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February 2021 | Volume 8 | Issue 10



‘Watching Jake shine’ VHHS, Clemson alumnus finds joy in working while making big plans for future Dawn Norris, the school counselor at Vestavia Hills Elementary West, speaks with a group of fifth grade students about what they are looking forward to over winter break. Photo by Erin Nelson.



hen Jake Pratt was born, a doctor told his mother he would never achieve anything, and he might need to be institutionalized because he was born with Down syndrome. But over the past 22 years, Pratt has proven that doctor wrong. Pratt has graduated from both Vestavia Hills High School and Clemson University, and he recently finished a seasonal job with UPS. Pratt also works at a golf course, and between the two jobs, he worked about 12 hours each day. While the seasonal job ended in December, Pratt has recently begun a permanent position with UPS, unloading items at a warehouse. His success hasn’t surprised his family. “We were going to let Jake decide what Jake could do,” his sister, Amy Hyde, said. “Jake has always been so good at making his dreams come true, so nothing he does is ever a surprise.”

Schools strive to keep attention on mental health during pandemic By NEAL EMBRY While school and growing up brings enough anxiety and stress for many students, Vestavia Hills City Schools leaders said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has certainly made addressing mental health even tougher. “In the world today, anxiety is heightened for everyone,” said Alicia Hunsberger, principal of Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights. “Leading a school through a pandemic has brought out fear. It’s been a major emphasis for all of us.” Hunsberger said students thrive on routine, something that has, for both students and adults alike, been disrupted due to the pandemic. Students, especially younger ones, may get worried when their friend or teacher is out sick, worrying what’s going to happen to them, and if they themselves will get sick as a result. “It’s an increased sense of worry,” Hunsberger said. “Teachers are reassuring kids that we will be OK.” Anna Gaston, the school district’s student support counselor, said COVID-19 has made it tougher to keep the connections

See SHINE | page A30

Jake Pratt rests his hand on a model UPS truck while sitting inside his home. The UPS staff gifted Pratt with a model truck on Dec. 24 after Pratt finished his holiday job with the company. Photo by Erin Nelson.

See MENTAL HEALTH | page A31


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Schoolhouse........ A17 Sports..................A20

Metro Roundup.... A26 Medical Guide........B1 facebook.com/vestaviavoice

A Storied Career

Taking the Plunge

Mayor Ashley Curry spends time during quarantine to begin working on a book about his decades-long career with FBI.

After overcoming a back injury, Vestavia Hills gymnast Calyie Basselin shifts to swimming and wins state diving championship.

See page A9

See page A20

A2 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice

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February 2021 • A3


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A4 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice

About Us Editor’s Note By Neal Embry The finish line is nearly in sight for me. Since January 2014, I’ve been attending New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, taking classes both online and at the extension center here in Birmingham, training to serve in Christian ministry in some form or capacity in the future. I felt that call during my time at the University of Montevallo and have been pursuing it since, but the journey has certainly not been easy, nor has it been short. Thankfully, should all things go as planned, I’ll be graduating this May, after more than seven long years of work. I’m grateful to God and to my family for their constant encouragement

in this pursuit, and I am so ready to not have to worry about writing papers anymore. Speaking of encouragement, I hope you are encouraged by the story of

Jake Pratt, which you can read in this month’s paper. Jake is a graduate of Vestavia Hills High School who happens to have Down syndrome, but he has not let that stop him from achieving his dreams. He graduated last year from Clemson University, has recently gotten a job at UPS and is saving up money to buy an engagement ring for his longtime girlfriend, Grace. Jake is a testament to the power of hard work, determination and not letting anything stand in the way of your goals, and I hope you enjoy his story.


The water in the Cahaba River flows over rocks along Old Overton Road on Jan. 6. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Publisher: Dan Starnes Director of Operations: Mindy Dent Community Editors: Neal Embry Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Leah Ingram Eagle Ingrid Schnader Sports Editor: Kyle Parmley Digital Editor: Cathlene Cowart Design Editor: Melanie Viering Photo Editor: Erin Nelson Page Designers: Kristin Williams Ted Perry Account Managers: Layton Dudley Ted Perry Content Marketing Manager: Erica Brock Graphic Designer: Emily VanderMey

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

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Legals: Vestavia Voice is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. Vestavia Voice is designed to inform the Vestavia community of area school, family and community events. Information in Vestavia Voice is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of Vestavia Voice. 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.

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A6 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice


Water flows into the Cahaba River along Old Overton Road on Jan. 6. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Ordinance amended to strengthen city stormwater management By NEAL EMBRY In an effort to better manage stormwater at construction sites throughout the city and bring about more compliance from contractors, the Vestavia Hills City Council passed an amended erosion and sediment control ordinance at its Dec. 28 meeting. After rescinding the original ordinance, the council passed an amended version, which creates escalating penalties for noncompliance and doubles the fee for working without a permit, City Manager Jeff Downes said. The city also provides an appeal process for contractors who disagree with decisions, Downes said. The penalty for violation of a compliance order or for repeated unresolved notices of

violations will be a $200 fine for single-family residential sites and $400 for all other sites, according to the ordinance. The council also on Dec. 28 approved an additional $26,570 to purchase a new transport unit at the fire station in Liberty Park. The cost of the unit increased since the city budgeted for the vehicle, Downes said. The city did not seek bids for the transport unit because it was a budgeted item purchased through a cooperative, as allowed by state law. The new cost of the unit is about $232,000, Fire Chief Marvin Green said. The council also approved an alcohol license for The Backyard Market, which opened in January in the former Joel’s location on U.S. 31 near the City Center. The store will serve as a “smaller option” for groceries than nearby Publix, owner Jeff Gentry said.

Vestavia Hills City Manager Jeff Downes speaks at the strategic planning session in Vestavia Hills City Hall on Jan. 29, 2020. This year’s meetings are set for Feb. 11 and 12. Photo by Ingrid Schnader.

Date set for strategic planning session By NEAL EMBRY The Vestavia Hills City Council plans to hold its annual strategic planning sessions Feb. 11 and 12 at 8 a.m. in the council chambers. The annual meetings cover a wide range of topics and serve as a time for the council to set priorities for the coming year and receive input from many city departments. The City Council on Jan. 11 agreed to allow

City Manager Jeff Downes to sell various pieces of equipment as surplus. The council also approved an ordinance allowing Downes to enter into an agreement with the Birmingham Water Works Board and granted an easement to the Water Works so it can relocate a water line at the Sicard Hollow Athletic Complex onto city property. This move is part of the project building a tunnel connecting the Sicard Hollow complex to the Liberty Park Athletic Complex.

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February 2021 • A7

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A 10-acre wooded lot located behind Altadena Park. Developer Connor Farmer reached an agreement with concerned residents on seven items before the commission’s Jan. 14 meeting. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Planning and Zoning Commission OKs rezoning for Altadena development By NEAL EMBRY The Vestavia Hills Planning and Zoning Commission on Jan. 14 recommended the City Council rezone 10 acres in the Altadena neighborhood from an E-2 estate zoning in Jefferson County to an R-2 medium-density residential zone in Vestavia Hills. The recommendation came after the developer, Connor Farmer, reached an agreement with residents who live near the property at 2810 Five Oaks Lane. Farmer of Round Tree Investments originally proposed 29 homes on the site, but the proposal now is for 17 homes in Vestavia Hills and one home on another lot in unincorporated Jefferson County. Residents initially expressed concern with traffic, drainage, the impact to the bridge that provides primary access to the site, the safety of pedestrians and the environmental impact. However, Farmer and residents came to an agreement on seven items before the Jan. 14

meeting, including the construction of a stop sign at the intersection of Five Oaks Lane and Caldwell Mill Road, the construction of sidewalks on Caldwell Mill Road from Five Oaks Lane to Shady Waters, and the purchase and installation of a pedestrian bridge on Caldwell Mill Road across the Altadena Creek connecting the development to Altadena Park. Other items sought to minimize environmental impact. While some residents still expressed concern with the development’s impact on drainage and traffic, the commission unanimously recommended the rezoning, and the case now goes to the City Council. An agreement between Farmer and residents will be added into a separate covenant. Farmer is also seeking to annex the 10 acres into Vestavia Hills, so this is considered a “pre-zoning” case. That would allow the council to ensure what the zoning will be prior to annexation. If the property is not annexed, the rezoning would not occur, City Clerk Rebecca Leavings said.

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A8 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice

Mayor’s Minute By Ashley Curry We should all be settled in to 2021 by now. Hopefully you are still pursuing the “New Year’s resolutions” that you made. An unknown author stated that resolutions “come in one year and go out another.” If you haven’t kept your resolution don’t feel bad about it. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 46% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually succeed in keeping them. That means that over 50% of people aren’t able to keep them. Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to spark positive change. The recurring themes each year include a more active approach to health and fitness, improved finances and learning new things for personal and professional development. Chances are, more than a couple of the top 10 most common resolutions will look familiar to you: ► Exercise more ► Lose weight ► Get organized ► Learn a new skill or hobby ► Live life to the fullest ► Save more money/spend less money ► Quit smoking ► Spend more time with family and friends ► Travel more ► Read more Speaking of resolutions, our city has some resolutions for the New Year, and we are well on the way of achieving those goals. Let’s examine some projects to be completed this year. ► Wald Park renovations: We have already completed the aquatic center and have almost completed the ball fields. The grand lawn, play areas, multiple pavilions and the amphitheater should be completed this spring. Phase three,

which encompasses the tennis complex, green spaces and dog park, should be completed this year. ► The Community Building: We are well underway with the renovations to the building. As I toured the facility just before Christmas, I could see the layout of the building taking shape. You can see renderings for all of the Community Spaces Plan at vhal.org/wp-content/ uploads/sites/120/2018/05/ TCU-CSP-01.18.2018.pdf. The Community Center should be near completion by late fall. ► Cahaba Heights Park: The ball fields, additional parking and improvements for accessibility have been completed. The “new” New Merkel House is well underway and should be open within the next few months. ► Pedestrian Bridge: The long-awaited pedestrian bridge that will provide access from Wald Park with the Library in the Forest is close to becoming reality. It is on schedule to be bid during the first quarter of this year. Though it will probably not be completed by year end, it is more promising and worth mentioning after a decade of planning in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Transportation. ► Road Improvements: This year should see the completion of the widening of Crosshaven Drive and the initiation of the Massey Road improvements. Finally, during February, we will hold our strategic planning meetings to set the priorities for the city for the coming year and beyond.

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February 2021 • A9

Left: Vestavia Hills Mayor Ashley Curry discusses some of the cases he worked during his career as an agent in the FBI as he compiles notes for his first book Jan. 4. Above: Curry holds a photograph of himself firing a Thompson submachine gun used during WWII. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Curry writing book on 25-year FBI career By NEAL EMBRY Because of the state of New York’s rules last year regarding visitors from Alabama, Vestavia Hills Mayor Ashley Curry and his daughter Anna were forced to quarantine upon their arrival in the state, where they had traveled for a surgery for Anna. While the mandated quarantine wasn’t necessarily fun, it was productive, Curry said. He and his daughter spent hours working on his book, a passion project of his, about his time working in the FBI. Curry retired from the FBI in 2003, after spending 23 years at the Birmingham field office. He retired only because he was reaching the mandatory retirement age. “If they didn’t have mandatory retirement, I’d still be with them,” Curry told the Vestavia Voice in 2017. “Because I loved it.” Now, as he begins his second term as mayor, Curry is currently working on a book about his

career with the bureau. Curry credits Jack Owens, a longtime FBI colleague, who challenged him to write a book after writing several of his own. “My 25 years in the FBI was one of the high points of my life,” Curry said. “It’s a very rewarding career.” The book will focus on major cases that Curry and the Birmingham bureau worked from 1980 to 2000, including the Bruno’s/Food World case, when a suspect threatened to poison the food at the grocery stores unless they were given $250,000. Two Walker County men were later arrested after authorities found cassette tapes on U.S. 78 with evidence, Curry said. Curry also worked the 1987 Atlanta prison riot case, where Cuban detainees sent by then-Cuban dictator Fidel Castro burned down half of the Atlanta prison. Curry and the rest of the Birmingham SWAT unit responded to the crisis. One of the most notable cases Curry handled



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was the bombing that killed Judge Bob Vance. The killer, Walter Moody, was recently put to death for the crime. Moody sought to get even against Vance for ruling against him in an earlier case. Curry said Moody was a “sociopath” who also bombed and killed an attorney in Savannah, Georgia, for no other reason than to throw the FBI off his trail. “When I saw the devastation … I didn’t think we’d ever solve that case,” Curry said. “It was a lot of unbelievable work to solve that case.” The Birmingham office has just 75 agents for all of northern Alabama, Curry said. “These were major cases in a small division,” Curry said. “It was unique.” Going into his career, Curry said he wanted to make a difference, and working with the FBI allowed him to do that. He served as an undercover drug agent and on the SWAT team during his tenure. The FBI is like a family, Curry said. He experienced that firsthand when Anna was born with

a rare bone disease while he was still working in a Florida FBI office. He determined that Birmingham was where he needed to be so she could receive the necessary treatment, and the FBI had him transferred within 28 days, and, in an unusual move, did not make him subject to further transfers. “The FBI truly cares about its employees,” Curry said. In writing the book, Curry said he has found it best to write down thoughts as they come to him and to go back and edit after writing down his memories. He focuses on the impact and impressions cases had on him, such as the devastation in Vance’s home. Being in the FBI also helps him in his current role, Curry said. He learned how to be a public servant while with the bureau. Curry said he’s excited about writing the book and getting it out to the public. He said he hopes to have it finished by the summer and published soon after.

A10 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice

8 streets scheduled for repaving in first quarter of 2021 The intersection of Comer Drive and Comer Circle seen Jan. 5. Comer Drive, Comer Circle and Comer Place are scheduled to be repaved within the first quarter of the year as part of the city’s 2019-22 paving plan. Photo by Erin Nelson.

By NEAL EMBRY Five roads in Cahaba Heights and three roads on the east side of U.S. 31 are slated to be paved in the first quarter of the new year, Vestavia Hills City Engineer Christopher Brady said. Those five streets in Cahaba Heights are Firewood Drive, Knollwood Trace, Old Wood Lane, Ridgely Court and Ridgely Drive. The three streets on the east side of U.S. 31 are Comer Circle, Comer Drive and Comer Place. That list is tentative and subject to change, and after those streets are paved, the city will “evaluate and continue working toward completing the remainder of 2019-22 paving plan and other roadways that may be identified as having immediate needs,” said the city’s communications director, Cinnamon McCulley.

Brady said those streets were chosen after evaluating the cost of those specific projects and the amount budgeted in the city’s fiscal 2021 budget for repaving, which is about $250,000. The list of streets in the city that have been and will be repaved was created in 2019 as part of a three-year plan, Brady said. The two sets of streets are geographically close as contractors tend to prefer not having to jump all over the city to finish a job, Brady said. Brady described these roads as the “worst of the worst,” and said they all have various issues, including deteriorated asphalt. The repaving of each street will take about two to four weeks, Brady said. The contractor for street repaving is Dunn Construction, and work was expected to begin in mid-January, with all projects expected to be complete by the end of March.

Wheeler files bill to create board, limit power of county health officer By NEAL EMBRY State Rep. David Wheeler, R-Vestavia Hills, has filed a bill which would limit the power of the Jefferson County health officer, which is currently Dr. Mark Wilson. The bill, which has a partner bill in the state Senate filed by state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, would create a Jefferson County Citizens Health Advisory Board that would have the power to make recommendations to the Board of Health and be required to sign off on any proposed resolution, order or directive before it takes effect. “I don’t have a problem with Dr. Wilson; I think he’s doing a great job,” Wheeler said. “I want average citizens to have a voice in the process.” “The advisory board shall provide recommendations to the Jefferson County Board of Health on general policies, direction, strategies and the mission of the Jefferson County Board of Health as the advisory board deems

appropriate,” the bill reads. Wheeler said he’s heard from concerned residents and business owners whose small businesses were forced to close at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, while larger businesses such as Target were allowed to stay open. While that order came from Gov. Kay Ivey, not Wilson, Wheeler said no government body should be picking “winners and losers,” and the residents of Jefferson County should have a say in any orders. “Before issuing any resolution, order or other directive encouraging or mandating countywide compliance, the Jefferson County Health Officer shall provide a copy of the proposed resolution, order or directive to the Jefferson County Citizens Health Advisory Board and submit a written request to the advisory board to solicit recommendations regarding the subject and content of the resolution, order or directive,” the bill continues. “The Jefferson County Health Officer may not issue the resolution, order or directive

until after he or she receives and considers any recommendations from the advisory board, provided the advisory board responses within 10 calendar days of receiving the health officer’s written request.” Wheeler The board would be made up of nine members, selected by different entities, and Wheeler said he wants it to be ethnically diverse and be a broad cross-section of Jefferson County residents. Wheeler said he isn’t necessarily hoping members of the advisory board would have a medical background because four medical professionals already oversee the health officer. The entities that would be responsible for appointing one appointee each are: the

Birmingham City Council, the Jefferson County Commission, the Jefferson County Mayors Association, the minority party of the Jefferson County legislative delegation in the Senate, the minority party of the Jefferson County legislative delegation in the House, the majority party of the Jefferson County legislative delegation in the Senate, the majority party of the Jefferson County legislative delegation in the House and the Birmingham Business Alliance. The other member would be a superintendent in Jefferson County, which would be chosen by other superintendents in the School Superintendents of Alabama District 5, which includes Jefferson County schools. The legislative session begins Feb. 2. The bill will only be voted on by members of the Jefferson County legislative delegation because it would affect only Jefferson County. The bill would not change anything in Mobile County, the only other county in Alabama with its own health officer.


February 2021 • A11


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Progress on UAB’s new Protective Stadium at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex is seen from the east side of the facility in December. Photo by Erin Nelson.

UAB AD gives update on Protective Stadium By NEAL EMBRY Season ticket sales for the 2021 UAB football season are going well for the inaugural year in the Blazers’ new $174 million Protective Stadium at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, UAB Athletic Director Mark Ingram told the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 12. Additionally, all 24 suites at the open-air stadium have sold out, Ingram said. The 41,000-seat stadium is located next to Topgolf in downtown Birmingham and includes a beautiful press box, beautiful plaza for fans and a scoreboard almost as wide as the field itself, Ingram said. UAB is not trying to compete with the University of Alabama or Auburn University when it comes to football, often trying to schedule its games at a time when those schools do not play so fans in the Birmingham area can go to a UAB game and still watch Alabama and/or Auburn, Ingram said. People interested in purchasing season tickets can fill out a letter of intent or continue pre-existing season ticket memberships. Allocation groups are split into four groups. Members of the UAB Athletics Ever Loyal Society, who pledge $25,000 or more through Blazer Boosters, are in the first group to be able to choose their seats. The second group includes active Blazer Boosters members, who have a required minimum contribution of $50. The third group is reserved for those renewing their season tickets, and the fourth group is for new season ticket holders. Season tickets range from $75 for “family zone” seats to $200 for stadium club and suite seats, though the latter, as previously noted, are sold out. That price secures tickets for six home games, Ingram said. The stadium is going to be a great addition to the city of Birmingham, with plans for tailgates on an Uptown rooftop across the street, food trucks and other amenities, he said. “There won’t be a stadium that’s nicer than Protective Stadium,” Ingram said. There are 7,000 parking spaces ready, and a 400-car lot will be located across the street,

UAB Athletic Director Mark Ingram told the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce that season ticket sales for the 2021 UAB football season are going well. Photo by Steve Wood, UAB University Relations.

Ingram said. UAB staff members are working to ensure the stadium will also be safe, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “If you’re willing to go to the grocery store, we hope you’d come to one of our games,” Ingram said. In other UAB updates, Ingram said men’s golf is ranked fifth in the nation, and both basketball teams are off to a good start. “We’re trying to be great in everything we do,” Ingram said. The Blazer football team has done great since it returned to play in 2017, winning two Conference USA championships and being dominant at home, Ingram said. Eleven percent of UAB’s roughly 400 student-athletes are from other countries, and the university now has 11 women’s sports and seven men’s sports, he said.

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A12 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice

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Now Open The Backyard Market is now open in the former Joel’s location at 633 Montgomery Highway. The grocery store offers grocery items, as well as take-home meals. Backyard Market also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, with options to dine inside or take it to-go. facebook.com/backyardmarketvestavia


The Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce and Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce held a joint ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 4 for the opening of Amped Fitness’ new location at 3427 Colonnade Parkway. 319-290-1789, ampedfitness.com


News and Accomplishments Rance Sanders and the late Bart Starr, longtime leaders of Vestavia Hills-based The Sanders Trust, 1000 Urban Center, Suite 675, have earned national recognition after being named the winners of Healthcare Real Estate Insights’ 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Sanders Trust President and CEO Sanders and the late Starr were selected for their significant and unique contributions to the development of the health care real estate industry over time. Sanders and Starr (posthumously) earned this award for their unmatched dedication to their company and the industry. 205-298-0809, sanderstrust.com


Scott Pruitt of Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors, 2500 Acton Road, Suite 200, was appointed as vice president of the Birmingham InfraGard Chapter and selected for the Birmingham InfraGard Members Alliance Board for 2021-22. The Birmingham InfraGard Chapter is a partnership between the Birmingham FBI field office’s InfraGard Program and the Birmingham InfraGard Members Alliance. There are 83 InfraGard chapters across the country. InfraGard members work in


February 2021 • A13 banks, universities, utility companies, hospitals and other companies that make up the critical infrastructure of the United States. InfraGard members develop relationships with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement, as well as with peers in other companies, to share information and better protect the nation’s critical infrastructure and the resources of InfraGard member companies. Pruitt joined Warren Averett in 2006 as the manager of technology services in the firm’s internal information technology group managing the user services team. He now assists clients with their own information systems as a member of the firm’s security, risk and controls division. 205-979-4100, warrenaverett.com/offices/ birmingham

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The Backyard Market opens in Vestavia Hills By NEAL EMBRY The Backyard Market has opened in Vestavia Hills, taking over the former Joel’s location on U.S. 31 next to Donatos Pizza. Owner Jeff Gentry is a Vestavia native and 1997 graduate of Vestavia Hills High School and said he wanted to use his experience in the grocery business to provide a grocery store in that area that wasn’t quite as large as nearby Publix. The store will also provide breakfast, lunch and dinner options for dine-in or take-out, Gentry said. “There’s really nothing on this side of 31,” Gentry said. Gentry and his staff worked quickly after signing the lease in November to open in January, only having to do a deep cleaning of the space, painting and moving a few things John Williams, the executive chef at The Backyard Market, sautés potatoes and carrots in the kitchen of the around, he said. new eatery located at 633 Montgomery Highway on Jan. 4. The store will offer essen- Photo by Erin Nelson. tials such as milk and locally sourced eggs, as well as spePatrons can take those meals to go, as well, cialty cheeses and more, Gentry said. While the business is classified as a market instead of and the store will offer plenty of take-home meals for residents, he said. a restaurant, patrons can dine in. “We’re going to try and make as much stuff Gentry said well-known Birmingham chefs Leo Oliver and John William will be part of as we can in house,” Gentry said. his kitchen. Breakfast options will include The location provides a nice patio place for traditional Southern options such as omelets, families to hang out when the weather is nice, avocado toast, crevettes and more. Lunch and the store will also have three big-screen will include sandwiches, soups, burgers and TVs to watch sports, Gentry said. salads, and dinner will likely include two The business will employ 12 to 15 people, entrees that are rotated each week, including and the store is hiring for some of those posisteak, Gentry said. tions, he said.

A14 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice

Above: Medical staff perform a spinal surgery on a patient at the Swaid Vestavia Medical Center’s Surgical Institute of Alabama on Jan. 18. Left: Dr. Swaid Swaid stands in an operating room. Photos by Erin Nelson.

Swaid Vestavia Medical Center celebrates 1 year of business By NEAL EMBRY While 2020 was a tough year, Dr. Swaid Swaid said the new Swaid Vestavia Medical Center has still done well and is providing superior health care for its patients. The clinic, located on U.S. 31 near Vestavia Hills City Hall, celebrated its one-year anniversary Jan. 13. After coming to a “screeching halt” in mid-March due to COVID-19, the clinic is now seeing about 450 people each month and is operating at full capacity, Swaid said. In addition to seeing patients regularly, Swaid said the clinic has added more staff, bringing the total number of employees to about 50 people. When the pandemic initially hit, employees were thankfully unaffected, he said. “I made the decision we weren’t going to lay

off a single employee,” Swaid said. The clinic has enjoyed a positive relationship with the Vestavia Hills Police Department, which has used the clinic as a medical resource for its officers, he added. The clinic includes a surgery center, as well as medical offices and diagnostic services. Surgeries offered include spinal, orthopedic, vascular, eye and general surgery. The clinic also helps with intervention for pain management, Swaid said. Some of those surgeries have traditionally only been offered in hospitals, and, especially with the prevalence of the COVID19 virus, it has been a game-changer to offer same-day surgery and get patients in and out, Swaid said. “It’s amazing,” Swaid said. “Patients are happy to go home. … We consider this to be a

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great success.” Staff follows up with patients, and if they’re coming from out of town, staff might ask them to spend the night in an area hotel, just in case something were to happen, Swaid said. The new space is bigger and better for patients and staff, and it allows patients to have medical visits, diagnostic services and surgery all done in the same place. In addition, the physical therapy staff upstairs is doing a tremendous job, Swaid said. To keep patients and staff safe, precautions are being taken, including mask wearing and social distancing. Additionally, every patient takes a polymerase chain reaction COVID-19 test (the more accurate test) within 48 hours before surgery, Swaid said. If staff members are showing symptoms, they are paid to stay home, he added.

Swaid said the clinic’s budget had to be adjusted to deal with the rising cost of personal protective equipment and other equipment due to the pandemic, which has affected the clinic’s profitability and ability to retire debt. However, he said the clinic is in stable financial condition, and he hopes things will continue improving as people get vaccinated. As COVID-19 hopefully comes under control, Swaid said he is hoping to expand the medical services offered at the clinic, including robotic surgeries for the spine. He is trying to obtain the equipment for those surgeries, he said, The clinic already offers robotic surgery for joints, which helps make fittings more precise and comfortable for the patient, he said. For more information, visit vestaviamed center.com.

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February 2021 • A15



Have a community announcement? Email Neal Embry at nembry@ starnespublishing.com to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

Valentine’s Day books adorn the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest. Photo courtesy of Eden Pfaff.

Guests at the New Merkel House enjoy Valentine’s Day in February 2019. Photo courtesy of Melanie Perry.

No in-person meetings, but meals continue for seniors By NEAL EMBRY With the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic not slowing down anytime soon, there remain no in-person gatherings of senior adults at the New Merkel House in Cahaba Heights. Director Melanie Perry said she’s praying the pandemic passes soon so that seniors can gather and enjoy fun and fellowship with each other. This month, there would normally be Valentine’s Day events, arts and crafts, in-person meals and more for seniors to enjoy. However, COVID-19 has rendered that impossible, Perry said. Still, that doesn’t mean New Merkel staff isn’t working hard to make sure seniors receive

care, Perry said. Meals on Wheels continues, with volunteers helping bring meals to residents all over the city, and other meals are also taken to New Merkel House members, Perry said. While residents can’t get together to share Valentine’s Day memories and create cards and participate in other fun activities, Perry said Valentine’s Day greetings will be sent to members in the mail. And while many of the senior center’s activities cannot be done without people gathering together in person, Perry said when the weather warms up after winter, drive-in bingo will be resumed for those senior adults who are looking for activities. For more information about the New Merkel House, visit vhal.org/community/senior-living.

Valentine’s Day-themed events take over library in February By NEAL EMBRY Several events this month at the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest will be centered around Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14. In the Children’s Department, young guests can pick up Valentine’s bags Feb. 13 at any time. The bag will include Valentine’s craft ideas and supplies and will be available for pickup until 6 p.m. on the tables at the front of the library. In the Technology Department, patrons can learn how to stay safe in the world of online dating during a YouTube event at 4 p.m. Feb. 18. This event is for anyone currently online dating or considering doing so. Teenagers can learn how to make their own “Valentangles,� a holiday-themed version of zentangles, which are drawings made on structured patterns. The event will be Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. via Zoom. Guests will just need paper and

pens for the craft. Also, for children, there will be a fun “secret message� event. Children can call the library’s “Dial-a-Story� line at 205-584-0600 to listen to several stories. At the end of each story, there will be a secret word, and children will decipher the message and come to the library and give the secret message to the staff to receive a prize. The event begins Feb. 1, and the last day to collect a prize is Feb. 13. All ages can play. On Feb. 11, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will lead one of several classes scheduled for its organization during February, this one centered on archaeology in Alabama. The class, beginning at noon via Zoom, will give a broad overview of the state’s archaeological heritage and specific archaeological sites. Registration is required and can be done by visiting olli.ua.edu or by calling 205-348-3000. For more events, visit vestavialibrary.org.

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A16 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice

VHEW fundraiser Bids and Bites goes virtual By NEAL EMBRY

Whale of a Sale features baby items including cribs and strollers, clothes, toys, books and — new this year — maternity clothes. Staff photo.

Whale of a Sale stays virtual By NEAL EMBRY The Whale of a Sale is going virtual again this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Organizer Kristen Honeycutt said this year’s children’s consignment sale will be online from noon Feb. 19 to 8 p.m. Feb. 21. The link can be found at whaleofasale.blogspot.com. Patrons can shop online and place their order, and after sellers drop off Feb. 22-23, buyers can pick up their items Feb. 26 at Tyson Hall at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church. The annual sale features baby items including cribs and strollers, clothes, toys, books and — new this year — maternity clothes. Honeycutt said maternity clothes became an option when the sale moved online. Previously, there

was not enough space in the gym at the church. Despite the pandemic, Honeycutt said it has been easy getting the event set up after overcoming a “few hiccups” at the beginning. While volunteers won’t get the community interaction Honeycutt said they would miss, they’re glad to be able to hold the event and help raise money for the Vestavia Day School at the church. In the past, Honeycutt said volunteers have used money raised by the sale to buy electronics, other equipment and toys for the school and have redone floors for the school as well. Honeycutt said there will be strict COVID19 precautions taken during dropoff and pickup times, including a requirement for people to wear masks and limitations on the number of people in the gym at one time.

This year’s Bids and Bites auction, an annual fundraiser that benefits Vestavia Hills Elementary West, will be held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Our event will be online, and West parents and staff are encouraged to join us from the comfort of their couch,” said Flynt Connor, chairman of the event this year. The auction will feature the “ever-impressive” themed class baskets, Connor said. “With more than 36 different themes, there will be something for everyone,” Connor said. “Various businesses have generously donated items for the silent auction. These items are always a hit, and we could not put on the auction withA basket from last year’s Bids and Bites auction. This out the support of local year’s event will be held virtually from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 5. businesses.” Photo courtesy of Flynt Connor. While the pandemic forced the auction to move “Event planning has been fairly easy,” online, Connor said COVID-19 allowed organizers to think outside the box. Parents will be Connor said. “We have a great auction comable to bid on fun experiences for their child’s mittee and have been able to communicate via classroom. School experiences include bubble email, texts and Zoom.” This year’s auction will be 6-8 p.m. Feb. and chalk parties, Popsicle parties, movie parties, board game parties, minute to win it 5. Parents and staff at West should look for parties, and candy and Coke parties. There the link to the auction’s Instagram page to be also will be front of the line carpool passes, a able to bid. Community members can receive teacher parking spot, a jeans day for staff and a link to participate by emailing the PTO at vhewpto@gmail.com. much more, Connor said.

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February 2021 • A17

Schoolhouse Have a schoolhouse announcement? Email Neal Embry at nembry@starnespublishing.com to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

Elementary teachers help students grapple with COVID-19 Kayla Underhill teaches her first grade class about generosity in November at Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights. Photo courtesy of Alicia Hunsberger.

By NEAL EMBRY Learning to adjust to the “new normal” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge for many Americans last year, but for teachers of elementary-age children, it comes with the added stress of making sure they feel included and cared for, even from behind a computer screen. “Some of my kids had never been to a school, ever,” said Shannon Moore, who teaches kindergarten at Vestavia Hills Elementary East. School leaders such as Moore and other teachers said they are making sure the system’s youngest students are doing well, making sure to include their parents and the community as a whole in their education and taking steps to ensure that education is still efficient, even virtually, for those students who have not returned to in-person learning. “I sell my kids on the specialness of what we’re doing,” said Jason Cooper, a fifth grade teacher at East. Technology is something with which Cooper said he’s always felt pretty comfortable. However, the pandemic has turned it from a helpful aide to the main thrust of what he’s using for his teaching. The work stretched him as an educator, he said. While he has learned to use technology to conduct classes, Cooper said he’s aware of the short attention spans that join him in his classes, so he breaks up students into smaller groups during teaching times and rarely has large groups. Aimee Rainey, the system’s assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, said the district did not give guidelines at the beginning of the pandemic and gave “latitude” to teachers to

determine what worked best for them. Carmen Sullivan, a third grade teacher at Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, said the flexibility helps students, too. “We want our kids to be empowered,” Sullivan said. Given so many of their other schedules’ rigidity, Sullivan said it’s important the school is flexible when it can be. Trying to unmute and share with small children can be an interesting experience, Cooper said. Moore agreed. “If I get 45 minutes, I’m doing good,” Moore said.

Sullivan follows rules that are similar to what she would use in an in-person classroom. She gives breaks and helps students redirect energy if they need to do so, she said. Collaboration is also key for elementary teachers, Cooper said. In the first month of dealing with COVID-19, it felt like 1997 all over again, his first year of teaching, with all teachers working together to help each other, he said. Blair Inabinet, principal at Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park said she also spends a great deal of time helping answer questions

from parents and working to provide different views of the constellations, but she also sees the willingness of remote students to work hard and engage with the administration, he said. Rainey said schools are making sure virtual students feel part of the campus, from making sure they are part of the yearbook to ensuring they are part of fun class lectures. Kids are resilient, Moore said. It gives her hope for the day that all students and staff are together in the same building again. “I hope they can set their new normal,” she said.

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A18 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice Kindergarten enrollment for Vestavia Hills school system’s 2021-22 academic year opens Feb. 1. Photo courtesy of Whit McGhee, Vestavia Hills City Schools.


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By NEAL EMBRY Kindergarten enrollment will again start in February, offering parents of young children a chance to enroll their child in the Vestavia Hills school system. Enrollment for new students, whether they are in kindergarten or any other grade, begins Feb. 1, while registration for returning students can be done entirely online. For the 2021-22 school year, enrollment will look largely the same, said Whit McGhee, director of public relations for Vestavia Hills City Schools. Parents will complete an enrollment form online, which allows them to fill out student information and begin the enrollment process.

Parents still will have to bring paperwork to their child’s school, including the following: ► Alabama Certificate of Immunization ► Proof of age, to include but not limited to: birth certificate; religious, hospital or physician’s documents showing date of birth; a baptismal certificate or entry in a family Bible; an adoption record; an affidavit from a parent; previously verified school records, etc. ► Current and valid lease, warranty deed, settlement statement, mortgage statement or current property tax notice ► A power bill in your name for the current month showing the residence property address One other item that ties you to the residence: ► Proof of residency from the County Registrar of Voters

► Current vehicle registration showing residence address ► One other bill mailed to you at the residence address ► A canceled check in your name for the current month showing the residence property address If legal custody of a child is split between two parents, you must attach a certified copy of the court order identifying each parent’s respective award of physical custody. Kindergarten students must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 2, 2021, in order to be eligible to begin kindergarten, McGhee said. For more information and to begin the enrollment process, visit vestavia.k12.al.us/ enrollment.

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Students speak with a representative from the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, far right, after bringing in a roughly $2,000 check and about $1,000 worth of supplies in December. Photo courtesy of Aimee Farrar.




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Aimee Farrar said it was one of those “cool teacher moments” when her students, the Pizitz Pirate Ambassadors, helped raise more than $2,000 for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, along with about $1,000 worth of necessary items for the group “I’m so proud of the way they stepped up,” Farrar said. The ambassadors, who serve as the hosts and hostesses for the school, took their donations to the humane society and learned about their work after taking time to visit each homeroom and speak on the school’s morning newscast to raise money, Farrar said.

The plan was created entirely by the students, and this was their first fundraiser, Farrar said. Money was collected during the week of Dec. 7-11, and the homeroom that raised the most money won a chance to skip a class, going to the cafeteria to enjoy food and play games and more, Farrar said. In total, the money raised for the humane society was $2,022.47. Also, about $1,000 worth of dog and cat food, dog and cat treats, blankets and other items the humane society needs was also donated, Farrar said. Farrar said she has spoken to parents who are impressed with what the students did, and said this was something the students really wanted to do.


February 2021 • A19

The four chairs of the student-led RISE fundraiser at Vestavia Hills High School, from left: Aidan Behr, Ella Sweeney, Stella Ross and Matt Coleman. Photo courtesy of Kym Prewitt.

VHHS students raise funds for O’Neal cancer center Students at Vestavia Hills High School believe there is “Power in Together.” In a year of isolation and loss, students at Vestavia Hills High School are striving this semester to regain a sense of tradition, school spirit and togetherness. RISE 2021 is their solution. RISE stands for Rebels Impact through Service and Engagement. This year, more than ever before, that engagement will be a welcome opportunity after an unusual school experience. “We may still be wearing masks and battling COVID, but our goal is to include every student in a meaningful way,” said Stella Ross, a student leader of RISE. The primary way to do that is through RISE Teams, formed by students who find ways to safely serve the community and ultimately earn money for the cause. The cause is the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. According to Ella Sweeney, another student leader, “At the end of the semester and all our activities, 100% of our proceeds will support fighting cancer, specifically for our peers. That is what makes RISE so meaningful. We want to help our friends in a powerful way.” Traditionally, RISE is described as a semester-long fundraiser. Honestly, it is much more than that — RISE is a way to engage all students in a common cause. It is a rallying point, a meaningful mission, an opportunity for connection and purpose beyond the classroom. In a pandemic year that has taken away many opportunities to be together (clubs, dances, pep rallies, assemblies), it is the hope of the student leaders that RISE can restore some of that sense of school spirit and tradition. Not all of the usual events will be allowed this year because of state restrictions concerning the pandemic, but students are already hard at work planning for three traditional events in COVID-compliant fashion. The first event will be the Rebel Run on March 13 at Vestavia Hills High School’s main campus. The run includes a 5K and a 1-mile Fun Run. The entire community is invited to participate. More information on how to register will be coming soon. The annual Character Meet & Greet, the most magical day of the year, will happen April 3 at the Freshman Campus, where 50 high school seniors transform themselves and the facilities into a fantasy land of everyone’s favorite characters. Disney princesses and superheroes will be in the house for children to visit. Look for more information soon on how to purchase your tickets in advance. This is a day you don’t want to miss. RISE season will culminate with RISE Day on April 9 on the fields of Vestavia Hills High

Get Involved ► To become a RISE sponsor, email vhhsrise2021@gmail.com for details. ► To easily donate to RISE, visit the UAB website: go.uab.edu/ vhhsrise. ► Follow RISE on social media on Instagram and Twitter (@vhhsrise) and Facebook: RISE at VHHS ► Visit the RISE website for all details: https://sites.google.com/ vhcs.vestavia.k12.al.us/ylvh/rise?authuser=0.

In light of all that has happened this year, having a reason to come together [whatever that may look like] to move toward the light at the end of the tunnel sounds like a good idea to us. RISE is our reason.


School. This will be an outdoor, communitywide event with live music, wonderful food and games for the whole family. “In light of all that has happened this year, having a reason to come together [whatever that may look like] to move toward the light at the end of the tunnel sounds like a good idea to us. RISE is our reason,” student leader Matt Coleman said. Aidan Behr added: “Our theme this year is ‘The Power of Together,’ and we believe that. There is power in our togetherness. It may not look exactly the same, but we believe it is needed now more than ever, and our goal is to make this year the best yet.” With every single student in the school encouraged to join a team and the activities, surely, they will find that “Power of Together” and spread it to the entire community of Vestavia Hills. – Submitted by Kym Prewitt and Emily Erwood, RISE sponsors.

A20 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice


An ‘unexpected’ championship After overcoming back injury, Vestavia Hills gymnast Calyie Basselin wins Alabama diving title By NEAL EMBRY For more than 13 years, Calyie Basselin dedicated a part of her life to gymnastics. The Vestavia Hills High School junior was spending about 30 hours a week in the gym training and was visiting colleges with hopes of competing at the next level. But in late 2018, Basselin pulled her hamstring in the gym. That injury was followed by a much more serious back injury in March 2019 that gave her two degenerative discs in her back and ultimately forced her to quit gymnastics in December 2019. While gymnastics was no longer an option, Basselin quickly picked up the sport of diving in 2020. Diving, she was told, would allow her to compete athletically without hurting her back. Basselin first practiced diving when the new Wald Park pool opened up at the Vestavia Hills Aquatic Complex last fall and found that it was something she could do without hurting her back, she said. Fast forward to December 2020, less than six months after she took up the sport, and Basselin outperformed every other girl in the state to win the Alabama state championship. “Honestly, it was very unexpected,” Basselin said. “When I found out that I won, I was so excited and just super thankful for my coaches and teammates because I could not have done it without them.” Basselin realized about halfway through the meet that she was down by 30 points, but she was able to come back and win by five points.

Vestavia Hills High School junior Calyie Basselin recently won a state championship in diving. Basselin said she was planning to start club diving in January and would love to apply her dedication and discipline to the sport in college. Photo courtesy of Chris Basselin.

Before competing at state, Basselin went to several smaller events, where she also placed first. She said the state championship was an amazing experience and she had a lot of fun there. When she realized she could not do gymnastics anymore, she initially tried for months to work through the injury, but the intense, “pounding” pain proved to be too much. The injury is something she said she is still overcoming, but her experience helps her today. “I’m so thankful to have the gymnastics background so that my diving transferred over very easily,” Basselin said. “My back … has not affected my diving very much because it is so much less impact than gymnastics.” Basselin’s mother, Jenny, said diving has been nice because the family was “so serious” with gymnastics. Taking more of a laidback, fun approach with diving has helped the family, she said. Jenny said it made her happy to see her daughter take home a state championship, given that at one point her daughter asked if she’d ever be able to run without her back hurting. “It’s fun and encouraging to see,” she said. Looking toward the future, as she wraps up her junior year at Vestavia, Basselin said she was planning to start club diving in January and would love to apply her dedication and discipline to the sport in college. “I can’t wait to see where I am in a year because I still have so much to learn and improve on.”






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February 2021 • A21

Sean Calhoun officially hired as next Rebels head coach By KYLE PARMLEY and NEAL EMBRY Vestavia Hills High School has found its next head football coach. The Board of Education on Jan. 13 hired Sean Calhoun as the varsity head coach, effective Jan. 19. Calhoun comes from Carrollton High School in Georgia, where he posted a 51-12 record over the last five seasons and his team reached the quarterfinals of the Georgia state playoffs all five seasons. Calhoun replaces Buddy Anderson, who retired this fall following 49 years at Vestavia Hills. Anderson won 346 games over 43 seasons as the head coach. In his first conversation with Birmingham area media on Jan. 15, Calhoun said he isn’t intimidated by the stiff competition he will face in the region, which includes perennial powers Thompson, Hoover and Mountain Brook, along with Hewitt-Trussville, Oak Mountain and Spain Park. “That’s something this team’s not going to shy away from,” Calhoun said. Calhoun met with the team Jan. 15 for about 45 minutes and said there was an excitement in the air — something he hopes carries over into the season. “We’re going to bring an exciting brand of football,” Calhoun said. “I’m 39; I’ve got a lot of youthfulness in me.” The new coach told the media he believes Alabama high school football doesn’t get talked about enough, and that there is a “great nucleus” and a great senior class at Vestavia. Calhoun told the team that the “honeymoon phase” will fade, and it will be about how the team executes the new schemes he plans to bring. “I like to roll the dice sometimes,” Calhoun said. “Any pressure we can put on our opponent, we’re going to do that.” That may include trick plays and throwing the ball a little bit more than Vestavia has in the past, Calhoun said. Like his predecessor, Calhoun’s Christian faith plays a vital role in his life, he said. “It’s big for me and my family,” he said.

Sean Calhoun coaches at Carrollton High School in Georgia. Calhoun was hired Jan. 13 as the new head coach for the Vestavia Hills High School football team, effective Jan. 19. Photo courtesy of Vestavia Hills City Schools.

Vestavia Hills City Schools Superintendent Todd Freeman called Calhoun a man of "impeccable" character and said he distinguished himself on and off the field among the eight finalists for the job. Those finalists came from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. “Coach Calhoun has dedicated his career to investing in the lives of young men through the sport of football," Freeman said in a written statement. "His values and commitment to excellence are aligned with those of our school

system and community. His successful experiences have prepared him to lead our football program and build on the legacy established by Coach Anderson and his teams. Coach Calhoun and his family will be a wonderful addition to Vestavia Hills." While Calhoun has taken the reins of Vestavia’s football program, Anderson isn’t going anywhere just yet. He’s still at the high school, serving as dean of students. Having the all-time leader in wins in Alabama history

around doesn’t intimidate Calhoun, though. “I need to use him as a resource,” Calhoun said. Anderson also provides an inspiration for the kind of career Calhoun hopes to have, he said. “Whenever my career is done, if I can be in the same sentence, the same chapter, the same book as Buddy Anderson, I’ve done a couple things right,” Calhoun said. Calhoun is the seventh head coach for the Rebels.


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A22 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice

Rebels looking to sustain momentum By KYLE PARMLEY

Vestavia Hills’ Win Miller (0) shoots the ball guarded by Chelsea’s Holton Smith (11) in a Nov. 12 game at Chelsea High School. Photos by Erin Nelson.

The Vestavia Hills High School boys’ basketball team said all the right things given the disappointing way last season ended. The Rebels planned to not end their season in a high school gymnasium in the area tournament, as was the case last winter. They were driven to make sure that result was not replicated, but words only go so far. At the outset of this season, the Rebels proved they meant business. Backing up the words they preached, Vestavia Hills turned the calendar to 2021 with a 16-2 record. The Rebels won the Sneaky Pete’s Rebel Classic and notched quality wins over the likes of Oak Mountain and Ramsay. Head coach Patrick Davis said the team’s early success stemmed from what happened well before game day. “Because they go at it in practice every day,” he said. “We try to make everything competitive. … They just love to compete. You can’t teach that.” The fear of teams starting well is hitting peak form too soon and seeing that performance dip as the long season wears on. “There’s always a challenge of when you play well early of trying to sustain it,” Davis said. “It takes some competitive stamina to be able to do it over a long term, especially with the craziness of this year.” But one thing working in Vestavia’s favor this season is a balanced roster, with seven seniors, seven juniors and a sophomore. Win Miller is the lone sophomore and was the Rebels’ leading scorer last year as a freshman. Miller attributed much of his growth last year to point guard Coleman Barranco and said this

What we’ve been doing in terms of the standard of our program, puts us in a position to end in a place that’s good.


year’s team has the requisite experience to be successful after last year’s disappointment. Miller also has been playing with many of the current seniors for a few years now, since he moved up to the junior varsity team as an eighth grader. “When they had senior night, I felt like I had to run out there with them,” Miller joked. “It’s always been great how they treated me and whether I’m doing good or bad, they’ve always had my back.” Grant Uldrich, one of those seniors, certainly appreciates Miller’s contributions to the team’s success. “It goes a long way when you have a new guy and you welcome him with open arms and share the ball with him and get his game going,” Uldrich said. “You’ve seen everyone else embrace him and be so joyful to have a player like him with his talent on our team.” Miller has continued his rapid maturity and handled everything that comes with his significant role. “He’s grown up so much in the last year and welcomes all of that. Being recruited at a

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Right: Vestavia Hills’ Grant Uldrich (22) looks to pass the ball in a game against Chelsea on Nov. 12 at Chelsea High School. Below: Vestavia Hills’ Win Miller (0) dribbles the ball while guarded by Chelsea’s Kevin Legrand (23). Far right: Uldrich (22) shoots a 3-pointer while guarded by Chelsea’s Holton Smith (11).

young age, and while everybody sees this as an awesome thing, but there’s a lot that goes with that too that he’s managed very well,” Davis said. Uldrich was pulled up to the varsity squad as a sophomore and makes his mark with his energy and willingness to do the less flashy things, like diving for loose balls and attacking rebounds. “He’s the definition of high motor, high energy, plays in the front of all of our pressure

[defense], which makes us go,” Davis said. “He’s super, super critical of himself and wants to get better all the time. That speaks volumes as to who he is, he sees the big picture with a mature approach. He does so many things.” Davis said Miller showed him plenty last season, showing a willingness to do anything it takes to give the Rebels a win. “Win led us in scoring as a freshman last year, which is a pretty heavy load to carry as a

ninth-grader playing 7A basketball. He did that well. It’s not an easy thing to do, in terms of the physical job to do it or just the mental approach every day,” Davis said. Davis cautions against being “end-result oriented,” since, for example, last season featured plenty of bright moments for a team that was inexperienced entering the season. But making it to the postseason and advancing once there is something each team strives for.

“What we’ve been doing in terms of the standard of our program, puts us in a position to end in a place that’s good.” Guys like Uldrich and Miller put in the work over the offseason and have seen it pay off so far. This season marks the final ride for Uldrich, Joey Caiola, Nate Campbell, Charlie Hughes, MJ Newsom, Micah Roberson and Garrett Smith. “I can’t wait to see what happens,” Uldrich said.

A24 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice Vestavia Hills’ Garrett Smith (10) dribbles the ball downcourt in a game against HewittTrussville at HewittTrussville High School on Jan. 8. Photos by Erin Nelson.


Above: Vestavia Hills’ Kaylee Dressback (33) dribbles the ball as she’s guarded by Hewitt-Trussville’s April Hooks (4) during the first half of their Jan. 8 game at Hewitt-Trussville High School.

Above: Vestavia Hills’ Jill Gaylard (2) dribbles the ball while being guarded by HewittTrussville’s Jordan Hunter (2). Right: Vestavia Hills’ Reese Gurner (11) moves past HewittTrussville’s Tyler Pickett (23) as he drives toward the goal.

Above: Vestavia Hills’ Ally Smith (10) dribbles the ball as she’s guarded by HewittTrussville’s Londyn Johnson (3). Left: Vestavia Hills’ Nate Campbell (3) shoots a layup while guarded by HewittTrussville’s Ray Rolley (00).


February 2021 • A25



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A26 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice

Varsity Sports Metro Roundup Calendar DOWNTOWN

The UAB 1917 Clinic’s new location in the Dewberry Building in Lakeview has 50,664 feet of space, a substantial upgrade from the previous clinic on 20th Street South. Photo by Andrea Mabry, UAB University Relations.

BASKETBALL Feb. 2: vs. Pike Road. Girls at 6 p.m.; boys at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5: @ Huffman. Girls at 6 p.m.; boys at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8-13: Area tournaments. TBD. Feb. 18-25: Regionals. TBD.


New home in Birmingham’s Lakeview for acclaimed UAB AIDs clinic

Feb. 13: Doubleheader vs. Chelsea. 10 a.m. Feb. 15: @ Briarwood. 1 p.m. Feb. 18: vs. Briarwood. 4 p.m. Feb. 20: vs. Madison Academy. Noon.

Shootout. TBD. Foley Sports Complex.

Feb. 23: @ Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa. 4 p.m.

Feb. 12-13: Boys at Rick Grammer Invitational. TBD. Vestavia Hills High School.

Feb. 25: vs. Oak Mountain. 4 p.m.

Feb. 19: Girls @ Huntsville. 6:30 p.m.


Feb. 20: Boys doubleheader vs. Huntsville, Fort Payne. 10 a.m., 2 p.m. Huntsville High School.

Feb. 5-6: Girls at Falcon Fest. TBD. Huntsville.

Feb. 26: Girls @ John Carroll. 6 p.m.

Feb. 6: Boys doubleheader vs. Greater Atlanta Christian (Georgia), Whitfield Academy (Georgia). Noon, 3:30 p.m. Atlanta.


Feb. 9: Girls vs. Prattville. 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 19-20: Leeds Tournament. TBD.

Feb. 11-13: Girls at Southern

Feb. 25: @ Hoover. 4:30 p.m.

Feb. 26: Boys @ Thompson. 7 p.m.


HIV who are not engaged in care.” Birmingham AIDS Outreach The UAB 1917 Clinic, the larghas space in the building as est HIV health care unit in Alabama well. and one of the country’s preeminent “This move will provide HIV clinics, has relocated to the renewed synergy between 1917 Dewberry Building at 3220 Fifth Clinic and BAO as community Ave. S. in Lakeview. partners in the fight to end the HIV ironcity.ink It opened its doors to the commuepidemic while addressing the nity and about 3,600 active patients immediate needs of the HIV comDec. 15, according to UAB News. munity,” Raper said. In its new location, the 1917 Clinic has The Dewberry Building, located on a public 50,664 feet of space, a substantial upgrade from transportation route and with ample parking, is the previous clinic on 20th Street South. intended to provide easier access for the 1917 “This move will allow for increased capac- patient population. ity to meet the existing and burgeoning need It also provides an easy route back to the for HIV comprehensive multidisciplinary care UAB main campus physicians, researchers, and support service to people with HIV and staff and patients. the community,” clinic director James Raper In existence for three decades, the 1917 told UAB News. “It also allows us to more Clinic has more than 150 staff members and effectively do outreach to identify persons with has treated more than 12,000 patients with HIV.

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February 2021 • A27



Neighborhood Nutrition brings healthy shakes, teas downtown

Pinky Cole, the CEO and founder of Slutty Vegan ATL, cuts a ribbon in front of the new Slutty Vegan location on 55th Place in Woodlawn on Dec. 23. From left, David Fleming, REV Birmingham CEO and president; Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin; Keeyah Johnson, executive assistant to Cole; Cole; Jason Crain, Slutty Vegan chief revenue officer; Abra Barnes, qualifying broker at Barnes & Associates; and Mashonda Taylor, Woodlawn Foundation executive director. Photo courtesy of REV Birmingham.


Slutty Vegan to open in Birmingham, its 1st location outside Georgia By JESSE CHAMBERS

and has attracted national attention for its vegan burgers. Birmingham’s Woodlawn Cole purchased the building neighborhood received a big from REV Birmingham, a nonChristmas gift Dec. 23. profit economic development That’s the day Pinky Cole organization that owns commer— CEO and founder of Atlancial property in Woodlawn. ta-based food purveyor Slutty “I am pleased that REV has ironcity.ink Vegan — announced she had been able to sell this property bought a building on 55th Place to a business owner who will North in Woodlawn that will bring even more personality to serve as the first location for her restaurant this vibrant neighborhood, not to mention a outside of Georgia. new healthy food option in her approachable “The Woodlawn area is a culturally rich vegan menu,” said David Fleming, REV Birneighborhood that reminded me of my very mingham president and CEO. first location in the West End of ATL,” Cole REV Birmingham and the Woodlawn said, according to a REV Birmingham news Foundation are also working with Cole to release. “We specifically wanted to go into build relationships with the community, food deserts and locations right in the middle Cole, 33, developed the Slutty Vegan conof economic and community revitalization.” cept in 2018 and launched her first brick-andSlutty Vegan will open in Woodlawn in mortar location in 2019. 2021, according to the news release. Her mission is to provide quality vegan It will be the fourth location for the restau- meals in communities that would otherwise rant, which makes plant-based comfort food never have that option. Brought to you by our sister paper:

A new shop selling shakes and teas opened on 18th Street. Owner Faith Hurtado opened Neighborhood Nutrition last August in the former Lucky Cat Rolled Creams storefront at 2908 18th St. S. Neighborhood Nutrition is the Brought to sister store to Magic you by our City Nutrition, which sister paper: is located in downtown Birmingham in the Battery. Neighborhood thehomewood Nutrition customers star.com love that they can buy shakes and teas that not only taste good but also make them feel good, Hurtado said. “Our goal is to take things like protein shakes, vitamins, et cetera, and make them less intimidating and overwhelming,” she said. “Making sure you get the good stuff you need throughout the day can be tough and often daunting, so our customers love that they can leave knowing they are getting those vitamins and nutrients and delicious drinks.” Energy teas at the shop are packed with B vitamins, vitamin C and natural caffeine, she said. Each shake has 200-250 calories, 24-32 grams of protein and 21 vitamins and minerals — but taste like birthday cake or brownies. “It doesn’t get much better than that,” Hurtado said. Hurtado signed the lease for the space in February 2020, right before the pandemic forced businesses to temporarily shut down, so she didn’t open the shop immediately. “We weren’t sure when the right time was,

Faith Hurtado pours a smoothie. Hurtado opened Neighborhood Nutrition in August in the former Lucky Cat Rolled Creams location on 18th Street. Staff photo.

but in August we finally decided to open our doors, with very little idea of what might come of it,” she said. “But the Homewood community welcomed us with open arms and has made it an incredible first six months open. “We thought it would be tough to build relationships with our ‘neighbors’ through masks and quick interactions, but the community we have been able to build through it all has been unreal. We truly are so honored to be a part of Homewood. “ Neighborhood Nutrition is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Follow the shop on Instagram at @nbrhd nutrition for more information.

A28 • February 2021

Vestavia Voice


Winners announced for 2020 Vulcans Community Awards By JESSE CHAMBERS Vulcan Park Foundation recently announced the 2020 honorees for The Vulcans Community Awards, honoring civic pride and leadership in the seven-county Birmingham area. The Vulcans honor 10 people this year in four categories — Lifetime Achievement, Brought to Hero, Game Changer you by our and Servant Leadership sister paper: — and are divided into two broad groups: The Vulcans and Spears. Over 100 nominations were received ironcity.ink this year, and recipients were chosen by an independent panel, according to a Jan. 7 Vulcan news release. Due to COVID-19, there will be no traditional awards banquet. Instead, Vulcan was scheduled to host a virtual awards celebration Jan. 28 and, the same night, open a five-month exhibit at Linn-Henley Gallery honoring the winners. For more information about the exhibit at Linn-Henley Gallery, call 205-933-1409 or go to visitvulcan.com.



► Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Perry Ward, president of Lawson State Community College for 33 years. Under Ward’s leadership, Lawson State was named one of America’s Top 50 Community Colleges in 2010 and one of the county’s top five community colleges in 2013. ► Hero: Madison Kerns Conrad, director of operations for the Birmingham nonprofit Urban Avenues. In 2020, Conrad led the organization’s CareHealth initiative, a response to COVID-19 that helped health care workers

Dr. Perry W. Ward, president of Lawson State Community College for 33 years, will be the recipient of the 2020 Vulcans Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo courtesy of Vulcan Park Foundation.

and local restaurants. ► Game Changer: Amanda Storey, executive director of Jones Valley Teaching Farm, which hosts educational programs for thousands of public school children in Birmingham. ► Servant Leadership: T. Marie King, an activist who champions social justice through training, educating, speaking and consulting. She has served communities in Birmingham and around the country and worked with many national organizations for about 20 years.


► Heroes: Milton King, founder and executive director of Determined 2 Be Mentor and Leadership Program, which helps young men build better futures, and Dr. Sarah Elizabeth Moreman, who was born with hearing loss, and is an English instructor at Jefferson State Community College and chair of the social media team at the Junior League of Birmingham. She spoke at TEDxBirmingham in 2018. ► Game Changers: Keith Richards, founder of Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, and Alicia Johnson Williams, an arts educator and administrator. Richards’ signature charity at Taziki’s is the HOPE Program (Herbs Offering Personal Enrichment), which helps children with special needs in 10 states learn about the herb business and develop job skills. Williams serves as director of the Negro Southern League Museum and Boutwell Auditorium and is also the artistic director of her own community youth theatre company, Make It Happen Theatre. ► Servant Leadership: Dr. Karim Budwhani of CerFlux Inc. and Quan & Nga Nguyen of Dang’s Alterations. Budhwani, who is a visiting scientist in the UAB School of Medicine, founded CerFlux

in 2018 to use micro- and nanomedicine to fight cancer. He was also active in 2020 in helping to solve logistical and administrative challenges in fighting COVID-19. Quan and Nga Nguyen started Dang’s

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February 2021 • A29

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A30 • February 2021 SHINE

CONTINUED from page A1 While he was working as a seasonal UPS employee, after cleaning the flag poles, taking out the trash, and blowing the leaves and sanding off the greens at the golf course, Pratt would go scan and deliver UPS packages along with his driver, Richard Wilson. Wilson has been a “godsend,” Hyde said, and the pair carried heavy boxes together, went to Starbucks together and talked about sports, Pratt said. “He’s the best UPS driver,” Pratt said. Wilson said Pratt brought good conversation, lots of laughter and plenty of smiles to the job. “It’s an amazing experience,” Wilson said. “He’s doing a great job. … He’s not letting anything hold him back.” Seeing how hard Pratt worked pushes him to work even harder in his job, Wilson said. Pratt and Wilson were able to spread some holiday cheer when they delivered packages during the month of December. “It makes me happy,” Pratt said. “I say hey to them [people receiving packages] and happy holidays.” Pratt has some neighbors who work for UPS, and they encouraged him to apply. But Pratt didn’t apply through any special program; he applied like anyone else would, Hyde said. “We’re just so thankful to UPS for giving him this opportunity,” Hyde said. Pratt worked five days a week with UPS and was off every other weekend. At the golf course, he works seven days one week, and then works five days the next week. “It feels great to work 12 hours,” Pratt said. “I never get tired at all.”

Jake loves people, and people love Jake.


Jake Pratt holds up a jersey for Joe Burrow, the quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals and former quarterback at LSU, as he stands beside UPS driver Richard Wilson during a celebration for Pratt on Dec. 24 after Pratt finished his holiday term with UPS. Photo courtesy of the Pratt family.

Part of that work ethic came from Pratt’s time on the Vestavia Hills football team, where he served as a manager for two years before making the play of the year his senior year. During a jamboree game against Briarwood in 2017, Pratt was pulled into the huddle by then-quarterback Eli Sawyer, who told him the play call, which Pratt couldn’t

recall later. But when Pratt got the handoff, he did what running backs coach Greg Smith told him to do: run straight and then go left. Pratt scored a 34-yard touchdown and was congratulated by both teams. The video took off on social media, making Pratt a star overnight. After graduating from high school, Pratt went to Clemson,

where he worked at the football complex, a bagel shop and at the Clemson University Police Department. The latter came about after Pratt built friendships with police officers, with whom he often shared a meal. The Police Department created an internship for two ClemsonLIFE students — the school’s program for students with intellectual disabilities — and Pratt was one of the first to receive a spot in the program. Now that he’s working, Pratt said he’s saving up his money to buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend, Grace Davis, who also graduated from Vestavia Hills, and is in her first year at Auburn University. The couple met at the high school, and their first date was when Davis asked Pratt to a Sadie Hawkins dance. While Pratt said he misses her, Davis is able to come home a lot, and Pratt will also go see her at Auburn. While Clemson remains his favorite team, Auburn is a close second because of Davis, he said. Hyde said the family is excited for the two to get married, and the goal is for them to live independently. “I can’t wait,” Pratt said. “It’s going to be awesome.” Pratt is also learning to drive, Hyde said. He got his driver’s permit last summer, making a perfect score on the test on his first attempt.

Vestavia Voice “It feels awesome to drive,” Pratt said. Hyde said her brother’s success is a result of his determination to succeed in life. “It’s been because of Jake,” she said. Pratt also inspires others and has helped families with young children who also have Down syndrome. While at Clemson, during an event sponsored by Ruby’s Rainbow, which provides scholarships to adults with Down syndrome, Pratt was able to sit and talk to a family with a young boy who had Down syndrome. A real-life example of overcoming adversity, Pratt was able to help the family as they began their journey, Hyde said. After sharing her brother’s news about his UPS job, Hyde said she received messages from parents of children with special needs, and they tell her how encouraging it is to see him succeed, and how it gives them hope for their children as well. Hyde said it’s the kind of hope her mother needed after Pratt was born, and after her doctor delivered such a pessimistic outlook on his life. Pratt’s goal is to keep moving up in his jobs, and he said he wants to work full-time at the golf course along with his UPS job. Hyde said while that may not be possible, it will be difficult for him to choose, as he truly enjoys both jobs. He also has good friends at both jobs and is well loved, Hyde said. “Jake loves people, and people love Jake,” she said. His relentless optimism and hard work also inspire his sister, she said. “He just inspires me because he’s so dedicated,” Hyde said. “He never complains. There’s never a situation where he doesn’t have a positive outlook. … I just love watching Jake shine.”


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CONTINUED from page A1 that are made at school going, and students have been disappointed about the way so much of their year went. In addition to the stress and anxiety brought on by COVID-19, depression has also been on the rise, Gaston said. “We worry about our faculty and staff as well,” Gaston said. “They have families and concerns.”


Every staff member plays a vital role in addressing mental health for both students and adults, not just in the days of COVID-19, but before and long after this pandemic is over, because “normal” stress and anxiety will still be here, Hunsberger said. While students thrive on routine, Hunsberger said they also thrive on knowing there are people on whom they can count. And while routines have been disrupted, the care and concern teachers and other staff members feel for their students have not, Hunsberger said. “We have staff members who care about every child,” Hunsberger said. That care and concern goes a long way in addressing mental health concerns, whether it’s COVID-19 related or not, Hunsberger said. For students who struggle with mental health, there are numerous ways teachers and school leaders try to help. Gaston said while it’s easy to think that students in high-performing schools such as Vestavia Hills schools don’t struggle with mental health, sometimes having the pressure of the expectation of academic success can actually make being emotionally and mentally healthy

The counseling staff at Vestavia Hills High School — from left, Oliver Aaron, Kylie Reagan, Barbara Gajewski, Daria Howard, Anna Daneri and Brandon Boggs — stands in the atrium of the school after receiving the Alabama School Counseling Program of Distinction Award from the Alabama State Department of Education in October 2020. Photo courtesy of Vestavia Hills City Schools.

more difficult. It’s important to make sure students and parents understand that it’s OK to need help, she said. “A lot of what we do … is bringing to the forefront that mental health is something we have to talk about,” Gaston said. Jennifer Bailey, director of student services for the school system, said each school also participates in the Hope Institute through Samford University, where students learn about having good character and making good decisions, which can go a long way in addressing mental health. The institute also directly teaches students how to talk about their mental health, Bailey said. At Cahaba Heights, Hunsberger said a “check-in” strategy sometimes

helps, where another adult, besides the student’s teacher, will check on that student every day, ask how they’re doing and make sure they have what they need to succeed. “We have amazing counselors in Vestavia,” Hunsberger said. “I can’t say enough good things about our counselors.” Counselors will lead small groups for students with anxiety, meet individually with students and follow up with parents to determine the best way to help the child, Hunsberger said.


Dawn Norris is one of those counselors and is currently in her 14th year helping students at Vestavia Hills Elementary West. She said she’s

seen a big rise in the anxiety of students over the years. A major factor of that stress is the rise in use of technology and social media, Norris said. Kids are more exposed now to the world around them than ever before. Brandon Boggs, a counselor at the high school, said in today’s world, students have more access to nationwide news, and it’s harder than it once was to be insulated from the world around them and focus on just being kids. Gaston said while social media has its benefits, it also has its pitfalls. “It adds an extra layer of stress in that kids are always connected to each other,” Gaston said. “I think they struggle to develop real, meaningful relationships. … I think kids are more

connected but feel lonely.” It’s important for students to realize that social media is not real life, Gaston said. Hunsberger said while apps such as TikTok may be fun, they aren’t intended for elementary-age children because they are not developmentally ready to deal with some of the content on the platform. And while technology can serve as an educational tool both at home and in the classroom, it isn’t what is needed to “pacify students and use as a babysitter,” Hunsberger said. Social media, even at the elementary school level, can be dangerous, she said. “It consumes their thinking,” Hunsberger said. It’s important for children to not have access to technology before bed, as it can have a negative impact on sleep, Hunsberger said. Having a regular routine with set times for getting up in the morning, going to bed at night, eating meals and more can also go a long way in helping with mental health, she said.


For parents, Gaston said it’s vital to be supportive and to educate themselves about mental health, and to not assume that their children have nothing to worry about because of their age. Boggs said parents should be available for their children and let them know they’re still there, especially for teenagers who may not always share what they are going through or what they are feeling with their parents. Parents must take the initiative to be involved in their child’s life and ask about what’s going on, even if their children don’t initially respond, he said. “You do it enough … and they know their parent cares,” Boggs said. “Parents are critical.”


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About our Center l



26 board-certified cardiologists, intensivists, anesthesiologists and surgeons 435 cardiac surgeries performed in 2020, including 4 heart transplants More than 675 cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology procedures performed in 2020

For Children’s Financial Assistance information, call 1.844.750.8950 or visit www.childrensal.org/financial-assistance

B2 • February 2021

2021 Spring Medical Guide

Vestavia Voice

Special Advertising Section

TrustCare Urgent Care 1337 Montclair Road, Birmingham, AL 35210


708 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216

Q: Please describe TrustCare Urgent Care’s area of expertise. A: TrustCare — the No. 1 rated walk-in urgent care clinic in Mississippi — is now open in Birmingham. With more than 3,000 online reviews, averaging 4.9 out of 5 stars, we are most often praised for timeliness of care, compassion of the providers and cleanliness of the facilities. Our passion for high quality patient care and exceptional customer service has now been extended to online health visits and primary care. Our board-certified local physicians and highly skilled and certified nurse practitioners treat many illnesses and injuries. Q: What type of services and/or products do you offer? A: We offer treatment for abdominal and stomach pain, allergic reactions, asthma, colds, coughs, sore throats, eye and ear infections, flu, insect and animal bites, joint pain, nausea, scrapes and abrasions, sinus infections and work-related injuries. In addition to our walk-in urgent care, we offer Direct Primary Care, which is an especially good option for those who have lost their insurance or have high deductible insurance. Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a modern health care model that makes managing your health care so much easier and more affordable. Instead of traditional care with co-pay, deductible and unexpected medical bills, DPC is built on a monthly subscription membership (much like a gym membership). You receive extended time with Dr. David Hardin, at our Vestavia Hills location, including unlimited clinic visits by appointment. DPC includes virtual care so you can access your doctor by phone, text or video chat. TrustCare offers DPC as TrustCare Prime, and it starts at $69 per month. If you would like more information about TrustCare Prime, visit



our website or call 205-303-1723. Q: How long have you been in business or practicing? A: TrustCare has been in operation in Mississippi since 2012. We expanded to Birmingham in 2020. Our Vestavia location opened in January 2021. Our next location in Cahaba Heights will open this spring. Q: What wants or problems does TrustCare provide a solution to? A: COVID-19 evaluation and testing has become our most requested service during the pandemic. We offer a rapid swab test with same-day results. We also have a PCR test suitable for travel to many places. Those results can take several days. Because we are walk-in, patients can come in for COVID-19 testing whenever they feel they need it. Q: What is your benchmark for success?  A: Our goal is to exceed the patient’s expectations. From the convenient check-in through the entire exam process, TrustCare is committed to helping you experience our trademark guarantee that you will Feel Better Faster™. Q: What is your approach or philosophy to customer service? A: Although TrustCare is a health care company providing much needed medical care in a quick-pace environment, customer service is at the heart of what we do. People want to get well, but they also want to feel like their provider cares about their needs and well-being. That is what TrustCare does best. Q: Could you share a TrustCare success story?


A: Notes like this one from many of our patients make us thankful we can serve the community: “We had a wonderful experience here! Despite the demand for COVID testing, TrustCare has really risen to the occasion and provides a safe environment where they have a great process for getting you in and tested. After you sign in, they let you wait in your car and fill out your information on your phone. Then they text you when it’s time to come into your room. I went for a COVID test and treatment for a sinus infection and would highly recommend. After such a positive, friendly and helpful experience, I will be making this my primary doctor’s office.” — L. West, Birmingham. Q: Spring and warmer weather will be right around the corner. What seasonal advice or tips would you like to share with potential patients? A: Allergies will be even harder to navigate due to concerns it could be COVID-19 symptoms. We offer allergy testing and a simple allergy treatment. Sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops, is a safe, convenient way to treat the cause of your allergies and help you build longterm tolerance to the things that once made you miserable. Allergy drops are custom to each patient based on testing, history and exam. Drops can be used safely for a broad range of people including infants and children, those with food allergies, people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, sinusitis and those with multiple allergies. Q: What do you most want potential patients to know about TrustCare? A: Our locations are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-7 p.m.


2021 Spring Medical Guide

Special Advertising Section

February 2021 • B3



(with same day or next day results)

-Urgent Care -Wellness Exams -Allergy Testing & Treatment -No Appointment Needed




B4 • February 2021

2021 Spring Medical Guide

Special Advertising Section

Vestavia Voice

Before After

1651 Independence Court, Homewood, AL 35209

Q: What is Morpheus8? A: Morpheus8 is an advanced radio frequency microneedling device. It works by tightening and smoothing the skin. The tiny needles penetrate deep into the skin and fat, and then the radiofrequency waves work between the needles to stimulate collagen in the skin. This “morphs” the aging face or body into a more desired smooth and sleek appearance for all skin tones. This treatment is ideal for areas with loss of elasticity such as the neck, jaw and tummy, but it can also be used to treat stretchmarks and acne scarring. Q: Does Morpheus8 really work? A: Yes! We researched all of the different radiofrequency devices and chose Morpheus8 specifically because we believe it is the best device to offer our patients to achieve tightening with little downtime, leading to a more youthful appearance. Q: Is Morpheus8 permanent? A: The tightening effect is lasting, though aging continues. Therefore, additional treatments may be desired in the future for maintenance. Visible results can be seen within a few days, but typically after three weeks the most noticeable results appear. Improvements


continue up to three months after treatment. Continuing at-home care with physician-grade skin care can also improve results. Q: How many Morpheus8 treatments do you need? A: We recommend a series of three for most areas, though additional treatments may be needed especially for certain skin concerns, such as when treating scar tissue. Typically, we suggest patients space treatments one to two months apart.


to make the treatment more comfortable. The pain associated from Morpheus8 is heat related. Topical numbing is typically enough for pain control, but additional medications can be prescribed if pain is a concern for the patient.

Q: Who would benefit from a Morpheus8 treatment? A: Patients with skin laxity — such as creepy, hanging skin — or patients who desire smoothing can benefit greatly from this radiofrequency needling treatment. Some of our favorite places to treat with Morpheus8 are the jawline, around the eyes and the neck. But the entire face can be enhanced with the rejuvenative effects of the Morpheus8 procedure.

Q: Describe the Morpheus8 treatment procedure. A: After numbing the skin on your face and then cleaning the area, the clinician will choose settings appropriate for the area of the body that we will be treating. The treatments are delivered at different energy levels and depths of penetration. Most treatments include about three passes of the device over the treatment area. Typically, the area will be red after the procedure, which typically resolves over 24 hours. There can sometimes be a few small bruises in the treatment area. The patient needs to avoid sun exposure until the redness dissipates and use a gentle cleanser, a gentle moisturizer and a sunscreen after the procedure.

Q: Is the Morpheus8 treatment painful? A: Although the Morpheus8 treatment can be uncomfortable, we numb your face for about 45 minutes prior to the procedure with topical numbing cream

Q: What areas of the body can be treated with Morpheus8? A: Any body area with laxity and fat can be treated, but the primary areas are the lower face jowls and neck.


2021 Spring Medical Guide

Special Advertising Section

February 2021 • B5

Grandview Medical Group – Vestavia 1919 Kentucky Ave., Suite 113, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216

Q: Please describe your area of expertise. A: Primary care. Q: What type of services do you offer? A: We cover health management of high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid issues, arthritis, cholesterol, mood disorders, women’s health, weight management and preventive care, as well as minor dermatology procedures. Our office hours are Monday through Friday. Q: How long have you been practicing? A: Ten years. Q: Please describe your educational and experiential background. A: I received my undergraduate degree from Samford University and my medical degree from Pikeville University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Q: What is your benchmark for success? A: Excellent patient care. Q: How have you and/ or your staff adjusted your operations and/or services to comply with COVID-19 safety measures?



A: We have measures in place for offering phone visits to sick patients in order to allow healthy patients to come into the office. We also offer COVID-19 testing for our patients. Q: Spring and warmer weather will be right around the corner. What, if any, seasonal advice or tips would you like to share with potential patients? A: Exercise! Please get out and get some activity and sunshine. It is so important for your mental as well as physical well-being! Q: What is your approach or philosophy to customer service? A: Feedback is so important. Patient feedback is helpful to allow us to improve our care and atmosphere. Q: What do you most want potential patients to know about you and your practice? A: We are accepting new patients, and we have a nurse practitioner as well. Q: How can I get more information or schedule an appointment? A: Call or book online.

Dr. Colleen Tobe-Donohue


Grandview Medical Group makes it easier to see a primary care provider in Birmingham – quickly. Just call 205-971-DOCS. Most calls will result in a same-day appointment with a physician or a nurse practitioner at one of our 13 primary care locations. Walk-ins are welcome, too. If you or a family member age five or older needs to see a doctor fast, think Grandview Medical Group. Visit GrandviewMedicalGroup.com or call 205-971-DOCS to schedule your same-day appointment.

Chelsea • Columbiana • Grandview Physicians Plaza • Greystone • Homewood Hoover • Lee Branch • Liberty Park • Springville • Trussville • Vestavia Hills

109410_TRIN_PCP_9_75x7_59c.indd 1

Look Forward. 2/10/20 1:57 PM

B6 • February 2021

2021 Spring Medical Guide

Vestavia Voice

Special Advertising Section

HomeRN info@homerncare.com

Q: What services does HomeRN offer? A: HomeRN is a concierge nursing service that will offer on-call nursing services, adult sitter services, medication management and even an extra level of expertise that can attend physician appointments with you to make sure that all your needs and concerns are being covered and you and your family have a good understanding of your treatment plan. Essentially, we are there to do whatever the family needs to fill the gaps: everything from filling a pill planner every week to facilitating communication between the physician, the family and the patient. Q: Eliza Maxwell, why did you start HomeRN? A: About a year ago I had a family friend who’s father got very sick. As a nurse practitioner who has worked in home health for many years, my friend turned to me for assistance. My friend asked if I would come over and check on her father after he was discharged from the hospital. What I thought would be a 30-minute visit turned into a four-hour session. His wife, who had no medical experience, was now the primary caregiver of someone who had a lot of new

medication and new medical equipment that she did not know how to administer or utilize. I realized there was a need for someone to fill the gap in care between when someone leaves the hospital and their first follow-up visit. For many patients, there needs to be someone on call who can answer any questions that may come up. Q: What type of knowledge and expertise do you provide for patients? A: I will be working as a nurse in this role, but I will be bringing all the knowledge and experience of a nurse practitioner. I will see every patient and begin with a primary assessment, no matter if they just had surgery or a small change in their condition. Q: Does the medical knowledge of your staff set HomeRN apart? A: Absolutely. Unlike many other services, every member of our staff is medically trained. Many of our sitters are nurses, nursing students or Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Q: How has the pandemic affected the demand for home services like your own? A: I think because of the pandemic, families are leery



of assisted living facilities and nursing homes because of the restrictions that have been placed on things like visitation. With HomeRN, the family can have a nurse provide these services in the home, without those restrictions. Q: Does HomeRN offer a more personalized experience than larger agencies? A: Yes. We offer more of a concierge service. Rather than just a big home health service coming into your home, you can work with people who live in this community and have that connection with the community like I do. That makes a huge difference when you are making the choice to trust someone in your home. Q: What impact does this service have on the overall health and well-being of the patients that you work with? A: Most of the people who are calling on us and need our services are patients who are sick, who have had a change in status or have recently undergone surgery. Often they are feeling very vulnerable at the stage where we come in, and our goal is to provide comfort, education and reassurance to the family as well as care for the patient.

Eliza Maxwell

homeRN is hiring Nursing Students who have a passion for care. Working as an in-home caregiver offers great experience with flexible hours to work around your schedule, and will help students build relationships and opportunities for the future and boost confidence working one-onone with patients in your care.


Is hiring caregivers

homeRN offers a wide range of caregiver and nursing services such as assisting with daily living activities, sitting services, transportation to the doctors office, and more. Our mission is to provide one-on-one personalized care for patients in the comfort of their own homes.

We bring care home.






2021 Spring Medical Guide

Special Advertising Section

February 2021 • B7

Brookwood Baptist Health 801 Princeton Ave., POB I, Suite 710, Birmingham, AL 35211

Q: Dr. Robert Agee, please describe your practice’s area of expertise. A: My expertise is in primary care sports medicine, sports injuries, non-operative arthritis care and regenerative medicine. Q: What type of services do you offer? A: I offer full-scale treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, such as the back, the knee, the hip and all the other joints. We do injections of viscosupplementation and steroids, bracing and rehab, and we cover sports and entertainment venues. Q: What wants or problems do you provide a solution to? A: Any injuries that may occur to get you back playing sports and on the job. Q: How long have you been in business or practicing? A: I’ve been practicing for 22 years. Q: Please describe your educational and experiential background. A: I did a fellowship in sports medicine at HealthSouth Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital under Dr. Andrew Barranco and Dr. Larry Lemak. Q: What is your benchmark for success? A: Getting people feeling good and continuing to keep them going at work or at play. Q: Share with us a success story tied to your practice. A: Covering players with the Birmingham Iron and seeing them back to


play. I also enjoy all the patients who I see able to continue to do their thing! Q: How have you and/or your staff adjusted your operations and/ or services to comply with COVID-19 safety measures? A: We can’t do business as usual with the precautions of mask wearing and washing hands and temperature checks, but we want people to know they can still come in and get seen. Q: Spring and warmer weather will be right around the corner. What seasonal advice or tips would you like to share with potential patients? A: Be active now, and don’t just get up later in the spring and start working out. You won’t be used to it, and it can lead to injuries. Q: What is your approach or philosophy to customer service? A: I am a patient advocate and a people person. The patient is always right! Q: What do you most want potential patients to know about you and your practice? A: We will do all we can to take care of the patient. Even if you are an elite athlete or regular injured person — you will get VIP experience to “get you back in the game.” Q: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about? A: If we can treat the elite athlete, we can treat you with incredible VIP service. We can also do regenerative medicine as well.

Dr. Robert Agee

Your Joint Pain Can’t Wait Robert Agee Jr., MD is a board-certified family practice physician who is fellowshiptrained in sports medicine. He has more than 10 years’ experience caring for elite athletes from the NFL, MLB, NBA and the NHL and is a past medical director for Legion Field and the NFL European League. He has also served in leadership roles as chief of primary care/sports medicine, medical director and fellowship director. Dr. Agee’s areas of interest include Sports-related trauma Annual physicals, including school & sports physicals Arthritis care – non-operative Casting Concussion management Non-surgical orthopedic care

Regenerative medicine Steroid, platelet-rich plasma, stem cell, trigger point and sacroiliac joint injections Sports and musculoskeletal injuries Work-related musculoskeletal injuries Acute and chronic tendon injuries Sideline care

Robert Agee, Jr., MD Non-Surgical Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Physician

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Agee, call 205-264-2816 or visit PrecisionSportsOrtho.com 801 Princeton Ave. SW, Ste. 710 • Birmingham, AL 35211 200 Montgomery Hwy., Ste. 225 • Vestavia, AL 35216


B8 • February 2021

2021 Spring Medical Guide

Special Advertising Section

1944 Canyon Road, Suite 100, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216

205-822-7607 A: We treat patients of all ages who are looking to create a healthier lifestyle, recover from an injury, prevent future injuries or who suffer from chronic pain conditions.

Q: What is TherapySouth and how can they help me? A: TherapySouth provides physical therapy and hand therapy services in the outpatient clinic setting. Our focus is to provide personalized, hands-on care. Our goal is to help our patients get back to the activities they enjoy most, such as sports, hobbies, family time, work and more.

Q: What is your approach or philosophy to customer service? A: Our patients and their outcomes are the key to our success. They are at the center of our practice and are treated like family. We are thankful to have many returning patients and new patient referrals though word of mouth.

Q: What type of services does TherapySouth provide? A: TherapySouth provides services for after-surgery rehabilitation, work or sports injuries, sprains and strains, back pain, neck pain, pelvic health therapy, headaches and TMJ/TMD dysfunction, industrial safety and wellness, vertigo, balance strengthening and more. We treat many other musculoskeletal conditions as well. Q: Do I need a doctor’s referral to schedule an appointment at TherapySouth? A: Patients are welcome to schedule an initial evaluation appointment without a physician’s referral. Your therapist will perform and initial evaluation to determine if therapy is appropriate for you and will communicate with your primary care physician or physician specialist to obtain approval for ongoing treatment. You can also receive wellness services depending on the nature of your problem. To schedule an appointment, patients can call the clinic directly or visit our website, therapysouth.com, to check appointment availability and set up an initial visit.

Vestavia Voice

Q: What would you like potential patients to know about your practice? A: We take our core values very seriously. We are a company based on faith that believes in family, integrity, service, compassion, fitness, perseverance and giving. We try to instill these values in all of our employees and encourage them to live them out not only at work as professionals, but also in their personal lives. Q: What does a first visit look like at TherapySouth? A: During the initial evaluation, your therapist will take a thorough history of your condition or injury and review past medical history that may influence your case. Appropriate baseline objective measures will be recorded to evaluate throughout your treatment, such as range of motion and strength. Together, you and your therapist will discuss and set goals to help you achieve maximum function.

Your therapist will determine a treatment plan and prescribe a home exercise program for you to perform independently. Typically, some handson treatment will be given at the first appointment, if time permits. Your therapist will communicate and coordinate with other health care professionals as needed to provide optimal care. Q: Who benefits from the services that you provide at TherapySouth?

Q: How has TherapySouth adjusted its operations to comply with COVID-19 safety measures? A: We are adhering to CDC guidelines with regard to practicing physical therapy. All therapists and patients are required to wear masks while inside the clinic. All equipment and treatment surfaces are cleaned after each use and between patients. We are screening our employees and patients daily and are taking practical measures to ensure social distancing while in the clinic.

Quarantine Got You Down? Put your health

O IN FOCUS this year!

By taking preventative measures for your health, such as annual physical therapy exams, you can get ahead of potential concerns and learn the best ways to address them. You do not have to wait to be injured or in pain to seek the services of a physical therapist. We are available to assist you in living well by promoting a personalized approach to active living, injury and fall prevention, management of chronic conditions, improving sleep habits, and managing stress. Scan this code or call us to schedule an Annual Physical Therapy Screening at a clinic near you today!


Come see Alan Spooner and his team in Vestavia— 1944 Canyon Road, Suite 100 205.822.7607


2021 Spring Medical Guide

February 2021 • B9

Special Advertising Section

Dear Seniors 500 Chase Park South, Suite 110, Hoover, AL 35244


frequently use us as a means to discharge patients safely to recover at home. From this need we have created our COVID Care Services program. This program entails special training for our caregivers and providing a large array of PPE supplies.

Q: What is Dear Seniors’ area of expertise? A: Our expertise is in the community side of health care and elder care. Q: What type of services does Dear Seniors provide? A: Dear Seniors provides non-medical, in-home care giving services. We can provide these services anywhere our client resides, whether in the home, assisted living, hospital or other settings. We provide a range in levels of care, and have visits ranging from express visits of an hour or two, all the way through 24/7 care. Q: What are the advantages of providing people extensive in-home care? A: The advantages of receiving care at home versus having to move or stay somewhere else to receive care are numerous! The most important benefits are that people do better overall in their own environment, and in fact if the care recipient has any memory issues, a move or change in environment can be detrimental to their status. The elderly and chronically ill thrive in routine and familiar surroundings. Q: How flexible are the array of your services?

Q: What are you most looking forward to in 2021? A: We’re really looking to grow the company in scale. Growth means the opportunity to touch more lives and make a bigger impact on how care is delivered and managed! Q: What’s the best thing about working with Dear Seniors? A: It is extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to impact lives in a positive way on a daily basis. We are truly able to do this for clients, families and our care staff!

A: We believe in thinking outside the box when it comes to tailoring services for an array of different situations. Not only do we have different types of

care, but we also have a lot of different types of schedules to accommodate the individual. Q: How has Dear Seniors

adapted to serve people during the COVID-19 pandemic? A: We have become an essential service. Our hospitals and rehabs are overwhelmed and

Q: What is the main thing you would like people to know as they look toward the future health of aging family members? A: We are more than just a "sitter service." We are coordinators of care, managers of care and work as a guide for families on all things connected with community care, resources and benefits. We are truly a onestop shop.

MEET OUR TEAM! Elizabeth Milar Executive Director Jasmine Turner Assistant Director Traci Frazer Director of Development _____________ This incredible team boasts a collective 30 years of Senior Care experience and is ready to meet your family’s needs!

Compassionate Care.... Tailored to You! PERSONAL CARE





Hygiene, grooming, medication reminders, mobility assistance,and more

Light housekeeping, errands/shopping, meal prep,and more

Transitions, benefits assistance (including VA), home safety evaluations,and more

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and end-of-life care

Overnight stays, 24 HR. care, weekends, holidays, express visits,and more

For more information: 205-401-6999

B10 • February 2021

2021 Spring Medical Guide

Vestavia Voice

Special Advertising Section

Dermatology & Skin Care Center of Birmingham

2470 Rocky Ridge Road, Suite 100, Vestavia Hills, AL 35243 205-978-3336


Q: Please describe Dermatology & Skin Care Center of Birmingham’s area of expertise. A: We offer our patients the very best treatments for their medical as well as cosmetic skin care needs. We provide general medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. Q: What wants or problems do you provide a solution to? A: We provide general medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. This includes everything from acne, rashes and skin cancer to laser treatments, fillers and Botox. Cosmetic services include Botox, laser hair removal, Juvéderm, Sculptra, microneedling, Fraxel, VBeam and Morpheus8. Medical services include the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, acne, dry skin, eczema, dermatitis, keratosis pilaris, psoriasis and rosacea, to name a few. Our Skin Bar Boutique carries many lines including EltaMD, SkinMedica, SkinCeuticals, CeraVe, Skin Better, Revision, Latisse and more. The Skin Bar is open during business hours, and you do not need an appointment to shop for your skin care products or gifts. Gift certificates are also available.

Q: Please describe your educational and experiential background. A: Dr. Julie Harper graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1991 with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies. She received her medical training at the University of Missouri – Columbia, where she was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. She remained at the University of Missouri – Columbia for her internship and dermatology residency, which she completed in 2000. Dermatology & Skin Care Center of Birmingham was founded in 2007. Q: What is your benchmark for success? A: Our purpose is to treat our patients how we want to be treated. This means we must be comprehensive, accurate, and kind when treating each one of them. Q: How has Dermatology & Skin Care Center of Birmingham adjusted its operations and/or services to comply with COVID-19 safety measures? A: We are seeing patients in office for appointments. We are taking every precaution necessary in accordance with the CDC guidelines to keep our patients and our staff safe during this time. Please

Dr. Julie Harper remember to wear a mask or scarf when coming in office for your appointment. Q: Spring and warmer weather will be right around the corner. What seasonal advice or tips would you like to share with potential patients? A: Always wear your sunscreen yearround! Q: What do you most want potential

patients to know about Dermatology & Skin Care Center of Birmingham? A: We exist for our patients­— there is no problem in dermatology that we will not see. We look forward to caring for the skin care needs of you and your family. Our staff is committed to serving you by offering comprehensive dermatology services in a professional and respectful manner. Give us a call at 205-978-3336 or go to our website, bhamdermatology.com.


Each month you’ll receive a Signature HydraFacial AND a choice of one of the following services: • Chemical Peel • Dermaplane • Spray Tan • Laser Hair Removal-Small Area (bikini, chin, underarms, upper lip)

Loyalty Membership Perks include:

• 10% off products on day of service • Option to gift or transfer 1 service to a family or friend’s account a year Gift on your birthday AND Christmas! We offer 6 month for $199 a month and 12 month for $179 a month membership options

Scarlette D. Smith, MD, Julie C. Harper, MD, Katie Tuck, CRNP, Rebecca Edwards, CRNP

2470 Rocky Ridge Road |

205-978-3336 | bhamdermatology.com


2021 Spring Medical Guide

Special Advertising Section

February 2021 • B11

“Move with Ease” See How Sweet Rightsizing Can Be Simplifying creates more freedom to discover what matters. And that’s what retirement should be about enjoying more of what you love, less of what you don’t. Join us and learn useful rightsizing tips: We will answer your questions, like when to start and what to keep, plus share local resources to make each step easier. Now’s the time to rightsize your lifestyle and really start living.

Josh Hullett

Galleria Woods Senior Living

3850 Galleria Woods Drive, Birmingham, AL 35244 205-985-7537


Q: Please describe your business’s area of expertise. A: Galleria Woods is a Life Plan retirement community, which is a residential community for active, independent adults that provides a variety of living options, along with services, amenities and a continuum of care designed to address the changing needs of residents as they age. Q: What type of services do you offer? A: Senior living, consisting of independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Q: What wants or problems do you provide a solution to? A: Galleria Woods provides answers to two major concerns of seniors: First, ‘Who will care for me as I age?’ And second, ‘How will that care be paid for while maintaining an independent, active lifestyle, while also having a plan in place for comprehensive health care for the future?’ Q: What is your benchmark for success? A: Helping a senior feel at peace about their future well-being, including physical, emotional, social and financial. Q: Share with us a success story tied to your business. A: I am often told by residents that the decision to move from their home to a community was difficult, but they are having so much fun at Galleria Woods that they wish they would have made the move sooner! Q: Spring and warmer weather will be right around the corner. What seasonal

advice or tips would you like to share with potential residents? A: For many, downsizing is a major obstacle when it comes to making a move to a retirement community. My advice: Put together a realistic plan and start early. Galleria Woods can assist with this process! Q: What is your approach or philosophy to customer service? A: Our hospitality program, Extraordinary Impressions, drives high quality experiences for everyone we serve. Through this, we passionately and proudly differentiate ourselves, we meet and exceed the customer’s expectations, and we consistently demonstrate our service culture and recognize all who embody it. Q: What do you most want potential residents to know about Galleria Woods? A: Moving to Galleria Woods gives residents and their families peace of mind, knowing that they will receive tailored care and service as they need it. Q: What else would you like to share? A: We’re proud to be part of an award-winning team. Life Care Services, Galleria Woods’ management partner, was recently ranked highest in resident satisfaction among independent senior living communities in the J.D. Power 2020 Senior Living Satisfaction Study. Best of all, this honor comes from the people who matter most: residents, their family members and friends. Life Care Services communities ranked No. 1 in all six study factors: activities, community staff, resident cost, resident living unit, community and grounds, and dining. We were also awarded by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Nursing Home for Long Term Care for 2020-21.

Thursday, February 18th - 11 a.m. Seating is limited. RSVP for yourself and a guest by calling


A gourmet lunch-to-go and a sweet treat will be provided following the presentation.

Galleria Woods 3850 Galleria Woods Dr. Birmingham, AL 35244

Galleria Woods galleriawoodsseniorliving.com

COVID SAFE Presentation • Masks Provided • Temperature Checks at the Door

Galleria Woods is managed by Life Care Services®. We’re a vibrant Life Plan Community offering first-class amenities and services, along with the security that comes from having priority access to a full continuum of exceptional health care.

B12 • February 2021

2021 Spring Medical Guide

Vestavia Voice

Special Advertising Section

Medicare Advisors of Alabama 2116 Columbiana Road, Birmingham, AL 35216



Q: Who are Medicare Advisors of Alabama? A: We are a locally owned insurance agency in Vestavia Hills that specializes in Medicare education, assistance and enrollment into insurance products such as Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage and standalone prescription drug plans. Even though we work with all the major carriers in Alabama, we represent our clients, not a specific insurance company. Q: What does your service cost?  A: Our advice is always free. If we help you enroll into a plan, the insurance carrier pays a commission. Medicare requires each company to pay the same commission, so there isn’t an incentive to suggest one plan over another. Q: Who are your clients? A: We consider our clients to be anyone who wants to better understand Medicare. It could be someone who is turning 65 and needs help deciding when and how to enroll in Medicare. A client could be someone who has a disability and eligible for Medicare. Our clients can also be HR managers, physician offices, financial planners, pharmacies, small business owners or anyone trying to help a friend, coworker or family member with Medicare.

Eric Smith

Q: When I call Medicare Advisors, who am I talking with? A: Medicare Advisors of Alabama is owned by Eric Smith. When you call, you will speak directly with Eric or a member of his staff. Eric has worked in the health care industry for more than 20 years with 14 years specializing in Medicare. He has worked for BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama, Cigna and Viva Medicare. 

Q: The Annual Enrollment Period ended Dec. 7. Is it too late to make changes? A: There are several different enrollment periods throughout the year. One overlooked enrollment period (Open Enrollment Period) runs from Jan. 1 through March 31. This period is for a person who needs to change their Medicare Advantage Plan or someone on a Medicare Advantage Plan but would like to return to Original Medicare. There are also many Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) throughout the year as well. Q: Why is Medicare so confusing?  A: Oftentimes for much of your life, employers provide health insurance, so when a person becomes Medicare eligible, they’re facing health insurance decisions for the first time alone. At the same time, they’re bombarded with TV ads, phone calls and direct mail. Making the right decision can be incredibly stressful. Education is the key. Once someone with patience and knowledge teaches you the questions to ask and then guides you through the process, the whole thing becomes much less stressful. Q: Where are you located, and how can we meet? A: Our office is at 2116 Columbiana Road in Vestavia Hills, and we’re open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. We can meet either individually or classroom style at our office. Our agents can even come to your home if you prefer. We also teach Medicare 101 classes onsite at businesses, libraries, churches and virtually via Zoom. Call 205704-9020 or visit medicareadvice.org to learn more. You can also search for us on Facebook or Google.


2021 Spring Medical Guide

February 2021 • B13

Special Advertising Section

Gunn Dermatology 32 Church St., Mountain Brook, AL 35213



Dr. Holly Gunn is a board-certified dermatologist. She opened her practice in August in Mountain Brook, where she lives with her husband Stephen and their four daughters.

want. I want to be a helper who improves patients’ lives. Q: Do you have a success story? A: We have numerous great patients we’ve treated with skin cancers and major skin infections. We’ve also treated patients with cosmetic distractions who felt they had not been able to adequate treatment until coming to Gunn Dermatology.

Q: What are your areas of expertise? A: We’re experts on all skin-related ailments and conditions, as well as skin rejuvenation, and we treat all generations — from babies to grandparents. I’m skilled in medical, pediatric and surgical dermatology and have a special interest in cosmetic dermatology.

Q: How are you and your staff complying with COVID-19 safety measures? A: We follow all of the CDC guidelines and more.

Q: What problems can you solve for patients? A: I do everything that makes the skin feel and look better and become healthier. I also help patients who have disfiguring scars due to acne, skin-cancer removal or genetic conditions. Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a doctor? A: From the age of 5 in Mobile, I told my parents I wanted to help people. The doctors I looked up to as a child were in mom-and-pop offices helping people feel better. This is living out my dream. Q: What’s your educational background? A: I earned a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Maryland in 2003 and completed medical school at the University of South Alabama in 2007. I completed an internal medicine internship, research fellowship and dermatology residency at Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical Center. I earned a

Q: Warmer weather is coming soon. What seasonal tips would you share with patients? A: Wear sunscreen! I’m passionate about skin cancer prevention and also warn people about sun-tanning beds.

Holly Gunn, MD, and Lyndsey Stutts, DNP master’s degree in public health sciences at Penn State. Q: What’s your professional background? A: I was medical director for a dermatology department at a large hospital in Cincinnati prior to becoming an assistant professor of dermatology at UAB and medical director of the UAB Dermatology Cosmetic and Laser Clinic.

I’ve also worked in private practice. Q: What’s your benchmark for success? A: Happy patients who have healthier skin. I’ve had so many patients improve their lives by becoming more confident after cosmetic treatments or getting their skin condition under control. Some of these patients are given the confidence to change careers or get a job they really

Q: What’s your philosophy of customer service? A: You’re an individual with unique needs. We love to get to know our patients and give them exactly what they need and nothing more. Q: What sort of atmosphere does your practice have? A: I want Gunn Dermatology to have a warm, friendly feeling. Q: What do you want potential patients to know? A: We are here for them and have appointments available for most days.

New Year. New You. Take advantage of Vivace or Full-face resurfacing for $600 off one service or do both treatments and receive $1500 off! Start the new year off with tighter skin with Dr. Gunn’s two favorite aggressive skin tightening and smoothing treatments.

February Special

We will be having a special for Valentine’s Day coming up for Luscious Lips & Lashes! Stay up to date with our specials by following us on our social media pages or by signing up for our email list on www.gunndermatology.com

(205) 415-7536 | gunndermatology.com 32 Church Street, Mountain Brook, Alabama 35213 LIKE & FOLLOW


B14 • February 2021

2021 Spring Medical Guide

Vestavia Voice

Special Advertising Section

Owners Mike Waites, Kelly Waites, Eva Ovitt and Bruce Ovitt

Dr. Dusty Knickrehm

Voyage Family Chiropractic 521 Montgomery Highway, Suite 121, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216 205-734-0911


Q: What makes Voyage Family Chiropractic unique in your field? A: We specialize in a chiropractic technique called Activator Methods. The activator is a handheld instrument that is used in order to deliver a gentle and specific adjustment to patients of all ages. We also offer therapies such as electrotherapy and segmental traction. Q: What are some of the day-to-day ailments that you and your staff help alleviate? A: We care for patients of all ages, from infants through elderly. We often see patients with headaches, neck pain, lower back pain, shoulder and knee issues, as well as complaints of numbness and tingling in patients fingers and toes. Q: Who is the most unique patient your technique has been able to help?

A: A pregnant woman whose baby was breech came to us because she didn’t want to have a cesarean section. She was hoping that we would be able to get her baby to flip. We succeeded, and she was able to go forward with the natural birth that she wanted. Q: What is Voyage Family Chiropractic’s philosophy on patient care? A: We prioritize the wellness of each patient and personally design each treatment plan accordingly. We want our patients to feel not only loved and respected but also happy with the efficiency of office visits. Preventative care is vital for a long and healthy life, and we hope to be able to share that with our community! If you have any chiropractic needs or concerns, please give us a call or visit our website.



Discover a New Level Of Wellness.

Our goal is to help the Vestavia and greater Birmingham communities move closer to their true health potential through gentle and specific realignment of the spine through chiropractic adjustments.

voyagefamilychiro.com (205) 734-0911 Dusty Knickrehm, D.C. 521 Montgomery Hwy., Ste. 121 Vestavia, AL 35216

Total Sleep 100 Centerview Dr. Suite 240, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216

Q: Please describe Total Sleep’s area of expertise. A: Total Sleep is a luxurious, sixbed, freestanding sleep disorder center specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. Q: What type of services and/or products do you offer? A: We offer Sleep Medicine, Sleep Testing and Sleep Therapy at one location. This allows us to diagnose and treat sleep apnea in a matter of days instead of months as we see in traditional hospital based labs. Q: Could you share a Total Sleep success story? A: One of our favorite success stories is about the very first patient we tested. He was suffering from severe daytime



sleepiness, causing him to fall asleep while driving, uncontrollable high blood pressure and issues with sleepiness at work. After being diagnosed, he was placed on a sleep device and noticed immediate benefit. After just one month on his Bipap, he walked into the clinic for follow up and said his life had changed! He had spring in his step, was finally dreaming and for the first time in years, he was no longer afraid to go to sleep at night knowing that his device would provide the support he needed. Q: What do you most want potential patients to know about Total Sleep? A: The cost to perform a study in a free-standing sleep center like Total Sleep is approximately 1/3 of what it costs to have the same testing done at a hospital based lab.


2021 Spring Medical Guide

WaveTech Therapy

2100 SouthBridge Parkway, Suite 260, Birmingham, AL 35209 205-777-3736


Clayton Browne Orthodontics 2816 Columbiana Road, Suite 102, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216 205-293-2400

Q: What is WaveTech Therapy’s area of expertise? A: WaveTech Therapy uses acoustical (sound wave) therapy to treat erectile dysfunction, neuropathy, chronic pain and more. We use FDA-cleared equipment to deliver sound waves to the treated area, which results in larger, healthier blood vessels, decreased inflammation, reduced plaque and growth of new blood vessels. In addition, the sound waves activate signaling pathways in the body that transmit stem cells, growth factors and other healing substances to the source of the underlying issue. These substances help reverse your unhealthy condition and rejuvenate the affected area for lasting results. Q: What problems does WaveTech Therapy offer solutions to? A: Acoustical wave therapy is a non-invasive treatment option for many conditions. The therapy does not require

medication, needles or adjustments and is pain-free. Because it is non-invasive, there is no downtime from daily activities. Another advantage to acoustical wave therapy is that it can lead to true healing of the area treated rather than a temporary fix. The two quality-of-life issues we help improve are sexual health and pain relief. Q: What is your approach to customer service? A: We strive to offer a comfortable, professional and private setting for our customers. We focus on educating them on their conditions and acoustical sound wave therapy so they understand the treatment. Q: What do you most want potential customers to know? A: WaveTech Therapy is an effective, non-invasive, alternative treatment for many conditions. The therapy has lasting effects and is pain-free, medication-free and needle-free.

February 2021 • B15

Special Advertising Section


Q: What type of services and/or products do you offer? A: We offer orthodontic monitoring and treatment for all ages. Consultations are always free and take about an hour. During the consultation, Dr. Browne will explain what he sees and what treatment he recommends, if any. Q: What wants or problems do you provide a solution to? A: Many times, parents aren’t sure if their child needs braces and only want what is best for the child. Dr. Browne enjoys explaining the ideal timing and benefits of treatment in order to help parents make the best decision for the child. Orthodontic treatment generally involves 10 or more visits to the office. Our location next door to Pizitz Middle School allows the option for children

to self-checkout and walk to (and from) routine appointments. Q: How have you and your staff adjusted operations to comply with COVID-19 safety measures? A: We are performing screenings outside of the office while minimizing use of our waiting room. Masks and social distancing are in full effect in our office. During treatment, we are minimizing aerosols and maintaining a safe distance between patients. Q: What do you most want potential patients to know about Clayton Browne Orthodontics? A: We provide quality treatment and are conservative with recommending treatment. We want patient autonomy to rule. Dr. Browne feels his most important job is to educate patients and parents.


Bring Back Your Love Life. Call today for a free ED consultation.


205-777-3736 wavetechbirmingham.com birmingham@wavetechtherapy.com WaveTech Birmingham 2100 Southbridge Parkway Suite 260 Birmingham, AL 35209

e l i m S path Safe & Convenient Orthodontic Appointments directly from Pizitz “We have had a very positive experience with Dr. Browne and his staff. We know our son is getting excellent treatment and Dr. Browne is helping him achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. Having him walk himself over for appointments is convenient and time-saving. It is icing on the cake.” - Mom to Hollis

Call 205-293-2400






Pizitz Campus

2816 Columbiana Road, Suite 102, Vestavia Hills | ClaytonBrowneOrtho.com

B16 • February 2021

2021 Spring Medical Guide

Vestavia Voice

Special Advertising Section

Altadena Eye Care 2409 Acton Road, Suite 161, Vestavia Hills, AL 35243



Q: How long have you been in business or practicing? A: I have been practicing locally for 31 years. Altadena Eye Care is a brand new solo office that opened in mid-December. Our office is a newly remodeled space on Acton Road in Vestavia.

Brookwood Diagnostic Center Brookwood Diagnostic Center: 513 Brookwood Blvd., Suite 100, 35209 Women’s Diagnostic Center: 2006 Brookwood Medical Center Drive, Suite 112, 35209 Brookwood Diagnostic Center Highway 119: 7131 Cahaba Valley Road, Suite 101, 35242 205-802-6900 brookwooddiagnostic.com

Q: How does Brookwood Diagnostic Center serve its community? A: We provide convenient and affordable diagnostic imaging services such as MRI, CT, Ultrasound, X-ray, Mammography and Bone Density exams using the industry’s most advanced technology. Our licensed technologists and board-certified, subspecialty trained radiologists work to provide an unparalleled standard of care and professionalism to each patient and their family, for all age ranges. Pediatric radiologists are available. Q: How will the warmer weather affect potential patients? A: Spring sports will be under way soon. We wish all student athletes a safe spring sport season; however, if imaging is needed, pediatric imaging is available at all Brookwood Diagnostic Centers. Brookwood Diagnostic Center can take care of the entire family. Q: What sets Brookwood Diagnostic

Center apart? A: Our facilities provide safe, convenient and affordable care while also offering the best patient experience possible. Schedule your appointment Monday through Friday at any of our three locations. Same-day and Saturday appointments are available, too! Our facilities are all Independent Diagnostic Testing Facilities (IDTF), so that means we are your lower out-of-pocket cost provider accepting most insurances and private pay patients. Throughout the pandemic, safety has been the top priority for our patients and staff. We continue to follow the recommended state and CDC guidelines such as practicing social distancing and utilizing plexiglass screens during registration, along with additional safety measures to keep you safe. The Brookwood Diagnostic Centers’ mission is to provide first-class imaging services to the local community in a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment; one in which we would be happy to treat our own families.

Imaging does not have to cost you an arm and a leg in 2021.

Q: Describe your educational and experiential background. A: I am a graduate of the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry in 1989 and Furman University in 1985. I practiced with Schaeffer Eye Center from 1989 until 2017 when Schaeffer Eye Center was acquired by MyEyeDr. After three years with MED, I am now operating a solo practice.

Dr. Amy Herrington

Q: What wants or problems do you provide a solution to? A: Altadena Eye Care provides primary eye care in a relaxed and comfortable setting. We offer eye health examinations and prescriptions for contact lenses and glasses, along with the newest contact lens options, and also specialize in hard-to-fit patients. I care for patients with glaucoma, dry eye, diabetes and many other ocular conditions. Q: Please describe your practice’s area of expertise. A: Whether you need a prescription that gives you crisp vision in a stylish new frame or an expert contact lens evaluation, our goal is to have you looking and seeing your best. New treatments are available to slow or stop nearsighted progression in children. I am certified to fit the new

MiSight lens from Coopervision, the first contact lens FDA approved for myopia control. I also care for patients with glaucoma, dry eye, diabetes and many other ocular conditions. Q: Spring and warmer weather will be right around the corner. What seasonal advice would you like to share with potential patients? A: Exercise! Please get out and get some activity and sunshine. It is so important for your mental as well as physical well-being. Q. What is your benchmark for success? A: I seek to give each patient the care I would give my own family. Certainly I want to provide the best care, but I also want patients to enjoy their time in my office.


The Brookwood Diagnostic Centers are your local, lower out-of-pocket providers for high quality imaging services. Call us for details! 205-802-6900 FAX: 205-802-6901 CT • MRI • Ultrasound • X-Ray • Mammography • Bone Density Exams

Dr. Amy Herrington Brookwood Diagnostic Center 513 Brookwood Blvd. Ste.100 M – Th, 7 AM – 5 PM, Friday 7 AM - 3 PM

Women’s Diagnostic Center 2006 Brookwood Medical Center Drive, Ste. 112 USPI Imaging Facilities


M – Th, 7 AM – 5 PM, Friday 7 AM - 3 PM

eye exams


contact lenses

2409 Acton Road Vestavia Hills appointments 205.202.9607

Brookwood Diagnostic Center Hwy 119 7131 Cahaba Valley Road, Ste. 101 M – Sat, 7 AM – 7 PM



2021 Spring Medical Guide

February 2021 • B17

Special Advertising Section

Lyons Electrolysis & Lashes 1078 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216

205-407-4975 and 205-515-6528

Q: You offer both electrolysis and lash extensions at your studio. What are the benefits of each? A: Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved method for permanent hair removal. If you are suffering from unwanted hair, electrolysis performed properly is your answer. The biggest benefit of lash extensions is that you can say goodbye to mascara! They will give you longer, curled, darker and more volumized lashes. They brighten the eyes and take years off your face. Many clients hardly wear any eye shadow after getting lash extensions because you just naturally look like you have makeup on already. They really are absolutely beautiful! Q: How do you differentiate yourself from others who offer electrolysis? A: I am extremely passionate about performing electrolysis because my late mother and I both dealt with unwanted hair. I know exactly how my clients feel. This drives my passion to ensure I’m always performing electrolysis properly and to 100% efficacy. I want to get the fastest and safest results possible for my clients. I myself was a victim of electrolysis not performed properly, and many of my clients were before finding me, so I can promise that treatments will always be performed properly to get the fastest and safest results possible here at Lyons


Kristie Lyons

Dr. David Sarver

Electrolysis & Lashes. My clients see results after their first treatment, and they always will. Q: How are your extensions better than those that can be purchased at a drug store? A: Xtreme Lashes lash extensions are faux mink, and they are top of the line, excellent quality. They are designed to mimic your natural lashes. They are very soft and pretty much weightless. You can’t tell you are wearing them if they are applied properly. Q: What other services do you offer? A: We just added Zero Gravity full body massage chairs, which are a true relaxing experience and customizable to your body’s needs. Q: Where are you located? A: We just moved to a new location on Montgomery Highway in the Shoppes at City Hall. Come by and see us!

RELAX AND FEEL BEAUTIFUL Zero Gravity Massage Elecyrolysis

Sarver Orthodontics 1705 Vestavia Parkway, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216

Q: Dr. David Sarver, what sets your practice apart? A: Ultimately, it’s all about the experience we provide for our patients and the results they get from the treatment we provide. That fuels every decision I make as a doctor. My team plays a huge role in setting us apart. Every member of the team shares a passion for what we do and the people we do it for. Some of them have been with me for over 30 years, and I think that’s a huge benefit to patients.   Q: What kind of results do you get? A: We offer the latest technologies in orthodontics, from braces to Invisalign. And my approach includes much more than just straightening teeth. We look at every aspect of a patient’s needs, from aligning their teeth to their overall facial



aesthetics. The results are awesome. Q: Why are you passionate about helping people love their smile? A: I was always interested in helping people. I was blessed with a great family, and I think it’s my responsibility to make the world a better place. I love figuring out the best course of treatment and I love putting braces on, but the day the braces come off is the best. Patients just bloom into confidence. How cool is that?   Q: Is it true you’re also a lecturer in your field? A: I’ve been fortunate in that my profession has allowed me to be an innovator and to teach orthodontists around the world. I think the best part of being a teacher is how it keeps you learning all the time.

You Deserve A Sarver Smile No Referral Needed Complimentary Initial Consultation

Xtreme Lashes™


205-407-4975 | 205-515-6528 LyonsElectrolysis.com 1078 Montgomery Hwy. Vestavia Hills

(205) 979-7072 SarverOrtho.com

B18 • February 2021

2021 Spring Medical Guide

Vestavia Voice

Special Advertising Section

Your Kid’s Urgent Care 790 Montgomery Highway, Suite 112, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216 205-769-6800


Q: What all age groups do you serve? A: Our staff specializes in pediatrics. We offer care from infancy to 21 years old. Q: What kind of medical problems do you address?  A: We offer a multitude of services and provide high-quality pediatric urgent care for children, infants and adolescents up to age 21. From pink eye, allergies and fever to coughs, rashes and earaches, Your Kid’s Urgent Care is the go-to place for pediatric immediate care. We are a convenient alternative to the ER for non-life-threatening emergencies and available when your child’s Pediatrician is unavailable. There is no appointment necessary. You can save your spot online and register. Most insurance and Medicaid are accepted. We are proud to serve children in person or online through Care on Your Time, our telemedicine platform. Also, we have a full lab, digital X-ray and medication

dispensary. We will notify your child’s primary care physician regarding the medical care received at Your Kid’s Urgent Care. Our patients have access to coloring sheets, healthy snacks and kid-friendly tablets. We are a fully equipped Sensory Inclusive Pediatric Urgent Care. Q: When are you open? A: Monday through Friday, 1-7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Q: What safety measures are you taking to prevent COVID-19 spread? A: We maintain a clean, kind and caring environment and consistently sanitize the clinic to protect our patients and staff. We offer curbside services for parents who do not want to come inside. Q: If I think my child has COVID-19, do you test for that there? A: We are a COVID-19 testing site and offer testing for kids and adults.

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TREE CREWS WORKING IN VESTAVIA HILLS THROUGH SPRING 2021 Alabama Power crews are working in several Vestavia Hills neighborhoods, removing trees and other vegetation that threaten the safety and reliability of our electrical system. As part of this process, Alabama Power goes to great lengths to talk with individual property owners. Company representatives are going door to door, leaving notices at locations where work is needed. 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 apcvm@southernco.com. Work in Vestavia and nearby areas is expected to continue through early 2021. 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.

Thank you for your understanding. Vegetation Management Group 205-257-2155 | apcvm@southernco.com

© 2021 Alabama Power Company.

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Falon Sledge with her brand new 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

Upgrade Your Commute with VW. As a dedicated member of the USPS in Tuscaloosa, Falon Sledge knows a thing or two about getting things from A to B. When she found her perfect new 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan SE on our 11 acres of selection, she upgraded her everyday A-to-B commute with VW. Falon’s Tiguan comes equipped with V-Tex leatherette interior for luxury without the price tag, Adaptive Cruise Control to make long trips easy, and Volkswagen Car-Net® so she can control her mid-size masterpiece from her smartphone. The best feature of all is the Royal treatment waiting for you at the corner of I-65 and Highway 31 in Vestavia.

Royal Volkswagen · (205) 823-3100 · www.gotoroyalvw.com 3010 Columbiana Rd · At the Corner of I-65 and Highway 31 in Vestavia

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Vestavia Voice February 2021  

Vestavia Voice February 2021  

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