Hoover Sun June 2024

Page 1

Saving łhe view

Nature, history groups push for creation of Bluff Park Preserve

luff Park’s history can be traced back to its original Native American inhabitants, when Creek Indians used the springs on Shades Mountain as a stopping point as they traveled between their settlements along the Cahaba and Warrior rivers.

Later, in the 1850s, the area was turned into a resort with 40 log cabins. The Bluff Park Hotel, a 20-room inn often used as a getaway for people in Birmingham, followed in the early 1900s, but it was destroyed by fire in 1925, according to the bluffparkal.org website.

The natural springs on Shades Mountain served as a draw for visitors and settlers alike, but another big attraction is the view off the mountaintop. To this day, people are drawn to certain spots in Bluff Park for a scenic view of Shades Valley and Red Mountain, particularly at sunset. And now, history buffs and nature lovers are trying to create a roughly 20-acre preserve to save one of the largest remaining open spaces on the bluff side of Shades Mountain from development. Leading the charge is the Friends of Shades Mountain nonprofit.

As the days get longer, there’s more time to pack in all the fun Hoover has to offer. Check out something new this summer in the city. Here’s a sampling of options:


If you haven’t picked up a pickleball paddle yet but have been wanting to, now is a great time. Hoover’s supply of courts is constantly growing. You can find them in neighborhoods, parks and churches, and many are open to the public.

WE FIX ROOFS 205•900•ROOF | CARDINAL-ROOF.COM facebook.com/hooversunnews Sponsors 4 City 6 Schoolhouse 8 Business 10 Real Estate 12 Events 14 Sports 16 Community 21 Getaway for a Day 22 INSIDE Hoover High alum Aniya Hubbard joins hometown program. See page 19 See page 8 Meet Shelley Shaw Coming Home
Education. Sun June 2024 | Volume 12 | Issue 9 HOOVER’S COMMUNITY NEWS SOURCE HOOVERSUN.COM | STARNESMEDIA.COM BROUGHT TO YOU BY SERVING HOOVER, THE 280 CORRIDOR, HOMEWOOD, MOUNTAIN BROOK, TRUSSVILLE AND VESTAVIA HILLS Put your best smile forward! Right now, you can get your smile on with same day braces and flexible financing. Schedule your free consultation at BhamSmile.com Terms and Conditions apply. See SUMMER | page 26
Shelley Shaw replaces Craig Kelley on the Hoover Board of
24 Explore Hoover: Summer fun in the city The Explore Playground and Splash Pad at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex is a big draw for kids.
Larry Rudick and Peggy Quinn, with the Friends of Shades Mountain nonprofit, stand at the overlook of Shades Mountain at the former Tip Top Grill in Bluff Park on May 16. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.
PARK | page
Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.
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Dermatology Care of Alabama goes the extra mile to give the best care

Dermatology Care of Alabama treats all of your skin concerns, regardless of age and skin type, and offers a wide variety of the latest cosmetic and medical-aesthetic treatments.

This is true at our original office in Tuscaloosa, founded in 2017, and at our recently opened office in Hoover, located at 2321 John Hawkins Parkway.

We are thrilled to be a part of the Hoover community and are excited to serve our new patients here. In fact, at Dermatology Care of Alabama, there’s nothing more important to us than our patients.

This commitment comes from the founder of the practice, Dr. Robert Bentley, a board-certified dermatologist with nearly 50 years of experience. In addition to being a skilled, experienced physician, Dr. Bentley is very compassionate and truly wants to serve people.

He has instilled in the clinic staff the importance of truly caring for a patient and going the extra mile to see that they have the absolute best care and best experience in our clinic.

We work to make sure our patients feel welcome and comfortable in our clinics, as well.

Dermatology Care of Alabama also seeks to make it as convenient as possible for our patients to see us. When we opened in Tuscaloosa seven years ago, we promised our patients that they would never have to wait weeks or months for an appointment. We make that same commitment to our Hoover patients.

In fact, beginning this summer, we will offer walkin or “same day” dermatology visits, in addition to regular appointments. We want to remove any obstacles for patients to receive great care.

That great patient care comes from our outstanding team of well-trained, highly skilled providers, including Dr. Bentley and – in the Hoover office – Dr. Paul Espy, with decades of experience as a board-certified dermatologist. We have a full-time physician assistant in Hoover, as well.

In addition to general dermatology, we have a full-service Aesthetics Center in Tuscaloosa staffed with full-time, licensed aestheticians specializing in skin care, injectables and RF body sculpting and tightening.

We provide some of the most popular cosmetic

Dermatology Care of Alabama

• Where: 2321 John Hawkins Parkway, Suite 201 in Hoover and 4960 Rice Mine Road NE, Suite 40 in Tuscaloosa

• Call: 205-379-8389 (Hoover), 205-759-1519 (Tuscaloosa)

• Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to noon.

• Web: dermcarealabama.com and dermcarehoover.com

New patients welcome

and medical-aesthetic treatments in our Hoover office. We offer injectables such as botox and filler in Hoover, as well as Express Laser Hair removal and Opus Plasma Skin Resurfacing.

We are excited to offer these treatments in Hoover using Alma Lasers, which are a highly effective technology with little or no discomfort or downtime for our patients.

We also offer Accent Prime, which uses radio frequency to tighten skin. Accent Prime can treat everything from the neck to the knees. It’s a really effective treatment for skin tightening.

Aesthetic dermatology is popular because these treatments are administered directly by or under the supervision of a board-certified dermatologist, so they’re truly medical-aesthetic treatments. Our nurse who performs some of the procedures is highly trained and has thousands of hours of education and training.

The staff at Dermatology Care of Alabama also works hard to help prevent and spread awareness of skin cancer.

When detected early, the survival rate for melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is 99%. That’s why prevention and detection are so important. This includes non-melanoma skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma

The sooner those cancers are detected, the more effectively we can treat them. We make sure we educate all our patients on what to look for if they

suspect they may have a cancerous lesion, and we educate everyone on skin cancer prevention as well. We can treat many skin cancers in the office at Dermatology Care of Alabama. Typically, when we see a patient for a skin cancer concern, we assess any risk factors for skin cancer, taking into consideration family history, skin type and other factors. A full body exam allows us to detect any possible skin cancers, even those you may not notice or can see yourself. If there are any skin lesions that appear to be concerning, we perform a biopsy.

Other skin lesions may be actinic keratoses, these are pre-cancerous, and some may become squamous cells. If AKs are detected, you’ll be encouraged to follow up with regular skin exams.

Dermatology Care of Alabama has on-site in office treatment for basal cell and squamous cells through Superficial Radiation Treatment (SRT). We are pleased to offer SRT, in our Tuscaloosa office and we hope to offer it soon for our patients in Hoover, as well.

SRT treatment provides a non-surgical alternative for the treatment of skin cancers. Patients are able to receive radiation treatments conveniently in our Tuscaloosa office, under the direction of our radiation therapist and our physicians. With SRT there is no surgery, no scarring and no downtime. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes and is spread out over the course of six weeks. A typical treatment cycle requires 22-24 treatments. SRT is a very popular option for patients who are apprehensive about surgical removal procedures, especially on the nose, ears or face.

At Dermatology Care of Alabama, we also make patients aware that caring for the skin is often related to other underlying health concerns and conditions.

Many times, the skin will be the first indicator of a larger health issue. We may have a patient see us for a rash, but that may lead us to discover more a serious systemic disease. Being able to help patients get treatments, but also being able to diagnose what may be a much more serious disease is why we do what we do.

For the best in dermatological care, call us today for an appointment.

HooverSun.com June 2024 • 3

About Us

I have always loved summer. The weather warms up, and the days seem longer because of the extended hours of daylight. You have more time to do things that you can’t do in the dark.

Lots of people think about summer as a time to travel, and traveling is great, but there are a host of fun things to do right here in Hoover, too. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about what’s in your own hometown.

One of our reporters, Grace Thornton, took time to compile a list of fun things to do to enjoy the summer months without — for the most part — having to leave the city limits.

From hiking to biking, climbing, golfing or archery, there are plenty of places

to enjoy the outdoors. Maybe you’re looking to go swimming at a pool or cool off at a splash pad; Hoover has places to do that, too. Or check out a farmers market.

If you’re more the indoor type, try your hand at an arcade game at Dave & Busters, catch a movie at an AMC theater or take an art class.

Grace’s list of options starts on the cover and is continued on pages 26-27. Check them out and find your local summer fun spots.



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4 • June 2024 Hoover Sun
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Tradition Physical Therapy can help you enjoy

Are you having trouble with daily activities due to chronic pain, but you’re not sure what’s causing the pain or which treatment is the best?

Are you an athlete who wishes to recover fully after an injury and regain your top form?

The good news is that relieving your pain or recovering from an injury could be easier than you think.

At Tradition Physical Therapy — a new provider with locations in Hoover and Cullman — we offer unparalleled care for pain and movement disorders.

We’ll help you enjoy a pain-free life through hands-on physical therapy and other up-to-date treatments.

You’ll receive one-on-one care from our licensed physical therapists who treat patients starting as young as 5 years old.

As a patient at Tradition Physical Therapy, you will be welcomed into a warm, caring environment. You will receive expert carefrom a team who not only understands the science of rehabilitation but also values the tight-knit community that makes the Birmingham/ Hoover area special.

Our therapists take the time to listen to you and your concerns.

After performing a thorough evaluation, we give you a clear plan for recovering. We also improve your mobility, strength and independence. We’ll also show you how to prevent future problems and stay healthy.

Tradition Physical Therapy opened in February of 2024, but the founder — Roger Gurley — has been a physical therapist in Birmingham since 2006.

The Hoover location opened in March with a clinical director, Cory Stephens, who has spent his entire physical therapy career in the Birmingham/Hoover area.

As a new physical therapy company, we’re excited to provide excellent patient care for the

Tradition Physical Therapy

• Where: 2321 John Hawkins Parkway, Suite 119 in Hoover and 802 Main Ave NE, Suite C in Cullman

• Call: 205-409-0120 (Hoover), 256-727-5286 (Cullman)

• Web: traditionpt.com

techniques, depending on your specific rehabilitation needs, including:

• Manual therapy

• Exercise

• Balance training

• Therapeutic activities

• Neuromuscular re-education

Depending on your rehabilitation needs, your therapist may use the following:

• Dry needling to relax and reset muscles

• Ultrasound, used to increase circulation and warmth in the body’s tissues

• Electrical stimulation of the nervous system to activate muscles, improve circulation and reduce pain and swelling.

Tradition Physical Therapy is the perfect place for

HooverSun.com June 2024 • 5
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New law creates stiffer penalties for filing false police reports

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed into law a new measure to strengthen penalties against false reporting of crimes and to provide for restitution to law enforcement agencies that expend resources on investigating false reports.

The legislation, approved by the Alabama House with a 101-0 vote on Feb. 28 and by the Senate with a 32-0 vote on May 8, was filed in response to a false police report by Hoover resident Carlee Russell, who falsely claimed she was kidnapped on the side of Interstate 459 and held against her will for two days in July of last year.

Russell later admitted she lied about being kidnapped and seeing a toddler wandering along the side of the interstate in a diaper before the alleged kidnapping. Russell pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors — false reporting to law enforcement officers and falsely reporting an incident.

A Jefferson County judge in March sentenced her to six months in jail but suspended those sentences and ordered her to pay $18,000 in restitution and provide proof of mental counseling.

Hoover police Chief Nick Derzis, who pushed for stiffer penalties, said last July that he was frustrated these were the only charges that could be filed against Russell due to the amount of time and resources spent trying to find her and investigating her false report, as well as the level of panic and alarm her report caused the community.

Under this new law, falsely reporting an incident to local, state or federal law enforcement agencies will be elevated to a Class C felony if the false report alleges imminent danger to a person or to the public.

Class C felonies in Alabama, with no prior felonies, carry a penalty of between 366 days and 10 years in jail and up to $15,000 in fines. People with prior felonies can receive up to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to

$60,000, depending on the number of prior felonies.

This new law also requires people found guilty of making false reports of this nature to pay restitution for expenses incurred by law enforcement or an assisting agency if the false report results in an investigation.

“Expenses include any reasonable cost directly incurred, including the cost of police, firefighting and emergency medical services, and the personnel costs of the persons who respond to the incident,” the bill says.

State Rep. Mike Shaw, R-Hoover, who sponsored the bill in the House, said he was excited and relieved the Legislature was able to get the bill passed. The community was put through a lot because of Russell’s actions, and the system was kind of abused, he said.

“Hopefully, in the future, people will think twice about doing something like that,” Shaw said.

Sen. April Weaver, R-Alabaster, sponsored the bill in the Senate.

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6 • June 2024 Hoover Sun
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Left: Hoover police Chief Nick Derzis. Photo by Jon Anderson. Right: State Rep. Mike Shaw. Photo courtesy of Mike Shaw.
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Carlee Russell. Photo courtesy of Hoover Police Department.

Mayor’s Minute

I have often said what a privilege it is for me to serve this great city, first for 40-plus years as a firefighter and now as your mayor. There have been so many great times and positive experiences we’ve seen together. But as we know, tough times are bound to come on occasion, and the best thing we can do is confront them head on, seek positive solutions and forge ahead.

Unfortunately, for the last month or two, our city has been challenged with our garbage collection process. In March, our garbage collection provider, Amwaste, started a new route schedule and promised to make service more efficient. But instead, just the opposite has happened. In the first month of the new schedule, Amwaste missed over 2,000 pickups. We continue to communicate our frustrations with Amwaste while also doing what we can to help with missed collections. We are looking into various ways we might be able to hold the company financially responsible if this situation persists.

As we continue those efforts, I want to apologize to those of you who are still dealing with this situation. It is unacceptable. Please know we are working to get this problem addressed as quickly as we can within the confines of the contract we have with the company.

Also, I have a request. It is very important for residents to report when they have a missed pickup and to urge their neighbors to do the same. We must get an accurate accounting of all the homes that are missed daily, whether curbside or backdoor service. A reported miss provides needed data and logistical information, and it is the absolute best way our citizens can help us solve the problem.

If you have a missed pickup, you can reach out to the city in one of four ways: through the MyHooverConnect app, by emailing MyHooverConnect@ HooverAlabama.gov, by calling 205-739-7311 or through the city’s website at hooveral.org.


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Have a schoolhouse announcement? Email Jon Anderson at janderson@starnesmedia.com to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

Meet Hoover school board’s newest member

Shelley Shaw has a long history of involvement with the Hoover school system, but now she’s ready to take on a new role.

Effective June 1, Shaw replaces Craig Kelley on the Hoover Board of Education.

Shaw, 51, is the former executive director for the Hoover City Schools Foundation, but she got her start in leadership roles in the system more than a decade ago.

She served as president of the Rocky Ridge Elementary School PTO in the 2013-14 school year and later as vice president of programs for the Berry Middle School PTO and president of the Hoover Parent Teacher Council, which is the umbrella organization for all PTO, PTA and PTSO groups in Hoover.

Additionally, Shaw served two years on the Hoover City Schools Foundation board of directors before being asked to serve as executive director for the group, which she did for four years, until this past December.

Shaw, who also is the wife of Mike Shaw (a former Hoover councilman and current state legislator), has lived in Hoover 23 years and has been involved in numerous other community groups. She is the current president of Destination Hoover International, secretary for the Hoover Belles board and on the Community Service Committee for the Hoover Service Club. Shaw also was in the inaugural class of Leadership Hoover and served on the school superintendent’s advisory council from 2016 to 2019.

The Hoover Sun recently asked Shaw about school system issues. Here are excerpts from that interview:

Q: Why did you decide to apply for the Hoover school board?

A: Community involvement is a core value to me and my family, and I think that I want to give back. This is a terrific way to do it in this stage of my life and in my volunteer time that I have. The last 20 years or so, I’ve been involved on some level with our schools, volunteering and then most recently [as] the executive director of the foundation, and so I felt like I had knowledge and time that I could give to something like this. I really just want to be able to set this district up for success for our students and for the community.

Q: What do you see are the biggest issues facing the school system?

A: Recruiting and retaining teachers and the best talent that we can find. … I believe this is not something new. It’s just always on the minds of the district. … I know that we have two very large high schools, and that’s a great thing. Everyone I talk to who isn’t familiar with Hoover City Schools, when they hear that we have 17 schools, their eyes get big. … It’s a big city — a growing city. I do feel like making sure there is always the best facilities and the best space for our students. RC3 [the Riverchase Career Connection Center] has been able to be a huge plus with regard to space issues, but … that would be something that needs to stay a part of the conversation.

Q: Do you think Hoover needs a third high school?

A: That is something that needs to remain a part of the discussion as this city continues to grow. … That discussion will take time.

Q: Do you have any thoughts in regard to building a third high school versus, say, rezoning to shift more students to the eastern side of town or something like that?

A: One good thing about Hoover is that we’ve done it all. We’ve built another high school, and we’ve also done rezoning. So those are two options I know our community can handle. Which one is better than the other, I don’t know because I’ve never been in that position to make that decision, so I would look to our community and reassure them that these

are places we have been before, and we can manage through them again.

Q: One of the critical issues you mentioned in your application was staying strong in school safety. Do you want to elaborate a little bit on that?

A: I believe that we had an outstanding year in 2023 as a city, with our numbers [that] police released on crimes. We’ve done very well. I feel that school safety is one thing that parents think about daily. I was a parent that thought of it daily, and I want to assure parents that is one of the most important roles that our district leaders have is to reassure and provide what is needed for school safety. This has changed over time, but fortunately, we have had the resources and the support of the city and of the Hoover Police Department to meet the needs. I feel that is something we always need to make sure is a priority.

Q: You also mentioned that it’s important to continue making progress toward achieving unitary status in federal court and demonstrating fair treatment of all races of students. What do you think the district needs to do to achieve that?

A: Many people have not followed the unitary status case desegregation order, and I feel like I have followed it somewhat more closely because of the leadership roles that I’ve had as Hoover Parent Teacher Council president and then as executive director of the foundation. I feel that I know a lot, and I feel that I’ve read a lot, and I understand, but the path there — that is something I think I will learn more about as I take on this new role. I think as long as we are on a path toward unitary status, that benefits everyone.

Q: Some parents have expressed concerns about teachers and schools pushing certain ideologies on students as it relates to things like critical race theory or gender issues, etc. Where do you stand on that?

A: As a parent, I’ve always wanted the very best education for my students, and as

a community member, I still want that. As a board member, curriculum and decisions that get made at that level, that will be new for me. I’ve not been in a role where I’ve been a part of making those decisions. So where I stand is to be educated on where we are and how we work through making those decisions. Those are very passionate concerns, and I want to be sure that I am learning as much as I can about how well we are educating our students. … I think our school system is going to do what is the very best thing for students and always has and will continue to do so.

Q: Do you believe the Hoover school system needs more funding than it currently is getting? There has been much discussion about raising property taxes by 2.4 mills to get up to that cap of 75 mills for Hoover residents in Jefferson County.

A: As a fundraiser with the Hoover City Schools Foundation, there was always a need that we saw to give back into the classrooms, and the way we were able to do that was — when people understood where the money was going to go, they would give; they would donate. I realize that this is completely on a different level, and if people understand there’s a need — and I believe there are needs — they may be more willing to hear about it in a potential referendum. … As soon as I am able to have an active role on the school board, I will understand better where we lack. …There’s always going to be growing needs in public schools and funding, and that is something that I would definitely want to look at, understand it better.

Q: The Legislature has given Hoover approval to have this referendum. The school board would need to request a date officially from the council. Do you think that needs to be held anytime soon, or do you think it needs to be held at all?

A: Once I’m into this role and being trained and learning more, if I saw that there is a gap and it would benefit our students — if there was a particular population of students

that needed the funding … I know we have increasing needs for special education, and that’s a wide range of students. If there’s a void there or something lacking there, … as a board member, I would have to understand the steps. I understand some steps have been taken and the rest of these steps need to be completed before it goes to a vote of the people. And that’s always good to let the voters vote. I believe that we would get an answer, and whether it be yes or no, we would have our answer. … I’ve got to learn how quickly you could make it happen.

Q: Is there anything you would like to see emphasized more in Hoover schools?

A: I think that Hoover City Schools has a great story to tell, and I think that we need to tell our story more and get the good news out there about all the ways our students have achieved. Student achievement is something that we can truly brag on, and I feel like that through COVID, the amount of achievement that we saw in our students compared to other parts of the nation — it was amazing.

Q: What about in terms of anything in regard to curriculum — things that students need to be taught or know? Anything you would like to see emphasized more?

A: Being a civic volunteer — that’s always going to be something that I would hope that we could emphasize in the classroom. Volunteering and just understanding that part about being a community member, being able to truly understand how we have so much that we can do in our community, we can give back to our communities, and these things all do matter over time. I feel like civics is important. … I also want to see the opportunities for those students to really get involved in what they’re doing on their campus and in our community because all of that is very collective, and all of it does matter to generations and people down the road. I believe you can bring that into the curriculum in a variety of ways.

Q: If you could change one thing about Hoover City Schools, what would it be?

A: The one thing I’d like to see improved on, because we are so big and there are some needs, is having enough substitute teachers in our classrooms. I know that’s a challenge … when they have an absence and don’t have the subs in place. I don’t know the steps that need to be taken there, but that is something I would love to see handled and improved and changed.

Q: What would you like parents, students and residents of Hoover to know about you?

A: I want people to know that this is something I take seriously. Many of these roles I’ve had a chance to do within the school system, whether it’s the PTO role or fundraising role or this role, this has always been something that I have gladly put my energy into. … That’s what I know how to do is give 100% to things that are important, things that have a mission. And this is a huge mission to be a part of the Hoover City Schools district in a different role. This is something I want to be able to be positive and to add to it. I never want to take it away. I just want to be able to add to things and make things that much better. I want it for their kids as much as I want things for my children, and I want it for the city and for people to know that when they make a move to Hoover, that it’s a good move for them.

Q: Five years from now, when your term is over, what will you have wanted to accomplish in Hoover schools?

A: Telling our story, the student achievement story. I think one way to do that is through a physical annual report that is able to be distributed or given to those in the community or beyond our community. The other thing is that the time I spend in this role would be time that people can feel confident that I did my best … and that people would see a positive impact from my time spent on this school board.

8 • June 2024 Hoover Sun
Shelley Shaw, former executive director of the Hoover City Schools Foundation and newly appointed Hoover Board of Education member, at Aldridge Gardens. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney

Kelley signs off school board after 10 years

Craig Kelley will be the first to tell you he is not an educator, but he has spent the past 10 years working to improve public education in the city of Hoover by serving as a member of the Hoover school board.

His second five-year term concludes May 31, and numerous public officials took time in May to praise Kelley for his dedication and exemplary service.

State Rep. Mike Shaw, a former Hoover councilman, during the school board’s regular May meeting read a proclamation passed by the Alabama House of Representatives commending Kelley for his countless hours of service to the school system and residents of Hoover.

“Mr. Kelley has been a tireless champion of public schools,” Shaw said.

Kelley, who served as president of the board from 2018 to 2020 and vice president from 2017 to 2018, played a key role in navigating through pivotal changes and key events in the school system’s history, Shaw said.

He helped hire three superintendents, pass a school rezoning plan and approve numerous capital improvement projects, including the purchase of Riverchase Middle School from Pelham City Schools in 2017 and conversion of that school into the Riverchase Career Connection Center.

Other capital improvement projects during his tenure included an addition at Berry Middle School, demolition and preservation of various parts of the old Bluff Park School, a new band room and performing arts center at Hoover High, a theater upgrade underway at Spain Park High and upgrades to the baseball and softball complexes, football fields and tracks at both high schools.

“He has shown steadfast conviction and visionary leadership to the board, and his contributions have greatly benefited students, faculty, administrators and staff of the schools that the board serves,” Shaw said.

State Rep. David Faulkner, said that, in terms of communicating with legislators about public education issues, Kelley has been one of the most active school board members from any of the cities that he represents. “I admire his passion and dedication,” Faulkner said. “It’s unquestioned.”

Kermit Kendrick, the current school board president, said, “Mr. Kelley has provided a strong voice of reason, common sense and balance, and he’s provided very valuable advice to the superintendent and fellow board members.”

Kelley also led the push to get authorization from the Legislature and Hoover City Council to allow Hoover residents to vote on whether to raise their property taxes by 2.4 mills, to get to the maximum millage rate allowed by state law — 75 mills.

While authorization for that vote was granted

by the Legislature, the vote still has not taken place. Kelley said school officials decided to hold off on that election for several reasons. One is that property tax revenues have been rising anyway due to significant increases in property values, and another is that recent votes to increase property taxes in other cities such as Homewood and Vestavia Hills have been unsuccessful, he said.

Kelley said he’s going to miss serving on the school board, but he decided not to seek a third term because 10 years is a long time, and it’s time to give a chance for someone else to serve. He’s getting older and wants to spend more time with his grandchildren, he said.

Serving on the school board is more than just coming to a meeting once a month. It involves a lot of study about issues in between meetings, communication with a variety of stakeholders

and elected officials, Kelley said. “It is very time-consuming.”

Kelley took part in hiring Superintendents Kathy Murphy, Dee Fowler and Kevin Maddox, as well as two interim superintendents, Jim Reese and Tera Simmons.

“That’s the toughest short-term responsibility on this board that has such a long-term impact,” Kelley said.

If the board messes up hiring the wrong person as superintendent or chief school finance officer, that’s a real problem, he said. “That’s an awful lot of pressure.”

Kelley said some of the other biggest challenges he faced on the school board were the COVID-19 pandemic and redrawing of school attendance zones. Read more of what Kelley had to say about those issues in a longer version of this story at hooversun.com.

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State legislators David Faulkner, left, and Mike Shaw, center, congratulate Hoover school board member Craig Kelley on 10 years of service with the school board at his last regular board meeting on May 18. Photo by Jon Anderson.


Business Happenings


Capstone Communities recently opened The Cottages at Greystone, a 189-unit development at 7273 Cahaba Valley Road. The community offers cottage apartments, each with a private fenced yard and one to three bedrooms, as well as one-bedroom lofts and carriage units. There also is a clubhouse, fitness center, pool, pavilions, grill stations, sidewalks and a dog park. The community was designed by Nequette Architecture & Design and built by CBI Construction Services. 205-722-1880, liveatthecottagesatgreystone.com

Mark Meadows, the owner/operator of the Chick-fil-A franchise in Inverness, on May 2 opened a second Chick-fil-A location just down the street, at Inverness Corners at 5331 Valleydale Road. The new location is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Meadows said in a press release he plans to keep the other Inverness location open as well. The new location offers curbside pickup but doesn’t have a drive-thru. 205-963-0001, chick-fil-a.com/locations/al/ valleydale-in-line

Lawley Counseling, founded by Rachel Lawley in 2021, has opened an office at 1318 Alford Ave., Suite 101. The counseling clinic works with individuals, couples and families and specializes in anxiety, depression, trauma and relationship issues. 205-784-8410, lawleycounseling.com

Tradition Physical Therapy had a grand opening and ribbon cutting scheduled for May 29 for its new office in the Lake Crest Center at 2321 John Hawkins Parkway, Suite 119. 205-409-0120, traditionpt.com


Urgent Vet plans to open a new location in the Hoover Crossings shopping center at 1539 Montgomery Highway. The business offers veterinary care for injuries and illnesses that require immediate attention but aren’t serious enough to merit a trip to a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital. urgentvet.com


The Walmart Supercenter at 2780 John Hawkins Parkway recently held a grand reopening following a renovation of the store. Part of the renovation included the installation of a 19-foot-high mural paying homage to Hoover High School and other landmarks in the city. Walmart also presented grant checks to several organizations, including the Hoover Fire Department, March of Dimes, Little Imaginations School, The Gathering Mentoring Outreach, American Lung Associates and Community Grief Support Service. 205-733-0303, walmart.com


The Hoover City Council on April 15 gave approval for the Stone Age III Korean BBQ & Hotpot, located at 3340 Galleria Circle, to begin selling a full slate of alcoholic beverages. 205-238-5205

MyEyeDr., at 1686 Montgomery Highway, is among 10 optometry practices nationally named as a 2024 Best Practice by CooperVision, a manufacturer of contact lenses. All U.S. optometry practices currently fitting contact lenses were eligible for consideration. Honorees were selected by a panel of judges made up of past Best Practices honorees and optometry industry experts. Evaluation was based on insights and experiences shared about the practices’ innovation, patient experience and practice culture.

205-979-2020, myeyedr.com

Galleria Woods, 3850 Galleria Woods Drive, has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a 2024 Best Assisted Living and Independent Living Community. U.S. News awards the designation of “Best Senior Living” only to those communities that satisfy its statistical assessment of performance on consumer satisfaction surveys administered in the previous two calendar years. Only the highest-rated communities in each care level earned a “best” rating. For its 2024 Best Senior Living ratings, U.S. News rated nearly 3,500 communities on several criteria, including resident and family members’ satisfaction with safety, care, community management and staff, value and other services and amenities provided by the community.

205-277-6915, galleriawoodsseniorliving.com

Capstone Building Corp., based in Meadow Brook Corporate Park at 1200 Corporate Drive, Suite 350, has begun construction on an 86-unit apartment community in Pensacola alongside developer Interlude Residential. The community will have two apartment buildings spanning 106,749 square feet and will include units with one to three bedrooms, a clubhouse, fitness center, co-working space, pool and pool house. The complex, unnamed as of late April, is expected to open in 2025.

205-803-5226, capstonebuilding.com


Pam Huff, a news anchor for ABC 33/40 for 27 years, retired from TV journalism on May 24. Huff has been a journalist for 50 years, including 47 years in the Birmingham-Hoover metro area. Before coming to ABC 33/40, Huff worked 20 years for Channel 13, where she became the first woman to anchor an evening news broadcast in the Birmingham market.

Stephen Quinn, another news anchor for ABC 33/40, had his last newscast with the station on April 22. He was with ABC 33/40 8 years, including 2 years as a news anchor. The station is based at 800 Concourse Parkway #200. 205-403-3340, abc3340.com

Meredith Carpenter has joined the Wheeles & Garmon Attorneys firm at 5000 Southlake Park, Suite 150. She has 14 years of experience in domestic relations and juvenile court cases and is branching into civil litigation. Partners Todd Wheeles and Matt Garmon have more than 25 years of combined legal expertise in civil litigation. 205-683-2077, wheelesgarmonattorneys.com

Kobe Floyd has joined RealtySouth’s Inverness office at 109 Inverness Plaza #4800, and Trenton Graves has joined RealtySouth’s Over-the-Mountain office at 2409 Acton Road, Suite 137. Both are Realtors. Kobe Floyd: 205-991-6565, Trenton Graves: 334332-4170; realtysouth.com

Steve Boggan, president and CEO of BioHorizons at 2300 Riverchase Center, has been named one of three new members to the executive management committee of BioHorizons’ parent company, Henry Schein Boggan joined BioHorizons in 1995 and has been president and CEO since 1999. The company makes dental implants and biologics products. BioHorizons was acquired by Henry Schein in 2013. Boggan recently was named co-CEO of Henry Schein’s Global Oral Reconstruction Group, along with Bianka Wilson. Boggan will lead Henry Schein’s commercial operations in North and South America and the Middle East, as well as global marketing. He and Wilson join Tom Popeck, CEO of Henry Schein’s Healthcare Specialties Group, as new members of the executive management committee. 888-246-8338, biohorizons.com

Two long-standing board members of Regions Corp. have retired. They are Charles McCrary, who joined the board 23 years ago and has served as board chairman since 2019, and John Johns, who joined the board in 2011 and has served as chairman of the risk committee since 2016. Regions CEO John Turner has been appointed chairman of the board, and Jim Prokopanki is now chairman of the risk committee. Ruth Ann Marshall has been named as the lead independent director. Regions has an operations center at 2090 Parkway Office Circle and numerous branches in Hoover. 800-734-4667, regions.com


Mellow Mushroom, which has a location at 920 Inverness Corners, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Atlanta-based restaurant chain has more than 160 locations across 17 states. 205-981-9914, mellowmushroom.com


Walgreens has closed its pharmacy and store in the Hoover Commons shopping center at 1615 Montgomery Highway. walgreens.com

Business News to Share?

Do you have news to share with the community about a business in Hoover or the greater Birmingham area? Let us know at starnesmedia.com/ business-happenings

10 • June 2024 Hoover Sun
Graves Floyd

Immigrant entrepreneur leads Hoover chamber for 2024

The Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce has had women leading its board and at least one Black business leader. This year, it has a chairman who was born in another country.

Rohen Porbanderwala, who was born in Mumbai, India, and emigrated to the United States in 2002, was elected chairman of the board for the Hoover chamber and began his term in January.

Porbanderwala owns the Lake Crest Chevron and nine other convenience stores in Alabama. When he came to the United States in 2002, he first moved to Atlanta. His family had been in the timber and hardware business in India, but he started working in a convenience store in Atlanta, he said.

When he and his wife had their first child in 2004, he decided it was time to make a move to increase their income. Someone told them about the Birmingham-Hoover area, and they had to look it up on a map to figure out where it was, Porbanderwala said.

They ended up buying the Lake Crest Chevron on John Hawkins Parkway and moving to Hoover. Initially, they lived along Lorna Road, but now they have a home in Ross Bridge.

Porbanderwala, who considers himself an entrepreneur and investor, personally manages the convenience store in Lake Crest and another in McCalla, but he also owns two more in Tuscaloosa and six in the Winfield/Guin area, he said.

He got involved with the Hoover chamber in 2007, briefly served as a chamber ambassador and now is in his fourth year on chamber’s board of directors and third year on the chamber’s Government Relations Committee.

He is a 2020 graduate of Leadership Hoover and 2021 graduate of the Small Business Administration Emerging Leaders program. He also just finished his sixth year on the board of the Alabama Merchants Association, serving this past year as vice president, and he has

served on the Hoover Board of Zoning Adjustment for about 1½ years. He has been a volunteer for the United Way’s Meals on Wheels program since 2020, working out of the Hoover Senior Center, he said.

Since becoming chairman of the chamber, “it’s been a good ride so far,” Porbanderwala said.

The chamber has retained The Chason Group to help find its next president and CEO after

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Toni Herrera-Bast resigned in November to take a job with the FBI. Porbanderwala said the chamber’s board hoped to have a new president and CEO by the end of May.

“We’re not trying to get an office manager,” he said. “We want a next-level CEO who knows and understands Hoover — the diversity, the Elevate Hoover project we’re into — understands all the facets of running a chamber.”

Tom Micelotta, whom the board had hired as a consultant to help with its Elevate Hoover visioning and fundraising project, has been doing a phenomenal job as interim president and CEO, Porbanderwala said.

The Elevate Hoover campaign is in its first of five years. The goal is to raise $3 million over five years, and as of early May the chamber was at about 65% of its $600,000 goal for this year, Porbanderwala said.

The board hired a new part-time events coordinator, Jessica Armstrong, a few months ago. The chamber is trying to make itself more available to all businesses by making all events except chamber luncheons free to attend, Porbanderwala said. In the past, non-members were charged to attend events such as Coffee & Contacts and After Hours events, he said.

The board also has tried to re-energize its ambassador program (now with about 25 ambassadors) and is trying to enhance its small business programming through a partnership with the Small Business Administration, he said. To help foster more economic growth, the chamber is hiring a marketing and branding company to rebrand the city and build a more robust website, Porbanderwala said.

This December, the board plans to hold a new event — a black-tie annual meeting and gala to review the past year and present a new slate of officers for the following year.

So far, this year has been productive, with 80 new members joining since January and the retention rate for renewal memberships increasing by 30%, Porbanderwala said. The chamber had 1,075 members as of early May.

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Rohen Porbanderwala speaks to guests at the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce stateof-the-city luncheon after being introduced as the new chamber board chairman at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham — The Wynfrey Hotel. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.


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Aldridge gears up for Hydrangeas Under the Stars

Aldridge Gardens is holding its 21st annual Hydrangeas Under the Stars fundraiser on Friday, June 21.

Guests will gather at the main house at Aldridge at 6 p.m. for a reception and silent auction and then move to the outdoor pavilion at 7 p.m. for dinner and a live auction.

Tre Luna Catering is providing hors d'oeuvres and the dinner, which includes boneless braised beef short ribs, parmesan polenta, ratatouille, salad, rolls and white chocolate bread pudding.

Live auction items will include a four-hour rental of the Aldridge house or pavilion, a fourhour rental of the Hoover Randle Home & Gardens and four tickets to the Ho-Ho-Hoover Randle open house at Christmas time, a full set of tires not to exceed $2,000 in value from Hendrick Hoover Auto Mall, a one-week stay at the White Sands townhomes in Pensacola Beach, a four-course dinner for 10 at Aldridge Gardens by Savoie Catering (with wine pairings), a fivenight stay for two at Los Suenos Marriott or JW Marriott Guanacaste in Costa Rica, and a 15-inch-tall bronze sculpture by Nelson Grice.

Silent auction items will include a dinner for 10 people by Tre Luna, a lunch for 10 people by Happy Catering, a lunch for 10 people by R&S Catering, a “Visit North Alabama” package including an overnight stay at the Jefferson Hotel in Huntsville, a “Visit Auburn” package including a stay at the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center, a “Visit Tuscaloosa” package including a stay at the Hotel Capstone and a framed Daniel Moore print, a Hoover restaurant gift card package, handcrafted jewelry from Idlewild, a gift certificate to T. Fox Salon,

artwork by local artists, an outdoor table and chairs, a battery-powered lawn mower and hotel stays at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham — The Wynfrey Hotel, Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa and Valley Hotel in Homewood.

Hoover Council President John Lyda is scheduled to serve as the live auctioneer, and Mayor Frank Brocato and his wife, Frances

Brocato, are the honorary hosts.

About 120 people attended last year’s Hydrangeas Under the Stars fundraiser, which raised more than $50,000 for the gardens, said Tynette Lynch, the executive director of the nonprofit that supports the gardens and puts on the event.

Proceeds from the event are used for

educational programming at the gardens and projects to grow the gardens as part of its master plan, Lynch said.

“We’re pretty excited and looking forward to it, and praying for good weather,” she said. Tickets for Hydrangeas Under the Stars cost $275, or $2,200 for a table of eight. To order tickets, go to aldridgegardens.com.


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About 120 people attended the 2023 Hydrangeas Under the Stars fundraiser at Aldridge Gardens in June 2023. Photo courtesy of Diana Knight.
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Lady Bucs finish as state runner-up

The Hoover High School girls soccer program has often played second fiddle to some of the more tradition-rich programs in the Birmingham area.

That changed this year, as the Bucs made a run to the Class 7A state championship. Hoover fell to Auburn 1-0 in the state final at John Hunt Park in Huntsville on May 11, the Bucs first runner-up finish since 1999.

“All credit to Auburn. Their back line was incredible,” Hoover head coach Nick Smith said. “Our girls left it all out there. We outshot them, we just couldn’t get one to go.”

Hoover outshot Auburn 12-5 in the final, but Auburn’s Peyton Bishop scored the game’s only goal in the 26th minute of the first half, after a ball got away from the Hoover defense. The Bucs had a few high-danger chances, but Auburn (20-3-1) had enough to claim its first state championship in program history.

“It just wasn’t our day,” said Smith, who’s in his second year with the program.

Hoover put together a season and a playoff run to remember. The Bucs posted a record of 21-5-2 and shut out the likes of Oak Mountain, Vestavia Hills and Huntsville on the way to the state championship game.

“First and foremost, they’re really good soccer players. They’re talented girls and they play for each other,” Smith said. “That’s been our mantra the last two years. Above all else, be a good teammate. They buy into that and love playing with each other and for each other.”

The semifinal game was played May 9, with the Bucs beating Huntsville 3-0. Dee Dee Udeh, Nneka Udeh and Elise Marquardt scored the goals, with Lane Morton keeping the clean sheet in goal.

Smith said he knew the Bucs were capable of putting together a strong playoff run, although they continued focusing on each match individually.

“It was magical and I hope, as we get away from it, we can be proud of it and this season we had,” he said.

Holly Kenes, Brooke Nettles, Abby Leader, Nneka Udeh, Sage Thomas, Lola Clark and Brooklyn Gernenz were the Bucs’ seniors this season.

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Left: Head coach Nick Smith speaks after the Class 7A state championship game at John Hunt Park in Huntsville on May 11. Hoover fell to Auburn 1-0. Below: Hoover ’s Sage Thomas (21) passes the ball. Photos by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

Far left: Hoover’s Bradley Shaw competes in the boys discus throw during the AHSAA Class 7A Section 3 track and field sectionals at HewittTrussville Stadium on April 27.

Left: Hoover competes in the girls 4x400.

Bucs sweep state outdoor titles again

The track and field programs at Hoover High School seem virtually unstoppable at this point.

The Bucs prevailed at the Class 7A state outdoor meet in Gulf Shores on May 2-4, sweeping the boys and girls state titles in dominant fashion. It’s the third straight year that Hoover’s boys and girls have swept the indoor and outdoor state titles over the school year.

Hoover’s boys more than doubled the point total of anyone else, scoring 156.5 points for the meet. Vestavia Hills finished second with 73 points. James Clemens, Bob Jones and Auburn rounded out the top five.

Hoover’s girls scored 90.5 points to win, with Hewitt-Trussville scoring 71 points. Auburn, Foley and Chelsea also finished in the top five.

The boys 4x100-meter relay was victorious, running the race in 41.58 seconds to win.

Bradley Shaw won the shot put competition, throwing a personal best of 55 feet, 10.75 inches, followed by teammate Nigel Thomas. Collin Pate and Norman Settles were the top two finishers in pole vault, each reaching 15 feet.

Grant Weighall was the best in javelin and discus throw. He reached a personal best of 197 feet, 9 inches, in javelin and won discus at 166

feet, 7 inches.

Several other Bucs reached the podium.

Jordan Woolen finished second in the 200meter run, second in high jump and third in the 100. RJ Torbor was second in the 110-meter hurdles and Denver Cash finished second in the 300 hurdles. Charles Crowder was second in long jump and third in triple jump. The 4x400 relay team posted a second-place finish.

On the girls side, Nyel Settles took the top prize in high jump, clearing the bar at 5 feet, 6 inches. Teammate Lila Discua gave the Bucs a 1-2 finish by clearing 5 feet, 4 inches.

The relay team in the 4x400 crossed the line first, running the race in 3:53.

Taylor Canada reached the podium in the 200, finishing third. She also finished fourth in the 100. Daisy Luna was second in the 400, Isabella Maple was second in pole vault and Dasya Harold finished third in triple jump.

Dallas Beck (two events), Cannon Peters (two events), Zander Dakis, Omari Bryant, McKenzie Blackledge, Sydney Durban, Cassie Richardson, Lucy Benoit and Becca Guerard were among the other Hoover athletes to earn points for the team.

Spain Park’s Delaney Vickers won the 3,200 in 11 minutes. She was also second in the 800 and 1,600. Zachary Erickson posted a thirdplace result in the discus throw.

HooverSun.com June 2024 • 17
Photos by Richard Force.

Bucs tennis teams compete at state tournament

The Hoover High School tennis teams capped off a strong season by competing at the Class 7A state tournament in Mobile on April 22-23.

Hoover’s boys earned a fourthplace finish in the team competition, with the girls finishing fifth. Vestavia Hills swept both the boys and girls titles, with the Florence boys and Auburn girls earning runner-up trophies.

“I was happy that all the kids fought really hard,” second-year Hoover coach Josh Coger said.

“We were right there, competing the whole way, and didn’t give up even after losing a set. That’s the main thing I was proud of. We gave ourselves a chance.”

Hoover’s boys and girls finished as runners-up at the section tournament the week prior to qualify for state for the second straight year.

There were only a few titles available outside of the Vestavia stranglehold on the tournament, but Hoover’s Kristina Hwangpo won the individual title at No. 4 singles, defeating Hanbi Youn of Auburn in the final. On the boys side, Wyler Washburn advanced to the No. 6 singles final, where he finished second to Parker Liu of Vestavia.

Hoover’s girls did return home with a trophy, as they received the sportsmanship award, given to the team that showed high character on the courts. That is most evident in making line calls, not cheering for opponent mistakes and even treating injured players with respect.

“It speaks to the character of all the girls,” Coger said. “The seniors set the example and everyone else follows. They fought hard.”

Also competing in singles competition for the Hoover boys were Jackson Plugge, Asim Virani, Samit Virani, Diego Harris and Krish Jaikumar. Samit Virani, Harris and Jaikumar each won in the first round to advance to the semifinals of their flights.

Asim and Samit Virani played at No. 1 doubles, Harris and Brady Conti played at No. 2, and Plugge and Colby Lawson advanced to the finals at No. 3.

Hannah Hwangpo made it to the semifinals at No. 1 singles on the girls side, Misha Patel played at No. 2, Abby Gobbels at No. 3 reached the semis, Anaya Patel played at No. 5 and Irfa Porbanderwala played at No. 6.

Hannah Hwangpo and Gobbels played at No. 1 doubles, falling in a third-set tiebreaker in the semifinals. Kristina Hwangpo and Laci Pyron played No. 2, and Anaya Patel and Porbanderwala competed at No. 3.

There were three seniors on each team. Washburn, Plugge and Jaikumar were senior leaders on the boys team, with Pyron, Gobbels and Kristina Hwangpo playing their final seasons for the girls squad.

“They really stepped up this year,” Coger said. “They helped me out and made sure everyone on the team was doing what they were supposed to. It was a player-led team, and those are the teams that go the furthest.”

18 • June 2024 Hoover Sun Fill your roster. |Day Care Programs |Distance Learning Guides |Private Schools |Art/Music Lessons |Tutoring Services |Fall/Summer Camps Share the story of your program with the readers looking for you! Email dan@starnesmedia.com for your Education Guide Strategy Session
Hoover High School’s girls tennis team, above, and boys team, top, at the Class 7A state tournament in Mobile on April 23. Photos courtesy of Josh Coger.

Hubbard joining hometown program

Playing in Bartow Arena, even as a visitor, clearly had an impact on Aniya Hubbard.

So much so that Hubbard is transferring to the UAB women’s basketball program, following two years playing at Florida Atlantic University.

While at FAU, Hubbard played twice at UAB. During her most recent visit to Birmingham, she led her team with 23 points.

In both visits, Hubbard had a robust cheering section, with plenty of friends and family coming out to support the hometown star.

“I didn’t always play my best, because I was a little nervous,” Hubbard said of her trips back to her hometown. “It was definitely special. It was a feeling I kind of missed, having that support and playing in front of people that I love. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

The Hoover native will get to experience that on a more regular basis moving forward.

“First thing’s first, it’s home,” Hubbard said of the move to UAB. “Even when I came here, I always tried to put my city on my back and make it known where I come from.”

Hubbard graduated from Hoover in 2022, putting together an illustrious career for the Lady Bucs and coach Krystle Johnson. She was part of three state championship teams in her four years in high school.

“I thought it would be good to play at home in front of family and friends. UAB is a good team with a good coaching staff, and it’s everything I needed. I needed to be able to do what I do best and do that in front of my family and friends,” she said.

Hubbard only played in 17 games as a sophomore at FAU, but she averaged 17 points and 5 rebounds per game. That came on the heels of a freshman campaign that saw her win Conference USA Freshman of the Year, as she went for 14.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest.

“We are excited to bring Aniya Hubbard

play at home in front of family and friends.

UAB is a good team with a good coaching staff, and it’s everything I needed.
” I thought it would be good to

home to Birmingham,” UAB head coach Randy Norton said in a statement. “She is as fierce of a competitor that I have ever seen and plays with a winning mentality. She loves the game of basketball and has a super high basketball IQ. An athletic wing who is a proven scorer, with the ability to score the ball in multiple ways. Defensively, she is extremely aggressive and creates havoc for her opponents. She will be an outstanding addition to our team.”

Hubbard will be a junior in the upcoming school year, with two years of eligibility remaining. She believes she can be a productive asset to the Blazers.

“I haven’t even reached my full potential,” she said. “Dealing with injuries coming into college, it wasn’t easy. I had a great freshman year, then sophomore year had its ups and downs. I’m still working hard and improving my game. Right now, I’m taking those next steps to elevate my game.”

Hubbard said she believes UAB can soon make a return to the NCAA Tournament and she wants to be part of that.

“I was looking at a couple schools and was coming in with a clear heart, but I fell in love with it,” she said. “I had that feeling that it was home.”

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Jason Lybrand, CPA, MBA Aniya Hubbard, a 2022 graduate of Hoover High School, is transferring to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to continue her education and basketball career. Photo by Ken Shepherd, UAB.

Kisor takes reins of Jags volleyball

Spain Park High School has hired a volleyball coach on the rise, with the hopes that he can keep the Jags at a prestigious level.

Justin Kisor has been selected as the new Spain Park volleyball coach, coming to the Jags following four years at Fort Payne. He led the Wildcats to the Class 6A state tournament in 2023, taking the program from 18 wins in his first year to 38 last year.

“That’s always been a school we’ve wanted to get to,” Kisor said of Spain Park. “It is a premier spot in Alabama and volleyball and is a top program. … When the opportunity arose, it was something we couldn’t say no to.”

Previous Jags coach Kellye Bowen recently took a job at Jasper High, a homecoming of sorts for her. In her 10 years at Spain Park, she built the program into a perennial contender and won the 7A state championship in 2021.

“My vision for Spain Park is to carry on what Kellye did a great job at, having a tradition and a winning program. We want to see if we can take it to new heights,” Kisor said. “The Lord has blessed us tremendously with having success everywhere, and we want to continue that. We want it to be the best program in the state.”

Kisor, a Glencoe graduate, was first introduced to indoor volleyball by helping his cousin at Cedar Bluff High. That turned into a job as the head coach at Faith Christian, where he coached for three years and made a trip to the state final four.

Kisor then took a job at Pell City, but he never coached a match there because an opportunity arose at Fort Payne for him and his , Ashley, who played volleyball at Snead State and has helped him coach at each stop along the way.

He has been tasked with building programs in his previous stops, but Kisor inherits one on solid footing at Spain Park.

“We don’t have to come in here and redo anything or rewrite the script of what’s been going on,” he said. “We’ll just throw some of our spice and add some to it and hope that’s a winning combination.”

In 2023, Bowen’s Jags started slow, but the team gradually improved throughout the year and peaked at the end. They ended up winning the Area 6 tournament and ultimately advancing to the state tournament.

Kisor hopes to continue that competitive level at Spain Park by “going about it the right way.”

“Doing things the right way, working hard, being a good teammate and being a good

“Nobody thought we would do what we did,” Bowen said. “We had just graduated eight seniors and two All-Americans, so this was supposed to be a rebuilding year. I refuse that, because I’m extremely competitive.”

person. That’s going to be the biggest thing for us early on is them trusting me and Ashley. If we can build that trust, that’s a winning formula,” he said.

Kisor said he knew a few of the Spain Park players before taking the job and was eager to get going. Once the month of June arrives, it will be full speed ahead.

The 2024 season begins in late August.

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Justin Kisor, Spain Park High School’s new volleyball coach, with his family, from left: Layla Kirby, wife Ashley and baby Millie. Photo courtesy of Justin Kisor.

Have a community announcement? Email Jon Anderson at janderson@starnesmedia.com to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

By combining two of his passions — fitness and philanthropy — Forrest Walden’s vision is bringing clean water to places in desperate need of it across the world.

May marked another record-setting Workout for Water event across Iron Tribe Fitness locations in the metro area. Participants gathered at Iron Tribe gyms to sweat it up while raising money for Walden’s clean water nonprofit, Neverthirst.

Walden launched Iron Tribe in 2010, starting with its original location in Homewood and expanding to locations in Hoover, Mountain Brook, downtown Birmingham and a new location that opened earlier this year on U.S. 280.

That same year, he helped launch Neverthirst, with the goal of raising money and awareness for the millions of people who lack access to clean and safe drinking water in Africa and southeast Asia.

At May’s workout, Iron Tribe members completed their workouts while carrying filled water jugs, symbolic of the hardships those in impoverished areas often undertake

to bring clean water to their families.

The one-day event in the metro gyms raised more than $614,000 and brought the 14-year total for the event to more than $6.2 million. Other Iron Tribes across the country will add to that total in events later this year.

Neverthirst has identified and serves 14 areas in eight countries that are in dire need of clean water, in regions such as India, Nepal, Cambodia, Niger, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia.

This year’s Workout for Water was particularly special for Walden and his wife, Mendy. While on an early Neverthirst trip to Ethiopia several years ago, they were moved to adopt a son from that country.

“It's super exciting to know that all the funds being raised today are going to go directly to the home country of my son, the place I've been twice, people I've fallen in love with, beautiful people who need clean water and they need access to the gospel, and both of those things are happening through this event,” Walden said.

To learn more or make a contribution visit neverthirstwater.org.

HooverSun.com June 2024 • 21 Community
Kick-Off High School Football Season with Your Brand Front and Center. GROW HOW CAN YOU GROW THIS SEASON? Email dan@starnesmedia.com for your Football Sponsorship Strategy Session.
Workout for water
Mendy and Forrest Walden participate in the 14th annual Workout for Water event at Iron Tribe Fitness in Homewood on May 3. The event raised a record $614,000 in the Birminghammetro area, bringing the 14-year total to $6.2 million. Workout for Water provides clean water to communities in Ethiopia. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.
Tribe founder’s annual event raises record amount to provide fresh water for places in need

get awayFOR A DAY

Spend a day with American patriots in the 18th century

Enjoy red, white and blue all-American family fun this summer at the American Village. The “Hidden Heroes: Revolutionary Spy Adventure” offers something for patriots of all ages. Learn to become a spy, outsmart the redcoat forces and join the Continental Army. Read the Village Gazette upon your arrival at the Visitors Center to find out each day’s revolutionary events. Food trucks will be onsite every Saturday.

Starting Friday, May 31, escape the heat at the cinema. The summer film series will run every other Friday evening (May 31, June 14 and 28, July 12 and 26) in the West Wing of Independence Hall theatre. No admission is required, but a donation is suggested. Beer, wine and food trucks will be available on Constitution Green to provide refreshments before the film. Enjoy the American Arts & Crafts Fair on Saturday, June 1. See painters, soap makers, potters, jewelry makers, wood workers and metal workers create and sell their works.

On July 4, join your family, friends and neighbors at the American Village to celebrate Independence Day 1776! Fun, food, fireworks… you’ll find it all, bigger and better than ever. Admission is $5 for adults and free to veterans, active military and children 4 and younger. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the family-friendly fun lasts through

American Village Where: 3727 Alabama 119, Montevallo

Summer hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (June-July)

Admission: Adults $11, students and youth (ages 5-17) $10, seniors $9, and free for veterans, active military and children ages 4 and younger Call: 205-665-3535 Web: americanvillage.org

twilight’s last gleaming.

For a complete schedule of summer events, visit the American Village online at americanvillage.org.

Summer is the perfect time for families to enjoy the zoo

Summer, with long days and gorgeous weather, is the perfect time for families to enjoy outdoor attractions like the Birmingham Zoo.

Covering 122 acres, the zoo is home to 550 animals of 180 species from six continents, including zebras, orangutans, elephants and a jaguar.

The only Alabama zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the facility draws 500,000 visitors annually.

Visitors can see the Birmingham Zoo’s new baby giraffe, Mopane (pronounced Mo-Paw-Nee). The first giraffe born at the zoo since 2014, Mopane was born in April to mother Ruby and father Jalil, with the help of the zoo’s animal care team.

“We’re overjoyed to welcome this beautiful baby giraffe to our zoo family,” said Chris Pfefferkorn, the zoo’s CEO and President, calling the birth “another step” in the zoo’s work to help conserve giraffes.

There are lots of animal experiences at the zoo, including goat walks and bird feedings, some at the Junior League of Birmingham Hugh Kaul Children’s Zoo.

Visitors can also enjoy riding the Red Diamond Express Train and climbing the Full Moon Bar-B-Que Adventure Tower.

The zoo also hosts special summer events:

► June 8: Zoo Brews, with craft breweries and food trucks. 6-9 p.m. Ages 21 and older.

► June 15: Pancakes and Princesses, an enchanted day in a magical court of characters during the Royal Pancakes and Princesses Breakfast. 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For even more fun year-round, become

Birmingham Zoo

Where: 2630 Cahaba Road

Hours: Wednesday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call: 205-879-0409

Web: birminghamzoo.com

a member. Members enjoy unlimited visits as well as discounts on events, camps, classes and more.

Located at 2630 Cahaba Road, the zoo is open Wednesday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, including membership packages, go to birminghamzoo.com or call 205-879-0409.


Come enjoy a hands-on, immersive experience at the Cook Museum of Natural Science

At the Cook Museum of Natural Science in downtown Decatur, visitors of all ages learn about the wonders of nature — and not by looking passively at dry, dull, traditional displays.

Instead, they enjoy an exciting, handson, immersive experience featuring state-of-the-art interactive exhibits.

Less than 90 minutes from Birmingham, the facility is open seven days a week all summer and offers families the chance to make amazing memories together.

The Cook Museum will mark a big milestone on June 7 when it celebrates its fifth anniversary at its current location.

“Since opening in 2019, the museum has continued to find new ways to fulfill its mission to engage, excite and educate visitors, and we’re honored to celebrate this special milestone,” said Kara Long, the museum’s Director of Collections and Gallery Experience.

Visitors can take part in the celebration during the museum’s fun, exciting Fifth Year Anniversary Weekend June 8 and 9. In addition, the museum will host a Member Appreciation Day on Saturday, July 13, with games, crafts and snacks. More information on these big events will be available soon.

The museum is also celebrating its anniversary by opening yet another exciting, interactive experience — the Mining Sluice. This new hands-on, outdoors experience allows visitors to mine — and take home — their very own gemstones. Different sizes of mining bags loaded with hidden treasures are available for purchase in the Courtyard.

The Mining Sluice will be open on select days and have special operating

hours that are weather dependent and vary from the museum's exhibit hours. General Museum admission is required.

“We are thrilled to offer another interactive educational experience to our visitors with the addition of Cook Museum Mining Co.,” Long said. “We hope the excitement of mining gemstones inspires memories and learning in all ages. That's what the Cook Museum is all about.”

The Mining Sluice is a great addition

Reed Real Estate offers huge summer savings on great beach homes

The Fort Morgan/ Gulf Shores area, with gorgeous, white-sand beaches, is a perfect getaway just four hours from Birmingham. Reed Real Estate offers a huge assortment of private homes from 1 to 9 bedrooms located directly on the beach or just steps away.

The local agents at family-owned Reed Real Estate in Gulf Shores can help you find your perfect rental. Reed Real Estate is one of the few remaining locally owned vacation-rental companies in Gulf Shores and has served the area for more than 35 years.

Reed Real Estate Where: 3358 Alabama 180, Fort Morgan/Gulf Shores Call: 800-678-2306

Web: gulfrentals.com

The reservationists at Reed Real Estate know the homes personally and provide a personal service you won’t receive from some of the large, national companies. Take advantage of these exclusive offers just for you.

Discounts include:

► 30% off weekly arrivals now through June 2 with coupon code LM3024

► 15% off remaining June weeks with coupon code JUNE15-24

► $300 off July weeks with coupon code BCHPLS300

► Book at least 3 days, and get an additional day free with coupon code SUMMERFD24

To check availability, call us or go to the specials page on our website. Reed offers something for every family size and budget, including pet-friendly properties, rentals with pools, houses for large groups and budget-friendly or summer daily rentals.

Book online at gulfrentals.com or call a friendly reservationist at 800-678-2306.

Note: Discounts available for future bookings only in participating homes. Discount must be mentioned at time of booking.

Cook Museum of Natural Science Where: 133 4th Ave. NE, Decatur Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; Noon to 5 p.m. Sundays (from Memorial Day to Labor Day) Call: 256-351-4505 Web: cookmuseum.org

celebrating the museum’s fifth anniversary.

► Monthly Giveaways: Each month Cook Museum will host a week-long social media giveaway with amazing prizes. Follow the Cook Museum on Facebook and Instagram for more information and to enter to win.

► Membership Gift: Throughout 2024, a commemorative tote bag and sticker will be given out to each membership purchased or renewed.

to the museum’s other cool experiences. Attendees touch a meteorite. They climb to the top of Big Tree. They’re mesmerized by moon jellies. They build a volcano and watch it erupt.

“Hands-on, immersive experiences engage people through more than listening, reading or watching,” said Joy Harris, the Cook Museum’s marketing coordinator.

In addition to big events, there are other ways visitors can participate in

► Doodle Bug Activity Guide: Visitors to the museum can take home a Doodle Bug Activity Guide, packed full of fun ways to continue the learning at home and online at Discovery Hub after your visit. Offered while supplies last.

As always, the museum also offers a great lineup of classes, camps and special events.

For more information about the Cook Museum, including hours, admission prices and memberships, call 256-3514505 or go to cookmuseum.org.

For more about the Museum's Fifth Year Anniversary, visit cookmuseum. org/five.

Build trust with local homeowners.

Make sure your business is the first one homeowners call when they’re looking to remodel and redesign their home. Email dan@starnesmedia.com for your

HooverSun.com June 2024 • 23
Garden Strategy Session


CONTINUED from page 1

The idea is to combine five pieces of property and turn them into Bluff Park Preserve, preventing development of the forested area along Shades Crest Road and celebrating several historical sites.

The biggest piece of the puzzle is an 18-acre piece of property known as the Hale Springs property. It is divided into two parcels — a roughly 6-acre narrow parcel parallel to Shades Crest Road and a roughly 12-acre triangle-shaped parcel going down Shades Mountain.

Other parts of the proposed preserve include a .41-acre parcel immediately northeast of the Hale Springs property (owned by the Friends of Shades Mountain), the former Tip Top Grill property and a small parcel known as Sunset Rock, right next to the Tip Top Grill site.


The Hale Springs property contains at least two historical springs: a freestone spring about 100 feet off Shades Crest Road and a chalybeate spring (meaning the water is full of iron salts) further down the mountain.

“It was the source of water for Native Americans and everybody else up there [on Shades Mountain] until they could build wells,” said Marjorie White, director of the Birmingham Historical Society. After wells were dug and residents tied into the Birmingham water system, the springs were somewhat forgotten, but “from my perspective, it’s an A1 historic site,” White said. “The view there is utterly spectacular.”

The property is very steep and would be difficult to develop, but development probably is not impossible given today’s engineering and construction capabilities, said Larry Rodick, president of the Friends of Shades Mountain. His group would rather see it preserved.

The Friends of Shades Mountain recently asked the Forever Wild Land Trust to consider purchasing the Hale Springs property. The same request had been turned down several years ago. This time, the Hale Springs property made a short list of potential acquisitions, and the Forever Wild board of trustees discussed the idea at its quarterly meeting on May 2.

No decision was made, but the Forever Wild board asked several governmental and private entities interested in the preservation of the property to discuss potential options for the land if Forever Wild were to purchase it.

Board members have questions they want more fully explored before making such a decision, including how much the Hale Springs property is worth, more details about how proposed trails would be built and maintained, and where people who visit the property would park their vehicles, said Hoover City Administrator Ken Grimes, who was there to support Forever Wild’s purchase of the site.

There have been varying reports of previous asking prices for the Hale Springs property. The Friends of Shades Mountain wanted to buy the property several years back but couldn’t afford it. Rodick said the asking price then was about $600,000, but the landowner, Ron Roegner, recalls it being about $500,000.

Roegner, who lives across the street from the property, said he bought the Hale Springs property in the early to mid-1990s. While he did try to sell it a few years back, he took it off the market a couple of years ago but has allowed the real estate company to keep its sign there, he said.

There were about 25 people with the Friends of Shades Mountain and Birmingham Historical Society at the May 2 Forever Wild board meeting to show support for the purchase, Grimes said. About half a dozen people spoke, including Grimes, Rodick and Hoover City Planner Mac Martin.

Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Birmingham Council President Darrell O’Quinn, Birmingham Council President Pro Tem Wardine Alexander and Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens all wrote letters in support of the land purchase as well.

The Hale Springs property is in the Birmingham city limits, located right next to property that is in the Hoover city limits as well as 472 acres owned by Jefferson County.

The Freshwater Land Trust has 248 acres not far away, Rodick said.


Grimes is now tasked with bringing together representatives from Hoover, Birmingham, Jefferson County, the Freshwater Land Trust and the state lands director for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to discuss options for the Hale Springs land.

Rodick said he didn’t expect the Forever Wild board to go ahead and vote in favor of purchase of the property on May 2 but was encouraged that the project is still in consideration.

The top priority seems to be finding parking for people who want to visit the property, Rodick said.

One option might be to work out a parking agreement with the owner of the former Tip Top Grill property and/or the small shopping center across the street from the Tip Top Grill site, Rodick said. A few parking spaces could be carved out along certain spots along Shades Crest Road, he added. “All of this is up in the air.”

Regarding trail development and maintenance, the Friends of Shades Mountain already has secured agreements from a Scouting group in Bluff Park, the Southeastern Climbers Coalition and the Friends of the Moss Rock Preserve to help build and maintain trails on the Hale Springs property, Rodick said.

Grimes said Hoover is very supportive of efforts to preserve the Hale Springs property, even though it’s not in Hoover. It’s right next to historic areas in Hoover that include

the former Tip Top Grill property, which is now a vacant building and parking lot, and the Lover’s Leap and Sunset Rock historic landmarks.

The Hale Springs property also ties really well into the city of Hoover’s new Parks and Public Spaces plan, which calls for expanding trail networks in that area, Grimes said. The city of Hoover would like to see it available for public access, he said.

“It has such a unique history with the springs,” Grimes said. “And even with the golf course in the distance, it’s still a beautiful view. … I hope they look at the property for its uniqueness and the value of what it could provide long term — keep it pristine so the public can always enjoy it.”

Grimes said Hoover would even be willing to explore a potential partnership with Birmingham in relation to the Hale Springs property.

“I definitely think it’s all kind of intertwined and has a lot of potential in the future,” he said. “To me there’s definitely an opportunity. We just have to figure out what that looks like.”

Hoover Councilman Casey Middlebrooks said he hiked down to the springs six or seven years ago to see if they were still active and found a trickle of water still seeping through the rocks then. He’s supportive of the idea of preserving Hale Springs, but right now he doesn’t see much investment coming from Hoover since the property is in Birmingham.


Some preservationists say they would love for the city of Hoover to purchase the former Tip Top Grill property, but Rodick said the

owner of that property has not been willing to sell it, instead desiring to open another restaurant there. However, the owner of the Tip Top site was interested in being a part of a preserve, Rodick said.

The Hoover Sun’s efforts to contact the owner of the former Tip Top Grill property were unsuccessful.

Middlebrooks said if that site were to become available, city officials would have to evaluate it and see if such a purchase made financial sense. “We’re definitely willing to have that conversation,” he said.

The Tip Top Grill site supposedly has the actual Lover’s Leap historic site, named after a rock where legend says a Creek Indian man jumped to his death after accidentally killing his prospective bride in a dispute about their arranged marriage. The Lover’s Leap historic marker is on property next door, which also holds Sunset Rock — a group of limestone rocks with a scenic view of Shades Valley.

The Sunset Rock property is owned by the Battle Miller Construction Co., which has an office along Shades Crest Road. However, the owners have indicated a willingness to subdivide their property and donate the historic portion of it, said Jim Langley, a board member with the Hoover Historical Society, which also supports the idea of a Bluff Park Preserve.

Rodick said he hasn’t heard of anyone opposing the idea for the Bluff Park Preserve, but getting the Hale Springs site is the lynchpin of the plan. If Forever Wild can’t buy it, he doesn’t think the Friends of Shades Mountain has the money.

“We’re not a rich organization,” he said. “That would be a mountain to climb.”

24 • June 2024 Hoover Sun
Above: People check out the view at the overlook of Shades Mountain at the former Tip Top Grill in Bluff Park on May 16. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney. Left: Map courtesy of Friends of Shades Mountain.


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Veterans Park (4800 Valleydale Road) has eight new outdoor courts, and there are also six at the tennis courts by Simmons Middle School (1575 Patton Chapel Road). Hunter Street Baptist Church (2600 John Hawkins Parkway) has two outdoor and two indoor courts that are open for public use, and the Hoover Metropolitan Complex (1060 RV Trace) has eight.

Before you go for the first time, check out this rules tutorial to get you started: usapickleball.org/what-is-pickleball/officialrules/rules-summary. The rules may seem complicated, but once you get going, it doesn’t take long to catch on.


With summer heating up, it’s the perfect time to get the kids out to try the Explore Playground and Splash Pad (1060 RV Trace). It offers inclusive play for all ages and ability levels and is open Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit hoover metcomplex.com/a-walk-through-the-exploreplayground-splash-pad.


It’s a little bit outside of Hoover, but Hoover resident Moses Gagakuma at Mo’s Carriages and Trail Rides is ready to make your equestrian dreams come true this summer. He and his horses use a variety of trails along Interstate 65 south of town for their one-hour rides, which run $80 to $90, depending on your group size. He also gives mini lessons before the start of the ride. Check out southern horsecarriages.com/horseback-trail-rides or call 205-492-4667 for more information.


Hoover has two theaters ready to help you enjoy a movie this summer: AMC Patton Creek 15 (4450 Creekside Ave.), which has IMAX screens, and AMC Classic Lee Branch 15 (801 Doug Baker Boulevard), which offers AMC’s three-story BigD screen. Check showtimes at amctheatres.com.


If you guessed these activities were happening at the Hoover Public Library, you were right. Check their calendar this summer for daily events ranging from making your own stress ball to seeing Koo Koo, a high-energy dance duo. For teens, on June 7, there’s a Dungeons and Dragons event, and for everyone, on June 17, there are performances by Li Liu: Acrobat, to name a few. Visit events.hooverlibrary.org for more details.


Close to Hoover’s retail amenities is the Moss Rock Preserve, a 349-acre place so covered in trees, rocks and running water that you’ll feel like you’re miles from civilization. Get out on the 12 miles of trails there this summer, then finish your outing with a meal at Vecchia Pizzeria (610 Preserve Parkway, Suite 100) or Moss Rock Tacos & Tequila (616 Preserve Parkway). To learn more about the Moss Rock Preserve, visit hooveral.org/214/ Moss-Rock-Preserve.

You can also find places to walk and enjoy nature at Veterans Park, the Inverness Nature Park, Flemming Park on the Cahaba in Trace Crossings, Wildflower Park in Riverchase, Georgetown Park, the Hoover Lake House on Municipal Drive, Loch Haven Park and in the Ross Bridge neighborhood in west Hoover.


Even if you’re not playing pickleball or going for a walk on the 5K cross-country trail, you can still find other things to do at the 82-acre Veterans Park (4800 Valleydale Road).

The park has playgrounds, beach volleyball courts, two pavilions, a lake and a pond. Bring a pole and go fishing, bring a Spikeball set and some friends or bring your whole family for a

picnic. For more information, visit hooveral. org/677/Veterans-Park.


For those who like to see Hoover’s natural resources on two wheels, Black Creek Mountain Bike Park (5571 Stadium Trace Parkway) has about 5 miles of trails winding through 73 acres of woodland. For more information, visit hooveral.org/1101/ Black-Creek-Mountain-Bike-Park.


Hoover Heights Climbing Center at the Hoover Met is so much more than just a wall. It’s a collection of race obstacles and themed climbing walls that add up to a day of

adventure. For more information, visit hoover metcomplex.com/finley-center/adventure.


Get in touch with your inner archer and shoot a few arrows this summer at Hoover Archery Park (3308 Afton Circle). The park is open during daylight hours only. It features a five-target range from 20 to 50 meters and a two-target youth range (for bows less than 30 pounds only) of 10 and 15 yards. Note that users ages 16-64 need a valid hunting, heritage, fishing or Wildlife Management Area license to shoot. For more information, email hooverarchery@gmail.com.


If you live in Bluff Park and have elementary-age kids, you might have seen the oldest structure in Hoover, but you might not have been in it. This summer is your chance. The Hoover Historical Society Folklore Center is on the campus of Bluff Park Elementary School, and the log cabin — which has as many original components as was possible to include — is designed to teach kids about the pioneer life.

For more information or to schedule a visit, contact the Hoover Historical Society at 205-739-7316 or by e-mail info@hoover historicalsociety.org.

26 • June 2024 Hoover Sun
Above: Hannah Ray, 5, jumps off a block on the fitness court at Veterans Park as she and Mollie Maxie play on May 2. Left: Kate Fox, 5, runs through a butterfly tunnel of water as she plays at Hoover’s Explore Playground and Splash Pad. Photos by Erin Nelson Sweeney. Left: Families gathered at the Ross Bridge Farmers Market. Staff photo. Right: The Marett family from Hoover goes horseback riding with Mo’s Carriages and Trail Rides, located just outside Hoover. Photo courtesy of Briggs Marett.


Arcade games meet sports bar at Dave & Buster’s at the Galleria. Go with some friends or the whole family to grab dinner and play or watch a game or two. For more information, visit daveandbusters.com.


No matter where you are in Hoover, you’re not far from the Cahaba River and all it has to offer. Try canoeing, kayaking or fishing this summer. If you already have what you need, you can put in at Hoover Sports Park East (2649 Old Rocky Ridge Road). You can also book a guided canoe trip with the Cahaba River Society. For more information, visit cahabariversociety.org/canoe.


Across Hoover, there are neighborhood pools and other places to get in the water, such as the Hoover Recreation Center (600 Municipal Drive). Though you need a full membership to access the pool for personal use, a program pass will let you participate in their aquatic programs, such as swim lessons. For more information and opening hours, visit hooveralabama.gov/457/ Hoover-Recreation-Center.


A membership to the Hoover YMCA or Greystone YMCA would get you pool access, too, but it would also offer a variety of other programs and ways to get fit this summer. Consider trying one of these or another gym near you. Hoover is full of different kinds of individual and group workouts, from Crossfit and kickboxing to barre and yoga.


Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a

beginner, you can get out on the course for some sun this summer. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Ross Bridge (4000 Grand Ave.) — which has been called one of the top golf resorts in North America — offers golfing to the public. For more information, visit rtjgolf.com/rossbridge. If you want to really dive in, you could look into a membership at Hoover Country Club (3140 Club Drive), Riverchase Country Club (2000 Club Road) or Greystone Golf and Country Club (4100 Greystone Drive).


The Market at Brock’s Gap is back for its second season this summer. The market sets up on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of Brock’s Gap Brewing Co. (500 Mineral Trace) and features area farmers, ranchers, beekeepers, food producers and artisans. For more information, visit brocksgapmarket.com. Ross Bridge will also hold a farmers market on June 7 and June 28, 4-8 p.m., at 2101 Grand Ave. For more information, visit rossbridge farmersmarket.com.


If you’re not into the outdoors, art classes might be right up your alley. One local offering is Art Zone Studio (736A Shades Mountain Plaza), which offers painting and drawing classes for all ages as well as summer art camps for kids. Visit artzonebirmingham.com for more information.

You could also spend a night with friends or family painting wooden home decor or learning how to make artisan sourdough bread at Hammer & Stain (1960 Braddock Drive, Suite 104), which offers special project and pickyour-own-project events. Visit hammerand stainbham.com for more information and an event schedule.

Business news to

June 2024 27 HooverSun.com
If you have news to share with the community about your brick-and-mortar business in Hoover, let us know! Share your business news with us at starnesmedia.com/business-happenings A message from Gaynell Hendricks, Jefferson County Tax Assessor CALL 205-325-5505 VISIT jeffconline.jccal.org Four Offices: Hoover | Gardendale Center Point | Downtown Birmingham Open Mon.-Fri. 8-5 Attention Jefferson County Homeowners Ask about the special senior tax exemption Scan with your smartphone camera to access the portal or visit www.jccal.org Homeowners 65+ are eligible for exemptions on property taxes.
Left: Gene Gautro, left, gathers and scores his arrows from a 40-meter target as Jennifer Walker, of Trussville, and her daughter Veronica, 14, score and gather her arrows from a 50-meter target at the Hoover Archery Park in March 2021. Below: Children hike at Moss Rock Preserve. Photos by Erin Nelson Sweeney.
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