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Village Living neighborly news & entertainment for Mountain Brook

Volume 8 | Issue 1 | April 2017


After wave of bomb threats, community rallies around Levite Jewish Community Center Left: Betzy Lynch, executive director of the LJCC, stands in front of a wall of letters of love and encouragement that have been sent to the LJCC from communties across the country. Above: A large blue and white bow from Smith’s Variety hangs on the doors of the LJCC. Photos by Lexi Coon.


ince the start of the new year, the Levite Jewish Community Center has received four bomb threats. As far as the community is concerned, that’s four too many. “One of the unique things I think about now as opposed to, let’s say the 1930s during the inception of the Holocaust and so on, is that the world kept quiet,” said Betzy Lynch, executive director of the LJCC. “That’s not happening now. That is not OK with people, and people are speaking out.” Community members — both local and national — are speaking out against recent bomb threats to Jewish community centers. They are speaking out against anti-Semitism. They are speaking out against hatred. They are also speaking out to spread love and support for their local Jewish community.


The first bomb threat to the LJCC, both of the new year and in the

See LJCC | page A27

Following father’s footsteps

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Coaches and brothers Doug Gann, left, and Lee Gann, right, meet at home plate with a pair of officials before the start of a HomewoodMountain Brook baseball game Feb. 28 in Mountain Brook. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

By KYLE PARMLEY Gerald Gann had one major rule for his teams throughout his career. No matter the sport, year or group of athletes, that priority remained the same: Do the right thing. “He never had a long list of rules of do’s and don’ts,” said Lee Gann, son of Gerald Gann. “As long as you do what’s right, everything else will take care of itself.” Gerald Gann’s coaching career has spanned


Sponsors .............. A4 News...................... A6

Business ............... A8 Chamber..............A10

Events ..................A15 Community .........A18

more than 40 years. He coached baseball, basketball and football teams at various stops, including Berry, Homewood, Hoover and John Carroll Catholic high schools. In recent years, he could still be found coaching running backs at Birmingham-Southern College. The majority of his days were spent on the gridiron, where he amassed a 159-145-2 record as a football head coach at Homewood (1979-94),

Sports .................A20 School House ...... B4

See GANNS | page A26 Faith ..................... B16 Calendar .............. B18

New Protections Mountain Brook Fire Department is incorporating more physical screenings and mental health training for its employees.

See page B1

Spring Home Guide

Find tips and tricks for your spring home projects from area businesses in our Spring Home Guide.

See page C1

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April 2017 • A3

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Village Living

About Us

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Editor’s Note By Jennifer Gray I have been very encouraged to see over the past couple of years a lot of positive talk around mental illness. Our community has responded to this nationwide issue with Facebook groups that bring important information and encouragement to readers, speakers who have participated in the All In parent conferences and local churches that have addressed the topic in some way. With statistics that suggest that many people will experience a mental health crisis at some point in their life, these are important steps in removing stigma and fear around seeking help. Our own fire department is working to improve access and education to these services. As part of an overall initiative to promote health and wellness among firefighters, the department is not only increasing screenings and vaccinations for illness and disease, but sees these mental health services as an important part of wellness as well. Read all about these efforts this month. In addition, we have a great story on Anne LaRussa. Anne has recently written a book entitled “The Knitter” that tells her story. While it started out as a memoir for her family and traces her family’s story, it also tells Anne’s story of

struggling with postpartum depression. The days are longer now allowing for plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors. There are lots of fun events and great things to take advantage of this month. If you want to stay active, there’s the Steeple to Steeple Run. If gardening is your thing this time of year, you might be interested in our story on how to establish a pollinator garden. This is a great way to ensure that bees can do their job and we have beautiful flowers to enjoy for years to come. Or you might want to buy some new plants for your yard at the annual plant sale put on by the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. And of course, what would April be without some Easter egg hunts? There are several taking place this month, so bring the kids and your baskets and enjoy the day.


A sea of neon fills one corner of Legacy Arena at the BJCC as Mountain Brook High School students cheer on the boys basketball team as it plays McGill-Toolen during the AHSAA Class 7A state semifinals March 2. The Spartans went on to defeat the Yellow Jackets, 52-41, to advance to the finals, where they beat Auburn, 63-43, to win the state championship. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

Village Living Publisher: Editor: Managing Editor: Design Editor: Director of Photography: Sports Editor: Digital Editor: Page Designer:

Dan Starnes Jennifer Gray Sydney Cromwell Kristin Williams Sarah Finnegan Kyle Parmley Alyx Chandler Cameron Tipton

Community Editor: Erica Techo Community Reporters: Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Lexi Coon Staff Writers: Emily Featherston Sam Chandler Copy Editor: Louisa Jeffries Contributing Writers: Sarah Cook Kari Kampakis

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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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April 2017 • A5

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Village Living

City Community expresses concerns over traffic on Kennesaw Drive By LEXI COON In response to many community members’ recent concerns regarding traffic speeds along Kennesaw Drive, Richard Caudle with Skipper Consulting presented recent traffic study findings to a largely attended City Council during the meeting on March 13. Caudle, together with the Mountain Brook Police Department, measured speed and traffic volumes along the road as well as of the roadways. In his report, Caudle stated that speeds within the school zone for Cherokee Bend along Kennesaw Drive were “excessive as compared to the posted travel speed of 15 miles per hour”; traffic from commuters driving westbound on Kennesaw during morning peak hours “is not traveling at a speed compatible with the school zone”; and parking that occurs along the southern edge of Kennesaw Drive affects sight distance and restricts the width of travel lanes. To remedy his findings, Caudle suggested expanding the current school zone, enforcing speed limits and parking restrictions and adding a multi-way stop at Kennesaw Drive and Fair Oaks Drive. Residents at the meeting expressed no issue with expanding the school zone, but many were against adding a stop sign for fear of creating additional response time for first responders and possible medical professionals in the area as well as creating additional traffic along Kennesaw and neighboring roads. To assist with traffic in that area, a crossing guard was recently added to the Cherokee Bend school zone. Both council members Alice Womack and Billy Pritchard asked if the permanence of a guard could mitigate the need for a stop sign, to which Caudle replied yes, if

Richard Caudle with Skipper Consulting presents his findings from the traffic study on Kennesaw Drive during the council meeting on March 13. Photo by Lexi Coon.

a crossing guard was present when necessary and it was a sustainable position, the need for a stop sign could cease. Parents and community members continued to ask details regarding the potential crossing guard, such as when the crossing guard would be present and how the school and city would guarantee his or her presence. Pritchard stated he would be in touch with the Board of Education to discuss details the following day. Caudle also emphasized the need for more speeding and parking enforcement along the road to hold drivers accountable to the posted signs. Police Chief Ted Cook said that as of recently, the department has hired an officer

who would be able to patrol the area on scooter. The additional officer would add to presence along Kennesaw Drive and would limit the number of cars that could block the road during a stop while increasing parking and speeding enforcement, Cook said. At the end of the public discussion, council members approved the expansion of the school zone. Council members also agreed to take the necessary administrative action with the Board of Education and Cherokee Bend to determine the details of a more permanent crossing guard in lieu of adding a stop sign to the road. If need be, the addition of a stop sign could be revisited in the future.

Also during the meeting on March 13, council members: ► Approved the minutes from the meeting on Feb. 27. ► Discussed changes to the name, duties and number of members of the Tree Commission. ► Discussed a proposed use change at Cahaba Village under which Bayer Properties would sign an agreement to lease a space to American Family Care. ► Approved a contract with Schoel Engineering for investigating additional work for the bridge over Shades Creek in Jemison Park. ► Approved a resolution authorizing the election of a contractor agreement between the city and Construction Services Group, LLC with respect to the installation of hydration stations at the athletic complex. ► Approved a resolution appointing Construction Services Group, LLC as purchasing agent of the city with respect to the aforementioned hydration station project. ► Approved a resolution authorizing the execution of a professional services contract between the city and Rob Walker Architects with respect to the design of the aforementioned hydration station project. ► Approved a resolution recommending to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the issuances of an 011 – Lounge Retail Liquor – Class 1 license to R and R Liquor, LLC located at 81 Church Street, Suite 102. ► Approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of a permit pursuant to Ordinance No. 1948 with respect to the installation of new support structures for a small cell data and communications antenna within the public right-ofway in the vicinity of Shiloh Drive. ► Approved the mayoral appointment of Rob Walker to the planning commission.

April 2017 • A7

Board reviews renovation plans, congratulates students By LEXI COON Similar to the previous summer, the Mountain Brook school district will be completing a variety of renovations to its schools while the students are out of the facilities. During the Board of Education meeting on March 13, Tommy Prewitt, facilities director of Mountain Brook schools, provided an updated list of projects that are planned for the upcoming months. The following renovations totaled to approximately $400,000.


► Install new carpet ► Touch up wall paint


► Replace seven HVAC units ► Install new carpet ► Touch up wall paint


► Improve lighting in main hallway ► Add cabinets to several classrooms ► Repair the foundation

MOUNTAIN BROOK ELEMENTARY: ► Install new carpet ► Install window shades ► Renovate the administration office


► Repaint the eighth- and ninth-grade hallways ► Install new ceiling tiles in the eighthgrade hallway ► Install an outdoor dining project, to be funded by the school’s PTO


► Install new carpet ► Complete additional minor repairs ► Resurface the rear parking lot In addition, board members and parents took the time to recognize the students involved in

During the Board of Education meeting on March 13, board members recognized the MBHS men’s basketball team and students in the MBHS and MBJH Youth Legislature program. Photo by Lexi Coon.

the MBJH and MBHS Youth Legislature program. In the program, which fosters leadership and civic responsibility, the students traveled to Montgomery to work with new laws, bills and proposals. Students are also required to write a bill during the program, and MBHS teacher Leah Kilfoyle said that of the 20 bills that were signed into legislation this year by the youth governor through the program, eight were from Mountain Brook. Board members and parents also applauded the MBHS men’s basketball team, who won their state championship on March 4, which

is the third state championship in the school’s history. While Mountain Brook superintendent Dr. Dicky Barlow joked that he preferred championships to be won by at least 30 points, he and the board members congratulated the team and their coaches on the 63-43 win over Auburn for the state title. Also at the meeting on March 13, board members: ► Approved the minutes of past meetings. ► Approved the financial statements, bank reconciliations and audit report for the city schools’ system. After reviewing the audit,

auditors gave the district an “unmodified opinion,” which is the highest opinion that can be given and had no matters to report. ► Approved personnel recommendations and budget amendments. The budget amendments accounted for a received grant, facility replacement funds and PTO funds. ► Announced that the MBHS musical “Pippin” will be showing from April 27-29 at 7 p.m. and on April 30 at 2 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center. The next board meeting will be on April 10 in the Professional Learning Center.

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News and Accomplishments Martha Jean Shaw, a commercial sales and leasing agent with RealtySouth, 2501 20th Place S., Suite 400, received the 35 Years Club Member Award at the Birmingham Commercial Realtors Council’s 44th Annual Commercial Real Estate Awards. She is one of two people to have ever received this award. Shaw has 37 years of experience in the commercial real estate business and was the first female commercial real estate agent in the Birmingham area. 325-1324,


April 2017 • A9 the Women’s Jewelry Association. The WJA is a national association of women in the jewelry industry. 982-4888,

Hirings and Promotions Coke Williams has been promoted to shareholder and president of residential sales for LAH Real Estate, 2850 Cahaba Road, Suite 200. He has been with the company since 1997 and most recently served as qualifying broker of the Homewood office. 870-8580,


Whole Foods, 3100 Cahaba Village Plaza, is now offering delivery of groceries through Shipt, the Birmingham-based company that allows users to select grocery items online that will be delivered to their home. 912-8400,


Avani Patel and Rupa Patel, the mother-daughter owners of Avani Rupa Fine Jewelers, 2408 Canterbury Road, have been elected the president and vice president, respectively, of the Birmingham Chapter of

Harrison Limited, a men’s clothier located at 2801 Cahaba Road, is celebrating its 25th year in business in 2017. 870-3882,



The Cook Store, 2841 Cahaba Road, is celebrating its 42nd anniversary on April 1. 879-5277,



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All In Mountain Brook discussed at luncheon By LEXI COON The Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce hosted many speakers from All In Mountain Brook who discussed the significance of the organization during the chamber’s luncheon on March 16 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Founded in the early 1990s under the name “Drug and Alcohol Task Force,” Superintendent Dicky Barlow said the group was designed to help Mountain Brook students and families deal with challenges they may face. As years went by, Barlow, along with additional community members, agreed the program needed to be revamped. When All In Mountain Brook became what it is today, the premise remained the same, but the organization added the involvement of local government, as well as the school, business and worship communities. He also said some of the focuses shifted. “The world has changed, and really the issues that involve our students have changed,” he said. Don Menendez, AIMB president-elect, said the program now also gives students and parents the resources to work through problems with social media, mental health and technology, among other topics. This is done through forums and panels, which are put on in part with the help of the schools and the city government. This year, AIMB has held many forums for both parents and students, which Menendez called “tremendously successful.” Discussions were for parents of students of all ages, with topics ranging from sleep deprivation to how to navigate junior high. Police Chief Ted Cook also led a panel for families who were planning a spring break along the Gulf to update them on recent changes to laws. According to Cook, the police department has a role in AIMB because it works to promote the health, safety and wellness of the Mountain Brook community members, including students. “We’re trying to be as active and involved as we can; that’s part of the presentations that Don mentioned,” Cook said. Rabbi Jonathan Miller, a founding member of AIMB and rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, also said that AIMB works to provide a sense of peace to its community members. “The word ‘shalom’ doesn’t mean peace in the way of ‘OK, we’re not going to battle, we’re not going to fight wars,’” he said. Instead, the word is rooted in the word shaleim, which he said means wholeness

Members of the All In Mountain Brook board spoke to community members about the significance of the program during the quarterly Chamber of Commerce luncheon on March 16. Photo by Lexi Coon.

or oneness. “You get the peace that comes from a feeling of a wellness in its largest term. And All In Mountain Brook is really that shalom agent I think for so many families and can be a motivator for our religious communities.” Miller continued, saying one of the reasons he became involved in AIMB is to help promote the feeling of wellness within the community. “Being of a community of privilege where everybody shines, or where everybody is expected to shine, makes it very difficult spiritually, for the ordinary kids, for the good kids, for all of our kids,” he said. “I think that a lot of the problems we have is this problem of ... high expectations for excellence that sometimes

can make people ... it can hurt their spirit, and make them feel like they are failures.” While he acknowledged the problems, Miller said the community is not powerless to them, and by working together, would be able to move forward toward that sense of wellness and peace. “We are grateful to be able to live, as Rabbi Miller said, in a privileged community,” Menendez said in closing. “And with great privilege also comes great responsibility.” The next chamber luncheon will be returning to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on May 17 with guest speaker Christopher Tanner, a Mountain Brook and West Point graduate who served under Gen. David Petraeus.

April 2017 • A11

Dana Wolter Interiors filling more space — its new office By LEXI COON

After starting her business in the mid-2000s, Dana Wolter has expanded to a storefront office on Cahaba Road. Photo courtesy of Graham Yelton.

A little more than 10 years after she started her residential design firm, Dana Wolter Interiors, Dana Wolter has taken her passion for interior design and turned it into a growing business. “I always had a love for interior decorating,” she said. “My husband and I would buy a house and fix it up.” She first started Dana Wolter Interiors in 2005 at the request of two friends who asked for her help. Wolter began working out of her home as an interior decorator, but recently found it “was the perfect time” to expand to an office space on Cahaba Road. “At the time, I felt something in my heart that I was looking for something else. Timing is everything in life,” she said. Through her residential design firm, Wolter works on “turn-key” projects, “which is where we are basically involved from start to finish,” she said. Wolter and her design team start with new construction where they are involved in the building and design process, and then work to select and install new furnishings and fabrics. The installations fit her style, which she describes as “classic with an edge,” or “everyday elegance.” “It’s classic enough to stand the test of time, but it has a little bit of edge, and the interiors work hard for the family,” she said. “It’s pretty, but it’s functional for everyday living.” And functionality of a space can affect how a family lives, Wolter added. “I think, truly, the most remarkable thing is just to see how it [decorating and organizing] affects people’s lifestyle

or way of living,” she said. “A home that feels good to you, that’s a reflection of your family.” Wolter said she thinks interior design is going to change in the upcoming years, but even with the technology, clients will still need her help. “Where we’re needed is our intellectual property,” she said. “People can find stuff on the internet, but they don’t know how to put it together.” A lot of where her rooms and homes come together is in the details, something Wolter said she enjoys working on. “I love custom details,” she said. “I love a project where we can incorporate custom cabinetry, and I do a lot of custom upholstery pieces that are unique to the space but still reflect the family.” Other details can range from adding a specific fabric to a sofa to changing the finish of furniture legs, all to help the rooms flow and fit the needs of those who live there. “We’re making sure it’s blending and that it all goes together,” Wolter said. While she hopes to work with a boutique hotel or open her own fabric or furniture lines in the future, Wolter said she’s glad to have made the transition to a space in Mountain Brook Village. “I’m just excited to keep my business in Mountain Brook and support the community,” she said. “I love Mountain Brook, and I think Mountain Brook is such a special place. I’m proud to live here and work here.” Dana Wolter Interiors is at 2713 Cahaba Road and offers hours by appointment only. For more information, email info@danawolterinteriors. com or go to

A12 • April 2017

Village Living

Lifelong passion for health fuels True Fitness

True Fitness, the gym that Ryder Hollis recently opened at 2830 Culver Road, focuses on helping people improve their quality of life through fitness and exercise. Photo by Lexi Coon.

By LEXI COON Ryder Hollis first found an interest in health and fitness at a young age. “I have to give credit to my dad for getting me into this when I was a kid,” he said, mentioning he would read books about training and the human body and reach out to the authors later with more questions. “I would just pick their brain and just learn from them.” He eventually went on to work for Susan Finley, owner of TrainSmarter, until he found it was time to branch out with his recently opened business, True Fitness. Outfitted with equipment such as AstroTurf, kettlebells, rowing machines, suspension trainers, a SkiErg and a station Hollis calls “the rig,” he has prepared his gym to meet the needs of anyone. “In this industry, we look at every piece of equipment as a tool,” he said. “Just like a chef has different knives … we have different tools in here to help us accomplish different goals.” One of his main goals is to help clients improve their quality of life through fitness. While Hollis said

True Fitness does work with small groups no larger than four people, he prefers to work individually with clients. “Our main focus really and truly is private training,” he said. “We want to make sure the quality of movement and the quality of workout is high.” When the groups become larger, he said it’s harder to maintain the quality control that is more prevalent in smaller or one-on-one settings. He also said he works with athletes and has experience with track and field, basketball, volleyball, football, lacrosse and soccer.

Each of Hollis’ sessions start with a warmup, which serves as a way for him to prevent any potential injuries as well as help prepare clients, he said. He then tailors the workout to focus on a main exercise for his client, followed by additional complementary exercises and a conditioning element. All of this is done to match the client’s individualized program and personal goals. “Adults … sometimes [their goals] can just be how to use their body in a safe way, to, you know, just pick up their kids,” he said. “That’s just as important as a college athlete

walking through my door that wants to run a faster 40-yard dash.” After each session, Hollis said he takes the time to track and measure his clients’ performance and improvements, too. “I have notebooks of just session after session. Literally hundreds of hours of data that just shows and supports that what we do, works,” he said. “That being said though, we do believe in having fun.” In addition to what he described as “a positive and motivating training atmosphere,” Hollis has included a lounge space with Wi-Fi on the second floor of his gym, where clients

and trainers can enjoy a snack, make a smoothie, sit back and relax. He said he is happy to be in the Mountain Brook community, too. “I know it might sound cliché, but … it’s more like Mountain Brook chose me, instead of I chose Mountain Brook,” he said. “We’re just really excited to be in a community that cares so much about their fitness and their health.” True Fitness operates on a daily schedule based on its client sessions and is at 2830 Culver Road, near Beverly Ruff Antiques. For more information, or to schedule a session, call 422-7168.

April 2017 • A13

Decorators’ ShowHouse returns to Mountain Brook Home tours benefiting symphony run from April 29 to May 14 By ERICA TECHO Designers from the Greater Birmingham area are once again putting their heads together for the Decorators’ Show House, hosted by the Alabama Symphony Volunteers Council. The Johnston-Clark Estate on East Briarcliff Road in Mountain Brook will be open for tours from April 29 through May 14. The show house features rooms decorated by multiple designers, and all items in the home will be for sale. “Personally, I think [guests] get to see the newest in décor and designs,” said Betsy Cooper, a member of the Symphony Volunteer Council. “They give you ideas that you can then take and use at home.” Designers also will be present at the show house, so visitors can have one-on-one contact with them and discuss any ideas they have. In addition to the designs, there will be music by Goodfellas and hors d’oeuvres. Ticket sales go toward supporting the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, its programs and educational efforts. Following the tour, all items on display in the show house will be available for purchase, and a portion of those sales will also support the ASO. The Alabama Symphony Orchestra is a “core component” of arts in Birmingham, said show house co-chairwoman Char Bonsack, and the show house helps spread the word about the symphony. “It helps expand their program and makes people aware of the symphony and what they do for the city,” Bonsack said. Co-chairwoman Molly Bloetscher said one benefit of the ASO is the variety of shows it brings to the Birmingham area. Rather than focus on classical music or standard opera, it

The Johnston-Clark Estate on East Briarcliff Road in Mountain Brook will be open for tours from April 29 through May 14. Photo courtesy of the Alabama Symphony Volunteers Council.

brings “something for everyone,” Bloetscher said. “It’s unique. Not every city has a symphony,” Bonsack added. Mountain Brook-based Isabella Palmer Designs will work on the powder room in the Designer Show House, and tickets for the event will be on sale at Lambs Ear, Christine’s, Table Matters and Trocadero in Mountain Brook, in addition to other locations in the Greater

Birmingham area. Tickets for the event are on sale March 22 and will be available at retailers through April 28 for pre-sale. Those tickets cost $15, and tickets at the door will be $20. Group tours and lunches are available, and there will be special activities planned for Derby Day and Mother’s Day. While the house can be toured on a lunch break, Bloetscher said people are welcome to take all the time they

would like to look around. The house will be open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. There is no parking at the house. Visitors should park at Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church, where a shuttle will transport them to and from the house. For more information, go to svcalabama. com/decorators-show-house.

A14 • April 2017

Village Living

Harper’s Salon closing after 80 years, to be replaced with modern salon By EMILY FEATHERSTON After 80 years, one of the area’s most iconic hair salons is ending one chapter to begin another. Harper’s Salon in Mountain Brook Village was established as a branch of one of the first franchised businesses in the country, founded by Canadian immigrant Martha Matilda Harper. The store has changed hands a few times, and 30 years ago was first called home by “The Magician” Martine Sebbag. Sebbag said the Martha Harper story always spoke to her and was a large part of her fondness for her little salon on Petticoat Lane. “That was just an extraordinary story,” she said. Sebbag purchased Harper’s Salon from Tony Buy, the second owner, and after a few other times of changing hands, has held the location for the last several years. But now, after decades as a hairstyling institution, Harper’s Salon will be replaced with a modern, luxurious new offering: Speed Spa. “It’s very, very sad,” Sebbag said, adding she feels a twinge of guilt that the Harper’s name will be no more. But, she said she’s also excited for the future of the salon under its new ownership. The new owner and visionary for the salon is Tricia Holbrook, who has spent the last 30 years in finance with Compass Bank and Sterne Agee. Holbrook approached Sebbag about taking ownership of the salon, and Sebbag said she immediately thought Holbrook’s vision was a good idea. The goal is to provide luxury salon service for those on the go. While Holbrook said she doesn’t want to reveal too many details just yet, she said it’s going to be more like the Apple Store than “Steel Magnolias,” with modern features and light colors to create an airy feel.

Harper’s Salon closed its doors in February. Photo by Emily Featherston.

“It’s going to be gorgeous, really,” Sebbag said. “I think it was a good move. I wish Tricia high success.” Those who are frequent clients of “The Magician” need not fret, however, as Sebbag said she will be coming back to the salon and working three and a half days a week. “I’m looking forward to the change,” she

said. “I love things that are new.” Sebbag said she knows the change will require an adjustment for her clients, many of whom have been coming to Harper’s for years or are part of a multi-generation clientele. But Sebbag said she thinks they are going to love what Holbrook will be doing with the location.

“The adjustment will come,” she said. Holbrook said she is hoping to open the new salon in June, and she is excited to become part of the Mountain Brook Village business community. In the meantime, Sebbag wanted to thank the community for 37 great years at Harper’s and to let them know they can find her at Hopson James Salon in Homewood.

April 2017 • A15

Events Gardens schedules Spring Plant Sale

The Spring Plant Sale will be returning to the Macy’s parking lot behind Brookwood Village this April 7-9. File photo.

By LEXI COON When the Birmingham Botanical Gardens started the spring plant sale, it was called the Gardens Fiesta. During its first year, the Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens raised $6,500, and now, nearly 50 years later and under the name Spring Plant Sale, the event raises about $265,000 said Blake Ells, public relations coordinator for the gardens. “Spring Plant Sale has grown to be one of Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ two largest annual fundraisers,” Ells said. The proceeds, which come from ticket and plant sales, go toward the educational programs the gardens provide for the public. Many of the plants featured in the sale are raised at the gardens by volunteers who will be present to offer planting advice as well. Plants this year include herbs, perennials, roses,

daylilies, trees, climbers, shrubs and bonsai. “Anything you can imagine, it’ll be on sale at Spring Plant Sale,” Ells said. This year, the sale is in the parking lot behind Macy’s at Brookwood Village with the following hours: ► April 6: 5-6:30 p.m., Preview party ► April 6: 6:30-8:30 p.m., Members-only sale ► April 7: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ► April 8: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ► April 9: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tickets to the Preview Party are $45 and can be purchased online or at the door, and Birmingham Botanical Gardens memberships can be purchased online before the event. The sale will be open to the general public free from April 7-9. To learn more or to purchase memberships or preview tickets, go to

Gus Pappas, owner of Norton’s Florist, congratulates the 2016 Norton’s Florist annual floral painting competition award winner Mara Jambor. Photo courtesy of Janet Sanders.

36th annual Spring Art Festival welcoming local music, artists By LEXI COON This year, the Mountain Brook Art Association, together with more than 80 artists and the support of many local organizations, will be hosting its 36th annual Spring Art Festival April 22. “It started as a small effort by students of Mountain Brook [and] community education art teacher Ron Lewis,” said show Chairwoman Janet Sanders. After the students wanted to sell their work in front of Crestline Elementary one April, the show grew to welcome thousands of visitors. The show includes paintings and fine art collage from artists within the Mountain Brook Art Association, both novice and experienced. Artists’ tents will be set up on Crestline Field, and this year, Sanders said the show

will feature local music in front of City Hall from the MBHS Band, Mason Music Studio students and teachers and the Choko Aiken band, returning for its third year. Prints, greeting cards and books also will be available for purchase, and guests can get their faces painted or grab lunch at one of the 22 eateries within Crestline, Sanders said. But what makes this spring art show stand out is its ties within the community, because all the members participating in the show live within 25 miles of Mountain Brook, Sanders said, and the show promotes local artists and businesses. “I guess the main theme here could be local: local art, local music and local food,” she said. The Mountain Brook Art Association Spring Art Festival is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Crestline sports field and is free. For more information, go to

A16 • April 2017

Village Living

Steeple to Steeple adds 10K, sleep-in options

Steeple to Steeple is adding new options for participants this year, including a sleepin participation level that requires no running at all. Photo courtesy of United Methodist Children’s Home.

By EMILY FEATHERSTON For its third installment, organizers of the Steeple to Steeple Run are hoping to bring in a larger number and variety of participants by adding new events. April 22’s Steeple to Steeple supports United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH), a nonprofit that provides homes, healing and hope to Alabama’s neglected and abused youth. This year, in addition to the 5K from Trinity United Methodist Church to Canterbury United Methodist Church that gave the first installments of the event its name, this year’s run will also feature a 10K race from Trinity West Methodist Church to Canterbury. The run also will have a virtual option, so those out of town wishing to be involved can run in another location, as well as a “sleep-in” option that allows participants to simply

donate without actually running. “We really do think that having these different options this year we’re going to have more participants,” said Rebecca Morris, vice president for External Affairs at UMCH. For those that do run, Morris said there likely will be some surprises along the route. Morris said proceeds from the event support more than 1,000 children who don’t live with their biological families and are at-risk, but that informing people about the children in need in their own state is equally as important. “The biggest thing for us is to raise awareness,” she said. The Friday prior to the event, participants can pick up their race packets in the parking lot adjacent to Little Donkey and Steel City Pops. Morris said everyone is invited to meet other participants and encouraged to visit the restaurants nearby. For more information or to register, go to

The Offshoots Garden Club Egg Hunt will be taking place this year on April 8. Photo courtesy of Kim Eriksson.

Egg hunt returning to Overton Park By LEXI COON The Offshoots Garden Club is working with Overton Park once again to host its annual egg hunt. Last year, volunteers for the event hid more than 2,000 eggs for children, and they are expecting even more hidden treasures this year, said Amber Cantrell with the egg hunt. Eggs may hold candy, stickers or toys, and she said volunteers avoid filling them with candy that may melt or contains nuts. All ages are welcome to participate, and Cantrell said there are two separate search areas for children who are in preschool or younger and for those in kindergarten and above. In addition to the egg hunt, Cantrell said there will be two “golden eggs” sponsored by State Farm agent and BWF parent Scott Cantrell, several face painting stations, photo

booths, a cakewalk and an Easter Bunny. Saw’s will also have a food truck, and the event will collect donations to benefit the March of Dimes. Doodle Italian Ice will be available, and a portion of its proceeds will go to Brookwood Forest Elementary, Cantrell said. “This is a community event because its sole purpose is to serve the community that we are all so passionate about,” Cantrell said. “The main goal of the egg hunt was and still is to give back to our community, the Brookwood Forest area, including our Blue Ribbon school.” The Offshoots Garden Club Egg Hunt is at Overton Park on April 8 at noon. In the event of rain, the egg hunt will be moved to the following Saturday with the same start time.

April 2017 • A17

Easter Bunny to visit 7th annual Crestline egg hunt

A child picks up an Easter egg during the 2015 Crestline egg hunt. File photo.

By ERICA TECHO The Easter Bunny will once again stop off in Crestline Village to join children in this year’s Crestline Village Easter Egg Hunt. This is the egg hunt’s seventh year, and it will once again take place in the grassy field in front of Emmet O’Neal Library. The egg hunt will kick off April 15 at 10 a.m., when the Easter Bunny blows his whistle signaling the start of the festivities. While there is only one egg hunt for all ages, children ages 3 to 5 will have a few minutes of a head start during the egg hunt. The eggs are scattered throughout the field, so they are easy to find and reach. Following the egg hunt, the Easter Bunny

will be available for photos with all of the kids. No photographer is provided, however, but parents are welcome to bring their own cameras or take pictures using their phone camera. The event also brings together merchants from Crestline Village, and it is sponsored by Once Upon a Time, the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce, IberiaBank, Snoozy’s Kids, The Pants Store, Little Lavender and Otey’s. Organizer Linda Flaherty said she hopes to recruit a few more businesses to sponsor the event, but those had not been solidified as of press time. “It’s a fun event, and it’s family-oriented. It’s our way of giving back to the community,” Flaherty said.

Friends of Jemison Park holding volunteer day By LEXI COON The Friends of Jemison Park are holding one last spring volunteer day on Saturday, April 8, for the park and are calling on the Mountain Brook community to pitch in. Volunteers will be helping plant hundreds of trees and shrubs in parts of the park where invasive species, such as privet, elaeagnus and bamboo, were removed last winter. “The native plants have been chosen for their beauty as well as the food and shelter they provide wildlife,” said Friends of Jemison Park president Sim Johnson. They will be a part of the trees that were planted along Mountain Brook Parkway in The Friends of Jemison Park will be hosting another volunteer day for all ages on April 8, the last until cooler weather returns in January and flowers the fall. Photo courtesy of Sim Johnson. and shrubs that were planted at the Watplants, and these volunteer plantings are another kins Road entrance to the park in February. option for the public to support the park.” Johnson said the Friends of Jemison Park This rain-or-shine event will be from 9 a.m. are looking for volunteers to not only help keep to noon at the Beechwood Road entrance, and labor costs for the park down, but also to create volunteers are asked to park along Woodhill an opportunity for community members to work Road. While some tools may be provided, directly with the park and add to its natural beauty. Johnson asked volunteers to bring their own “We want the community to deepen its con- gloves, shovels and hand trowels. Interested nection to the park by providing neighbors a community members should email info@ time to come together and get their hands dirty,” To learn more, Johnson said. “We are so grateful to those who visit or follow give money to the Friends to allow us to buy @simswjohnson on Instagram.

A18 • April 2017

Village Living

Community Preaching series celebrates 109 years of Lenten services

The Very Rev. Andrew Pearson, Co-chairs Anne Langloh and Theresa Gregory, and the Rev. Canon Deborah Leighton. Photo courtesy of Kelley Norwood.

The Cathedral Church of the Advent is celebrating 109 years of weekday services during Lent with its 2017 Lenten Preaching Series. The series will again feature faithful preachers from all over the world. Each noonday service is immediately followed by the Advent’s famous hand-prepared lunches served at a modest price. This is the longest continual weekday series in the country. Many people from downtown and the adjoining suburbs join together at this interdenominational service for a time of reflection and fellowship as a peaceful break from their busy workdays leading up to Easter. The 25-minute service starts at 12:05 p.m., and the series continues through Good Friday, April 14. The Advent’s Lenten series has been serving the Birmingham business district and surrounding communities for decades by feeding the body and soul. Over 4,000 lunches were served last year, raising over $52,000. The proceeds have been distributed to many mission programs both locally and globally supported by the Advent. Proceeds will support disadvantaged women and children at Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries, as well as the Anglican Church’s Shyira Diocese in Rwanda. The Advent is located on the corner of 20th Street and Sixth Avenue North. – Submitted by Kelley Norwood.

Members of the KIDS Korner Luncheon Committee are: Annemarie Axon, Mary Cox Brown, Yonti Brown, Mary Kathryn Bryant, Dana Cockrell, Rebecca Eubanks, Jeris Gaston, Anne Morris Hackney, Brenda Hackney, Lindsay Hackney, Kayla Lawrence, Yawanna McDonald, Elisa Nelson, Breauna Peterson, Lacey Scott, Tanya Shunnara, Callen Thistle, Ann Watford, Rachel Weingartner, Ginny Willings and Whitney Wright. Photo courtesy of Scottie Vickery.

YWCA Central Alabama KIDS Korner Luncheon raises funds for children of homeless families YWCA Central Alabama hosted its 10th annual KIDS Korner Luncheon on Feb. 16 at the BJCC East Ballroom. The event raised more than $175,000 to support the YWCA’s KIDS (Kids in Distress) Korner child development program for children of homeless families. The luncheon, a project of the YWCA’s Junior Board and co-chaired by Anne Lary

and Taylor Cooper, reached a significant milestone this year. Midway through the luncheon, YW CEO Yolanda Sullivan announced that the event had raised more than $1 million in 10 short years. KIDS Korner is nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, a distinction only 6 percent of centers in the country

have earned. “At the YW, we believe in providing those with the least the very best start in life,” said Rikki Ross, director of child development services for the YWCA. “Many of our children come to us with adult-sized worries, so our staff is trained to meet their very specific needs.” – Submitted by Scottie Vickery.

April 2017 • A19

Mountain Brook resident receives Eagle Scout honor John Annesley DeGaris III recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout from the Vulcan District Eagle Board. He is a member of Boy Scout Troop 320 at Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church, under the leadership of Scoutmaster Frank Tynes. On November 20, 2016, a Court of Honor was held to recognize John Annesley’s achievement. At the ceremony, John Annesley gave a presentation discussing the importance of scouting in his life. For his Eagle Service Project, John Annesley demonstrated his leadership skills by organizing and directing the construction of tables and benches to be utilized by Jones Valley Teaching Farm in its outdoor classroom at Glen Iris Elementary. Jones Valley

utilizes the tables and benches as part of its outdoor teaching program. John Annesley served in various leadership positions with the troop and was elected by his peers to the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s National Honor Society. He is a senior at Mountain Brook High School, where he is co-captain of the varsity lacrosse team for the second year in a row. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. He was also a member of both the track team and debate team for three years. John Annesley is the son of Ashley and Annesley DeGaris. – Submitted by Adria Barnes.

Spartans hold holiday donation drive Chairmen Connor Hart (left) and Aubrey Hart (right) with Maggie McDonald, the YWCA development director. Photo courtesy of J. Mark Hart.

The Mountain Brook Spartans football team carried out a community service project during the 2016 season by collecting new toys at home football games to donate to underprivileged children for the holidays. The project was called “Kickoffs for Kids Toy Drive.” Due to generosity of the Mountain Brook community and several generous

guests from visiting teams, the Spartans were able to deliver over 125 toys to the YWCA for their Santa’s Workshop on Dec. 10, which served over 400 children living in local homeless and domestic violence shelters. In addition, the Spartans made a $100.00 cash donation to Toys for Tots. – Submitted by J. Mark Hart.

Celebrations Given - Peck Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Perry Given, Jr., announce the engagement of their daughter, Caroline Carter Given, to Brennan Kennedy Peck, son of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Kennedy Peck, all of Birmingham. Miss Given is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry Myron Raley of Montgomery, Alabama, and the late Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Perry Given of Birmingham. The bride-elect is a 2011 graduate of Mountain Brook High School and a 2015 summa cum laude graduate of Auburn University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in public relations with minors in international studies, philanthropy and nonprofit studies and business. She was tapped for membership in Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, Cardinal Key, Lambda Sigma and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies. Miss Given is a member of the Birmingham Débutante Club, and was a presentee at the Beaux Arts Krewe Ball, the Ball of Roses, the Heritage Ball and

the Redstone Ball. She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta social sorority. Mr. Peck is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Walton Howard of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and the late Mr. and Mrs. Roger Phillip Peck of Tacoma, Washington. The prospective groom is a 2011 graduate of Mountain Brook High School and a 2015 graduate of Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where he was listed on the Honor Roll and Dean’s List. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration and was a member of the Venture Club and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. The couple is employed locally, where the bride-elect is an account manager with Lewis Communications and the groom-elect is the owner of Hartbrook Clothier. The wedding is planned for May 13, 2017, at Church in the Pines on the shores of Lake Martin.

Have an engagement, wedding or anniversary announcement? Email to have it included in an upcoming issue.

A20 • April 2017

Village Living

Sports Spartan volleyball coach to head BSC program By KYLE PARMLEY Mountain Brook High School head volleyball coach Haven O’Quinn has accepted the same position at Birmingham-Southern College, the school announced Feb. 28. O’Quinn led the Spartans to three consecutive state championships from 2014 to 2016. She is the only coach to lead her team to a Class 7A volleyball title, as the state’s highest classification was added prior to the 2014-2015 school year. “I was really surprised,” O’Quinn said of the opportunity. “I was not seeking out another job. I have the best high school coaching job in the state.” Birmingham-Southern Athletic Director Kyndall Waters contacted O’Quinn recently and inquired of her interest. She visited the school late last week and said it “just felt right.” “I thought she was calling to talk about a player. I was just sucker-punched. I was really surprised,” O’Quinn said. “I’m thrilled that Haven has agreed to lead our program at BSC,” Waters said. “She represents the best combination of skill-developer, motivator and competitor that I’ve seen in the most successful coaches.” Mountain Brook Athletic Director Benny Eaves had nothing but positive things to say about O’Quinn’s impact on the volleyball program. “Haven came in and did something that hadn’t been done before and followed it up by doing it again and again,” Eaves said. “She’ll be the first to tell you it’s all about the players. She

had a great relationship with the players and an ability to instill confidence in her players. We’re really proud of her and her opportunity to go to the next level. We’re excited about her future and our future.” O’Quinn said the decision to leave Mountain Brook was not an easy one, as the three state championships won in her five-year tenure are the only ones in the school history, but she believes the program’s best days are ahead. “The program’s just on fire,” she said. “The community has really bought into the sport. Whoever gets the opportunity to coach there, they’re coming into something really special. It’s ready to explode.” Mountain Brook listed seven freshmen on its state tournament roster in 2016, giving credence to her statement. There is no definite timetable for finding O’Quinn’s replacement at Mountain Brook, but a search for the next coach has begun. “We want to find the right person, best person, and we want to get them in place as soon as possible,” Eaves said. “All those factors have to fall into place.” O’Quinn met with the Mountain Brook players the day prior to the announcement to discuss her plans. “Outside people see the success and the wins, but the girls know we’re way beyond that,” she said. “We’re scary close. One of my players said it best: ‘We are a family.’ It’s not just about what we did on the volleyball court.” O’Quinn coached previously at Pelham and played collegiately at Troy University.

Haven O'Quinn won three consecutive state championships while the coach at Mountain Brook. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

April 2017 • A21

New coach building soccer program on ‘unity’ Head coach Adam Johnson directs the girls soccer team from the sidelines during a match against Spain Park on March 16. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

By KYLE PARMLEY The Mountain Brook High School girls soccer team is using what it has been through the last few seasons as a learning and unifying experience, as the Spartans look to finish the 2017 season strong. Mountain Brook has its third coach in as many years in Adam Johnson, but he came in as a familiar face to many as a longtime teacher at Mountain Brook Junior High and past assistant with the program. The coaching situation forced the players to look to themselves to provide the necessary stability in years past. “The program was going through a coaching change, so they really had to rely on the leadership within the team in order to find success,” Johnson said of last year’s team. “Their biggest success was coming together as a unit and proving to themselves they had the work ethic, talent and desire to compete in every match.” After going through that, the hope is the product of what was forged in the fire will allow the Spartans the success they desire. “There have been three coaches in three years for these players,” Johnson said. “This type of change has taught the girls the importance of building a cohesive unit and stressed the importance of team unity. Ultimately, it has helped the girls learn how to lead themselves and to work through adversity together. Johnson’s belief is those lessons have allowed the Mountain Brook program to blossom into a unit, as the varsity and junior varsity programs intersect often and train together daily. The Spartans had to replace a handful of quality players for the 2017 season, as Laney Smith and Nicole Strahl signed to play college soccer. “They made an obvious impact on the field in every game they played, and off the field, too, because they also had a strong leadership style that helped the team face and overcome some of the adversities faced last year,” Johnson said. Emily McClean and Adelaide Kimberly also

graduated, and Johnson lauded their efforts to teach the “younger players so much about being selfless and putting the team first,” along with their consistent play. With what those girls brought to the table, their impact is still strong on the current roster. Johnson looks to a handful of girls to help lead the team and does not feel pressured to rely on any one player to get the job done. “Given the amount of leadership change these girls have experienced, there are a lot of girls who know how to lead and when to

recognize the right time to lead, versus when is the right time to follow,” Johnson said. “The girls that we expect and lean on in order to help drive us forward have all stepped up and answered the call with complete enthusiasm and selflessness.” Johnson’s buzzword for the season and the program is “unity.” It is the centerpiece of everything he has done since taking charge of the program, and is why he approached the preseason portion of the schedule differently than most teams.

“We spent most of the preseason time working to build a soccer program void of the unwritten hierarchy that is present in many organizations,” he said. All of this work is in hope the Mountain Brook girls soccer program will be as strong as possible on the field. “Our main objective is to be the most competitive team anyone will face, have the strongest bonds on and off the field, and to be the tightest formation anyone goes up against,” Johnson said.

A22 • April 2017



Village Living

The Mountain Brook boys basketball team takes on Auburn High School on March 4, 2017, at the Legacy Arena of the BJCC in Birmingham. The Spartans prevailed over the Auburn Tigers to claim the state championship title. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.


By KYLE PARMLEY ucky McMillan’s dad was right. Sean Elmore went off. Elmore knocked down a trifecta of 3-pointers in the final 3:19 of the third quarter, propelling Mountain Brook into a runaway fourth quarter, as the Spartans captured their third state championship in school history with a 63-43 win over Auburn on March 4 in the Class 7A State Finals at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena. “It’s funny because my dad, who has watched every single game we’ve ever played in my time here, texted me [the morning of the game], ‘I’ve got a feeling Sean Elmore’s about to go off,’” recalled McMillan, the coach behind each of Mountain Brook’s three state titles in 2013, 2014 and 2017. The prophecy proved true, and Mountain Brook played one of its best quarters of the season’s entirety in its final eight minutes. Auburn cut the Mountain Brook lead to 38-34 in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter before the Spartans found an extra gear and accelerated rapidly to the finish line. Mountain Brook went on a 21-3 run in the following six minutes, wrapping up the state title with a thunderous stomp. “I don’t know if that was our best, but that second half was pretty dang close to our best,” McMillan said. “Our guys played great.” Before Elmore got hot late in the third, Mountain Brook’s lead was just four and 38-32 at the conclusion of the third quarter, but the momentum garnered from those shots set the stage for the fourth-quarter spree.

“That gave us a lot of energy, making shots, but most importantly, making stops on defense, getting rebounds. Those shots just boost us,” Elmore said. Elmore scored 17 points in the game, including 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point distance. “He’s such a high-level competitor,” McMillan said of Elmore. “Great competitors love to compete on great stages and great games. The fact that he did this is incredible, but doesn’t surprise me one bit.” Trendon Watford was Trendon Watford in the championship game, notching another double-double and leading all players with 26 points and 11 rebounds on 11-of-17 shooting. As the Spartans pulled away in the fourth quarter, the mood on the Mountain Brook bench became more jovial by the minute. “It was so fun,” Watford said. “As I saw the lead keep going up, it just kept getting better. It took a lot of pressure off me and my team.” Ben McCool played the role of Mountain Brook’s most productive senior all season, and finished his career in the green and gold with 10 points, three steals, two assists and a block. Jack Brewster, Jeb Brown, Jackson Lightfoot and Sam Colvin all played in the final games of their high school careers. To reach the final, Mountain Brook took down reigning state champ McGillToolen, 52-41, in the State Semifinals, as the Spartans held the Yellow Jackets to just 22-percent shooting in the game. The Northeast Regional was quite fulfilling for the Spartans as well, as they avenged a loss in the regional semifinal in 2016 with a win over Gadsden City followed by a tough win over Area 6 foe Huffman, who defeated the Spartans in the area tournament the previous meeting.

April 2017 • A23

A24 • April 2017

Village Living

Baseball teams, communities unite through serve day Individuals from Mountain Brook, Restoration Academy and Trussville worked to fix up the baseball field where Restoration Academy practices. Photo courtesy of Ty Williams.

By ERICA TECHO Baseball players sometimes have to deal with balls taking bad hops, but Restoration Academy’s baseball team was dealing with much larger obstacles on the field. “It was unplayable,” said Myles McKee, coach for the Fairfield-based school’s baseball program. “Our players were getting beat up by ground balls. There were rocks and grass in the infield, broken glass, torn-down fences and ant beds everywhere.” The field was in such poor condition that it was nearly impossible to practice until members from three communities — Fairfield, Trussville and Mountain Brook — came together to fix it up. “After the process of coming together and serving through just a lot of hard work Ty put in putting this thing together, it’s night and day,” McKee said. “We can actually play a game on there.” Restoration Academy is a school that aims to provide Birmingham-area students with a high quality and Christ-centered education, and its baseball team practices on a field managed and maintained by the city of Fairfield. Due to Fairfield’s financial difficulties, the field fell into disrepair, said RA’s Director of Development and Community Relations Ty Williams. Also a member of Trussville Rotary Club, Williams said fellow Rotarian Tommy Trimm approached him about potential service projects. That’s where the idea for a serve day at the baseball field started. Trussville Daybreak Rotary, Trimm’s landscaping company Trimm Design Build, Mountain Brook Baptist and Mountain Brook High School’s baseball team joined together in February to fix up the field. “We got word from one of our parents that this was going to take place, and he asked if we would be interested,” said MBHS baseball coach Lee Gann. “I said absolutely.” The MBHS baseball team has participated in charity work in past years, Gann said, but this was the first time they worked to fix up an entire baseball field. The team took on the project as a challenge, aiming to get everything done in one day. “I think for some of those [Mountain Brook] guys, they looked at the field and were shocked, that we practice on a field like that,” Williams said. “And you look at their facility, and they have turf and all that on the ground. I think with some of those guys, they realized how blessed they were.” While some of the players were shocked at the state of RA’s field, Gann said the common goal and challenge of fixing up the field helped the MBHS players bond with and relate to the RA players. “I think it was good for our players to interact with their

players and have a common goal to get their field in playing condition,” Gann said. “I think the kids really walked away feeling good about themselves and really were able to tell how blessed they were, and how blessed we were with the facilities we have.” RA’s team will continue to take care of the field, even after the volunteers have left. “At Restoration, we believe in taking responsibility and taking ownership, so after that [serve] day was done, it was really cool because they walked us through how to maintain the field, and so after every practice we field rake; we rake around the bases, and we also drag the fields,” McKee said. “So our players are responsible for the maintaining of the field.” Baseball is a sport that helps build camaraderie and team spirit, Williams said, and most inner-city kids do not have the opportunity to play it past Little League. Having a baseball team at RA, however, helps instill those skills and fulfill the school’s main goal of encouraging students to love God and to love others. The team teaches discipleship through its structure,

McKee said, and the serve day also showed players that other communities value them. “Everyone’s emotions have picked up,” McKee said. “I think a sense of dignity, pride, honor [was established]. I think they felt extremely valued and loved by all the effort that was up in that serve day.“ Now in its third year, the RA baseball program broke its single season win record winning four games in a row. Not only is that streak exciting for the team, Williams said, but it is also helpful for the spirit of the Fairfield community. They hope to eventually host a home game on the field, he said. RA got a restored field out of the serve day, and Gann said his players got a valuable life lesson. “Our players playing baseball in the grand scheme of things, isn’t going to last very long … Most kids don’t play college baseball, and even fewer go on to play professionally,” Gann said. “But our kids are always going to be in places where they can serve others, serve other people and serve other communities, and to me that’s going to go a lot further than their baseball careers.”

April 2017 • A25

MBHS soccer teams see success at Southern Shootout Soccer Tournament

Members of the girls team are, from left, front: Cece Sims, Ella Nichols, Caroline Monson, Ellen Waller, Claire Brian, Holly Brown, Lamar Campbell, Kathleen Odum, Mary Allison Anderson and Kat Brian. Back: Coach Christi Elias, coach Adam Johnson, Emma Blakely, Celia Benedict, Elizabeth Gillespy, Memory Littleton, Maddie Campbell, Nicole Waudby, Walker Poe, Hannah Bartels, Ryan Davis, Anna Windle and coach Derek Dearman.

The Mountain Brook High School boys and girls soccer teams were successful at the Southern Shootout Soccer Tournament in Fairhope over the President’s Day weekend. The MBHS boys’ team won the

championship, and the girls placed second in the tournament. The soccer tournament was hosted by St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile. – Submitted by Rosemary Gillespy.

Members of the boys team are, from left, front: Coach Joe Webb, Ryan Gaynor, Selim Tunagur, Sam Nichols, Ethan Harradine, Sam Rysedorph, Patrick Neil, Will Struthers, Zach Shunnarah and coach Stacy Hood. Middle: Aiden Hood, John Freeman, Mason Hemstreet, Lucas Geurs, Jimmy Pham, Cole Hamilton and Pirman Blattman. Back: Benson Dowler, Jack Thomas Jones, Blake Roth, Reid Freeman, Eli Sellers and Hudson Dorough. Photos courtesy of Rosemary Gillespy.

7th-grade Spartans finish season strong The seventh-grade Spartans finished the season in second place in the Metro Tournament held at Liberty Park Elementary February 1-3. Spartans defeated top-seeded Oak Mountain in a monumental win to advance to the championship game, where they fell to Bumpus in the final moments of the game. Patch Lyman and Charlie McKimmon were recognized as All-Tournament

players. The Spartans had a fantastic season with an 18-6 overall record. Players include: Edward Barze, Sims Brown, George Cain, Carson Camper, Patch Lyman, Mac McCowan, Will McIlvaine, Charlie McKimmon, Dive Rowe, George Scofield, Evan Shiflet and Jake Thompson with Pierce Austin as team manager. Spartans were coached by Derek Kennedy. – Submitted by Wendy Barze.

Pictured are the seventh-grade Spartan’s basketball team. Photo courtesy of Wendy Barze.

A26 • April 2017

Village Living


CONTINUED from page A1 Hoover (1995-98) and John Carroll (2001-07). During his tenure at Homewood, the Patriots reached three state championship games. Gerald Gann affected hundreds, if not thousands, of adolescents in his coaching career, but two specific men who meant more to him than any others can still be found making an impact on the Birmingham-area high school sport ranks today. Two of his sons took to heart everything they learned from him and are continuing his legacy. Lee Gann and Doug Gann are now high school head baseball coaches at Mountain Brook and Homewood, respectively. Doug Gann is two years the senior of Lee Gann, and both were children when Gerald Gann first arrived at Homewood in 1979. “We were always on the field or in a gym,” Lee Gann said. “That was kind of our playground growing up.” While some find entertainment with friends or at various social outings on Friday nights, the Ganns knew where they would be on Friday nights in the fall. “We were at every game every Friday night,” Doug Gann said. “That was part of our ritual, going to a game. That was just what we did growing up.”


As kids, Doug and Lee Gann were immersed in the action in their own way, as ball boys for their dad’s football team. This allowed them a front-row seat into Gerald Gann’s ways of coaching and infl uencing children not his own. “I could see early on when I was in elementary school and being able to be around him on a daily basis, he was able to have an impact on kids and be a positive influence on everybody that he interacted with,” Lee Gann said. But as Doug Gann went through his middle school years, he decided he was not going to be on the receiving end of his dad’s coaching. “After my eighth-grade year, I told my dad I wasn’t going to play football,” Doug Gann said. “He said, ‘OK, that’s fine.’ I kept telling

Lee Gann, No. 11, poses with the 1987 JV Homewood football team. Lee and his brother, Doug, each played quarterback for their father, Gerald Gann, with Doug Gann graduating in 1987, followed by Lee Gann in 1989. Photo courtesy of Homewood High School.

Gerald Gann has most recently coached running backs at Birmingham-Southern. Photo courtesy Birmingham-Southern Athletics.

assistant coach with the baseball, basketball and football teams, the same three sports his father coached. Doug Gann coached three sports for roughly a decade, and he became the head baseball coach in 2006. Lee Gann played baseball at Samford for four years before short stints in the Seattle Mariners organization and the Spartanburg Alley Cats in the Atlantic Coast Independent League. After his playing days, he spent some time at Hoover High School as an assistant coach, and then he coached at Bob Jones for three years before arriving at Mountain Brook in 2003.

When Doug and Lee Gann approached their father about the desire to become a coach after college, he attempted to “talk us out of it,” according to Lee Gann. “It was something I was around, and it’s really the only thing I had any interest in and the only thing I knew,” Doug Gann said. “My mother always kept telling me to go into accounting. I tried taking an accounting class in college, and I went home and told her that at least I had tried.” Now, Doug and Lee Gann have their own families to sustain and lives to balance along with positively influencing and molding kids not related to them. Lee Gann and his wife, Brandi, have two kids, Libby Grace and Curt, both high school student-athletes at Mountain Brook High. Doug Gann and his wife, Brooke, have three kids, Macy, Kate and Tripp. If they do the right thing, as Gerald Gann taught and sons Doug and Lee Gann teach to players now, all will be well. “Do the right thing,” Doug Gann said. “If you live by that premise, you’re going to be in pretty good shape throughout your life.”

him that every week.” Gerald Gann allowed the thought to stew for some time, but eventually made an executive decision. “It was getting close to spring training and he said, ‘You’re going to play this year. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to play in the future,’” Doug Gann said. In retrospect, Doug Gann is glad he was forced into it. “I loved it,” he said. “Most parents wouldn’t want their son to play football, but I’m glad he made me do it. I had a lot of fun and made lots of memories.” Doug and Lee Gann each played quarterback for Gerald Gann, with Doug Gann graduating in 1987, followed by Lee Gann in 1989. But their overarching success came on the baseball diamond. Doug Gann played college baseball at UAB, and also played on UAB’s first sanctioned football team in 1991. Following his college days on the Southside, he spent seven years in the Hoover school system, with stints at Berry High and Simmons Middle School. He returned to his alma mater in 1999 as an


If coaching were a natural fit for anyone, it would be Doug and Lee Gann. After all, they have been around high school athletics the majority of their lives. But Lee Gann does not see it that way. “Coaching is a calling,” he said. “It’s not always for everyone. But at the same time, if a person has character and the work ethic and intangibles of relating to kids, then that person has a great chance to be a great coach.” LJCC

CONTINUED from page A1 center’s history, came on the morning of Jan. 18; subsequent calls were made on Feb. 20, Feb. 27 and March 7, with the last two called in to the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School at the LJCC. Rebecca Williamson, who has a child at the day school and is a member of Parents of the JCC, was present for the first call, as well as two additional calls. “That was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life [after the first call]. The first thing I could think was, ‘Where is my baby?’” Williamson said. “Nobody knew anything at that time other than the call was a very viable threat.” “Obviously, it [the call] was disconcerting, to say the least,” Lynch continued, adding she was pleased their bomb threat procedures worked well. Protocol evacuated the facilities and called local law enforcement, including the Mountain Brook and Birmingham police, the K-9 unit and the FBI. Lynch said the calls have all been during the morning hours, which are the busiest for the center, and have all been from a digitized voice. “From our perspective, someone is calling in, and they’re not carrying out the threat,” said Birmingham police spokesman Lt. Sean Edwards, adding that every threat is taken very seriously. “I think they’re also aware that not only is it impacting there [the LJCC], but also several cities across the country.” According to the Anti-Defamation League, as of March 21, 120 institutions, including 18 Jewish day schools, have been targeted over a series of 166 bomb threats. “We are deeply disturbed by bomb threats

April 2017 • A27

JEWISH COMMUNITY BOMB THREATS Bomb threats made to institutions, day schools or ADL offices in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia from Jan. 5 to March 7: NASHVILLE Gordon Jewish Community Center: Jan. 9, Jan. 18 and Feb. 20

BIRMINGHAM Levite Jewish Community Center: Jan. 18, Feb. 20, Feb. 27 and March 7

ATLANTA Atlanta Jewish Academy: Jan. 5; Marcus Jewish Community Center: Jan. 9; ADL Atlanta: March 7

EVANS, GEORGIA Augusta Jewish Community Center: Jan. 9


directed against Jewish community centers in multiple states across the United States,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL. “This is not ‘normal.’ We will not be deterred or intimidated.” Since the wave of threats across the country started, one arrest was made March 3 in connection to at least eight previous threats to Jewish community centers across the country, but calls have continued. “I was hopeful [when the arrest was made], but when they shared the details and the profile of the individual, I thought, ‘Well, he’s not our guy yet.’ But it did hearten me that we were getting closer,” Lynch said.


In addition to working closely with local law enforcement and officials, whom Lynch said are using all available resources to investigate the calls both nationally and locally, the LJCC hosted a town hall meeting March 6

to update patrons and community members. Speakers included local officials and law enforcement, and Lynch said many people asked law enforcement oriented questions and what they could do to help. “Security is everybody’s job. It’s not just the job of the people who walk around with guns,” Lynch said. “That was probably the biggest message and takeaway.” Many crowd members continued to express their gratitude for local officials and officers, a sentiment the LJCC echoed. “I cannot say enough about how local law enforcement have responded,” Lynch said, adding that even though the LJCC is not in Mountain Brook’s jurisdiction, the MBPD has partnered on every call. “They’ve been phenomenal.” Support for the LJCC has expanded far beyond the walls of the facilities, too.

Nearly every day, the center has opened letters expressing encouragement and love from across the country, and Mary Anne Glazner of Smith’s Variety has started selling large bows in blue and white, the colors of the LJCC. The bows help community members show their solidarity, and proceeds go toward additional security measures. “These are our people. These are our friends,” Glazner said. “They deserve our love and concern.” Williamson added that the National Christian Foundation of Alabama, together with many other local Christian ministries, recently started a campaign to raise $100,000. Of those funds raised, 100 percent will be sent to the Birmingham Jewish Federation, which is campaigning to raise $1,000,000 to allocate to all Birmingham-area Jewish community agencies and congregations for security enhancements. The group Parents of the JCC has also taken a more active role by mobilizing against recent threats and keeping other parents informed. “That’s something that can be really frightening as a parent, to not know what’s going on,” Williamson said. So far, the group has met with the mayor’s office to discuss raising awareness and has spoken with a counselor to learn how to communicate recent events to children who have been affected. “I can’t imagine going through this in other cities without parent support, because no one else really knows what we’re going through other than the other parents,” Williamson said, adding that the community outreach has helped members and parents of the LJCC greatly. While Lynch mentioned there are a small number of patrons who have chosen to rescind their memberships, there has been an even larger number who have chosen to join the LJCC out

of solidarity. And, Lynch said their relationship with the local Muslim community has only strengthened after having an “unfortunate shared experience.” “There’s a part of me that feels sad that it’s taken conflict to bring that unification [of the community],” she said, “but on the other side of it is, is if we had to look at the silver lining of having this type of experience, I think it’s actually resulted in more positive than negative.”


While Lynch emphasized how grateful she and the staff of the LJCC are for the support of local officials and the community, she still said, “There’s no doubt” that the series of calls to the LJCC and across the country are connected and everyone takes each threat very seriously. With each call, the LJCC has implemented a different protocol to “make it hard to figure out.” Lynch added that in the future, the LJCC will have increased security measures, both seen and unseen, to protect patrons, guests and schoolchildren. The LJCC has also helped put together the Jewish Community Task Force, which has a representative from over 15 local Jewish organizations and is designed to help address the needs of the entire community at one time. Despite the recent hardships, Lynch said the LJCC will keep their doors open for those who wish to visit. “We recognize that these are difficult times … and yes, there will be things that we will have to do to enhance our culture of security because of this,” she said, “but we are going to continue to keep doing the same thing that we have done for 110 years, which is bringing together the entire diverse community of this city.”

Village Living B Protecting a valuable resource SECTION

School House B4 Opinion B16

Calendar B18

APRIL 2017

Fire Department adds health screenings and training for employees By ERICA TECHO Mountain Brook Fire Department executive officers will tell you the department’s most valuable resource is its employees. And now, they’re working to take better care of that resource. Starting a few months after Fire Chief Chris Mullins took over, the fire department added elements to standard physicals for its firefighters, making the process more thorough overall. “Before, you would have the general physical, and then we were covered with hepatitis B and a chest X-ray for lung cancer,” said Battalion Chief David Kennedy, who heads up the training and safety division of the department. Those tests were all the fire department checked for about 24 years, Kennedy said. He and Mullins, however, made a decision to work toward improving the health and wellness of the department. “Once we figured we wanted to move in that direction, of better health and wellness for our guys, I developed a committee of two people, the health and wellness committee,” Kennedy said. That committee includes Lt. Jody Box and firefighter Gary Noah, a driver for the fire department. It helps guide and design new

See RESOURCE | page B17

From left: Lt. Jody Box, firefighter Gary Noah and Battalion Chief David Kennedy are working on improving the health and wellness of firefighters at the Mountain Brook Fire Department. Photo by Erica Techo.

B2 • April 2017

Village Living

April 2017 • B3

B4 • April 2017

Village Living

School House

Clockwise from above: Leadership Mountain Brook members stand on the steps of the capitol building with Gov. Robert Bentley and Rep. David Faulkner. Sarah Hydinger shakes the hand of Hoover resident and board of education vice-president Earl Cooper. Matthew Bullock takes a photo of the intricate artwork within the rotunda of the executive branch of the Alabama government. Photos by Lexi Coon.

Leadership Mountain Brook goes to Montgomery By LEXI COON As student members of Leadership Mountain Brook, junior and senior Spartans spend a lot of time learning about how their city functions, but on Feb. 14, the class went to Montgomery for the first time to get a glimpse of their state’s inner workings. While many students said they had been to Montgomery when they were younger, they were excited to visit again and learn more about the governmental processes and roles of their representatives. Several students agreed that because they returned again as high school students, they were able to ask more questions and appreciate more of what they have learned. Together with the help of Rep. David Faulkner, Leadership Mountain Brook was given a tour of the state house that started with the House of Representatives. There, Faulkner explained the general procedures the House follows when in session. “When you come in here [the House], it’s chaos,” he

said, but added that everyone is usually friendly. “The media is usually looking for a story about how we don’t get along, but most of the time we do.” The students also presented two bills they wrote while in school as if they were representatives — the first bill focused on a state lottery, and the second was aimed at athlete recruiting practices done by certain high schools. Faulkner then invited students up to the podiums to voice their reasons for being for or against the bills and allowed them to vote just as the representatives do. From there, Faulkner took Leadership Mountain Brook to the Senate, where they met and spoke with Sen. Jabo Waggoner. Waggoner explained the general procedures of the Senate when in session, and the group continued on to tour the state capitol. While walking through the capitol, they learned about the history of not only the building but also their state government, and were able to meet and take a photo with Gov. Robert Bentley before hearing from Hoover resident and guest speaker Christian Cooper during lunch.

Cooper, who was in a car accident in February 2016 that left 75 percent of his body severely burned, told the story of his accident and spoke to the group about the power of persistence and a good attitude in any situation. “Attitude is everything,” he said. “It’s always a big thing to stay strong and keep a positive attitude.” Cooper later led the House in its opening prayer that afternoon, preceding the Pledge of Allegiance, which starts the House session, led by MBHS 11th-grader Sarah Gladney. The House also recognized the attendance of Leadership Mountain Brook for its work session. The group’s last stop was the state archives and the judicial branch of the Alabama government, the Supreme Court, where they met with Justice Glenn Murdock. “I think it’s neat to see … the tangible evidence of history,” said Isabella DeGaris. Classmate Lilly Rucker added that their class is based on leadership, and what they were there to see was leadership in itself, just at a larger level. “I could see some of us doing this one day,” she said.

Clockwise from top left: Senator Jabo Waggoner speaks to Isabella DeGaris and Kendall Alby while in the state Senate. Will Bundy, Jennings Briley, Rose Levine, Mary Louise Howland and Jonathan Jones present the pros and cons of a bill about recruiting for high school athletics on the floor of the House of Representatives. Sen. Jabo Waggoner, back center, and Rep. David Faulkner, back right, stand with members of the Leadership Mountain Brook class in the state senate.

April 2017 • B5

B6 • April 2017

Village Living

Altamont seniors named 2017 Presidential Scholars candidates Two Altamont seniors have been named 2017 Presidential Scholars Candidates, including Mountain Brook resident Josh Teel. Teel and fellow senior Lucy Pless are among the more than 4,000 candidates nominated nationwide for the Presidential Scholars program, selected from the projected 3 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools this year. The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, established in 1964 by executive order of the president, recognizes and honors some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Over 4,000 seniors were nominated nationwide, with 89 nominees from Alabama. Application to the program is by invitation only; students are invited to apply based on their SAT or ACT scores or their nomination by a chief state school officer. In April, the Commission on Mountain Brook resident Josh Teel. Photo courtesy of Presidential Scholars reviews Margaret Whiteside. the applications of all semifinalists. The commission selects up to 161 by the White House. U.S. Presidential Scholars each year. All For more than 50 years, this federal proscholars are honored for their accomplish- gram has honored over 7,000 U.S. Presiments during the National Recognition Pro- dential Scholars who have demonstrated gram, held in June in Washington, D.C. leadership, scholarship and contribution to U.S. Presidential Scholars are guests of the school and community. The work of the Comcommission during the National Recognition mission on Presidential Scholars reaffirms, on Program and enjoy an expenses-paid trip to behalf of the president, the nation’s commitWashington, D.C., to meet with government ment to education. officials, educators and other accomplished Altamont is proud to have produced two people. To commemorate their achievement, Presidential Scholars: David Goldenberg in the scholars are awarded the U.S. Presidential 1997 and Rakesh Goli in 2012. – Submitted by Margaret Whiteside. Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored

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Students in the Highlands School library read during the January Read-a-Thon. Photo courtesy of Janey White.

Highlands School kicks off year with Read-a-Thon

Each January, beginning on Comfy Cozy Friday, students and teachers at Highlands School begin the schoolwide reading program in which they start keeping track of how much reading they are doing. During the course of the program, students work to reach and exceed the goal of 10 hours of reading. Highlands middle school students kick off the program with a Read-a-Thon in the library during which each participant tries to reach a 10-hour goal in a single afternoon, evening and night — reading nonstop from 2 p.m. until midnight. This year, 36 of the middle school students attempted it, and 20 of them

were there until the very end. Reading is its own reward, and other than that important benefit, the only “prize” for those who “win” School Wide Reading are bragging rights. As part of the tallying process, the school identifies top classroom hours, top student hours and classroom participation percentage. As an entire school, there were 4,510 hours total hours of reading. Special congratulations to Mrs. Crawford’s third-grade class for reading 466 hours and 45 minutes — and to eighth-grader Madalyn for being top reader in the school with a personal record of 148 hours of reading. – Submitted by Janey White.

April 2017 • B7

CES team competes in LEGO league

Left to right: Henry Stallcup, William Carnes, Mack Morris, Landon Friedman, Banks Tessier, Richard Monk, Mary Jane Bussian, Lauren Weekes, Charles Townsend and Blake Cook. Photo courtesy of Mary Evans.

This year, Crestline Elementary School had a team compete at the regional level of FIRST LEGO League (FLL). FLL is an international competition organized by Lego Education for elementary and middle school students. Each year in August, FLL introduces a scientific and real-world challenge, and teams compete in three areas: Robot Design, Project Research and Core Values. This year, Crestline’s team, the Robotic Raccoonteers, concentrated their research on the problems that are occurring in suburbs and urban areas by

the invasion of raccoons. They received exemplary ratings in the areas of problem identification, sources of information, team spirit and mechanical efficiency of the robot. They ranked number 5 out of 10 teams that competed. Their teacher and parents are very proud of how well they competed and how hard they worked — they worked extra hours to learn the EV3 software programming, robot design, research, and they spent countless hours pulling together their three presentations. Way to go! – Submitted by Mary Evans.

Dash and Dot robotics team named state champs The N.E. Miles Jewish Day School seventh grade Dash and Dot robotics team, coached by NEMJDS parent Amit Sherman, was named state champions in the Wonder League Robotics Competition for the second year in a row. These students are also in the top 1 percent of teams and have been invited to compete in the international finalist round and the perfect score round for their coding. There were over 5,000 teams in the competition and over 80 in Alabama. The competition consisted of obstacle course-like challenges through which the students had to program the Wonder Workshop’s Dash and Dot robots. Each challenge was filmed and submitted online to the competition judges. NEMJDS students were already familiar with the Dash and Dot robots because the NEMJDS was an early supporter of the Wonder Workshop. Wonder Workshop’s goal is to teach programming basics through hands-on play with their robots, Dash and Dot. As an early supporter, the school was among the first to receive Dash and Dot and their accessories. As a result,

NEMJDS students had the necessary practice and skills to participate and succeed in the competition. Members of the Dash and What was Dot robotics team from N.E. especially Miles Jewish Day School exciting for pose with their robots. this team Photo courtesy of Liora Chessin. of students is that after being named state champs in 2016, they set a goal to make it even further in this year’s competition. From day one, the students shared their knowledge and reflections from last year, and as a team, figured out how to improve from the year before. Their growth in their coding, teamwork and creativity since their first time competing is impressive. – Submitted by Liora Chessin.

Crestline students celebrate their recent recognition. Photo courtesy of Mary Evans.

Crestline recognized as a Digital Citizenship Certified School Common Sense, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of digital media and technology, has recognized Crestline Elementary as a Common Sense Certified School: Digital Citizenship. This initiative was spearheaded at Crestline by librarian Ruth Moore. Crestline has demonstrated its commitment to taking a schoolwide approach to preparing its students to use the immense power of digital media to explore, create, connect and

learn, while limiting the risks that exist in the online realm. Issues that emerge from this 24/7 “connected culture,” such as cyberbullying, privacy lapses and uncertainty about which information to trust online, are surfacing both in schools and at home. CES is engaging the entire school in this important discussion. As a result, Crestline students are better equipped to navigate the digital world and use devices for learning. – Submitted by Mary Evans.

B8 • April 2017

Village Living

Reagan Downey dances during the MBJH Art Forms. Photo courtesy of Monica Sargent.

MBJH Art Forms showcase student talent This year’s Mountain Brook Junior High Art Forms allowed students the opportunity to show off their talents. Students performed and competed in three divisions — visual arts, literary arts and performing arts — and the winners were highlighted in the annual showcase on Jan. 27, where they performed for friends and family. A list of the performing students and winners is below. Performing Arts Winners ► Overall Winner: Kendall Whately Ninth Grade ► 1st - Lindsay Jane Drummond ► 2nd - Elizabeth Hanaway & Grace Kohler ► 3rd - Carly Cole Eighth Grade ► 1st - Kyra Berger ► 2nd - Lindsay Whatley ► 3rd - Olivia Schelske

Seventh Grade ► 1st - tie Mary Long & Reagan Downey ► 2nd - Claire Lauterbach ► 3rd - Kate Lauterbach Visual Arts Winners ► Overall Winner: Tie Leila Radney & Ellen Landy Eighth Grade ► 1st - Caroline Kracke ► 2nd - Helen Walthall Seventh Grade ► 1st - Addie Hobbs ► 2nd - Adrienne Belser ► 3rd - Anna Jane Hobbs Literary Arts Winners ► 1st - Hadley Bryant - “When the Moon Crashes into the Sun” ► 2nd - Lillie LeJeune - Untitled ► 3rd - Claire Lauterbach – “Perspective” – Submitted by Monica Sargent.

MBE nationally recognized as Lighthouse School

MBE held Leadership Days through the year that served as stepping stones to achieving Lighthouse Status. Pictured left to right, are students Georgia and Vivi Spotswood and Mary Cate Cone, participating in a Leadership Day event with MBE parents. Photo by Allyson Martin.

This year, MBE received the acclaimed “Leader in Me” Lighthouse School status. This distinction is awarded by the Franklin Covey Leadership Program to honor the attainment of a well-rounded leadership model. According to Franklin Covey, Lighthouse Schools serve as exemplary models of leadership and mentors to other schools. MBE Principal, Ashley McCombs, announced the news in the fall and commented, “Our journey towards excellence at MBE will continue. We know that it is not the recognition we will receive that matters… it is about developing individuals who share their gifts and talents in ways that positively impact others in the world.” There are approximately 3,020 schools across the nation involved in the “Leader in Me” process. MBE now becomes the 241st school among those to reach this milestone. The school will celebrate with a year end fun run and community wide event. – Submitted by Shaun Flynn.

The Creative Writing Expressions winners. Photo courtesy of Christina Smith.

CBS congratulates Expressions Art Contest winners Students at CBS recently competed in the 2017 Expressions Art Contest with the theme “It’s My Thing.” Winners in each category include creative writing, instrumental/voice

performance, photography, video and visual arts. Cherokee Bend hosted a reception for district winners on March 7. – Submitted by Christina Smith.

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April 2017 • B9

Lipp wins top youth volunteer award in state

This year’s youth wrestling team was the first Mountain Brook youth team to place third in the Team USA Alabama State Championships. Photo submitted by Oz Chavez.

Youth wrestling team places third The Mountain Brook youth wrestling team placed third overall at the Team USA Alabama State Championships on Feb. 3, a feat never achieved previously in Mountain Brook youth wrestling history. Individually, there were fi ve overall state champions, led by Wyatt Chavez (five-time defending state champion), Jude Smith (three-time

defending state champion), Stuart Andrews, Jack Demedicis and Henry Meadows. Waylan O’Brien placed second, and Davis Smith recorded a third-place finish. The team is led by coaches Josh Lovelady, Marcus Brimley, Oz Chavez, Cody Alvarado and Evan Nipper. – Submitted by Oz Chavez.

Elizabeth Lipp, 16, of Mountain Brook was named Alabama’s top youth volunteer in the 2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. As a state honoree, Elizabeth will receive a $1,000 award, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where she will join the hop honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be Elizabeth Lipp named America’s top youth volunteers of 2017. Elizabeth is co-president of a club that brings special education students together with her school’s general student body to improve social skills and foster friendships and a respect for differences. Since junior high school, Elizabeth has been involved in outreach programs for special education students. So when she got to high school, she immediately gravitated toward a service club called “Circle of Friends” that sought to help students with disabilities and their

nondisabled peers get to know each other and feel more comfortable in social situations. “It was a dying club,” said Elizabeth. “I fought endlessly to revive interest from the student body.” With the support of her school’s administration, Elizabeth organized a “Circle of Friends Celebration Week” to honor teachers and students in the special education department. For the celebration, she and her volunteers solicited donations from local businesses, persuaded community members to donate meals, and organized special events. She then began running monthly breakfast socials for club members and special education students and revived a “buddy” program that pairs students for weekly lunches, field trips, and after-school activities such as bowling and baseball. “Our club has allowed typical students to see differently-abled peers as friends,” Elizabeth said. – Submitted by Nikki Harkins.

BWF holds Expressions Art Contest BWF had a record number of entries this year with 271 total entries. The talented students’ work was displayed for staff and parents at the Expressions Open House on Thursday, February 9, 2017. The winning entries advanced to the next level to be judged in the District Expressions Art Contest that included all four Mountain Brook elementary schools. – Submitted by Kathleen Woodry. BWF Expressions committee co-chairs were Leigh Ann Speake, Martha Ann Livingston and Tiffany Pierce. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Woodry.

B10 • April 2017

Village Living

friend OF THE furry

Mountain Brook welcomes new animal control officer By SARAH COOK


Preston Sloan and his wife, Kaitee, with their animals. Photo courtesy of Preston Sloan.

here’s no such thing as a typical day for Mountain Brook’s newly appointed animal control officer. On a Wednesday afternoon, not more than 15 minutes after walking into his office at the Mountain Brook Police Station, Preston Sloan is called to a nearby arrest. After driving to the scene and collecting a canine caught in the fray of the incident, he heads to Liberty Animal Hospital on River Run Drive, where the dog will stay until its owner can collect him. There, the dog joins rows of other animals Mountain Brook animal control has taken off the streets to safety. Most of the animals, Sloan said, are strays. He greets each one by name, as if seeing an old friend. Sloan has only been the city’s animal control officer for a few months. However, he said he feels like he was meant to do the job. “I definitely don’t like to sit still, so this job is perfect for me,” Sloan said. Sloan, who is 22 years old, hasn’t had much formal training in the animal control department. What he does have, however, is a lifetime of experience surrounded by animals in his native home of Corner, where dogs and other animals are known to roam freely about the family property. “We grew up doing rodeos and horse shows, working with animals — everything,” Sloan said. “We’ve always kept animals, and I’ve always loved them.” Before officially accepting the role of animal control officer, Sloan filled in for the city’s former officer when she went on maternity leave. Returning to the position full time, he said, was something he was more than happy to do. “Every day there’s something new,” he said. “That’s what I like most about it.” Most of Sloan’s day-to-day tasks include picking up stray cats and dogs, responding to pet-related emergencies and setting traps. Some of the more noteworthy rescues on the job, Sloan said, have involved pet pigs — one, specifically, named Wilbur. “That was an interesting call,” he said with a laugh. What most residents don’t know about animal control in Mountain Brook, Sloan said, is the high volume of deer that like to roam the city. The number of calls that come in concerning a deer in a residential area, he said, would shock most people. “We’ve also had raccoons show up in houses,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen.” Keeping Mountain Brook residents safe — both human and animal — Sloan said, is priority No. 1 for the city’s animal control officer. Once stray animals are collected, Sloan said the city works to find a loving family for the animal. Most animals are adopted within a few months, he said, but for others, it can take much longer. One of Sloan’s favorite furry residents of Liberty Animal Hospital is Flo, a white and brown pit bull mix. For almost a year, Sloan said Flo has been looking for a home. Since Flo — whose age is unknown, but Sloan guessed she’s about 3 or 4 years old — has been at the hospital for so long, she’s earned a special spot among staff members. “She has the best demeanor. She’s so sweet,” Sloan said as he scooped up the canine for a hug. “Anyone would be happy to have her as a pet.” In an effort to let residents know about the local dogs and cats that need homes, Sloan said the city frequently updates its Facebook page, Mountain Brook Animal Control. The page is updated almost daily with new animals — or, sometimes, residents will fill the feed with information about a lost furry friend. The city’s strong community, Sloan said, is a great asset when it comes to locating lost pets. Since becoming the city’s animal control officer, Sloan has also visited local schools, educating area children about animal safety. As for his own furry friends, Sloan said he and his wife adore their Great Pyrenees, Amos, and their goldendoodle, Duke. “It’s been great so far — I really couldn’t have asked for it to work out better,” Sloan said of his new job. “I’m excited to see what will happen next.”

April 2017 • B11

Flo, a pit bull mix who has been at Liberty Animal Hospital for almost a year, is still waiting to find a home. Animals that are not claimed or adopted after a few months become permanent residents of the hospital. Photo by Sarah Cook.

B12 • April 2017

Village Living


Jefferson County most tornadoprone county in Alabama

By LEXI COON There are two common areas for tornadoes: Tornado Alley, which sits in the center of the country, and Dixie Alley, which encompasses a large portion of the Southeastern U.S. — including Alabama. “It’s always been this way,” said ABC 33/40 weatherman James Spann, mentioning that the traditional Tornado Alley tends to get more coverage because it is easier to see and find tornadoes in that area due to the different terrain. “The storms are different, but the bottom line is you just can’t see a lot of tornadoes here.” Tornadoes are typically formed from super-cell thunderstorms, which the National Weather Service describes as a tall storm cloud with a rotating updraft, called a mesocyclone. These storms are capable of bringing high winds, hail and tornadoes. James Coker, director of the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency, said severe thunderstorms also can produce tornadoes, but thanks to advances in technology, communities have advance warnings. “The science of meteorology has vastly improved in the past decades,” he said. “In many cases, it is possible for forecasters to notify the public days in advance of a potential threat.” Despite early warnings, both Spann and Coker said residents should have many different outlets for weather warnings. “What kills more people than anything in this state is that siren mentality,” Spann said. “If it’s one thing, don’t rely on the outdoor warning sirens.” Spann referred to April 27, 2011, when more than 60 tornadoes touched down in Alabama and hundreds lost their lives. “The physical science couldn’t have been better that day,” he said. “There were warnings for every one of those.” Because so many relied on sirens alone, and the sirens are meant to warn people who are outside, Spann said many weren’t prepared when a tornado hit. Both suggested using apps for smartphones, such as the Jefferson County app Everbridge, as well as listening to a weather radio for updates. “In terms of the warnings for a tornado, for the large violent tornadoes that kill people, you might get a 30- to 40-minute lead time,” Spann said. “The problem is the smaller ones, where you might get a one-minute warning.” When placed under a tornado warning, residents should move to a small, interior room. “The smaller the better,” Coker said. “Place as many walls between you and the outside as possible; move to the lowest part of the building possible.”

According to the National Weather Service, Jefferson County has had the most tornadoes in Alabama since 1950. Rendering courtesy of James Coker.

Pets should have identification and be moved to an area of safety, too. It’s also important to make sure residents and their families are prepared during and after the tornado, Coker and Spann said. Three items top the list: helmets, hard-soled shoes and an air horn. Spann said that during tornadoes, many people die from shrapnel wounds to the head, and if someone is injured far from

first responders, an air horn may help them locate victims. Hardsoled shoes also will prevent foot injuries in the event people have to move from one area to another. While tornadoes are typically associated with spring and fall, Coker and Spann said they aren’t selective to any one season. “In reality, we should never let our guard down,” Coker said. “Alabama has the potential for tornadoes any month of the year.”


BEST OF MOUNTAIN BROOK Village Living Best Mexican Food

April 2017 • B13

Anne LaRussa publishes ‘The Knitter’ By LEXI COON When Mountain Brook resident Anne LaRussa first started writing “The Knitter,” her book about her heritage and personal experiences, she thought it was for her family. As she continued writing, however, she realized her book could become much more. “The whole book has so many different emotions in it,” she said. “There’s sadness, joy, grief, but there’s hope, and there’s love, and there’s all of those good things that I think make it a wonderful book for a family and for people who are interested in learning about mental health.” “The Knitter” follows LaRussa’s paternal family tree, which she was able to document back to her great-grandparents in Sicily. The book then jumps to her grandparents and early childhood years. Readers meet her parents, her father’s “mom and pop” grocery store, her sister and her future husband, Benny. Readers also are introduced to her anxiety. After having her sixth child, LaRussa writes about being diagnosed with postpartum depression, which “led to a major depressive episode.” She got treatment, and in her book writes of the friendly advice from her youngest son, David, to “get a life.” She did just that. LaRussa earned her master’s degree in counseling, pursued a postgraduate degree as an education specialist, opened Oasis Counseling for Women and Children in Birmingham and continued creating memories with her family until nearly all those family members began having families of their own. Much like LaRussa’s journey into the world of counseling and mental health awareness, she had the support of her family, so did her book. “They [my children] were the first ones to just ask me so many times,” she said. “At some point, I decided, you know, if I’m going to write it, I better start on it.” Four and a half years later, “The Knitter”

was published with the help of her daughter, Karen, who introduced LaRussa to her publisher while at a retreat on yoga and depression. LaRussa said she had experience in writing after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and working in counseling for so many years. “Of course, the counseling itself is just paper after paper that you have to write and do a lot of research for, too,” she said. Her grandchildren helped her as well, she said, teaching her how to use the different programs and software needed to write the book. While she initially thought her book was for her family, LaRussa soon realized she wanted her book to reach further and help with the stigma of mental illnesses and depression. She decided the proceeds of her book would go toward her new foundation, the Anne B. LaRussa Foundation of Hope. “So, then the book had another purpose,” she said. “I was going to include my personal experiences in the book; I always knew I was going to do that, but I just decided this would also be a way of expanding the book to accomplish more.” Because aspects of mental health are so broad, LaRussa’s friend and colleague, Robin Sparks, helped her narrow down her foundation to work with children. “Anne was just so sure she wanted to do something else in mental health to make a difference based on experiences,” Sparks said. “It’s going to promote mental wellness in our community, in our state.” While LaRussa admitted it was difficult to put all of her experiences in writing, she hopes people still will be able to understand the influence her family has had on her and know help is available for those with a mental illness. “I thought, just tell it like it was, and hopefully people will get help,” she said. “They will know that it’s not the end of the world. There’s plenty of help out there; you just have to ask for it.”

Anne LaRussa, who founded Oasis Counseling and the Anne B. LaRussa Foundation of Hope, recently wrote “The Knitter,” a story of family life and mental health awareness. Photo by Lexi Coon.

B14 • April 2017

Village Living

Plants pollinators FOR THE

A look into pollinator gardens



e it birds, bees or butterflies, all creatures big and small need a place to call home. And in an environment that is constantly affected by people, what better way to welcome some of our winged friends than with a pollinator garden? “All pollinators need two main things from their habitat: somewhere to nest and flowers that provide nectar and


pollen,” said Brooke McMinn, plant adventures program specialist at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Broken down, pollinators are animals that move pollen between plants, which allows for the formation of seeds and fruits, she said, and Alabama’s native pollinators include bats, bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, flies and moths. With a pollinator garden, the local pollinators are given an area that consists mainly of flowers that can provide them with nectar and pollen.

While many people would consider most of our local pollinators to be pests, they have an important role in the environment. “They give us food,” McMinn said. “In the United States, one-third of all agricultural output depends on pollinators, but human activity such as urbanization can lead to fragmentation or destruction of native habitats that host pollinators.” In recent years, as the human population has been growing, the native flora population has been shrinking. Construction

April 2017 • B15

Kris Blevons, with Oak Street Garden Shop, picks out the weeds in the shop’s Better Late than Never pollinator garden. Photos by Lexi Coon.

and urbanization of areas have greatly diminished or even removed flowers in certain areas, which pushes the pollinators out as well, and while non-native ornamental flowers may be pretty, they have little to no benefit to pollinators, McMinn said. “Fragmentation [of habitats] happens when the natural flora of certain areas has been drastically reduced, removed or replaced with plants that don’t come from here,” McMinn said. “Promoting the planting of pollinator habitats can help stave off or even reverse habitat fragmentation, allowing for greater pollinator activity.” Within each pollinator garden occurs the “pollinator syndromes,” which McMinn describes as the characteristics of certain flowers that appeal to different pollinators. Depending on the traits, gardeners can predict which pollinators will be attracted to the area or different flowers within the area. “Sometimes, it’s the color [that attracts the pollinators]. Or the amount of nectar in the blooms,” said Kris Blevons from the Oak Street Garden Shop. Blevons takes care of the pollinator garden that sit across the street from the garden shop, called the Better Late than Never Garden. Other contributing factors can include flower odor, flower structure and location and type of pollen. Bees in particular are attracted to bright white, yellow or blue flowers with a mild scent, McMinn said, and hummingbirds prefer flowers high in nectar. “Like salvias,” Blevons said. While it is the flowers that will be typically seen and used by pollinators in the garden, Blevons said soil is also important. “If you’re going to be trying to plant something, it all starts with your soil,” she said. “You really want to work on your soil.” Since all of the plants in the garden will be getting nutrients and water from the soil, it needs to have a high quality and be viable for plant growth. “The main thing is to add to that soil,” Blevons said. “Add soil conditioner, shredded leaves in the fall. You want to always be adding organic material to your soil.” She said instead of bagging all of the leaves during the fall, shred them with a lawnmower and mix them in the garden plot. Mountain Brook gardeners also can visit Public Works to pick up compost for the soil. McMinn added gardeners need to consider the amount of sunlight the plot gets. “It’s easiest in a sunny spot,” Blevons

said, mentioning the Better Late than Never Garden is in direct sunlight all summer, which contributes to its success. She also said the plants like to grow through warmer weather, and as long as they are well watered, the best month to plant is June. When ready to plant, gardeners should focus on the native plants. “These plants will be better adapted to your soil type, climate, precipitation and local pollinators,” McMinn said. To attract the pollinators, plant the flowers in clumps or large patches. “When planting, it’s always best to use bright colors and swaths of color,” Blevons added, especially for butterflies, which are near-sighted. “Instead of dots [of flowers], do all one color.” Typical Alabama pollinator garden flowers include sunflowers, salvias, gomphrena and perennials, such as asters and butterfly weed, Blevons said, but if the goal is a simple garden, zinnias and sunflowers would do just fine. Gardeners should also include host plants for caterpillars, such as parsley, dill or fennel, and a small dish of water for the pollinators. Even if gardeners notice pests or spots on leaves, Blevons and McMinn said gardeners should avoid pesticides. Through integrated pest management, or IPM, gardeners monitor watering, manually pull weeds, remove invasive plants and place physical barriers to keep pests out. If insecticides are used, McMinn said they can kill the pollinators and enter the soil, which will negatively affect the plants. “When you’re trying to be pollinator friendly, you have to be very cognizant of how you’re trying to use chemicals,” Blevons said. “If someone is trying to be friendly to the environment, you have to be friendly to the environment.” While designing a pollinator garden may seem overwhelming and a lot of work, both McMinn and Blevons agreed the garden can be as elaborate or as simple as the caretaker wants it to be. “A pollinator garden can be something as simple as a few plants in pots or as complicated as a large, formally designed space,” said McMinn. “It’s really fun,” Blevons said. “After a while, it just kind of takes on a life of its own.” To learn more about pollinators and pollinator gardens, visit your local garden shop. To find out how to pick up compost from Public Works, visit the Public Works page at

B16 • April 2017

Village Living

Faith Life Actually By Kari Kampakis

20 things college girls should know It was a college football game weekend, and as my friend walked down sorority row with her teenage daughter, her daughter took it all in. The energy. The buzz. The sea of people dressed in the school colors, full of excitement and hope. Out of the blue, her daughter asked an interesting question. “Mom, what’s the hardest part of college?” Her mother said the first thing that came to mind: “Saying no.” It was a funny answer, yet true. Saying no is the hardest part of college. Whether it’s no to Domino’s pizza at midnight, no to going out on Tuesday night because you need to study, or no to someone who is pushing you against your better judgment, it is beneficial and wise to get comfortable using the word no. Having four daughters, I think a lot about preparing them for this stage. Here are 20 things I believe college girls should know. ► Boundaries are good, and it’s imperative to set boundaries for yourself because nobody will set them for you. College is one season of life where you can compromise your values without anyone blinking an eye. With nobody to monitor you ― making sure you study, take care of yourself and choose healthy relationships ― it’s important to set personal standards and decide in advance what you will and won’t do. ► College is when you turn into the person you’re going to be. Because friends play a major role in shaping this person, choose your friends wisely. The best friends are fun and good for you. There is strength in numbers, and finding friends on the same page with you helps you live out your convictions. Together you can

say, “These are our goals. We can do it.” ► What you put into your body matters. Whether it’s food, alcohol or drugs, it impacts your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Love your body enough to protect it. Make healthy choices that help you feel strong and good about yourself. ► Taking a few steps in the wrong direction can lead to more steps in the wrong direction. If you do something dumb, learn from it. Don’t repeat the same mistake or let your mistake become a pattern that’s hard to reverse later. ► You always have a choice. You don’t “have” to do anything that you know isn’t right. It’s okay to leave a party that’s getting too wild. It’s okay to ditch a date who’s being disrespectful. Think for yourself and be a leader. Look out for yourself and the people around you. ► Take care of your friends. If a friend’s not thinking clearly, think clearly for her. This may mean taking away car keys so she can’t drink and drive. Or pulling her back before she leaves with a strange boy. Or calling her parents when she has a serious problem that needs attention. Love your friends as you hope they’d love you. ► College can be a time to either neglect your faith or take your faith to a new level. Taking it to a new level gives you something to cling to. It provides an anchor that can center you and remind you of what’s real, right and true. ► Loneliness can sneak up on you at random. This is completely normal. With so many changes and uncertainties, you may occasionally miss the stability of home and familiarity of your old life. These growing pains of becoming an adult happen to everyone, and

talking yours out with someone can help you feel less alone. ► Professors love proactive students. When you talk to them, ask questions, engage in class and seek guidance, you build a rapport that may lead to job opportunities, increased confidence and better communication skills with adults. ► Learning to manage stress is a gift you give yourself. Having academic pressures and adult responsibilities is a lot to juggle. Finding ways to decompress and deal with stress ― e.g. exercising, praying, listening to music, sleeping well, eating well, taking breaks with friends, and keeping a gratitude journal ― can keep you calm instead of overwhelmed. ► You were made to chase your dreams, not boys. While boys are a part of your world, it’s unhealthy to make them the center of your world. Pursue your passions instead. Become the girl who eventually attracts the right guys as they notice you and think, “Wow. She’s awesome. She’s the package: pretty, smart, talented, and kind. I want to be part of her world. I want to know her better.” ► God’s grace is bigger than any mistake you make. Your mistakes don’t define you. If you happen to wake up one day and can’t believe who you’ve become ― or if you simply feel disappointed in yourself ― ask God to forgive you. Remember His mercies are new each morning, and regardless of what transpired in the past, you can still create a great future. ► Learning to listen to different ideas without believing everything you hear is a crucial life skill. As Aristotle said: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought

without accepting it.” College exposes you to many personalities, perspectives, and lifestyles. It can be thrilling and confusing. Open your mind to be enlightened, but form your own convictions and conclusions. Seek the truth by getting to know God since God is truth. ► Your parents love you more than you know. They long to hear from you, be part of your life and welcome you back home. ► Your best years are still ahead. Your future is full of hope. College, in many ways, is an unforgettable experience. It offers the ultimate opportunity to expand your mind, your heart and your social network. And as you start a new life on campus, I have two other words to remember too: Enjoy it. Look around and take it all in. Enjoy the memories made and the friendships sealed. Know that for every time you say no, there’s another invitation around the corner. Yes, college prepares you for work, but more importantly, it prepares you for life. It introduces you to life beyond home and to some of your favorite people who you’ll treasure forever and count on for decades to come. Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a Mountain Brook mom of four girls, columnist and blogger for The Huffington Post. She has written two books for teen/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 email her at

April 2017 • B17 Mountain Brook Fire Department has installed signs around the station to prevent carcinogens from spreading to more areas than necessary. Photo by Erica Techo.


CONTINUED from page B1 practices. “That was the initial step. From there, according to NFPA — National Fire Protection Association — guidelines, we wanted to use those guidelines to make our physicals, our yearly required physicals for firefighters better,” Kennedy said. They hoped to add more vaccinations and more screenings for potential health issues, Kennedy said, so he and Mullins approached City Manager Sam Gaston about the new, higher cost. “When you ask for more testing, more vaccinations and stuff, the cost is going to go up,” Kennedy said. “Sam Gaston listened to us; we had all of our details, and he fully supported it.” While hepatitis B vaccinations protected against any contaminated blood the firefighters encountered, Kennedy said they added hepatitis A vaccinations to protect against any contaminated waters or sewage they encountered. They also added a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination for all firefighters and a shingles vaccination for firefighters ages 50 and up. “Stressful events can bring on shingles,” Kennedy said. “That can keep a firefighter out for two to four weeks, possibly.” Other additions to the physical are CT scans for firefighters ages 40 and up, which will continue lung cancer screenings and add calcium scoring — a check for potential blockages. “We want to identify if any of those issues are going on before we go through our strenuous training program,” Kennedy said. By coinciding physicals with yearly training and physical fitness tests, the fire department can ensure their men are healthy enough to complete the physical fitness portion of the exam. “When they come in and interview, I tell them, ‘We’re going to keep you happy and healthy while you work so that when you retire, you can have a happy and healthy retirement,’” Mullins said. “It’s not just about when you’re here. It’s about when you leave.” In addition to screening for physical health, the department also has added an emphasis on mental health. While the city of Mountain Brook has always provided access to a

psychologist for firefighters and other employees, Kennedy said firefighters do not always use that resource. “You have to be willing, once again, to set pride aside and ask for help,” he said. The mental health classes and sessions they are teaching have a focus on asking for help when it is needed and recognizing potential risk factors in co-workers, Kennedy said, so that firefighters can help each other and themselves. “We run very stressful calls,” he said. “There’re calls where people are badly wounded, or they end up passing away. They can remind us of our child, our sons or daughters or mom or dad. And even if they don’t, some situations are so bad it’s hard to get out of your head.” In 2016, 132 firefighters and EMTs

committed suicide in the United States, according to the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, and 135 suicides were reported in 2015. “The high stress level [of the job] is kind of the primary risk factor of what’s causing it, and not being able to set pride aside and talk about it and ask for help,” Kennedy said. A greater focus on firefighter mental health has emerged in recent years, Kennedy said, but he hopes they stay ahead of the curve in the resources provided to MBFD employees. It’s just another way to keep their greatest resource healthy, he said. “It’s for the benefit of the employee, which also benefits us because when they’re healthy while they’re here, of course they do a better job,” Mullins said, adding that it leads to a morale boost. “It lets them know it’s a good place to work because people care about them.”

When they come in and interview, I tell them, ‘We’re going to keep you happy and healthy while you work so that when you retire, you can have a happy and healthy retirement.’ It’s not just about when you’re here. It’s about when you leave.


B18 • April 2017

Village Living

Calendar Mountain Brook Events April 1: Kori Bustard Day. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Birmingham Zoo. Celebrating the heaviest flying bird in the world. Feedings, children’s activities and more. Visit April 4: Thyme to Read Book Club. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. At The Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier. Visit bbgardens. org. April 7-9: Spring Plant Sale. Brookwood Village. Presented by the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Visit April 8: Farm Day. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Birmingham Zoo. Activities to educate the public about Alabama’s rural and agricultural heritage. April 8: Gopher Tortoise Day. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Live animal demonstrations, ornament painting, coloring pages and nature play activities.

Visit April 15: Breakfast with the Bunny. 7:30 a.m.-10 a.m. Breakfast at the Kudzoo Café followed by a visit from the Easter Bunny. April 15: Eggstravaganza- Birmingham’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Birmingham Zoo. Children’s free, Adult egg hunt $20 to enter. Visit April 15: Crestline Village Easter Egg Hunt. 10 a.m. Lawn across from Emmet O’Neal Library. Visit April 15: Plant-Soil Relationships. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. $90 members, $100 non-members. Visit April 16: Photo Talk. 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Instructed by Hank Siegel, this is a casual venue for amateur to expert photographers to share ideas and knowledge

with each other. Free, $5 donation suggested. Ages 12 and up. Visit April 22: Earth Day at the Gardens. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Exhibitor booths, local vendors, free activities and live music. Free admission. Visit April 26: Birmingham Revealed- Alvin Vogtle Escapes. 6 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Newest one-man play commissioned by Vulcan Park and Museum. Members $8, Non-members $10. Visit April 28: Tails in the Trails. 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Birmingham Zoo. $25, $30 at the door. Visit April 29: Water Features of the Gardens. 9 a.m.-noon. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. $60 members, $75 non-members. Capture photos of the waters in the gardens. Visit

Emmet O’Neal Library Events Children’s

April 6: Teen Trivia Challenge. 6:30 p.m.

Mondays: Toddler Tales. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. 24-36 months.

April 21: Teen Gaming Night. 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m.

Tuesdays: Together Time. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. Kindergarten-2nd grade. Tuesdays: Library Out Loud. 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays: Mother Goose Story Time. 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. 12-24 months. Wednesdays: Movers & Makers. 1:30 p.m. 3-5 years. 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.

Adults Wednesdays: Brown Bag Lunch Series. Programs begin at 12:30pm. Bring a sack lunch; beverages and dessert provided. April 9: Stephen Russell. 2 p.m. Local physician and author will share his books and sign copies of his new thriller. Copies will be available for purchase. April 10: Great Books book group. 6:30 p.m. April 11: The Bookies book group. 10 a.m. Discussing The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee. April 13: UAB Neuroscience Café. 6:30 p.m. Autism: From Behavior to Brain.

April 11: Family Night: Birmingham Children’s Theatre. 5:30 p.m. Wake Up, Brother Bear.

April 14 & 28: Standing Room Only presents: Natural Dyeing and Weaving with Apryl Rowe. 6:30pm. $10 supply fee includes both sessions, Part 1 of a 2-part workshop. Ages 21 and up.

April 20: Hot Off the Press. 6 p.m.

April 18: Documentaries After Dark. 6:30 p.m.

Young Adults (7th-12th grades)

April 25: Genre Reading Group. 6:30 p.m. Discussing the novels of John LeCarre.

April 10: STEAM Powered: Little Bits. 4 p.m.

April 1: Game On! 1 p.m.-4pm April 4: TAB. Monthly meeting of the teen advisory board. 5 p.m. April 4: MBHS READ Club. 6 p.m.

LJCC Events

April 29: Antiques & Treasures Event with John Jones. Your $25 ticket allows you to bring no more than 3 items for appraisal. Two sessions, 10 a.m.-noon and 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

April 3-24: Darkness Into Life: Alabama Holocaust Survivors Through Photography and Art Exhibit. Exhibit featuring the stories of 20 Alabama Holocaust survivors. Visit April 3, 10 & 24: OLLI Narrative Poetry Part II. 10:30 a.m. to noon. Taught by Bob Lipman, retired poetry teacher from UA. Register at April 7: OLLI Bonus Class: Beautiful and Fascinating Italy. 10:30 a.m.-noon. Andrea Traina is a native of Italy and shares photos of his native land as well as its history. Register at April 10, 12-14, & 18: Camp 365: Passover Camp. 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Campers will make crafts, participate in art activities, play sports, and swim. $45/day MVP $35/day. Early drop off at 7 a.m. Late pick up until 6 p.m. $5/each. April 30: Birmingham Celebrates Israel. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Israeli music and dancing, traditional Israeli cuisine, vendors, Maccabi games for kids, crafts and more. Free.

Area Events April 1: Pepper Place Winter Market. 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Visit April 1: Southeastern Outings Historical Dayhike. Brierfield Ironworks Historical Park and Bibb County Glades. Depart McDonalds Galleria parking lot at 9 a.m. Email April 1: 2017 Alabama Asian Cultures & Food Festival. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Zamora Shrine Temple. Food tokens $4, drink tickets $2. Visit alabamafestival. April 1: Alabama Symphony Orchestra EBSCO Masterworks Series. 7:30 p.m. $25-$74. Visit April 2: UAB Music Faculty recital. 4 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. Featuring bass Won Cho and pianist Chris Steele. Free. Visit April 2: UAB Music presents Danielle Gilliam. 7:30 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Senior piano recital. Free. April 3: BAO Bingo. 7 p.m. Birmingham AIDS Outreach. $15-$25. Visit April 3: UAB Music’s Jazz Ensemble Concert. 7 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. Free. Visit

April 5: Southeastern Kayak and Canoe Trip- Sipsey Fork River. Depart 8 a.m. from Kmart Green Springs or 9:30 a.m. from Jacks in Double Springs. Reservations required. Email April 5: UAB Music Student Recital: Advanced Students. 12:20 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Free. Visit uab. edu/news. April 5: UAB Brass Chamber Ensemble Concert. 7:30 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Free. Visit news. April 5-9: A Little Night Music. Alys Stephens Center. 7:30 p.m. nightly, 2 p.m. Sunday. Presented by Theatre UAB. $15-$20, $6 students, $10 UAB employees and senior citizens. Visit April 5: UAB Baseball vs. Jacksonville State. 6:30 p.m. $5 adults, $3 children. Visit April 5-16: The Phantom of the Opera. BJCC Concert Hall. $35-$146. Visit April 6: Drink & Drop- Inaugural Adult Egg Drop Competition. 5:30 p.m. Vulcan Park. Visit April 6: Birmingham Art Crawl. 5 p.m.-9 p.m. 113 22nd St. N. Meet local artists and performers and buy their work. Visit April 6: Rain- A Tribute to the Beatles. 7 p.m. Samford University Wright Center. $15-$40. Visit April 6: UAB Music’s Guitar Ensemble and Jazz Combos. 7:30 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Free. Visit April 6: Live at the Lyric- Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. 8 p.m. Lyric Theatre. $20-$39.50. Visit April 6-9: Alabama Auto Show. BJCC Exhibition Halls. 12 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $8, children 14 and under are free. Visit April 6-9: Ovation. Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre. Presented by the Alabama Ballet. $20-$50. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Visit

April 2017 • B19 Center. 7 p.m. Free. Visit April 18: UAB Music- Jazz Faculty in concert. 12:20 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Free. Visit April 19: Birmingham Revealed- A Talk with Frank Stitt and Friends. 5:30 p.m. Vulcan Park & Museum. Chefs Frank Stitt, George Reis, Jerry Hartley and Harinam Khalsa. Members $8, non-members, $10. Visit April 20: Niyaz featuring Azam Ali. 7 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $42.50. Visit April 20: UAB Music presents Aleksandra Kasman. 7:30 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Free. Visit April 21: Enchantment Theatre Company’s Peter Rabbit Tales. 7 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. Visit April 21: Soul2Soul Tour: Tim McGraw & Faith Hill. Legacy Arena at the BJCC. 8 p.m. Tickets $69.50$109.50. Visit

April 7: Chamber Music @ AEIVA. Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts. 5 p.m. gallery viewing and reception, 5:30 p.m. concert. Free. events.

April 21: Live at the Lyric: The Story Tour- An Acoustic Evening with Brandi Carlile. 8 p.m. Lyric Theatre. Tickets $39.50-$59.50. Visit lyricbham. com.

April 7: Panic at the Disco. 8 p.m. Legacy Arena at the BJCC. $41-$61. Visit

April 21: UAB Music Steel Band in concert. 6:30 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Free. Visit uab. edu/news.

April 7: UAB Computer Music Ensemble in Concert. 7:30 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Free. Visit April 8-9 & 15: Cottontail Express. Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. $12-$35. Visit April 8: Kari Jobe- The Garden Tour. 7 p.m. Legacy Arena at the BJCC. $27.50-$77.50. Visit April 8: Spring Walking Tour: First Avenue South/ Rotary Trail. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Registration required. $10 members, $12 non-members. April 8: Walk MS Birmingham. 9 a.m. Regions Field. Free. Visit April 8: Cajun Cook-off. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Railroad Park. $25 adults, children 12 and under, free. Visit April 8: CahabaQue BBQ Cook-off. 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Cahaba Brewing Company. Supporting breast cancer research in Alabama. $20 general admission 21 an dup, $15 under 21, $5 ages 12 and under, kids under 6 are free. Visit April 9: Anoushka Shankar. 7 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. -$38-$62. Visit April 9: UAB Gospel Choir Spring Concert. 7 p.m. UAB Campus. Free. Visit April 9: Spring Food Truck Rally. More than 20 trucks, live entertainment, kids activities and more. $5 advance, $10 at gate, $2 kids, under 5 are free. Visit April 10: UAB Music presents a Russian/American faculty recital. 7 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. Free. Visit April 11: UAB Piano Recital/Ensembles. 7:30 p.m. Mary Culp Hulsey Recital Hall. Free. Visit news. April 12-16: Birmingham Barons vs. Montgomery Biscuits. 7:05 p.m. Wed-Fri, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. $7-$14. Visit April 13: Lalah Hathaway. Alys Stephens Center. 7 p.m. $39-$59. Visit April 14: UAB Percussion Ensemble in concert. 7 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. Free. Visit news. April 15-16: Tannehill Trade Days. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. $3-$5. Visit April 17: UAB Music presents the 2nd Annual Concert Band Invitational Festival. 12 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. 12 p.m. Free. Visit April 18: UAB Honors Recital. Alys Stephens

April 21-22: 19th Annual Lebanese Food & Cultural Festival. St. Elias Maronite Church. Featuring food, self-guided tours, silent auctions and 5K and fun run. Visit April 21-23: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Barber Motorsports Park. Tickets $15-$39, three-day general admission $69. Visit April 21-30: School of Rock. RMTC Cabaret Theatre. Tickets start at $19. 7:30 p.m. Thurs-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Visit April 22: Southeastern Outings Dayhike and Creek Wade. Quillan Creek, Sipsey Wilderness, Bankhead National Forest. Reservations required. Contact Dan Frederick April 22: 12th Annual Gumbo Gala. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sloss Furnaces. Food, music, kid’s activities and more. Benefitting Episcopal Place. Visit April 22-26: Birmingham Barons vs. Jacksonville Suns. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, 11:30 a.m. Monday, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m. Wednesday. $7-$14. Visit April 23: Southeastern Outings Dayhike. Tapawingo Springs Preserve (near Pinson). Depart 1:30 p.m. from Food Giant in Pinson. Contact Jeff Drummond 205-417-2777 ext. 106. April 23: Jeremy Denk. 7 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. Tickets $42-$78. Visit April 24: Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science. 7:30 p.m. BJCC Concert Hall. Tickets $27-$102. Visit April 26: Birmingham Revealed- Alvin Vogtle Escapes. 6 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Newest one-man play commissioned by Vulcan Park and Museum. Members $8, Non-members $10. Visit April 28-30: Magic City Art Connection. 10 a.m.6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Linn Park. Free. Visit April 29: Spring Walking Tour: Crestline Village, Walkable Town Center. Vulcan Park and Museum. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. $10 members, $12 non-members Visit April 29: Southeastern Outings Canoe and Kayak Outing. 10 a.m. Big Wills Creek near Gadsden. Contact Dan Frederick at April 29: Feast of St. Mark Italian Festival. 3 p.m. St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church. $25 adults, $10 children. Visit April 30: Alabama Wildlife Center and Audubon Teaches Nature- Alabama Birding Trails. 1:30 p.m. Alabama Wildlife Center, Oak Mountain State Park. Free after paid park admission. Visit

Village Living



Spring APRIL 2017

Home & Garden Guide special advertising section


Spring is in bloom, and it’s the perfect time to plant a garden, do some cleaning or start a home renovation. Find tips and tricks from area businesses to jump-start any project in our guide.

DSLD Land Management ................... C2 Brandino Brass .................................... C3 Urban Home Market ...........................C4 EZ Roof & EZ Restoration ................. C6 Guin Service ......................................... C7 Hiltz-Lauber .........................................C8 Issis & Sons .......................................... C9 KADCO Homes ...................................C10

Linscomb-Williams ..............................C11 Paige Albright Orientals ...................C12 Phoenix Builders Group ....................C13 Gardner Landscaping ....................... C14 Advanced Turf Care .......................... C14 Batts’ Chimney Services ..................C15 Henhouse Antiques ...........................C15 Hanna’s Antiques ...............................C16

Brewer Cabinets.................................C16 Jamie Goff, LAH Real Estate ...........C17 CK Estate Sales ..................................C17 Homewood Antiques ........................ C18 One Man and a Toolbox .................... C18 Plumb One ...........................................C19 Table Matters ......................................C19

C2 • April 2017

Village Living

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


Design your dream landscape DSLD Land Management is a full-service design/build landscape contractor firm. We are a family owned and operated company that strives to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients. During our initial consultation, all on-site factors are considered from function to form, with special emphasis given to economy and value added work. DSLD Land Management, Inc. opened its doors in 1983. Today, DSLD has built an excellent reputation in landscape construction as a prominent design/build company that services central Alabama. Over the past 30 years, DSLD has been recognized and featured multiple times in publications such as Southern Living magazine and Builder’s Architect Magazine. DSLD welcomes projects of any scope and size, and stands ready to serve our clients with a full staff of licensed and degreed designers, a full-time administrative assistant and one of the most experienced field service teams in the business.

DAVID H. SHARP Pursuing his life-long interest in horticulture and business, coupled with a background in drainage and soil erosion, David Sharp was inspired to create the ideal landscape construction company specializing in residential design and installation. This inspiration is now DSLD Land Management, a full service design/build landscape contractor firm founded in 1983. David studied geotechnical engineering

MEGAN A. MCNAIR Megan McNair is a landscape designer. She is a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in landscape horticulture with an emphasis in landscape design. While obtaining her degree from Auburn University, Megan was able to develop a strong foundation in landscape design. She has advanced training and specializes in software such as Dynascape and ProLandscape.

at the Ohio State University. While a student at OSU David was offered and accepted a scholarship to Samford University in Birmingham, where he graduated with a degree in business administration. Soon after graduating, David became interested in applying his background in geotechnical engineering and business administration to a new course of study in ornamental horticulture. In addition to learning from the environment around him, David has developed a more thorough understanding of various cultural landscape design applications from his travels throughout Europe and Asia visiting gardens and landscapes in over 20 countries. David firmly believes in the value of family. Not only does he enjoy his family, but also works to improve the lives of families with at-risk children. David sits on several national boards of directors where he volunteers on behalf of foster

and adopted children across the country.

J. COLE SHARP Growing up alongside his father, Cole Sharp learned the family business from the ground up. Cole attended Jefferson State Community College where he studied computer information systems technology and mathematics. In addition to his major courses, he took horticulture courses to enhance his knowledge of the family business. Today Cole is fully engaged in the dayto-day operations of DSLD; from sales to installation as well as providing technical support.

PEYTON MARKLE Peyton Markle is the newest DSLD team member. She is a senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Peyton originally joined the team as an intern, but quickly established herself as a strategic thinker and fast learner. As a result, she was offered the position of project engineer. Peyton loves the family business atmosphere at DSLD. “Everyone was so nice and welcoming when I came on,” Peyton said. “The work they do is amazing, and the people behind the work are even better.” For more information, call 437-1012 or visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • C3


Get just the right touch for your home Brandino Brass specializes in door and cabinetry hardware, kitchen and bath accessories, lighting, fireballs and more to meet the needs of any construction or remodeling project. The family-owned business was founded in 1948 by Tony Brandino, and “to date we still run Brandino Brass as a family business for our employees and customers,” said Tony’s son and current owner, Buster Brandino. “I wake up every morning a very lucky man to come to a wonderful place to watch everyone grow and prosper. My employees and customers are the best on the planet,” said Eric Brandino, Buster’s son and co-owner. Together they continue the Brandino Brass tradition of service for customers. The team at Brandino Brass makes sure every element is taken care of for customers. Renee Genereux and Megan Brasher both have a degree in interior design with years of experience in the building process. “We’re here to help take out all the doubt and complications for the client to find the right items for their home within their style and budget,” said Genereux. Megan Brasher added, “Design is in the details, and hardware is a detail that can be overlooked. Each client presents a new idea and we’re just one of the details to ensure the end result is what they envisioned.” Jessie Isom brings over 17 years of experience in the hardware industry and over the years has forged long-lasting relations with contractors, architects, and decorators. “It’s always satisfying to help our customers pull together all the aspects of their project to give them a finished product that they can enjoy for years to come,” said Isom. Heather Clay, a loyal Brandino Brass customer, said Brandino Brass’ customer service is second to none. “We built a house from the ground up, and Renee did all the hardware in my house without one mistake,” Clay said. Clay expressed how much Brandino was able to do for her. “I worked with Renee and with my decorator Lisa

Flake,” said Clay. “We did all of the hardware for my kitchen, all of my bathrooms, and all of my door knobs. We also did my front door hardware, I also got my gas logs from Brandino and my mailbox and all the numbers for that. Any kind of hardware we needed for my house, Brandino did it for me.” From the beginning of the project to the end, Clay said Renee was there every step of the way. “It was a wonderful experience,” said Clay. “I showed

Renee some pictures with my decorator, I told her what I liked, and she pulled about three choices for me so it made it a little bit easier. She was always easy to get in touch with by phone or by email. She has come to my house to look at things that I bought from her that had been installed.” Visit the showroom in Homewood at 2824 Central Ave., Suite 100. For more information, visit or call 978-8900.

C4 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

Village Living

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • C5


Find your vision for your home with a business that treats you like family


rban Home Market not only knows their customers, we embody them. We are known for being a vibrant home for a variety of lighting, architectural pieces, gifts, home furnishing and design services, all collected in one 17,000-square-foot space. What you’ll find inside Urban Home Market is always different. Every season offers a chance to find new and unique products to fit not only your home, but your lifestyle. Shopping at Urban Home Market is never boring or intimidating. We want to immerse our customers in a complete experience that appeals to all of the senses, while staying authentic and approachable. While Urban Home Market is often

mistaken as an upscale retail chain, we are a family owned business that was spun out of a home and family-grown passion. Therefore, we offer personalized service and products that big corporations and big box retailers cannot. There is no national sales plan provided by a corporate office in another state, it is simply Kathy McMahon and her vision. Being local allows us to focus on the “family community” and serve each customer as a friend and neighbor. These friendships tie creativity and design with authenticity because of our knowledge of our customers. “Our customers are our friends and what we do is never, ever about selling to them,” Kathy said. Urban Home Market’s core philosophy

is guided by style, design and the passion to inspire imagination throughout our store. We have a dynamic, energetic team of designers and visual merchandisers who are responsible for every aspect of the store’s look and feel. “Storytelling” is a key focus for our showroom. Each vignette serves as a series of different inspirations created to be inviting and stimulating. Our merchandising does not highlight product so much as set a mood and create a starting point to direct the customer on their own path. Every season, our team of buyers travels across the country to attend major national furniture and accessory markets to find the latest product and design trends. This, combined with our

interests and the needs of our local customers, determines our inventory. Our merchandising mix is very dynamic, layered and dense. We have many humble, recycled and natural materials. Many of the store’s most striking visual effects have been crafted out of mundane materials. This adds a rich layer of artistry and visual wit to the store experience. To learn more about the coming trends for spring 2017, please be sure to connect to our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Our social media shows how to take trends and make them unique through our product shots and style tips for customers on the go. Urban Home Market is located at 1001 Doug Baker Blvd., Suite 101. Call 980-4663 or visit

C6 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

Village Living


What you need to know about roofing We asked roofing specialist Gerry Rotter of EZ Roof what homeowners should be aware of regarding roofs. Here’s what he had to say: Q: What advice would you give to homeowners thinking about replacing their roof? A: Talk to a professional. Find someone who is fully licensed and insured, with experience and a good reputation. Always use a company that is rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau. Remember, if you have any warranty issues that arise, you want a company that will be around — one that you can find years down the road. Look up the address of the business using Google Earth. Choose a company with a brick-and-mortar business versus one operating out of a basement. Find reviews and ask for references. The biggest thing is to ask questions. Your roofing contractor should be knowledgeable about products and solutions for your individual project. Also, ask about warranties. What extended warranties does the company provide? What is the warranty? Q: What are some signs that it’s time for a new roof? A: If you notice your shingles are curled, cracked or missing, or you find shingles on the ground, it’s time for an inspection. Age is also a big factor. If your roof is at least 20 years old, you may need a new roof. Are your neighbors getting new roofs? Homes built around the same time period and in the same location will experience the same types of weather conditions and natural wear. Did your neighborhood experience a hailstorm or high winds? You may have damage that is covered under your homeowner’s insurance. When in doubt, call a professional roofer for a free consultation. A professional can tell you how much life is left in your roof, if there is storm damage worthy of a filing a claim, and what action is recommended. Be careful, though. There are groups that I refer to as “storm chasers” that exclusively pursue insurance claims. These groups will encourage you to file a claim, whether there is one or not, which can increase your insurance rates. Make sure you are talking to someone

that has your best interest in mind. Q: Why should homeowners choose EZ Roof as their roofing contractor? A: EZ Roof is locally owned and operated, and has been in business for over 20 years. We are fully licensed and insured, and have worker’s compensation and general liability insurance. EZ Roof has an office and showroom located on Valleydale Road in Hoover. You can visit us in person and view real samples of the products we use. You can always put a face to the name. EZ Roof has a full-time staff, which means we do not subcontract out our work. You will always be getting someone reliable, professional and experienced on your job.

We also make payment easy. We do not collect anything up front, but rather upon completion and satisfaction of the job. Financing is also offered to help with the upfront expense of a new roof — including borrower-friendly plans like 12 months with no interest or payments*. We pride ourselves on our reputation and treating our customers like we would our own family. EZ Roof is top rated on professional roofing sites, has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and A rating with Angie’s List. I encourage you to read our reviews or even visit us in person to learn more. EZ Roof & EZ Restoration is located at 2078 Valleydale Road. For more information, call 968-1034 or visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • C7


35 years of service and quality Issis & Sons has the furniture, flooring and more to turn your vision of your home into a reality. Owner Steve Issis began selling rugs and flooring 35 years ago. There are now two flooring stores in Greystone and Pelham and furniture galleries in Vestavia and Pelham, but Operations Manager Nancy Gowens said the mission of Issis & Sons has stayed the same. “What Issis was always focused on was service and quality,” Gowens said. In addition to home furniture, rugs and flooring, Issis & Sons also offers outdoor furniture, blinds, custom drapery and custom bedding. Gowens said most of their products are American-made by quality companies, and they choose sellers “who stand behind what they say, because that’s how Steve [Issis] built his reputation.” Issis & Sons is also committed to giving each customer a unique home, so Gowens said they don’t buy furniture pieces in bulk. “We try to carry unique pieces,” Gowens said. The company also provides design services at no cost to customers purchasing their products. Gowens said this is often the key to turning a great piece of furniture into a great room. “Most people, they know some things they like but they don’t know how to put it together,” Gowens said. “It’s hard to gauge what would look good in your home if you’re not accustomed to doing it every day.” Issis & Sons designers will make home visits to give advice on layout, color schemes, scale and more. Every designer

at Issis & Sons understands that their customers have different needs and wants, Gowens said, so the rooms they design always reflect the customer’s tastes. “It’s about the customer,” Gowens said. “Issis’ design team will help determine what your needs are.” Issis & Sons also offers many customized design services for clients looking to customize their furniture and white-glove delivery service. From in-home design to staff at their four locations, Gowens said superior service

has always set them apart. “Every job we do — it’s not a sale, it’s a relationship,” Gowens said. “We stay with you the whole way through.” After 35 years in business, Issis & Sons has developed a trustworthy reputation both in Birmingham and across the state. “You’re not going to have to worry, are they going to be there next year?” Gowens said. Gowens has been part of the business for more than 18 years, and she said her favorite part is the staff and the clients

she meets every day. In many cases, repeat clients become close friends. “Some of my best friends are my clients,” Gowens said. For homeowners ready to make a design change in their home, Gowens said to take time walking through one of the Issis & Sons stores. You can talk with designers and staff there and be confident that they will help find what you need and won’t waste your time. For more information about Issis & Sons’ locations, services and popular brands, visit

C8 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

Village Living


Quality customer service since 1958 Guin Service, a local company that provides comprehensive plumbing, heating, air conditioning, indoor air quality, and generator services, was started in Birmingham in 1958 by W.C. “Bill” Guin. His grandson, Joseph Braswell, a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and UAB, began working at the company in 2011 and is now the sole owner of the business his grandfather founded almost 60 years ago. The company was originally a mechanical contracting business that did large commercial jobs, and while a portion of the business was shut down in 1990, the service business remained. Since coming on board six years ago, Braswell, a Mountain Brook resident, has grown the business through embracing technological advances and focusing on customer service. Part of that focus on customer service is ensuring that each customer is treated like family. This isn’t hard for the employees do to, as Braswell said the company’s longevity has allowed them to really get to know their customers and their families. “We often do service and installation work for three generations of the same family, and we’re also known to employ three generations of the same family,” Braswell said. “Because we see our customers and employees as part of our family, we treat them that way.” Braswell said he and his team like solving his customers’ complex and difficult problems. Instead of taking shortcuts to get a quick solution, they believe in doing it right the first time. “When it comes to our customers’ comfort — and a lot of times their health — in their homes, taking shortcuts isn’t an option for us. And doing the job right the first time is always better than having to deal with the same problems over and over again,” Braswell said. “Doing the right thing has always come before profits, and we think that our customers’ loyalty and our longevity as a business has proven this to be true.” Customers aren’t the only ones loyal to Guin Service. Several employees have worked there for many years, including the office manager, the general manager, and the commercial manager, who have each been

with the company over 25 years. “This gives them the knowledge to solve almost any mechanical problem and proves that they are completely on board with the company’s mission of always putting the customer first,” Braswell said. “We employ the best people and that is what makes us the best,” said Braswell. “We hire employees on character and teach them the mechanical skills they need. Through hours and hours of training and classes, quality people can learn a trade. The quality of the person is what matters at Guin.” Braswell loves to hear stories where the employees

have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help their customers, which he is proud to say happens often. “People normally have to call us when they are having a bad day,” he said. “Something in their home or business is broken, and they know that they are going to have to spend money that they were not planning on spending. To turn that situation into a positive experience is hard to do, but that is what we strive for at Guin.” For more information, call 595-4846 or visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • C9


Celebrating 26 years of expert, quality service This year, Hiltz-Lauber Fine Flooring and Furnishings celebrates its 26th anniversary. Locally owned and operated by its founder Joe Lauber, the shop opened in 1991 with a focus on flooring products and installation services. It has since expanded to include a fine furnishings showroom and a Visual Comfort Lighting Gallery. Hiltz-Lauber’s licensed design staff and quality products set them apart from most traditional carpet stores. “Let our trained design staff help you prevent costly mistakes by providing their knowledge and expertise for selecting the correct material for your specific carpet and furniture needs. With thousands of choices it is easy to make the wrong selection,” Joe Lauber, the company owner, said. “We offer our customers quality service before, during and after the sale, and we offer a unique and wide selection of home furnishings and flooring at many different price points,” says Joe Lauber. The business offers full-service flooring, including carpeting, area rugs, hardwood floors, Alabama’s largest selection of natural fiber rugs and a wide range of nylons and synthetics. The furniture showroom includes upholstery and a mix of antique to transitional furniture as well as smaller gift items and artwork. “We work on projects for clients, including flooring and furniture installations from Cashiers, North Carolina, to Naples, Florida, and everywhere in between,” Lauber says.

“We also have quarterly warehouse sales to provide high-end products at reduced prices.” Hiltz-Lauber’s biggest piece of advice for homeowners: “Do one room at a time so that you see real results without getting overwhelmed.” They also suggests utilizing the staff at Hiltz-Lauber or enlisting the help of other designers or decorators to help achieve a cohesive design plan and to navigate the process of purchasing, assembly and installation. “One mistake can cost thousands. So many people order off the internet only to be disappointed because the scale or product is not what they anticipated,” Joe Lauber said. This highlights the positive trend of people shopping at and supporting local businesses like HiltzLauber. “People are coming back to brick-andmortar businesses where you can get good old-fashioned customer service and the sales people know who you are,” he said. That is exactly what brings people back to the shop again and again. The friendly and knowledgeable staff members at Hiltz-Lauber look forward to the future as they continue to provide quality products and service while further focusing on sustainability in their own operations and with the vendors they support. Stay tuned for their outlet style grand opening coming this spring. For more information, call 879-3455 or visit, or visit the showroom located at 2838 18th St. S., Homewood, AL 35209.

Master renovation of a Georgian Colonial home in English Village by Caldwell-Flake Interiors, Lisa Flake and Mary Ruth Caldwell.

C10 • April 2017

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

Village Living


There’s no place like KADCO Homes There’s no place like home, and KADCO Homes takes that phrase very seriously. KADCO Homes is a leader in the new construction business, and works to serve the Birmingham communities vigilantly and with detail, especially in the emerging communities in Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Trussville. They work to build new homes in new communities that Alabama residents can enjoy and be proud of. Custom-built, tailored homes are KADCO’s specialty. They work to provide a specialized experience for their clients and families. The staff provides a diverse selection of conveniences and features, and they aim to create the perfect environment that will lead to a lifetime of memories. KADCO first takes the budget of the prospective homeowner and then builders offer a wide variety of affordable, high-quality amenities for their home. KADCO’s knowledgeable and honest staff works to give prospective homeowners a competitively priced home, one that includes all the features that make the home comfortable and accessible. By delivering a high level of service on clients’ home projects, they have continued to serve the surrounding communities for the last three decades. KADCO Homes knows Birmingham is a fantastic and reputable community that continues to grow, and loves to share their decades of knowledge of the area with clients. They work to turn dreams into a reality. Our new homes are located in welcoming communities throughout the area, including: ► Mountain Brook: a community of 20,000 spread out over four charming villages ► Vestavia Hills: a growing city of 34,000 with a great central location ► Hoover: a sophisticated, bustling city of 84,000 with plenty to do ► Trussville: one of Alabama’s fastest-growing cities with a population of 20,000 Each community has its own fantastic identity. You can choose from a variety of lifestyles, including: ► The Cove at Overton: Homes starting in the $900s;

in Mountain Brook and Vestavia ► Calton Hill: Luxury Townhomes starting in the $450s, single family homes starting in the $800s; in Mountain Brook and Birmingham ► Rosemont: Homes starting in the $700s; in Vestavia ► Poe Drive at Overton Village: Homes starting in the high $500s; in Vestavia ► The Crossing at Deerfoot: Homes starting in the

$400s; in Trussville ► Barclay Terrace: Homes starting in the $300s; in Trussville Visit KADCO Homes at 3505 Bent River Road in Birmingham for assistance on building your dream home, or visit their website at for more information about the Birmingham communities and which one would be right for you. Call their office at 985-7171 or email them at

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

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Over 45 years of experienced service For Linscomb & Williams, being named a Forbes Top 100 Wealth Manager in the U.S. is not only an honor, but a culmination of over 45 years building a team of valued professionals whom clients can trust for objective advice and personal wealth management guidance. “Today, we continue to serve some of the high net worth individuals and families who were our initial client relationships from the early 1970s,” Sheri Robinson, wealth advisor of Linscomb & Williams, said. Linscomb & Williams’ experienced and professional staff includes attorneys, CPAs, CFP® practitioners, CFA® charterholders and other specialty designations. Linscomb & Williams began in 1971 as a small office in Houston, Texas. The services evolved over time, but a consistent business philosophy specifically addressing the concerns on clients’ minds remains the foundation. Linscomb & Williams’ client service offering is comprehensive and holistic. They offer personalized investment management and wealth planning services that include retirement, education, risk management and estate planning, to name a few. Many individuals and families have a clear picture of where they are and where they want to go. They just need a road map to figure out how to get there. They need an experienced team that speaks in understandable terms and helps with all the elements that affect this “how” question. “Linscomb & Williams strictly adheres to the fiduciary model — putting clients’ interests ahead of our own, with no commissioned product sales, hidden fees or other conflicts of interest,” Robinson said. In 2012, Linscomb & Williams joined the dynamic Cadence Bancorp family of companies. “The Cadence relationship broadened our capabilities to serve the wealth management needs of our Alabama clients with a strong regional presence,” Robinson said.

Sheri Robinson, a team member of Linscomb & Williams, has been a Mountain Brook resident for over 20 years, with school-aged children and involvement in local sporting activities. She understands the financial considerations of her clients and works to help them manage their wealth based on that knowledge. Clients’ assets are held by recognized independent custodians such as Schwab and Fidelity, enabling clients to independently verify asset values and positions. Below are some considerations Sheri offers for clients who are considering owning a vacation home:

CAN YOU AFFORD IT? Real estate is not a liquid asset, so you can’t count on being able to sell your home for a profit, or even break even. Calculate all the costs. Consider more than the actual purchase price when determining costs. You will also have to pay utilities, HOA or condo fees, property taxes, insurance and the cost of furnishing a new home right down to the forks and knives. Have realistic expectations of rental income. Renting out a vacation home does incur expenses. There will be costs to pay for a cleaning service between tenants, advertising expenses and perhaps property management.

HOW OFTEN WILL YOU VISIT? If you don’t plan to rent out your property, you want to make sure you will visit enough to make the investment worthwhile. Calculate the return on your investment. If owning a vacation home is part of your overall investment strategy, make sure it’s a wise decision. Estimate your returns and evaluate them alongside other uses for the same dollars. To contact Linscomb & Williams, email or call 868-3331. For more information, visit

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Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

Village Living


Find the perfect rug for your space Step inside Paige Albright Orientals and you’ll be surrounded by a collection of handpicked, inspiring pieces. Albright got her start in the oriental rug business in 1999 and opened her own store about 10 years ago. She is Alabama’s only Oriental Rug Retailer Association certified oriental rug appraiser. Paige Albright Orientals houses rugs made in Morocco, Iran, Turkey, northern China and other countries, and Albright works with homeowners and interior designers to find the perfect, one-of-a-kind rug for their space. As a certified rug appraiser, Albright went through a rigorous four-year certification process, learning to identify the age, geographic region and other details about a variety of rugs. Behind each oriental rug is a unique story, and as an appraiser, Albright is able to share that story with the clients who will make a rug part of their home. While her store is filled with pieces that inspire her, Albright said no two rugs are the same or meant for the same type of room. An oriental rug can complement an array of modern and traditional design styles, and Albright has even used the same rug in two very different room designs to show their potential. She has the knowledge, design background and passion to make sure each customer takes home the perfect rug for them. One of Albright’s favorite tasks is creating custom pieces for clients, which happens about once a month. Whether creating something brand new or choosing from her existing inventory, Albright said she enjoys taking a designer’s color palette, furniture plans, budget and room size to pick out exactly

the rug they need. Albright said she also relies on her staff to create a great buying experience for their customers through friendly and helpful customer service. Paige Albright Orientals is a “true team effort,” she said. An oriental rug is a significant investment for a home, and Albright said

she encourages customers to buy not only what they love, but also the best quality they can afford. Many times, an oriental rug is a purchase for life. “Buy what you love. Don’t settle. If you don’t love it, don’t get it. I never want to talk anybody into something. I really want you to love it and enjoy it because you’re going to have it forever,” Albright said.

Paige Albright Orientals is located at 2814 Petticoat Lane in Mountain Brook and open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but Albright recommends calling or emailing in advance to make sure she does not have an appointment with another designer or homeowner. For more information, call 877-3232 or visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section

April 2017 • C13


Helping to make your house a home Have you outgrown your home or are you ready to update the design? Call Phoenix Builders, and let them transform your house back into your home through small projects or extensive structural changes for a new, luxurious master bathroom or the perfect kitchen space. Stephen Boehme founded Phoenix Builders Group in 2015. He has 20 years of construction industry experience. His company works on everything from brand-new homes and additions to renovations and remodeling throughout the house. Brian Hart has recently joined the staff of Phoenix Builders. He brings many years of construction experience. Starting as a carpenter and working his way up to project manager, Hart has a wealth of experience with all phases of construction. Hart likes to say that nothing is more rewarding than giving someone the kitchen, bathroom, master addition or sometimes the complete new home they have worked so hard to achieve. Hart and Boehme have been friends since meeting in fourth grade at Hall-Kent Elementary in Homewood. With the return of warm weather, Boehme said homeowners are spending more time outdoors. His team is building new decks, screened-in porches and more across Birmingham to give homeowners the backyard space that’s perfect to relax, entertain or play. One trend this spring, Boehme said, is custom outdoor fireplaces and fire pits. “We do things right the first time. We want our customers to be satisfied with the job that we do for them and the budget,” Boehme said. There’s no need to feel like your home is dated or doesn’t fit your family’s

needs. The team at Phoenix Builders will meet with you to discuss your tastes and lifestyle to create a remodel that shows off what’s best about your house and make it fit your unique tastes. As their website says, “you can truly feel at home every time you walk in the door.” No matter the size of a project, Boehme said he enjoys working with homeowners to take their unique vision from paper to reality. “Every house is different, every homeowner is different,” he said.

Phoenix Builders Group serves all areas of greater Birmingham. Boehme’s two decades of industry experience also means he can find the best architects and sub-contractors in the area to bring a project to life. Boehme said Phoenix Builders’ experience, including in renovation or preservation of historic homes, enables them to give homeowners a cost estimate with confidence. “We give the customers one price that is realistic,” Boehme said. “We know

what we are doing, so we can give people good estimates with no surprises. We know what they need and we know what to look for when we approach a job and can assess it realistically.” He is committed to providing customers with quality work and honest communication. “We treat everyone the way we want to be treated,” Boehme said. For more information, visit or call Stephen Boehme at 966-0543.

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Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


Village Living


Landscaping with attention to detail Gardner Landscaping, serving Birmingham, is focused on providing homeowners and businesses with quality service. The professionals at Gardner Landscaping remember the details and how you want it done. “You can count on us to have the job done to your specifications,” owner Grant Gardner said. “Gardner Landscaping’s ultimate goal is to ensure your satisfaction. Each job is uniquely designed to suit the individual customer’s needs.” Gardner Landscaping employees are experienced and motivated to make sure their customers are satisfied. They have the ability to make any landscape look better and are very creative in their landscape design. All of Gardner Landscaping services are performed with the personalized attention to detail you deserve. The company is a full-service landscape company, and they are licensed and insured. They strive to

provide you with landscaping that you will be proud of and will increase your property value. “We work with all types of budgets and landscapes,” Gardner said. “Whether your landscaping needs are in Birmingham, or the surrounding area, we can meet those needs.” Spring 2017 is especially important for landscaping. “We want to be able to focus on replacing things that were lost in the drought at an affordable rate,” said Gardner. “We provide hardscape, drainage and landscape expertise. We can also do sprinkler system repair to make sure it is ready for spring.” Gardner Landscaping provides a number of other services as well to keep the landscaping process as low maintenance as possible for their customers. For more information, call Gardner Landscaping at 401-3347 or visit their website at

Eager to meet your yard’s needs Advanced Turf Care provides services in Birmingham and the surrounding area. Advanced Turf Care is a full service lawn care company that can provide all of your lawn needs. They care about the local community and they are “here to serve you.” Advanced Turf Care provides the highest quality lawn care. “We do this by having some of the best employees in the industry,” said Grant Gardner, owner of Advanced Turf Care. Advanced Turf Care will work with you to develop the type of lawn you expect. They will keep your landscape in excellent condition because they know how important curb appeal is to you and the value of your property. “Just as your lawn needs fertilization and protection from pests, so do

your shrubs and trees,” Gardner said. “Losing a tree or shrub can be a big loss and change the whole look to your landscaping. Protect your investment by letting us take care of your trees and shrubs.” Gardner said that turf maintenance is especially important this spring. “This spring we are really trying to take care of the turf that went through the fall without water,” Gardner said. “We are encouraging core aeration to get the nutrients back into the soil after the nutrients were dried up during the drought. Core Aeration drills holes in the turf, which allows water and nutrients to get directly to the root systems.” For more information, please call 3057949 or visit the Advanced Turf website at

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


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The perfect time for chimney repairs Why is it smart to have your chimney checked/serviced in the spring? If the chimney is checked/cleaned/ repaired at the close of season: ►The soot is cleaned out, reducing the acrid smell that lingers throughout the humid summer. ►The fireplace will be ready for the first cold spell with no waiting for an appointment. ►If repairs are needed, spring/summer time is the best time to do masonry and chimney repairs as opposed to cold weather, and they can be done without the worrying about the impending cold weather needs of the fireplace. “Time is critical to everyone,” Phillip Batts said. “Do what is necessary when it can be done conveniently and with low stress. How unnerving is it when James Spann tells us it is going to be cold? You call and find that the next appointment is so far off that it makes using your fireplace not so attractive, or you finally get an appointment to find something is structurally wrong and you can’t use it until repairs need to be done next spring.”

On-trend, European pieces available

Tell us a little bit about Batts’ Chimney. We are are a small business that will only send out certified technicians. We refuse to send out “flue-jockeys” that only clean and have no knowledge of safety inspection/remediation. We know our customers want their service when they want it, but we cannot compromise prudent practices. To learn more about Batts’ Chimney Services, visit or call 956-8207.

Judy Hill and Barbara Ashford, the owners of Henhouse Antiques, know one thing for sure: People in Birmingham have a great design sense. “They have good style and they know good style,” Hill said. Since 1997, Henhouse Antiques has been bringing the people of Birmingham antique and designer pieces all the way from Europe. Three times a year, the two of them travel to Europe to handpick English, Swedish, Italian, French and other specialty antique pieces. “We’ve been doing it for so long now that we’ve developed really great relationships with people over there who know now what we like,” Hill said. “This makes our job easier because they have a great selection of the things we’re looking for.”

Both ladies have seen the various styles come and go in Birmingham over the years, so they strive to maintain a very current look. These days, they said, that look consists of light furniture and painted pieces, as well as quality period pieces. Mixing all the European styles and pieces together is the key to maintaining their shop. “We are always trying to work hard to stay current so that our designers have a great selection for all these wonderful houses they are designing in Birmingham,” Hill said. Henhouse Antiques sells a huge variety of furniture and accessories, including contemporary lamps, chandeliers, silver collections, farm tables, enfilades and much more. For more information, visit or call 918-0505.

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Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


Village Living


Perfect pieces for any style Hanna Antiques was Birmingham’s first antiques mall and has been a fixture on Southside for more than 37 years. Owner Bonny Hanna Picard opened the store in 1979 after she bought a floor lamp at a flea market and got “Antique Pox.” Picard says she feels blessed that her hobby is also her job. Hanna Antiques offers a huge variety of American and European antiques and collectibles with over 100 dealers and 35 showcases full of silver, pottery, jewelry and porcelains. The inventory changes daily, with many dealers bringing in new merchandise. Shoppers will find a vast assortment of accessories, handmade rugs, chandeliers, mirrors and paintings at moderate prices. Our fine linens booths are a favorite among our women, with napkins, handkerchiefs, tablecloths, quilts and christening gowns to choose from. You could browse for hours looking through our cases of fine and costume jewelry. Not just for women, Hanna Antiques has fishing lures, reels, knives, duck decoys, football memorabilia, old toys and watches for some of the men’s favorite items. Young customers will

Family-owned, experienced and personal service

also love the mid-century furniture and accessories. Whether you are looking to furnish your lake cottage, loft or home, Hanna Antiques’ knowledgeable sales staff will help you find the perfect piece. Shoppers can browse rooms and rooms of antiques, curiosities and fun. Voted the Best Antiques Store in Birmingham almost every year since 1997, Hanna Antiques is open six days a week, Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and offers approvals, layaways and accepts major credit cards.

Jason Brewer, owner of Brewer Cabinets, has been in the business, well, as long as he can remember. “I literally grew up in a cabinet shop,” he said. His parents opened Brewer Cabinets in 1982, and the company is proud to be family owned and operated. But Jason Brewer isn’t the only one with ample experience in the field — his other two designers, Jerry Romano and Mark Gore, have been in the business for 40 and 20 years, respectively, and his installers, Tim McLeroy and Harold Hanks, have 35 and 30 years of experience, respectively. They also recently brought in a designer in training, Katlyn Blankenship. “Versus the big box stores, we have far more experience in design and installation and are still less expensive and offer more personal attention,” Jason Brewer said. “Versus a custom shop, we offer a more durable finish that is more consistent with a better warranty. All of our cabinets are made to order.” Brewer Cabinets designs, sells and

installs kitchen and bath cabinets and countertops and provides a quality product at a fair price. Brewer said one of his frequent challenges is creating his clients’ dream look within their budget. Finding the right people to do the job can make a world of difference in how the project turns out. “Hire a good contractor. It will make the project go quicker. If you contract it yourself, one mistake could cost as much as you would have paid a contractor,” Brewer said. The team at Brewer cabinets takes pride in what they are able to offer their clients. “I enjoy creating and designing something beautiful and functional, then seeing the finished product, especially when the customer is so proud of their new kitchen that they send me pictures or brag to their friends,” he said. Brewer Cabinets, 1553 Montgomery Highway, is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.5 p.m. For more information, call 942-4000 or visit

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Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section



Client-centered real estate services

Handling estate sales beginning to end CK Estate Sales is a business with over 12 years of experience and knowledge in dealing with antiques and collectibles. We pride ourselves in offering nothing but the best service for our clients. We truly enjoy our estate sale business and take great pride in what we do and are pleased to offer our services to anyone. No job is too big or too small. No matter the size of the sale, each one is treated with the utmost respect. We evaluate and research to determine a fair market value for each item. We are also able to bring in a specialized appraiser should the need arise. We will unpack, display and carefully price items in every room of your home. We listen to your needs and wishes and also offer suggestions to get the most out of your sale. “CK Estates is a family business, and they will treat you like family,”

said owner Chris Green. “I am always pleased at the end of the sale our clients come to me smiling about the results of the sale.” In addition to estate sales, CK Estates offers yard sales, buy-outs, downsizing sells, the selling of personal collections, consignments and staging. We also organize and decorate. No matter your circumstance — settling an estate, relocating, downsizing, illness, staging or organizing — we are able to help make the transition a smooth and profitable one. Call us before you remove or clean any items. We will take care of that for you. We are there for you before, during and after the sale and guarantee satisfaction and excellent customer service. Consultations are always free. For more information, call 907-6948 or email

Jamie Goff’s love of real estate came at an early age. She observed her mother buy rental property, having others pay her to live there. Goff bought her first home at 19 and continued to buy and sell real estate personally. After moving back to Birmingham from Destin, where she worked as a nurse practitioner, she obtained her real estate license and has never looked back. “I’ve been selling real estate since 2001, and most of my business is from previous clients,” Goff said. “We have the best clients and we try to take the best care of their needs in return.” The Goff team works with out-oftown buyers moving to the Birmingham area who are making decisions not only about their home, but also their neighborhood and what part of town they want to buy. The team assists first-time home buyers, many who are young professionals looking to make well educated decisions about their investment in real estate. They also help many of their past clients “trade up” into the next phase of life, with a larger home for children and extended family. Goff works with a team concept to deliver the best service possible. Assisting her in her office is Jody

Porter, who works as an agent, as well as doing contract to closing details management. Kristen Parker is also an agent and manages marketing and client services, including feedback from showings and social media marketing. “We are client-centered and because there are three of us, we divide and conquer,” Goff said. “We each have specific strengths of what we not only enjoy but what we excel at doing. We want our buyers and sellers to make the very best decisions they can and try to give them more than enough information to achieve that.” Goff says she is rewarded by getting paid for what she loves doing, and loves educating buyers about the market as well as assisting sellers in selling their homes in the quickest time frame for the most money. “It really is the epitome of success, to get paid for what you would do even if you weren’t getting paid for your services.”

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Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


Village Living


Committed to quality home improvement

Hernandez a ‘hidden treasure’ inside Homewood Antiques Tucked in the back of Homewood Antiques is a tradesman who specializes in the re-upholstery of furniture. In this “hidden” area of the store, you will find a skilled craftsman who loves his work and loves working with people. Ricardo Hernandez begin working with furniture construction and upholstery in 2001 in Mississippi. He worked there for six years, while he learned about the trade through firsthand experience. In 2007, Ricardo decided it was time to go on his own and opened his own

re-upholstery business. He specializes in providing customers a new, transformed look to their existing home furnishings. Ricardo enjoys making his customers happy. “I thank Our Father every day for opening the doors for me to have my own business, and for this opportunity my customers have given me,” Hernandez said. For more information, call 915-1681 or come to the back and see Ricardo inside of Homewood Antiques at 930 Oxmoor Road.

Since 1997, One Man & a Tool Box has been helping people with a variety of home improvement projects and repairs. “The company was started to fill a void in the market to provide professional contracting services for jobs too small for a general contractor to do. In many cases, small handymantype projects are done by unskilled, unlicensed, uninsured people working out of their trucks going from job to job — many times not completing jobs as they go, or not standing behind jobs after they are complete,” said Jay Moss, owner. One Man & a Tool Box is insured and bonded to further protect customers. “We offer carpentry, painting, minor plumbing, electrical, pressure washing, roof and gutter repair, appliance installation, drywall repair, door and

window repair and more,” he said. Spring is the perfect time to take care of home maintenance issues. One Man & a Tool Box’s affordable hourly rates can fit any budget. “We are a 19-year-old company,” said Moss. “We have invested in technology and skill enhancement of our technicians to ensure jobs are done timely and professionally.” Their technicians are skilled and professional. They pride themselves on getting the job done well and on time. “We have multiple technicians, so if you think a job is too large for one man and a toolbox, you can have two men and more if the job requires it,” he said. They service not only Birmingham, but Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Gadsden as well. For information, call 823-2111 or visit

Spring Home Guide | Special Advertising Section


Quality service you can trust Plumb One is a family-owned company that began in the backyard of Robin and Barry Isbell’s Trussville home in 1997. After graduating from high school, Barry Isbell worked in plumbing for several years. It was at the advice of his boss that he opened his own business. With a borrowed van and $1,000, Plumb One was formed. Over time, Barry and his wife Robin grew their business. Now, the familyowned company has a warehouse, office and fleet of trucks and heavy equipment. Plumb One offers many plumbing services, including residential repair, 24/7 emergency service, new construction for both residential and commercial plumbing and sewer repair, maintenance and installation. Their services extend to water heaters, faucets, fixture replacements, disposals, water softeners, pumps, toilet repairs and water leak investigations

and repairs. Plumb One strives to offer the highest quality craftsmanship and service possible, always keeping up with the latest techniques and equipment, the Isbells said. “We wish to have complete satisfaction and low prices,” Robin Isbell said. “We will not overcharge nor will we suggest unneeded repairs or upgrades. We’re honest and trustworthy; we do what we say we’ll do whether it’s for a big company or small homeowner.” If customers want new style fixtures, they can buy through one of Plumb One’s vendors and have products shipped to them for installation. The Isbells still live in Trussville and serve the Birmingham community, both through their business services and involvement in their church, youth activities and charities. For more information, call 640-2848, email or go to

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Village Living April 2017  
Village Living April 2017