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The Homewood Star

Volume 7 | Issue 1 | April 2017

neighborly news & entertainment for Homewood


Organizers push to engage community as neighborhood prods officials to ensure its part in citywide progress By SYDNEY CROMWELL


eorge Terry describes Rosedale as a “hidden gem.” It’s why he’s lived there for 34 years and ran for a City Council seat in 2016. But he also feels his neighborhood doesn’t get the attention it deserves. “Rosedale is a hidden gem, so I feel like, yes, they have been neglected and overlooked by the council. But it doesn’t mean that it cannot be overturned and something can be done about it now,” Terry said. Terry is one of two Rosedale residents who have recently stepped up to give their neighborhood’s concerns a voice. The second is Jeremy Love, an eight-year resident and organizer of the Rosedale Community Association. While there have been other

See ROSEDALE | page A16 Jeremy Love and George Terry are two Rosedale residents leading the effort for more improvement projects in their neighborhood. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

Granting local innovation

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

Fran Woodruff and Alison Hill react as Tom Jeffries presents a grant from the Homewood City Schools Foundation that will provide an ActivPanel for the library and school counselor’s classroom at Edgewood Elementary. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

Foundation awards enable educators to teach in new ways By SYDNEY CROMWELL With her Teacher Impact grant, Laura Mitchell put iPads in the hands of her Edgewood second-graders. Carnetta Kennedy created a new library for her Shades Cahaba third-grade classroom. Hall-Kent librarian Emily Strickland bought a sound system so every student could clearly hear her lessons. After being honored by the Homewood City Schools Foundation with the Teacher Impact


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

Spring Home Guide

Chamber............... A9 Business ..............A10

Events .................. A12 Sports .....................C1

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

See page B1

Awards, these educators and other recipients got right back to work, using their grants to provide new ways to educate Homewood kids. It’s that type of spirit the Foundation honors each spring with its Homewood Grown dinner. On April 20, the HCSF will host its fourth annual Homewood Grown event to honor a new group of Teacher Impact Award winners and

School House ...... C8 Opinion ................ C12

See FOUNDATION | page A18 Real Estate.......... C13 Calendar .............. C14

Family Tradition Coaches and brothers Doug Gann and Lee Gann use lessons passed down by their father, Gerald Gann.

See page C1

A2 • April 2017

The Homewood Star

April 2017 • A3

A4 • April 2017

The Homewood Star

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

It’s time to stop analyzing every decision to death and start putting a little more faith in gut decisions. I have to stop assuming every fork in the road will lead to the worst imaginable result, because none of the paths I’ve taken thus far have even come close to that outcome.

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


Team CBRE celebrates after winning the People’s Choice award March 4 during the Homewood Exceptional Foundation’s 13th annual Chili Cook-Off at Brookwood Village. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

The Homewood Star

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

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

Community Editor: Erica Techo Community Reporters: Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Lexi Coon Staff Writers: Emily Featherston Sam Chandler Copy Editor: Louisa Jeffries Contributing Writers: Lauren Denton Marienne Thomas Ogle Advertising Manager: Matthew Allen

Sales and Distribution: Warren Caldwell Don Harris Michelle Salem Haynes Rhonda Smith

James Plunkett Gail King Eric Clements

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

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

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

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April 2017 • A5


The Homewood Star

A6 • April 2017

City Members of the Homewood City Council hear from Greg Cobb of the Building, Engineering and Zoning Department during its Feb. 27 meeting. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

Council OKs citywide study to reroute traffic By SYDNEY CROMWELL The city has funded a comprehensive study of Homewood’s roadways to begin finding solutions to reroute traffic onto main thoroughfares instead of neighborhood streets. At its Feb. 27 meeting, the City Council funded $20,000, to be met with an $80,000 match by the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, for this study. It had previously considered using an APPLE (Advanced Planning, Programming and Logical Engineering) grant to study a more narrow area or set of roads, but felt this wouldn’t be the right approach to solve their areas of concern. “We continue to piecemeal everything together,” Ward 3 Rep. Walter Jones said in a Planning and Development Committee meeting before the main council met.

Mike Kaczorowski of the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham said the comprehensive traffic study should look at current patterns and creative solutions to make it inconvenient for cut-through traffic to use neighborhood roads instead of main roadways. Ward 1 Rep. Britt Thames said the comprehensive study will be used to identify problem areas, whereas an APPLE study could dig deeper and produce specific solutions. The project will take between six months and a year to get the necessary approvals before a contracted firm can begin work. Thames said he expects the study itself to take six to nine months. The council also: ► Approved additional lighting on the roundabout near All Saints Episcopal Church. ► Accepted an ALDOT project for planning, resurfacing, widening, loop detectors,

guardrail anchors and striping on Lakeshore Drive between U.S. 280 and Columbiana Road. ► Approved crosswalks at Malaga Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. ► Partially approved a sign variance request for Floor & Decor, which is moving into the former Kmart at 230 Green Springs Highway. Floor & Decor requested additional signs on the front, side and rear of the building, but the council did not approve the rear sign due to plans to construct a 38-foot parapet to make the sign more visible. The front and side signs were approved and the owners can return with a new request for rear signage. ► Approved a sign variance request for Big Bad Breakfast to hang a blade sign at its new restaurant, 1920 29th Ave. S. ► Approved a fence ordinance variance for Shay Vail, at 123 Edgewood Boulevard.

► Approved Buck Malone to work in city right of way at 100 Green Springs Highway. ► Declared a 1999 Chevy Tahoe, a 2008 Ford F-250 and a 2000 Ford F-150 to be surplus property. ► Approved up to $35,000 for landscaping at the Servis1st property on 20th Street South. ► Approved a contract with Volatile Analysis for an odor mitigation study for West Homewood. It comes with the stipulation that Volatile Analysis will provide the city with industry standards to use in city ordinances. ► Approved a three-year audit contract with RiverTree Systems. ► Carried over discussion of authorizing a contract with Strada Professional Services to evaluate wetlands behind the Mason Corporation property on West Oxmoor Road, which the city acquired last year.

April 2017 • A7

Homewood council committees work March 6. Photo by Lexi Coon.

Committees hear updates on noise, odor issues, BarTaco

By LEXI COON After working with Buffalo Rock for nearly a year and a half to resolve the issues with noise and odor that West Homewood residents have been facing, the Special Issues Committee again met with Katherine Bazemore of Volatile Analysis to discuss what progress has been made. Bazemore said Buffalo Rock has changed the carbon bed in their facilities, which addresses the continual odor problem, but added that if the system is not under negative pressure when something is changed, there can be times when the compounds that cause the odor can be released. There have recently been complaints of odor in the community, although it is not constant. Bazemore said they are looking for a definitive schedule of maintenance to determine if there are times that aren’t listed where residents are still aware of the odor. She also said that Buffalo Rock recently started additional testing and sampling protocol training, and was recently told they have completed their negative pressure system. “I have seen a true effort by Buffalo Rock to be working on what they understand they’re supposed to do,” Bazemore said. Currently, they’re working to “tie down time tables,” she continued, which would help write an ordinance to hold Buffalo Rock accountable to future odors. Committee members were also concerned with the noise coming from the facilities, which Ward 2 Rep. Andrew Wolverton described as a “constant vibration and sound.” “That one is constant, and I don’t feel like

we’ve made any progress on that end,” he said. Ward 5 Rep. Peter Wright agreed, suggesting the use of a decibel gun, and members said that something needed to be done to monitor the noise levels. The Special Issues Committee also spoke with Daniel Main with Bacon Construction, one of the companies working on the future BarTaco restaurant space at Edgewood Station. To build the outdoor seating area for the restaurant BarTaco, Bacon Construction requested designating 12 parking spaces as a construction zone for about three months. After meeting with committee members two weeks prior, Main spoke with business owners adjacent to the property and Dawson Church regarding possible Edgewood parking accommodations. Dawson said shoppers could use church parking all days except Saturdays, Sundays and after 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, which local tenants and committee members said coincide with busy days for stores and restaurants. The distance from the shops was also a concern. “They [the customers] want to be able to come park closer to the building,” said Anastasia Nealy with Saw’s BBQ. “We want y’all to do what y’all gotta do, but if it’s coming to us losing our business, too, that’s not fair to us either.” Ward 3 Rep. Patrick McClusky suggested finishing the service station parking lot prior to beginning construction and temporarily trading 12 of those spaces to accommodate for the loss of the 12 spots during construction. Murray said he can’t guarantee that he can do that, but he is willing to speak with the involved parties.

Council approves Rosedale crosswalks, opposes state bill on pharmacy taxation By SYDNEY CROMWELL Two new crosswalks and a controversial state bill were the primary topics of the March 13 City Council meeting, along with a sign variance request for the Floor & Decor store under construction at 230 Green Springs Highway. The seven members present on March 13 approved crosswalks on 18th Street South at the intersections of 26th Avenue South and 27th Avenue South in Rosedale. Ward 1 Representative Andy Gwaltney said the locations for the crosswalks were chosen to connect existing sidewalks. He said he and fellow Ward 1 Representative Britt Thames have some other crosswalk locations under discussion and he welcomes requests from Rosedale residents for more. Discussion of streetlights in Rosedale was carried over to the council’s first May meeting. Gwaltney said he and Thames have been driving through the Rosedale area making notes of potential locations for new lights. The council also approved an amended version of Floor & Decor’s sign variance request. Floor & Decor had previously received approval for larger front and side signs, but was denied a rear sign on a 38-foot parapet. Though store representatives returned with a new design that decreased the parapet height and the actual sign square footage, some council members were still unconvinced that visibility from I-65, which the rear store sign was intended to address, constituted a hardship. The council ultimately decided to approve installation of the sign on the building’s rear side, but

without any parapet. Ward 2 Representative Mike Higginbotham introduced a motion opposing Senate Bill 31 (also called House Bill 58). The bill exempts pharmacies from including prescription medication sales in their gross sales receipts, reducing the amount they would pay in business licensing taxes. Pharmacies would still include over-the-counter medications and non-medical sales in their gross receipts. Proponents of the bill, which has been approved in the state Senate and moves on to the House, say it will help small pharmacies succeed in the face of rising costs of medications. Higginbotham said the bill would create a loss of $30,000 in annual revenue to the city, and he was concerned it could introduce the possibility of other industries seeking exemptions of their own. The council also: ► Approved Sain Associates to work on an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan for the city’s infrastructure. ► Approved streetlights at 924 South Forest Drive and Frisco Street. ► Approved sign variance requests for the Valora apartment complex at 915 Valley Ridge Drive and Caliber at 2822 Central Avenue. ► Approved the mayor to sign a contract with Strada Professional Services to evaluate wetland areas behind the Mason Corporation property adjacent to West Homewood Park. ► Set April 10 public hearings to consider a fence ordinance variance at 1715 Mayfair Drive and a driveway ordinance variance at 602 Windsor Drive.

The Homewood Star

A8 • April 2017

Work session set to discuss project manager recommendation By SYDNEY CROMWELL The City Council voted during its March 20 meeting to delay its decision on hiring a project manager for the schools, parks and public safety projects funded by the proceeds of a $110 million bond. B.L. Harbert International was recommended by the task force that interviewed potential management firms. Council members who were not part of the task force have been given copies of the proposals to review. They will bring their own questions and comments to a committee of the whole work session devoted to the topic, set for April 3 at 5 p.m. According to the fee worksheets in Harbert’s proposal provided to council members, the management costs for these projects — including personnel, construction fees, office work, travel and living expenses and other fees — would total around $4,340,000. Most of the expenses would come from personnel, as the various safety and program managers work at rates from $60 to $125 per hour. Across all the projects’ pre-construction and construction phases, the project management teams would spend more than 30,000 cumulative hours managing the projects. The proposal also includes construction management fees totaling more than $1.3 million. A more detailed breakdown of the numbers in Harbert’s proposal is available at These projects would be worked on concurrently in order to get everything complete within the three-year time frame established

The Homewood City Council meets March 20. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

when the $110 million bond was taken out by the city. In addition to the city’s familiarity with Harbert based on its previous work on the community center and the study of the schools and parks that led to this series of projects, task force members also said compatibility between Harbert employees and city officials and a shared savings agreement led them to recommend Harbert over the other firms. The shared savings agreement would allow the city and Harbert to divide any savings from coming in under budget. While they spend extra time reviewing the project management proposal, council members voted to allow the parks and recreation department to move forward in negotiating with architecture firms for designs. With design, public meetings to review options and about 10 months of construction, Parks and Recreation

Superintendent Berkley Squires said any delay would jeopardize the Patriot Park pool’s completion in time for summer 2018, as well as the cycle of updating West Homewood Park ballfields when not in use by youth leagues. The council also: ► Approved new paint and yield signs at the traffic circle at Linwood Drive to attempt to prevent driver confusion when navigating the circle. ► Approved the renewal of the city’s insurance consulting services. Jones said the service had saved the city $860,000 in premiums and fees while reducing the number of claims paid out. Two major claims have been paid out this year: a $2 million settlement for the 2006 case of a woman who was struck by a Homewood police officer during the Special Olympics Torch Run, and a $1.5 million settlement for the

2015 suicide of an 18-year-old woman while in police custody. ► Set an April 3 meeting with Katherine Bazemore of Volatile Analysis for an update on West Homewood noise and odor issues. Volatile Analysis scientists have been on site in the past week, as well as a police officer with a decibel reader. ► Set April 10 public hearings for a fence ordinance variance request at 1715 Mayfair Drive and a driveway ordinance variance request at 602 Windsor Drive. ► Set an April 10 public hearing to consider two properties being declared public nuisances: 2827 16th Place S. and 2831 16th Place S. Both are being considered due to excessive growth, litter and “open storage of certain items” that do not meet city health ordinances, according to the agenda.

April 2017 • A9

Chamber Bell: Uncertainty, confidence trending higher

Preview of



By LEXI COON With a change in the presidency comes changes across the nation on all fronts, including the economy. During the chamber’s monthly luncheon March 21, Tracy Bell, with Iberia Bank, updated the local community on current standings and what the future may hold. “I normally speak on ... where we’ve been, where we are and where we may be,” she said, adding that no one is really sure what may happen in the future. At the end of last year, Bell said economic data “turned to the upside” in October 2016, but spending is not any higher, and consumers are remaining financially conservative. According to her graphs, since the start of the new year, personal consumption has dropped about 0.3 percent. Real income and spending are also down, but consumer savings have remained the same. “This is something that we’ve seen happen since the Great Depression and 2008 as well, the Great Recession of 2008-09,” she said. “People really aren’t spending more than they’re making.” Bell added that although uncertainty for small businesses is high, so is confidence, and conditions for larger businesses are strong, too. “[This upward trend] suggests that the upward momentum that we see right now, the stability and growth that we see right now, is probably sustainable for the next couple of months,” she said. Now, markets, businesses and consumers can expect tax reform, deregulation and infrastructure while the job market remains tight and inflation is firming, Bell said. Bell said inflation is “trending higher,”

The Homewood Chamber of Commerce will host its next monthly luncheon April 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Club. During the luncheon, which is sponsored by Sam’s Club Homewood, the chamber will be giving their Excellence in Education awards. To register, go to

Keynote speaker Tracy Bell presents a economic update during the monthly Homewood Chamber of Commerce luncheon March 21 at The Club. Photo by Lexi Coon.

caused mainly by higher oil prices, and the Federal Reserve’s target is 2 percent inflation. “We can run hot on inflation; we know how to fix that,” she said. “It’s much more difficult to fix deflation.” With full employment, a target inflation and stable growth, Bell said the Federal Reserve will “probably stay pretty happy.” But, within the next 10 years, Bell said deficits as a part of the GDP are expected to exceed their 50-year average due in part to

spending for Social Security and Medicare. “A lot of this is from Social Security,” she said. When the program was founded, Bell said, there were 40 to 50 workers per retiree. Now, there is an average of four to five workers per retiree. Enrollment in the program is also rising and citizens are living longer. Of the $2.6 trillion budget increase projected for the next 10 years, Bell said 51

percent of it is from Social Security and Medicare, and while budget is a large discussion currently in Washington, D.C., she said she believes the discussion is “far from over.” Due to procedural reasons, adjustments or repeals to the Affordable Care Act must be completed first before Congress can discuss tax plans and infrastructure. “The ACA is a big deal,” Bell said. “If you make that worse, that’s a big chunk of the population you’re affecting.” Bell also predicted a range of change in stocks from minus-17.4 percent to 10.1 percent and a suggested 1 percent fall in price of bonds for the rest of the year. She said the economy may be pressured later this year by many factors, including higher oil and gasoline prices, higher long-term interest and mortgage rates and a stronger U.S. dollar. “The bottom line, for us, is economic growth is pretty good coming in to 2017. It turned last year, and it’s held up remarkably well,” Bell said. “Looking out a little bit longer ... we’ve got some headwinds.”

The Homewood Star

A10 • April 2017

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April 2017 • A11

Now Open

station. A reopening celebration was March 17. 870-3928

SoHo Social is now open at 1830 29th Ave. S., Suite 160. The restaurant is open Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 423-8080,

Hirings and Promotions


Coke Williams has been promoted to shareholder and president of residential sales for LAH Real Estate, 1760 Oxmoor Road. He has been with the company since 1997 and most recently served as qualifying broker of the Homewood office. 879-8580,


Encore Rehabilitation has opened a new clinic at 120-B Oxmoor Court. Encore Rehabilitation is Alabama's largest privately owned rehabilitation company. In addition to physical therapy, they offer sports medicine and workers’ comp services, and they are certified in dry needling. 354-2442,


Paul Gaston Petznick, DMD, has opened a new dental practice at 2045 Brookwood Medical Center Drive, Suite 6. He is now accepting new patients. 326-7444,

Littlehouse Galleries, 2915 Linden Ave., has announced it will close at the end of April. The business was open for 57 years. 879-7022,


Rosenberger’s Birmingham Trunk, 2712 19th St. S., has closed its doors after 120 years in business, following the owner’s retirement.




The Jack Rabbit gas station at 2614 18th Place S. has rebranded as a BP gas



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

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The Homewood Star

A12 • April 2017

Events Suds and Soccer returns to support community’s young athletes By SYDNEY CROMWELL Homewood Soccer Club is hosting its annual fundraiser this month to support financial aid for athletes in need. Suds and Soccer at Good People Brewing supports players who couldn’t afford to be on an HSC team without financial assistance. Assistant Soccer Director Lee Lavette said last year’s $10,000 raised from the event, along with sponsorships that were matched by the club, helped about 170 children participate in the club. “We always match our sponsors’ donations to continue to grow this part of our program. We have always worked with the community to make sure our club is affordable for all players, and we pride ourselves in the fact that we have

never turned a child away who cannot afford to pay,” Lavette said. Suds and Soccer is April 6 beginning at 6 p.m., and the $20 ticket includes beer and finger foods. Food trucks also will be on site. Lavette said the event is not only a fundraiser but a chance for HSC families and supporters to enjoy time together. “We continue to believe that playing soccer is a wonderful, healthy outlet that molds many children’s lives in a very positive way. The team aspect, the work ethic, the fun and the push of our coaches for all of our kids to be good citizens have an amazing and positive impact on the lives of all participating,” Lavette said. Tickets are available at homewoodsoccer. com.

Suds and Soccer will be April 6 at 6 p.m. Photo courtesy of Homewood Soccer Club.

Jazz in the Park back for 2nd year at Central Park By MARIENNE THOMAS OGLE For the second year, the Homewood Arts Council and Magic City Smooth Jazz will join together to present Jazz in the Park at Homewood’s Central Park, 1604 Oxmoor Road. The free event is April 9 at 3 p.m. This year’s featured artist, Kim Scott, is a classical and jazz flutist who hails from Birmingham and is known for her high-energy performances. In high demand, Scott also has play dates scheduled this year at the Preserve Jazz Festival, Atlanta Smooth Music Festival and the Catalina Island JazzTraxx Festivals. She serves as chair of the Alabama School

of Fine Arts music department, host of the Block Party radio show, is a member of the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, and gives solo performances across the country and abroad. According to Diane Litsey, Homewood Arts Alliance chair, about 500 people were in attendance at the 2016 program with more expected this year. “April is Jazz History Month and a perfect time to present jazz and introduce it to new audiences,” Litsey said. “Live performance is like nothing else, and it’s right here in Central Alabama with all ages welcome to be with us, picnic and enjoy the music.” Attendees are also encouraged to bring

chairs and blankets, and food trucks have been invited, she said. Jazz in the Park is a creation of Magic City Smooth Jazz, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing cultural activities through various styles of jazz in the state. Since 2008, Magic City Smooth Jazz has hosted more than 90 free public concerts. In its eighth season, Jazz in the Park series concerts will be held April 9 through Oct. 1 and are designed to encourage cultural arts activities in underserved communities while exposing new audiences to the arts. For more information, visit the Homewood Arts Council’s Facebook page, or contact Litsey at 213-7866 or diane@

Ignite Awards to honor volunteers Hands On Birmingham, a United Way Agency, introduces Ignite: An Innovative Awards Ceremony on April 25 at 10:30 a.m. at The Club in Birmingham. The one-day community celebration is designed to publicly recognize the many unsung and dedicated citizens who are outstanding volunteers and service-oriented leaders in Birmingham and surrounding communities. Birmingham is filled with countless citizens who ignite action and accelerate change through their service to others. The Ignite Awards ceremony will present awards to deserving volunteers in seven categories, including HOB Volunteer of the Year, Corporate/Company Volunteer of the Year, Government Volunteer of the Year, Nonprofit Volunteer of the Year, Student Volunteer of the Year, Small Business Volunteer of the Year and Faith-Based Volunteer of the Year. For details and more information, visit – Submitted by Hands On Birmingham.

April 2017 • A13

Give a new lease on life at the Restoration Run By SYDNEY CROMWELL As runners hit the trails at Red Mountain Park, they’ll also be helping Birmingham residents in the greatest fight of their lives ― the struggle against addiction. The Restoration Run, now in its third year, benefits the Will Bright Foundation, which supports people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction as they take steps toward a normal life. Lisa Bright, one of the event organizers, said the foundation is looking for property to build a house for a residential recovery program, which will include job training and other fundamentals for a healthy life. The Restoration Run has multiple distances, including a 5K, 15K and 1-mile fun run. Bright said one of the most popular options is not a race at all — the “sleep in” option lets people donate to the foundation and receive a T-shirt without

having to get up and participate in the run. Last year’s Restoration Run raised about $20,000 for the Will Bright Foundation. The race trails wind through Red Mountain Park, including views of the city and historic mining areas. Bright said the location is a major incentive. “The run itself is beautiful,” she said. Chipped timing has been added for the first time this year. At the end of the race, runners can enjoy Chick-fil-A and Starbucks along with more traditional running fuel like fruit and energy bars. The Restoration Run will be April 29, with the 15K at 8 a.m., the 5K at 8:15 a.m. and the fun run at 9 a.m. Entry in the 15K is $40, while the 5K and “sleep in” fee is $30. The fun run is free to enter, but runners can pay $15 for a youth shirt, $20 for an adult short-sleeve shirt or $25 for an adult long-sleeve shirt. Register at

Homewood Central Park will once again be filled with American Cancer Society supporters and cancer survivors for this year’s Relay for Life event. Staff photo.

Relay for Life celebrating hope, fight with April 21 walk at Central Park By EMILY FEATHERSTON Share, celebrate, remember and fight back: those are the ideas organizers of Homewood’s Relay for Life event hope participants will walk away with after this year’s event. On April 21, Homewood Central Park will be filled with colorful community members in their best costumes and purple T-shirts for the 2017 Relay for Life event. From Samford University Greek life to Homewood Middle School and beyond, American Cancer Society (ACS) representative Christina Zabala said Homewood’s Relay for Life event is an entire-community affair. “It’s for anyone and everyone,” Zabala said. Last year’s event raised almost $64,000 for the American Cancer Society, and Zabala said she and other organizers and volunteers are hopeful the 2017 event will bring in $75,000 or more. The event will begin at 4 p.m., when teams and groups from around the city will set up booths with activities, food and games for small

fundraisers as part of the bigger event, and will continue through the evening, with the traditional luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m. The opening ceremony will feature recognition of the cancer survivors in attendance who will make a ceremonial lap around the track before being treated to dinner. “Anybody who has heard the words ‘You have cancer,’ we just want to celebrate you,” Zabala said. Committee member and former Chairwoman Mary Browning said celebrating the survivors is always one of her favorite moments. “It’s very warm and fuzzy,” she said. Browning has been helping with Relay for Life since 2006, and said she has been so glad to see the event grow from 100 people to nearly 700. “Unfortunately, cancer touches all of our lives,” Browning said, and invited anyone and everyone in the community who wants to participate to come to the event. For more information, go to HomewoodAL or contact Zabala at christina.

Assistance League to host party with a purpose One Starry Night, this year’s Assistance League fundraising event, provides an opportunity to give back to those in need in the Birmingham community. The Assistance League of Birmingham is hosting a party at The Club featuring a silent and live auction, dinner and music from the band Total A$$et$ on April 27. The honoree for the evening is Darwin Metcalf, president and COO of Western Markets. The event will help raise money for three philanthropic programs: providing new clothes and books to close to 2,000 area schoolchildren through Operation School Bell and Operation Literacy, and providing financial opportunities to seniors through PrimeTime Treasures. Karen Baker, chairman of Operation School Bell, said: “I’m looking forward to the upcoming event that will help raise money to purchase new clothes for 1,600 elementary school

children from 41 schools throughout the greater Birmingham area. Meeting ever-growing needs is the goal of our fundraising.” Operation School Bell is the national philanthropic program of all 120 chapters nationwide. Honoree Darwin Metcalf is a longtime Birmingham civic leader who has supported many of Birmingham’s philanthropic causes and has a heart for the needs of Birmingham. With the spirit of giving back, Metcalf has served on the Assistance League of Birmingham Advisory Board for many years and supported the fundraising activities of the organization. To purchase tickets, visit Shops of Assistance League at 1755 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, or purchase/donate directly at – Submitted by Cindy Wade, Assistance League of Birmingham.

The Homewood Star

A14 • April 2017

2017 Kidney Walk set for April 29 By MARIENNE THOMAS OGLE You can form a team or come alone and join the more than 800 folks expected to take part in the 2017 Kidney Walk on April 29 at the Samford University Track and Soccer Stadium. Presented by the Alabama Kidney Foundation, registration for the event is at 8:30 a.m. with the walk beginning at 9:30 a.m. Rather than an entry fee, there is a suggested donation of $30, which includes a Kidney Walk T-shirt. This year’s goal is $203,000, with the money going toward the Alabama Kidney Foundation’s financial assistance program, said Rebecca Smith, foundation director of development and communications. “This program assists kidney patients in need with things such as utility bills, prescription medications, handicap equipment and transportation to and from dialysis

treatments,” she said. The Alabama Kidney Foundation (AKF) has served Alabama’s kidney patients for more than 38 years and is the only state-based organization dedicated to assisting kidney patients, each year touching the lives of thousands of Alabamians. “The two leading causes of kidney disease are hypertension and diabetes — both of which are prevalent in the state of Alabama, and we’ve seen firsthand the continuous rise in kidney disease in the state,” she said. “The annual kidney walks not only raise funds for the AKF, but also help the organization increase kidney disease awareness and promote organ donation.” Walk registration is also available online at For more information, call Lacey Updegraff at 382-6080 or

More than 100,000 plants will be on display Friday, April 7, through Sunday, April 9, at the annual spring plant sale benefiting the Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ educational mission. Photo courtesy of Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Steeple to Steeple adds 10K, sleep-in options Plant sale supports Botanical Gardens By EMILY FEATHERSTON For its third installment, organizers of the Steeple to Steeple Run are hoping to bring in a larger number and variety of participants by adding new events. April 22’s Steeple to Steeple supports the United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH), a nonprofit that provides homes, healing and hope to Alabama’s neglected and abused youth. This year, in addition to the 5K from Trinity United Methodist Church to Canterbury United Methodist Church that gave the first installments of the event its name, this year’s run will also feature a 10K race from Trinity West Methodist Church to Canterbury. The run also will have a virtual option, so those out of town wishing to be involved can run in another location, as well as a “sleep-in” option that allows participants to simply donate without actually running.

“We really do think that having these different options this year we’re going to have more participants,” said Rebecca Morris, vice president for external affairs at UMCH. For those who do run, Morris said there likely will be some surprises along the route. Morris said proceeds from the event support more than 1,000 children who don’t live with their biological families and are at risk, but that informing people about the children in need in their own state is equally as important. “The biggest thing for us is to raise awareness,” she said. The Friday prior to the event, participants can pick up their race packets in the parking lot adjacent to Little Donkey and Steel City Pops. Morris said everyone is invited to meet other participants and encouraged to visit the restaurants nearby. For more information or to register, go to

By MARIENNE THOMAS OGLE Green thumb or not, you’re bound to find something to your liking at the upcoming Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ spring plant sale, April 7-9. More than 100,000 plants will be available throughout the weekend in Macy’s parking lot at Brookwood Village, said Blake Ells, Botanical Gardens public relations coordinator. “There’s not a larger sale of its kind in Birmingham and no better selection anywhere,” Els said. “And our expert volunteers will be on hand to help you with your planting questions and needs. These are the same people that raise many of these plants throughout the year in our greenhouses.” Plant selection will include trees and shrubs, natives, roses, perennials, annuals, biennials, climbers, herbs, daylilies, orchids, vegetables

and more, he said. There is no charge to the public sale, which runs Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A preview party with refreshments will be April 6, 5-6:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 for the public and entry is free for Gardens members. A members-only sale will follow from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The spring plant sale benefits the Botanical Gardens’ educational mission including programming like its flagship program, Discovery Field Trips, Els said. “Each year, more than 10,000 Birmingham students receive a free, curriculum-based science education through Discovery Field Trips,” he said. “The spring Plant Sale is the largest plant sale of the year, and it is one of the two largest annual fundraisers that help make those programs possible.” Entry is free for the event. For more information, visit

April 2017 • A15

In addition to plastic eggs filled with candy, there also will be prize eggs scattered throughout West Homewood Park during the April 8 Easter egg hunt. Photo courtesy of Homewood Parks and Recreation.

City adds night hunt to Easter egg event By SYDNEY CROMWELL Be sure to bring a flashlight to this year’s Homewood Parks and Recreation Easter egg hunt. The city has added a nighttime hunt for older children in search of eggs and the candy within them. David Primus of the Homewood Parks and Recreation Department said this year’s egg hunt is April 8 at West Homewood Park, and the hunts are divided by age group up to 11 years old. Children ages 1 to 4 will search for eggs in the park at 6:30 p.m., while 5- to 6-year-olds

will have a sunset hunt at 7 p.m. The new night hunt is at 7:20 p.m. for children ages 7 to 11. All kids must hunt within their own age group, Primus said. In addition to plastic eggs filled with candy, there also will be prize eggs scattered throughout the park. These will be a different shape or color, and the kids who find them can redeem the eggs for special prizes at the end of the egg hunt. There also will be games and bounce houses, and the Easter Bunny will be present for pictures. For more information, go to

Concert to provide scholarships for Samford students By SYDNEY CROMWELL The annual Samford Scholarship Gala, hosted by the Legacy League, returns this month with a concert to raise money for needbased financial aid. This year’s performers will be the Annie Moses Band, a group of Juilliard-trained siblings who mix jazz, classical and folk styles in their music. The band has played at Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry and several times on PBS. The gala is part of the annual Scholarship Celebration, which provides scholarships to Samford students with significant financial need or difficult circumstances. Legacy League Director of Development Sharon Smith said the gala is April 27 at Mountain Brook Community Church, with the reception at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m., followed by the concert. Standard reservations

The Annie Moses Band. Photo courtesy of Samford Legacy League.

provide patrons with a seated dinner and the 90-minute concert. Deluxe reservations include a reception with the members of the Annie Moses Band, preferred concert seating and an event photo. Standard reservations are $100 per person ($50 of which is tax-deductible), and deluxe reservations are $135 per person ($70 of which is tax-deductible). There are also eight- and 10-person table options that can be reserved. Reservations must be made by April 21. For more information and online reservations, go to For questions, call 726-2807.

Way of the Cross brings churches together By SYDNEY CROMWELL On Good Friday, several Homewood churches will come together for their Easter tradition: the Way of the Cross. The Way of the Cross is in its 23rd year, Edgewood Presbyterian Rev. Joe Genau said. Members from the participating churches meet at Central Park and walk down Oxmoor Road, led by an 8-foot wooden cross. There are eight stations along the way where the crowd stops for scripture readings and prayers, before a new person picks up the cross to carry it to the next station. The Way of the Cross ends at Edgewood Presbyterian, where the crowd sings the hymn “Were You There?” to close the hour-long procession. Genau said each church chooses a member each year to carry the cross through one leg of the journey. It’s a heavy burden to carry, as the cross is made out of landscaping timber, and it carries a lot of spiritual significance. “They’ve all found it to be deeply meaningful and spiritually powerful for them,” Genau said of the members chosen to carry

the cross in the past. This year’s procession will be especially somber. The original creator of the cross, Edgewood Presbyterian member Ken Smith, died in September 2016 at age 64. In addition to building the cross, he had carried it several years. “Thinking of him this year will be an added layer of emotion,” Genau said. The participating churches include All Saints Episcopal, Bethel AME, Dawson Family of Faith, Edgewood Presbyterian, Friendship Baptist, Homewood Cumberland Presbyterian, Raleigh Avenue Baptist, Second Presbyterian, Shades Valley Lutheran, Trinity United Methodist and Union Missionary Baptist. “I think there’s something special about this group of churches coming together and doing the same liturgy every year. We don’t often get to worship together like this,” Genau said. The Way of the Cross begins at Central Park at 2 p.m. on April 14, and the processional lasts about an hour. Edgewood Presbyterian will open its sanctuary at 2 p.m. for those who want to be part of the closing service but do not want to participate in the walk.

The Homewood Star

A16 • April 2017

Rosedale residents, Mayor Scott McBrayer, standing top left, and Homewood City Council members meet to discuss neighborhood issues Feb. 21. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

RECENT ROSEDALE PROJECTS ► $1 million Community Development Block Grant acquired in 2014 for Rosedale sidewalks ► 18th Street South repaved from Rosedale Drive to Valley Avenue ► Griffin C eek retaining wall rebuilt after collapse in 2016 ► $73,200 on Lee Center kitchen upgrades, basketball court resurfacing, flooring, aint, new doors and lighting ► New play equipment and shade canopy installed at Spring Park ► $20,000 budgeted per year for Griffin C eek maintenance, increased to $20,200 in FY 2016-17

UPCOMING PROJECTS ► Repaving of B.M. Montgomery Street, paid for by Alagasco ► Sidewalk projects on Rosedale Drive, 17th Place South and B.M. Montgomery Street in design or review process ► At least 13 homes listed as potential candidates for abatement due to overgrowth, neglect, collapsed roofs and other safety concerns ► 18th Street Beautifi ation Project: sidewalks, landscaping, signs and potentially new parking ► Sidewalks on 28th Avenue South, Central Avenue, 17th Place Street, 27th Avenue South on priority list for future budget years ► $175,000-200,000 to be spent on new playgrounds and structures in Spring Park in FY 2017-18 ► Citywide master plan to be completed in 2018 SOURCE: CITY OF HOMEWOOD BUDGETS


CONTINUED from page A1 Rosedale improvements in the past, Love said he brings a fresh energy and approach as part of the millennial generation. “Rosedale needed a little more activity, engagement, effort from its residents,” Love said. “I felt the need, not to criticize, but to construct my own organization to galvanize people and gain efforts to help improve Rosedale in a new way.” In addition to the community organization, Love said he also has applied for vacant Ward 1 seats on the city’s zoning board, environmental commission and municipal housing code abatement board. Rosedale has a high population of senior citizens compared to the city overall, which has a median age of about 30. Terry said that while these residents may not be as active in community change, they’re willing to back his and Love’s efforts as long as they represent the area’s desires. Along with Terry, Love said he feels Rosedale’s needs and requests have been a lower priority for the City Council in the past compared to other neighborhoods. However, he prefers to focus on concrete action for the future than any ill will toward the past. “It’s very sad, but that’s the past, and this is the present, and we’re looking forward to the future,” Love said. “We don’t want broken promises; we don’t want unofficial approvals. We want something on paper that says, ‘Yes, we as a City Council are approving this plan for improvements in Rosedale.’”


Love has been a fixture at recent City Council meetings and public sessions over the use of the $110 million bond the city took out in fall 2016. He and Terry both agree on a number of changes they believe could change the face and future of Rosedale. Among those changes is an increase in affordable and senior-friendly housing, as well as abatement of overgrown properties and neglected structures. They also want to see more infrastructure improvements such as lighting, paving, sidewalks, crosswalks and upgrades at the Lee Community Center and Spring Park. Love added he would like to see more preservation of the area’s history as one of Homewood’s earliest neighborhoods and recognition with signs or a small museum. Love’s list of proposals also includes a

Neglected properties, damaged roads and a lack of sidewalks are among the problems Rosedale residents Jeremy Love and George Terry want the Homewood City Council to help fix. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

master plan for Rosedale’s direction and future development and the creation of a Rosedale Shopping District. He envisions an area set aside for businesses owned and staffed by Rosedale residents, with shoppers from the neighborhood as well. He said improvements to housing in the area must go hand-in-hand with economic development, so residents can continue to live there if home values increase. “If we do not do that, we’re ultimately allowing ourselves to be displaced,” Love said.

The bond issue has been a major topic for Love and some other Rosedale residents, as the $110 million is intended for expansion of city schools and a potential new high school, a new public safety building, improvements in West Homewood and Patriot parks and potentially sidewalk projects if there are leftover funds. Except for the school expansions benefiting all Homewood children, none of the other projects in the bond affects Rosedale residents or public amenities directly. Love said he wants the council to commit

April 2017 • A17 Homewood City Council member Andy Gwaltney talks with Rosedale residents after a Feb. 21 community meeting. “I think the council will follow our lead since we’re the representatives of Ward 1 … We heard it loud and clear [while] campaigning,” Gwaltney said. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

Since their 2016 election, council representatives Britt Thames and Andy Gwaltney rode through Rosedale to make a list of properties that could be candidates for nuisance abatement. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.

a portion of the bond money toward some of the projects on his list. Even after the bond’s funds are allocated, Love said he plans to continue being a familiar face at council meetings to advocate for community projects. “We need to step up to the plate as residents to work with the council,” Terry said. Rosedale’s council representatives are second-term member Britt Thames and newcomer Andy Gwaltney. Terry said he’s optimistic about what he’s heard so far from them. “I’ve really got positive feedback, and I

hope they can help us out,” Terry said. Thames and Gwaltney said they received a lot of feedback from Rosedale residents while campaigning for the 2016-20 term, including many of the concerns Love has presented to the council. Since their election, the two representatives rode through Rosedale to make a list of properties that could be candidates for nuisance abatement, and they hosted a Feb. 21 meeting at the Lee Community Center to make sure neighborhood residents are aware of and on board with these and other changes. “I think the council will follow our lead

since we’re the representatives of Ward 1 … We heard it loud and clear [while] campaigning,” Gwaltney said. As far as Rosedale’s past interactions with the council, Thames said he felt the city has had several recent Rosedale projects but perhaps has not done enough to share that information with residents. These include a 2014 Community Development Block Grant for sidewalks, funding for Rosedale Drive sidewalks in 2017, rebuilt Spring Thames Creek reinforcement walls and about $73,000 spent on Lee Community Center for new gym floors, paint, interior doors, bathroom upgrades, new play equipment and an outdoor canopy similar to one at Central Park. “I think maybe we haven’t done a good job of letting people know that. If you don’t use the Lee Center, you don’t know that we’ve been spending money at the Lee Center,” Thames said. Moving forward, Thames said he wants the community’s “buy-in” before proceeding with projects like sidewalks and the legal process for addressing overgrown or neglected properties. The Rosedale residents who spoke up at the Feb. 21 meeting were not always as optimistic about plans for the future. Mary Edwards, who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1930s, said she has heard promises from the city before, but hasn’t seen the action. “Stop putting us on the back burner. We have been back there for a long, long time,” Edwards said. “We have put up with promises for years and years and years.” Many residents expressed concerns about a perceived division between Rosedale and the rest of Homewood in terms of the attention and quality of improvements they receive from the city. “We’re always on a different page. We’re Rosedale, y’all are Homewood,” one man said during discussion of the abatement process. The community meeting did not result in a consensus on whether the council should proceed with the legal abatement process, though Gwaltney said he hopes future meetings will resolve that discussion. Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer encouraged residents to keep the city accountable on the projects they discussed during the Feb. 21 meeting, including upcoming paving, sidewalks, crosswalks and street signs. “Let our actions show you what we’re going to do. You don’t have to believe anything right now. But when we go out and do it, you can stand up and say, ‘Those are men of their words,’” McBrayer said. “The things that we’re discussing tonight, I’m telling you we’re going to do those things.”

“I’ll keep your feet to the fire,” Edwards said at the meeting.


Looking ahead, Thames pointed to plans for an 18th Street South streetscape project for beautification and new parking, plus more sidewalks on the priority list for future years. One item he said is expected in the 2018 fiscal year budget is about $175,000 to $200,000 for a rebuild of Spring Park with new playground equipment and larger pavilions. “They’re going to totally level the current structures out there,” Thames said. Another potential opportunity for Rosedale is the new downtown master plan the city has budgeted for 2017. Thames said they had previously believed the Rosedale community did not want to be considered in this master plan, but he wants to revisit the topic with residents to see whether that’s accurate. “Maybe we were working on bad information in that regard,” Thames said. The master plan is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2018. Not everything on Love and Terry’s to-do list — such as senior housing — is something the city can accomplish, but Thames and Gwaltney said projects such as sidewalks and lighting are possible. “A lot of this stuff is low-hanging fruit for us. Just let us know you want it, and let us know where you want it,” Thames said. Thames said he likes many of the ideas Love presented, and he thinks having a more formal structure for voicing Rosedale concerns would help create plans to move forward and prevent residents “spin[ning] their wheels” on projects the city can’t accomplish. “That’s how things get done are within committees. I think a great idea would be a Rosedale committee comprised of a couple Rosedale stakeholders, obviously either Andy [Gwaltney] or I, or both of us, and somebody from another part of the city,” Thames said. “We rarely do anything without ‘committee-ing’ them to death. That’s the way it starts.” Love and Terry are both willing to put in the time, and Love said he’s hopeful the future for Rosedale will be brighter than its past. Thames and Gwaltney said they plan to attend future Rosedale Community Association meetings, held monthly, for more feedback from residents, and Love wants to set up his own community meeting to hear more feedback on the items in his petition. “They hear our voices, hear our concerns, but at the end of the day, it’s business as usual. That’s what I hope to change,” Love said. “I’m not a big believer in holding the past against people and staying in the past. I’m a big believer in moving forward toward the future by doing things in the present. So that’s all I can hope for, that the City Council will actually do something, and we can see constructive progress.” See full coverage of the Feb. 21 Rosedale meeting and future community meetings on

The Homewood Star

A18 • April 2017 FOUNDATION

CONTINUED from page A1 raise money to provide additional grants yearround. It’s typically a sellout event, with the 2016 dinner resulting in $90,000 between ticket sales, sponsorships and individual donations. “It’s a celebration of living in the city of Homewood and our wonderful schools,” said HCSF President Emmie Smith. “It just makes me feel happy that I’m a Homewood resident. It’s a feel-good event every single time.” The Foundation chooses five educators each year — one from each school — to be recognized as Teacher Impact Award recipients. These faculty and staff members are nominated by students, parents, teachers or administrators, and Smith said a panel of community members also helps choose the winners. All five winners are recognized at Homewood Grown and receive a $500 grant for their classroom. “I was just really humbled, excited, honored,” Mitchell said of receiving her 2016 Teacher Impact Award. Mitchell has taught at Edgewood for six years. The iPad Air devices she bought for her classroom include educational apps, research tools for her second-graders’ yearly biography project and other tools to use in reading, math, science, social studies, grammar and more. Mitchell said the devices also can help her provide individual assignments for students who want a new learning challenge or who need help re-learning a concept from class. “There’s just so many ways you can incorporate technology,” Mitchell said. Enslen Crowe, the incoming HCSF president, said honoring teachers like Mitchell, Kennedy, Strickland and others is one of her favorite parts of the dinner. “I think I’ve cried [for] at least one teacher every year,” Crowe said. Alongside the Teacher Impact Awards, the HCSF awards grants twice a year to teachers with ideas for original ways to teach their students. In spring 2016, the Foundation awarded about $36,000 to several grant proposals. These included a science literacy study unit, proposed by Edgewood fourth-grade teacher Emily Blackstock, Chromebooks and microphones for world language students at Homewood

Homewood Grown will be from 6-9 p.m. April 20 on the SoHo Plaza in front of Rosewood Hall. Photo by Emily Featherston.

Andrea Krueger applied for a grant that will provide the Osmo Wonder Kits for each kindergarten classroom. This device allows students to use technology while also incorporating hands-on activities to build critical thinking skills. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

High, broadcast news and robotics programs at Hall-Kent and summer learning initiatives at Edgewood, Hall-Kent and Homewood Middle, among others. The Foundation received about 20 applicants for its fall grants and 33 for its spring 2017 grant cycle, Smith said. The applications varied from $200 to $24,000. Smith said the grant committee looks for proposals that include different ways of teaching material, use of technology and otherwise demonstration of the teacher going above and beyond. The spring winners were chosen in midMarch and include virtual reality at Hall-Kent, makerspace improvements at Shades Cahaba, interactive whiteboards across all elementary schools, summer reading programs and a trip to the AP Summer Institute for Homewood High’s AP European History teacher, among others. The Foundation considers part of their role to be making up for any shortfalls in funding the school system receives in state or local taxes. Homewood Grown and the annual Grateful Dads event in the fall are the primary fundraising events for HCSF. “It’s really necessary to have those private

funds to supplement what comes from the state,” Smith said. This year’s Homewood Grown, like last year, will have the theme “Roots and Wings.” Smith said the theme is meant to emphasize “from start to finish, for the rest of your life, what Homewood City Schools do for the students.” The speakers will include an introductory speech by Homewood High alumnus Tim Simpson, keynote address by fellow alumna and 2013-2014 Alabama Teacher of the Year Alison Grizzle and a closing speech by a student or recent graduate. Grizzle is a Homewood resident and the director of organizational development for Starnes Publishing, which produces The Homewood Star. She attended Homewood City Schools from sixth grade through her graduation in 1993, and she said part of the reason she returned to Homewood was so her 2-year-old son, Luke, could experience the same education system in a “wonderful, diverse community.” Luke will enter Shades Cahaba Elementary in 2020. “Homewood really works hard to make sure all students are successful regardless of their

socioeconomic level,” Grizzle said. “I think Homewood has a really strong investment in education. They have one of the best per-people spending ratios in the state.” Grizzle taught math in Birmingham City Schools for 15 years. After completing her term as Teacher of the Year, she worked with the Alabama State Department of Education in educator effectiveness prior to joining Starnes Publishing in 2017. Having visited and worked in schools around the state, Grizzle said Homewood teachers and administrators have set the school system apart in the way they “work hard to make sure all students have quality access.” At Homewood Grown, Grizzle said she intends to discuss the importance of local-level funding for the future of Homewood’s schools and students. “We as a community are going to have to make sure that we use local taxes to continue to support our schools. And if the state continues to cut budgets, and even to an extent where your teacher-people ratio would rise, we’re going to have to stay committed to small classrooms and invest in teachers,” Grizzle said. This year’s Homewood Grown is at SoHo Plaza April 20 from 6-9 p.m. or inside Rosewood Hall in the event of rain. Smith said the evening will include a plated dinner by Savoie Catering and the presentation of the Teacher Impact Awards. Tickets are $125, and there are also several sponsorship levels. For more information, go to

April 2017 • A19

SECTION The Homewood Star


Spring APRIL 2017

Home & Garden Guide special advertising section


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

DSLD Land Management ...................B2 NextHome Southern Realty .............. B3 Billy Brown Flooring ...........................B4 Brandino Brass ....................................B5 Erdos at Home .....................................B6 EZ Roof ................................................. B7 Issis & Sons ..........................................B8 Mantooth Interiors..............................B9

Moran’s Rocky Ridge Hardware ..... B10 LIST Birmingham ................................B11 Nicole Brannon - ARC Realty...........B12 Phoenix Builders Group ....................B13 R&S Flooring ...................................... B14 Gardner Landscaping ........................B15 Aabco Rents........................................B15 Batts’ Chimney Services ..................B16

Brewer Cabinets.................................B16 Johnny Montgomery - ERA King ....B17 One Man & a Toolbox .........................B17 Julie Ivy White - Lucas & Associates... B18 Sew Sheri Designs ............................ B18 Sweetpeas Garden Shop...................B19 Wilson Building Company .................B19

B2 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

The Homewood Star


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

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

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

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

and adopted children across the country.

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

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

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B3


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

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

B4 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

The Homewood Star


Brown’s 42 years of experience, expertise contribute to success When it comes to his favorite project that his team has done, Billy Brown from Billy Brown Flooring can’t pick just one. “We get pride out of every project we take on,” Brown said. “From big to small, they are all important, and we take pride in every one we do.” That is probably why, after 42 years in the field and five years of operating Billy Brown Flooring, Brown is so successful. Billy Brown Flooring services a mostly designer-driven market that focuses on high quality area rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting. “There are so many enjoyable things about this business, as crazy as that may sound,” Brown said. “I enjoy being able to work with my family, I enjoy the amazing clients we have and I enjoy the process. Even after all these years, I still love being able to excite a client with a beautiful finished product that was produced in our showroom. I love working hard and getting a job perfect. I enjoy the education and the learning curve that we are constantly going through due to the ever-changing nature of this business. I really enjoy and appreciate the clients that I’ve known and have worked for their family for decades.” Not to say the job is always easy. “In the rug business, there are a lot of moving parts that have to be kept up with,” Brown said. “Freight, measuring, ordering, receiving, financing and stocking can all be challenging. And the pace sometimes gets so hectic that all the technology in the world can’t help and it’s things like memory, your training, knowing the limits of you and your product, et cetera. And even with all of that, sometimes it still takes a little luck.” Trends on the way include the ever-changing structure of materials, Brown said. “The materials that are being used now in carpeting are evolving, such as the blending of various materials, ranging from wools, silks, viscose, polyesters and nylons,” he said. “Also, technology has allowed us to introduce colors and dyes in these products in ways that we have not been able to do before.” Brown’s biggest piece of advice to homeowners? “Find someone that you can trust, follow advice, and also be willing to do some of your own research,” he said. “Changing habits can help with new product too.

When our carpet ages, we can tend to take liberties such as walking through the oil spots, the red berries or understandably just general less concern is shown. When the new carpet arrives, its best that some of those old practices be revisited. And just as a general note — we love dogs! But probably 75 percent of our calls for repair comes from dogs. Another 10 percent each comes from child or adult spills. And another 5 percent in product or installation problems.” Brown’s team never wants to fall into that five percent, and to avoid it, they offer personalized service

that larger companies can’t compete with. “We realize we are swimming upstream against the ‘big box’ stores, and although we can’t compete with them on some levels, we can more than compete in areas that require greater experience, knowledge and expertise,” Brown said. Billy Brown Flooring, 2720 5th Ave. S. in Irondale, is open Monday through Thursday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m.-noon. For more information, call 2663714 or visit You can also find the company on Facebook and Instagram.

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B5


Get just the right touch for your home Brandino Brass specializes in door and cabinetry hardware, kitchen and bath accessories, lighting, fireballs and more to meet the needs of any construction or remodeling project. The family-owned business was founded in 1948 by Tony Brandino, and “to date we still run Brandino Brass as a family business for our employees and customers,” said Tony’s son and current owner, Buster Brandino. “I wake up every morning a very lucky man to come to a wonderful place to watch everyone grow and prosper. My employees and customers are the best on the planet,” said Eric Brandino, Buster’s son and co-owner. Together they continue the Brandino Brass tradition of service for customers. The team at Brandino Brass makes sure every element is taken care of for customers. Renee Genereux and Megan Brasher both have a degree in interior design with years of experience in the building process. “We’re here to help take out all the doubt and complications for the client to find the right items for their home within their style and budget,” said Genereux. Megan Brasher added, “Design is in the details, and hardware is a detail that can be overlooked. Each client presents a new idea and we’re just one of the details to ensure the end result is what they envisioned.” Jessie Isom brings over 17 years of experience in the hardware industry and over the years has forged long-lasting relations with contractors, architects, and decorators. “It’s always satisfying to help our customers pull together all the aspects of their project to give them a finished product that they can enjoy for years to come,” said Isom. Heather Clay, a loyal Brandino Brass customer, said Brandino Brass’ customer service is second to none. “We built a house from the ground up, and Renee did all the hardware in my house without one mistake,” Clay said. Clay expressed how much Brandino was able to do for her. “I worked with Renee and with my decorator Lisa

Flake,” said Clay. “We did all of the hardware for my kitchen, all of my bathrooms, and all of my door knobs. We also did my front door hardware, I also got my gas logs from Brandino and my mailbox and all the numbers for that. Any kind of hardware we needed for my house, Brandino did it for me.” From the beginning of the project to the end, Clay said Renee was there every step of the way. “It was a wonderful experience,” said Clay. “I showed

Renee some pictures with my decorator, I told her what I liked, and she pulled about three choices for me so it made it a little bit easier. She was always easy to get in touch with by phone or by email. She has come to my house to look at things that I bought from her that had been installed.” Visit the showroom in Homewood at 2824 Central Ave., Suite 100. For more information, visit or call 978-8900.

B6 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

The Homewood Star


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

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

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

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

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B7


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

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

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

B8 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

The Homewood Star


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

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

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

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

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B9


Unique, specialized experience for customers Mantooth Interiors is known for providing its customers with the very best in home furnishings since 1973. Their impact, though, is hard to label. “We have been asked many times, ‘Are you a furniture store? A design store? A bed store?’ We like to say no to all that,” said Lynette Mantooth. “We are Mantooth — you have to experience us to understand.” Mantooth Interiors was originally known as The Brass Bed and opened in 1973 on Valley Avenue in Homewood. Founded by Larry Mantooth, his wife, Lynette, joined him in the business venture in 1986, 31 years ago. “We originally started as a brass bed shop and over the years have evolved into a full furniture, upholstery, linens, lamps, accessories and design services shop,” Mantooth said. Homewood has always been home for the business — but its location isn’t the only constant. “Another constant is the excitement to wake up every morning and still be energized to get into the shop,” Mantooth said. “You never know who you are going to meet or whose fabulous home you get to work with.” Built on a commitment to quality and service, Mantooth Interiors is fully staffed by interior designers who have the talent, creativity, and most importantly, the passion to create the perfect atmosphere for the perfect home. As Mantooth Interiors would say — their team has interior motives. “Working with our clients to create comfortable and inspirational environments

for living is what makes our design team excited every day,” Mantooth said. “So, when you meet us, don’t be surprised by how much we want to get to know you. Our desire to collaborate with you so your style appears in every detail of your home is what sets us apart.” Mantooth said her team values time with their clients. “We listen to them and form a plan as a team,” she said. “Listening to our clients helps us develop a design plan that is functional yet elegant and full of style with a bit of a wow factor. Our goal is that every home is a reflection of the homeowner, not the designer.” To that end, every piece of furniture or upholstery is chosen with the homeowner in mind — “every tiny detail,” Mantooth said — and Mantooth Interiors offers a multimillion dollar inventory with delivery usually occurring within a few days. “Our designers come out and help place your new purchase and incorporate your old with the new,” Mantooth said. The ultimate goal — in addition to fantastic home furnishings including fine furniture, drapery and window treatments, lighting, accessories, linens, metal beds, fine art, gifts, area rugs, and classic furniture — is friendship with customers, Mantooth said. “Some of our longest and dearest friends started out as clients,” she said. “We can’t wait to meet you.” Mantooth Interiors, 2813 18th St. S., is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 879-5474 or visit

B10 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

The Homewood Star


We’ll help you shape up for spring Rocky Ridge Hardware has served their community for almost 30 years. It’s one of those rare places that still believes in the “old-fashioned” customer service more typical of days gone by. Yet they still stock everything needed for today’s home care and maintenance. “We focus on serving the homeowner, the do-ityourselfer and resolving any household issues they may be facing,” said owner Dan Moran. “We treat our customers like a member of the family. Our service is what sets us apart. Regardless of what you need, chances are we have it without the hassle of navigating a big box store.” Their plumbing and electrical sections have most anything a homeowner will need without having to wade through aisles of contractor and commercial materials. On their Facebook page, Rocky Ridge Hardware features regular tips, ideas and resources specifically for the homeowner, from creative uses for chalk paint to tips for weatherproofing. We asked Moran to share with us ways that homeowners can prepare their home for the colder months.


► Rake leaves and other debris out from around shrubs and plants. ► It’s a good time to put down a weed preventer around shrubs and in garden beds. ► Build up the grade around the foundation if anything has been washed away during the winter thaw. Sloping the grade away from the foundation can help prevent basement leaks. ► Clean out gutters of leaves and debris to ensure good water flow during spring and summer rains. A gutter wand that attaches to your hose allows you to clean gutters safely from the ground without climbing up a ladder. Also add downspout extensions to direct water from the gutter away from the foundation. ► Remove and wash screens. It’s also the best time of year to repair screens. Fix them before you need them in the summer. The last thing you want on

a hot summer night is a screen that won’t keep the mosquitoes out. ► For washing the exterior windows, homeowners can use Windex products designed to clean outdoor windows, or they can use a solution of water and dish soap. Use one tablespoon of soap per gallon of water. (Dawn tends to streak less than other brands.) Apply the solution with a long-handled sponge and then squeeze it off. ► It’s also easy to clean exterior siding. Use a siding cleaner that attaches to your garden hose. Spray the side of the house and let it soak for a little while, gently scrub and then rinse with the hose. ► Inside, spring is a great time of year to paint. It’s

cool with low humidity, and you can open the windows to get fresh air in the house.


► Rake out and re-seed dead spots. (Do not use fertilizer on new seed unless it is a labeled as a Starter Fertilizer.) ► Apply a fertilizer with crabgrass preventer to nonseeded areas. For more tips or information, call Rocky Ridge Hardware at 979-5444 or visit 3354 Morgan Drive, next to Western Supermarket. You can also find them on Facebook at

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B11


LIST: Another Homewood success story Thanks to a wild idea two Homewood locals had three years ago, Birmingham residents have saved more than $3 million. Melvin Upchurch and Brent Griffis started LIST Birmingham in 2014 on the premise of swapping out traditional real estate commissions with flat fees. To date, the modern-day real estate company has sold approximately 400 homes for a flat fee of $2,500 each — saving their clients an average of $10,000. Now celebrating the company’s three-year anniversary, the pair believes their wild idea has paid off in a big way. “With this model, we know we can turn a profit and save the seller money,” said Griffis, who’s worked in almost every arena of residential real estate and thrives on giving clients the best deal possible. “We built LIST to be able to provide a top-tier selling experience while also allowing sellers to hold on to more of their hard-earned money.” Like most modern-day companies, LIST credits their success to harnessing user-friendly technology to streamline the selling process. Their website is a revolving door of the latest homes to hit Homewood, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Vestavia and a long list of other Birmingham areas. “It’s a lean machine,” said Upchurch, who likens LIST’s business model to Southwest Airlines, seeking efficiency and reducing overhead costs wherever possible. Together, Upchurch and Griffis were able to satisfy a need in the local market — in effect filling a niche for Birmingham’s more savvy sellers and buyers. Upchurch says a lot of LIST's value lies in the company’s full-service approach. Clients get the red carpet rolled out for them when it comes to customer experience. That includes a staging

Brent Griffis, center left, and Melvin Upchurch with their families in 2014.

consultant, professional photographer, a Colonial yard for-sale sign, electronic lock box and social media visibility. The pair — along with their seasoned team of professionals who have more than 60 years of real estate experience combined — are reshaping the way houses are bought and sold in the greater Birmingham area. “There are other non-traditional companies, but their service is discounted,” Upchurch said. “That’s what distinguished us from the other companies.”

When LIST first launched three years ago, they relied heavily on referrals and word of mouth marketing. Now, with their for-sale signs dotting almost every edge of Birmingham’s downtown and suburbs, LIST has enjoyed a steady flow of satisfied clients. “It was a huge relief and worth its weight in gold not to have to show the house with three kids in it while planning an out-of-state move,” said Emily Ball, who reached out to LIST when she abruptly found out her family needed to move to North Carolina. The family’s

home sold less than 24 hours after hitting the LIST website. Another satisfied customer, Katie Dudley said, “Melvin was always there and always available to guide us and be a voice of reason.” Now with three years under their belt, the LIST team is looking forward to saving Birmingham residents more money and building a bigger base of satisfied clients in the process. For more information, call LIST Birmingham at 582-4060 or visit

B12 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

The Homewood Star


Finding the right home for your needs Nicole Brannon chose to enter the real estate business at one of its most difficult times. It was 2008 and the country had plummeted into a financial crisis, taking the real estate market with it. Her reasoning was simple. “I saw the decelerated pace of the market as a great opportunity to learn how to market, network and buy and sell homes,” said Brannon. “If I could sustain these skills when the economy turned around, I knew I would be in good shape.” The risk paid off in dividends for Brannon and her clients. As a Realtor with ARC Realty, one of the top companies in Birmingham, Brannon has been able to help people find and afford homes they otherwise would have been unable to purchase. By learning the real estate business at one of its most trying times, when everyone else was wondering if the market would ever come back, she was able bring a fresh perspective and creative outlook while overcoming challenges to meet client needs. Brannon serves the Birmingham area, primarily Homewood, Vestavia and Mountain Brook. She estimates that 98 percent of her business comes from referrals. This success can be attributed to her passion for her clients. She is committed to finding each client the right property for their goals and their stage of life, whether it’s a first-time homebuyer, an expanding family, or a couple downsizing into a home for their retirement years. Brannon works with clients to help them know the markets. She uses her expertise to guide and protect clients as they move through the entire process of home buying and selling. She assists them with their decision-making and contract negotiations; all culminating with a smooth closing that they are happy with. She helps sellers to understand the market and the true cost of ownership when selling. “Communication is key,” she said. Purchasing a home can be overwhelming, but she keeps clients focused on what’s truly important and what they will want their home to be in the long run. Your home is the place to exhale, and she understands

this. She advises clients who are purchasing a home to “think about what everyday life looks like, what could happen in your future. When you come home you should be comfortable and be able to breathe. What do you want that to look like?” Her clients are her first priority. “I come to this with a servant’s heart. I am here to service the client and meet their needs. My relationships with my clients are ongoing even after the home is sold or they have made

their purchase,” she said. “This is the largest purchase they will ever make,” she said. “I also listen to my clients and try to understand their vision and goals. Real estate is both a personal and emotional investment. I understand that, and I can help make your investment, one that will result in personal and financial dividends for years to come.” For more information, call 969-8910 or visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • B13


Helping to make your house a home Have you outgrown your home or are you ready to update the design? Call Phoenix Builders, and let them transform your house back into your home through small projects or extensive structural changes for a new, luxurious master bathroom or the perfect kitchen space. Stephen Boehme founded Phoenix Builders Group in 2015. He has 20 years of construction industry experience. His company works on everything from brand-new homes and additions to renovations and remodeling throughout the house. Brian Hart has recently joined the staff of Phoenix Builders. He brings many years of construction experience. Starting as a carpenter and working his way up to project manager, Hart has a wealth of experience with all phases of construction. Hart likes to say that nothing is more rewarding than giving someone the kitchen, bathroom, master addition or sometimes the complete new home they have worked so hard to achieve. Hart and Boehme have been friends since meeting in fourth grade at Hall-Kent Elementary in Homewood. With the return of warm weather, Boehme said homeowners are spending more time outdoors. His team is building new decks, screened-in porches and more across Birmingham to give homeowners the backyard space that’s perfect to relax, entertain or play. One trend this spring, Boehme said, is custom outdoor fireplaces and fire pits. “We do things right the first time. We want our customers to be satisfied with the job that we do for them and the budget,” Boehme said. There’s no need to feel like your home is dated or doesn’t fit your family’s

needs. The team at Phoenix Builders will meet with you to discuss your tastes and lifestyle to create a remodel that shows off what’s best about your house and make it fit your unique tastes. As their website says, “you can truly feel at home every time you walk in the door.” No matter the size of a project, Boehme said he enjoys working with homeowners to take their unique vision from paper to reality. “Every house is different, every homeowner is different,” he said.

Phoenix Builders Group serves all areas of greater Birmingham. Boehme’s two decades of industry experience also means he can find the best architects and sub-contractors in the area to bring a project to life. Boehme said Phoenix Builders’ experience, including in renovation or preservation of historic homes, enables them to give homeowners a cost estimate with confidence. “We give the customers one price that is realistic,” Boehme said. “We know

what we are doing, so we can give people good estimates with no surprises. We know what they need and we know what to look for when we approach a job and can assess it realistically.” He is committed to providing customers with quality work and honest communication. “We treat everyone the way we want to be treated,” Boehme said. For more information, visit or call Stephen Boehme at 966-0543.

B14 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

The Homewood Star


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

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

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

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

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


April 2017 • B15


Local rental company is expanding their service

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

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

Aabco Rents has been providing rental equipment for homeowners and contractors for over 40 years. They are well known for their friendly service and for keeping a wide variety of rental equipment in stock. Aabco has everything you need to complete that home renovation project or a lawn and garden project. They offer floor sanders, air nailers, concrete mixers, plumbing tools, tillers, aerators, dethatchers, brush cutters, weed trimmers, chainsaws and lawn mowers. Their stock of equipment is extensive — if you need it, they probably have it. Quality small engine and equipment repair services are hard to find in the Birmingham area. Aabco Rents has certified mechanics who maintain and repair their equipment and keep it in top condition. However, for years they did not offer a repair service to the public. Great news, all that has changed. Now Aabco Rents is offering small engine and expert equipment repair to you, the public. Aabco can service and repair most brands of equipment, including Homelite, Generac, Ryobi, Stihl®, Briggs & Stratton and much more. If you are a homeowner or light contractor, Aabco Rents can repair your equipment and, in many cases, file the warranty claims for you. More good news: Many contractors have known for years that Aabco Rents is a great resource for purchasing used equipment. Now Aabco is expanding and

will be selling NEW Stihl® equipment. Aabco Rents has become an industrial dealer for Stihl® power equipment, and they now have a full line of cut off saws, commercial grade chain saws, trimmers and industrial equipment. It doesn’t matter if you are a homeowner or a contractor, Aabco Rents has the equipment and service that you need. You can check out their inventory online at, or better yet, stop by their store. You will find friendly, knowledgeable employees and a variety of rental rates that will help you stay on budget. You may want to take advantage of their overnight special. Many pieces of equipment can receive a half day rate overnight. Pick it up at 3 p.m. and return it the next morning by 9 a.m. What savings! They are also offering a free chainsaw sharpening with a purchase of a new chain. These are great moneysaving ways to get those springtime projects completed. So if you need equipment repair, equipment rental, or Stihl® equipment for purchase, Aabco Rents has you covered. For more information, call 252-9858.

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Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


The Homewood Star


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

Family-owned, experienced and personal service

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

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

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

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


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Evie Montgomery, Meredith Montgomery, Megan Montgomery, Johnny Montgomery, Liz Montgomery, Izzy Cleckler

Johnny Montgomery celebrates 40 years working in real estate Johnny Montgomery has so many real estate stories he can share since he entered the business in 1977. He has helped three generations in the same family as they buy and sell homes. He has even sold several Homewood houses five or six times. “It’s been an adventure to watch the families grow and move into more spacious houses, then gravitate back towards a smaller home once all the kids are gone,” Montgomery said. “My passion for running and triathlons gives me the stamina to keep moving families all around Birmingham.” He is still running and selling after 40 years. If you really want to see how fast he is, just call him up to buy or sell your home. You can also catch Montgomery on a

re-run of HGTV’s “House Hunters.” The episode, titled “Styling in Birmingham,” will air on April 7 at 10 p.m. and April 8th at 1 a.m. Twelve years ago, Liz and Johnny Montgomery’s lives collided, and the two joined forces with their passions. Liz’s 20 years of banking experience combined with Johnny’s real estate network created another adventure that sent them off on a new race together. Liz partnered with Johnny in the real estate business, which led her to start NorthStar Realty LLC, a property management company. Now they work together with ERA King Real Estate Company providing a dynamic team to meet all housing needs — buy, sell or rent. For more information, call 979-2335.

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

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

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Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


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

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

The Homewood Star


Get the perfect custom look for your home at Sew Sheri Designs Sew Sheri Designs in Homewood is ready to help you freshen your home up for the spring season! What makes Sew Sheri Designs unique is the attention to detail and the custom offerings of their in-house workroom. “In our workroom, we create many items for the home. We make curtains, bedding, pillows, slipcovers and more. As part of our services, we can go to a customer’s home and help them in arranging or rearranging the decorations and pictures they own, as well as help choose and create the best window treatment to suit their taste,” said Corey. “It really is about making everything unique to the customer’s specifications. To aid in the design process, customers are able to choose from hundreds of fabric options. We carry the name-brand fabrics Trend,

Fabricut, Sunbrella, Green House, Robert Allen, Premier and more.” Sew Sheri Designs’ spin-off company, Dorm Suite Dorm, is here to assist your upcoming graduate design his or her own space at their new collegiate home. “I recently ran into a customer from about eight years ago. DSD had helped decorate their daughter’s dorm room,” said Corey. “He told me how important it was to them that we helped make her first living space away from home comfortable and home-like.” Sew Sheri Designs and Dorm Suite Dorm recently made the move from the Mountain Brook area to downtown Homewood, and they are excited to see what the new location brings. Visit Sew Sheri Designs at 1722 28th Ave. S., Suite G or visit for more information. SWEETPEAS GARDEN SHOP

Plants, accessories, expert advice available Just visiting Sweetpeas Garden Shop will give you lots of ideas for making your home beautiful for spring. “We have a great selection of annuals, perennials, edibles, native plants, specialty shrubs, trees and houseplants. We try and buy local whenever possible. Along with plants, we also carry a large selection of pottery and gardening accessories such as birdbaths, feeders and houses, chimes and home decor,” said Jon Culver, owner. Culver became interested in the gardening business in his early 20s while working for Billy Angel at Oak Street Garden Shop in Mountain Brook. “I was never one to sit still or be chained to a desk. I enjoyed working with the customers while helping them decide what plants worked best for their gardens, homes and, most importantly,

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Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

their personalities,” Culver said. Jon eventually decided to branch out on his own and opened Sweetpeas Garden Shop in Homewood. Jon has been happily fulfilling gardening needs since 2002. “I love creating fun displays around the shop,” Culver said. “We try and display things the way you might use them in your own yard or garden. The store is constantly changing from day to day.” Some customers even just walk through the store on their lunch breaks just to see what’s changed, he said. Need help designing a garden? The shop also offers designing services to its customers. “I want people to know that we are here to help. We offer not only knowledgeable, but friendly advice for their planting projects,” Culver said. For more information, call 879-3839.


Committed to designing, building family homes that will endure Wilson Building Company is committed to design, build, renovate and complete their client’s family home in a style that is comfortable, livable and functional to their specifications in a high quality that will endure many years. Jack Wilson, who founded the company, began as a carpenter in the early 1970s and quickly realized his ability to lead the building projects as the general contractor, thus beginning his career and Wilson Building Company in 1975. “Communication with the homeowner and attention to detail is the key to the success of any building project, and working closely with our clients to ensure their satisfaction. At Wilson Building Company, we consider ourselves a full service company and general contractor, and we take on just about every category that has to do with home construction, remodeling

and room additions,” said Wilson. They do everything else as well, including carpentry, electrical, heating and cooling, roofing, painting, ceramic and Mexican tiles, cabinets and stone countertops, and windows and doors, garages, sidewalks and driveways. “We prefer to use the best building materials on the market and use the most modern, safe and functional tools. We pay close attention to the quality of the “old school” ways of building, while using our modern tools and materials, which helps us in every way to produce a project that is highly appreciated and valued in the long run by our client’s family. Today is probably the best age and time ever for building construction, and the enduring quality of homes and remodeling projects,” said Wilson. For more information, contact Jack at 965-8479 or visit

The Homewood Star


C APRIL 2017

School House C8 Community C12 Opinion C12 Real Estate C13 Calendar C14

FOLLOWING FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS Patriot, Spartan coaches use lessons passed down by mainstay Gerald Gann



erald Gann had one major rule for his teams throughout his career. No matter the sport, year or group of athletes, that priority remained the same: Do the right thing. “He never had a long list of rules of do’s and don’ts,” said Lee Gann, son of Gerald Gann. “As long as you do what’s right, everything else will take care of itself.” Gerald Gann’s coaching career has spanned more than 40 years. He coached baseball, basketball and football teams at various stops, including Berry, Homewood, Hoover and John Carroll Catholic high schools. In recent years, he could still be found coaching running backs at Birmingham-Southern College. The majority of his days were spent on the gridiron, where he amassed a 159-145-2 record as a football head coach at Homewood (197994), Hoover (1995-98) and John Carroll (200107). During his tenure at Homewood, the Patriots reached three state championship games. Gerald Gann affected hundreds, if not thousands, of adolescents in his coaching career, but

See GANNS | page C7

Coaches and brothers Doug Gann, left, and Lee Gann, right, meet at home plate with a pair of officials to exchange lineups and review field rules before the start of a Homewood-Mountain Brook baseball game Feb. 28 in Mountain Brook. The brothers' father also coached multiple sports for Berry, Homewood, Hoover and John Carroll Catholic high schools. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

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The Homewood Star

April 2017 • C3

The Homewood Star

C4 • April 2017


CHAMPIONS Blue map returns to Homewood as Lady Patriots clinch Class 6A title



omewood High School’s primary colors are red and blue, and the Lady Patriot basketball team brought home trophies to match both of those colors in each of the last two seasons. Those happen to be the colors of the trophies handed out to the state finalists at the conclusion of the championship game; blue for the winners, red for the runners-up. In 2015, Homewood brought home a blue map as the Class 6A state champions, the first in program history. The Lady Patriots ended up with a red trophy last spring, an undesired result that left them longing and expecting a second blue one in 2017. That mission was achieved on March 4, as No. 2 Homewood never trailed in a game that ended up tight, as the Lady Patriots took down No. 1 Hazel Green, 52-49, in the 6A State Finals at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena. Homewood led by double digits for most of the third quarter, but Hazel Green whittled down the lead and made things interesting down the stretch, closing to within a single point with 12 seconds remaining. Ajah Wayne and Kalia Cunningham combined to knock down six free throws in the final 1:07 to stave off Hazel Green’s comeback effort, even as Imari Martin and Claire Walker drained 3-pointers to tighten the gap. “Being in this situation before [helped us],” guard Hannah Barber said. “When we played Blount [in the final] my freshman year, we had a lead, and I think they ended up cutting it to three late in the game. We were in kind of a similar situation, so I think experience helped us.” The game could not have pitted teams with more distinct style differences. Homewood likes to push the pace as much as possible with its up-tempo offense and pressure defense. Hazel Green is a methodical team that tries to slow the game down. “I told the girls before the game if it was in the 40s, we’d lose,” Homewood coach Kevin Tubbs said. “We really wanted the pace to be picked up a little bit. They were very, very patient. They’re a really wellcoached team.”

We’re very happy we won, but if we lost, I still think I’d be sitting here as proud as I am of them.

Above: Junior Hannah Barber shoots over a Hazel Green defender during the AHSAA Class 6A state championship March 4 at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena. Top: The Lady Patriots celebrate their championship victory after their 52-49 win over the Trojans. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.

Homewood did eclipse the 50-point threshold, and although Hazel Green made it close, Homewood led wire-to-wire. “The key for us was just not getting behind,” Tubbs said. “If we had gotten behind, there would’ve been problems with the pace.” After being in the state final game each of the last few years and returning its entire roster, Homewood faced the enormous expectation of not just getting back to the game, but winning it as well, even with Tubbs in his first year as head coach. “It’s tough on them,” Tubbs said. “I’ll be honest with you, I think it’s been tough on everybody. The expectation that, if you don’t even get back to this game, that your whole season may be a letdown. We’re

very happy we won, but if we lost, I still think I’d be sitting here as proud as I am of them.” The win was especially sweet considering this year’s group will actually depart a pair of players, Shelby Hardy and Venice Sanders. “Especially for our seniors, Shelby and Venice, for their last high school game to get them a state championship. As a team, we’ve been through a lot. We know what it’s like to lose and what it’s like to win,” Barber said. Tubbs resigned March 7 to take a job in Seattle, leaving Homewood looking for its next coach. But his words following the game remain true of a team that returns much of its core once again in 2018.


“We’re going to do what we do,” he said. “It’s wash, rinse, repeat with this group. They’ve been here since they were freshmen. I don’t think they would let the expectations drop.” In last year’s state final — a loss to LeFlore — Wayne, Homewood’s leading scorer, tore the ACL in her right knee. She showed no nerves returning to the same stage, as she scored a game-high 19 points to go along with 12 rebounds and three steals. “I give all the glory to God,” Wayne said. “I prayed last night. I prayed before the game, and I had to come out here and basically make a comeback. I don’t really get nervous before games. The thought was in the back of my head, but not really nervous.” Wayne was a one-woman wrecking crew in the first half, as she drove to the basket time and again and scored as many points — 14 — as the entire Hazel Green team in the first half. Tori Webb was also a big factor in the game for the Lady Patriots, converting seven of her eight shot attempts as she scored 16 points and pulled in seven boards. She also blocked three shots. “I didn’t play as well as I could have, but I had Ajah and Tori to pick me up, and that was a big thing for me,” Barber said, who had eight points and five rebounds in the contest. “I trusted my teammates when I wasn’t playing well, and we came out with a win.” The ideal color will be making its way back to the Homewood High School trophy case. How will the Lady Patriots celebrate earning the blue hardware? The often-understated Wayne sent everyone off with a laugh. “Party,” she said.

April 2017 • C5

The Homewood Star

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Tubbs opts to take on new role in Washington Patriots’ girls basketball coach, AD says season was ‘great way to go out’ By KYLE PARMLEY Homewood City Schools Athletic Director Kevin Tubbs has relinquished his post to become the director of research and development at the Seattle Science Foundation in Seattle. Tubbs served as AD for six years, including this season as the Homewood High School girls basketball coach. He led the Lady Patriots to their second state title in school history, and second in the last three years. Tubbs will move to Seattle and work alongside his brother, Dr. Shane Tubbs, who is the chief scientific officer of the Seattle Science Foundation. Kevin Tubbs said he would primarily work on items dealing with administration. Kevin Tubbs said he will miss coaching, but this season was a great way to go out, and that he will now be “coaching adults.” “This past season just tops off what I consider 23 really good years of coaching and working in education,” Kevin Tubbs said. “To go out on top was a relief for me because I wanted to make sure the girls had that opportunity. I hope I did right by them, because

Homewood City Schools Athletic Director and Homewood High girls basketball coach Kevin Tubbs gives instructions during the Lady Patriots’ Class 6A championship game against Hazel Green on March 4. Tubbs is leaving for a job in Seattle. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

they’re a fabulous group.” During those six years, the high school won 17 state championships and was named one of the Best Athletic Programs in the state by USA Today in 2016. Tubbs also played a large role in many programs, including the founding of the Homewood Athletic Foundation and an academic monitoring and tutoring program — with the help of volleyball coach Carol Chesnutt. “Coach Tubbs’ dedication and leadership as athletic director and coach has directly contributed to the development of outstanding student athletic programs,” said HCS Superintendent Bill Cleveland. “His hard work will be missed, but we wish him the best with his future endeavors. We’re very excited and happy for Kevin and the whole Tubbs family for this opportunity. It’s a really unique opportunity, and we certainly understand, so we’re

happy and excited, but at the same, selfishly very sad for all of our student-athletes here at Homewood.” “Homewood is an amazing place, with incredible coaches and athletes,” Kevin Tubbs said. “I've been blessed to be part of this incredible athletic program. The success over the last six years is a testament to the commitment made by our school administration to provide our students with the best opportunity to reach their potential in athletics. It has truly been an honor.” Cleveland said the school has posted the athletics director position opening, and that Homewood High Principal Zack Barnes would begin working toward filling that position immediately. “First and foremost, the desire is going to be finding someone that exhibits the same care and love for our students,” Cleveland said. “We’ve been blessed to have folks that truly care about

all our students.” Cleveland lauded the current state of the Lady Patriots’ basketball program and overall athletics programs in general under Kevin Tubbs’ guidance and believes the position will draw significant interest. The initial plan is to fill the athletics director position first with the girls basketball coaching search to fall under the new AD’s authority. “I can’t say enough about how vital Kevin has been, and he’s given us a great road map for what’s ahead,” Cleveland said. “That’s the sign of a great leader. When they leave, how easy have they made it to continue along that path of greatness? We’re sad but happy at the same time.” Homewood announced March 22 it would hire Jazmine Powers to replace Tubbs as head coach. Check for more information.


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CONTINUED from page C1 two specific men who meant more to him than any others can still be found making an impact on the Birmingham-area high school sport ranks today. Two of his sons took to heart everything they learned from him and are continuing his legacy. Lee Gann and Doug Gann are now high school head baseball coaches at Mountain Brook and Homewood, respectively. Doug Gann is two years the senior of Lee Gann, and both were children when Gerald Gann first arrived at Homewood in 1979. “We were always on the field or in a gym,” Lee Gann said. “That was kind of our playground growing up.” While some find entertainment with friends or at various social outings on Friday nights, the Ganns knew where they would be on Friday nights in the fall. “We were at every game every Friday night,” Doug Gann said. “That was part of our ritual, going to a game. That was just what we did growing up.”


As kids, Doug and Lee Gann were immersed in the action in their own way, as ball boys for their dad’s football team. This allowed them a front-row seat into Gerald Gann’s ways of coaching and infl uencing children not his own. “I could see early on when I was in elementary school and being able to be around him on a daily basis, he was able to have an impact on kids and be a positive influence on everybody that he interacted with,” Lee Gann said. But as Doug Gann went through his middle school years, he decided he was not going to be on the receiving end of his dad’s coaching. “After my eighth-grade year, I told my dad I wasn’t going to play football,” Doug Gann said. “He said, ‘OK, that’s fine.’ I kept telling him that every week.” Gerald Gann allowed the thought to stew for some time, but eventually made an executive decision. “It was getting close to spring training and

Doug Gann, No. 15, poses with the 1987 Homewood varsity football offensive line. Doug and his brother, Lee, each played quarterback for their father, Gerald Gann, with Doug Gann graduating in 1987, followed by Lee Gann in 1989. Photo courtesy of Homewood High School.

Gerald Gann has most recently coached running backs at Birmingham-Southern. Photo courtesy Birmingham-Southern Athletics.

he said, ‘You’re going to play this year. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to play in the future,’” Doug Gann said. In retrospect, Doug Gann is glad he was forced into it. “I loved it,” he said. “Most parents wouldn’t want their son to play football, but I’m glad he made me do it. I had a lot of fun and made lots of memories.” Doug and Lee Gann each played quarterback for Gerald Gann, with Doug Gann graduating in 1987, followed by Lee Gann in 1989. But their overarching success came on the baseball diamond. Doug Gann played college baseball at UAB, and also played on UAB’s first sanctioned football team in 1991. Following his college days on the Southside, he spent seven years in the Hoover school system, with stints at Berry High and Simmons Middle School. He returned to his alma mater in 1999 as an assistant coach with the baseball, basketball and football teams, the same three sports his father coached. Doug Gann coached three sports for

father about the desire to become a coach after college, he attempted to “talk us out of it,” according to Lee Gann. “It was something I was around, and it’s really the only thing I had any interest in and the only thing I knew,” Doug Gann said. “My mother always kept telling me to go into accounting. I tried taking an accounting class in college, and I went home and told her that at least I had tried.” Now, Doug and Lee Gann have their own families to sustain and lives to balance along with positively influencing and molding kids not related to them. Lee Gann and his wife, Brandi, have two kids, Libby Grace and Curt, both high school student-athletes at Mountain Brook High. Doug Gann and his wife, Brooke, have three kids, Macy, Kate and Tripp. If they do the right thing, as Gerald Gann taught and sons Doug and Lee Gann teach to players now, all will be well. “Do the right thing,” Doug Gann said. “If you live by that premise, you’re going to be in pretty good shape throughout your life.”

roughly a decade, and he became the head baseball coach in 2006. Lee Gann played baseball at Samford for four years before short stints in the Seattle Mariners organization and the Spartanburg Alley Cats in the Atlantic Coast Independent League. After his playing days, he spent some time at Hoover High School as an assistant coach, and then he coached at Bob Jones for three years before arriving at Mountain Brook in 2003.


If coaching were a natural fit for anyone, it would be Doug and Lee Gann. After all, they have been around high school athletics the majority of their lives. But Lee Gann does not see it that way. “Coaching is a calling,” he said. “It’s not always for everyone. But at the same time, if a person has character and the work ethic and intangibles of relating to kids, then that person has a great chance to be a great coach.” When Doug and Lee Gann approached their

C8 • April 2017

The Homewood Star

School House Amari Jade Williams of Edgewood among winners of statewide Smart Art Contest

Photo courtesy of Mary Stephens Pugh.

3 JCHS seniors sign with Birmingham schools Three student-athletes from John Carroll Catholic High School signed with their future colleges Thursday, Feb. 2. Nicole Bernal, a standout soccer player

for three consecutive state championship teams at John Carroll, will be attending Birmingham-Southern College. Golfer John Snoddy will continue his career at

OLS STUDENTS TAKE IN CAREER DAY What do a doctor, lawyer, lieutenant colonel, judge, attorney and architect have in common? They were just a few of the variety of professionals who came to Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School to talk to students ― including Samantha Magruder, left, and Abby DiPiazza ― for Career Day. The children enjoyed learning about different professions as they thought about their own future careers. Photo courtesy of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School.

UAB, while Ethan Scholtz, who has run track for four years at John Carroll, will also be attending Birmingham-Southern. – Submitted by Mary Stephens Pugh.

CollegeCounts, Alabama’s 529 college savings program, recently announced the winners of its SmartArt Contest. The contest was open to all fourth-grade students attending a public school in the state of Alabama. CollegeCounts, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Education, offered a lesson on careers led by their school counselor ending with the students completing a 50-word narrative describing what they want to do after completing college along with accompanying artwork. “We wanted this contest to serve as a catalyst for these young students to think early about their goals and let them know those dreams can be achieved, “said Young Boozer, treasurer for the state of Alabama and board chair for CollegeCounts. Of the participating schools, one student from each school system was chosen as a first-round winner. Edgewood Elementary fourth-grader Amari Jade Williams was chosen as her school’s first-round winner. Williams’ and other winners’ artwork was then sent to the state Capitol and judged in a second round to determine the final statewide winners. Each firstround winner received a $100 CollegeCounts 529 account contribution. Grand prize winners received an in-person visit from Boozer and a $529 contribution in CollegeCounts funds. Although the competition has closed, parents are able to enroll for a CollegeCounts 529 account and begin saving for their student’s collegiate future at any time. CollegeCounts has no minimum contribution requirement, allowing families to open accounts and save a little each month through quality investment funds. Funds may be withdrawn and used at colleges, universities, trade schools and graduate schools at one-, two- and four-year schools in Alabama and across the U.S. Under the 529 Section of the tax code, special tax benefits are provided to families saving for future college expenses. For more information about CollegeCounts, Alabama’s 529 Fund and how to open an account, please visit – Submitted by CollegeCounts.

April 2017 • C9


OLS students featured a variety of mediums with their artwork, including graphite, charcoal, chalk and oil pastel, cake and liquid tempera, and pen and ink. Photo courtesy of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School.

OLS students show off artwork Every student at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School (OLS), from 4-year-old kindergarten through eighth grade, was recently represented in a special student art show. Parents, students and parishioners all enjoyed their creative works in a special display presentation. Their artistic works featured a variety of mediums including graphite, charcoal, chalk and oil pastel, cake and liquid tempera and pen and ink. The youngest students’ pieces were comprised of lively images of balloons, rocket ships and angels that introduced them to different mediums and the foundations of drawing. As early as first grade at OLS, the children

are informed through art history and express their artistic ability through their unique versions of Monet’s “Water Lilies.” Detailed mixed media pieces of dinosaurs in their habitat helped to reinforce the second-graders’ classroom study. Additionally, these students’ paintings of “Madonna and Child” were also displayed for all to enjoy. The third-graders enjoyed creating Three Wise Men paintings, while the students in fourth grade drew nighttime Nativity pictures in pastel. The fifth-graders painted apples inspired by Matisse, while students in grades 6-8 enjoyed innovative OP Art. – Submitted by Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School.

As a service project this year, Hall-Kent Elementary fifth-graders put together “Journey Bags” that were given to children who enter into the Jefferson County DHR system. These bags included basic items often left behind when a child is being placed in foster care: socks, pajamas, toiletries, a blanket, photo album and either a toy or book. The fifth-graders enjoyed being able to give back to other kids, and they hoped that these bags would help brighten their day. Photo courtesy of Homewood City Schools.

Superintendent Cleveland reads to Hall-Kent students Homewood City Schools Superintendent Bill Cleveland read to kindergarten and first-grade students at Hall-Kent Elementary School recently, and the classes talked about the importance of reading. The students were also able to share with Cleveland their favorite stories. Cleveland read “The Three Ninja Pigs” to the kindergarten students. Since the class had been reading the Three Little Pigs story, they were Photo courtesy of Homewood City Schools. able compare the stories with him. The first-grade students read five sentence animal riddles they had writvoice while reading. Having a guest reader in ten, and Cleveland tried to guess their animals. their class made story time even more fun for He then read them “The Three Snow Bears” by the students. Jan Brett and made sure to do his mama bear – Submitted by Homewood City Schools.

The Homewood Star

C10 • April 2017

taking on a

CHALLENGE Homewood resident raising funds for Make-A-Wish Foundation

By SYDNEY CROMWELL When William “Bubba” Sellers sets off on the Trailblaze Challenge, he’ll be carrying in his backpack a piece of artwork given to him by one of the hundreds of Alabama kids waiting for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant her wish. Sellers, a West Homewood resident, decided to join the Trailblaze Challenge in January after hearing about the challenge at the same time a co-worker’s daughter was hospitalized for a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. With two children of his own — 3-year-old Anna Raynes and 1-yearold Will — Sellers and his wife, Molly, wanted to help other Alabama families dealing with health crises. “I thought that this would be a really good way to help kids in that situation, and having kids myself, I can’t imagine having to go through what they’re going through,” Sellers said. In addition to raising funds and awareness, Sellers also will face the challenge of a 26.3-mile hike with other Trailblaze Challenge

I thought that this would be a really good way to help kids in that situation, and having kids myself, I can’t imagine having to go through what they’re going through.


participants. The hike is at the Pinhoti Trail in Oxford on May 20, and Sellers said the hike starts at 3:30 a.m. Sellers has been a runner for many years and began trail running last year, including participation in a few local 25K trail events. However, the 26.3-mile hike will be his longest distance yet.

Homewood resident William “Bubba” Sellers is participating in the Trailblaze Challenge to raise money for Make-A-Wish. Photo by Sydney Cromwell.

He and others in the area already have begun a series of practice hikes to build up to the event. “I’ve never hiked 26 miles. I’ve never been to the Pinhoti Trail. I heard it’s pretty hilly out there,” he said. On the day of the challenge, Sellers said it won’t be about who crosses the finish line first. He’ll be thinking about his co-worker’s daughter, the Make-A-Wish children he’s met since joining the Trailblaze Challenge and his own two kids. The money he raises will help a

few more Alabama kids get their wishes granted. “I think all of that is going to be motivation to do this and get through it,” Sellers said. The Trailblaze Challenge’s fundraising goal is $225,000 for the Alabama Make-A-Wish Foundation. Sellers’ personal goal is to raise $2,500 through family, friends and local business donations by June 20. In addition to individual donations, Sellers and some other local Trailblaze participants are hosting

a Boston butt sale with Full Moon Bar-B-Que. The Boston butt sale lasts through April 20, with pickup on April 28. The sale price is $35 per Boston butt, with $20 going toward the Make-AWish Foundation. Contact Sellers at 334-494-8613 or willmsellers@ for more information about the sale. To contribute to Sellers’ fundraising goal or find information about corporate sponsorships, go to and search for Bubba Sellers on the “Support a Hiker” page.

April 2017 • C11

Officials: Awareness best bet for surviving storm season Some items to include in an emergency kit: drinking water, a firstaid kit, extra batteries, a flashlight and tools. Photo illustration by Emily Featherston.

By EMILY FEATHERSTON Though strong storms and tornadoes have been known to pop up year round, Alabama’s severe weather season peaks in April, and emergency personnel want the public to remain prepared. “We want you tuned in,” said James Coker, director of the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency and Homewood resident. Like probably all Alabama residents, and even those who are new to the area, April severe weather conjures up memories of the devastating events of April 27, 2011, when the state saw 62 tornadoes in one day take nearly 250 lives. Coker said the event touched him personally as well as professionally, as he lost a high school classmate and witnessed a large portion of the county significantly affected by the storms. Much of the loss of life and injury could have been prevented, he said, had people been more aware of how and when to take shelter when storms approach. “The No. 1 thing you need is information,” he said. Jefferson County has the highest number of reported tornadoes in the state, with the National Weather Service reporting a total of 96 from 1950-2015. And other types of severe weather, such as straight-line winds, can be just as dangerous. “We live in Alabama. We know how the weather can be here. You need to stay tuned in,” Coker said. One of the biggest concerns for emergency personnel, he said, is the fact that many residents rely on outdoor sirens to alert them to a severe threat. The sirens are only designed for outdoor alerts, and Coker said that unlike the National Weather Service polygons that can alert a specific location, the sirens sound if there is activity in any part of the county, which can lead to people eventually ignoring them.

Instead, Coker suggested having a variety of alert methods, whether that is a NOAA weather radio, a smartphone app or signing up for an alert service. The county provides access to Everbridge, a service that allows users to put in multiple addresses in Jefferson County to be monitored for the user’s choice of weather alerts. If the NWS issues a polygon for that address, users can choose to receive a text message, email or phone call. Also having a way to monitor local news outlets, which Coker thinks do an excellent job of covering storm outbreaks, can make a big difference.

“Nobody’s feelings are going to get hurt based on how you get the warning. We just want you to get the warning,” he said. Coker strongly suggested making a plan in advance for where to seek shelter in case of severe weather, not just at home but at work and other common locations as well. “Just think about what you would do,” he said. Coker suggested having emergency supplies well stocked at all times in case of an unexpected severe threat, like the one on March 1, 2016. In addition to being prepared with information, Coker suggested everyone have a safety helmet and signaling device — like a whistle or

air horn — as many of the victims of the April 2011 storms died due to head injuries or not being found by rescuers. Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Association recommends having one gallon of drinking water per person per day for up to three days, as well as nonperishable food, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, moist towelettes, hand sanitizer, pet supplies and tools to turn off utilities. “[We] would love to move to a point where we have no more fatalities from these storms,” Coker said. For more information or to sign up for the Everbridge system, go to

C12 • April 2017

Community Homewood resident publishes 1st book By SYDNEY CROMWELL The inspiration for Lauren Denton’s first book came from a simple thought: “If I could pick the perfect book to read, what would I read?” Denton, a Homewood resident and regular contributor to The Homewood Star’s opinion section, said once she picked some of the elements she enjoyed — New Orleans, her hometown near Mobile and the idea of an “eccentric grandmother” — the story “just started coming together.” The finished product, “The Hideaway,” will be released April 11. The story is “The Hideaway” will be released April 11. Photo told from two viewpoints: a grandmother courtesy of Lauren Denton. recounting her life, and her granddaughter returning home to take care of the bed-andbreakfast willed to her after her grandmother’s death. It will be followed by a second book in April 2018 that Denton said is a similar genre but not related to the plot of “The Hideaway.” The road to becoming a published novelist was not a fast one. Denton said it took about 10 months to write the first draft, followed by six months of revisions and feedback from friends and about eight months of sending query letters to publishers before she got a positive response. Denton said she started writing two stories to keep herself from obsessing over rejection letters. “It took close to three years from when I started writing it to when I signed the contract,” Denton said. When she found out her book would be published, Denton said she took her daughters to the library and showed them the shelf for authors whose last names start with “D,” where her book will eventually sit. Denton said she’s proud that she kept going through the long process of publication, and now she gets to see the results in paperback. “It’s been a dream to have a book published, and I really now am so proud to take my daughters to the library,” she said. “This was really hard and I kept at it.” “The Hideaway” will be available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. There will be a signing at Pale Eddie’s on April 14 from 6 to 8:30 p.m., with Alabama Booksmith selling copies.

The Homewood Star

Opinion Ordinary Days By Lauren Denton

Social media slowly stealing our brains A few mornings ago, I found myself having taking time away from “all the people in the a “driveway moment” where I couldn’t get out room, all the time, competing for our attention.” of the car because of what I was listening to She said when there’s no external input, we find on the radio. Guy Raz, host of the TED Radio out who we really are and what we think about Hour, was interviewing Amber Case, a cyborg matters without others telling us something is anthropologist. worthy of a like or an “I’m laughing so hard Yep, you read that right. And she doesn’t study I’m crying” emoji. half-human/half-machines, like I envisioned. The biggest kicker for me was the idea that what we absorb from social media doesn’t stick She studies the interaction between humans and technology. And what she talked about is changin our minds like time spent in the real world. ing the way I look at my smartphone. When you think back on what’s made an impact Denton For a while now, I’ve been uncomfortably in your life — memories you treasure, times you aware of my consumption of social media “mind candy,” really enjoyed yourself — it’s never time you spent online, especially when I should be doing other things. It was never is it? Those chunks of time are mostly wasted, and hours a problem when I just had a computer, but with the smart- later, we can hardly remember what we were looking at. phone, it’s always near me: I start my day with it because Not so with our real, flesh-and-blood life. We remember all it’s my alarm; I don’t wear a watch anymore, so it’s usually those things that tend to be blotted out by online interference. my clock; I keep it close in case I get a time-sensitive email; Yes, it’s nice to disengage sometimes. At the end of the I check Pinterest at night for dinner recipes; I find digital day, many people — myself included — like to hop online coupons on the Publix app before I grocery shop. But those and see what we’ve missed. But hearing someone else are ways smartphones make my life easier. (and with such an impressive title) put into words this idea The problem comes when I stop to “take a quick look” that had been stirring in my mind for so long has made at Facebook or Instagram each time I pull out my phone me set more firm boundaries for myself and my phone. for some other, more worthy reason. Then the “quick” I know of a woman in Homewood who traded her iPhone turns into 20 minutes spent doing something that has for an old-school flip-phone for this same reason, and I absolutely no lasting effect on me. It means I spend time applaud her! I’m not there yet, but who knows? Maybe doing something I don’t even love just because the tempone day I’ll take that step. For now, I’m setting strict limits tation to disengage is sitting there in my hand. and working hard on my self-control. The reminder that my Enter Amber Case. She talked about something called children — who are “digital natives” instead of “digital “ambient intimacy” — it’s not that we are in fact connected immigrants” as we adults are — are watching how I interact all the time, although it feels that way. It’s that at any time, with the very thing they’ll have in their hands in a few short we have the ability to jump online and connect to anyone, years is reason enough to force it to take a back seat to the anywhere. This ability (or some might call it a disability) is real life happening right in front of me. changing our brains. The effect is that there’s no time where we are just sitting. Thinking. Letting our minds wander. Email Lauren at, visit Instead, we fill that mental downtime (in the grocery store her website,, or find her on Instacheck-out line, at the stoplight, while we’re stirring pasta) gram @LaurenKDentonBooks or Facebook. Her first with a steady stream of stimulation. In general, we used novel, “The Hideway,” releases April 11 and is available to take more time for mental reflection, or as she said it, for pre-order from Amazon.

April 2017 • C13

Homewood Real Estate Listings MLS #







152 Rockaway Road





816 Rockhurst Drive





1710 Valley Ave. #A





821 Sylvia Drive





904 Stuart St.





3429 Sandner Court #D





231 Lucerne Blvd.





129 Dixon Ave.





105 Glenwood Drive





208 Raleigh Ave.





227 Oglesby Ave.





110 Theda St.





917 Irving Road





124 Glenwood Drive





1090 Saulter Road





3449 Sandner Court #B





131 Hawthorne Road E.





309 Le Jeune Way



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

152 Rockaway Road

227 Oglesby Avenue

The Homewood Star

C14 • April 2017

Calendar Homewood Events April 6: Regions Seminar Series: How to Protect Your Small Business from Fraud. 8:30 a.m. 1 Independence Plaza. Guest speaker Thomas Stroud. Visit

Homewood Public Library Children Mondays: Preschool Playtime. 10 a.m. in Round Auditorium. For ages 3 and younger.

April 8: Spanish Enrichment Program. 10:30 a.m. in the Round Auditorium. For third- through fifth-graders. Registration required.

April 9: Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan – The Tribute Tour. 7:30 p.m. Wright Center, Samford University. $59-$500. Visit

Wednesdays: Wiggleworm Wednesdays. 10:30 a.m. Music and storytime for all ages.

April 9: Kulture City Eggstravaganza 2017. 2-4 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Indoor sensory friendly egg hunt. Tickets are limited in order to keep this event sensory friendly. You can purchase your tickets at:

Thursdays: Storyday with Nay Nay. 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Storytime for ages 3 and under.

April 10: Family Flix- Moana. 3:30 p.m. in the Children’s Department.

April 13: Women, Wine & Shoes. 5-8:30 p.m. Tickets $125, VIP admission $175. Wine tasting, shopping, fashion show and more. Benefiting the Baptist Health Foundation Patient Assistance Fund. Visit

April 1: Little Golden Book Feast. 10:30 a.m. in the Round Auditorium.

April 12: Homeschool Hour Jr. Gets Musical. 1:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Learn about different instruments and even make your own. For ages 10 years and under.

April 18: Homewood Chamber Membership Luncheon: Excellence in Education. 11:30 a.m. The Club. Visit

April 3: Knight Chess Tournament. 5:30-7 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Preschool-12th grade.

April 22: Alabama Symphony Orchestra Red Diamond SuperPops! Series featuring Steven Curtis Chapman. 8 p.m. Tickets $25-$75. Visit April 23: Sorority 101. 2-4 p.m. Cooney Hall, Samford University. For high school junior and seniors. Talks geared toward the benefits of sorority life and what to expect during sorority recruitment. April 25: Alabama Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster & Friends Series. 7:30 p.m. Brock Recital Hall, Samford University. Tickets $32. Visit April 27: Alabama Symphony Orchestra Classical Masters Series. 7:30 p.m. Brock Recital Hall, Samford University. Tickets $35. Visit

Tuesdays: Wee Ones Storytime. 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. For ages 24 months and younger.

April 3: STEMologist Club. 3:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. K-fifth grade.

April 3: Homewood Public Library Student Juried Art Show Opening Reception. 6:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Open to any K-12th-grader in Jefferson County. Accepted entries will be on display in the Ellenburg Art Gallery at the Homewood Public Library from April 3-27. April 4: Passport to Fun. 3:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Visit a different country via crafts, movies and food. April 5: Reading Buddies – Read to Rover. 3:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Reading to animals from the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Recommended for K-third grade. April 7: TGIF BINGO. 3:30 p.m. in the Children’s Department.

April 13: iTween Computer Creatures. 4 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Assemble your own computer creatures with different parts. Open to fourth- through seventh-graders. Online registration required. April 17: LEGO Club. 3:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. For K-fifth grade. April 18: Paper Bag Book Club. 3:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Discussing Realistic and Historical Fiction. For third- through fifth-graders. April 19: Kids in the Kitchen. 3:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Learn techniques for making edible bugs. K-fifth grade. April 20: Homeschool Hour – Birmingham Fencing Club. 2 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Learn about the historical aspect of fencing and then get to see what all the fun is about. Online registration required.

April 20: American Girl of the Year Gabriela. 6:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Bring your favorite doll to the library to meet American Girl of the Year Gabriela. April 21: Kid Coderz. 3:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Introductory one hour coding class for grades 3-6 will introduce coding basics. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptop. Online registration is required. April 21: Math Explorations. 3:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Games, puzzles and toys to explore, discuss and discover math. Suggested for children ages 4-7. April 24: Sensory Storytime. 4 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. All-ages storytime introduces stories and songs in a variety of engaging ways in a sensory friendly atmosphere. April 27: Mural Madness. 3:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Create a large paper mural to display in the children’s department. Teens April 1-28: Teen Poetry Writing Contest. For teens grades six through 12. Create an original poem (maximum two pages in length) in any poetry style and submit via the library’s website. April 3 and 17: Animal Allies. 4 p.m. in the Library Boardroom. Service club for teens is dedicated to raising the community’s awareness on animal-welfare issues. April 3: Knight Chess Tournament. 5:30-7 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. April 3: Homewood Public Library Student Juried Art Show Opening Reception. 6:30 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Open to any K-12th grader in Jefferson County. Accepted entries will be on display in the Ellenburg Art Gallery at the Homewood Public Library from April 3-27. April 6: Teen Poetry Writing Workshop. 4 p.m. in Room 101 (Lower Library Level). Join Ashley Jones, local poet and creative writing instructor at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, as she dives into the world of poetry. All levels of poets welcomed. Online registration required. April 10: Teen Anime Club. 4 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Discuss and watch anime. April 10: Teen Advisory Board (TAB). 6 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Open to teens grades sixth-12 who want to take an active role at the library. April 11 & 25: Girls Who Code. 4-6 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. Empowering girls in grades 6-12 who are interested in the computer science field. No registration required, but participants are encouraged to bring their laptops. April 11, 18 & 25: Teen Drawing Classes. 5 p.m.-6 p.m. in Room 101 (Lower Level). Threeweek series is for 6th-12th grade teenagers who are interested in learning the basics of drawing. All supplies provided. Online registration required. April 13: iTween Computer Creatures. 4 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Assemble your own computer creatures with different parts. Open to 4th-7th graders. Online registration required. April 18: Teen Sushi Class. 6 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Learn to make your own sushi rolls at home! Supplies included. Online registration required. April 24: Teen Coders. 4 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Open to teenagers interested in learning the basics of computer coding. For sixth-12th graders. No registration required, but laptops are encouraged. Adults April 1: Self-Defense for Women with Detective Juan Rodriquez, owner of Summit Training Academy. 9:30 a.m. in the Large Auditorium. Participation is free; online registration required as space is limited. April 1: Calligraphy Basics for Beginners with Elizabeth Van Der Kamp. 2 p.m. in Room 102 (Lower Level). Learn some of the basic calligraphy shapes and tools you’ll need to get started and show you how to use them. April 3 & 17: Library Yoga. 10 a.m. in the Large Auditorium. All levels of fitness welcome. No registration required, but please bring your own mat. Tuesdays, April 4-25: Jump Start Your Job Search with Andrea Wilson Woods. 6 p.m. in Room 102 (Lower Level). April 4: How to hunt for a job by looking in all the right places. April 11: How to write a killer resume by learning the four key ingredients. (Room 116 – Lower Level). April 18: How to rock your next job interview by nailing your “Tell Me About Yourself” story. April 25: How to create an all-star LinkedIn profile – and why you need one. April 4: Parks and Rec Trivia Night. 6:30 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Compete for trivia prizes, best team name award and win a prize for best costume. Tuesdays, April 4-25: Master Your Next Job Interview with Andrea Wilson Woods. 7 p.m. in Room 102 (Lower Level). Ongoing, drop-in, job interview preparation class. April 6: Let’s Dish Cookbook Club - Soup & Salads. 6:30 p.m. in the Boardroom. Prepare a recipe around this month’s theme and bring the dish and recipe to the meeting. April 7: Shred It! Recycle It! 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Library’s back parking lot. Secure Destruction’s shredding truck will be on site to destroy your sensitive documents and files. Please do not bring any metal or plastic. Boxed paper will be shredded and boxes returned. Protec Recycling will also be on hand to take and recycle your old electronics, batteries, appliances, ink cartridges and other items. Secure harddrive destruction onsite for $10. No TVs or monitors. For more information contact Heather Cover at 205-332-6621 or April 10 and 24: Opening to Flow – Poetry and Yoga. 10 a.m. in the Large Auditorium. Yoga teacher and librarian Marie Blair brings movement and words together during National Poetry Month. No experience with either yoga or poetry is necessary,

April 2017 • C15 and adults of all ages are welcome. No registration required, but please bring your own mat. April 11: Genealogy 101 - Jump Into the Gene Pool: Genetics and Your Family History. 11:30 a.m. in Room 101 (Lower Level). Discover how genetic research can help you explore your family history. Find out what a gene sample can tell you about your ancestors’ geographic origins and more. April 11: Oxmoor Page Turner’s Book Club – “I Almost Forgot About You,” by Terry McMillan. 6:30 p.m. in the Boardroom. A story that reminds us that it’s never too late to become the person you want to be, and that taking a chance, with your life and your heart, is always worthwhile. April 12: First Step Wednesdays – Get the Most Out of Your iPad and iPhone! 2 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. This workshop is geared toward casual users. Join us as Apple® certified trainers for Alabama Tech-Ease answer your questions on how best to use your Apple® device. April 17: Bossypants Book Club - “Bad Feminist,” by Roxane Gay. 6:30-8 p.m. at Nabeel’s Café. If you love spiky humor, quick wit and brutal honesty, this is the book club for you! We are taking book discussions across the street to Nabeel’s Café to enjoy food and fun while we discuss Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. April 18: The ABC’s of Medicare. Noon and 6 p.m. in Room 116 (Lower Level). Have you been wondering about all the new changes to our Medicare benefits? Karen Haiflich will answer all your questions about how benefits are currently computed, how to become insured, and how to file a claim. April 18: Homewood Senior Center Book Club – “Only Time Will Tell,” by Jeffrey Archer. 1 p.m. at the Homewood Senior Center. April 21: OLLI Bonus Program: Liver-Eating Jeremiah Johnson – The Man and the Myth with Richard Rhone. 1 p.m. in Room 101 (Lower Level). Join us as we separate fact from fiction regarding one of the most infamous and enigmatic characters of the American Wild West. April 24: Niki Sepsas presents The Knights of Gallipoli: The ANZACs and the Fight for the Dardanelles in World War I. 1 p.m. in the Round Auditorium. April 25: “He Named Me Malala” documentary. 6:30 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. April 25: LibraryFlix: “Funny Girl.” 3:30 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. April 25: Dixie’s Pet Loss Support Group. 5:30 p.m. in Room 106 (Lower Level). This grief/loss group is sponsored by the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Participation is free; however, reservations are requested because space is limited. Contact Randy Hicks, GBHS volunteer coordinator, at 205-542-7111. April 25: “He Named Me Malala” documentary. 6:30 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. This 2015 film looks at the events leading up to the Taliban’s attack on aPakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, for speaking out on girls’ education followed by the aftermath of that attack, including Malala’s speech to the United Nations. April 26: iProduct Master Class - Photography Using iPads and iPhones. 2 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Join us for this continuing class with Apple® Certified trainers for Alabama Tech-Ease, a member of the Apple® Consultants Network, to take a comprehensive look at photos for Apple iOS and macOS Sierra. Participation in the workshop is free; however, it is open only to those who participated in the Jan. 25 class. April 26: The Better Than Therapy Book Club – “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware. 2 p.m. in the Boardroom. April 27: UAB Neuroscience Café - Concussion in Football. 6:30 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Join us as UAB doctors and researchers discuss what we know about concussion in football and what we’re doing about it. April 28: Derby Days Cocktails. 6:30 p.m. in the Large Auditorium. Prep for the Kentucky Derby with bartender and writer Clair McLafferty’s discussion of bourbon’s role in the annual event. Wear your best Derby hat for a chance to win a special prize. Ages 21 and up. Tickets are $10 and include two adult beverages and light refreshments. Tickets go on sale March 28 at

Homewood Star April 2017  
Homewood Star April 2017