May 2021 | Volume 11 | Issue 12
YOUR HOMEWOOD REALTORS YOU’LL LOVE HOW WE WORK FOR YOU! CALL THE WADE TEAM HOMEWOOD
HOMEWOOD’S COMMUNITY NEWS SOURCE
Danielle and Billy Wade
966-9600 | 283-0698
DATA HERO Homewood resident and UAB doctor nominated for award for information efforts By INGRID SCHNADER
local doctor living in Homewood has faced two battles since March 2020: Not only does she battle the COVID-19 pandemic at work as an infectious diseases doctor at UAB, but she also fights against coronavirus-related misinformation on Facebook when she gets home. Her Facebook page, called Dr. Ellen Eaton Coronavirus Updates, has gained more than 13,000 followers since Eaton began posting updates at the beginning of 2020. Then in February 2021, she was nominated for a COVID-19 Data Hero award, which is presented by The Data Access, Transparency and Advocacy (DATA) Group at dataheroawards. org.
Eaton doesn’t like social media. In fact, she said she dreams of the day she can delete the Facebook page. “I’m not an influencer, I’m not a blogger, and this is not really fun to me,” she said. “I just feel a moral obligation to do it.” Looking back at the spring of 2020, she said she remembers there being so much uncertainty. She remembers people not
See EATON | page A22 Dr. Ellen Eaton, a Homewood resident and an infectious diseases physician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, stands in the foyer at Bevill Biomedical Research Building on UAB’s campus. Eaton has been nominated as a COVID-19 Data Hero through the Data Access, Transparency and Advocacy (DATA) Group. Photo by Erin Nelson.
Sponsors............... A4 News....................... A6
Business................ A9 Life........................ A17
Beck A. Taylor stands along Centennial Walk with the Harwell G. Davis University Library in the background on Samford University’s campus. Photo courtesy of Samford University.
Beck A. Taylor takes helm as 19th president of Samford By INGRID SCHNADER After serving as dean and professor of economics for Samford University’s Brock School of Business from 2005 to 2010, Beck A. Taylor never imagined he’d have an opportunity to return to the university. But when former president Andrew Westmoreland announced his retirement March 10, Taylor saw an opportunity to return to the university he loved. During a special meeting of the Samford University board of trustees in March, the 51-year-old Taylor was recommended to the board by a 23-member presidential search committee following a six-month national search involving more than 80 nominations and applicants. Taylor is the university’s 19th president. Taylor grew up across the South and Southwest and received an undergraduate
Sports.................... B4 Schoolhouse......... B8
See SAMFORD | page A21 Events................... B12 Calendar............... B14 facebook.com/thehomewoodstar
Homewood nonprofit College Choice Foundation helps students with their higher education decisions.
We Love Homewood Day returns May 1 after being canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
See page B8
Call Vulcan Termite for all your Summer pest control needs! (205) 663-4200 vulcantermite.com
See page B13
A2 • May 2021
The Homewood Star
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May 2021 • A3
The Homewood Star
A4 • May 2021
About Us Editor’s Note By Ingrid Schnader Homewood, you’ve been keeping me busy. I became editor of The Homewood Star in March 2020 as the entire world was shutting down. We plan our papers pretty far in advance, so I remember trashing so many articles as events were canceled, businesses delayed opening, etc. Now, a year later, it feels difficult to keep up with everything that’s going on. In this month’s event section, you’ll see that many of the city’s beloved annual events are back on track, such as We Love Homewood Day and the Chili Cook-Off. Business is booming, and they’re opening faster than I can fit them all in the paper. City projects are picking up, too. Work has begun on Green Springs Highway to make it a “complete street” with bike lanes and better
pedestrian access. The Shades Cahaba Tunnel is also finally painted — more than a year after I first reported that it would happen. I’ve also received my vaccine and have transitioned back to working in the office again. Working from home was safer, and it was great to spend all day with my poodle. But since
the office is located in Homewood, it definitely makes my job easier to actually see the city each day. Even today, I drove downtown to grab a cookie, and I saw a “coming soon” business banner on one of the buildings. You just don’t get those kinds of story ideas when you work from home. I’m glad to be back on a routine and to have a dedicated place to work again — especially because there are so many articles to write lately. As always, thank you to everyone who has been sending me story ideas. You can reach me anytime via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Support Our Community Partners Alabama Goods (A20) Alabama Power (B3) Bedzzz Express (A24, B1) Blakelee’s Bouquets (B1) Bromberg’s & Company Inc. (A17) Brookwood Diagnostic Center (A15) Byars-Wright Insurance (A11) Cardinal Roofing (A15) Children’s of Alabama (A19) Clearview Strategy Partners (B15)
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
Closets by Design (A9) ENT Associates of Alabama (B11) Etc. (B4) First Lenders Mortgage Corp. (A13) French Drains Pro (A14) Green Springs Animal Clinic (B12) HomeRN (B13) Homewood Family and Cosmetic Dentistry (B7) Homewood Parks and Rec (B2) Iron Tribe Fitness (A3) Issis & Sons (B9) Johnny Montgomery, ERA King (A14) Ken Williams Real Estate (A7) Kete Cannon, ARC Realty (A11)
Daniel Akin plays the bagpipes while Tom Franklin of Homewood Community Church carries a cross during the Way of the Cross communal procession April 4. Photo by Ingrid Schnader.
A story on page B1 of the April 2021 issue titled “Local entrepreneur starts a new adventure” incorrectly named the company produc-
ing John Cassimus’ 12-part cooking series, “Darn Hungry.” The company is named SpyPoint Cameras. We regret this error.
Nicole Brannon, ARC Realty (A13) One Man and a Toolbox (A17) Oxmoor Valley Orthodontics (B5) Piggly Wiggly (B9) Poarch Band of Creek Indians (A8) Publix (A23)
Publisher: Dan Starnes Managing Editor: Nick Patterson Community Editors: Ingrid Schnader Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Neal Embry Leah Ingram Eagle Sports Editor: Kyle Parmley Design Editor: Melanie Viering Photo Editor: Erin Nelson Page Designers: Kristin Williams Ted Perry Contributing Writer: Lauren Denton Account Managers: Layton Dudley Ted Perry Content Marketing Manager: Erica Brock Graphic Designer: Emily VanderMey Local Sales Manager: Gregg Gannon Senior Business Development Exec.: Michelle Salem Haynes Business Development Exec.: Don Harris Client Success Specialist: Anna Bain Marketing Consultants: Warren Caldwell Kentevious Forehand Stacey Hatcher John Yarbrough Business Administrator: Anna Jackson
Ray & Poynor (B7) Raymond James Private Client Group (A6) Renew Dermatology (A2) Sewing Machine Mart (A19) For advertising contact: email@example.com Contact Information: Homewood Star P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 (205) 313-1780 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please submit all articles, information and photos to: email@example.com 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. Please recycle this paper.
Shades Creek Dental (A5) Sikes Children’s Shoes (B11) Sims Garden (A19) SOHO Social (A7) Southern Home Structural Repair Specialists (A20) The Harbor at Lay Lake (B10) The Wade Team (A1) TrustCare Urgent Care (A12) TrustMark Bank (B16) Vulcan Termite & Pest Control (A1) Window World of Central Alabama (A21) Worx Birmingham (B5)
May 2021 • A5
Ask the Doctor Ron MacBeth, DMD Dr. MacBeth lives in Homewood with his wife, Lisa, his two daughters, Vivian and Louise, and fur-baby, Sandy. Dr. MacBeth came to Birmingham in 2006 to attend Birmingham-Southern College. Dr. MacBeth then attended the UAB School of Dentistry. When deciding where to start a practice, Homewood best resembled the tight-knit, family-focused community in which they wanted to live. Dr. MacBeth looks forward to serving this community and hopes to see you soon!
Cavities Part 2:
What are the signs and symptoms of cavities? Cavity Signs and Symptoms
3. Dark Spots and Holes
1. Sensitive Teeth
In some cases, a dark spot may just be a natural stain. If the spot feels sticky, a cavity may be developing. If you experience a slight pain when you’re eating, check for holes in your teeth. A hole in your tooth is a common sign that bacteria in your mouth has created a cavity. If dark spots or holes are visible on your teeth, this is a sign of an untreated cavity. We recommend calling your dentist to set up an appointment.
Have you ever taken a bite of a hot, cold, or sugary food and felt an immediate pain? This could be the result of a cavity. This can feel like a mild pain in a specific tooth or group of teeth. If brushing with special toothpaste for sensitive teeth doesn’t work, you may have a cavity. 2. Bad Breath Cavities are caused by bacteria and may cause bad breath. Bad breath typically only occurs once the cavity has remained untreated for a long time and the tooth is starting to decay. The bacteria inside your mouth feed on food particles. Brushing and flossing help get rid of the bacteria. If you have bad breath due to an untreated cavity, it will not go away with brushing and flossing. You will need to see a dentist and get your cavity treated.
4. Cracked Tooth Cracked teeth can be a result of an accident or chewing on extremely hard foods. They can also be caused by bacteria buildup weakening your tooth enamel. This causes your teeth to be more susceptible to crack when you’re chewing crunchy or sticky foods. If you crack a tooth, schedule a dentist appointment and try
to avoid chewing on that side of your mouth in the meantime. 5. Toothaches Toothaches are most common when you bite into food with an already damaged food. This means the cavity has reached a nerve in your tooth that is causing the pain. The tooth may also be infected. If you are struggling with extreme toothaches, contact your dentist as soon as possible. To maintain good oral health and avoid cavities, it is important to visit your dentist regularly. If you think you are suffering from a cavity, contact Shades Creek Dental today. Part 1: What is a cavity and how can I prevent them? ran in the April issue of The Homewood Star.
EXPERIENCE THE DIFFERENCE of Shades Creek Dental Learn more about us and how to keep your teeth healthy by visiting
ShadesCreekDental.com MONDAY - THURSDAY CALL TODAY 8:00am - 4:00pm
Dr. Ron MacBeth with wife Lisa & daughters Vivian & Louise Photo by Sarah Sexton Photography
Hear what makes us different directly from our patients Read our reviews on Google
1045 Broadway Park, Suite 101 Homewood, Al 35209
The Homewood Star
A6 • May 2021
City Council votes to create city engineer position Homewood City Hall. The Homewood City Council at its March 29 meeting voted to create a new city engineer position. Photo by Erin Nelson.
By INGRID SCHNADER The Homewood City Council at its March 29 meeting voted to create a new city engineer position. The decision came following the retirement of Greg Cobb, who was the director of the Building, Engineering and Zoning Department. He retired Feb. 1 after 22 years working for the city. The Building, Engineering and Zoning Department will now be split into two departments: one will be building inspections, and the other will be engineering and zoning. The Engineering and Zoning Department will have a licensed professional engineer hired by the city. “This will also help out in the fact that we won’t need to farm out a lot of engineering, which is what we’ve been doing for quite some time,” Mayor Patrick McClusky said at the March 15 Finance Committee meeting. Applicants will apply for the position through the Jefferson County Personnel Board, and the position will be Grade 32 Step 7. The regular salary for this step is $4,030 biweekly and $104,790 annually. According to the job description on the Personnel Board website, the city engineer will plan, direct, coordinate and inspect all engineering activities involved in the city's traffic, roadway and drainage systems. The engineer will also review private and municipal construction projects to ensure compliance with state, county and city building codes, such as new subdivisions, commercial buildings and residential properties. The engineer’s work will be under the general direction of the mayor. The City Council amended its fiscal 2021 budget to provide money for the position,
including $54,008 for a salary, $4,132 for FICA insurance, $7,840 for pension benefits, $2,730 for health insurance, $66 for life insurance, $46.50 for disability insurance and $845 for worker’s compensation. These budget amendments were based on a guess of when the engineer would be hired, City Clerk Melody Salter said. The council passed the resolutions to create the position with an 11-0 vote. Also at the meeting, the council rezoned
property at 2713 18th St. S. from mixed use to a commercial retail shopping district to allow for the development of two restaurants, Little Donkey and Rodney Scott’s BBQ. “It would rezone this property in line with others just like it up and down 18th Street,” Building, Engineering and Zoning Department head Wyatt Pugh said at the March 29 meeting. Ward 2 Councilor Nick Sims asked where restaurant patrons will be directed to park.
“That’s something to keep in mind, if we do have people from out of the area who come to these new establishments, that we have some type of wayfinding to direct to public parking,” Sims said. Council President Alex Wyatt said patrons could park on 18th Street, in the SoHo parking deck or any of the other public parking options. Wyatt also said that wayfinding for parking is something he plans to focus on in the future.
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May 2021 • A7
New development in works at site of former hotel By INGRID SCHNADER The Homewood Planning Commission on April 6 unanimously recommended the Homewood City Council approve plans for a storage facility and restaurant on Oxmoor Road. The development is to be at 260 Oxmoor Road, which is the former location of an America’s Best Value Inn & Suites. The Homewood City Council in 2014 decided not to renew the hotel’s business license because criminal activity repeatedly took place there, sometimes requiring the Homewood Police Department to make multiple visits a day there. Chesley Payne, an attorney with Massey, Stotser & Nichols, represented the owners and presented their request to first resurvey the lot into two parcels and then rezone the northern portion of the lot from a Green Springs Urban Renewal District to a C-5 general business district. The owners plan to demolish the hotel on the then develop an “aesthetically pleasing” climate-controlled storage facility, Payne said. “Sometimes when people think of storage facilities, they get a negative connotation,” Payne said. “However, this is not going to be a mini-storage or something of that nature. It’ll have controlled access to the facility. There will be limited hours of access to the facility. It’ll be extensively well-lighted so everyone who comes and goes from this location will have a sense of security. And the owners intend to install cameras on the exterior and interior of the building.” The owners thought of developing another hotel at the property, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the travel industry, they decided against that, Payne said. There’s also too much competition in the area, he said. There are also plans to develop a retail or restaurant space on the remaining piece of the property. The owners said they are currently in talks with two sports bars.
The owners of 260 Oxmoor Road plan to develop an “aesthetically pleasing” climate-controlled storage facility and a retail or restaurant space. Photo courtesy of Homewood Planning Commission packet.
The owners held a redevelopment plan presentation in March and invited the community to listen and ask questions there. Many West Homewood residents then came to the April 6 Planning Commission meeting and spoke in favor of the development. Matt Rich, who lives on Fairlane Drive near the abandoned hotel, said he sees this “eyesore” every day. In the beginning, he was skeptical of the development, but he said his opinion
changed after speaking with the Patels, who own the property. “It is going to be a facility we can be proud of when we see it,” Rich said. “Certainly, it is going to be better than what we see now. Quite frankly, I would go out there myself with a sledgehammer and help them tear it down if it would help. But I can see their vision. After speaking with them, I think they have the best intent for our neighborhood.”
One person spoke against the development. Harold Shader said he thinks there are plenty of storage facilities in the area. He also said he thinks a new hotel there with restaurants, or a development with multiple restaurants, would be a better use of the property. The rezoning request now goes to the Homewood City Council for consideration. The next Planning Commission meeting will be May 4.
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The Homewood Star
A8 • May 2021
Council approves accessible parking spaces, new crosswalk By INGRID SCHNADER Two wheelchair-accessible parking spaces are coming to downtown Homewood. The Homewood City Council approved spending not to exceed $10,000 on each accessible parking space at its April 12 meeting. This includes construction of ramps and striping. These spaces would be on 29th Avenue at the new angled parking spaces near Urban Cookhouse and Real & Rosemary. The new wheelchair-accessible parking spaces would The council also approved be on 29th Avenue near Urban Cookhouse and Real and a new crosswalk for Hall- Rosemary. Photo by Ingrid Schnader. Kent Elementary School. The crosswalk would be located between 232 and 236 Hall Ave., which Alabama Library Association’s Paralibrarian is at the end of the cut-through for the neigh- Award. This award is presented to an outborhood. Ward 2 Councilor Carlos Alemán standing library employee in a support staff said Hall-Kent Principal Kiana Coleman was role who goes above and beyond the limits of the job title. in support of the crosswalk. Last, McClusky presented a proclamation for National Child Abuse Prevention Month. PROCLAMATIONS Homewood Mayor Patrick McClusky pre- In April 2020, there were 25,814 reported sented three proclamations at the beginning cases of child abuse and neglect in Alabama, McClusky said. of the meeting. “Child abuse is a serious problem affectHeather Cover, a Homewood librarian of 25 years, was honored for receiving the Ala- ing every segment of our community, and bama Library Association’s Eminent Librarian finding solutions requires input and action Award. This award is bestowed upon librari- from everyone,” he said, reading from the ans for exceptional and enduring contributions proclamation. He proclaimed April 2021 as National Child toward the development of library service in Alabama. It’s the highest honor that the Ala- Abuse Prevention Month in Homewood and urged citizens to recognize the month by dedbama Library Association awards. Edward Eggleston, a Homewood librarian icating themselves to improving the quality of of 20 years, was honored for receiving the life for all children and families.
Kindergarteners paint a green foreground on the walls of the pedestrian tunnel at Shades Cahaba Elementary School. Photo by Ingrid Schnader.
Shades Cahaba students paint mural on pedestrian tunnel By INGRID SCHNADER After a year of delays, the pedestrian tunnel at Shades Cahaba Elementary School is finally getting new paint. The Homewood Star originally reported on this project in the April 2020 issue. But when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out as the paper was going to press, the project began to experience delays. On March 8 of this year, Shades Cahaba art teacher Lisa Holland led her students to the tunnel to begin working on its new mural. Students turned the entrance into the tunnel into a rainbow of colors, and soon the “Shades Cahaba Way,” which are seven mottos for the school, will be painted on top. Inside the tunnel, students helped paint a foreground of trees on March 18. As Holland corralled the energetic group of kindergarteners (who were quickly covering their hands and aprons in green paint), she said it was a dream come true.
Watch kindergarteners in action as they paint the pedestrian tunnel.
“I was scared that we weren’t going to be able to finish because of COVID,” she said. “Finding a way to make this work during a time when they don’t have field trips and parents can’t eat lunch with them, it’s pretty fun. This is about as close to a field trip as they’re going to get.” The tunnel is 2,543 square feet. It goes underneath U.S. 31 and has entrances and exits at Shades Cahaba Elementary School and at the Piggly Wiggly. Previously, the walls were gray, and Holland said she has been wanting to paint the tunnel for a while.
Prosperity and Security
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to close our businesses, our first concern was the impact that could have on the families and communities where we live and work. As a Tribe, we understand all too well that economic insecurity can make tough times even worse. So, we made the decision to continue to pay our employees throughout the closures. Today, our employees are working again. And while it may be a while before we are all back to “business as usual”, we remain committed to the health and economic security of our people, our employees, our fellow Alabamians, and our State.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians
May 2021 • A9
Business Shakes and teas shop opens in West Homewood
Imagine your home, totally organized! Custom Closets, Garage Cabinets, Home Office, Pantries, Laundries Wall Beds, Wall Units, Hobby Rooms, Garage Flooring and more...
By INGRID SCHNADER A new eatery has opened in West Homewood. Jace Mauldin opened Homewood Nutrition at 709 Oak Grove Road and sells nutritious teas, shakes and more. Before opening the store in Homewood, he was first a fan of the concept when he was living in Tupelo, Mississippi. “I fell in love with the products and became a repeat customer and used them every day on my way to work and on my way to or back from the gym,” Mauldin said. “Then I decided during the end of quarantine to start working, and I fell in love with the business side of it as well.” The thing he has enjoyed is being a part of the community, he Bailey Mantooth prepares a Rainbow loaded tea at Homewood Nutrition in West Homewood. Photo by said. Erin Nelson. “I love getting involved with the customers and getting to know them more than just their sale,” he said. “I love Mauldin said these are great for people who seeing the customers who come in all the time need to eat on the go. and developing relationships with them.” “It’s hard to go to a restaurant, order food, The loaded energy teas have no sugar, and in wait on it and eat it if you’re on the go,” he said. addition to giving customers a boost of energy, “With us, you can order your full meal replacethey also help with mental focus. The beauty ment shake, get it in under 10 minutes and be teas also have no sugar but have biotin and col- on your way. We call it healthy fast food.” lagen in them. The specialty teas are the same Other products include boost drinks, donut as the beauty teas but with an additional 17 hole shots and more. grams of protein. Its hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday The final main product, the shakes, can be through Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and used as a meal replacement. They’re 200-250 noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, calories and have 24-27 grams of protein. visit homewoodnutrition.com.
Homewood Carpet and Flooring at 813 Green Springs Highway is moving into a new showroom a couple of doors down from its current location. Photo by Ingrid Schnader.
Flooring business moves, expands By INGRID SCHNADER A family-owned Homewood business is seeing a major expansion this year. Homewood Carpet & Flooring, owned by Foo Shunnarah for 15 years, is not only moving into a bigger space, but Shunnarah also recently purchased Sharp Carpet Hardwood & Tile, a business that saw 28 years of success in the flooring industry. The new showroom for Homewood Carpet & Flooring is two doors down from the business’ current space in a storefront that was previously a mattress store. Not only does this space connect to the warehouse, but it’s also approximately four times larger. “We’ll have more displays, more to show and more sales reps,” Shunnarah said. “It’ll be good to do get-togethers here, bring designers and builders in, and have one-night-only specials for people who are invited. It opens the door for a lot of activity we can’t do here because of space.” Shunnarah had been wanting to move to a
larger space for a while, and he said he actually had his eyes on the former Sharp Carpet space. He wasn’t able to get that space, though, so after purchasing Sharp Carpet, he made the decision to move his business a few doors down. Homewood Carpet & Flooring works with its clients in a family-oriented, one-on-one way, similar to how Sharp Carpet operated, Shunnarah said. So when the owner decided to retire, Shunnarah purchased the company’s phone numbers and client files. “Sharp Carpet is Homewood Carpet now, so any existing Sharp Carpet clients are more than welcome to call us, and we’ll service them,” he said. Business has been doing well, Shunnarah said, and luxury vinyl flooring is currently about 60% of the market right now. “It’s durable, water resistant and very hard to scratch,” he said. “And it’s really easy to keep clean.” Shunnarah said he anticipates moving into the new showroom in May. Visit homewood carpet.com for more information.
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The Homewood Star
A10 • May 2021
Ironwood Kitchen & Cocktails is The Valley Hotel’s upscale dining option. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served all week, and in addition to food, the menu includes beer, wine and cocktails. Photos by Ingrid Schnader.
Valley Hotel adds 3 dining concepts downtown By INGRID SCHNADER The Valley Hotel, which is a 129-room luxury hotel on 18th Street, opened its doors in January. While the hotel might appeal more to out-oftown visitors, the Valley Hotel also has something for Homewood residents to enjoy with its three new dining concepts. Ironwood Kitchen & Cocktails is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s an upscale restaurant serving quality regional ingredients as reimagined Southern comfort staples. The Terrace Bar has original craft cocktails on the menu, and patrons can enjoy their drinks by the fire with views of the Vulcan statue. The hotel also has a cafe called The Valley Coffee Company, which serves craft coffee and pastries. Franck Debril, who serves as the director of food and beverage at Valor Hospitality Partners, grew up in France. From an early age, he loved to cook, and his mother taught him how to make crepes, he said. He attended culinary school in France, traveled with the French army as a maître d', became a server on cruise ships and then entered the hotel industry. There’s something for everyone at Ironwood, Debril said. There are menu items that cater to patrons who are vegetarian, gluten-free or meat lovers. The menu was curated by executive chef Doug Zuk, who before coming to Birmingham spent eight years in the food and beverage industry in Las Vegas. His menu not only includes Southern staples but also has some of his signature dishes, Debril said. A few menu items jump out in Debril’s mind, he said. One is a starter called The Hanger. “If you’ve seen your grandmother’s clothes drying on a line outside, well, picture a version of a line, and on there, we have laundry pins that are holding pieces of thick-cut bacon coated in brown sugar and ground chipotle powder, and it’s baked slowly in the oven and brought to the table,” he said. “As soon as you pass with that item, everybody notices and says, ‘Oh my gosh, is this bacon? Can I have one?’” Another of Debril’s favorite starters is the Blue Crab Pancakes, which includes three crab pancakes with smoked corn and black-eyed pea salad. It’s topped with a charred pepper jelly. Entrees on Ironwood’s dinner menu include scallops, filet mignon, salmon and cauliflower steak. Debril laughed and said he knows about cocktails on both ends — preparing them and drinking them. One of his favorite cocktails offered on the Ironwood menu is the smoked old fashioned. The kitchen uses a smoking gun, which he said looks like a hairdryer and sends
Ironwood Kitchen & Cocktails
► Upscale restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining serving breakfast, lunch and dinner in addition to beer, wine and cocktails. ► Breakfast is served 6:30-10:30 a.m. seven days a week. Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week. Dinner is served 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Above: The Terrace Bar includes outdoor seating with fireside views of the Vulcan statue. Left: The Valley Coffee Co. is an indoor cafe serving house-made pastries and coffee from Non-fiction Coffee Co.
smoke through a nozzle. The bartender fills the glass with smoke and pours the drink, which has bourbon, simple syrup, bitters, a dehydrated orange and an amarena cherry. The bartender then covers the drink, brings it to the table and removes the cover. “When you bring it to the table, the flavor, as well as the smell, it’s just unbelievable,” Debril said. “Again, it’s a showstopper. When you bring one to the table, it’s very rare that somebody doesn’t say ‘You know what? I’m going to try that, too.’ “The senses are awakened in different ways. It’s not just vision and taste, but now it’s also smelling. You have three of them from just one drink, and that’s fantastic.” Upstairs from the Ironwood Kitchen is the Terrace Bar, and Debril said it has more of a “toned-down” menu with appetizers and cocktails, but if guests are at the Terrace Bar and
request a menu item from Ironwood, Debril said the staff can make that happen because it’s all in one building. Similar to Ironwood, the Terrace Bar has both indoor and outdoor seating, and guests can turn on one of the fire pits in the outdoor seating area to keep warm. Near the hotel lobby is The Valley Coffee Co. This is near to Debril’s heart, he said, adding that he loves great coffee. The coffee machine is a French brand called Unic, and it will brew local coffee from Non-fiction Coffee Co., which is based in Pelham. The cafe will also serve house-made pastries. “We have a great talent in the pastry world, and she does every day some chocolate croissants, which I am somewhat of an expert at eating,” he said, laughing. “I know what is good and what is fair, and this is excellent. This is just a great product for breakfast.”
► Fireside views of the Vulcan statue and a menu with drinks and appetizers. ► Hours are 4-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 4-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Valley Coffee Co. ► An indoor cafe serving housemade pastries and coffee from Non-fiction Coffee Co. ► Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.
The Valley Hotel invited The Homewood Star for dinner and a night at the hotel. Watch our virtual tour here.
In the afternoon, The Valley Coffee Co. offers a variety of gourmet salads and artisanal sandwiches. It also serves beer, wine and cocktails. The hotel’s three concepts tie together all of a guest’s dining needs, Debril said. “If you want coffee and a pastry, you go to the Valley Coffee Company. If you want a relaxing moment and sun time, you go to the Terrace Bar on the second floor. And if you want to have dinner with your sweetheart, we are ready downstairs at Ironwood Kitchen to make it happen.” The Valley Hotel is at 2727 18th St. S. Visit valleyhotelbirmingham.com for more information.
May 2021 • A11
Manduu Fitness brings electrical muscle stimulation workout downtown By INGRID SCHNADER
At Manduu Fitness, clients change into specially designed workout clothes and complete a 15-minute electrical muscle stimulation workout. Photo courtesy of Paul Payne.
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There will soon be a new way to work out in Homewood. Manduu Fitness, which is expected to open this summer on 18th Street in Homewood, is a 15-minute electrical muscle stimulation workout. Clients will change into specially designed workout clothes when they walk in, and then they’re fitted with an electrical suit. It’s battery powered, so nothing is plugged into the wall. Then, the trainer leads up to two clients at a time through a series of stretching and flexing movements while the electrical machine conducts mild electrical pulses. The pulses don’t hurt, but they add resistance to the client’s movements. The more capable a client becomes, the more they can choose to increase the intensity. The workout is low-impact. The client doesn’t jump or bounce, which means no strain will be placed on the joints, tendons or ligaments during the workout. It’s the perfect workout for clients who are busy. From the time a client walks in to the time they walk out, approximately 35 minutes will have passed, said Paul Payne, who owns the Homewood location. Many clients also don’t get sweaty enough to need a shower, so they can easily return to work after a quick workout, said his wife, JoLeigh Payne. Paul and JoLeigh Payne currently work out at a Manduu Fitness in Franklin, Tennessee, where they live. JoLeigh heard about it when Kathie Lee Gifford spoke about it on the “Today Show.” “She took her jacket off, and she had guns, and it was crazy,” JoLeigh said. “So I tried it, and I was so amazed by the results.” At first, her husband thought she was
crazy, she said, and she admits the concept sounds novel when you first hear about it. But when Paul saw JoLeigh’s results, he tried it out and fell in love with Manduu, too, she said. “The results were so fast,” JoLeigh said. “We’re in our late 50s, and we were waking up in the morning sometimes with some aches and pains. And that was the first thing that went away.” They both also quickly noticed results in their muscle strength, Paul said. “I would say after the third visit, you’ll notice results in your body,” he said. The EMS workout penetrates up to 95% of a client’s muscle tissue across nine muscle groups, and one 15-minute Manduu workout is equivalent to about six hours of strength training. But unlike traditional strength training, a client doesn’t have to lift weights or put strain on the body. Also, because the sessions are one-on-one or twoon-one, the trainers at Manduu are able to give individualized focus to each client and maximize each client’s workout. The Homewood location will be the first in Alabama, and the Paynes plan to open three to five more locations in the Birmingham area in the next five years. Clients can choose a four-session package for $169, which is ideal for a client who chooses to come once a week. There’s also a six-session package for $199 a month and an unlimited plan for $249 a month. No matter which plan a client chooses, there is a minimum waiting time of 48 hours between sessions so the muscles have time to take a break. The first session for each new client is free. For more information or to watch videos of the concept in action, visit manduu.com.
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The Homewood Star
A12 • May 2021
Sporting goods store coming to 18th Street
Left: Leah and David Knight stand in the Bandwagon store with their kids, from left, Henry, Ben, Mary Everett and Andrew. Photo by Ingrid Schnader. Above: Bandwagon opened in January at a temporary location on Linden Avenue and plans to soon move to the 18th Street storefront formerly occupied by Sikes Children’s Shoes and Jack n’ Jill, seen here in this concept image. Photo courtesy of David Knight.
By INGRID SCHNADER A new community-based sporting goods and sports apparel retail store has opened in Homewood. Bandwagon, owned by David and Leah Knight, opened in January at a temporary location on Linden Avenue, and the Knights plan to soon move their store to the 18th Street storefront formerly occupied by Sikes Children’s Shoes and Jack n’ Jill. The Knights have four children ages 3-10 who play baseball, soccer and flag football. Over the years, they began to recognize a stronger need for sports apparel and sporting goods, David said. “We’ve found ourselves driving a little ways to buy a baseball bat or glove and different things like that,” he said. They began growing the concept in the summer of 2020 and launched in January. Bandwagon’s merchandise focuses on baseball and softball and sells bats, gloves, helmets, pants, cleats and more for those sports. The business will continue to add equipment and apparel in other sports throughout its growth, Knight said. Bandwagon also offers custom branded apparel for Homewood and the surrounding communities. Whether the customer is a Homewood Patriot, a Vestavia Hills Rebel or a Mountain Brook Spartan, they’ll find sweatshirts, hoodies, socks and other items with their school’s branding on it. “There are stores around here that have some of that, but I think the quantity of different
Bandwagon • WHERE: Currently operates at a temporary location on 2905 Linden Ave. Plans to open in May at its new location at 2920 18th St. • HOURS: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday • WEB: bandwagonsports.com
branded apparel differentiates us from other retailers around here,” he said. There are three main ways customers can shop at Bandwagon. First is the traditional in-store method. Bandwagon also stands out with its e-commerce platform, giving customers who visit their website the opportunity to see what’s in stock, order online and pick up at the store. Last, Bandwagon will also do team orders such as custom uniforms, hats and T-shirts for a group. “I think that’s another differentiator for us,
where we have all three,” David said. “I don’t know of another small business retailer that does all three.” The Knights chose the name Bandwagon because they wanted something catchy and something related to sports, David said. “If you think about bandwagon as it relates to sports, you think about a bandwagon fan, and that can actually have a negative connotation,” he said. “As we developed it, we saw it as a fun name we could flip to a more positive name and do a bunch of fun things with the branding of
it. It’s already catching on. It’s memorable, and you don’t forget it when you hear it.” David said the thing he wants to communicate to the community is that Bandwagon is 100% locally owned. “And when we say locally owned, we are literally half a mile down the street,” he said. “Three of my kids go to Edgewood Elementary. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that we’re ingrained in the community and involved in supporting youth sports and the schools across Birmingham.” Bandwagon projects an early May move into the 2920 18th St. location. For more information, visit bandwagonsports.com.
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May 2021 • A13
Carpool made simple By INGRID SCHNADER Homewood resident Kristen Moran is a mom of four, and her children go to four different schools. Her twins are on separate lacrosse teams and have practices that overlap by about 30 minutes. One of her daughters practices gymnastics. “It gets kind of dicey, where you literally have to be at four different places at the same time,” Moran said. Moran is the business development manager at CoolBus, which is a new app created by Vestavia residents John and Sarah Wright. The app that allows parents to connect to other parents for carpooling. Here’s how it works: You open the app and, after syncing your contact to the app, you click “Find a ride.” You enter the to and from address of where you need a ride. You select how many of your children will need the ride. Then you enter the date and time of the ride so you can plan in advance and give parents time to offer a ride. You can also offer gas money to whomever gives a ride. Once you submit your ride, you’ll be able to see other people within your contacts and extended circle who are also going to the same place at the same time. You can see how you’re connected to that person — you might not have that person in your contacts, but it could be your trusted friend’s contact (you can choose trusted friends in the app). You can request a ride from that person, and the other person can request or deny it (and the other person doesn’t know if you deny a request). When the ride is approved, the two parents can use the chat function and discuss details of the ride. If none of your contacts are available for the ride, you can also post the ride to a job board, where people from outside of your contact list can volunteer to drive for your children. This part is optional — if you want to keep your ride only visible to your contacts, then you can
Above: Sarah Wright opens up the CoolBus app on her phone as she creates a new ride for one of her three children for an afterschool activity. Left: The app was created by the Wright family — Georgia, G.W., 13, Sarah, John, Sadie, 6, and Lucy Kate, 9 — who said they found it difficult to find rides for their four children. Photos by Erin Nelson.
omit this part. Moran shared a time before the CoolBus app was developed when the app would have
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It gets kind of dicey, where you literally have to be at four different places at the same time.
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come in handy. Her youngest was an infant, and her other three children were all students at Edgewood Elementary School at the time. They
typically walked home from school. Then at 2:50 p.m., five minutes before school dismissal, a huge thunderstorm erupted “out of nowhere,” Moran said. “They weren’t allowing our kids to leave because it was dangerous,” she said. “So here I am at home with a sleeping newborn, and I’m like, ‘What am I going to do?’” She frantically texted her other friends with children at Edgewood, but they weren’t responding — they, too, were in a panic, Moran said. “If I had CoolBus, I could have gotten on and asked who was at the school and could give a ride to my kids,” she said. “We have push notifications, so someone would have seen it and said, ‘I’m here, Kristen, and I can grab your child.’” CoolBus isn’t a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. Parents can make sure only trusted contacts or mutual friends drive their children. Also unlike a rideshare service, CoolBus does best when rides are planned in advance. There’s a subscription fee of $9.99 a month for the service, and offering gas money to drivers is an optional additional cost. For those who use the Homewood PTO code for CoolBus’ Dollars for Downloads program, one dollar from each month of subscription will go to the Homewood PTO. Visit coolbus.com for more information. You can also download the app using your mobile phone’s app store.
The Homewood Star
A14 • May 2021
18 Street S.
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Now Open Rolls will share a retail location with Meals by Misty — which offers take-and-bake casseroles, soups, salads and an array of side dishes — at 2900 Crescent Ave. Rolls: 205-789-3753, rolls-homewood.myshopify.com Meals by Misty: 205-490-1495, mealsbymisty.com
W Oxmoor Rd
3 kw eP or
Buka, a neighborhood wine shop, market, and takeaway cafe, opened at 186 Oxmoor Road, Suite 100, in West Homewood on April 19. 205-527-8007, bukabhm.com
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May 2021 • A15
Relocations and Renovations
clothing manager. Caliber sells firearms, hunting gear, clothing and more. 205-917-5800, caliberxl.com
ExerShop, which offers a full line of fitness equipment for residential and commercial use, is expanding and relocating its showroom to 131 West Oxmoor Road, Suite 119. It also provides service, delivery and installation of fitness equipment. 205-683-2599, exershop.com
News and Accomplishments
Dear Prudence left its Edgewood location, which was next to Big Spoon Creamery at 929 Oxmoor Road, and now operates at 250 Summit Blvd., Suite 104 at The Summit next to Urban Cookhouse. The boutique offers clothing, jewelry and gifts. 205-538-5959, dearprudence.com
The Cottage Basket has moved to a larger space at 2901 18th St. S. The store sells gifts, home accents, jewelry and more. 205-460-1054, thecottagebasket.com
New Ownership Alabama Gaslight & Grill, 2828 Linden Ave., which has been in business since 1967, has been acquired by Hollywood Pools, 1441 U.S. 31. in Vestavia Hills. hollywoodpoolandspas.com
Personnel Moves Byars|Wright Inc., an insurance agency with an office at 1701 28th Ave. S. in Homewood, recently named Scott Campbell the head of its personal insurance department. As head of personal lines, Campbell oversees a team of sales and service employees whose primary focus is bringing in new business and serving Byars|Wright’s personal insurance customers. 205-417-1321, byarswright.com
Caliber, a sporting goods store at 2822 Central Ave., hired Logan Grill as the
Thomas Andrew Art, 1925 29th Ave. S., an art gallery in downtown Homewood, opened its Chocolate Lounge, giving customers an opportunity to eat something sweet while they peruse local art. 205-504-3412, thomasandrewart.com
Anniversaries Shades Creek Dental, 1045 Broadway Park, Suite 101, is celebrating its third anniversary. 205-417-2750, shadescreekdental.com
Maple Street Biscuit Co., 2801 18th St. S., is celebrating its Homewood location’s first anniversary May 28. 205-414-0999, maplestreetbiscuits.com/ homewood
Law Orthodontics, 1910 28th Ave. S., Suite 100, and owner Dr. Maggie Law are celebrating the practice’s first anniversary. 205-855-5111, lawortho.com
Robins & Morton, a privately held construction firm at 400 Shades Creek Parkway, is celebrating 75 years in business. 205-870-1000, robinsmorton.com
Closings A Social Affair, which was located at 903 Broadway St., closed at the beginning of 2021. The business had more than 30 years in the catering business, according to the business' Facebook page. Tarell Chavis, the former catering supervisor at A Social Affair, said the pandemic played a role in the closure.
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The Homewood Star
A16 • May 2021
Homewood native and renowned artist Steve Skipper works on a commissioned painting of former Florida State University head football coach Bobby Bowden, celebrating Bowden’s 55-year coaching career, inside his home studio in Roebuck. Photos by Erin Nelson.
Steve Skipper finds escape through art
Documentary debuts about Homewood native’s experience with street gang, coming to Christ By INGRID SCHNADER A full-length documentary film that debuted in November tells the story of Steve Skipper, a Homewood native who broke down barriers of racism through his fine art career. Growing up in Homewood, Skipper said there was a lot of dysfunction in his home: he witnessed his mother with another man when Skipper was 9, and he said he felt angry for his father. “At 9 years old, you don’t know what to do with that kind of trauma and anger,” Skipper said. “Instead of controlling it, it controlled me.” One Sunday after church, his friends introduced 13-year-old Skipper to marijuana, and after that, he was told about the Crips, which is one of the largest street gangs in the country. He snuck out of his house at midnight to meet them. “This isn’t a group you just join. It’s a far cry from the Boy Scouts,” he said. “This is a group where you have to be jumped in, and that’s where one person has to fight 10 of the gang members alone. “With all of the anger inside of me, when I looked at these guys, I saw the face of my mother. All of the anger inside of me came out, and next thing I know, these guys were on the ground.” He didn’t know it then, but Skipper said the next few years were the worst of his life. He started selling drugs at Homewood High School when he was 14, and by age 16, he was one of the gang leaders. But at this time, he was getting tired of being in the gang, he said. One day he and a dozen of the other gang members were at the swimming pool celebrating and
getting high after they had successfully robbed somebody. That’s when a lifeguard told Skipper he needed to put the drugs down and give his life to the Lord. “Nobody knew that on the inside of myself I was getting tired of being in this gang,” Skipper said. “And everything he was saying about Jesus Christ, I was really taking it in, but I couldn’t show the guys who were with me.” To keep his friends from attacking the lifeguard, Skipper told him to back off. But the lifeguard kept talking about Jesus. So Skipper made him a deal: if he stopped talking to them, Skipper would go to church with him one night. It was a deal. “I went into the church expecting to stay 15 minutes, and I ended up staying 46 years because I ended up giving my life to Christ that night,” Skipper said. He also started to find an escape through painting. His uncle was an “exceptional” drawer, Skipper said, but he never understood why his uncle didn’t pursue drawing professionally. Then when Skipper was older, he realized it was because Black people couldn’t pursue art as a profession. “I would always notice my uncle would draw something very beautiful, but when he got through with it, he would look very sad,” Skipper said. In fourth grade, Skipper was doodling on his notebook when his teacher saw the doodles, took the notebook away and sent it to the principal’s office. Skipper thought he was in trouble, but then he heard the teacher tell the principal that she thought Skipper was extremely talented. She asked if money could be allocated for art supplies, but the
Skipper was the first person in his family to go to college, and he went on a scholarship to Florida State University.
principal said no. The teacher visited Skipper’s home and told his mother that she thought he could become an artist someday. But Skipper’s mother bristled at the idea, knowing what happened to his uncle. She didn’t want her son to face discrimination through his art, Skipper said. The teacher bought him art supplies and oil paint with her own money, but at the time, Skipper didn’t know what to do with it all or why the teacher had taken an interest in him, he said. When Skipper became a Christian at 16, he realized where his talent had come from. It came from God, he said. “It caused me to dig it up and start using my talent, because one thing the minister talked about was people with talent,” he said. “He said that
every time you use the gift God has given you, it actually pleases him. So to please him, to use that gift, was like pouring gasoline on a fire.” But he didn’t start painting right away. First, he had to quit the gang. “I had experienced people trying that before, and it never worked well,” he said. The minister’s message one night was that once a person dies, if that person accepted Jesus into his or her heart, that person would go to Heaven. Skipper took that in wholeheartedly, and he felt a boldness on him. He went to the gang and told them he wasn’t coming back anymore, he said. “I knew that if I turned around and walked out of that door, I was going to be shot,” he said. “So I took the first step, no shot. Second step, no
shot. Third step, no shot. Four million steps, still no shot. “I found out the radical change in my life stunned them so much that they didn’t say or do anything.” Skipper, 62, said he can’t believe he didn’t die that day, he said. “It had to be God protecting me,” he said. At 17, he was at football practice in the pouring rain when he looked over at the high school. There was a light on in the art department. That’s when he had an epiphany, and he decided he wanted to be an artist, he said. Skipper was the first person in his family to go to college, and he went on a scholarship to Florida State University. He was a “starving artist” for years he said, laughing. He remembers his mother telling him to “get a real job.” When he sold a painting for $10,000 to Derrick Thomas, a former player on the University of Alabama football team, he took the check to his mother and she said, “You’ve got a real job, son.” Skipper is now the only artist officially recognized by the University of Alabama and has created commemorative works for each of the team’s national football championships. “The presence of God, and the fact that I have no formal training, and I can’t do it better than anyone else until I sit down in that chair in front of that easel and he puts his hands on top of mine —I think that’s the thrill,” he said. Skipper’s story debuted as a documentary in November, and he said he could have “never imagined” the response it got. The film, called “Colors of Character,” sold out on DVD shortly after it was released. When theaters reopen as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Skipper said the movie might also play in theaters. The movie is also available for download online. For more information or to watch the movie, visit colorsofcharactermovie.com.
May 2021 • A17
Annie: A legacy of grace and faith
Far left: Annie Montgomery. Left: Annie with her father, John Montgomery. Photos courtesy of EA Montgomery.
By INGRID SCHNADER Annie Montgomery, a 2-year-old who died in March, will be remembered for her joy for life, her never-quit personality and her love for her daddy and Jesus. Her mother, EA Montgomery, said she remembers the day she and her husband, John, brought Annie home from the hospital on March 5, 2019. This was EA’s second childbirth, but Annie was delivered at almost 42 weeks. “From the minute she was born, she seemed way bigger in body and spirit than a newborn baby,” she said. “She came out so healthy, strong, big and perfect.” From early on, Annie smiled all the time and brought so many people joy, EA said. “She was such a happy baby, and I always said, ‘This is too good to be true. At some point, she’s going to put me through the ringer.’” Annie loved the water and was enrolled in an infant safety rescue class in March 2020. She completed three lessons before the world shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic. Water safety has always been one of her family’s top priorities, EA said, adding that accidents can happen even when parents and children are nearby.
In March 2021, just over one week after Annie’s second birthday, Annie drowned in the swimming pool at her house in Homewood. EA pulled Annie out of the pool and started mouthto-mouth resuscitation. EA’s friend Hope Cox, who is an anesthesiologist, was swimming with the Montgomerys that day, and Cox intubated Annie poolside once the emergency medical technicians arrived. This action gave the Montgomerys an extra 48 hours with Annie, EA said. Also, through CaringBridge, EA’s closest friend, Hannah Morris, was able to keep everyone informed in real time and recruit all of the support and prayer they needed. “I feel like in our country, for like two years now, all we’ve done is fight and argue, and there’s been so much divisiveness and so much anger and judgment,” she said. “For 48 hours, so many people across the country and the
world were praying for one thing. Everyone was on the same page. Everyone was able to think outside of themselves. And that gift came only because I had two brilliant friends, and our community had a really great response team.” “For 48 hours, we were given the opportunity to be with our baby, to surrender to suffering, to receive and give grace.” Annie died March 15 in the arms of her parents. EA said she had an “epic moment” on the way to the funeral home. “I was sitting at the stoplight on Highway 31, and the cars were just flying by,” she said. “I had this crazy out-of-body moment, and was like: None of these cars know me. No one knows I’m going to a funeral for my 2-year-old baby. And I also thought, I don’t know what the people in the cars next to me are going through. ... We just don’t know what people are going through, ever. It’s so important to extend grace.”
Annie’s legacy is one of grace and faith, EA said. Annie loved going to church and school at Our Lady of Sorrows in Homewood. “That baby loved Jesus, and everyone knew it,” she said. “She would run down the aisle at church, pointing to the crucifix and the stained glass, screaming, ‘Jesus!’ She wanted to kiss the statue of Mary and baby Jesus in front of the church every time I picked her up from school.” EA also said Annie’s legacy is trusting that which cannot be fully understood. “We are people of faith, so I don’t think we could have done anything to change the trajectory of the life Christ had planned for her,” she said. “I believe we have a narrative that is written.” In Annie’s final moments in Children’s Hospital, EA said she repeated the same phrases. “I love you. It is an honor to be your mother. And although I do not understand the ‘why,’ I am here for it.”
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The Homewood Star
A18 • May 2021
TOSSING BAGS FOR BUCKS
The Homewood Athletic Foundation hosted its sixth annual Cornapalooza cornhole tournament April 18 at Patriot Park. Money raised from the event provides grants for student-athletes in the Homewood City Schools system.
Ward 3 Councilor Walter Jones tosses a bag while his opponent, Tiffany McIntyre, celebrates her throw.
Photos by Ingrid Schnader
Above: Christian Stark tosses a bag. Right: Buddy Ketcham takes his turn.
Above: A dog named Cash socializes with tournament-watchers. Left: Ward 1 Councilor Andy Gwaltney tosses a bag.
f Opinion ff
May 2021 • A19
MISS SIMS GARDEN presents
Ordinary Days By Lauren Denton
Finding trust in indecision I read somewhere that the averI can flag down a passing ship. Or age adult makes around 35,000 heck, even someone in a seawordecisions per day. thy canoe would work. (Side note: I have a feeling during the craziWriting a book is hard.) ness of the COVID-19 pandemic, Take a quick look on the internet that number probably tripled, but and you’ll find all kinds of words even now, when things do feel like thrown together about indecithey’re calming down, there’s still sion, specifically how not to be a decision at every turn. And if indecisive: indecision is something you strug“Figure out your long-term goal gle with — as I tend to do — you and pick the choice that fits it best. Denton Letting go of people-pleasing tenknow how exhausting it can be, if not paralyzing. dencies will help you make better decisions. It’s Sometimes just pulling into my driveway easy to come to decisions if you just express all after dropping the kids off from school freezes your thoughts and feelings.” me into paralysis. I know there are so many If you’re feeling a little less introspective, things I need to do with my day, so many ways there’s the wisdom of the Lazy Genius. She I can fill my seven child-free hours, but often, talks about decisions you make once, so that unable to make the call of what needs to come you don’t have to make them again. For examfirst — walk the dog, put the laundry in, run to ple, make spaghetti every Monday night. No Publix, return the email, or, oh right, maybe eat need to think about it. Or toilet Tuesdays — breakfast — instead I sit in my car and scroll you know on Tuesdays, at least one toilet will through Instagram because it’s easy and it be cleaned. Or make the one-time decision to doesn’t require me to make a decision. walk for an hour every single day — good for Smart, huh? the body, good for the mind, and you don’t have As an author, this indecision often shows to decide if you’ll fit in exercise, because it’s up in my writing. Specifically when I’m in the already decided. middle of a novel, as I am right now as I write There’s a lot of good wisdom in all of this, this column. I near the midway point and the both the introspective and the practical, but I boat I’m rowing across this vast ocean starts think for me, the issue is much deeper. to spring leaks. The book feels like it’s falling More than not expressing all my feelings or apart, and I don’t know what to do to make it my desire to skip a toilet Tuesday, I think much better. of my indecision has to do with not trusting that Keep rowing? God will take care of me. Or my people. When decisions are many and any path seems like an Fix the holes? Go back to the shore and try another route? OK choice, it usually feels like it’s up to me Unable to make a decision about which to figure out the single one that will make the course to take, I sit in my sinking boat and pray situation turn out perfectly.
The last time I wrote about my struggle with indecision, it was regarding a schooling choice for one of our daughters. The decision was keeping me up at night and taking over all my waking thoughts. These days, indecision coats everything from what camps to sign my kids up for this summer to how to get out of the middle of the ocean in my sinking book boat. If I take a step back from what feels like impossible decisions — those that make me feel alone in my struggle — I remember a verse that always slips onto my shoulder when I get in a place like this: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it.” It doesn’t mean I’ll mysteriously or supernaturally have the ability to make the perfect decision at every turn, but it reminds me that God has given me a wide space in which to move, and whatever prayerful, thoughtful decision I make, He will use it for his glory and my good. Meatless Mondays and Toilet Tuesdays may help in the short-term, but I’ll keep trying to let it settle down deep in my bones that it’s not up to me to make any situation work out perfectly, and I’m not alone as I row in my little boat. When I’m not writing about my family and our various shenanigans, I write novels and go to the grocery store. My novels are in stores and online. You can reach me by email at lauren@lauren kdenton.com, visit my website, lauren kdenton.com, or find me on Instagram @LaurenKDentonBooks, Twitter @LaurenK Denton, or on Facebook ~LaurenK DentonAuthor.
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The Homewood Star
A20 • May 2021
Community Have a community announcement? Email Ingrid Schnader at firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.
Homewood library receives bicentennial award The Homewood Public Library received a special plaque commemorating its outstanding contribution to Alabama’s recent bicentennial celebration. Between March 3, 2017, and Dec. 14, 2019, every county, more than 200 local community committees and dozens of organizations throughout the state participated in Alabama’s bicentennial commemoration. They undertook hundreds of projects and activities over the three-year celebration. From those, the Alabama Bicentennial Commission selected 21 projects to receive legacy awards and 41 to receive commendations. All made a significant and lasting contribution to the state’s commemoration. “Alabama people, communities and organizations showed their creativity and resourcefulness throughout the commemoration, but nowhere more than in the programs and projects they brought to life,” said Alabama Bicentennial Commission Executive Director Jay Lamar. “They helped ensure the bicentennial engaged all ages and interests. The bronze plaques are permanent testimonies to their contributions.” The specially made bronze plaque names the Homewood Public Library as a recipient and will be displayed outside the entrance of the Adult Department. Leslie West is the head of adult services at the Homewood Public Library, which provided much of
Deborah Fout and Leslie West stand beside a plaque commemorating the Homewood Public Library’s outstanding contribution to Alabama’s recent bicentennial celebration. Photo courtesy of Judith Wright.
the bicentennial programming for the library. “The library partnered with many organizations to provide a wide variety of programming that featured Alabama history, geography, famous persons, industry and culture," West said. "Our community was immensely supportive of our efforts to highlight our state during its bicentennial. We are extremely proud to have received this award for quality programming. It means so much to us.” Among the award recipients were exhibitions, school projects and city murals. Many initiatives
were locally focused, while others involved regional or even statewide interests. Many are especially notable for their long-term relevance and impact. The awards also represented every region of the state and ranged from small towns to major metropolitan centers. Community partners included junior colleges, county commissions and historic sites. For more information about the Alabama Bicentennial Legacy Awards and the bicentennial commemoration, visit alabama200.org or call 334-242-4537. – Submitted by Judith Wright.
Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys opens 7 new offices in 5 states Alexander Shunclient we serve,” said narah Trial Attorneys, Alexander Shunnarah, P.C., a personal injury founder and president law firm headquarof Alexander Shuntered in Alabama and narah Trial Attorneys. led by a John Carroll “We go to war for the Catholic High School families we serve and graduate, announced fight until the end for its national expanthe justice, compension amidst a global sation and victory pandemic. they deserve. Our Shunnarah “Even in a time of commitment to our uncertainty, the firm clients stretches far has grown stronger and unwavering beyond the Alabama state line, and in their commitment and dedication now reaches nine states across our to providing clients the financial country. We’re here for them and we rewards they deserve,” the company won’t stop fighting.” said in a release. Under the leadership of ShunAlexander Shunnarah Trial Attor- narah, the law firm also made strides neys opened seven new offices in in recruiting legal talent in each of 2020, spanning across Arkansas, the following new targeted markets Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ten- for expansion: nessee and Texas. These particular ► Boston ► Dallas markets were identified based on ► Houston their potential for top-notch legal ► Little Rock, Arkansas service and legal representation. ► Memphis, Tennessee The leading legal talents in each market caught the firm’s attention ► Nashville, Tennessee ► New Orleans and inspired the high growth on a national level. The powerhouse This award-winning and nationlaw firm now has 20 offices in nine ally recognized firm has represented states with more than 400 attorneys over 50,000 clients and recovered and staff across the nation assisting over $800 million for them to date. personal injury and accident clients The firm prides itself on providing with their experience and expertise. outstanding legal advice and excel“At the end of the day, this lent representation for their clients, national push isn’t for the firm’s a statement said. success — it’s for each and every – Submitted by Chelsea Eytel.
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May 2021 • A21
CONTINUED from page A1 degree at Baylor University. He said he had a wonderful experience as a college student and wanted to become a college professor because he loved his university so much. “I had such a formative experience there,” he said. “I met my spouse as an undergraduate. I grew and learned more about myself and the world. I love university life, and so I got into higher education.” He earned his master’s degree and doctorate in economics from Purdue University so he could teach college economics, and over time, he began to take on more leadership roles. Eventually he became president at Whitworth University, a title he held 11 years until he transitioned to the presidency at Samford. “I think 11 years in a president’s role at a comparable institution prepares me well for leadership at Samford,” he said. “Samford is a different institution, it’s in a different area, and it’s in a different stage of its own journey as an institution. But I think a lot of the skills, experience and — I hope — wisdom that I accumulated at Whitworth University, I’ll be able to bring with me to serve this community.” From the beginning, Taylor was drawn to Samford University because of its unique mission: to combine faith, education and quality learning. He also points to the quality of people with whom he surrounded himself during his early years at Samford. “Students, faculty, staff, people working in the School of Business from when I was here previously — I was just so impressed with the kind of people Samford attracts,” he said. “Coming back, I think my biggest joy and excitement is coming back into this community, getting to work with some of the same people and getting to know some new people in the community.” He’s also attracted to the way Samford is invested in its community, he said. The university sees itself as a vital part of Homewood and the surrounding Birmingham area, he said. “I often say Samford will rise and fall based on the ways in which our community will rise and fall, so we want to be invested in the health,
Samford University President Beck A. Taylor and Julie Taylor, his wife of 28 years, stand with Spike the Bulldog along Centennial Walk. Photo courtesy of Samford University.
wealth and flourishing of Homewood, in Birmingham and in our region,” he said. “I’m looking forward to talking to local business leaders, economic developers and others to see how Samford University can continue the tradition of investing in the communities in which we live.” Looking back on his career thus far, he said one of his career highlights would be when he had the pleasure of renaming Samford’s business school in honor of Harry Brock Jr., the founder of Compass Bank. This was part of a rapid transformation of the business school led by Taylor during his time as dean. Taylor led the Brock School of Business to establish eight new academic programs as
well as the school’s new honors program. The school’s entrepreneurship program was recognized in 2010 as the nation’s top emerging program by the U.S. Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship. In an effort to build bridges between students and the Birmingham business community, Taylor established the Samford Business Network, as well as a 45-member advisory board of the region’s top business leaders. He also created many memories while president at Whitworth, and most of them involved celebrating the achievements of the students, faculty and staff, he said. “I’ll be on the frontlines cheering on our
students at every venue imaginable, from the classroom to the residence hall, to the athletic fields, to the performing stage,” he said. Taylor describes his leadership style as strategic and visionary. As president, he will commit himself to be a good listener and relearn the institution, he said. “I want to equip our community to grow and change in healthy ways, but that has to be a collective effort, and I look forward to engaging all of Samford’s constituents in that conversation,” he said. “I want you to know I’m fully invested in this role and this job. I love Samford University already. I can’t wait to come and immerse myself back into this community.”
The Homewood Star
A22 • May 2021
HOW DO PEOPLE LIVING IN HOMEWOOD PERCEIVE THE PANDEMIC? The Homewood Star published an online survey that was open for responses from March 25 to April 5. Out of 1,309 people who responded to our survey via Google Forms, 365 people said they lived in Homewood. The graphs below illustrate only Homewood residents’ responses.
Dr. Ellen Eaton, a Homewood resident and an infectious diseases physician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said that because of her background, her public health messaging from the beginning has been about protecting the vulnerable, such as elderly people or people experiencing homelessness. Photo courtesy of Dr. Ellen Eaton.
CONTINUED from page A1 understanding how the virus was spread, how to test people and more. People began to listen to the opinions of people who didn’t have a medical background, she said. She started posting coronavirus information on her personal Facebook page because she felt there was a void of good data, she said. Early on, this was snippets about hand hygiene and the importance of staying at home. The conversation eventually centered around masking and vaccinations. As her friends began reposting her information, strangers began requesting to be friends with Eaton on Facebook. Her friend, who owns a photography business, showed Eaton how to create a professional Facebook page so that people could follow Eaton’s coronavirus updates without also seeing photos of her children. “I personally could not continue to watch people share memes about ‘This is just the flu,’ memes about body counts being over counted,” she said. Eaton is a physician researcher, and her research is focused on the intersection of mental health and infectious diseases. She focuses on addiction, specifically opioids, and HIV. “A lot of what we know about HIV and tuberculosis and Hepatitis C and all these other infections I’ve studied is the foundation for what I’ve seen and learned about COVID-19,” she said. “There’s a ton of overlap between the research I do around mental health and HIV and what we’ve seen play out in, for example, rural America with the coronavirus.” She directs an opioid treatment clinic at the UAB 1917 HIV clinic, which is the largest HIV health care unit in Alabama and one of the country’s leading HIV clinics. Her patients all have HIV and opioid use disorders, primarily heroin and fentanyl. Because of her background, her public health messaging from the beginning has been about protecting the vulnerable, such as elderly people or people experiencing homelessness, she said. “A lot of my messaging about protecting our vulnerable was very much inspired by what I was seeing in my clinic,” she said. “For example, a lot of the messaging around Safer at Home was like, ‘Please stay home
from this huge party so that I can keep my clinic open and care for patients who may not survive this pandemic without medical care.’ So that’s how my day-to-day job inspired my messaging.”
She encountered some big surprises along the way, she said. As an infectious diseases doctor, people have reached out to Eaton for a wide range of infections, even things like skin rashes. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Eaton said it seemed like people stopped trusting the experts. “That continues to baffle me,” she said. “Even people who are close to me who know my training, who know I have degrees in public health and infectious diseases and who ask me a number of questions during flu season, no longer wanted to know my thoughts on the coronavirus. “They were following maybe a very vocal person on social media or a very vocal politician, and frankly, a lot of the messaging was dangerous.” Whenever people “trolled” her page by posting mean or misinformative comments, Eaton said she would click on their Facebook profile and discover the person was in a career field completely different from medicine. “Give me a break,” she would say, laughing. Convincing the public to wear a mask continues to be a challenge, she said. “It’s a minority, but it’s a very loud minority of people who still think there is not good data around masking,” she said. “You can show them a laundry list of peer-reviewed journals by people who literally have dedicated their careers to coronaviruses in general, and they still will not want that expert’s opinion because they know someone on Facebook who shared an article that is misleading.” The Homewood Star conducted a survey and collected data about COVID-19 perceptions in Homewood. The data seem to suggest that where people get their information matters, and those who receive information from friends and family were the least likely to say they think masks prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is demonstrated in the charts on this page. When Eaton realized she was nominated for the Data Hero Award, she said it felt like a pat on the back after spending a year trying to keep the community informed, healthy and safe. “Human nature is we hear the negative
more than the positive — it weighs more heavily,” she said. “It feels like I’m the COVID police, and that people view me as a Negative Nelly or someone who spoils the fun because I don’t want people to gather. “So when you do get these little pats on the back, it does go a long way for encouragement and reminds you why you did this. Someone thought I made a difference.” One of the page’s top fans, Ericka Jackson, said she is a mom with multiple preexisting conditions and is raising a child who has a “concerning” history with respiratory illnesses. Being inundated with misinformation online made the pandemic even scarier, she said, until a friend recommended she follow Eaton’s page. “People warned me not to get overwhelmed with all the scary COVID headlines – but I appreciated that Dr. Eaton’s posts were well researched and informative,” Jackson said. “Knowledge is power, and reading the latest news, vetted by a medical expert, helped me understand how to mitigate the risks for myself and my family.” There have been times during the pandemic that Jackson said she considered letting her guard down because she felt she was the only one taking it seriously. Then she would get an update from Eaton’s page. “Seeing her other followers’ comments helped me know I wasn’t alone, and reading
her current posts helped me keep tabs on how serious the situation still was,” Jackson said. “I knew that as a local physician, she was seeing things the public wasn’t. I also knew that her only ‘agenda’ was to prevent the spread of a vicious virus and to help keep us all safe.”
The page won’t last forever. Once everyone in the community has access to the vaccine, Eaton said she feels like it will be time to shut it down. Eaton predicts many people in Homewood will want the vaccine, she said. In her social circles and in her patients, she has seen previously hesitant groups become more accepting about the vaccine, she said. In the survey conducted by The Homewood Star, 89.7% of Homewood respondents said they either already had one dose of the vaccine or said they would get vaccinated as soon as it was available to them. This survey closed April 5, so the numbers could change by the time this issue comes out. “It’s really encouraging,” she said. “Now that more and more people are vaccinated, I’m not having to post as much. It’s a relief, because it’s been a really heavy year.” Until that time, you can find her page by searching for Dr. Ellen Eaton Coronavirus Updates on Facebook.
May 2021 • A23
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John Hall excels as ‘The Captain’ for Patriots By KYLE PARMLEY For eight straight years, Lee Hall has penciled in a player atop his lineup who shared a common last name. For six years, that Hall was his son. But for the last two years, John Hall has hit leadoff for the Homewood High School baseball team. There’s no relation between coach and player, but the question gets asked often. “Every single game, somebody asks me,” John Hall said. After coaching sons Carson and Josh for several years, Lee Hall has enjoyed getting to still see the Hall name in the lineup the last two years. He said it will be a sad day the final time he writes John’s name on the lineup card. “We have a lot of fun with the fact that he hits leadoff and his last name is Hall,” Lee Hall said. John has played on the varsity team since his freshman year and has started every day since his sophomore campaign. He played second base in 10th grade and has settled in as the team’s shortstop the last two springs. Lee Hall knew John would be a varsity player from the beginning. As a freshman, he helped the Patriots as a courtesy runner and as a late-innings defensive player before becoming a starter the following year.
Homewood’s John Hall (16) turns to make the throw after fielding a ground ball during a game against Chelsea at Homewood High School on April 6. Photo by Erin Nelson.
“I’m watching him at practice thinking, ‘This kid is not going to play freshman baseball, and he’s not going to play JV baseball,’” Lee Hall said. “We’re going to pull him up because he has baseball instincts,
and he has a motor that won’t quit.” John is the captain of the Patriots, as one of seven seniors on this year’s squad. Lee Hall looks deeper than that, though. For years, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees was
called “The Captain” for his leadership skills on and off the field. “He’s that guy who comes to practice, he’s the first in line, he’s the first one leading everybody, and he’s very vocal with the guys,” Lee
Hall said. “He plays with an intensity that we wish all of our guys would play with.” John has strong hand-eye coordination, reads the ball well off the bat and leads the team well. His stature won’t allow him to be mistaken for a big home run hitter, but he makes up for what he lacks in size with desire. “To maximize that, I just play hard,” he said. “I play as hard as I can and play with passion and freedom, and I just love the game so much. I just play as hard as I can because that’s all I can do, really.” “He’s a good runner. He gets hit by pitches, he walks, he gets base hits, he can bunt, steal bases and defensively, he makes all the routine plays, and every once in a while will make a spectacular play for us.”. The last few years, Homewood has had a pretty straightforward path to the playoffs, but that is far from the case this year. The Patriots used the first two months of the season to get ready for that stretch run and had plenty of flashes of brilliance. Homewood surprised some by advancing out of Class 6A, Area 9, finishing second in the area ahead of Briarwood and Mountain Brook. Chelsea went a perfect 6-0 in area play, but Homewood went 3-3 and earned its way in to the postseason. “We just were hoping to peak at the right time,” Lee Hall said.
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B2 • May 2021
The Homewood Star
May 2021 • B3
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As we work in communities to meet the needs of our customers, please maintain a safe social distance of six feet from our crews and field representatives to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Also, you can visit alpwr.co/vm for more information about these safety and reliability measures and for recommendations about planting the right tree in the right place.
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If you have any questions before crews come by your home, please call Alabama Power at 205-257-2155 and ask for someone in the Vegetation Management Group to contact you. Or you can email us at email@example.com. Work in Homewood and nearby areas is expected to continue through early 2021.
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The Homewood Star
B4 • May 2021
Patriots golf team on rise again By KYLE PARMLEY It has been a season of transition for the Homewood High School boys golf team. After three consecutive Class 6A state runner-up finishes, in which the Patriots had multiple college golfers in the lineup, and a pandemic-shortened season last spring, that lineup is a mixture of young and old. “The last few years, we’ve had a pretty set lineup of upperclassmen, and right now, we just have a mixture, and we’re trying to figure out which ones work best together,” Homewood coach Rick Baguley said. Josh Peters is the lone senior on the Homewood squad this season, and he will play college golf at Centre College in Kentucky. Harrison Sims, a junior, has been playing with the varsity team since he was in eighth grade. Those two lead the way for an otherwise youth-laden squad. Peters and Sims were able to observe and play alongside the likes of Ford Goldasich (Lipscomb), Jack Goldasich (Alabama) and Trey Rouse (Jefferson State), who are all now playing golf in college, as well as solid players like Ren Riley. “They were able to learn from them, watch them and how they handled themselves,” Baguley said. “They learned a lot about how to balance it and competing and never giving in, whether it’s one stroke or one hold, but also balancing the fun of high school sports.” Jack Craddock is another junior who has been solid and steady, while a pair of eighth graders, Kaman Rouse and Palmer Heard, have impressed and given the Patriots an exciting glimpse into the future. “It’s a little bit of a revolving door to
Homewood’s Jack Craddock tees off at hole 1 during the 15th annual Bradley Johnson Memorial Tournament at Greystone Founders golf course March 30. Craddock is a junior who has been solid and steady for the Patriots. Photo by Erin Nelson.
find our fourth, fifth and sixth best golfers, but right now, we really love the excitement that these kids have,” Baguley said. Baguley said all of the young golfers are competing as much as they can and improving with every step. “When you watch the younger kids, every tournament they play, the experience they’re gaining is invaluable,” he said. “I encourage them to take notes, and some are journaling and learning from it all.” It is no given the Patriots will make it to state once again this year to defend their runner-up trophy, but with the amount of progress Baguley sees with every tournament, he believes it to be not out of the realm of possibility for the team to return to the state tournament and make some noise. “Last year stung for a lot of teams, and we felt like we had a pretty good chance to be top three in state. We had a chance to have a special season. We’ve got a chance to maybe surprise some people at the end of the season,” he said. Baguley also gave ample credit to Jason Haithcock, who leads the boys and girls golf programs along with Baguley. “We try to balance each other out and support these kids as much as we can,” Baguley said. Mountain Brook appears to be the clear favorite in Class 6A, dominating the competition in nearly every tournament. In late March, the Spartans won the Bradley Johnson Memorial Tournament at Greystone Golf & Country Club by 23 strokes over second-place Auburn. But anything is possible for the Homewood golf program. “It’s an exciting time for Homewood golf,” Baguley said.
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The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board approved the move of the state softball tournament to Choccolocco Park in Oxford, one of the premier softball facilities in the state. The tournament will be at Choccolocco Park for at least the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Photo courtesy of Choccolocco Park.
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AHSAA softball tournament moves to Oxford this spring By KYLE PARMLEY The Alabama High School Athletic Association state softball tournament has a new home. On March 10, the AHSAA Central Board approved the move of the state tournament to Choccolocco Park in Oxford, one of the premier softball facilities in the state. The tournament will be at Choccolocco Park for at least the 2021 and 2022 seasons. The tournament will be May 18-22 this spring. The East Central Regional originally slated to be played at Choccolocco will now be played in Montgomery. The tournament moves from Montgomery’s Lagoon Park to the city of Oxford for the first time since 2017, when the Class 5A state championship game was held at Choccolocco’s Signature Field. “We’re very thankful to the city of Oxford, Mayor Alton Craft and their entire recreation staff for allowing us the opportunity to provide this wonderful facility for our students,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We’re also very grateful to Montgomery for being such a wonderful host for all these years.”
The move to Oxford will allow the state tournament finals in all seven AHSAA classifications to be held at Signature Field, a stadium designed specifically for softball. The high school baseball finals have recently been played at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, and the objective was to give the state’s softball player an opportunity to play in a similar environment where the championship games have a distinct prestige to them. “Moving our championship series to Oxford will allow us to provide a championship facility similar to what our boys play in, and that was our number one goal,” Savarese said. The state softball tournament has been held at Lagoon Park since its inception in 1986, and the sport has grown rapidly in recent years. Savarese cited the transition from slowpitch to fastpitch as one of the indicators of the sport’s ascension and mentioned his excitement for all parties. “It’s a win-win for everyone involved,” he said. Savarese also expressed gratitude to the city of Montgomery for working with the AHSAA during this process. “The kids are the benefactors,” he said.
The Homewood fourth grade girls basketball team. Photo courtesy of Chuck Maple.
4th grade team finishes season in 3rd The Homewood fourth grade girls basketball team, which competes in the Over the Mountain league, recently finished third in its league. Featuring a new coach in Reba Hudson and a new transition-based offense, the team rose from second to last as a third grade team to third place as a fourth grade team. Players on the team included Kate Maple,
Embry McGarrah, Caroline Middleton, AB Aycock, Harper Perlis, Meila Dominick, Kells Mayo, Sophie Abou-Arraj, Lucy Templeton, Kate Herring, Abby Stewart, Willa Sheehan and Lindy Willcox. Hudson served as the team’s head coach and was assisted by Blaire Middleton and Chuck Maple. – Submitted by Chuck Maple.
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B6 • May 2021
The Homewood Star Homewood’s Ava Dillard competes in a singles match against Mountain Brook’s Mary Neal Polk during the girls Class 6A sectionals April 12 at the Pell City Civic Center. Photo by Erin Nelson.
Above: Homewood’s John Hall (16) tags second base to get an out against Mountain Brook’s Trent Wright (22) as Hall makes the throw to first base in an area game against the Spartans on April 13 at Mountain Brook High School. Right: Homewood’s Ben Kovakas returns the ball as he competes in a singles match against Mountain Brook’s Drew Gresham in the boys Class 6A sectionals April 13 at the Pell City Civic Center. Photos by Erin Nelson.
Above: John Carroll’s Mia Mugavero (9) dribbles the ball as Chelsea’s Avery Burleson (2) moves in on coverage in an area game April 6 at Chelsea High School. Photo by Erin Nelson. Below: Homewood’s Zoe Couch (7) pitches during an April 7 game against Mountain Brook on April 8 at Spartan Softball Field. Photo by Kyle Parmley.
May 2021 • B7
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The Homewood Star
B8 • May 2021
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Making the best college choice
Local nonprofit helps students with their higher education decisions By INGRID SCHNADER Mariam Abdelhalim, a senior graduating this month from Homewood High School, said she had no idea what to do when it came to applying for financial aid so she could attend college. A friend told her she should apply to the College Choice Foundation, which is a nonprofit located in Homewood that provides resources for students from disadvantaged, under-resourced backgrounds. “I applied on a whim and got in,” Abdelhalim said. “It absolutely changed my life.” Abdelhalim’s mother is from Iraq, and she has visited the country multiple times. This has contributed to her identity, she said. “I had a lot of misconceptions before I went for the first time,” she said. “Going there and seeing how the people are and their different perspectives, it really opened my worldview. It changed me as a person because now I’m aware of other people and other countries, rather than being restricted to one perspective.” Her mom has eight sisters and two brothers, which means Abdelhalim has 68 cousins in Iraq. She always learns something new from them, and they never treat her as an outsider, she said. Abdelhalim loves history class, specifically, learning about the past and learning about people’s mistakes, she said. She’s on the color guard team, and she said being co-captain has been a big part of her life. She’s also vice president of Arabic Club, which was formed a year ago by one of Abdelhalim’s close friends. She speaks an Iraqi dialect of Arabic, and through the club, she taught club members the alphabet and learned more about the standard version of the language. Some of the club members were immigrants from Yemen, and Abdelhalim said she enjoys talking to them and learning about their experiences. Since December of last year, she has been looking at applying to Boston College. She hadn’t ever heard of this college before, but she said she realized through the College Choice Foundation how much Boston College had to offer. Originally, she wanted to attend the University of Virginia. But shortly after she received her acceptance letter from Boston College, she found out she was rejected from the University of Virginia. “It just goes to show that sometimes you have to take a risk, and I’m really happy with my decision,” she said. If she hadn’t been in the College Choice Foundation, she probably would have been limited to state schools because she would have thought that’s all she could afford, Abdelhalim said. She wanted to graduate college with as little debt as possible. Her mother, who got a degree in peace studies and anthropology, graduated with a debt that “still holds weight over her,” so Abdelhalim said she knew she needed financial aid.
Mariam Abdelhalim, a graduating senior of Homewood High School and member of the Patriot Guard, stands on the balcony at her home. Abdelhalim has been accepted by early decision to Boston College, where she will study neuroscience. Photo by Erin Nelson.
For many high school seniors, though, navigating that process is tricky. Many students end up going to state schools instead of attempting to apply for financial aid for out-ofstate schools, said Josephine Lowery, who helped start the College Choice Foundation. Lowery was driven to start the College Choice Foundation because of her own background: her mother was an alcoholic, her dad didn’t send child support money, her family was on food stamps, and Lowery said she and her brother were the only white students at her school in the free lunch program. “It was a crazy childhood, and what I could control was my grades,” she said. “I did really well, but I just assumed I would go to the community college or go to Auburn and live at home.” Then a guidance counselor stopped her and asked why she hadn’t applied for any out-of-state schools. Lowery said she couldn’t afford to go anywhere else — she couldn’t even
afford the application fees. The counselor got the application fees waived, and Lowery ended up getting full-ride scholarships to Vanderbilt University, Sewanee, Emory University and Birmingham-Southern College. The foundation became a registered nonprofit in 2016 and operates off of donations and grants to provide individual mentoring, standardized test prep, essay writing instruction, financial aid guidance, college site visits and laptops for students who are accepted. It started out just offering assistance to Homewood students but expanded to Birmingham schools in 2018. “College Choice is a family,” Lowery said. “They all are unique, smart and vulnerable, and they let us see that. They’re such hard workers, and they want this. They have worked their whole lives. “We are doing nothing other than shepherding them. We’re guiding them in another direction that they never thought possible.”
Abdelhalim will be studying neuroscience when she starts school in the fall. In her first year, she will receive $60,000 in financial aid, which will change annually based on her family’s income. It’s a four-year degree, and after graduation, she hopes to go to medical school, she said. She is most excited to meet her roommate, who is from Hawaii and promised to take Abdelhalim there someday, she said. “It’s just so cool to talk to her on FaceTime and knowing that we’re almost the same person but from completely different communities and cultures,” she said. She also said the Boston College campus is the most beautiful out of the 20 colleges to which she applied. “I’m super excited to meet new people and start fresh,” she said. The College Choice Foundation has an annual fundraising event, the Wild West Roundup, which will be June 27 at Good People Brewing Company. Visit collegechoicefoundation.org for more information.
In Iraq, I would wake up basking in the scent of fresh pita bread and find myself in awe of buildings awash with bright colors as sunlight chased the shadows away. I never saw a dangerous country in turmoil, which is why I did not expect to hear the word directed at me as I sat in my seventh grade class. Terrorist. My face fell. I never thought I was a terrorist. The terrorists were the ones who killed my cousin while he fought for his country. The terrorists were the ones who took my ability to visit that beautiful country away. The terrorists were the ones who destroyed my family’s homeland, yet I was viewed as one. The boy got but a slap on the wrist. I got a lifelong reminder. I no longer harbor resentment for that moment of ignorance. I learned from it. My feelings toward my past and my family form the base of my existence like the colors I choose to coat the canvases of my paintings. My decisions in life highlight and create the shadows that add depth to the painting I call my life. My thoughts serve as my brushstrokes and can change direction as I will. The transition from high school to college dictates the landscape and the colors I will use. A painting is only finished when the artist deems it so, but I have only begun to prime the canvas of my life. MARIAM ABDELHALIM, FROM HER COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAYS
May 2021 • B9
The Homewood Star
B10 • May 2021
HCS names director of academic programs and services Homewood City Schools announced John Lowry as the system’s director of academic programs and services, effective July 1. For the past eight years, Lowry has served as Shades Cahaba Elementary School’s principal and has over 19 years of experience in education. “Dr. Lowry has proven to be an outstanding administrator and a wonderful leader,” Homewood Superintendent Justin Hefner said. “He has a wealth of expertise and experience, and I’m pleased he will continue to serve the students and families in Homewood.” As the director of academic programs and services, Lowry will work directly with Homewood’s director of instruction to enhance instructional programs and services for all Homewood students. His primary responsibilities will include curricular programming, federal and state programs and budgets, overseeing the academic intervention programs, and assisting with the development of instructional
John Lowry will be the system’s director of academic programs and services. Photo courtesy of Merrick Wilson.
programs. “It has been my privilege to serve the students, staff and families of Shades Cahaba,” Lowry said. “I take great pride in this
community and our school system. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with more of our teachers and families in Homewood to continue to fulfill our mission of educating, respecting, protecting and loving students.” Lowry began his career as a third grade teacher and later became an assistant principal in Alabaster. He joined the Homewood community in 2010 as Shades Cahaba’s assistant principal for instruction and organized and facilitated student support plans and used student achievement data to organize weekly grade-level specific professional development meetings. While at Shades Cahaba, Lowry also helped build and implement the school’s character education program to provide a strong school culture of respect and responsibility. Shades Cahaba has been named a National School of Character for prioritizing the school’s character education program that promotes diversity, service to others, kindness and respect among
all students and staff members. Shades Cahaba was also named a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School under Lowry’s leadership. Lowry received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his master’s and specialist degree in educational leadership from the University of Montevallo. Lowry earned his doctorate degree from Samford University, where he is currently an adjunct professor. Hefner said Lowry will remain at Shades Cahaba throughout the remainder of the school year, but the process for hiring Shades Cahaba’s new principal will begin immediately. School system leaders hope to name the school’s new principal before summer break begins. “We are dedicated to finding a leader that will continue to make Shades Cahaba an excellent place for our students and staff just as Dr. Lowry has done for many years,” Hefner said. – Submitted by Merrick Wilson.
Zachary Barnes announced as school system’s director of operations Homewood City Schools announced Zachary Barnes as the district’s director of operations. Barnes has 23 years of experience in education and has served as principal of Homewood High School for nine years. “Leading a high school through a pandemic year comes with many challenges and obstacles,” Homewood Superintendent Justin Hefner said. “Dr. Barnes has helped Homewood High to continue the excellence our community deserves and expects this year through teaching and learning virtually and in the classroom.” For the past two years, Barnes helped guide Homewood High through a major construction and renovation project and was able to do so successfully while maintaining the priority of teaching and learning. As director for operations, Barnes will organize and oversee the operations of facilities, support personnel, student discipline and
budget responsibilities to ensure the operational goals of the school district are obtained. During his career at the high school, Barnes has worked to increase the total number of students taking Advanced Placement courses and increase the number of students earning a qualifying score on AP tests. During Barnes’s tenure, The Washington Post has annually ranked Homewood High as one of the most challenging high schools in Alabama. Last year, Homewood High was ranked the fourth best high school in Alabama and the second highest ranked school in the Birmingham metro area by U.S. News & World Report, which annually ranks the best high schools throughout the country. “I have enjoyed every single minute of the past nine years and working with the faculty and staff at Homewood High School,” Barnes said. “They are truly amazing educators. This year I have watched our teachers do so many great things to
Zachary Barnes will be the system’s director of operations. Photo courtesy of Merrick Wilson.
support our students virtually and in the classroom. Our students have been forced to overcome a lot this year, and I am extremely proud of them.” As an educator, Barnes has worked as a teacher, assistant principal, and a middle and high school
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principal. He also served as Tuscaloosa City Schools’ director of graduation success and dropout prevention. Barnes earned his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Alabama, where he also received his master’s degree. He received his administrative certificate from the University of West Alabama and completed his doctoral degree from the University of Alabama. Barnes has participated in Leadership Alabama, Alabama Superintendents’ Academy, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Education Association and Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools. Hefner said Barnes will continue to lead Homewood High School throughout the remainder of the school year, but the process for hiring the school’s new principal will begin immediately. District officials hope to name the school’s new principal before summer break begins. – Submitted by Merrick Wils
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May 2021 • B11
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From left: Freshmen Class Prince and Princess Charles Farr and Meredith Davis; Sophomore Class Prince and Princess John Cipriano and Catherine Agena; Senior Class King and Queen Joseph Donze and Bella Doll; and Junior Class Prince and Princess Max McGwin and Emma Brown. Photo courtesy of Alyssa Weisberg.
Queen of Hearts fundraiser raises more than $33,000 The John Carroll service organization, Carroll Students Modeling Christ (CSMS), sponsors The Queen of Hearts Charity Dance each year as a way to encourage students to participate in their school community by assisting others in financial need. The members of the Queen of Hearts Court raise money that is distributed throughout the school year to help those who are in need in our local community and around the world. In the past, this fundraiser has been a lifeline for many organizations looking forward to the charitable giving that the fundraiser generates. The members of the court who raise the most money are crowned the King and Queen (12th grade) or Princes and Princesses (ninth, 10th or 11th grade) of Hearts. This year, in place of a dance, CSMC held the fundraiser and crowned the King and Queen at the JCCHS spring sports pep rally. This year's court raised $33,306.75. The nominees for the Queen of Hearts Court were (* indicates that they were the top fundraiser in their class):
► Carson McFadden ► Charles Farr *
► Madi Porche ► Meredith Davis * ► Nelia Nene
► Sam Rickman ► John Cipriano * ► Jacob McMahon ► Catherine Agena * ► Belle Buckner ► McKenna Huie
► Ben Campbell ► Max McGwin * ► James Gregory ► Emma Brown * ► Lilly Langley ► Jasmin Patel
► Mauree Raby ► Joseph Donze * ► JonMykel Wormley ► Abi Allarde ► Bella Doll * ► Gabby Campos – Submitted by Alyssa Weisberg.
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Homewood Middle School Principal Joel Henneke is moving up to the high school. Homewood City Schools announced April 21 in a press release that Henneke will be the new principal of Homewood High School. He will begin this role in July. Henneke has 23 years of experience in education as a teacher and an administrator at the middle and high school level. He previously directed Homewood High’s Alternative School for nine years. “I have been fortunate to work with such amazing educators in Homewood,” he said. “The middle school faculty, staff, and students will always hold a special place in my heart. “I look forward to this new adventure and working side by side with Homewood High’s faculty and staff to continue to empower our students to grow academically and instill the Patriot pride of our school community.” Henneke came to Homewood as a special education teacher at the middle school, and he has served as an assistant principal at both the middle and high schools. Prior to his career in education, he served a four-year enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of sergeant. “Serving as a principal during a pandemic is not an easy task,” Homewood Superintendent Justin Hefner said. “Dr. Henneke has been a strong leader during this uncertain and ever changing year. Not only has he kept the focus on strong academic standards for both in-person and virtual school while implementing many new safety protocols, he has also found ways to bring the students and faculty and staff together through school spirit.” Henneke received his bachelor’s degree from East Texas Baptist University and his educational specialist degree from the University of Montevallo. In 2011, he earned his doctorate of education from
Homewood Middle School Principal Joel Henneke has been named the new principal of Homewood High School and will begin this role in July. Photo by Erin Nelson.
Samford University. “It is an honor and a privilege to serve in a community that I love,” Henneke said. “I look forward to joining our eighth graders at Homewood High next year and seeing the amazing things all of our students will accomplish at the high school.” Henneke will continue to lead Homewood Middle School throughout the remainder of the school year, but the process for hiring the school’s new principal will begin immediately. School system officials said they hope to name the school’s new principal before summer break begins. – Submitted by Merrick Wilson.
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The Homewood Star
B12 • May 2021
Events Watkins Thomas serves a cup of chili to Ellen Blockowitz at The Exceptional Foundation’s Chili CookOff on March 7, 2020, at Brookwood Village. Photo by Ingrid Schnader.
Children stand along the sidewalk and cheer on runners in the 15th annual Motherwalk 5K, which benefits the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation and ovarian cancer research and awareness. Staff photo.
17th annual Chili Cook-Off on May 1
Motherwalk 5K raises money for ovarian cancer research, programs
By INGRID SCHNADER
By INGRID SCHNADER
The first Saturday in March of every year is typically when the Exceptional Foundation hosts its annual Chili Cook-Off, which means for most people that this event was the last “normal” thing they did in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down. Now the event is back in 2021 with another in-person Chili Cook-Off, which will be Saturday, May 1. The later start date was per advice from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Jefferson County Department of Health, said Robbie Lee, the public relations director for The Exceptional Foundation. The event features live music, a kid zone and all-you-can-eat chili. In 2020, there were 158 teams competing for best chili. It will be at Brookwood Village in the Macy’s parking lot again this year and will be 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. A few things will look different this year, Lee said. Tents will be spaced out more in comparison to last year so that people can social distance. Capacity will also be limited. “We’ve never gotten a full count, but from
Chili Cook-Off • WHERE: Macy’s parking lot at Brookwood Village • WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 1 • COST: $15 • WEB: exceptionalfoundation.org/ chili
crowd estimates we’ve gotten from police and others, crowd estimators normally put it upwards of 10,000 people,” he said. “We definitely realize that’s probably not feasible this year.” Tickets are $15, and sales help fund programs for The Exceptional Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization in Homewood serving individuals with special needs from the greater Birmingham area. The event is rain or shine. Masks are required. For more information, visit exceptionalfoundation.org/chili.
A walk to raise awareness and research funds for ovarian cancer will take place in Homewood this month in its 18th year. The Motherwalk 5K, an annual event hosted by the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation, will be May 8 at Homewood Central Park and will start at 8 a.m. There will also be a 1-mile fun run that starts at 9 a.m. The annual event started out as a way to honor Norma Livingston, who died from ovarian cancer. “When the race was started, we thought this would be a great way to also celebrate the survivors, to encourage women that are fighting the disease, and to remember the women who lost their battle,” said Ashley Thompson, the executive director of the organization. “The other reason it’s so important is because ovarian cancer is such a deadly cancer. Most women who have ovarian cancer don’t realize it until they’re already in stage three or four. It’s the silent killer.” Funds generated from the race support
Motherwalk 5K • WHERE: Homewood Central Park • WHEN: 8 a.m., May 8 • COST: $35 • WEB: runsignup.com/race/al/ birmingham/motherwalk5k
ovarian cancer research in addition to supporting the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation’s programs. The cost of the race is $35 for all categories. The race is limited to 500 people for the in-person event, and virtual race options will also be available. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, racers are asked to wear a mask before and after the race, and the racers will start in waves. Visit runsignup.com/race/al/birmingham/ motherwalk5k for more information and to sign up.
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May 2021 • B13
Summer reading returns to Homewood Public Library
We Love Homewood Day is back May 1 with a 5K race, daylong festival, sidewalk chalk art festival, parade to Edgewood and street party. It was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff photo.
By INGRID SCHNADER
We Love Homewood Day set for May 1 By INGRID SCHNADER We Love Homewood Day is back May 1 after being canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The day starts with a 5K race that starts and ends at Homewood Central Park. The course is the same as previous years and will go through Edgewood. Registration for the 5K is $30 until the end of the day April 30, then $40 on May 1. Proceeds from the race go to the Homewood High School Band. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., attendees can enjoy the We Love Homewood Day Festival, which includes a variety of rides, games and inflatables at Homewood Central Park. Wristbands are $15 and allow a participant to have unlimited access to the rides, or individual tickets can be purchased. There’s no fee to enter the festival. During the festival, there will be food vendors offering sweet and savory options. Crafters, businesses and civic groups will set up vendor tents at the park and will have more space between each other as a pandemic safety precaution. A DJ will play music throughout the day, and at 1 p.m. a pep rally and concert from the Homewood High School Band will begin at the outdoor amphitheater. The Homewood Rotary Club won’t be having its annual bake sale this year because
We Love Homewood Day • WHERE: Homewood Central Park, Homewood Public Library • WHEN: May 1 • DETAILS: 5K race, festival and parade to Edgewood • WEB: homewoodparks.com/special-events/we-love-homewood-day
of the pandemic. However, the club will host a sidewalk chalk art festival and will give awards in the following categories: best in show, most creative, chairman’s choice and best of show youth division. Next is the parade, which starts at the Homewood Public Library. Line-up begins at 5 p.m., and the parade begins at 6 p.m., traveling west on Oxmoor Road to Edgewood. Parade entrants won’t be throwing anything toward parade-goers this year. Participation is free. Once in Edgewood, the street party will begin, featuring music from Starz Live and dancing. Visit homewoodparks.com/special-events/ we-love-homewood-day for more information or to register for any of the day’s events.
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Summer reading is back at the Homewood Public Library in a virtual format, and there’s something for everyone: children, teens and adults, too. Children will register for summer reading and pick up a prize-filled tote bag in person. The bag includes a reading log, pencil, bookmark and more. They’ll be able to set their own reading goal, and in July, the library will start giving out prizes to those who meet their reading goals. These prizes are a color-changing cup, a certificate, a scented bookmark and a squishy toy that attaches to a backpack or diaper bag. The summer reading program’s theme is Tails and Tales, and programs will highlight different animals, Children’s Vivian and Samuel Laslo share a book at the Homewood Librarian Laura Tucker said. Public Library. Photo courtesy of Judith Wright. This year’s program will be “simplified,” she said. “We don’t want people to feel frustrated by bring their checkout slip to the teen/adult serthe program; we want people to feel success by vices desk to receive an entry slip. Teens and adults will both be able to comparticipating and reading or listening to books,” she said. “We want them to feel challenged if plete badges through Beanstack, and both that’s what they want, which is why they can set teens and children can participate in pandemtheir own goals, but we want people to be able ic-friendly scavenger hunts each week. “We appreciate our community rolling with to reach it without frustration.” The programming for teens is a little more us as we try summer reading in the pandemic,” relaxed, teen librarian Judith Wright said. Wright said. “We’re going to try to get back to When the Teen Summer Series begins, partic- the way things used to be, but still be safe and ipants can login on Beanstack and begin log- do virtual things.” The Tails and Tales summer reading proging books, audiobooks and graphic novels. They can enter to win one $150 Visa gift card gram is June 1-July 31, and the Teen Summer virtually and one in-person. To enter in-person, Series will run from May 24 to Aug. 7. Particthey’ll receive one entry for every three teen ipants can visit homewood.beanstack.org to materials they check out at the library. They’ll get started.
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Homewood Star’s spotlight on Women in Business in Homewood Women in Business is a special advertising section that highlights women from local businesses who are making a difference. Take this opportunity to highlight the woman (or women) who plays a key role in your business. Contact Anna Bain at (205) 313-1780 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Publishes in July 2021
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The Homewood Star
B14 • May 2021
Calendar Homewood Events May 1: Exceptional Foundation Chili Cook-Off. 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brookwood Village at the Macy’s parking lot. This event features live music, a kid zone and all-you-can-eat chili. $15. Sales help fund programs for The Exceptional Foundation. Register at exceptionalfoundation.org/ chili.
May 1: We Love Homewood Day. 5K race starts at 7:30 a.m. Festival is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Park. Parade logistics will be announced on the event website. Visit homewoodparks.com/special-events/welove-homewood-day for more information. May 3-9: Sims Garden Mother’s Day
Afternoon Tea and Bouquet Delivery. The Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea Package including a tea-for-two sampler kit prepared by Little London Kitchen, a flower bouquet and a small gift of Miss Sims Seeds from flowers grown in the garden. Ordering will be done online at cityofhomewood. com/sims-garden.
May 8: Motherwalk 5K. 8 a.m. Homewood Central Park or virtual. Funds generated from the race support ovarian cancer research in addition to supporting the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation’s programs. $35. Register at runsignup.com/race/al/birmingham/ motherwalk5k.
Homewood Public Library Events CHILDREN’S EVENTS Ongoing: 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. Read a book (any book) to your newborn, infant and/or toddler. The goal is to read 1,000 books (including repeats) before your child starts kindergarten. Register and log books at homewood. beanstack.org. May 3: Reading Buddies. 3:30 p.m. Grades K-5. Read to friends from the Greater Birmingham Humane Society on Zoom. Registration required. May 4: Difference Makers Club. 3:30 p.m. Grades 3-5. Work on a group passion project and learn how to make a difference in the community. Register online at homewoodpubliclibrary. org and pick up the kit the week of the event. May 4: Tween Book Club – “Prairie Lotus” by Linda Sue Park. 4-5 p.m. Grades 4-7. This virtual book club will feature books that focus on hot topics in the world today. May’s book is “Prairie Lotus” by Linda Sue Park. In this novel set in 1880, a half-Chinese girl and her white father try to make a home in Dakota Territory in the face of racism and resistance. Register online. May 20: Cookies & Comics. 6-7 p.m. Grades 3-7. Talk comics with your friends from the Homewood Public Library in Homewood, Illinois. This month’s Cookies & Comics will feature summer stories. The library will provide a cookie that you can pick up from Cookie Fix on the day of the program. Register by the Wednesday before the program to be guaranteed cookies. Zoom link will be sent via email.
May 8: Virtual ACT Writing Bootcamp. 2:30-4 p.m. A 1.5-hour virtual bootcamp session that will help participants tackle the writing portion of the ACT with confidence. $15 per teen (including fees). Register online. Contact Judith Wright with questions at judith.wright@homewoodpubliclibrary. org.
record for carrying more vehicular traffic than any other span in the world? This program answers these and many other questions about some of the most famous bridges on the planet and will discuss architectural wonders which have garnered awards for their aesthetics. Register online. Zoom meeting information will be sent closer to event.
May 24-Aug. 7: Teen Summer Series. This year, the Homewood Public Library will be giving away two $150 gift cards. Teens entering grades 6-12 can enter to win one gift card through the virtual reading challenge on Beanstack. Beginning May 24, sign up at homewood.beanstack. org or download the Beanstack Tracker App to log books online, complete virtual activities and earn badges. Enter to win the second gift card in person. You’ll receive one entry for every three teen materials (books, graphic novels, or audiobooks) you check out from the Homewood Public Library between May 24-Aug. 7. Bring your checkout receipt to the teen/adult services desk to receive the entry slip. More entries means more chances to win.
May 11: Virtual Crafting Circle. 10-11:30 a.m. Knit, embroider, crochet, smock, tat, cross stitch, hand sew and more. Talk about new craft books, show off current or finished objects, and chat about needlecrafts. Can't make it exactly at 10? Unable to stay the whole time? Hop on and off when you can. Register online. Zoom invitation will be sent out the Monday before each event.
May 13: The Virtual Social Justice Book Club. 6:30-7:30 p.m. This book club provides a space for thoughtful conversation on issues of social justice and activism. Themes will include racial justice, immigration and LGBTQ rights. Members are also open to suggesting specific titles and topics to explore. To register, please contact Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mondays: Virtual Library Yoga with Jackie Tally. 2-3 p.m. Free yoga classes sponsored by the Homewood Public Library. A gentle workout of 15 minutes in the chair, 15 minutes standing with chair, 15 minutes on the mat. All levels of fitness welcome. Register online.
May 11: Oxmoor Page Turners Book Club – “Talking to Strangers.” 6:30-8 p.m. Explore “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the No. 1 bestseller ”Outliers,” as he offers an examination of our interactions with strangers — and why they often go wrong. Register online. Zoom meeting information will be sent closer to event.
May 4: Not Your Mama’s Book Club – Lily Dale Assembly with Amy Gary. 2-3:30. No book reading required; discussion group only. Amy Gary is a longtime spiritualist and author of several books who will describe the Lily Dale Assembly, a gathering spot for spiritual seekers in upstate New York. Amy will provide information on planning a trip to visit this resort and a brief history of this original Freethinkers’ assembly. Register online.
May 17: UAB Diversity Series presents “Exploring Intersectionality.” 5:306:30 p.m. Learn how to recognize and help those individuals who face multiple forms of discrimination. Teens welcome. Register online.
May 4: Teen Advisory Board. 6-7 p.m. TAB members will receive the Zoom meeting information a few days before the meeting. Interested in applying for TAB? Apply at homewoodpubliclibrary. org/tab-application.
May 4: Virtual Tuesday Trivia – Star Wars. 6:30 p.m. A virtual trivia game based on the original three Star Wars movies (“A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”). Questions will cover the original releases as well as the edited rereleases. Winning team/person gets a book bundle (local pickup only). Register online by May 3. Zoom and Kahoot information will be emailed May 4.
May 19: UAB CAPPI Series – “Epigenetics of Pain: Racial Differences.” 12-1:30 p.m. Epigenetics is one mechanism by which environmental factors such as childhood stress, racial discrimination, economic hardship and depression can affect gene expression without altering the underlying genetic sequence. Dr. Edwin Aroke discusses research findings. Join the lecture on Zoom at noon at uab.zoom.us/j/94467835899.
May 6: Virtual ACT Science Bootcamp. 6-7:30 p.m. A 1.5-hour bootcamp session that will help participants tackle the science portion of the ACT with confidence. $15 per teen (including fees). Register online. Contact Judith Wright with questions at email@example.com.
May 5: Niki Sepsas presents “Bridges of the World: Connecting People, Places, and Cultures.” 2-3 p.m. What is the longest bridge in the world? The highest? What bridges connect two countries? Is there a bridge connecting two continents? What bridge holds the
TEEN EVENTS May 2 and May 15: Online ACT Practice Test with Princeton Review. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days. Grades 6-12. Try a full-length free practice ACT test online. This practice test is offered by Princeton Review. After the practice test, receive a comprehensive score report detailing strengths and weaknesses. Register online. Contact Judith Wright with questions at judith.wright@ homewoodpubliclibrary.org.
May 18: The ABCs of Medicare. 10-11 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. Karen Haiflich will answer questions about how Medicare benefits are currently computed, how to become insured and how to file a claim. Register online.
May 20: Neuroscience Café presents “Understanding Anxiety and Stress Disorders Following Traumatic Medical Events.” 6-7:30 p.m. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Doctors David Knight and Amy Knight discuss how getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reducing symptoms and improving function. Free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for your zoom link. May 25: Dixie’s Pet Loss Support Group. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Participation is free; for reservations, contact GBHS Volunteer Coordinator Randy Hicks at 205-542-7111. May 26: Better Than Therapy Book Club – “Friends & Strangers.” 2-3:30 p.m. Explore J. Courtney Sullivan’s latest novel. While focusing primarily on two women from different backgrounds and at different stages of life, it also illuminates issues about money, privilege and class; marriage, family and friendship; and the demands of career and domesticity. Register online. Zoom meeting information will be sent closer to the event. TECH CLASSES May 5: Introduction to Word 2016, Part 1. 2:30-3:30 p.m. Learn to create documents and use basic Word functions. This is a beginner’s class, and it covers some of the entry-level aspects of this program. Register online. May 12: First Step Wednesdays – Get the Most Out of Your iPad and iPhone. 2:30-4 p.m. This workshop is geared toward casual users. Join us as Apple-certified trainers answer your questions on how best to use your Apple device. Register online. May 12: Introduction to Word 2016, Part 2. 2:30-3:30 p.m. This class dives deeper into creating Word documents and using Word features and tools. Register online. May 19: Internet Safety. 2:30-3:30 p.m. Learn about the risks of using the Internet and ways to avoid them while browsing the web. Register online.
Business news Business ne to share? May 20: Homewood Senior Center Book Club – Never Have I Ever. 1-2 p.m. Never Have I Ever explores what happens when the transgressions of the past come back with a vengeance. Register online. Zoom meeting information will be sent closer to the event.
Business news to share?
May 26: Facebook. 2:30-3:30 p.m. Learn how to use the most popular social media site including how to add friends, upload photos and more. Register online.
May 27: iProduct Master Class. 2:30-4 p.m. Apple-certified trainers of Connect It! take a deep dive into the settings for your iOS devices. Register online.
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May 2021 • B15
TRIM 9.75 x 1
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