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Sun Neighborly news & entertainment for Hoover

Volume 5 | Issue 8 | May 2017

mother’s A


Former councilwoman dedicates her life to caring for adult son in ‘vegetative state’ By JON ANDERSON


avid Mazur has always been his mother’s “baby,” the younger of two boys to whom she gave birth. When he was growing up, Donna Mazur did everything for David, according to his older brother, Shaun. But never in her life did Donna imagine she’d be where she is today, taking care of the most basic needs of her now 36-year-old son. When David was 22, he had a car accident on Shades Crest Road that left him with a traumatic

See MAZURS | page A26

Donna Mazur cares for her son David at her Hoover home. David, now 36, sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident in 2003. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

H o o v e r H ig h k e e p in g its c a m p u s w ild

INSIDE Sponsors .......... A4 City .................... A6 Chamber........... A9 Business ..........A10 Community .....A16

Events ..............A17 School House .B16 Sports ................ C1 Real Estate...... C13 Calendar ..........C14

Teachers take education outdoors with new pollinator garden project

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


New Beginnings Students are speaking out against changes to a program for troubled kids, formerly held at Crossroads alternative school, and calling for a full restoration.

See page B1


Environmental science teachers J anet O rt and K evin Butler want to make sure their students don’t forget about Hoover High School’s wild neighbors. This year, the pair started on a project to make sure Alabama’s wildlife has a home on the school campus. Around the school’s southwest entrance to campus on Buccaneer Drive, the signs of local wildlife are

This retention pond is where Janet Ort and Kevin Butler plan to install bat and wood duck boxes along with bird- and pollinator-friendly plant species. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

evident: a songbird resting on a tree branch, bees clustering over spring o ers and a tuft of fur left behind by a deer. Some species, called pollinators, are crucial to the survival of plants in the area. hen e think of pollinators bees are the first thing that come to mind. But pollinators are bats and moths some butter ies and bees of course but

See GARDEN | page A25

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Hoover Sun

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Editor’s Note By Sydney Cromwell When you’re a kid, May is an exciting month — school’s almost over, and summer’s on the way. I can easily recall that feeling of lightness as you walk out that last classroom door of the day, with only the imagination of summer plans to worry about. Even as an adult, I get a little reminiscent twinge of summer excitement when May comes around. While we as adults don’t get threemonth breaks every summer anymore, there’s still plenty about May to be excited for. Craft and farmers markets are opening up again, along with the return of the SEC baseball tournament and the Regions Tradition. A couple new events are starting this year: the Magic City J azz in the Park concert series has added a Hoover concert, and a group of residents are organizing the

first Love Bluff Park Day. O f course, May also means it’s time to recognize the mothers in your life. ur cover story on Donna azur touched my heart with her devotion to her son, and I think it will touch yours

too. Another Hoover mother, Charon Rivers, will honor her son’s life, which was lost during his military service, ith a special emorial Day event to raise money for veterans. And if you’re still thinking about school before summer is in full swing, we have stories about several young athletes who were recognized for their performance this year, as well as a Q & A with the newest school board member and profiles of this year’s Finley Award winners. Hope you enjoy all this month has to offer, for adults and children alike.

PHOTO OF THE MONTH Hoover’s Matthew Wrona slide tackles Vestavia during a home match on April 14, 2017. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.


In our special Hoover 50th Anniversary magazine, we incorrectly attributed the photos accompanying the Bluff Park neighborhood spotlight (page 42) to the city of Hoover. These are the property of Susan Hale Copeland Kelley. The caption for the left picture on that page should also read: “Pictured

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

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

Community Editor: Erica Techo Community Reporters: Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Lexi Coon Staff Writers: Emily Featherston Sam Chandler Copy Editor: Louisa Jeffries Contributing Writers: Rachel Burchfied Sarah Cook Grace Thornton

are Minnie Hale (daughter of Evan and Minnie Edwards Cross Hale) and Melvin Ennis at their wedding on the bluff of Sunset Rock in Bluff Park.” Additionally, we incorrectly stated that Lake Cyrus has a golf course in our Lake Cyrus neighborhood spotlight (page 51). We regret these errors.

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

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

Please submit all articles, information and photos to: sydney@starnespublishing. com P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253

Published by: Hoover Sun LLC Legals: The Hoover Sun is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. The Hoover Sun is designed to inform the Hoover community of area school, family and community events. Information in The Hoover Sun is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of The Hoover Sun. We reserve the right to edit articles/photos as deemed necessary and are under no obligation to publish or return photos submitted. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 313-1780 or by email.

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Advanced Turf Care (A6) Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center (C3) Alabama Eye and Cataract Center (A11) Alabama Outdoors (C7) ALDOT (B3) Anglin-Nelson Dental Office (B15) ARC Realty (A20) Avani Rupa (B8) Backus Orthodontics (B5) Backyard Adventures (A8) Bedzzz Express (B1, C16) Bob’s Power Equipment (B17) Brewer Cabinets (A13) Bromberg & Company, Inc. (A21) Bruno Event Team (B23) Budget Blinds (A2) Cardiovascular Associates of the Southeast (B14) Carpet Warehouse Galleria (A9) Chick-fil-A Hoover Commons (B5) Chicken Salad Chick (B4) Children’s of Alabama (B8) Closets by Design (C15) Club Pilates (C11) Construx (C7) Customs Café (C1) Cynthia Vines Butler LLC (A21) Danberry at Inverness (B20) Donald M. Romano DMD (C1) Encore Rehabilitation (A26) Estes Warehouse Tires (B6) EZ Roof & EZ Restoration (C9) Fi-Plan Partners (C2) Flat Fee Real Estate (A25) Galleria Woods Retirement Community (A8) Hanna’s Garden Shop (C8) Heather Goss, Brik Realty (A9) Hoover Antique Gallery (A26) Hoover Florist (C4) Hoover Hometown Pharmacy (B22) Hoover Met Complex Summer Camp (C11) Hoover Public Library (B21) Hunter Street Baptist Church (B5) Huntington Learning Center (B19) Issis & Sons (B1) Jets Pizza (A1) Kasey Davis Dentistry (A16) Kete Cannon, RE MAX Southern Homes (A6) LAH Real Estate - Hoover Office (C13) Lake Crest Animal Clinic (B7) Lakeman Family Dental (C3) Liberty Park (A19) Lucas and Associates (A2) Mainstreet Monograms and More (B11) Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (C5) Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese (C13) New Vocation Realty School (A14) Neuralife (A24) NextHome Southern Realty (A12) O Sushi Express (A14) OFC WorkScapes (B13) OLLI (C14) Outdoor Living Areas (A5) Oxmoor Valley Orthodontics (C8) Patti Schreiner, Re/MAX Southern Homes (B16) Paul Davis Emergency Services (C5) Plumb One (B21) Pollo Lucas (B16) Pure Dermatology & Aesthetics (B3) R & S Wood Flooring (B20) RealtySouth Marketing (A10) Ridout’s Valley Chapel (B13) River Highlands of Birmingham (A7) Rocky Ridge Independent Retirement Living (C4) Schaeffer Eye Center (A5) Sentry Heating & Air (B2) Shades Valley Dermatology (B22) Shannon Trotter State Farm (B11) Shoal Creek Properties (C2) Shuttlesworth Lasseter (A23) Skelton’s Air (A3) Snow-Companies (A13) Southlake Orthopaedics (B7, C12) St. Vincent’s Health Systems (A27, B24) Sugar Sands Realty (C14) Sweetspire Gardens (B2) Taziki’s Mediterranean Café (B6) Tenet Physicians Resources (B12) The Maids (A1) Therapy South Hoover (A22) UAB Center for Exercise Medicine (A18) UAB Medical West (A28) Vulcan Park and Museum (C12) Vulcan Termite & Pest Control (B18) Water Drainage Solutions (A11) Wealth Strategies, LLC (B10) Wedgworth Construction (A17) Weigh To Wellness (A15) Wrapsody (B8, B18) YMCA of Greater Birmingham (B7)

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Hoover Sun

City 4 sisters want to annex, develop 17 acres off Patton Chapel Road By JON ANDERSON Four sisters who own property off Patton Chapel Road are proceeding with a request to zone 12 acres for a 42-house subdivision and 5 acres fronting O ld Columbiana Road for commercial development. The land is part of the Douglas family farm now on an island of unincorporated land surrounded by the city of Hoover. It sits along Patton Chapel Road between O ld Columbiana Road and the Polo Trace subdivision, next to Hoover First U nited Methodist Church. Two of the brothers in the Douglas family still live on the family property and are not asking for their property to be annexed into Hoover, but the four Douglas sisters who don’t live there — Amanda Douglas Daily, Alma Douglas Gaudette, Sarah Elizabeth Douglas Martin and Dorothy Douglas Taft — want their 17 acres brought into Hoover. The City Council’s Annexation Committee on April 3 voted 4-1 to recommend annexation, but the sisters are asking the city to approve zoning for the property before the annexation request comes to the full seven-member council for a vote. The Hoover Planning and Z oning Commission likely will consider the zoning request for their 17 acres at its May 8 meeting. The proposed subdivision would be accessed via a road coming off Patton Chapel Road across from Frank Avenue. The plan is for the subdivision to be developed by the D.R. Horton homebuilding company. The residential lots would be at least 60 feet wide, Hoover planning consultant Bob House said. Part of them would be next to Hoover First U nited Methodist Church, and the rest of the subdivision would back up to homes on Polo Parc Court in the Polo Trace subdivision and homes along Thornton Place. The 12 acres proposed for the subdivision now contain a house that formerly belonged to the Douglases’ parents and a single apartment where their grandmother lived, but it is zoned for garden homes in J efferson County. The 5 acres proposed for Hoover commercial zoning are zoned for commercial use in the county already and contain a landscape supply business. Gaudette said she and her sisters ant to find a buyer for that property for further commercial development. Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said he favors the annexation because he ants to fill in islands of unincorporated property

This site development plan shows the 42-house subdivision that D.R. Horton wants to build on 12 acres off Patton Chapel Road between Old Columbiana Road and the Polo Trace subdivision. The 5 acres at the top right, fronting Old Columbiana, also are proposed to be annexed into Hoover. They are proposed to remain zoned for commercial development. Rendering courtesy of the city of Hoover.

surrounded by the city. That eliminates confusion concerning jurisdiction questions when providing services and helps the city to control what happens on the property, he said. The proposed housing development is so small that it shouldn’t affect the city in a negative way, Brocato said. “I think it’s a win-win for everybody.” Curt Posey, chairman of the Annexation Committee, said he believes the homes are going to be built anyway, so the city should annex the property to gain the property taxes and jurisdiction over the land. Councilman Casey Middlebrooks said he favors annexing islands of unincorporated land surrounded by the city, but he

is not thrilled with the idea of garden homes at that location. He asked if the sisters had considered trying to sell all of their property for commercial development. J ohn Tally, a real estate agent working with the Douglas sisters, said they’ve tried to market the entire property to any kind of buyer they could find but the interior part of the property has less commercial appeal because it doesn’t have visibility from a main road. Most businesses want to be on U .S. 31 where there is more traffic he said. Councilman J ohn Lyda, the lone vote against annexation, said he’s not certain the city needs to add more small garden homes to its residential landscape.

May 2017 • A7

The Comedy Club Stardome spent more than $500,000 to renovate its location at 1818 Data Drive in Hoover, Alabama, after more than two decades there. Photo by Jon Anderson.

Hoover council OKs tax rebate for Comedy Club By JON ANDERSON The Hoover City Council on April 17 approved a tax abatement agreement with the Comedy Club Stardome that is designed to keep the club in the city of Hoover. The agreement, originally drawn up by previous Mayor Gary Ivey’s administration, will allow the Comedy Club to receive a rebate of sales taxes equal to 50 percent of additional revenues the club brings to the city of Hoover in the next five years. Hoover City Council President Gene Smith said the city of Birmingham heavily recruited the Comedy Club to come to Birmingham’s new entertainment district, but Ivey worked out the tax abatement agreement as a way to keep the club in Hoover, where it has been for more than 20 years. So instead of moving, the Comedy Club last year completed more than $500,000 worth of renovations and stayed at its site on Data Drive. The city will calculate the tax revenues generated to the city of Hoover between May 1, 2016, and April 30, 2017, and then give back 50 percent of any tax revenues generated above that amount each of the next five years. Mayor Frank Brocato said that while the agreement wasn’t his idea, he believes the Comedy Club had negotiated the deal in good faith with the previous administration, so he favors honoring that agreement. The club has been a wonderful part of the city for so many years, he said. “He did have the opportunity to move out of the city and chose to stay,” Brocato said. “We want him to stay. We want our citizens to

enjoy it. This is a great entertainment venue our residents don’t want to lose.” Smith said he, too, thought the agreement was reasonable, given the amount of money the Comedy Club invested in Hoover. In other business, the City Council: ► Gave approval for Dave and Buster’s to operate as an entertainment venue at the Riverchase Galleria. Mike White, general manager of the Galleria, said the Dave and Buster’s will be taking part of the space now occupied by Forever 21, which is reducing its footprint at the mall. The goal is to have the Dave and Buster’s open by summer 2018, White said. ► Agreed to pay the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority $83,723 for services rendered in the city of Hoover during fiscal 2017. That’s an increase from $63,932 in 2016. ► Agreed to pay C.S. Beatty Construction Co. $330,887 to make Wi-Fi service available for the Hoover RV Park, which is currently being partially relocated and expanded. ► Agreed to let the Ragtime Café at 2080 Valleydale Road sell alcoholic beverages in the parking lot during the Ragtime Café 2017 Spring Fest on April 29. ► Agreed to let Turner Food Systems sell alcoholic beverages at the city-owned Finley Center at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex. ► Rezoned property at 3219 Lorna Road from a neighborhood shopping district to a community business district to allow the Blue Pacific Thai restaurant there to become a full sit-down restaurant and apply for a license to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.

Mayor’s Minute

By Frank Brocato We are so excited that With summer fast approaching, I hope you will take a little Hoover turns 50 years old this year! So many fantastic free time and stroll through the things have happened in our beautiful Aldridge Gardens, which is located on Lorna city in the past 50 years, and the future is extremely bright. Road. This is a gorgeous and serene place that is free to Hoover was a small little bedthe public and a great place room community in 1967, with less than 500 residents. Look to enjoy a leisurely afternoon picnic or just look at nature’s at Hoover today — a bustling beauty. We have many other and very diverse place to live with nearly 90,000 residents, a parks in Hoover, so if you need directions or additional booming economy and many fun and entertaining events to information, visit our website attend. at or call Frank Brocato We are very happy that the 444-7500. Regions Tradition Golf Tournament will be Finally, Frances and I want to congratulate returning to Greystone Golf and Country Club. all the upcoming high school graduates and This tournament brings the legends of golf to college graduates in Hoover! Graduation is a our community each year and will kick off on very exciting time in the lives of our students Wednesday, May 17, and last through Sunday, as they embark on getting ready for their next May 21. Visit for ticket step in life, whether it is college or starting their information. careers. Another great event in Hoover in May is Please remember that the city leaders and The SEC Baseball Tournament, which features employees are here for you and will try and the top 12 collegiate baseball teams from the accommodate you and offer you state-of-the-art Southeastern Conference. The tournament will facilities and services. Please contact our office be returning to the Hoover Metropolitan Sta- if we can be of assistance to you. dium for the 20th consecutive year the week Best, of May 23–28. The games draw over 150,000 fans to Hoover over the weeklong competition, so be sure and visit for ticket information.

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Hoover Sun

Ne w b a n q u e t h a l l p l a n n e d o f f L o r n a Ro a d By JON ANDERSON A new banquet hall is expected to open in Hoover in May in the former location of Martini’s U ltra Lounge and Rain nightclub off Lorna Road. Parvez Mulji plans to open the Soiree Event Gallery at 2132 Lorna Ridge Lane. It’s on the back side of the same building that houses Bumpers Billiards, right next to the Carmike 10 discount movie theater. The Soiree Event Gallery will take up about 18,000 square feet of the building, while Bumpers keeps its existing 7,000 square feet, Mulji said. Mulji, who also owns the Chevron gasoline station on U .S. 31 across from the Carmike 10 movie theater in Vestavia Hills, said he had always wanted to get into the banquet hall business and felt there was a void in the Hoover area for such a facility. hen his company tried to find a location for corporate events he had trouble finding one with enough event space and parking, he said. He finally ran across the former artini’s and Rain space and bought the building in September of last year, he said. Both Martini’s and Rain have been closed for several years, he said. The Soiree Event Gallery has two banquet areas. The former location of Martini’s can seat about 200 people, and the former Rain nightclub spot can hold about 450 people, Mulji said. They can be rented separately or together, and each space has its own full bar, he said. Both spaces have been renovated and have access to a kitchen and bridal room. The Hoover Planning and Z oning Commission on April 10 recommended the City Council approve Mulji’s request to offer live entertainment in the business, limited to live bands and disc jockeys for weddings, engagement parties, corporate parties, birthday parties and other private parties. Hoover Councilman Mike Shaw, who sits on the zoning board, said he is glad to see that Mulji plans to operate a family-friendly

arve Mul i plans to open a new an uet hall called the oiree vent aller o Lounge and Rain nightclub. He hopes to open in May. Photo by Jon Anderson.

establishment. Many people have had concerns about prior problems at that location, Shaw said. In December 2012, two women were shot and killed at Martini’s U ltra Lounge. Mulji’s request to offer live entertainment now goes to the Hoover City Council for consideration, likely on May 15. ul i said the first event there ill be his daughter’s 16th birthday party. He has two couples interested in having weddings in J une, he said.


oad in the ormer location o Martini’s

There are several other new event venues in Hoover. Ed and Barbara Randle have converted their former Bluff Park house, known as the Hoover-Randle House, into a facility for corporate meetings, parties and weddings. The Park Crest facility off Little Valley Road opened a new 20,000-square-foot Carriage House in April of last year, and a new facility called N oah’s Event Venue is scheduled to open this summer on International Park Place off Acton Road. Additionally, the city of Hoover is


opening the 155,000-square-foot Finley Center at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex in May, and it is designed to accommodate banquets and meetings as well. Mulji said he believes the Soiree Event Gallery has more capacity than some of the other new venues and plenty of parking. There are about 150 parking spaces behind the building and close to 250 in front, he said. For more information, go to eventsatsoiree. com.

May 2017 • A9

Chamber Jefferson County in rebuilding mode, commission president tells chamber By JON ANDERSON Jefferson County has eathered a host of financial legal and polit ical challenges in recent years and no is in rebuilding mode the president of the County Commission told the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce at its April luncheon. e’re rebuilding the finances of the county. e’re rebuilding the services to our citizens. e’re rebuilding relationships and most impor tantly e’re rebuilding trust confidence and pride in this great county Commission President Jimmie Stephens told about 180 people at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham The ynfrey Hotel on April 19. Stephens recounted ho county commissioners came into office in 2010 ith a .23 billion debt and then 21 days later found out the county’s occupational tax as ruled unconstitutional meaning a loss of 77 million a year 2 percent of the county’s general fund revenues. County officials furloughed 2 percent of the county’s orkforce cut 20 million from the sheriff’s budget and 20 million from the roads and transportation budget and closed the county ail in Besse mer and four satellite courthouses he said. They shut do n Cooper Green ercy Hospital as an inpatient facility and restructured indigent care services and then the county filed for bankruptcy and restructured its debt. This reduced the cost of county government by about 33 million a year but services have been cut too much Stephens said. Some of the greatest needs are in roads transportation and economic devel opment he said. e sources of revenue to improve these basic services continue to be our biggest challenges he said. Stephens said ne taxes are not the ans er. Ho ever the refi nancing of 00 million of debt funded by a 1 percent sales tax and reallocation of that money initially designated only for schools is going to provide much needed revenue for county services he said. The Alabama Supreme Court last month struck do n a challenge to the legislative act that extends the sales tax and allo s the county to use money for non school purposes. The county is committed to using this ne revenue for

Preview of



Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens tells the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce how the county is in a rebuilding mode during his third annual state-of-the-county address at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham — The Wynfrey Hotel on Wednesday, April 19. Photo by Jon Anderson.

infrastructure improvements and economic development and e ill do it by partnering ith our local municipalities Stephens said. The county ill be able to take over maintenance of county roads that go through cities and refocus on road expansion and construction pro ects such as the extension of Galleria Boulevard across John Ha kins Park ay the idening of organ Road and improvements on Shades Crest Road Stephens said. hile Shelby County is gro ing in population Jefferson County lost about 8 0 people bet een 201 and 201 according to .S. Census Bureau estimates.

The Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce plans to award college scholarships at its May 18 luncheon at the Hoover Country Club. The luncheon is scheduled to begin at noon, with networking starting at 11:15 a.m. Reservations are due by Monday, May 15, and can be made online at or by calling 988-5672 or emailing the chamber office at The cost is $20, payable at the door, for members with reservations, or $25 for non-members or people without reservations. Cancellations are accepted until the morning of the luncheon. Attendees can pay by cash, check or major credit cards. This is troubling to me and the commission Ste phens said. e must have the resources to be com petitive to recruit ne industry and to gro obs or e as a county ill ither and die. To have a future e must invest in the future.

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Now Open M so s Roc k T ac os & T e q u i l a is now open in the Preserve at 616 Preserve Parkway. 7831 130 , m os s r oc k t ac os .c om


M i n i M ar ve l s T o o is now open at 1533 Montgomery Highway, near the intersection of Highway 31 and I-65. This is their second location the first is located in Pelham. 730180, m i n i m ar ve l s c h i l d c ar e .c om


Cable TV and phone provider Sp e c t r u m has opened an office at 3 Grove Blvd. 85757328


Coming Soon W sa a b i Ju an ’ s , a popular restaurant in the Avondale community of Birmingham, has announced that it will open its second location in the River O aks Village shopping center, 3706 Lorna Road, by May. 703891, w as ab i j u an .c om


Soi r e e Eve n t G al l e r y is opening soon at 2132 Lorna Ridge Lane. The facility will be able to host a range of events, including wedding receptions, corporate events and social gatherings. e ve n t s at s oi r e e .c o m


Y e l l ow Door M ar k e t will open soon at 597 Park Ave. in Bluff Park. The store will house a gift shop, as well as a coffee shop and a tutoring/ education center managed by retired Hoover educator Tara Bennett. 960258, f ac e b ok .c om / ye l l ow d or m ar k e t


Relocations and Renovations Sou t h e r n Sp oi l e d Bou t i q u e has moved to a new location in the Village at Lee Branch, 270 Doug Baker Blvd., Suite 300, next to Moe’s Southwest Grill. They were previously located in the Inverness Highlands shopping center on Valleydale Road. 49014 1 , s ou t h e r n s p oi l e d .c om


New Ownership Carmike 10 theater, 2131 Lornaridge Lane, is undergoing a rebrand following AMC’s purchase of C ar m i k e C i n e m as in December. The rebranding is expected to be complete by J une. 825187, am c t h e at r e s .c om


9 Carmike Patton Creek 15 theater, 0 Creekside Ave. is undergoing a rebrand following AMC’s purchase of C ar m i k e C i n e m as in December. The rebranding is expected to be complete by J une. 982478, am c t h e at r e s .c om Carmike Lee Branch 15 theater, 801 Doug Baker Blvd., is undergoing a rebrand following AMC’s purchase of C ar m i k e C i n e m as in December. The rebranding is expected to be complete by J une. 4080526, am c t h e at r e s .c om 10

News and Accomplishments F i r s t C om m e r c i a l Ban k , with locations at 5290 Preserve Parkway, 2020 Patton Chapel Road and 102 Inverness Corners, will be rebranded as Synovus Bank by the end of 2018. Synovus, First Commercial’s parent company, is rebranding all their banks under one name. 864975, s yn ovu s .c om 11


K i n g Ac u r a , 1687 Montgomery Highway, announced Cohen Ezelle as

its Salesman of the Month for March. 978, k i n gac u r a.c om Sara Franklin, director of public relations for T h e L ol l ar G r ou p , 800 Corporate Parkway, Suite 100, recently earned her accreditation in public relations certification. Franklin is a board member of the Alabama Public Relations Society of America chapter and was recognized for her achievement at their April meeting. 8073759, t h e l ol l ar gr ou p .c om 13

Hirings and Promotions Bl u e C r os s Bl u e Sh i e l d of Al ab am a , 0 Riverchase Park ay ast has promoted three longtime employees to new positions within the company. Tim Vines has been named vice president and CO O ; Sheila Herringdon has been named vice president of business development; and Mary Smith has been named vice president of treasury operations. 3018263, b c b s al .or g 14

Naa m an C l i n i c , 100 Concourse Parkway, Suite 265, has hired Abby Melton, MSHS, PA-C, to join their practice as a provider. She will assist Dr. Evans Bailey in reconstructive surgery and MO HS surgery. 4534195, n am an c l i n i c .c om 15

St ar Dom e , 1818 Data Drive, has announced several new hires and promotions. J ames Prothro has been promoted to general manager; Charles “Cramer” Hyde, formerly with Ragtime Café , has been hired as assistant general manager; and J ud K ing, a StarDome employee for the past 10 years, has been promoted to kitchen manager. 408, s t ar d om e .c om 16

Re a l t ySou t h ’s O ver the Mountain ffice 1220 Alford Ave. has hired Buster Leach and Cynthia Marshall as Realtors. 822364, r e al t ys ou t h .c om

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

We can fix that!


SOLUTIONS 244-1114


Re a l t ySou t h ’s nverness office 109 Inverness Plaza, has hired Chelsea Berry, Laura McDuff and J enna Stuckey as Realtors. 9165, r e al t ys ou t h .c om 18

Anniversaries El l i s P i an o , 1550 Montgomery Highay Suite A is celebrating its 3 th anniversary in May. 97463, e l l i s p i an o.c om 19

Ri t t e n h ou s e V i l l age at H ove r , 570 Southland Drive, is celebrating its ninth anniversary in May. 80876, r i t t e n h ou s e vi l l age s .c om


M xa i m u m P h ys i c al T h e r ap y & Sp o r t s W e l l n e s s , 2680 Valleydale Road, Suite A, is celebrating its third anniversary in May. 9811690, m axi m u m p t .n e t


L i s a M i l l e r Or al F ac i al Su r ge r y, 1 Inverness Center Parkway, Suite 200, celebrated its second anniversary on April 20. 789507, l i s am i l l e r of s .c om


T h e C aj u n C l e ave r 23 1 John Ha kins Parkway, Suite 101, celebrated its eighth anniversary in April. 40496, t h e c aj u n c l e ave r .c om


Closings Re l i s h C af é , 1561 Montgomery Highway ( inside Hoover Tactical Firearms) , has closed.


C e n t u r y 21 M e ye r Re al Es t at e , 1929 Hoover Court, has closed. Their main office in Gulf Shores Alabama is still open and can be reached at 251-967-2121.


Item does not appear on map. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business in the Hoover area and want to share your event with the community, let us know. Email

Alabama GCL# 43737

A12 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

Birmingham Eats launches weekly meal delivery service By RAC H EL BU RC H F I EL D Rick Claypoole used to work in corporate America. He traveled freuently and as gone a significant amount of time, leaving his wife, K athy, primarily responsible for feeding their three children. After the Claypooles found that they enjoyed cooking meals for people at their church — new mothers in particular — they decided to create a time where they could bond as a couple in the kitchen. “We needed time as a couple, so on Sundays the kids would do whatever they wanted to do, and we would stop and make dinner for the week,” Claypoole said. “We’d take a few hours, and it was a chance to catch up if I had been traveling, talk, listen to music — we enjoyed spending time together and to cook.” The Claypooles continued this for about five years and it changed their lives. “It helped immensely with portion control,” he said. “We used to throw food away that we would buy and never cook, especially fresh items. It was a life-changer.” N ow the Claypooles are not just cooking for their family of five but for any O ver the Mountain family who wants to participate in their weekly meal service, Birmingham Eats. Birmingham Eats offers free delivery, with groceries bought Saturday, food cooked Sunday and meals delivered Monday for the week. “O ur goal is to help busy families find healthy meals Claypoole said. “We’ve been there; we know it; we have lived it. If you have 5:30 batting practice and dance rehearsal at 6:15 [ p.m.] , cooking, eating healthy

ick and ath la poole o irmingham ats work together at he ’s Workshop in Hoover to prepare meals to e delivered the ne t da . he la pooles prepare multiple meals or the week that are then delivered to customers on Monda , providing amilies with a week’s worth o prepared dinners. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

and cleaning in that time period is not possible. So you end up at a fastfood restaurant. O ur goal is to show up Monday, leave you dinner for a week, and you’re always two minutes away from a healthy dinner.” Birmingham Eats launched in J anuary and is headquartered in Hoover, but serves anyone in O ver the Mountain communities and will also deliver into downtown Birmingham, Claypoole said. “We want to serve as many

families as possible,” he said. “If you’re buying too much at the grocery store or spending too much time at the drive-through, [ we want to serve you] . O ur goal is to keep growing and growing.” Birmingham Eats cooks for 15 to 20 families. They take orders through Friday, and the price is $15 per serving, or four meals for $55. “Meals start going down in price once you start adding them,” Claypoole said. “The more you buy, the

more you save.” Each meal includes an entré e, a side and a vegetable. O ne of the Claypooles’ favorites is their asiago crusted pork chops dish with a side of Southern fried potatoes and a vegetable of peas and carrots. Another hit is their coriander-crusted salmon, potatoes O ’Brien and chickpea artichoke salad. Customers can order extra portions, so they can take leftovers to work the next day, and kid-friendly

meals are available. “Sometimes kids want something simple, and we provide that as well,” Claypoole said. Their menu is constantly being updated and is on their website at ur food is much more avor ful [ than fast food] , and it might be something you’d never make on your own,” Claypoole said. “Being a parent of kids, we complain that we have no time, no time, no time, and we wish our kids ate healthier. It became obvious to us that working moms and dads need an efficient solution to get healthy meals on tables. “If a habit is ordering pizza or getting a hoagie or going to Publix, we are teaching our children when they are 13, 14 or 15 that this is how dinner is served, so when they are 22, 23 and don’t have young people’s metabolism forever — that won’t last forever,” he said. “Parents have a certain responsibility, and there is a certain social responsibility to not buy food that will get thrown away because you don’t cook it.” Birmingham Eats also raises funds for schools and nonprofits and the food ordered doesn’t have to be for the person ordering it — it can be for a family member who needs a break, a friend who is grieving a loss or a gift of convenience for anyone. “I got a call yesterday from N ew London, Connecticut — a lady found us and has a niece in Hoover,” Claypoole said. “She said ‘ I need to help them here’s some money figure out how to get them dinner for a week.’ I called the young woman yesterday, and on Monday I’ll show up with dinner for an entire week.”

May 2017 • A13

W a s a b i Ju a n ’ s o p e n i n g 2 n d l o c a t i o n o n L o r n a Ro a d By SY DNEY C ROM WE


Wasabi J uan’s, a fusion sushi and Mexican food restaurant, is set to open its second location in Riverchase in about a month. The original Wasabi J uan’s has been open in Avondale for nearly three years, serving sushi ingredients prepared as burritos, tacos, nachos and more, along with chips and salsa and traditional sushi sides like edamame and kimchi. The menu includes both raw and cooked seafood choices. “First when they hear ‘ sushi burritos’ they’re suspicious ... but when you see it, it makes sense,” J essica Toro Hardisson said. Hardisson, the kitchen manager and daughter of owners Luis and Barby Toro, said they weren’t the creators of the fusion idea, but they embraced it because of her father’s enjoyment of sushi but not using chopsticks or forks. Since they opened, Hardisson said Wasabi J uan’s has received an overwhelmingly positive response. “We never expected a second location when we opened this one. We didn’t know what would happen,” Hardisson said.

The Hoover location will be in the River O aks Village shopping center on Lorna Road, with Gabriel’s Sports Cafe and La Sabrosita restaurant. Hardisson said they chose the location because of the traffic through the area par ticularly with the Galleria and a Whole Foods grocery store on the way nearby. Hardisson said the new restaurant will be a “copy and paste” of the Avondale location, with the same menu and about the same square footage. She and her parents are building the tables for the new location themselves. O nce the second location is open, Hardisson said she will divide her time between both restaurants. “They’re like our babies. We can’t let go,” Hardisson said. By opening in Hoover, Hardisson said she’s looking forward to reaching more people with their unique fusion concept. “It’s so different that we can’t really be compared to any other restaurant,” Hardisson said. The Hoover Wasabi J uan’s is expected to open in April. Go to for more information.

essica oro Hardisson at the Avondale Wasa i uan’s location. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

Mo’s Carriage and Trail Rides begins tours around the Preserve By SY DNEY C ROM W


When Moses Gagakuma trades four wheels for four legs to get around town, Hoover residents tend to take notice. A lifelong horse lover and the owner of Mo’s Carriage and Trail Rides, Gagakuma’s habit of riding his horses through Hoover has made him a popular sight. Beginning March 31, Gagakuma is offering carriage rides through the Preserve on Friday evenings. “My goal is to make this big and entertaining,” Gagakuma said. A Hoover resident since 2002, Gagakuma discovered his love for horses while growing up in Ghana. His father was in the army, and his family lived near the military stables. Gagakuma started out riding behind his older brothers, but soon he became the better rider. He also

Moses Gagakuma and Casanova give tours o the reserve on rida nights. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

had a habit of replicating stunts in movies, with broken bones and bruises as a result. “The dream started for me watching Clint Eastwood movies as a kid,” Gagakuma said.

He came to the U nited States in 1996 on a track scholarship to Troy State U niversity. Through school and obs he kept finding people who loved horses, too, and were willing to share their knowledge and their stables. Gagakuma began riding his own horses around Hoover as part of their training, getting them used to loud noises and unexpected situations. People who saw him riding by would frequently ask him to bring his horses to their homes or birthday parties. After learning about how to handle a carriage by visiting Amish communities in Tennessee, Gagakuma started driving carriages for events like wedding showers and a Christmas party in a nursing home. Since he started Mo’s Carriage and Trail Rides in 2016, Gagakuma has traveled around Alabama and Georgia, but his

home base remains in Hoover. The idea for a regular carriage ride at the Preserve came from a wedding shower he drove through the neighborhood. The scenery and homes make an ideal backdrop for a ride, and Gagakuma said he hopes the rides will appeal to families and friends dining at the restaurants in the Preserve. Y oung kids also may get the chance to ride in the driver’s seat. The carriage, pulled by a horse named Casanova, will give tours between 5:30 and 9 p.m. on Fridays, though Gagakuma said he may add extra days if it becomes popular. The tours will last 10 to 15 minutes and cost $60 per group. “I think it will bring them a lot of joy,” Gagakuma said. Find Mo’s Carriage and Trail Rides on Facebook for more information.

A14 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

2nd child inspires local mom to begin organic baby food business, delivery By SARAH


When Emily Forsythe feeds her son “hulk applesauce,” he has no idea he’s eating a nutritious blend of broccoli and spinach. The sauce, Forsythe said, is also organic and made with fresh, local ingredients. The same goes for everything else the young mother puts on her kids’ plates. Forsythe, a Homewood resident and Hoover business owner, said after having her second son, she saw a need in the baby food market that wasn’t being met. So, she decided to take matters into her own hands ( and kitchen) and began building Dixie Fresh Birmingham’s first and only fresh baby food delivery service.. “I was looking for something fresh and local, and couldn’t find anything Forsythe said. “So I decided I would make it myself.” After her Hoover business, Louise’s Cakes N Things, closed each night, Forsythe switched gears and made fresh purees from the commercial kitchen. Soon after that, Forsythe said friends started requesting her recipes. O ne thing led to another and Forsythe said she started realizing she could start selling the baby food filling a large gap in the market for parents who want to feed their children organic, locally sourced foods, but didn’t have the time to make it. “I think it’s a common goal to feed our kids real food, but most of us don’t have time to make it all from scratch,” she said. “So I just anted to fill that void. After a year of working through regulations and navigating the details of the business,

Emily Forsythe, who lives in Homewood with her husband and two sons and owns a Hoover business, began making her own baby food when she saw a lack of fresh, organic options in the grocery store. Photo by Sarah Cook.

Forsythe officially opened Dixie Fresh in mid-February. The orders for her food so far, she said, have been strong. Dixie Fresh offers nine core avors all made with fresh ingredients sourced from nearby farms. f a certain avor can’t be found in Alabama, Forsythe said she’ll look at other regional producers. “O ur main goal was to get everything organic and everything as local as possible,” she said. Each bag of baby food comes with 16 oneounce frozen cubes of baby food that can be thawed out in the refrigerator for 24 hours or microwaved for immediate serving. Dixie Fresh’s nine avors are broken into three groups first tastes playful pairing and tot applesauce. “I wanted it to be appealing to babies and toddlers,” Forsythe said. “O bviously, a part of

that as to fill my o n demand. anted some thing that I could give to my 5-year-old, and he wouldn’t turn his nose up at it.” Some of the avors include Butter e p an organic butternut squash puree; “Rainbow Roots,” a nutritional carrot blend; and “Super Baby,” a blend of avocado, banana and oats. All of Dixie Fresh food is delivered directly to customers’ homes at no extra cost, Forsythe said. “I know being a parent is a juggling act, so we thought if we were able to take it to their door then that’s one less thing to worry about,” she said. “I think that most people want to feed their kids good, real food without all the added stuff that you see in the grocery store purees, and our goal is to just make that really easy to do.” For more information, go to dixiefreshbhm. com.

I think that most people want to feed their kids good, real food without all the added stuff that you see in the grocery store purees, and our goal is to just make that really easy to do.


May 2017 • A15

America’s First to demolish, rebuild Hoover branch By JON ANDERSON America’s First Federal Credit U nion is planning to tear do n its office on Columbiana Road near Green Valley Elementary School and rebuild a ne branch in the same spot. The existing 3 700 s uare foot building built in 1980 is an outdated eyesore and has had some problems said Alan Stabler the credit union’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer. The credit union plans to tear it do n and build a 200 to 00 s uare foot building ith at least four drive through lanes and a alk up automated teller machine that allo s users to interact ith a live teller Stabler said. Parking is to be expanded from spaces to he said. Demolition and construction should start this summer and be completed by the end of this year if eather cooperates Stabler said. At most construction should take about nine months once orkers get started he said. A temporary facility ill be on site if approved by the city he said. This branch is one of the top t o or three busi ness producing branches of the credit union’s 19 branches Stabler said. t averages about 11 000 teller transactions per month he said. The Hoover Board of oning Ad ustments approved t o setback variances to allo the building to be closer to Ahepa Court and ld Columbiana Road than regulations allo . Sta bler told the board the ne building actually ill be farther a ay from ld Columbiana Road than the existing one. e feel like the ne building ill be an improvement to that lot he said. The ne building ill be an almost mirror image of the America’s First Federal Credit nion branch in estavia Hills Stabler said. t ill have a drive through at the rear of the building ith the last lane being a drive up AT and there ill be a alk up AT at the front of the building he said. The ne building also ill have a to er that ill allo greater visibility from .S. 31 Stabler said.

This 3.700-squarefoot branch of America’s irst ederal redit nion at 12 ld olum iana oad is scheduled to e demolished this summer. A new uilding with 4,200 to 4, 00 s uare eet and a resher design will e uilt on the same spot. Photo by Jon Anderson.

he new America’s irst ederal redit nion on ld olum iana oad in Hoover is supposed to e almost a mirror image o the new credit union ranch in Vestavia Hills, shown here. Photo by Jon Anderson.

A16 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

Community Alistair Harding-Smith named to Barron’s top financial advisors list Morgan Stanley announced in March that Hoover resident Alistair Harding-Smith, in the firm’s Birmingham ealth management office has been named to Barron’s list of America’s Top 1,200 Advisors: 2017 State-by-State. The Barron’s Top 1 200 Advisors is a select group of individuals ho are screened on a number of criteria. Among factors the survey takes into consideration are assets under management revenue produced for the Firm and uality of service provided to clients. Harding-Smith serves as a senior institutional consultant senior vice president portfolio management director, alternative investments director and financial advisor at the Birming ham organ Stanley office. –Subm i t t e dby M or g anSt anl e y . Alistair Harding-Smith is a senior institutional consultant, senior vice president, portfolio management director, alternative investments director and nancial advisor at the Birmingham Morgan Stanley o ce. Photo courtesy of Morgan Stanley.

Muslim community invites area residents to observe Ramadan The uslim community of the greater Bir mingham area invites area families friends and organizations to attend a Ramadan Fast Breaking on any eekday or a eekend eve ning bet een ay 27 and June 23. The Hoover Crescent slamic Center is open to anyone ho ishes to observe the evening prayer at sunset

and attend dinner ith members of the center. A brief presentation on slam and a uestion and ans er session ill precede the dinner. To make your reservation, call 879-4247, ext. 6, or email rita.taufi ue bis – S u b m itte d b y H o o v e r C re s c e n t Is la m ic C e nt e r .

Left to right: Amelia Batten, Allie Stafford, Iggy Hill, Mimi Batten, Jamese Melton, Ariel ohnson and Aver e err . Photo courtesy of Cynthia Stafford.

Girl Scouts take on ropes course

A group of Hoover Girl Scouts con uered the lo ropes course climbing all and zip line at ana ahala on Lake Alice in Chelsea on April 8. –Subm i t t e dby C y nt hi aSt af f or d.

Judge Julie A. Palmer of counsel ith la firm Judge Julie A. Palmer former presiding udge for the domestic relations courts of Jefferson County Birmingham Division announces she is of counsel ith the errell La Firm as of Feb. 1. The errell La Firm is located at 101 Riverchase Park ay ast in Hoover. Palmer ill concentrate on private udge cases mediation and select representation cases. She can be contacted at 874-9697 or udge uliepalmer –Subm i t t e dby J udge J ul i e A .P al m e r .

May 2017 • A17

Participants in the Veterans Center and Hoover Art Alliance art class show off their work after a recent session. Photo courtesy of Linda Chastain, Hoover Arts Alliance.

Vets center, alliance host art classes The Veterans Center recently completed its first session of art classes sponsored by the Hoover Art Alliance. The center hich serves combat veterans in many ways, wanted to provide art classes as part of the programs they offer to their cli ents. The Hoover Art Alliance sponsored these classes by furnishing the paints and canvases and providing the art teacher for the sessions. Tamara Thomas, a local artist, worked with the students to teach art techni ue and give them the opportunity to express themselves in

their paintings. The course as so ell received that students did not ant it to end. During the reception at the completion of the first session one of the students said that she looked for ard to class every eek and couldn’t ait to get there on Thursdays. The center hopes to make this an ongoing class offering. Call the center if you ant to help provide funding or supplies at 212 3122. – S u b m itte d b y L in d a C h a s ta in , H o o v e r A r ts A l l i anc e .

Hoover Christian student receives American History Essay award Thomas . Barton an eighth grade student at Hoover Christian School as recently rec ognized by the Lily of the Cahaba Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter as its chapter inner of the annual American History ssay Contest. His essay titled Celebrating a Century America’s ational Parks – Horseshoe Bend Revisited also received an honorable mention at the state level. He is the son of Ashley Barton and he also serves as the organizing secretary for the Alabama State Children of the American Revolution. The American History ssay Contest is spon sored by the ational Society Daughters of the American Revolution and is open to all grade 7 and 8 students in public private parochial or home schools. For information about membership in Lily

Thomas W. Barton with his award from the American History Essay Contest for his work, ele rating a entur America’s National Parks – Horseshoe Bend Revisted.” Photo courtesy of Susan Barton.

of the Cahaba based in Hoover email lilyoft hecahaba –Subm i t t e dby Sus anB ar t on.


The SEC Baseball Tournament is set for May 23-28. Photo courtesy of the city of Hoover.

S C Tournament returns to the By G RAC E T H ORNT ON The top 12 baseball teams in the Southeast ern Conference ill battle it out for the confer ence title again ay 23 28 at the S C Baseball Tournament hich boasts the best college baseball in the country. The tournament is at the Hoover et Sta dium hich has played host to the event for nearly all of the past 22 years. As the season heads to ard the playoffs Auburn niversity’s team is knocking on the door of one of the top spots so Auburn fans already have a vested interest. The 12 seeded teams ill play in single elimination format for the first three days follo ed by double elimi nation play in the follo ing days. But this year the games also ill be accom panied by a ne event that offers fun for fans


of all stripes and ages the indoor FanFest. pen each day of the tournament the event ill offer live entertainment a sports bar a food court and interactive games. FanFest is free. There ill also be a Ferris heel ust out side the doors of FanFest to offer children and adults the chance to see the games from a ne perspective. The S C Baseball Tournament offers free parking and free shuttles to off site parking as well as an RV park on site. olunteers are needed to ork during the S C Baseball Tournament. To find out ho to participate as a volunteer go to secb 2017 olunteer.aspx. For more informa tion about the tournament go to secsports. com. To purchase tickets for the games go to

A18 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

U npredictable country star Phil Vassar heads to Hoover By JON ANDERSON Country music star Phil Vassar rolls into Hoover on May 6 for two shows to close the 2016-2017 season at the Hoover Library Theatre. But you never know what you’re going to hear when you go to a Vassar concert. “We never have a set list,” the 52-year-old Vassar said in a phone interview from his home in N ashville. “We never do the same show twice. t’s fun. t’s very impromptu on the y. He and his band might play some of the Billboard Hot Country N o. 1 tunes he wrote and recorded, such as “J ust Another Day in Paradise,” or they might pick one of the hit songs he wrote for other artists such as Tim McGraw, J o Dee Messina, Collin Raye and Alan J ackson. t could be something from his first self ti tled album in 1999 that earned gold certification for shipping more than 500,000 copies, or they might pick a song from one of the seven other albums he has recorded since then. “The guys don’t know what we’re playing. I don’t know what we’re playing. It keeps it fresh,” Vassar said. So many shows these days are so choreographed where people do the same songs and even the same head bobs every night, Vassar said. “It almost loses its soul.” He prefers to y by the seat of his pants and walk without a net, he said. But folks who show up for his shows in Hoover likely will get to hear some of his newest material, he said. O n May 15, Vassar plans to release an addendum to his “American Soul” album that came out in N ovember, he said. The new 16-song album, called “American Soul Summer,” will have five ne songs on it he said. Since the late 1990s, Vassar has written 10 N o. 1 country songs and 26 top-40 hits. He was named Country Songwriter of the Y ear twice by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Vassar grew up in Virginia and went to J ames Madison U niversity on an athletic scholarship,

Country music star Phil Vassar is scheduled to play two shows at the Hoover Library Theatre on May 6. Photo courtesy of Hoover Library Theatre.

playing quarterback on the football team and running the decathlon on the track team. The work ethic needed for sports prepared him well for a music career, where his heart has always been, he said. “All I ever wanted to do was be a singer,” he said. “Music was just something that was in my soul.” Vassar grew up listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy J oel, Elton J ohn and Merle Haggard, and his dad was a big George J ones fan. “Lionel Richie was my hero,” he said. Listening to him and J oel is what inspired him to

play the piano he said. The first song he learned to play was “Easy Like Sunday Morning.” Vassar left college and moved to N ashville in 1986. “The second I pulled into town, I knew this was my home,” he said. He got a job as a bartender, taught himself to play the piano, started playing in bars and later bought a bar where he frequently performed. He struggled for years but finally earned a name for himself as a songwriter before making it big as a singer. He’s written fun party songs to slow ballads

and re ective pieces about God. The key to song riting is to find songs about real life and topics people can relate to, he said. He and his band tour all year long, though they took a month off in March. He’s looking forward to a Christmas tour with K ellie Pickler, he said. Vassar came to the 250-seat Hoover Library Theatre once before in 2014 and said he enjoys the opportunity to play in smaller, more intimate venues. “It’s like you’re sitting in your living room and can talk to folks,” he said. “We love it.”

May 2017 • A19

Alabama Lyme Disease Association combines 5K with awareness event By SY DNEY C ROM WE


As families head outdoors to enjoy their summer days, Tina N eathammer wants to make sure they know the danger that can come from something as simple as a tick bite. Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that can cause u like symptoms such as fever fatigue, joint pain or stiffness and the classic bull’s-eye pattern rash. When it is not treated early some Lyme disease patients ill have chronic effects throughout their bodies, including the nervous circulatory digestive and reproductive systems as ell as oints muscles and skin. N eathammer works for the Alabama Lyme Disease Association and has Lyme disease herself. The association held the Fight the Bite run at Veterans Park last year, but this year they are combining t o events. Fight the Bite is May 6 at Veterans Park. Fight the Bite will begin with a 5K run at 8 a.m. and a 1-mile fun run/ walk, open to families and pets, at 8:30 a.m. The 5K run will include chipped timing, cash prizes and entry into a raf e to in a T . The run will be followed by games and an awareness expo for families to learn more about Lyme disease preventing tick bites and spotting the first symptoms of tick borne illnesses. Registration for the 5K run is $30 until April 30 or $35 the day of the race for individuals. Families up to six people can reg ister for $85 until April 30 or $90 on race day. Fun run participation is $20 for early registration and $20 on race day. The Lyme Disease Association also offers a 1 virtual race,” for people who want to support the cause without running.

Ross Bridge Welcome Center will host the summer farmers market again this ear with produce, music, ood trucks, kids’ activities and more. Photo courtesy of Ross Bridge Farmers Market. ight the ite organi ers r stal orcivia and ina eathammer oth have me disease. Photo courtesy of Tina Neathammer.

Ross Bridge Farmers Market sets 2017 dates By SY DNEY C ROM WE

icks are the carriers o me disease. Photo by André Karwath, Wikimedia Commons.

Pets are welcome, though pit bulls, German shepherds and Dobermans cannot attend due to insurance restrictions. Go to or for more information.


The farmers market will return to Ross Bridge this summer with local produce, food trucks live music and children’s activities. This year, the market will be Friday afternoons from ay 12 to Aug. 18 to 8 p.m. It is in front of the Ross Bridge Welcome Center. Several favorite vendors ill be returning to the market, including Southern O aks Farm, Bubba Mori Farm, George Family Farm, Chaffin Farm, Butt N aked Candle, Darlene’s K itchen, vory LeShore’s Gourmet Bread Pud ding and Cheesecake, Southern Fried

Creative Birmingham Candy Company Grand Central Bathing, Left Hand Soap, Magic City Sweet Ice and Beachum Woodworks. Musicians at the market will include Matthew DeVine, Bailey Ingle and other local performers. There also will be new vendors and food trucks ith the final list being determined in late April. Some of the events throughout the summer will feature special kid-themed activities though details on those have not been finalized. Email rossbridgefarmersmarket@ or find the market on Face book to keep up with news regarding this year’s events.

A20 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

Memorial dinner to honor fallen troops By G RAC E T H ORNT ON In the few steps Tom Rivers took between his bed and his cup of coffee that morning, life radically changed. Through the window, the Hoover resident saw the three Marines walking toward the front door. And he knew his son Thomas was never coming home. Thomas Rivers, a 22-year-old graduate of Briarwood Christian School, had died in the early hours of April 28, 2010, in Afghanistan after an explosive device detonated. He had wanted to be a Marine from a young age, desiring to follow in the footsteps of his grandfathers, who had both served. He wrote once in his journal that he believed God had called him to be a warrior, and he carried that strong faith with him through his time as a Marine. “After Thomas was killed, we decided to start sending care packages to his comrades, so we did that until they came home,” said Thomas’ mother, Charon Rivers. “Then we thought we should keep doing it for other soldiers in his memory and maybe even expand it.” From this idea a nonprofit organization called Support O ur Soldiers was born. Through Support O ur Soldiers, Thomas Rivers’ parents send about 700 care packages to deployed men and women annually. The packages include snacks, sausages and other food, and Charon Rivers tucks into each one a small booklet called “In the Shadow” that tells the story of Thomas Rivers’ life, faith and death. “It has been very well received — people have written to us and told us that it’s very inspirational,” Charon Rivers said. “It’s our way of keeping our son’s memory alive and giving his death purpose.” The organization she said provides some services for veterans, too, such as helping to provide outdoor wheelchairs for injured soldiers who have returned home. And on J une 1 — the Thursday after

Above: Thomas Rivers, who died while deployed in Afghanistan in 2010, is the inspiration for his parents’ organi ation, Support Our Soldiers. Left: Tom and Charon Rivers during a Support Our Soldiers memorial dinner. Photos courtesy of Tom and Charon Rivers.

emorial Day the organization ill hold its sixth annual Memorial dinner to honor those ho have paid the ultimate sacrifice and raise money for the work of Support O ur Soldiers. The dinner is set for 6 p.m. at Briarwood Presbyterian Church and usually draws several hundred people. This year’s speaker will be J eff Struecker, a combat veteran whose story is portrayed in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” Tickets are $25, or participants can reserve a table of eight for $300. “It’s a very patriotic event honoring our fallen soldiers,” Charon Rivers said. “We want

to encourage people to honor Memorial Day, and being there makes you proud to be an American.” Her son lived and served his country honorably, she said. When Thomas Rivers learned he needed a high school diploma to enlist, he threw himself into his studies, graduating and joining the Marines two weeks later. “He joined the Marines as a kid, but graduated [ from Parris Island in South Carolina] a strong warrior,” Tom Rivers said in “In the Shadow.” Thomas Rivers was deployed to Iraq in 2008, then he went to Afghanistan as a Lance

Corporal and team leader in 2010. At 6:33 a.m. on that fateful April morning he was walking to take over a patrol for a comrade when he activated an improvised explosive device that fatally wounded him. His friend Matthew Proctor rushed to his side and read the young man’s life verse to him as he lay dying — Psalm 91:1, which is used in the title of the booklet: “He who lives in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” For more information about Support O ur Soldiers or to purchase tickets to the dinner, go to

May 2017 • A21

Participants in the 2015 Great Strides walk, which started as a way to make “great strides” in the ght against c stic rosis. Staff photo.

G r e a t St r i d e s f u n d r a i s e r r e tu r n s to V e te r a n s P a r k By L EX I C OON The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation first started Great Strides as a way to create community a areness and to raise funds to find a cure for the disorder, and nearly 30 years later, the Birmingham Great Strides has grown to see 400 participants each year. The walk, which J ennifer McEuen, associate executive director of the Alabama Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, said is a way for families to fight back also serves as a sig nificant component in supporting the mission of the organization to help fund research. “O ur walk is truly a celebration of the funds our teams and sponsors raise to make ‘ great strides’ in the fight against CF she said. Last year, the chapter walk raised $200,000. Walkers can participate individually or as teams for the 5K race, and while teams can be formed without registration fees, everyone is

encouraged to make a donation. Those who donate $100 or more will receive a T-shirt and free access to post-race activities, including live music, balloon art, kid’s crafts, a scavenger hunt and barbecue lunch, McEuen said. “It is geared toward bringing everyone out ith fun activities for all ages she said. Well-behaved and leashed dogs are welcome, too, and participants are encouraged to bring a blanket and chairs to relax after the walk. “The progress towards a cure is very exciting c uen said. ou can really see the dif ference you are making, with new treatments and therapies coming out and advances in life expectancy. Great Strides will start with check-in at 9 a.m. May 13. More information is available at 870-8565, and racers can register at alabama. For a P ’m a Fighter T shirt par ticipants should notify the organization upon registration.

Jazz concert comes to Hoover

Jazz in the Park, a regular series of concerts around Birmingham, has added a Hoover show this ear. Photo courtesy of Magic City Smooth Jazz.

By G RAC E T H ORNT ON Magic City Smooth J azz is bringing its popular J azz in the Park series to Hoover for the first time this summer. J azz singer Aysha and soul/ urban jazz trumpeter Lin Rountree ill treat Hoover residents to a free concert at Ross Bridge. It’s one of 25 free concerts planned for the Birmingham area from April to O ctober. The concert is May 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to bring our J azz in the Park concert series to Hoover for the first time said Bernard Lockhart founder and executive director of Magic City Smooth J azz. “Patrons can expect a very relaxing and welcoming atmosphere where we present three hours of contemporary azz for adults and families to en oy.

Lockhart encouraged families to bring la n chairs, blankets and coolers and enjoy “some top-rated musicians at no cost that you would typically pay to see. It’s a way for communities to come together through the universal language of music he said. Ross Bridge H A and c ay anagement are hosting the concert, which is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the N ational Endowment for the Arts. In the past nine years, Magic City Smooth J azz has put on more than 50 concerts involving 250 Alabama jazz artists and reaching more than 20,000 adults and children with their music. Go to for more information.

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Hoover Sun

Book It! 5K to help kick off summer reading program By JON ANDERSON Y ou’re heard of reading, writing and ’rithmetic, but how about reading and running? The Hoover Public Library is kicking off its 2017 summer reading program with a Book It! 5K at Veterans Park on May 20. The 3.2-mile run, sponsored by the Friends of the Hoover Library for adults and children alike, starts at 8 a.m. and will be followed by a “story stroll” around the lake at 9 a.m. The “story stroll” will allow children to read pages of a book at different stations as they walk around the lake. From 10 a.m. to noon, the library is holding its summer reading kickoff party for kids of all ages ith in atables crafts games a petting zoo, balloon artist, airbrush tattoo artist, snacks and drinks, said J eremy Davis, coordinator of the library’s children’s department. Activities will be centered around this year’s theme for the summer reading program: Build a Better World. Children will be allowed to plant a seed, build with Legos and participate in a collaborative art pro ect by filling in the outline of the world with their thumbprints, Davis said. ay 20 ill be the first day children are allowed to sign up for the summer reading program, in which children track the books they read over the summer and receive rewards for reaching various levels of pages read. This year for the first time kids ill be able to track their reading on their phones or computers at reader365. The library also will continue to offer the option of tracking reading on paper, Davis said. The goal of the summer reading program is to encourage kids to continue reading and learning while they are out of school on summer break. This helps reduce the “summer slide” — a term describing how children lose portions of what they were taught the previous school year over

wo runners near the end o the inaugural ook t held the riends o the Hoover i rar at Veterans ark in 201 . his ear’s run is scheduled for May 20. Photo courtesy of Hoover Public Library.

the summer break. In addition to providing rewards for reaching different levels of reading, the library offers more than 60 summer programs that bring children to the library for activities for preschoolers through teenagers, Davis said. U sually, about 5,000 children and about 1,500 teens sign up for the summer reading

program, he said. There also is an adult summer reading program that last year drew 815 participants, he said. The summer programs go through the end of J uly, and participants can collect prizes through Aug. 2. People can register for the Book It! 5K at bookit. The cost is $20 for

ages 14 and younger and $30 for ages 15 and older from April 23 through May 19; and $25 for ages 14 and younger and $25 for ages 15 and older on race day. The story stroll is $3. Proceeds go to the Friends of the Hoover Library, which donates money to support a variety of library programs and to buy additional library materials.

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Brandon Gossett, one of the organizers for the new I Love Bluff Park Day, was also an organizer for the Trucks on the Bluff event. Photo courtesy of Brandon Gossett.

Show your neighborly spirit for ‘I Love Bluff Park Day’ on May 6 By SY DNEY C ROM WE The Walk of Art show will feature local artists and handmade crafters. Photo by Erica Techo.

Hoover Arts Alliance introduces arts, crafts show By SY DNEY C ROM W


Local vendors will come together at the Hoover Met this month for a brand-new arts and crafts show. The Walk of Art indoor show is sponsored by the Hoover Arts Alliance, the Central Alabama Artists Guild and the Hoover Alphagraphics location. It is open to local artists and crafters who signed up in March and April. Artists Guild President J inger Glasgow said the show is May 6-7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Vendor tables will be set up in the Hoover Met’s concourses, and there will be sections for Artists Guild members, handmade crafters and local businesses who wish to advertise their services. The show includes judging and awards for Artists Guild members, as well as a silent auction benefiting the Hoover Scholarship Fund and WellHouse Ministries. Go to for more information or visit the Walk of Art Facebook page.


Brandon Gossett has seen Bluff Park’s neighborhood spirit come out in Halloween parties at his house and the Trucks on the Bluff food truck event. He’s hoping to bring the neighborhood together again to celebrate itself with a brand-new event: I Love Bluff Park Day. The event is May 6 at Children’s Fresh Air Farm, 501 Park Ave., at 4:30 p.m. The evening will include a picnic-style gathering, live music from Mason Music, a showing of “Secret Life of Pets” at 7:30 p.m. and a chance for Bluff Park families to enjoy time together. Gossett said he’s lived in Bluff Park 34 years and has never seen an event like this in the neighborhood before. He and his wife began hosting Halloween parties in 2011 and 150 to 200 people would attend each year. “That let me know that people were really craving community. So we started hosting a Halloween party because everyone was leaving our neighborhood to go trick-or-treat

somewhere else. That party has grown significantly and think e had over 2 0 people there this year,” Gossett said. The Gossetts also have helped start neighborhood small groups and worked with resident Sam Swiney to start Trucks on the Bluff. I Love Bluff Park Day is a joint effort between the Gossetts, Swiney and neighbors K atie Collins, K erry Leasure and Heather Skaggs. “There is nothing more valuable than face-to-face relationships, and we believe a day like this can help foster those types of relationships,” Gossett said. “I feel like a day like this can bring people across the board together. Lastly, it always makes trips to the local businesses more enjoyable when you see a face you know or can strike up a conversation with someone maybe you met at this event. We just want to see our neighbors get to know one another and begin to form special friendships with the people who live right around you.” Find out more about I Love Bluff Park Day on the event’s Facebook page.

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Hoover Sun

Greystone prepares for 2017 Regions Tradition Tournament to stay through 2023 By JON ANDERSON The 2017 Regions Tradition golf tournament at Greystone Golf and Country Club, set for May 17-21, is quickly approaching, but the Founders course should be in great shape when the pros arrive club officials say. The greens have had a whole year to grow since being reconstructed prior to last year’s tournament and are in even better shape than last year, said Russ Hale, president of the country club. With a warm winter and spring, the course is ahead of growth compared to last year, Hale said. t’s looking great. Last year as the first year the PGA Tour Champions had returned their Birmingham area tournament to Greystone after five years at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa and five years at the Shoal Creek Country Club. And the return as deemed such a success that tournament sponsor Regions Bank and the PGA Tour Champions announced in April they are keeping the tournament at Greystone through 2023. The previous commitment as to stay at Greystone through 2018. Things ent so onderfully last year said Scott Peters head of consumer banking for Regions. t as uite obvious to us this was something we wanted to continue for quite some time. Regions is proud the golf tournament has raised more than . million for charities since it became the Regions Tradition in 2011 Peters said. Greg cLaughlin president of the PGA Tour Champions, added that the Birmingham area tournament has raised more than 1 mil lion for charities since the tournament’s inception as the Bruno’s emorial Classic in 1992. The tournament also has a 2 million eco nomic impact to the greater Birmingham area

each year Peters said. cLaughlin said the PGA Tour Champions organization had a good partnership with Shoal Creek, but it was time to return to where it all began. Greystone as able to deliver a fun family atmosphere he said. Pro golfer Jeff Sluman said he can’t imagine a better venue than Greystone. The players love coming to the Birmingham area to play he said. t’s absolutely onderful. Sluman said the players have the easy part in hitting the balls around the course. The most important thing is raising as much as possible for charities such as Children’s of Alabama hospital he said. Last year’s Regions Tradition raised 1.1 million for charities. Children’s of Alabama is the primary beneficiary but more than 70 other charities benefited from the Birdies for Charities program last year, said Liz Leckemby, tournament director for the Bruno Event Team, hich handles tournament logistics. Children’s of Alabama C and President Mike Warren said proceeds from the Regions Tradition allow the hospital to do things it otherwise would not be able to do, such as purchase a stand-up X -ray machine and six disinfecting robots that resemble the R2D2 character in Star ars movies. For 2017, the Regions Tradition already has confirmed more than 70 pro golfers includ ing 29 of the top 30 moneymakers last year, Leckemby said. Confirmed golfers include the 2016 winner, Bernhard Langer, and the winners at the Shoal Creek course: Tom Lehman, David Frost enny Perry and Jeff aggert. ther cro d favorites such as John Daly Tom ite Jerry Pate and ark Calcavecchia also are confirmed. But this year’s tournament also will include new faces to the Birmingham tournament,

Bernhard Langer celebrates his 100th professional win after claiming a 6-stroke victory at the 2016 Regions Tradition golf tournament at Greystone Golf and Country Club. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

including i ay Singh and Angel iguel Jimenez Lechemby said. They will be competing for the top prize of 1 000 but the total purse is 2.3 million PGA Tour Champions spokesman Ste art oore said. The tournament begins with a pro-am on Wednesday, May 17, that is scheduled to include: SEC football coaches N ick Saban, Guz Malzahn, K irby Smart, Dan Mullen and Hugh Freeze Alabama basketball coach Avery John son former Auburn FL and a or League Baseball star Bo Jackson former Alabama and N FL quarterback Greg McElroy; SEC N etwork football analyst Booger McFarland; comedian Steve Harvey; musician Taylor Hicks; radio personalities Rick Burgess and Bill Bubba Bussey and AB Athletics Director ark ngram.

Championship play begins on Thursday, ay 18 and runs through Sunday ay 21. Gates open at 7 a.m. ednesday through Friday and 30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The tournament will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel from noon to 2 30 p.m. Thurs day and Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Also Paul Finebaum plans to broadcast his SEC N etwork show from the golf course on the day of the pro am. Tickets are $20 for one day or $80 for Wednesday through Sunday, plus a processing fee. Children 18 and younger can get free junior tickets when accompanied by a ticketed adult. ilitary members are admitted free Thursday and Friday with a valid military D. To get tickets or more information, go to

May 2017 • A25

Hoover High environmental science teachers Janet Ort and Kevin Butler started a basic design for the pollinator garden and the planting of 20 red oak saplings at a campus entrance. Ort said the pollinator garden will be a chance for students to see concepts brought from the environmental science classroom to life. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.


CONTINUED from page A1 they’re very important to agriculture, to our trees, to everything working at the right time,” O rt said. O rt and Butler want to build a pollinator garden at that entrance to campus. This year, they started with a basic design for the garden and the planting of 20 red oak saplings.

However, Butler imagines this as a 15-year or more project with a variety of native species, bird and insect nesting sites, educational signs and a sculpture of the school’s initials covered in climbing vines. “Any time you can get kids outside the classroom to see a true application of what we’ve been talking about, then it just enhances their education,” Butler said. “We can have a long and lasting impact, and they can see the transition over time.”

O rt said the pollinator garden will be a chance for students to see concepts brought from the environmental science classroom to life. The teachers want this to be a student-led project that can cross over to projects with engineering and art students to complete the garden. The garden can be a place to educate family and community members, and for students to come back and visit after they graduate, Butler said. There will be opportunities for students

to work in the garden not only in class, but also in summer service hours or the “adoption” of a particular area to monitor throughout the year. Work will continue on building the pollinator garden next school year, though the timeline is determined in part by whether O rt and Butler receive grants or donations to get the supplies they need. So far, some of their help has included Aldridge Gardens, Birmingham Botanical Gardens and the Green Footprints Project. The pollinator garden will be the most visible project, but O rt and Butler have plans to use other parts of the Hoover High campus for classroom learning. In preparation for new roads being built in the Stadium Trace area, a section of forest across the street from the garden has been cut down. Butler said they plan to observe this area to learn how woodland regenerates after being disturbed. There is also a nearby retention pond that fil ters water before it feeds into the Cahaba River, and O rt said this area has become a habitat of its o n for herons geese kingfishers ha ks fish and more species, particularly during migration. She plans to install bat boxes, wood duck nesting boxes and bird-attracting plant species to encourage the growth of this habitat. “This has become a wildlife area, and we ant to add to this ora rt said. Hoover’s environmental science students will gain much more from walking outside to learn about forestry, erosion and other concepts than they would watching a video in the classroom, Butler said. He wants it to instill lifelong lessons about the importance of caring for the local ecosystem. “It gives them an opportunity to see realworld situations in a local community,” Butler said. “They’ll know how to apply some of those things and have a sense of meaning and purpose.” O rt said she wants to remove political issues from studying the local environment, and show her students that humans can choose to have a positive effect on their community’s wild plants and animals. “‘ How can we make it better? ’ That habit of mind and that practice is really important as a citizen,” O rt said.

A26 • May 2017 MAZURS

CONTINUED from page A1 brain injury. For more than 13 years now, David has been in what doctors call a “vegetative state.” He can’t speak or communicate and has limited movement. He has a tracheostomy tube in his neck to provide an airway and a place to suction out secretions, and he has a feeding tube for nourishment. ost people in his condition find them selves in nursing homes, but Donna and her husband, Chris, instead took the responsibility of caring for him on their own shoulders. They brought him home — the place where he has lived since he was about 4 years old.


Together, she and Chris for 11 years made sure he got his daily medicine and nourishment, gave him breathing treatments several times a day and took care of his daily hygiene needs. In J uly 2015, Chris died, leaving Donna as the only parent to care for David, which she has done for nearly two years now. She has the help of a nurse who comes four to five hours a day six days a eek but beyond that, it’s just her and David in the house. “She’s an amazing mother,” Shaun said. “The love and dedication she has for him is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. David comes first. verything else is second. She is the strongest woman I have ever met.” ven hen his dad as alive Shaun said it was hard to put into words everything his mother does for David. But since his dad died, “she’s taken it up a notch.” “There are a lot of things that go into taking care of David. She makes it look extremely easy Shaun said. don’t kno how she does those things by herself, but she does it.” Gail Richardson, a registered nurse who has been coming to the Mazurs’ house to help care for David for more than five years said she has been impressed with all Donna has

Hoover Sun learned to do. Chris handled a lot of David’s care, but since Chris died, “she’s had to take over everything except hen ’m here Richardson said.


Pat Motley, a resource coordinator for the Alabama Head Injury Foundation, said most people with long-term traumatic brain injuries end up in nursing homes. O f the 1,030 patients she serves in 14 counties in east central Alabama, only about 20 receive care at home, she said. Many families start out trying to care for them at home, but their loved ones end up in nursing homes “just because they can’t do it,” Motley said. Motley was not familiar with the Mazurs, but “it’s hard for me to imagine what their day-to-day life is like,” Motley said. “It’s like caring for an infant for life.” J ust taking care of the skin of bedridden patients who have little to no movement is extremely challenging she said. They must be turned every two to three hours, she said. Richardson said a lot of family members of people in David’s condition can’t deal with everything that comes with caring for them at home either financially or emotionally. ot everybody would be able to do this.” Medicaid pays for Richardson to relieve Donna for 12 hours a week — between 1 and 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. And Donna pays $2,000 a month out of her own pocket for Richardson to also come between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, providing another 15 hours a week. That gives Donna some time to run errands or get out of the house for a while — or maybe just get some decent sleep. She said she hasn’t really had a solid night’s sleep since Chris died. “I have to be aware,” she said. She can relax and sleep better hen she knows Richardson is there to keep an eye on David, she said. Donna is trying to get in another Medicaid program that provides nursing care for 12 hours a day, and Shaun said he hopes she gets approved.

Donna Mazur points out various pictures of her son, David, in a collage created by his Hoover High School Class of 1999 at its 10-year reunion to commemorate their fellow classmate. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

“She should have a life. She should be able to get out of the house and come and go as she pleases,” he said. “There’s nothing more that I want for her than to be able to have a life and see her friends and go out to eat. Y et at the same time, David is her priority.” Donna said Shaun and his wife, Amy, always come over and take care of David whenever she needs them, but she is adamant that David is not Shaun’s responsibility, and she will never make him Shaun’s responsibility. Shaun said his mother has definitely put her life on hold to take care of David, but “you’ll never hear a complaint from her.”


David was an outgoing young person who lived life to the fullest, his mother and brother said. “David was the life of the party,” Shaun

said. “When my brother walked into the room, the whole room lit up … H e loved life. There was never a dull moment with him.” He was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back with no questions asked, Shaun said. “He had a huge heart. He would put other people before himself,” he said. “He was fiercely loyal to his friends. David always kept his friends laughing and was known to be on the mischievous side, his mother said. His principal at Hoover High withheld his diploma for two days after he walked on stage at graduation with a beach ball, she said. He never got into major trouble with police, she said, “but I don’t think there was a police officer in Hoover ho didn’t kno my son.” The vanity plate on his Dodge truck said it all — Crazymaz. Donna Mazur is pictured with her son David in 2003, before his car accident, which left him with a traumatic brain injury. Photo courtesy of Donna Mazur.

“David did more in 23 years than most people do in their lifetime,” his mother said.


David’s wreck occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 27, 2003, but Donna said she still remembers it like it was yesterday. David was having a late Friday night meal with friends in Birmingham, and he called her and Chris about 1:30 a.m. to let them know he was on his way home, she said. “The last thing he said to me was, ‘ I love you, mom, and I’ll see you later,’” she said. “Those were the last words I ever heard him say to me.” Then about 3 a.m., the phone rang again and showed “Hoover City J ail” on the caller D. She at first ondered if David had been put in jail, but the caller told her David had been in an accident, and there were two police officers at her front door to take her to AB Hospital, she said. When they got to the hospital, the staff gave her David’s clothing, and the doctor explained David had a traumatic brain injury, and they had to remove his spleen. However, “if you didn’t know he was in a car wreck, you’d never know,” she said.

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May 2017 • A27

They know so little about [David’s condition]. But to me, when I go in there and talk to him, and I watch his heart rate go up, I know that he knows I’m there. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.”

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The love and dedication she has for [David] is unlike a th e e er ee a come fir t er th else is second. She is the strongest woman I have ever met.”

“There was not one mark on him.”


O n Sunday morning, one of the doctors told her she was going to have to learn to get on with her life, she said. “I really wanted to punch this doctor out,” she said. “I looked at him and said, ‘ That is my life in that room. Don’t tell me to get a life.’” David stayed in the hospital until April 2004, and Donna said there was never a question in her mind whether David would go into a nursing home. “This is my son,” she said. “David was coming home. This was where he lived and where he was going to be.” At the time Donna as on the Hoover City Council, and workers with the city of Hoover built a wheelchair ramp to get David into the house and fixed his room so they could fit a hospital bed in it, she said. For the first month lived in that room with David,” she said. Ironically, Donna served on the board of the Alabama Head n ury Foundation for five years before David had his accident. But despite her time there, nothing could prepare her for when it was her own child, she said. n the first year David had to return to the

hospital two or three times with pneumonia. He’s been in the hospital a few other times over the years for pneumonia or urinary tract infections, but it has been nearly two years since he had to stay there, she said. O ne doctor once told Donna she needed to let David go and let the pneumonia take its course, but the next time she saw him, “I pointed my finger at him and said f you go near my son, I’m throwing you out this third oor indo ’ she said. He turned around and walked out of the room.” She found another doctor to supervise David’s care, she said. To some people, David may not really be there, Donna said. “But to me, he’s here.” “The doctors didn’t expect him to live the first t o nights she said. But here he is 13 years later.”


David’s eyes open when he wakes in the morning and close when he goes to sleep, Donna said. His eyes move around, but no one can tell if he can see, she said. “They know so little about it,” she said. “But to me, when I go in there and talk to him, and I watch his heart rate go up, I know that he knows I’m there. There’s no doubt in


my mind about that.” She wouldn’t change her decision to care for him at home for anything in the world, she said. “I don’t feel sorry for myself. This is a decision Chris and I made because he is our son, and this is what we wanted to do — not had to do.” David’s nurse said if David were to go into a nursing home, he would probably be dead in six months. “He gets much better care here at home,” Richardson said. “They’re really not equipped to give the kind of care that he gets here.” Shaun said his mother is making sure David gets the best quality of life he can get for someone in his situation, and he hopes David can somehow realize that, even in his condition. Donna said she sometimes has asked herself whether David would want to live like this. “Probably not,” she said. She has wondered if she has been keeping him alive for selfish reasons and she doesn’t know, she said. “He has brain waves. I guess that’s what I have held onto all these years,” Donna said. “The bottom line for me is — I can go in there and talk to him. I can hug him. I can kiss him. am not bringing o ers to his cemetery.”


MAY 2017

Mother’s Day Gift Guide B10 School House B16 Graduation Gift Guide B23

SEEKING NEW BEGINNINGS Students want program for troubled kids fully restored By JON ANDERSON Emma J oines was 10 years old when her parents divorced, and she felt forced to choose a side. Her two sisters chose to live with her mother, but she went to live with her dad initially so he wouldn’t be alone, she said. A custody battle began that would last seven years and involve lengthy trials, nine judges in two counties and a lot of family drama, J oines said. Her grades at school plummeted. Anxiety and depression controlled her days, and insomnia ruled her nights. “If I could get to sleep, nightmares would often wake me up,” she said. J oines began struggling with anorexia and bulimia in seventh grade, and she started hurting herself in eighth grade, she said.

“I believed I wasn’t worth anything,” J oines said. She was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and tendencies for a while and then turned to drugs in the ninth grade. She was sent to the Second Chance program in the Hoover school system’s Crossroads alternative school. “I wouldn’t have admitted it then, but it truly did help me a lot,” J oines said. “The faculty really was so supportive. … Second Chance was a punishment, yes, but it really was more of a point of redirection.” J oines was able to return to Spain Park High School, but not long into her sophomore year, her mother took her to court for domestic violence. J oines claims the accusations were false, but she was put on probation. She went to juvenile detention four times in


Emma Joines, an 18-year-old senior at Spain Park High School, had a troubled childhood. The New Beginnings program at the Crossroads alternative school helped save her life, she said, but she and others say the program has taken a turn for the worse since being moved from the former Berry High School campus. Photo by Jon Anderson.

B2 • May 2017

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May 2017 • B3

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Hoover Sun

You nominated and voted for your favorite spots around Hoover, and the ďŹ nal votes have been tallied. The staff of the Hoover Sun is proud to announce the winners of Best of Hoover 2017. Results begin on page B6.

May 2017 • B5

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Hoover Sun

Thank You


THE WINNERS Congratulations to all! FOOD AND DRINK ► Most Friendly Service Chick-fil-A Runner-up: Front Porch ► Most Kid Friendly Restaurant Chick-fil-A RU: The Whole Scoop ► Best Breakfast/Brunch Big Bad Breakfast RU: First Watch ► Best Date Night Firebirds RU: J. Alexander’s ► Best Ladies’ Lunch Spot Chicken Salad Chick RU: Ashley Mac’s ► Best Casual Dining Front Porch RU: Jim ‘N Nicks

► Best Asian Food Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese RU: Stix ► Best Italian Food Costa’s Mediterranean Grill RU: Vecchia Pizzeria and Mercato ► Best Mediterranean Food Taziki’s RU: Costa’s Mediterranean ► Best Mexican Food Iguana Grill RU: La Fiesta ► Best New Restaurant (must have opened after February 2016) Front Porch RU: Chicken Salad Chick ► Best Burger

Five Guys RU: Baja Burger ► Best Pizza Tortuga’s RU: Vecchia Pizzeria and Mercato ► Best Place for a Sweet Treat Edgar’s Bakery and Cafe RU: Bluff Park Ice Cream Shoppe ► Best Cheese Dip La Fiesta RU: Iguana Grill ► Best Dessert (name of the dessert and restaurant) Strawberry Cake, Edgar’s Bakery and Cafe RU: White chocolate bread pudding, Front Porch

Results continue on page B8.



205-380-4344 TAZIKISCAFE.COM

May 2017 • B7

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Hoover Sun

BUSINESSES AND SERVICES ► Best New Business (must have opened after February 2016) Skyzone RU: Ross Bridge Animal Hospital ► Best Place to Buy a Gift Wrapsody RU: Von Maur ► Best New Business (must have opened after February 2015) Sprouts Farmers Market Hoover RU: Brixx Pizza ► Best Children’s Store The Lego Store RU: Build-a-Bear ► Best Women’s Clothing Store

Von Maur RU: Belk ► Best Store for Men Academy Sports and Outdoors RU: Field and Stream ► Best Place to Buy Home Décor Home Goods RU: Hobby Lobby ► Best Customer Service Publix RU: Hoover Public Library ► Best Veterinarian Lake Crest Animal Clinic RU: Patton Chapel Animal Clinic ► Best Mechanic Shop Estes Warehouse Tires RU: Hoover Toyota ► Best Salon

Stone Salon RU: Aveda Institute ► Best Golf Course RTJ at Ross Bridge RU: Hoover Country Club ► Best Grocery Store Publix RU: Sprouts Farmers Market ► Best Real Estate Agent ate Giffin RU: Blake Shultz ► Best New Car Dealership Hoover Toyota RU: Long-Lewis Ford ► Best Used Car Dealership Carmax RU: Hoover Toyota

HEALTH AND WELLNESS ► Best Work Out Facility Hoover YMCA RU: Hoover Recreation Center ► Best Dentist Dr. Annamarie DiChiara RU: Dr. Jennifer MorrisseyPatton, Hoover Family Dentistry ► Best Orthodontist Backus Orthodontics RU: Birmingham Orthodontics

► Best Pediatrician Dr. John Cortopassi, Greenvale Pediatrics RU: Dr. Anne Byars, Southlake Pediatric ► Best Family Practitioner Dr. Jody Gilstrap RU: Dr. Carrie Huner ► Best Pharmacy Walgreen’s RU: Publix Pharmacy

► Best Spa Renaissance Ross Bridge Spa RU: St. Vincent’s One Nineteen ► Best Chiropractor Dr. Trey Lott RU: Dr. Drew Klein ► Best Orthopedist Dr. Mike Ellerbusch, Southlake Orthopedics RU: Dr. Jeff David, Andrews Sports Medicine

COMMUNITY ► Best Outdoor Space Moss Rock Preserve RU: Aldridge Gardens ► Best Community Event Bluff Park Art Show RU: Moss Rock Festival

► Best Neighborhood Bluff Park RU: Ross Bridge ► Best Church Choir Hunter Street Baptist RU: Riverchase United Methodist

► Best Teacher Anthony Hamley RU: Devon Hind ► Best Place for Family Outing Moss Rock Preserve RU: Veterans Park

May 2017 • B9

Hoover High chool teacher ale Windle talks with students in the ew eginnings classroom at Hoover as the work on their computers while sitting on the oor. here t picall are no more than 11 students in the classroom at an given time. ome students attend some mainstream classes, while others sta in the ew eginnings classroom prett much the whole school da . Photo by Jon Anderson.


CONTINUED from page B1 Columbiana for probation violations and the last time spent four months there after failing her entry drug test, she said. She then spent five months in a behavior modification rehab facility in nterprise. This is here began my healing process J oines said. But hen she as released she couldn’t go back to Spain Park she said. She felt like she had lost all her friends and asn’t elcome there, and her drug dealers, party friends and people who had abused her were there, she said. So J oines applied for the N ew Beginnings program at the Crossroads School hich at the time as at the former Berry High School campus off Columbiana Road. The e Beginnings program is not a disciplinary program. t’s designed for students ith special challenges ho need a smaller more focused environment to succeed academically — for a variety of reasons. The program took a dramatic turn this school year hen the Crossroads School as closed as a separate school and the old Berry campus sold to the estavia Hills Board of ducation. The Second Chance program as moved back to the Hoover High School campus but the e Beginnings students ere sent back to the schools for hich they ere zoned. For Joines that meant going back to Spain Park. The N ew Beginnings students were not forced to go back into regular classes. Ho ever the program has been much different this year than in past years. J oines, now a senior, and two sophomores ent to the Hoover school board in ovember to express dissatisfaction and said the program is no longer orking or meeting students’ needs. nstead of having small classes for different sub ects e Beginnings students of all grades go into the same room and receive most of their instruction online. They primarily atch videos and take multiple choice tests on the computers, they said. t’s a huge do ngrade from hat e had at the old Berry. t doesn’t provide you ith the education that you need for graduating from high school and going into college. ou can cheat on it extremely easily sophomore Jonathan Chunn said. t doesn’t ork for me and a lot of people. Trace Grayson another sophomore said

“ m tr

e er o

to fi re o t ho t o to or for other o a other ho ee t the f t re e a e m fe a m ot the o e that

students have lost the caring and supportive environment they previously had. They had actual teachers for support and an actual learning environment Grayson said. hen e moved to Spain Park and Hoover e all got online and basically e ust got sent to a classroom ith one teacher and e ere told to do our ork pretty much. O n top of that, the whole reason some students enter e Beginnings is because they can’t deal ith their base school environment and no they’ve been thro n back into it J oines said. ou can’t get your school ork done if you’re mentally not there she said. Going back to Spain Park sends her anxiety through the roof, J oines said. t’s ust horrible to have to go back there she said. Spain Park Principal Larry Giangrosso and the staff have tried to make the e Beginnings students feel comfortable but he can’t change the fact that e’re back in a place that e don’t feel safe and secure Joines said. Some N ew Beginnings students have dropped out of school as a result she said. Hoover school board member arl Cooper commended the students for having the courage to come to the board to share their concerns. He said he understands that having a nurturing environment is important, but at some point, their educational experience has to prepare them for real life. nce you alk out it’s a tough one Cooper said. Shannon Barron an instructional support aide who led the N ew Beginnings program at Spain Park hen it first moved back there but left the school system in arch said the program isn’t orking like it should anymore. These are teenagers ith special needs and hile they do need social interaction ith their peers they don’t need it in a mass setting like Hoover and Spain Park high schools Barron said. And the online instruction isn’t orking ell


for them, she said. “Seven to 10 hours a day staring at a computer it ust isn’t the right learning environment for them. Some of the students feel like they’re ust an afterthought, Barron said. She thinks the solution is finding a setting similar to what the students had before, but said she as told the school system can no longer afford teachers for small group settings like they had at the old Berry campus. Hoover schools Superintendent athy urphy said one of the reasons the e Beginnings students ere sent back to their base schools is because some of them ere missing out on high level classes and electives that eren’t available at the Crossroads School. They’re able to take those classes at their base schools she said. Special accommodations have been made to separate N ew Beginnings students from the rest of the school population as much as needed urphy said. They have a special place to park and they don’t have to make their ay through the big halls ith everybody she said. t’s designed to give them as much support as e can. At least one teacher from each of the four core sub ects goes into the e Beginnings room to offer help as needed, and intervention coaches still support the students and give them an opportunity to talk about issues they are facing she said. t really is a great effort think on our part urphy said. Students even have the option to take their courses online from home she said. However, the goal of the N ew Beginnings program is not to exclude them from the rest of the student body, but to rather support them as they reintegrate into the larger population, she said. ven so urphy formed a committee to explore if there are ways to improve the N ew Beginnings program. t’s being led by Simmons iddle School Principal Brian Cain ho as

principal of the Crossroads School years ago and current Crossroads School Principal Anna Whitney. Cain said the committee has met several times and is trying to be sensitive to the needs of students. They have gathered some data about the number of students who returned to N ew Beginnings this year and how many of them chose to return to some mainstream classes urphy said. She declined to release that information until it is presented to the school board at its ay 8 meeting. School officials also have been talking ith students about their experiences this year and were planning to do more surveys with students urphy said. She understands some students don’t like the ne arrangement but for some of the students it has orked really ell she said. Some students like being back at their base school but others don’t urphy said. Some like the online instruction but others say it doesn’t ork for them she said. t’s such a mixed bag. urphy said it’s too early to tell hether any changes ill be made to the e Beginnings program. School officials are concerned about hether they have had the ne approach in place long enough to properly gauge its effectiveness, she said. Regardless urphy said school officials never take it lightly hen students bring forard serious concerns. They ant to keep troubled kids in school and encouraged she said. Hopefully e’ll continue to find ays to support those students she said. f there’s a better ay to do it ’m all in. Joines said her anxiety at Spain Park got so bad that she uit going to school in January. Her father orked it out so she could take classes online from home and go to the school only to take tests she said. t’s not ideal but she ust couldn’t handle it anymore she said. She plans to graduate in ay and has applied for admission to the niversity of ontevallo. f accepted she plans to ma or in something like nursing or psychology and get a double ma or or minor in music hich is her passion. She hopes that by sharing her story she can help bring something like the old e Beginnings program back she said. t’s not ust about me. t’s about the future of the program Joines said. ’m trying to figure out ho it’s going to ork for other kids kno and other kids ho ill need it in the future e Beginnings did save my life and ’m not the only person like that.

B10 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

mother’s day

For the

SKIN CARE OBSESSED Clarisonic Mia 1 $129 Purchase a Clarisonic Mia 1 and receive an Elta MD Foaming Facial Cleanser free.

gift guide

Pure Dermatology & Aesthetics 5346 Stadium Trace Parkway, Suite 100 682-8022

For the

GARDENER Bellingham Thorn Handling Gloves $29.99 Lightweight, tough and flexible synthetic leather protects hands and forearms. Hanna’s Garden Shop 5485 U.S. 280 991-2939

For the

BAUBLE LOVER j. cobb designs Bracelet $55 Locally handmade silver and turquoise bracelet featuring a magnetic clasp. Hoover Florist 1905 Hoover Court 823-5273

For the

DECORATOR Throw Pillows $12-16 Decorative throw pillows are the perfect accent for the gardener in your life. Buy one or both, and use them in sunrooms, porches or living areas. Aldridge Gardens 3530 Lorna Road 682-8019

For the

FLOWER LOVER Pink Hydrangea in an Antique Drawer $40 Give someone a beautifully arranged hydrangea to tend to and enjoy. Sweetspire Gardens 2146 Tyler Road, Suite 212 968-1391

May 2017 • B11 For the

MOM TO BE PAMPERED Inis Energy of the Sea Line $18-$22 Nourishing hand cream and cologne spray with sea minerals and seaweed extracts. Wrapsody 161 Main St., Suite 127 989-7277

For the

STYLE ICON Bussola Women’s Formentera Wedges $100 Formentera Flatform Sandals combine the height and elegance of a high-heel shoe with the comfort and wearability of a sandal. This design is superbly finished with crossed straps across the instep and studding on the footbed.

For the

LOCAL FOODIE “Birmingham’s Best Bites” Cookbook $27.95 Cookbook featuring favorite recipes from restaurants, bars and food trucks around the Magic City.

Alabama Outdoors 108 Inverness Plaza 980-3303

Hoover Hometown Pharmacy 2801 John Hawkins Parkway, Suite 101A 650-1960

For the

CLASSIC MOM Carson & Co. 100 Percent Silk Charmeuse Scarves $325+ Designer Susan Carson draws on everything from vintage botanical prints to old book jackets for her silk scarves. Bromberg’s 131 Summit Blvd. 969-1776

For the

MOM WHO HAS EVERYTHING OYOBox $135-300 Multiple sizes and chic colors to store and organize eyewear. Schaeffer Eye Center 979-2020

B12 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

Opening nears for Finley Center, expanded RV park By JON ANDERSON

Above: Monty Jones Jr., general manager for the Hoover Metropolitan Complex, stands at the front of the 155,000-square-foot Finley Center for sports and other events as construction workers are busy around and inside it, trying to get the center ready in time to be an accessory building for the SEC Baseball Tournament. Photos by Jon Anderson. Below: Some of the basketball goals for the Finley Center already had been installed by mid-April. The center has room for 11 full-size basketball courts inside it.

Construction crews are racing the clock to get the new 155,000-square-foot Finley Center and Hoover RV Park at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex ready to open in time for the SEC Baseball Tournament. But Monty J ones J r., the manager of the complex said he is confident they ill have the facilities done the week before the tournament, scheduled for May 23-28. “Structurally, we’re kind of all there,” J ones said in mid-April. “It looks a whole lot different than it did a couple of months ago. It’s actually taking shape. It’s looking closer and closer to being completely done.” As of mid April orkers still had to finish the external siding, painting, equipment installation, interior cosmetic work, landscaping and parking lot paving. Some of the basketball goals attached to the ceiling already had been installed, and the ooden oor that ill be used for basketball and volleyball was half-built, J ones said. The ooden oor is being built and painted in Ten nessee and won’t be installed until mid-J une — after the SEC Baseball Tournament and some other events he said. t’s a portable oor that will be removed for events that work better on the concrete surface, he said. The Finley Center, named after late Berry High School coach Bob Finley, is designed as a facility for sports, trade shows, banquets and other meetings and events. O n the sports side, it has enough room for 11 full-size basketball courts or 17 full-size volleyball courts. It also can be used for other sports, such as lacrosse, indoor soccer or roller hockey. “It’s 82,000 square feet of uninterrupted space,” J ones said. The Finley Center also has an area of more than 7,000 square feet reserved for either a sports performance center, sports rehab center or a facility that offers both he said. City offi cials are still trying to determine the best fit for that space, he said.

The center also will have an indoor climbing wall, quarter-mile suspended indoor walking track, food court with four concession/ vendor areas, kitchen, convenience store, outdoor patio, restrooms, three meeting rooms and a grassy event lawn between the Finley Center and Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Because the Finley Center took up part of the space formerly occupied by the Hoover RV Park, the RV park has been partially relocated and expanded from 149 to 170 spaces. It also will be ready in time for the SEC Baseball Tournament, J ones said. During the tournament, the Finley Center ill be used as a fanfare area ith in atables games, concessions and other family-friendly activities, J ones said. The center is connected to the stadium by a walkway. Several events already have been booked at the Finley Center after the SEC Baseball Tournament is over. Made South, an event that showcases artisan goods, food, drink, music and art made in the South is scheduled to take up about half the Finley Center with about 100 vendors on J une 2-3. The Collectors and Shooters Co. has a gun show scheduled for J une 10-11, and the Alabama Gun Collectors Association is having a gun show J uly 8-9. Each is expected to have 300 to 500 vendors and take up the entire facility, J ones said. J ones, who also oversees the Hoover Met, said the Hoover Arts Alliance is having an arts and craft show on the Hoover Met concourse May 5-6. So far, about 70 to 100 vendors are expected, he said. Then on J une 8-10, the Hoover Baseball Club is holding its Hoover Baseball Summer Showcase for high school teams at the Met. At least 18 teams were scheduled to be there as of mid-April, he said. In March, workers began clearing trees for the rest of the sports complex, which will include five CAA size baseball fields five CAA size soccer lacrosse rugby football

May 2017 • B13 Here is an external view of the food court in the back corner of the Finley Center. It includes a view of the area where the baseball/ softball elds will be.

fields 1 hard court tennis courts a pro shop playground and splash pad. The target date for completion of that part of the complex is the first uarter of 2019 Jones said. Jones already has hired five full time employees a business development and events director senior sales and marketing manager

sports coordinator finance manager and a park ing and security manager. He plans to hire a facilities coordinator by early ay. Additionally many part time employees ill be needed including sports operations staff parking attendants ushers people to sell and collect tickets guest services representa tives and other operations staff. A ob fair as

scheduled for April 29. Turner Food Systems has been chosen as the food and catering service for the Hoover et ropolitan Complex hich includes the Finley Center Hoover et and field concession areas. Ho ever Five Star vent Catering ill con tinue to handle concessions and catering for the S C Baseball Tournament Jones said.

Brasfield and Gorrie the construction man agement company overseeing the Finley Center R Park and sports field ork and the Good yn ills Ca ood architecture and design firm have been great partners Jones said. feel everything is going great he said. t’s amazing ust looking at it from eek to eek and ust seeing the progress.

B14 • May 2017

Hoover Sun


SERVICE Naomi Pitts named Volunteer of the Year for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society By AL Y X C H ANDL ER

W Naomi Pitts was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award on Feb. 9 at the LLS Blood Drop Banquet. Photos by Alyx Chandler.

hen N aomi Pitts speaks to large crowds, she speaks with courage. Pitts, a Spain Park High School senior, is also a survivor of anaplastic large cell lymphoma ( ALCL) , a blood cancer. Even though she has been in remission for a few years now, that hasn’t stopped her from telling her story to inspire others. “She was always a very shy I’m a lot more and quiet-spoken young lady, but grateful since the she started doing public speakcancer. It made ing at events to raise awareness for childhood cancer, and she got me realize how this holy boldness about her,” small the world is. said N aomi Pitts’ mother, ChrisNAOMI PITTS tine Pitts. The first t o or three speakers, you could barely hear her. But by the fourth fifth time it as like ho is that That girl has a lot of confi dence. She just speaks from the top of her head now, experience from the heart.” O n Feb. 9, N aomi Pitts was awarded the Volunteer of the Y ear award at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s ( LLS) Blood Drop Banquet. LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to fighting blood cancer. N aomi Pitts volunteers as part of the LLS Student

May 2017 • B15

Series, a donation drive designed to teach children how to set and reach goals, as well as value community involvement. Students spend a few weeks during the 2016-17 school year on programs they design to raise money to end blood cancers. “O ne day, she just came right in after volleyball,” said Maggie Rountree, campaign manager of LLS’ Alabama and Gulf Coast Chapter. Truth be told high school students can find a whole lot more interesting things to do than sort data on a computer, but she wanted to help. It matters to her.” N aomi Pitts served as an Honorary Ambassador for LLS and the Spain Park fundraiser, the “Hometown Showdown,” a basketball game and fundraising event between Spain Park and Hoover High. Last year, she supported LLS’ Man and Woman of the Y ear campaign and was named Teen of the Y ear. “It’s therapeutic and empowering for her to share her story because there’s so much hope and inspiration in it,” Rountree said. “I know [ sharing] is not for every student, but for N aomi, she lives knowing it inspires and helps others that are currently going through treatments.” aomi Pitts as first diagnosed ith blood cancer when she started middle school. She went through a year and a couple of months of chemotherapy at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham. Christine Pitts said the initial diagnosis was hard with the physical repercussions of the chemotherapy, especially as a young woman, not even a teenager yet. Being isolated from people because of germs was also extremely different, especially being so young and losing the closeness with her group of friends she was just beginning to make, Christine Pitts said. “With kids that young, it’s out of sight, out of mind,” she said. N aomi Pitts said she also lost a lot of weight and was unable to play in any of the volleyball games, even though she just made the team. When she went into remission, it was like trying to fit in all over again Christine Pitts said. But N aomi Pitts said it hasn’t been an entirely negative experience. Because of the cancer, she has had the opportunity to make a

Pitts receives a hug after being honored with a Volunteer of the Year award and followed with a speech about her experience with cancer.

difference and meet people dedicated to making a difference. “I’m a lot more grateful since the cancer,” N aomi Pitts said. “It made me realize how small the world is.” aomi Pitts first got involved ith LLS in 2014. Since then, she has been known to write notes of encouragement to the recruitment team, help sort through a lot of data and sign and write letters detailing her story and asking for donation money from friends and family

Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

all over the U .S. “I tell people if I can be half the woman N aomi is as a high school senior, I’ll be quite proud,” Rountree said. “She is incredible. She has really served in a number of capacities to support our chapter.” The most important thing to N aomi Pitts is being able to have an in uence on her peers. “Thanks to research, nearly 90 percent of children with acute leukemia are now cured,” Rountree said. “But there still is a long way to

go. Leukemia affects more children than any other cancer, so LLS’ Student Series donation drive provides a meaningful way for kids to help kids. Every dollar really does make a difference.” Even though she’s leaving to go to Auburn U niversity next year to study biochemical engineering, N aomi Pitts said she wants to continue volunteering for LLS in the years to come. For more information about the program, go to

B16 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

School House Hoover educator named Top 16 finalist for 2017-18 Alabama Teacher of Year Hoover High School biology teacher Paul McEwan was named one of 16 nalists for 2017-18 Alabama Teacher of the Year. Here, he works with students on a collaborative assignment. Photo by Jon Anderson.

By JON ANDERSON Hoover High School biology teacher Paul McEwan is one of 1 finalists for the 2017 2018 Alabama Teacher of the ear state Department of ducation officials said. c an as chosen to represent state Board of ducation Dis trict 3 and is one of eight secondary teachers chosen in the top 1 . ther secondary teachers in the running for the a ard include ► Jamie icole insoso of Daphne High School in the Bald in County system ► mily Sassano of Ben amin Russell High School in the Alexander City system ► atalie Ann Roig of Paul Bryant High School in Tusca loosa City Schools ► onica Pontoo of Bullock County High School in the Bullock County system ► ickie a er Gibbs of Arab Junior High School in Arab City Schools ► alyssa rnett Chandler of Shades alley High School in the Jefferson County system ► Thomasena Garner of Liberty iddle School in adison City Schools The eight district inners at the elementary level include ► Chasity Collier of Da es ntermediate School in the obile County system ► Charlotte Hartley of ontana Street agnet School in Dothan City Schools ► Ami Reeves Brooks of ndian alley lementary in Syla cauga City Schools ► Tara Foster of Brighton iddle School in the Jefferson County system ► Jean Renae Allen of Pike Road School in Pike Road City Schools ► rica Rutherford of Cullman City Primary School in Cull man City Schools ► Amy Foster Anderson of Crestline lementary School in ountain Brook City Schools ► ary Tate of t. Carmel Primary School in the adison County system The 1 finalists ere selected from more than 1 0 nominees across the state by a committee of local board of education mem bers a local school superintendent or representative the current

district Teachers of the ear and a representative from higher education. State officials plan to name the 2017 2018 Teacher of the ear at a ceremony in ontgomery on ay 10. c an said he as honored and humbled to get the Teacher of the ear a ard for his school. The fact that he on Secondary Teacher of the ear for Hoover City Schools and Alabama Board of ducation District 3 is ust shocking he said. c an has taught for 32 years in high schools in Alabama Flor ida entucky and South Carolina. This is his 11th year at Hoover here he teaches biology to ninth graders and 11th grade nterna tional Baccalaureate students. He has a bachelor’s degree in biol ogy ith a minor in chemistry and a master’s degree in instructional

technology both from Asbury niversity. He lives in Alabaster. State schools Superintendent ichael Sentance said in a ne s release that ell prepared dedicated caring enthusiastic and innovative elementary and secondary teachers are essential to achieving excellence in Alabama’s schools. The 1 Alabama Teacher of the ear finalists are shining examples of professionalism and dedication to Alabama’s most valued asset its children Sentance said. Alabama’s Teacher of the ear spends most of the school year serving as a full time ambassador for education and the teaching profession as ell as presenting orkshops to various groups. The state Teacher of the ear also automatically becomes a candidate for ational Teacher of the ear.

May 2017 • B17

Hoover school board mulls track replacement options

The track at Hoover High School has needed replacing for 10 years, track coach Devon Hind said. Photo by Jon Anderson.

By JON ANDERSON The Hoover school board in April agreed to spend 2.7 million to put ne artificial turf on the football fields and ne track surfaces at Hoover and Spain Park high schools. But Superintendent K athy Murphy and school board members left the door open to possibly upgrade to higher uality tracks after track and field supporters ob ected to installing a lo er uality surface. Murphy originally recommended installing polyurethane track surfaces at both schools but Hoover High School track coach Devon Hind ob ected saying the school district needs to install a higher uality ondo track hich is a prefabricated synthetic rubber surface. Mondo is widely viewed as the top-grade track surface. Hind said ountain Brook and estavia Hills have it and Thompson is getting ready to install it. “We don’t need Hoover to be second-rate. ountain Brook’s not second rate. estavia’s not second rate Hind said. ’m not one to keep up ith the Joneses but ’m ust telling you they’re making ise investment choices because if e spend more no it ill serve us more in the future. The ondo tracks last longer and are not too expensive to maintain Hind said. ountain Brook has had its ondo track for 17 years and had to spend only about 27 000 on repairs over that time he said. A comparison provided by Hoover school officials indicates both the polyurethane and ondo tracks come ith 10 year arranties but the life expectancy for a polyurethane track is 1 years versus 20 years for ondo. Ho ever according to that comparison sheet polyurethane can be resurfaced extend ing its useful life up to another eight years hile ondo cannot be resurfaced. Tracy Hobson the coordinator of opera tions for Hoover City Schools said ondo track surfaces tend to sho imperfections and unevenness in the base of the track more hile polyurethane surfaces are more forgiving and hide the imperfections better. The comparison by school officials indicates little to no change in the force reduction of a polyurethane track as the track ages hile the ondo surface becomes significantly harder

We don’t need Hoover to be second-rate. DEVON HIND

over time. Both surfaces exceed standards set by the nternational Association of Athletics Federations. A polyurethane track is expected to cost 32 9 8 at Hoover and 01 3 at Spain Park hile a ondo track is estimated to cost 230 at Hoover and 818 0 at Spain Park. The total price difference is 73 31 combining both schools. Hind noted that the school board budgeted 3. million to do the turf and track pro ects at both schools and the total cost ith ondo tracks and architectural fees ould be 3 7 0 hich is belo budget. f e budgeted for the best e should do the best he said. urphy said ust because there is 3. mil lion in the budget doesn’t mean the school system should spend it all. Hind said he thinks the track program once again is getting slighted. The specifications for the football field turf ere ritten exactly for the kind of turf the football program anted. t looks like e’re going to Cadillac on the turf and use Pinto on the track he said. Hind said Hoover High has needed a track for 10 years. as told five years ago e had the orst track facility in the state he said. The track got t o glorified paint obs in the past 1 years and both of those ere before nationally televised football games on SP he said. t had nothing to do ith track. They anted to look good for the T . Hind said he’s thankful to get a ne track surface but ’m ust one of those people that if you’re going to do it do it right. School board members had more questions at their April 10 meeting so urphy amended her recommendation. The new recommendation as to approve the polyurethane track so prep ork could begin ith the option to upgrade if school officials decide to go that route later.

B18 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

CLASS ACTS Deer Valley educator, Hoover and Spain Park students named 2017 Finley Award winners By JON ANDERSON J an Curtis was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer four years ago, but she continued working as a teacher at Deer Valley Elementary School throughout intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Her colleagues marveled at how she kept a smile on her face, a strong work ethic and a sense of humor as she struggled with the disease. Her ability to show grace, strength and humility under fire helped her earn the 2017 Finley Award for character among all Hoover City Schools personnel. Curtis joined Hoover High School senior Austin Carter and Spain Park High School senior Douglas Henze as the top three Finley Award winners for the school system this year. They were recognized at an awards ceremony at Metropolitan Church of God in late March. The award is given each year in honor of the late and much-loved Berry High School coach Bob Finley, who died of a heart attack while doing maintenance on the school’s football field in 199 . Vickie Allen, who teaches with Curtis at Deer Valley, was one of her colleagues who nominated her for the Finley Award. “J an Curtis inspires the faculty and student body of Deer Valley alike to embody the principles of love, trust and hope,” Allen wrote on her nomination form. “Through her love and

trust of Christ, she has helped our whole staff understand how one can live and work with struggle.” Curtis, whose cancer is now in remission, did not hide her illness from her students but rather embraced their fears and concerns about what was happening to her, Allen wrote. “With her help, her students were able to express their feelings of being afraid for her and lots of love,” Allen said. “The children were able to learn hands-on what it means to care for others.” As a teacher, Curtis builds wonderful relationships with parents and students and specifically seeks out children with special needs for her classroom, Allen wrote. She also is great at organizing and leading groups of teachers in a kind and meek, yet effective manner, fellow first-grade teacher Brittany Hunt wrote in another nomination. Curtis is a native of Trussville and began her career in education teaching elementary school in Athens for five years. She then took time off to raise her family and returned to education at Deer Valley in 2010 first in the library and no in the classroom. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from the U niversity of Alabama at Birmingham and is pursuing instructional leadership certification. She and her husband

Jan Curtis “inspires the faculty and student body of Deer Valley alike to embody the principles of love, trust and hope,” wrote her colleague, Vickie Allen. Photos courtesy of Hoover City Schools.

Billy, have 16-year-old twin boys and an 11-year-old son. They attend The Station Church in Hoover.


Carter, Hoover High’s Finley Award winner, also has had his life touched by cancer. His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was in the fourth grade at South Shades Crest Elementary. Chad Eads, one of Carter’s football coaches, said in a Finley nomination form that he watched Carter deal with the uncertainty of his mother’s future over the years and witnessed strength and faith lived out in front of him. Though his mother has been

cancer free for five years no Carter still wears a piece of pink clothing each day in O ctober for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in honor of his mother’s battle. “He never forces the topic onto his classmates but continues to quietly represent the many people affected by this disease,” Eads wrote. “Austin is always ready to talk about his family’s trial when others ask and explain to them the impact that cancer has on the patient and the entire family. He has committed his future to attending medical school with the dream of developing a cure for a disease that impacts everyone on the earth … Austin will use the lessons from his life to continue to quietly make

life better for those around him.” Carter also has demonstrated great, quiet leadership on the football team, Eads wrote. “The most important and lasting impact of his leadership is seen in the level of respect the younger players have for Austin,” Eads wrote. “I truly believe that Austin Carter’s quiet leadership, respect for others, dedication to his friends and tireless work ethic has caused many of his teammates to evaluate areas of their academic, social and personal lives. Austin has provided them with a model of how to live a life of honor and respect while maintaining the excitement of a young person.” While many senior students

May 2017 • B19

Austin Carter, right, a senior at Hoover High School, is in the Hoover High peer helping program and Engineering Academy and has been accepted to Auburn University, where he plans to major in chemical engineering. Douglas Henze, far right, a senior at Spain Park, has been accepted to Harvard University, where he plans to major in psychology in the fall.

arrange their schedules to leave school after a few classes, Carter stays at school to help special needs students in physical education, Eads said. “Austin values his time with these students because he believes he gains a ne perspective on life’s difficul ties,” Eads wrote. “The special needs students’ lives are enriched because a young man like Austin gives of his time to be their friend, but he values the life changing in uence they have on his life.” Carter has maintained an excellent academic record and was named the 2017 individual 7A state wrestling champion in the 28 pound eight class. He is in the Hoover High peer helping program and Engineering Academy and has been accepted to Auburn U niversity, where he plans to major in chemical engineering. He also is active in the youth group

at Riverchase U nited Methodist Church.


Henze, the Finley Award winner at Spain Park, is described by faculty as a rare student. Spain Park football coach Shawn Raney said Henze will always be one of his most memorable students and players. “Doug has always displayed a high degree of integrity, responsibility and ambition,” Raney said in a letter recommending Henze for the Finley Award. “He treats his teammates, classmates, coaches and teachers with the utmost respect.” He has a strong ork ethic sho ing up every morning at 6:30 a.m. in the weight room to do extra work, Raney said. He is definitely a leader rather than a follower,” Raney wrote. “He is al ays the first one to sho up and

the last one to leave and is the defini tion of leading by example.” In addition to earning a starting position on the varsity football team, Henze has shown leadership in the classroom by maintaining an excel lent GPA, Raney said. Henze’s Advanced Placement calculus teacher, Paul Carboni, also recommended Henze for the Finley Award. Henze grabbed his attention early in the school year because of his solid work ethic, smart comments in class, positive attitude, good sense of humor and he way he is respected by his peers and works well with them, Carboni said. Douglas is in my first period cal culus class, and he always seems to arrive in the morning ith an out standing attitude and always seems to be happy to be here,” Carboni wrote. He has yet to miss a single assign ment all year, which is particularly impressive considering how much

time he loses to football practice and games. He even had his homework ready on the Friday morning after a late Thursday night football game.” Henze excels in academics partic ularly in math and science, and has been accepted to Harvard U niversity, here he plans to ma or in psychol ogy in the fall. But he also shines out side the classroom, Carboni wrote. He is an Eagle Scout, leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a leader in the Relay for Life fund raiser for the American Cancer Soci ety. He also is a leader in the youth ministry at First Christian Church of Birmingham, served as a Vacation Bible School teacher, participated in

mission trips and served as a worship and small group leader at church. “He has a heart for serving others and finds oys in others’ happiness wrote the Rev. Robin Blakemore, the minister of discipleship at First Christian Church. “Douglas is bright, thoughtful talented and compassion ate. He is a natural leader who sees leadership as an obligation to serve rather than an occasion for accolades.” Raney said if he had a daughter, Henze is the kind of young man he would want his daughter to bring home. “Everything about the kid is outstanding,” Raney said. “Coach Finley ould have en oyed coach ing him.”

B20 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

Meet the newest member of the Hoover school board By JON ANDERSON The Hoover City Council in April appointed Amy Tosney to a five year term on the Hoover Board of Education. She is replacing Stephen Presley hose five year term ends May 31. Tosney will join the board J une 1. After graduating from J acksonville State U niversity, Tosney began her career as a history and English teacher at Erwin High School in the J efferson County system from 1993 to 1997. She took a break to raise young children and later served as an interim librarian at Brookwood Forest lementary in ountain Brook a kin dergarten teacher at Hilldale Christian School in Center Point and a preschool and music teacher at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover. She took another break after having a third child and, since 2008, has worked with her husband, J oe Tosney, in their overhead door company called Magic City Door. She is the vice president and office manager. The Tosneys have lived in Hoover nine years and have three daughters Layne 19 niver sity of Alabama) , Emma ( 16, Hoover High) and Lyla ( 11, Gwin Elementary) . The Hoover Sun recently had a chat with Tosney. Q : W h y d i d yo u d e c i d e t o a p p l y f o r t h e s c h ol b oar d ? A: I always thought that I would go back to teaching, and that never happened. So this is a good fit for me to still be able to ork in my business and still give as much as I can to my family but also do something in education. … I went to that city leadership breakfast, and I as super impressed that all these people ere recognizing children and recognizing things going on in the city, and I thought, “I’m ready to serve. I’m ready to be a part. I’m ready to meet new people and help where I can.” Q : Wh at d o you f e e l ar e t h e b i ge s t i s s u e s f ac i n g t h e s c h ol b oar d r i gh t n ow ? A: Z oning. … I think we have room for lots

Amy Tosney was appointed to the Hoover Board of Education in April. Photo courtesy of Joe Tosney.

of houses, which is lots of people, so I think zoning is always going to be an issue. And with that zoning comes capacity issues and whether to build on or whether to add different things to the school to meet the needs of 14,000 kids. Q : Wh at d o you p r op os e t o d o ab ou t t h e ac i t y i s s u e s ? A: I think I’d be conservative. I would try to do the best we could with just adding what we needed instead of a whole new school or a hole ne multi millions of dollars pro ect. c ap

think I would try to just meet the needs as they come as long as we can until we move into something like a whole new school. Q: Specifically, would you rather expand Hoover High School again, or expand Spain Park High School and rezone students there, o r b u ild a th ir d h ig h s c h o o l a n d s p lit th e c ity i n t o t h r e e h i gh s c h ol z on e s ? A don’t kno ho feel about rezon ing kids from Hoover to Spain Park or from Spain Park to Hoover because I think you’re

uprooting people from where they moved for a specific reason. Ho ever e’re in a city that’s growing, and we love that it’s a big city, and with all that, you’ve got to accommodate. I think I would rather build on until that’s just not economically financially the best thing. Q : H o w d o yo u f e e l a b o u t t h e p r o p o s e d r e z no i n g p l an t h at w as p r e s e n t e d t o t h e f e d e r al c ou r t ? A: I think it was the best plan possible. I think we tried to meet all the criteria. I read over

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the thing that was submitted. We had to do it. I think it was done in the best way possible. I thought it was great how open the superintendent was to listening to each group of people and trying to do the best thing that she could for most of the people in the city. We’ve got to get out from under it [ federal court supervision] . That’s just crazy to me that we’re going to submit every little thing we do to Washington. Whatever it takes, we’re going to have to do it. Q : Do yo u f e e l l i k e t h e s c h o o l s ys t e m n e e d s m or e f u n d i n g t h an i t i s ge t t i n g n ow ? A: Y ou’re asking me questions I’m not sure about ’til I see everything. I was super-impressed with last year and how we ended up in the plus, and I was super-impressed that the City Council took over [ all funding for] the school resource officers and gave more money. … I don’t want to overstep because there are certain things I don’t know. I would say, as far as 201 ent think e’re fine because e ended up in the black for the system. Everybody would love more money, but for what we are, as long as we’re in the black, we’re O K . Q : I f yo u c o u l d c h a n g e o n e t h i n g a b o u t r C i t y Sc h ol s , w h at w ou l d i t b e ? A: I think it’s great. I think it’s always going to be difficult to meet the needs of 1 000 chil dren, but I will say that I think that people in leadership care about each one and are doing their best for each one. … I’d love to change other people’s [ outside of our school system] perception of us. H ove

Q : Wh at d o you t h i n k i s t h at p e r c e p t i o n ? A: That we’re too big; that we’re maybe too diverse. People just say, “O h, I’d never go there. It’s too big. There’s not a place for each kid to fit. And don’t necessarily think that’s true. I love Hoover. … I don’t know that I know anything that I want to change at this point. N ow you can ask me that in six more months when I start to visit each school and get to know people. I might have different thoughts by then. Q : Ar e t h e r e an y ar e as you you h op e t o b r i n g a b ou t c h na e m p h as i s no s om e t h i n g? ge

al r e da y k n wo or i n c r e as e

Amy Tosney with her family.

A ’m a fine arts person. think athletics has its own life, but I’m interested to kind of get involved in the music and the band aspect and make sure their needs are being met, too — just because I’m an artsy person, I guess. Q : W h a t d o yo u w a n t p a r e n t s , s t u d e n t s a n d r e s i d e n t s i n H o o v e r t o k n o w a b o u t yo u ? A: I love people. I’m super-excited. I’m passionate about education. I’m passionate about young people, and they can rest assured that I will do the very best I can. … I certainly don’t want anyone to ever hate that I was appointed

or regret the appointment. That won’t ever happen because I will do the very best I can to make sure that I take into account each person. Q : H o w w o u l d yo u d e s c r i b e Su p e r i n t e n d e n t K at h y M u r p h y b as e d on w h at you k n ow ab ou t h e r at t h i s p oi n t ? A: Present. That’s my favorite thing about her. Every time I turn around, she’s there. She’s ust present. She is confident. She’s strong, and she’s passionate, and she desires to do well for these kids. This isn’t just a job for her. She lives this, and you can see it, and you

kind of just want to jump on her coattails and just ride with her. I love that. Q : Wh e r e d o you h op e t o s e e H ove Schools in five years when your ter A: N o. 1 in the state.

r C ity ends

Q : I n w h at ? A: Everything. Testing. Graduation rates. Achievement. … I want us to be N o. 1. I’m tired of us being behind some of these other schools. … We’re going to move up in the next five years.

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Hoover Sun

Hoover students’ work competes in state-level art competition Bumpus student Anna Claypoole and Spain Park student Rachael Stewart both had pieces that were part of the school district’s original 15 works of art that traveled to the capital to compete at the state level for the Superintendent’s Art Competition. From that exhibit, art was chosen to hang in exhibition at the capital for a period of one year. Hoover City Schools had these two chosen to exhibit. The works will be installed in the Gordon Persons Building on the third and fifth oors. –Subm i t t e dby H ov e r C i t y Sc hol s.

Spain Park teacher to research women’s suffrage movement Spain Park High School fine arts and theater teacher Eric St. J ohn is one of eight teachers from Alabama selected to receive a grant of about $5,000 through Fund for Teachers. This summer, he’ll be traveling to Seneca Falls, N ew Y ork, and Manchester

and London in the U nited K ingdom to research the origins of the women’s suffrage movement. St. J ohn will also study devised theatre to assist students in creating an original work this fall about the struggle for voting rights. –Subm i t t e dby H ov e r C i t y Sc hol s.

This artwork by Anna Claypoole will be on display at the state capital. Courtesy of Hoover City Schools.

2nd-grade team wins local title

Planet Fundraiser allows families to give back to their school through everyday purchases. Photo courtesy of Hoover City Schools.

Brock’s Gap partners with Planet Fundraiser

The second-grade Lakers recently won the Hoover Parks and Recreation basketball championship. he akers were 7 0 in the season and also won the league’s tournament. Front row, from left: Owen Ware, Simon Temple, Aiden Winzeler, Jordan Montgomery, Jayden Harris and Miles Bledsoe. Back row: Coaches Ellis Bledsoe and Cedric Montgomery. Photo courtesy of Ellis Bledsoe.

Brock’s Gap Intermediate School and Planet Fundraiser have partnered to create an easy way for families and supporters to give back to the school. They have raised over $1,000 since joining the app by simply using receipts of items purchased. O ther local schools are also joining the app and having success as well. Planet Fundraiser was started by two local entrepreneurs, Drew Honeycutt and K asey Birdsong. Honeycutt lived in Hoover for 8 years before moving to Vestavia, and Birdsong is a current Hoover resident and also a Hoover City Schools parent. They both saw this as a way for schools to raise funds and connect merchants wanting to give back to

their local communities. Planet Fundraiser is bringing a new and innovative way to raise funds for local schools. By using their everyday purchases, families and supporters can give back to their school or organization by snapping a picture of their receipt with the app, and the predetermined percentage is given back to the school. This makes one-time donations and everyday giving easy. Some local merchants include Chick fil A Piggly iggly Gigi’s Cupcakes ountain High utfitters Shipt and more. N ew merchants are added often as the app is growing in popularity. –Subm i t t e dby H ov e r C i t y Sc hol s.

May 2017 • B23

gift guide

For the

GIRL OFF TO COLLEGE Vera Bradley Large Duffel $88 Pictured in the Rumba pattern. Wrapsody 161 Main St., Suite 127 989-7277

For the

JEWELRY LOVER Engraved 1-inch Pewter Cuff $25 Commemorate the occasion with this classic cuff. Bromberg’s 131 Summit Blvd. 969-1776

For the

GRAD WITH A BRIGHT FUTURE SALT Optics Pratt $479 Classic style defines handcrafted titanium sunglasses fitted with polarized lenses for color-true clarity. Schaeffer Eye Center 979-2020

For the


Hoover Buccaneers T-Shirt $21.50 T-shirts and tanks available in a variety of colors and sizes.

Yeti Hopper Two Series $299.99 or $349.99 The Hopper Series is still 100 percent leakproof and ready to tackle the wild, now with a wider opening and easier access.

Hoover Hometown Pharmacy 2801 John Hawkins Parkway, Suite 101A 650-1960

Alabama Outdoors 108 Inverness Plaza 980-3303

For the



Sports C5 Real Estate C13 Calendar C14

MAY 2017

Persistence, patience pay off for McDonough By SAM


Tommy McDonough bided his time. Then, he shifted gears. At March’s Homewood Invitational, the Hoover High School senior perfectly executed a familiar strategy en route to victory in the boys 1,600-meter run. He sat and kicked. “The whole race I was thinking, ‘ It’s going to be a fun last 200 [ meters] ; it’s going to be fast,’” McDonough said. His full throttle final half lap vaulted him from fifth place to first. He crossed the finish line in 4 minutes, 29.62 seconds, only a couple steps ahead of his nearest competitors. “I just tried to get myself in a good position at the start of the last lap,” McDonough said. “From there, I kicked. That’s really all there is to it.” This simple strategy has yielded major dividends for cDonough throughout his final year of high school. He used it in the fall to capture the Class 7A state cross-country championship by one-tenth of a second, in 15:39.7. He deployed it again at February’s state indoor track and field meet here he took first in both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs. The three triumphs represented the first indi vidual state titles of his career. They were well earned. McDonough had finished as the state runner up five times prior to his victory in cross country. All five second place finishes occurred on the track, in events ranging from the 800 to 3,200 meters. His persistence — and patience — paid off. Hoover High School senior Tommy McDonough — wearing the No. 1 sticker — has turned past disappointment into three state championships in his nal ear on the high school cross countr and track and eld circut. Photo by Sam Chandler.

See MCDONOUGH | page C10

General and Cosmetic Dentistry

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


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Hoover Sun

May 2017 • C3

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Hoover Sun

WAITING FOR ‘A LIFE RESTORED’ Hoover man needs kidney transplant to to get his life back By SY DNEY C ROM WE


Marcus Simon is ready to get his life back. But first he has to find a kidney donor. “Everything in my life revolves around my dialysis said the Hoover resident ho receives dialysis treatments three times a eek hile he aits on the transplant list. n ctober 201 Simon developed hat he thought as pneumonia. His ear nose and throat specialist sent Simon to the hospital for treatment but he felt so eak that he had to be heeled out of the T office and trans ported by ambulance. His kidneys and lungs had begun to fail and it took a combination of dialysis a blood transfusion steroids and chemotherapy to keep Simon alive. probably should be dead my blood counts ere so lo Simon said. He as diagnosed ith granulomatosis ith polyangiitis also called egener’s granuloma tosis. t’s an in ammatatory autoimmune disor der that restricts blood o to organs. The first symptoms often start in the respiratory system and the disorder can appear slo ly over months or as in Simon’s case in a matter of t o eeks. ith treatment Simon’s lungs began to heal. His kidneys did not. After more than a year of dialysis treatment Simon as added to the kidney transplant aiting list in April 201 . entally and emotionally it as like my life is totally changed ’ Simon said. didn’t even understand the scale of a transplant.

o that he’s on dialysis three days a eek Simon is limited to orking from home and he can’t do much traveling. t can be hard on his ife ricka and stepson Gabriel since he no longer has the same free dom and activity level Simon said. He also kno s to expect that he’ll feel orse the day after a dialysis treatment and ust about the time he’s starting to feel better it’s time for another treatment. feel like ’ve missed out on so much stuff. haven’t been able to make it home to see people for some of my nieces and nephe s’ birthday parties. hate that because it al ays used to be nothing for me to go home Simon said. But in other ays he feels fortunate that his situation isn’t orse. Simon said he has met others undergoing dialysis in far orse health so he doesn’t like to complain hen he is still able to ork and spend time ith family ho live nearby. ’m in the best possible health that can be in under the circumstances Simon said. ust try to stay super super disciplined. At first Simon kept the details of his diag nosis and treatment to himself and many of his family members didn’t kno he as going to be added to the transplant list until after it as done. He had planned to keep it that ay until his birthday last December hen he as reminded of all the things in life he ants to get back to doing. really ant my life back. So ’ve got to step out of my comfort zone and try to see if can find a living donor because the ait time for my blood type is three to five years Simon said. can’t sit here and say that really ant to be better if ’m not going to exhaust every resource and try everything can possibly try

Marcus Simon with his wife, Ericka, and stepson, Gabriel. Photo courtesy of Marcus Simon.

to see if can find a donor. He’s begun sharing information ith friends and co orkers as ell as on social media and his blog A Life Restored. Simon is hopeful he can find a donor on his o n much faster than the ait on the transplant list. nce he has a ne kidney Simon said there are many things he’s looking for ard to traveling to see family

advancing his career and perhaps eventually having a child. But he especially can’t ait to have a life that doesn’t revolve around dialysis. ant my body to be in the best possible shape to handle everything that comes. So ant my health to be secondary to everything that’s going on and not primary Simon said.

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Sports Will Smith exceeds 300 wins with Jags

Speaking of his relationship with players and assistant coaches over the years, Smith said, o me, that’s what it’s a out. t’s not a out a num er.” Photo by Ted Melton.

By K Y L E P ARM L EY From becoming a head coach at 25 years of age and conducting five hour practices Spain Park High School baseball coach ill Smith has learned a great deal in 13 years. That time has been long enough for Smith to accumulate 300 ins as coach of the Jags a milestone that forced him to re ect on the many people ho have passed through the shado of the Spain Park dugout and spent countless days in the bleachers. t makes you think back on the many differ ent assistant coaches that you’ve had ith you the many different families the many different players and the administration that’s supported me for 13 years Smith said. hen you start thinking about it from that aspect it makes it very cool. Spain Park’s 7 in over Bob Jones in the opening game of the early season Birming ham Huntsville Challenge marked Smith’s 300th in at Spain Park the only head coach ing ob he has had in his career. Casey Dunn started the Spain Park baseball program upon the school’s opening in 2001 and as there for three years before becoming the Samford coach a position he still holds today. During his third and final season at Spain Park Smith came aboard his staff.

as 2 years old at the time and asn’t ready to be a head coach Smith said ith a laugh. The move orked out pretty ell for the Jags’ program in the long run ith many suc cessful seasons along the ay including in ning the 201 Class A state championship and exceeding 30 ins four times. The team has notched a inning season every season Smith has been the skipper. ith that success comes other opportuni ties along the ay but Smith has rebuffed any chances or re uests. He has found a home at Spain Park and constantly feels the backing of his superiors. y family really connects ith this com munity Smith said. love the school. love

the academic side of it. e couldn’t have done it ithout great support of administrators. Smith had no idea ho long he ould be at Spain Park ho many 2 year olds actually have a long term plan and said he still does not kno hat the future holds. But he is cer tainly comfortable in his position and counts his blessings on a daily basis. hen you get your first head coaching ob at Spain Park High School it’s tough to move up in the high school ranks from that he said. As far as those long practices go those are a thing of the past. hen Smith started at Spain Park he as only engaged ith no children. o he and his ife Brooke have three chil dren Brody llison and iller to chase around.

thought ’ve got to start orking smarter ’ Smith said. hen you’re in this business this long you have to change things up. f not it becomes very stagnant for myself and for my assistant coaches as ell. The ay e practice and the ay e game plan has changed. ou’ve got to change and be exible ith it. hile the current and future players on’t get to experience those kinds of practice ses sions players past and present are hat make the ob special for Smith. e’ve obviously had a lot of good players in our program over these 13 years and also the relationships that e’ve had ith the assistant coaches Smith said. To me that’s hat it’s about. t’s not about a number.

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Hoover Sun

Jilian Joyner has started every game of her four-year varsity career. Photos by Todd Lester.

Emily Michell has worked hard to become one o Hoover’s est de enders.

Jordan Henderson has successfully recovered from two ACL tears in her high school career.

Building blocks key to resurgence of Lady Bucs By K Y L E P ARM L EY When talking about the state of the Hoover High School girls soccer program under fourth-year coach Will Patridge, there are three cornerstones that were there from the beginning and are in the final stretches of their careers as a Buc. J ordan Henderson, J ilian J oyner and Emily Michell have played on Patridge’s varsity team since they were ninth-graders, hen Hoover’s team put together a record of 8 1 in 201 . o in 2017 the Bucs are in the playoffs for the second consecutive season and have aspirations and the belief that they can make some noise in the first fe eeks of ay. “They have just seen how we have progressed,” Patridge said of the three seniors. These girls have seen the hole progression of it. By the time that they’re seniors they’ve been here they’ve been in the program they kno my expectations and they’re able to buy into them and believe them and relay that to the younger group. Henderson has been a starting striker from the get-go, when she has been healthy. Henderson’s story is one of perseverance as she has endured a pair of ACL tears in her knee throughout her playing career. “It’s not a broken ankle or a broken arm, an ACL is a yearlong process to come back from Patridge said. Through the first one she as devastated by it and she had to make some sacrifices of her o n through that but she came back strong from it. The problem for Henderson as that it happened again. nstead of being discouraged and finding another passion she stuck with the game of soccer and was determined to return stronger than ever.

She said ou kno hat ant to do this. ant to continue to play high school soccer, and I want to wear a captain’s band my senior year ’ Patridge said. She put in the ork in the offseason. y hat’s off to that girl. She’s gone from being a pretty good player, then having two ACL surgeries, to being a great player. J oyner has started every game over the course of her career as a for ard and Patridge calls her a tremendous athlete. While J oyner is not going to be the outspoken, verbal leader, she absorbs instruction like a sponge, and she uses that to her advantage. She ust soaks up every bit of information Patridge said. “She’ll take everything you say to heart, and she’ll go at everything 110 percent. Michell has been on the varsity team since her freshman year, but her role is still evolving, as her hard work over her high school tenure has been met with increased opportunity and production. “Emily didn’t go into a starter’s role until last year, and even then she only played 30 3 minutes a game Patridge said. “We played her at a couple different positions, but she just puts in the time a ay from the field and in practice and she’s become one of our best defenders. ven hile not starting her first t o years Patridge emphasized ichell’s good spirit in allo ing her to become a leader. Hayley Paulmeno and Ana K aren Gonzalez are also seniors for the Bucs. Paulmeno started on the unior varsity s uad her first t o seasons and has been on the varsity team the latter half of her high school career. “Hayley’s just one of those girls that you’re going to go and get a solid defensive effort out of her Patridge said. ost

importantly she brings positive energy to this team. verybody on the field likes her. Gonzalez has moved around in her high school career, spending her freshman year at O ak Mountain and sophomore and unior seasons at Shades alley. hen she arrived at Hoover as a relative unkno n to Patridge and his staff the first fe minutes of tryouts were enough for Patridge to pencil her name onto the varsity roster, despite Gonzalez nursing an injury at the time. “We come out for tryouts, and we’re getting loose, and we’re juggling, and she just rips off 150 juggles without dropping the ball Patridge said. ou’ve made the team. For Hoover the scoreboard does not define success. A certain style of play does. The Bucs are playing in a different more offense-oriented system this season, but that has not changed Patridge’s goal: to see his team be able to handle adversity throughout the season and go from a brick to a diamond. “We’re taking what we have, and we’re putting it into a certain style of play he said. e’ll keep chipping a ay at that. e ant to in games e ant to make the playoffs e ant to do all that stuff. But ’ve told them from the beginning it’s not about the ins and losses. Patridge does not believe the Bucs have reached their peak performance just yet, and if he has it his way, that will come ust in time for the playoffs. Playing in an area ith the likes of defending Class 7A state champion Vestavia Hills is pretty good preparation. f the Bucs are able to put together a run at the end of the season there is no doubt that the five seniors on the team and especially the three that have been around from the start, will play a big part in that.

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Hoover Sun

Mike Chase guided Spain Park to the Class 7A championship game and won the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Coach of the Year award. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

Spain Park guard Johnson emerges as leader, earns all-state selection By K Y L E P ARM L EY

Chase named coach of the year By K Y L E P ARM L EY Mike Chase did not coach this past basketball season differently than any of the previous ones in his 21-year coaching career. He put his team through early-morning workouts and practices and coached hard like he always does. But this year, he exited the season with the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 7A girls coach of the year a ard the first time in his successful career that he has won the award. This year’s Spain Park High School girls basketball team advanced to the state championship game for the first time in school his tory. t as the third time in the state final for Chase, as he made two previous trips to that stage during his 10-year career at ClayChalkville before coming to Spain Park, where he just completed his eighth season. “Everything just kind of came together,” Chase said. “( The award) is based off of the successes that the team had.” The Lady Jags finished the season ith a

21-12 record, including a couple heart-stopping wins en route to the state championship game, where Sarah Ashlee Barker’s 3-pointer at the end of regulation sent the game to overtime in a game that Hoover would eventually win in the all-Hoover City Schools Class 7A final. Spain Park played well for much of the regular season, before hitting a lull toward the end and sleepwalking through the Area 6 tournament. But wild wins over Gadsden City in the regional semifinal and cGill Toolen in the state semifinal gave the Lady Jags their best season ever. Chase credits all associated with the program for the thrilling end to the season. “This year, I felt like my team and their parents and the administrators and everybody just kind of bought into what we were selling and then we had some great results,” Chase said. The Lady J ags have a chance to repeat that success again next season, with much of the roster returning and departing just one senior in Monique Speigner.

Although this season did not produce the same results as the year before, Spain Park High School guard J amal J ohnson was recognized for his efforts, earning a first team spot on the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 7A all-state team. “I was excited when I found out that I made all-state,” J ohnson said. “That was one of my goals this season.” Spain Park advanced to the Final Four in the 2015-2016 season, but the summer departure of Austin Wiley — who transferred to prep school before enrolling at Auburn U niversity in J anuary — forced the J ags to shuf e the deck slightly before the beginning of the season. Even with the loss of the big center, the perfect complement to J ohnson’s perimeter-oriented game, J ohnson elevated his game during his senior season Jamal Johnson is shown in a game against Mountain and as one of three finalists for rook on an. 17. He was named a rst team all state 7A player of the year. selection. Photo by Ted Melton. The J ags failed to make the said. “We beat some good teams and some of playoffs, in large part because they played in arguably the toughest area in the best in the state. But we were also up and the state. Area 6 featured Mountain Brook, the down and weren’t very consistent.” J ohnson will make his way to the U niversity eventual state champion, and Huffman, who was defeated by the Spartans in the regional of Memphis to kick off his collegiate career, as he will play for coach Tubby Smith, who just final. Throughout the season, though, Spain completed his first year at the helm and on Park defeated three of the state’s top teams. the national championship at K entucky in 1998. “My goal for next year is to just simply The J ags notched victories over Mountain Brook, Huffman and Hoover but were never compete at the next level and mature as a able to gain enough momentum to make the player and a person,” J ohnson said. “I’m very excited for the next level and can’t wait for postseason. “I felt like we had a good season,” J ohnson what Memphis has in store for me.”

May 2017 • C9

Holt stands out on biggest stage By K Y L E P ARM L EY Claire Holt’s body of work was likely enough to secure her a spot on the Class 7A Alabama Sports Writers Association allstate team, but what she accomplished in the season’s final games likely elevated the status of the junior Spain Park High School guard. Holt was named to the allstate first team and selected as one of three finalists for the 7A player of the year award, likely due in large part to what she accomplished on the season’s biggest platform. “If you’re going to get awards like that, you’ve got to perform on a big stage,” Spain Park head coach Mike Chase said. Holt led the Lady J ags to a magical playoff run, one that included her converting a near-miraculous three-point play against Gadsden City in the regional semifinal to send Claire Holt celebrates after defeating Gadsden City in the game to overtime, a 32-point the regional nal, the eginning o an impro a le end to the season or pain ark. Photo by Sarah Finnegan. outburst against Grissom in the regional final clutch free thro s to knock off McGill-Toolen in as at first but hen sa the other players the state semifinal and being in a ild overtime that were included on the team, I knew that it loss to Hoover in the state championship game. was a big deal,” she said. “I think a lot of credit The state final appearance as the first in needs to be given to my team and coach.” school history for Spain Park. What impresses Chase most about Holt is “That little taste of success is going to drive her tireless work ethic. our team to try to win it all next season,” Holt “She’s a product of a lot of hard work,” said. “N ow that we see what we' re capable of, Chase said. “She puts a lot of individual time we' re going to push even harder to reach our into her game. She’s got a college or pro playfull potential. We became closer as a team, and er’s mentality to work that most high school our run will be something we never forget.” kids don’t have.” When asked about the all-state honors, Holt n her final season at Spain Park the goal gave an answer that makes it obvious that indi- for Holt is to get one step further. vidual goals were not a primary focus of hers. “O ur team goal is nothing short of winning “I didn' t really know what the all-state team a state championship,” she said.

Strong finish to season lands Williams all-state honor By K Y L E P ARM L EY Things changed for Eboni Williams around Christmas. During a journey that took the Hoover High School girls basketball team all the way to the Class 7A state championship under first year head coach K rystle J ohnson, Williams had to adjust. Whatever clicked for Williams did so in a big way, as she rode a strong second half of the season to a first team all state selection by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. “She had a lot of growth throughout the season,” J ohnson said. “In the beginning, maybe my personality was too much for her. But once she got to know me, she took everything in, and we had a huge turnaround.” That should not be taken as a critical statement. It simply took some time for the player and coach relationship to gel. “Before the Big O range Classic, we had a meeting, and from that point forward, she stepped her game up, and all her stats went up,” J ohnson said. n the season’s first nine games illiams scored in double figures ust t ice. She then reeled off a stretch that began near the Christmas break where she scored at least 10 points in 15 out of 16 games. “She stepped up big time and became the player we all knew she was,” J ohnson said. She scored 10, 13, 10 and 10 points in the final four games of the season the four playoff games that propelled the Bucs to the state title. She notched a double-double in the last three games, pulling down 15, 11 and 11 rebounds in those contests. Hoover had a pair of girls make the all-state team, with J oiya Maddox garnering third-team honors. J ohnson said she believes much of their

oni Williams nished the season with three consecutive dou le dou les, and earned a spot on the all state rst team. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

recognition came from the fact they played well when it mattered most. “They say big-time players step up at big times, and they both stepped up big for us,” Johnson said. p until the final three games we didn’t have anybody averaging double figure points per game and they both ended up doing so.”

C10 • May 2017 MCDONOUGH

CONTINUED from page C1 “A lot of my really good runners in the past, their junior year was their best year as far as state championships,” said Hoover cross-country and track and field coach Devon Hind. Right no his senior year is his best year. A number of factors have contributed to cDonough’s shining senior campaign. Con sistency is one of them. After missing two months of running last summer due to a stress fracture in his foot, cDonough’s training has steadily improved. His health hasn’t faltered since his mid August return. He hasn’t been hurt. He hasn’t really been

Hoover Sun sick. n the past he’s kind of been sick some and that’s hurt him Hind said. He’s ust been able to be consistent and that’s ho you get better. cDonough’s consistency has created confi dence, which is imperative to success in a sport that challenges both mind and body. The state cross country victory boosted cDonough’s sense of self belief. t has sno balled from there. He’s really cool under pressure said team mate John Paul Rumore. hen e hand him the baton or anything in a relay or stuff, we kno he’s going to do hat it takes. Composure and conviction have become cDonough trademarks and they are visible henever he steps on the track. Placidness over helms panic regardless of his position.

ith a 13 personal best in the mile he kno s hat he is capable of at the end of a race. xperience breeds bliss. “He just goes out and does his thing,” Hind said. This year that thing has involved a lot of inning. n addition to garnering individual accolades cDonough an Auburn niversity signee, helped spur the Hoover boys to their first state indoor track and field title in three years. Paced by their standout the Bucs are projected to contend for another blue trophy at the state outdoor meet in ay. That’s here cDonough’s lens is trained. t’s pretty much all about the team he said. Revealed in that statement is perhaps the most critical factor responsible for cDonough’s leap. He said he has become

more team-oriented over the years, and now places paramount priority on the Bucs’ overall success. Rumore has itnessed cDonough’s com mitment in action. He remembers it surfacing last spring at the state outdoor meet, when cDonough shed tears due to the furious pace he ran in his leg of the x800 meter relay. cDonough clocked a blistering split of 1 3 for 800 meters. Although the Bucs placed second, he laid it all on the line for his teammates. “He was telling us he went out so fast the first lap that he as crying but don’t kno if that as because of the pain Rumore said. That ust makes me think of ho much he cares about the team. That might be the biggest thing that’s contributed to his success.

4 Bucs ink college commitments Four Hoover High School seniors signed N ational Letters of ntent to participate in college athletics during a ceremony in the school’s cafeteria April 12. Three of the four signees ill compete in track and field or cross country and one ill compete in volleyball. Buccaneer distance standout Tommy cDonough head lined the class. He formalized his commitment to Auburn niversity. t’s amazing. t’s a dream ’ve had since started running to be able to go to the next level cDonough said. ’m ust thankful ’ve been able to get here. t’s really a esome.

J ohn Paul Rumore, a fellow distance standout, signed with the niversity of South Alabama. Rumore has consistently con tributed to the Bucs’ cross country and track and field programs since his sophomore year. really anted something different and really love the city of obile Rumore said. They’ve got a great business program too. From the girls track and field team Ayana ason signed ith Alcorn State niversity in Lorman ississippi. ason excels in hurdles and umps particularly the triple ump. t as a nice track team she said. They’re really respectful

John Paul Rumore signed to run collegiately at the University of South Alabama. Photos by Sam Chandler.

Tommy McDonough will continue his career at Auburn.

and very elcoming. Maya J ones was the lone non-cross-country and track and field signee. She ill play volleyball at allace State Commu nity College. Jones a middle hitter helped propel the Hoover volleyball team to a runner up finish at the Class 7A state tour nament last fall. She said she is looking for ard to oining a allace State pro gram that has on the Alabama Community College Conference championship eight years in a ro . ’m looking for ard to getting those rings she said. –Sam C handl e r

Maya Jones signed to play volleyball at Wallace State Community College.

Ayana Eason signed to continue her track and eld career at Alcorn State University.

May 2017 • C11

Register Now For Hoover’s Newest Summer Camps

Summer Campers at the Hoover Met Complex will play a variety of traditional sports including:

• Basketball

• Flag Football

• Volleyball

• Soccer

The camps will help children build the foundation for physical skills and sport fundamentals. For more information about camps and registration please visit 100 Ben Chapman Drive, Hoover, AL 35244

C12 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

Joiya Maddox earned a third team all-state selection, but coach Krystle Johnson thinks the best is yet to come. Photo by Barry Stephenson.

Blackmon recognized for strong season By K Y L E P ARM L EY

Maddox earns 3rd-team all-state selection for state champs By K Y L E P ARM L EY The Alabama Sports Writers Association named J oiya Maddox to the all-state third team for her strong sophomore season at Hoover High School but don’t mark first year coach K rystle J ohnson among those surprised. “We still haven’t seen the best from J oiya,” J ohnson said. “She’s a 6-foot guard. Guards aren’t tall enough to guard her; post players aren’t quick enough.” Maddox’s sister, J ailyn, recently completed her first season at C after a great career at Hoover, and J oiya Maddox is following in her footsteps nicely. Maddox averaged roughly 10 points per game oining boni illiams a first team all-state selection — as the only two Lady Bucs to eclipse that number. “They both had great seasons. The good thing about our team is we didn’t need them to be who they were the entire season,” J ohnson said.

O ne of the best things about the Lady Bucs was their talent and depth. If Williams, Maddox or any other key player had an off night, there were plenty of willing and able bodies ready to step up. “A lot of people don’t realize that they both could contribute a lot more,” J ohnson said. “But since we have so many talents, that’s not really what we needed. What we did need, they were able to provide. We were able to have a different leading scorer every night.” Joiya addox missed five games in the middle of the season due to injury, missing a Dec. 12 game against Helena and the four games the following week during the Big range Classic but she returned in a big way, averaging 15 points per game in the Lady Bucs’ O rlando tournament. J oiya Maddox also played a big role in the Lady Bucs’ playoff run, which likely contributed a great deal to her all-state candidacy. “They say big time players step up at big times, and they both stepped up big for us,” J ohnson said of J oiya Maddox and Williams.

J amari Blackmon led the Hoover High School basketball team to the Class 7A State Semifinals in 201 as a sophomore. Blackmon finished the season on a tear of big scoring performances in the Bucs’ playoff games, including a 29-point game in the semifinal loss to McGill-Toolen. Blackmon took that momentum and put together a full junior season of efforts like that in 2017 as Black mon was named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s all-state second team. “He deserved it,” said Hoover coach Charles Burkett. “He came in as a sophomore and started every game for us and got better, got better, got Jamari Blackmon took the momentum gained from the end of better.” After discussing areas his sophomore season and earned all-state status after his in Blackmon’s game to junior year. Photo by Barry Stephenson. address after his sophomore season, Blackmon went to work, putting a jumper off a screen, he can go to the basket at will,” Burkett said. “N ow we’re just going on weight and adding strength to his frame. “There was a noticeable difference in his to have his game come full circle. He’s one size and his strength this year, and in his of the best rebounding guards around. He’s a overall play,” Burkett said. “He was already lockdown defender. That’s rare to put the ball super skilled; he just didn’t have the strength in the basket at the rate he does and defend to be consistent. He really put in the work.” his position as well.” Blackmon averaged 22 points, five Blackmon works so hard at his craft that Burkett believes he may have tired toward rebounds and a pair of assists per contest the end of the season, but the work ethic to this season, and by the time he completes be a great all-around player is what makes his senior year, Burkett expects him to be the total package, as if he’s not already. Blackmon a nightmare for opposing teams. “My goal when he leaves here is to be a “Everybody knows he can put the ball in the basket all kinds of ways, off the bounce, complete player,” Burkett said.

May 2017 • C13


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Let us help spread the news! Email to submit your announcement.

C14 • May 2017

Hoover Sun

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

May 11: Hoover Service Club Meeting. 11 a.m. Hoover Country Club. Scholarship/Citizenship Awards Luncheon for students from Hoover and Spain Park High School, Flora Mae Pike Award, Installation of new HSC Offers. Call 205-478-5313. for reservations. Visit

May 4: Economic Development Committee Meeting. 8:30 a.m. Hoover Chamber of Commerce. Visit

May 16: Hoover Historical Society Meeting. 1:30 p.m. Hoover Library. Jim Baggett will speak about the Hawes murders of 1888 one of Birmingham’s most infamous murder mysteries. Visit

May 20: Hydrangea Propagation Workshop. 9 a.m. Aldridge Gardens. $20 members, $25 non-members. Visit

May 9: Minority Business Council. 8:30 a.m. Hoover Chamber Office. Visitors welcome. Visit

May 17: Chamber Ambassador Meeting. 4:30 p.m. Hoover Chamber Office. Visitors welcome. Visit

May 11: Coffee and Contacts. 8:30 a.m. Homewood Suites-Riverchase.

May 18: Hoover Chamber Luncheon. Hyatt Regency-The Wynfrey Hotel. 11:15 a.m. Networking, Noon Luncheon. Call 205-988-5672 or email lisa@

May 2: 35th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. 7:30 p.m. Hyatt Regency- Wynfrey Hotel Ballroom. For information, call 205-444-7588.

Stardome Comedy Club Events May 5-6: NeNe Leaks. Friday, 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.; 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Saturday. $28-$33. May 10: Magic City Medium Cindy Kaza. 7 p.m. Broadway Room. $20. May 11-13: Henry Cho. 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Saturday. $18.50-$20. May 17: Ryan Davis. 7:30 p.m. $25.

May 18: Friends in Safe Places. 7:30 p.m. $25. May 19-21 Earthquake. 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday; 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. $33. May 26-28: Steve Brown. 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday; 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. $20.

May 20: Members Only Guided Bird Watch. 8 a.m. Aldridge Gardens. Free. Visit

May 21: Hoover Historical Society Annual Membership Tea. 2 p.m. Hoover-Randle House. Visit May 23-28: SEC Baseball Tournament. Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Visit May 25: Business After Hours. 5:30-7 p.m. Inverness Country Club. Visit

Hoover Public Library Events Kids Mondays: Together with Twos. 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. Mondays: Story Lab. 4 p.m. Ages 3-8. Tuesdays: Mother Goose. 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays: Early Birds. 10 a.m.

Wednesdays: Rockin’ Tots. 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. Thursdays: ExploraStory. 10:30 a.m. Thursdays: PJ Storytime. 6:30 p.m. May 4: May the Fourth Be with You. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. A day-long celebration of the Star Wars universe, crafts, games and a variety of characters.

May 2017 • C15

Hoover Library cont. May 20: Summer Reading Kickoff. Veterans Park. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Get a head start on summer rea i with ames crafts a petti oo i atables and more. Adults May 4: First Thursday Fiction Book Group. 10 a.m. it eral oom. c iest irl live b essica oll. May 4: ebbie o . p.m. ibrar la a. art of the labama bl es sce e for over ears this si er so writer a itarist has otte rave reviews for her alb m o the i e. May 6: hil Vassar. p.m. a music artist performance. $25.

p.m. Co tr

May 7: a ovel ea ictio oo ro p. p.m. la a ea i oom. li ht atter s b are White. May 8: re ar e s. p.m. ibrar heatre.

p.m. he

May 8: Helpi Ha s. p.m. p.m. lt ro ram oom. rop i to ma e ewspaper rolls for a local h ma e societ . ee s a a lts. May 9: he C lt ro ram oom.

s of e icare. p.m.

May 9: o ea i e ire a the tre th of the orce. Room.

tar ars iversit p.m. it eral

eservatio s re ire . May 13: rl the la a. p.m. p.m. ibrar la a. ear more with others. oi s for all fiber relate crafts. May 14: l e a C t p oetr a eco pa e Votives. p.m. lt ro ram oom. ee a for more i formatio . May 15: O C C C etectio a treatme t of earl o set a olesce t ps chosis schi ophre ia. p.m. heatre evel eeti ooms. rese te b the Comprehe sive e roscie ce Ce ter. May 16: re ch Co versatio Cl b. p.m. ibrar la a. ractice o r re ch a celebrate the c lt re. May 18: rivia i ht. p.m. ibrar la a. Com pete for pri es i o r mo thl trivia i ht. May 20: oo t a mmer ea i ic off. starts at a.m. sharp. ic off at a.m. Veterans Park. May 21: pai . p.m. ibrar la a. i er so writer writes eclectic b t accessible so s that mer e fol wa s with f t rism i a st le he calls sci fol . May 22: o a at the ovies. p.m. p.m. he ibrar heatre. ree a missio a refreshments

May 9: l e a C t p oetr a e co pa e Votives. p.m. lt ro ram oom. lts o l . e istratio re ire .

May 25: i httime o fictio oo ro p. p.m. heatre Co fere ce oom. r t he C rio s cie ce of H ma s at ar b ar oach.

May 9: pa ish Co versatio Cl b. p.m. ibrar la a. lts a p. ractice o r pa ish a celebrate the c lt re.

May 26: fter Ho rs the la a ame ite. p.m. p.m. ibrar la a. t o r ame face o a team p with o r fellow amers.

May 11: Second Thursday Fiction Book Group. 10 a.m. it eral oom. ver thi ever ol o b Celeste .

May 27: satiable ea ers mmer ea i review. a.m. la a ea i oom. ear abo t o fictio titles.

May 11: l e a C t p oetr a e co pa e Votives. a.m. lt ro ram oom. ee a for more i formatio .

May 27: rite Cl b. a.m. it eral oom. hare o r literar wor s a etwor with other aspiring writers.

May 13: il i Characters hat ta the est of ime riter s or shop with thor ichael orris. a.m. heatre evel eeti ooms.

May 27: rother oseph a the rotto. p.m. he ibrar heatre. he histor of ve aria rotto.

Area Events May 3-7: irmi ham aro s vs. o t omer isc its. p.m. e ri p.m. at r a p.m. a. . Visit baro

May 19-20: labama mpho Orchestra CO asterwor s eries. p.m. . Visit alabamas mpho .or .

May 4-14: Oa o tai pri tate air. p.m. wee i hts p.m. wee e s. Oa o tai mphitheatre. a missio par i . Visit

May 19-21: arber Historics. a.m. p.m. arber otorsports ar ee s. O trac actio cars o ispla a more. . Visit barberraci eve

May 6: i ree s i the Ham. a.m. p.m. irmi ham oo. raiser for aster eals. per perso per co ple for famil fo r pac .

May 20: th a al ob es a l es estival. oo p.m. e ar elebe ar i ow tow Historic essemer. e eral a missio chil re a er free. Visit bobs esbl

May 10: ecorators howHo se ashio cheo . eati at a.m. a oo . so . Call Char o sac for reservatio s

how per per .

May 13: eco at r a at loss al a al . a.m. ar e at loss arters. rese te b irmi ham Historical ociet . Visit bhistorical.or . May 17-21: e io s ra itio Champio s olf o r ame t. re sto e Co tr Cl b. e i s at a.m. each a . Visit re io stra itio .com.

May 20: o ah a . a.m. p.m. Cal well ar . et para e arts a crafts i s activities a music. Visit May 21: V V Health tarli ht ala feat ri t ha erlma . p.m. l s tephe s Ce ter. . Visit al sstephe s.or . May 21: ier s e tle . p.m. Oa o tai mphitheatre. .Visit live atio .com.

May 18-20: aseball vs. ice. e io s iel . p.m. h rs a ri a p.m. at r a . a lts chil re . Visit

May 24: rai with O. . . a atasha e i fiel . p.m. Oa o tai mphitheatre. . Visit savemesa fra

May 18-22: irmi ham aro s vs. e essee mo ies. p.m. h rs a ri a p.m. at r a p.m. a p.m. o a . . Visit baro

May 30-June 3: irmi ham aro s vs. e essee mo ies. p.m. es a p.m. e es a p.m. h rs a ri a p.m. at r a . . Visit baro

May 19: labama mpho Orchestra Coffee Co certs. a.m. l s tephe s Ce ter. a . Visit alabamas mpho .or .

May 31: al ic woo Classic. p.m. irmi ham aro s vs. Chatta oo a oo o ts. e io s iel . . Visit baro

Hoover Sun May 2017  
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