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Village Living


June 2011 |

neighborly news & entertainment for Mountain Brook

JUICE -pg 6

Beekeeper - pg 16

Volume 2 | Issue 3 | June 2011

Growing into fatherhood By RICK wAtSON

If you’ve received a package via FedEx in the past eight years, you know Ronnie Davis and his upbeat personality. Davis, 40, delivers a cheerful smile along with packages as he catches up with residents on his delivery route in Mountain Brook. What many don’t know is that he is a passionate speaker and writer. He talks about the value of a strong father figure in the lives of children. In April he spoke to more than 20,000 people at StadiumFest, a daylong event held by Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association. If you don’t have a positive role model, he says when he speaks, you learn how to live life from the streets—hence, the importance of a father figure in a young man’s life. This message also led him to write a new, self-published book, The Ingredients of A Man. He was interviewed about the book by Mike Royer on a Spirit of Alabama segment on NBC 13 News. Davis writes of some bad decisions and failures of his youth but points to the positive influence his stepfather, James Woods, had on his life. “He taught me the value of patience, responsibility and the value of a strong work ethic,” he said. “I

June Features • Editor’s Note


• City Council




• Ball of Roses


• Village Sports


• Billy Angell


• Kari Kampakis


• School House


• Business Spotlight


• Restaurant Showcase


• Calendar of Events


• Around the Villages


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about the importance of the man’s role in families that she put a copy of his book in the school’s parent resource library. “He is very happy, friendly, and community oriented,” Carl said. “We all just love him.”

FedEx driver Ronnie Davis wrote The Ingredients of a Man and speaks to groups about the importance of male role models. Photo by Madoline Markham.

can never thank him enough.” It’s Davis’ intention to live up to that role with his two-year-old daughter, Ava Colleen. “I tell Ava Colleen every day how beautiful and smart she is,” he said. He wants to be the best father he can be and to give her the love and guidance she needs to help her grow up to be happy and

successful. When she heard about Davis’ book, Lella Carl asked him to speak to the parents at Saint Luke’s Preschool Partners. Carl is the director of the non-profit outreach program for inner-city children and parents based out of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. She was so impressed with Davis’ ideas

Clearing debris, helping neighbors

Ronnie’s story Davis grew up in rural Walker County. Although his parents did their best to point him in the right direction, none of his family had ever been to college. As a result they didn’t have the experience to help him make good decisions about education when he was younger. Davis excelled at sports and did fairly well academically, but he didn’t realize early enough the importance of taking advanced courses in high school. He thinks counselors sometimes stereotype students, which can cause problems later when they head off to college. No college offered Davis a scholarship, but he qualified for a Pell Grant. He enrolled at University of North Alabama. Like many freshmen, Davis said he didn’t pay much attention to the college handbook, which did not turn out well for him. “Too many parties and not enough

See DAVIS | page 17

Spartans helping Spartans By MADOLINE MARKHAM

miraculously, there was no water damage. “I think we were very fortunate,” Church Administrator Scot Cardwell said. A friend of the Senior Pastor Tim Kallum drove by the church by that morning, saw the damage, and called Kallum to suggest DE General contractors to help with the damage. A crew was on site addressing damage by lunchtime, and work began to clear trees and replace roofs. With the church campus cleanup

A task force has chosen to focus citywide tornado relief efforts on Pleasant Grove, whose high school mascot is also a Spartan. This formal Spartans Helping Spartans effort will build on grassroots efforts initiated throughout Mountain Brook. After sending crews to the area two days after the tornado, Mountain Brook Baptist Church has partnered with Bethel Baptist Church in Pleasant Grove. Mountain Brook Baptist is collecting donations in their gym indefinitely. The only item not recommended for donation is clothing. Other Mountain Brook churches have sent donations and work crews to this area along with others including Cullman, Pratt City, Hayden and Concord. The Emmet O’Neal Library has also worked closely to help Pleasant Grove through its library. ”I don’t operate a chainsaw, but I can shelve books” Emmet

See TORNADO | page 17

See SPARTANS | page 16

Mountain Brook Community Church had significant tree damage on the morning of April 27. Photo courtesy of Scot Cardwell.

By MADOLINE MARKHAM In the early morning of April 27, an EF-2 tornado moved down Dolly Ridge Road and hit Mountain Brook Community Church on its path to Cahaba Heights. Trees came down, a window shattered glass into the sanctuary, picnic tables were thrown 200 feet away, and roofs were damaged. Had the storm been much stronger, an architect said the sanctuary roof might have been pulled off completely. A house behind the church on Briar Glen Drive has been condemned. No one at the church was hurt, and

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Village Living

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Village Living |

June 2011 |




June 2011 |

Welcome Friends

Village Living

Crestline Elementary students Evelyn Stutts, Forrest Ann Watson, Taylor Morris, Tess and Sadie Patton opened a lemonade stand to help raise money for the tornado victims. They raised $179 and submitted it to Principal Laurie King, pictured with the students, to give to the Red Cross.

Staff & Friends Contributing Writers Susan Matthews | Christiana Roussel | Kari Kampakis Rick Watson | Laura Canterbury | Will Hightower Holley Wesley | Barbara Brewster

School House Contributors

Editor’s Note With so many in our state still reeling from the devastating tornados of April 27, we have worked to give you some of the local impact and efforts of those in Mountain Brook to help others rebuild and deal with the storm’s aftermath. Be sure and read Kari Kampakis’s moving reflection on how the storm impacted her hometown of Tuscaloosa. Also, many of our local churches have organized volunteer opportunities for members of the community who wish to make contributions of their time or resources. See how you might get involved. Also, this month is Father’s Day. You may recognize Ronnie Davis from his deliveries to your home. Be sure to read his full story on the cover. Ronnie has a great book on the importance of dads in the lives of children. Speaking of activities for children, Billy Angell is going to be cultivating the community vegetable garden again this summer. Read about his love of gardening and his desire to see children develop a love of gardening as well. Those interested can help work the garden over the summer and learn more

about growing vegetables. Also serving others through food is the Cherokee Bend girl’s cooking club. This group of young women is using their desire to cook as a way to help others or just to brighten someone’s day. These girls will inspire you to whip up something in your own kitchen for others. There is no lack of amazing talent in our community, and the band Juice is another example. Be sure and read about this amazing local band of high schoolers , who already have quite a performance history and a CD. Finally, many of our high school sports teams have just wrapped up their season. There is no shortage of accomplishments and awards. Will Hightower breaks it all down and highlights all of the amazing feats, finishes and wins. With summer finally here, we hope everyone enjoys time with family and friends.

Sara Evans to perform in Bama Rising Mountain Brook’s Sara Evans is part of a lineup of country music performers to take the stage at the BJCC Arena for the June 14 benefit concert Bama Rising. Sara;s husband, radio personality and former University of Alabama football player Jay Barker will also be a guest at the event. The proceeds will benefit statewide tornado recovery through the newly established Bama Rising Fund of the

Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham; the artists and promoters will help determine where the donations go in this advised fund. More information on the event is available at You can also donate online or by texting “BAMA” to 501501 for $10 charged to your cell phone bill.

Kids enjoyed Legends of Motorsports

Alison Gault -Cherokee Bend Lauren Fowler - Crestline Bama Hager -Brookwood Forest Sherrie Futch- Mountain Brook High School Hilary Ross - Mountain Brook Elem. & Mountain Brook Jr High

Contributing Photographers Image Arts | Alison Gault | Kari Kampakis

Intern Mia Biass


Creative Director

Dan Starnes

Keith McCoy


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Village Living is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. Village Living is designed to inform the Mountain Brook community of area school, faith, family and community events. Information in Village Living is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of Village Living. 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) 370-0732 or by email. Please recycle this paper

Gavin and Coleman Long at Legends of Motorsports Road Rally in Mountain Brook Village on May 20. Photo by Knox Richardson.

Alison Lewis cooking demonstration In our May issue, we wrote about Alison Lewis, a recipe developer who recently released her first cookbook, 400 Best Sandwich Recipes. Lewis will be holding a Cooking Demonstration and Book Signing Thursday, June 9 at Birmingham Bake & Cook, 5291 Valleydale Road. She will be preparing two recipes

from the cookbook, Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Crostini, and Grilled Peach and Brie Sandwich. Her cookbook will be available for purchase at 10% reduced price. The class is $35 per person. Call Birmingham Bake & Cook Company at 989-3661 for reservations.

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Village Living

Mountain Brook’s City Council met on Monday, May 9, in the auditorium of Brookwood Forest Elementary School. The pre-meeting began at 6:15 p.m. with the Council meeting following at 7 p.m. The Council approved a resolution giving $5,000 to join the Trinity Relocation Task Force project. This will be a cooperative effort with city of Birmingham to determine the future use of the Trinity Hospital property after Trinity relocates. Since Trinity is on the border of Mountain Brook, future projects on that site will impact Mountain Brook residents. Another resolution receiving approval by the Council was the city’s application for a state grant to improve the Jemison Trail. The grant is part of the Recreation Trail Program sponsored by the Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Jemison Trail improvements being planned include a widened pathway so that the trail can

accommodate the increased number and types of users. By widening the path, the natural surrounding area will be protected from overuse. The Friends of Jemison Park will join with the City to provide the local matching funds necessary to complete the project. Plans were discussed for ways to aid the City’s efforts to remove debris from the recent tornado damage. Several options to be investigated were given approval. The City has been working hard to meet the needs of residents. At this date, almost 70,000 yards of debris has been removed with workers on the job 12-13 hours a day. The City of Irondale has loaned both equipment and personnel to help the residents of Mountain Brook. For additional information about the Council, you can visit or contact the City Manager’s Office at 8703532.

May 16 Board of Education Meeting On Monday, May 16, the Mountain Brook Board of Education met at 3:30 p.m. in the District’s Professional Learning Center (PLC). Superintendent Dicky Barlow and Board Chairman Gary London welcomed an overflow crowd of proud students and parents. After the Board passed approval of minutes from April meetings, Mr. Barlow announced that this was the last meeting for Chairman Gary London. His retirement had been announced earlier in the year. In recognizing the 15 years of service for Mountain Brook Schools, Barlow expressed his appreciation for the vision and excellent leadership London brought to the Board. Next, both individual students and teams were recognized for accomplishments ranging from art awards to sports championships. The ten areas of recognition included two elementary students with winning art pieces; two Career Focus students with awards in science and veterinary science; and five students in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) who won first, second, and third place awards in a recent competition. The Leadership Mountain Brook team was introduced and recognized for their commitment to a variety of yearlong

projects that will continue to benefit the Mountain Brook community. Additional recognitions included introductions of winning students from the All State Band competition. Mountain Brook had first through sixth place awards for French horn, string bass and trumpet. Also recognized were Special Olympics Gold Medal winners and teams who won state championships: girls tennis, girls track team and the girls and boys golf teams. The girls golf team‘s score set a state record in the 6A Class High School Golf Championship. The Board approved both a new Social Studies Curriculum Framework and revisions to the District’s Technology Usage Policy. A new Teacher Development Plan was presented to the Board. It details professional development expectations for both tenured and non-tenured teachers. The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 20, at 3:30 in the Central Office Professional Learning Center (PLC) located at 3 Vine Street. Board of Education meetings are usually held on the second Monday of each month; however, June’s meeting date needed to be changed. More information can be found at

May 23 City Council Meeting By MARY NOBLES HANCOCK Mountain Brook’s City Council met on Monday, May 23, at the Board of Education Building. The pre-meeting began at 6 p.m. and the Council meeting followed at 7 p.m. The Council ratified the execution of the storm debris removal contract with Jefferson County Commission concerning the damages resulting from the April 27 tornados. The Council approved the conditional use of parking spaces between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for a new Greek restaurant that will be located at 2911-2913 Cahaba Road in Mountain Brook Village. The restaurant will open in four to five

months with the name still undecided. It will be a full-service, dine-in restaurant serving lunch and dinner. Also approved by the Council was the authorization of the payment of $4,818.67 to Citizens to Save 280. This sum is the first payment of the $10,000 payment approved earlier this year. Working with Citizens to Save 280, Walter M. Kulash, Walter Schoel Engineering and Nimrod Long and Associates are working to find an alternative solution for the traffic congestion on Highway 280 to counter the proposal suggested by state officials.

New sidewalk to be built in Mountain Brook Village Construction will start in early June on a sidewalk along Montevallo Road from Bromberg’s in Mountain Brook Village to Shades Valley Presbyterian Church. The 5-foot sidewalk will allow more pedestrian accessibility without having to cross the

street to the sidewalk on the other side of the road, said Travis Ingram of the Public Works Department. Construction should not obstruct traffic too much and will be completed in mid-July.

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City Council and Board of Education recaps




June 2011 |

Village Living

JUICE is the real deal By GAtES PORtER

Unbeknownst to many in Mountain Brook, our community possesses a set of rising talent: JUICE, a five-man band made up of students at Mountain Brook High School and Indian Springs School. But don’t let that lull you into the notion that JUICE is your typical high school rock band, spontaneously born and quickly abandoned without ever seeing the outside of a garage. “These guys are the real deal,” said Jeff Shapiro, manager of the band, and indeed they are. This two and a halfyear-old band of high school sophomores and juniors has already put on publicized concerts and released a seven-song album brimming with ambition and originality. JUICE’s origins can be traced back to 2009 when current band manager Jeff Shapiro was heading up “Spartan Jam for Special Needs,” a charitable event in which high school bands played to raise money for Mountain Brook special education programs. Shapiro asked his son, Aaron, who had played bass since sixth grade, and his friends to participate in the event. Aaron gathered together a group of talented classmates with whom he had played with in school talent shows for the fundraiser. Afterward, the core of the group realized their mutual dedication to music and continued to perform together. Deciding to seriously pursue their passion, the guys adopted the name JUICE, a play on words born of an inside joke, and began to hold practices every Tuesday night. With loyal support from Shapiro and raw aptitude for their respective instruments, the members of the newly formed JUICE swiftly moved forward from their position as a talent-show band to that of a full fledged rock act, with Aaron Shapiro as bassist, Michael Harp as rhythm guitarist, Brent McCollough as pianist,

JUICE members Brent McCollough, David Brockington, Yitzi Peetluk, Aaron Shapiro and Michael Harp. Photo courtesy of Ryan Russell.

Yitzi Peetluk on the drums and David Brockington on the lead guitar. When it came to vocals, Aaron, Michael and Brent all contributed to the singing. JUICE quickly accrued a sizeable level of recognition throughout the Birmingham music scene, boasting a Facebook page “liked“ by thousands of fans. Only a year after forming, the band opened for famous bands and at prime concert hotspots such as Workplay. In addition to performing as opening acts, the band has also put on many of their own concerts at festivals such as Riverfest, Band Fest, Magic City Art Connection, Do Da Days and a select concert date in Alabama Adventure’s summer concert series, the band’s most prominent performance to date. In the midst of accumulating fame, the band has not forgotten its altruistic beginnings. Proceeds from many of JUICE’s performances fund charitable causes, such as Zerometh, the Miracle Makers foundation, Mitchell’s Place, cancer


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research and special education. From the beginning until late 2009, JUICE existed primarily as a cover band, skillfully performing songs from a plethora of famous artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Boston, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Van Halen. However, the band soon desired to do something more with their music. “In 2010 the guys began to write more songs and really started to move forward with the idea of composing a full length album,” Shapiro said. JUICE’s songwriting is collaborative. “A member of the band will usually come to practice with a riff or a beat,” Shapiro said. “Then the entire band will assist in building a song around the original idea.” When asked to classify the genre of the band based on their original productions, Shapiro hesitantly named “jazzy alternative rock” but then quickly pointed out that this was a rough generalization. JUICE frequently breaks down traditional genre-lines in their music. The

years of musical experience that the band has shared allow their creative pursuits to yield a truly unique sound. On their first album, “Get It Together” has an energetic, fast-beat feel, and the “El Gato De Inciendo“ features a Spanish guitar opening. The final track, “Yitzi,” is an ambitious eight and a half minute long creative effort that incorporates a variety of rhythms and melodies produced by each member of the band, achieves an eerily harmonious sound and is likewise emblematic of both the band’s collaborative nature of composition and its distinctive musicality. For more information about JUICE and to listen to and download their songs, visit their Facebook page at Their first self-titled album can be purchased at Barnes and Noble at the Summit, Piggly Wiggly in Crestline Crestline Seafood Company Beach Burgers. Proceeds from online dowloads of their album at will go toward tornado victims.

Village Living


June 2011 |


Ball of Roses By SARA HOOD

Thirty-seven young women will be presented at the annual Ball of Roses on Saturday, June 4 at the Country Club of Birmingham, East Room with the presentation beginning at 9 p.m. The Ball of Roses is sponsored by the Ballet Guild of Birmingham, President Shannon Upchurch Holt and Executive VicePresident Caroline Coats Woods. The First Ball of Roses was held in August of 1961. Eleven young women from Birmingham were presented. Each year, the ball is sponsored by the Ballet Guild of Birmingham, an invitational organization of young women dedicated to supporting the ballet in Birmingham through fundraising and volunteer work. Founded in 1959, the Ballet Guild was organized to promote and foster development of ballet in Birmingham in addition to raising funds for its support.

Since its inception, the Ballet Guild has raised more than $1 million for the Alabama Ballet. This year, the Ball of Roses celebrates its 51st anniversary and continues to serve as a vital fundraiser for the Alabama Ballet. Ball of Roses Chair Elizabeth Sandner Rich and Ball Co-Chair Katherine Barrow Kettig have collaborated with Carole Sullivan of Lagniappe Designs on a colorful palette and organic garden theme for the ball décor. Ball participants not pictured are Cassell Anne Adams, Julia Dorothy Andrews, Elizabeth Tucker Bolvig, Anna Kathryn Clark, Margeret Alice Drew, Sarabeth Sutton Henry, Rebecca Lucille Kissel, Alice Ray Lucas, Laura Kendall Owens, Renny Ellen Ratliff, Sarah Silverstein, Martha Kennan Wood and Rebecca Claire Woodall.

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Village Living

Village Fashion By Susan Matthews

Making People Happy For 22 Years, It’s An Institution!

As much as I love fashion, I feel I appreciate and admire it more than I actually embody it everyday. I am always amazed at how certain friends look puttogether and fashionable every time I see them! Whether they are in work-out clothes or dressed for a night on the town, I always seem to notice their style.

Ever notice anyone’s style being particularly fierce? Email me at susan@ and let me know. They may be named Village Living’s next Style-Star or Style-Stud! Here are a few fashionistas I’ve noticed lately...

Mary Goodrich What trend do you look forward to wearing this spring? Sundresses and wedge sandals Does your spouse’s opinion weigh heavily in the way you get dressed for an event? I always ask what he thinks, but he never seems to have much of an opinion about fashion! What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own? Accessory? My diamond hoops given to me by my sweet husband. They go with everything! I also love my kneehigh Prada boots. What do you consider a key piece in your wardrobe? Great neutral heels. I wear them year-round to weddings and parties as well as church. What is the worst fashion trend you’ve partaken in from the past? I talked my grandmother into buying me some purple, gingham stirrup pants when I was 8. Yikes! In your opinion, what trend from the past should come back? Bell bottoms. I love them. Men tend to say that women dress for other women. What or whom would you say you dressed for? Daily, I would have to say lifestyle. For special events, I try to dress for fashion. I like to feel current.

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Lisa Flake How would you describe your style? A little edgy Besides your schedule, what influences what you wear? I often dress for the type of people I am going to be with. I have a great memory of when and where I wear certain things, so it often seems as though I have more clothes than I do, but actually I just remember when I wore something. It surprises people, but I don’t put too much thought into what I am going to wear way before an event. The two times I would think in advance about what I am wearing is if something needs to be purchased or clothes for traveling, otherwise I decide right before the event. Do you have any style tips for our readers? Always have one piece of statement jewelry on. I prefer a cuff, so you can build from there. Also, a great heel is better than any diet! What is the worst fashion trend you’ve partaken in from the past? In 8th grade, I had a Ricky Shroeder haircut, braces and these horrible red, yellow, green and blue parachute pants with knee pads built in. It was wrong in so many ways.

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Do you have any style secrets? I rotate my clothes to the back of my closet as they are worn, so that I wear my entire closet. Because I dress for my interior design job very similar to how I dress for going out, I get a chance to wear my fun clothes more than women in other professions. This also allows me less guilt in shopping! My style icons are Rachel Zoe and Nicole Richie. What is your favorite local Mountain Brook boutique? Why? There is no way to say just one. We are so lucky in Mountain Brook to have such great shopping! My Atlanta friends come here to shop! My favorite shop for one special piece is Swank, for great tops it’s Stella Blu, for dresses I go to Laura Kathryn, and Marella and Kiki Risa have great evening wear. Men tend to say that women dress for other women. What or whom would you say you dressed for? I agree we dress for other women because that is usually who knows fashion. I am a slave to fashion and because of this, there are times that some people just will not get what I am wearing, but I am ok with that. I am very comfortable and confident with my decisions, so I guess I really dress for me and what makes me feel the best.

Wilmer Poynor Does your spouse’s opinion weigh heavily in the way you get dressed for an event? Yes, many days I will ask Elizabeth if a certain tie looks right with a suit and shirt or if I am dressed right for whatever occasion we are attending. For a black tie event I can partially tie the bow, but she always finishes the look. What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own? My leather jacket we bought in Ecuador on a family trip. Do you have any style tips for our readers? Keep shoes darker than your pants with the belt color matching the shoes. Please do not ever wear dark socks with shorts. Don’t flip the collar of your shirt up, unless you’re an actor in “Caddy Shack”. Have one button undone on all golf shirts please - not buttoned all the way up - it’s a golf shirt - loosen up! What trend from the past do you think should come back? Hats like my grandfather wore.

Village Living


June 2011 |


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Cherokee Bend Cooking Club members Cate Jones, Marilyn Joyce, Elaine Russell, Lucy Bowling, Sarah Frances Berte, Kate Amberson, Ann Ross Bethea, Carson Robinette and Tessa Allen.

By LAURA CANtERBURY What do children, cooking and helping others have in common? The Cherokee Bend Cooking Club. The group is mostly made up of third grade girls out to make a difference one meal at a time. “The girls have been cooking throughout the school year for families who have had sick family members,” said Tracy Joyce, mother of club member Marilyn Joyce. “I am being taught what it means to give back to the community,” Marilyn said. Several of the mothers in the group host the girls to prepare meals at their homes, rotating on a monthly basis. “I think most of us engage in charitable endeavors from time to time with our families, but we wanted more regularity to stress to our children the importance of service and sharing our gifts and talents with others, “said Ann Jones, mother of club member Cate Jones. Before dividing up the courses amongst the girls, the moms talk with the girls about the illness of the person the family for whom they are cooking. The girls also make cards to send to the family with the meal. Tessa Allen loves to be in the kitchen, so the club was a perfect fit for her. “My daughter always comes home to describe who they are helping and why before she even mentions the cooking part,” her mother Lori Allen said. In December, they served a meal for homeless families through the Birmingham Hospitality Network. “One of the families included two little girls about our girls’ ages, and the children had a great time

playing together after dinner,” Jones said. In February, the group also participated in the End Hunger Now event at Canterbury United Methodist Church, where they helped prepare more than 100,000 meals to be sent to poverty stricken areas of the world. “The helping people part is why we participate,” Jones said. “We don’t need another activity, but we could not pass up the chance to be a part of this group that works together for others.” The girls also serve families they know personally. After the father of their classmate died last month, the girls baked cookies and make cards for their friend. “So, as you can see, there is some flexibility in how the service happens, but the constant is that the girls are regularly doing something for someone other than themselves, and sometimes for someone they do not even know,” Jones adds. The mothers recognize that part of the reason this group works is because they are spending time with friends, but they all feel that the girls are learning to show compassion for others and helping people they don’t even know. The reward is as much for the mothers as the children themselves. “Teaching the girls the spirit of volunteerism early on is a great thing,” Allen said. “The more ways we can do little activities like this with our children on a regular basis, hopefully it will become a normal part of their thinking as they turn into teenagers and adults and can work to help others on their own time.”

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Jenny’s Light Golf Tournament raises awareness for postpartum depression By MADOLINE MARKHAM Many remember the tragic story of Jenny Bankston, a former Southern Progress employee who passed away in 2007 after suffering silently from postpartum depression. In the years since, her family has offered resources, hope and inspiration by increasing awareness of perinatal mood disorders locally and nationally through Jenny’s Light. The non-profit is holding its fourth annual golf tournament Saturday, June 18 at Highland Park Golf Course. Jenny’s husband was a resident in orthopedics when the tragedy happened, and many of the first tournament participants were fellow orthopedics residents. Over the past four years, the tournament has become a communitywide event with about 120 participants. Anna Emblom, a friend of Jenny’s whose husband was also an orthopaedic resident at the time, is organizing the event. “All the golfers come back year after year and bring new people because it’s fun,” Emblom said. Tournament contests include prizes for closest to the pin, longest drive, putting, fishing pole hole, and hole in ones at all par 3s. Each year Jenny’ brother Randy Gibbs speaks at the tournament about the work at Jenny’s Light and where the money raised at the tournament will go. “The tournament is just one way that we keep Jenny’s spirit going and use a tragedy for something good,” Emblom said. “It’s so important for people, especially husbands, to be aware of the signs of partpartum depression and not be

hesitant about seeking help.” Ten to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression in the year after giving birth. “Baby blues” are common within a couple of weeks after delivery. However, a woman who experiences depressed symptoms for at least two weeks may suffer from partpartum depression and should seek treatment. Symptoms include feeling sad or down often; frequent crying or tearfulness; feeling restless, irritable or anxious; loss of interest or pleasure in life; loss of appetite or increased appetite; less energy and motivation to do things; difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much; feeling worthless, hopeless or guilty; unexplained weight loss or gain; feeling like life isn’t worth living; and showing little interest in your baby. Emblom has heard many amazing stories of people in Birmingham who, because of Jenny’s Light, have encouraged family members to get help. The four-man scramble tournament starts at 8 a.m. on June 18. Registration and a welcome breakfast begin at 7 a.m., and the awards luncheon and raffle takes places 12:30-1:30 p.m. The deadline to register online is Saturday, June 4. For more information on the tournament and to register, go to You can also contact Anna Emblom at anna.emblom@ For more information on Jenny’s Light and perinatal mood disorders, visit

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Outdoor Pool Indoor Pool Baby Pool Swim Team Dive Team Summer Camp Swim Lessons Thursday Family Fun Nights Levite Jewish Community Center We’re in your neighborhood at: 3960 Montclair Road 205-879-0411 We’re open to everyone!



June 2011 | Village Sports

Village Sports Month of championships for MBHS By wILL HIGHtOwER As a member of the Alabama 6A division, Mountain Brook athletics is at the highest level in the state of Alabama. For example, the boys and girls golf teams must compete against 56 teams for the state championship. The tennis teams must play against 57 teams. And the track team has to run against 47 teams. Yet last month, these teams proved they were all number one. Both golf teams and the girls’ tennis and track teams won state championships in the month of May, adding to two earlier titles in wrestling and cross country to give Mountain Brook seven state championships this year. You can chalk it up, as Vestavia and Hoover residents do, to Mountain Brook being a “golf and tennis school only.” Or you can realize that Mountain Brook lays claim to first-class coaching, talent and teamwork that combine to make all these teams the best at what they do. The girls tennis team began the fun, beating rival Vestavia to win state. The win dethroned the Rebels, who had previously won four titles in a row. The girls were the favorite headed into the tournament and had the championship safely in hand by the second day of action – yet didn’t lose their focus. “At some point in the morning round of the second day, we knew we had enough points to win, but not one time did any of the girls come up to any of us to ask if we had,” Head Coach Susan Farlow said. “I was pretty impressed with how intent they were on finishing strong, regardless of the point count.” Carlee Petro finished second in the singles finals, and she and teammate Lauren Cohen finished third in doubles. Cohen finished fourth in singles, and twin sister Sara Cohen finished sixth. Senior Elizabeth Lucas was defeated in singles play, and Lucas and Farris Ann Luce were defeated in doubles. “We have some very talented players,” Farlow said. “But that’s not always what determines a championship team. There was no ‘special treatment’ of any one key player because those players did not allow or expect it. These girls all bonded as a team and supported and encouraged each other every step of the way.” The girls track team then gave Mountain Brook High School its second State Championship of the month by eking out a victory over Hoover in the last race of the state meet. The girls 4x400 race was the last event of the state track meet, and Hoover and Mountain Brook went into it knowing

Lacrosse team plays in state championship

The Mountain Brook Green lacrosse team played in the final game of the state championship, where Berry barely defeated them, 7-8. Front Row: Drew White, Jake Lance, Cain Poyner, Parke Aiken, Ridley Culp, Gene Thagard, Joseph Alexander, Knox Taylor, Jackson McCain, Frank Crockard. Back row: Coach Peter Fruin, Wilson Tyndal, Will Yates, Porter Williamson, Matt Adams, Phillip Thompson, Jack Fruin, Joe Donald, Kemper Sanders, George Slaughter, Kurt Thomas, Hunter Blattmann, Coach Kevin Alexander. Not Pictured: Will Holloway and Coach Matt Aiken.

that the winner of the two won the state title. The girls team of Marie DeMedicis, Catherine Diethelm, Margaret Pritchard and Kendal Reed overcame a possibly disastrous baton drop to beat Hoover by slightly more than a second. “That 4x400 win was a result of a lot of work,” Head Coach Greg Echols said. “Those girls were lifting weights over the summer and realized that made them feel better when they ran. Things like that make a difference. And to have dropped the baton, that shows how fast they ran.” Junior Elizabeth Coleman had an unexpected win in the pole vault to along with top five finishes in 100 and 300-meter hurdles. But the distance runners scored the Spartans the most points. Ann Sisson and Rachel Reddy finished third and fourth in both the mile and two mile, the 4x800 team won, and seniors Marie DeMedicis and Catherine Diethelm finished highly in the 400 and half mile. “I’m not sure if there’s ever been a group like these girls, with them winning four of the last five championships.” Echols said. “We have consistently been very good, and have a team chemistry that you just can’t explain. The boys golf team was probably the most surprising of the four. Two months ago, Head Coach Benny Eaves was frustrated with his team’s lack of effort and leadership. Now, he has no complaints, as seniors Tom Lovelady and Stewart Jolly led the Spartans to a landslide win at state, setting the record for largest margin of victory in Alabama state history. Going into the final day, the Spartans only led by three strokes over a charging Fairfield. But an excellent team round of two-over by the Spartans paved the way to an 18-stroke margin of victory, setting a state record. “The championship was a true team effort,” Eaves said. “I’m trying to contain my excitement. It feels really good. It’s been a long time coming.” The girls golf team completed the month of championships for Mountain Brook in its 3-stroke victory at the state championship. Their 477 total score, led by Tatum Jackson’s 76-74 rounds, was the lowest two-day score in Alabama state championship history. “At first it seemed to take a few moments to sink in, but when it did the girls were jubilated,” Head Coach Jackie Clayton said. “It was a culmination of three years of hard work from the girls to reach this ultimate goal.” Clayton went on to add that he expects

MBHS Girls Tennis Team. Courtesy of Image Arts.

MBHS Girls Golf Team. Courtesy of Image Arts.

MBHS Boys Golf Team. Courtesy of Image Arts.

more: “As we are a young team, we have the experience now to continue the pursuit to maintain this title. We are only losing one senior.”

These state championships make Mountain Brook a legitimate threat on the sports scene in the state of Alabama. Congratulations to these four teams!

Village Sports


June 2011 |


Xavier girls win New MBJH Spartanettes league championship By HILARY ROSS

Spartanettes are precision dancers who are selected by an independent panel of judges each spring to represent the school, promote school spirit, and be available for any school service activities. Faculty sponsors are Debbie Stump and Lisa Lewis. Congratulations to the 2011-12 Spartanettes: Evalyn Bargeron, Meghan Beck, Sally Kale Bussman, Carlton Cooper,

Mary Rives Drake, Kaylan Greene, Carter Hancock, Maggie Hightower, Anna Howell, Emily Howell, Olivia Karagas, Mary Clark Logan, Susan McElroy, Charlotte McRae, Emily Owen Mendelsohn, Bradford Moore, Elizabeth Nabors, Virginia Poynor, Erin Rector, Caroline Shea, Findlay Shelfer, Annie Somerville, Meredith Stringfellow, and Austin Trammell.

Marlins second grade champs The St. Francis Xavier senior girls team won their fifth consecutive Senior Girls Championship in the Toy Bowl basketball league. The girls finished the season undefeated and beat OLV in the finals. Team members include Lindsey Flemming, Catherine Grady, Bella Guevara, Kristin Girkin, Mary Campbell Kitchens, Emma McLean, Bree McPherson, Caroline Moffitt, Madi Sinak, Carmen Smith and Grace Williams. The team was coached by Wayne Atkinson, Jeff Girkin and Susan Spielberger.

Third Grade ARPA Regional and State Basketball Champions On March 13, the third grade Mountain Brook Jets defeated Talladega to win the ARPA State Basketball Tournament. The

Jets defeated Enterprise, Anniston and Mobile before meeting Talladega in the final game.

After a final a victory over the Phillies, the Marlins finished as Mountain Brook’s second grade regular season champions with an 11-1 record. Bottom Row: Grant Blackwell, Matthew Cater, Colby Blackwell, Garner Wilkerson, Blake Pugh, Thomas Renneker, Michael Stewart. Top Row: Coach Lee Wilkerson, Grayson Chew, Pearson Bedingfield, Head Coach Bubba Pugh, Hayes Richie, Richard Allen, James Hufham, Coach David Hufham. Not pictured: Coach Grayson Chew.

Spartans win golf Metro Championship

Eight and under Mountain Brook Jets are Patrick Neil, Edward Reed, Clark Griffin, Porter Phelan, Coach Jay Nelson, William O’Leary, Richman Priestley, Mac Scott and Coach Steven Griffin. Photo by Roger Brewster.

Xavier team goes undefeated

MBJH Golf Team

By HILARY ROSS The boys’ MBJH golf team has concluded its successful season. The team, made up of 7th and 8th graders finished the regular season undefeated and won the Metro Championship. Fischer Priestley tied for the low medalist honors at the Metro Tournament. He and Jonathan

Eyster both made the All Metro team. Coach Bobby Plummer was named Metro Coach of the Year. Golf team members are Michael Brown, John Eagan, Jonathan Eyster, Ethan Hughes, Bill Perry, Fischer Priestley, Hugh Rowe Thomas and Harlan Winn.

Summer Youth Sports Camps Football Youth Camp Contact: Coach Chris Yeager June 27-29, $115 Baseball Camps Baseball High School Prep Camp May 31-June 3 Minor League Baseball Camp, ages 5-8 June 6-9, 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Congratulations to the St. Francis Xavier Junior Girls that completed an undefeated season by defeating Our Lady of Fatima in the Finals by the score of 18-12. Team members include Hannah Barber, Morgan Cleveland, Caroline Grady, Maria Holder, Hollon Skinner, Sami Sinak and Caroline Urbanek. The team was coached by Wayne Atkinson, Jeff Girkin, Susan Spielberger and Stefanie Spielberger

Major League Baseball Camp, ages 9-12 June 6-9, 8:30-11:30 a.m. Contact: Lee Gann $130 Register online at www.mtnbrook.k12.

Individual Volleyball Camp June 16 and 17, 9 a.m-12 p.m. Sign up the day of at Spartan Arena. Contact: Chris Camper, camperc@ Gym Rats Summer Basketball Camps Session 1: June 27-30, 5:45-8:45 p.m. Session 2: July 22-14, 5:45-8:45 p.m. Mountain Brook Junior High and Crestline Elementary Schools $110 Contact: Jay Nelson, 427-5418 Applications for all camps are available at Mountain Brook Sporting Goods.



June 2011 |

Village Living

Billy Angell’s world of gardening By MADOLINE MARKHAM To some people yard work is a chore and to others it’s a passion, Billy Angell will tell you. For Angell, owner of Oak Street Garden Shop in Crestline, it’s the passion that rules his career, his home, his livelihood, his life. Over the past 21 years, his garden shop has become known for its exceptional service. Bring in a container, and his talented team will fill it with a unique potting of flowers that is sure to please. Four years ago they started selling fresh produce from local farmers. In addition to selling trees each Christmas season, they create custom wreaths, mailbox decorations and centerpieces. Each day Angell’s gardening doesn’t begin at the shop but at his home on Glencoe Circle. He admits he’s an obsessive home gardener, spending 16 to 20 hours a week working in it. “If you can spend one hour each day before work, it adds up to a full day’s work,” he said like it’s no big deal to do so. He has transformed the front yard into a wooded lot of native plants. One friend told him it looks like Jurassic Park. When he and his wife, Glory, bought the house 12 years ago, he planted 40 pine trees, and he has since replaced all but six with oaks, maples and other smaller flowering trees. His philosophy is to take a plant home and then find a place for it, not the other way around. The side and backyard are laid out into different gardens: vegetables and herbs, annuals and perennials and more. There is only one small patch of grass on the entire lot. Glory helps with the vegetables and herbs, but Angell said he did 95 percent of yard work himself. He enjoys giving tours to those who appreciate the beauty of a garden. Angell is always changing things out and trying new plants. “Even the best gardeners are not 100 percent successful,” he said. “The more you do it, the more you learn.” Angell had always enjoyed being outside and helping out in what he calls an average yard in the home where he grew up in Mountain Brook. Gardening really took hold of him in his early twenties when he began to practically live at the Birmingham nursery where he worked. He started the retail business for that landscaping company and in 1986 built The Garden Shop, now Hanna’s Garden Shop, on Highway 280.

Billy Angell, garden enthusiast and owner of Oak Street Garden Shop in Crestline Village. Photo by Madoline Markham.

The yard of his first home on Warren Road was featured in before and after feature in Southern Living around 1980. Angell has spread his love of gardening to those around him. He speaks of helping his daughter in New Orleans plant while visiting her recently and how another daughter in Jackson Hole, Wyo., grows plants pots and containers as much as she can. However, he worries that his children’s generation isn’t into gardening and that they don’t have the time for it. To address his concern, last year he started a community garden on the street corner across from Emmett O’Neal Library in conjunction with the summer reading program. Kids plant most of the garden and participate in the harvesting, taking home what they’d grown to eat. Any produce not picked by families is donated to Magic City Harvest. It is Angell’s hope that the community garden will be a classroom to empower children and parents to plant gardens of their own. “It’s not as mysterious and hard as so

many people think,” he said. The garden also fostered community. “It just made people feel good to see it and stroll by it when they came to the village to go out to eat,” Angell said. Last year’s garden included corn, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, beans and squash with sunflowers as a border. This year they hope to expand to plant blueberries, blackberries, figs and fruiting trees. The fall garden features lettuces, turnips, greens, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Angell said than any of these can be planted in backyard space that gets sunlight. After school lets out this summer Angell will gather children and anyone else interested in the community to plant in the community garden. They will schedule regular times each week for anyone to come work in the garden. Call the library (879-0459) or the Oak Street Garden Shop (870-7542) for more detailed information on how to get involved in the community garden. You can also call the garden shop to get on their community garden email newsletter list.

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Village Living


June 2011 |

LifeActually By Kari Kampakis

A time to cry When I was 15, a close friend of mine died in a car accident. We’d been together that night as a group, making the event more surreal. For weeks after Rod’s death, the halls at school were quiet. Everyone mourned, even those who didn’t know him. When I got home, I stayed on the phone for hours, rehashing events with friends and trading stories about Rod. When we ran out of things to say, we sat in silence, phones pressed to our ears and crying. My first brush with death forced me to realize that life has an expiration date. We can’t see our own, much less anyone else’s. We can be laughing with someone one minute, getting a phone call hours later that stops the world cold. We don’t believe how instantly things can change until a tragedy hits home. My family and I spent Easter Sunday in Tuscaloosa. At the time, I had no idea that merely three days later a tornado would rip through. Looking back, I wish I’d soaked up the experience, noticed every tree and person in town. I wish I’d snapped photos of Taco Casa and Krispy Kreme, two of my favorite places growing up, and visited the soon-to-be-destroyed homes that I used to frequent. Most of all, I wish I’d told Tuscaloosa how much I loved it. It gave me a wonderful childhood, one I took for granted. I assumed it’d always be my rock, the Giving Tree that welcomed me back no matter how long the absence. But now my tree’s been uprooted, my relationship with Tuscaloosa reversed. It’s my turn to give, yet I’m not sure where to start. Aerial shots and wide-angle lenses can’t capture the depth of disaster. Half the town looks like a wasteland, and though I’m thankful my family and friends are okay, my heart breaks for those who weren’t so lucky. These are sad, overwhelming times. The tornado of April 27 changed all of us somehow. Like Rod’s death, it’s all anyone around me can think or talk about. But this dark cloud looms larger than a high school. It has swallowed communities whole, swelled to epic proportions. The stories of death, missing people, and destruction are haunting, and while my

focus has been Tuscaloosa, I’m aware of similar pain in places like Pleasant Grove, Cullman and Pratt City. Yet with each devastating story I hear, a miracle crosses my radar. A church group from Birmingham found nine people alive in Tuscaloosa’s rubble four days poststorm. A seven-week-old baby in Pleasant Grove lived because her mother hovered over her, sacrificing her life. A Coaling family watched their son get sucked into the tornado— and later walk back to them. The boy told NPR he was tossed around before floating back to the ground. He found his family by following the beam of his father’s flashlight. I also see a miracle in how the strong are helping the weak. While affected areas look like third world countries, completely disconnected from the world, capable neighbors are employing technology to the hilt. Those of us who watched the tornado on TV felt helpless and desperate to help. Before the twister even finished, relief efforts started springing to life on Facebook and Twitter. People jumped on board in droves, allowing instant mobilization of volunteers to meet immediate needs. I’d never seen technology put to better use. As I write this, death and destruction are on everyone’s mind. We are passionately moved to action, communicating ways to help. But over time, the newness will die. We’ll return to the lives we put on hold, remembering the tragedy in a back burner way. My plea is that we make a point to keep the fire burning, to remember these cities have a long road ahead. Years from now, they’ll still need help. Life has an expiration date, and tragedies remind us that no one escapes mortality. Let us aspire to do better and be better, to hug those we love and voice kindness. Life holds no guarantees beyond this moment. Let us use it wisely. Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a Mountain Brook mom of four girls with a background in PR, writing and photography. Visit her blog at, “friend” her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter. Her email address is

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Adult summer reading at the library By HOLLEY wESLEY Summer is most definitely one of my very favorite reading seasons! For me, there is little in life better than the smell of sunscreen and the sound of crisp pages turning against a back drop of splashing and children laughing at the pool. Give me a broad-brimmed hat, a tall glass of cold water and a good book, and I’ll introduce you to one happy individual. In fact, one of our main goals this summer is to help you find some great books, so don’t hesitate to ask! Whether you stop by the library or message us on Facebook, we’re ready and able to suggest a great summer read for you! We are kicking off the Adult Summer Reading program with a bang this month with Bad Art Night on June 14. Bring your friends, but leave the talent at home; this is bad art night! Winners (losers?) in each category will take home a prize. This event is an annual favorite. There will be some great prizes given away this summer (I heard rumors of an iPad 2!), so drop by to sign up, grab your bingo card and play the weekly travel game. Our regularly scheduled programs include Knit & Knibble (bring any crafting project) on Saturday June 11 at 2 p.m. and Documentaries After Dark on June 21 at 6:30 p.m., featuring a film about Jill Conway’s childhood on an Australian

sheep farm in the 1930s. Our book groups include The Bookies on June 14 at 10 a.m. (Freedom by Jonathan Franzen), the Genre Reading Group on June 28 at 6:30 p.m. (biographical fiction) and the library’s new Fantasy Book Group on June 30 at 6:30pm (call 445-1121 for book title). After late April’s tornadoes and storms devastated many communities, the Emmet O’Neal Library was fortunate to maintain both electricity and an internet connection. Our computer labs were full, requiring us to open the Electronic Classroom as well. Library patrons contacted friends and family members and filed damage reports with the authorities while also seeing the damage done to our state over the course of that very long day. I was proud to see all of the public libraries in our state respond by opening as quickly as possible so their battered communities could regain access to the outside world. The Emmet O’Neal Library provided the same support to refugees of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and we remain ready to provide assistance at any time our community should have need. The library is online at www.eolib. org, blogging at www.eolib.blogspot. com, on Facebook at emmetoneallibrary, and on Twitter at #eolib. Emmet O’Neal Library, 50 Oak Street, 8790459





June 2011 |

Village Living

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Amy M Smith, Agent 3900 Montclair Road Ste 350 Mountain Brook, AL 35213 Bus: 205-870-8820 Fax: 205-870-8810

We are one village

Family Fiesta a hit with all ages By VIRGINIA VOLMAN After a long frigid winter, glorious spring has sprung. The sun is out, the flowers are blooming (as are my allergies), and it is finally time to get back to backyard/patio entertaining- my favorite! Most of my friends would concur that I’m always thinking ahead to my next party or get-together. What will my menu be and how shall I serve it—casual, saddled around the dining room table or al fresco? Oh, how I love a good party! But, who says entertaining has to be hard? My latest obsession is finding delicious meals that adults and kids will both enjoy. We know it is possible but at times it seems difficult. We all want to make a meal that actually gets eaten rather than pushed around by the younger members of our family. So we often end up opting for two separate dinners resulting in twice the work and more dishes to clean. But, absolutely anyone can with a little creative planning have a delicious dinner that pleases both crowds while entertaining like a pro all at the same time. One of our favorite family dinners is taco night. Below you’ll find a few recipes and ideas that will make your fiesta more family friendly and ensures that everyone eats. Remember, almost ALL of this menu can be prepped in advance so you’re able to enjoy your family and friends— that truly is the most important part of a successful party! I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine. Good eating! Family Fiesta Night Menu

Carey Gilbert, Jim Hancock, Betty O’Neal, Warren Cain, Mayor Bell, Rev. Rich Webster, Rev. Chris Girata, Rev. Rebecca DeBow, Rev. Steve DeGweck, and Lella Carl at St. Luke’s.

By REV. RICHMOND wEBStER I often refer to Saint Luke’s as a “village church.” Our calling is not only to our members, but our doors are open to the wider community as well. Neighbors come for Wednesday Night Suppers or concerts, bring their children to Vacation Bible School, join us for mid-week Eucharist or stop by to use the water fountain. However, I recently preached a sermon reminding our Crestline congregation that it is not enough for us to build an idyllic community here while others in the inner city suffer. I reminded them that we also belong to the larger village of Birmingham, with neighbors and friends we may not know formally but who share with us the same hopes and fears and dreams. For this reason we had our parish picnic at Railroad Park, and for this reason our youth basketball teams play in an inner city basketball league. Speaking of basketball, we get beaten pretty badly each time (45th Street Baptist has a huge team and they dunk), but the thought was that we could always play in some “over the mountain” league; it was time to make new friends. This was the kind of stuff I mentioned in my sermon, and that next week my assistant hit me with a surprise. “The Mayor of Birmingham is coming to see you for lunch,” she said. It seems she took my sermon to heart. We are not in the habit of hosting mayors here, and my first thought was, “What do I say to him?” Then, as often happens with that divine symmetry of events that remind us that the Lord is both near and takes care of his children, we actually needed help from the Mayor of Birmingham. Norwood Elementary School was in peril of being closed by the City School Board, and while these decisions are usually independent of city government, this little

school is vital to the redevelopment of the Norwood neighborhood. It has been the feeder school to our PreSchool Partners ministry for 16 years, and it is the place where volunteers from Saint Luke’s tutor students twice a week. We have friends in Norwood, and in fact the children there call me “preacher-man,” which I love. It seems I’m a minister of more than one village. So Mayor William Bell joined some of our vestry members and me for lunch, and we talked of Norwood and our city and our childhood memories and our faith. He is a quiet man, confident in the ability of many people with many talents to unite in the rebuilding of this beautiful larger village, the city of Birmingham that we call home. I like him. After the meeting we pledged to stay in touch, and at a Birmingham school board meeting on April 26, members of Saint Luke’s attended and stood alongside our friends from Norwood to defend our little school. The school board had heard of our lunch with Mayor Bell, and his referring to Norwood school a “lynchpin of development in that neighborhood.” We were, in that moment, one village. After a vote of 5-3, the school was saved, for now. That was April 26; then came April 27, and the tornados that changed our lives forever. Once again, our Saint Luke’s community became connected to our larger village of Birmingham, this time reaching out in response to so much pain and overwhelming loss. I never imagined that “rebuilding our city” would ever become such a literal phrase. But I’ll say this again: whether we are collecting bottles of water or trying to save a school, we do this with the knowledge and faith that it is not enough for us to build an idyllic world here while others suffer. We must participate; we must act; we must remember we are one village, after all.

1 package taco seasoning, without MSG Seasonings to taste: chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper Coat a large nonstick skillet liberally with cooking spray. Brown beef and drain. Stir in seasonings, tomatoes and puree (if using) and simmer till the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. This recipe freezes well. Serves 4-6 Stewed Black Beans 1 can black beans, undrained ½ can Rotel tomatoes 1 ear corn, shaved 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion 1 large garlic clove, minced 1/3 bottle Corona beer Sauté the garlic and onion about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer at least 15 minute. The taste gets better the longer it simmers. Assorted Grilled Peppers, Onions and Zucchini Slice bell peppers, onions and zucchini length-wise. Toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Grill until reaches desired doneness. Grilled Corn Grill corn ears and slice corn off the cob. Cilantro-Lime Sauce In proportions to fit your taste, mix a little mayonnaise (Hellman’s is best), light sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder.

Blackened Shrimp Brush skewered shrimp with olive oil, liberally apply your favorite blackening seasoning. Grill about 1 ½ minutes on each side. Super easy!

Assortment of Hard Shells and Wraps Ortega makes a fabulous whole-grain hard shell.

Healthy Taco Meat Adapted from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious

Other accompaniments: Sliced avocados or guacamole Sliced cherry tomatoes Slivered red onion Angel hair slaw Shredded jalapeno-jack cheese Shredded sharp cheddar Virginia Volman is a Mountain Brook mom of two young girls. She loves to entertain.

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Starlight Ball

Front Row: Katie Windle, Margaret Pritchard, Lane Proctor, Anna Cate Peeples, Catherine Chesebro. Back Row: Annabelle Friedman, Ann Ellard Turner, Rebecca Lankford, Laura Keel, Tate Sieber.

Tenth grade girls and their escorts were presented at the Starlight Ball April 30 at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center. The venue was transformed into a “Midnight Summer’s Dream” with a canopy of filmy lights by Robert Logan of Backstage Florists. The 141 presentees and

their escorts enjoyed dinner beforehand and dancing band 24/7. Sue Register was chairman of the Starlight Ball committee of 25 mothers, and Allison Brown and Carolyn Greene were her co-chairs.

Village Living


June 2011 |


Children’s Arts Guild supports dance foundation DOOR HARDWARE





Parker Spees, Kerri Windle and Laura McDonald present a check to Diane Litsey of Children’s Dance Foundation. Photo by Kari Kampakis

By JENNIFER GRAY Approximately 268 people attended the annual Children’s Arts Guild (CAG) spring fashion show at the Country Club of Birmingham in March. Barbara Cooney served as emcee, and 91 children modeled. Clothing ranged from whimsical party wear to heirloom Easter attire to fishing and sportswear. Under the leadership of CAG president Kerri Windle, fashion show chair Laura McDonald and co-chair Parker Spees, this event helped raise funds for Children’s Dance Foundation. Individual contributions, corporate sponsors and the Heaven’s Heroes program contributed to the fundraising. Guests enjoyed tea and mimosas, along with a delicious luncheon of Chicken Scallopine on Parmesan Polenta with Lemon Caper Sauce paired with asparagus followed by Crème Brulee. Children’s Arts Guild is a support organization for Children’s Dance Foundation (CDF), founded in 1975 by Jennie Robertson, Virginia Sanford Donovan and Mary Conyers Cooper. The mission of CDF is to provide quality dance education to students of all ages using

dance to build skills, gain confidence, spark creativity and change lives. Each week, CDF travels to more than 25 sites in Birmingham to serve 1,500 at-risk and special needs children. When the music starts, problems fade, and students grow empowered. Guild members who worked on the show include Melanie Williams, Scarlett Simmons, Gina Thomas, Susan Ray, Elizabeth Lyons, Meg Krawczyk, Richelle Simmons, Julie Sander, Allison Ingram, Hilary Ross, Virginia Volman, Whitney Johnson, Greer Cotton, Casey Horn, Beth Wood, Leah Abele, Carrie Powell, Shelley Hunt, Jennifer Gray, Kari Kampakis, Emily Pruett, Amy Maher, Laurie Bowers, Marci Grant, Julie Stewart, Kelly Moffatt, Anna Embolom and Natalie Wright. Following their successful fundraiser, the guild held its spring member luncheon Tuesday, April 26, at the home of Marcy Grant. Twenty-five new members were welcomed into the organization. Windle, McDonald and co-chair Spees presented Diane Litsey, CDF’s executive director, with a check for $56,000.

Girl Scout Troop 31 helps grant a wish

Girl Scout Troop 31

The Junior Girl Scout Troop 31, 4th grade girls from Brookwood Forest Elementary, used 50 percent of their cookie sale profits to donate $600 to the local Make-A-Wish Foundation affiliate. Nora Banks, Alabama development coordinator for the foundation, accepted the check and promised the funds will be used to grant the wish of a child with life-threatening medical conditions. Troop members pictured are Olivia Bell, Harper Cook, Rachel Estreicher, Mary Margaret Freeland, Emily Grant,

Greer Kelly, Louise Knight, Alison Levine, Tess Levine, Hannah McCabe, Sophie Saab, Kyndall Scott, Annika Siddall, Maddie Stern, Sarah Taylor, Maddie Usdan, Martha Louise Waters, Cookie Mom Ann Freeland and Troop Leader Ami Estreicher. Troop members not pictured are Sarah Francis Adair, Anna Balzli, Holli Chapman, Grace Flynn, Lizza Kirby, Anna Lisa Pflaum, Kathleen Odum, Grace Turner and Luisa Windsor.

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June 2011 |

Village Living

A honey of a hobby By RICK wAtSON Beekeeping is not a hobby that comes to mind when you meet Dr. Glenn Cobbs. The Mountain Brook doctor’s tall and fit physique resembles that of a runner, a golfer or avid tennis player. He has played some tennis and dabbled in golf, but he loves the keeping of bees. “In order to keep bees successfully, you have to really enjoy it,” said Cobbs. “Like medicine, beekeeping is something that is endless and boundless. You can always learn something new and interesting.” Born at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Cobbs has lived in and around Mountain Brook for most of his life. His first exposure to beekeeping was when he was about 15 and his parents were building a new house in the area. During the construction, contractor E.E. Kelley learned that Cobbs’ mother suffered from hay fever and told the elder Cobbs to try bee keeping. The bees would collect pollen and nectar from the neighborhood and the resulting honey would help with the hay fever. The honey they produced didn’t have a lot of impact on his mother’s hay fever, but it introduced the family to beekeeping. “Like a lot of other beekeepers, it wasn’t long before [my father] fell in love with the craft and hobby,” Cobbs said. In those days, Cobbs was more of a helper to his dad, but he learned a great deal about how to care for bees and how to process the honey. When the elder Cobbs died in 1976, Cobbs inherited the bees. He’s been a hobbyist ever since. He keeps two hives of bees in his backyard on Dell Road. He is a member of the Jefferson County Beekeeping Association and regularly attends the meetings to learn more about bees. There’s enough nectar sources in most places to support colonies of bees. “You can keep them almost anywhere,” he said. “There are people in New York City keeping bees on the tops of buildings.” He pointed out that around Birmingham, tulip poplar trees are a good source of nectar as well as other flowers and shrubs. The source of nectar impacts the taste of the honey. Cobbs said that clover honey is mild, while


CONTINUED from page 1 O’Neal Library Director Sue DeBrecht said. “We are glad to do what we can and give their staff some relief.” The week after the tornado, DeBrecht called Pleasant Grove librarian and friend Donna Sartain to see what they could do to help. Sartain said that with all the people coming in to use Internet to communicate with friends and family and file insurance claims, the library did not have enough computers to go around. DeBrecht enlisted the help of library IT Manager Marylyn Eubank, who worked with the Jefferson

Dr. Glen Cobbs harvests honey. Photos courtesy of Jason Wallis Photography.

buckwheat honey may be a little coarser. “Tulip poplar or Tupelo honey is darker and has great properties,” he said. Although the county association sells honey at Pepper Place Market, Cobbs doesn’t sell his honey. He has never really had enough to justify selling it, so he keeps it for his own consumption and gives it to friends as gifts. In addition to its use as a natural sweetener, honey’s wax can be used for making candles, balms and soaps. Propolis, which is what the bees use to seal the honey in the hives, has been termed “natures preventative medicine” and is marketed to consumers. “Some people also feel bee stings protect against arthritis,” Cobbs said. The nature of beekeeping changed about 25 years ago with the introduction of pests from overseas, like a Varroa mite that attaches itself to the bees and the brood (the newly forming bees). “This pest parasitizes bees, weakens and kills them,” said Cobbs. “Until that insect came over, beekeeping was quite easy. You could just put your bees out there, and most of they time they would do well. When that parasite came in, it decimated bees.” Now keepers must treat the hives with a chemical or take special care to keep from losing them to the mites. Since the chemicals can be incorporated into the honey, keepers should not treat the hives during the honey flow, said Cobbs. After honey begins to flow each year, keepers around central Alabama start robbing the excess honey from the hives in June or July leaving enough for the bees to live on for the rest of the year. Normally tending bees only takes a few hours a week except during the harvest when Cobbs enlists family and friends to help process the honey. Another new challenge to bee keeping is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomena encountered about four years ago in the Midwest. “The bees would simply abandon the hive leaving honey and a few bees, but there was no evidence of what caused them to leave,” said Cobbs.

County Library Cooperative to move six properly configured computers to Pleasant Grove, giving the library 11 total computers. While she was on site, Eubank worked to troubleshoot the library’s wireless Internet to get it up and running again. Sartain also shared with DeBrecht that a woman who had coordinated staffing the small library on Saturday mornings had lost her life in the storms. Seeing the need, DeBretch volunteered to staff the library some Saturdays and organized other Jefferson County librarians to do so through the end of June. DeBrecht and the Emmet O’Neal Library staff are also planning story times

He said a lot of people are concerned about CCD because about a third of all the food grown here in America is related to honey bees, and some feel the loss of these creatures could cause a food crisis. CCD was investigated and blamed on everything from cell phone towers to new kinds of insecticide. There has not been a big problem in Alabama with CCD, though it’s not uncommon to lose some bees each year. “Most beekeepers hate to lose bees for any reason because they are almost like pets,” he said. There are a few ways to get in to beekeeping. Besides taking a course, Cobbs recommends learning like he did—from a mentor like his father. Keeping bees is not an expensive hobby. The hives, the bees and the protective equipment needed to keep bees only cost a few hundred dollars. Cobbs said for those who like bees and aren’t afraid of getting stung, beekeeping may be for them. Being mindful about ecology and the environment are also good motivations to get into bees. “I get stung a lot, but that’s just part of the game,” he said. Cobbs, currently on staff at UAB Hospital as a specialist in infectious diseases, lives with his wife, Naneita. They have three sons and eight grandchildren.

for the Pleasant Grove Library for July. Representatives from the City and City Council, Mountain Brook Chamber, Mountain Brook School System, PTO and the Emmet O’Neal Library are all part of the task force that initiated the formal citywide effort for Spartans Helping Spartans. “We wanted to pick something that will be lasting and will make an impact,” Mayor Terry Oden said. Oden, who also serves as the chairman of Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency, had been in contact with mayors and city councils affected by the storms throughout Jefferson County. The task force focused on choosing an area in Jefferson County and ultimately

unanimously decided on Pleasant Grove, a municipality independent of Birmingham that has limited resources. As of the end of May, Pleasant Grove Mayor Jerry Brasseale was identifying specific areas where Mayor Oden and the city can mobilize Mountain Brook to assist with long-term relief and rebuilding. The Chamber of Commerce is working with merchants to raise money and support as a part of the unified relief effort. For more information on Spartans Helping Spartans, visit www.welcometom The Chamber website also has a list of merchants collecting donations.

Village Living


June 2011 |


Diapers for Disaster Custom Parties Available! TOYS • DOLLS • PARTIES

Lil’ Teammates Figures

Mary Farley Stevens, Kimberly Bermudez, Kara Gravlee, Mimi Waggoner, Mary Katherine Moore, Caroline Kennedy, Paley Smith and Virginia White helping with the drive. Not pictured: Lucy Wolter, Lilly Willbanks, Chaise Belt, Mary Katherine Monson, Mary Seldon Andrews, Emmie Stutts, Ellison Grey.

Special Charitable Deal! When you buy a Stuff a Bear we will donate another of same value to a tornado victim

By HILARY ROSS The upcoming 2011-2012 freshman cheerleading squad at MBJH held a “Diapers for Disaster” drive May 3-6. Helen Pruet coaches the squad. To advertise the drive the girls put up school-wide banners, sent out text messages, updated their Facebook statuses and created promotional announcements for the morning news at school.

They collected 57 packs of diapers, wipes and even some nursery linens. Their desire was to help out moms all over the state on Mother’s Day weekend following the disastrous tornados. Items collected were donated to Samaritan’s Purse, whose emergency relief programs provide desperately needed assistance to victims of natural disaster, war, disease and famine.


CONTINUED from page 1 addressed so early, church members were freed up to help their neighbors who had storm damage. Working from home, Panera Bread and other places that did have power and Internet, the staff connected people in the church to needs in the area. That Saturday they sent about 110 people across Highway 280 to Cahaba Heights. They brought chain saws and rakes, dividing up the area by blocks, and walked around to see where they could help. They also prayed with and for the neighbors they met. “It was the community of faith joining together to jump in and help friends and neighbors,” Mission Pastor Jimbo Tucker said. The church organized similar excursions the following two Saturdays and helped with efforts organized by other area churches who were helping parishioners and their neighbors. Contractors in the church donated equipment to help. More than a month after the tornado, some from the church were going back to help people they had built relationships with earlier. The church also sent people to help with efforts at the Christian Service

Mission downtown, Samaritan’s Purse in Hueytown, and wherever else they heard of that was in need. With the sanctuary under repair that Sunday, the church invited the community to a combined worship service outside in a parking lot. They set out chairs for 1,000, and all 1,000 were filled. Many arrived to see the church’s damage for the first time and together prayed for their neighbors who suffered from more severe loss. “It was a healing time to where everyone could come together and worship at the same time,” Cardwell said. Afterward a lot of people asked about why the church didn’t hold a service outside more often. They are planning to hold another one in the fall and on the anniversary of the tornadoes next year. By the following Sunday power returned, and the church resumed holding service in the sanctuary. As they finish cleanup and repairs after the tornado, the church is planning workdays for church members to landscape in June while they continue to reach out to their neighbors affected by storms.


CONTINUED from page 1 time in the library soon took its toll,” he said. He flunked out at University of North Alabama and found himself out of school with no money, no job and not many prospects for his future. He headed home, but things had changed there too. His mom, Norma Jean, started talking about him finding his own place once he graduated. Davis hadn’t mentioned to his mom that he’d flunked out at North Alabama State. He began talking to Wallace State in Hanceville, where the coaches encouraged him to try out for the track team. He made the team but didn’t receive a scholarship. The coaches at Wallace helped him with work study jobs to pay for school. This time around, Davis paid attention, paid the dues and graduated from Wallace State. He did a lot of growing up during this phase of his life. He acknowledges in his book that he made mistakes in his relationships. A chance meeting with a roommate’s friend slowly changing the course of his life. Some time after they met, his future wife Melissa moved in with him. Old patterns of behavior were hard to break, which caused friction with Melissa,

but they remained together. She became active in church, which Davis opposed. But he noticed that she was getting her life together and getting promotions at work, and he felt she was leaving him behind. Davis realized he had to “get right or get left,” as the old church saying goes. He began attending church with Melissa and became a Christian. This was a turning point in Davis’ life. He soon asked Melissa to marry him, and last year Ava Colleen came into their lives. These days Davis can’t stop smiling. Since his book came out, Davis is frequently asked to speak at churches and social organizations. His message is simple – he tells young people to focus on the grades, stay away from drugs, and choose friends wisely. He tells fathers to “be there” for their children —just as he will be there for Ava Colleen. The Ingredients of A Man is available in Mountain Brook stores and on Amazon. com. If you are interested in having Davis speak, contact him at ronniedavis@ymail. com.

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June 2011 |

School House

Kindergarten Orientation at Mountain Brook Junior Mountain Brook Elementary High Literary Café

Andrew Hanson, Robert Flynn, Mary Neale Polk, Mae Helen Toranto, Hunter Keller and Luke Montgomery at Kindergarten Orientation.

By HILARY ROSS Mountain Brook Elementary hosted a kindergarten orientation at the school for the incoming class of 2011-12. The theme was “Hanging Out at MBE,” and more than 60 incoming kindergarten students received an invitation with a colorful inflatable monkey attached to their mailbox, adding excitement to the event. At the orientation, parents were given the opportunity to meet the teachers and the administration of the school. PTO officers and speakers introduced the parents to MBE to aid the transition from preschool to “big school.” Each child received a colorful monkey

name tag, which divided them groups to a corresponding teacher who had the same colored monkey name tag. Kindergarten teachers Tanya Anastasia, Jennifer Jinnette, Megan Still, Rebecca Stivender and Julie Summers then gave tours of the school and kindergarten classrooms to the children. The orientation ended in the lunchroom where students enjoyed a monkey cookie and juice. Each attendee received a red MBE T-shirt as a parting favor to remember the day and to use next fall for school sponsored field trips and events.

CES student’s art selected for national exhibit BY LAUREN FOwLER Crestline Elementary School student Taylor Hopkins has been selected as one of Alabama’s representatives for the 2011 All Kids Can CREATE national touring exhibition., The exhibition features artwork submitted by students, ages 5-15, from each state and the District of Columbia. Taylor’s artwork, titled Eden, will debut in Washington, D.C. on June 13. The 2011 All Kids Can CREATE program launched in November 2010 and invited young artists living with and without disabilities to submit a piece of artwork under the theme, “Imagination Across America.” The exhibition is sponsored by CVS Caremark All Kids Can and VSA, the international organization on arts and disability. More than 4,700 entries from artists across the country were submitted. An expert panel of judges, including artists and art educators selected 102 student artists to be featured in the exhibition. All of the artwork submitted this year, from paintings to sculptures to photographs, will be included in an online gallery at “We’re so impressed with the passion


As a culmination to the unit of study on poetry and National Poetry Month, seventh grade English classes at Mountain Brook Junior High held several Literary Cafés. Parents were mailed invitations to join their child’s class for an hour of refreshments and poetry reading by the students. This is the tenth year the Literary Cafés have been hosted by the seventh grade English teachers at MBJH. The MBJH cafeteria was transformed into a black-checkered tablecloth café similar to the dimly lit cafes in the early 1960s where the beatnik generation stressed bettering one’s inner self over having material possessions through poetry and musings. The seventh grade poets were introduced by the beat of the bongo drums, and audience members snapped their fingers approvingly in appreciation of the

poets and their work. “We wanted to provide a unique opportunity for parents to see their children share their academic accomplishments,” Advanced English Teacher Kathy Byrd said. “The cafés do that, and we all get to hear their true seventh-grade voices in these presentations. It is a public speaking exercise for these students in front of a very friendly and accepting audience of their parents and classmates.” Mrs. Byrd’s advanced classes created a name and cover design for their collection of poems that were published and bound into a keepsake booklet for parents to follow along during the readings. Mrs. Byrd’s fourth period class named their booklet Pretty Little Poets as a parody of the bestselling books series, Pretty Little Liars, which is also now a hit television show on ABC Family.

MBE Career Day 2011

Crestline student Taylor Hopkins.

and creativity represented in Taylor’s artwork; it truly captures the spirit of the All Kids Can CREATE program,” said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate communications and community relations for CVS Caremark. “Through this program we have helped children of all abilities to use art as a way to express themselves and create positive change in their lives.”

BWF honors retiring faculty By BAMA HAGER The Brookwood Forest faculty, staff, students, parents and PTO gathered to honor three faculty members who will retire this May. Principal Yvette Faught has served as principal at BWF for several decades and as a faculty member for a total of 36 years. Fourth grade teacher Mary Jackson traught at BWF for 15 years. For years office staff member Kathy Peerson was often the first person parents and students

Four Period Advanced English Pretty Little Poets: Madeline DeBuys, Sam Hirsberg, Kate Dorsten, David Gardner, Parker Bethea, Maggie Baker, Tanner Williams, Frances Hancock, Bailey Womack, Dylan Bowen, Sarah Frances Jackson, Eric Voigt, Margaret Koopman, Owen Ross, Jennifer Lauriello, Drew Smith, Grace Lockett, Marc Straus, Sara Chandler Mitchell, Cleary Gray Plosser, Patrick Trammell, Ashley Niketas, Lauren Mussell. Not pictured: Kathryn Wason.

saw when they entered the school. Treats, snacks and punch were served using BWF Cookbook recipes. Students stayed after school to attend the festivities and PTO members decorated the lunchroom with floral arrangements and centerpieces. PTO President Amy Knight and President Elect Bridget Sikora organized the event, and PTO parents prepared recipes.

Paul Finebaum with sixth grade students Chandler Pulliam, William Nabors, Cele Sullivan, Peyton Billingsley, Caroline Crafton and Carter Alexander.

By HILARY ROSS Mountain Brook Elementary held its annual Career Day for sixth grade students. Career Day is a one-day event that features many speakers from our community who discuss a variety of career options. Last fall, MBE Guidance Counselor Leslie Cross conducted “interest inventories,” where she helped students identify their potential “career codes:” Artistic, Conventional, Enterprising, Investigative, Realistic or Social. The students then filled out a survey that indicated their top eight choices of careers about which they were interested in learning more. The parent-led Career Day Committee, chaired by Stacy Pulliam, Susan Nabors and Meg Sullivan, then recruited more than thirty speakers in the choices indicated to speak for 20-minute sessions

to small groups of the interested children. Each student was given an individualized notebook showing his or her schedule rotation of eight career sessions that included at least five of their top choices. Career choices ranged from banker, lawyer and doctor to FBI agent, rocket scientist, meteorologist, professional actor and athlete. Our very own Mountain Brook Officer Brian Wood represented law enforcement and was a favorite of the students. All students came to the auditorium to hear the keynote speaker, Paul Finebaum, writer and radio personality of the Paul Finebaum Radio Network. His message to students was simple: work really hard at finding a career you enjoy, and that is a key component to success.

School House


June 2011 |


E-Day at Brookwood Forest

With the help of Katy Kiser, PAGE Enrichment instructor, Brookwood Forest second graders in Dana Mason’s class created sculptures from recycled materials as one of the required projects for Mountain Brook Schools first E-Day.

By BAMA HAGER Mountain Brook Schools held their first E-Day of school on April 23. E-Day is an electronic school day to replace missed school days because of ice storms this winter. Students received assignments through the internet and turned in the work to their classrooms 10 days later. The second grade classes at Brookwood Forest Elementary completed their E-Day with assignments in math, language arts, fine arts, P.E., science and social studies. One of

the science, math and fine arts assignments for second grade E-Day was to create a sculpture made of recycled materials in honor of Earth Day, which occurred during the E-Day assignment weekend. Katy Kiser, PAGE/Enrichment Program teacher at BWF, assisted in the creation of the project. Second grade teachers at BWF are Cindy Holt, Dana Mason, Ashley Scott and Katie Wigton.

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Crestline holds Invention Convention Newly elected PTO officers for 2011-2012 school year.

By ALISON GAULt The PTO at Cherokee Bend recently nominated the officers that will serve on the board for the 2011-2012 school year. The new board members met recently at the home of President Amy Roberts to discuss plans for the upcoming school year. Those present are Natalie Sansom, corresponding secretary; Stephanie

Carothers, VP - communication; Tracy Bragg, parliamentarian; Beth Hinson, VP - finance; Amy Roberts, president; Dena Berte, president-elect; Isabel Corley, treasurer; and Mary Margaret Hendry, recording secretary. Not pictured are Betsy Byars, assistant treasurer; and Jennifer Fruin, VP - registration.

Cherokee Bend rock quarry field trip

Beth Dean’s students on their trip to a rock quarry.

Third graders at Cherokee Bend Elementary School recently took a field trip to a rock quarry. The trip was coordinated with their geology unit of study in their

science curriculum and gave students a hands-on experience with some of the rocks and minerals that they had been studying.

By SUSAN DULIN Crestline Elementary held an Invention Convention, where students of all ages solved some of life’s peskiest problems. After learning the invention process via morning broadcasts, students submitted their best ideas. Lloyd Cooper, founder of PUSH Product Design and inventor of the cable bicycle at the McWane Center, and interior designer Sarah Jernigan evaluated the inventions and provided valuable advice for the inventors. Participants and their ideas included first graders Jack Allison, The Frog Trap; Parks Walthall, The Color Triangle (a trio of crayons for greater efficiency in coloring); Camille Emblom, a clever combination of velcro and an iTouch that’s worn as a watch; and Jack Roussel, installing solar panels on all airplane wings to fuel planes. Third grader Alice Monk invented The Hat Box, which gives you extra room for storage, and The Old-Fashioned Bottle-Stopper, which prevents spills in a soda bottle. Ellie Jones’s Bye-Bye Brother Spray repels brothers and lice. Nancy North invented No Hands Allowed, a lapboard that holds your book open for you. Camille Clingan created the Slinga-Write, a combination pencil and eraser for the classroom and slingshot for the playground. Hughes Thomas and Lowery Thompson developed the Multi-task Chair featuring paper, crayons, mosquito netting and a cup holder. Fourth grade brother and sister Sam and Sophia Martin designed devices to make home life easier. Sam’s Dog Toy Cannon stores and throws a dog toy, and Sophia’s Pull-up Piece lets you pull up a

Third graders Callie Dukes and Helen Carson demonstrate the Sibling Safe chair that hides valuables from sneaky siblings to invention specialists Lloyd Cooper and Sarah Jernigan at Crestline Elementary’s Invention Convention.

blanket without sitting up in bed. The future will certainly be more comfortable with Crestline students’ inventions!

20 |

June 2011 | Village Spotlight

Business Spotlight

The Green Door Natural Foods|


2843 Culver Road 871-2651 Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Green Door Natural Foods advocated a natural approach to health care long before it became the trend it is today. Founded by Mountain Brook residents Anne Kidd, Jeraldine Snow and Kitty Sutherland 40 years ago, the familyoriented shop is located in the corner shops of Mountain Brook Village. Upon walking inside the small establishment, one will quickly notice rows of shelves and refrigerators brimming with a selection of vitamins and supplements, cosmetics, herbs and natural foods. Popular products include co-q-10 for heart or cardiovascular issues; acai, an antioxidant that comes from a berry; resveratrol, a heart-healthy supplement derived from red wine; and Wellness Formula for the immune system. Owner Carlene Snow offers her customers the personal attention that large stores cannot. She knows everyone who comes in by their first names and answers all their questions about products and what they do. “We help customers stay healthy and happy,” she said. The Green Door also sells Reviva Labs skin care products, including lotions, creams, cleansers and anti-wrinkle cream. “They are as all natural as he can possibly make them,” Snow said. Snow has owned and operated The Green Door since 1994 with the help of one part-time employee, Jane Cusik. Before that, she learned the business while working for an establishment similar to The Green Door in Hoover. “I became so interested that I never wanted to leave,” she said. Sutherland ran the store for about 20

Green Door Owner Carlene Snow. Photo by Madoline Markham.

years before Snow took over. For much of that time, sister business The Green Door Luncheon Restaurant served soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts; those recipes were captured in a The Green Door Cookbook published in 1980. Snow’s interest in natural treatments stems from personal experience. “In the early 70s, I became very sickly and ill, and the doctors I went to see tried everything in an attempt to help, but nothing worked” she said. Finally, after trying many other medical treatments prescribed by her doctors, Snow turned to the option of natural health products in an attempt to end

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years of illness. To her delight and partial surprise, this novel approach alleviated her sickness. “After beginning my natural nutritional program, I truly turned my life around.” she said. Remembering her own experience with the wonders of natural vitamins and supplements, Snow continues to stock the latest in all-natural health items. “We have an extremely wide and up-to-date selection of products for both children and adults,” she said. Snow also gets excited about how the popularity of products like hers has grown. “In recent years I have been thrilled to see a

tremendous increase in interest concerning a natural approach to healthcare, especially among young people,” she said. Over the years of operating The Green Door, a continuous consumer allegiance to her establishment has proven to be a genuine source of camaraderie. Snow sees many of her store’s visitors as friends rather than merely as patrons. “I lost my husband last year, and my customers have provided me with the kindness and comforting friendship that one needs following such an event,” Snow said. “My customers are truly the best part of owning this business.”


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Village Flavor |

Gus’s Hot Dogs

Restaurant Showcase 71 Church Street 871-3938


June 2011 |



Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Saturday, 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Gus’s Hot Dogs in Crestline has served its hot dogs—complete with the same recipes for homemade hot dog sauce, slaw, chili and seasoned beef—for the past 42 years. For many, eating there is nostalgic, but for most the comfort food just plain tastes good. Kids learn from their dads or grandmothers to order a hot dog “regular” (mustard, sauerkraut, onion and sauce) or a “special” (same ingredients with seasoned ground beef on top). “You can tell if someone is not from Birmingham by how they order their hot dog,” said Ernie Gerontakis, who manages the restaurant and has expanded its menu in recent years. A third generation of customers stops by Gus’s for breakfast on the way to school or after school for an Icee and fries. Gerontakis took over managing the business two years ago. “My first job was doing this, and this is what I always wanted to do,” he said. Beginning at age 15, Gerontakis learned the hot dog business from the Graphos

Ernie Gerontakis, who manages Gus’s Hot Dogs, demonstrates how to properly eat a hot dog. Photo by Madoline Markham.

family at Sneaky Pete’s in Mountain Brook Village. He also learned to cook chicken and beef from his restaurateur parents. Sneaky Pete’s and Gus’s were both part of an empire of hot dog restaurants started by Greek immigrants beginning in the early 1900s— Dino’s Hot Dogs, Lyric Hot Dogs, Tom’s Koneys, Pete’s Famous, Gus’s Hot Dogs, to name a few. With experience in cooking and hospitality, the Greeks served hot dogs to Birmingham’s steel workers, coal miners and people of all walks of life, according to a “HotDogopolis” documentary by Southern Foodways Alliance. Both the Crestline location and the Gus’s Hot Dogs downtown were started by Gus Alexander. Gerontakis’ brother, Nick, owned the downtown location for 20 years, Gus’s Hot Dogs’ chicken pita and “regular” Bradford 280 12:09 PM Page 1 hot dog. Photo byLiving MadolineAd:Layout Markham. 1 3/25/11 but today there is no relationship between

the two restaurants. Gerontakis’ Greek immigrant parents owned Fair Café and James Café downtown when he was growing up. He and Nick came to the restaurants after school, ate there and did homework there. It was home to them. Their parents didn’t speak English well, and the boys were writing checks and paying bills for the restaurant at 10 years old. After being in charge of the annual Greek Food Festival for years, Gerontakis has added a grilled chicken pita to the menu at Gus’s. Flavorful marinated chicken is topped with lettuce, tomato and his tzatziki sauce. You can also order chicken dinners to take home and for office luncheons and parties. Other menu items are chili cheese fries, a Cuban sandwich, a Philly cheese

sandwich, homemade tuna and chicken salads, burgers and salads—all for a more than affordable price. They also sell homemade brownies with fudge icing and chocolate chip cookies. Former customers of Pete’s Famous Hot Dogs downtown are starting to migrate to Gus’s, and he draws customers from Hueytown, Liberty Park, the 280 corridor and Pelham who have never been to Crestline before. No matter where they come from, Gerontakis knows his customers and tries his best to remember what they order. His favorite memory is seeing 50 to 60 kids come in after ballroom dancing lessons at Steeple Arts. The girls were in white glove and dresses and the boys in suits. They all ordered hot dogs, of course.

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June 2011 |

Village Living Calendar

Music & Arts

6/1- Herbie Hancock. A legendary pianist and composer with 14 Grammy Awards.

7 p.m. Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. Admission: $64.50(A), $47.50(B), $32.50(C), $20(students). More information:

6/2- Summer Serenades at Brock. Join us for a new mini Summer Series, featuring key performers from the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. 7:30 p.m. Brock Recital Hall, Samford University. Admission: $25 (general public), $12 (students). More information: 975-2787.

6/2- Art and Conversation: Our Newest Treasures. Curator Jeannine O’Grody

shares insights into how these paintings and sculptures entered the collection of European Galleries and why they are considered such treasures. Includes coffee and pastries. 10:30a.m.-11:30a.m. Birmingham Museum of Art. Admission: $10 (members), $15 (non-members). More information: www.

6/2- Arts Alfresco Concert: “The Birmingham Seven”. The Birmingham Seven

is a jazz septet comprised of some of the finest and most sought after jazz performers in the region. 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Aldridge Botanical Gardens, 3530 Lorna Road. Admission: $15. More information:

6/2-6/5- Strapless. AROVA Contemporary Ballet production featuring young

characters struggling against expectations while finding their way in the world. 7:30 p.m. on 6/2-4. 2:30 p.m. on 6/5. Virginia Samford Theatre, 1116 26th Street South. Admission: $25 (general public), $20 (seniors), $15 (students). More information: or 251-1206.

6/3- The Black Jacket Symphony with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. The Black Jacket Symphony presents The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. 8 p.m. Alabama Theatre. Admission: $30. More information: or 252-2262.

Family Fun

6/2- Up in the Air and Out of this World. Put on your oldest clothes and get ready to get messy with some out-of-this-world fun (designed for rising 3rd-6th graders)! 3:30 p.m. Emmet O’Neal Library, 50 Oak Street. Admission: free. More information:

6/4- Hikes for Tikes. Join nationally known storyteller, Ashley Hulsey Coutch, for a story, a hike and a song. Children will engage with nature through story and movement. Hands-on activities if the weather is not pleasant. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Admission: free, registration required. More information: email events@freshairfamily. org to register.

6/4- Get Wild. A family-oriented event that promotes bird conservation and

features an educational bird, a look at the rehabilitation clinic, and perhaps a service project through the Alabama Wildlife Center . 1 p.m. Oak Mountain State Park, 200 Pelham Heights Road. Admission: $3 (Adults) $1 (Children). More information: or 663-7930.

6/7- WORLD’s Biggest Reptile: Geddy the Gecko. He sings...he dances...he does

tricks...he’s Geddy the Gecko! 10:30 am and 3:30 pm. Emmet O’Neal Library, 50 Oak Street. More information: or 879-0479.

6/7- Wellness Walk. A professional naturalist will lead a hike through the

gardens with a nature based theme such as mosses, ferns, wildflowers, trees, flowering shrubs, geology, birds and butterflies. 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens (orientation room in Plaza). More information:

6/9- World of Dance: West African Dance. Travel halfway around the world and experience West African dance and music. 3:30 pm. Emmet O’Neal Library, 50 Oak Street. More information: or 879-0479.

6/4-6/5- 9th Annual “Art in the Gardens”. Talented artists from all over the state

6/15- Full Strawberry Moon Hike. Total 3 mile hike: Native Americans named

6/10-6/12- Symphony in the Summer. The ASO & Linn Henley Charitable Trust

6/18- Green Lantern Night Hike. The movie “Green Lantern” has just hit the

of Alabama will exhibit their works of art. Shop the works of more than 70 artists.9a.m.-5p.m. Aldridge Botanical Gardens. Admission: free. More information:

will present a weekend of three free concerts which will be featuring different programs, so guests can enjoy all three evenings. 8p.m. (Friday and Saturday), 6 p.m. (Sunday). Railroad Park, 1600 1st Avenue South. Admission: free. More information: 314-6946.

6/10-6/11- White’s Mountain Bluegrass Festival. 6p.m.-10 p.m. (Friday) and 11

a.m.-10 p.m. (Saturday). White’s Mountain, St. Clair Springs. Admission: $20 for both days. Children 12 and under are free. More information: www. or 467-6927.

6/11- Brian McKnight. 7 p.m. The Alabama Theatre. Admission: $35-$55. More information:

6/10-6/12- Symphony in the Summer. The ASO & Linn Henley Charitable Trust

will present a weekend of three free concerts which will be featuring different programs, so guests can enjoy all three evenings. 8p.m. (Friday and Saturday), 6 p.m. (Sunday). Railroad Park, 1600 1st Avenue South. Admission: free. More information: 314-6946.

6/18-6/20- 32nd Annual National Harp Singing Convention. Three days of Southern hospitality, fellowship, and shape note singing from the Sacred Harp Hymnal published in 1844. 9:30a.m.-2:30p.m. First Christian Chuch, 4954 Valley Dale Road. Admission: free. More information: 879-1909.

Theatre 6/10- Vestavia Lodge Dance. 7p.m.-10p.m.Bailey’s Dance Studio, 1853

Montgomery Highway #103. Admission: $5. More information: www.

6/17-6/19, 6/23-6/26- Happy Days, A New Musical. A production by the Magic

City Actors Theatre based on the TV series, Happy Days. Arnold’s may be demolished and everyone rallies together with a dance contest to save it. 7:30 p.m. on 6/17, 18, 23, 24, and 25, 2:30 p.m. on 6/19 and 26. Virginia Samford Theatre. Admission: $25 (general public), $20 (seniors), $15 (students). More information:

6/24- Friday Night Dances. Featuring the band Classics and food sponsored

by Brookdale Living with Dance Host Dave Woods for All Single Ladies. Bailey’s Dance Studio, 1853 Montgomery Highway #103. More information:

SPORTS 6/1- 16th Annual Rickwood Classic presented by State Farm Insurance. The

Birmingham Barons will host the Chattanooga Lookouts, Double--an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 12:30 p.m. Rickwood Field, 1137 2nd Avenue West. Admission: TBA. More information: 988-3200.

6/2-6/3- Birmingham Barons v. Chattanooga Lookouts. 7:05 p.m. both nights. Regions Park, 100 Ben Chapman Drive. Admission: $7 and up. More information: 988-3200.

6/9-6/13- Birmingham Barons v. Mobile Bay Bears. 7:05 p.m. on 6/9, 6/10, and

6/13. 6:30 p.m. on 6/11 and 2 p.m. on 6/12. Regions Park, 100 Ben Chapman Drive. Admission: $7 and up. More information: 988-3200.

each full moon to capture the spirit of the season. Join us for this hike. 7:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, 1214 81st Street South. Admission: free. More information:

theatres. Let’s hit the trail with our very own “green” lantern made of recycled materials. 7:30 p.m. Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, 1214 81st Street South. Admission: $7. More information:

6/23- Animals from Around the World. Learn about animals from around the

world with the Birmingham Zoo. 3:30p.m. Emmet O’Neal Library, 50 Oak Street. Admission: free. More information: or 879-0479.

6/26- Audobon. Audubon Teaches Nature- Return of the Spring Migrants-

Catching the Yucatan Express! Program begins at the Alabama Wildlife Center for refreshments and ends with a nature walk within the park. 1:30 p.m. -3:30 p.m. Oak Mountain State Park, 100 Pelham Heights Road. Admission: $3(Adults), $1(Children and Senior Citizens). More information:

Special Events/Ministry 6/5- Choral Concert. The Cathedral Choir, conducted by Stephen G. Schaeffer,

Director of Music and Organist, sings a Bon Voyage concert prior to its East Coast concert tour. 4 p.m. Cathedral Church of the Advent, 20176th Avenue North. Admission: free. More information: 251-2324.

6/11- SPREE. (Shop. Praise. Relax. Eat. Enjoy) This event will feature food from

different vendors and businesses will have products on display. This will raise funds for the United Methodist Women’s Organization. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oakmont United Methodist Church (gymnasium), 914 Oak Grove Road. Admission: free. More information: or 942-4622.

6/14- Bama Rising: A Benefit Concert for Alabama Tornado Recovery. Features

performances by Alabama, Bo Bice, Sheryl Crow, Taylor Hicks, Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, and Kelly Pickler. BJCC Arena. Admission: $25 and up. More information:

6/15- 35th Annual Fern Show & Sale. Members’ entries for the show will be

accepted from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. A variety of ferns will be available for purchase. 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Road. Admission: free. More information: Ginny Lusk at 205-988-0299. 

6/17- 10th Annual “Hydrangeas Under the Stars” Garden Gala. Make plans

to attend the Gardens annual fundraiser. Enjoy a magical night under the stars with smooth jazz, super wines, excellent food and beautiful works of art. 6 p.m. Aldridge Gardens, Admission: $150. More information: www.

6/18- Martin Lawrence. Watch the stand up comedy of the man who starred in

Welcome home Roscoe Jenkins and the TV series Martin. 8 p.m. BJCC, Concert Hall. Admission: $75.50. More information:

6/18-6/19- Sloss Metal Arts: Creative Welding. Learn to make decorative and useful items for your home or garden. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sloss Furnace. Admission: $250+materials. More information: or 324-1911.

6/28- Genre Reading Group. Join us the last Tuesday of each month for one of the

most fun book group meetings in town! Pick ANY book from the month’s selected topic and come tell us about it, plus get ideas from other readers. 6:30 p.m. Emmet O’Neal Library, 50 Oak Street. Admission: free. More information:

6/23-6/27- Birmingham Barons v. Tennessee Smokies. 7:05 p.m. on 6/23 and

Save the date

6/24. 6:30 p.m. on 6/25. 2 p.m. on 6/26. 11 a.m. on 6/27. Admission: $7 and up. More information: 988-3200.

Food & Wine

6/9- Alison Lewis: Cooking Demonstration and Book Signing. Alison will be

preparing 2 recipes from her just released cookbook, Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Crostini, and Grilled Peach and Brie Sandwich. 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Birmingham Bake & Cook Company. Admission: $35. More information: call 9893661 for reservations.

7/23- 10 Annual Market Days. A merchant-centered event described as a European-style sidewalk and tent sale with discounts up to 75% off. 8 a.m.5 p.m. Mountain Brook Village. Admission: free. More information: www. th

Do you know of events in our community? We would love to include them. Please email by the 15th of each month for the publication in the next month’s issue.

Around the Villages |

Around the Villages

June 2011 |


New business ribbon cuttings

Ribbon cutting at La Vie MD in Mountain Brook Plaza

Ribbon cutting at Lamb’s Ears Ltd. in Crestline Village

Enchantment in Mountain Brook Village Individual attention for any bride A new addition to Mountain Brook Village is A Tiny Kingdom. This family-run toy store specializes in custom birthday parties for boys and girls ages 3-12. These parties range from tea parties to karaoke parties to princess parties. This shop also carries Lee Middleton dolls, Hello Kitty merchandise and Karito Kids, dolls that allow children to give back to a charity of their choice once they go home.

A Tiny Kingdom features 3D televisions and gaming consoles to entertain children should moms need to shop. Prices can accommodate any price range—from bath fizzies to autographed baseball and football cards. They are open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information or to schedule a birthday party, please call 802-8469.

Gifts from around the globe Bellewether offers home goods, furniture, children’s items and jewelry. The shop opened in mid-April in English Village and offers unique items from around the world—from Balinese skin products to New York perfume-based candles. Furniture items are eco-friendly; many pieces that can double as indoor and outdoor furnishings. Baby items are offered in a variety of

price points and serve as excellent gifts. Kits to grow your own herb garden, garden in a pail or bonsai kit make for unique gifts. A broad range of fragrances and body products can pamper any woman who needs some relaxation. Bellewether is located at 2006 Cahaba Valley Road and can be reached by phone at 637-5840. They can be found online at www.shopbellewether. com.

Mariee Ami is one of the newest additions to Mountain Brook Village. Owners Neille Butler and Laurie Grantham embrace the role of mariee ami, French for “bride’s friend.”They offer packages for the bride who would like assistance and consultation on the day of her wedding, for the bride who would prefer personalized help in planning from start to finish, and

every bride in between. Neillie works with each bride individually, and both women say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The studio, located at 2404 Canterbury Road, is open daily, and appointments are encouraged. To make an appointment, please call 8704205.

Czech native brings sparkle to Birmingham Situated in the Cahaba Village shopping center on Highway 280, Moravia, Inc. quietly opened its door last month. Specializing in high quality glass and crystal home décor, jewelry, chandeliers, and tableware, all items are individually chosen and imported directly from Europe by the owner, Czech native Michal Banik. “Direct import is key to the premise of the business,” Banik said. “Our goal is to provide a very high quality product, much of which until recently has never

been offered outside of Europe, at a lower cost than the consumer would pay anywhere else.” Traveling his homeland of Central Europe for several weeks last fall, Banik visited numerous glass makers with varying specialties, ranging from artisans making one of a kind deco pieces to hand crafted yet very affordable daily use tableware. Moravia is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, please call at 2622772

Calling all lake lovers! Second Annual Village Living Lake Lovers Photo Contest It’s lake season, and we want you to capture all the action of tubing, swimming, fishing, skiing, sun bathing, and more. Share your best photos with us, and we will pick winners from each of four categories:

To enter, email your photos in a jpg format to contests@

Best action photo

Deadline for entries is August 9, 2011. We will publish the winners in the September issue as well as post them on our Facebook page and our website.

(skis, wakeboard, knee boards, tubes, etc.)

Best kid photo Best pet photo Best fishing photo

Please send high quality jpg images and include a caption and photo credit.


June 2011 |

Our pool is spiffy. Sure, your place is nice. But, is it fantastic ? W hy not tr y a new place ? We’ve got the perfect location. Whether you want to join a team in any of our Birmingham metropolitan offices, up north or even along Alabama’s shoreline, RealtySouth is strategically located throughout the state, positioned to serve the largest buyer and seller pool. More so than the walls, what’s inside matters most. From top-notch training and cutting edge technology to advertising plans and marketing strategies, there is no better place. Come on over and check us out. It isn’t a leap of faith. It’s a leap of assurance.

For more information on how to become one of Alabama’s leading real estate associates, call Mountain Brook Village Office 205.870.5420

Village Living June 2011  

Community News, Sports, and Entertainment

Village Living June 2011  

Community News, Sports, and Entertainment