Hoover Sun February 2023

Page 1

Lady Bucs Rolling

If you walk past Maghan

Craig’s classroom at Bluff Park Elementary School, don’t be surprised if you hear students singing.

She’s not the choir director

Flying high:

For six years, Elaina Burt has watched her cousin, Charlie Wilson, battle epilepsy caused by a gene mutation called SMC1A. Charlie is nonverbal, stays in a chair all day long and is fed through a tube. She’s on medication for epilepsy, but if she didn’t

at the school, but she does teach her first grade students songs to help them remember concepts, and they often sing those songs as they transition from one activity to another.

have the medication, she would continuously have seizures all day, said Burt, a 17-year-old who lives in Riverchase.

“We’ve really had to grapple with the unfairness of that,” Burt said.

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Medical Guide Hoover High girls aiming for elusive 3-peat. Sun February 2023 | Volume 11 | Issue 5 HOOVER’S COMMUNITY NEWS SOURCE HOOVERSUN.COM | STARNESMEDIA.COM BROUGHT TO YOU BY SERVING HOOVER, THE 280 CORRIDOR, HOMEWOOD, MOUNTAIN BROOK, TRUSSVILLE AND VESTAVIA HILLS Let’s Face It: Your Smile is Yours Forever Our Lifetime Smile Guarantee offers peace-of-mind. If you’re unsatisfied with your smile after treatment, we’ll fix it at a discounted price. Visit BhamSmile.com to schedule a free consultation. See TEACHERS | page A24 See ELAINA BURT | page A22
Hoover’s Teachers of the Year known for creativity, hands-on learning MASTER
Miss Jefferson County's Outstanding Teen Elaina
Maghan Craig, left, a first grade teacher at Bluff Park Elementary School, and Kevin Pughsley, a sixth grade Earth science teacher at Berry Middle School, were named Hoover’s Teachers of the Year for the 2022-23 school year. Photos by Erin Nelson.
a junior
Christian School,
stands in front of a plane at Over the Mountain Aviation at the Shelby County Airport. Photo by Erin Nelson.
with epilepsy awareness efforts
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About Us

Editor’s Note By Jon

I realize not everyone enjoyed going to school as a child, teenager or college student, but I was one of those who actually liked school, particularly as a child.

Yeah, there were tough times and times I felt burnt out because I was trying to tackle a lot of things at once, but overall, I enjoyed the challenge of learning and definitely enjoyed seeing and being with my friends and classmates.

I also remember — and I think most people do — there were certain teachers that really had an impact on me. It wasn’t because they had superior knowledge (though many of them were accomplished in their fields). The ones that impacted me the most were the ones that showed they really cared about you as a student and as a person.

They went the extra mile to help

students and did so much to help students grow as a person (beyond the curriculum). They inspired their students to dream. They celebrated personal victories. They consoled in difficult times. They gave guidance and support for students dealing with emotional problems. They loved.

I hope you’ll take time to read our cover story on Hoover’s Teachers of the Year this year, and I hope you’ll also take time to say thank you to teachers who give of themselves daily and invest in our children so we can all have a better tomorrow.

students grasp the material they were teaching, help struggling students gain confidence and help high-achieving students reach an even higher level.

But perhaps more importantly, there were some teachers who took an (appropriate) personal interest in their


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A4 • February 2023 Hoover Sun
The Spain Park student section cheers as the Jags face Hewitt-Trussville on Jan. 13. Photo by Erin Nelson.
HooverSun.com February 2023 • A5

Hoover Met Complex attendance, economic impact dropped in 2022

The Hoover Metropolitan Complex saw a decline in event attendance and economic impact in fiscal 2022 but fared better financially with operations, records show.

Excluding the SEC Baseball Tournament, The World Games softball competition and the Hot Rod Power Tour, almost 253,000 people attended events at the Hoover Met Complex from October 2021 to September 2022, according to the annual report for the complex.

That’s down about 5% from 266,000 attendees in fiscal 2021, city records indicate.

As a result, the number of hotel-room stays generated by the complex fell from 86,324 to 69,782, and the economic impact of the facility dropped from $67 million in fiscal 2021 to $55 million in fiscal 2022, records show.

The main reason for the decline is that one of the facility’s preferred partners, Perfect Game, had to relocate three of its major baseball showcase events from Hoover to Memphis because of The World Games softball games being played at the Hoover Met, said Shannon Ealy, general manager for the Hoover Met Complex.

Those three events generated $8 million in economic impact in 2021, Ealy said.

Also, the Hoover Met Complex lost another $4 million in economic impact due to losing the Adidas Gauntlet basketball tournaments to another facility, Ealy said. Organizers of those tournaments like to move them around the country, he said.

Sports Facilities Management, which manages the Hoover Met Complex for the city, did not count attendance and economic impact from the SEC Baseball Tournament, The World

Games softball competition or the Hot Rod Power Tour in its numbers because those events were handled more by the city, Ealy said.

If those events had been counted, attendance would have exceeded 500,000, he said.

Of the almost 253,000 people who attended the counted events in fiscal 2022, 27% (69,169) were there for baseball events, records show.

The complex also drew 39,927 people for basketball, 27,588 for soccer, 23,880 for volleyball, 22,009 for trade shows, 14,343 for school and school athletic functions, 12,975 for mat sports, 8,965 for football, 8,341 for special events, 8,003 for lacrosse, 7,441 for softball, 4,000 for parking lot events, 1,039 for pickleball and 150 for cricket.

The Met Complex also had its facilities used by more than 125,000 “local participants,” including 24,776 with the Hoover Soccer Club, 18,544 with parks and recreation basketball, 17,325 with parks and recreation flag football, 16,363 with Alabama Performance Volleyball, 13,147 with lacrosse, 9,582 with baseball practices, 8,760 with J. Smith Hoops basketball, 4,066 with the Hoover Competitive Basketball Club, 1,500 with the Birmingham United Soccer Association, 1,002 with softball practices and 3,454 with other activities.

On the financial side of the business, SFM in 2022 achieved a net income of $1.1 million for the Hoover Met Complex, compared to about $600,000 in 2021 (which included about $350,000 in revenue from the U.S. government’s Paycheck Protection Program in 2021).

This is only the second year with a positive net income for the Hoover Met Complex, but it’s still one year earlier than was projected when the facility was expanded to include the Finley Center and 10 additional outdoor fields.

The Hoover Met Complex does not, however, actually make a profit. The city still puts several million dollars a year into the facility to help with operations, in addition to annual debt payments.

That said, both SFM and city officials have said they are pleased with the financial progress of the facility.

Ealy said a big plus for 2022 was growth in the food and beverage business. Food and beverage revenues increased from about $790,000 in 2021 to almost $1.3 million in 2022. Ealy said food and beverage manager JD Danforah has done an outstanding job.

The RV Park drew more than 8,500 visitors over 12 months and generated revenues of $659,000 — about $100,000 more than the previous year, according to the annual report.

Jason Clement, the chief executive officer for Sports Facilities Companies (the parent company for Sports Facilities Management), said his company has been committed from the start to make the Hoover Met Complex a financial success by luring premier events and tournaments, while at the same time providing space for local participants.

The in-kind value of facility usage by local groups was about $590,000 in fiscal 2021, including $187,965 for school groups, $128,545 for Hoover Parks and Recreation leagues, $56,800 for other city events and $216,243 for other groups, according to SFM.

Clement said the good news is that participation in youth sports continues to grow. Also, the percentage of Americans that are “active” has grown from 73% in 2015 to 76% in 2021, according to SFM.

Sports tourism is recovering from the pandemic nationally, and Hoover actually has been

ahead of the curve in recovery compared to industry averages, Clement said.

The Hoover Met Complex was one of the first to come back into operation in 2020, which paid dividends in 2020 and 2021, he said.

“We didn’t have nearly the dip the rest of the country saw, as a result of the leadership here locally that allowed us to open up” and provide events, starting on the outdoor side and then ultimately indoor as well, Clement said.

As sports tourism continues to grow, more and more communities are looking to get in the game and open new sports complexes to compete for those tournaments and economic spending that comes with them, he said.

The Hoover Met Complex already has positioned itself as a national destination for youth and amateur sports, drawing visitors every year from almost all 50 states, and wants to maintain that momentum and grow its reputation as a destination, Clement said.

Ealy said booking for 2023 has been going strong, with more than $500,000 worth of business booked by early December, including a lot of repeat business. Demand for the complex’s facilities is greater than available time slots in peak business periods, so the staff gets to be somewhat selective in the types of events they bring to Hoover, he said.

That said, the staff at SFM will continue trying to increase underutilized areas, such as the five multipurpose fields, the newly reopened and renamed Hoover Heights climbing center inside the Finley Center and the 16-court tennis center and RV Park, Ealy said.

The staff at SFM also want to diversify the types of events held at the complex to broaden the facility’s usage and expand it to new groups, he said.

A6 • February 2023 Hoover Sun City
Fans watch as Team USA faces Italy in a qualifying game during The World Games at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex in July 2022. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Council OKs plan for $120 million I-459 interchange

The Hoover City Council has approved an agreement with the state outlining how a new Interstate 459 interchange will be built just southwest of the South Shades Crest road overpass, to be called Exit 9.

The agreement as of mid-January still had to be signed by Gov. Kay Ivey, but this is a big step in the process toward getting the interchange built.

Perhaps an even bigger step that went largely unnoticed this past fall was the Federal Highway Administration giving substantial approval for the interchange. Assistant City Engineer Blake Miller said the city received that letter from the federal government on Nov. 14 after submitting an interchange justification study for federal review.

The only contingency was that an environmental impact study still needed to be submitted and approved by the Federal Highway Administration, Miller said.

The agreement approved by the Hoover City Council on Jan. 3 estimates the new interchange project will cost $120 million, including $5.5 million for land acquisition, $4.9 million for utility relocation, $3.5 million for preliminary engineering and $106 million for construction.

The city of Hoover would be responsible for $61 million, including all the costs for land acquisition, utility relocation and engineering and 44% of the construction cost, according to the agreement. The state, administering federal money, would pick up the other $59 million in construction costs.

City Council members have said they plan to pay for most of the city’s portion of the interchange by borrowing money with a warrant issue.

The council on Jan. 17 authorized the Frazer Lanier investment banking firm to prepare documents and a purchase contract necessary to facilitate plans to vote on a warrant issue estimated to be around $60 million to $90 million. The exact

amount of the warrant issue had not been determined, and no decision had yet been made about which projects would be funded.

But Curt Posey, chairman of the council’s Finance Committee, said the primary projects being considered were the interstate interchange, a performing arts center and 3.4-acre park in the Patton Creek shopping center and upgrades to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

The city already has spent $5.27 million to buy 22 acres on the northwest side of I-459 and 31.3 acres on the southeast side. Some smaller tracts still need to be purchased, and some preliminary survey work has begun to determine the exact tracts needed, Miller said. Once the governor

signs off on the agreement, engineers can get busy with in-depth engineering plans, he said.

It should take a couple of years to finish the engineering work so the project can be bid out for construction, Miller said. The state will seek the bids, he said.

The interchange will include two ramps on each side of the interstate (two of which will have bridges over CSX railroad tracks on the southwest and northwest side of the interchange), Miller said. There will be a bridge over the interstate and a new lane of traffic between Exit 9 and Exit 10 (John Hawkins Parkway) on both the northbound and southbound sides of the interstate, he said.

This map shows the preliminary layout planned for a new Exit 9 on Interstate 459, just southwest of the South Shades Crest Road overpass. It includes a plan for a road over the interstate that connects Ross Bridge Parkway with Brock's Gap Parkway, as well as a new northbound lane and southbound lane on Interstate 459 between the new Exit 9 and Exit 10 (John Hawkins Parkway). Map courtesy of Neel Schaffer.

City officials believe the new interchange will help relieve traffic congestion on other roads, such as South Shades Crest Road, Shelby County 52 and Alabama 150.

Regarding the warrant issue, city officials were estimating the most they would borrow would be about $93 million, and that would be well under the city’s debt limit, Posey and Rice said. The debt package being considered would not require a tax increase, and the city’s annual debt payments would remain at about $13 million a year, Rice said.

With a solid credit rating and strong reserves, the city is “in a fantastic position to borrow money,” Posey said.

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Hoover library welcomes four-legged employee

The staff at the Hoover Public Library has grown to 98 employees over the years, and soon the library will be adding a different kind of employee — one with four legs.

The newest employee, who already is in training, is a 1-year-old standard poodle named Libby. This summer she will become the library’s new facility dog.

Her job will be to make the library a more welcoming place — to be a soothing and calming presence — for both staff and library patrons, library director Amanda Borden said.

One of the primary tasks will be a program that allows children to read to Libby. Some studies have indicated that young children who read out loud to dogs improved their reading skills. Borden said there’s something about reading to a dog that raises the confidence level of children and helps them read better.

But on a more general level, just having a dog in the library helps make it a more inviting atmosphere, Borden said. Dogs help reduce stress and anxiety for many people, she said.

In addition to being at the library, Libby will be used in library outreach at schools and senior centers and be an ambassador for the library at other events.

Libby comes to the library from a dog breeder in Jasper whose business is called Fitzgerald Standard Poodles. She is being trained by a fairly new nonprofit called FIDOS Facility Dogs, based in Bluff Park.

A facility dog is different from a service dog, said Kelly Schaeffer, FIDOS executive director. A service dog is trained to do specific tasks for someone who is disabled to help mitigate that person’s disability, but a facility dog is trained to console and love anyone and everyone who visits a particular facility, Schaeffer said.

Many schools have facility dogs, but Borden said she is not aware of any public libraries that have them, so she’s proud to bring Libby on board at the Hoover Public Library.

Libby had a meet-and-greet time with library staff in December and already has started six months of training to get her adjusted to the library and familiar with the staff. One librarian, Wendy Geist, will be her primary handler and will take Libby into her home.

Geist has worked at the library for 23 years. She spent the past 17 years as a teen librarian but recently moved into the marketing and program librarian role and said she looks forward to bringing Libby into her life and into the library.

She loves animals, and “who wouldn’t want to live with this dog?” Geist said.

Three other librarians are going through special training to be co-handlers, and a few others, including Borden, are going through training to

work with Libby as well.

Borden’s husband, Allen Borden, is a veterinarian and has agreed to provide medical care for Libby at no charge. The library did give a $12,000 donation to FIDOS to cover the care and training for Libby and library staff, with one-third of the money coming from the Friends of the Hoover Library group, one-third coming from the Hoover Public Library Foundation and the rest coming from fundraisers, Borden said.

The library will continue to have fundraisers to help pay for Libby’s food and grooming, she said.

Schaeffer has been getting Libby accustomed to different areas of the library, including the elevator and stairs and different floor surfaces, as

Libby, the Hoover Public Library's new facility dog, gets some attention at a meetand-greet reception with library staff on Dec. 15. At right is Wendy Geist, a librarian who will become Libby's primary handler.

well as accustomed to being around children and large crowds of people. She also is being trained to identify colors, which children find fun when reading to dogs, and not to approach people unless given permission, Schaeffer said.

“She’s really smart,” Schaeffer said. “She learns really fast.”

Borden said she saw how students at Spain Park High School love the police dog, Ace, who works there, and when Spain Park librarian and Hoover Councilman Casey Middlebrooks introduced the idea of a facility dog to her, she loved it.

“I can’t believe she’s going to be here every day,” Borden said. “My job just got 1,000 times better.”

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Mayor’s Minute

It’s no secret that the viability of a city depends in large part on the security and safety of its residents and those who visit.

We are fortunate that in Hoover, our public safety teams understand this concept and work hard every day to provide unparalleled protection. For this reason, I am extremely proud of the Hoover Police Department for receiving accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, the gold standard in public safety. This is the Hoover Police Department’s first CALEA accreditation, and it demonstrates the high quality of service the department provides to our community.

One of the reasons our department stands out is because our chief and his team refuse to rest on their laurels. They are constantly looking for areas in which to improve and grow.

To earn this distinction, the department was reviewed and measured against 180 internationally accepted public safety standards. Nationally, accreditation is obtained by only about 5% of all law enforcement agencies. In Alabama, our Police Department is one of just 13 municipal law enforcement agencies with CALEA accreditation.

In an effort to help them accomplish this goal, we opened the Hoover Police Training Center in 2021. The center has our officers stay current on the latest policing trends and equipment, but it has also done so much more. For example, in 2022, over 550 sworn personnel and civilians attended training at our facility. We hosted government delegations from two different countries — Hungary and Maldives. And our own department received more than $28,000 in free training for hosting classes.

We are so proud of the accomplishments and work that our police department and all of our public safety departments are doing. We truly thank them for their service.

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Hoover International Restaurant Week set for Feb. 17-26

Sam Muchiri moved to the United States from Kenya in 2006 when he was 22 to get a better education.

He went to work as a nurse at UAB Hospital and travel nurse and, while working in cities such as Atlanta and San Francisco, noticed those cities had restaurants that served the African food he loves. But there was little in that regard in the Birmingham-Hoover area, he said.

That motivated him and a partner, Tamba Tali from Liberia, to start their own restaurant in Hoover. The two men opened an Afro-Caribbean restaurant called Jambo Grill in The Plaza at Riverchase in July. It specializes in food from different parts of Africa as well as Caribbean islands such as Jamaica and Tobago, but also serves some “local food,” Muchiri said.

Jambo Grill is a prime example of the many international restaurants that the Hoover Restaurant Alliance hopes to highlight with its second Hoover International Restaurant Week, which will be held Feb. 17-26 to cover two weekends.

The alliance has identified more than 70 restaurants in Hoover that it considers to be “international restaurants,” including restaurants that serve Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Mediterranean, Korean, Japanese, African, Caribbean, Thai, Pakistani and Italian food. However, restaurants that specialize in pizza were not included on the list.

During Hoover International Restaurant Week, the alliance is encouraging people to branch out and try food from some of these restaurants that maybe they’ve never tried before, said David Cohen, founder of the alliance.

They want to share the rich cultural food

heritage of many locally owned and family-owned businesses, Cohen said. Many of these international restaurants in Hoover are mom-and-pop businesses owned by immigrants working hard to provide a service, share their culture and provide for their families, he said.

The alliance is asking these restaurants to run specials during the 10-day period and will advertise those specials on its website at hooverrestaurantweek.com. The goal is to get at least 20 restaurants to participate, Cohen said.

Muchiri and Tali said business at Jambo Grill has been good so far.

“We didn’t know there was such a big demand,” Muchiri said. “People want to try it because they’ve never had it before. … They always come back.”

One of the favorites among customers is the Kenyan beef samosa, which is labeled as an appetizer but sometimes ordered as a main dish, Muchiri said. It’s seasoned beef inside a deep-fried triangle-shaped breading.

Another African favorite is fufu and egusi.

Fufu is a dough-like food, and the egusi is a dish made from pumpkin-seed flour that Jambo Grill mixes with spinach, mint and other seasoning, Muchiri said. Their customers also like the jerk chicken (a Caribbean dish) and jollof rice (African fried rice), he said.

Muchiri, who is 38 and lives in Helena and also owns several medical staffing businesses, said some people told him they should go to Atlanta to open the restaurant, but he decided to do it in Hoover. “That’s how a community grows,” he said.

His wife, Josephine Kimani, helps out in the restaurant, and his sister, Naomi Muchiri, is the manager and one of the chefs.

Tali, 42, came to the United States in 2001 to get an education and be with his girlfriend. He started at Jefferson State Community College but ended up getting an associate’s degree in industrial engineering technology from Lawson State Community College in 2009 and another associate’s degree in auto mechanics from Lawson State in 2015.

He has worked as a mechanic for Sterilite Corp., a plastics fabrication company, in Birmingham ever since he got to the United States and now lives in Pinson.

He met Muchiri while he was working a part-time job at the Walmart in Center Point around 2004, he said. Both of them are disc jockeys as a hobby and have done some DJ work together, he said. At first, they were thinking about opening a place that does Afro-Caribbean parties, but they ended up doing a restaurant instead, he said.

So far, business is growing and better than expected, he said.

Find out more about Jambo Grill on its Facebook page and more about Hoover International Restaurant Week at hooverrestaurantweek.com.

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Sam Muchiri, left, and Tamba Tali are the owners of the Jambo Grill in The Plaza at Riverchase shopping center in Hoover. Photo by Jon Anderson

New pharmacy opens in Moss Rock

Clay Nolen was eating tacos in the Moss Rock area when he saw a for lease sign on the outside of a building.

He always wanted to open his own business and work in the medical field, he said, and pharmacy gave him the chance to do both.

“I knew I was going to do something in health care but not necessarily pharmacy,” Nolen said. “As I got into my college life over at Samford [University], I started to explore different things, shadowed a few people, and pharmacy is what I decided on because I’ve also wanted to start my own business of some kind, and pharmacy kind of goes hand and hand with that.”

After they were connected through a mutual friend, Nolen and Alex Sturdivant, his current business partner, opened Moss Rock Pharmacy in The Preserve community.

Since June 13, the full-service pharmacy has offered prescription refills, flu and COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, blood pressure screenings, blood sugar checks and glucose checks, Sturdivant said.

Sturdivant said he also wanted to open his own pharmacy eventually, and their mutual friend told Nolen about his desire to find other opportunities.

Sturdivant said he always knew he wanted to do something in the medical field, which was influenced by his background, his dad being a nurse and his mom a nurse practitioner.

He originally went to nursing school but went to pharmacy school after he graduated, he said. He learned how independent pharmacies are run and how best to manage them for three years after graduating pharmacy school, he said.

“I always wanted to do something medical, and I found something where I can own a business and make an impact in the community at the same time while being a medical professional. That’s always something that’s been appealing to me,” Sturdivant said.

Nolen said he thought Sturdivant would be a good business partner because of what he knew about him when they went to pharmacy school together, both graduating in 2018.

He saw how involved Sturdivant was in the pharmacy program, Nolen said. He was the intramural chair of the pharmacy school and helped organize teams as well as coach them, Nolen said.

“Being in pharmacy, part of your job is really getting to know people in the community and building that trust between people,” Nolen said. “You can’t just go and find a random person that’s going to be good at that, and Alex has always been good at that. … He was always well liked by both his fellow students and faculty.”

Since they opened, Moss Rock Pharmacy

has seen many residents in the community come inside the pharmacy and ask how they can help it be more successful, Sturdivant said.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the community so far,” Sturdivant said. “They’ve been very helpful and enthusiastic. They’re glad we’re here, and we’re glad to be here and be able to help them out.”

A12 • February 2023 Hoover Sun
Moss Rock Pharmacy pharmacists and co-owners Clay Nolen, left, and Alex Sturdivant, record information after collecting a COVID-19 test. Photo by Erin Nelson.

New pizzeria offers authentic Italian wood-fired pizzas

At Capella Pizzeria, more than just the inspiration for the dish comes from Italy.

The ingredients do, too, as well as the training to make the authentic wood-fired pizzas.

Because of that, owner Mehmet Ozbey said he hopes the restaurant — located at 4700 U.S. 280 in the Inverness Village Center — will “feel like a little corner of Italy” for everyone who visits.

“We make Neapolitan-style pizzas,” said Ozbey, who learned the business from his uncle. “My uncle went to Naples and learned there how to make authentic pizza in a woodfired oven.”

Ozbey worked alongside him in North Carolina for eight years making this type of pizza before expanding the business to the Birmingham area recently. Capella Pizzeria, which opened in December, boasts two woodfired ovens imported from Italy.

“We are so grateful to be here,” Ozbey said.

The menu offers nine signature pizzas along with the opportunity to personalize them. It also has three Italian-inspired salads a Roman salad, which Ozbey said is their most popular; a blue salad, which features blue cheese, blueberries and honey roasted pecans; and a caprese salad, made with fresh tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella, olive oil and vinaigrette.

Ozbey said his favorite item on the menu is the Palermo pizza, which is topped with sausage, sweet peppers and caramelized onions.

He said the Monica — a vegetarian and sauce-free pizza — is also delicious, made with mushrooms, fresh spring onions, garlic, mozzarella and truffle oil.

Many of the ingredients for their menu including their tomato sauce, flour, sweet peppers, pepperoni and sausage — come straight from Italy, and all the food made on site is made fresh every day, Ozbey said.

“Everything is fresh,” he said. “The salad

dressings, cannoli and everything is made daily.”

In addition to the cannoli, they have another popular authentic Italian dessert — gelato as well as a few other options. Drink options include Italian wines and international bottled beers.

Inside the restaurant, the kitchen is open so pizza lovers can watch their dough get tossed, dressed and put into the wood-fired ovens.

Italian music adds to the vibe, European sports play on the televisions, and European soccer

jerseys are hung around the room.

And like the kitchen, the dining space is also open — there’s plenty of room to move tables around and make long community-style tables if you like.

“It’s great for parties or family dinners,” Ozbey said.

That fits with the restaurant’s fabric Capella Pizzeria is a family-owned business. In addition to learning the ropes from his uncle, Ozbey also works alongside his cousins.

“We’re so grateful to be a part of this community,” he said. “Business has been great; the people here are so supportive, telling everybody they know.”

Ozbey said he’s enjoyed meeting people in the community and seeing them enjoy his family’s craft.

“I love seeing people’s reaction when they try the pizza and love it,” he said. “That’s my motivation for what I do.”

For more information, follow them on Instagram @capellapizzeria.

HooverSun.com February 2023 • A13
Kadir Ozbey puts a fresh pizza into a box during the grand opening at Capella Pizzeria in Inverness Village on Jan. 10. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Business Happenings


Magic Milkshakes & More, a new milkshake shop owned by Lake Cyrus residents Monti & Shana Osman, opened its doors for business on Dec. 17 at 2801 John Hawkins Parkway in the Galleria Trace Plaza shopping center. It's a 2,500-square-foot spot formerly occupied by Pivot Fitness.

205-761-1008, magicmilkshakesmore.com


A restaurant called HQ BBQ & Hot Pot plans to open in the former location of The Juicy Crab at 2740 John Hawkins Parkway in the Colonial Promenade Hoover shopping center.

need to seek approval from the city again because the council vote on Jan. 17 limited him to two homes on the property.

The Hoover City Council awarded Wayne Davis Construction of Montevallo a $150,787 contract to replace a culvert on Sulphur Springs Road.

205-665-1183, waynedavisconstruction.com

The BancorpSouth branch at 475 Southland Drive has completed its transformation to the Cadence Bank brand after the merger of the two banks last year, including new signage on the exterior of the building. 205-822-2566, cadencebank.com

The Hoover City Council has awarded Bama Utility Contractors of Fultondale a $1.56 million contract to improve a sewer pump station in the Applecross community.



Sherwin-Williams has opened two new paint stores in Hoover — one in late November in a 12,500-square-foot building at 6309 Adena Lane in The Shoppes at Adena Lane next to Tattersall Park shopping center and a second one on Dec. 22 at 1051 Amber Drive in the Stadium Trace Village shopping center between Longhorn Steakhouse and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Adena Lane: 205-734-4547, Stadium Trace: 205-518-7977, sherwin-williams.com

Removery Tattoo Removal & Fading has opened a new office in the Diamond Head Building at 1957 Hoover Court, Suite 312. The new office started doing consultations with customers in January and expects to begin doing actual tattoo and ink removal in February.

866-465-0090, removery.com

Birmingham-based K&J’s Elegant Pastries opened its second location in Ross Bridge in late December called K&J’s Elegant Pastries & Creamery at 3601 Market St., Suite 101, in the former Dreamcakes location. The shop specializes in custom cakes and other sweet treats, including cupcakes, pastries, cookies, cinnamon rolls, ice cream, sundaes and “Kolossal Milkshakes.” 205-842-8357, kjselegantpastries.com

Urgent Team, a company that operates urgent and family care centers in 77 locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, plans to open two urgent care clinics in Hoover under its Physicians Care Walk-In Clinic brand. One is scheduled to take up 2,600 square feet in the new Hoover Crossings shopping center at 1539 Montgomery Highway, Suite 101, according to the Hoover Building Inspections Department. The other is slated to go in the 3,108-squarefoot former Backyard Burgers location at 1989 Montgomery Highway. Building permits have been obtained for both locations, and the company hopes to open both locations in late March, spokeswoman Amy Thomas said. 615-988-2000, urgentteam.com/brand/ physicians-care

JP Morgan Chase plans to open its fourth Chase Bank branch in Alabama in the Stadium Trace Village development in Hoover. The bank will be on the corner of John Hawkins Parkway and Stadium Trace Parkway behind Aldi. The other Alabama locations are in Auburn, Tuscaloosa and downtown Birmingham. chase.com


The Chick-fil-A at 3020 John Hawkins Parkway has received approval from the Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission to redesign its parking lot and drivethrough lanes to include a double drive-through lane around the building. The interior of the building also will be renovated, city officials said. 205-987-7568, chick-fil-a.com


The city of Hoover has hired Lathan Architects to do design work for conversion of nine athletic fields to artificial turf surfaces, including seven fields at Hoover city parks and the varsity baseball fields at both Hoover and Spain Park high schools. The estimated cost is $9 million, City Administrator Allan Rice said. 205-988-9112, lathanassociates.com

Burn Boot Camp has welcomed Olivia Stringer back to its Hoover location at 1021 Brock’s Gap Parkway, Suite 121, as the interim lead trainer there. Stringer played volleyball two years at Birmingham-Southern College and graduated from there in May 2022 with a major in health sciences. She is certified personal trainer and has been a support trainer at Burn Boot Camp’s Homewood location the past two years. Burn Boot Camp also has added Sierra Awtrey as a trainer at the Hoover location and Ashley Nolin as a trainer at both the Hoover and Meadow Brook locations. Awtrey has worked in the fitness industry since she was 15 and is a former cross-country and track athlete at the University of Montevallo. She has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science with a minor in business. She is a certified personal trainer and holds certifications ranging from nutrition to reformer pilates. Nolin was a gymnast for 12 years and cheerleader for six years. She graduated from Auburn University with a degree in apparel merchandising and a minor in business. She also is a certified personal trainer and recently won first place in all categories in her first National Physique Committee bodybuilding competition. Hoover: 205-335-1884, Meadow Brook: 205-903-8154, burnbootcamp.com

Alfa Insurance agent Ben Franklin opened a new office in a 2,000-square-foot space in the Bluff Park Village shopping center Nov. 1, and the office became fully operational in January. Franklin and associate agent Hope McCormack moved to the new office from the Columbiana Road location in Vestavia Hills. That office remains with two other agents in it. Franklin has been with Alfa nine years and been in the insurance business since 1999. 205-421-4299, alfainsurance.com/benfranklin

Sonic Drive-In has opened its new restaurant at 30 Meadowview Drive in the Meadow Brook area, just off U.S. 280. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. 205-637-6769, sonicdrivein.com

Mavis Tires & Brakes opened a new location at 6301 Adena Lane at The Shoppes at Adena Lane in Hoover, next to Tattersall Park, on Dec. 29. 205-949-4316, mavis.com

Pizza Hut has opened in the former Taco Bell location in the Publix shopping center on Valleydale Road. This location offers carry out and delivery and is open seven days a week from 10am-8pm.

205-778-1905, pizzahut.com

After Shock LLC on Jan. 17 failed to get approval from the Hoover City Council to build an automobile washing facility at 3441 Morgan Road on an outparcel of the Publix shopping center at the intersection of Morgan Road and South Shades Crest Road. A motion to approve the request died because no one would second the motion. The name of the car wash on sketches submitted to the city was Shine Time

The Hoover City Council on Jan. 17 gave David Hare approval to use the Hare Farm at 613 Sanders Road and 2421 Savoy St. as an event venue for events such as a Christmas fair, marketplaces, seasonal pumpkin patch, weddings, corporate parties, and birthday parties. David and Teresa Hare purchased almost 9 acres of the former Smith Farm in Bluff Park in 2019. The property currently includes a house, barn, pond, expansive grassy areas and some trees. Hare said the barn will be a key part of the venue, but he also plans to build an open-air pavilion, 20-by-40-foot meeting room and walking trail on the site as well. Eventually, he may want to build himself a new home on the property as well, and that’s one reason he wanted the property rezoned from an R-1 single-family residential district to a planned residential district zoning, he said. He also may want to add additional homes on the property in the future, but if he did that, he would

David Custred has joined ACCi (American Computer Consultants Inc.), a company that offers information technology and cybersecurity services, as director of operations for its Birmingham-area office at 2496 Valleydale Road. Custred previously was vice president of operations for McLeod Software, where he worked since 1998. He also is the immediate past chairman of the board for the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce. 205-987-8711, acci.business.site


Wellness Worx at 3055 Lorna Road celebrated its first anniversary in December. 205-721-3635, thiswellnessworx.com

Fancy Fur Pet Grooming & Boutique is celebrating its 15th anniversary at its Inverness location. The company offers specialty pet items and food, as well as grooming for all breeds. 205-408-1693, fancyfurpets.com


The Juicy Crab location in the Colonial Promenade Hoover shopping center at 2740 John Hawkins Parkway has closed. thejuicycrab.com

The Krispy Kreme at 5357 U.S. 280 has closed. krispykreme.com

A14 • February 2023 Hoover Sun
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Lucy Helland, a sixth grade student at Bumpus Middle School, was crowned Miss Yellowhammer State Preteen 2023 on Oct. 25, and will compete in a USA National Preteen pageant in Hollywood, Florida, in July 2023. Photo by Jon Anderson.

Hoover 12-year-old named Miss Yellowhammer State Preteen

Lucy Helland, a sixth grade student at Bumpus Middle School, won the Miss Yellowhammer State Preteen pageant this fall, for the second year in a row.

Helland, the 12-year-old daughter of Nick and Stacy Helland, now advances to a USA National Preteen pageant in Hollywood, Florida, in July 2023. She placed as first runner-up in the national pageant this past July.

The pageant includes a private interview, talent competition and opportunities to model evening wear, casual wear and fun fashion wear. Participants in the pageant also will compete for scholarship money based on their community service activities.

Helland for the past two years has collected handwritten letters and cards to be given to people in nursing homes, foster children, members of the military and patients at Children’s of Alabama hospital. Her goal is to bring smiles to people’s faces with “happy mail.”

Helland also serves as a junior ambassador for Garrett’s Place, an organization in Bessemer that works to meet the needs of foster children. Last year, Helland collected enough money to buy more than 250 new pillows for foster children at Christmas, and this year she raised enough money to buy 500 new pillows and 500 new blankets.

Helland is a straight-A student at Bumpus and enjoys dancing and playing volleyball.

People visit the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama table to learn about volunteer opportunities at the 2022 Kindness Summit at the Hoover Public Library.

courtesy of Hoover Public Library.

Library to host 2nd Kindness Summit

The Hoover Public Library is planning its second Kindness Summit to give people a chance to learn about volunteer opportunities in the community and is calling on nonprofits to sign up for the event.

This year’s Kindness Summit is set for Friday, Feb. 17, from 1 to 5 p.m. on the theater level of the library. People will have a chance to visit each nonprofit’s table and learn more about what the organization does and ways in which they can help as volunteers.

The idea is to help people who want to volunteer their time to find the best place for them to plug in and make a difference, while at the same time helping nonprofits recruit the help they need to serve their constituencies.

Last year, about 75 members of the public attended the event in person, and another 27 people attended a live virtual presentation online, said Shannon Haddock, a program specialist at the library.

As of Jan. 14, 28 nonprofits had committed to be part of the 2023 Kindness Summit, including The Literacy Council of Central Alabama, The Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, Greater Birmingham Humane Society, Special Equestrians, Kitty Kat Haven & Rescue, Better Basics, Workshops Empowerment, The Exceptional Foundation, Hoover Beautification Board, Bluff Park Art Association, GirlSpring, JustServe, Hoover Historical Society, CASA of Jefferson County, Hoover Arts Alliance, Alabama Media Professionals, Friends of the Hoover Library, United Ability, Bell Center, Grace Klein Community, Hoover-AHEAD, Firehouse Ministries, Cahaba Riverkeeper, Crisis Center of Birmingham, Alabama Interfaith Refugee Partnership and American Red Cross.

“I think this is going to be a huge success,” Haddock said. “Now we just have to get people to come. Let's hope we make some great matches for the nonprofits!”

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500 trees to be given out at Arbor Day celebration

The Hoover Beautification Board plans to give away about 500 trees as part of its 2023 Arbor Day celebration on Saturday, Feb. 25.

The celebration is scheduled to be held at Aldridge Gardens from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and there likely will be nine to 11 varieties of trees given out, said Holly Fondots, co-chairwoman of the event. The trees usually are rooted in 2-gallon or 3-gallon containers, and one is available per household until they all are given away, she said.

Last year’s tree giveaway was split among three locations — Aldridge Gardens, the Hoover-Randle Home and Gardens and Greystone Elementary School. But staffing that many locations was more difficult, so the Beautification Board decided to bring it all back to one location again, Fondots said.

This year’s Arbor Day celebration also will feature guest speaker Steve Bender, perhaps better known as The Grumpy Gardener in Southern Living magazine. Bender has almost 40 years of experience as the magazine’s garden editor, senior writer and editor-at-large.

He is the author of six books, including “The Southern Living Garden Book,” “Passalong Plants,” “Southern Living Garden Problem,” “The Grumpy Gardener: An A to Z Guide from the Galaxy’s Most Irritable Green Thumb,” “Callaway Gardens: Legacy of a Dream” and “Remarkable Receptions: Conversations with Leading Wedding Professionals.”

Bender isn’t expected to bring any of his books to the Arbor Day celebration, but he is willing to sign books if guests bring them, Fondots said. He is scheduled to speak at 11 a.m.

The Alabama Wildlife Center is supposed to have some of its wounded raptors in recovery on display from 9 a.m. to noon, and the birding group from Aldridge Gardens is scheduled to give walking tours of the gardens, weather permitting. There also will be a tree planting

at Aldridge.

Other groups scheduled to be on site include the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Wild Birds Unlimited, Hoover Beautification Board Green Team and Hoover Belles service organization.

The Hoover Beautification Board also will be recognizing winners of this year’s Arbor Day essay and poster contests for fourth graders in the Hoover public school system.

This year’s essay theme is “Trees, Bees and

the Power of Pollination.” Fourth graders are asked to imagine themselves as a honeybee or other winged pollinator, exploring their favorite park or place in Hoover. They should identify which pollinator they would be and why, which place they would explore and the type of tree they find most appealing, and explain why the pollination process is so important to plants, animals and people.

For the poster contest, students are asked to give their creative interpretation of the

same theme.

Essays should be 300 words or less. Each school’s teachers and principal by Feb. 3 will choose the top three essays and posters for the Beautification Board to judge. The Beautification Board will identify one honorable mention winner from each school and one overall winner, Fondots said. The winners are scheduled to be recognized at 9:30 a.m. at Aldridge. The winning posters will be on display, and the essay finalists will be invited to read their essays.

HooverSun.com February 2023 • A17
Drew BishopPatty of the Riverchase community and his mother, Karen Bishop, plant a pear tree at the 2021 Arbor Day Celebration at Aldridge Gardens.
Photo by Jon Anderson.

Hoover High baseball coach Adam Moseley to miss spring season

Hoover High School baseball coach Adam Moseley is set to miss the upcoming season following a ruling from the Alabama High School Athletic Association on Jan. 18.

Moseley and infielder RJ Hamilton represented Team USA at the World Baseball Softball Confederation U-18 Baseball World Cup in September. Since they competed with the same team outside of the school baseball season, they were determined to be in violation of AHSAA rules.

Hoover administrators presented an appeal to the AHSAA Central Board, seeking a change in the original ruling from AHSAA Executive Director Alvin Briggs, which would require Moseley or Hamilton to sit out the spring school season.

The AHSAA bylaws state, "Any coach that coaches a student (grades 7-12) from his/her school in practice or competition outside an allowable period renders that student or the offending coach ineligible in the sport in which the violation occurred for that school season."

Moseley will sit out the 2023 season, which will allow Hamilton, a senior and Vanderbilt University commit, to play for the Buccaneers this spring.

“We appreciate Hoover High School following the appeal process and for their presentation,” Central Board President Mike Welsh said after the Central Board's vote. “I commend the Central Board for standing by the constitution and bylaws of the AHSAA. The process to change a bylaw includes a school submitting a proposal in January, which is then surveyed by the member schools in February and voted on by the Legislative Council in April. However, that process could not take place before this particular participation was to occur.”

The Hoover High athletic department began communicating with the AHSAA several months in advance of the World Cup event, hoping to find a resolution in the event Moseley and Hamilton were both selected to the team. Obviously, the ultimate ruling did not go in

Hoover head coach Adam Moseley approaches the home plate umpire during game 2 of the Class 7A state championship series against Auburn at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery in May 2021.

we were going rogue. This was an attempt to involve them in the process of changing this in a positive way."

While knowing the specifics of the rule does not allow for leeway, Hoover presented documentation from USA Baseball, showing Moseley was not involved with coaching Hamilton at the event. Moseley was the team's pitching coach, while Hamilton played in the infield and was coached by three others with professional baseball experience.

Moseley was accompanied by Hoover Athletic Director Andy Urban and Principal John Montgomery at the appeal. He expressed gratitude for their support through the process.

"What they did is what I hope every coach in the country gets to experience," Moseley said. "In a moment of difficulty, have other leaders at your school support you and fight for you, and that's what did. I'll be always indebted to that."

Moseley said he feels "like a failure" because his decision to coach Team USA will not allow him to coach his players at Hoover this spring.

"I don't ever do this to try and get accolades, but it has been really disappointing that the AHSAA has not recognized RJ Hamilton and what he accomplished on the baseball field, as one of the top 20 players in the country, competing against countries from around the world," Moseley said.

Moseley added, "This is a time we can really build athletes and build young men up and bring a positive light to the accomplishments of young men, and that's what should be happening to him."

Hoover's favor.

"We do not have a method in our athletic association to address things quickly," Moseley said. "That's why we went to them more than once. We did it in good faith. We didn't hide a thing. This was not one of those things where

Chris Wilson and Chris Coons will coach the varsity team this season.

"One of the great joys of being here is having a great staff that wanted to be here and will take this and provide the best possible opportunity for our players to have success," Moseley said.

Lady Bucs basketball pushing for 3-peat

The Hoover High School girls basketball team has made it no secret what the goal is this season.

The Lady Bucs want to achieve something yet to be done in the program’s history: win a third consecutive Class 7A state championship.

They entered the year as one of the favorites to claim the title and have done nothing to dissuade that opinion thus far.

Through its first 25 games, Hoover held a 24-1 record, its only loss a one-point defeat to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa. Of those 24 victories, half of them had come against out-of-state competition. It’s not as if the Lady Bucs have taken it easy through the early portions of the schedule.

“The team’s progress is probably a lot better than we expected, considering the people that we lost [after last season],” Hoover head coach Krystle Johnson said.

Hillcrest is a solid team this season, but the 31-30 loss came on Hoover’s third game in three days and on a day when the Lady Bucs shot by far their lowest percentage in any game. But it served as a wake-up call to the team as well, which will yield benefits in the long run.

“I hate that we had to have that little hiccup, but having it in December is better than having it in February,” Johnson said.

The Lady Bucs are led this season by Reniya Kelly, who no longer has her longtime running mate Aniya Hubbard. Hubbard graduated last year and is now playing at Florida Atlantic University. That has led to more attention being put on Kelly by opposing teams.

“I can see more teams have started to sag off of me, knowing I like to drive,” Kelly said.

Johnson has implored her star point guard, a University of North Carolina commit, to continue looking for her own shot. Kelly is the program’s all-time leading scorer and the first to eclipse 2,000 career points. She has

contributed to the varsity team since she was in eighth grade.

“Knowing how hard she works — she’s always in the gym, always trying to study the game, watches basketball, that’s a huge feat,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a lot of great players in this program.”

Layla Etchison and Alanah Pooler have each also surpassed the 1,000-point mark in their high school careers as well. Both have hopes of

playing in college, while fellow senior Kristen McMillan is committed to play at the University of Central Arkansas.

Kelly said the Lady Bucs have yet to play their best game, which should be scary to future postseason opponents given the team’s record to this point. She wants to see her team get better at “doing the small things.”

Pooler also came up with a list of things the Lady Bucs are looking to improve daily, such

as talking on defense, playing as a team, developing trust and team chemistry, and knowing roles and assignments.

Coach and players alike see the potential that exists. If Hoover reaches it at some point in February, that elusive three-peat may finally be within reach.

“If we could ever just get everybody to play at a high level when they step on the court, we would be unbeatable,” Johnson said.

A18 • February 2023 Hoover Sun Sports
Photo by Erin Nelson. Hoover’s Reniya Kelly (10) takes the ball to the goal guarded by Hewitt-Trussville’s Lilly Gray (10) in a game at Hoover High School on Dec. 13. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Bucs place 7 on all-state football team

Following another appearance in the Class 7A semifinals, the Hoover High School football team was featured prominently in the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s 7A all-state team.

Across the first and second teams, seven Hoover players were recognized as being among the best in the state with their standout seasons.

Kicker Peyton Argent and linebackers

Kaleb Jackson and Bradley Shaw were named to the first team. Argent converted 34-of-35 extra point attempts on the season and knocked through 8-of-9 field goal tries, with a long of 47 yards. He also averaged nearly 44 yards per punt.

Jackson and Shaw are two of the best linebackers in the state, with each eclipsing the century mark in tackles on the season.

Jackson finished with 118 tackles and 5 sacks on the year, with an interception. Shaw also had 5 sacks and an interception, accumulating 106 tackles on the year.

Four more Bucs made the second team: offensive lineman Ethan Hubbard, defensive lineman Jordan Norman, defensive back Jay Avery and linebacker DJ Estes.

Hubbard is committed to Duke and paved the way for a solid offense. Norman’s offer sheet is growing rapidly, as he finished the season with 68 tackles and 10 sacks.

Avery was a force in the secondary all season. He picked off six passes and finished with 52 total tackles. Estes played all over the place on the defense, getting 71 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss and 6 sacks on the year.

Hoover finished 11-2 in Wade Waldrop’s first season as head coach, with the Bucs’ only two losses coming to Thompson and Auburn, the two teams that squared off in the state championship.

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Hoover linebackers Bradley Shaw (7) and Kaleb Jackson (1) combine to bring down a Bob Jones ball carrier during a game between Hoover High School and Bob Jones High School on Nov. 4, at the Hoover Met. Photo by Barry Stephenson.

Metro South middle school football players of year named

The 2022 Metro South Players of the Year were recently announced, recognizing players across the area for standout seasons. In seventh grade, Hewitt-Trussville Middle School and coach Terry Gillespie defeated Berry in the championship game. In eighth grade, Berry Middle and coach Matt Bowden knocked off Pizitz to win the title.

Here are the players named among the best in the Metro South.

► From Berry: Seventh graders Nicolas McKissic, Wyatt Baty, J.D. Thompson and Anderson Walker; eighth graders CJ Cowley, Evan Taylor, Houston Holmes and Connor Greb.

► From Bragg: Seventh graders Urijah Casey, Mark Moody, Chauncey Goodwin and Cohen Corbell; eighth graders Jude Wright, Michael Shelly, Josh Bailey and Reece Kelly.

► From Bumpus: Seventh graders Aiden Callins, Kamryn Foster, Mario Gibbs and Paxton Weatherly; eighth graders Judson Harris, Darion Moseley, Anquan Allen and Andrew Renfroe.

► From Chelsea: Seventh graders Noah Lee, Travion Spell, Hudson Picklesimer and Riaden Sanchez; eighth graders Briston Hardy, Israel Rodriguez, Jaiden Balint and Christian Madrid.

► From Clay-Chalkville: Seventh graders Christian Bennett Richardson, Markell Stephens, Trey Kennedy and Elijah Menyweather; eighth graders Carson Kimbrough, Josh Ivy, Tavaris Powell and Riley Cornutt.

► From Helena: Seventh graders Maddox Johnson, Brayden Jackson, Judorien Sanders and Barack Djalo; eighth graders Jacoby Studmire, Johnathan Roberto, Cole Davis and Reid Lucas.

► From Hewitt-Trussville: Seventh graders Chris Davis, Tyler Wilson, Antonio Wynn and Braxton Wallace; eighth graders Harrison Malone, Riley O’Neill, Jayden Berry and

The fourth grade Hoover Bucs pose for a photo after winning the fourth grade championship game in the Jefferson Shelby Youth Football League at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on Nov. 19. Photo courtesy of Greg Blackman.

Cason Cornwell.

► From Homewood: Seventh graders Timothy Roshell, Quincy McGhee, Reid Goldstein and Marcus McGee; eighth graders Jack Myers, Davis Lee, Bryon Long and Landon Pettus.

► From Liberty Park: Seventh graders Braxton Hunt, Powell Curry, Clayton Cox and Nick Smith; eighth graders Zachary Laws, Charles Taaffe, Luke Stubbs and Jackson Deal.

► From Mountain Brook: Seventh graders

Jack DeMedicis, Ryder McMakin, Gray Anderson and Joshua Holloway; eighth graders Luke Waldrop, Miller Crumpton, Graham Smith and Oliver Browning.

► From Oak Mountain: Seventh graders Cooper Campbell, Clayton Cherry, Eli Ervin and Keenan Wolf; eighth graders Luke Kelly, James McCallister, Baroc Willis and William Yoder.

► From Pizitz: Seventh graders Hudson Mote, Ethan Taylor, Daniel Holmes and Cooper

Cherry; eighth graders Noah Boylan, Jackson Martin, Price LaMaster and Nic Williams.

► From Simmons: Seventh graders Jamal Jones, Jordon Ward, Knox Tyson and Jack Thomason; eighth graders Jovon Pulliam, Joe Johnson, Ashtyn King and Matthew Threatt.

► From Thompson: Seventh graders Boomer Larson, Maleek Billingsley, Dominic Pitts and Mehkii Billingsley; eighth graders Trent McCorvey, Kevin Davis, Cam Pritchett and Ashton Smith.

2 Hoover youth football teams repeat as champs

Two teams from Hoover won their second championships in a row in the Jefferson Shelby Youth Football League.

The fourth grade Hoover Bucs completed their second consecutive undefeated season with a 21-0 record by defeating the fourth grade Vestavia Rebels 34-8 in the championship game at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on Nov. 19.

The fourth grade Bucs did not allow any points this year until the last play of the semifinals and one touchdown in the championship game, head coach Greg Blackman said.

Highlights from the championship game included an interception return for a touchdown by Evan Nix, four touchdowns by Boone Walker (who also had an interception) and a 48-yard pass from Nix to Logan Bennett, Blackman said.

Other members of the offense included Cooper Powell, Knox Gregory, Thomas Chelewski, Jack McGlothin, Caleb Newton, Sam Breland, Glenn Banks, Hudson Payne,

Jackson Zylstra, Julian McCarroll, Jairus Elder, Aaron Reach, Cason Nichols, Mark Schexnailder, Noah Crocker, Blake Costello, Caden Hayes and Micah Pitts.

The fourth grade defense was led by Walker, Gregory and Nix and also included Valor Woodfin, Drew Poer, D’Kajh Gilbert, Courtlin Minter, Josh Hood, Newton, Payne, Bennett, Powell, Charlie Sign, Soloman Rakes, James Chimara, Amari MaGee, Joseph Soller, Jaxson Brown, Brayden Bell and Georgie Shunnarah.

Assistant coaches were Ky Gregory, Zac Woodfin, Jeremy Nix, Kenny Amerson and Thad Lowery.

The third grade Hoover Bucs also captured their second straight league championship with a 6-0 win over the Spain Park Jags in the third grade championship game, played in sub-freezing weather in Alabaster on Nov. 17.

Running back Jordan Elmore provided the only score of the game, head coach Tremele Perry said.

Other team members included Austin Benford, Harris Eldridge, Deuce Perry, Alex

The third grade Hoover Bucs pose for a photo with Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato and the Hoover City Council on Nov. 21, after winning the Jefferson Shelby Youth Football League third grade championship in Alabaster on Nov. 17. Photo by Jon Anderson.


Assistant coaches were Sterling Elmore, Joey Snowden, Josh Holden, Chris Luck and Marcel Stamps.

A20 • February 2023 Hoover Sun
The seventh grade Metro South players of the year. Photo courtesy of Barry Stephenson. Tingle, Cash Graham, DeMauri Walton, Whitt Legvoid, Greyson Brock, Austin Forrester, Aleksan Flores, Huck Snowden, Cooper Luck, Kile Braxton, Maximum Hosch, Gregory Shaw, Marin Holden, Paul Blanks, Aiden Giles, Holland, Israel “Izzy” Gibbs and Ford Hatch.

State baseball, softball finals to remain in Oxford, Jacksonville

The Alabama High School Athletic Association announced in early December an agreement to keep the state baseball and softball championships in the same place for at least the next five years.

The AHSAA’s agreement with the city of Oxford and Jacksonville State University will keep the baseball and softball championships in Calhoun County through 2027, with the same setup that was used for the first time in 2022.

Oxford’s Choccolocco Park hosted the state softball tournament for the first time in 2021 and returned in 2022 to complete a two-year contract, after the tournament was held at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park since its inception

in 1986.

Moving the softball tournament to Oxford has allowed the state tournament finals in all seven AHSAA classifications to be held at the Signature Field, a stadium designed specifically for softball.

Baseball’s state final series for each of the seven classifications was previously held in Montgomery, but a scheduling conflict forced the state to relocate those championships last spring.

That led to holding the first game of each classification’s final series at Choccolocco Park, with the second and third games the following day at Jacksonville State University’s Rudy Abbott Field at Jim Case Stadium.

“We are excited to have our state

championships in both sports locked in for the next five years and hopefully for many years to come,” said Alvin Briggs, AHSAA executive director. “Our experience with softball at Choccolocco Park and baseball last spring at Choccolocco Park and JSU was incredible. We had packed crowds for most of our games. Both sites provided real championship experiences and lifelong memories for our teams, schools and communities that traveled to attend.”

Choccolocco Park in Oxford has signature fields for baseball and softball, in addition to a multi-field complex that is utilized for the softball tournament games leading up to each classification’s championship game. The park has hosted many regional and national events throughout the last several years.

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CONTINUED from page A1

Burt, a junior at Briarwood Christian School who was named Miss Jefferson County’s Outstanding Teen last July, decided to take action. She started a nonprofit called Charlie’s Chance and now works to raise awareness about epilepsy, advocate for people suffering from it and raise money to enrich their lives.

She took it upon herself to organize a fundraising gala for Epilepsy Foundation Alabama this past November. The gala, Wings of Hope, drew about 200 people and raised more than $32,000.

Sara Franklin, a regional director for the Epilepsy Foundation who lives and works in Hoover, said she has been blown away by Burt and her contributions to the cause over the past two years.

Burt served as an ambassador for the Epilepsy Foundation, helping with events and encouraging family and friends to support seizure training so more people will know how to respond and help people when seizures occur.

She also helped call and email state legislators to gain support for the Seizure Safe Schools Act, which was passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey in the spring of 2021 and went into effect this school year. The act allows non-medical school personnel who are trained to administer nasal anti-seizure medication to do so in emergency situations when a school nurse is not on campus.

Burt has been a tremendous help, Franklin said. “She’s just had so many good ideas about how to raise epilepsy awareness and train people in seizure first aid,” Franklin said.

Also, Franklin was impressed that Burt took her support to the next level by coming up with the idea for a fundraising gala and organizing it herself, with some assistance from her mom. The event sold out and was a great success, Franklin said.

With limited staff, the Epilepsy Foundation Alabama organization didn’t have the bandwidth to do that themselves, Franklin said.

The Wings of Hope Gala was held at the Southern Museum of Flight, enabling Burt to combine her passion for epilepsy awareness with her passion for flying.

From a young age, she always thought flying was something she would like to try, she said. Her grandfather, Bob

Wall, is a pilot and paid for Burt’s first flying lesson as a 16th birthday present.

“I just fell in love from there,” she said. “It’s really just snowballed into one of my favorite passions.”

Her friends thought she was crazy for wanting to fly a plane, but she liked the challenge of doing something in a male-dominated field, she said. She hopes to study aviation at Auburn University and become a commercial airline pilot for Delta, she said.

Burt flies with Over the Mountain Aviation at the Shelby County Airport. She already has completed her first solo flight, first cross-country solo flight and first night flight and is scheduled for her Federal Aviation Administration check ride on Feb. 4 to get her private pilot license, she said.

While Burt is Miss Jefferson County’s Outstanding Teen for 2023, she hasn’t been in a lot of those types of competitions. So far, she has been in only three. She won her very first preliminary and became Miss Leeds Area’s Outstanding Teen in June 2021 and went on to be named second runner-up in the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen competition in March 2022. The Miss Jefferson County’s Outstanding Teen competition last year was her third competition, and her fourth will be the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen competition this coming March.

Burt said she feels honored to represent Jefferson County in this year’s state competition and has been thrilled to have already received $25,000 in scholarships through these competitions.

She won the Jessica Baeder Community Service Award at the state competition last year for her work involving epilepsy awareness.

In addition to flying planes and working to battle epilepsy, Burt has several other hobbies. She has been a member of the track team and cheerleading squad at Briarwood since her freshman year and currently participates on both the varsity sideline football and basketball cheerleading squads and varsity competitive cheer squad.

She also has been dancing since age 2 and currently dances with the Birmingham Dance Theatre in Hoover. When she was younger, she did many types of dancing, including ballet, hip hop, jazz, tap and clogging, but she now focuses on ballet en pointe, which is the talent she performs in the scholarship competitions.

Burt is the daughter of Zane Burt and Eric and Kalika Gibbons.

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Miss Jefferson County’s Outstanding Teen Elaina Burt and her 6-year-old cousin Charlie Wilson. Burt started the nonprofit Left: Elaina performs ballet as Miss Leeds Area’s Outstanding Teen at the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen competition in March 2022. Middle: Elaina Burt, at right, with fellow Briarwood Christian School cheerleader Greyce Godbehere at a regional cheer competition at the Birmingham Crossplex in December 2022. Right: Elaina is working to get her private pilot’s license and wants to attend Auburn University to study aviation and become a commercial airline pilot for Delta. Photos courtesy of Elaina Burt.
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CONTINUED from page A1

“She truly embraces every second of the day as a teachable moment and an opportunity for engagement,” said Erica Adams, Bluff Park’s literacy specialist, in a letter nominating Craig for the Hoover City Schools 2022-23 Elementary Teacher of the Year.

That’s one of many positive traits that helped Craig win the award.

Kevin Pughsley, a sixth-grade science teacher at Berry Middle School, was chosen as Hoover’s Secondary Teacher of the Year for the district. And now Craig and Pughsley, both known for their mastery of content, leadership in instruction and creative and hands-on learning techniques, are in consideration for Teacher of the Year for the state’s school board district 3.


Adams said many teachers know about Craig’s creative talent because her students continue to remember and share the songs Craig created and the concepts they cover for years to come.

“Success of her unique and engaging teaching style can be seen in her students’ continuous high level of achievement and growth each year,” Adams wrote. “In addition to academic growth, Mrs. Craig pushes her students to grow as people. She truly looks at each student as an individual and fosters an environment that allows them to believe in themselves and their potential as a student and person. Students never forget a year with Mrs. Craig.”

Geri Evans, Hoover’s 2021-22 Elementary Teacher of the Year, also from Bluff Park, said in a recommendation letter that Craig is a master teacher who has a comprehensive knowledge of curriculum and ability to engage students.

“She combines subjects seamlessly into meaningful units of study that require in-depth thinking and hands-on learning,” Evans wrote.

Craig, 42, is in her sixth year of teaching at Bluff Park Elementary and 19th year of teaching overall. She previously taught second grade for 13 years at Chelsea Park Elementary School in the Shelby County school system.

At Bluff Park, she has been the lead teacher for her grade level for six years and served as a mentor to new teachers the past three years. She also has been responsible for creating and coordinating science and social studies schoolwide presentations, such as a living wax museum and a market day where children created a product and then tried to “sell” it to help understand supply and demand concepts.

“Maghan Craig is what I like to call a quiet leader,” Bluff Park Elementary Principal Ami Weems said. “She’s one of those that even though she’s quiet, every time she speaks, someone listens. She’s also one of those that she does all things for the right reasons. She is never seeking the limelight, but she is definitely someone that deserves to be in it, and we’re incredibly proud of her.”

Craig does a great job of not only getting to know her students but also their parents, and she is well respected in the community, Weems said.

“She is definitely a teacher that never, ever stops learning,” Weems said. “She’s been in education for 19 years, and she is always seeking out an opportunity to grow.”

Craig said she is honored and shocked to be named Elementary Teacher of the Year. “I really wasn’t expecting it,” she said.

She got into teaching because she loved how some of the teachers in her formative years found ways to make learning fun. When she finished high school, she helped teach a Sunday school class at her church, and she enjoyed finding fun and creative ways to teach the lessons, she said.

Those things motivated her to pursue education as a career, and it became a passion for her, she said.

“I try to find ways to bring studying to life and have really hands-on, realistic learning experiences for the students,” she said.

While teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging, it also led her and other teachers to use technology in new ways that they continue to incorporate into their

lesson plans, Craig said.

Also, while some teachers have gotten burned out in recent years, Craig said continuing to find new, fun ways to teach keeps her motivated. Also, getting a new group of students each year keeps it fresh and exciting because each group of students has different needs and challenges, she said. “It looks different every single year.”

She enjoys teaching first grade because most first graders love coming to school and love their teacher, she said. “It’s still all new at this age.”


Pughsley is in his sixth year at Berry Middle and 16th year of teaching overall. He previously taught 10 years as a sixth-grade science teacher at Calera Middle School in the Shelby County school system.

He was named Calera Middle School’s Teacher of the Year in 2008 and 2014, the Shelby County Middle School Teacher of the Year in 2014 and was his school district’s nominee for the Jacksonville State University Teacher Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Alabama Science Teacher Association Middle School Teacher of the Year for 2018.

Pughsley won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2018 and was a teacher ambassador for the Alabama Educator Space Camp in 2017. In 2022, he led Berry students to a state championship in Tests in Engineering Aptitude Mathematics and Science, qualifying them to go to nationals in Dallas.

He is the head of the science department at his school, plans professional development for his fellow science teachers and mentors and teaches other teachers through the A Plus College Ready program.

Melissa Hadder, the principal at Berry, when asked how she would describe Pughsley, said it’s hard to narrow it down to one thing because he is the complete package as a teacher.

“Mr. Pughsley is an experienced teacher who works hard to help the students master the content,” Hadder said. “He is a phenomenal teacher and represents Berry very well.”

Pughsley is very skilled in terms of pedagogy, grounded in the content and good at incorporating literacy into the science curriculum, she said. He’s good at relating to middle school students, engaging with them and getting them to ask questions about the content, she said.

Chris Robbins, the chief academic officer for Hoover City Schools, was the principal at Berry when Pughsley was hired and said in a recommendation letter that he knew he had to hire Pughsley the second he began interviewing him.

“His love and concern for children, his ability to relate to adolescents and his thirst for professional growth shined through,” Robbins wrote. “With years of science teaching experience, an unbelievable expanse of expertise and certifications and a heart of gold, the outcome of the interview was a no-brainer.”

Robbins said that when he walked into Pughsley’s classroom, he always noticed that Pughsley’s students were engaged in collaborative discussions with other students in their groups, thinking critically about science standards and working to provide or discover evidence to support or disprove a scientific hypothesis.

Pughsley knows the science standards so well that he looks for and takes advantage of cross-curricular connections with other teachers in his interdisciplinary team,

Robbins said. Yet he is continually seeking out opportunities to grow in his knowledge of the content and standards, Robbins said.

Also, Pughsley possesses many of the personal and social traits necessary to build positive relationships with all his stakeholders, Robbins said.

“Parents, students and co-workers enjoy his consistent and fair approach to working with students,” Robbins wrote. “Kevin has a wonderful sense of humor, which is foundational for working successfully with middle school students.”

Pughsley said he feels blessed and humbled that the teachers at his school chose him to be their Teacher of the Year and that the leaders of the school district see him as a teacher who is making a difference in students’ lives.

“Growing up, I was easily distracted,” he said. “I would get in trouble. Academically, I wasn’t the best either, and I share that with my students. I let them know my pathway that got to here.”

When he was in high school, he had two teachers who showed him that education could be fun, energetic, exciting and engaging for students and that teaching can be tailored to meet the individual needs of learners, he said.

Those teachers made an impact on his life and helped motivate him to choose education as a profession, he said.

Now, he wants to help his students realize that, regardless of any past struggles, they can be successful in school and achieve their dreams, he said.

The last two years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic have been very tough for teachers, and he wants to help his fellow teachers realize that they can push through the tough times and find that passion that they originally had, he said.

A24 • February 2023 Hoover Sun
Top: Maghan Craig, a first grade teacher at Bluff Park Elementary School, stands in a circle as her students play a counting game. Above: Kevin Pughsley, a sixth grade Earth science teacher at Berry Middle School, watches as Justin Jung pulls out a sample of different layers from a bowl as the class learns about core samples and geologic columns of the Earth. Photos by Erin Nelson.



Offering world-class eye care for everyone in the family UAB CALLAHAN EYE

When you look ahead to the future, you try to prepare for the moments you don’t see coming. But how can you do that without the best possible eye care? Whether you need a routine eye exam, glaucoma screening, ongoing care for a serious eye condition or even surgery, you can access premium care, knowledge and skill to help repair and restore your vision at UAB Callahan Eye in the blink of an eye.

UAB Callahan Eye is committed to delivering eye care everyone can access. With 20 locations across central Alabama and counting — including new locations in Tuscaloosa and Homewood — getting first-rate treatment is easier than ever.

UAB Callahan Eye takes pride in caring for people of all ages, with all locations specializing in diagnosing and treating our youngest family members, starting at birth.

Whatever your needs are, you’ll find the care you need at one of UAB Callahan Eye’s locations, including the only 24/7 eye emergency department of its kind in the country. What does that mean for you? Personalized care, excellent eye care professionals, shorter wait times and clearer vision.

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TherapySouth: a company based on faith


Q: What makes TherapySouth stand out in the physical therapy industry?

A: TherapySouth is a private, physical therapist-owned practice that has been serving the greater Birmingham communities for over 15 years. Our numerous convenient locations across the metro area allows us to live out our message of providing “Hands On Care, Close to Home — and Work!” Our staff develop relationships with each patient and truly make the clinic environment feel like a family. With access to quality physical therapy care, we believe we can help our community live better, healthier lives!

Q: Why should someone see a physical therapist?

A: Most often, patients are referred to one of our clinics by their orthopedic surgeon or primary care physician to assist with recovery from an injury or procedure. But, physical therapy is beneficial to anyone seeking pain relief and improved function. The physical therapy approach is to evaluate the neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems and address movement limitations or malalignments that are affecting mobility and causing pain. When patients come to physical therapy first, they can often avoid unnecessary surgery and medication. Through intentional exercises and hands-on treatment, patients can get back to their hobbies, everyday tasks and more.

Q: Do I need a doctor’s referral to schedule an appointment at TherapySouth?

A: Patients are welcome to schedule an initial evaluation appointment without

a physician’s referral. Your therapist will perform an initial evaluation to determine if therapy is appropriate for you and communicate with your primary care physician, or physician specialist, to obtain approval for ongoing treatment. You can also receive wellness services depending on the nature of your problem. To schedule an appointment, patients can call the clinic directly or visit our website to check appointment availability and set up an initial visit.

Q: What would you like potential patients to know about your practice?

A: We take our core values very seriously. We are a company based on faith that believes in family, integrity, service, compassion, fitness, perseverance, and giving. We try to instill these values in all our employees and encourage them to live them out not only at work as professionals, but also in their personal lives.

Q: What does a first visit look like at TherapySouth?

A: During the initial evaluation, your therapist will take a thorough history of your condition or injury and review past medical history that may influence your case. Appropriate baseline objective measures will be recorded to evaluate throughout your treatment, such as range of motion and strength. Together, you and your therapist will discuss and set goals to help you achieve maximum function. Your therapist will determine a treatment plan and prescribe a home exercise program for you to perform at home to compliment therapeutic activities performed in the clinic. In addition, skilled manual techniques are utilized to further enhance recovery. Your therapist will communicate and coordinate with other health care professionals as needed to provide optimal care.

Hoover: U.S. 31/I-65


► WHERE: 2279 Valleydale Road, Suite 200

► CALL: 205-874-9523

► WEB: therapysouth.com

You don’t have to face your new fitness resolutions alone. At TherapySouth you’ll find a movement expert who will work with you to develop an individualized exercise program to help you feel stronger and reduce pain. With an Annual Movement Screening, your PT can assess your mobility and strength to help you face everything this new year will bring.

Scan this code to schedule an appointment and start a Healthy New Year. www.therapysouth.com

Hoover 3421 South Shades Crest, Suite 107 205.987.6501 Riverchase/ Valleydale 2279 Valleydale Road, Suite 200 205.874.9523 Hoover – Hwy 31/I-65 1550 Montgomery Hwy, Suite L Hoover, AL 35216 205.855.5800
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WHERE: 11550 U.S. 31, Suite L
CALL: 205-855-5800WEB: therapysouth.com

Fentanyl Overdoses in Jefferson County

As a public health professional working in overdose prevention tasked with writing an article about fentanyl overdose, I would like to ask you to walk through a visualization exercise. I would like you to close your eyes and imagine someone you think would be at risk of an overdose. What do they look like? How old are they? How are they dressed? Where are they? What environment are they in? What type of people or things are around them? Where are you in relation to them, close by or far away?

Now, I want you to wipe that image clean completely. In place of that image, I want you to imagine your grandmother suffering chronic back pain from years of hard work. She has prescribed pain medication but does not have enough to get her through an entire month and borrows pain medications from others. Imagine your teenager who is very active on a popular social media app and is approached through that app with an offer to purchase an anxiety medication. It will be conveniently delivered to their home as you order a pizza or takeout. Imagine your college student in the campus library studying for finals with friends, and someone offers them medication for attention deficit disorder to help them stay awake to study. Imagine your 25-year-old sibling, a young professional, attending a party where cocaine is available. Imagine your long-time neighbor, your favorite high school teacher, yourself, or anyone else you admire or care about instead. An accidental fentanyl overdose can happen to anyone from any community, socioeconomic status, age, race, ethnicity, religion, or gender who ingests a drug obtained outside of a pharmacy or healthcare provider’s office.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid available in prescription and illicitly manufactured forms. It is highly potent at tiny doses – fifty times more powerful than heroin and one hundred times more potent than morphine. An amount as small as a few grains of table salt can cause a fatal overdose. The risk of overdose from illicitly manufactured fentanyl is growing in our community. Jefferson County fentanyl overdose deaths were up 233% between 2019 and 2021, rising from 95 to 316. In 2022, through September, we have already lost 230 individuals in Jefferson County to a fentanyl overdose. Overdose is killing our friends, family members, and neighbors full of promise and ability to make a lifetime of positive contributions to our world.

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is in the heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine supply in Jefferson County, and users of those substances are at high risk of a fentanyl overdose. There are even reports of fentanyl contamination of the marijuana supply. Most people do not realize that illicitly manufactured fentanyl is also in counterfeit pills that are indistinguishable from legitimate prescription medications. Today’s overdose crisis is not the overdose crisis of five years ago when overdoses mainly occurred in injection drug users. Fentanyl overdoses are now happening in unsuspecting individuals who believe they are purchasing or borrowing legitimate prescription medications. Instead, they receive counterfeit medicines contaminated with fatal doses of illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

We must raise awareness about this public health crisis. Parents should discuss overdose risks with their middle-school, high school, and college students. Every household must be familiar with naloxone (an opioid overdose reversal drug) and have it available in their home.

There is hope for those using substances and resources available to guide these conversations. Parents may find resources on the Addiction Prevention Coalition website at apcbham.org, or the DEA One Pill Can Kill website at www.dea.gov/onepill. Free naloxone and fentanyl test strips are available to anyone in the State of Alabama and may be obtained through the Jefferson County Department of Health website

at www.jcdh.org/naloxone.

Alabama’s 24/7 substance use helpline, answered by individuals in recovery from substance use disorder, can be reached at 1-844-307-1760. Those in Birmingham and the surrounding areas can contact the Recovery Resource Center at 205-4583377. A treatment locator can be found on the Connect Alabama app at https://mh.alabama.gov/ connect-alabama-app/ or on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website at www.findtreatment.gov.

The Jefferson County Department of Health staff cares about you and your family. Our mission is for everyone in Jefferson County to live a long and healthy life. We are available to spread awareness by speaking to community groups, being present at community events, and working alongside you to reduce overdoses in your community. Our overdose prevention and response team can be reached at 205-930-1065 or naloxonetraining@jcdh.org. Let’s all work together to END OVERDOSE!

Sexual Health Clinic Services Have Expanded

The Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) Specialty Clinic is excited to announce multiple expansions to our existing services. The JCDH Sexual Health Clinic now offers services at our Central Health Center (1400 6th Ave South, Birmingham AL, 35202), our Eastern Health Center (601 West Blvd Roebuck, Birmingham, AL 35233), and our Western Health Center (631 Bessemer Super Hwy., Midfield, AL 35228).

The JCDH Sexual Health Clinic has also launched self-scheduling options for our Fast Track Visits. Fast Track Visits are intended for persons who wish to have comprehensive sexual health testing if they do not currently have any symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection. The self-scheduling portal can be found at www.jcdh.org under the “Self-Scheduling” tab.

The JCDH Specialty Clinic also offers the following services: Adult Vaccinations Clinic, Hepatitis C Treatment Clinic, PrEP and PEP Clinics (for HIV prevention), and Travel Clinic.

Appointments for any of these clinics can be made by calling 205-588-5234.

Medicare doesn’t have to be stressful — let Medicare Advisors of Alabama help


Q: Who is Medicare Advisors of Alabama?

A: We are a locally owned insurance agency that specializes in helping Alabamians better understand Medicare.

Medicare is overwhelming, but once someone with patience and knowledge teaches you the questions to ask and then guides you through the process, the whole thing becomes much less stressful. That’s what we provide: a stressfree Medicare experience.

Q: What does your service cost?

A: Our service is absolutely free. We’re only paid by insurance companies if we help you enroll in a plan. Our reputation has been built on word of mouth and living the Golden Rule. Let us prove it to you.

Q: Why does someone need a broker/adviser?

A: There are so many advertisements and plans available that it’s becoming almost impossible to sort everything out on your own. A good broker will help you see the positives and negatives of the plans and will work to find the best solution for their client and not the insurance company.

► WHERE: 2116 Columbiana Road, Birmingham

► CALL: 205-704-9020

► WEB: medicareadvisors ofalabama.org

Q: When does someone need to help me with Medicare?

A: If you’re turning 65 years of age, you have a seven-month window to enroll in Medicare. It’s also when our team can really help you understand your options. However, if you are still working, you may not want or need to enroll. Deciding when to enroll and what to enroll in are our two most asked questions, and our team can help you make an informed decision.

Q: What if I keep working past age 65?

A: Many people think they’ll face penalties if they don’t sign up for Medicare at 65. That can be true, but not always. You can postpone enrollment beyond age 65 if you or your spouse are still working and you have health insurance under an employer plan.

Q: The Annual Enrollment Period ended Dec. 7. Is it too late to make changes?

A: There are several different enrollment periods throughout the year. One overlooked enrollment period (Open Enrollment Period) runs from Jan. 1 through March 31. This period is for a person who needs to change their Medicare Advantage Plan or someone on a Medicare Advantage Plan but would like to return to Original Medicare. There are also many Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) throughout the year as well.

Q: Where can I get help with Medicare?

A: You can schedule a consultation with someone on our team. We can talk over the phone, meet virtually via Zoom, in-person at our local office, at your home, your business or even out at a coffee shop.

Once a month we teach a class called “Prepare for Medicare” at our local office. We have lots of fun, and it’s very educational. No specific products are discussed, but it’s a great way to learn the basics of Medicare and get your questions answered.

MEDICARE PREPARE FOR RIGHT HERE IN TOWN VIEW MORE @ MEDICAREADVICE.ORG/SERVICES/PRODUCTS 2116 Columbiana Road Birmingham, AL 35216 ·Fun and educational “Prepare for Medicare” classes ·One-on-one Medicare consultations ·Help people in need apply for nancial assistance ·Free drug plan reviews MedicareAdvice.org  EDUCATE Learn how to make an educated Medicare decision.  ADVISE Unbiased free advice based on years of experience.  ENROLL Meet with a local licensed agent who can help you enroll.  SUPPORT Ongoing support regardless of enrollment. MAA is an insurance agency and not part of the federal government. We do not represent every plan available in Alabama and information provided is limited to the plans we do offer. Contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-Medicare to get information on all options.
Eric Smith

journey to mend his The

Meet Jaquavion ‘Qua’ Johnson


Jaquavion “Qua” Johnson was born in September 2006. As a doctor was checking on the infants in the local hospital nursery, his attention quickly turned to Qua as he was turning blue. He was stabilized then airlifted to Children’s of Alabama. Doctors there determined he had a congenital heart defect called tricuspid atresia, a surprise to mom Marquitta Rivers.

“No one had a clue he was sick at birth,” Marquitta said.

At five days old, Qua had the first of a series of open-heart surgeries that are customary for his diagnosis. Tricuspid atresia happens when the heart’s tricuspid valve does not develop, therefore blood can’t flow from the heart’s right atrium (upper receiving chamber) to the right ventricle (lower pumping chamber) as it should. Marquitta recalls her “tough cookie” of a son riding around the hospital at age 2-1/2 in a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, recovering quickly after his last surgery.

He played a variety of sports throughout childhood, but when Qua reached middle school, mom Marquitta noticed her son just wasn’t himself. “He is my child, and I knew something was wrong.”

In early March 2021, a series of visits to his hometown pediatrician, emergency departments and cardiologists provided some clues. Marquitta came home one afternoon to find him crying. “Mom, I can hardly breathe,” he said. She booked an appointment with his pediatrician for the following day, but by that evening, Qua’s symptoms worsened, and Marquitta took him to an emergency department in Columbus, Georgia, a 45-minute ride from home. They did a CT scan, an X-ray and EKG. He needed oxygen. “That’s when I knew something was wrong.”

The pediatrician urged Qua and Marquitta to return to Columbus where many of the previous tests were repeated. Still without answers, they drove back home, when that evening, Marquitta noticed a missed call on her cell phone. It was from a cardiologist at the Columbus hospital. In his voicemail, he explained that Qua’s case caught his eye. As Marquitta listened to the message, Qua was lethargic on the sofa. The doctor advised them to go back to the hospital so that Qua could have an echocardiogram.

By the next morning, Qua’s bloodwork

► WHERE: 1600 7th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35233

► CALL: 205-638-9100

► WEB: childrensal.org

and tests indicated that he needed more than just tests. “The doctors said they didn’t understand how Qua was up and walking around. Something wasn’t right with his heart,” Marquitta said. The doctors requested that Qua be transported to Children’s of Alabama for evaluation and treatment. She went back home long enough to gather up essentials for what she thought would be a few days in Birmingham and began the three-hour drive as Qua was flown to Children’s.

His heart wasn’t pumping well. The medications weren’t helping. All that was left was a heart transplant. “He was worried and scared about the idea of a heart transplant,” Marquitta said. “I needed him to know exactly what was going on. I didn’t sugarcoat it, didn’t want him to be worried. He had a big smile on his face once he realized a new heart would give him a better life.”

He joined the transplant list April 3, 2021. While many patients wait months or even years for a new heart, Qua’s critical condition helped the team at Children’s of Alabama find a heart for him less than two weeks later. Before Marquitta told Qua, she went to the gift shop and bought some heart-shaped balloons. When she got back to Qua’s room, he had his back to the door. When he turned around, she said to him, “Qua, are you ready for your life to start? You’re getting your new heart today.”

Marquitta got updates from the transplant team over the next eight hours. By the time she saw him in recovery, he was connected to multiple IVs and machines. “He looked at me as if to ask if all was OK. He grabbed my hand and nodded his head to tell me he was OK. Then he did the same with his dad. And then he went back to sleep,” Marquitta recalled. And just one month later, Qua was discharged ready to take on life with his new, healthy heart.

“I don’t know what the good Lord has in store for him, but I know it’s something,” Marquitta said.

Qua was born with tricuspid atresia that required a series of open heart surgeries as an infant. But as a teen, his health took a dramatic turn. Qua’s pediatrician and cardiologist recognized something wasn’t right with his heart and sent him to Children’s of Alabama. Our team was standing by when he arrived by helicopter, and within two weeks he received a new heart. He rebounded quickly and was back at home a few weeks later, thanks to the expert heart team here at Children’s of Alabama.


more at ChildrensAL.org/heart
Qua Heart Transplant Survivor
heart led CV-0007_Heart_Month-Qua-Feb-Paper-Medical-Guide-Newsprint_4.79x15.57-PROD.indd 1 1/5/23 3:15 PM

Helping seniors exercise their independence


Seniors must exercise regularly if they wish to age gracefully, keep their independence and maintain a great quality of life.

Graceful Aging & Wellness provides Birmingham-area seniors with individualized fitness programs they can enjoy in their own homes with professional trainers.

One-on-one sessions with trainers “ensure proper techniques and reduce risk of injury, but also build relationships that improve social and mental well-being,” says Sarah Brumfield, a Certified Fitness Trainer and founder of Graceful Aging & Wellness.

These sessions increase strength, endurance, balance and mobility; improve mood and cognitive function; and aid in fall prevention.

Routine fitness training can also help “reduce the onset or frequency of conditions associated with aging, such as heart disease, Type II diabetes and osteoporosis,” Brumfield says.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, combining 30-60 minutes of strength training to any amount of aerobic activity will enhance the benefits. Results include a 40% lower risk of premature death, 46% lower incidence of heart disease and a 28% lower chance

Dr. Rekha Chadalawada: ‘I have the best job in the world’


of dying from cancer.

Brumfield and her two trainers have 62 years of combined experience in fitness training and physical therapy.

The programs they offer are “individualized based on each client’s medical history, current functional level and personal goals,” Brumfield says.

Following such a personalized program “is essential for living a happy and healthy life,”she says.

A Mississippi native, Brumfield began her career in physical therapy in 2005 and spent 16 years helping seniors regain their independence following injuries, surgeries and illness.

Brumfield moved to the Birmingham area with her family in 2019 and opened Graceful Aging & Wellness in 2021.

Her new business was an opportunity to change her professional focus.

“I loved my career of restoring health in individuals through physical therapy, but I’m passionate about preventative wellness and fall prevention,” she says. “Don’t wait until you have a decline in function or a fall to make health your priority.”

For more information, call 601-597-2442 or go to graceful agingbirmingham.com.

Graceful Aging & Wellness

For the past 25 years Dr. Rekha Chadalawada has been serving the pediatric community in Sylacauga. She serves as President of the Sylacauga School Board and was recently awarded the Master Pediatrician Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics’s Alabama Chapter and Children’s Hospital.

In 1999, Dr. Rekha joined Dr. Robert Gray of Sylacauga Pediatrics. Desiring to expand Alabama residents’ access to pediatric primary care, Dr. Rekha opened Summit Pediatrics of Chelsea in 2013 and has now opened a new location on Valleydale Road.

Sylacauga and Summit Pediatrics is composed of four pediatricians and four nurse practitioners who are passionate about and dedicated to the health of our pediatric community.

“What led me into this specialty is still what inspires me the most today, and that is the children I get to work with on a daily basis,” Dr. Rekha says. “To me, children are second only to God. They make me a better physician and a better person with their presence every day. I feel like I have the best job in the world — which most of the time doesn’t even feel like a job at all.”

Sylacauga Pediatrics and both Summit locations see children from birth to

► BIRMINGHAM: 1200 Providence Park, Suite 100 (off Valleydale Road)

► CHELSEA: 134 Foothills Parkway

► SYLACAUGA: 115 West Clay St.

► CALL: 205-637-0044

► WEB: sylacaugapediatrics.com

21-years-old for sick and well visits. Locations accept same-day appointments and the new Valleydale location is accepting walk-ins.

Summit Pediatrics’s new location on Valleydale Road is conveniently located across from Jefferson State Community College and Spain Park High School with easy access from both U.S. 280 and Interstate 65. The new clinic aims to serve residents of both Shelby and Jefferson County and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Graceful Aging & Wellness provides functional fitness training to improve quality of life for adults of all ages and functional levels. Our training programs assist seniors in maintaining their independence and reducing risk of falls. Functional fitness programs are designed specifically for each client depending on their medical history, current functional level and personal goals. In each session, our clients receive one-one-one training to improve strength, endurance, balance and mobility in the comfort of their own home with all necessary equipment provided.

Graceful Aging & Wellness


Owner & ISSA certified fitness trainer

Over 17 years experience restoring safe independence for senior adults

(601) 597-2442 | sbrumfield@gaw.fitness gracefulagingbirmingham.com | @gracefulagingbham

Covid-19 precautions are taken to ensure the safety of our clients.

We are so excited to be your new neighbor! We are a Pediatric Primary Care Practice with over 20 years of experience and are an extension of our Chelsea & Sylacauga locations. We are dedicated to providing compassionate and comprehensive care to children from birth to 21 years old. Walk-ins and same day appointments for both sick and well visits are accepted.

We are located at 1200 Providence Park, Suite 100, Birmingham (205) 637-0044

Offices in Chelsea, Sylacauga, & Birmingham

► CALL: 601-597-2442 ► WEB: gracefulaging birmingham.com


Your Leg Pain Can’t Wait

How do you know if you are suffering from vein disease? Answer these questions:

„ Do you have ankle and/or leg swelling?

„ Do you have a dull ache or heaviness in the legs after standing or sitting for long periods of time?

„ Do you have tired legs?

„ Do you have enlarged veins close to the surface of your skin?

„ Do you have changes in skin color including brown, red or pink areas?

„ Do your legs feel leathery or itchy?

Under the direction of Dr. Tom Eagan and Kathy Sentell, PAC, RPhS, our team is committed to treating your leg pain, diagnosing your condition and working with you on a solution for recovery. Call for your evaluation today.

HooverSun.com February 2023 • A31
a stand against vein
Tom Eagan, MD Kathy Sentell, PAC, RPhS 5295 Preserve Pkwy., Ste. 270 Hoover, AL 35244 205-949-9289 Scan the QR code or visit BBHCareNetwork.com to learn more. Are you actually reaching new patients? Be the voice of your industry in the Medical Guide. Email dan@starnesmedia.com for your Medical Guide Strategy Session

Articles from Hoover Sun February 2023