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Volume 2 | Issue 3 | July 2014

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VHHS graduate and golfer Smylie Kaufman made his pro debut at the U.S. Open in June. Read about his experience inside this issue.

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David Miles retired at the end of the 201314 school year after serving as the Pizitz Middle School principal for 23 years. Read about his legacy inside.

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INSIDE City .......................5 Business ..............8 Food ......................11 Summer Fun........12

Community ........25 Sports .................23 School House.....27 Calendar .............29

On a sunny April morning, Cynthia McGough outfitted herself with a daypack and a bottle of water as she set out to walk the entire Vestavia Hills sidewalk system. “Councilman George Pierce had mentioned that nobody had walked the entire system,” said McGough, a Vestavia Hills resident of 31 years. “So, I said, ‘Why not? I’ll do it.’” She parked her car at Western Supermarket on Morgan Drive and started up the hill toward Vestavia Hills High School. Six hours and 14 miles later, she returned triumphant with sore feet and a sense of pride. Her journey took her around the city, including all the way to where

Sidewalk Sidewalk Sidewalk Sidewalk Sidewalk

Pedestrian-friendly plans underway despite difficult terrain

Rocky Ridge Road meets Shades Crest Road and back toward Canyon Road. McGough said she posted her plans on Facebook that morning and during her journey, she heard three cars honk in support. An avid walker and jogger, McGough’s sidewalk adventure allowed her to see the city’s progress over the years. She has embraced their addition to the city. “The addition of sidewalks really enhanced the quality of life in this community,” McGough said, noting that she enjoys seeing shoppers carry groceries from the Western Supermarket. However, despite the city’s progress in making Vestavia Hills more pedestrian

friendly, residents continue to voice their desire to see more sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses. Structural and financial problems Sidewalks were a key part of the 2004 Vestavia Hills Comprehensive Master Plan, which identified areas for sidewalk construction and greenway development. City Manager Jeff Downes explained that the main problem of constructing sidewalks in certain areas results from an original lack of planning when subdivisions were formed many years ago.

See WALKING | page 28

A salute to the arts Local gallery to honor veterans with fundraising event

Pre-Sort Standard U.S. Postage PAID Birmingham, AL Permit #656

By KATIE TURPEN This summer, residents are invited to honor our nation’s heroes while also supporting the arts. On July 11, Artists Incorporated will host a fundraising event featuring live music, food and the chance to buy unique art, with proceeds benefiting veterans and their families. “A portion of proceeds from all sales will go to Wounded Warriors,” Artists Incorporated Gallery Director Mary Jean Henke said. “Sales on Saturday will also be included. We’ll


Members of Artists Incorporated stand with pieces that will be included in their July fundraising event for the Wounded Warriors Project. Photo by Katie Turpen.

2 • July 2014

Vestavia Voice

July 2014 • 3

4 • July 2014

Vestavia Voice

About Us Photo of the Month

Please Support our Sponsors Coach Rick Grammer, who celebrated his 600th win earlier this season, could not escape the water cooler after the VHHS boys soccer team won the 6A state championship. Photo courtesy of Heather Brown.

A Little Something (22) Achieve Clinical Research (19) Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center (6) ARC Realty (23) Batts’ Chimney Services (27) Bedzzz Express (2) Birmingham Duplicate Bridge Club (10) Birmingham Heart Clinic (26) Birmingham Museum of Art (32)

Editor’s Note By Rebecca Walden In prior columns, I’ve my kids were so excited they written about wanting to wanted to dress up. drop the lip from service; not It wasn’t until they came just to say, but to do. downstairs, my three-yearAnd last month, I old in full firefighter gear finally did. and my five-year-old in her In June, 70 members of Wonder Woman costume (complete with gold headAtlanta’s Shallowford Presbyterian Church Choral band and superhero belt), Ensemble brought their that I realized I’d been outsummer tour to our church. smarted by kid logic. But In turn, our church was with less than 15 minutes Walden asked to provide host until the first number, we families. had no time to debate appropriate clothThe request fell on a weeknight. A ing choice. weeknight when I knew Rett had a work The show itself was worth waiting conflict. And, we only have three func- for; we were surrounded by hand bell tioning bedrooms occupying the four ensembles, skits and character sketches, people who already live here. and songs that made you want to jump I said yes anyway. on your feet and shout out loud — very As the date grew closer, though, I un-Methodist like. started second-guessing that decision. Afterward, as we waited in the hallway What if they were allergic to or terrified to meet the students with whom we’d of dogs? been matched, several of the ensemWhat if they were troublesome? ble’s senior high girls were good-natured What if our kids freaked out with enough to make a fuss over my costumed strangers in the house? companions. But the night before, as Rett and I “Oh my gosh! Wonder Woman! I’ve worked side by side to prepare for our waited, like, my whole life to meet you. guests, I felt less anxious and more Can I please give you a hug?” excited. Moments later, we arrived home with I took extra care to fluff and angle our guests — quiet Anna, a rising sophothe pillows as I made the bed. I care- more, and outgoing Ally, a rising senior. fully folded our thickest matching towel They settled in right away, and before I sets and arranged them on the bathroom knew it, there were four pajama-clad kids counter alongside a vase of freshly cut piled in our den, watching The Little Merhydrangea blooms. And I stocked the maid and occasionally trotting into the fridge and pantry with all manner of kitchen for snacks. foodstuffs. That night, our master bedroom By the time the concert evening arrived, functioned more like a sleeping porch,

Birmingham Museum of Art (7)

complete with air mattress, a five-yearold, her requisite stuffed animal quota, and two snoring dogs. When my alarm went off the next morning, I flew through the morning prep routine and rushed downstairs, excited to set the table and prepare the morning spread — homemade waffles, thick-sliced bacon, fresh fruit and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. We made easy conversation over our shared meal. Even Anna, who’d rather kept to herself thus far, opened up, laughing and sharing stories. As we finished loading up the car, Ally turned to me in the driveway. “We have a gift for you,” she said. “Jesus humbled himself by washing the feet of others, and by hosting us, you, in a way, have washed our feet.” At this time, I internally panicked, praying this sweet girl was not about to try and wash my un-pedicured feet in the middle of our suburban driveway. As she presented me with the gift (a monogrammed towel, thankfully), I gave both girls a hug and reflected on Ally’s comments. I’d not done anything extraordinary, and I felt embarrassed by her words. In no way does a 12-hour stay in my home constitute the work of Christ. But if I kept them comfortable and sent them well-rested and nourished onto their next destination, where their music could bless others as it blessed me, maybe I did a little good after all.

Birmingham Speech & Hearing Associates (24) Bistro V (20) Bromberg & Company, Inc. (12) Bruster’s Real Ice Cream (9) Children’s of Alabama (9) Classic Gardens (8) Conour Insurance Inc. (6) Construx (11) Fancy Goods Variety (20) Fi-Plan Partners (28) Fred Smith Group (12) Hanna’s Antiques (14) Hendrick Hoover Auto Mall (10, 24) Home Care Associates (8) Iz Cafe (25) Jack Williams Campaign (22) Levy’s Fine Jewelry (1) Moran’s Rocky Ridge Hardware (17) Nailtique (27) RealtySouth Marketing (5) Remax Southern Homes - Becky Hicks (14) Royal Automotive (3) Sarver Orthodontics (16)

Publisher : Dan Starnes Creative Director : Keith McCoy Graphic Designers: Emily VanderMey Wayne Marshall Editor : Rebecca Walden Managing Editor : Madoline Markham Staff Writers : Katie Turpen Jessa Pease Sydney Cromwell Editorial Assistant: Madison Miller Advertising Manager: Matthew Allen Sales and Distribution : Rhonda Smith Warren Caldwell Michelle Salem Haynes Nathan Pearman Copy Editor: Louisa Jeffries Interns : Rachael Headley Published by : Vestavia Voice LLC

Contact Information: Vestavia Voice #3 Office Park Circle, Suite 316 Birmingham, AL 35223 313-1780

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

For advertising contact: Legals: Vestavia Voice is published monthly. Reproduction or use of edi-

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

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July 2014 • 5

City Sheila Phillips named as next Vestavia Hills superintendent In May, the Vestavia Hills Board of Education unanimously approved Sheila Phillips as its next superintendent. Phillips will become the sixth superintendent of Vestavia Hills City Schools on Aug. 1. Dr. Jame Blair will serve as her executive advisor until his retirement in October 2015. Phillips has been Vestavia Hills’ assistant superintendent since May 2012. She led a district-wide accreditation process earlier this year that laid the foundation for the system’s future. She will lead the upcoming development of a new strategic plan for school improvement. “The board is confident that our thorough and fair process has resulted in the best decision for our district,” Vestavia Hills Board of Education President Kym Prewitt said. “Mrs. Phillips has already established positive and meaningful relationships with many stakeholders, and she has a deep understanding of our culture and our needs as a system. We welcome her to this new position and look forward to improving our standard of excellence in every area for our students.”

In May, the Vestavia Hills Board of Education unanimously approved Sheila Phillips as its next superintendent. Photo courtesy of Vestavia City Schools.

Community survey reveals high resident satisfaction The ETC Institute, one of the nation’s leading community-based market research firms, recently administered a survey to Vestavia Hills residents. The survey’s purpose was to assess residents’ satisfaction with the delivery of major city services, help determine priorities for the city and to compare the city’s performance with other communities. The seven-page survey was administered to a randomly selected sample of households and 420 surveys were completed. 93% of residents said they were satisfied with overall quality of life in Vestavia Hills. Some of the largest increases in satisfaction from 2011 to 2014 included the city’s effort

to prevent crime, visibility of police in neighborhoods, availability of information on city services and effectiveness of the city’s communication with the public. The areas with the largest decrease in satisfaction included level of public involvement in decision-making, the city’s recreational programs and availability of city employees. Results indicated that priorities over the next two years should be maintenance of streets and facilities as well as managing traffic flow throughout the city. Suggested areas to monitor were parks and recreation and overall customer service. To view the full survey results, visit

Third annual Wing Ding deemed a success

John Henley and the State Farm team took home the first place trophy for their wings. Photo by Katie Turpen.

The third annual Wing Ding festival presented by Leadership Vestavia Hills was held at the Vestavia Hills City Center in May. The festival put local chefs to the test and invited the community out to sample their cooking. Rollin in the Hay serenaded the crowd and the event featured a kids zone with a moonwalk.

In the wing competition, John Henley and the State Farm team took home the first place trophy for their wings. Holy Smokes from Mountaintop Community Church took second place as well as the People’s Choice award. Truckworx Kenworth took third place. All proceeds went to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

6 • July 2014

Vestavia Voice

Mayor’s Minute

By Alberto “Butch” Zaragoza I hope you are enjoying your summer. Here at City Hall, we are working on a number of projects throughout the city. Topping this list is managing the bid process for the additional parking lot that will be part of the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest. While we did originally open bids in early June, all bidders quoted lighting to match the existing exterior library parking lot lighting. Unfortunately, that style is no longer available. We, therefore, threw out all of the initial bids and began the process over again. Though it did mean a two-week delay for that process, we believe the final result will more than make up for that brief wait. In Cahaba Heights, we continue to move forward with the newly renovated Winn Dixie. Project progress reports indicate that the updated store will be completed either in December 2014 or January 2015. On the Patchwork Farms area of town, the city is moving forward with the Daniel Corporation regarding development possibilities for this area. This space represents a total of 45 acres, with 23 acres originally owned by the city, and the additional 22 received from property owned by the Vestavia Hills Board of Education. In other news, we are looking ahead to the autumn planting season to make the vision for the city’s southern gateway entrance turn into reality. As you will recall from prior

issues of the Vestavia Voice, this area will reflect landscape architecture developed by Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood, Inc., and will be maintained by the city. We look forward to elevating the first impression that this area makes on drivers entering our city. Those following the project status of the U.S. 31 pedestrian walkover should know the plans still lie in the hands of ALDOT. At this time, we are waiting on the Department to provide feedback regarding any changes that may be required before we are given permission to proceed. Last, but certainly not least, I want to congratulate Sheila Phillips on her appointment as superintendent of the Vestavia Hills Board of Education. I know she will do an outstanding job. I also want to extend congratulations to the entire Leadership Vestavia Hills organization for the completion of the Third Annual Wing Ding, which was a big success. Additional kudos go to John Henley and the State Farm team for winning the 2014 Wing Ding Cook-off.

Fire department receives grant The Vestavia Hills Fire Department recently announced that the City of Vestavia Hills has been awarded $50,597 through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The department’s application competed against thousands of applicants through a peer review process for a portion of $288 million in federal funding. This award will allow the department to outfit all front-line apparatus with state-of-the art thermal imagers, replacing equipment which has become obsolete due to advances in technology. These devices project an image on a screen by identifying heat differences within the camera’s field of

view. Personnel often operate in environments with zero visibility making tasks such as rescuing fire victims extremely difficult. This technology will assist personnel in locating fire victims, locating the seat of the fire, identifying hidden fires in walls, hazardous materials response, and locating victims who are lost or injured outdoors. These imagers will be used on hundreds of calls per year and will place another tool in the hands of personnel, enhancing the level of service to residents. -Submitted by Ryan Farrell

33rd Annual I Love America Celebration coming to Wald Park

Your Mayor, Alberto “Butch” Zaragoza

Children can enjoy face painting at the celebration. Photo by Katie Turpen.

It’s that time of year again. The 33rd Annual I Love America Summer Celebration will take place Wednesday, July 2 from 6-9 p.m. at Wald Park. The event is presented by the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce and Vestavia Hills Parks & Recreation. “This is a great way to come together, network and celebrate the community,” said Linda Parker, chair of the board, Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce. Event planners encourage residents to bring their lawn chairs, blankets and sunscreen in order to enjoy a relaxing evening outdoors. Sponsors and vendors will greet guests with refreshments, giveaways and other freebies. Only regular Wald Park pool members will be admitted before 6 p.m. Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult at the pool. Pets are not allowed on the fields in Wald Park. Anyone interested in volunteering should call the Chamber of Commerce office at 823-5011.

July 2014 • 7


Preview of

AUGUST Luncheon

Michael Guilsher, Meld Financial and Tony Robinson of Adventure Travel. Photos by Rebecca Walden.

Ann Hamiter of Pinnacle Bank, Vestavia Hills city councilman George Pierce and Leigh DeWitt of Utility Auditing.

Lt. Gilham keynotes a discussion on city safety at Chamber luncheon By REBECCA WALDEN To close out its 2013-14 Chamber luncheon season, the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce welcomed Lt. Brian Gilham of the Vestavia Hills Police Department to deliver the keynote address in June. Lt. Gilham serves as the supervisor of the department’s Community Oriented Policing Service (C.O.P.S.). During his address, he spoke candidly with the audience about the city’s crime rate, the department’s outreach efforts through C.O.P.S. and how everyday citizens can help deter unsavory activity in the community. In his remarks, Gilham touched on everything from teen driving safety and school resource officer security efforts to illicit drug use and property-related crime. He also made the position of the City’s C.O.P.S. unit

clear—cutting crime through visibility and accessibility. C.O.P.S. takes a multi-pronged approach. For instance, upon request, an officer can conduct a safety audit of an individual homeowner’s property, and then make recommendations to the homeowner about security vulnerabilities and what can be done about them. “If anything is our Achilles heel, it is property-related crime,” Gilham said. “As neighbors, we owe it to each other to look out for one another.” While his talk spanned all other manner of issues faced by his Department, Gilham’s consistent message focused on one key point – the outreach of the Vestavia Hills Police Department. He urged citizens who are concerned about any aspect of community safety to contact him

directly, adding that he would work for a swift resolution and be as candid as allowed regarding the matter at hand. In her closing remarks, Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Karen Odle vouched for Gilham’s dependability. “He is very fast,” she said. “If he doesn’t answer your call right away, he calls you back within minutes.” The one exception to that will be this fall when Lt. Gilham participates in Session 258 of the FBI’s National Academy at Quantico, a ten-week training program for law enforcement officers. Participation is by invitation only and comes from a competitive nomination process. During his training, C.O.P.S. will be in the hands of Vestavia Hills Police Chief Dan Rary.

Dr. Jamie Blair

The Chamber will reconvene on Aug. 12 to kick off its 2014-15 luncheon series. Dr. Jamie Blair, immediate past Superintendent for Vestavia Hills City Schools, will speak, along with incoming Superintendent Dr. Sheila Phillips. While there will not be a Chamber luncheon in July, Chamber President Linda Parker of Bruster’s Real Ice Cream reminded attendees to support the Chamber and the City by making plans to participate in I Love America Day festivities, taking place July 2 at Wald Park.

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July 2014 • 9

Now Open Legacy Hair Studio has opened at 2531 Rocky Ridge Road, Suite 118, behind Wells Fargo. The full-service hair studio owned by Maria Ellis and Erika Robinson also features boutique with custom jewelry, handbags, shoes and other accessories. 290-5522.


Masterpiece Education is now open at 2531 Rocky Ridge Road, Suite 120. The business, owned by Letha Raulerson, offers an art school, theater activities, music lessons, summer camps and parties. 572-9884.


The Fig Tree Café & Catering is now open at 3160 Cahaba Heights Road. It is owned by J.T. Holland and Keith Hawkins. Hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. for brunch. 249-0312.


ivivva, 3157 Cahaba Heights Road, is now open. The store sells lululemon for girls ages 4-14. It will also be offering yoga classes. 1-877-263-4966.


Coming Soon 5

BAM Sports Grill, 3144 Heights Village, is scheduled to open this

month. 352-2345.

Relocations and Renovations

Island Tan, 2531 Rocky Ridge Road, Suite 117, is now owned by Letha Raulerson and Dakota Waters. Its new hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday, noon-6 p.m. 823-8512.


Hirings and Promotions Stellar Massage has recently hired Patrick Cook, Meredyth Moss and Linda Grimm. The business has been located in Lorna Brooke Village Shopping Center at 3659 Lorna Road, Suite 111. 623-1177.


Aliant Bank Mortgage, 100 Century Park South, Suite 200, has hired Kimberly Ward as mortgage production manager. She will be based in Birmingham and will manage all Aliant Bank loan officers throughout the state. 823-1727.


First Partners Bank, 1360 Montgomery Highway, Suite 100, has promoted David Sizemore to senior vice president of lending, Trish Key-Jones to senior vice president of deposit operations, and Lisa Gill to senior vice president of branch administration. Sizemore has been with First Partners since 2011, and Key-Jones and Gill have been with First Partners since the bank’s inception in 2007. 705-1500.


Re/MAX Southern Homes, 903 Montgomery Highway, has hired Faith Lowrimore as a Realtor specializing in residential real estate. 876-3362. faithlowrimore.remax-alabama. com.


The Sabatini Agency/Allstate, owned by Alyson Sabatini, will be moving to 680 Montgomery Highway, Suite 204, in July. 631-1990.


Sentry Heating, Air, Plumbing, and Generators, 2490 Rocky Ridge Road, has promoted Lauren Trim to the position of CIO and systems manager. 979-9864.


Business news

Vestavia Bowl, 1429 Montgomery Highway, has reopened following renovations due to flooding in early April. 979-4420.


New Ownership

to share?

Mac’s, 3147 Green Valley 8 Ashley Road, is closed for renovations due to a fire in late May. Work is underway to rebuild the kitchen and reopen at the same location soon. 822-4142.


RealtySouth’s Over the Mountain/ Acton Road office has hired Amy Lawson as a Realtor specializing in residential real estate. 978-9000.



Coming Soon Bistro V, 521 Montgomery Highway, Bridal salon The White Room has

moved to 2415 Canterbury Road in Mountain Brook Village from its Cahaba Heights location. 970-6767.


celebrated its fourth anniversary on June 4. 823-1505.

Expansion Business news

to share? If you are in a brick and mortar business in Vestavia Hills and want to share your event with the community, let us know.


Coming Soon

Expansion If you are in a brick and mortar business in Vestavia Hills and want to share your event with the community, let us know.


10 • July 2014

Vestavia Voice

Business Spotlight eR

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Long before The Lili Pad ever existed, two little girls in Mountain Brook were already dreaming about the shop they hoped one day to own. Sisters Susan Day and Katherine McRee grew up watching their mother own and operate the former Town and Country retail store. “We always thought it looked like fun, and she certainly did a good job at it,” said Day. By the time the sisters had grown up and were raising young families of their own, they began to revisit the idea in earnest. “We love children’s clothes, and at the time this idea really gained traction, our children were little,” said McRee. “It just seemed like the perfect time to pursue this.” That timing faced an unexpected turn when the sisters lost their mother in 2002 to pancreatic cancer. In the midst of their loss, the sisters remained ever-fervent to realize their dream and become small business owners of their own, just as their mother had done. After coming close to purchasing the former Kiddieland store in Homewood, the sisters stepped back and reevaluated. “At first, we thought that site would be perfect,” said Day. “But then as we thought it over, we realized we could start our own store for what it would have cost us to purchase the Kiddieland space.” At the time, McRee was already living in Cahaba Heights, which had just been annexed into Vestavia Hills. “We felt that this area was about to boom in

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The Lili Pad and GiGi’s

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The LIli Pad co-owners Susan Day and Katherine McRee always dreamed about opening their own store. Photo by Rebecca Walden.

terms of growth, and set our sights here,” said McRee. The sisters met with Raymond Gottlieb to share their idea and to research future plans for Heights Village. “It was an unproven area, but I lived here, and I could see the potential,” said McRee. After finalizing the location, Day called on

her friend Susan Barron, an architect with KPS, to help design the store. After that, the sisters rolled up their sleeves and set to work, handling everything from staging to inventory to advertising, essentially by themselves. When it came time to select inventory, the sisters went straight to the source — their children.

298-1811 3138 Heights Village Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m- 5 p.m.

“To prepare for market, we wrote down all the brands in our kids’ closets,” said McRee. And despite their preparation and enthusiasm, that first trip to market proved to be humbling. “That first year, a lot of people told us they could not sell to us,” said Day. “We just told them to let us know when they could begin selling to us, and we focused on making our store the best it could be.” That involved adding several services not found elsewhere, including discounts for moms of multiples, a well-stocked play area for kids to occupy themselves while parents shop, free gift wrap, 24-hour clothing approvals and a hassle-free return policy. By August 2007, the sisters, bolstered by the store’s success, launched GiGi’s, a clothing store for tween girls in sizes 7 to 16. The store is a mainstay for Over the Mountain moms, who like its price points and age-appropriate looks, and for girls, who like its trendy fashions. “As moms, we want our daughters to dress modestly,” said Day. “But of course our girls want to be trendy and fashionable. With GiGi’s, we’ve been able to find that mix.” Each year since 2010, Day and McRee have donated approximately $15,000 of merchandise to the Junior League of Birmingham’s Bargain Carousel. They also are a favorite retailer for the League’s Shop, Save & Share Card. “We love working with community partners on projects like this,” said McRee. “It’s good for the community, and it brings in foot traffic for us. It is absolutely a win-win.”

July 2014 • 11

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By RACHAEL HEADLEY Linda Parker and her husband, Scott, use ice cream to invest in the Vestavia community and the local schools. The Parkers, owners of the Vestavia location of Bruster’s, look for opportunities to encourage schools and students, and one such way was through an ice cream flavor contest last semester with Pizitz Middle School. The contest gave Pizitz students the opportunity to create their own ice cream flavors. After dividing into teams, students submitted their ideas for ice cream flavors. When options were narrowed to the top eight flavors, they moved into the production stage at Bruster’s. With exotic creations such as chocolate with orange, pumpkin with caramel and marshmallow, and flavored ice with Pop Rocks, the contest allowed students to be creative while Bruster’s had the opportunity to bring it to life, Parker said. The winner, Pirate’s Delight, is a combination of cake batter ice cream, cookie dough and chocolate chunks. The sale of the flavor ended with the school year. Bruster’s is a platinum-level partner with Vestavia Hills East, West and Central Elementary Schools, Pizitz Middle School and Vestavia Hills High School, meaning that they provide each of the schools with more than $1,500 in products or needs annually. “We believe that anything that you can do to inspire students just makes the community better for everyone,” Parker said. Other partner organizations have included

978-2347 1008 Vestavia Parkway Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

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Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

Read past Restaurant Showcases at

Bruster’s employee Shane Harper has been working at the Vestavia location for more than a year. Photo by Rachael Headley.

the Vestavia Hills Chamber and the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. After moving to Atlanta right after they married, the Parkers were anxious to return to Scott’s hometown of Vestavia Hills. “We wanted our kids to have the same kind of childhood that [Scott] did,” Parker said. “So we moved to Vestavia Hills.” Although the Parkers had no prior experience in business ownership, they opened the Vestavia

location of Bruster’s in 2005 after returning to the area and built it from the ground up. Two years ago they opened their newest location along the Highway 280 corridor. With customer appreciation days and products like “bring your own banana” Thursday, PJ day, doggie sundaes, and providing free scoops to children under 42 inches, Parker said that Bruster’s has created a bond with the community. “We have really gotten to know a lot of our

customers,” Parker said. “We really feel that we are a part of this community.” In addition to ice cream, Bruster’s also has serves milkshakes, cakes, ice cream sandwiches and old-fashioned sodas. The products are made fresh in the store daily. “Ice cream is a treat, and everyone who comes is coming for the purpose of treating themselves,” Parker said. “They’re coming here because they’re happy.”

12 • July 2014

Vestavia Voice

Summer stops for family fun By RACHAEL HEADLEY In July, there is nothing hotter than the great outdoors. To help you beat the heat, we have compiled a list of things to do while school and the sun are out. Skip the sunburn and check out these fun family activities close to home.

Skates 280

9.40 miles, 16 minutes Skates 280 offers a complete roller skating experience from free skating lessons to skate rentals for both adults and children. The facility includes a skating floor, music, rental station and a seating area. Skates 280 is open Tuesday through Sunday, and a complete list of hours is posted on the Skates 280 Facebook page. Admission may vary by age, time of arrival and skate rental. 7043 Meadowlark Drive, Birmingham 35242. 991-3611.

The McWane Science Center is located at 200 19th Street North and is open seven days a week. Photo courtesy of McWane Science Center.

In addition to open jump time, AirWalk Trampoline Arena also offers fitness classes for all ages. Photos courtesy of AirWalk Trampoline Arena.

10.61 miles, 18 minutes


Brunswick Riverview Lanes

6.39 miles, 10 minutes

The Pelham Civic Complex houses perhaps the coolest way to beat the July heat: ice-skating. The ice arena is open to the public during public skating hours and also offers classes in figure skating and ice hockey. A complete list of skating hours is available on the Pelham Civic Complex website. Admission is $7 per person, and ice skate rental is an additional $2. Group discounts are available.

With four floors of interactive science exhibits and an IMAX Dome Theater, a day spent at the McWane Science Center is not just educational. Fun comes in many forms from dinosaurs to sea creatures, play areas and sports, while each level offers an array of scientific perspective for young minds. The center is open weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Depending on whether you visit the Adventure Halls, IMAX theater or both, ticket prices vary from $8 to $18 per person.

With 7,000 square feet of connected trampolines, AirWalk Trampoline Arena is a place where little ones and families alike can enjoy “open jump,” “family night” and “trampoline dodge ball.” To ensure a time slot, the staff recommends guests book their jump time before arrival. A complete list of AirWalk’s activities, jump times and ticket prices is available on their website. Most tickets range from $6 to $20.

All summer long, Brunswick Riverview Lanes Bowling has special offers to help keep families entertained without breaking the bank. With 40 lanes, an arcade, snack bar and billiards tables, the bowling alley plays host to activities to spend the afternoon in friendly competition. On Monday nights from 9 p.m.-close, try out Buck ‘n Bowl, where bowling is only one dollar. Tuesday through Thursday evenings offer unlimited bowling for $7.99. Outside of specials, ticket prices may vary from $10 to $14 per person.

500 Amphitheater Road, Pelham 35124. 620-6448.

200 19th Street North, Birmingham 35203. 714-8300.

7010 Champion Blvd., Birmingham 35242. 637-3347.

2908 Riverview Road, Birmingham 35242. 991-3900.

Pelham Civic Complex 9.98 miles, 13 minutes

McWane Science Center

7.17 miles, 12 minutes

July 2014 • 13

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and Park 20.80 miles, 26 minutes

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and Park is home to more than 1,200 vintage motorcycles in addition to a collection of Lotus Racecars and other historical automobiles. It is recognized as the largest motorcycle museum of its kind in the world. A 2.38-mile track is also on the museum grounds, but event admission is separate from the museum. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from noon-6 p.m. Admission is $10 for children and $15 for adults. 6030 Barber Motorsports Parkway, Birmingham 35094. 699-7275.

Southern Museum of Flight 12.48 miles, 16 mintues

Actors in a recent Birmingham Children’s Theatre show, Little Miss Muffet and the Lost Sheep, sing during a performance. Photo courtesy of Birmingham Children’s Theatre.

A tour group at the Southern Museum of Flight listens to a museum guide discuss aviation history. Photo courtesy of the Southern Museum of Flight.

Spending an afternoon at the Southern Museum of Flight will immerse you in aircraft history, mechanics and art. In addition to 90 aircrafts, the 75,000-square-foot facility also houses the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame, highlighting Alabama’s aviation history. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Children’s tickets are $6, and adults are $7. 4343 73rd Street North, Birmingham 35206. 833-8226.

Birmingham Museum of Art

Southern Environmental Center

7.05 miles, 11 minutes

9.74 miles, 13 minutes

Birmingham Children’s Theatre

The Birmingham Museum of Art offers families many options for exploring the world of art. The museum offers hands-on areas, scavenger hunts and a museum app to access exclusive information for exploration. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from noon-5 p.m., the museum provides a variety of exhibits. Although certain special exhibits may have admission charges, general admission to the museum is free.

Located on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College, the Southern Environmental Center is a 5,600-squarefoot facility promoting the education of protecting the environment. This center houses a two-story interactive museum and a multi-media conference room and sits adjacent to the EcoScape, an outdoor area with educational displays about medicinal and edible plants. Ticket prices start at $2 per activity, or $5 for all three activities.

Within the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, the Birmingham Children’s Theatre provides performances geared toward the interests of younger audiences. With camps, performances and birthday parties, the theater offers several options for a fun day. Schedules for performance and ticket sales are available on the website as well as by phone. Ticket prices vary, but average from $11 to $14.

Spend the day with your family honoring and exploring the culture of Colonial America at American Village. Located near the campus of the University of Montevallo, American Village’s purpose is to inspire and educate visitors about the foundations of American liberty. During the tour, families will have the opportunity to meet historical American figures, see artifacts and participate in interactive media. Tickets are $8 for children and $8.50 for adults.

2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham 35203. 254-2565.

900 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham 35254. 226-4934.

2130 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N, Birmingham 35203. 458-8181.

3727 Alabama 119, Montevallo 35115. 665-3535.

6.91 miles, 10 minutes

American Village 27.84 miles, 37 minutes

14 • July 2014

Vestavia Voice

Four Worn Passports

One family’s five- month journey abroad

By REBECCA WALDEN With two middle school age daughters, this season of life hardly seemed like a practical time for Dale and Kellie McIntyre to pack up the family and leave the country on a five-month world tour. But for the adventuresome couple, it took little more than a fateful Sunday morning sermon to nudge them full-bore into such plans. On that morning in September 2012, the family sat in worship and heard Liberty Crossings United Methodist Church minister Wade Griffith speak on the topic of living without regrets. “Though I’d never really had the opportunity to travel abroad, I had always wanted to do it,” said Kellie. Dale, who had backpacked through Europe for two months in celebration of his 30th birthday, had wanted to explore even more. And even though they had many travel obstacles to confront, including a house, two children in middle school and pets, the two remained drawn to the idea of gap-year travel. “We looked at each other in the middle of that sermon and said, ‘We are going to do this,’ said Kellie. With Delaney, 14, in the eighth grade and Riley, 13, in the seventh, Dale and Kellie realized this was probably the last year they could pull off such a large-scale trip. The McIntyres, in consult with Liberty Park Middle School principal Kacy Pierce and the girls’ teachers, arranged for the trip to occur during second and third nine-week periods of the girls’ school year. At the end of the first nine weeks, they withdrew, and during the next 18 weeks, the girls kept up their studies via a home school-inspired curriculum that Kellie incorporated carefully into the family’s travel. After 13 months of planning, the family departed in October 2013. During the McIntyres’ five-month adventure, they traveled to 11 different countries: Australia, Bali, China, England, Iceland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Panama, Thailand and Vietnam.

The McIntyre family rode bikes through Lucca, Italy, during their five-month adventure through 11 different countries. Photo courtesy of Kellie McIntyre.

For her part, Delaney was less enthusiastic at the outset about her parents’ wildly unconventional plan. “I knew they had always wanted to do it, and I was in denial,” she said. “I did not want to believe we were going until we were on that first flight. It’s hard for me because I am a teenage girl. I need my friends. But once we returned and I had time to reflect, I realized just how incredible it was to have this experience.” Delaney admitted her time back at Liberty Park Middle has come with a few surprises. “In the first couple of weeks we came back, some of the comments teachers made were incongruent with what I had just lived through and learned,” she said.

For Dale, already an accomplished international traveler, the trip brought him back to the heart of Griffith’s sermon that September morning. “It changes your perspective,” he said. “This kind of travel opens your mind to what a large world it is and what a small world it is all at the same time.” For Delaney, a major highlight was bungee jumping by nothing more than a foot harness in New Zealand. For Riley, it was feeding meerkats from a basket of grass in her lap as the animals climbed all over her, a la Meerkat Manor. For Dale, it was scuba diving along the Great Barrier Reef. And for Kellie, it was celebrating Christmas and ringing in the New Year from Sydney.

For Kellie, this was an especially poignant time, since the family had spent the two prior holiday seasons in non-Christian parts of the world. (In 2011, they were in Thailand, and in 2012, the Amazon.) “It was absolutely worth every bit of planning and everything it took to make that experience happen,” Kellie said. The family ended up staying in a hostel – the one budget place to stay in ultra-expensive Sydney. During the family’s travels, hostels were a common mode of lodging, not to mention the occasional yurt (a Mongolians-style tent), and shared guesthouses, where you never know who your housemate might be. Beyond the language barriers (they struggled with Icelandic but were successful with Vietnamese), the food differences (whale eye and shark blubber were two of the more extreme regional dishes to which they were exposed), and the cultural nuances, one of the most enduring lessons the McIntyres brought home from the trip was what many say, but few have actually lived out. “The selection of things we have here, not just food, but really in everything, is just incredible,” said Kellie. “Overall life in the U.S. is just so easy compared to most other places in this world. It’s evident in our freedoms, our choices, our cost of living...really in everything.” On an academic rather than political scale, that lesson was not lost on Delaney and Riley. Delaney recalled a tour of Vietnam in which her tour guide, a school-age child herself, woke up each day to weave mats with her mother and grandmother, a task for which she was unpaid. The rest of the day, she would go to school, working in tour guide shifts where she could. Riley recalled an orphanage in Bali, where most of the children living there were at the orphanage by choice, having left their families for the promise of a basic education. “And here, kids in America despise school,” said Riley. “Some will drop out or just now show up at all. We saw so many people where the privilege of education is almost out of reach.”

July 2014 • 15

Game-changing gift How a one-month art class helped Cahaba Heights artist find her calling By REBECCA WALDEN Set one foot into the airy studio space behind Kathy Harris Interiors, and you know you’re somewhere special. Essential oil candles permeate the air. Luxe fabrics, elegant furnishings and cheerfully contemplative artwork are a feast for the eyes. Complete with soft music and the tail-wagging, sniff-greeting antics of her dog, Chip, this place is a true artist’s oasis. Welcome to Laurel Browning’s office, so to speak. The painter, who works exclusively with handmade wood-backed pieces, acrylic paint and a palette knife, is celebrating her one-year anniversary in the studio, and what a year it has been. 2013 marked Browning’s first yearlong foray into the world of Deep South art shows, a circuit she entered rather timidly. She’d only taken her first formal art course two years prior, under the direction of Ahmad Austin at Forstall in Homewood. The month-long course, Painting with a Palette Knife, was a gift from her husband, Matt, who had just graduated as a nurse anesthetist, in an expression of thanks for all she’d done for their family during his labor-intensive schooling. In Austin’s class, Browning felt herself outgrow what had been her

vocation up to that point — interior design. “I get a lot of my inspiration from God’s creation. I love painting in the colors of nature,” said Browning, who was bolstered by the interest friends and family had in buying the work from her earliest efforts. “And though it is a huge time commitment, when Matt saw how people were responding to my work, he’s been nothing but supportive.” Those early one-off sales gave Browning the confidence she needed to participate in her first art show, Art in Avondale Park, in October 2012. “I took about 30 pieces and I sold more than I thought I would, which of course made me want to do another one,” said Browning. “That next month, I participated in the Moss Rock Festival at The Preserve, and sold even more.” As her reputation has grown, Browning has increased her offerings beyond studio work to include commissioned pieces, which now make up a substantial part of her business. All of her pieces are painted on birch panels custom-built by her father-in-law, John Vincent. Much of the wood comes from leftover workshop projects of Vincent’s, which he supplements with leftovers from lumber yards in Alpine, Alabama. Before Browning approaches them

with her inventory of palette knives and paints, her best friend and assistant, Amy Nielsen, preps the panels, painting all backgrounds, most often in muted, subdued tones, and then mounting hardware. Browning says not a day goes by that she misses the world of interior design, though she’s thankful the path led her to Kathy Harris, and, ultimately, the studio that is now her professional home. “I started working for Kathy as an interior designer fresh out of Auburn in 1998,” said Browning, who left the business in 2004 when daughter Olivia was born. “But as the artwork picked up, it was just too much for me to maintain in our garden home. I reached out to her, knowing she had this space, and she was gracious enough to let me use it to paint.” Browning’s work represents a wide range of sizes and price points. Her smallest wood panels are only $20, making it an affordable option for those who like the style and wish to build their collection with the work of local artists. A recurring theme in her work is the inclusion of a cross, sometimes subtle, sometimes center stage. “There is a cross in every painting I create to serve as a reminder that Christ is always with you in everything you do,” she said.

Cahaba Heights artist Laurel Browning works exclusively with acrylic paints and palette knives to create subtle, cheerful paintings reminiscent of springtime beauty in the South. Photo by Rebecca Walden.

16 • July 2014

Summer Fun Photo Contest Capture the fun of summer with your camera and send us your favorite shots of wherever you and your family are.

Vestavia Voice

Deadline is August 3, 2014 Prizes will be awarded to contest winners Category 1: Any summer fun photo Category 2: A summer fun photo displaying a copy of Vestavia Voice wherever you are To enter, e mail your photos in a jpeg format to Please send high quality images and include a caption and photo credit. Only four photos are allowed per person.

visit for more information

July 2014 • 17

Vestavia Hills Rotary Club to sponsor chef competition By JESSA PEASE Each second of the clock races down to zero. Searing competition puts knife, sauté and baking skills through the grinder until the buzzer announces time has run out. In the tradition of Iron Chef competitions, top Birmingham chefs are kicking up the heat in the kitchen. Vestavia Hills Rotary Club and the Culinary and Hospitality Institute at Jefferson State Community College are teaming up for the 6th Annual Iron City Chef July 26 at 6 p.m. “I believe it is one of the better menus in the city for the price because you have four chefs that are putting out a savory and a sweet dessert item,” said Joseph Mitchell, program director with the culinary and hospitality institute. “Then you get Western Market here with wines, so it is just a really good event. The food the guests get is just second to none.” Last year’s chefs, Haller Mcgee (formerly with Satterfield’s but currently opening his own restaurant), Jeremy Downey from Bistro V, Sean Butler from Food Studio B and James Pruitt from Todd English P.U.B. are throwing down the sauté pans once again. “Each year, I think the excitement tends to grow and expand,” Mitchell said. “I am just anticipating a successful year again.” The event, which sells out at about 300 people each year, starts with a

(above) Iron Chefs work diligently to deliver their culinary creations to the guests observing outside the glass windows. Photo courtesy of David Bobo. (left) Haller Mcgee, Iron City Chef 2013, serves his dessert item with the help of Jefferson State College culinary students as sous chefs. Photo courtesy of David Bobo.

reception of cheese and fruit paired with wine provided by Western Supermarkets. In each corner of the multi-purpose room of the college, the chefs will serve up two dishes — one savory and one sweet. “All the guests will vote,” Mitchell said. “They go around and sample all the food, they put the vote in a chefs hat and the two top winners will go into our front competition kitchen.” Guests watch as the top two competitors prepare dishes from a mystery

basket for a panel of judges through the large class windows of the competition kitchen. Haller Magee won the title of Iron City Chef last year, but the burner is set to high with his competition this year. Menu items include pan seared diver scallops, summer vegetable ratatouille with roasted corn silk and a shaved citrus fennel salad. “It is a great learning experience,” Mitchell said. “It is a sell out event, and it’s a packed house with a lot of activity and movement.”

Not only does the program provide a night of food and entertainment, but all proceeds benefit END POLIO NOW, Clean Water for the World, the Vestavia Hills debate and math teams and the local rotary disaster relief program. Anywhere from 20 to 30 of the culinary students from Jefferson State work the event, and about five students per chef are chosen to work as sous chefs. If their chef wins the competition, they receive a $1,000 scholarship, and some sous chefs gain future

employment through their Iron Chefs as well. “The hands on work and working with chefs in the community, it’s a win-win,” Mitchell said. “It allows our chefs to come in, see what our students are doing and learn more about our program, and the students get to help out the chefs.” The Vestavia Hills Rotary Club meets Fridays at noon at the Vestavia Hills Board of Education. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

18 • July 2014

Vestavia Voice

Vestavia Scouts Troop 1, Southminster Presbyterian Church, Assistant Scoutmaster Mark Garner Photos courtesy of Mark Garner.

Dalton Adair

Gibson Garner

Dalton Adair Dalton Adair is the son of Traci and Riley Adair of Vestavia Hills. Adair built a playground at Antioch Baptist Church in Pratt City for his leadership project. The church and the surrounding neighborhood were devastated by the April 2011 tornadoes. Adair worked with the Christian Service Mission to raise money for the playground equipment and other materials and led a team of out-of-town volunteers and troop members over several work days to clear and level the area and assemble and install the playground equipment. Adair is a 2014 graduate of Vestavia Hills High School and was active in the school band programs. He will be attending Troy University this fall.

Reynolds Sorrell

Gibson Garner Gibson Garner is the son of Holli and Mark Garner of Vestavia Hills. Garner built a trail at the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley’s Living River retreat for his leadership project. The Marty and Leland Keller Railroad Trail runs one-half mile from the retreat entrance to the Cahaba River. Garner raised money for supplies and materials and led a team of troop members, church members and school friends to clear the trail and construct and install three benches and 24 plant identification signs along the trail. Garner is a 2014 graduate of Vestavia Hills High School and was active in the school band programs. He will be attending Auburn University this fall.

Reynolds Sorrell Reynolds Sorrell is the son of Kelly and Walker Sorrell of Vestavia Hills. Sorrell built a reading patio at Cahaba Heights Elementary School for his leadership project. The project involved leveling the site, building forms, pouring concrete, and installing landscaping and benches. The work took several weekends and weekdays to complete. Sorrell will be a senior at Vestavia Hills High School this fall and was a member of the varsity track team.

Harrison Winter

Harrison Winter Harrison Winter is the son of Wynde and Derrell Winter of Vestavia Hills. Winter restored the interior and exterior of a cabin at Camp Tranquility in Oak Mountain State Park for his leadership project. The Civilian Conservation Corps built Camp Tranquility during the Great Depression. Winter led a group of workers over many weekends for four consecutive months and overcame many difficulties to complete the project. Winter is a 2014 graduate of Vestavia Hills High School and was active with the Birmingham Swim League. He will be attending Mississippi College this fall. -Submitted by Mark Garner

July 2014 • 19

earn Eagle rank Troop 76, Liberty Crossings Church, Scoutmaster Chris Morhard Photos courtesy of Cherry Jackson.

John Jebeles

John Jebeles John Jebeles, son of John and Laura Jebeles of Vestavia Hills, has earned the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout Award. Jebeles built and installed wood duck boxes in the Cahaba Wildlife Management Area. These nesting boxes will improve the habitat for wood ducks that have been displaced. A junior at Vestavia Hills High School, Jebeles is active in the Vestavia Hills High School Band and Wind Ensemble as an alto saxophone player. He is following in the footsteps of his late grandfather, Robert L. Garrett Jr., who also attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

Dylan Marcrum

Dylan Marcrum Dylan Marcrum, son of Don and Linda Marcrum of Vestavia Hills, has earned the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout Award. Marcrum constructed a free-standing arbor swing and two picnic tables for the Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Center for his leadership project. The center offers more than 20 services for children, adolescents, adults and families with mental health needs. A junior at Vestavia Hills High School, Marcrum is active in the Music Performance Club and plays the tenor sax in the Vestavia Hills High School Marching Band.

Andrew Caskey

Andrew Caskey Andrew Caskey, son of Al and Rebecca Caskey of Vestavia Hills, has earned the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout Award. Caskey constructed a brick patio, flower bed, picnic tables and benches at the Firehouse Shelter for his leadership project. The Firehouse Shelter is an outreach program for homeless men in Birmingham. A junior at Vestavia Hills High School, Caskey is active in the Vestavia Hills High School Marching Band and Wind Ensemble. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the Music Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and the German Honor Society. In addition, Caskey is a member of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra and Briarwood Presbyterian Church.

John Max Michel

John Max Michel John Max Michel, son of Judy and Michael Michel of Vestavia Hills, has earned the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout Award. Michel built seven rows of 24-foot-long benches on the practice football field of Liberty Park Middle School for his leadership project. This process included setting 28 posts and constructing each bench frame to fit the posts. It took seven workdays and 192 man-hours to complete. A sophomore at Briarwood Christian School, he is on the varsity football team and is a committee chair on Briarwood’s Relay for Life Committee. -Submitted by Cherry Jackson

20 • July 2014

Vestavia Voice

Importer connects with ancient marble, ancient skills By DALE SHORT When Lewis Menaker saw his nephew’s vacation photos, he couldn’t believe his eyes. It wasn’t the fact that Mark had backpacked for more than a year across some of the world’s most remote terrain in Asia, but rather his photograph of a group of marble vases he’d come across in a tiny village of the Himalayan foothills. “The vases had patterns I’d never seen before in marble,” Menaker recalled. “I told Mark, ‘These can’t be real. Surely they’re ceramics that have been painted and glazed.’” And though Menaker — retired from a 23-year career at UAB, including serving as associate dean of its dental school — admitted to “usually not traveling well,” he decided he had to see the wonders firsthand. The result of that arduous trip, and subsequent ones, is an import business named HML Enterprises, which he operates from a showroom in Vestavia Hills with his niece and nephew. As it turned out, the vases are meticulously made by craftsmen — known as the Bai tribe — whose ancestors’ works began decorating the palaces of Chinese emperors some 3,000 years ago. To say that their workshops are off the beaten path is an understatement. The journey involves five different planes and then a bus trip through what Menaker describes as “five hours of breathtaking scenery,” followed by a taxi ride of nearly a half-hour and then a final 20 minutes in a horse-drawn cart. But at the end of his journey, Menaker found unique varieties of marble that don’t exist anywhere else in the world, and workmen who have spent a lifetime learning the artistry of revealing the beauty in each individual chunk of rough stone. One day while looking at one of the village’s worn metal lathes he saw an inscription

Dr. Lewis Menaker with a marble vase in his Vestavia Hills showroom. Photo by Dale Short.

on its frame: LONDON, 1920. The immediate challenge, however, was getting some of these treasures safely back to the United States. “For example, nobody there knew more than a little bit of English, and for six months

we were bringing out just a piece or two at a time to a warehouse we’d rented, because until we had enough to fill a container the shipping prices would’ve been prohibitive,” Menaker said. “But they’re wonderful people, and we worked out an agreement with them, and now

everything’s fine.” The geological basis for the marble’s unusually vivid colors and textures, he found, is that the Himalayas, the world’s youngest major mountain range, are located where there was once an ocean. It’s a type of marble known as

July 2014 • 21

Closeups of earth-toned and black-andwhite marble surfaces.

fossiliferous, which shows a cross section of ancient oyster-like animals that were once part of the ocean bed but ended up at 10,000 feet above sea level after the violent collision of tectonic plates. “The process of creating the marble pieces is the exact opposite of Western industrial efficiency,” Menaker said. “Each ‘factory’ we deal with is an individual person, and among the 1,250 pieces we have on display, you won’t find two that are identical. One thing that makes the craftsmen special is that they create the inside of a marble piece first, and then work on the outside to fit.” One of Menaker’s most distinct memories from early in his working relationship with the village was saying to a craftsman, “I like this piece; I’ll take it,” and starting to pick it up. “The gentleman said, ‘No, no, no,’” Menaker recalled. “I finally realized that he planned to do another four to eight hours of hand work on a piece that looked perfectly good to me.” Over the years, HML’s inventory has branched out considerably. “When we started, people would come to us and buy these as burial urns, because the only extra feature a vase needs is a top,” Menaker

A Bai craftsman works on a vase at an antique metal lathe. Photos by Dale Short.

said. “Today we sell about six different shapes to funeral homes and individuals. And a lot of people are cremating their pets now, so we’ve added smaller pieces made for pets.” Other recent additions include a line of serving pieces — raised cake plates, fruit bowls and food platters for caterers — that have the added advantage of being temperature sensitive. If the marble is refrigerated beforehand, it keeps dishes cold. Even with small pieces and simple shapes, he says, no two are exactly alike. “It’s not the kind of process where we can say, ‘Each one needs to be 10 inches by four inches,’” he said. “They work to what the rock says.” Another feature that sets the Tibetan marble apart is its range of colors. One type classified as simply “red” is what Menaker describes as “twice-converted” marble. “Marble comes from limestone; what converts it under the earth is temperature, pressure and time,” he said. “But when there are special conditions like earthquakes, sometimes the marble comes back together into these crazy patterns that meet and spread. You never know what’s inside, and the variations are tremendous.”

Other varieties are named depending on how they are cut. One type is called “dragon’s whiskers” when cut to the material’s plane, and “dragon’s eyes” when cut perpendicular. Another variety called “nine rivers” is the specialty of a single craftsman. Yet another is “green,” another “black-and-gold,” and another “snow flower.” Blue varieties are the most rare. One of the distinctive kinds is a translucent marble, the geological structure of which resembles a fiber optic cable. Put a candle inside, and the material’s crystals transmit its glow. HML’s showroom has a quiet, private feel, more like the back room of a museum than a bustling retail shop. Hours are by appointment only. It’s been a long journey since Menaker held those color snapshots in his hand, piquing his curiosity. “If we’d known all the problems we were going to face getting started, we probably never would have attempted it,” Menaker said. “But I’m very glad we did.” To schedule a visit to the HML Enterprises showroom, contact Menaker at 276-9933, or

22 • July 2014

Vestavia Voice

Saying goodbye to David Miles, former principal, Pizitz Middle School

By REBECCA WALDEN Editor’s Note: After nearly 40 years as an educator, with the last 23 of those serving as principal of Pizitz Middle School, David Miles retired at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Before his last day, Mr. Miles spoke with the Vestavia Voice as he reflected on his career.


Many work their whole adult lives dreaming of the day they reach the milestone known as retirement. Now that it is here, how do you feel? I am extremely happy for what the future holds, and for the opportunities that lie ahead. I’ve spent 23 years here at Pizitz, and nearly 40 years in this profession. So of course, there is a good bit of anxiety and difficulty in transitioning away from that. The folks at Pizitz are good friends of mine. They are not just colleagues. They have been there for me in times when good friends are there for one another. Over the years, I have tried to measure and gauge where I was in my career with this thought: I’d rather try to leave with folks wishing I had stayed one year longer than that I had left a year sooner. Hopefully I have left that impression. To be sure, I am leaving a place I love very much and people I love very much. What that does mean is that I will no longer have to fight for time to do things I used to have fight for time to do before — things like volunteering


at church, traveling, spending time with my wife and visiting with my grandchildren. I’ll also return to my alma mater, Samford University, to do some part-time work.


Tell us more about what you’ll be doing for Samford University. I’m not retiring just to sit around all day. I would go crazy! I do want to stay engaged with this profession. What I hope for is to supervise student teachers, and I also hope to advise aspiring principals. Maybe I will even teach a course here or there. What is certain is that I want to keep myself sharp and stay engaged in a profession I very much love.


What legacy do you leave behind? Stated another way, how is Pizitz a better school now than it was when you first arrived? I can tell you this: Whether it is a better place or not is something for the faculty and staff to determine. I would not be so presumptuous as to determine that. But I hope we have done some good things. I am a better man than I was when I first arrived here as principal in 1991. I have learned much from every superintendent, much from the folks who have worked here, and much from the assistants who worked with me. I am a far better educator and administrator than I was in 1991. Whatever Pizitz has gotten out of me is not nearly as much as what I have gotten out of my time here.



Along with your retirement, Pizitz said goodbye to other members of the faculty this year who have also retired. What would you say to Vestavia parents of rising sixth-graders about what they can expect given these administrative changes? Principals come and go. Teachers are the most permanent fixtures at any school. The folks that remain here are individuals I am very comfortable leaving behind. We are always diligent and careful to bring in folks, especially at the sixth-grade level, but truly across all three grades here, whose primary attributes including being flexible, caring, concerned and interested people who enjoy and love being around children. We want them to know their stuff, of course. Yes, they need to have their teaching certificate, but frankly, kids are not impressed with a teacher’s GPA, class rank or where they went to school. They are impressed with how that teacher treats them. Do they like me? Do they care about me? Are they flexible? Whatever happens to David Miles doesn’t matter. Parents should know that the folks taking care of your children for eight hours a day every day in the classroom are exactly the kind of people you would want to be in charge of your children. They are very loving, kind and competent people.



What will you miss the most about this place and these

people, about the community that is Pizitz Middle School? I’ve said this in several venues, and I will say it here as well. I have been in many great places. I started out in Mountain Brook in the junior high school and thoroughly enjoyed that. I also worked at


Mountain Brook High School, where I had many cherished colleagues. But outside of my spiritual family and my physical family, the best thing that ever has happened in my life is my experience at Pizitz Middle School. It is something I will take with me always.

July 2014 • 23

School House

Pizitz unveils new flag

LPMS students participate in day of service All eighth grade Liberty Park Middle School students recently participated in a day of community service. Initially the students were going to participate in a service field trip, but it had to be cancelled due to the February snowstorm. Eighth grader Kanely Lemke realized the importance of a service day so she told her social studies teacher, Courtney Burger, about a Hands on Birmingham project called Bunny Aid. Teachers and students coordinated a school-wide collection of Easter basket supplies. On the morning of April 10, all students worked together to assemble 190 Easter baskets at Liberty Park Baptist Church. Later that afternoon, a kickball tournament was held to benefit Relay for Life. All donations went to Vestavia Hills High School’s Relay for Life fundraiser on behalf of LPMS. Dylan Teague’s homeroom claimed victory in the kickball tournament final. The completed baskets contained candy, stuffed animals and toys. Hands on Birmingham representatives distributed the baskets to children in need. -Submitted by Linda Rummell

LPMS student artwork takes top honors A new Pizitz Middle School flag was unveiled during a retirement reception given by the Pizitz PTO honoring Mr. David Miles, retiring school principal. Photo courtesy of Cathy Horton.

A new Pizitz Middle School flag was unveiled during a retirement reception given by the Pizitz PTO honoring Mr. David Miles, retiring school principal. The student body and the entire Pizitz family learned of the new tradition the next day during the Citizenship Assembly, which honors students who exemplify the school creed. Miles, who led the school for 23 years, developed the vision for a flag that would embody the character of the Pizitz family. Pizitz art teacher Larry Gibson initially presented the idea for the flag to his

advanced art students. Students Bradford Billingsley and Nathan Watson took the helm and began to sketch ideas. The design was to include the school’s name, establishment date of 1967 in Vestavia Hills, and the phrase “The Best Middle School in America.” Nathan’s sketch included a circular design with a ship in its center to denote the school’s pirate mascot. Gibson searched images of pirate ships, which Bradford then further adapted resulting in the sailing ship that is the center of the flag. Gibson tweaked the design colors, wording, and

the inclusion of a ship captain’s wheel to complete the design. After the design was “camera ready,” it was taken to the flag company to make two complete flags to fly at the school and a vinyl copy that was presented to Miles with all staff and faculty signatures as a keepsake. The words on the flag will be a lasting tribute to Miles, who will be remembered for his unfailing devotion to being a part of the “Best Middle School in America!” -Submitted by Cathy Horton

David Dauphin, a seventh-grade student at Liberty Park Middle School, received high honors in two different art competitions. David placed first in the public school sixth to eighth grade category of the 2014 AWF William R. Ireland Sr. Youth Wildlife Art Contest. The purpose of this 30-yearold contest is to recognize outstanding artistic ability while increasing students’ knowledge and awareness of wildlife and wildlife habitats in Alabama. Shay Gosnell, LPMS art teacher, was David’s sponsor. David was also the grand prize winner for the Birmingham Zoo 2014 African Painted Dog art contest. Hundreds of students from around the state entered this contest. As grand prize winner, he received a complementary week of the ZooFari Summer Camp and a Zoo to You Animal Encounter for his classroom. -Submitted by Linda Rummell

24 • July 2014

Vestavia Voice

Career Day at VHEW

VHEE state chess champions

The Vestavia Hills Elementary East Chess Team was named the 2014 State of Alabama Primary Scholastic Team Champion at a recent competition at the University of Montevallo. Hartwell Forstman, Shane Kau, Samuel Johnson (team captain) and Harrison Walley, pictured, study chess with The Knight School, founded and coached by Dr. David Brooks. Photo courtesy of Leigh Forstman.

Learning about life cycles

Terrill Brazelton showed students the Slice food truck. Photo courtesy of Alice Elmore.

Officer Andy Kimbrel let students try on equipment. Photo courtesy of Alice Elmore.

In April, third graders at Vestavia Hills Elementary-West were given a glimpse of several different careers. Six individuals met with small groups of students, sharing with them what it’s like in their professions, giving them a look at the tools they use, and answering the third graders’ questions. Six very different careers were highlighted as the following individuals devoted a morning to VHEW’s career day: Jill Smith, Audiology Supervisor at Children’s of Alabama; Terrill Brazelton, Executive Chef with Slice; Boyd Kaiser, VP, Account Director with Martin Advertising; Brian Cespedes, Senior Technology Architect; Andy Kimbrel, VHEW’s student resource officer; and Dr. Carmel McNicholas-Bevensee, UAB Assistant Professor of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology.

The professionals shared valuable information about the work they do everyday and how they prepared for their careers. Students learned about the restaurant business as they toured the Slice food truck. Members of the SWAT and criminal investigation team came along with Office Kimbrel, and introduced students to the equipment and methods used in their line of work. Dr. McNicholas-Bevensee shared with students a brief version of PhUn, an outreach program used by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and developed by the American Physiological Society. PhUn stands for Physiology Understanding—students take part in hands-on exploration of such things as stethoscopes, cow hearts, and pig lungs. -Submitted by Alice Elmore

Children at Saint Mark Kindergarten gathered on the playground on a cloudy day in May to watch the school’s annual butterfly release. For weeks the children observed and recorded the insects’ development from caterpillar to butterfly. For days after the release they eagerly watched for the butterflies in the playground garden.

Kindergarten teacher Lauren Batson prepares to open one of five butterfly houses so the children can witness the fulfillment of their project. Photo courtesy of Janet Nebrig.

July 2014 • 25

Community Area residents compete in Distinguished Young Women

Voices of the South visits local church

2014 Distinguished Young Women of Jefferson County competition participants. Photo courtesy of Miranda Wesley.

Samford University’s Wright Center Concert Hall will host the Distinguished Young Women Program of Jefferson County July 18-19. Thirty-two high school senior girls, representing 14 high schools from across Jefferson County will compete for cash-tuition and college granted scholarships and the opportunity to represent Jefferson County in the Distinguished Young Women Program of Alabama in Montgomery in January. Participants in the Vestavia Hills area are: Haley Dellaccio, Abbey Donze, Mary Kash, Margo King, Alex Larson, Steffie Rosene and Hannah Walter of Vestavia Hills High School; and McClain Miles of Shades Valley High School. Sarah Grace McDuff, the current Distinguished Young Woman of Jefferson County, will perform. Mistress of Ceremonies is 1993 Jefferson County’s and Alabama’s Junior Miss, Ashley Halfman. With a theme of “A Winter Wonderland,” participants

will compete in the on stage categories of talent, fitness and self-expression. On the final night of competition, finalists will be selected, along with overall category winners, in addition to the naming of the Distinguished Young Woman of Jefferson County 2015, First-Alternate and Second-Alternate. All tickets are for reserved seating and are $15 each for July 18 at 7 p.m. and July 19 at 1 p.m. Preliminary tickets are $25 each for the finals scheduled for July 19 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through any participant or at the Samford University Wright Center box office each evening one hour prior to each performance, or by calling 907-0210. For more information about the program, please contact chairman Eddie Macksoud at 907-0210 or jefferson@ For more information, visit -Submitted by Miranda Wesley

Voices of the South is the performing chorus of the Central Alabama Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Photo courtesy of Joan Purse.

Voices of the South Barbershop Chorus recently gave a free performance at Saint Mark United Methodist Church. Voices of the South is the performing chorus of the Central Alabama Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. They claim a deep heritage of talented men and chapter accomplishments as they draw men from across central Alabama to the joy of good singing and the preservation of an American art form. They won second place in the 2013 Dixie District Chorus Contest. They have performed in many places in the Birmingham area including a Barons baseball game. -Submitted by Joan Purse.

26 • July 2014

Solid start for Smylie

Vestavia Voice

Vestavia’s Kaufman makes pro debut in U.S. Open

By DAVID KNOX Smylie Kaufman was in uncharted territory, playing in his first golf tournament as a pro – the U.S. Open, one of golf’s majors, no less – at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in North Carolina in June. But the 22-year-old former Vestavia Hills High golfer had plenty of emotional support and friendly faces to make things a bit easier. And it resulted in a strong performance for Kaufman, who just wrapped up his college career at LSU. Kaufman shot a two-day total of 149, missing the cut by just four strokes. He was in the hunt to make the cut on the second day but inconsistency with his putter and short game cost him. Only three players, led by winner Martin Kaymer, shot under par for the tourney. “It obviously was a little frustrating I didn’t hit the cut and get to play on the weekend, but overall it was a great experience and I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for it. I’d do it all over again,” Kaufman said. Still, Kaufman could look back at a double-bogey on No. 5 in the second round and some other missed chances for birdies that could have made up those four shots and landed him among the top 60 scores and ties that made the weekend cut. The double-bogey – his only one of the tournament – especially irked him. “I was 30 feet away from making an eagle,” Kaufman said. “and then I make 7. I just didn’t make the putts I needed to get my momentum going. “I was four strokes from the cut, but it felt a lot closer than that.” After a 3-over-par 73 in the first round, Kaufman opened the second round with a birdie and looked to be building toward a solid round. But a pair of bogeys and the double over three of the next four holes set him back. A birdie followed on No. 9, but four bogeys over the next

(Above) Smylie Kaufman made his pro debut at the U.S. Open in June. (Right) Smylie Kaufman stands with former U.S. Open champion and UAB golfer Graeme McDowell. Photos courtesy of Jeff Kaufman.

seven holes sealed his fate. He finished strong with two pars on the demanding course for 9-over-par for the tournament. “I set high expectations for myself,” Kaufman said. “Unfortunately this time I didn’t meet them, but I’ll take the experience and get back out there and get better next time.” Kaufman, who said he thinks he’s playing the best golf of his career after a stellar senior season at LSU, had lots of support, both on and off the course.

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After squeaking into the field through a sectional qualifier at Roswell, Ga., Kaufman was able to arrange practice rounds with former U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell – who not coincidentally was coached by Smylie’s grandfather Alan Kaufman at UAB – and former PGA champion David Toms, who played with Smylie’s father, Jeff, at LSU. “I got to play practice rounds with a lot of good players and it was a great experience. I think I learned a lot.”

He takes that experience gleaned from playing in a major to focus on qualifying for Tour events and getting on that tour, which is the developmental tour for the PGA Tour. Meanwhile, Kaufman reiterated his gratitude for the support back home. As he tweeted after the tournament: “A big shoutout goes to my friends and family that were out there cheering me on! It was very cool having them all out there. I’ll be back.”

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July 2014 • 27

Sports LPMS names Coaches of the Year

Liberty Park Middle School’s Jennifer Isbell was recently named Metro Coach of the Year for girls’ tennis. Photo courtesy of Linda Rummell.

Liberty Park Middle School’s Jonathan Jeff received the cross country Coach of the Year award at a recent banquet. Now a seventh-grade pre-algebra teacher and cross-country head coach, Jeff ran cross-country and track and field at Samford University. He began running during his senior year in high school. Jeff began his teaching and coaching career at Hewitt-Trussville Middle School in 2004 and then joined Liberty Park in 2008. He said he feels privileged that he was one of the original teachers at LPMS and had the opportunity to create the school’s cross-country and track

Jonathan Jeff, cross country head coach at Liberty Park Middle School, was recently named Cross Country Coach of the Year. Photo courtesy of Linda Rummell.

and field teams in 2008. The first cross-country team at LPMS consisted of only 17 boys and has continued to grow every year. Jennifer Isbell won the Metro Coach of the Year award for girls’ tennis. Isbell has coached the boys and girls tennis teams for Liberty Park Middle School for the past three years in addition to teaching sixthgrade social studies and coaching volleyball. Isbell played varsity tennis at Shades Valley High School. Before coming to Vestavia, she taught two years at Auburn Junior High School. -Submitted by Linda Rummell

U11 lacrosse wins invitational

Front row: Raines Anthony, D.R. Christenson, Johnnie “Hollywood” Edwards and Topher Hayes. Middle row: Nick Henger, Lleyton Hargrove, Cole Dickinson, Winn Despot, Zach White, Will Scott, James Harbour, Elliott Gilbert, and Judson Stewart. Back row: Head Coach Eric Christenson, Coach Rob Henger, and Coach Erik Dickinson. Not pictured: Coach Brad White. Photo courtesy of Lorrie Hargrove.

The U11 Vestavia Blue lacrosse team recently won the Roswell Youth Lacrosse Invitational in Atlanta. The team tore through pool play the first day of the tournament, going 4-0. It then beat

three Atlanta-based teams the next day in bracket play, winning a tight championship match 16-13 against a strong Georgia team. -Submitted by Lorrie Hargrove

28 • July 2014 WALKING

CONTINUED from page 1 “When trying to retrofit sidewalks, you are dealing with private property, steep slopes, storm water, etc. There are a lot of infrastructure issues,” Downes said. “Building sidewalks in existing subdivisions is challenging on funds and topography.” Funds for sidewalks come from the federal government, which can lead to strict regulations and, sometimes, longer time frames. Downes referenced four sidewalk projects on Canyon Road, Post Oak Road, Merryvale Road and Willoughby Road that had to be halted because of certain ALDOT regulations. While these funding issues could be avoided by using general city funds, Downes pointed out that this use could take money away from other important projects. “If we use general funds, it would affect the city’s ability to do other services,” Downes said. “We have to follow a logical process to grow revenue. We need to grow our sales tax base so we can have extra dollars and invest in quality- of-life issues.” Moving forward Downes mentioned two projects that should be completed within the next three years that are in alliance with the Comprehensive Master Plan. In February, the city authorized a design service agreement with Neel-Schaffer engineering for road improvements on Massey Road. “Improvements will include the addition of sidewalks and

Vestavia Voice addressing problem areas on Massey Road between U.S. 31 and Columbiana Road,” Downes said. Bicycle paths are also planned for the area, which covers a distance of approximately 0.7 miles. The multiphase ALDOT project is federally funded and will cost the city a total of $27,557.60. The design analysis is estimated to take nine months, and construction could begin in less than two years. Sicard Hollow Road is another area that could soon be seeing pedestrian-friendly changes. In April, the City Council approved a resolution authorizing Downes to apply for a grant as part of an ALDOT Transportation Alternatives Program. The project would involve construction of a tunnel to connect pedestrian routes underneath Sicard Hollow Road. Downes said the maximum amount for the project would be $400,000, and the city would be required to match 20 percent of the funds. He added that this money could be acquired through private fundraising. The tunnel would be for both pedestrians and cyclists. “It can be very dangerous for both walkers and cyclists, so we are looking to change that aspect,” said Mayor Butch Zaragoza. The Parks and Recreation Foundation, along with the city and the Parks and Recreation Board, recently introduced a three-part plan titled the Partners in Healthy Living campaign. Over the next two years, development will occur at Sicard Hollow athletic fields and McCallum Park. Sicard Hollow Community Park will be constructed beside the current athletic complex, which will have 1.5 miles of crushed stone fitness

trails and offer residents various workout stations. Having patience McGough mentioned several areas where she thinks sidewalks would make a good addition. “I think the people on the west side of U.S. 31 would enjoy sidewalks as well as those living on Rocky Ridge and Cahaba Heights,” McGough said. Business owners in Cahaba Heights are concerned about the lack of pedestrian accessibility surrounding the village. “Accessibility means return customers,” Cahaba Heights business owner Jennifer Cummings said. “I would like to see sidewalks down Cahaba Heights Road, but don’t know if that’s a possibility.” Downes noted that the need for more sidewalks is a fundamental part of the development process for Cahaba Heights. The Cahaba Heights Community Plan specifically calls for sidewalks at the intersection of Dolly Ridge Road and Cahaba Heights Road, a central gateway to the community. “The plan does address this desire for pedestrian-friendly streets,” Downes said. “There are certain segments that have great opportunity.” Ultimately, Downes hopes residents will realistically think about funding and topography for sidewalks and recognize that the city has their best interests in mind. “We do have a plan in place,” Downes said. “Our message to citizens is to just be patient.” To view the sidewalk master plan, residents can stop by City Hall. To view the 2004 Final Comprehensive Plan, visit

Wounded Warriors Fundraiser Friday, July 11, 4:30-8:30 p.m. Artists Incorporated Gallery 3365 Morgan Drive


also have a red bucket on the desk for donations from customers and artists who don’t purchase anything.” The Wounded Warrior Project serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness or wound, as well as their families. The organization offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans. “Wounded Warrior Project is one of the most worthwhile causes I can think of,” Henke said. “Because these men and women have given so very much for our country and for us as individuals, I feel we should try to do everything we can to try to repay them and say, ‘Thanks for your service.’” Two Birmingham artists whose works are featured at the gallery are also veterans who incorporated art during their terms of service. Artist Jerome Vason is one of the main coordinators of the Wounded Warriors fundraiser. After college, Vason joined the U.S. Army and remained in service for 22 years. Throughout his military career he maintained his art skills by painting murals and completing artwork at various duty assignments. “In 1980, as soon as I got off the plane for basic training I remember being asked, ‘Who in this group can paint and draw?’” Vason said. “I immediately raised my hand. I was always being asked to do things and expressed myself

through art through the time I was in the military.” After retiring from the Army, Vason returned to Birmingham. Artists Incorporated was the first gallery he visited, and he is now a board member there. Vason works out of his studio in Alabaster and travels to various art shows across the Southeast showcasing his work, which is primarily painting with oil, charcoal, acrylic and ink. “I make sure to tell people this is not a hobby for me, it’s a job,” Vason said. Sculptor Calvin Macon was born and raised in Birmingham. Macon joined the U.S. Navy in 1975 and retired in 1999. Initially, he carved small wooden abstracts, decorative coffee coasters, ornate pipe holders and other unique items for shipmates. He was introduced to stone carving in 1997 while stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. He is working on a special wood panel with a flag depicting an eagle to be displayed at the fundraising event. “I really wanted to make sure I got it just right,” Macon said. “I want to honor these people that have served.” Artists Incorporated Gallery, also known as the “Little Red Barn,” has been in Vestavia Hills for 15 years. The gallery displays the work of 50 local artists and aims to foster an appreciation of a variety of art mediums in the community. For more about the gallery, visit For more about the Wounded Warrior Project, visit

July 2014 • 29

Calendar Area Events

Fireworks will be visible from anywhere with a view of Vulcan on the night of July 4.

July 2: Commemoration of the Passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 10 a.m. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, 520 16th St. N. Free. Call 328-9696, ext. 229. July 3: UAB Concert Choir Bon Voyage Concert. 7-8:30 p.m. Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. S. Free. Call 934-7376. July 4: Peavine Falls Run. 7 a.m. Oak Mountain State Park. $15. Register on

July 4: UAB Independence Day Concert. 7-8:45 p.m. UAB Bartow Arena, 617 13th St. S. Free. Call 9347376. July 4: Thunder on the Mountain. 9-9:20 p.m. Vulcan Park and Museum, 1701 Valley View Dr. Vulcan Park will be closed for safety reasons, but the fireworks will be visible from many places throughout the city. Free. Call 933-1409. July 5: Red, White and Brew 5K Run/Walk. 10 a.m. Registration begins

The annual Peavine Falls Road Race is returning to Oak Mountain State Park on July 4.

at 8 a.m. Trim Tab Brewing Company, 2721 5th Ave. S. Enjoy a complimentary beer and live music after the race. $30 pre-registration, $35 race-day registration. July 10: Summer Film Series Baseball Thursday: Field of Dreams. 7-10 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the Chicago Black Sox come. 107 min. PG. There will be a sing-along and Mighty Wurlitzer performance before the film. $8. Call

252-2262. July 10: Gaither Vocal Band. 7-10 p.m. Leslie S. Wright Center, 800 Lakeshore Drive. Artist Circle $36.50, Reserved $29.50, Senior (60+) $26.50, Child (2-12) $26.50, Groups of 15+ $25.50 plus two free tickets. Call 7262853. July 10-27: Annie. Thursday and Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2:30 p.m. Virginia Samford Theatre, 1116 26th St. S. $30-35. Call 251-1206.

July 11: Bards and Brews Poetry Slam. 6:30-9 p.m. North Birmingham Regional Library, 2501 31st Ave. N. Free. Call 226-3670. July 11: Summer Film Series: The Blues Brothers. 7-10 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised. 133 min. Rated R. There will be a singalong and Mighty Wurlitzer performance before the film. $8. Call 252-2262. continued on next page

30 • July 2014

Calendar Area Events (continued)

July 11: Rick and Bubba “We Ain’t Never Been No Where” 20th Anniversary Tour 2014. 7 p.m. Leslie S. Wright Center, 800 Lakeshore Drive. Balcony $33, Orchestra $43. Call 726-2853.

p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N. Adults $11, Children $6, Kids 3 and under are free. Call 678-4141.

July 12-13: Alabama Gun Collectors Association Summer Show. Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N. Free for members, small door fee for the public. Call (334) 2721193.

July 18: Summer Film Series: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. 7-10 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. With the aid of the Enterprise crew, Admiral Kirk must stop an old nemesis, Khan Noonien Singh, from using his son’s lifegenerating device, the Genesis Device, as the ultimate weapon. 113 min. PG. There will be a sing-along and Mighty Wurlitzer performance before the film. $8. Call 252-2262.

July 13: Summer Film Series: To Kill a Mockingbird. 2-5 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice. 129 min. NR. There will be a sing-along and Mighty Wurlitzer performance before the film. $8. Call 252-2262. July 17: Summer Film Series Baseball Thursday: The Bad News Bears. 7-10 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. An aging, down-on-his-luck ex-minor leaguer coaches a team of misfits in an ultra-competitive California Little League. 102 min. PG. There will be a sing-along and Mighty Wurlitzer performance before the film. $8. Call 252-2262. July 18-20: 31st Annual World Deer Expo. Friday 3-10

July 19: Run or Dye 5K. 9 a.m. Barber Motorsports Park, 6040 Barber Motorsports Parkway. Early registration (May 1-July 8) $47, Registration (July 9-19) $57. Teams of four or more save $5 per ticket. July 19: Ray LaMontagne. 7:30 p.m. Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N. Tickets from $37.80. Call 1-800-745-3000. July 20: Summer Film Series: The Long, Long Trailer. 2-5 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. Nicky and Tacy are going to be married. Nicky wants to save up money for a house, but Tacy dreams of starting off with their own home on wheels — a trailer. 103 min. NR. There will be a sing-along and Mighty Wurlitzer performance before the film.

$8. Call 252-2262. July 23: Mockingbird Tribute. 7 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. Learn about Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird, get a free copy of Marja Mills’ book The Mockingbird Next Door, and enter for a chance to win a 50th anniversary edition of To Kill A Mockingbird with bookplate signed by Harper Lee. $35. Call 8704242. July 23-24: Luke Bryan That’s My Kind of Night Tour. 7 p.m. Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, 1000 Amphitheatre Dr. Tickets from $40. Call 1-800-745-3000. July 24: Summer Film Series Baseball Thursday: A League of Their Own. 7-10 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amid their own growing rivalry. 128 min. PG. There will be a sing-along and Mighty Wurlitzer performance before the film. $8. Call 252-2262. July 25: Summer Film Series: The Big Lebowski. 7-10 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. “Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. 117 min. R. There will be a sing-along and Mighty Wurlitzer performance before the film. $8. Call 252-2262.

July 26: American Idol Live. 8 p.m. Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N. See the top 10 finalists from season 13 of American Idol. Tickets from $45.25. Call 1-800-745-3000. July 27: Steely Dan “Jamalot Ever After” Tour. 8 p.m. Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N. Tickets from $72.65. Call 1-800-745-3000. July 27: Summer Film Series: The Sound of Music. 2-5 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. North. A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower. 174 min. G. There will be a sing-along and Mighty Wurlitzer performance before the film. $8. Call 252-2262. July 31: Summer Film Series Baseball Thursday: The Sandlot. 7-10 p.m. Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. Scotty Smalls moves to a new neighborhood with his mom and stepdad, and wants to learn to play baseball. 101 min. PG. There will be a sing-along and Mighty Wurlitzer performance before the film. $8. Call 252-2262. July 31: Fourth Annual Taste of Birmingham. 6-9 p.m. The Club of Birmingham, 1 Robert S. Smith Dr. Enjoy live music, fireworks and the chance to taste and vote on dishes from Birmingham’s best restaurants. $75. Call 767-9219.

Vestavia Voice

Vestavia Hills Events July 2: I Love America Summer Celebration. 6-9 p.m. Wald Park. July 4: First Friday Reception. 4:30-8:30 p.m. Artists Incorporated. July 11: Wounded Warriors event. 4:30-8:30 p.m. Artists Incorporated. July 21-25: Vacation Bible School. 9 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Southminster Presbyterian Church. Ages 4 years through fifth grade are invited to a Workshop of Wonders. At this fun and free program, children will enjoy art, Bible story time, drama, snacks and outdoor play, all while experiencing God’s love. Visit to register.

City Events July 10: Planning and Zoning Commission. 6 p.m. Council Chambers. July 14: Senior Citizen Luncheon. 11:30 a.m. Dogwood Room. Vestavia Hills City Center. July 14: City Council. 5 p.m. Council Chambers. July 15: Parks and Recreation Board.7 a.m. Vestavia Hills Civic Center. July 17: Board of Zoning Adjustment. 6 p.m. Council Chambers. July 28: City Council. 5 p.m. Council Chambers.

Library in the Forest Events Contact Eden Pfaff at or 978-4678 or visit

Children’s Department For more information or registration, call April Moon at 978-0158. Mondays: Maker Mondays. 10:30 a.m. Register to participate in some cool hands-on activities. Limited to 30 each week. Grade 3-6. Tuesdays: Together with Twos. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. Join Mrs. Courtney for a rollicking good time full of stories, songs and movement for babies and toddlers. Birth-35 months. Tuesdays starting June 8: Acting Out Academy Workshop. 1:30 p.m. Learn to act like your favorite Disney character. Age 3-second grade. Wednesdays: Story Friends. 10:30 a.m. Mrs. Lisa has a summer of great story programs planned for her old and new friends. Ages 3 and up. Fridays: Movie Madness. 10:30 a.m. Latest DVD releases for kids. Popcorn and drinks provided. All ages. July 3: Dynamic Educational Adventures. 10:30 a.m. A live animal show featuring creatures from all around the world. July 7: Komedy Klub. 6:30 p.m. Come to opening night at “The Forest,” Vestavia Hills’ premier comedy club for tweens and their parents. Grades 3-6. July 10: That Puppet Guy. 10:30 a.m. Planet Earth, Inc. July 17: Hampstead Stage Co. 10:30 a.m. A traveling theater group from New Hampshire stops by to share the exciting tale of “The Legend of King Arthur.” July 21: Barter Royalty. 6:30 p.m. A robot, an electric guitar and gift cards are up grabs. It all

depends on how well you can wheel and deal. Grades 3-6. July 24: Tom Foolery. 10:30 a.m. Comedy and acrobatic fun for everyone. July 31: Summer Reading Finale Party. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. “Magic Man” Bill Packard will perform two shows, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. In between, we will have a picnic lunch and drawings for final Summer Reading and Online prizes, but you must be present to win.

Teen Department For more information or registration, call Daniel Tackett at 978-3683. July 1: Chef U. 5:30 p.m. Come prepared to learn and eat as Chef Angela Schmidt teaches us how to make a delicious treat. Registration required. July 8: Anime Night/Candy Sushi. 5:30 p.m. July 9: Writing Group. 5:30 p.m. The Teen Department is offering a writing group where teens can build writing skills and provide feedback to one another. July 11: Open Gaming. 4 p.m. Come to the library and enjoy awesome video games on the Wii and Xbox 360. Board games will also be provided. July 12: Minecraft in the Forest. 1 p.m. Registration required. Limited to eight. July 15: Kingdom Comics. 5:30 p.m. In this program, Stan (owner of Kingdom Comics) will ask essential comic book trivia, talk about the comic world, and give away free merchandise. July 16: Studio 1221. 4 p.m. Put on your lab coat, your mad scientist wig and your maniacal laugh as we perform experiments to make magnetic silly putty and colorful bouncy balls.

July 18: Open Gaming. 4 p.m. Come to the library and enjoy awesome video games on the Wii and Xbox 360. Board games will also be provided. July 22: Magnetic Story. 5:30 p.m. Teamwork is essential as we see who can collaboratively use magnets to make the best short story for the entire world to see.

Free, but registration required. July 17: TLP Book Group. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Taziki’s Liberty Park. Will discuss Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham. July 25: Outdoor Concert Series: Erin Mitchell Cornelius. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Free.

July 23: Writing Group. 4 p.m. Come to this month’s second meeting of the Teen Writing Group to build writing skills and receive feedback on your work.

Technology Department

July 25: Mario Kart Tournament. 4 p.m. Hope you’ve been practicing, because our second gaming tournament is back, and it’s going to be a race to see who deserves our Gamestop gift card.

July 2, 9, 16, 24: Downloading Free Library eBooks & Audio Books with iPad, Kindle or Nook. Please call for appointment time.

July 29: Zombie Scavenger Hunt. 5:30 p.m. Can you survive the zombie horde and fight off other contestants as you search for the limited supplies hidden around the library? Pizza served. Door prizes.

July 3: Mac 101. 2 p.m. Basic training for Apple Macintosh computers.

Adults Service and Events

For more information or registration, call Terri Leslie at 978-4678. July 10: OLLI Field Trip: Alabama Theatre. See the theater from backstage, learn its history and get up close to the Mighty Wurlitzer. $5. Please register. For details and registration, visit

For more information or registration, call Rick Moody at 978-0164.

July 7: Introduction to the Computer. 12 p.m. July 7: Resume 101. 2 p.m. Learn how to properly format a job résumé. July 12: Microsoft Excel Part 1. 1 p.m. July 12: Microsoft Excel Part 2. 4 p.m. July 14: Introduction to Microsoft PowerPoint. 12 p.m. July 14: Introduction to Microsoft Publisher. 2 p.m. July 18: Microsoft Word Part 1. 1 p.m.

July 10: Pinterest Maker Mania Party: Hangin’ Out. 3-4 p.m. This week we’ll create beautiful wreaths using recycled books or magazines. All you need to bring is a foam wreath form.

July 18: Microsoft Word Part 2. 3:30 p.m.

July 11: Trivia Night: Mad Men. 7-8:30 p.m. Bring your friends, drink some beer, and win cool prizes. Prizes awarded for place winners and for the hippest “Mad Men” threads. Must be 21 or older.

July 28: Internet 101. 11 a.m.

July 22: Windows 8. 5:30 p.m. Learn your way around the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system. July 28: Facebook 101. 1:30 p.m.

July 2014 • 31

July 2014 •

Vestavia Voice july 2014  

news, sports and community news source for Vestavia Hills Alabama

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