Village Living April 2024

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A day in the life of Mountain Brook Schools communications specialist William Galloway

William Galloway isn’t accustomed to having the light reflected back on him. The communications and public relations specialist for Mountain Brook Schools spends his days shining the light on others.

It’s something that seems to come as naturally as his broadcasting voice, which he also puts to good use. The only thing typical about each day for Galloway is the fact that there really isn’t a typical day.

A single recent day included meetings with MBS Athletic Director Andy Urban and Superintendent Dicky Barlow, discussion of a new podcast with football leaders, coordinating nighttime events at Cherokee Bend Elementary, responding to a media query about a National Merit finalist, sending out reminders about Career Tech Month and helping coordinate state basketball credentials.

Galloway is the point man on communicating to more than 4,300 students and 750 school employees through a variety of channels.

“I operate between 20 and 30 social media accounts, but I monitor over 100,” he said.

See STORYTELLER | page A24

Preschool Partners helps children prepare for the future Building bridges

The first few years of a child’s life are a critical foundation for the cognitive, emotional and social skills they’ll carry with them when they grow up. At Preschool Partners, those social and emotional skills are just as important as school-readiness skills. Founded by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church parishioners Jeanette Hancock and Bill Black, PSP was focused at its inception on helping children from under-resourced communities prepare for kindergarten and supporting parents’ engagement in their children’s education. After nearly 30 years, its mission and reach have grown to include more areas of developmental success. In addition to the school’s academic reputation, many Mountain Brook families are eager to send their children to PSP because their classrooms include a mix of children from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and many neighborhoods, from Mountain Brook to Woodlawn and from Norwood to Center Point.

See BRIDGES | page A26

Find tips and tricks from area businesses to jump start any project in our Spring Home & Garden Guide. Ty Davis named the Player of the Year; several other Spartans make all-metro team. Sponsors A4 City A6 Business A10 Community A18 Schoolhouse A20 Events A22 Sports B8 Opinion B12 Real Estate B14 INSIDE See page B1 See page B8 Home & Garden All-South Metro GUINSERVICE.COM Serving the Birmingham area since 1958. 205-595-4846 AL#12175 April 2024 | Volume 15 | Issue 1 MOUNTAIN BROOK’S COMMUNITY NEWS SOURCE VILLAGELIVINGONLINE.COM | STARNESMEDIA.COM BROUGHT TO YOU BY SERVING MOUNTAIN BROOK, THE 280 CORRIDOR, HOMEWOOD, HOOVER, TRUSSVILLE AND VESTAVIA HILLS
William Galloway, Mountain Brook Schools communications and public relations specialist, in the lobby at the school system’s main office. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney. Best friends and Preschool Partners students Laila, Yashua and Blair during recess. Photo courtesy of Preschool Partners.

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About Us

Fourteen years ago this month, we published the first issue of this paper. We thought that April was the ideal time to launch because there is so much happening in the month.

With the return of spring, everyone is generally in a good mood, and there is plenty to talk about. Many local businesses — including those who advertise with us — are experiencing a busy season, and there are usually several events to tell readers about.

Fourteen years later, a lot has changed, but a lot has also stayed the same. I migrated from my office in Office Park and my home in Lane Parke apartments (the flood zone,

you know) across the bridge to Hollywood for my home and downtown Homewood for my office. I’m now

married to Alison, and we have a nine-year-old son, Lucas. One thing that hasn’t changed is that April is still a great month for the paper. And this one is loaded with great stories about the community and its people.

Please peruse it, read and enjoy. As always, I welcome your feedback. You can reach me at dan@starnes or by text at 205-370-0732.



Community Editors:

Contributing Editor: Sports Editor: Design Editor:

Photo Editor: Page Designer:

Production Assistant:

Operations Specialist:

Client Success Specialist:

Business Development Exec:

Dan Starnes

Jon Anderson

Leah Ingram Eagle

Lee M. Hurley

Kyle Parmley

Melanie Viering

Erin Nelson Sweeney

Ted Perry

Simeon Delante

Sarah Villar

Warren Caldwell

Don Harris

Please Support Our Community Partners

Alabama Power (A11)

Ambrose Kitchen & Bath (B6)

Amy Smith Gardner, State Farm (A18)

ARC Realty Mt Laurel (A19)

Bates Roberts Fowlkes & Jackson Insurance (A7)

Bedzzz Express (B1, B16)

Birmingham Museum of Art (A26)

Brandino Brass (B4)

Bromberg’s (A3, A10)

Bryant Bank (A14)

Budget Blinds (B2)

Camp Hollymont for Girls (A6)

Canterbury Gardens (A15)

Capstone Village (B5)

Children’s of Alabama (A10)

Citizen Appreciation Day

Mountain Brook City Clerk (B7)

Clearview Strategy Partners (B13)

Coty Schneider Edward Jones

Financial Advisors (A22)

Elle (A15)

ENT Associates of Alabama (A20)

Gardner Astroturf (B5)

Gardner Landscaping (B1)

Gaynell Hendricks - Tax Assessor (A15)

Guin Service (A1)

Gunn Dermatology (A28)

Harbin Discount Pharmacy (B10)

Hoke Animal Clinic (A27)

Ingram and Associates (A21)

Issis & Sons (A27)

Jefferson County Commission (A13)

KADCO Homes / CRE Realty (A9)

LifeCare Solutions (A16)

Linscomb Wealth (B3)

Luckie’s Pine Straw - Straw Daddy (A1)

Magic City Art Connection (B12, B15)

Mountain Brook Art Association (A15)

Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce (A25, B9)

Mr. Handyman of Birmingham (A24)

One Man & A Toolbox (A18)

Opera Birmingham (B13)

Parade of Homes (A17)

Parrot Structural Services LLC (A23)

Piggly Wiggly (A19)

Renew Dermatology (A2)

Ritch’s Pharmacy (A22)

Southern Home Structural Repair Specialists (A20)

Spiffy Design (B10)

The Welch Group (A12)

Total Comfort Heating & Air, LLC (A8)

TherapySouth Corporate (A5)

TrustMark Bank (A25)

UAB Office of Alumni Affairs (A8)

Window World of Central Alabama (B11)

A4 • April 2024 Village Living
Publisher’s Note By Dan Starnes
OF THE MONTH Cutouts of the Mountain Brook High School boys soccer players are displayed behind the Spartans’ visitors section during a game against the Eagles at Oak Mountain High School. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney. Legals: Village Living is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. Village Living is designed to inform the Mountain Brook community of area school, family and community events. Information in Village Living is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/ photos submitted become the property of Village Living. We reserve the right to edit articles/photos as deemed necessary and are under no obligation to publish or return photos submitted. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 313-1780 or by email. Published by: Village Living LLC P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 (205) 313-1780 For advertising, contact: Please submit all articles, information and photos to: Join the conversation. Scan the QR code to read us online, join our newsletter and follow us at Get Village Living in your mailbox, inbox and online. Find Us Village Living is distributed through direct mail to Mountain Brook residents. You can also find copies at a variety of locations throughout the community. For a list of pick up locations, scan the QR code below or go to villageliving Katharine Armbrester Carmen Brown Solomon Crenshaw Jr. Sean Dietrich Sarah Gilliland Cissy Jackson Kari Kampakis Loyd McIntosh Ashley Rogers Emily Reed Barry Wise Smith Brent Thompson Contributing Writers: PLEASE RECYCLE THIS PAPER
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Caldwell Mill Trace neighbors request city to declare street public

Some people relish living on a private street.

However, Carolyn Jackson and her Caldwell Mill Trace neighbors said they do not want their street to be private.

“We do not and we haven’t been for 33 years,” Jackson said during the Mountain Brook City Council’s pre-council meeting on Feb. 26. “There’s been nothing special. We’re like every other public road. We’re used like every other public road. We would like to be a publicly maintained road and then anybody can use it, which they have been already. We would like equal treatment under the law. There’s another cul-de-sac right next to us that’s public, and we are private and there’s no difference.”

Mountain Brook city attorney Whit Colvin explained that the designation of a street being private is not impacted by traffic on that street. A private street is not in the public domain, he said, “kind of like a driveway. It’s not a public road just because people use it.”

Colvin added that there is a difference between the city having an obligation to make Caldwell Mill Trace a public street versus the city having discretion. “That’s a request,” he said. “Not an obligation.”

Council member Gerald Garner said it is a fair conversation for the city to look into what it would take to declare the street public, if residents are willing to donate property that currently extends into the street.

“Understand, it will then be a public road, therefore there will be no ability to keep people off of it,” Garner said.

“And, we’ll be fine with that,” Jackson said.

Virginia Smith cited a study that was conducted years ago on drainage in that area. She suggested that Mark Simpson of Schoel Engineering “take a look at it with a fresh set of eyes.”

Also during the meeting, Jason Harpe and Rian Turner of Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC, presented their annual financial audit of the city for the fiscal year that concluded Sept. 30, 2023. Harpe said it is obviously important to have a healthy fund balance in the general fund, and Mountain Brook more than checks that box.

“The rule of thumb is to have about 90 days of operations in your general fund balance in reserve,” Harpe told the council. “You’ve got about 185. You’re obviously twice above what the rule of thumb is. That’s very important.”

The council denied a request for a street light to be installed on Overton Road at Knollwood Lane. Virginia Smith said the requested light was said to be more obstructive to area residents and is not needed for safety.

“The people who live right there don’t want the light installed,” the council president said. “Our policy has been to listen to the neighbors.”

“We don’t know what’s underneath it,” Gaston said. “We’ll have to do some boring. According to the regulations, it was to have been built to city standards but standards have changed a lot since [19]89.”

City Manager Sam Gaston said that, on the surface, the street appears to meet the standard for being a public road.

In other issues, the council heard concerns from Norman Jetmundsen about drainage issues at his home on Thornhill Road.

The council approved the contract with LibraryPass for O’Neal Library for a new service that began March 1. Library Director Lindsy Gardner said the service will allow patrons to digitally check out comic books and graphic novels.

“It seems to me that we’ve got to do something about it because it’s an ongoing problem,” Jetmundsen said. “It seems to me the City of Mountain Brook has got to fix it for me because I’m paying y’all taxes. I’d like to work with y’all to try to find a solution.”

The council also established an Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee, defining the purpose and outlining the committee’s duties. Clay Ragsdale, Laney DeJonge, Jeffrey Lisenby, Emily Deuys and Helen Harmon were appointed to the committee for a term that ends Feb. 26, 2027.

A6 • April 2024 Village Living
Carolyn Jackson of Caldwell Mill Trace addresses the council regarding her street during the Feb. 26 Mountain Brook City Council meeting. Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

Council decides against installation of Euclid Avenue guardrail

The Mountain Brook City Council decided at its March 11 meeting that it would not pursue the installation of a guardrail on Euclid Avenue at Azalea Road.

That location was the site of a pair of catastrophic accidents, one in 2015 and another in 2024. Traffic engineer Richard Caudle said the primary contributing factors in each crash were speed and motorists driving under the influence.

“A guardrail is the only possible solution to really mitigate the catastrophic crashes,” Caudle said. “But since that has occurred twice in the last nine or 10 years, I do not see that the frequency, in my opinion, warrants the expense of the guardrail we’re talking about.”

Council member Billy Pritchard said he’s lived up the hill and around the corner from that intersection for 40 years.

“Unfortunately, when people go 100 miles per hour, bad things happen,” Pritchard said. “This is not going to stop somebody from going 100 miles per hour, particularly if they’re inebriated. I don’t think this is warranted, given the circumstances.”

Area residents who attended the pre-council meeting said they are against installing a guardrail.

“For the time being,” Council President Virginia Smith said, “we’re not considering a guardrail.”

In other action, the council:

► Agreed to a proposal from Schoel Engineering regarding the Field No. 1 area fill project for additional parking.

► Heard discussion about changing the city’s ordinance concerning dirty and dilapidated awnings. The discussion will continue at a future council meeting.

► Granted conditional use of the old Chester’s test kitchen site, at 2037 Cahaba Road in English Village, as a lunchtime restaurant.

► Agreed to have Bhate Environmental Associates perform an asbestos sampling survey for Fire Station No. 2 for the former Knesseth Israel synagogue property on Overton Road, beyond the fire station.

► Approved to submit an ADECA grant application for the Irondale Furnace Trail extension.

► Authorized an agreement with United Ability’s Gone for Good program for a community document destruction and e-waste recycling event on Saturday, April 6, from noon to 1 p.m. at Mountain Brook High School.

► Appointed Martha Self to the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

► Appointed Cleo Kathryn Gorman to the Village Design Review Committee.

► Appointed Graham Smith as the council liaison to the Environmental and Sustainability Committee.

► Reappointed John Doody to the Finance Committee. April 2024 • A7 Bates, Robe rts, Fo wlk e s & Jac kson Ins u ran ce 1812 Sixth Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35210 (205)956-0563 60 YEARS & GROWING
Council members Billy Pritchard, left, and Graham Smith during the March 11 Mountain Brook City Council meeting. Photos by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

Palmer seals primary victory in Congressional District 6

The stage is set for the Nov. 5 general election in Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District, with Congressman Gary Palmer securing a victory in the March 5 Republican primary.

Palmer, a resident of Hoover, won the Republican primary over two challengers — Gerrick Wilkins of Vestavia Hills and Ken McFeeters of north Shelby County.

Palmer captured 83% of the vote on March 5 with 76,063 votes, compared to 9,636 votes (11%) for Wilkins and 5,668 votes (6%) for McFeeters.

Palmer now will face Democrat Elizabeth Anderson and independent candidate Kevin Stewart in the Nov. 5 general election.

The Sixth Congressional District includes Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Trussville, Clay, parts of Homewood and Hoover, the northeastern part of Jefferson County, a small part of Talladega County and all of Shelby, Bibb, Chilton, Coosa, Autauga and Elmore counties.

Palmer, who is seeking his sixth two-year term, said in a written statement that he is honored to be the Republican nominee for the Sixth Congressional District again and that the results from the primary represent that voters in District 6 believe proven conservative leadership is what is needed for Alabama.

"Now that the primary and Super Tuesday are behind us, I will be focused on supporting other Republicans in their races so we can give President Trump a Republican majority when he is back in the White House,” Palmer said. “Thank you to the voters for their confidence in our vision and to those who supported our campaign. I am looking forward to getting back to work for you!"

Wilkins said it’s hard to beat an entrenched incumbent who spent more than $1 million on this campaign. Wilkins said he spent only about $300,000, and most of that came from himself and his wife.

“It’s an uphill battle, but it’s a battle I would do again because I think it’s important for us to have these conversations,” Wilkins said. “I will continue advocating for our conservative principles. I will continue advocating for term limits. I really do think that this is critical.”

Now it’s important for Republicans to unite, he said.

“We have a leftist agenda that is continuing to push our country in the wrong direction,” Wilkins said. “We need to do everything we can to make sure we can get Biden out of that White House and to get President Trump re-elected. We need to push to get a larger majority in the House and take back the Senate.”

Wilkins also said it’s important to get the next generation involved in civic affairs and to pray for all elected leaders, including Palmer.

“Together, we can strive to secure a future that reflects our values and our aspirations,” he said.

McFeeters said he always expected Palmer to win the Republican primary, though maybe not by quite as much as he did.

“I didn’t run to win,” he said. He ran against Palmer to gain some attention for issues he feels strongly about, such as mandated vaccinations for children, doctors not being allowed to treat patients the way they believe is best and his belief that the Federal Reserve banking system is a bad idea.

“We’ve got seven Congress members in Alabama, and not one of them is talking about the Federal Reserve printing its own money and buying America with it,” McFeeters said. “I don’t understand that.”

McFeeters said he self-funded his campaign with $25,000 and believes he did pretty good for spending that small amount of money. “You can’t win against a 10-year incumbent with $25,000,” he said.

But he’s glad he got into the race and got to meet some fantastic people during his campaign, McFeeters said.

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Gary Palmer, the Republican candidate for Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. Photo courtesy of Gary Palmer.

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Business Happenings


RealtySouth has added Kristi Logan to its Crestline office at 105 Euclid Ave.



The Cook Store, 2841 Cahaba Road, is celebrating 25 years of selling products for cooking and entertaining, including kitchenware, bakeware, cookware, kitchen tools and pottery. The shop is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Hello Bakery has been whipping up cookies, cakes and small-batch ice creams for one year at 1109 Dunston Ave. Pastry chef and bakery owner Wim Miree takes great pride in making this location his one and only. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Taziki's Cafe has been serving Mediterranean cuisine at 2737 U.S. 280 for 26 years. Taziki’s is focused on community, families sharing a healthy meal together and crafting authentic Greek dishes with farm-fresh ingredients, including pitas and salads. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.


Leaf & Petal, a botanical shop at 2817 Cahaba Road #2322, has been open for 50 years. The business strives to maintain old-fashioned customer service with one-on-one attention for each customer and offers a wide variety of plants, garden and yard décor, pots and more.


A'Mano Gifts, 281 Rele St., has been selling gifts for 26 years. The lifestyle gallery specializes in handmade and one-of-a-kind items. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Town and Country Clothes has been in business for 81 years. The store at 74 Church St. offers a carefully chosen collection of clothing for women, by multiple featured designers. Shoppers can visit Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Rousso Adams Facial Plastic Surgery is celebrating 24 years in Mountain Brook. Dr. Daniel Rousso and Dr. Austin Adams provide both surgical and non-surgical procedures for patients, and their facility also offers hair, skin resurfacing and other med-spa services. The office at 2700 U.S. 280, Suite 300W, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


For one year, Mountain Brook Eye Care has been serving the community at 921 Jemison Lane. Dr. Jeremy Edgerly has more than 10 years of experience providing adult and pediatric eye exams, contact lens and glasses fittings, emergency eye care and more. The office also offers luxury frames and sunglasses.


Little Buckhead Blue has been open at 341 Rele St. in Lane Parke for one year. Shoppers can find upscale items for babies and children. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Combs Village Healthcare, 600 Olde English Lane, Suite 100, is celebrating one year serving the Mountain Brook community. The clinic offers primary care visits, sick visits, hydration services, sports medicine and more. Office hours are Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Business News to Share?

Do you have news to share with the community about a business in Mountain Brook or the greater Birmingham area?

Let us know at business-happenings

A10 • April 2024 Village Living Business
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TurnerBatson celebrates 100 years of architecture

A century’s worth of TurnerBatson’s design work can be seen in a drive around Mountain Brook, from historic estates like the Ireland House on Fairway Drive to ongoing renovations at Mountain Brook Baptist Church and Mountain Brook Junior High School.

“A 100-year anniversary is a big deal,” said Dave Reese, TurnerBatson’s president and principal architect. “We want to celebrate that, and being able to look back and look ahead at the same time is a really healthy thing to do.”

The architecture firm was initially founded in 1924 by George P. Turner, who was known for designing many of the estate homes in Mountain Brook and original homes in the Hollywood section of Homewood. Turner studied in Spain and is credited with bringing the Spanish-style influence to the Hollywood neighborhood.

In the 1950s, Edgar Batson married George Turner’s daughter, and joined the firm to create Turner and Batson Architects. Early design projects for the firm included East Lake Hospital, Dawson Memorial Baptist Church and more than 200 other church and institutional projects.

Batson’s son, Rick, joined the firm in the 1970s, becoming the third-generation leader of the family business. Rick Batson retired in 2017, and TurnerBatson is now led by Reese and Vice President Eric Berg, who has been with the firm 30 years.

Reese and Berg consider themselves to be the “fourth generation” of an extended “family” business. There are now 23 team members including architects, interior designers and 3D software specialists.

While residential projects aren’t a primary focus for the firm, Reese has designed more than 80 homes in the Homewood and Mountain Brook areas for his commercial clients and neighbors.

“I have always been passionate about residential design, and my involvement has

allowed me to develop rewarding, lifelong relationships with so many families,” he said.

Other past TurnerBatson projects include the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Birmingham, East Lake Methodist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, The University of Alabama’s Tutwiler Residence Hall and Performing Arts Academic Center, Highlands College and the Trussville Entertainment District.

Reese helped lead the design work for the renovation underway at Mountain Brook Junior High, which includes demolishing the original one-story facility and replacing it with a glassy, three-story, Tudor-inspired design. He said a turret at the entry drive helps

integrate the school with the historic neighborhoods around it.

“It was such an honor to get to help re-envision this important school and that my three kids will get to enjoy it,” Reese said. Another phase in the school’s interior renovations is slated to begin this summer.

The renovations at Mountain Brook Baptist Church offer a full-circle project for the firm, since the original 1950s church sanctuary, now the chapel building, was designed by George Turner. His watercolor rendering hangs in the narthex in the church.

Construction began in March on a facility-wide interior renovation at the church, including a new youth area and updates in the

chapel, gymnasium, Sunday School classrooms, corridors and restrooms.

A second-phase of renovations to the sanctuary, gathering areas and preschool classrooms is scheduled to begin in the fall.

Both Berg and Reese work to carry on the legacy founded in the early days of the firm.

“Our designs are intended to reflect and enhance the culture of our clients,” Reese said. “Our business legacy has been based on our desire to provide exceptional service and thoughtful, intentional design.”

“Our team is exceptional, and we are honored to be working with some very special clients,” Berg said. “We think the future looks very bright.” April 2024 • A11
The exterior of Mountain Brook Junior High School following renovations. Photo courtesy of Turner Batson.

Slim’s Pizzeria marks three years as neighborhood favorite

Slim’s Pizzeria, turning three this spring, combines unique, local ingredients with a retro vibe in its Crestline location.

Co-owned by portrait photographer Miller Mobley and local restaurant veteran John Rolan, Slim’s came together in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic through the work of two men looking to create a place that blends the past with the present.

While Mobley may be the celebrity co-owner — he has photographed first ladies, pop idols and movie stars — Rolan is the genius behind the food at Slim’s.

Rolan got into the restaurant business while pursuing a bachelor of fine arts degree at UAB in the mid-1990s. He first started working at Arman’s at Park Lane in Mountain Brook’s English Village — now the site of Little Hardware — before moving to Azalea at Five Points South.

Rolan eventually found his way to a job working in the kitchen at Bottega, learning about the restaurant business from owner and James Beard Award winner Frank Stitt.

After becoming a sous chef, Rolan was named chef de cuisine at Bottega in 2001, running the dining rooms and kitchens at Bottega and Bottega Cafe for more than 20 years. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 disrupted operations at all of Stitt’s restaurants, and after some time operating curbside takeout at Bottega, Rolan started looking for a new opportunity.

“That's when I met Miller, and we started discussing the idea of having a good local place here in Crestline and having just a really nice neighborhood joint," Rolan said.

Rolan and Mobley found the perfect spot: the former location of Vogue Cleaners on Church Street, across the road from Crestline Pharmacy.

“I like the fact that’s sort of an escape from the neighborhood. It’s an escape from where we live and what we do, but it’s still a big part

of it,” Rolan said. “It speaks to your memories, it speaks to your ideas of a brasserie or a small French bistro, but it also has New York vibes going on.”

"The neighborhood has been fantastic. They have embraced us and really been a big part of what I think has made us successful, being a fun restaurant,” he added. “I think it's really nice to have people feel comfortable and be able to relax and shed away their rough day and have a good pizza, a cocktail and good service.”

As for the pizza, Rolan sources as many local

ingredients as possible for his pies through the relationships he built with farmers around the state during his time working at Bottega. The flour that is the basis for Sim’s unique pizza crusts is milled in Ensley.

“We use an artisan blend, and we take that four and do a three-day ferment on it, so our dough is quite different than most other doughs because it approaches a sourdough with that fermentation,” Rolan said.

The menu includes a number of specialty pizzas, such as the hot honey, which features honey from Eastaboga, along with pepperoni,

mozzarella, chili and jalapeño. The puttanesca, a Sicilian pasta dish, is made with shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico and Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes from California.

The drinks menu at Slim’s features classics such as the French 75, martinis and, of course, the Manhattan. Rolan also works with local companies Golden Age Wine and Big Spoon Creamery to develop the wine menu and the restaurant’s selection of ice creams for dessert.

Slim’s is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 4 to 9 p.m. For more information, go to

A12 • April 2024 Village Living Welcome Cory Reamer Advisor TO THE TEAM To get more information about our firm and the services we provide, visit A copy of our current written disclosure Brochure is available upon request. THE WELCH GROUP | WELCHGROUP.COM | (205) 879-5001 OFFERING WEALTH MANAGEMENT AND FAMILY OFFICE SERVICES
Slim’s Pizzeria in Crestline Village. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

Marguerite’s Conceits thrives as a style-making staple for 31 years

Marguerite Bolvig has been a Mountain Brook Village girl her whole life.

“I grew up right around the corner,” she said. “I’ve been in this village my entire life, from hanging out, having fun as a kid to owning my own business here.”

Bolvig has operated her eponymous shop, Marguerite’s Conceits, for 31 years in the same location on Canterbury Road. The rhyming name is also an apt descriptor of the shop’s contents, as “conceits” are fanciful objects, and her store is full of them.

After graduating from Samford University with an interior design degree, Bolvig found it hard to break into her chosen field.

“In the ’80s, interior design was a tough business to get into,” she said. “I was working with great designers, but I was supplementing my income working retail jobs. But every place I worked, I ended up taking over and ending up in management.”

Soon, interior design jobs were supplementing Bolvig’s retail income.

A conversation with her father encouraged her to go out on her own and give small-business ownership a try.

“He said, ‘If you’re going to kill yourself working retail for other people, why don’t you just work for yourself?’” she said.

She opened Table Matters, a high-end table wares and linens store, with a partner in 1991.

A conversation with one of the store’s vendors, Ann Gish, who was preparing to launch a bed linen line, led Bolvig to go solo.

“I love bed linens, and after talking to Ann, I was inspired to open a store where I could really put my design skills to work,” she said. “That was my jumping off point.”

In 1993, Marguerite’s Conceits was born.

Over the years, the bed linen boutique has grown to a curated collection of comfort items including pajamas, loungewear, candles and more.

“When we opened, there was not another bed linens shop,” Bolvig said. “We were the first, and we generated a lot of buzz.”

Over her 31 years in business, Bolvig has seen momentous changes in retail in general and in Mountain Brook Village.

“When we started, there were no cell phones or Amazon or online ordering,” she said. “There were malls and nice department stores. When you shopped, you shopped at brick-and-mortar stores.”

But through all the changes, some things have stayed the same.

Adhesives / Epoxies Fillers / Resins (caulk, glue)

Paint (latex, acrylic, oil, and spray)

Stains / Sealants

Varnishes / Shellacs

Strippers / Removers

Thinners / Solvents


Wallpaper Cement

Stripper / Adhesive

Asphalt Sealers

Roof Cements

Machinery / Lawn Equipment (compressor, generators, lawnmowers)

Pool Chemicals (algaecides, chlorine)

Insect Sprays and Powders / Fumigants (ant, flea, rat, roach, wasp)

Septic Tank Additives


Yard Chemicals (fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides)

Batteries (car, truck motorcycle, marine)

Cleaners / Degreasers

Rust Removers (carburetor, polish, soaps, solvents)

Filters and Fuel Additives

Fluids (antifreeze, brake, transmission)

“The village has not lost its charm through time and growth and change,” Bolvig said. “It’s a kind community of business owners who are friends and work to help and encourage each other. I shop in the village, and I like going to places where people know my name. It’s more than just shopping; it’s a friendly interaction.”

Bolvig also routinely sees multi-generational clients. “Our customer loyalty has remained the same,” she said. “I did nursery bedding for people who are now in their 30s, buying for their own children.”

Bolvig and her team pride themselves on offering exceptional customer service, free design services and customized shopping experiences.

“We have people from all over coming to shop here, and they’re always amazed at everything they can find,” Bolvig said. “The village is a special place.”

Gas / Oil

Gas and Oil Mixture

Tires (without rims, limit 8)

Aerosols (disinfectants, hair products)

Batteries (alkaline, lead, lithium, rechargeable or NiCad)

Chemicals (acids, ammonia, bleach, drain openers)

Cleaners / Degreasers (bath, kitchen, rug, outdoor)

First Aid and Sunscreen (antiseptics, burn and wound care, sanitizers)

Marguerite’s Conceits is located at 2406 Canterbury Road and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Visit margueritesconceits.weebly. com for more information.

Light Bulbs / Tubes / Ballasts (CFL, fluorescent, sodium)

Appliances (air conditioners, freezers, refrigerators, stoves)


Cooking Oil and Grease

Electronics (computers, cell phones, televisions, security equipment, small appliances)

Fire Extinguishers

Smoke Alarms

Gas Cylinders / Flammables (carbon dioxide, gasoline, kerosene, oxygen, propane)

Mercury and Mercury Containing Items (thermometers, thermostats) Ammunition

Radioactive Materials

Unidentified Materials April 2024 • A13 2024 Hazardous Waste Day Spring Collection Event April 13, 2024 @ 8:00am—11:30am For more information visit or call 205-325-8741 This event is funded by the City of Bessemer, Je erson County Department of Health, and the Je erson County Commission in partnership with the Cities of Gardendale and Irondale. Place items in trunk or bed of your vehicle - Remain in Vehicle (WILL ACCEPT) (WILL NOT ACCEPT)
Asbestos /
Medical Waste
Marguerite Bolvig, owner of Marguerite’s Conceits, stands in the front of her shop in Mountain Brook Village on March 13. Marguerite’s Conceits is celebrating 31 years of business. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney

A ‘surging’ business

For friends Fleet Robinson and Harrison Steineker, going into business together was not a question of if, but when. The two have been friends since they met in elementary school at Cherokee Bend, while Robinson was in fourth grade and Steineker was in third grade.

“Me and Fleet thought that it would be a good idea to start a business early so we can learn a little bit about how to manage a business, since we both have the same goal of having one million dollars in the bank by the age of 21,” Harrison said.

As both boys are still in elementary and middle school, their parents are, naturally, involved in the business as well, though they hope to move on from being the “muscle” and the “chauffeur” at some point.

When asked how they felt about their boys starting their own business, Fleet’s mom, Meredith Robinson, said that she wasn’t surprised at all.

“Fleet has always been very entrepreneurial, so I wasn't that surprised when he and Harrison approached us with the idea,” she said.

Cameron Steineker, mom to Harrison, agreed.

“My first thought was, ‘OK, well we need to learn about the business.’ Harrison has always liked music and playing DJ in the car, but starting a business was a big undertaking. I was very impressed with their dedication to doing the research and putting together a plan of action,” she said.

Fleet did not go into the DJ business blind. His father had DJ experience from his junior high years, and so did a few of his friends. The Robinsons strongly advised Fleet and Harrison to speak to other entrepreneurs, especially DJs, before they decided this was the business venture they wanted to try.

After taking what Meredith Robinson described as a “master class in DJing” from Birmingham business Tom’s Sound, she and

Young entrepreneurs grow successful DJ service

Cameron Steineker agreed to lend the boys the funds to start up their DJ services.

“After several sessions at home, they could competently set everything up, comfortably make announcements, play music fluidly and take requests. They took complete ownership of the public speaking and technical aspects of the work; we did not want to play a part in that at all,” Meredith Robinson said.

When the day finally came for Fleet and Harrison to launch their business, Surge DJ Services, what better place was there to showcase your talents than the captive audience of a school carpool line?

“We sent an email to our principal, Mr. [Brannon] Aaron. He allowed us to DJ the carpool line at school and to publicize. Then we went

Fleet Robinson, 12, left, and Harrison Steineker, 11, of Surge DJ Services, work a 6-year-old’s birthday party. Robinson and Steineker developed and launched Surge DJ Services last April.

back to the trusty old ‘bank of mom,’ and they loaned us more money so that we could buy shirts, hats, stickers and flyers for our company,” Harrison said.

Word spread quickly about Surge DJ Services, and the boys, and their parents, are thrilled at their success. Like all great startups, however, there have been some lessons learned along the way.

“Our first DJ gig was when we DJ-ed the Cherokee Bend carpool line. It was near the end of the school year, so it was pretty hot out. My computer actually ended up overheating because we didn’t have a tent yet,” Fleet said. “After we had left, it was very clear that we needed a tent. It was also especially important that we had Wi-Fi so we could play

the song requests.”

For their moms, the hardest part of managing a growing business is scheduling.

“With both boys doing different sports, sometimes it can be tricky. We do our absolute best to make every single gig work, even if it means one may have to leave a few minutes early. This business is truly a family commitment — we all pitch in to make it work,” Cameron Steineker said.

For other parents whose children want to start a business like their sons did, Meredith and Cameron advised to “evaluate the business partner relationship and talk candidly about the support and responsibilities of all involved.” Find Surge DJ Services on Instagram @surge_dj_services.

A14 • April 2024 Village Living BRYANTBANK.COM/PERSONAL BRYBNK-BeyondBank-Print-Half Village Living 2023.indd 1 3/19/23 10:32 PM
Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

Forge and Flourish handles life’s ‘make-or-break’ moments

Mary Halsey Maddox is no stranger to the unexpected stress that life’s curveballs can throw her way. As she faced divorce, single motherhood and her child’s serious illness, she recognized the need to find and foster her own innate sense of resilience.

After growing through that experience of managing multiple crises at once, the Mountain Brook resident felt compelled to help others develop the skills and tools to do the same. That is how Forge and Flourish was born.

Maddox, who is a pediatrician and sleep specialist, received extensive training to help people build skills that will enable them to plan, gain control of their lives and have a built-in support system when life presents them with what she calls “make-or-break moments.” Forge and Flourish is meant to provide a safe, private space for clients to deal with divorce, serious illness, burnout and other major life events and come out stronger on the other side.

“When clients call us, we can offer them three tiers of service: one-on-one coaching packages, group packages for small groups or small businesses that have similar needs, or provide them with workbooks for purchase,” Maddox said.

One of their primary tools is a workbook called The Get Your Stuff Together, which gathers all the relevant information clients might need in an emergency. There is also a version of The Get Your Stuff Together for

divorce, which includes topics like picking a lawyer, basic budgeting and important legal terms.

“Many think that people in Mountain Brook have it ‘easy,’ but that could not be farther from the truth,” Maddox said. “Illness, divorce, unexpected stress and burnout are the great equalizers. I want to normalize the need to be resilient and give people the tools to build those skills.”

Forge and Flourish is located at 4 Office Park Circle, Suite 107. Visit for more information. April 2024 • A15
A message from Gaynell Hendricks, Jefferson County Tax Assessor CALL 205-325-5505 VISIT Four Offices: Hoover | Gardendale Center Point | Downtown Birmingham Open Mon.-Fri. 8-5 Attention Jefferson County Homeowners Ask about the special senior tax exemption Scan with your smartphone camera to access the portal or visit Homeowners 65+ are eligible for exemptions on property taxes. Art in the Village Saturday, May 4 9am - 5pm Mountain Brook City Hall Come home to... Walking distance to Lane Parke & Mountain Brook Village Water & Sewer Included Central Heating & Air Hardwood Floors Throughout Washer/Dryer Furnished Gas Ranges Mountain Brook Schools 205-226-8666 2505 Lane Park Road • Mountain Brook, Alabama LOVE YOUR WARDROBE Monday - Saturday 10-5 or by appointment 61 Church Street | 205.870.5683
Mary Halsey Maddox, founder of Forge and Flourish, at her office in Mountain Brook on March 11. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

Care management ‘is a


LifeCare Solutions, based in Mountain Brook, is the leading comprehensive care management service in the Birmingham area and helps families care for people of all ages who need help navigating serious health and lifestyle challenges.

Many older people have health concerns, both mental and physical, and even young people may have to cope with or recover from serious injuries, chronic illnesses or disabilities.

Regardless of age, they all need someone they can trust to help them find their way through a bewildering maze of healthcare providers and other services.

LifeCare Solutions is there with a holistic, client-centered approach.

“Our mission is to support, educate and provide on-going expertise and resources to our clients and their families through compassion, guidance and understanding,” says Christy Baynes, the firm’s Founder and CEO. “We are committed to helping our clients achieve their best quality of life while living with a chronic illness.”

“Working with families, our expertise provides the answers at a time of uncertainty,” says Taylor McElmurry, the vice-president of operations for LifeCare Solutions. “We guide our families to the actions and decisions that ensure quality care and an optimal life for those they love, thus reducing worry, stress and time off of work for family caregivers.”

The caring, well-trained staff at LifeCare Solutions can assess the client’s current needs and help the client and the client’s family plan for the future.

They can also help educate caregivers; help clients and families plan for crisis care; and connect families with other resources and providers, including help with legal and financial matters.

“We help navigate them through their care journey, and that covers basically everything they can’t do for themselves,” McElmurry says. “We recommend outside resources, like caregiving, home health, physicians, facilities and so many more local resources.”

Baynes started the company in 2012 when her professional and personal experience showed her the need for true continuity of care focused on the whole person, because care doesn’t stop when a patient walks out of the hospital.

“Care is our calling, not our job,” Baynes says. “Our own

families and loved ones have endured many of the same hardships and challenges that our clients face.

“We choose team members with the right educational background, years of expertise in the industry, personal experience and — most importantly — the heart and passion to serve our clients and their families,” she says.

Baynes’ husband, Allen Baynes, serves as the company’s Chief Financial Officer, and Bragan Petrey — a certified registered nurse practitioner — serves as Assessment Specialist.

The company has grown steadily and now has 18 staff members with 250 years of combined experience.

“Our staff has backgrounds in areas such as nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, gerontology, speech pathology and social work,” McElmurry says. “Our expertise includes in-home care, home health, adult day care, support groups, assisted living and memory care assisted living, skilled nursing, and palliative and hospice care.”

LifeCare Solutions has also expanded its service area, recently opening an office in Opelika. The company now serves Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, the Auburn/Opelika area and their surrounding communities.

LifeCare Solutions is also a proud woman-owned business, and nearly 90% of the staff members are women.

“All of the wonderful women on our staff have servant’s hearts and use their expertise as well as compassion to guide our clients and their families towards a solution,” McElmurry says. “To our team, it’s personal!”

Women certainly bring some strong, positive attributes to the company.

“Women not only bring great wisdom and experience to the business world, but they also bring such understanding and compassion while doing so,” McElmurry says.

The work the staff does at LifeCare Solutions is very gratifying.

“The majority of the time, our clients or their families come to us lost, overwhelmed or in crisis mode because the healthcare

industry is so complicated, lacks unified communication, or there are just too many choices,” McElmurry says. ‘On top of all of that, caring for a loved one is emotional. We get to meet our clients at whatever stage they are at in their care and relieve them of their stress and burden so they can be family. To do what we do, you have to have a bleeding heart, but being able to see the relief that our service brings to our clients and their families is reward enough.”

People also need and want personal, hands-on care, so each client at LifeCare Solutions has just one care manager.

“We want to build that relationship of trust between the care manager and the client and client’s family,” McElmurry says.

LifeCare Solutions has tremendous expertise in caring for patients with dementia.

“Dementia care and support have always been at the forefront of our company’s focus,” McElmurry says. “Most of our care managers have worked decades with persons living with dementia.”

Baynes began her geriatric career in 1998 at UAB working as a research assistant in the REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregivers Health) Program.

In fact, the firm is the first PAC (Positive Approach to Care) Designated Organization in the state.

“Our organization incorporates PAC’s training and techniques in our staff training, family education and community outreach,” McElmurry says.

The Thoughtful Engagement Specialists at the company work with those living from dementia, and TEP features oneon-one personalized activities that “bring a client joy,” she says.

For example, one woman with dementia loved to collect antiques. “So we take her estate sale shopping,” McElmurry says.

“However, most of the time our clients just need someone to talk to and to be there to spend time with them,” she says.

LifeCare Solutions has also seen the age range of its clients expand over time.

“While geriatrics is still our specialty, we have been helping younger and younger individuals who need the same help as older adults, whether it involves a chronic illness, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse or mental health,” Baynes says.

For more information, call 205-848-8400 or go online to

A16 • April 2024 Village Living
WHERE: 6 Office Park Circle, Suite 216
CALL: 205-848-8400
calling, not a
From left: Kathy Jones, Taylor McElmurry, Margaret Holland, Tracey Smith, Marsha North, Linda Bottoms, Nicole Crawford, Christy Baynes, Suzanne Kilpatrick, Bragan Petrey, Elena Leonard, Chrissy Cullum, Abbey Sheehan, Kathy Pope, and Leah Doss April 2024 • A17 TWO WEEKENDS! April 26th-28th May 3rd-5th Presented by:

Mountain Brook arborist makes city camera-ready for spring “ ”

As green leaves and new blooms begin to emerge for spring, Mountain Brook senior arborist Don Cafaro can be found around the city, making sure that the city’s verdant landscaping is looking its best.

“I’ve always likened a desk in a building to a prison sentence,” Cafaro said. “There is some office work, but the bulk of my time is spent out and about, somewhere within this wonderful office that just happens to be 12.5 square miles.”

Cafaro said he is pleased to be a vital part of the community and to bond with residents while he does his work.

“I’ve interacted with so many citizens and been able to establish long-term relationships with other city employees,” he said.

He has plenty of advice for Mountain Brook residents who want to step up their own gardens and landscaping.

Cafaro primarily uses store-bought plants for the city, which he said may prove less daunting for first-time gardeners at home, as well.

Rather than starting from scratch with seeds, he said, “I think it’s probably more helpful for folks to learn how to evaluate a given plant for its overall quality wherever they should happen to be shopping.”

When asked for suggestions of unusual or lesser-known florae to include in plantings, Cafaro expressed more interest in tried-and-true gardening staples.

“I tend to prefer native plants if given the choice,” he said. “But there are times when an ‘exotic’ will fit our performance requirements equally, and/or might be more readily available.”

The saying is old because it’s true — ‘put a $10 tree in a $100 hole, rather than the other way around.’

Cafaro said it’s important for gardeners to distinguish between an exotic species (which doesn’t naturally grow in the area) and an invasive species (which can harm the local environment by spreading and choking out other species).

“They often get lumped together, and that can limit one’s options if they are entirely averse to non-native selections,” he said.

One of the most important keys for successful planting, Cafaro said, is focusing on the things that are within your control, such as selecting healthy, high-quality plants and choosing a planting site that not only matches your moisture and sunlight needs, but also can accommodate the plant’s future size when it’s fully mature.

“Pass on plants with root defects, poor form, etc. With trees, field-grown or balled-in-burlap is usually a better choice than ones from containers,” he said.

Finally, it is better to maximize the area of favorable soil for root growth, rather than the size of the tree, Cafaro said.

“The saying is old because it’s true — ‘put a $10 tree in a $100 hole, rather than the other way around,’” he said.

A18 • April 2024 Village Living Community Have a community announcement? Email Leah Ingram Eagle at to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue. Business news to share? If you have news to share with the community about your brick-and-mortar business in Mountain Brook, let us know! Share your business news with us at Amy Gardner Insurance Agency Inc Amy Gardner, Agent 3900 Montclair Road Ste 350 Mountain Brook, AL 35213 Bus: 205-870-8820 State Farm Bloomington, IL Proud to support the neighborhood Being a good neighbor means being there for my community. As your local State Farm® agent, I’m ready to help whenever you need me. Give me a call. isn’t for everyone. Because Doing it Yourself Residential Commercial Special Projects 205-823-2111 • One Man & a Toolbox Handyman Services
Don Cafaro, the City of Mountain Brook’s senior arborist, stands across from one of the traffic islands in Mountain Brook Village. Photo by Erin Nelson Sweeney. April 2024 • A19 S ingFESTIVAL SATURDAY APRIL 13 10 AM-3 PM CRAFT FAIR • FARMERS MARKET FOOD TRUCKS • INFLATABLES • KIDS ZONE More Information at or 205.408.TOWN


Have a schoolhouse announcement? Email Leah Ingram Eagle at to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

MBHS dance team celebrates family, friendship, first national title

The longest four hours of the Dorians’ lives this spring weren’t spent dancing or practicing. They were waiting.

The Mountain Brook High School dance team is accustomed to long, intense hours of practices, getting ready to sparkle in a sea of green and gold at Spartan football games.

But on this February weekend, they were glowing in purple and black, having spent hours gluing more than 2,300 rhinestones to each uniform. It all came down to that trip to the Universal Dance Association’s National Dance Team Championship in Orlando, where they danced, kicked, twisted and flipped in front of Cinderella’s Castle to a remake of the Fugees’ “Ready or Not.”

They were ready.

The Dorians have a long history of top 10 finishes in the national championship, going all the way to fourth place in 2023. This year, they had already won second place in the semifinals the day before, and team captain Anna Prelipcean said the team was extremely emotional and proud.

“We had made Dorian history before even going into finals,” she said. “After the rush of excitement, we found ourselves more motivated than we had ever been once we realized that first place was in our reach.”

After their performance, the 24

young women gathered to wait with head coach Anna Scofield, a former Dorian who had coached the seniors back when they were seventh graders at Mountain Brook Junior High School, as well as faculty sponsor Caroline Carmichael and assistant coach Courtney Zajic. Former faculty sponsor Heather Fitch cheered them on from home, and everyone had the “heart of the Dorian dance moms,” Holli Simon, on their minds.

Then, the announcement finally came.

“When they got all the way down to second place and said Maine South, I knew we had won,” Scofield said. “The first thing I did was stand up and throw my hands over my head. All I could do was scream for joy and cry.”

For the first time in their 23-year history, the Dorians won first place in the 2024 National Championship’s “Large Varsity High Kick” division.

“It was absolutely surreal,” Prelipcean said. “In that moment, the countless hours of work we put in at long practices immediately became worth it, and all we could think about was how proud we were of what we had accomplished.”

“We were going nuts in the stands as we cried, hugged and cheered for these girls who own our heart,” Dorian mom Kari Kampakis said. “It was an adrenaline rush we’ll never forget and God’s goodness on display.”

Kampakis, whose daughter Marie

Claire is a junior on the team, said the Dorians have a special camaraderie that shows in the way they dance.

“I believe that chemistry played a huge role in helping them make Mountain Brook history,” Kampakis said.

Prelipcean said the team had one word guiding them throughout their practices all year: consistency.

“Something that helped us this year as a team was focusing on progressing more and more each practice, without backtracking in any area,” she said. “Keeping the momentum going from each practice to the next helped keep us motivated and focused on improving the routine each day, no matter how


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minor the improvement.”

Fitch, who retired last year after being the faculty sponsor for 20 years, had taken the team to Nationals every year except 2001.

“The drive and determination it takes to get to this national championship was something that happened over many years, and many teams’ efforts,” Fitch said. “I think everyone that has ever been part of the program — dancers and families alike, and Dorian staff over the years — everyone feels a piece of responsibility, ownership and pride for this win.”

The Dorian moms brought along a photo of Simon, who passed away

last year after a five-year battle with cancer. Simon’s younger daughter, Ann Everett, is a member of the team, and her older daughter, Sarah, is a former member.

“It was bittersweet to be at Nationals without her, especially since she loved the Dorians with a passion,” Kampakis said. “We felt her void as well as her presence, and I believe this team had a special grace over them that created the ‘magic’ we saw in their performance.”

The next day, the Dorians toured the Magic Kingdom in their new white jackets.

“The white jacket is huge in the dance world,” Scofield said. “It was a dream of mine since I was a kid.”

Scofield, whose sister Rachel was also a Dorian, said they all have a special connection. Recently, she was dropping her two-year-old daughter, Mae, off at preschool when a teacher, Carla Caffey Kent, saw her Dorian Homecoming poster in the backseat of her car.

“She said she was a Dorian back in the earlier years,” Scofield said. “We’re everywhere.”

One day, Mae might join the next generation of Dorians.

“She loves to come to practice and dance with the girls,” Scofield said. “Whatever she wants to do, I will love watching her succeed, but I do secretly hope to see her in sparkly and white boots.”

A20 • April 2024 Village Living
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The Mountain Brook High School Dorians perform at the Universal Dance Association National competition in Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 3. Photo courtesy of Brian Jackson, Universal Event Photography.

Mountain Brook Junior High gets new sculpture

Just inside the lobby doors of the newly renovated Mountain Brook Junior High School sits a hand-crafted, 45-pound bronze Spartan helmet sculpture to serve as a visual welcome for all who enter. Jimmy McGowan, one of the junior high art teachers, is the creator of the Spartan showpiece.

“The project began last April and was completed in November,” McGowan said. “The black granite base holding up the sculpture rests on top of a white oak pedestal, which was selected from Alabama Sawyer, a local company and Mountain Brook alumni.”

Nearly a year ago, McGowan and Mountain Brook Junior High Principal Donald Clayton talked about creating a piece near the school’s main entrance to serve as a central visual and welcome

point. Throughout the creation process, there were four components of the sculpture, two halves of the helmet and two halves for the plume. After the bronze version was created, the two components were welded together, grinded to smooth seams and polished.

It was unveiled in late February.

“It didn’t feel real until we unveiled it,” McGowan said. “I am most pleased that all elements came together and am very grateful for everyone's positive reaction.”

“Mr. McGowan spent countless hours on the sculpture and has created something that will show his skillset and our school spirit to many future Spartans at Mountain Brook Junior High,” Clayton said.

– Submitted by Mountain Brook Schools.

Student Showcase set for April 29

Mountain Brook Schools is bringing its Student Showcase back to Crestline Village this spring. Join students and teachers from all grade levels and all schools on April 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. between the O’Neal Library and the fire station for a “celebration of learning.”

More than 60 tents, filled with students showing off their academic work, will be on display for community members to take part and learn from students as they share what they have been doing in the classroom this school year.

“We encourage not only parents but community members, alumni and everyone in Mountain Brook to come and be a part of this great event,” Mountain Brook Schools Superintendent Dicky Barlow said. “This free community event is a fantastic way to witness our students’ learning and growth.”

Student musical groups, bands and more will also showcase their talents for the duration of the event.

– Submitted by Mountain Brook Schools.

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Mountain Brook students and teachers from all grade levels will gather in Crestline Village on April 29 for the Student Showcase. Photo courtesy of Mountain Brook Schools. Donald Clayton, left, and Mountain Brook Junior High art teacher Jimmy McGowan stand with a new sculture by McGowan. Photo courtesy of Mountain Brook Schools.

Events Mountain Brook events guide

April 4: Washington Update Luncheon. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hyatt Regency Birmingham — The Wynfrey Hotel, 1000 Galleria Circle. Featuring Rep. Gary Palmer. For more information, visit

April 4-May 23: Mason Music Munchkin Music Session. Thursdays, 1-2 p.m. Mason Music in Mountain Brook presents preschool weekly, drop-off music classes. Introduce your little one to music while nurturing their social-emotional and cognitive development. $175,

April 4: Spencer Lecture — “The Gardens of Bunny Mellon.” 5:30-7:30 p.m. Linn- Henley Lecture Hall, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Rd. Thomas Lloyd and Bryan Huffman, the authors of “Garden Secrets of Bunny Mellon,” will join us to talk about the amazing legacy that Rachel Lambert "Bunny" Mellon left to the world of style and horticulture, including designing the White House Rose Garden. Admission is free, but registration is required. Visit for more information.

April 6: Recycling Day. 9 a.m. to noon. Mountain Brook High School, front parking lot. Bring your paper documents and electronic waste for safe and secure removal. No TVs allowed. For more information, visit

April 12-13: Spring Plant Sale — Public Welcome. Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Road. Proceeds support the Friends’ mission to protect, nurture and share the wonders of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The sale will take place outdoors in the Gardens’ Formal Lawn and Hill Garden. Bring a portable cart or wagon, and cash or credit card for payment. Visit for more information.

April 14: Jewish Food and Culture Fest. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Levite Jewish Community Center, 3960 Montclair Road. The Jewish Food and Culture Fest is a favorite outdoor food event you don’t want to miss. Lovingly prepared recipes passed down for generations include sweet and savory braised brisket, falafel, giant corned beef sandwiches, pickles, babka and matzah ball soup, to name a few. For more information, contact or visit jewish-food-fest.

April 14: Behind the Scenes Wine Tasting Experience. 3-5 p.m. Sunday wine blending and tasting experience at Habitat Cooking School in the Grand Bohemian. Taste four unique supply varietals and explore the chemistry of our blends while savoring each flavor. $149. Register at collections/all/products/sunday-blends-a-behind-the-scenes-winetasting-experience.

April 17: Chamber Connect — AI and the Media.

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce, 101 Hoyt Lane. Join us as Harry Long of 81Shop discusses current trends in artificial intelligence (AI) and the media. These events are always an opportunity to learn valuable workplace, personal and networking skills while also engaging with other members of the chamber. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required, and the cost is $10. Visit for more information.

April 20: Alabama Bird Search — Youth Challenge Awards. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Road. The Birmingham Zoo is excited to announce the first annual Alabama Bird Search — Youth Challenge (ABS) and T-shirt art contest. During this state-wide, 24-hour competitive birding event, youth teams ranging from pre-kindergarten through high school will compete against other teams in their age division to win prizes for categories such as most species identified. There will also be a T-shirt art contest, with the grand prize-winning art featured on the event’s T-shirt next year. The event will end in a recognition and awards picnic at the zoo. For more information, visit

April 20: Scholarship Run presented by Viva Health. The UAB National Alumni Society (NAS) will host its 18th annual Scholarship Run, presented by Viva Health. This year, the 5K, 10K and fun run are heading to Crestline Village on West Jackson Boulevard, near Crestline Elementary School. Come together with members of the UAB community to help raise money for student scholarships. The race is hosted on a certified course and will be chipped and timed. Register at

April 28: In Full Bloom Art Exhibition. 605 28th Street

South. The highly anticipated annual In Full Bloom Show returns to Beverly McNeil Gallery this spring. The show features a collection of original landscape and floral pieces in contemporary and traditional styles, inspired by artists' longest standing muse, Mother Nature.

Otey’s Tavern Music Lineup

April 5: Will’s Dayton Rockstar.

April 6: J.D. & The Man.

April 12: Local Honey.

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April 13: A-A-Ron.

April 18: Glen Butts & Tom Jambor.

April 19: Frank & Friends.

April 20: We Are Wolves.

April 25: Joe Breckinridge.

April 26: The Divines.

April 27: Devine and Company.

Saw’s Juke Joint Music Lineup

April 4: Cheyenne

April 5: Kevin Harrison

April 6: Jason Grubbs

April 7: Moral Support

April 11: John Kulinich and Rick Carter

April 12: Cashback

April 13: The Hams

April 14: Moral Support

April 18: JD and The Man

April 19: Sarah Mason Duo

April 20: The Divines

April 21: Moral Support

April 25: Dave Kurland

April 26: BG

April 27: Sean Rockstar Heninger

April 28: Moral Support

O’Neal Public Library

Register for events on the calendar at


Tuesdays: Gentle Yoga — With Marie Blair. 10-11 a.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays: Open Maker Lab. 2-6 p.m. All ages welcome.

April 3: Makeup of the Ancient World. 6-8 p.m.

April 5: Space Prom. 6-8 p.m. Ages 21 and up only.

April 8: Great Short Stories — “A Man Called Horse” by Dorothy M. Johnson. 6:30-7:30 p.m.

April 9: The Bookies — “Birnam Wood” by Eleanor Catton. 10-11:30 a.m.

April 10: Medicare Made Clear — What You Need to Know. 10 a.m. to noon.

April 16: O’Neal Library Board Meeting. 8:45-9:45 a.m.

April 16: Writing Workshop with Miriam Calleja. 5:30-7 p.m.

April 17: Samford String Quartet. 11 a.m. to noon.

April 21: “Cure” — An Under the Mountain Event. 7-9:30 p.m.

April 24: Charlotte Pence — An Evening of Poetry. 6-7 p.m.

April 30: Books & Beyond — Books Set in Alabama. 6:30-8 p.m.


April 1 and 29: TAB Meeting. 5-6 p.m.

April 5: Game On. 3:30-5 p.m.

April 11: Tiny Art. 4-5 p.m.

April 24: DIY Yums — Grilling 101. 4-5:30 p.m. Taught by Mountain Brook Fire Department.

April 25: Library Loot Book Club. 4-5 p.m.


Tuesdays: Patty Cake — Lapsit Storytime. 9:30-9:50 a.m. and 10:30-10:50 a.m. Ages infant to 18 months.

Tuesdays: LOL Story Adventure. 3:30-4:15 p.m. Grades K-2.

Wednesdays: Toddler Tales Storytime. 9:30-10 a.m. and 10:30-11 a.m. Ages 1-3. Directed movement.

Wednesdays: Movers & Makers. 1:30-2:15 p.m. Ages 3-5. Kindergarten prep storytime.

Thursdays: All Together Storytime. 9:30-10 a.m. and 10:3011 a.m. All ages welcome. Informal storytime.

Thursdays: SNaP. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Grades 3-6. April 4: Game On, April 11: Mod Podge Flower Pots, April 18: Movie and Popcorn, April 25: Makerspace Demo.

April 1: Reading Buddies. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Grades K-6.

April 3: Pop-Up STEAM — Eclipse Science. 3:30-4:15 p.m. Grades 3-6.

April 8: Breakout Book Club — Poetry. 5-6 p.m. Emerging readers.

April 9: Family Night — Drum Jam. 5:30-6:15 p.m. All ages welcome.

April 11: Hot off the Press Book Group. 6-7 p.m. Grades 4-6.

April 12: Sensory Play, Explore & More. 9:30-11:45 a.m. Ages birth to 4K. Small groups at 9:30 and 10:30, free play at 11:15.

April 15: Illustrator Art Club — Art Inspired by Nikki McClure. 4:30-5:30 p.m. Grades K-6.

April 17: Paw Patrol Bike Brigade 3:30-4:30 p.m. Decorate your bike, ride a safety obstacle course and meet Chase and friends April 2024 • A23
Helical Piers Statewide Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Service

CONTINUED from page A1


Galloway said he is only lucky in the sense that he knew what he wanted to do very early on in life. The rest came from hard work.

His father, Trip, has a picture of his son in 5th grade interviewing his maternal grandfather for an NPR-sponsored program about his service in Korea, where he rescued a soldier from a minefield.

By the time Galloway got to Mountain Brook High School, his path was set. Broadcasting, interviewing and reporting was his passion. He began covering athletics on a regular basis through live tweeting and other channels.

“I had many opportunities to cover sports in high school,” Galloway said. “And they allowed me to miss classes to be a student reporter for all the school’s teams.”

He also began broadcasting football games on the radio in 2014 and 2015 with cohost Jack Royer. As Galloway tells it, “Jack was older and more into news and I was more into sports. But he helped me get started.

“Jack was still the recorded voice of the Junior High pledge of allegiance 10 years after he graduated,” he said with a laugh.

Galloway graduated from Mountain Brook High School in 2017 and headed to the University of Alabama, where he majored in sports media. He also worked in the athletic department and interned for a TV station.

A professional broadcasting career seemed logical and attainable.

Yet one day, a broadcasting mentor gave him some advice that stuck: “If you want to have a life outside work, get a professional communications job. You can scratch the itch to broadcast sports on the side. You will be a lot happier not constantly traveling, not being in the middle of the grind and not trying to just survive in a cutthroat industry.”

Though determined to follow that advice, Galloway had no inkling of what that kind of job might be. Then, two weeks before graduation, he got a phone call.

“God’s timing,” Galloway said.

It was Barlow, who asked, “William what are you doing?” Galloway said, “Dr. Barlow, I’m in bible study.”

“I don’t mean right now,” Barlow said. “I mean when you graduate.” And that was that.


Galloway is the second person to fill the role of communications and public relations specialist for Mountain Brook Schools, which was created in 2020. He came into the job in May 2021.

“Year one was a come in and learn things [year]. See how people do what they do and soak it in,” Galloway said. “Year two and three, I’ve been able to show what I can do with my skillset. I go to monthly PTO meetings, I follow social media accounts, I take recs from community members and parents.

I’m plugged into groups like the Mountain Brook City Schools Foundation and All In

Mountain Brook. I keep my finger on the pulse of the community.”

When Benny Eaves retired as the athletic director last spring, it was about a month and a half until Urban came along. With spring and so many things going on like tennis, golf, baseball and softball, Galloway jumped in and helped operate the schools’ athletics social media on top of the school side. It was a lot.

“Really, I try to stay informed about what’s going on and keep an ear to the ground, and if I can’t help people tell a story, I try to empower them to tell it themselves,” he said. One example of this, he said, was a story about the school system’s sign language program.

“I didn’t even know we offered sign language. I was blown away by this. People need to know that our kids are learning and helping and teaching sign language in class. So three years into this job, I’ve got systems set up where each school has social media operators, and I don’t have to be at every school all the time.”


As if things aren’t busy enough for Galloway he has also gotten into fundraising with Urban.

“We are trying to take things we have seen at the college level and see if they will work at the high school level. Selling video board ads, more ad sales content on social media, those type things. Trying to come up with ideas beyond just having parents write checks every time we need money,” Galloway said. He is also scratching that broadcasting

itch with play-by-play broadcasting for high schools and colleges on the side, freelance public address announcing, emceeing events and doing voice work.

And he is getting married this summer to Anna Sager, a seventh grade history and civics teacher at the Junior High.

They met at new teacher orientation after Galloway had been on the job about three months. Barlow was the one who pushed him to attend the orientation, despite his busy schedule getting ready for the start of the school year, telling Galloway, “You never know who you might meet.” He met Sager on the first day of orientation.

“William worked very hard to keep our proposal a secret. I thought we were going to dinner to celebrate his graduation from his master’s program and had been convinced by my friends to wear a white dress that night,” Sager said. “I was so unaware of what was about to happen that while driving to the proposal, I looked at pictures we had just taken and said, ‘This is a little embarrassing because people are going to think I thought we were getting engaged!’ He kept his cool, and about 5 minutes later, we were engaged!’

The pair have a dog named George, and they enjoy attending sports events and theatricals. “I did have to convince him that he’d enjoy the theater,” Sager said. “But I do think he has seen the light.”

You can find Galloway’s work on the Mountain Brook Schools homepage, under “MBS News.” To listen to some of his school podcasts, visit

Village Living A24 • April 2024
STORYTELLER Mountain Brook Athletic Director Andy Urban talks with William Galloway during a broadcast of the boys Class 6A Northeast Regional semifinal game against Gardendale at Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum on Feb. 16.
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CONTINUED from page A1

PSP gets its name from the partnership between the school and the children’s families. The program insists on family involvement in each child’s education and requires at least one caregiver to come to school with their child every Monday for two hours. While the children learn and play in their own classrooms, their parents, grandparents or other family members gather for lessons about temper tantrums, financial literacy, picky eaters, how to communicate effectively with school officials and other topics relevant to families with young children.

“Parenting is a perfect way for people to connect in spite of their differences. Parenting is hard for all of us,” said Amy Stevens, a PSP teacher whose three children have also attended the program.

Executive Director Lella Carl Hamiter said “magic” can happen in those parent classrooms.

“Men and women from all walks of life see that they’re all in the same boat, and they realize they’re not alone — and they’re not that different,” Hamiter said. “We’ve seen parents helping others with job searches and networking and learning from each other. For example, after one session about cultural traditions, one parent said, ‘I realized our family doesn’t really have any traditions, so we’re going to adopt one I learned about here.’”

Hamiter credits Turner Burton as an early supporter of a preschool program that includes children from a cross-section of Birmingham.

About 10 years ago, at the request of some of the program’s parents, PSP decided to hold a free “kindergarten boot camp” in August to combat summer learning loss. Finding they had space for more participants, PSP offered the boot camp to St. Luke’s parishioners, who eagerly filled the available spots.

Burton remembers the day clearly. His company, Hoar Construction, was building a new facility for PSP, and he went to pick up the contract. When he saw two little girls of different races walking down the hall holding hands, he told Hamiter, “That’s the kind of preschool I want for my children.”

After sharing classrooms with St. Luke’s preschool program and renting space from Trinity Presbyterian Church for 20 years, in 2015 PSP moved into a brand new facility on Montevallo Road, with room for more classrooms and more students.

Around this time, the PSP faculty were seeing low language skills in many 3- and 4-year-olds in the program. They learned through research that children from under-resourced backgrounds improve language and vocabulary skills dramatically when they are in classes with children from stable-income families, who can share their skills organically. It was time for Turner’s idea to come to fruition, Hamiter said.

The first combined classes were the 2-yearold classrooms. PSP tested the children’s skills at the beginning of the school year and at the end, and Hamiter said the results showed that it worked. All PSP classes now include full-tuition spots (up to 35% of the class), and there are

waiting lists for those spots every year.

Former Board Chair Charlie Clark, whose son Charles began PSP in 2019 and daughter Kitty started in 2021, said, “Our decision was centered on program excellence and the building of community around children. I’m proud that PSP has continued to exceed national benchmarks in early education metrics. During the 2022-23 school year, we distributed over 2,240 books to PSP families, and 97% of our graduating students tested ready for kindergarten.”

Clark has seen those improvements in academics and emotional and social development firsthand through his own children’s education.

Kirk Forrester, whose younger son recently graduated from PSP, said, “I cried and cried at his graduation because I knew it was the end of our time there. We loved the community and getting to make friends with parents and children from all over Birmingham.”

Her sons played with their PSP friends on tee ball teams in the Southside League at Avondale Park, even after they graduated from the program. Forrester said she cherishes the connections she made — and continues to keep — with other PSP parents, and she expects her sons will also continue to benefit from their PSP friendships throughout their lives.

PSP teacher Amy Stevens previously taught in Washington, D.C., and said seeing the children relate to each other as individuals is one of the best parts of her job. Her two sons are graduates of the program, and her daughter is in the 2-year-old class. Her sons’ experiences on the tee ball team, learning from and trusting parent coaches, were a big part of their positive experience, she said.

“We’ve become a family, watching each others’ children grow up, and we look forward to reconnecting in the spring,” Stevens said. “It’s so good for your soul when you connect.”

Village Living A26 • April 2024
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and entertainment areas,” Grant says.



“Fall is considered the best time of year to plant new trees and shrubs,” Grant says.

However, you need help picking the perfect plants for you.

Many factors come into play, Grant says — sun exposure, soil type, landscape slope and your own preferences.

“We enjoy creating a plan that meets the needs of each customer and landscape,” he says.

The company staff specializes in beautiful landscapes but they’re also “very good at developing outdoor play

The team stays abreast of the latest design trends and can satisfy any client’s taste with either traditional or unusual plant materials.

“More customers are spending more time around their homes,” Grant says. “We have the best prices locally on large and small trees and shrubs to create privacy screens, shade and curb appeal.”

Gardner Landscaping also does clean ups, drainage projects and landscape borders.

“We can get your property where it’s managed correctly,” Grant says.

Gardner Landscaping works with all types of budgets and projects in Birmingham, Auburn, Dadeville, Alexander City or Lake Martin.

For details, call 205-401-3347 or go to

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. Home & Garden Guide 2024 Spring We’re committed to surpassing your expectations for your beautiful outdoor spaces by creating and maintaining landscaping, hardscape installation and effectively minimizing drainage and erosion issues. BEST PRICE for Trees, Shrubs, Privacy Screens & Astroturf Gardner has the Call to schedule your landscaping plan 205-401-3347 Your Large and Small Tree, Shrub and Drainage Experts High Quality Service and Customer Satisfaction is our priority Spring is a perfect time to beautify your yard Gardner Landscaping • 205-401-3347 •
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Shop local at Budget Blinds for great service and window covering selection

Many people like to shop local as much as they can to support the locally owned businesses in their communities.

One of those businesses in Vestavia Hills is Budget Blinds of Birmingham.

The company is owned and operated by Steve and Michelle Thackerson who live and work in Vestavia Hills and support the community, including youth programs.

They also offer all types of custom window coverings, and their highly trained personnel take the time to understand their customers and provide them with top-quality window coverings designed for their lifestyles.

Customers can also take advantage of the buying power of Budget Blinds, the world’s largest retailer of custom window coverings.

And when you call the Budget Blinds location in Vestavia Hills to get information or to schedule an appointment, you speak to someone in the local office, not a call center or remote person.

“All of our staff is employed with us and has been with us at least 10 years,” Thackerson said. “We don’t subcontract any workers out. All scheduling is done by us — not remotely or by a third party. We have total control over the scheduling.”

All window coverings are custom made to fit to each home, and all in-home measuring and installation is taken care of by Budget Blinds local employees.

“We install them, so anything that’s purchased from us, we’ll custom measure your windows and professionally install them,” Thackerson said. “We

control everything from setting up the appointment to the final installation.”

You can request a free in-home consultation or visit the showroom.

Some of the top sellers at Budget Blinds are shutters, solar shades and woven wood products.

Motorization and cordless options

for window coverings remain popular. Motorized options allow you to control blinds, shutters, solar shades and draperies from anywhere, and can be used with your home’s automation system.

“We can usually tie our product into any system you might have,” Thackerson said.

The store now carries Zebra Shades,

originally in Australia and now available in the United States. It is a unique product with both beauty and function. By combining roller shades and horizontal blinds, Zebra Shades allow you both privacy and great light control.

Budget Blinds also sells blinds with traditional cords. Due to changing national safety standards, these products are no longer available at the big-box retail stores. Budget Blinds sells the products and educates customers about using the blinds safely.

Customers at Budget Blinds of Birmingham take advantage of the long relationships Thackerson and his wife, Michelle, have built in more than 30 years in the business, as well as the national presence of Budget Blinds.

“Because of the nationwide volume of Budget Blinds, we get exclusive warranties others cannot offer,” Thackerson said. “Our manufacturers may also sell to our competitors, but they don’t give them the same warranties they give us. That sets us apart. We get the same products but better pricing and better warranties because we are the largest retailer of custom window coverings in the world.”

Budget Blinds of Birmingham is also consistently in the Top 20 Budget Blinds franchises for volume.

You can visit the showroom at 2130 Columbiana Road anytime Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, go to or call 205-824-3300.

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Tailoring our approach to create value for you: In a world inundated with financial information, we recognize that you seek value and experience. Through our white-glove service, our aim is to differentiate ourselves to meet your distinct needs. We believe that you deserve an advisor who will listen carefully to understand your goals, develop a plan that addresses your unique circumstances, and partner with you to create a 1 affluent-investors-are-more-reliant-onadvisors-than-ever-before 2 practice-management/news/financial-advisors-plan-to-retire-within-10years-248121

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Our steadfast fiduciary commitment: As we navigate these changes, our commitment remains steadfast — to you. Staying true to fiduciary responsibilities and providing you with a white-glove experience is paramount. Our wealth advisory teams are dedicated to showcasing our values, community involvement, and team dynamics, creating a narrative that resonates with your aspirations and financial goals.

Your financial journey is our priority, and we are adapting to your evolving needs. By embracing succession planning and offering personalized experiences, we envision a future of wealth management designed with your success in mind. The commitment to your financial wellbeing is at the heart of our endeavors.

Your financial advisor should be committed to navigating the path ahead with you; adapting to industry shifts, embracing strategic planning, and providing personalized experiences to help you achieve your financial success. At Linscomb Wealth, we’ve been using these principles to serve families for over fifty years. Visit to begin planning your future with an experienced advisor. April 2024 • B3 Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section
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For a huge selection of top-quality decorative and architectural hardware, as well as interior and exterior lighting, look no farther than Brandino Brass in Homewood.

The experts at Brandino Brass also design such items as custom brass shelving, gate hardware, mailboxes, fireballs and barn-door hardware.

Brandino Brass is the go-to place for homeowners, architects and designers who are updating, renovating or building a home.

The team at Brandino Brass helps guide customers through an array of options to find the perfect items for their space.

David and Nancy Wright are among the latest customers to enjoy the company’s selection and service. The couple built a new Country French house measuring about 5,000 square feet in Liberty Park in 2022.

During construction, they worked with Brandino Brass — mainly with Jessie Isom and Renee Genereux, two of the store’s co-owners.

“We worked with Brandino for all of our cabinet and door hardware and our outdoor gas lighting,” Nancy said.

“We loved working with Brandino,” she said. “The quality and selections of their products made it easy to find exactly what I needed.”

“They probably carry the best quality

product lines in Birmingham,” David said. “Whatever you do, you know you’re going to get a good product.”

“Jessie and Renee were the best to work with,” Nancy said. “They were very patient with me, as building a new house can be very overwhelming. They made great suggestions and helped me when I needed to move into a specific price range.”

“We felt at home with those guys,” David said. “We felt like they had our interests at heart.”

The couple were impressed by the team at Brandino Brass in all aspects of customer service.

“They always answered our phone calls when we had questions, and our orders came exactly when we needed

them,” Nancy said.

This is keeping with the company’s philosophy, Isom said.

“Customer service is always our top priority,” he said. “I feel my job is to educate each client as to what is offered to meet their needs and then allow them to make the best choice for their project. I’m always happy to offer guidance as needed.”

Isom was a big help to Nancy in picking out her hardware, she said.

“Going in and picking our hardware is very overwhelming, and I didn’t want anything trendy,” she said. “The things Jessie help me pick are just perfect.”

He helped her capture the simple, classic vibe she wanted, Nancy said.

“I’m very happy with my kitchen hardware,” she said. “It’s timeless unlacquered brass that will age beautifully.”

The one area where the couple “went outside the box” in terms of design was in the bar.

“We have a cabinet in the bar area where we got some pulls that were made in the shape of really elegant woodpeckers,” David said. “We love them. It’s our favorite purchase.”

“The detail and workmanship are amazing,” Nancy said

“It was a real pleasure working with Brandino Brass,” she said. “I will again in the future.”

B4 • April 2024 Village Living Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section
Door Hardware Cabinet Hardware Decorative Interior Lighting Brass & Copper Lanterns Mailboxes & Posts FireBalls & Logs Gate & Barn Door Hardware M o n d a y - T h u r s d a y : 8 a m - 5 p m F r i d a y : 8 a m - 1 p m Appoi ntments Preferred. 205.978.8900 2824 Central Avenue #100 Homewood, AL It’s all in the Details... 2824 Central Ave., Homewood, AL Brandino Brass is the go-to place for hardware, lighting and more for homeowners and professionals Brandino Brass • 205-978-8900 •

HED: Tired of maintaining your lawn? Call Gardner Astroturf for a solution

Are you a homeowner who is sick and tired of your grass not growing?

Would you like to stop spending thousands of dollars sodding your lawn over and over again?

Are you tired of incurring all of the expenses in mowing, watering and fertilizing your grass?

If so, you should call the skilled professionals at Gardner Astroturf and have Astroturf installed at your home.

You’ll be joining a growing trend, because the popularity of artificial grass has grown tremendously in the past decade.

Artificial turf has even attracted positive attention recently from such trendy media outlets as House Beautiful and Architectural Digest.

Consumers should be aware that artificial grass looks and feels much closer to real grass than it did in the past,

thanks to improvements in technology and manufacturing.

They can save lots of money on maintenance of their lawns if they choose Astroturf.

Astroturf is also very versatile and is often used not just for whole lawns, but for children’s play areas, decks, patios, putting greens and other spaces.

The skilled professionals at Gardner Astroturf deliver top-quality service to homeowners with a friendly, personal touch.

“We give individualized attention to our customers the big companies can’t,” owner Grant Gardner says.

The company’s employees are “some of the best in the business,” Gardner says, with knowledge, experience, attention to detail and a passion for customer service.

“We want our customers to have an enjoyable experience,” he says.

For details, call 205-401-3347 or go to

Capstone Village •

Tuscaloosa’s Capstone Village is a luxury retirement community for active retirees.

Capstone Village offers worry-free living while encouraging lifelong learning and healthy activities.


Located on the historic campus of The University of Alabama — the vitality of collegiate life is brought right to your doorstep.

“We take full advantage of our location at UA. Residents are provided with many opportunities to pursue fun, vibrant, active lifestyles.” said Jana Smith, Director of Sales and Marketing for Capstone Village.

The residents at Capstone Village enjoy university amenities — athletic and cultural events, access to campus libraries, auditing of classes and access to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Many Capstone Village residents are volunteer instructors and OLLI members.

Capstone Village emphasizes health and wellness for residents by offering onsite fitness classes, including yoga, dance and strength training. Residents also receive memberships to the well-equipped student recreation center located directly across the street. “The special relationship between the University and Capstone Village is something our residents cherish. Most of them worked on campus, attended school here or are huge Alabama fans,” Smith said.

Residents enjoy having UA students from various departments and sports teams volunteer at Capstone Village. Students present musical concerts, host health clinics, facilitate special events, socialize with the residents and even work on research projects.

For more information or to request a tour, call 855-406-8242 or go to April 2024 • B5 Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section Tired of maintaining your lawn? Try astroturf
Landscaping • 205-401-3347 •
Gardner Call Gardner Landscaping Today 205-401-3347 •Spring Clean Ups • Mowing • Pruning • Mulch • Straw • Seasonal Color • Weed Control and Fertilization to Lawn Areas • Tree and Shrub Care • Fire Ant Application • Weed Control in Natural Areas • Aeration Leave the landscaping maintenance to Gardner. THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA® 601 Peter Bryce Boulevard | Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 The Capstone Village lifestyle is open to everyone regardless of University affiliation. As The University of Alabama’s retirement living community, Capstone Village provides residents the freedom to enjoy active living and easy access to lifelong learning at its finest. Our caring staff, lifestyle amenities and commitment to safety are unmatched. You don’t have to be an Alabama fan to join our community, but you may become one! apartments communityengagement campus resources garden homes Meaningfulfriendships active living fun events & celebrations SCHEDULE A GARDEN HOME OR APARTMENT TOUR TODAY! Visit or call 855-406-8242 Capstone Village: Active living with a campus connection

John Ambrose has a ‘passion’ for building great kitchens and baths

Ambrose Kitchen & Bath • 205-510-6961 •

John Ambrose is a Birmingham designbuild expert with years of experience in top-quality remodels and new construction. He recently rebranded his business and, in this Q&A, discusses his exciting new venture — Ambrose Kitchen & Bath.

Why the focus on kitchens and baths? After undertaking full remodels and building from the ground up, I realized that kitchens and bathrooms are my passion. They’re the most difficult areas in the home, and the challenge is exciting. Getting lighting, plumbing, tile, countertops, cabinets, hardware, appliances and paint to all work in harmony is extremely rewarding.

What sets Ambrose Kitchen & Bath apart? We started as a design and remodeling company, so we can take your project from design to finish, including

space reimagination. We also stand out by carrying six distinct cabinet lines to meet the design and budget needs of anyone looking to elevate their home’s value. We can usually produce 3-D renderings of your vision after only one design appointment.

What’s your favorite cabinet line? I love working with any cabinet that meets a customer’s needs, but my personal favorite is Mouser — a true luxury brand with lots of custom options. Mouser is still made in Kentucky bourbon country with the same quality and craftsmanship found nearly 70 years ago in Mr. Mouser’s tiny shop. It’s a brand that gets even architects excited — with luxury inset, trend right faceframe, chic custom veneers and modern frameless laminates. If you dream it, we can do it with Mouser.

For more information, call 205-510-6961 or visit

B6 • April 2024 Village Living Spring Home & Garden • Special Advertising Section
Build trust with local homeowners. Make sure your business is the first one homeowners call when they’re looking to remodel and redesign their home. Email for your Home & Garden Strategy Session 205-510-6961 creating & transforming spaces for better living AKB AMBROSE KITCHEN & BATH
WWW.MTNBROOK.ORG APPRECIATION Day! Everything is FREE WWW.MTNBROOK.ORG Citizen APPRECIATION Citizen APPRECIATION Day! WWW.MTNBROOK.ORG APPRECIATION Day! WWW.MTNBROOK.ORG APPRECIATION Day! welcome to APPRECIATION Day! April 29, 2023 I 10am - 2pm On the lawn at Mountain Brook City Hall Everything is FREE WWW.MTNBROOK.ORG April 27, 2024 11am - 2pm Citizen Appreciation Day is put on by the City of Mountain Brook to give back to the residents we serve. This year will be bigger than ever! We will have a petting zoo, trackless train, foam pit, Kona Ice, bounce house, performance by the Mountain Brook Jazz band, food, touch-a-truck, and every 30 minutes (for about 5 minutes) the Fire Department will be spraying water for the kids to play in so be sure to bring your towels! This is an event that you do not want to miss!!! The best part is everything is FREE!!!

All-South Metro Basketball: Ty Davis named Player of Year

The 2023-24 high school basketball season has been completed, which means it’s time to recognize those with standout seasons on the annual Starnes Media All-South Metro basketball team.

Mountain Brook’s Ty Davis and Hewitt-Trussville’s Jordan Hunter are Players of the Year, as each capped off incredible careers. Both were coached by their parents and led their teams to state runner-up finishes this year.

Homewood’s Tim Shepler is the boys Coach of the Year, after leading Homewood back to the regional final for the first time since 2016. Tonya Hunter and Krystle Johnson met up in the Class 7A girls state championship game and both share Coach of the Year honors due to their stellar leadership.


► Player of the Year: Ty Davis, Mountain Brook

► Coach of the Year: Tim Shepler, Homewood


► Player of the Year: Jordan Hunter, Hewitt-Trussville

► Coaches of the Year: Krystle Johnson, Hoover, and Tonya Hunter, Hewitt-Trussville


► Salim London, Hoover: One of the top guards in the state, averaging 17.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4 assists for the state champs.

► DeWayne Brown, Hoover: Nearly averaged a double-double, with 15.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

► Avery Futch, Chelsea: Helped the Hornets to regionals by averaging 12.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

► Ty Davis, Mountain Brook: Capped off a brilliant career with 17.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per contest for the state runner-up.

► Drew Mears, Briarwood: Led the area in scoring, with 23.6 points per game this season.


► Jackson Weaver, Vestavia Hills: Went for 13 points per game for the Rebels.

► Korbin Long, Spain Park: Led the Jags with 14 points and 4 rebounds and assists per game.


► Devon McKinnon, Clay-Chalkville: Surpassed 1,000 career points and drained 75 3-pointers.

► Victor Odiari, Clay-Chalkville: Won area tournament MVP for a strong Cougars squad.

► Reid Stodghill, Hewitt-Trussville: Accepted a preferred walk-on offer to Alabama and eclipsed 1,000 points and 500 rebounds for his career.


► Jarett Fairley, Hoover: Went for 14 points per game for the state champion Bucs.

► Adam Barksdale, Vestavia Hills: One of the Rebels’ top options, scoring 12.3 points per game.

► TJ Lamar, Spain Park: A solid physical presence, averaging 13 points and nearly 7 rebounds a game.

► David Stone, Homewood: The only double-digit scorer for a balanced Patriots team.

► Grey Williams, Oak Mountain: Averaged 12.5 points per game.


► Seneca Robinson, Hoover; Gavin Collett, Chelsea; Aiden Owens, Chelsea; Christen Whetstone, Chelsea; Ben Evans, Vestavia Hills; Carson Romero, Mountain Brook; John Carwie, Mountain Brook; Jack Bakken, Mountain Brook; KJ Kirk, Clay-Chalkville; Kaleb Carson, Homewood; Aden Malpass, John Carroll; Braylon Bernard, John Carroll; Kevin Jasinski, Oak Mountain; Emanuel Johnson, Oak Mountain


► Haley Trotter, Chelsea: One of two players in the area to average a double-double, with 18.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

► Jordan Hunter, Hewitt-Trussville: The Auburn signee helped the Lady Huskies to a state runner-up finish, going for 19.9 points per game.


► Sarah Gordon, Vestavia Hills: Led the area in scoring, with 20.3 points per game.

► Khloe Ford, Hoover: Burst onto the scene as a sophomore, finishing with 12.8 points and 7.8 rebounds for the four-time state champs.

► Kameron Sanders, Clay-Chalkville: Led the Lady Cougars with 12.3 points a game.


► Emma Kerley, Briarwood: Has become one of the most versatile players in the area, going for 11.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

► Jill Gaylard, Vestavia Hills: All-around solid point guard, posting nearly 10 points per game as well.

► Brooklyn Phillips, Clay-Chalkville: One of the top 3-point shooters in the area, making 72 of them.

► Raegan Whitaker, Oak Mountain:

B8 • April 2024 Village Living
Mountain Brook’s Ty Davis (3) shoots a layup in the first half of a boys Class 6A state semifinal game at Legacy Arena at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex on Feb. 28
by Erin Nelson Sweeney.
Brook’s Maddie Walter (15) dribbles the ball downcourt after a rebound in a game against Vestavia
at Spartan Arena December

Averaged a double-double in her final season.

► Maddie Walter, Mountain Brook: Went for 10 points and 8 rebounds a game.


► Caroline Brown, Chelsea: The versatile forward averaged nearly 10 points per game.

► Ryleigh Martin, Hewitt-Trussville: Had plenty of flashes in her freshman season, including a 27-point outing late in the season.

► Kayla Warren, Homewood: Led a balanced team, with 9.8 points a game.

► Kaitlyn Gipson, Hoover: Surpassed 1,000 career points for the state champs.

► Ann Tatum Baker, Briarwood: The fourth-leading scorer in the area, with 13.4 points per game.


► Emily Williams, John Carroll; Sadie Schwallie, Chelsea; Olivia Pryor, Chelsea; Mallory Ogle, John Carroll; Ashlyn Howard, Hewitt-Trussville; Ellis McCool, Homewood; Ava Robinson, Homewood; Mira McCool, Homewood; Savannah McDonald, Homewood; Lane Crowe, Homewood; Laine Litton, Homewood; Grayson Hudgens, Vestavia Hills; Ariana Peagler, Hoover; Aaliyah Blanchard, Hoover; Layla Cannon, Hoover; Kamryn Lee, Hoover; Kamoriah Gaines, Clay-Chalkville; Ava April 2024 • B9
Departing October 9-16, 2024 $3,399 PER PERSON $3,199 PER PERSON if deposited by April 9!* BOOK & SAVE DISCOVER & EXPLORE SCOTLAND WITH THE MOUNTAIN BROOK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SCAN HERE For more information, call 205.871.3779 or contact
Leonard, Spain Park; Tori Flournoy, Spain Park; Teagan Huey, Spain Park; Caroline Kester, Oak Mountain; Emma Stearns, Mountain Brook; Libby Geisler, Mountain Brook; Sarah Passink, Mountain Brook; Mary Beth Dicen, Briarwood Above: Mountain Brook’s Carson Romero (0) drives to the basket guarded by Buckhorn’s Joshua Wilkerson (4) in the first half of the boys Class 6A state championship game at Legacy Arena at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex on Saturday, March 2, 2024. Photo by David Leong. Top right: Mountain Brook’s John Carwie (22) shoots a 3-pointer in the second half of the boys Class 6A Northeast Regional semifinal at Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum on Feb. 16. Bottom right: Mountain Brook’s Sarah Passink (25) shoots a layup guarded by Vestavia Hills’ Olivia Hunsberger (3) in a game at Spartan Arena in December 2023. Photos by Erin Nelson Sweeney.

In addition to being a world-class golf talent, Gordon Sargent could be the poster boy for the quickly colliding worlds of collegiate and professional sports.

Following the advent of the Name, Image and Likeness monetization rulings in 2021, Sargent is forging his career in interesting times, to say the least. Currently, the 2021 Mountain Brook High School graduate has one foot in college, as a member of the Vanderbilt University golf team, and the other in the professional ranks, as a PGA Tour exemption awaits him via the organization’s “University Accelerated” program.

“The PGA Tour youth program is giving incentives for people to stay in college,” Sargent said. “I could turn pro either June 1st of this year, which would be right after the national championship, or I could come back to school and play my senior year and then turn pro on June 1, 2025. I would still have the same status, which would be 18 months on the PGA Tour. There are definitely benefits to both, and I’m still in school right now playing for Vanderbilt. I either have four months left or I could stay another year and graduate. I haven’t really made up my mind yet — there are definitely pros and cons to both.”

Sargent’s accomplishments up to this point include the Alabama State Junior Championship, two-time Alabama State Amateur champion and NCAA Division I Individual Champion. In 2023, Sargent competed as an amateur in The Masters, U.S. Open and other PGA Tour events. He finished the U.S. Open tied for 39th place and received low amateur recognition.

If he plays in professional events in 2024 as an amateur, do those events count against his 18-month exemption?

“It does not,” Sargent said. “I can play a few events this summer or during the school year next year to get ready, and I’d play those as an

amateur, so I’d still have the full 18 months after that.”

Regardless of whether he turns pro, Sargent said he plans to play in the U.S. Open and the British Open.

“At the end of last summer, I got the McCormack Medal, which goes to the number one amateur, and that gives you exemptions into the U.S. Open and the British Open. Other than that, I don’t have any pro events that I’m committed to,” he said. While Sargent’s situation is one that many athletes aspire to, there are impending decisions to be made. As a student at an academically demanding university and a collegiate athlete, he is also facing his future a year earlier than most college students his age.

“I think it’s definitely tough because I don’t

really know where I’m going to be in four months,” he said. “It’s a great decision to have to make, but it’s also nice that I can see how the spring season goes and then decide. Vanderbilt is demanding in the school aspect, but I’ve had a bunch of support from everyone involved. Even the professors are really accommodating if I have to miss class, which is nice. I’ve really enjoyed it, and it’s been a huge part of my success.”

When he walks inside the ropes at professional events, Sargent has to take the right mindset with him. The game of golf is certainly familiar to him, but the surroundings are not.

“It’s definitely tough because you’re still playing golf, which you’ve played a million times, so it’s not like you’re playing a different game — you’re just playing at a different

level. There’s a lot of self-belief involved, and the more you do it the easier it becomes. You have to tell yourself that you belong,” he said.

“Those first events are tough, and that’s where I think the 18 months is going to be beneficial to learn and take things in. In playing the first couple of events this past summer, you’re trying to tell yourself the right things but you’re also seeing where you can get better, which is helpful too. College golf is obviously great, but pro golf is another level. It’s nice to be able to play the pro events and take that back to college golf and see where you need to get better.”

To date, Sargent has played in practice rounds with pros like Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Max Homa, to name a few.

“There are a decent amount of guys from Birmingham that play out there, so I’ve gotten to know them,” he said. “Also, in playing practice rounds and forming relationships, everyone has been really welcoming. Obviously, golf is pretty competitive and you’re not playing as a team, so you make friendships but they also want to beat you. I think you’ll find that in the game of golf everyone wants to help everyone, so it’s been great.”

Off the course, Sargent knows that a different lifestyle and routine await him as a pro. Constant travel and downtime in strange cities are realities of life on tour.

“You don’t have schoolwork to do, and it gives you more time to practice. But you also have to find things to do because pro golf can be lonely to an extent. Finding the right group of guys and the right support system is huge, and I feel like I’ve been able to do that over the past year or so — to build a team that helps me to get ready for pro golf,” he said. “It’s definitely nice to have some time to adapt. Obviously, pro golf is different than college golf, and it gives you freedom knowing in the first six months you can soak in as much as you can and learn and see how much you can grow.”

B10 • April 2024 Village Living
So So Spiffy’s SHINDIG Friday, April 12th 12pm-6pm Saturday, April 13th 10am-4pm The once-a-month warehouse sale features a curated collection of amazing home furnishings! indoor & outdoor furniture * vintage one-of-a-kind pieces * dining chairs bedroom decor deeply-discounted items * rugs SPIFFY OUTDOOR IN NOW! • FREE ADMISSION 1218 Second Ave N, Birmingham AL 35203 (205) 440-9013 sosospiffydesign Self-belief: A conversation with golfer Gordon Sargent Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Amateur Gordon Sargent of the United States on the No. 2 green during practice round 2 at Augusta National Golf Club in April 2023.
Call or visit today 57 Church St. Mountain Brook | 205-871-2196 521 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd S. Birmingham | 205-323-2474 We discount the price, not the service | Delivery | | Covered by Blue Cross and most insurance plans | | Complete line of health and beauty items | | Flu, Covid-19, and shingles vaccinations | | Compounding Lab | Established 1954 LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED
Photo by Simon Bruty.

Varsity Sports Calendar


April 2: @ Shades Valley. 6:30 p.m.

April 4: Doubleheader vs. Shades Valley. 4:30 p.m.

April 5: vs. Spring Garden. 6:30 p.m.

April 9: vs. Homewood. 5 p.m.

April 11: Doubleheader @ Homewood. 4:30 p.m.

April 15: @ Mortimer Jordan. 3:30 p.m.


April 8-9: Raider-Eagle Challenge. Dothan Country Club.

April 15-16: Tom Bell Memorial. Limestone Springs Golf Course.


April 1: Boys @ Shades Valley. 7 p.m.

April 10: Girls vs. Shades Valley. 6 p.m.

April 11: @ Northridge. Girls at 5 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

April 16: Girls @ James Clemens. 5:30 p.m.

April 18: Boys vs. McAdory. 7 p.m.

April 19: Girls vs. Oak Mountain. 6 p.m.

April 23: Boys vs. Springville. 6 p.m.


April 1: vs. Oak Mountain. 5 p.m.

April 2: @ Homewood. 5 p.m.

April 4-6: Kissimmee Classic. Kissimmee, Fla.

April 15: @ Helena. 5:30 p.m.

April 18: vs. Homewood. 5 p.m.

April 22: vs. Pelham. 5 p.m.

Sports Editor’s Note

2 winners?

We’ve officially put another winter sports season in the books, my ninth at Starnes Media.

I remember being thrown into the fire just a few months after I started, with Homewood High School’s boys basketball team putting together a run to the state championship.

There have been several state championship games and teams in the years since, but this year, I experienced something I had not previously.

Following the Class 7A girls state final, in which Hoover knocked off Hewitt-Trussville 58-56 in a highly entertaining game, both sides expressed jubilation and the satisfaction of a job well done.


Hoover won its fourth straight state title, but this one was different. The star power of alums Reniya Kelly and Aniya Hubbard had come and gone, but the Lady Bucs were on a mission to prove the program had staying power at the top of the heap. They did just that.

The emotion from head coach Krystle Johnson and her players after the game stemmed from the joy of achieving something many thought was not possible.

On the Hewitt-Trussville side, there were no sad or disappointed tears after the Lady Huskies lost in the state championship game for the third time in the last six years. In fact, Hewitt-Trussville’s fourth quarter rally made the game tight at the end and made an impression on everyone in the building.

Head coach Tonya Hunter beamed with pride while recounting the last six years coaching her daughter Jordan and realizing the other young stars ready to bloom in her program.

Johnson and Hunter are two of the best basketball coaches in Alabama, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to cover their programs in recent years. They are intentional leaders and constantly seek ways to grow and improve in their own craft.


April 2: Boys vs. Westminster-Oak Mountain. 7 p.m.

April 4: @ Gadsden City. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

April 5: Rotary Tournament. Chattanooga, Tenn.

They both had plenty to be proud of following this season, and that showed in their ear-to-ear grins following their teams’ stellar performances in the final.

It was as if they had both won. And in many ways, they had.

April 9: vs. Shades Valley. 3 p.m.

Kyle Parmley is the sports editor at Starnes Media. April 2024 • B11

Life Actually By Kari Kampakis

To the girl who just had a hard breakup

Let me begin by saying, I’m sorry you are hurting. I wish there was a shortcut through the pain you feel now.

I don’t know your story — whether he broke up with you or you broke up with him because you felt like you had to — but I can guess this: You liked that boy. When things were good, when you hit that magical peak, you felt happier than ever before.

Looking back, the good memories may flood your mind. They play on repeat like a movie trailer, cinematic highlights that make you ache for what you had and fear that you’ll never experience that level of joy again.

But you will, my friend. You now have a better idea of what you need and who you want to be. If you reflect on the lessons from this relationship, you’ll gain self-awareness and wisdom.

It’s difficult to think straight when your emotions are tangled, so here are a few truths to help you navigate your breakup.

You are a gift. The end of any relationship can make you doubt yourself and question your worth. When someone changes their mind about you, loses interest, gets bored, betrays you or starts taking you for granted, it can lead to a grueling self-critique where you ultimately conclude that you must be the problem, because if you were prettier/skinnier/funnier/smarter/more exciting, this wouldn’t have happened.

But remember: The same God who made the stars and the moon and raised Jesus from the dead also created you. You are His masterpiece, loved passionately and unconditionally. Many people in this world won’t treat you like a gift or see you through God’s eyes, but that doesn’t change your value. Know your worth and treat

others like a gift as well, because that’s where healthy relationships begin.

Boys will come and go — but God is forever. A boy will never be the solution to all your problems. Why? Because boys are humans, not saviors. They’re meant to be a part of your life, but not the center of your universe.

Girls often put boys on pedestals they don’t deserve to be on. They mistake infatuation for real love, pouring their heart and soul into relationships that devastate them in the end.

The upside of a breakup is that it interrupts any spell. It reminds you why God wants to be your #1: Because if you don’t worship Him, you’ll worship something or someone else. A boy can say “I love you” on Monday and then break up with you on Tuesday, but God never leaves. By putting your trust in Him, by letting this breakup inspire a deeper and richer faith, you’ll find the security you’re looking for and be better positioned to find real joy.

The first cut is the deepest. With your first real boyfriend comes your first real breakup — and many real emotions.

You can feel more saddened by a relationship that lasted six weeks versus two years if your connection was really special. Even if the parting was mutual, even if you’re at peace with your decision, you may feel pangs when you see him move on.

These pangs are not a sign that you need to get back together. Instead, accept them as part of the process and keep people around you who remind you of why you broke up.

It’s possible to be a good ex. Girls handle breakups in vastly different ways.

While some girls act mature, others get bitter.

They beat the dead horse into the ground, even losing friends who get tired of the rants.

Be sad at home, cry your eyes out with friends, but in public and at school, hold your head up high. Don’t burst into tears at the sight of your ex. Don’t glare or key his car. Don’t exact revenge or make him extra-certain that cutting ties with you was the best move he ever made.

If you handle your breakup maturely, you may be friends one day. Be the girl he remembers fondly as the one who got away.

Dating is about rejection. A priest once told me that dating is about rejection, and the purpose of dating is to find the one person you’re meant to marry.

This eases the sting of rejection. It’s a great reminder to keep your relationships innocent, because it’s 99.99% guaranteed that any boy you date won’t be your husband.

With some boys, you’ll know immediately if you’re compatible. There may be one date, and that’s it. With others, you’ll want to dig deeper. It may take months to get to the hidden qualities that aren’t readily apparent, like how he won’t hold your hand in public, makes no effort to know your family, etc.

Through innocent dating and friendships with boys, you discern what you like and don’t like. You build a radar for the protectors and the predators. You get to know yourself so that when your husband comes along (if marriage is in God’s plan for you), you know he’s the right match.

Healthy relationships are blessings, bad relationships are lessons. As you reflect on your time with your ex, ask yourself, “Did he make me a

better person? Do I regret dating him, or was he good for me?”

If he impacted you positively, then you didn’t waste your time. If he impacted you negatively, then you can chalk him up to experience and promise to never repeat that mistake.

Friends and faith make breakups bearable. When a boy has been a main character in your life, his absence leaves a void. You may feel lost suddenly having extra time and energy.

Invest that time in your faith, your friends and yourself. Especially if you sacrificed your friends while dating, reach out, reconnect and apologize for dropping them.

Dating or not, you need good friends. You need friends more than you need a boyfriend because 20 years from now, time spent with friends will be your best memories. These are the relationships that last a lifetime.

C.S. Lewis said, “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” This is a solid motto for dating. Your worth is not determined by a boy’s acceptance or rejection, and while it’s thrilling to feel chosen, you can find peace in any season knowing that you are chosen by God.

Today marks a new chapter, so make it good. Protect your heart, have fun and build a life you love. If you’re on the right track, you’ll cross paths with good people — people you want in your life, whether through friendship or dating.

Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a Mountain Brook mom of four girls, author, speaker, and blogger. Her bestselling books are available everywhere books are sold. Join Kari on the Girl Mom Podcast as well as Instagram and Facebook.

B12 • April 2024 Village Living Opinion
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Sean of the South By Sean Dietrich Make Mama proud

I’d like to make my mama proud. That’s one of my main goals in this world. If I’ve made her proud, well, then I’ve really done something.

My mother, you see, is the kind of woman who taught me how to be nice, and how to have manners.

Long ago, she would make me sit with my cousin, Myrtle, at covered dish socials, so Myrtle wouldn’t be sitting alone. Mama would say things like: “Be polite, and make sure you ask your cousin how her baton twirling is coming along.”


Admittedly, Myrtle was about as interesting as watching ditchwater evaporate. But, like I said, I want my mama to be proud.

Maybe I should back up and tell you where all this is coming from.

Earlier this week, I spent some time with people who were — how do I put this — not very nice. Now, they weren’t “mean” people, per se, but you don’t have to be “mean” to be un-nice.

I hope I am never an un-nice person. What would Mama think?

Mama is a woman who says things like: “Don’t talk about yourself too much. It’s like passing gas in an elevator; people will smile, but they don’t mean it.”

And: “Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble.”

I don’t aspire to much in this life, but I know that I want to be the kind of man who listens.

Also, I want to be the kind of man who dogs follow for no reason. I want to be the guy who does magic tricks for toddlers.

I want to go around reminding teenagers how important they are. I want to listen to the jokes old men tell when their wives aren’t around.

I want to hear long stories on porches, and I want to be the first to respond: “Well, I Suwannee.”

A good Suwannee is hard to find.

I want the “little guys” to be famous. I want the overlooked to be looked at. I want to clap for the kid who dreams of singing on the Opry stage one day — like Mama clapped for me. I’ve never been on the Opry stage and never will, either. But Mama really believed I could have been.

I want to believe in people like she does. I want to watch sunsets with friends and convince them that they are the most “specialist” people in the world. And I want to use words like “specialest,” even though that word is English blasphemy.

I want cheap beer in the bottle. I don’t need a New York strip, just give me a hamburger and onion rings as big as hula hoops. Then, I want you to know that you can hug me whenever you want and get a hug in return. A good hug is harder to find than a good Suwannee.

And if I live long enough to see my own white hair, I want to be a man who is proud of people who don’t have someone to be proud of them. I want my friends to succeed and surpass me. I want to be the one cheering for them in the bleachers. I want my funeral to be filled with people who say things like, “Sean Dietrich, wasn’t he a mess?”

And I want you to know you are magnificent. Everyone and anyone. Landscapers, meter-readers, garbage men, abused spouses, ex-convicts, divorcees, jewelry artists, single mothers, lonely fathers, Mexican immigrants, nurses, attorneys, Waffle House waitresses, concrete layers, Baptists, insurance salesmen.

I hope I am the sort of guy who is kind.

But most of all, I hope to make my mother proud.

Sean Dietrich is a columnist and novelist known for his commentary on life in the American South. He has authored nine books and is the creator of the “Sean of the South” blog and podcast.

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B14 • April 2024 Village Living Real Estate ► ADDRESS: 3299 Overton Trail ► BED/BATH: 5/4.5 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 4,598 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Mountain Brook ► LIST PRICE: $1,499,900 ► SALE PRICE: $1,499,900 ► ADDRESS: 805 Beech Court ► BED/BATH: 3/3 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,098 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Crestline ► LIST PRICE: $899,000 ► SALE PRICE: $879,500 ► ADDRESS: 3504 Mountain Park Drive ► BED/BATH: 4/4.5 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 3,601 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Crestline ► LIST PRICE: $989,000 ► SALE PRICE: $1,250,000 ► ADDRESS: 26 Cross Ridge Road ► BED/BATH: 4/3 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,061 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Mountain Brook ► LIST PRICE: $575,000 ► SALE PRICE: $575,000 ► ADDRESS: 616 Euclid Ave. ► BED/BATH: 4/4.5 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 3,583 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Crestline ► LIST PRICE: $1,219,000 ► SALE PRICE: $1,130,000 ► ADDRESS: 3416 Overton Road ► BED/BATH: 4/2.5 ► SQUARE FOOTAGE: 2,476 sq. ft. ► NEIGHBORHOOD: Mountain Brook ► LIST PRICE: $499,000 ► SALE PRICE: $455,000 Recently sold homes in Mountain Brook SOURCE: GREATER ALABAMA MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE By the numbers: February 2023 vs. 2024 Note: Real estate data is by zip code, but some parts of these zip codes are outside the city limits. Data provided by the Greater Alabama Multiple Listing Service on March 6, 2024.


April 27 & 28, 2024

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark 12-3pm each day

Restaurants & Chefs, Wine, Cocktails & Spirits, Craft Beer, Seated Tasting Seminars & Demos, plus a Commemorative Stemless Wine Glass

the 41st Magic City Art Connection
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