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Village Living Volume 7 | Issue 12 | March 2017

Turning the Page

neighborly news & entertainment for Mountain Brook

CONTINUING THE Mullins reflects on 1st year in role as MBFD’s chief

Mountain Brook author Stephen Russell is publishing his third book, “Control Group,” in March, 13 years after writing the first draft.

See page A17

Bidding Farewell

Sue DeBrecht is retiring after 25 years as Emmet O’Neal Library director and looking forward to a “great kind of busy” schedule.

See page B1

INSIDE Sponsors ......... A4 City ................... A6 Business ..........A8 Chamber ........A10 Events .............. A11 Community .....A13

Medical Guide...A18 Faith ................A29 Sports ............... B4 School House .. B7 Camp Guide ..... B11 Calendar ..........B18

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he last year has been full of changes for the Mountain Brook Fire Department and Fire Chief Chris Mullins. But the changes have been small, Mullins said, and it took reflecting in his annual report to see how much has been accomplished. “We’ve got so much going on that some days it’s almost like we’re sitting, spinning our wheels, but as I look back and see the things that we’ve done, we’ve really gotten a lot accomplished,” said Mullins, who took over as fire chief in March 2016. When Mullins moved up from deputy chief to fire chief, he was leading a department already in good shape, he said, thanks to the foundation laid by former Fire Chief Robert “Zeke” Ezekiel. In the last year, Mullins has aimed to continue work started by Ezekiel, while putting his own spin on things. “He’s continuously stayed with our mission. He has supported the mission [Ezekiel laid out] since the day he’s

See MULLINS | page A30 Mountain Brook Fire Chief Chris Mullins poses near the fire department’s newest addition to its fleet. Mullins, who replaced Robert “Zeke” Ezekiel in 2016, will mark his one-year anniversary in March. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

To engage its residents, city gets social By LEXI COON

In starting with more community outreach, Mayor Stewart Welch has created a mayor’s Facebook page to share events, happenings and updates with the community. Photo illustration by Lexi Coon.

When Stewart Welch was first entering office as the mayor of Mountain Brook, one of his big ideas was to reach the younger generations of Mountain Brook — in addition to all other residents — and get them involved in their community. And after a few months in office, his ideas have only grown.


“It’s the first thing I thought I could do,” Welch said of his idea to create a mayor’s Facebook account. After seeing the success that friend and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson had through his account,

he thought that would be a good place to start. “I said, ‘OK, no need to reinvent the wheel. I’ll start with his idea,” Welch said. With the help of local business

Uptick Marketing, Welch created his first Facebook profile, Stewart Welch III, to share his mayoral happenings with the community. So far, his profile includes upcoming community events,

links to helpful websites, a selfie with the Leadership Mountain Brook group, and photos of himself and Chief of Police Ted Cook with Alabama head football coach Nick Saban. But he still has plans for the page. Eventually, Welch said, he wants to use his profile to make residents aware of what is happening in their community, be it events or local sales, and have the city’s website do the same. “The first thing is to get the Facebook page up and running,” he said. “And then I said I want some help just looking at the city website.”

See SOCIAL | page A31

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About Us Editor’s Note By Jennifer Gray Mountain Brook is fortunate to have such stelSt. Luke’s Episcopal Church is beginning a lar fire and police departments. Their service to renovation project that will bring its contempoour community cannot be overstated. A year rary service to Crestline Elementary temporarily. ago, Mountain Brook got a new fire chief. In Hear all about the plans and how this is really this month’s issue, Fire Chief Mullins reflects just a return to the area where the church has back on his first year, discusses changes at the long had its roots. All are welcome to come and fire department including a new logo, health and experience this new worship service and setting. safety measures and even a new ladder truck. If you are looking for a good read, you will want Learn more about his work and his team and to hear all about Dr. Stephen Russell’s new book. what they do to keep their firefighters and us In this series, he continues the adventures of his safe. character Dr. Cooper “Mackie” McKay, who In other city updates, we sat down with Mayor Stewart solves crimes while he practices medicine. Welch to discuss increased communication with the comLastly, spring means baseball and soccer. Mountain Brook munity via social media. He is working hard to use social kicks off another season. Learn who the teams are counting media as a new tool in communicating with Mountain Brook on and what they think the season will hold for them. citizens. He also discusses new programs he is working to implement. With spring right around the corner, Mountain Brook is gearing up for several events. The successful Village 2 Village run returns as does the LJCC color run. Emmet O’Neal Library is hosting a Neuroscience Café class, and Arbor Day is coming up. Get all the details inside this month’s issue and mark your calendar.


On Feb. 2 during the Birmingham Zoo’s annual Groundhog Day celebration, Birmingham Bill did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring. Photo by Lexi Coon.

Village Living Publisher: Editor: Managing Editor: Design Editor: Director of Photography: Sports Editor: Digital Editor: Page Designers: Community Editor: Community Reporters: Staff Writers: Copy Editor:

Dan Starnes Jennifer Gray Sydney Cromwell Kristin Williams Sarah Finnegan Kyle Parmley Alyx Chandler Cameron Tipton Emily VanderMey Erica Techo Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Lexi Coon Emily Featherston Sam Chandler Louisa Jeffries

Contributing Writers: Kari Kampakis

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Published by: Village Living LLC Legals: 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, 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) 313-1780 or by email.

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City Council hears residents’ concerns about traffic, data antennas Representatives of Carr Riggs & Ingram present the annual financial audit to the City Council on Feb. 13. Photo by Lexi Coon.

By LEXI COON At the City Council meeting on Feb. 13, Mountain Brook residents spoke with council members about their concerns regarding traffic along Kennesaw Drive, which is close to Cherokee Bend Elementary. “We’ve all observed not just a speeding problem but a distracted driving problem surrounding carpool,” said resident Oscar Price. He also noted the school zone surrounding Cherokee Bend seems to be smaller than similar schools. Councilman Billy Pritchard said this concern was discussed in the fall, but “since that time, the situation has appeared to deteriorate.” Recently, Police Chief Ted Cook measured the speed of 13,451 vehicles driving in the area in question, and of those vehicles, he found 590 of them were 10 miles per hour or more over the speed limit for the road. “We’ve tried to…appeal to neighborliness … little signs that say, ‘Drive like your kids live here.’ Well, their kids do live here,” said resident Andrew Pearson. “This doesn’t seem to have gotten any better.” His wife, Lauren Pearson, said there are parts of Kennesaw Drive that do not have a sidewalk option for pedestrians, to which Price added that there are a “fair number of children who walk.” Richard Caudle with Skipper Consulting said it may not only be the speed of traffic that is causing a problem, but the amount of it. To help remedy the issue and find a solution, the council approved a contract with Skipper Consulting to perform a traffic study. Residents were also concerned with the placement of support structures for small cell data and communications antennas, which are designed to be placed at the top of utility poles. Andy Rotenstreich, a representative for

Crown Castle, a telephone service company, said there were to be 40 new small cell towers installed throughout Mountain Brook, 10 of which are locations where they are unable to use pre-existing poles. Of the final five poles that need to be approved, residents have expressed concern with the ones that are planned to be placed at 2 Rockwell Lane and 3024 Cherokee Road. Resident Bruce Dunbar said even though he does want better cell coverage, if a pole was installed on Cherokee Road it would “stick out like a sore thumb,” which was a sentiment that another resident shared for the proposed new pole for Rockwell Lane. The council held their decision for those two areas until they have been looked at further, but approved the resolution authorizing the placement of the antennae at 3239 Country Club Road, 3249 East Briarcliff Road and 190 Green Valley Road. In addition, Jeff Brewer with Goodwyn Mills

and Cawood discussed the status of the Community Field Projects. Under the proposal for this project, both the MBJH football field and the MBHS baseball field would be worked on. The estimated cost for the proposed football field renovations, which would improve the drainage of the field and add new irrigation and new sod, is about $142,000. Under these proposed renovations, the field would be completed by the end of July. According to the proposal for the MBHS baseball field, after construction on the original area, artificial turf would be installed throughout the field. Because the field would be turf, both Mountain Brook Athletics football and MBHS baseball could use the area, which would limit wear and tear of other community fields. This portion is estimated to cost just over $900,000, and if following the proposed plan would be completed by the end of August. Also during the City Council meeting on

Feb. 13, members: ► Approved the minutes for the meeting on Jan. 23. ► Reviewed the annual financial audit as presented by Catherine Casey and Jason Harpe from Carr Riggs & Ingram. ► Approved a resolution authorizing the installation and ongoing rental of a fire hydrant near the intersection of Rock Creek Trail and Rock Creek Drive and the intersection of Rock Creek Drive and Sims Circle. ► Approved a resolution ratifying the appointment of Safford Building Company, LLC as purchasing agent of the city of Mountain Brook, Alabama effective Nov. 28, 2016, with respect to their construction of the joint fire and police training building. ► Approved a resolution authorizing the execution of a building consulting services agreement with Brasfield & Gorrie with respect to the ongoing moisture abatement, window replacement and other building repairs project. ► Approved a resolution authorizing the renewal of the city’s workers’ compensation insurance plan through Millennium Risk Managers for the period Feb. 1, 2017, though Feb. 1, 2018. ► Approved a resolution authorizing the execution of the First Amendment to Lease Agreement between the city and New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC with respect to the wireless communications facilities located at 3021 Mountain Brook Parkway. ► Approved a resolution authorizing the execution energy expense management statements of work with Ingenuity to verify accuracy of utility billings. ► Approved a resolution declaring certain library personal property surplus and authorizing its sale at public internet auction.

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Above: Mountain Brook students are recognized for their achievements in school and extracurricular activities during the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 13. Left: Mountain Brook resident Cheryl Fritze thanks the Board of Education for the support of the Jason Flatt Act Policy at the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 13. Photos by Lexi Coon.

AIMB Elementary session a success, Jason Flatt Act Policy passed By LEXI COON After holding their first elementary edition for All In Mountain Brook in the beginning of February, Dr. Dale Wisely, director of student services, presented feedback about the event to the Board of Education on Feb. 13. During the evening, parents of elementary school students were able to choose from eight different “breakout sessions” throughout the night. The sessions included topics such as social media use, tips for successful parenting, sports psychology and positive body image behavior and were given by local professionals. Wisely said that approximately 200 parents attended the lectures and he had largely positive feedback. “When the negative comments are the talks aren’t long enough, that’s usually a good sign,” he said. In addition, the board passed the J-52 Jason Flatt Act Policy. Written to equip Alabama schools with the means to recognize and act upon signs of suicide risk, the act ensures that all personnel have the training to identify and

understand the warning signs of those exhibiting a risk of self-harm or suicide. The passing of the act was met with great gratitude from Mountain Brook resident Cheryl Fritze, who suffered the loss of her son three years ago. After meeting with Wisely the previous week, she added there is still work the community can do to prevent self-harm and suicide. “And that’s what this Jason Flatt Act is about. Educating parents, educating the teachers, and students,” she said. Fritze added that the Jason Flatt Act is a part of The Jason Foundation, an organization dedicated to prevent youth suicide by providing educational and awareness programs, and that, “it would be [her] dream” to have the community work with the foundation. While Wisely stated at the last Board of Education meeting on Jan. 9 that Mountain Brook schools are largely compliant with the act already, the act does now require all personnel to be trained in suicide recognition and response. Also during the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 13, board members:

► Recognized the Mountain Brook cafeterias and their managers for their top Jefferson County Health Department scores. The department awarded the district a 98, four 99s and a 100 on their evaluation. ► Recognized Amy Anderson, from Crestline Elementary, and Jessie Creech, MBHS, as the Mountain Brook Schools Teachers of the Year. ► Recognized the Mountain Brook Spelling Bee winners: Nate Hendrickson, Moira Dowling, Kenneth Robinson, Christian Glenos and Ellen Landy. Nate placed second in the district and after winning the district competition, Ellen will go on to compete in the Jefferson County Spelling Bee. ► Recognized MBHS student Stuart Huddleston and his teacher Becton Morgan for winning the 2017 State Superintendent’s Visual Arts Show. ► Recognized the MBJH Spartanettes for winning the high-kick category and other achievements at the state competition. ► Recognized the MBHS Dorians for winning the high-kick category at the state

competition for the first time in Dorian history and for their achievements at the national level. ► Listened to and recognized the MBHS Jazz Ensemble. ► Approved the district’s financial statements and bank reconciliations. ► Approved the request for the following new textbooks: “Tonal Harmony - with an Introduction to Twentieth-Century Music,” “Music for Sight Singing,” “Pearson Investigations 3 in Number, Data and Space,” and “Myer’s Psychology for AP.” ► Approved the policy updates for the J-6a Homeless, Migrant, Immigrant, Language Minority and Foster Care - Student Attendance Policy and the J-6c School Placement of Children in Foster Care Policy to include foster care students as discussed during the January meeting. ► Approved personnel recommendations. ► Approved the removal and sale of surplus property. The next board meeting will take place on March 13 at the Professional Learning Center in the Charles Mason Building.

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Now Open DESI Training Center for Jefferson County is now open at 3 Office Park Circle, Suite 100. Through partnership with the Jefferson County Workforce Investment Board, DESI offers training and employment services to out-of-school Jefferson County youth between the ages of 17 and 24. The program ultimately provides participants with both work experience and a high school diploma. 488-9911,


Coming Soon Chris and Anna Newsome, owners of Ollie Irene, will open a new restaurant soon in the space where Tracy’s Restaurant is located, 75 Church St. Jimmy Tracy, owner of Tracy’s, will focus on his casserole business. Ollie Irene closed in September due to their space being vacated to make way for the Lane Parke development.


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Hirings and Promotions LAH Real Estate, 2850 Cahaba Road, Suite 200, has hired Sarah Walker as a Realtor. 870-8580,


Anniversaries Little Lavender, 200 Country Club Park, celebrated its fourth anniversary on February 2. 803-3958,


A’mano, 281 Rele St., is celebrating its 20th anniversary on March 17. 871-9093,


Trocadero Salon, 2839 Cahaba Road, celebrated its 43rd anniversary in February. 870-7650,


Tonya Jones SalonSpa, 2410 Fairway Drive, celebrated its third anniversary in February. 870-4247,


ExVoto Vintage, 2402 Canterbury Road, is celebrating its third anniversary in March. 538-7301,


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Preview of

Chamber luncheon presents various awards The Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce held their Annual Luncheon at the Grand Bohemian Hotel on Jan. 24 and presented three awards: Employee of the Year, the Tynes Award and the Jemison Visionary Award. Photo by Lexi Coon.

By LEXI COON On Jan. 24, the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce held their Annual Chamber Luncheon at the Grand Bohemian Hotel. During the luncheon, the chamber announced new leadership and presented three awards to community members: Employee of the Year, the Tynes Award and the Jemison Visionary Award. At the beginning of the luncheon, 2016 chamber President Dan Bundy introduced attendees to the chamber president for 2017, Dr. Lori Smith. Smith has served as the executive vice president for the chamber for the past two years and as a director at large in the preceding years. “These are really big shoes that I’m about to fill. I’m honored to be in this position,” she said of taking Bundy’s place in the chamber. “I’ve realized that one of the things I think that makes this community so neat is this amazing partnership.” Sam Gaston then presented the first award, Employee of the Year. After receiving five nominations, the city chose to recognize Michael Gill Jr. Gill is a senior arborist in the Public Works Department and has been a part of the city for 10 years. Recently, he earned his degree in business management from Birmingham College and may continue on to law school, Gaston said. “Mountain Brook has always been a pleasure of mine,” Gill said. “I would not have been able to succeed in my job without the help of everyone ... I would like to say thank you to everyone for helping me achieve this award.” The following award, named after William Tynes, is given to someone who has

helped the Emmet O’Neal Library in many valuable ways. This year the award was presented not to a person, but a business: Western Supermarkets. “From beer tastings to helping us with events, they have helped make so many memorable events,” said library director Sue DeBrecht. “In the last 12 years, Western has donated over $160,000 to the Emmet O’Neal Library.” DeBrecht also said that in addition to donations, Western helped endlessly in the planning of different events, such as the Wine and Food Festival. “This is an honor, and we’re appreciative of the recognition,” said Western Supermarkets owner Ken Hubbard. “But this is a company award ... I want to recognize the people who make this happen.” Hubbard also presented DeBrecht with their contribution from their 2016 Wine and Food Festival that totaled more than $8,000, and Mike Royer, the emcee for the luncheon, recognized DeBrecht for her work with the library as she will be retiring in the near

future. The final award given during the luncheon was the Jemison Visionary Award. “All of our awards are important, but this, I suppose, has to be the most prestigious award we give out every year during our luncheon,” Royer said. The award was presented by Richard Yeilding, a successful businessman and active member in the Mountain Brook community, to longtime friend Hatton Smith, who has raised millions of dollars for different projects in the Birmingham community and is the CEO emeritus of Royal Cup Coffee. “To quote his brother Bill, there are not enough words in our language, or any language, to describe how valuable Hatton’s leadership has been to Royal Cup,” Yeilding said. He also described the work that Smith has done in the community, including raising money to reinstate the UAB football program, for the Rotary Trail and for the Mountain Brook City Schools system. “Hatton deserves to be called a billion-dollar man, in my opinion,” Yeilding said.


Luncheon The March Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce luncheon will feature All In Mountain Brook. All In Mountain Brook is a nonprofit organization that provides Mountain Brook students and parents with information on substance abuse, underage drinking, emotional and behavior problems and preventable accidents. All In Mountain Brook holds educational seminars throughout the community, and this will be the first time the organization will host a chamber luncheon. The chamber luncheon will be Thursday, March 16, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Tickets are $25 for an individual, or $500 for a table of eight. For more information on the event, contact the chamber at

Smith received his award to a standing ovation. “This award is really about collective vision,” he said. “Our challenge as we leave this luncheon is to grasp the future, to grasp collective vision, to dream big, to coalesce together, to set high aspirations and to move our city forward, and that’s what we’re going to do.” The next chamber luncheon will be March 16 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens with an All In Mountain Brook focus.

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Events About 50 participants of last year’s Ovarian Cycle Birmingham raised $20,000 for ovarian cancer research. Photo courtesy of Jenny McInerney.

Neuroscience Café brings science talks to Emmet O’Neal By LEXI COON

Move Toward a Cure event to raise funds for ovarian cancer research By LEXI COON On March 5, the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation will be hosting its 10th annual fundraiser, “Move Toward a Cure.” Previously called Ovarian Cycle Birmingham, the event now includes walking, running and a personal training challenge in addition to riding a stationary bike. Participants can register as individuals or teams, and they may spend one, two or three hours completing one exercise or alternating between the exercises. Jenny McInerney, executive director of the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation, said the event was designed to encourage more community involvement and engage more participants. “You don’t have to be a runner or athlete or an ovarian cancer survivor or family member

— each one of us can make a difference in the lives of many,” she said. “Move Toward a Cure is a meaningful and high-energy group indoor event that places participants in an open space together sweating and cheering for a common cause — a cure for ovarian cancer.” Last year, with about 50 participants, the event raised $20,000, McInerney said, and they hope to raise the same amount this year. Community members raise money as individuals on their own page after signing up for the event, and all money raised will be donated to ovarian cancer research in Birmingham. Move Toward a Cure is at the LJCC March 5 from 9 a.m. to noon, and food and refreshments will be available. Registration is available online at move-toward-a-cure.

On March 9, the Emmet O’Neal Library and UAB will come together to hold their second Neuroscience Café. Created by leadership with the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center at UAB, the program features a series of talks organized by Mountain Brook residents Dr. Peter King, professor of neurology at UAB, and Dr. Laura Volpicelli-Daley, assistant professor of neurology at UAB. The series was designed to inform communities on disease topics, King said, and is held at various local libraries. The upcoming lecture at EOL will cover “Substance Abuse and Addiction: From Molecular Mechanisms to Therapeutics,” and is led by Dr. Cayce Paddock, director of addiction psychiatry at UAB, and Dr. Jeremy Day, a UAB neuroscientist who is studying the regulation of genes involved in addiction. Other topics in the Mountain Brook series include depression, concussions in football, sleep disorders, autism, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. “These brain disorders have a high and often devastating impact on patients and their families,” King said. “UAB has a wealth of expertise in these brain disorders, both at the clinical and research level, and the café is an opportunity to inform the community about these disorders and the exciting progress that has been made in understanding the causes and advancing new treatments.” The café features a presentation designed to be understood by anyone with an interest in neuroscience without having a background

Dr. Cayce Paddock, above, and Dr. Jeremy Day, left. Photos courtesy of Jamie White, UAB.

in it, King said, but suggests people at high school age or older will benefit the most. The café starts at 6:30 p.m., and no registration is required. Subsequent Neuroscience Cafés will discuss autism on April 13 and Alzheimer’s on May 11. For more information, contact the Emmet O’Neal Library at 879-0459.

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Village Living

LJCC hosting Friendship Circle of Alabama Color Run

This year, runners in the V2V will follow a completely new route that finishes behind the Grand Bohemian Hotel. Photo courtesy of Village2Village. The LJCC is hosting a color run this March. Photo by Lexi Coon.

By LEXI COON On March 19, friends and family are invited to the Levite Jewish Community Center to celebrate friendship and inclusion with the Friendship Circle of Alabama’s inaugural Color4Friendship Color Run. The Friendship Circle of Alabama is a Jewish organization that helps children with special needs create lasting and fruitful friendships. The children spend time with teenage volunteers, who help the children build valuable friendships through their hours of fun spent together, said Rivky Novak, program director of Friendship Circle of Alabama. “A lot of them [the children] are missing those social skills to build friendships,” she said. “So many of these friendships are so sweet.” Novack said the Friendship Circle of Alabama previously held a marathon to

raise money for the organization but found not many people were able to participate in the event, so they created the 1-mile Color4Friendship run. The run is on the LJCC track, which means all abilities and ages can join in the fun, and the proceeds go toward the Friendship Circle of Alabama and the Community Youth Group at the LJCC. “It’s all about inclusion and friendships and stuff like that,” Novack said. “By doing this, everybody is able to join, and everybody is able to be a part of it.” Participants are encouraged to wear as much white as possible to show off the colors that will be thrown their way during the run, she said, and all are welcome to stay after for a festival with music and food. “No matter what, it’s going to be so much fun for everybody that’s there,” she said. The Circle4Friendship Color Run starts at 1 p.m., and participants can register online at


Village2Village race finds new course By LEXI COON In past years, the Village2Village race has started at the bottom of the hill in front of Lane Parke, which is difficult for experienced and novice runners, said race director Alex Morrow with Resolute Running. “The start is just daunting,” he said. Now, this year’s runners will be able to finish going down that same hill that previously proved a challenge. A shorter course was added as well that is 4.5 miles and follows a nearly identical route as the 10K. “That opens up this race to a whole world of folks who wouldn’t have participated otherwise,” Morrow said. When runners cross the finish line behind the Grand Bohemian, they will be welcomed into a post-race party at Lane Parke with live music, food from local restaurants, a kids’ zone and a finisher’s medal. “The whole goal is to make a community

party at the end of the race,” Morrow said. “It will be the best after-party in town.” But it isn’t just the runners who will have all the fun. This year, organizers are encouraging all houses and businesses along the race course to get involved. Morrow said he got the idea from the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans and said they will be giving awards for the places with the most spirit as they cheer on the athletes. Morrow also said they are working closely with their title sponsor, Schaeffer Eye Center, to offer free eye exams to disadvantaged children for each participant as a part of their Village2Village4Vision program. “You don’t realize what kind of need there is until you start talking to the folks at Schaeffer,” he said. “It’s a need that’s not being addressed.” Both races start at 7:30 a.m. on March 11, and runners can learn more and sign up at

March 2017 • A13


The Mountain Brook Tree Commission will be giving all firstgraders in the Mountain Brook school system an American beech sapling to celebrate the city’s public Arbor Day. Photo courtesy of Janet Forbes.

The Birmingham Zoo will soon be welcoming Khan, a jaguar from the Jacksonville Zoo. Photo courtesy of Dane Jorgensen.

City hosting Arbor Day giveaway

Birmingham Zoo welcoming new jaguar



In keeping with its Tree City USA title, the city of Mountain Brook and the Tree Commission will be giving away American beech tree saplings to local residents. “After 23 years as a Tree City USA, Mountain Brook has cultivated many residents who now annually eagerly anticipate receiving and planting the native trees the city has to offer,” said Sim Johnson, chairman of the Tree Commission. Four hundred saplings were grown from seeds collected from mature trees in Jemison Park and raised by local nurserywoman Rebecca Cohn with the help of Henry Hughes of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Friends of Jemison Park and the city. The week before the city’s public Arbor Day on March 18, 300 of the trees will be given to each first-grade student and teacher

in Mountain Brook’s elementary schools during an educational assembly, Johnson said. Because the trees are given to all first-grade students, he added they will later be evenly planted throughout the city limits. The remaining 100 trees will be available to the general public during Mountain Brook’s Arbor Day on March 18 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Mountain Brook Village Western Market, the Piggly Wiggly in Crestline, Whole Foods and the Piggly Wiggly in River Run. Southern red oaks, sweetbay magnolias, white oaks and red maples also will be available at the grocery stores. “We hope the city’s efforts reinforce for the public the many financial, health and aesthetic benefits of maintaining and protecting our native tree canopy,” Johnson said. “It is, after all, the duty of its current citizens to plant the next generation of native trees for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.”

This spring, the Birmingham Zoo will welcome a new member to its family: Khan. Khan is a 3-year-old male jaguar who will be transferred from the Jacksonville Zoo to Birmingham this spring and placed in his new exhibit in late March or early April. Zoos may acquire new animals for a number of reasons, such as the need to diversify the gene pool within a certain species of animal, said Kerry Graves, vice president of sales and marketing for the Birmingham Zoo. As an Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited zoo, the Birmingham Zoo is committed to following the Species Survival Plan, which makes sure the genetics of a species are diverse while promoting reproduction, said marketing coordinator Kiki Nolen-Schmidt. “The intent is … at least by the end of the year or the beginning of next year, to target a

female to bring down [to the zoo],” Graves said. Khan’s new home will be what is currently the gorilla exhibit in the social animal building. The exhibit will be renovated to include a water feature, Nolen-Schmidt said, and it will also have various educational components. Graves said the zoo’s educational department is also working on special programs about jaguars. “From an education standpoint … I bet a lot of people don’t know the difference between a jaguar, a leopard and a cheetah,” Graves said. “People need to know about them and appreciate them.” Because most of the world’s big cats are endangered, with only about 15,000 jaguars left in the wild, Graves said the zoo is hoping to increase conservation awareness with their new jaguar and eventually other big cats. “We’re just excited,” he said. “This will be our first [new] big cat exhibit in a while.”

A14 • March 2017

Village Living

Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens welcomes new director By LEXI COON

Tom Underwood will be serving as the new executive director for the Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Photo courtesy of Tom Underwood.

Starting this spring, Tom Underwood will be shifting from his position as executive director of the American Horticultural Society, or AHS, to a more community-oriented role as the new executive director of the Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. “The organization where I am right now is a national membership organization and has about 23,000 members across the country and is involved in a variety of educational programs,” he said during a February interview. “This is a chance to apply a lot of what I’ve learned here at the American Horticultural Society … to a more community-based organization.” Underwood is originally from California and got his start in horticulture at a young age after spending time with his grandmother, whom he mentioned was enthusiastic about gardening. “I’m sure you hear that a lot, but it’s actually true,” he said. He spent many of his summers as a nature counselor and worked as an intern at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania during the summer before his senior year as a horticulture major at California Polytechnic State University. Eventually his experiences led him to Walt Disney World. “Growing up in southern California, I wasn’t very far from Disneyland,” Underwood said. “Disneyland and Disney always had this special magic for me, and I thought ,‘Wow, that would be a really neat combination if I could combine horticulture and Disney.’” He picked up a temporary job at Disney World in Florida, just as more development on the properties started picking up. “That turned into a 20-plus year career,” he said. While working for Disney, Underwood continued school to earn his master’s

degree in science education. “I’ve always had a particular interest in informal education,” he said. He credits his style to his years at Cal Poly, which he said is a school known for its “learning by doing” education. “I really enjoy hands-on learning and experiences,” Underwood said. Now, he said he’s hoping to bring his experiences to Birmingham. “Birmingham has been on my radar screen for quite a while,” Underwood said. He has worked with board members of AHS who were from the city, and after learning more about Southern Living and its place in Birmingham while working at Disney, he said he became more familiar with the area. “When I saw the opportunity [to work here], I thought, ‘Wow, that could be neat,’” he said. “And the more I learned about it [the job], the more attractive it seemed.” As the new executive director of the Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which is the nonprofit organization of the gardens, Underwood will be working closely with the Parks and Recreation Department of the city of Birmingham and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. “It’s really kind of a gardening epicenter between these different things happening,” he said. “I hope that I can be a common thread that pulls the various interests together.” Underwood said he is looking forward to using his experiences at AHS to work with the gardens and to his transition to Birmingham, especially because of the variety of resources in the area and the momentum of the area. “You’ve got the zoo there; you’ve got the gardens; you’ve got this wonderful cultural hub,” he said. “I think it’ll be exciting for the gardens to be a part of that … it just really sets a tone for great things.”

March 2017 • A15

Emmet O’Neal earns Star Library title Gloria Repolesk, Marylyn Wright Eubank, Sue DeBrecht and Katie Moellering stand with Emmet O’Neal’s most recent award, a three-star rating by the national Library Journal. Photo by Lexi Coon.

By LEXI COON Just like many aspects of Mountain Brook, the Emmet O’Neal Library is always striving to do more for its community and be the best it can be. And this year, it paid off, as the Library Journal ranked Emmet O’Neal as a 2016 America’s Star Library for the first time in the library’s history. As the professional publication for libraries, the Library Journal compiles a list every year ranking libraries across the nation in each of their respective budget categories by looking at per capita circulation, said Sue DeBrecht, director of Emmet O’Neal Library. Emmet O’Neal’s budget places them in the category with libraries whose budget is between $1.5 million and $5 million, which included more than 1,400 libraries. Emmet O’Neal ranked 24th and earned a three-star rating, the highest ranking for libraries in their budget size in Alabama. “We’re just thrilled,” DeBrecht said. “I think it shows to the City Council that we’re good stewards of their money, and without their financial support and also without the community’s financial support, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this.” DeBrecht said although the library had not been ranked as a Star Library in past years, she still used the list to compare Emmet O’Neal’s recent activity with other libraries and plan what they could be doing to encourage even more community use. “If you’re just looking at what you do and how you compare what you do, it’s not different than a school system looking at test scores,” she said. “Everybody I know looks at this every year. This is how we compare ourselves.” One library in particular that DeBrecht compares Emmet O’Neal to is the Darien Library in Connecticut, which was ranked as a five-star library by Library Journal this year. “Their demographics are very similar as far as population and the number of advanced

degrees,” she said. “It’s a really good comparative.” She added that last summer, she asked the assistant director of the Darien Library to come to Mountain Brook to help with the library’s staff development, something that is important to Emmet O’Neal. “I’ve been saying this for so many years; it depends on your team,” she said. “If you come in and you don’t have a good experience,

you’re going to leave.” The good experiences and friendly staff helped add to the high numbers of circulation Emmet O’Neal saw during 2016 which named them as a three-star library. DeBrecht said their book collection helps propel their success, too. “The number of books we circulate is based on the number of books in our collection,” she said. “We wouldn’t have as many books in our collection if it wasn’t for the city.”

The Star Library ranking also comes at an opportune time as DeBrecht will be retiring this spring after working as the library’s director since 1989. After many years of her hard work, Emmet O’Neal was recognized on a national level. “It’s something that I’ve been striving to achieve for some time, and we finally have received it,” she said. “[I hope] we push ourselves and see what else we can do.”

A16 • March 2017

Village Living

St. Luke’s brings new service to old home By ERICA TECHO While portions of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church undergo renovations this spring, part of the church is returning to its roots. The Word, a modern service that started at St. Luke’s about a year ago, will move out of the church’s main campus and into Crestline Elementary School’s auditorium. “There’s some interesting symmetry to this in that St. Luke’s was born in Crestline Village,” said Rev. Rich Webster. “This church was born where the Emmet O’Neal Library still stands, in a farmhouse in 1949.” The church then moved to the well-known “red church” on Church Street and later held services and Sunday school in stores and other city buildings. “It’s hardwired into our history to be in the village and to use public spaces,” Webster said. “We used to have Sunday school in storefronts and in the fire stations, so this is really, in a lot of ways, we’re coming back home.” Renovations will be in the church’s educational facilities, reconfiguring rooms, rewiring and converting office space into classroom space. The church has a need for more education space for the high number of children and families in the church. “With the service growing, our day school has grown, too, so in the fall, they’ll begin their first 5K program,” said Johnailla Wright, assistant to the rector at St. Luke’s. The renovations will also add an outdoor pavilion to the church, which will be open to the public. “This will give something for older children, for tricycles, a covered area for a picnic on a rainy, warm afternoon,” Webster said. “I think it’ll be a good amenity.” When plans for renovations first started, the church was faced with discontinuing The Word or moving it to a new location. In the end, the decision to move to Crestline was easy. “Mainly, we didn’t want to stop the momentum of this fun service we’re having. … It

seems to be like a God-given opportunity to go back home to where we started,” Webster said. The Word combines traditional liturgy with modern songs and has received positive community feedback so far, Webster said. Since offering the new service, which takes place at the same time as St. Luke’s traditional cathedral service, between 100 and 150 new individuals have joined the congregation. Once they move to Crestline Elementary, The Word will be at 9 a.m., which Webster said he hopes encourages more people to stop by. They would be able to attend the 8 a.m. service at St. Luke’s, then run over to Crestline for The Word; or they could attend The Word and return to St. Luke’s for the second Sunday service. Having a service in the village, Webster said, is something they hope will attract new residents. “I hope that people will bring their friends and just walk over from the neighborhood,” he

said. “We like to say that this is a big experiment, but we like to say we’re adding value to the village experience just by bringing this to the school. We think that people will enjoy having it around, and anyone’s welcome to come play with us.” The word “play” is something Webster said he uses to describe The Word for a few reasons. “One, we’re still making this up as we go along,” he said. “Nothing is fixed. It’s teaching us, really.” Another reason The Word brings “play” to mind, Webster said, is because kids seem to enjoy the service. While there is a children’s chapel service to accompany cathedral worship, Webster said most children don’t want to leave during The Word. “They don’t even go away from their parents, so parents typically love it because it becomes intergenerational throughout the whole morning,” Webster said.

Above: The altar that will be used during St. Luke’s The Word service at Crestline Elementary was originally built in the 1940s. Left: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church has held services throughout Crestline Village, and during renovations at the church, one of its services will move back to its roots. Photos by Erica Techo.

The final reason, he said, is the combination of traditional with modern makes the experience joyful for most visitors. “People seem to smile throughout this,” he said. “It’s really a joyous experience of worship. I think if you can combine things people grew up with, old-timey words, centuries-old words, with a song you heard on the radio last month, it ends up being a really exuberant [experience].” The Word will move to Crestline Elementary starting March 5 and remain there throughout renovations at St. Luke’s. It starts at 9 a.m. in the auditorium.

March 2017 • A17

Mountain Brook author to publish 3rd book By ERICA TECHO Writers are often encouraged to write a draft and give their work some space before making final edits. Local author Stephen Russell took that advice to heart with the first book he ever wrote. From the first draft in 2004 to a publication date this March, Russell has waited nearly 13 years to publish “Control Group.” “I was very impatient after I wrote my first draft of this 13 years ago, but I can see the wisdom that I was given,” Russell said, who is also an associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at UAB. “I didn’t want to hear the wisdom I was given at the time, which was ‘set it aside, let it rest, come back to it and you’ll see it with a whole different set of eyes.’” “Control Group” is Russell’s third novel and follows Dr. Cooper “Mackie” McKay, the main character in his previous books, “Blood Money” and “Command and Control.” The Cooper McKay novels are medical thrillers, Russell said, and combine his personal experience as a physician with his love of thriller novels. When Russell first wrote the draft of “Control Group,” McKay’s character did not exist yet. His character was developed in the previous two novels, Russell said, so he had to return to the draft and both fit McKay into the story while rebuilding the world to fit McKay. Returning after 13 years and two other novels also allowed him to build some of the parts Russell said he could not articulate the first time around. “That distance of having written other things and continuing to come back to this manuscript has helped me see the shortcomings and hopefully offer some improvements,” he said. The story of “Control Group” has stuck with him for the longest amount of time,

Stephen Russell (above) will publish his third book, “Control Group,” this March. Photos courtesy of Stephen Russell.

Russell said. Not only because it was the first manuscript he completed, but also because of the themes of the story. “In many ways, it’s a redemption story, which in the medical field is not something that we spend a lot of time thinking about,” Russell said. “But it’s a universal story. It’s a universal tagline. I couldn’t really articulate that in the first draft.” In the novel, McKay is on the verge of becoming a well-known surgeon when his son dies. Amidst this emotional turmoil, he attempts to redeem his loss and family tragedy by working for a drug company developing a drug that could have saved his son’s life. As the novel progresses, however, McKay realizes the drug is not as safe or effective as it seemed. “That twist, of betrayal, I think drives the

novel,” Russell said, “and that discovery of betrayal drives the novel, but then what Mackie does with it is the redemption aspect of it.” As he looks toward the publication of a third novel, Russell said he sees the process as more fun than stressful. While the publication of a first book is thrilling, it is also frightening and leaves room for worry about who will read the book and what they will think, Russell said. The process has also made him more comfortable with edits and criticism, which in turn help improve his writing. “I hope, if we’re talking about three books from now, that I can look back and still see I’m growing as a writer,” he said. “If anything, I think my perspective with my third novel coming out three years after the first is

it’s a journey, not a destination.” That journey is set to continue, Russell said, with future novels on which wheels are already turning. “Mackie will have another story, and then hopefully he’ll step aside and make some room for some other characters,” Russell said. “Maybe a spinoff character.” “Control Group” comes out this March and will be available in print, eBook and audiobook formats. “Control Group” will be released on March 21, and Russell has two signings planned for April. On April 4, he will be at Little Professor Book Center’s new Homewood location from 5-7 p.m., and on April 9 he will hold a book talk at Emmet O’Neal Library from 2-3 p.m.

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Village Living



March 2017 • A19

SCHAEFFER EYE CENTER Schaeffer Eye Center Q: What is the Schaeffer EyeCare experience? A: Schaeffer Eye Center is a family-owned and operated optometry practice founded over 35 years ago with the mission of providing the very best in cutting edge vision care and style in the region. The Schaeffer EyeCare Experience is based on three core values: science, style and service, which enables us to take care of you and your entire family. Our doctors, clinicians, patient advocates and eyewear consultants are dedicated in providing you comprehensive eyecare, fashion forward eyewear and exemplary service. Q: What makes Schaeffer Eye Center unique? A: There are many attributes that make Schaeffer Eye Center a unique company. Patient care is at the root of everything we do, which is why Schaeffer Eye Center has a wide spectrum of services, convenient locations and office hours. What makes us really stand out is our team. The Schaeffer team builds and sustains relationships with every patient from check-in to check-out. We know insurance is confusing, and Schaeffer Eye Center patient advocates understand your insurance and billing process to eliminate confusion


and stress. Schaeffer Eye Center doctors and clinicians provide a thorough and efficient eye exam to ensure your eyes are healthy and seeing well, and Schaeffer Eye Center eyewear consultants personally help you through the selection processes of frames and sunglasses for your medical needs, facial features, lifestyle and budget. Q: What eye care services does Schaeffer Eye Center provide? A: Schaeffer Eye Center has a highly trained staff of doctors and clinicians to provide comprehensive eye exams that includes advanced medical testing for the entire family. The integration and use of advanced technology is an important part of what separates us from other optometry practices. We are able to detect and provide treatment options for glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration. Investing in advanced treatment options such as LipiFlow allows us to improve the quality of life for patients living with chronic dry eye conditions. Schaeffer Eye Center’s Pediatric Department offers vision therapy, myopia control, concussion management and



sports and reading acceleration. Schaeffer LaserVision provides the latest in LASIK surgery with one of the most experienced surgeons in the world conducting surgery on more than 80,000 patients, including 300 eye doctors. Schaeffer Eye Center also provides the largest selection

of contact lenses including toric, multifocal and specialty lenses, and the best selection of eyewear including exclusive brands such as SAMA, SALT. Optics, Robert Marc, Barton Perreira and l.a. Eyeworks. Q: What all does Schaeffer Eye Center support in the

community? A: As a local business, Schaeffer Eye Center truly embraces the communitycentric philosophy by supporting many organizations, nonprofits and events. Schaeffer Eye Center is a proud partner of The Birmingham Zoo, supporting the Schaeffer Eye Center Lorikeet Aviary and Wildlife Show. Schaeffer Eye Center commissioned the first piece of art at Red Mountain Park with the addition of Schaeffer Specs to accompany the Schaeffer Eye Center Segway Tours. It is vital for the growth and betterment of our communities to support what is important to our staff and patients. We contribute to numerous nonprofits and organizations including the Arthritis Foundation, Lupus Foundation and American Cancer Society, Camp SAM, Children’s Harbor, Junior League of Birmingham, school athletic programs and Alabama Symphony Orchestra to name a few. Schaeffer Eye Center is also the title sponsor for the Village 2 Village 10K in Mountain Brook on March 11th, where we will also donate eyecare services to economically disadvantaged children in the community on behalf of registrants.

A20 • March 2017

Village Living


THERAPYSOUTH 205 Country Club Park 3800 River Run Drive Q: What do physical therapists do and how can they help with an injury? Physical therapists are experts at treating movement disorders, including problems with your muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and/or tendons. After a thorough evaluation, your therapist will decide which exercises and hands-on techniques are needed to maximize your ability to function normally. Q: What are some common misconceptions about physical therapy? Many patients think they can only access their physical therapist by referral from a physician. Based on a state law passed in 2012, patients no longer need a referral to see their physical therapist. Call us for an appointment today to discuss your problem. If you do see a physician first, ask them if physical therapy would help your condition. Many times, physical therapy can help you avoid having to take medications that may cause unwanted side effects. Early intervention may also save money and time in the long run. Many patients think that therapy only consists of exercises that are difficult and painful. Specific exercises that address your individual needs are important to your recovery, but good therapy also consists of handson techniques including manipulation, mobilization, myofascial release, massage, manual stretching, dry needling, instrument assisted soft tissue massage, therapeutic taping and other skilled techniques. Throughout the course of your care, we will advance your exercises appropriately as your pain levels allow. We also use modalities such as heat, ice, electrical stimulation, spinal decompression/traction, ultrasound and iontophoresis. Q: How successful is physical therapy in pain management? Most of our patients come to us with pain. Unfortunately, many of the



dysfunctions we treat start long before the pain shows up. You can even have pain in an area that is removed from the dysfunction (called referred pain). We are experts in helping you manage and overcome pain so you can return to your normal activities. In some cases, pain is a sign of injury or a normal part of the healing process. Following your evaluation, your therapist will help explain your pain and show you ways to minimize or eliminate it. Q: Can physical therapy eliminate the need for surgery? In some instances, physical therapy can prevent surgery. For example, if a patient has a shoulder that subluxes or has too much movement in the joint, therapy can help by strengthening the rotator cuff and other surrounding muscles to tighten the shoulder joint, preventing the excessive movement. In many cases, therapy prior to surgery or “pre-hab” is also helpful. This allows time for your body to prepare for the surgery and usually results in better outcomes following surgery. Q: What are some of the main reasons people need physical therapy? A: ► Back pain/bulging discs ► Arthritis ► Balance problems and/or falls ► Tendonitis ► Sports injuries ► Headaches ► Plantar fasciitis ► Muscle strains/ligament sprains ► Bursitis ► Car accidents ► Post-surgical rehab ► Work-related injuries ► Work-place injury prevention and testing ► Ergonomic assessment ► Education and knowledge about body structure and performance ► Injury prevention ► Dizziness

Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

► Proper exercises and technique ► Pelvic pain ► Breast cancer rehab ► TMJ/TMD ► Sciatica ► Parkinson’s Q: What sets TherapySouth apart from other physical therapy clinics? A: TherapySouth was founded on a set of core values that guide the way we do business: faith, family, integrity, service, compassion, fitness, perseverance and giving. Our therapists strive to provide a warm, friendly and professional environment to facilitate your recovery. And our 24 convenient clinic locations with more than 60 physical therapists provide you with hands on care, close to home and work! Q: How much training do physical therapists go through? A: Following undergraduate studies, therapists complete three additional years of training to achieve their doctorate degree in physical therapy. Many therapists also complete postgraduate specialization training in manual therapy, functional dry needling and ergonomics, to name a few. Q: Who should I go see when I have an injury or pain? A: Your physical therapist is a great resource to help with any of your musculoskeletal needs. If you have been experiencing pain for more than two weeks, you should seek help. Frequently, the course of treatment is much quicker when the problem is addressed early on.

If the condition is outside of our scope of practice, we will help guide you to the appropriate medical professional. Q: Can physical therapy help with chronic pain or old injuries? A: Absolutely! Ideally, patients will seek therapy early on, but should you be dealing with a chronic condition that has been bothering you for months or years, we can still help. Q: Once I start physical therapy, how long will I need to attend? A: Your physical therapist will discuss this with you following your evaluation on your first visit. In most cases, patients attend therapy 2-3 times per week, but the frequency and length of care depend on the patient’s specific problem and needs. Your therapist will set reasonable goals for you to achieve prior to discharge.


March 2017 • A21

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Village Living



UAB MEDICINE - BREAST HEALTH CENTER 1824 Sixth Ave. S. When 35-year-old Michelle Simmons scheduled her yearly checkup with her primary care physician earlier this year, she asked a question that may have saved her life: “Is it time for me to have a mammogram?” “I don’t really know why I asked because, to be honest, my family history with breast cancer wasn’t on my mind,” said Simmons, an elementary school teacher in Odenville, Alabama. “Both of my grandmothers had it, but they had it later in life. I didn’t think I would have cancer at 35. I had heard of other women asking if they should have a mammogram when they turned 35, so I just thought I would ask.” Simmons’ mammogram showed a suspicious spot that was ultimately diagnosed as ductal carcinoma in situ, the most common type of noninvasive cancer. About 60,000 cases of DCIS are diagnosed in the United States each year, accounting for about one out of every five new breast cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society. The number of cases of DCIS is growing each year, in part because more women are getting mammograms, and the quality of the mammograms has improved. “With better screening, more cancers are being spotted early,” said Helen Krontiras, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Breast Health Center. “It is important for women to know their family’s cancer history, share it with their doctor every year and get their mammogram if they meet the recommended guidelines.”



What are the questions women need to ask their primary care physician about their breast health, or their oncologist if they are diagnosed with cancer? Krontiras and Erica StringerReasor, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, give these four recommendations: Q: Can I tell you my family history with breast cancer? A: If your primary care physician does not ask about your family’s history of cancer, ask to share it. “Every woman should know her family history of cancers, especially breast, ovarian, uterine, colon and prostate cancer, and she needs to share this information with her physician,” Reasor said. “These cancers tend to cluster

Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week


in families with hereditary cancer syndromes. When physicians know this, it will enable them to calculate the lifetime risk of breast cancer or other cancers and refer patients to the appropriate screening test.” Q: What are the warning signs of breast cancer? A: Lumps on the breast or under the arms are not the only signs that something may be wrong. “Some of the warning signs of breast cancer include itching or bloody discharge from the nipple, inverting of the nipple, wrinkling of the skin on the breast, painless redness around the breast or a change in breast volume — either shrinking breast size or enlarging of breast size,” Reasor said. Q: How often should I get

a mammogram, and at what age do I start? A: When Simmons asked her doctor about getting a mammogram, she was quizzed on her family history. “Women with a strong family history of breast cancer on either side of their family may want to start screening earlier than the American Cancer Society guideline of women ages 40 to 69 years,” Krontiras said. “Some early-stage breast cancers are found only by advanced imaging techniques including mammograms, ultrasounds or MRI of the breast, so it is especially important for women in the 4069 age range to get their yearly mammogram.” Q: Now that I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, what type do I have?

A: There are many different types of breast cancer, and many different types of treatment options available depending on the diagnosis. Most breast cancers are carcinomas, a type of cancer that starts in the cells that line organs and tissues like the breast. Other types of cancer occur in the breast, too, such as sarcomas, which start in the cells of muscle, fat or connective tissue. Regardless of what type of breast cancer a woman is diagnosed with, Krontiras says to not make snap decisions without thoroughly investigating all options. “While the diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming, it’s important to not rush into medical treatment decisions based on fear,” Krontiras said. “Women should bring a close family member or friend to their doctor’s appointment to help them better understand their treatment options, which could include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or hormone blocking therapy.” Simmons’ cancer was caught early enough that she did not require chemotherapy or radiation treatments. She did, however, opt to have a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Simmons is now cancer-free and encourages all women to engage their doctors about their health concerns and never be afraid to ask questions. “You have to be an advocate for your health,” Simmons said. “If you have questions, ask them. Your questions may help start a conversation with your doctor that could save your life.”


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A24 • March 2017

Village Living


ERGOSCIENCE PHYSICAL THERAPY 201 Office Park Drive, Suite 150


Q: How is ErgoScience different from other physical therapy offices in Birmingham? A: I think what really sets us apart is our focus on the patient — you — your goals and needs and what you want to get out of physical therapy. We then put the science of hands-on therapy to work for you. Some places forget it’s all about the patient. If you don’t focus on the “you” in patient, you miss the boat. Q: What services do you offer? A: We have a holistic approach: In addition to a primary focus on manual therapy and exercise, we offer state-of-the-art adjunct treatments such as dry needling therapy, instrumented soft tissue work and cold laser therapy. We also offer motion-sensor assessment that provides objective, detailed information on movement and muscle activity. It brings a level of precision to the assessment that you can’t achieve with the naked eye. This allows us to more closely track your progress and better understand the underlying dysfunction. It’s technology that previously was available only to elite athletes. And now ErgoScience is offering it to the general public.

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Q: Do I need a referral? A: It’s not required for a onetime evaluation but is required for consecutive treatments. Q: What will my insurance cover? A: All insurance plans are different, but most cover some portion of physical therapy. We verify coverage and patient costs prior to starting therapy to eliminate surprises. We never want the cost of treatment to keep someone from feeling better — so we try to work with all carriers and/or develop private pay options.



Q: What diagnoses do you treat? A: We treat almost all musculoskeletal and neurological diagnoses. Many of our patients have multiple diagnoses. Often it’s not just one problem; dysfunction in one area can lead

to problems in an adjacent joint or muscle. If we can’t treat the problem, we will find someone who can. We work with triathletes, pregnant patients with low back pain, chronic neck and back, geriatric patients and kids who are athletes.

Q: Could you tell us about your staff? A: We have physical therapists, a certified hand therapist, physical therapy assistants and technical staff with kinesiology, exercise science and nutrition backgrounds. We address not only the primary problem, we also educate our patients on the impact of general health, fitness and wellness. When you come in, you can expect to be seen by a PT and PTAs. Our treatment is consistent, and we do our best to keep you with same therapist. Q: What are some of the most common problems that you see? A: The top things we see are plantar fasciitis, chronic neck

and back pain, rotator cuff issues and knee pain. We see patients who have undergone surgery for a variety of orthopedic conditions. Q: How soon should people seek physical therapy after suffering with pain? A: The sooner you come in, the easier it is to fix the problem. Lots of folks wait too long. They think they can take pain medication or rest and the problem will go away. Nine times out of 10, it doesn’t, and even if the acute pain resolves, people are left with muscle tightness and weakness that makes the problem come back. If they address the underlying problems to the pain with physical therapy, they can avoid a lot of future aches and pains, especially as they get older. Q: How can people know if physical therapy is right for them? A: A lot of people aren’t sure if physical therapy is a fit for them and their diagnosis. And my response is: 1) Problems involving muscles, tendons, bone or nerves; and that 2) interfere with your function are problems physical therapy can fix. Physical therapy as a whole is under-utilized. Lots of people don’t realize that physical therapy can keep them moving and active, free of pain.



JJ EYES 2814 18th St. S.


Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Q: What sets your office apart from other Birmingham area eye care providers? A: JJ Eyes is one of the only eye exam facilities in the region where the patient receives 100 percent of the eye testing from a doctor. We offer a complete eye exam given by our optometrist. The exam involves a series of tests designed to evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases. Q: What services do you offer? A: At JJ Eyes, we offer full service eye exams and specialized contact lens fittings, as well as help with difficult prescriptions. In addition, we carry a wide variety of designer eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses in our boutique. To find out more about booking an eye exam, feel free to call our office, where one of our highly trained staff members will be happy to assist you. Q: What technological advances do you offer to help provide the best care? A: At JJ Eyes, we not only supply a wide selection of unique designer eyewear, but we also utilize the latest in state-of-the-art technology to provide you with the best and most protective eyewear available. The following are some of the latest technologies available at our eyewear boutique: Ultra-Thin High Index lenses; Progressive lenses; UV protection; antireflective coatings; and a wide variety of other products from both Carl Zeiss and Hoya Labs. Q: What should patients know before they come in for an appointment? A: Our complete eye exams generally take about 20 minutes to complete and involve a series of tests designed to evaluate your vision and check for eye

diseases. Each test during the eye exam evaluates a different aspect of your vision or eye health. We also have parking in the rear of the building, and at JJ Eyes you never have to wait for your appointment. Q: What is your advice for helping patients improve their eye health? A: Scheduling a regular eye exam is essential, not only for keeping your eyes at peak performance, but for keeping your whole body healthy and happy. At JJ Eyes, our highly trained optometrist professionals can detect a variety of additional health issues when conducting an eye exam including heart disease and diabetes. That level of importance extends to children, as well. Q: How does your staff contribute to a great patient experience? A: Our goal at JJ Eyes is to provide the ultimate customer experience and quality merchandise with state-of-the-art lenses and couture frames. We are a premier optical boutique that carries exclusive top lines found only in the world’s most metropolitan areas. We pride ourselves on our customer service where we take the time to evaluate each client’s face shape, coloring and personality when fitting for a pair of glasses.

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A26 • March 2017

Village Living


WEIGH TO WELLNESS 4704 Cahaba River Road


Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Q: What is Weigh to Wellness? A: A medically supervised weight loss clinic offering a customized approach with various options including nutritional guidance, protein supplements/meal replacements, prescription medications and injections among many other tools. Our program is uniquely individualized based on your health characteristics, lifestyle and weight loss goals. Whether a patient is looking to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, we have a plan for you!

prescription medication (if applicable) or injections that may enhance weight loss. Everything is a la carte! There are NO CONTRACTS and NO SIGN UP FEES.

Q: Who is on the Weigh to Wellness staff? A: Owner Leslie Ellison has acquired a wealth of knowledge with over 21 years of experience in the industry. Dr. Timothy H. Real is the medical director and is board certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine. We also have fulltime Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists. Our staff is able to recognize many psychological and genetic factors that cause obesity and design processes specific to each of our patients for the best results.

Q: Do I have to follow a specific meal plan or keep a food diary? A: There are many options offered, but the patient picks and chooses the aspects of the program that best fits their lifestyle. Benefits to keeping a food diary are detecting food intolerance, controlling portion sizes, keeping you mindful of nutrition and often identifying triggers to unhealthy eating. Patients who keep a food journal typically lose twice the amount of weight of those that don’t.

Q: What results do patients typically have? A: Patients typically lose an average of 2-5 pounds weekly. It is inspiring to see how excited our patients get when they see great

Q: Does the program have one-on-one counseling that will help develop healthier habits? A: Yes. Patients are typically seen on a weekly or biweekly basis for one-on-one counseling and behavior modification. Accountability and structure is key to every patient’s success.

DR. TIMOTHY H. REAL AND LESLIE ELLISON results. It keeps them motivated and focused! Since opening in June of 2014 we have celebrated over 15,000 pounds lost! Q: How much does the program cost? A: A medical evaluation which includes an EKG, lab tests, body

composition analysis and a physical with Dr. Real is required to start any program — the fee for the medical evaluation is $130. Programs can range from $13-$100 weekly. Costs vary depending on if the patient chooses to use any meal replacements, protein snacks,

Q: Do I have to buy special meals or supplements? A: No, but Weigh to Wellness does offer convenient meal replacements and protein snacks. Most patients love these healthy options because they

are great for grab and go! Q: Does the program provide ways to deal with such issues as social or holiday eating, changes to work schedules, lack of motivation, and injury or illness? A: Yes. There is no perfect time to diet. Our experienced staff is used to working around any of these issues. We encourage each of our patients to think of it as a lifestyle change, not necessarily a diet! Q: Will Dr. Real work with my health care provider if needed (for example, if I lose weight and my blood pressure medications need to be adjusted)? A: Absolutely. We are happy to follow up with your primary care doctor or specialist at any time with your consent. Q: Does the program include a plan to help me keep the weight off once I’ve lost weight? A: “I can’t think of one thing I love that I don’t have to maintain — the oil in my car, the grass on my lawn, the paint on my home,” Ellison said. Yes, we offer a FREE lifetime maintenance program and it is the most important part of the program. Patients can continue to come weekly, biweekly or monthly for maintenance and there is no charge!

ABENOJA ORTHODONTICS 8000 Liberty Parkway 969-1969

Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon

Q: What are the different types of braces, and how do patients choose the right type? A: There are many ways to create a beautiful smile, but the appliances that we use the most are metal brackets, ceramic brackets and Invisalign. Patients usually have an idea of what kind of experience they want to have with their braces, and it has a lot to do with their age and lifestyle. They are all great options. Q: Are there new products that you are excited about? A: I am super excited about my new ceramic bracket. It is strong and translucent and very attractive on the teeth. Also, Invisalign is continually making improvements to clear aligner therapy. Q: What is the most frequent question you get from patients, and what is your answer? A: “When I am getting my braces off?!” And, my answer is usually, “When your teeth, bite and smile are perfect!” Q: How does orthodontic treatment impact patient lives in the long run? A: Orthodontics is more than just straightening teeth. We are treating jaw and bite issues in addition to moving teeth. As a board-certified orthodontist, I am committed to the highest level of patient care. Orthodontics improves aesthetics for a better smile and facial appearance, which can enhance selfconfidence and self-esteem. Q: When should patients see an

March 2017 • A27


LOVELL PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY 1900 28th Ave. S., Suite 109, Homewood 957-6611

Monday, Thursday, Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Q: What drew you to pediatric dentistry, and what do you enjoy about your practice? A: Growing up, I had a close relationship with my dentist. He knew what kind of toothpaste I liked and which I didn't like; he also let me play with the buttons. That relationship inspired me to become a dentist, and I hope to develop similar relationships with my patients at Lovell Pediatric Dentistry.

DR. CHRISTINE ABENOJA orthodontist? A: Age 7 is a great time for an initial orthodontic visit. Interceptive treatment may be appropriate for some. At this time we can also identify subtle problems in jaw growth and possibly guide the jaw growth. Q: Other than cosmetics, what are the health benefits of orthodontics? A: Orthodontics can help prevent or improve periodontal problems by stopping bone loss around teeth. We can prepare the teeth and arches for the general or cosmetic dentist to do their best work. Orthodontics can improve the function of the teeth and improve oral health.

8000 Liberty Parkway Vestavia Hills 205.969.1969


orthodontics with a

At Abenoja Orthodontics, our top priority is to provide you the highest quality orthodontic care in a friendly, beautiful environment. We utilize the latest technological advances in the industry, such as ceramic braces, along with the latest in computer technology to ensure that you receive the most effective care possible. Whether you’re an adult, adolescent or child, Dr. Abenoja and her staff are committed to helping you achieve the smile you deserve — a healthy, beautiful one!

Dr. Christine Abenoja, Board Certified

Q: Tell us about Gracie the therapy dog and her role with patients. A: Gracie is a 3-yearold golden retriever who comes to work with me to serve as a therapy dog in the office. Gracie’s main role is greeting patients as they come into the office, but she is available for patients before and after treatment. We’ve noticed it’s not just the children who like Gracie; she’s popular with adults who may be a little nervous, as well. Q: How do you ensure a great experience for your patients? A: I think we've created a nonintimidating environment where people are not afraid to come to the dentist. I enjoy it when families return for visits

DR. ADRIAN LOVELL WITH GRACIE and the parents tell me their children “couldn't wait to come and see Gracie,” or that, “All he talked about was brushing the alligator's teeth,” (referring to a toy alligator with larger-than-life teeth and toothbrush). We try to treat people the way we would like to be treated. One of the best compliments I receive is when a parent looks at me after I treat their child and says, “I wish I had a dentist like you when I was growing up.”

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Village Living

MOUNTAIN BROOK SMILES 120 Office Park Drive, Suite 240 423-9140

Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Q: Dr. Wes Samford, what drew you to the field of dentistry? A: My father was a physician. I grew up in the small town of Opelika and wanted to be just like my Dad. I knew I wanted to be in the health field like him. When he suggested considering other health professions other than medicine, dentistry seemed perfect to me. I could take care of patients but still maintain a balance between work and personal life. Q: How do your cosmetic services improve patent lives? A: I have literally seen lives change with the improvement of their smile. I feel like one of the first impressions a person makes is with their smile, and I have seen people accomplish goals with the confidence they gain with a great smile. Q: How does your office atmosphere contribute to your patients’ experience? A: We have designed a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere, which helps our guest experience a “comfortable dental visit.” We have amenities such as warm blankets, hand paraffin wax, music, relaxing gas and eye pillows, among others that all add to a great experience. Q: How do you distinguish yourself from other Birmingham area practices?

A: I truly believe it is our team of caring professionals that make our practice special. We have not only the most skilled people in each position, but each person sincerely cares about their patient’s well being. Q: What would you like patients to know before coming into your office for an appointment? A: I would want patients to know that we are not only interested in their having healthy teeth, but we are dedicated to their total health and well being. We will design a custom plan for their oral health that is financially affordable and will provide a lifetime of comfort, aesthetics and function. Q: What is your favorite part of your job? A: What I enjoy most in dentistry is being a part of the transformation of a new, unhealthy, apprehensive patient to a relaxed, totally healthy individual who will have a healthy, pretty smile for life.

March 2017 • A29

Faith Life Actually By Kari Kampakis

Tips for tryouts: Confidence, courage and community It’s that time of year again: when girls and guys across the country are gearing up for tryout season and getting physically and mentally prepared. And while I can’t help anyone with physical preparations, I can offer a few thoughts for the mental part. Here are three words to keep in mind: ► Confidence ► Courage ► Community Confidence is feeling good about yourself and your abilities. It’s that sense that you are capable of rising to meet a challenge. To build confidence, you must try. You must put yourself out there and accept the risk of failure. While it’s certainly safer to not try ― and simply sit on the sidelines as other people take risks ― that won’t build confidence. If anything, it’ll stir up jealousy as other people succeed with their attempts. Confidence grows when you face your fears and come out stronger on the other side. It comes from setting goals, working hard to reach your goals, pushing through self-doubt and surprising yourself by learning new skills beyond your comfort zone.

Confidence plays a huge role in your performance during tryouts. When you believe in yourself it shows. It also gives you a special dynamic that helps you to stand out in a crowd. So rather than imagine the worst, picture yourself at your best. Remember how hard you’ve worked, and think about the times when you accomplished a new milestone that made you stop and think, “Wow, I can’t believe I just did that! I’ve come a long way since I started.” Courage is facing your fears even when you’re scared. It’s stepping out to take a chance despite not knowing what the outcome will be. My parents always encouraged me and my siblings to be courageous with tryouts. They believed the experience itself could teach us valuable life skills that we’d need. Before any big event, my father would tell me, “Just do your very best, and leave the results to God.” For me, that took the pressure off. It kept me focused on what I could control instead of the final outcome. I agree that tryouts are never a waste. Whether you make the cut or not, you still gain important skills ― like learning to

perform under pressure ― that can be beneficial later when you interview for jobs, give a speech or do something else that requires your best presentation possible even if you’re nervous or scared. Tryouts are really a chance to practice being brave. Every small act of courage leads to bigger acts of courage, and that may really pay off down the road. Community is looking beyond yourself to connect with other people. It’s understanding how much stronger you are together than you could ever be alone. Competition naturally breeds comparisons. And when you try out for a team, it’s natural to rank yourself against others and feel better or worse as a result. Either way, however, comparison isn’t helpful, and what it ultimately does is create division and isolation instead of unity and support. It’s better ― and more fun ― to approach tryouts with a sense of solidarity and understand how the goal for everyone is to perform at their personal best. The best part of chasing a dream or making a team are the friendships you develop along the way and by adopting a team mindset early, you cultivate a culture

where people may actually encourage and motivate each other. In short, trying out for a team can be exciting and nerve-wracking. It can stretch you in new directions and push you to the brink. Whatever happens, God has a plan for you, and the activities and passions you enjoy today are just a small part of that plan and a prelude to much bigger events that will manifest with time. So be confident, show courage and embrace community. Have faith in yourself and the dreams in your heart, knowing that as long as you do your personal best, you can leave the results to God. Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a Birmingham area mom of four girls, columnist and blogger for The Huffington Post. She has written two books for teen and tween girls, “LIKED: Whose Approval Are You Living For?” and “10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know,” that are available online and everywhere books are sold. You can join Kari’s Facebook community at “Kari Kampakis, Writer,” visit her blog at or contact her at kari@

A30 • March 2017 MULLINS

CONTINUED from page A1 taken office,” said Fire Marshal Leland Rhudy. “He’s improving that direction; he’s making progress in that direction, but he’s just continued on with different ideas and his style of leadership.” Rather than completely reform and restructure the department, Deputy Chief Stacey Cole said Mullins is building on momentum. “I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to say that Chief Ezekiel, he laid down the foundation for us,” Cole said. “So the changes we’ve had, yes, we’ve had changes, but it’s something that was a plan of his that was laid down 20 years ago.” Some changes followed the retirement of 11 top managers and promotions that resulted. When the managers retired, 46 people had to be moved. Rather than make the changes himself, Mullins asked for input. “This was the first time we had the whole E-staff, the executive staff, sitting in the room to make the moves,” Mullins said. “I didn’t make the moves because I don’t know those talents as well. I don’t know those personalities. …The shift commanders know that.” One reason he is able to reach out to others for input, he said, is the staff Ezekiel built. “It’s decentralized management,” Mullins said. “It’s not all at the end of the hall, in my office. Back when Chief Ezekiel took over here, he didn’t have all of those players, so he had to do all of that. But now, through the years of hiring and promoting the right people … now we can push those decisions out, and I don’t have to do everything anymore.” Some personnel changes also have been improvements for the department’s level of service, Cole said. Now, all company officers are lieutenants as well as paramedics, which is a first for the department. There is also a paramedic on the ladder truck at all times. “I think it’s providing a better service for the community, absolutely,” Cole said. “It’s providing better coverage for us.” Getting the ladder truck at Station 1 ALS (advanced life support) certified is one of the top accomplishments of the year, Mullins

Village Living said. Of MBFD’s 63 employees, 51 are paramedics, so it was all a matter of rearranging who was on the truck. “We said, ‘Hey, let’s put medics on the ladder truck. Let’s put some ALS equipment on the ladder truck,’” Mullins said. “So if Engine 1 is out, Ladder 1 can pick up the call. So really, what it did, it doubled our advanced life support capabilities in Station One territory.” Other projects he is proud of include creating a new logo for the department and establishing a more thorough physical exam for firefighters, Mullins said. The new logo includes symbols representing the department, including two crossed axes to show they’re ready for battle and a Spartan helmet showing support for the city and school. “It’s just a lot of symbolism,” Mullins said. “It really creates pride in who we are.” The new physical, which includes more screening and testing to aid in early detection, is a way to keep the department’s most important resource healthy, Mullins said. “The most important resource in our department is our people, and we will do everything possible to keep our people safe and healthy, and not only when they’re working,” he said. The steps Mullins has taken in his first year are the first steps in what will remain as his legacy, Cole said. And that is a legacy he believes will be strong. “Really, this is Chief Ezekiel’s legacy,” Cole said. “Chief Mullins’ legacy will be 10 years from now. And I’m seeing these young guys come in now that we hired last year … and let me just tell you, the quality of these guys we brought on? This place is going to be in better shape when we step out of the way because of the quality of the guys.” But as he looks toward the future, Mullins said his goal is not to establish a legacy for himself — it’s to continue growing the department in a positive direction. “When people see the department, I don’t want them to see me,” Mullins said. “I want them to see the department. I want to make the department the best it could be for when I hand it off, that somebody else can take the helm and go forward and make it even better.”

Fire Chief Christopher Mullins listens during a Jan. 31 staff meeting at the Mountain Brook Fire Department in Crestline VIllage. The steps Mullins has taken in his first year are the first steps in what will remain as his legacy, Deputy Chief Stacey Cole said. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.

March 2017 • A31

Mountain Brook members of the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts met with Mayor Stewart Welch on Feb. 2 as he presented them with signed one-million dollar bills to start his Million Dollar Bill initiative. The Scouts were then given a piece of candy and a tour of City Hall. Photo by Lexi Coon.


CONTINUED from page A1


Welch admitted the city website, at, isn’t the easiest to navigate. “I want to make it Apple easy,” he said. The website includes standard city happenings and contact information for different members of the local government, but Welch wants to make it even more resident friendly. He said that generally, if someone visits the website, they are looking for something or someone in particular. He wants to introduce city officials to the public by making their contact information and a short biography more readily available. “I’d like to make it really prominent,” he said. “I want to be able to see who the people are.” Welch also wants to incorporate local Mountain Brook businesses on the website by helping them promote their sales and specials in a central location. “The thing is that we have so many unique shops and restaurants here across all of our shopping centers,” he said. “And what I want to do is to … connect those businesses to the residents.” He said he’s hoping to connect local students, too.


Leadership Mountain Brook works closely with the city’s Chamber of Commerce for a program that delves into civic government and business, and now members are working with Welch to help create the Mayor’s Youth Citizenship Award. “My vision is that it would be like a class, and at the end of it there would be a certificate,” he said. Through the program, Welch said selected students would spend time with different departments within the city government to really get a feel for what each person does. After meeting with members of Leadership Mountain Brook on Feb. 13, he tentatively chose to work grades eigh through ten to avoid competition with Leadership Mountain Brook. Welch said his hope would be to include students from all Mountain Brook schools, not just the city schools, and while an official plan is still in development, Welch and Leadership Mountain Brook discussed adding a volunteering element and program meetings outside of school hours. “I think it [the program] would be a great exercise, and some people might come out of that and have some interest in the city government down the road,” he said. Welch has even put in motion a plan to get the youngest residents and their families interested in their local government.


Welch drafted this idea while he was at

The idea was to find 100 people like me: adults, citizens who care about the city and are willing to be involved.


Brookwood Forest Elementary when they were honoring Veterans Day and children and families were all around him. He called it his “million-dollar idea.” As he meets more and more young Mountain Brook residents, he plans on talking with them and saying, “You’re a million-dollar person,” and handing them a $1 million bill with his signature on the back. “I’m meeting people all the time, and they have kids with them,” he said. “They can take it [the bill] to City Hall … and get candy for it.” Recently, Welch decided the mayoral candy of Mountain Brook will be Starbursts, “because we expect all of our Mountain Brook kids to become stars,” he said. By doing this, he said it gets the families out to City Hall, and it introduces the kids to local officials and the city government. He’s hoping he can tie in certain fun yet educational components, such as an interactive city-wide scavenger hunt or collector’s cards about Mountain Brook. Welch added that as of right now, he hasn’t put the entirety of the project together, but he does have one more idea to encourage more community involvement.


“I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and say, ‘I want to help,’ or ‘What can I do to help?’” Welch said. With their help, he wants to encourage greater event attendance and support for the Mountain Brook community through his idea, the Circle of 100. “The idea was to find 100 people like me: adults, citizens who care about the city and are willing to be involved,” he said. If there is an event happening, Welch said he would send an email to his list of 100 people, and they would forward that email or share a post on social media so their list of friends is aware of the event, too. “If everybody just got two or three of their friends to come, then all of a sudden you take something that’s well attended, and you make it really well attended,” he said. But much like the purpose of his Facebook account or the website, all of his ideas come down to an ease of communication throughout the city across all fronts: Students, parents and government officials all have a role. “If you’re in real estate, it’s ‘location, location, location,’” he said. “My mantra is communication, communication, communication.”

Village Living


B MARCH 2017

Sports B4 School House B7 Camp Guide B11 Calendar B18

Bidding farewell Sue DeBrecht retiring after 25 years as EOL director By LEXI COON “I’ve always been a reader. I mean, imagine that,” said Sue DeBrecht, director of the Emmet O’Neal Library. She has been around books all her life, and specifically the books of Mountain Brook for the past 31 years. Now, she’s retiring. DeBrecht started her library career at 15, when she worked as a library page at her local library. While studying history at the University of Kentucky, she continued working at the school’s library, and eventually earned her master’s degree in library science from the University of Missouri. Only a few years later, she was head of the Talking Book Library, a library for the blind and physically handicapped, in Louisville. Since then, she has earned numerous awards, including the Silver Anvil Award for Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America, the Award for Exceptional Service from the Library and Media Professionals and, most recently, the title of Alabama Library Association Eminent Librarian in 2012. “[That title] is given to who they deem the most important librarian in the state based on my accommodations for the state and what I’ve done for my library,” DeBrecht said. And DeBrecht has done a lot for the Emmet O’Neal Library. After joining EOL in 1985 as the children’s librarian, she was promoted to director in 1989. The building itself had been added onto many times to accommodate for the community, and DeBrecht realized it needed to be renovated.

“I knew this community deserved better,” she said. “And when you’re in a community of well-educated, well-read residents, the library needs to reflect that, and the library staff needs to reflect that.” She started by raising staff salaries and increasing the book budget, and not long after, she looked to building an entirely new library. “We just needed more space,” DeBrecht said, adding that the former library was not up to code. “We decided to take the building down to the ground and rebuild.” The project was approved by the City Council in January of 1998 and cost $8 million, $1.6 million of which came from the city. The rest came from the fundraising of volunteers and the Mountain Brook Library Foundation, which DeBrecht created years earlier, and on April 8, 2001, the new EOL was opened. “It’s just been booming ever since … everything has either doubled or tripled,” DeBrecht said. “We really try to listen to what people want, and I think it’s really worked.” After all the time and work she has put in to EOL, it’s hard for her to pick a favorite moment, but she said she loved working with the Author Series and seeing familiar faces on a day-to-day basis. “I think one of the best things that I so enjoy is seeing moms that used to come in with their children that are now coming in with their grandchildren,” she said. “It’s just so heartwarming.” Even though DeBrecht said she is sad to be leaving, she has a full calendar scheduled for retirement.

Sue DeBrecht, director of the Emmet O’Neal Library, has been with the library since 1985 and will be retiring this spring. Photo by Lexi Coon.

With plans to visit family, requests for her help with two nonprofit organizations, season tickets to the New Orleans Saints, volunteering at the Barber Motorsports Park and working with the Wenonah High School women’s basketball team, she admits she’s going to be busy. “It’s a great kind of busy,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

And of course, the library will be in her thoughts. “I’m going to miss everybody here; I really am,” DeBrecht said. “[I hope] things just continue to grow and do as well as it has, and I’m sure the new library director is going to continue what we have here and make it even better.”

B2 • March 2017

Village Living

March 2017 • B3

B4 • March 2017

Village Living


Experienced group ready to lead Spartans Sam Harris is one of Mountain Brook’s three senior pitchers who head coach Lee Gann is “excited” about. Photo courtesy of Todd Lester.

By KYLE PARMLEY The Mountain Brook High School baseball team is returning a wealth of experience in 2017, and the Spartans are hoping that pays dividends in a big way. The 2016 campaign did not go according to plan, as the Spartans suffered an 0-6 finish in a loaded Class 7A, Area 6, featuring Spain Park, Hewitt-Trussville and Vestavia Hills. Hewitt-Trussville went on to win the state crown last May, while Vestavia held the top spot in the 7A rankings for much of the season. This spring, Oak Mountain and Huffman have replaced Vestavia and Hewitt, but Oak Mountain is no slouch either. “It’s another difficult area,” said Mountain Brook head coach Lee Gann. “Every area game is a very big challenge for us. I think our guys that played last year, that experience only helped them.” It is important to note that Mountain Brook’s area record is not indicative of the quality of the season the Spartans put together in 2016, one that still featured a winning record. But Gann also is ready to move forward to this season. “A lot of our competitors had to do with that,” he said. “It’s motivated our players to work harder and continue doing what we’re doing and to motivate them to be the best player that they can be in all phases. We don’t talk a lot about last year. We can’t control that anymore.” Conner Bussman, Sam Harris and Cole Alexander are three pitchers who are seniors now and arms that Mountain Brook will rely heavily on this season. “We’re really excited about them,” Gann said. “We’ve got some juniors coming along nicely, too and that had good falls.” Five regular infielders are back in the uniform

this spring. Joey Keating and Patterson Ware make up the middle of the infield, and Sam Jeffcoat, Will Wetzler and Jackson Lyon also return to the infield. Reid Hogue can play infield and outfield and is also back for another season. Hogue, Jeb Brown and Chandler Cox are the Spartans’ three senior outfielders, and Gann also mentioned the junior class as having several guys who could make contributions in the outfield as well. Clay Stearns put together a solid year in 2016 and will be Mountain Brook’s primary catcher

once again. Many of those names are familiar ones to Spartan fans who keep tabs on the football and basketball teams at Mountain Brook, something Gann encourages. “They love to compete together in baseball and other high school sports,” Gann said. “We foster that. We want our kids competing in other sports. There’s no replacement for competing in the offseason. If they have the ability to help another high school team, we encourage them to compete when they can.”

On the baseball diamond, the Spartans are looking for a blend of all facets of the game to come together in order mount a challenge in Area 6, something they have every expectation of doing. “It’s going to have to be a balance,” Gann said. “You’re going to win big games with pitching and defense and opportunistic offense. We’re a run-producing team. Our No. 1 goal is to get first-pitch strikes and play impeccable defense. If we can do those things, the winning will take care of itself.”

March 2017 • B5

MBHS girls place 2nd at state indoor championships

Clockwise from above: The Mountain Brook High School girls track and field team celebrated its state runner-up trophy Feb. 4 at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Mountain Brook senior Anna Grace Morgan captured a pair of first-place finishes in state-meet record times. She won the 3,200 meters in 10:58.97 and the 1,600 meters in 4:59.96. It was Morgan’s first time breaking the 5-minute barrier. Notably, both records were held previously by former Spartan Frances Patrick. Mountain Brook’s Charlie Slaughter (left) and Griffin Riley (right) push off the starting line at the beginning of the boys 800 meters. Riley, who missed most of the indoor season due to a stress fracture, secured a runner-up finish in 1:56.86. After the race, he said those four laps around the oval were the first steps he had run in six weeks. Slaughter finished fifth in 1:58.20. Photos by Sam Chandler.

By SAM CHANDLER The Mountain Brook High School girls track and field team recorded a runner-up finish at the 2017 AHSAA State Indoor Track and Field Championships Feb. 3-4

at the Birmingham CrossPlex. The Spartans placed second to Hoover in Class 7A, 123-78.5. It was the Bucs’ fourth straight state indoor title. The Mountain Brook girls last won in 2013. The Spartan boys, on the other hand, tallied 41.5 points to tie for third place with McGill-Toolen. Hoover also won the boys team title.

B6 • March 2017

Village Living

Spartan soccer team excited about prospects this spring By KYLE PARMLEY The 2016 high school soccer season was a new experience for Mountain Brook head coach Joe Webb. The Spartans faced an uphill battle all year long and finished with the first losing season in Webb’s tenure. The situation the team was in made the final result at the end of the season not desired, but not terribly surprising. “Last year’s team was young in terms of experience,” Webb said. “We had graduated so many [in 2015] that we only returned two players that had ever played in a varsity game before.” With that being said, it’s not like Mountain Brook was not competitive. The Spartans were, and Webb enjoyed watching his guys grow, develop and gain experience in those key moments of games. The Spartans even had six seniors graduate from last year’s team, but Webb is excited about who is returning. “The returnees from last year grew up a lot and will be even better going into this year,” he said. One of those seniors was Jake Ruttenberg, whose leadership will be missed. Webb was impressed with the senior class as a whole, and how its character was proven day after day. “The ability of the rest to fight their guts out every day, and then sometimes have to put disappointment behind them to fight again the next day, was fun to be a part of,” he said. Webb said he hopes to bring those lessons learned from 2016 into 2017 and combine it with the on-field talent the Spartans possess. “We would love to have the grit of last year’s group to go with the potential of this year’s team,” he said. As far as specific players are concerned, the conversation begins with Eli Sellers, the Spartans’ captain last season as a sophomore. He will be counted on in a big way once again, even as he makes a position change to being a defender. Mason Hemstreet, Ethan Harradine and Selim Tunagur are three guys that are set to carry the midfield for the Spartans. JT Jones and Sam

Mountain Brook head coach Joe Webb said he is excited about the potential of this year’s team. Photo by Kyle Parmley.

Nichols are two others who will make waves. The Spartans’ talent level within the program is so deep that Webb said he believes a few freshmen (Sam Rysedorph and Pirmin Blattmann) and an eighth-grader (Patrick Neil) may even have the opportunity to crack the lineup. It is always easy to look at the identifiable measuring sticks when evaluating teams and players, because goals, assists and saves show up on the stat sheet. But Webb encourages his team to look deeper and to focus on more specific details.

“Win your one-on-one battles; look to deny or limit clear chances for the opponent, and create chances for teammates and then capitalize when those chances present themselves,” he said of smaller goals players can shoot for. Perhaps one of the biggest roadblocks to Mountain Brook’s success this spring will be its area in Class 7A. The Spartans are competing against reigning state champion Oak Mountain and Spain Park — the top-ranked and No. 3 team in the Eurosport Scoreboard Class

7A preseason rankings, respectively — along with Huffman. Only two teams from each area advance to the postseason. “It’s a great opportunity to test ourselves and see where we can go,” Webb said. The Spartans opened their season on Feb. 13, as they knocked off Class 6A No. 12 Chelsea, 3-0. In March, Mountain Brook will get its first look at its top two area opponents. The Spartans travel to Spain Park on March 2 and to Oak Mountain on March 23.

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School House BWF observes Colonial Day

BWF National Geographic Bee top 10 participants. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Woodry.

Woodry wins BWF Geography Bee BWF students celebrate Colonial Day. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Woodry.

The fifth-grade clasess at BWF celebrated what they learned about the 13 Colonies and Colonial life during the first BWF Colonial Day. Students came to school on Dec. 2, 2016, dressed in their best Colonial attire. The students made crafts, played games and even did some chores just as the Colonial children would have done. One sweet-smelling craft fifth-graders

made were orange pomander balls, which were traditional Colonial holiday decorations. Students also made tin top ornaments by punching holes in tin to make designs. Students also captured their likeness by making silhouettes and even churned butter. For fun, students played games like marbles and Nine Men’s Morrice. – Submitted by Kathleen Woodry.

BWF holds holiday performance Brookwood Forest held its annual holiday program under the direction of Debbie Rakes on Thursday, December 15, 2016. There were two performances showcasing the talents of students in kindergarten through third grade. – Submitted by Kathleen Woodry. The BWF holiday performance was held in December. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Woodry.

Chris Woodry won the BWF school competition of the National Geographic Bee on January 10 and a chance at a $50,000 college scholarship. The first alternate was Mac P. During the competition, fifth- and sixth-grade students answered questions on various aspects of geography. The other qualifying participants were Martha A., Evan B., Joshua B., Nathan M., Alex B., Vaughn F., Virginia G. and Nate H. Thousands of schools around the United States and in the five U.S. territories are participating in the 2017 National Geographic Bee. The school champions, including Chris, will take a qualifying test; up to 100 of the top scorers on that test in each state will then be eligible to compete in their state bee on March 31, 2017. The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., for state winners to participate in the bee national championship rounds May 15-17, 2017. The first place national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and a trip

to the Galápagos Islands, courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. The national finals will air on television on May 19 at 8 p.m. EST on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD, and later on public television stations. Check local listings for dates and times. Everyone can test their geography knowledge by downloading the “National Geographic GeoBee Challenge” app, with more than 1,000 questions culled from past bees, available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; from the Android market; or for NOOK Color. National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. They fund hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year. With the support of our members and donors, they work to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism, education initiatives and more. For more information, visit – Submitted by Kathleen Woodry.

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Village Living

BWF starts math club This year Brookwood Forest Elementary School started a math club for fifth- and sixthgrade students. Math club is a competitive group that studies and applies mathematics to difficult tests and competitions throughout the school year. The team practices one afternoon a week, looking at different problem-solving techniques as well as mathematics beyond the scope of the standard mathematics curriculum.

On Saturday, January 14, the math club entered their very first competition at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Each student took a 60-minute written test, and four teammates participated in the “ciphering” (Jeopardy style) round. Brookwood Forest scored second place overall at the math tournament, and Vaughn Frost and Tommy Daley both received an individual award for scoring in the top 10. – Submitted by Kathleen Woodry.

BWF math club. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Woodry.

The Bend’s FOAC program instills lifelong principles in students The FOAC (Fair Oaks Adventure Curriculum) program at Cherokee Bend Elementary strives to reach students with three principles: I will be safe; I will do my best; and I will value myself and others. While all CBS students participate in FOAC on some level, sixth-graders are given the unique opportunity of a camping trip which includes a field trip to Palisades Park in Oneonta. At the beginning of the year, the sixth grade is divided into four groups. Each group spends one quarter of the school year completing activities designed to teach the FOAC principles. Students must learn to communicate with their peers, work with peers they may not normally work with, recognize their individual strengths and weaknesses, problem solve, and participate in conflict resolution. The activities are individually designed for the needs of each group and range from game-type activities to low ropes course elements and high elements on the ropes course. On Jan. 13-15, the second group of sixth-graders camped out at school on Friday and Saturday nights and took a field trip to Palisades Park. The students took ownership of the entire weekend: cooked and cleaned; divided chores; and planned activities for the

CES jump rope and hula hoop team going strong

CBS sixth-graders enjoy the January FOAC campout trip to Palisades Park. Photo courtesy of Christina Smith.

group. The most valuable part of the weekend came at the end, when students “circled up” to discuss the activity in its entirety, reflecting on their experience and what they learned through the activity through teamwork. “FOAC has changed my life since day one. From kindergarten to now. I thought it was just for fun when I was younger, but now I see that it is so much more than that. FOAC has taught me how to be responsible; it has taught us how to pick each other up...not put each other down,” said sixth-grader Braxton Dean. – Submitted by Christina Smith.

Ann Park Holt performing at the Exceptional Foundation. Photo courtesy of Mary Evans.

Crestline Elementary School’s jump rope and hula hoop team has been performing for 17 years. The team is composed of students from second through sixth grade. Crestline is the only school in the area that offers this extracurricular activity. Their season starts in October and runs through January with practices before school. This year they will perform a routine to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake at the Exceptional Foundation, Birmingham-Southern College, Mountain Brook High School, the Alabama/ Auburn gymnastics meet, Magic Moments and Samford University. The jump rope and hula hoop team is coached by Randy Stephens and LuAnne Wall. – Submitted by Mary Evans.

March 2017 • B9 MBE students (pictured left to right) McCray Faust, Abbotte Browning and Mary Carlon Feagin organize donated food items for the UAB Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Food Pantry. Photo courtesy of Shaun Flynn.

CBS Teacher of the Year awarded to Lauren Lunceford

MBE 3rd-graders lead food service project

Lauren Lunceford, CBS Teacher of the Year, with her second-grade class. Photo courtesy of Christina Smith.

Lauren Lunceford, second-grade teacher at Cherokee Bend Elementary School, was recently awarded the honor of Cherokee Bend’s 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year. Lunceford sees building community with her students as the foundation of her teaching, allowing her to really know each child and help them attain their individual goals. “Miss Lauren Lunceford is an outstanding educator and serves the children she teaches with extreme passion and enthusiasm. Lauren not only touches lives in our school, but also the school that she serves in Uganda. Miss Lunceford builds strong relationships with her students, knows them deeply as learners, and is able to customize each of her student’s learning experience,” said Principal Betsy Bell. Lunceford is in her sixth year of teaching at Cherokee Bend, where she continues to make a big impact on her students and

fellow teaching community. She has spent the last four summers in Uganda teaching in a local school and tutoring students to help fill educational gaps. Lunceford incorporates her love of Uganda into the classroom to help students connect with others across the globe. A special highlight of her time at Cherokee Bend includes the Sozo Choir from Uganda visiting CBS with a vocal performance, bringing both of her teaching worlds together to help her students form bonds with children from different cultures. Every academic year, each Mountain Brook school selects a Teacher of the Year. The selection process is voted on by the faculty and staff. Out of the six teachers selected across the school system, one elementary and one secondary candidate are selected to proceed to the next level of the Teacher of the Year process. – Submitted by Christina Smith.

In January, the MBE third-grade students led a food donation drive to collect items for the UAB Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Hospital Food Pantry. The hospital is in great need of high-protein and single-serve items. The food pantry is available to families in need who stay with their infants in the hospital. MBE students partnered with Cassidy Jacks, who is Miss Iron City, and her organization Feed a Soul, Fill a Heart. Jacks

came and talked to the third-grade students about her commitment to fight the hunger epidemic in Birmingham and around the country. She has spent the past several years developing the service initiative and coordinates her efforts with established, local partnerships. The students were thrilled to organize and lead the service project, and were inspired by Jacks’ work. – Submitted by Shaun Flynn.

Lutzenkirchen speaks to MBJH students MBJH students recently attended an assembly featuring Mike Lutzenkirchen, sponsored by All In Mountain Brook. Lutzenkirchen spoke about the legacy of his son, Philip, who was tragically killed in 2014 in a motor vehicle accident. Lutzenkirchen challenged students to be available to everyone, even to those they don’t know well. He also challenged the students to go beyond just being a good friend, but instead to be a great friend who can be strong and say no to peer pressure. He told them to be so great that they could be counted on. The students listened with great respect and received

Left to right: Caroline Parker, Mary Patton Day, Camille Clingan, Mike Lutzenkirchen, Kate Rentz and May McInnis. Photo courtesy of Hayley Young.

Lutzenkirchen’s important message. – Submitted by Hayley Young.

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Village Living

Crestline’s Amy Anderson awarded Elementary Teacher of the year

PAGE teacher Kristi Stacks with the team whose stock portfolio finished sixth out of 201 teams in the north Alabama region: Ham Mandell, Robert Flynn, William Chambliss and Luke Long. Photo courtesy of Shaun Flynn.

MBE students participate in virtual stock market challenge

Dr. Lisa Beckham, Amy Anderson and CES Principal Laurie King at the Mountain Brook Teacher of the Year award ceremony. Photo courtesy of Mary Evans.

Crestline Elementary fourth-grade teacher Amy Anderson has been awarded Mountain Brook City Schools’ Elementary Teacher of the Year. Anderson was chosen at the school level by having the most teacher nominations from her peers. She then submitted an application to a committee at the Mountain Brook Schools district office, which chose

Anderson as the finalist. Anderson will go on to compete for the Alabama State Teacher of the Year against teachers from across the state. The application topics include teaching practice and public education issues. Congratulations and good luck to a very deserving teacher. – Submitted by Mary Evans.


BEST OF MOUNTAIN BROOK Village Living Best Mexican Food

In September, fifth- and sixth-grade students enrolled in the PAGE program at MBE entered a competition in which students in grades 4-12 throughout the state of Alabama participated in a virtual simulation of buying and selling stocks. MBE students were specifically in competition with fourth- through eighth-graders in the North Alabama region. Students were provided with a virtual bank account containing $100,000. They used financial websites to analyze the performance of real companies in the stock market. Along with their teammates, they made decisions about whether to buy, sell or hold stock in various companies. The goal Child Find Notice Special education services for children with disabilities are provided in accordance with the Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, Amendments of 2004 and Alabama Act 106. Child Find is an attempt to locate and provide appropriate educational and related

of the 10-week competition was to make as large a profit as possible from the stocks in each team’s portfolio. During the three-month competition, MBE students listened to guest speakers who are financial advisors; kept up with current events involving businesses and stocks; analyzed financial reports and graphs for various companies and sectors; and put their math skills to the test. All the students learned a tremendous amount throughout the competition and are able to convey why the portfolio they built contributed to a financial gain or a financial loss. – Submitted by Shaun Flynn/Kristi Stacks. services to all children with disabilities between the ages of birth to 21. If you are the parent of a child with disabilities who is not receiving services, or if you would like more information, please contact Shannon Mundy at the Mountain Brook Board of Education, Special Education Department, 414-3836.

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s days turn warmer, it’s time to start thinking about summertime at last, and no summer is complete without a camp experience. Peruse our guide to learn more about which programs best fit your child’s personality, interest, age and availability. No matter which you choose, it’s time to jump in for fun and adventure this summer.

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Grow theater skills in BCT summer camps For children with a flair for the dramatic, they can shine in the Birmingham Children’s Theatre summer camps. BCT offers camps for children pre-K through eighth grade, with activities including theater basics, dance, stage combat, music and fairy tales. The summer camps aren’t just about theater, though. BCT Director of Advancement and Sales LeNa McDonald said they keep an eye on education standards throughout the year to incorporate into their programs. “BCT allows children to gain foundations in all aspects of theater while also giving them the opportunity to perform. In addition, all of our camps are routed in academic programs that support continued learning throughout the summer even when school is not in session,” McDonald said. “We monitor reading, literature, theater and STEM learning objectives and standards throughout the school year to also implement those standards into our summer offerings.” The Young Actor’s Theatre at BCT is designed to inspire creativity, confidence and a sense of community through the exploration and practice of theater skills. This includes not only summer camps, but private instruction and programs year round. BCT has offered summer camps at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) for more than 10 years. This year’s camps include: Summer Theatre Camp #1 ► June 5-6, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ► Pre-K-second grade ► Explores theater fundamentals with

music, storytelling, dance and crafts ► Registration: $200 before April 1; $250 after April 1 Summer Theatre Camp #2 ► June 12-16, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ► Third-eighth grade ► Students will take classes in acting, dance, music and stage combat. The last day of this camp will feature a showcase. ► Registration: $300 before April 1; $350 after April 1 Summer Theatre Camp #3: Fairy Tale Tellers ► June 19-23, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ► Pre-K-second grade ► Students will play games and create short stories to make fairy tales come to life by the end of camp. Parents will be invited to open house on Friday to see how the students tell their tales. ► Registration: $200 before April 1; $250 after April 1 Summer Theatre Camp #4: Behind the Mask ► June 26-30, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ► Third-eighth grade ► Students will use different activities to create and tell a story through movement and dance while masked. Every child has a “mask” they hide behind, and these activities will allow the students to discover their own truths. The performance at the end of the week will be created from their own stories and a poem about being true to oneself. ► Registration: $300 before April 1; $350 after April 1 Visit for more information.

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Huntington offers summer tutoring sessions Huntington Learning Center is offering summer tutoring sessions so your student can catch up or get ahead for the coming year. “We give personalized attention and tailor make the program for the student,” said Marty Lively, owner of Huntington Learning Center in Vestavia. “We focus on more than homework help. We figure out where their struggle is and work from there at the student’s pace, not ours.” Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, algebra through calculus, chemistry and other sciences. It preps for the ACT and SAT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students succeed and meet the needs of state standards. For most students, study skills are not inherent. These aptitudes take time to learn and consistent practice to be most effective. Whether your child is a successful student or struggling with one or more subjects, there are certain essential skills that will build a foundation for his or her success in school and life. Huntington Learning Center focuses on something called executive functions. Executive functions are neurologically based skills that require self-regulation or mental processing. Put simply, they help children focus, prioritize tasks, set goals and work toward them, and stay attentive when studying. These functions include organization, time management, planning and retention. Organization will help the student to keep workspaces tidy and put supplies in places where they can be found easily combined with the ability to stay on top of homework and supplies needed in class and at home. Time management will teach students to organize one’s time with the aid of a planner/calendar in order to maximize work time and deter procrastination. Planning teaches

the ability to manage short-term and long-term to-dos. Retention will teach the ability to retain information and retrieve it later when completing a task. Students will also learn note-taking skills at the summer sessions. “Students need to develop a reliable method of taking notes and make sure their notes record key points covered both in textbook and in the class,” said Lively. The learning center focuses on test-taking skills, as well. “A solid study plan is the core of a good test-taking strategy,” said Lively. “Children who embrace reliable

learning methods and stick to a study schedule are best equipped to perform well on exams, but most need guidance to fine tune their test-taking skills.” Huntington also offers tutoring geared toward standardized testing and college entrance exams. “We also have ACT prep,” said Lively. “This is one on one instruction dynamic because the focus is usually scholarship dollars or entrance into a college or university.” Huntington Learning Center is located at 790 Montgomery Highway, Suite 112, Vestavia Hills, AL. We are in the Vestavia Hills City Center, next to Publix.

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Come to camp at McWane Science Center

What will your child do over summer vacation? McWane Science Center Summer Camps make learning an unforgettable adventure you just can’t experience anywhere else. In one week of camp, your budding scientist can discover a dinosaur, travel into outer space, design and build a skyscraper, or explore the ocean floor. Various themes and activities allow children to experience something new each day. Blast off in Cosmo Camp, investigate with CSI McWane, or get creative in Smarty Arty Pants Camp. Robotics, cool chemistry,

dive into marine biology or dig paleontology. The flexible programs allow you to choose programs you want for your child for a full week of fun and learning! Summer Camps will be offered for seven weeks beginning June 5 and ending July 28. Each session is a week in length. We will offer morning camps for Pre K and K children from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Camps for grades 1 through 7 are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Before and aftercare will also be available each day. Don’t miss out on a great program of science and

wonder here at McWane Science Center this summer! We will show your kids how fun science can be for them. Summer Camps: ► June 5 – July 28 ► Each session lasts one week (M-F) ► Grades Pre K and K – 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. ► Grades 1 through 7 – 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. ► Before and aftercare available ► Includes lunch and snack each day

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YMCA summer day camp focuses on youth development Youth development is the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical processes that all youth uniquely experience from birth to career. A successful developmental process fulfills children and teens’ innate need to be loved, spiritually grounded, educated, competent and healthy. Trading stories and sharing a favorite book or song with a new friend. Being greeted with smiles and high-fives from staff and teammates after scoring the winning point. Always fitting in, just for being you. This is what Summer Day Camp at the YMCA of Greater Birmingham is all about — ensuring kids get more out of their summer break: more friendships, more achievement, and more belonging. The Y is a place where kids feel safe, welcomed and can express their individuality in an environment that provides positive relationships, encourages parent engagement, and helps children realize their passions and talents. It’s also loads of fun! To learn more or to register, go online to Other YMCA summer oppportunities: ► YMCA Camp Cosby The YMCA of Greater Birmingham’s sleepaway camp, Camp Cosby, offers a one-week, co-ed, safe and structured experience for children ages 6 to 16 on the shores of Logan Martin Lake. YMCA Camp Cosby gives children a chance to play hard, make new friends, and have the adventure of a lifetime in a safe, fun and structured environment. Your camper will develop new skills, gain confidence, make friends and have an amazing experience.

► YMCA Hargis Retreat Unlike other day camp programs, Summer Day Camp at Hargis is really camp! Located on 200+ wooded acres complete with swimming pool, hiking trails, fields for games, rock face for climbing, and our own private lake, it is the perfect backdrop for the traditional camp activities that we offer. Activities include: • Hiking • Fishing • Canoeing • Lake swimming • Archery • Rock climbing ► Summer Adventures In Learning (S.A.I.L.) The Summer Adventures In Learning program works with struggling students in grades 3-5 who need extra help. Summer Adventures In Learning is designed to help prevent learning loss, offer chances to explore new interests and skills and close the achievement gap for children from lower income communities. ► THINGAMAJIG® Invention Convention July 2017 THINGAMAJIG® is a daylong event that combines STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), active fitness and play, creative eco-art and team challenges into one child-focused festival. Learn more online at thingamajig.

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Keep learning in a variety of classes

Two camp opportunities for kids at Cahaba Park This summer, Cahaba Park Church is offering two camps for children: Vacation Bible School and Studio C. Vacation Bible School will be June 4-7, from 5-7 p.m. This year’s theme is “Created by God: Built for a Purpose.” Our VBS is is a fun-filled family affair! Geared for kids in 4K through fourth grade, older children and parents are encouraged to participate as Group Leaders and volunteers for songs, games, and more. Studio C is the perfect summer camp for the little art enthusiast, children who are rising into 4K through second grade. “This is a hands-on event for boys and girls. They will learn about the arts from a biblical perspective. God has blessed each of us with gifts and abilities to serve Him and others.

Discovering and developing those in a fun environment is what Studio C is all about,” said Adam Wright, chief musician at Cahaba Park. With a unique leadership team and many creative activities, there is something for every child who attends. This year, Studio C will be an extended one-day camp, on July 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children will create with visual arts (mixed media), musical arts (guitar, percussion, vocal) and culinary arts (food prep and presentation). Camp facilitators include Jordan Holt, children’s director; Beth Pearson, early childhood director; and Adam Wright. Registration for both VBS and Studio C is available on our website at We look forward to having you and your children at camp with us this summer!

Summer is the perfect time to try something new, dive deeper into a current interest, fine tune math and English skills or fulfill required courses in a more relaxed environment. Altamont offers a wide array of quality classes, taught by our outstanding faculty, that are both educational and fun. Altamont’s six-week program is open to rising 1st through 12th graders. It includes three separate sections of two-week classes: June 5-16, June 19-30 and July 5-14. Early and after hour care is available. Registration opens February 1 at Credit courses: High school credit courses for rising 9th-12th graders include Altamont-required half-credit courses in Speech, Laboratory Technology and Health. Full-credit courses are offered in Honors Geometry and ninth grade Honors Ancient and Medieval Civilizations. Elective classes for rising 3rd-8th grade students include photography, theater, cooking, astronomy and gaming, as well as enrichment classes in math and English. One of our exciting

new offerings this summer is a creative writing/gaming course with Lou Anders, award-winning author of the Thrones & Bones books and game. Sports and music camps: Our popular basketball and soccer day camps are open to players of all skill levels in rising 1st-12th grades. Music offerings include rock band camp, band camp and string camp. Whether it’s enrichment, enlightenment or entertainment, Altamont has what your child needs most this summer — something constructive to do. Enroll today. Registration and course information at Contact Dr. Josh Barnard, Summer Program Director, at

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Tennis camps for adults, youth Sewanee: The University of the South offers summer tennis camps for both adults and youths during the month of June. The picturesque mountaintop campus is an ideal setting for an instructional tennis programs and camp activities for players of all skill levels. There are four separate six-day junior sessions designed to accommodate tournament level competitors, intermediates, and beginning players. The 4:1 student-teacher ratio ensures that all campers receive personalized instruction in evenly matched training sessions. The daily schedule includes four hours of organized drill sessions and three hours of competitive match play in both singles and doubles. Located just two hours from Birmingham, Sewanee hosts one of the largest and most prominent tennis camps in the South. The university’s head coaches, John and Conchie Shackelford, have

led the teaching staff for over 30 years. They are joined on staff by fellow college coaches, college players, and tennis professionals on the beautiful 21 indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Students are supervised around the clock with planned recreational activities each afternoon including an Olympic sized swimming pool and a mountain reservoir. Evening activities include bowling, a trip to the movie theater, karaoke night, casino night and a camp dance. “The strength of our program has always been personal attention and individualized instruction to meet the needs of each one of our campers,” says Coach Shackelford. “The friendships the students build each year last far beyond the moment the last ball has been struck, and keep our campers coming back home to Sewanee year after year.” For more information, visit

Spend the summer on stage From singing and improv to stage combat and makeup, the Virginia Samford Theatre’s summer camp introduces children to the wide world of theater before the final curtain closes. Summer camp at VST is meant for beginning and intermediate theater students ages 7 to 17. Education coordinator Jennifer Spiegelman said the camp staff enjoys introducing children to their craft and tailors the lessons to their students’ abilities. “Our main goals of Camp VST are helping students to build confidence, learning to work together effectively and efficiently as a group, and developing and exploring their creativity. These three goals filter into all of the activities we do, whether games, scene study or improvisation,” Spiegelman said. All camps include lessons in acting, dancing, singing, improvisation, stage combat, Shakespeare and stage makeup taught by Birmingham drama

teachers, actors and directors. The twoweek summer session explores these topics in more depth and closes with a showcase for campers’ parents. “Theater is such an expansive art, but most students are only introduced to the acting or singing part of it,” Spiegelman said. “Every single student can benefit from an education in theater, even if they don’t want to become a Broadway star. Arts education is not only a wonderful tool to instill arts appreciation, but a way to enrich, enhance and cultivate a better understanding of self and community.” The one-week sessions are June 5-9 and June 12-16, while the two-week session runs June 19-30. All sessions are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Registration fees are $295 for one-week sessions and $550 for the two-week session, with full payment due by May 22. For more information go to

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Village Living

Calendar Mountain Brook Events March 1: How to Send Your Child to College Without Going Bankrupt. 6 p.m. Brookwood Baptist Church. Presented by Philip Wilson of Wilson Financial Group. RSVP to 745-3947 or visit March 4: Soap Making with Native Plants. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $45 members, $50 nonmembers. Visit March 4: Chili Cook-Off. 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Brookwood Village. Presented by The Exceptional Foundation. $10-$15. Visit March 5: Move Toward a Cure. 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Levite Jewish Community Center. High-energy group indoor event that places participants in an open space for a common cause — a cure for ovarian cancer. $50. March 6: American Policies on Economics, Tax and Social Welfare. 3 p.m. Levite Jewish Community Center. Class continues March 13, 20 and 27. Free. Visit March 8: What to Do Financially When You Lose a Spouse. 6 p.m. Brookwood Baptist Church. Presented by Philip Wilson of Wilson Financial Group. RSVP

to 745-3947 or visit

Park Development. $45. Visit

March 9: Speaker Spotlight 2017 with Sir Ken Robinson. 6:30 p.m. Wright Center, Samford University. All proceeds benefit the Mountain Brook City Schools Foundation. Visit

March 11: Beginners Hands-On Workshop — Fermentation Series. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Fermentation Revivalist and author. $40 members, $45 nonmembers. Visit

March 10: Beginners Hands-On Lecture-Fermentation Series 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Presented by Sandor Katz, Fermentation Revivalist and author. $15 members, $20 nonmembers. Visit

March 16: Chamber Luncheon Featuring All In Mountain Brook. 11:30 a.m. Visit

March 11: Village2Village 10K. 7:30 a.m. Lane

March 21: Spring Soiree. Mountain Brook Village. 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Merchants will have trunk shows, door prizes and more. Visit

Emmet O’Neal Library March 13: STEAM Powered: Pi Day. 4 p.m.

Self Defense with Eric Cottingham. 6:30 p.m.

March 14: The Bookies book group. 10 a.m.

March 14: Family Night: All Hands Production Puppet Show. 5:30 p.m.

March 23: Teen Trivia Challenge. 6:30 p.m. Registration required.

Tuesdays: Library Out Loud. 3:30 p.m.

March 16: Hot Off the Press! 6 p.m. Read a new book and discuss. Pizza provided. For 3-6 grade. Registration required.

March 31: Teen Sci-Fi Double Feature Picture Show. 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Popcorn and dinner.

March 18: An Evening with New York Times best-selling author Patrick deWitt. 6:30 p.m. $20. Limited tickets available.

Wednesdays: Mother Goose Story Time. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. 12-24 months.

March 27-30: Roald Dahl Spring Break. Check website for daily programming.

Wednesdays: Movers & Makers. 1:30 p.m. 3-5 years.

Young Adults (7th-12th grades)

Children Mondays: Toddler Tales. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. 24-36 months. Tuesdays: Together Time. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. Kindergarten-2nd grade.

Thursdays: Patty Cake Story Time. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. 0-12 months. Thursdays: SNaP. 3:30 p.m. Grades 3-6. Saturdays: Family Story Time with Mr. Mac. 10:30 a.m.

March 1: TAB-Teen Advisory Board. 5 p.m. Monthly meeting. March 1: MBHS Read Club. 6 p.m.

Adults Wednesdays: Brown Bag Lunch Series. Programs begin at 12:30 p.m. Bring a sack lunch; beverages and dessert provided. March 5: Planning Your Disney Vacation with Lisa Cross. 2 p.m. Presented by local resident and Disney travel agent.

March 4: Game On! 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.

March 9: UAB Neuroscience Café. 6:30 p.m. Substance Abuse & Addiction.

March 15: Defense Against the Dark Arts: Teen

March 13: Great Books discussion group. 6:30 p.m.

March 21: DocAD: Lincoln Center Local Screenings, exciting new cultural/arts film programming. 6:30 p.m. March 22: Author Marion Blumenthal Lazan presents her memoir, Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story. 6:30 p.m. March 28: Genre Reading Group. Biographical Fiction. 6:30 p.m. Discussing the Victorian Age. March 30: Bib & Tucker Sew Op. 6:30 p.m. Quilting event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court ruling. Facilitators will be on hand to help make quilt blocks, and no sewing experience is necessary.

March 2017 • B19

Area Events March 1-4: AHSAA Boys and Girls High School Basketball Championships. 9 a.m. daily. $10. Visit

mile walk in the woodlands. Depart from the Oak Mountain Park office parking lot. Park admission fee $5/person. Call 991-1045 for information.

March 1: UAB Music Student Recital. 12:20 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Free. Visit

March 16-19 & 23-26: Exit Laughing. Virginia Samford Theatre. $15 students, $25 general admission. 8 p.m. nightly, 3 p.m. Sundays. Visit

March 2: Birmingham Art Crawl. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. 113 22nd St. N. Meet local artists and performers and buy their work. Visit March 2: Live at the Lyric- Southern Broussard, Anders Osborne and Luther Dickinson. 8 p.m. Lyric Theatre. $29.50-$49.50. Visit events. March 3: Alabama Symphony Orchestra Coffee Concert. 11 a.m. Alys Stephens Center. $18-$34. Visit March 3: Norah Jones. 8 p.m. BJCC Concert Hall. $40-$108. Visit March 3: The Black Jacket Symphony. 8 p.m. Alabama Theatre. Performing “Queen: A Night at the Opera.” $25-$115. Visit events. March 3-5: Cottontails Arts & Crafts Show. BJCC Exhibition Halls. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Noon-5 p.m. Sunday. $6 adults, $3 children 6-12. Visit cottontails. March 3-5 and 10-12: STARS presents Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr. Virginia Samford Theatre. 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit $15$20. Visit March 3-5: Birmingham Ballet: Cinderella. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $30-$45. Visit

March 17: Winter Jam 2017. 7 p.m. Legacy Arena at the BJCC. $10 general admission. Visit March 17: Alabama Symphony Orchestra Red Diamond SuperPops! Series. 8 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $25-$58. Visit March 17: Live at the Lyric- Sam Bush. 8 p.m. $22-$39.50. Visit March 18: Spring Walking Tour- Downtown, A First Look. 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Vulcan Park and Museum. $10 members, $12 nonmembers. Registration required. Visit March 18: Southeastern Outings Dayhike. 10 a.m. Lake Guntersville State Park. Depart from Kmart on Green Springs. Call 317-6969 for information. March 18-19: Tannehill Trade Days. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tannehill State Park. $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children. Visit March 18-19: Alabama Gun Collectors Association Spring Show. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Visit March 18-19: In Her Own Fashion. Red Mountain Theatre Company, Cabaret Theatre. Tickets start at $15. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Visit

March 4: Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Polar Plunge. 9:30 a.m. Oak Mountain State Park. $25 per plunger. Visit

March 19: Alabama Wildlife Center & Audubon Teaches Nature- Mysteries of Bird Migration. 2 p.m. Alabama Wildlife Center, Oak Mountain State Park. Visit

March 4: 2017 Birmingham Heart Ball. 6 p.m. Barber Motorsports Museum. An evening of hope and entertainment benefiting the American Heart Association. Visit

March 19: Southeastern Outings Wildflower Walk. 2 p.m. Wildwood Wildflower Preserve. Depart from parking lot of medical building on Lakeshore Drive. Call 417-2777 for information.

March 5: Ahn Trio. 2 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $42-$78. Visit

March 19: Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra Side by Side. 3 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $10 adults, $7 ages 12 and under.

March 5: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerti No. 1 & 2. 7:30 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Presented by the UAB Department of Music, featuring student pianists Mira Walker and Jacob Skiles with Yakov Kasman playing the orchestra reduction. Visit

March 21: The Brain Candy Live Tour: Adam Savage & Michael Stevens.7:30 p.m. BJCC Concert Hall. $30-$76. Visit

March 6: BAO Bingo. 7 p.m. Birmingham AIDS Outreach. $15-$25. Visit

March 23: UAB Music Guest Artist concert. 10:30 a.m. Featuring percussion duo Escape Ten. Free.

March 6-10: Theatre UAB’s 14th Annual Festival of 10-Minute Plays. 7:30 p.m. Alys Stephens Center, Odess Theatre. $5. Visit

March 24: Charlie Wilson’s In It To Win It Tour. 7:30 p.m. Legacy Arena at the BJCC. $49.50-$87. Visit

March 7: UAB Music Guest Artist Recital. 7:30 p.m. Featuring clarinetist Sarunas Jankauskas. Free. Visit

March 24: Chris Rock- Total Blackout Tour. 8 p.m. BJCC Concert Hall. $49.50-$125. Visit

March 9: UAB Music Chamber Concert. 7:30 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Featuring violinist Julia Sakharova and pianist Yakov Kasman. Free. Visit

March 25: Magic City Cycliad. 8 a.m. Railroad Park. Bike ride benefiting the Deep South Cancer Foundation. Visit

March 9-12, 16-19, 23-24: The Mystery of Love and Sex. Terrific New Theatre. 8:30 p.m. nightly, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. $25. March 16 and 23 are pay what you can. Visit March 11: SpringFest. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Hand In Hand. Presented by UCP of Greater Birmingham. Free admission. Food and tickets for games available. Visit March 11: Natural Hair and Health Expo. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. BJCC Exhibition Hall. $12.75. Visit March 11: Southeastern Outings Dayhike, Sipsey Wilderness, Bankhead National Forest. Time TBA. Four-mile hike. Call 631-4680 for information. March 11: John Pizzarelli. 8 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $32-$57. Visit March 12: Southeastern Outings Second Sunday Dayhike in Oak Mountain State Park. 1 p.m. Four-

March 25: Rumpshaker 5K and 1M fun run. 8 a.m. Regions Field. Fundraiser for colorectal cancer. Visit March 25-26: Repticon Birmingham. Reptile and exotic animal show. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. $12 adult, $5 ages 5-12, under 4, free. Visit March 25: Still Standing: The Melba Moore Story. 7:30 p.m. Virginia Samford Theatre. $20-$25. Visit March 26: UAB Piano series concert. 4 p.m. Featuring Korean-American pianist Esther Park. $15 general admission, $5 students through 12th grade and UAB employees, UAB students free. Visit March 26: Home Free. 7:30 p.m. Alabama Theatre. $25.50-$123. Visit March 31-April 1: Alabama Symphony Orchestra EBSCO Masterworks Series. 7:30 p.m. $25-$74. Visit

Village Living March 2017  
Village Living March 2017