday, said Julianna Hallman, the development and communications coordinator for Make-A-Wish Alabama. The Hoover and Spain Park students raised almost $15,000 this school year to help Henri’s

wish come true. The Villatoros’ trip won’t cost that much, so any extra money not going to the Villatoros will go to help Make-A-Wish Alabama help another child’s family, the sponsors of the Student Government Associations at the two schools said. The students from Hoover and Spain Park kicked off their fundraising back in September with a competition at the Spain Park-Hoover football game to see which school could sell the most $1 paper chain links for the Make-AWish cause. Spain Park won that competition. Spain Park’s Student Government Association also had a “Hoopcoming Week” in February where students paid money to vote for a “Hoopcoming king and princes,” SGA sponsor Candace Strickland said. At a Hoover-Spain

Park basketball game, Hoover Toyota donated $25 for every three-point shot made and $100 for a slam dunk, she said. The Spain Park students also sold water bottles, took up donations at the Spain ParkVestavia Hills basketball game, held spirit nights at the Chipotle and Mugshots restaurants and sponsored jeans weeks where faculty and staff could donate money for the privilege of wearing jeans to school, Strickland said. At Hoover High, the SGA raised money with a Sadie Hawkins dance in January, a compatibility survey at Valentine’s Day and a T-shirt sale, said Jill Thomas, one of the SGA sponsors. McKenley Parker, the SGA president at Hoover, said she was excited to be able to be a part of something that benefited a family outside

the Hoover community. She also thought it was good how students at two rival schools were able to come together and cooperate for such a worthy cause. Brooke Gilliam, Spain Park’s SGA president, said she was excited to see the hard work students had put into the effort all year come to fruition. Seeing the smile on Henri’s face once he got to the sand on the volleyball courts and warmed up to the situation was rewarding, she said. Hallman said she is thankful for people such as the students from Spain Park and Hoover for giving of their time and resources to help a child’s dream come true. However, there are still 280 children in Alabama on a waiting list to have their wishes granted, she said. For more information, go to

June 2017 • A17

Spain Park grad to take around-the-world mission trip Hoover resident Nick Richardson during a mission trip in the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Nick Richardson.

By SYDNEY CROMWELL Nick Richardson first heard about the World Race while on a mission trip in the Philippines in 2015. After hearing stories from “race” participants, Richardson thought, “That fits my personality so well.” Last September, the Spain Park graduate and Jefferson State freshman decided to sign up for the World Race Gap Year, a mission trip spanning nine months and six countries, “without telling anybody.” He was accepted into the program a month later and has been preparing and fundraising for his trip ever since. Richardson already is involved in his local community, leading small groups of thirdgrade boys and high school freshman boys at Mountaintop Community Church and working at Swamp Monster BBQ in Riverchase. After taking four years of law academy classes at Spain Park, Richardson plans to transfer to UAB to study criminal justice. This gap year mission trip will be a chance for him to push his own comfort zone. “It’s easy to be just comfortable where you’re at and to be kind of shy,” Richardson said. “You’ve gotta learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.” The World Race Gap Year group Richardson will travel with will include about 55 people ages 18 to 21, divided into smaller teams of about eight people. They will spend one month each in Swaziland and Lesotho in southern Africa, two months each in India and Nepal, Nicaragua for a month and close the trip with two months in Guatemala. There were multiple routes he could have chosen, but Richardson said he chose a route that included Nepal, as it was a country he has wanted to minister to for a while. “That’s where my heart’s been at for the past two years,” Richardson said. In each of these countries, Richardson and his World Race team will help local churches

and do a variety of mission and community work depending on the needs in each country. Richardson said he is looking forward to the chance to meet new people and share his faith with them. Though he knows he will benefit from his experiences, “I really hope I put more of an impact on them than it impacts me,” he said. The World Race will begin with a training camp in July before Richardson flies to Swaziland in September. He is raising a total of $15,000 for the trip, with more than $9,000 raised so far by family, friends, church members and anonymous donations. “The generosity that people have been giving to me … it’s crazy to think that people would

[do that],” he said. Richardson said he would like for mission work to continue to be a part of his life after the World Race Gap Year, including creating a

ministry based around running or baseball. For more information on Richardson’s fundraising efforts and World Race trip, go to

A18 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Teen headed to national equestrian competition By SYDNEY CROMWELL Three days a week, Ali Kuhn is doing her homework in the car during a 1½ hour journey to the Albertville stable where her pony, Pascal, is boarded. Her riding lessons and travel time don’t leave a lot of time for other hobbies, but the Ross Bridge resident and Shades Mountain Christian School eighth-grader’s hard work has paid off. Kuhn and Pascal recently qualified to attend the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s 2017 Pony Finals. Kuhn began riding horses at age 6 and began showing at 9. She moved up from walk-trot shows centered on the fundamentals of horsemanship to hunter pony classes, where she and Pascal fly over jumps up to 2 feet, 9 inches. “I’ve always loved horses,” Kuhn said. “In the beginning, it was just about being around the horses, but then I learned that there was a competitive side to it. I’m a really competitive person, so if I can do what I love and be competitive, that’s a win-win for me.” She and her pony are a “perfect match,” Kuhn said. Pascal moves and jumps well, but Kuhn said he’s full of personality. “He’s really prissy,” Kuhn said. “He’s kind of a drama king.” But when they’re in the show ring, Kuhn and Pascal are a team with a single goal. “You just start to click, and you don’t really have to think about what you’re doing. You just do it,” she said. To qualify for the U.S. Pony Finals, Kuhn had to place as the champion or reserve champion at least three times in shows in her division. While there aren’t any pony shows in her division in Alabama, Kuhn competed around the Southeast and racked up her champion wins based on performance in four jumping rounds and one flat (or non-jumping) class per show. Once she met the qualifications for Pony Finals, Kuhn said she actually began to perform better as she came to each show more relaxed.

“Every time you go to a show, there’s a little bit more of a burden if you haven’t qualified,” Kuhn said. Though it’s hard to balance school and riding at times, Kuhn said she loves the show environment. She prepares for Pony Finals by watching other riders and spending plenty of time in the ring with Pascal. “It’s really fun to be just there, because there’s tons of other stuff you get to watch and learn and see all these things, like, ‘I want to do that one day,’” Kuhn said. The U.S. Pony Finals are Aug. 8-13 at the Kentucky Horse Park, where Kuhn will compete in the Green Hunter Pony division. After finals, Kuhn wants to keep competing, eventually moving up to riding horses in the junior division and competing in jumper shows. Whether she’s at the barn or at a show, Kuhn said riding has brought a lot of excitement to her life, as well as the perspective that comes from caring for and working with an animal that relies on her. “It adds a lot of joy,” Kuhn said.

I’ve always loved horses. In the beginning, it was just about being around the horses, but then I learned that there was a competitive side to it.

Ali Kuhn and Pascal will compete in the U.S. Pony Finals this summer. Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Kuhn.


June 2017 • A19

Events National Senior Games’ archery, race walking coming to Hoover By JON ANDERSON Nearly 500 athletes age 50 and older from across the country are headed to Hoover in June to participate in the 2017 National Senior Games. Birmingham is the primary host city for the June 2-15 national games, but some of the events are in Hoover, Columbiana, Homewood, Pelham, Vestavia Hills and unincorporated north Shelby County. More than More than 330 archers age 50 and older are scheduled to compete in the 2017 National Senior Games archery 10,000 senior athletes are events at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex June 4-11. expected in total. Photo courtesy of National Senior Games/Zachary A.M. Kelly. The Hoover Metropolitan Complex is the site for “It’s going to be fantastic,” said Michael two events — archery and race walking. Around 250 men and 75 women are McGreevey, chairman of the local organizing expected to pull back their bows in archery committee for this year’s Senior Games. The contests on the soccer fields next to Hoover fields next to the Hoover Met will make a Metropolitan Stadium. They’re coming from great setting for the archery, and the parking 42 states and participating in five events: lot provides plenty of space for race walking, barebow compound, barebow recurve, com- he said. There also is a 1,500-meter race walk on pound fingers, compound release and recurve. Practice for the archery events is June 3, the track at Samford University June 8. Most of the events are in Birmingham at the Birand the competitions run June 4-11. More than 85 men and at least 60 women mingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, from 36 states and the District of Columbia Uptown District, Birmingham CrossPlex, are registered for the 5,000-meter race walk Linn Park and Birmingham-Southern Colin the stadium’s parking lot June 6. Senior lege. Admission is free. For a complete list of events with dates, Games organizers have laid out a 0.62-mile course, with walkers making five rounds on times and locations, go to ‒ Jesse Chambers contributed to this the loop, which goes back-and-forth in front report. of the stadium.

More than 1,000 people came to watch “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” at Veterans Park on June 5, 2015. Photo by Ron Burkett.

‘Sing’ kicks off summer outdoor movie series By JON ANDERSON The 2017 Free Friday Flicks summer outdoor movie series at Veterans Park off Valleydale Road begins June 2 with “Sing,” the animated story of a koala bear that tries to save his struggling movie theater with a singing competition. The movie features the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Seth MacFarlane. The movie series continues every Friday night through July 21, with July 28 reserved as a rain date if a movie is canceled due to bad weather. Here is the complete lineup: ► June 2: “Sing” ► June 9: “Moana” ► June 16: “The Secret Life of Pets” ► June 23: “The BFG” ► June 30: “The Lego Batman Movie” ► July 7: “The Jungle Book” (2016) ► July 14: “Finding Dory” ► July 21: “Trolls” ► July 28: Rain date

Most of the movies are completely animated, except “The BFG” and “The Jungle Book,” which combine real actors with computer animation. All of the movies are rated PG. The movie images are 30 feet wide and will be shown on a 38-foot-wide screen, said Keri Lane Hontzas, founder of the movie series and the company called Backyard Movie Parties. The movies are shown at Veterans Park off Valleydale Road on the grassy area near the main pavilion. Each movie is scheduled to start at dusk. The sun sets between 7:53 and 8:01 p.m. during the weeks the movies are scheduled. Hontzas encourages people to come early — around 6:30 p.m. — and have picnics in the park prior to the show. There are typically food vendors present, but people are welcome to bring their own food as well. Hontzas also encourages people to bring blankets or lawn chairs. To get updates on movie cancellations due to bad weather, follow Backyard Movie Parties on Twitter at @BYMovieParties or on Facebook.

A20 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

2017 Hydrangeas Under the Stars event sells out quickly By JON ANDERSON

Nancy Natter, left, and Joe and Bonnie Rives were among guests at the 2016 Hydrangeas Under the Stars fundraiser at Aldridge Gardens. Photo courtesy of Diana Knight.

Signups opening for 2017 Dad Brigade volunteer day By SYDNEY CROMWELL The Hoover City Dad Brigade is looking for at least 600 volunteers for this summer’s volunteer day at the schools. For the first time, the event will include projects at the high school alongside elementary and middle schools. City Councilman Derrick Murphy, who helped start the Dad Brigade, said the July 29 event is open not only to fathers, but to grandfathers, uncles, brothers and other male volunteers who want to help with improvement projects at the schools. These projects can include everything from landscaping and painting to moving furniture or building outdoor classrooms. The Dad Brigade also does cleanup work such as

picking up trash, sanitizing playground equipment and repairing broken items. Signups for the volunteer day begin on June 5. Participants must be in high school or older. Since this year will include high school projects, Murphy said he is hoping to have 600-700 volunteers show up. Volunteers will meet at the Galleria Home Depot location, 3670 Riverchase Galleria, at 6:45 a.m. on the day of the Dad Brigade. After a short kickoff event, the volunteers will disperse to their respective schools to work on improvement projects until noon. To sign up, find the Hoover City Dad Brigade on Facebook.

Dad Brigade members work on landscaping at Green Valley Elementary. Photo by Ron Burkett.

The 15th annual Hydrangeas Under the Stars fundraiser at Aldridge Gardens is just around the corner, but tickets already have sold out. This year’s event, scheduled for June 10, was sold out by mid-April, Aldridge CEO Tynette Lynch said. “We’ve kind of established it as an event people want to be at,” Lynch said. The fundraiser includes a reception and silent auction under the pavilion at Aldridge and a dinner and live auction under a large tent. The tent holds about 26 tables, with eight seats at each table, for 208 total seats. “We can’t add any more tables,” Lynch said. “We just don’t have any more space to do it.” Hydrangeas Under the Stars is the largest fundraiser for the gardens each year. Last year’s event netted about $50,000 for the gardens, which has an annual budget of about $1 million, Lynch said. Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato and his wife,

Frances, are this year’s hosts. John Bentley, president of the Aldridge board of directors, and Lynch will serve as emcees, and Hoover Councilman John Lyda is scheduled to be the live auctioneer. The live auction will have about 10 items, including a seven-day stay at a condominium at Perdido Beach and a weekend stay at Orange Beach, Lynch said. The silent auction will include a lot of packages, including artwork, wine baskets, a dinner for 10 people under the pavilion at Aldridge catered by Savoie, and stays at hotels such as the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa, Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel and Embassy Suites Birmingham, she said. The Culinary Institute at Jefferson State Community College is catering the dinner, and one of the culinary students will receive a $1,000 scholarship at the event, Lynch said. For more information, visit aldridgegardens. com.

June 2017 • A21

This year’s Made South event in Hoover will open with a VIP party June 2 from 5 to 9 p.m. and continue with the main art and craft show June 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Photo courtesy of Bread and Butter PR.

Made South makes 1st Hoover appearance June 2 By GRACE THORNTON If you’re a lover of all things Southern and looking for a weekend of the region’s best artisan goods, food, drink, music and art, Made South said it’s got the party for you. This year’s Made South event in Hoover will open with a VIP party June 2 from 5 to 9 p.m. and continue with the main art and craft show June 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Friday event for VIP ticketholders will offer a chance to experience everything Saturday has to offer before the crowds arrive. It, along with the Saturday event, will feature more than 100 of the South’s best makers and artisans. There will be live music, sample tastings

from local and regional chefs presented by Eat Y’all and distillery tasting for guests older than 21. The first 2,000 people to arrive Saturday will get a complimentary Made South reusable tote bag. Made South will be at the new Finley Center at the Hoover Met. Tickets range from $10–$29, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Make-A-Wish Alabama. The event is family friendly, and kids 12 and younger get in free. Parking is free. Official event partners include Good People Brewing Company, Barrett Sovereign and Eli Mason. For more information or to buy tickets, go to

Program for families awaiting relatives’ return from incarceration scheduled

“Re-Entry,” a presentation that will instruct family members on how to make coming home from prison easier for their loved ones, is set for June 25 at Hoover United Methodist Church’s fellowship hall. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

By MARIENNE THOMAS OGLE Relatives and friends of someone in prison can learn how to help their loved ones ease their way back into freedom at a June 25 presentation in the fellowship hall of the Hoover United Methodist Church, sponsored by Hoover First UMC and Riverchase UMC. The program, “Re-Entry,” will be presented by Extended Family from 3 to 5 p.m. and is designed to help people know how to respond to those leaving the prison environment, said Ben Padgett, event organizer. “So often we think people can spend years in prison and walk out and be up-to-date, but that’s not normally the case,” Padgett said. “This two-hour program addresses specific problems faced by returning citizens and those

they live with.” Padgett is a retired United Methodist pastor and former Extended Family board member. Extended Family was founded in 2003 by Laure Clemons of Centre when her husband, Jerry, went to prison for six years, leaving her with financial, emotional and physical challenges. Some of the free services provided by the organization include a resource database, one-to-one networking, an e-newsletter and a program designed specifically for children, Extended Family for Kids. “Re-Entry” is free, but donations to Extended Family are welcome, Padgett said. Hoover UMC is at 1934 Patton Chapel Road. Go to for more information or call 256-927-7997.

A22 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Community Spain Park student selected as finalist for Alabama’s Homecoming Queen Selection Spain Park Homecoming Queen Sarah Lynn Sharpton has been selected as a finalist for Alabama’s 37th Annual Homecoming Queen Selection. Photo courtesy of Sarah Lynn Sharpton.

The Magic City Con is returning to Hoover this year. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

Magic City Con to fill 2 levels of Wynfrey Hotel By SYDNEY CROMWELL The Magic City Con, heading into its third year, will be much bigger than last year’s convention. Rather than taking up one level of the Hyatt Regency – The Wynfrey Hotel, this year the speakers, games, booths and cosplay will fill two levels. Organizer Rita Houston, who co-started the convention in 2015, said this year’s Magic City Con will be June 30-July 2. Last year’s event had attendees not only from Birmingham, but also from 32 states and three countries, she said. Some fan favorite activities will return, including “Fear Factor” hosted by Ed’s Pet World, a replica of the Mos Eisley Cantina, a Heroes and Villains masquerade ball, tabletop and video gaming rooms and a Dealer’s Room with artists and vendors selling a variety of “nerdy” and handmade products. Magic City Con also features a KidCon Saturday morning with kid-specific activities including Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry classes, a pirates and

princesses tea party, a superhero meetand-greet, Ghostbusters’ slime making and ghost hunt, Pokemon hunt and Star Wars training camp. Kids can also learn to make their own tabletop games, listen to age-appropriate scary stories and participate in a costume contest. Adults can participate in a cosplay costume contest, play in gaming tournaments and attend panels to hear several famous guest speakers. This year’s guests include Ming Chen of “Comic Book Men,” actor Jonny Rees, voice actor Danny Shorago, “Dragon Age” creative director Mike Laidlaw and tabletop games creator Sean Patrick Fannon. Several local groups lend their talents to the Magic City Con, including local chapters of Star Wars costuming organizations, Alabama Ghostbusters and Blanket Fort Hope, which helps prevent child sex trafficking. Tickets to the convention are $26.25 for adults for the weekend and $15.75 for children ages 6-11. Visit for more information.

Sarah Lynn Sharpton, daughter of Scott and Judy Sharpton of Birmingham, was selected finalist for Alabama’s 37th Annual Homecoming Queen Selection, which was held April 30 at the Hotel Capstone in Tuscaloosa. She is the Spain Park High School homecoming queen. Alabama’s 2017 Homecoming Queen will receive a cash scholarship plus an all-expenses paid trip to the national finals

to compete with the queens from the other states for America’s Homecoming Queen. America’s Homecoming Queen Inc. is a nonprofit organization promoting education, educational travel and community service in all 50 states. Sharpton will also be competing for Alabama’s favorite homecoming queen. Go to for more information. – Submitted by Sarah Lynn Sharpton.

June 2017 • A23

Hoover Service Club gives out 2017 scholarships, awards

Spain Park senior Rachel Dees, left, and Hoover High senior Sophia Liu, right, both received the Hoover Service Club’s 2017 Margaret Alford Memorial Community Service Scholarship. Photos courtesy of Jennifer Gregory, Hoover Service Club.

By JON ANDERSON The Hoover Service Club in May handed out $30,000 worth of scholarships to 14 students from Hoover and Spain Park high schools. The club divided $29,000 among six students from Hoover and six students from Spain Park, spokeswoman Jennifer Gregory said. The Hoover students are Austin Carter, Tyler Collins, Mary Kate Manak, Annie Medders and Jonathan “Oakley” Prell. The Spain Park students are Rachel Cargill, Houston Hollis, Ashley Oakman, Anna Shunnarah, Victoria Stark and Parker Wade Wilson. The club also gave two $500 scholarships to Hoover High senior Sophia Liu and Spain Park senior Rachel Dees for outstanding community service. Liu volunteered more than 825 hours with organizations such as the Hoover High School Ambassadors, McWane Science Center, UAB Hospital and Hoover Public Library, according to the Service Club. Dees has tallied more than 400 community service hours with groups such as the Spain Park High School Ambassadors, Peer Helpers, Hoover Belles, American Heart Association, Ronald McDonald House, Special Equestrians, Make-A-Wish Alabama and her church.

The Hoover Service Club also honored six eighth-graders from Hoover middle schools for outstanding scholarship and citizenship at the club’s May luncheon. Recipients of the scholarship awards were Advaith Vadlakonda from Berry Middle, Ria Shad from Bumpus Middle and Corinne Crawford from Simmons Middle. Citizenship awards went to Alison Hanna from Berry Middle, Marcus Williams from Bumpus Middle and Cheyanne Chadwell from Simmons Middle. The club also honored Bumpus Middle School student Emily Knerr with a valor award for showing courage in the face of adversity. The Service Club also in May gave club member Betty Daigle its Flora Mae Pike Award, given annually to a person who has rendered outstanding volunteer service and leadership to the community. Daigle, a master gardener, started the outdoor garden at Riverchase Elementary School, where her grandchildren attend, and continues to help maintain it. As a member of the Hoover Beautification Board, she has helped decorate the Hoover Municipal Center at Christmas, worked the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and helped with Arbor Day activities, Household Hazardous Waste Day and the Hoover Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. She also volunteers with Aldridge Gardens and Prince of Peace Catholic Church.

Above: From left are Hoover High Principal Don Hulin, Austin Carter, Hayley Davidson, Mary Kate Manak, Annie Medders and Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy. Scholarship recipients not pictured are Tyler Collins and Jonathan “Oakley” Prell. Below: Shown from left are Spain Park Principal Larry Giangrosso, Rachel Cargill, Houston Hollis, Ashley Oakman, Anna Shunnarah, Victoria Stark, Parker Wade Wilson and Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy.

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Green Valley Baptist Church completes renovations The congregation of Green Valley Baptist Church has a new worship area to enjoy as part of the recently completed “The Best is Yet to Come” renovation project. The renovations encompassed 75,000 square feet of the facility at 1815 Patton

Chapel Road. Structural changes were made to the worship center, fellowship hall and commons area. The worship center formerly had balcony seating but was converted to a flat floor room with stadium seating and all new stage and AVL systems. The education facilities

were also improved and a new playground was added. The project took 10 months of construction to complete. The church held its first service in the new worship center on Feb. 5. ‒ Submitted by Jo Ellen James.

Green Valley Baptist Church’s worship center after renovation. Photo courtesy of Jo Ellen James.

Hoover senior featured in statewide magazine Meleah Montgomery, a senior at Hoover High School, has been honored as a Teen Spotlight in Potential magazine for excelling in her leadership and community service; she is featured alongside her mother, Adrienne Berry. Montgomery takes her academics very seriously, and has been able to join several honor societies as a result. She enjoys donating her time to her community, volunteering with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Teens Need Teens. She serves on the Minority Achievement Council at Hoover High, as well as the Christian organization “Undivided.” Her ultimate goal is learning more and helping others. Throughout her life, one of the most important things Montgomery has learned is that mistakes and failures are normal. “When you first meet Meleah, she greets you with a warm smile, which generally brightens your day. And even when she receives bad news, she still finds the bright side. She is my rainbow in the rain,” Berry said of her daughter. “My career goal is to be an engineer.

Specifically, I want to be a material engineer because of the expanding ideas happening in this field,” Montgomery said. She is already making great strides to reach her goals by attending the UAB Materials Engineering Camp in 2016 and the Auburn University Women in Engineering Camp, during which she received a full-tuition scholarship. Potential magazine is a multimedia resource for parents of college-bound teenagers. In each issue, high-achieving students in the seventh through 12th grade are featured and entered to win the $500 “Reach Your Potential” scholarship awarded in May. Teens are recommended by their school or community leaders for excelling in one or more of the following areas: academics, business, leadership, philanthropy, overcoming adversity, citizenship and community service, athletics and the arts. Potential magazine’s advisory board chooses teens to feature in each issue and select the scholarship winner in May from each of the finalists. – Submitted by Savanna Pruitt/Potential Magazine.

Madison Luther

Spain Park alumna named Georgia Tech’s aerospace engineering student of year

Meleah Montgomery. Photo courtesy of Gretchen B. Photography.

Madison Luther, a Hoover native and 2013 Spain Park High School graduate, was recently named Outstanding Student of the Year by Sigma Gamma Tau, the national aerospace engineering honor society. Luther, a senior at Georgia Tech, was involved in the Engineering Academy at Spain Park and carried that interest into her college career, where she was also part of the Society of Women Engineers. She graduates with a 4.0 GPA and will begin her professional career at Northrup Grumman in Melbourne, Florida. ‒ Submitted by Amy Luther.

June 2017 • A25

Hoover Fire Dept. earns Class 1 insurance rating Upgrade could lower insurance premiums for residents, businesses

Hoover fire Chief Chuck Wingate announces that the Hoover Fire Department has been upgraded to a Class 1 insurance rating during a ceremony at Hoover Fire Station No. 6. Photo by Jon Anderson.

By JON ANDERSON The Hoover Fire Department has been upgraded from a Class 2 insurance rating to a Class 1, which could mean lower property insurance premiums for many residents and businesses, Chief Chuck Wingate said. The Class 1 rating is the highest rating given by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), which rates the ability of fire departments across the country to respond to and suppress structure fires. Only 12 of the more than 1,500 fire departments in Alabama have achieved a Class 1 rating, and only 178 of nearly 49,000 fire departments across the country have done so, Wingate said. The ISO website does not list which Alabama fire departments have achieved a Class 1 rating, but Wingate and other news reports have cited Bessemer, Center Point, Gulf Shores, Huntsville, Madison, Montgomery and Rocky Ridge as having done so. Montgomery was the first in the state to achieve a Class 1 rating and did so in 2014, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. Hoover’s Fire Department, which started as a volunteer department in 1962, was upgraded to a Class 6 in 1968, the year after Hoover was incorporated. The department upgraded to Class 5 in 1978, Class 4 in 1981, Class 3 in 1983 and Class 2 in 1989, according to the Fire Department’s website. Achieving the Class 1 rating has taken 28 years. The ISO rates fire departments in four primary areas: ► The Fire Department (including trucks, equipment, pumping capacity, reserve trucks, personnel and training) ► Water supply ► Emergency communication systems ► Community risk reduction efforts (fire prevention codes and enforcement, public fire safety education and fire investigations) For many years, Hoover has had a split rating of Class 2/10, with areas that were more than five miles from a Hoover fire station being classified as a Class 10 for failing to meet minimum ISO standards. However, in recent years, Hoover has negotiated automatic aid agreements with nearby fire departments that allow for them to assist Hoover with coverage of such areas, helping erase the Class 10 designation, Wingate said. The Fire Department also opened new stations and added manpower in areas such as the Greystone Legacy and Ross Bridge subdivisions and has continued making improvements in other areas, such as the 911 center, record keeping and software that allows the

department to better track how many firefighters respond to calls, Wingate said. “Our Class 1 rating means that our firefighters are doing an excellent job in protecting the city,” he said. The dispatchers in the 911 center do a great job, and Hoover has four water systems that supply water to Hoover that are splendid partners, providing as much water as the department needs to be properly prepared, Wingate said. Previous fire chiefs Ralph Shepherd and Tom Bradley and former Mayor Frank Skinner, who was assistant fire chief prior to becoming mayor, laid the groundwork for the success of the department, and many others played vital roles in getting the department where it is today, Wingate said. “I’m pretty proud. This is a big deal,” he said. “It’s a tremendous honor for the Hoover Fire Department. It’s an honor for the citizens and business owners — everyone in Hoover.” Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, who was the city’s first paramedic and first fire marshal, said the Fire Department has played a central role in the city’s history. Six of Hoover’s 10 mayors have been affiliated with the Fire Department, and the current city administrator (Allan Rice) and City Council president (Gene Smith) also are former Hoover firefighters. Even in the days when Hoover was a volunteer department, the firefighters have always strived to get better and to be leaders in the fire service, Brocato said. He thanked firefighters for how they work tirelessly each day to protect the city. Rice, in a May ceremony at Hoover Fire Station No. 6, said that excellence is not an event or an accomplishment, but rather a habit and a choice. “If you choose excellence consistently, you become elite,” he said. Rice thanked Wingate, his staff and those who have come before him for cementing the legacy of the Hoover Fire Department among the elite. “When ISO comes to measure things, they measure things that you can see and touch,” Rice said. “But the intangible elite of the Hoover Fire Department is what gets inside the trucks, what rolls up in front of the houses, what goes into the living rooms and takes care of our citizens.” Wingate said the new ISO rating won’t go into effect until Aug. 1, but he encouraged residents and business owners to check with their insurance companies to see what impact the change will have on their insurance premiums. Every insurance company handles it differently, he said.

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Gavin Loeb tosses a Frisbee in the air as Ashley Loeb looks on during I Love Bluff Park Day. The first ever I Love Bluff Park Day was hosted by the Children’s Fresh Air Farm on May 6, 2017. Photos by Lexi Coon.


Jeremy and Brooke Gossett, with their children, Reagan and Beckham, enjoy snacks.

Family members (l-r) Mike Campbell, Sarah Campbell, Abby Mitchell and Andrew Campbell, with their dog, Captain Buck, enjoy I Love Bluff Park Day.

Sherer Averette holds Henry Averette while waiting for the movie to start.

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CONTINUED from page A1 1.5 miles from Interstate 65. The Galleria was built by the Montgomery-based Jim Wilson & Associates and opened in 1986 with four anchors — Parisian, Pizitz, Rich’s and J.C. Penney. Macy’s was added the following year, and Sears came in 1996. Over the years, department stores consolidated, changed names and shifted to different spots in the mall, but the shopping center has remained a super-regional mall and significant tourist draw in the state.


Jim Wilson & Associates sold half its ownership in the retail portion of the mall to the Chicago-based General Growth Properties in 2003 and turned over management of the property to General Growth, which officially became GGP in January. In November, GGP bought out the other 50 percent of Jim Wilson & Associates’ ownership in the retail portion of the Galleria and paid off the loan on the property. However, at some point, GGP transferred 24 percent of its ownership to another partner in a deal that involved some other properties, said Kevin Berry, GGP’s senior vice president of investor and public relations. Berry declined to name that partner, saying the information was confidential. He said the deal was part of a tax strategy for GGP. Carl Bartlett, executive vice president for Jim Wilson & Associates, declined to give details about why the Montgomery-based company sold its interest in the shopping mall. “There’s a time for everything,” he said. “It just made good sense for us.” The Wilson family still owns 100 percent of the adjoining 17-story, 285,000-squarefoot Galleria Tower office complex and has a small ownership in the adjoining Hyatt Regency Birmingham ‒ The Wynfrey Hotel, Bartlett said. “We’re still very bullish on the area,” he said. GGP paid $143.5 million for the 50 percent share in the mall, but that included enough to cover Jim Wilson & Associates’ $110.3 million

Mike White, a former Alabama and NFL football player, Navy SEAL and bodyguard to the rich and famous, was named general manager at the Riverchase Galleria on Oct. 31. His goal is to keep adapting to keep the mall fresh and thriving. Photo by Jon Anderson.

share of the debt, so Jim Wilson & Associates walked away with about $33 million in cash, Berry said.


The value of the Galleria has fluctuated greatly in the past 11 years. When the owners secured a $305 million loan on the property in 2006, the mall was valued at $385 million, according to Trepp, a company that tracks securities backed by commercial mortgages. In 2011, nearly two years after the official end of the Great Recession, the mall was appraised at $198 million after net cash flow

fell from $20.6 million in 2006 to $17.9 million in 2010, according to Commercial Real Estate Direct (CRED), an organization that tracks real estate capital markets. That was only slightly more than needed to fully service its interest-only loan, CRED said. Mall officials in 2011 announced a plan to spend at least $60 million to $90 million redeveloping the shopping center, including adding a Von Maur department store, renovating and rebranding The Wynfrey Hotel as the Hyatt Regency Birmingham ‒ The Wynfrey Hotel, and completing extensive renovations on the rest of the shopping center campus.

That same year, the city of Hoover offered an incentive deal that gave the mall owners a tax rebate equal to 50 percent of extra sales tax revenues, up to $25 million, generated on the Galleria campus after the bulk of the redevelopment project was completed. The rebate deal was good for 10 years. By August 2014, mall owners had spent more than $65 million on redevelopment, including $18 million for the hotel, city officials said. Their investment spurred at least another $52 million in other renovations and construction by other companies on the Galleria campus,

June 2017 • A29 out there, but “GGP is one of the good operators,” Mandzy said. Seeing a mall with a Sears, Macy’s and J.C. Penney might cause some people to be concerned, but the health of a mall is typically determined by sales at inline stores, not at the anchors, Mandzy said. With such a high occupancy rate, “I suspect this is a good property,” Mandzy said. “GGP is a very shrewd operator. They do what is in the best interests of their shareholders … They have to be optimistic on the property’s prospects. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have bought out their partner.”


Von Maur spent more than $33 million building its three-story, 255,000-square-foot store at the Riverchase Galleria. It was part of a mall redevelopment plan that exceeded $120 million in total. Photo by Jon Anderson.

including $33.6 million for the new Von Maur department store, roughly $9 million for renovations at Belk and $5 million for the Earth Fare store, city officials said. By the end of 2014, retail sales on the Galleria campus had increased 11 percent from $375 million to $416 million, city tax records show. Sales continued climbing in 2015 to $430 million before dropping slightly to $423 million in 2016, records show. The $12.7 million paid in sales taxes to the city of Hoover in 2016 represented about 18 percent of the city’s overall sales taxes.


The Galleria’s first year’s sales tax rebate was $609,033 for 2014. That climbed to $821,040 for 2015 and fell slightly to $719,691 for 2016. In September 2016, a new appraisal valued the mall at $257 million, according to Trepp. The price GGP paid Jim Wilson & Associates indicated a value of more than $280 million. That’s significantly less than the $385 million

valuation in 2006, but 2006 was a weird time for commercial real estate loans, said Orest Mandzy, managing editor for Commercial Real Estate Direct. “If you had a pulse, you could have gotten as much as you wanted,” Mandzy said. And GGP was good at maximizing its valuations, he said. GGP and Jim Wilson & Associates were able to get their $305 million loan modified in 2012 — dividing it into a $215 million A-note and a $90 million B-note. When GGP paid off the loan in November, the A-note was paid in full, but shareholders in the B-note suffered an $86.7 million loss, Trepp reports show. “That’s a pretty significant loss,” said Sean Barrie, a research analyst for Trepp. However, “we’ve seen much larger losses.” The loss for investors doesn’t really say much about the health of the mall property itself, Barrie said. “By all accounts, the mall is doing well financially,” he said. Mandzy agreed. There are a lot of poor malls

White, the general manager, said the nature of shopping malls is changing, and GGP is adapting with the times. People these days don’t go shopping just to get a piece of clothing or a particular item; they’re also looking to get a meal or for some type of entertainment, White said. The millennial generation in particular is looking for something to do, not just something to buy, he said. GGP is looking to provide more of those type experiences in its retail properties, White said. “You want this place to ultimately be a multiuse facility that can serve a lot of needs.” The perfect example is the Dave & Buster’s restaurant, arcade and sports bar planned to go in half of the 66,000-square-foot Galleria space now occupied by Forever 21. White said he expects Dave and Buster’s to be open by the summer of 2018. Donovan Bradford, a 21-year-old from Trafford who was recently in the Galleria food court, said a Dave and Buster’s at the mall would be awesome. He already comes to the Galleria with his friends about four times a week, he said. They usually go to the arcade at Bumpernets, the food court or shop at Game Stop, Hot Topic, Aeropostale or one of the shoe stores, he said. “It’s just a nice place to come and just hang out for however much time you need to kill,” he said. Sara Gilbert, a 40-year-old who lives near Liberty Park, said she comes to the Galleria about once a week. She comes more to walk

than to shop, but she does like to shop at stores such as The Walking Company, Victoria’s Secret and Macy’s. “I like to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s, too,” she said. Gilbert said she loves the renovations the Galleria did in recent years, and she likes being able to do everything indoors. “I can park one time, and I can eat, walk and shop before I ever have to leave the building,” she said.


Joe Parker, 31, of McCalla said it seemed like the Galleria was struggling for a while, but it had a resurgence and filled back up with stores he likes, such as H&M and House of Hoops. H&M filled the 25,000-square-foot spot vacated by The Limited near the end of last year. More changes are coming. The Aldo shoe store closed, but the Bath & Body Works next door is expanding to fill that space, White said. Bath & Body Works has temporarily relocated near Belk during construction, he said. The City Gear shoes and apparel store also will be expanding, he said. It’s natural for stores to come and go, but White said mall officials will do everything they can to keep the shopping center viable and current. White, a former starting offensive lineman on the University of Alabama football team who played in the NFL, spent 11 years as a Navy SEAL and served as the personal bodyguard for Bruce Springsteen and on the personal security team for Bill and Melinda Gates before getting into the commercial real estate business. He spent seven years with AIG Baker as director of anchor leasing and was involved with the Patton Creek shopping center before he got back into the personal security business for a while, he said. Coming back to the commercial real estate business to manage the Galleria is like a dream come true for him, he said. “My goal is to be here till I retire a long time from now,” White said. “If you want to really succeed, you have to adapt to your surroundings.”

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Hoover Sun Occasionally customers will assume she isn’t a mechanic due to her gender, but Brittany Schultz said being a female mechanic also has its upsides. When women come in for car repairs, sometimes they feel more comfortable talking to Schultz than her male co-workers, particularly if they don’t have much automotive knowledge. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.


CONTINUED from page A1 Automotive on Southpark Drive. She didn’t grow up working on cars, and her first class in auto maintenance was like speaking a foreign language. “Because I knew nothing about it — I mean, I did not know how to change my own oil, knew nothing — there were a lot of stupid questions I had to ask before I had a general concept of where things even were, how things worked,” Schultz said. “So everything was brand new; everything was a blank slate, no foundation. And that was really challenging because the classes were framed as though, ‘You already know what an alternator is, let me break down the parts and tell you why it works.’ Whereas I had never heard that word before; I don’t know where it is in the car; I don’t know how it fits in with everything else.” Being smaller than her classmates sometimes meant she had to watch in frustration as they did things she couldn’t do. “For me, to figure out how to use my energy the right way or the smart way or to get as much leverage as I can was another thing that I had no previous idea about,” Schultz said. But none of that stopped her from her enjoyment of finding and solving the problem of each car she sees. “This is an issue; you have to eliminate the possible causes, determine the right cause, fix it, and it’s very rewarding to have the process completed,” Schultz said. “This is something that challenges me constantly, and I always have to learn.” Schultz also found her own niche of work that is detail-oriented rather than strength-oriented, and she learned to do it well. She said some of her favorite tasks are electrical systems work, vehicle computers and rebuilding automatic transmissions. “I wouldn’t ever be probably the best at heavy line work, like engine removals, and that kind of thing. But I knew I was smart enough to get into electrical systems, and I knew that I could figure that out,” Schultz said. After graduating, Schultz had to clear a few extra hurdles as a female mechanic before she

got her first job. Christian Brothers, which she joined in summer 2016, is the second shop she has worked at. “I’ve had shops tell me that they would not hire a woman, that they would not have a woman in their shop, whereas here [at Christian Brothers] it was very different and very welcoming and very understanding,” Schultz said. As part of a four-mechanic team, Schultz said she is able to rely on older, more experienced mechanics when she has questions about a repair or needs occasional heavy lifting. Being a woman in the Christian Brothers garage isn’t a problem, she said. “If there’s any questions to be asked, if there’s any tools that need to be borrowed, if there’s anything at all, the guys have really taken care of me,” she said. Occasionally customers will assume she isn’t a mechanic due to her gender, but Schultz said being a female mechanic also has its upsides. When women come in for car repairs, sometimes

This is something that challenges me constantly, and I always have to learn.


they feel more comfortable talking to Schultz than her male co-workers, particularly if they don’t have much automotive knowledge. Although her parents were initially hesitant about her career path, Schultz said they’ve been supportive as they’ve seen her succeed, and her father has even mentioned rebuilding a classic car together. Schultz is working on her master mechanic certification from the National Institute for

Automotive Service Excellence, which she plans to complete this year. As she gets more experience, Schultz said she would like to eventually move up to become a service manager or own her own shop. Her parents have joked about her creating a shop staffed entirely with female mechanics. At the end of each day on the job, Schultz said she likes feeling tired from a full day’s work and knowing that cars are on the road because of her. “I like the physical reward of problem solving, figuring it out, watching that get fixed and it driving away,” Schultz said. She’d like to meet another female mechanic, too. “I think this can be a very great career to choose, especially now where the automotive business is at and where automotive technology is heading. Because it is no longer just a nuts-and-bolts game or a heavy-lifting thing anymore. There are many more computers in vehicles, and there is a need for what women can have to offer,” Schultz said.

June 2017 • A31


JUNE 2017

Gift Guide B6 School House B9 Sports B13 Real Estate B24 Calendar B26

Bucs ‘know how to win’ in crunch time, sweep state titles

Everything came together for Hoover High at the state track and field meet By SAM CHANDLER


Hoover’s Trent Hamner competes in the final day of the AHSAA Class 4A-7A state outdoor track and field championship on Saturday, May 6, 2017, at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex in Gulf Shores. Hamner placed first in the 800-meter run after a close finish against Mountain Brook. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

oover High School head track and field coach Devon Hind breathed a sigh of relief after the Class 7A boys 800-meter run May 6. One of his seniors, Trent Hamner, deployed a powerful kick down the final stretch to claim a first-place finish. Hamner’s teammate, Tommy McDonough, placed seventh. “When they crossed the line, it was over,” Hind said. The pair’s pivotal performance in the secondto-last event at the state outdoor meet, held May 4-6 at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex vaulted Hoover past Auburn in the team standings and ensured a Buccaneer sweep of the 7A titles. The Hoover girls already had clinched their blue map thanks to a wave of state-championship efforts earlier in the day. “These kids are incredible,” Hind said. “They know how to win.” The Hoover boys bested runner-up Auburn, 104-89, to secure their third state outdoor track and field title in four years. The Hoover girls won by a more significant margin, prevailing over runner-up Mountain Brook, 128.5-83.5. The victory cemented their sixth consecutive state outdoor championship. “I’m speechless,” Hind said. “We’re going to miss a lot of these seniors. They’ve set a pattern so that the young ones are already talking about what they want to do next year.” Caitlyn Little set an example for them to follow. The University of South Carolina signee scored 28 points in three individual events and won two of them. She placed first in the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles. “It means so much, especially with it being my

last year,” she said, “you know, going out with a bang.” Little clocked winning times of 12.08 (100) and 13.74 (100 hurdles) seconds. She also finished second in the 200-meter dash and ran a leg on the Bucs’ runner-up 4x100-meter relay team. “She has been focused this year, and every meet has run incredible,” Hind said. “She ended her career in fine fashion.” Chakiya Plummer started her career in similar form. Making her state meet debut, the Bumpus Middle School eighth-grader took first in the 300-meter hurdles and fourth in the 100 hurdles. She said she was only “kind of” nervous in the high-stakes atmosphere. “I didn’t know this was going to happen,” said Plummer. “It’s just unbelievable, but I did it.” Michelle Nkoudou also contributed substantial points in those same events. She placed runner-up to Little in the 100 hurdles and placed fourth in the 300 hurdles. Genesis Jones led the way in the field for Hoover’s girls. She won the high jump, clearing the bar at 5 feet, 4 inches, and took fourth in the long jump. “I knew what I came for and what I had to do,” Jones said. “And I came out here and executed.” Sydney Steely did, too. The junior posted a third-place finish in the 800-meter run and anchored Hoover’s 4x400- and 4x800-meter relay teams, which also finished third. Hamner, a mid-distance standout, filled a similar role for the boys team. His 800 victory turned the tide of the meet. He recorded a blistering firstplace time of 1:54.78.

See TRACK | page B18

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June 2017 • B3

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Helping the home away from home Doctor’s mission to serve takes family to Africa By MARIENNE THOMAS OGLE

Dr. Arianna Shirk, right, laughs with her patient, George, and his mother. George is one of the first pediatric patients to receive chemotherapy at AIC Kijabe Hospital. Photo by David Shirk.

When Arianna Shirk was 7 years old, she composed a letter to her mother telling her she wanted to be a doctor in Africa. Nearly 30 years later, that dream came true and Arianna Shirk is now in her third year as a pediatric hospitalist at AIC Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. “My parents said at about age 5 I began saying I was a doctor in Africa, and because I came from a family of all pastors and teachers, no one had a clue as to why,” Arianna Shirk said. “Then in second grade, the teacher asked us to write a letter to our parents from 20 years in the future explaining what we were doing. I said I was a doctor in Africa, complete with a white coat and gloves.” A native of North Carolina, Arianna Shirk and husband, David, a wedding photographer from Atlanta, moved to Hoover in 2007 for her pediatric residency at UAB. Not long after, as a favor, David Shirk shot some photos for a friend and fellow resident to assist with his fundraising efforts for a mission to Kenya. The Shirks, who had spent time in South America and Asia, were also in search of a potential location for international service following Arianna Shirk’s graduation and went on a three-week visit to their friends’ home in Kenya, where Arianna Shirk would serve as a short-term pediatrician. “That first weekend, all the other pediatricians were away, and Arianna had the worst medical two days ever, including seeing extremely sick kids and delivering conjoined twins,” David Shirk said. “She went to bed after 48 hours straight, and when she got up had a funny look in her eye. I said, ‘You want to come back, don’t you?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’”

June 2017 • B5

Being in a place where there’s incredible need yet an incredible will to make things better — it’s the type of medicine I feel I was born to do.


The Shirks were hooked, and after Arianna Shirk’s graduation from UAB in 2014, the family returned to Kenya for a two-year post-residency program at AIC Kijabe Hospital through the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. “We had talked and prayed for a long time about where to go but always felt it was Africa because Arianna had fallen in love with the medicine,” David Shirk said. “The children would attend a wonderful international school, and there were so many non-medical things I could do to support her work and the hospital.” And that’s exactly what happened: David Shirk created the AIC Kijabe Hospital website,, and last year the Shirks established Friends of Kijabe (friendsofkijabe. org) for which David Shirk serves as executive director. “We’re a nonprofit organization that raises money to support the work of the hospital and patients in need plus provide opportunities for people and organizations to engage in the needs of both through donation of services, resources and contributions,” he said. According to David Shirk, the local income averages about $1,200 in U.S. dollars, and hospital bills often reach far beyond patients’ ability to pay. “Since April 2016, Friends of Kijabe has raised about $130,000, which goes toward patient care,” he said. “Plus, we always have equipment needs like ventilators and

The Shirk family left Hoover in March for Kenya where Arianna Shirk will fulfill a five-year pediatric hospitalist term with the mission agency Serge. Left to right are Madeline, 11; Arianna; Annabelle, 8; and David. Photo courtesy of David and Arianna Shirk.

medication infusion pumps. And with about 150 visiting doctors coming in for short periods of time each year, they will donate money and expertise because Kijabe becomes special to their hearts.” Because AIC Kijabe Hospital also serves as a training facility for medical interns from Kenya and East Africa, many of those 150 visiting physicians spend some of their stay working under Arianna Shirk, who is one of a handful of pediatric emergency trained doctors in East Africa. “These interns divide their three-month

rotation between pediatrics, surgery, OB/GYN and internal medicine, then are sent to rural hospitals all around Kenya where in most situations they are the only doctor,” Arianna Shirk said. Their two-year term ended in November, and the Shirks returned to the United States to visit for four months with family and friends, including those in Hoover. But that stay ended in March when the family once again departed for Kijabe, this time for a five-year commitment with the mission agency Serge. As Arianna Shirk was about to resume her

duties at AIC Kijabe Hospital, she reflected on why the work means so much to her. “I was trained in an environment where most anything you wanted or needed was provided, from amazing antibiotics to a state-of-the-art ICU, but these doctors will work in far different environments, and we have to figure out what we can do with what we have,” she said. “But being in a place where there’s incredible need yet an incredible will to make things better — it’s the type of medicine I feel I was born to do. It’s a real privilege, and the hardest fun I’ve ever had.”

B6 • June 2017

father’s day

Hoover Sun

gift guide For the


For the

Elta MD UV Aero or Elta MD UV Sport $31.50 or $47.50 Have fun in the sun, but play it safe. Great sunscreen options for all outdoor activities.

SERIOUS GARDENER Wolverine Tools Prices vary Hanna’s Garden Shop 5485 U.S. 280 991-2939

Pure Dermatology 5436 Stadium Trace Parkway, Suite 100 682-8022

For the For the


Southern Fried Creative T-shirt $25 Available in a variety of sizes.

Yeti Rambler Tumblers $29.99-$39.99 Now available in new colors with the same great technology that keeps beverages icy cold or piping hot.


Hoover Hometown Pharmacy 2801 John Hawkins Parkway 650-1960

Alabama Outdoors 108 Inverness Plaza 980-3303

June 2017 • B7

For the

PUNCTUAL DAD Tag Heuer Aquaracer Watch $1,500 Featuring a blue dial set in finebrushed, polished steel and threerow steel bracelet. Bromberg’s 131 Summit Blvd. 969-1776

For the

HOMEGATER Here’s the Rub Subscription $38.95-$199.95 (6-month subscription) Here’s the Rub shops authentic barbecue rubs and sauce from rural America’s humble barbecue joints. A different state every month. Here’s the Rub

For For the


Men’s Weekender Bag $39.95 Price includes monogramming. Great durable bag for any man.

Robert Marc 922 $459 Give Dad a gift he can use all year long. Handcrafted in Japan, Robert Marc 922 merges style and function for the perfect look and fit.

Mainstreet Monograms 160 Main St., Suite 116 444-8989

Schaeffer Eye Center 979-2020


B8 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Hoover resident celebrates 100 years of life By SARAH COOK After watching 100 years come and go, Florine Harper said her memory isn’t what it used to be. Colors have started to fade, and things that were once easy, like going for a walk or brushing her hair, are now difficult. But, Florine Harper said, if she thinks for a moment, she can remember what the peaches on her parents’ farm tasted like, the joy of jumping into a cool swimming pool on a hot summer’s day and the thrill of traveling the globe with only a few items to her name. “Honey, I’ve been all over the world,” Florine Harper said with a reminiscent smile. Set beside her wheelchair, a basket overflows with birthday cards — 238, to be exact. Florine Harper, now a Hoover resident at Aspire Rehab, was born May 6, 1917, in Thomaston, Georgia. Her parents owned a general store in town where they sold peaches from their orchard. Her memories of the fresh produce come flooding back when she glances at a black-and-white photo of herself — probably at age 7, she guessed — holding a handful of the fuzzy fruit. “She had her own type of peach called the Florine peach,” said Liz Harper, Florine Harper’s daughter-in-law. “Her picture was on the jars they came in.” Florine Harper’s childhood was like most others’ in the Deep South. Seeking respite from the heat in a wooden pool just outside of town was usually the highlight of her day. “I lived in that thing,” Florine Harper said of the community swimming pool, which still stands today. Florine Harper’s son, Chris Harper, guessed his mother got her free spirit from her father, who would ride around town on a motorcycle to collect payments for the family business. Her father, Florine Harper said, passed away when she was only 9 years old — but she can still remember riding around the countryside in his

Left: Florine Harper now resides at Aspire Physical Recovery Center in Hoover. She recently celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends. Photo by Sarah Cook. Right: Born in Thomaston, Georgia, Florine Harper admitted she was easy on the eyes back in the day. She can remember going on dates at the local five-and-dime and spending summer days at the community swimming pool. Photo courtesy of Florine Harper.

convertible with the top down. That carefree outlook on life carried through to Florine Harper’s adult years. After graduating high school, she boarded a bus to Cleveland, Tennessee, to attend Bob Jones College — waiting tables and setting hair on the side to pay for tuition. She eventually settled down in Donelson, Tennessee — a suburb outside Nashville — where she raised her two children, Chris and Angela, alongside husband Buford Orton Harper, whom she married Aug. 24, 1941. Florine Harper focused for a moment and tried to recall her wedding day. As she did so, in her mind she became a young adult again, wearing a white gown with the world at her fingertips.

“We had a church wedding,” she said with a smile. “One that didn’t cost much money.” Possessions, Chris Harper said, were never that important to his mother, who was known to bring just a few items on trips — most of them purchased from the local thrift store. “She was, what I always called her, the oldest hippie in town,” he said with a smile. “And no matter what Angela and I had going on, she would always be there to support us.” Florine Harper had just as much ambition to match her eccentric personality. In 1968, she went back to school to get a degree in special education and went on to receive her master’s in 1970, so she could work at the Tennessee School for the Blind. She worked at the school for 14 years.

“I was a speech pathologist — first one they had at that school,” Florine Harper said. During her career, she had her work published by “Tennessee Teacher,” “Peabody Reflector,” “Education and the Visually Handicapped” and several other publications. Looking back on Florine Harper’s life, it’s hard to find many missed opportunities. She’s been to every continent except Antarctica “because it’s too doggone cold there,” she said, and she’s made plenty of friends along the way. “I tell ya, my memory isn’t as good as it used to be,” Florine Harper admitted, glancing down at her stacks of birthday cards. “But if I think of anything else shocking that happened in my life, I’ll be sure to let you know.”

June 2017 • B9

School House Hoover educator is top secondary teacher in state By JON ANDERSON

Paul McEwan, a biology teacher at Hoover High School, was named Alabama’s 2017-18 Secondary Teacher of the Year. Photo by Jon Anderson.

Hoover High School biology teacher Paul McEwan in May was named Alabama’s 20172018 Secondary Teacher of the Year at a ceremony in Montgomery. McEwan also will serve as the alternate overall Teacher of the Year for the state, coming in second to Chasity Collier of Dawes Intermediate School in Mobile County. McEwan and Dawes were presented their awards on May 10 by Gov. Kay Ivey at a ceremony at the Retirement Systems of Alabama Plaza. McEwan said being the state’s Secondary Teacher of the Year and overall alternate Teacher of the Year is a tremendous honor when he thinks about all the great teachers within his school, school district and Alabama as a whole. “My life’s going to be different even from this point forward,” he said. “I’m grateful to be able to be in a position to kind of speak for teachers.” McEwan, who lives in Alabaster, has been teaching for 32 years in high schools in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina. This is his 11th year at Hoover, where he teaches biology to ninth-graders and 11th-grade International Baccalaureate students. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry and a master’s degree in instructional technology, both from Asbury University. In a video shared at the ceremony, he said he got into education by working as a tutor to help pay for college. Some of the students he tutored in science said he was good at explaining complex things in a way they could understand, he said. His girlfriend, who later became his wife, suggested he try education, and “I’ve loved every minute of it for 32 years,” he said. McEwan said he likes to get his students to

solve real-world problems as a way of learning biology instead of just memorizing things. “It gets them a little more involved in what we’re doing in science,” he said. He loves movies, so he often uses movie clips from popular films that relate to concepts he is trying to teach, he said. That helps keep the students engaged, he said. “I really wish they would love biology as much as I do, but I know that’s not necessarily going to be the case,” he said. “What I want them to leave with is a lot of the skills that will enable them to be the best students they can be when they’re in the next class.” McEwan said he wants to help share the unsung stories of all the successful teachers who are out there. “I want people to know that what we do is important; it’s necessary. It’s hard work learning, and sometimes it’s a struggle, but every now and then, you get those really magical days when you leave school and you’re a little taller, and it makes you come back the next day and just really enjoy the work you do.” Hoover schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy, assistant superintendents Ron Dodson and Tera Simmons, Chief Academic Officer Cindy Adams and Hoover High Principal Don Hulin were among McEwan’s supporters at the ceremony in Montgomery. Hulin said McEwan is an awesome teacher. “He gives 1,000 percent every day he works in the classroom. He’s just a cut above,” Hulin said. “He cares about each of the students in that classroom. He makes a huge difference. In our book, he’s Teacher of the Year.” In addition to Collier and McEwan, other top four finalists for Alabama Teacher of the Year were Charlotte Hartley from Montana Street Magnet School in Dothan and Emily Sassano from Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City.

B10 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Miss Alabama reads to Hoover students Hayley Barber, crowned Miss Alabama 2016, visited Trace Crossings Elementary recently to meet and read to students. She read “Green Eggs and Ham” to pre-K and kindergarten students, “Oh, the Thinks You can Think” to first- and second-graders and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” to third- and fourth-graders. Literary coach Stacie Pegouske said she was impressed with Barber

for taking the time to answer student questions and talk about her pageant cause, childhood eye examinations. Barber also toured Trace Crossings’ Maker Studio and talked with a student working on a project there. Barber is a Pelham native and currently in school at UAB pursuing a doctorate in optometry. – Submitted by Hoover City Schools.

Miss Alabama Hayley Barber reads to Trace Crossings students. Photo courtesy of Hoover City Schools.

Simmons Middle School inducts 106 students into National Junior Honor Society The Simmons Middle School Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society recently inducted 106 students. Students with a yearly cumulative average of 92 percent or higher in the content areas of math, science, social studies and language arts for the seventh-grade year and first semester of eighth-grade are eligible for consideration. The NJHS inductees include Donia Addassi, Maggie A. Barnes, Abigail G. Batchelor, Victoria Alyse Benson, Jaida Boackle, Spencer Riley Bourn, Taylor Faith Burch, Liliana Carillo, Kathryn N. Chambers, Elizabeth Rae Chapman, Luke Clark, Maurice Prevette Coble IV, Abigail Collins, Brady Coltrane, Chloe N. Cope, Julian Ross Cotner, Corinne Crawford, Benjamin DePew, Jackson Doyle, Steven Christoper Dutton, Rory Edwards, Anna Lane Elmore, Kalyn Epperson, Daniel Eudy, Parker C. Evans, Natalia Ferrer, Brandon Fort, Abby Fortner, Madison W. Frier, Sarah Fu, Aly Garvey, Ella Grace Gaston, Blakley Caroline Glover, James Haberland, Brendan Hunter Hallmark, Amaan S. Haque, John Hickman, Camryn McClary Hill, Sydney Hill, Nathaniel Hilton, Caleb Houston Ivey, Olivia Morgan Jackson, Sarah Jefferson, Alexis Johnson, Allison Christine Johnson, Katie Jourdan, Camden Elizabeth

Jung, Caroline Lawrence, Adam Lepkowski, Segen Lister, Maegan Lorimer, Erin Christine Lutomski, Erica Brooke MacQuarrie, Ainsley Callum Maryanski, Emma Maxwell, Lexi McGrew, Lily Morgan, Madeline Morley, Bobby Mosely Jr., Ella Hollis Nunn, Matthew Vest Parrish, Anthony Patterson, Andrew Pierson, Emma Mari Pittman, Erika Brooke Powers, Trey A. Prell, Xander Puliatti, Judith Jacquelyn Reyes, Joseph D. Rich, Haley Mae Robinson, Hannah Roquet, Steven Salazar, Jonathan Michael Sall, Morgan Layne Sanders, Merari Sunem Sandoval, Jaime Rose Schnader, Caroline Schock, Peter (Tykie) Sfakianos, Peter Shen, Abigail Shipley, Alex Simpson, Nick Smith, Juniper Sosa, Mary Caroline Stephens, Ava Thompson, Harry Tidwell, John Luke Tidwell, Shea A.Tillette, Maya Touchstone, Alia R. Truss, Anna Grace Tucker, Emily Lucille Vessey, Jasmine Wadsworth, Evan Warren, Cagney Denise Watson, Logan Watts, Reagan Emily Watts, Williams Eric Westerlund, Will Whisenhunt, Blake White, Jackson White, Lauren Shelby White, Kirsten Michelle Wrona, Sijing Wu, Kayva Young and Kendal Youngblood. Advisors are Meredith McDanal and Sarah Cox. The 106 inductees into the Simmons Chapter of the National – Submitted by Michelle Berg. Junior Honor Society. Photo courtesy of Michelle Berg.

June 2017 • B11

Berry Middle poetry contest first- through third-place finishers. Photos by Sydney Cromwell.

Berry students place in school, state creative contests By SYDNEY CROMWELL Berry Middle School honored several of its talented artists and writers April 19 as the results of state and schoolwide competitions were announced. Sixth-graders Maggie Cargill and Kate Clifford both earned third-place awards in the Alabama School of Fine Arts’ Young Writers Literary Awards. Cargill placed for a poem about optimism and multiculturalism during the 2016 presidential election. Clifford’s award was for a short story about a boy who tries to save a doughnut shop and doughnuts around the nation from a future where they’ve been made illegal. “This is just like heaven,” Cargill said after the announcement of her third-place finish. Both students, who are part of the school’s literary magazine, were surprised with the news their work had been selected. The ASFA contest receives submissions from across the state. Berry curriculum and literary coach Dianna Minor said this is the first time a Berry student has received an award in this competition in several years. “They’re just natural writers,” Minor said. The results of Berry’s spring art and poetry contest were also announced. Art students made

banners to celebrate the winners during a short ceremony in the library. Sixth-grader Miriam Gunnells placed first in the art contest for a piece she said was inspired by winter turning into spring. Seventh-grader Konnor Carrie placed second, and sixth-grader Thinal Kottege and seventh-grader Lydia Farris tied for third. “I was thinking about what my mom’s reaction would be,” Gunnells said. Selma Maric, Nicole Lober, Emma Peng, Adie Carter and Maisha Mahdia received honorable mentions. In the poetry contest, seventh-graders filled the top spots. Sam Carey won for his poem, “This is War,” based on World War I. Audrey Rothman’s “Inside Her Head” and Camille Chase’s “It’s Time to Change the World” tied for second, and Thomas Mayhall’s “The Parade” placed third. The students said they didn’t know they had placed until the morning announcements, and Mayhall and Rothman didn’t even know their teachers had entered their work. Chase took home a second-place award last year as well. “It was pretty cool,” Rothman said. Chloe Hill, Grace Lazarre, Samantha Johnson, Maggie Cargill and Jahnia Blain received honorable mentions.

Above: Berry Middle art contest firstthrough thirdplace finishers. Left: ASFA Young Literary Award thirdplace winners Maggie Cargill and Kate Clifford.

B12 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Hoover teacher selected for 2017 Digital Innovators Program In April, Alabama Public Television announced Amanda Walker from Bluff Park Elementary School as one of 52 educators from across the country selected for the fifth annual PBS Digital Innovators Program. The program recognizes classroom change-makers: educators who approach education with a bold and fresh perspective, and who integrate digital media and resources into their classrooms in a way that sparks a love of learning for their students. At Bluff Park Elementary, Walker instituted “Genius Hour” in her classroom, a creative program that helps inspire stu- Amanda Walker. Photo courtesy of Mike McKenzie. dents by allowing them to explore their passions using LearningMedia, receive a free PBS Teacha variety of digital tools. Among other teacherline professional development course ers selected were educators using 3-D printand are invited to special events, including ers with their students to create prosthetic the 2017 PBS Digital Summit. This year’s limbs; a technology coach whose classroom summit, in San Antonio, Texas, takes place is a “STEM Bus” and co-teachers who use directly before the International Socitechnology to bring their students together ety for Technology in Education (ISTE) in one class, even though they’re in physical conference. classrooms that are miles apart. A panel of “We congratulate Amanda Walker on judges selected the 52 PBS Digital Innovaher selection as a PBS Digital Innovator tors from across the U.S., representing each and look forward to sharing her classroom of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia. successes with teachers all across the state,” In partnership with Alabama Public said Roy Clem, executive director of AlaTelevision, Amanda Walker will serve as bama Public Television. “It’s exciting to education partner — deepening the connecsee how teachers like Amanda are using the tion between the educator community and great variety of online resources we provide APT. PBS Digital Innovators also particito engage students in learning adventures pate in ongoing professional development, that have a lasting impact.” share their ideas on PBS platforms, have – Submitted by Mike McKenzie, Alabama access to exclusive resources from PBS Public Television.

Members of Synergy, Simmons Middle School’s award-winning show choir, and their Director Dan Cater, who were recognized at a recent Hoover City School Board meeting. Photo courtesy of Michelle Berg.

Simmons Middle School show choir recognized at school board meeting Synergy, Simmons Middle School’s award-winning show choir, was recognized at a recent Hoover City School Board meeting because of their outstanding performance record this school year. The group took first place in Division B at the Capitol City Classic show choir competition in Montgomery and also placed first in the Varsity Division at the Oak Mountain Invitational at Oak Mountain High School. Synergy also earned Overall Excellent scores at the State Choral Performance Assessment. The 2016-2017 Synergy members include Riley Brophy, Chey Chadwell, Kathryn Chambers, Rebecca Clark, Brady Coltrane, Ross Cooley, Chloe Cope, Sadie Cope, Aulana Dudley,

Anna Lane Elmore, Griffin Feazell, Alli Ford, Madee Frier, Karina Garcia Martinez, Blakley Glover, James Haberland, Liam Harrell, Taleen Hejazen, Paine Horton, Ali Hyde, Camden Jung, Ella King, Adam Lepkowski, Brooke MacQuarrie, Luke McNeill, Annabelle Morrison, Ella Nunn, Mena Orso, Caroline Owen, Matthew Parrish, Veronica Patrick, Kaelin Pettit, Trey Rayfield, Amelia Richey, Morgan Riley, Haley Robinson, Maria Rumore, Aiden Rupp, Olivia Sasser, Abigail Shipley, Toni Silas, Will Simpson, Noah Small, Mary Claire Vaughan and Jackson White. The director of Simmons Synergy is Dan Cater. – Submitted by Michelle Berg.

June 2017 • B13

Sports Bucs overcome slow start, win spring game at Jacksonville State showcase By CHRIS YOW Park Crossing High School came out of the gate with something to prove, and the Thunderbirds went toe-to-toe with defending Class 7A state champion Hoover on May 13 at Jacksonville State University. The Bucs, however, overcame a slow start and took the win, 34-23. Bucs coach Josh Niblett knows better than most how to start a season following a state championship, and this year is no different for him. “Every group is a new group, so you have to have a short memory. I always say when you’re on top of your game, you have to change your game,” he said. But that change doesn’t go too far. “We’re going to do the fundamental things and what we pass down from group to group,” Niblett added. “But we have to adjust to our personnel, whether it be scheme or fit what we have with the different personalities. Despite the slow start, following some adjustments, the Bucs began looking like a seasoned group as the day wore on. “We have a lot of new faces on both sides of the ball, and some of the guys had a little anxiety and stress,” Niblett said. “Hats off to Park Crossing, they came out ready to play. We got to see a lot of speed, and it gave us a chance to make some adjustments.” The Thunderbirds took the opening kick and drove inside the Bucs’ 5-yard-line, but the Hoover defense stiffened, allowing only a field goal. On the ensuing drive, though, Hoover quarterback Jalen Parker was picked off, and Park Crossing cashed in with a touchdown drive. On the kickoff, Larry McCammon brought the ball to Park Crossing territory, and on the next play Kendall Parker hit Kaulin Jackson on a run-pass option play for a touchdown. Vonte Brackett added a touchdown before halftime to give the Bucs a 14-10 lead. After the break, however, is when the Bucs began to dominate. McCammon broke off a pair of long touchdown runs, both more than 60 yards, to give the Bucs a solid 28-16 lead in the

Hoover running back Larry McCammon is shown in a game last season. McCammon broke off a pair of long touchdown runs in Hoover’s spring game May 13. Photo by Barry Stephenson.

third quarter. Freshman phenom Robbie Ashford added a score in the fourth quarter for the final trip to the end zone for Hoover. Playing at Jacksonville State was exciting for the players as well as Niblett, who has a long history at the school. His dad was a player in the 1960s, and Niblett coached at Jacksonville State for three seasons. Bringing his team to play at his alma mater was special.

“It was awesome coming back,” he said. “Any time you can come here and see family and people who know you, it’s neat.” Niblett said he was excited about the upcoming season, and this group of seniors he will have. “You have to give your seniors a chance to lead,” he said. “This group wants to be known for winning championships, and today was a good opportunity to take that first step.”

Offer Expires 6/30/17

B14 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Jags tennis team impresses at state, finishes 2nd By KYLE PARMLEY

Action from the Class 7A, Section 3 tournament on Monday, April 17, 2017, at Spain Park High School. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

Spain Park High School girls tennis coach Amber Lewis called it a historical day. She’s right. The Jags tennis team advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history, and instead of wilting under the hot sun and grinding pressure, they persevered and came away with a trophy to show for their efforts. Spain Park finished runner-up to Mountain Brook in the Class 7A state tournament April 24-25 at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park, sending the school home with a red map in its initial showing on the state’s biggest stage. The Jags accumulated four state championships out of nine possible and racked up 35 points. Mountain Brook won with 45 points, and Fairhope finished third with 23 points. Although it was the first time for the team to make it to state, sisters Daryn and Sydney Ellison had experience at the state tournament, having won it all as a doubles pair in 2016. They made that back-to-back state championship trophies, as the duo won the No. 1 doubles title again. Daryn Ellison competed in the No. 1 singles bracket for the third time in the last four years but ran up against a tough matchup in the first round and fell in three sets to Sydney Flesch of Huntsville, an eventual finalist. Spain Park racked up three singles championships, as Lindsay Song (No. 2), Sydney Ellison (No. 3) and Mychelle Widra (No. 4) won their respective brackets. Song didn’t lose a set on the way to her singles title and only lost two games overall, both in the first set of the final. She swept Auburn’s Sarah Northcutt 6-0, 6-0, and did the same to Lindsey Zerbinos of Enterprise. Mountain Brook’s Sarah Cooper took two games in the first set of the final, but Song blanked her in the second set to win 6-2, 6-0. Sydney Ellison beat Enterprise’s Ella Sawyer 6-0, 6-0, in the first round of No. 3 singles, but Mountain Brook’s Ellie Polk gave her a stiff challenge in the semifinals. Polk won the first set 7-5 before Sydney Ellison rallied to win the final two sets by identical 6-2 scores to win the match. Widra beat Hewitt-Trussville’s Blakely Valdez in three sets and took down Fairhope’s Emily Adams in straights to advance to the final. Song and Riley Ford put together a great season as a No. 2 doubles pair and made it to the finals, where Mountain Brook’s Cele Sullivan and Sarah Cooper won in three sets. Hannah Luther was a semifinalist in No. 5 singles and part of the No. 3 doubles tandem with Widra, while Ford competed for the Jags at No. 6 singles. Of how her kids handled the state tournament, Lewis was largely pleased with how they responded to the moment. “Nerves do play a role in it,” she said. “As much as you try to settle them down, they’ve never been there. Overall, they played spectacular. I’m a happy coach.” Lewis recalled a moment with Widra that stood out. Widra was playing in the No. 4 singles final, and she split the first two sets with McGill-Toolen’s Sage Ellis. During her conversation with Widra before the final set, Lewis wanted her athlete to understand the magnitude of the moment. “This is an extra special moment,” Lewis told Widra. “Take it in. Soak in the moment. I want you to really understand what this is. I want you to revel in it a little bit. If you come out with a win, you’re a state champion. That’s nothing to be taken lightly. That’s an accomplishment.” Widra took that advice and ran with it, and dominated the third set, shutting out her opponent 6-0 to win the state championship. “I swell with pride,” Lewis said. “It’s just a proud moment for these kids. I love seeing them accomplish what they’ve tried so hard to accomplish. It means a lot.” Spain Park took the bull by the horns in its first trip to the state tournament. The individual state champions will go on the “Wall of Champions” at the high school. The team will come home with a red trophy that will be displayed for all to see. The 2017 tennis team has set the bar for

June 2017 • B15

The Spain Park girls tennis team took home the state runner-up trophy April 25 in the Jags’ first trip to the state tournament. Photo courtesy of Amber Lewis.

Lewis and her program moving forward. Goals have been realized, and it is now in the hands of future teams to take it one step further. “With Spain Park being on the board as a state runner-up, they have some accomplishments,” Lewis said. The athletes rising through the program now have tangible evidence of what’s possible in the Jags’ tennis program.

“A lot of our younger kids are going to see that,” Lewis said. “We have a young group that’s a little bit larger, and this year they have had that experience and those memories and that exposure. They get to set that bar for upcoming kids in the years to come. They’re not all leaving, and we’ve got to start over. We’ve got the camaraderie and chemistry, all of that.”

I swell with pride. It’s just a proud moment for these kids. I love seeing them accomplish what they’ve tried so hard to accomplish.


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B16 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Connor Short was the Crimson Tide’s starting third baseman in 2017 as a redshirt junior and has already graduated with a business degree. Photos courtesy of University of Alabama Athletics.




hen Connor Short takes the field to play third base for the University of Alabama baseball team, his parents, Ben and Tammy, are there watching from the third-base line. It’s special for the Short family to see Connor put on the crimson-and-white jersey, the same as his father did more than 25 years ago. “Anytime you can go to the baseball park and watch your son get a chance to play baseball is always awesome,” said Ben Short, who was a third team All-American for the Crimson Tide in 1991 and drafted by the New York Yankees. “It’s really cool for him to be a part of the University of Alabama and the tradition that they have, and for me to play here and be part of that tradition. It really gives me chill bumps every time to see him out there.” Connor Short, a redshirt junior on the field, graduated in May with his bachelor’s degree in business. He’s served as a defensive staple at third base as the Tide’s every day starter in 2017 with a .971 fielding percentage as of May 8 and holds one of the best fielding percentages (.967) among SEC third basemen in conference play. “He’s played tremendous third base for us,” said Greg Goff, in his first season as Alabama’s head coach. “I’m really proud of how he handles himself. Back to Day 1 he’s continued to play hard and do the right things. He’s the kind of guy you want to build a program around with the foundation of his integrity and makeup.” That foundation begins with his father, Ben Short, and the journey they’ve taken together through baseball and life the past 22 years. Being a second-generation player for the Tide was not something Connor Short expected to happen when he was a multi-sport athlete at Hoover High School, leading the Bucs to a Class 6A state title in December 2012 as quarterback and leading the baseball team to a No. 3 ranking and state semifinal appearance in May 2013. His only SEC offer was Auburn, who he signed with and competed for in 2014. He spent that summer in Virginia playing for the Staunton Braves, a collegiate summer league team. It was purely by chance Staunton was the same team Ben Short played for one summer in college, foreshadowing Connor Short’s decision to transfer to Alabama before the 2015 season. “It’s always been cool playing where my dad played. I never thought I’d end up here. I thought when I went to Auburn out of high school that’s where I would be, and then this opportunity came up, and it all worked out. I know God has a plan, and that’s what my dad talks to me about all the time — just to work hard, go out there and do the best you

can,” Connor Short said. “My dad is one of my heroes, and he’s taught me a lot, not only about baseball but about things in life. It’s really cool to do some of the things that he did, and him be able to teach me along the way.” Connor Short has been around baseball all his life, literally. After a four-season stint as a closer in the Yankees organization, which came to a close due to injury, Ben Short landed back at Shelton State Community College in 1995 as an assistant for Bobby Sprowles, who was his head coach as a player at Shelton (19881989) and his pitching coach at Alabama (1990-1991). On May 12, 1995, Connor Short was born. A few years later, Ben Short took over the program at Jefferson State Community College, where he led the Pioneers to a state title in 2002. It was there that Connor Short’s daily influence of the game increased. Connor Short said he would commonly shag fly balls for the Pioneers; his dad would throw batting practice to him, or players would dress him in catcher’s gear to catch BP. There were rides on the Gator to drag the field and the occasional bus rides home from away games, “learning more than he should have,” according to his father. “Being around those guys — they were good to me — being around the game a lot and having my dad as a coach growing up helped me and shaped me into the player I Connor Short’s journey took him back to the University of Alabama, where his am today,” Connor Short said. father, Ben, played. Those memories, coupled with memories of going to Alabama games as a child, One place it hits home the most is at the Hoover Met, are something Connor Short keeps in mind each day he takes within walking distance of the Shorts’ home. The Tide called the field, regardless of the team’s record or his personal stats. the Met home during Connor Short’s redshirt season of 2015, “When I used to come to Alabama games, I used to think while Alabama’s home field, Sewell-Thomas Stadium, was those guys were superstars,” he said. “It’s cool when the kids being renovated. come out, and I think, man, I used to be one of those kids. I “Coming back home is really cool, because I grew up going used to know what that felt like to be out here. It’s cool being to those games and watching those guys play. Now to be able to have a positive impact with a kid’s life, playing catch able to be one of those guys is awesome,” Connor Short said. with them if they’re on the field, or tossing a ball into the “I can remember being in high school, having a final, then stands. It takes your mind off the game. It’s not all about the driving over and watching those guys play and thinking ‘this game or how many hits you’ve had. There are other things out would be so cool to play here.’” there.”

June 2017 • B17

B18 • June 2017

Hoover Sun The Hoover High School boys and girls track and field teams pose with their championship trophies after sweeping the Class 7A titles at the state outdoor meet, held May 4-6 at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.



CONTINUED from page B1 “I was just trying to get the points we needed to win,” he said. “It came close, so I just did what I knew I had to.” Hamner, a University of Oklahoma signee, also anchored Hoover’s champion 4x800-meter relay and runner-up 4x400-meter relay.

Hamner ran a sensational final leg of the 4x800. He made up about 25 meters on Smiths Station, which held a comfortable lead entering the final two laps. He passed his opponent in the race’s closing meters to squeak out a win in 8:03.8. Joe Leventry, Alex Leary and Tommy McDonough ran the first three legs. “Trent has been rock solid all year,” Hind said. “Something clicked in indoor, and he

hasn’t been the same since.” McDonough also proved a critical factor in his team’s victory, finishing runner-up in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. McDonough kicked hard down the homestretch in the 1,600. He crossed the line in 4:21.27, a couple of paces behind Auburn’s Jack Rogers. “I think I took a little too much time. I was in a bad position the last lap,” McDonough said. “Jack’s a great runner, and he’s got a

really good kick. I just didn’t have enough to catch him.” McDonough, an Auburn University signee, nearly caught Vestavia Hills’ James Sweeney in the 3,200. McDonough ran 9:28.51 to Sweeney’s 9:27.72. Hakim Ruffin and R.J. Nelson paced


Above: Hoover’s Caitlyn Little competes in the final day of the AHSAA Class 4A-7A state outdoor track and field championship on Saturday, May 6. Little took first in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.08 seconds. Right: Hoover’s Chakiya Plummer competes in the final day of the AHSAA Class 4A-7A state outdoor track and field championship. The eighth grader took first in the 300-meter hurdles.

June 2017 • B19

B20 • June 2017

Hoover Sun


Track and field team members from Hoover and Spain Park high schools compete in the second day of the AHSAA Class 4A-7A state outdoor track and field championships on Friday, May 5, 2017, at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.


CONTINUED from page B19 Hoover in the sprints. The duo finished fifth and sixth in the 100 and contributed to the Bucs’ runner-up 4x100-meter relay team. Nelson also placed fourth in the 200. In the field, James Courson and Jacob Doak took second and fifth in the pole vault. Courson cleared the bar at 14-6 and Doak

at 14. Luke Ballard prevailed in the javelin competition, throwing 194-1 to claim his first career state title. Will Clark came in fourth at 170. “The competition’s always really good when you come to state,” Ballard said, “so it usually drives me to do my best.” That seems to be true of the entire Hoover program, which also swept the 7A titles at February’s state indoor meet. “It’s pretty amazing,” Hind said.

June 2017 • B21

Bumpus Middle School wins Metro-South girls golf tourney The Metro-South Conference girls golf tournament was held April 25 at Highland Park Golf Course. Eight schools competed, with Bumpus Middle School taking home top honors, followed by Mountain Brook Junior High and Berry Middle. The top three golfers from each team were named to the All-Metro team. From Bumpus, Julia Freeman, Hailey Remick and Neysa

Dechachutinan were named All-Metro. Dechachutinan also took home MVP honors for the tournament, as she shot a 36 over nine holes. From Berry, Ceanna Spisto, Taylor Tribble and Ashna Gupta were named to the AllMetro squad. Olivia Baxter, Sarah Xin and Ava Vaughn qualified for the honor from Simmons Middle. ‒ Submitted by Greg Heard.

Left: Julia Freeman, Hailey Remick and Neysa Dechachutinan were the top three finishers from Bumpus. Dechachutinan was named MVP of the tournament. Right: Ceanna Spisto, Taylor Tribble and Ashna Gupta made the All-Metro team from Berry, who finished third. Photos courtesy of Greg Heard.

Jags win area tournament By KYLE PARMLEY The Spain Park High School softball team won its third consecutive area tournament May 3-6, knocking off Oak Mountain twice to secure the title. “It was a total team effort,” Spain Park coach CJ Hawkins said. “We stuck to the game plan, and the kids are focused.” The Jags secured the right to host the area tournament by way of a coin toss with Oak Mountain, as the two teams split their two area contests during the season and finished 5-1 in Area 6. Spain Park (43-7) took down Huffman 17-1 in the first game and played Oak Mountain in the winner’s bracket game. Spain Park got on the board first in a big way, with a seven-run third inning that featured a Jenna Olszewski three-run homer and a two-run double by Mary Kate Teague. Mary Katherine Tedder launched a two-run homer in the fourth, and the Jags got another

two-run double from Teague to stretch its lead to 11-0. Spain Park added two more runs in the fifth on run-scoring hits by Caroline Parker and Bailey Bowers. The win clinched Spain Park’s berth at the Class 7A North Central Regional, and the Jags faced Oak Mountain again in the area championship game. The game followed much of the same script as the first one. Spain Park jumped out to a big lead and ended the game in five innings, going home with an 11-1 victory. Pitcher Annabelle Widra allowed just three runs to Oak Mountain in 10 total innings over the two games against Oak Mountain. Combined with Kate Campbell and Caroline Kendrick, the Jags pitching staff allowed just four runs in three games for the tournament. Tedder launched a shot over the left field foul pole for a two-run homer in the bottom of the second to give Spain Park the 5-1 edge. The Jags scored twice more in the third to make it 7-1, as Maddie Majors poked a single up the

Mary Katherine Tedder is shown hitting a home run in the Class 7A, Area 6 tournament championship game. Photo by Kyle Parmley.

middle to bring in a pair. The Jags finished the game off in the fifth, as Widra cranked her first career homer; Olszewski drove in Julianna Cross with a double, and

Parker’s two-run single ended the game with the margin at 10. For the tournament, the Jags outscored their opponents 42-4.

B22 • June 2017

UGA head football coach Kirby Smart tees off at The NCR Pro-Am of the Regions Tradition at Greystone in Hoover, Alabama, on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Photos by Layton Dudley.

Hoover Sun

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban tees off at The NCR Pro-Am of the Regions Tradition at Greystone.

Auburn University head football coach Gus Malzahn tees off at The NCR Pro-Am of the Regions Tradition at Greystone.

SEC coaches talk golf ahead of Regions Tradition Pro-Am By GARY LLOYD Several Southeastern Conference football coaches and other celebrities took to the links on Wednesday in the Regions Tradition Pro-Am, held at the Greystone Golf and Country Club. Among the celebrities participating were SEC football coaches Nick Saban (Alabama), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Kirby Smart (Georgia), Dan Mullen (Mississippi State) and Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss). Saban said his career-best score is around a 75. “I just try to get it airborne,” Saban said. “That’s my goal.” Saban laughed about being athletic enough to execute the shots he needed to hit to have a successful round of golf. “That seems to be the problem mostly with me,” he said.

Malzahn said his go-to club was once the driver, but it no longer is. “Maybe a wedge, if I get close enough,” he said through a smile. Smart said that Freeze is likely the best of the SEC football coaches at golf. He wins wherever he goes, Smart said. As for playing in the Regions Tradition Pro-Am, Smart was thankful. “It’s for charity, and any time you’re doing charitable events, I think it’s a great cause,” Smart said. “Any chance you get to give back to the community, the people who support our game (is good). The SEC is such a passionate territory for football and when you get a chance to come and be a part of a lot of the SEC teams here it promotes our game, and that’s what this is about.”

Malzahn said much of the same. “There are a lot of Auburn fans in Birmingham, and I like getting out and around and getting to play with some of the professionals is always neat,” Malzahn said. “It’s a big deal. They do a super job with this event. I’ve had a chance to play in a few of them, and this is as good as it gets.” Among the other celebrities playing were Bo Jackson (former Auburn running back), Taylor Hicks (American Idol), Avery Johnson (Alabama head basketball coach), Booger McFarland (SEC Network), Greg McElroy (SEC Network), Tommy Tuberville (former Auburn head football coach), Greg Byrne (Alabama athletics director), T.R. Dunn (former professional basketball player) and Mark Ingram (UAB athletics director).

Hugh Freeze and Taylor Hicks greet their escort from Children's of Alabama at The NCR Pro-Am of the Regions Tradition at Greystone in Hoover, Alabama, on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

June 2017 • B23




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B24 • June 2017

Hoover Sun


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June 2017 • B25

DEADLINE IS AUGUST 4 Winners will be announced in our September issue. Category 1: Any summer fun photo Category 2: A summer fun photo displaying a copy of Hoover Sun wherever you are To enter: Email high resolution photos in .JPG format* and captions including location, names of anyone pictured and photo credit to *Four photos allowed per person.

B26 • June 2017

Hoover Sun

Calendar Hoover Events Tuesday nights: Kids eat free at Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato. 610 Preserve Parkway. (One child per adult). Visit June 1: Economic Development Committee Meeting. 8:30 a.m. Hoover Chamber of Commerce. Visit June 2: Made South. 5 p.m. Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Featuring over 100 artisans and makers from the area. $10-$29. Visit June 2: Friday Night Flicks: Sing. Veterans Park. Free. June 5-9: Mason Music Camp for Beginners. Mason Music, Bluff Park Studio. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. For ages 6-9. Learn how to play instruments and sing. Visit June 5-9: Summer Camp: American Girls. Aldridge Gardens. For entering 4th and 5th graders. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. $115. Visit June 5-9: Summer Camp: Cool Art in the Gardens. Aldridge Gardens. For 5k-3rd grade. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. $115. Visit June 5-9: Summer Camp: Paper Circuitry. Aldridge Gardens. For entering 4th and 5th graders.

9 a.m.-12 p.m. $115. Visit June 6: Minority Business Council. 8:30 a.m. Hoover Chamber Office. Visitors welcome. Visit June 8: Coffee and Contacts. 8:30 a.m. Ridge Crossing Apartments. June 9: Friday Night Flicks: Moana. Veterans Park. 7 p.m. Free. June 10: Take the Reins Run. Veterans Park. 5K and 10K to celebrate veterans and raise money for programs at The Red Barn. $35. Visit June 10: Hydrangeas Under the Stars. 6 p.m. Fundraiser and garden gala. Entertainment, silent and live auctions. Sold out. June 12-16: Summer Camp: American Girls. Aldridge Gardens. For entering 5K-3rd graders. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. $115. Visit June 12-16: Engineering FUNdamentals. Aldridge Gardens. For entering 4th and 5th graders. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. $115. Visit June 15: Hoover Chamber Luncheon. 11:15 a.m.

Networking, Noon Luncheon. Hoover Country Club. Call 205-988-5672 or email lisa@hooverchamber. org for reservations. Visit June 16: Friday Night Flicks: Secret Life of Pets. 7 p.m. Veterans Park. Free. June 17: Members Only Guided Bird Watch. 8 a.m. Aldridge Gardens. Free. Visit June 22: Business After Hours. 5:30-7 p.m. River Highlands of Birmingham. Visit June 23: Friday Night Flicks: The BFG. 7 p.m. Veterans Park. Free. June 26-30: Summer Camp: American Girls. Aldridge Gardens. For entering 5K-3rd graders. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. $115. Visit June 26-30: Summer Camp: Cool Art in the Gardens. Aldridge Gardens. For 5k-2nd grade. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. $115. Visit June 26-30: Summer Camp: Construction in Nature. Aldridge Gardens. For 2nd-4th grade. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. $115. Visit June 30: Friday Night Flicks: The Lego Batman Movie. 7 p.m. Veterans Park. Free.

Stardome Comedy Club June 1: Colin Jost. 7:30 p.m. $25. June 2-4: Quinn Dahle. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. $9.75-$16.50. June 6-8: Mike Speenberg. 7:30 p.m. $9.75.

June 9-11: Faizon Love. 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday; 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. $25. June 15: Dick Gregory. 7:30 p.m. $28. June 23-24: Sheryl Underwood. Friday, 7:30

p.m. and 9:45 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. $32.50. June 30-July 1: Rodney Carrington. 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.; Sunday, 6:30 p.m. $44.50-$179.50.

Hoover Public Library Kids Mondays: Story Builders. 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. For children under four. June 1: Koo Koo Kanga Roo. 10:30 a.m. & 2 p.m. Singing and dancing. June 2: Movers & Groovers. 11 a.m. For ages 2 and up.

June 30: Movers & Groovers. 11 a.m. For ages 2 and up. Adults June 1: First Thursday Fiction Book Group. 10 a.m. Adult Program Room. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.

June 3: Happy Birthday Hoover. 10:30 a.m.

June 4: Sunday NovelTea Fiction Book Group. 3 p.m. Plaza Reading Room. Book talk your favorite beach reads.

June 6-8: TomFoolery Juggling Extravaganza. Juggling, unicycle, stilt walking and balancing act. 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday; 10:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. Tuesday & Wednesday.

June 7: Where the Miracle Continues: Therapeutic Horses at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind with author Carolyn Roberson. 10:30 a.m. Adult Program Room.

June 8: Summer STEAM: Recycle-o-rama. 4 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. Ages 8-12.

June 8: Second Thursday Fiction Book Group. 10 a.m. Adult Program Room. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll.

June 9: Family Movie Friday Moana. 10:30 a.m. June 13-15: Arthur Atsma. Magician and entertainer. 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday; 10:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. Tuesday & Wednesday. June 15: Captain Underpants. 4 p.m. Ages 6-12. June 17: Calling All Cars. 10:30 a.m. Crafts, games and snacks for all ages. June 20-22: Page Turner Adventures presents: The Mixed-Up Fairytale. 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday; 10:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. Tuesday & Wednesday. June 23: Bring Your Own Baby. 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. Music, movement and interactive stores for ages birth to 24 months. June 27-29: Monkey See, Monkey Do. 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday; 10:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. Tuesday & Wednesday.

June 8: Elnora Spencer. 6:30 p.m. Library Plaza. June 10: Seventh Annual World Wide Knit in Public Day. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Library Plaza. Come ready to knit in public and show your colors. Win door prizes. June 11: Baird, Deering, McGinnis Trio. 2:30 p.m. Library Plaza. Two flautists and a euphonium player present an afternoon of chamber music. June 12: Frank Lloyd Wright: A Film by Ken Burns. 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The Library Theatre. Documentary screening. Free admission and refreshments. June 12: Helping Hands. 3 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Adult Program Room. Drop in to make newspaper rolls for a local humane society. Teens and adults. June 13: Glue Gun Gang: Rustic, Folk-Style American Flag. 6:30 p.m. Adult Program Room.

June 2017 • B27

Hoover Public Library cont. Adults only. Registration begins June 1 and is required. June 15: Glue Gun Gang: Rustic, Folk-Style American Flag. 10:30 a.m. Adult Program Room. See June 13 for details. June 16: After Hours @ the Plaza: Bingo! 7 p.m.9 p.m. Library Plaza. Join us for a library-themed Bingo night. June 17: Insatiable Readers: Armchair Travel. 10:30 a.m. Plaza Reading Room. Learn about nonfiction titles.

convenient fresh produce. June 21: No Reading Required. Disconnecting in the Digital Age. 12 p.m. Adult Program Room. Watch, read or listen, then join us. Refreshments provided. June 22: Nighttime Nonfiction Book Group. 7 p.m. Shakespeare Room. The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb. June 22: TV Trivia Night. 7 p.m. Library Plaza. Compete for prizes in our monthly trivia night.

June 18: Glue Gun Gang: Rustic, Folk-Style American Flag. 3 p.m. Adult Program Room. See June 13 for details.

June 24: Write Club. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Library Plaza. Birmingham poet Ashley M. Jones reads with Q&A and book signing to follow.

June 19: Community Farms. 6:30 p.m. Theatre Level Meeting Rooms. Mt Laurel Farm manager will discuss growing healthy communities through

June 26: Monday at the Movies. 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The Library Theatre. Free admission and refreshments.

Area Events June 1: Birmingham Art Crawl. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. 113 22nd St. N. Meet local artists and performers and buy their work. Visit June 1: The Legendary Shake Shackers. The Nick, 2514 10th Ave. S. Based in Nashville, the Shake Shackers present a hell-for-leather, Southern Gothic roadshow. Appearing with Alabama Rose. 10 p.m. $12-15. For tickets, go to For information, call 252-3831 or go to June 2: Alabama Symphony Orchestra Coffee Concerts: Delfs Conducts Brahms 2. 11 a.m. Alys Stephens Center. $18, $28 and $34. Visit June 2: Scandalous Hair. 8 p.m. Musical stage play. Visit June 2: WorkPlay, 500 23rd St. S. The Music & Story of Eric Clapton. The Maverick Lounge and guest artists will present this show about the English rock-guitar star. 8 p.m. $18. 879-4773. June 2-3: Alabama Symphony Orchestra EBSCO Masterworks Series: Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. 8 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $25-$74. Visit June 3, 10, 17 & 24: The Market at Pepper Place. 7 a.m.-12 p.m. Visit June 3-4: 44th Tannehill Gem, Mineral, Fossil & Trade Show. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. $3-$5. Visit June 5: BAO Bingo. 7 p.m. Birmingham AIDS Outreach. $15-$25. Visit June 7: Glass Animals. Iron City, 513 22nd St. S. The rock band has partnered with the non-profit Plus 1 so that $1 from every ticket goes to War Child, a charity supporting children and families affected by conflict. 8 p.m. $30.50-$33. 202-5483. Visit June 9: Psycho. 7 p.m. $8. Visit alabamatheatre. com. June 9-25: Fiddler on the Roof. Dorothy Jemison Day Theater, Alabama School of Fine Arts, 1800 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. Red Mountain Theatre Company presents the beloved, Tony Award-winning musical about a Jewish milkman named Tevye whose daughter falls in love with a poor tailor rather than the middle-aged butcher chosen for her. Wednesday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets start at $25. 324-2424. June 10: Johnny Lang. 8 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $54-$72. Visit June 10: Chris Stapleton. 7 p.m. Oak Mountain Amphitheatre. Featuring Anderson East and Brent Cobb. $30-$75. Visit June 10: Second Saturday at Sloss Walk and Talk.10:30 a.m. Garden at Sloss Quarters. Common

and Holy Basils-Tinctures and Teas. Presented by Birmingham Historical Society. Visit June 11: The Wizard of Oz. 2 p.m. $8. Visit June 14-18: Birmingham Barons vs. Jackson Generals. 7:05 p.m. Wed-Fri, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. $7-$14. Visit June 15, 16 & 17: National Sacred Harp Convention. 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Covered dish lunch from 12 p.m.-1 p.m. BSDA Friendship Hall. 1024 Old Walker Chapel Road, Fultondale. Open to the public, visitors are welcome. For more information contact Glenn Keeton 205-902-1783.Visit: olemiss. edu. June 16: Mean Girls. 7 p.m. $8. Visit June 17: LOCAL: A Celebration of Everything Alabama. 5 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. Visit June 17: Gladys Knight. 8 p.m. BJCC Concert Hall. $39-$91. Visit June 17: Bennie Mac. 8 p.m. BJCC Theatre. $22$27. Visit June 17: Southeastern Outings Kayak & Canoe Trip on Terrapin Creek. Depart 9 a.m. from Applebee’s Restaurant Trussville. For information, call 205-631-4680 or email June 17-18: Tannehill Trade Days. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. $3-$5. Visit June 18: Paper Moon. 2 p.m. $8. Visit June 23: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 7 p.m. $8. Visit June 24: Birmingham’s Small Business Expo. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. BJCC Exhibition Hall. Free admission. Visit June 24: Southeastern Outings River Float on the Locust Fork River. Depart 9 a.m. from the Cleveland Chevron. Call 205-631-4680 or email seoutings@ June 25: Cabaret. 2 p.m. $8. Visit June 28-July 3: Birmingham Barons vs. Biloxi Shuckers. 7:05 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 6:30 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday; 6:30p.m. Monday. $7$14. Visit June 30: Magic City Con. Hyatt Regency, Wynfrey Hotel. Friday, 12 p.m.-12 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-12 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $30. Visit June 30: Independence Day. 7 p.m. $8. Visit

Hoover Sun June 2017