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Village Living Volume 8 | Issue 3 | June 2017

neighborly news & entertainment for Mountain Brook

Monitoring Cahaba

Advocates address river water quality and safety while urging the public to do its part.

See page A22

Raising the Bar


’ PURPOSE Messages of leadership, perseverance, confidence instilled in Vulcan District Scouts

MBHS’ girls track and field team wins battle for second place at the Class 7A state outdoor championship.

See page B4

INSIDE Sponsors .......... A4 News...................A6 Business ............A9 Community ..... A10 Events .............. A13

Faith ................. A16 Gift Guide ........ A18 Sports ................B4 School House ...B8 Calendar .......... B14

Pre-Sort Standard U.S. Postage PAID Tupelo, MS Permit #54



efore every meeting, all attending Boy Scouts recite the Scout Oath: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” And at some point throughout a Scout’s journey, their Scoutmasters hope they aren’t just saying the words, but living them. “We hope it becomes a way of life,” said George Elliott, scoutmaster of Troop 53. He will later be succeeded by Franklin Bradford, one of the assistant scoutmasters of Troop 53. There are four additional troops that work with Scouts throughout Mountain Brook: Troop 320, led by Frank Tynes; Troop 28, led by Allen Sydnor; Troop 86, led by David Dowd; and Troop 63, led by Thomas DeWine. Together, they lead more than 300 Boy Scouts with similar, if not the same, methods to the program created by Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell in Britain in 1908, the scoutmasters said. According to the Boy Scouts of America, scouting was brought into America by a young scout in England who helped an American

See SCOUTS | page A23 Top: Eagle Scout Justin Brouillette salutes. Left and right: Scouts display their merit badges, including the Order of the Arrow sash and the Boy Scouts of America strip. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.

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Village Living

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Village Living

About Us Editor’s Note By Jennifer Gray In Mountain Brook, our community loves pets. You often see walkers and runners with their dog in tow; we have nice waste disposal stations around the city for our pets, dog-friendly villages and parks. Cats are another favorite and in recent years, even chickens are counted among beloved pets, but what about some really unique pets? You might be surprised to hear about some of them, such as the chinchilla that is one resident’s furry friend. Also this month, we have features on our MBHS tennis teams. Both the boys and girls claimed the school’s 158th

and 159th state championships. MBHS boys golf rounded it off to 160 with their win in Opelika on May 16. We also have a couple of stories with national ties. Mountain Brook will be one of the host sites for the Debate Nationals this summer. This is a huge debate competition with visitors from all across the country. With Mountain Brook’s strong debate teams and history, it’s fun to see this competition, which is open to the public, held here. The Mountain Brook Spartan Band is also going to be on a national stage.

Upcoming events surrounding the D-Day anniversary will include all sorts of performances and our own Jazz Ensemble will be there. Lastly, the students from this year’s Leadership Mountain Brook class presented their projects for city improvement amenities. We have a recap so you can read all about these future leaders’ ideas and solutions. So as you relax by the pool or on vacation or on your deck, enjoy this month’s issue.

PHOTO OF THE MONTH Mountain Brook and Hoover relay runners exchange batons and take off at the same time during the 4x800 relay in the second day of the AHSAA Class 4A-7A state outdoor track and field championship May 5 at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex in Gulf Shores. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

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

Dan Starnes Jennifer Gray Sydney Cromwell Kristin Williams Sarah Finnegan Kyle Parmley Sam Chandler Alyx Chandler Cameron Tipton Melanie Viering Community Editor: Erica Techo Community Reporters: Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Lexi Coon Emily Featherston Copy Editor: Louisa Jeffries Contributing Writers: Kari Kampakis

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graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. Village Living is designed to inform the Mountain Brook community of area school, family and community events. Information in Village Living is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of Village Living. We reserve the right to edit articles/photos as deemed necessary and are under no obligation to publish or return photos submitted. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 313-1780 or by email.

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Please Support Our Community Partners A’mano (A23) Abenoja Orthodontics (B10) Alabama Eye & Cataract Center (A13) Alabama Goods (A21) Alabama Outdoors (B8) Alabama Power (A19) ALDOT (B3) Amy Maziarz, Red Hills Realty (B6) Amy Smith (B7) Angie Perry, RealtySouth (A10) ARC Realty (A3) B Kids (B7) Bedzzz Express (A24, B1) Birmingham Benz, Inc. (B4) Birmingham Broadway Theatre League (B5) Birmingham Speech and Hearing Associates (B7) Brandino Brass (A6) Bromberg & Company, Inc. (A6) Brookwood Baptist Health (A2) Canterbury Gardens (A21) Caroline Ezelle, Realty South (A23) Case Remodeling (B9) CK Estate Sales (A11) Cookie Fix (B15) Dish’n It Out (A11) DSLD Land Management (A7) ErgoScience (B2) Ex Voto Vintage (A10) EZ Roof & EZ Restoration (A9) Grandview Medical Center (A17) Helen Drennen, RealtySouth (A8) Highpointe Properties, LLC (A1) Hufham Orthodontics (B1) Hutchinson Automotive (A13) Issis & Sons (B11) JJ Eyes (B9) Kirkwood by the River (B14) Lamb’s Ears, Ltd. (B5) Liberty Park (B11) Linscomb-Williams (A15) Marguerite’s Conceits (A12) McWane Science Center (A16) Methodist Homes of Alabama and NW Florida (B10) One Man and a Toolbox (B4) Otey’s Tavern (A12) Phoenix Builders Group (B12) RealtySouth (B16) Red Mountain Theatre Company (B14) Schaeffer Eye Center (A5) Selwood Farm (A8) Sentry Heating & Air (B3) Swoop (B15) Taco Mama (B12) The Maids (B6) TherapySouth, Liberty Park (A19) TherapySouth, Crestline (A15) Vida-Flo (A7) Virginia Samford Theatre (B15) Weigh To Wellness (A5) Western Supermarkets (A2)

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City Essay winner welcomed as Mayor for a Day; sidewalk plan discussed By LEXI COON Mayor for a Day Tess Patton took Mayor Stewart Welch’s seat at the City Council meeting May 8, after winning the city’s “Why I Love Mountain Brook” essay contest. As Mayor for a Day, she read a resolution proclaiming May 2017 as the official birthday celebration month for the city and was given a key to the city. She was also asked for her opinion regarding presented topics, including Welch’s proposal to move council meetings to 8 a.m. during the summer. Tess, along with Councilman Lloyd Shelton, didn’t seem too in favor of the idea. Councilman Billy Pritchard also noted that some city employees may not be able to prepare to meet early on Monday morning, and there could be additional conflicts. The council opted to keep meeting times on Monday evenings. Council members also heard a follow-up presentation regarding the Master Sidewalk Plan. After discussing the plan during the council meeting April 24, Jennifer Brown with SAIN Associates returned to present findings. Brown stressed that

although she was presenting a plan, it was only a draft report. Her follow-up was similar to that of the previous meeting and detailed that with SAIN, she helped perform a feasibility study on certain areas to determine which sections of sidewalks should go in which phases. The planning was based on the ease of installment and connectivity of proposed sidewalks, potential areas that would be “pedestrian generators,” the speed of a roadway and probably use, among other factors. If SAIN or the city received more positive comments regarding a particular section of sidewalk, she said those comments were taken into account and that section was moved higher on the list of priorities. Brown also mentioned the proposed sidewalks were grouped around a central location to ease construction mobility costs. Some residents present at the meeting expressed concern for the map of the draft, which showed a tentative sidewalk connecting Pine Ridge Lane to the Jemison Nature Trail. If it followed the location of the proposed sidewalk detailed on the map, the walkway would encroach on residents’ homes and possibly cut

MBJH ninth-grader Tess Patton took Mayor Stewart Welch’s seat at City Council on May 8 after winning Mayor for a Day. Photo by Lexi Coon.

through backyards. “That’s not our intent, and I hate that that’s how it was portrayed. That’s definitely not our intent,” Brown said. Pritchard asked residents to keep providing input to the project so the draft may be updated as needed. As of the meeting, there was no date set for a public hearing regarding the sidewalk plan, but city manager Sam Gaston said they are looking at around mid-June. A map

is also available on the city website. Also during the council meeting, members: ► Approved the minutes of the April 24 meeting. ► Approved a resolution awarding the bid for street paving services and authorizing the execution of a 3-year contract for the same. ► Approved a request by Mountain Brook Sports Park Foundation for the city’s assistance in infrastructure improvements at the lower

parking lot at Rathmell Park. Under this agreement, the city would spend approximately $50,000 in resources toward lot improvements, while the foundation would provide additional payments to complete improvements, totaling to about $300,000. ► Approved a resolution authorizing the city’s renewal/participation of the Community Development Block Grant Program Cooperative Agreement with Jefferson County for fiscal years 2018-20.

June 2017 • A7

BOE recognizes students, faculty accomplishments Brookwood Forest Elementary Principal Nathan Pitner recognizes Caitlin Speake for her winning essay about the Revolutionary War. Photo by Lexi Coon.

By LEXI COON As the last meeting during the school session, Mountain Brook Board of Education members took a portion of their meeting on May 15 to recognize the accomplishments of many Mountain Brook Schools students. Recognitions included: ► Caitlin Speake, of Brookwood Forest Elementary, for winning the State Superintendent’s Essay Contest on the Revolutionary War. ► Mountain Brook Elementary students Baker Cullum, Eva Jane Worthen and McCray Faust who placed second, third and first honorable mention, respectively in the third- and fourth-grade categories for the Poetry Society of Virginia Contest Winners. ► The Crestline, MBJH and MBHS Destination Imagination teams, who all qualified for global finals after competing in the “Top Secret” category. ► The MBS Robotics team for winning the school’s first world championship title. ► MBJH student Caroline Parker, who won the Best of 3-D crafts in the statewide Visual Arts Achievement Competition. ► The MBHS yearbook staff for earning the National Program of Excellence title from Jostens. ► The MBHS choir for earning the highest rating of “Overall Superior” in men’s choir, women’s choir, chamber choir, as well as the Distinguished Musicianship Award in chamber choir at the State Choral Performance Assessment. ► The MBHS girls outdoor track team for earning second in the state at the Outdoor Track and Field State Championships in May. ► The girls and boys MBHS tennis teams for separately winning the Tennis State Championships in April. The meeting continued with a presentation from Facilities Director Tommy Prewitt, who discussed a proposed outdoor dining area for MBJH. Funded by the school’s PTO, Prewitt said the dining area would be built outside adjacent to

the current cafeteria and contain tables, a shade system and a sitting wall. The area would seat approximately 80 students. Board members approved the addition. Also during the meeting, board members: ► Approved the minutes of the previous meeting. ► Recognized School Resource Officer Bryan Kelley for his work with the district and welcomed Officer Richard Knecht, who will be taking Kelley’s place. ► Recognized the Mountain Brook Schools PTO Council for the 2016-17 year. ► Recognized Crestline teacher Amy Anderson for making it to the top 16 finalists for Alabama Teacher of the Year. ► Read the updated financial statements and

bank reconciliations. ► Announced summer professional development opportunities. The 2017 Mountain Brook Learning Conference will take place from June 5-8 and cover a variety of topics. Day one is open to Mountain Brook employees only, but days 2, 3 and 4 (Edcamp) are open to all educators. ► Announced changes to the student survey. Dr. Dale Wisely said as of recently the PRIDE survey is no longer required, and after working with faculty and students, officials have developed a survey that is more relevant to Mountain Brook students. Because the new survey would not show state and national comparisons, every third year the district would still use the PRIDE survey. Eventually, he would like to make a

survey that is suitable for MBHS, MBJH and elementary students as well. ► Approved the Strategic Plan Revisions, as discussed at the previous meeting. ► Approved personnel recommendations. ► Approved the sale or removal of surplus items. ► Tabled the Board of Education proposed 2017-18 meeting calendar for one month to allow for review. ► Approved the MBJH outdoor dining project. ► Tabled the recommendations for updated sixth-grade math materials for one month for community review and input. The next Board of Education meeting will be June 12 at the PLC in Crestline.

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Village Living

MBFD constructing new training facility Building also slated for use by Mountain Brook police officers By ERICA TECHO At their drill field near Cahaba Heights, Mountain Brook Fire Department is in the process of constructing a new training facility. The multiroom, heated and air conditioned building is a joint project with the city’s police department, and it will service both entities. “It’ll be in between the fire department drill field and the police firing range and their facility,” said MBFD Battalion Chief David Kennedy, who is in charge of safety and training for the department. “We can access both of our drill fields.” The building offers benefits to both departments, Kennedy said, as it will provide a nearby facility so they can do classroom training and field training without having to travel 15 to 20 miles between the two. “From a functionality standpoint, we don’t want to have to do training here [at Fire Station No. 1 in Crestline Village] and then have everyone get into vehicles and drive out, if we’re doing something that’s one day,” Kennedy said. This process of learning in the classroom at a fire station before heading to the drill field is something they have had to do in the past, he said.

Construction on the Mountain Brook Fire Department’s training facility near Cahaba Heights is set to end this month. Rendering courtesy of Mountain Brook Fire Department.

The building also will have plumbing and running water, which has never been at the drill field, aside from water connections used for hoses, Kennedy said. There will be showers in the building, which makes training safer for firefighters as well. “When we talk about that kind of stuff, and the carcinogens and contaminants on us — our face, nose, eyes, our glands — it’s going to help because the quicker you can get that

stuff off, the better,” Kennedy said. “That is just going to be amazing, how that’ll help us on the fire department side.” The building, which will have a covered porch with ceiling fans, also will serve as a rehabilitation area during training exercises. “We can do 30 minutes of training, take a break, talk about what we just did, how we can train better,” Kennedy said. “It’ll be a place in the shade, covered, where we can cool

down. Before, what we used was portable fans to take breaks, so we’d be moving all of those portable fans around.” When planning for the building, Kennedy said they “tried to think of everything we could do to make it more functional.” The added convenience of classrooms and offices for the fire and police departments’ training officers also allows the opportunity to host Firefighter Rookie Schools.

While no plans have been made to host a rookie school, Kennedy said having training rooms next to drill fields are required for those programs. The program is typically three to four months of training, five days a week for eight hours a day. “Those facilities have to be right there, close together because you’re going to do PT [physical training] every day,” he said. “You’re getting these new recruits in the mindset of, not only are you training them on the topics they need to cover so they know it … but you’re also going out and training on how to set ladders [and fulfill other tasks].” Rookie firefighters are new hires who have not been certified by the state, Kennedy said, so it is important to provide information and examples of what to do, how to do it and what can go wrong if you don’t. The department already has instructors, so if a decision to host a rookie school was approved, it would only take a few weeks to implement, Kennedy said. Before they’d take that step, however, they would need to have a few students out of MBFD. “The fire college wouldn’t have a problem with the level of instructors we have for a rookie school,” Kennedy said. “But for Fire Chief Mullins to give something like that final approval … we’d have to have two or three newly hired guys.” Construction on the training facility is scheduled to wrap up this month.

June 2017 • A9

Robert Rourke, second from the left, stands with his wife, Barbara, and their two sons, Ryan and Beau, outside of their new wine and liquor store in Crestline. Photo by Lexi Coon.

Upscale liquor store opening in Crestline

By LEXI COON Mountain Brook is gaining one more business tenant in Crestline: R&R Wine and Liquor. Robert Rourke and his sons, Beau and Ryan, opened their first upscale liquor store in Calera, after noticing a need for one in the area. “I was in the restaurant and bar businesses growing up, and that kinda gave me the idea,” said Beau Rourke, who is a co-owner with his father. “I thought that was a good spot to open.” Robert Rourke said they did their due diligence, learned more about the business, and after the first location was “busy from the first day we got the doors open,” decided it was time to expand. Beau Rourke said they spent some time looking for new locations, and after many fell through, came across the Crestline Corners opening by happenstance. “My son literally was here at a family party and saw the ‘For Lease’ sign in the window,” Robert Rourke said. After researching the area and learning more about the community, they decided it would be a good fit for both them and the business. “There’s plenty of wine competition, Piggly Wiggly and Western and such, but really to buy liquor, you have to go quite a ways to buy liquor,” Robert Rourke said. The next closest liquor stores are in Highlands or along Hollywood Boulevard in Homewood. Coupled with their central location, Robert Rourke said the goal for R&R Wine and Liquor is to be a one-stop shop for all wine, beer and liquor needs. Beau Rourke added that the store will be carrying a collection of fine cigars and will do

its best to work with state restrictions to carry hard-to-find brands of liquor. Their prices will be competitive, too. “We’re probably cheaper than just about all the other package stores,” agreed Beau Rourke, despite not being state-run. To create a fitting environment for R&R Wine and Liquors, Robert and Beau Rourke redesigned their new storefront to utilize both floors, with the wine selection having its own area on the second floor. “We’re trying to make it the nicest liquor store that anyone has been in,” said Beau Rourke. “I think it should be great … We’re making a really great environment.” They are also hoping to welcome the community into the store on certain evenings to take part in wine tastings, which Beau Rourke said they are hoping to host at least weekly, in addition to a possible form of cocktail classes in the future. He added they will be taking special orders, too. While Beau Rourke is currently working with both locations, and would like to open a third in the future, he said he will be spending most of his time at the Crestline R&R Wine and Liquor upon their tentative opening timeframe in mid-June. “[I’m looking forward to] just getting to know everybody in the community and giving them what they ask for,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it, to the transition. It should be really good.” Robert Rourke said the upscale liquor store is sticking to its “status quo” of being open for business 365 days per year with hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

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Village Living

Community Austin de la Torre designed three raised garden beds for The Gardens at Creative Montessori School in Homewood for his Eagle Scout service project. Photo by Irene Thames Gardner. Although construction is taking place in Mountain Brook Village, the Lane Parke shopping center and Western Market can still be reached via Lane Park Road, Montevallo Road and Petticoat Lane. Photo by Lexi Coon.

Construction temporarily rerouting traffic By LEXI COON Community members looking to visit Mountain Brook Village may have noticed increased construction within the former Mountain Brook Shopping Center, specifically near the existing Regions Bank. Construction crews are working to upgrade an underground culvert by widening and modernizing it to help with drainage in the Lane Parke area, since it is in a flood plain, said city GIS manager Hunter Simmons. Crews also are working on building the new Regions Bank, which will be in the parking lot near the existing building. Once the new building is complete, Regions will be transferred, and the existing building will be demolished, Simmons said. In the meantime, drivers may be winding through different routes to shop at local stores, such as Western Market and others in the Lane Parke shopping center. Simmons said the entrances to Lane Parke on Lane Park Road

are open, and drivers can still access the new Western Market via Montevallo Road. “It’s the same road, it just kind of meanders through traffic,” Simmons said regarding the connection from Montevallo Road. “And they’ve got up signs and fences, but it kind of pops right out into the Western parking lot.” Although the road may shift while construction is being completed on the culvert and the new Regions Bank, Simmons said it would remain open. Shoppers also can access the Lane Parke area via entrances on Lane Park Road. Construction eventually will continue to Lane Park Road, but Simmons said the road will not be shut down. The plan is to complete both the culvert and the new Regions Bank building about 2018, and soon after that the abandoned Regions Bank will be demolished and Jemison Lane will be opened to Culver Road, Simmons said. Phase 2 of Lane Parke shopping center construction is scheduled to begin in 2019 with the demolition of Rite Aid.

Troop 53’s Austin de la Torre earns rank of Eagle Scout Austin de la Torre earned the rank of Eagle Scout from the Vulcan District Eagle Board on March 9. Austin is a member of Boy Scout Troop 53 at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, under the leadership of George Elliott. For his Eagle Scout service project, Austin designed three raised garden beds for The Gardens at Creative Montessori School in Homewood. Construction was completed with the help of friends, family and volunteers from Troop 53. The garden beds offer students hands-on learning through planting, watering, harvesting and composting. As a result of his fundraising efforts, Austin was able to pay for construction costs and present a check to Creative Montessori School to assist with the gardening program. Austin began scouting as a Tiger Cub in Cub Scout Pack 63, earning his God and Me Award and the Arrow of Light.

In 2013, he crossed over into Boy Scouts. Austin served as quartermaster, patrol leader and sailed the Abaco Islands as a working crew member aboard a 78-foot sailing ship with his troop. Austin earned 30 merit badges on his way to Eagle. A freshman at Woodberry Forest School in Woodberry Forest, Virginia, Austin is a member of the WFS Bengal and JV football teams, varsity wrestling team, and JV lacrosse team. He is active as an altar server at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Austin is honored to join his late grandfather Houston Beauchamp and uncle Michael Graham as an Eagle Scout. He is the son of Carol and Jorge de la Torre of Mountain Brook and the grandson of Mrs. Mary Lou Beauchamp and Mrs. Julie de la Torre, both of Houston, Texas. – Submitted by Carol de la Torre.

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From left: Scouts Will Carothers, Brian Barr Jr., Jim Williams and Paul Tyson. Photo courtesy of Gretchen Williams.

Mountain Brook Troop 63 honors 4 new Eagle Scouts An Eagle Court of Honor ceremony was held Sunday, Jan. 22, to recognize Will Carothers, Brian Barr Jr., Jim Williams and Paul Tyson from Canterbury United Methodist’s Troop 63. Collectively, these boys earned 92 merit badges and camped 158 nights on the way to earning Scouting’s highest award. Will Carothers, the son of Stephanie and Russ Carothers, chose to restore and repair a playground and outdoor basketball court at Avondale Elementary School for his Eagle project. His project involved repairing the asphalt court, along with the goals and backboards, plus building new benches and repairing a gazebo. With much hard work, the area was returned to a usable and safe place for the children to enjoy. Carothers is a junior at Mountain Brook High School, with future plans to attend college and become an orthopedic surgeon. Brian Barr chose to redesign and restore a lath house for the Fern Society at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for his service project. As part of his project, he devised a new slanted design for the lath house’s shade cloth roof, incorporating a system of cables, eyebolts and turnbuckles. His new design will help eliminate

the collection of debris, thus extending the life of the structure. Barr, the son of Cindy and Brian Barr, is a junior at Mountain Brook High School and plans to major in engineering at college. Jim Williams’ project for Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center was to construct a walkway and floating dock for one of the lakes there. Dedicating his project to his cousin with autism, Williams’ dock will serve as a fishing pier, swim platform and a place to launch and land canoes for the residents at Glenwood. The son of Gretchen and Jim Williams, he is a junior at Mountain Brook High School and plans to attend college and pursue an engineering degree. Paul Tyson is the son of Lissa and Marc Tyson, and for his Eagle project, he built a pavilion at the Alabama Environmental Council’s Birmingham Recycling Center in Avondale. Tyson’s pavilion design included a concrete floor, created from 1,000 pounds of crushed glass, which had been recycled from bottles and glass that Tyson had collected. After graduation, Tyson’s plans are to attend college and pursue a business degree. – Submitted by Gretchen Williams.

Andrew Cotten, Isabel Elks, Kate Amberson, Chloe Kinderman, Elaine Russel, Mark Waller, Virginia Cobbs, Hays Edmunds and Hadley Bryant, seated. Photo courtesy of Hadley Bryant.

Little Free Library comes to Mountain Brook Junior High If you happen to glance out of your car window on your way to work or school these days, it’s no surprise to see one of many strange new installments that have begun to appear all over Mountain Brook. They come in all shapes and sizes, and if you pass by the Mountain Brook Junior High tennis courts, you’ll see one that takes the shape of a bench made out of old lockers. They’re called Little Free Libraries, and the latest addition to this growing trend was recently built, installed and stocked with books appealing to all ages by MBJH’s TEDx Club. Little Free Library is a “take a book, give a book” free book exchange open to anyone who wishes to visit and indulge in the many different choices. Anyone may contribute or take books — the more the merrier! The only thing visitors should keep in mind, however, is that Little Free Library can only operate under the honor system. When one

person chooses to keep a book, for example, a book from their own personal collection might be donated in return. If you should ever visit this quaint installment, be sure to sign into the Book Log kept beside the bench. Inside the handmade journal, you can write a clever note or review about a book you recently read from Little Free Library. By collecting personal accounts, Little Free Library gains a feeling of community and common interest in the enjoyment and maintenance of books. There is an understanding that real people are sharing their favorite books with their community. Visitors and book-lovers alike are welcome at all times of the day to this community stockpile of literature, for it belongs to Mountain Brook, and that means anyone and everyone who wishes to read at Little Free Library. – Submitted by Hadley Bryant.


A12 • June 2017

Village Living

Troop 28’s Mac Thomson awarded Eagle Scout rank

From left: BWF Assistant Principal Christy Christian; Principal Nathan Pitner; OSGC President Christina Powell; and OSGC Vice President of Events Sally Williams. Photo courtesy of Off Shoots Garden Club.

BWF receives donation from Off Shoots Garden Club Off Shoots Garden Club President Christina Powell and OSGC Vice President of Events Sally Williams presented Brookwood Forest Elementary School Assistant Principal Christy Christian and Principal Nathan Pitner with a donation for the school’s new outdoor classroom. For more than three decades, Off Shoots Garden Club has been an integral part of the community, from hosting annual egg hunts to raising funds for the Forgotten Teens of Children’s Hospital, this group of women are ready to make an impact. When Brookwood Forest Elementary School built an outdoor classroom last summer, Off Shoots Garden Club was eager to lend a hand. This new space provides a unique environment for students and teachers to celebrate different learning styles with a multi-sensory approach to the curriculum. This mini-eco system allows students to gets their hands dirty and experience learning through trial and error. Along with donations and volunteers throughout the year, Off Shoots Garden Club will continue to grow the outdoor classroom. – Submitted by Off Shoots Garden Club.

Mac Thomson, a member of Boy Scout Troop 28 at Independent Presbyterian Church, recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout. A Court of Honor ceremony was held on Jan. 8 to recognize his accomplishment. During his Scouting career, Mac earned 23 merit badges and held leadership positions as assistant senior patrol leader, patrol leader, chaplain’s aide and troop guide. He participated in many service projects, hikes and camping trips, as well as trips to Sea Base in the Bahamas and Camp Parsons in Washington State. For his Eagle project, Mac constructed a stone walking pathway and

planted over two dozen hydrangeas and two trees at the Children’s Fresh Air Farm in Bluff Park. He raised an excess of funds needed for the project and was able to make a donation to the Children’s Fresh Air farm. Thomson is a junior at Mountain Brook High School, where he is a member of the varsity lacrosse team, the track team, the Interact Club, the National Honor Society and vice president of the Spanish Honor Society. He coaches eighth- and ninth-grade boys recreational league basketball. He is also active in the youth program at Independent Presbyterian Church, where he serves as an acolyte and as a

Mac Thomson earned his Eagle Scout rank and was honored Jan. 8. Photo courtesy of Kathy Thomson.

member of the Youth Grant Team. He is the son of Tommy and Kathy Thomson and the brother of Ellie Thomson. – Submitted by Kathy Thomson.

Local judge helps establish National Association of Municipal Courts When in 2016 K.C. Hairston was appointed by Mountain Brook Mayor Terry Oden to serve as one of two judges for the city, he felt the need to join a national association for municipal courts to keep track of emerging issues and best practices for municipal courts. As he was searching for a national association to join, however, he could not find one. Later that evening, Hairston created a website for what a national association might look like, and he named it the National Association of Municipal Courts. That website is still available today at Soon after these efforts were launched, municipal court employees from Mountain Brook, Birmingham and other cities across the country joined the NAMC startup team. After sharing this idea with staff from the

Magistrate Supervisor Heather Richards (second from the left) and Judge K.C. Hairston (fourth from the right) with the committee. Photo courtesy of K.C. Hairston.

National League of Cities, a grant was secured from the MacArthur Foundation to provide the funding for the initial planning meeting in Washington, D.C. Approximately six months from the initial Google search and the idea of creating the NAMC, the first

“charter” meeting was held in Washington, D.C. on March 30-31. The meeting attended by municipal court employees from Atlanta; Birmingham; Boulder, Colorado; College Station, Texas; Jackson, Mississippi; Mobile; New Orleans; San Antonio; Spokane, Washington; and of course Mountain Brook. Hairston and Mountain Brook’s Magistrate Supervisor Heather Richards attended on behalf of the city and now both serve on the NAMC’s Charter Committee. As the NAMC develops, Hairston, Richards and the other staff from Mountain Brook’s municipal court plan to participate in the newly formed organization to better ensure that Mountain Brook’s municipal court stays informed of the latest issues and practices. – Submitted by K.C. Hairston.

June 2017 • A13

Events MBHS to host Speech and Debate Nationals for 1st time

The Birmingham Zoo will be hosting its Zoo, Brews and Full Moon Bar-B-Que again this June, which raises money for conservation. Photo courtesy of the Birmingham Zoo.


Night of zoo animals, drinks, food to benefit conservation By LEXI COON From 5:30-8:30 p.m. on June 17, the Birmingham Zoo will be hosting its third Zoo, Brews and Full Moon Bar-B-Que, complete with animal meet-and-greets, Alabama breweries and local food. The event will feature live music from Troy natives, The Park Band, who special events manager Lindsey Renfro called “the next big thing,” tastings from Alabama breweries, dinner from Full Moon Bar-B-Que, a pace car and street team from Talladega Speedway and animal meet-and-greets with the zoo’s animal ambassadors. “Those are the animals that have been raised where they can be handled,” Renfro said. Kerry Graves, vice president of sales and marketing, said guests will be able to see the new pirates while on the train ride and visit

Khan the jaguar, the zoo’s newest addition. While many of the attractions may be for the adults, the zoo also will provide face painting, a DJ, train rides and a Coca-Cola sampling station for the younger guests. Children 3 and younger get in free, and tickets for those under 21 or who are designated drivers are $20. Tickets for 21 and older are $35. All standard tickets include admission, dinner and attractions with eight drink tokens for sampling 21-and-older crowd. VIP tickets also are available for free for children 3 and younger; under 21 and designated drivers, $50; 21 and older, $75. These tickets include early admission at 5 p.m., dinner, attractions, VIP parking and additional sampling. Children will receive a plush toy. Proceeds will go toward conservation. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to

Mountain Brook Speech and Debate’s history dates back to 1972, and for the first time, the school district will host Speech and Debate Nationals this summer from June 18-23. “To be a host school is important because it allows us an opportunity to welcome students from all over the world into our school to compete in policy debate, largely considered the premier debate event,” said Liz Wood-Weas, president of the Alabama Speech and Debate Association and director of Speech and Debate at MBHS. “As president of the state association, I want my school represented.” While other venues will host different events throughout the week, policy debate will be at the high Sixteen Mountain Brook students, including school, which Wood-Weas said is these seven from MBHS, will be competing in the fitting since Mountain Brook is the national speech and debate tournament. Back row, from left: Hayden Sledge, Russ Weas, Jack only school in the state to have policy debate teams. Those competitions Smith, Pavel Shirley. Front row, from left: Griffin Darden, Ben Harris and Chloe Kinderman. Photo will be June 19 and 20. Sixteen Spartans will compete courtesy of Elizabeth Wood-Weas. from Mountain Brook, although stucultures and personalities that extend beyond dents at the high school level had to win an invitation to nationals at their district our own high school or even city walls,” she tournament. There will be at least 4,000 debat- said. “If the kids win and get trophies, that’s ers and possibly another 4,000 spectators, all just a bonus.” To learn more about the event, go to of whom will bring in both monetary and To find out tional intangible benefits, Wood-Weas said. “Debate teaches kids to know and under- when and where Spartan representatives will stand someone else’s perspective, how to be competing, or to volunteer, contact Woodsupport their own ideas with evidence, and … Weas at or it exposes my students to so many different 281-6307.

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Village Living

Tess Patton, center, cuts the ceremonial ribbon at City Hall on May 7 during Mountain Brook’s celebration marking the kickoff of its 75th anniversary. Photos by Lexi Coon.


Clockwise, from above: Children play in a bounce house. Anna Rucker tosses a ball at the dunk tank, effectively sinking MBHS Vice Principal Jeremy Crigger. Catherine Pittman Smith stands with her book, “Images of America: Mountain Brook.” Local band Riverbend was one of two bands to perform at the anniversary kickoff event.

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A16 • June 2017

Village Living

Faith Life Actually By Kari Kampakis

3 prayers for when your kids are facing the tough stuff A book editor once told me the key to writing for moms is to think about the question, “What’s the pain?” In other words, what does a mom worry about as she lies in bed at night? What keeps her awake? What struggles might she be facing that she hasn’t admitted to anyone? Whatever that pain is, write about it. It’s an interesting question because we moms worry about so much. It’s hard to identify a singular pain, especially in regard to kids. We worry about the choices our kids are making — and the choices we make for them. We worry about health issues, academics and whether they’ll make the team. We worry about their relationships, their heartaches and whether their disappointments will break them or make them stronger. We worry about college, careers and future happiness as adults. We worry about their trials and anxiety and why they haven’t act like themselves lately. We worry about bad things happening and imaginable scenarios — and how facing an actual tragedy would make us wish we’d spent less time worrying about the small stuff and more time simply enjoying our kids. If you’re like me — an expert worrier — you may have discovered the need to unload your worries somewhere. You may have reached a point where your mind and heart couldn’t take it anymore, and you needed a real solution to

keep from going crazy. The only real solution that works for me is prayer. Only prayer can take me from a place of fear and worry to a place of peace and trust. As St. Augustine famously said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” When it comes to my kids and handling life, I rely on prayer to soothe me, guide me, and ground me in the truth. Following are three prayers for when your kids are facing the tough stuff. Whatever worries you have today, I hope they lighten your load. 1. Prayer for Strength “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31 Dear Lord, I feel so burdened. My heart is heavy and my mind is racing. I want to be strong for my child. I want to push past anxiety, fear, and despair so I can face this situation with peace, wisdom, and hope. You love my child more than I do, Lord, and I trust You with her life. I know You work all things together for good for those who love You. Please give her the stamina to handle this trial and the faith to endure it. Help her hear Your voice, feel Your presence, and impact the faith of others as she faces this hardship with humility, grace, and confidence in You.

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. 2. Prayer for Hope “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” – Hebrews 6:19 Dear Lord, I’m struggling with uncertainty. I crave security, but everything seems so fragile — relationships, circumstances, and life. It scares me to see my child broken. I want to fix this problem in his life, yet I can’t. I’m realizing how little control I have — and how desperately I need You. I praise You, God, for being a rock. I know You have a great plan for my child, one that can ultimately bring good from this struggle and turn his pain into joy. I place my hope in You and cling to Your promises. Although the world is uncertain, I’m certain You are in control. Thank You for the hope of heaven that we receive through Jesus. I pray His light shines brightly in this dark season to guide me and my child toward You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. 3. Prayer for Clarity “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” – 1 Corinthians 14:33 Dear Lord, My mind is cloudy. My emotions are high. Part of me wants to run and hide — and the other part wants to fix this problem my child is facing. Help me, Lord, to respond maturely. Clear

my mind, calm my heart, and renew my spirit. Let my words and actions be wise and measured. Help me think before I speak and pray before I make a move. You aren’t the author of confusion because confusion comes from the enemy. Help me and my child see Your truth clearly in this situation, trust Your timing, and find rest in the peace from You that surpasses all understanding. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. Can praying eliminate every worry and pain that keeps a mother up at night? Of course not. What praying can do, however, is ease your worries and pains so they become bearable. Praying can restore joy and hope even in the unknown. So take a deep breath, open your heart, and let God hear from you. Remember that honest prayers are always better than perfect prayers, and the more you share on your end, the closer He’ll draw to you. Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a Mountain Brook mom of four girls, columnist and blogger for The Huffington Post. Her two books for teen and tween girls — “Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For?” and “10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know” — are available on Amazon and everywhere books are sold. Join her Facebook community at “Kari Kampakis, Writer,” visit her blog at or contact her at

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New Era Study Club celebrates centennial By ERICA TECHO In February 1917, a group of Birmingham-area women founded the New Era Study Club with the purpose of meeting together and broadening their learning. More than 100 years later, the club is still going strong. “Not that many women attended college at that time,” said President Mena Brock, “and World War I was going on at the time, so the world was kind of opening up. They just had an interest. They wanted to learn about what was going on in the world, so they formed this study club and presented papers to learn.” Brock, whose grandmother was a founding member of the New Era Study Club, said the club has changed slightly over the years. In the original club, three papers were given at each meeting, and the group met weekly. Some popular topics in 1917 were the Russian revolt, the release of Siberian prisoners, poetry, drama and changing social conditions. Today, the club meets twice a month between October and May, and one topic is presented per meeting. Their topics, however, continue to cover a wide range. A new topic is selected each year, with the centennial topic being 1917. “We’ve done everything,” said member Yates Amason. “Lots of history, lots of art, culture, famous people.” “Whatever strikes our fancy that year,” Brock said. Members will alternate years of presenting and hosting, and they also have the option of finding a community member to present at the luncheon, rather than doing so themselves. In this case, they would find someone well-versed on the topic. “You try to think of what the theme is, that you were thinking about, and find a person that would be good at talking about that,” Amason said. Individuals can come from a local university or organization.

From left, New Era Study Club members Julie Stephens (2016 president), Juliet Beale (treasurer) and Mena Brock (current president) pose at the 100th anniversary celebration on April 20 at Mountain Brook Country Club. Photo by Sarah Finnegan.

The group has 30 members, and all members must be matrons, or married women. They limit the number of members to ensure they can still fit in the parlor of someone’s home, Brock said, which allows for a closer-knit group and better chance for conversation. New members can join when a former member either dies or “goes associate,” meaning they do not have to give a paper, but can still attend meetings. They have a wide range of ages, from 50 to 97, and the interaction of different age groups is one of the best benefits of the group, Amason said.

It allows people of different ages to interact in ways they would not outside of the group, Brock added. “Well, you might cross paths, but it would be, ‘Oh, that’s my mother’s friend,’ but not ‘my friend,’ because we’re in this group,” Brock said. To celebrate the group’s centennial, a seated dinner for members, their husbands and other family members was April 20. During the dinner, Brock gave a speech on the group’s founding, and design coordinator Leah Hazard helped create flower arrangements from flowers

in members’ gardens. Brock and Amason said while members of the group are older these years, with new members joining later in life due to work and family and members remaining an active part of the group longer, they expect the New Era Study Club to continue on for several years. The interest in general history and the ties members make back to their own families is still going strong, Yates said. “You learn things about your own family and your family’s contemporaries that you didn’t even know,” she said.

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Village Living

father’s day gift guide

For the


For the


Bellemonde Travel Bags or Orca Rocket Briefcase: $73.95, gear bag: $104.95, Orca Rocket: $43.99 Multiple shapes and sizes available in Bellemonde bags. Orca Rocket has dual insulation system for a condensation-free grip.


EVERY DAD Robert Marc 922 $459 Give Dad a gift he can use all year long. Handcrafted in Japan, Robert Marc 922 merges style and function for the perfect look and fit.

The Blue Willow 3930 Crosshaven Dr. 968-0909

Yeti Rambler Tumblers $29.99-$39.99 Now available in new colors with the same great technology that keeps beverages icy cold or piping hot. Alabama Outdoors 3054 Independence Drive 870-1919

Schaeffer Eye Center 979-2020

For the


For the

Tag Heuer Aquaracer Watch $1,500 Featuring a blue dial set in finebrushed, polished steel and threerow steel bracelet.

DISTINGUISHED DAD Long Bar Handle Knob $36-$62 depending on size, length Turnstyle Designs made in England. Custom order metal finish and leather color.

Bromberg’s 2800 Cahaba Road 871-3276

Brandino Brass 2824 Central Ave. 978-8900

For the

CAMPER Barebones LED Flashlight or Lantern Flashlight: $100, Lantern: $45 Rechargeable battery-powered lighting with features your average light won’t have, including USB ports.

For the


Leaf and Petal 2817 Cahaba Road 871-3832

Leather Sunglass Strap $39, add $25 for custom monogram Give Dad this functional, classic piece he can enjoy for years to come.

For the

Ex Voto Vintage 2402 Canterbury Road 538-7301

HOME CHEF Stoneware Oyster Shells $72 for 12 shells in burlap bag No more stinky oyster shells! Bake, stuff, smoke and grill with these stoneware shells. Dishwasher safe.

For the


The Cook Store 2841 Cahaba Road 879-5277

Here’s the Rub Subscription $38.95-$199.95 (6-month subscription) Here’s the Rub shops authentic barbecue rubs and sauce from rural America’s humble barbecue joints. A different state every month.

For the

Here’s the Rub


Rustico Leather Notebooks $30-$150 These leather notebooks, fishing logs and golf score logs are all great gifts for Dad. A’mano 281 Rele St. 871-9093

For the

FUN DAD Black Leatherette 5-in-1 Game Set $125 Includes chess, backgammon, cribbage, dominoes and a deck of playing cards. Lamb’s Ears, Ltd. 70 Church St. 802-5700

For the


UNDERSTATED MAN Persol Sunglasses $405 Polarized lenses, metal frames, good for all facial shapes. Beautiful balance of classic style and comfort. JJ Eyes 2814 18th St. S. 703-8596

Men’s Super Buffer $20 Scrub, cleanse and hydrate with this three-inone formula that delivers a great shampoo, shave or shower with a fresh, botanical scent. Marguerite’s Conceits 2406 Canterbury Road 879-2730

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A20 • June 2017

Village Living



life of Mountain Brook

Top: Alice Nelson, 7, spends time with her pet chinchilla, Lillie. Alice received Lillie as a Christmas present this past year. Above: Alex Goodman, 12, plays with her two bunnies, Cookie and Cream, in a pen in her front yard in Mountain Brook. Right: Sisters Belle and Anne Archer Perrine look on as Mitzi the hedgehog investigates a picnic table. Photos by Sarah Finnegan and Lexi Coon.

Dogs, cats aren’t the only fur babies to call villages home By LEXI COON


spends time playing with them in a bunny playpen. Being in an outside habitat doesn’t bother Cookie and Cream, Melissa Goodman said, but the family did bring them inside during the winter storm in January. Alex Goodman also said she was surprised with how cuddly Cookie and Cream are. “They’ll just come right up to you and crawl on you and sit in your lap,” she said. Eventually, she wants to train them to walk on a leash and respond to their names so they don’t run away, and she and her mom are even planning on having a litter of bunnies, since neither Cookie nor Cream are fixed. “[My friends] think they’re so cute, and they really want bunnies when they have babies,” Alex Goodman said. “That would just be fun to experience the babies,” Melissa Goodman said.

or most pet owners, it doesn’t take long for new furry housemates to become a beloved part of their family, whether they walk on four legs or not. While the typical pet and adopted fur baby might bark or meow, these resident Mountain Brook pets are a little more unique than their canine and feline counterparts.


Cookie and Cream — what some may consider a delicious ice cream flavor — isn’t referring to a food dish in the Goodman household. Those are the names of their rabbits. Cream is a floppy-eared rabbit with white-and-black coloring all over her body. Cookie is a light-brown lion head rabbit, characterized by the little “mane” of fur surrounding his head and lining his sides. Alex Goodman first got her bunnies in December after her family had backyard chickens for about six years. “Last year, someone told us about the dwarf bunnies, and I kinda wanted a bunny,” Alex Goodman said. Around the same time, her mom was trying to get her to consider another pet she could cuddle with more. “The chickens didn’t really let you hold them, and they didn’t really let you play with them,” Alex Goodman said. “And, they [the bunnies] can come inside.”


Alex with Cookie and Cream.

While Melissa Goodman said the bunnies are low-maintenance pets, her daughter spends part of each day taking care of them. She cleans their backyard cage, gives them food and extra water at night and

This past Christmas, Santa didn’t just bring presents for Alice Nelson; he also brought her a chinchilla. Chinchillas are native to South America, specifically near the Andes Mountains, and Alice Nelson said she thinks that’s where Santa got her new pet named Lillie. “She thought that while Santa was flying over South America on the way to North America, he picked up Lillie in the Andes Mountains,” said Alice Nelson’s mother, Christy. Alice Nelson found an interest in chinchillas because

June 2017 • A21

Alice with Lillie, who also gets along with the Nelsons’ dog, Fern.

her grandmother, who teaches science at Our Lady of the Valley, has one as a classroom pet named Choncho. Now, she and her family are raising Lillie as their own ball of fluff. “They’re so soft, and they take dust baths,” Alice Nelson. “It’s cool; it’s instead of a bath with water,” she said, referring to the fact that chinchillas can’t take normal baths and instead must roll around in a fine dust to clean themselves. Lillie likes to eat hay and sunflower seeds and gets raisins or rose hips as treats, Christy Nelson said, and because chinchillas are nocturnal, she plays at night in her cage. But that doesn’t mean Alice Nelson and her sister, Jennie Ruth, don’t get to have fun with Lillie. After coming home from school, Lillie gets some play time with her family, and if she isn’t trying to run around, Alice Nelson will wrap her up in her shirt and sit with her,

Mitzi, who can scurry rather quickly and likes to burrow into clothes and other spaces.

Christy Nelson said. “She’s feisty,” Alice Nelson said. “She likes to jump around.” And Lillie gets along with their dog, Fern, Christy Nelson said. “Now, she [Fern] is kind of used to her,” she said. “They’ll get nose-to-nose and sniff each other through the cage.” Eventually, Alice Nelson said she wants to train Lillie to respond to her name, stand up on her hind feet and walk on a leash. If she does train Lillie to walk with her, Alice Nelson said she wants to take her to visit her art teacher. “Lillie has really grown on us,” Christy Nelson said. “She’s a lot cuter than I thought she would be, and she has a lot more personality that I thought she would have.”


What’s small, round and a little prickly? In this case, it’s not a pinecone, but a hedgehog

that goes by the name of Mitzi. Mitzi was born last summer and came home to her new family not long after. “We were watching YouTube videos one day about hedgehogs … and then we said we really wanted a pet hedgehog,” Belle Perrine said. Belle Perrine learned more about hedgehogs after researching them for a school assignment, and she and her sisters brought the idea to their mom, Georganne. “The kids really wanted a little pet like this, and then we kind of latched on to it [the idea], and it just snowballed from there,” Georganne Perrine said. Mitzi brought about a lot of surprises for Belle Perrine and her sisters, Tiley, Anne Archer and Caroline. For a small animal, she can scurry rather quickly; she likes to burrow into clothes and other spaces, and she’s very prickly, Belle Perrine said. “We were all kinda surprised about how

prickly she can be,” Georganne Perrine said. Hedgehogs are covered in small quills, that when curled up in a ball, protect them from predators. As a hedgehog, Mitzi eats cat food, mealworms or the occasional real worm and is bathed every month or so with a toothbrush and baby soap to clean her stomach. The Perrines also clean her cage and spend time playing with her outside, or because hedgehogs are nocturnal, Mitzi will play in her cage at night. One time, Belle Perrine said Mitzi escaped from her cage, and she found her curled up in her coat in her school backpack. “She just likes to run around and try to find somewhere to burrow,” Belle Perrine said. “You can hold her and pet her; you can snuggle with her if you want some quiet time.” “She belongs to all of us, but she definitely has that bond with Belle,” Georganne Perrine said.

A22 • June 2017

Village Living

Even though all last summer most of the Cahaba River was too low to paddle on, Birmingham residents still come out and paddle through certain areas of the Cahaba River. Four years ago, the Cahaba Riverkeeper formed Swim Guide to answer questions about river safety. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.


Advocates address river water quality, safety while urging the public to do its part

By ALYX CHANDLER Before Birmingham resident David Butler became the Cahaba riverkeeper three years ago, he took over a canoeing and kayaking business along the Cahaba River. He would take families out on trips, and the same question would always be asked: “Is it safe to swim here?” He didn’t know. “There was no information that was readily available to me to answer those questions,” Butler said. Four years ago, Butler and other concerned residents decided to take the matter into their own hands. This group created Swim Guide to answer questions about river safety. Every Thursday starting the first week in May, Butler and a group of volunteers go to 16 recreational access points along the Cahaba River to conduct research, collect water quality data and test bacteria samples. They take the samples to a lab they share with the Coosa Riverkeeper and monitor the results, which are posted Friday morning on an interactive map on their website. They also send out text, email and Facebook alerts, especially if there’s a high level of E. coli in the river. So far, Butler said, they’ve gotten a “tremendous response from the public,” including people along U.S. 280, Hoover and Mountain Brook. Through Swim Guide, a number of water quality problems have been discovered. When this happens, Butler said they quickly direct the data from the problems to the responsible party, wastewater plant or appropriate authorities. So far, Swim Guide has been funded entirely by donations and grants. Butler also made it clear that not all the work they do is construed as negative. One example he gave involved the residents of Helena, who were “absolutely positive” that the wastewater plant in Helena was polluting the river with raw sewage, so people wouldn’t go out to swim or fish. “We were able to sort of dispute that notion, that it wasn’t true,” Butler said. “We don’t go out trying to expose anyone. We just go out to find the facts that are actually there and to find out why that’s the case. So in the case of Helena, we were able to take some negative public perception and turn it around.” Each week, the Cahaba River Society takes students, community groups and any interested party out on river trips. Butler said this is one of the fundamental things about the work they do, because it inspires people to take action to

70,000 people access the data in a span of 24 hours when there was a ► For additional sewage problem. information, go to cahabariverkeeper. Still, there are org/swimguide many people in Birmingham who don’t know about Swim Guide or water safety. “We certainly don’t expect the state to notify people of every problem that might exist, but when they know there’s a problem, that should be pretty easy to do, and we believe it’s not really that complicated in this age of information that we live in,” Butler said. Swimming or fishing in water contaminated with E. coli or high bacteria levels can cause gastrointestinal problems, vomiting and diarrhea. In the past, people have mistaken these symptoms as the flu or food poisoning. For Alabama Rivers Alliance Program Director Mitch Reid, who said he likes to take his kids out to play on spots along the Cahaba River as much as possible, knowing the water quality and supporting the petition is a necessity, not just about “fish vs. jobs.” “Swim Guide is a response to where the state doesn’t do a good job of requiring people to tell you if the river is safe,” Reid said. “Thank goodness we have these people.” Butler said he hears stories all the time about serious infections after cuts or entire families getting sick after outings, but it’s hard to verify the stories with so little data and research being recorded along the river. Having that data, Butler said, is the key to solving some of the problems people address him with day to day. Not only that, but they are able to better monitor biodiversity levels and avoid lost species of snails, mussels and fish, which continues to be a problem. The Cahaba Riverkeeper operates strictly on grants and individual donations. Butler encouraged people who wish to donate to write on their checks exactly what they want done with the money. For people who routinely use the river, Butler said it’s important to become informed about water quality issues in the area. “We think it’s great that everyone loves the river, but we are kind of loving the river to death,” Butler said. “So at some point, you have to take a stand and make some changes or else these impacts we are fearful of in the future will become reality much quicker.”


David Butler stands in front of the Hoover Dam in St. Clair County. On the other side of the dam is a major site he checks for water quality and safety each Thursday. 

make sure the river isn’t polluted with chemicals, wastewater or trash. Randall Haddock, the Cahaba River Society field director, said part of the way for residents to address water quality problems is for them to address the municipal courts and encourage them to take stormwater permits and wastewater management into account. Contacting their mayor and state representatives to let them know how much residents enjoy and value the Cahaba River is a direct and easy way to send a message about the importance of wastewater management and water quality in Birmingham, Haddock said. “There’s 7 million different chemicals to kill bugs and preserve our decks and stuff that drips off of cars. There are toxic problems, and we need to make some effort to minimize this,” he said. In early 2017, seven water conservation and environmental groups across Alabama officially petitioned the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to review the current process the Environmental Protection Agency uses to determine whether the state of Alabama is fulfilling its obligations to protect the water and its residents who swim in it through the Clean Water Act,

which addresses regulating water pollution. A petition was also submitted this year to the Alabama Environmental Management Commission to immediately, as specified by the Clean Water Act, notify the public when they are exposed to sewage spills and overflows. Butler, who is part of the petition, said the end goal is for the state to require each wastewater treatment plant to “adopt a framework to deal with when they have an incident that affects water quality on any water body that people might swim or fish or paddle in.” “Up to this point, they’ve declined to do that, and by the conditions of their permit, they’re required to do it, give a public notice, but there’s no official definition to what public notice means currently,” Butler said. As of right now, Butler said the state could fulfill its requirement to tell the public by simply posting a paper notice on the doors to the courthouse saying the water quality will be impaired for a few days. Butler said the information that Swim Guide shares each Friday is picked up quickly, especially if there’s a problem with a site. It’s not uncommon for them to see an overwhelming response. In one instance, he’s seen more than

June 2017 • A23

Left: Scout Alex Bebenek, of Troop 320, directs fellow Scouts and friends to help clear away invasive plant species as part of his Eagle Scout project at Red Mountain Park. Above: A Scout hauls debris. Photos by Lexi Coon.


CONTINUED from page A1 publisher, William Boyce, escape the confines of a thick fog. After explaining his title as a Scout, Boyce became intrigued, and brought scouting back to America. “It grew and grew and grew, and I think in the ’70s, it declined some,” Dowd said. “And then, it picked back up.” All of the Scouts in Mountain Brook are part of the Vulcan District for the state of Alabama, which is the Over the Mountain area, and Dowd said this district has “a very high density [of Scouts within the population].” “I think one of the reasons for that is the adult support,” Sydnor said. “The difference between you leaving this area and going elsewhere … there’s not as many adults who are that supportive of the program.” The adults can be anyone who is involved — the scoutmasters themselves, the local churches who sponsor the troops, the teachers who

coordinate with their student’s out-of-school commitments or the parents. “I think there’s a better understanding in the Over the Mountain community about the benefits we’re talking about,” Sydnor said. Initially, most people who are unfamiliar with the Boy Scouts only think of the merit badges they earn as the benefits of the program. While the requirements for merit badges, which are part of the requisites to ascend to the upper three ranks, are more intensive than an entry level course and designed by experts (Steven Spielberg helped create the cinematography badge), the Scouts are learning much more. “We’re trying to develop young men, and we use the outdoors as our medium,” Bradford said. Scouts can spend a large amount of time earning their selection of merit badges, of which there are around 140. “My mom told me this, but I became goal-oriented through Scouting,” Dowd said. “You really have to demonstrate perseverance

and commitment.” “The teach us Scouting is a game with a purpose,” said Tynes. He said the boys will stay because it’s an enjoyable experience and learn and grow while having fun. Some of the benefits the Scouts learn are more subtle, such as learning to be a leader and learning to be led, discovering the scope of their own abilities and building confidence. “They’re going to get a level of confidence from what they’re doing in this program … that’s just hard to duplicate,” Tynes said. “[What they do] sends them this message that they can do a lot more than they thought they could do,” Sydnor said. “That is the most powerful message you could send your children.” Still, there is a top achievement in Scouting that requires a great amount of work both in the troop and in the community: Eagle Scout. To reach this rank, Scouts must finish all requirements before they turn 18, and as long as the boy is at least 11 years old, has completed 5th grade or earned the Arrow of Light as a Webelo Scout, there are no restrictions to when Scouts can start. Dowd said Scouts can be 13, 15 or even 17 when they first join the program. Scouts must earn a total of 21 merit badges — 13 of which are chosen from a specific list

— and complete a signature community service leadership project to earn the highest ranking. Dowd and the other scoutmasters agreed that a project with around 100 hours for all workers involved is not likely to be questioned, but it does not necessarily have to be a “hammer-andnail project.” “These requirements are something that you may not be getting in school,” Sydnor said. “They should be able to take care of themselves, run a business and be an asset to the community.” Since the creation of the Scout troops in Mountain Brook, which dates back nearly 94 years with Troop 28, the scoutmasters estimate they have seen between 800 to 1,000 Eagle Scouts come from their troops. But, Dowd said, the point of Scouting is not to make Eagle Scouts. “It’s wonderful if a boy does that, but the intangible things are far more important,” he said. “From the top down, our goal as an organization to enhance our community,” Bradford said. And they do, by contributing countless service hours to local community organizations in need of extra help and by working together to complete Eagle Scout projects throughout the Mountain Brook and Birmingham area. “You have pride in your troop, but it’s not about the number on the sleeve; it’s really the purpose we believe in,” Sydnor said. “It [Scouting] is a real asset to the community in that it is a community in and of itself that’s connected.” The Scoutmasters said although they’re based in different areas and may work on different projects, they are not competing with each other by any means — they want all boys to be in Scouts at some point in their lives. “Because, if they’re not in Scouts, they don’t get the benefits of Scouts,” Elliott said. “At the end of the day, we want a boy to join one of our troops.” And despite the huge time commitment Scouting is for both the Scouts and the scoutmasters, they agreed it was something they enjoyed. “We see it as something that is worthy of spending our free time to do it, even though we don’t have a son in it anymore,” Sydnor said. “It’s really a labor of love,” Dowd said.

Village Living B SECTION

Sports B4 School House B8 Calendar B14

JUNE 2017

Park study: Cahaba River Walk falling short After spending more than a year working with Mountain Brook parks, UAB occupational therapy professor Gavin Jenkins presented his findings to the city’s Parks and Recreation board during an April 11 meeting. Photo by Lexi Coon.

By LEXI COON About a year and a half ago, UAB occupational therapy assistant professor Dr. Gavin Jenkins began working on collecting data of user satisfaction at Mountain Brook parks over different times of the year. At a Parks and Recreation Board meeting April 11, Jenkins presented his findings. “We spent a good part of the year sending about 15 students to your parks on a fairly regular basis,” he said. Participants in the study from Overton Park, Jemison Park and the Cahaba River Walk, who were of all ages, were asked to wear a GPS tracker, an actigraph (or an accelerometer) provide demographic information and complete a satisfaction-of-life scale. “We asked to have that [the satisfaction-of-life scale] before and afterwards, and that’s the bit that became most significant to us,” he said. By evaluating the scores, Jenkins and his students learned that parkgoers were much happier upon leaving the parks, regardless of the amount of activity done while there. He also said if people spent more time in parks, they would, statistically, feel better. “So for couch potatoes, you just need to go and sit in the park,” Jenkins said. “You don’t need to walk around; you don’t need to do anything; you will come out feeling better from being in that space.” In addition to analyzing the data from all three parks as a whole, Jenkins and his team looked carefully at the data for each of the parks individually. “This is where we find the most interesting fact as far as I’m concerned as an academic: If you go and visit Overton Park, you’ll come out

feeling much better. If you go to Jemison Park, you’ll feel much better. If you go to Cahaba, you won’t,” he said. In fact, some of those who visited Cahaba River Walk came out feeling worse. “There’s something about that park that isn’t getting the same results as we get in other parks,” he said. According to Jenkins, the findings go against scientific literature that says, “If you spend time in green spaces, you will feel much better about yourself.” While Jenkins said he is unsure as to why Cahaba River Walk visitors feel worse after

their visit, he also acknowledged that there is a level of human dependence in the study, and some participants may simply be lying about their experience. “There’s always a potential that people lie to you because they think you’re looking for a result,” he said. To further understand the enigma that is the Cahaba River Walk, the Parks and Recreation board members agreed to allow Jenkins to continue a more in-depth study of the park. Jenkins and his team will work to collect

greater physiological data from the parkgoers as well as a survey to help identify what may cause the added stress. The city may be able to use the data to create a more uplifting environment at the Cahaba River Walk. “This park, the activities they’re engaging in, walking, walking the dog and so forth … I have no suggestions for you,” he said. After applying and hopefully receiving funding for the study, Jenkins said he hopes to spend additional time, possibly an entire year, out at Cahaba River Walk.

B2 • June 2017

Village Living

June 2017 • B3

B4 • June 2017

Village Living


Spartan girls hang on for 2nd at state meet Clutch performances on final day seal red map for track and field team Janie Branch competes in the first day of the AHSAA Class 4A-7A state outdoor track and field championship May 4 at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex in Gulf Shores. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.

By SAM CHANDLER The Mountain Brook High School girls track and field team won its battle for second place at the Class 7A state outdoor meet held May 4-6 at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex. On the third and final day of competition, the Spartans scored critical points to preserve their runner-up finish. Hoover prevailed, 128.5 to 83.5. Auburn placed third with 71 points. “I figured Hoover was going to be pretty far out,” said Mountain Brook head track and field coach Michael McGovern. “Then I knew it was going to be between us, James Clemens, Auburn and McGillToolen for second.” Mountain Brook also placed second to Hoover at February’s state indoor meet. It had to fight to retain the position. After slipping from first to third over the course of the final day, the Spartans rallied in their final two events. Lily Hulsey and Anna Grace Morgan came through when it counted. Hulsey took second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 16.07 seconds. Morgan, a senior, posted a personal best of 2:17.87 to finish sixth. It was Morgan’s final event as a Spartan and her fourth of the meet. “We had to have the points in the 800 to seal up the second place, and she knew it,” McGovern said of Morgan. “That’s the kind of person she is for us, the type of leader she’s been for us. She’s going to do whatever it takes.” Morgan also placed second in the 3,200-meter run, fourth in the 1,600-meter run and contributed to the Spartans’ runner-up 4x800-meter relay team. Her podium finish in the 3,200 compensated for her near miss in the 1,600. “Today, I just wanted to come back and just be really focused and stay up there to make sure that I scored some big points for the team,” Morgan said after her 3,200 on May 5. Following her runner-up performance in the 800, Hulsey rebounded for the 4x400-meter relay. She teamed up with Anne Coleman Bradford, Sophie Jane Knott and Holli Chapman to earn a fifth-place finish in 3:59.8. Chapman ran a strong anchor leg, enabling Mountain Brook to glean four points despite competing in the second of three heats. Their collective showing sealed the Spartans’ second-place finish. “We talk about it all the time. As soon as you’re into a state meet situation, people have to be ready to step up,” McGovern said. Chapman and Knott, both sophomores, stepped up in more ways than one. Chapman ran 57.25 seconds to place second in the 400-meter run. Knott, meanwhile, overcame gusty winds and overwhelmed the competition en route to the state pole vault title on the meet’s first day. She posted a personal-best clearance of 11 feet, 3 inches, to win the first individual championship of her career. “It’s so exciting because I’ve worked so hard,” Knott said. “I haven’t jumped my best this season, and it just feels so good to finally PR.” Knott tied her previous personal best (11 feet) to win the event, and then put icing on the cake by clearing the next bar. No other competitor vaulted higher than 10-6. “I was just trying to go have fun,” she said, “ and it helped a lot.” Janie Branch also shined in the field. The senior finished second in the discus and fifth in the shot put. Ella Cobbs, Eleanor Swagler and Anne Carlton Clegg all scored in the high jump. Cobbs and Swagler tied

June 2017 • B5

Above: Sophie Jane Knott won her first state individual title, taking first place in the pole vault. Below: Members of the girls team pose with the trophy.

for second, as both required an identical number of attempts to clear the bar at 5-2. Clegg also cleared 5-2, but she finished tied for seventh because she took more attempts.


Griffin Riley and Gram Denning paced the Mountain Brook boys to an 11th-place team finish. Riley nearly won the 800, but Hoover’s Trent Hamner pulled away in the closing steps. Riley ran 1:55.01

to Hamner’s 1:54.78. Denning finished sixth in 1:56.65. “All glory be to God. I was proud of my effort. I gave it my all,” Riley said. “I’m not so happy with the placement, but I mean, Trent’s a great racer. There’s not much you can do when you’re giving it all you’ve got.” Riley and Denning teamed up with John Galloway and Warren Fitzpatrick to finish third in the 4x800-meter relay. In the field, Jack Grant placed third in the javelin.

B6 • June 2017

Village Living

Ellie Polk, right, and Chase Robinett compete in the AHSAA Class 7A state tennis tournament April 24-25 in Montgomery. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.

Spartans take home both tennis titles By KYLE PARMLEY The Spartans pulled off the clean sweep. The Mountain Brook High School boys and girls tennis teams took to Lagoon Park in Montgomery April 24-25 and claimed the school’s 158th and 159th state championships in history by capturing both blue maps from the Class 7A tournament. On the boys’ side, the Spartans picked up 51 total points to claim the crown with McGillToolen in second place with 27 points. All six Mountain Brook singles players advanced to the final of their respective bracket, with No. 3 Paul Jones, No. 5 Alva Caine and No. 6 William Watts winning individual state championships. No. 1 Peter Hartman, No. 2 David Faulkner and No. 4 Chase Robinett each

lost to a McGill-Toolen player in the finals. Jones defeated Vestavia’s Sam Smith 6-4, 6-4, in the final to win, as he did not drop a set in the tournament. Caine also won all six sets he played at state, defeating Enterprise’s Ayden Peterson 6-3, 6-1, in the final. Watts beat Huntsville’s Reed Martinson 6-1, 6-3, in the final, as Watts also accomplished the feat of not yielding a set to an opponent. Each of the three boys doubles teams advanced to the championship round as well, with the No. 3 pair of Watts and Andrew Karcher emerging victorious, 6-4, 6-1, over Auburn. The No. 1 duo of Hartman and Faulkner and the No. 2 team of Jones and Robinett each fell in the final. The boys have now won three state championships in a row, unseating Vestavia Hills

following four consecutive titles from 2011 to 2014. The Rebels qualified for the state tournament for the first time since then, and finished third with 22 points. The Mountain Brook girls reclaimed the crown taken by Vestavia last year as well. The Spartans won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 before the Rebels won it all in 2016. The ladies boasted five champions in all, from the Nos. 1, 5 and 6 singles spots and the Nos. 2 and 3 doubles lines. Margaret Polk won the No. 1 singles title with a dominant 6-0, 6-2, victory over Huntsville’s Sydney Flesch in the final. Polk dropped just five games en route to three match wins. Liz Vandevelde dropped just five games as well as she swept through the No. 5 singles bracket, taking down Mimi Tran from Fairhope

in the championship. Morgan Jenkins took home the No. 6 title with a 6-2, 6-2, win over McGill-Toolen’s Rose Nicholas. Sarah Cooper was a finalist at No. 2, while Ellie Polk competed at No. 3 and Cele Sullivan at No. 4. Cooper and Sullivan took down the Spain Park duo of Lindsay Song and Riley Ford 6-3, 0-6, 6-1, to win the No. 2 doubles crown. The No. 3 team of Vandevelde and Maggie Duggan surrendered just six games en route to the title. The Polk sisters competed in No. 1 doubles and fell to another pair of sisters, Spain Park’s Sydney and Daryn Ellison, in the semifinals. The girls team picked up 45 points in the tournament to lead Spain Park’s 35 points, in the Jags’ first appearance in the state tournament. Fairhope finished third with 23 points.

June 2017 • B7

Mountain Brook boys golf adds to trophy case By KYLE PARMLEY

Mary Mac Trammell tees off during the AHSAA golf state championship May 16 at the Robert Trent Jones Grand National Golf Course in Opelika. Photos by Sarah Finnegan.

The Spartans brought home number 160. The 160th state championship in school history, that is. The Mountain Brook High School boys golf team took a 14-stroke lead after the first day of competition and cruised to victory in the Class 7A state golf tournament at the Robert Trent Members of the boys golf team pose with the state Jones Grand National Golf Course in Opelika championship trophy. on May 16. “I’m so proud of the score the day before to becoming the medguys,” said coach Alex Lockett. alist. I bet that’s never happened.” After shooting an outstanding 279 on the Clegg’s number paced the Spartans, first day, with four of the five team mem- while Lambert shot 74; Hagan finished bers entering the clubhouse under par, the with 75; Wann carded a 77, and Fuller Spartans had all the lead they would need, wrapped up the day with 78. as the 294 they shot on Tuesday was more Hagan and Fuller will now depart the than enough to hold off Vestavia. Mountain Brook program, but Lockett said Mountain Brook finished with a 573, to he believes the expectations will remain Vestavia Hills’ 581. high for the Spartans for the conceivable Ben Fuller and William Wann each shot future. 69 on Monday. Reynolds Lambert came “We’re losing two seniors,” he said. home with a 70, and Willis Hagan shot a “But we’ve got a bunch of guys coming 71, meaning Ford Clegg’s 74 did not even back, so we should be contenders for a few count toward the team score on the day. years here.” “He did not want to be the drop score,” The Mountain Brook team was so deep Lockett said. “He was ticked yesterday, so this year that freshman Mac Scott qualified he turned it around today.” for the state tournament as an individual, That is a slight understatement, as Clegg and he put together a good couple of days. shot a 68 on Tuesday, such a low number Scott shot a 74 both days to finish at 148 that he earned the low medalist honor for for the tournament the tournament. Mary Mac Trammell qualified for the “That’s unbelievable,” Lockett said. “I state tournament as an individual on the guarantee you there’s never been a situa- girls’ side, and shot a 77 both days to finish tion where a kid goes from being the drop at 154.

B8 • June 2017

Village Living

School House BWF celebrates Earth Day

Mrs. Eleanor Walker’s second-grade class. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Woodry.

MBJH prepares students for transition Months before the seventh-graders walk through the doors of the Mountain Brook Junior High on the first day of school, MBJH begins to prepare those students and parents for the transition from elementary school to junior high. The transition from sixth to seventh grade can be overwhelming, but MBJH has developed a process to introduce those students to MBJH in advance of the start of school in August. Beginning in February, Ms. Jana Lee, the seventh-grade counselor, and MBJH administrators visited the sixth-grade students at each elementary school to welcome them to junior high and discuss class options for the next school year. Following those meetings, MBJH invited parents of rising seventh-graders to the school to meet the administrators and to discuss class options. In April, the MBJH welcomed parents back

to the school to talk to MBJH administrators, parents and students and to tour the building. In May, the sixth-grade students from each elementary school visited MBJH to meet administrators and teachers and to explore the building. Throughout the summer, MBJH will hold summer tours at school so students are comfortable with the building. The transition process will culminate at Spartan Day on Aug. 7, when the new seventh-graders will spend the day at MBJH meeting new friends, walking through their schedules, meeting teachers, opening their lockers and familiarizing themselves with the school. With so many opportunities to explore MBJH and see welcoming faces, the hope is that the first day of school will be an easy transition for new students! – Submitted by Monica Sargent.

Each year, BWF teachers such as Mrs. Eleanor Walker raise awareness during the week of Earth Day — which was April 22 — by reminding students and the community about ways they can conserve resources for our planet. Mrs. Walker’s class invited other BWF classes to join in helping by decorating the paper grocery bags for the local Publix on Overton. On Earth Day, Publix agreed to use our decorated “Earth Day Tips” grocery bags when shoppers request paper bags at checkout. Students used the following guidelines

when decorating: ► Give clear tips for reducing waste, recycling, reusing and replenishing resources. Examples: things you can recycle, don’t litter, turn off water when brushing teeth, take short showers, compost, etc. ► Be creative! Kids can design a “logo” with an Earth Day slogan or just draw pictures. They can list tips in creative ways. ► Make the pictures fill up the entire blank side of the bag — no small decorating. This is another exciting example of BWF “Going Green.” – Submitted by Kathleen Woodry.

MBE project offers gratitude for police, fire departments Mountain Brook Elementary first-graders organized a service project to show appreciation for the Mountain Brook police and fire departments. Students collected items for care packages and assembled the goody bags. Mountain Brook policemen and firemen visited MBE to collect the goody bags. “First grade at MBE was so proud to do something special for the people who protect and serve our community on a daily basis,” said first-grade teacher Paige Slaughter. “MBE collected hundreds of items such as granola bars, travel-sized hand sanitizer, chewing gum, hard candy, instant coffee packets, tissues, crackers and nuts. We wrote cards and attached encouraging words on badges to make sure

Pictured with representatives from the Mountain Brook Fire Department are firstgraders, from left: Elle Nielsen, Charlie Peagler, Ann Bishop Coltharp and Braxton Seligson. Photo courtesy of Paige Slaughter.

they knew how much we love and appreciate these selfless officers. It was an honor to give back to these community heroes.” – Submitted by Shaun Flynn.

June 2017 • B9

Lucy Beasley, Payne Baxley and Slade Anderson teach the audience about Alabama’s early explorers, Alvarez de Pineda and Hernando De Soto. Photo courtesy of Mary Evans.

Crestline 4th-graders perform play reliving Alabama history Crestline fourth-grade students recently entertained and educated audiences about Alabama’s rich history. Each student dressed and spoke about a person, place or event to bring Alabama’s history to life. Students sang, danced, performed sign language and played instruments to enhance the spoken portions of the program. Songs such as “Follow the Drinking Gourd” and “Tuxedo Junction” demonstrated various

styles of music from different points in Alabama’s history. “The Boll Weevil” told the story of how peanuts became a prime crop in Alabama, and several students acted out the humorous lyrics as the song was performed. CES fourth-graders provided the audience with an enjoyable way to learn more about Alabama. – Submitted by Mary Evans.

MBE students who received special recognition for their Expressions Art Contest entries, from left: Lauren Clark, Lucy Benton, Carolyn Dunn, Mae Helen Toranto and Sarah Allen. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Powell.

Talent shines in MBE’s art contest MBE’s annual Expressions Art Contest concluded in February with an awards ceremony at the school. Using the theme, “It’s My Thing,” there were 184 entries among the five categories: visual art, photography, creative writing, instrumental/voice performance and videography. Seventy-one students were awarded medals for their entries. “The judges truly enjoyed viewing and listening to each entry,” said project chair

Katherine Moak. “They were impressed by the variety of ways that the students interpreted the theme and expressed themselves through their entries. It was a joy to see what the children created.” The winning visual art, photography and creative writing entries from MBE will be distributed to the district judges, and a reception was held for district winners and their parents in March. – Submitted by Shaun Flynn.

B10 • June 2017

Village Living

WRITER’S FESTIVAL The Writer’s Festival is a yearly event sponsored by Cherokee Bend Elementary, Mountain Brook Elementary and the Brookwood Forest PTO. Authors and illustrators from around the country come to the schools to speak to students and sign books. This year, Lori Nichols, Susan Carothers, Lou Anders, Henry Cole and Margaret Haddix spoke at CBE. At right, first-grade students pose with Cole. Photo courtesy of Laura Comer.

BWF students at the show. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Woodry.

Singing, dancing, comedy and more at BWF talent show BWF held its annual “Got Talent” show April 7. There were two different shows during the day: The morning show showcased the talents of students in first through third grades; the afternoon show showcased the talents of students in fourth through sixth grades. One of the highlights for students was a surprise appearance by teachers and staff at both shows dancing. Students got to show off their talents for singing, comedy, dancing and performances. – Submitted by Kathleen Woodry.

Crestline celebrates writing with special day

Yearbook program wins national award Mountain Brook High School on May 3 was named a Jostens 2017 National Yearbook Program of Excellence. This year’s program was led by editors Marley Barnett, Nick Bruno and Charlotte Farrar, under the direction of Brooke Hawkins and Jill McGee, MBHS’s yearbook adviser. “Mountain Brook High School’s 2017 yearbook staff has created an inclusive yearbook, generating school engagement and successfully managing the yearbook creation process commemorating their 50th edition. They have created one of the best yearbooks in the country

Charlotte Farrar, Marley Barnett and Nick Bruno. Photo courtesy of Jill McGee.

...,” said Jeremy Grubbs, Jostens senior yearbook representative. To commemorate its award, the MBHS yearbook program will receive a gem-studded recognition pin and a banner to display in the school. ‒ Submitted by Jostens.

César Álvarez and Señora Blanton in front of the artwork made by CES students to represent Rockalingua. Photo courtesy of Mary Evans.

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Celebrate Writing is one of the most anticipated days at Crestline Elementary each year. Nationally and regionally recognized authors, illustrators and musicians visit Crestline for a day full of learning and fun. This year Crestline hosted authors Jeff Anderson, Charles Ghigna, Carole Marsh and Sheila Booth-Alberstadt and musical guest Cesar Alvarez. The event kicked off with a charming dinner at the home of Shannon and Ted Holt in which the authors had the opportunity to visit with school administrators, faculty and PTO volunteers. On Friday, Feb. 24, each author spent

the day at Crestline telling students about their books, about being an author, and about their writing processes. Additionally, sixth-graders took part in a new writing workshop hosted by Desert Island Supply Co., a local nonprofit creative writing program for students whose mission is to give Birmingham-area children and teens the creative tools they need to explore and document their worlds. It was a great day enjoyed by students, teachers, administration and parents! Yet one more reason to love Crestline Elementary. – Submitted by Mary Evans.

June 2017 • B11

B12 • June 2017

Village Living

Band to play at 75th anniversary of D-Day celebration During their annual banquet May 12, band director Jason Smith announced to MBHS band members that they have been invited to Normandy, France, for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. Photo by Lexi Coon.

By LEXI COON Mountain Brook High School band members experienced the trip of a lifetime when they performed at the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii this past December. But for many, another trip of a lifetime is already in the works. On May 12, band director Jason Smith announced that the MBHS band members currently in grades 7-10, including the color guard and Dorians, have been invited to perform at the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France. “It [the D-Day celebration] is quite prestigious …,” Smith said. “But, this even is even more substantial because of the number of bands and the quality of the bands [that will be participating].” Mountain Brook was invited by retired Marine Corp "The President's Own" band member and The Foundation for Historic Programs director of special programs Earl Hurrey. MBHS will be one of the few high school bands chosen to represent America in the festivities. After receiving the invitation shortly following the Hawaii trip, Smith and MBHS principal Amanda Hood agreed that keeping the invitation a surprise has been very difficult, but are excited for the opportunity. “I was just so excited. I was just blown away first of all that they [the officials] would consider us,” Smith said. “We have great kids and a great community, and they saw the best of what we have in Hawaii.” In fact, Smith said it was because of


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their performance in Hawaii that the program was considered for the D-Day celebrations. "Seniors ... I want you to understand that without your services to this program, we wouldn't be invited to anything like this,” Smith said during their banquet on May 12 after the announcement. “If you are a junior this year ... and traveled to Hawaii, we would not be able to do it without your successful performance and how you handled your business." During the celebration, which will take place in June 2019, Smith said the band will perform with other groups for the American ceremonies as well as in the D-Day Parade, which is one of the largest parades in the world. “There aren’t many places like Normandy and the invasion of D-Day that are just more solemn and respected, so for our band program to get to be a part of that is really just an incredible opportunity,” Hood said. “For great kids, great things happen, and so we’re really proud of them.” “I got to go to Hawaii, so that was already, like amazing, because I’m never going to get to go to Hawaii again pretty much. And now that I get to go to France as well in the same high school, that just makes it ten times better,” said sophomore band member Max Adams. Much like the Hawaii trip, when they aren’t performing, band members will be treated to a cultural component of the trip by including stops to Paris and London in their itinerary. “We’re just very proud to do this,” Smith said. “It should be a fantastic trip and of epic proportions.”

June 2017 • B13

Glass recycling, mural in Crestline part of students’ Leadership plans

Students, from left, Sarah Gladney, Gracie Carmichael, Emily Ferguson and Madison Gaston introduce their project for a Village Coupon Book, to be valid through the end of 2017. The coupon books will be free to those who have purchased $50 or more of Village Gold or can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce for $15. Photo by Lexi Coon.

By LEXI COON In addition to working in their classrooms, Leadership Mountain Brook students work within their community, especially for their final projects. Last year resulted in the children’s book, “Buttons Explores the Brook,” and this year, members split off to help make Mountain Brook a better place for everyone who lives and visits there. As one of the first projects, Leadership Mountain Brook members Kendall Alby, Will Bundy, Mary Louise Howland and Matthew Bullock worked alongside the Chamber of Commerce to create the kickoff event for the monthlong anniversary celebrations May 7. The event featured live music, cake, ice cream, Mayfield’s Maggie the Cow and a kids’ area for family friendly activities. Classmates Lane Berry, Jonathan Jones, Fredda Cardwell and Lily Rucker have also worked with members of the Mountain Brook restaurant community to implement a glass-recycling program. After meeting with the Alabama Environment Council, they learned more about the process and sent out a survey to local restaurants. According to the results, 97.1 percent of responses said if a service was available, they would consider participating, and 94 percent thought the service would benefit the Mountain Brook environment. Rucker said the service would cost businesses $125 per month, and the fee would

provide restaurants with two 55-gallon drums and weekly pickup. Other Leadership Mountain Brook members are looking at beautifying Crestline through a mural on the blank wall between the Crestline Pharmacy and City Hall. As of mid-April, Jennings Briley, Isabella DeGaris, Rose Levine and Virginia Winn had met with Village Design Review and made connections with local artists to help create a design that is simple, distinct and community-oriented. To paint the mural, they would have to coordinate with the city on a budget, with the police department to block off Hoyt Lane and with Village Design Review to find a local artist to paint the mural. Although the mural will be representative of Mountain Brook, the students said they may

look for a more artistic approach. Students Gracie Carmichael, Emily Ferguson, Madison Gaston and Sarah Gladney are creating a coupon book that includes all of the Village Gold stores as a way to encourage shopping within the community. After providing information to almost every Mountain Brook store, the students have worked with shop owners to create reasonable discounts for the book, which will have perforated pages for easy removal. They are planning for the book to be in color and about 25 pages, and the coupons will be valid through the end of 2017. The students also have designed the cover of the coupon book to reflect the Mountain Brook community in lieu of using a standard template. The coupon books will be free to those who

have purchased $50 or more of Village Gold or can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce for $15. Of the books sold, $2 will go toward manufacturing costs, $4 will go to the chamber and the remaining funds will go to Leadership Mountain Brook for future projects. Finally, Mary Frances Bloodworth, Caroline Goings, Sarah Hydinger and Noelle Thrasher are looking to the future to plan the fall 2017 Little Leader Day for younger Mountain Brook students. The Little Leader Day will introduce young Spartans to the city’s leaders and the inner workings of the city while putting participants in a fun and entertaining atmosphere. For more information about the projects, or to purchase a coupon book, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 871-3779.

DEADLINE IS AUGUST 4 Winners will be announced in our September issue. Category 1: Any summer fun photo Category 2: A summer fun photo displaying a copy of Village Living wherever you are To enter: Email high resolution photos in .JPG format* and captions including location, names of anyone pictured and photo credit to *Four photos allowed per person.

B14 • June 2017

Village Living

Calendar Mountain Brook Events June 3: Parrots and Pirates. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Birmingham Zoo. Visit June 5-9: VBS, Canterbury UMC. 9 a.m. to noon. For completed 3K through fifth grades. Register at http://canterbury June 12-16: Singing Safari Preschool Music Camp. 9-11 a.m. Mason Music, Mountain Brook Studio. For potty trained 3-5 year olds. $125. Visit June 17: Zoo, Brews and Full Moon Bar-B-Que. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Visit June 19-23: Mason Music’s Rock Band Camp. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mason Music, Mountain Brook Studio. For students ages 10-18 ready to take their instrument to the next level. $350. Visit masonmusic June 26-30: Mason Music’s Rock Band Camp. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mason Music, Mountain Brook Studio. For ages 3-5. $125 Visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens June 5-9: Young Artists in The Gardens. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For children entering grades 5K-2. Explore a new garden and new artist each day to experience life in The Gardens in living color. $160 members, $200 non-members. June 5-9: Young Artists in The Gardens. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For children

entering third through sixth grades. Explore a new garden and new artist each day to experience life in The Gardens in living color. $160 members, $200 non-members. June 5-9 Growing through Yoga. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For children entering grades 5K through fourth. Go on a yoga adventure in The Gardens. Build strength and balance in yoga poses inspired by the landscape and architecture of The Gardens. $160 members, $200 non-members.

share ideas and knowledge with each other. Free, $5 donation suggested. For ages 12 and older. June 19-23: Let’s Get Growing: The Tiny Seed. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For children ages 4-5 years old. Explore the Gardens and investigate plants and plant growth through children’s literature adventures. $160 members, $200 non-members.

Emmet O’Neal Library Events Children Mondays: Toddler Tales Storytime. 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays: All ages Shows. 10:30 a.m. June 6: Be-at Your Best with Drummer Mark Seymour; June 13: Hampstead Stage Theatre – Beauty & the Beast; June 20: Mixed Up! Music with Jim Aycock; June 27: Animal Tales – Animal Architects.

June 6: Thyme to Read Book Club. Discussing “Dear County Agent Guy: Calf Pulling, Husband Training and Other Curious Dispatches from a Midwestern Dairy Farmer” by Jerry Nelson.

June 19-23: Microworlds in The Gardens: Creepy Crawlers and Insects. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For children entering 5K through second grades. Investigate a microworld of living soil. Discover creepy crawlers and all kinds of micro-animals. $160 members, $200 non-members.

June 8: Pollinators Landscaping. 10 a.m. to noon. Ireland Room. Learn about types of plants that draw pollinators and their care. Members only.

June 23: Hikes for Tykes: Plant Monsters! 10 a.m. Walk encouraging pre-school children and their parents to engage in an outdoor educational adventure.  

Wednesdays: Movers & Makers. 1:30 p.m.

June 10 and 17: Memorable Images. 9 a.m. to noon. Learn the basic concepts in photography and digital camera operations. $100 members, $120 non-members.

June 24: Native Plants of Wetlands Field Trip. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Day program. $90 members, $100 non-members.

Thursdays: SNaP. 3:30 p.m.

June 10: Family Yoga in the Gardens. 9-10 a.m. $15 drop-in (child and one adult), $5 per additional family members. June 17: Native Wildflowers of Summer. 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Learn terminology and concepts for summer plants. Members $45, non-members, $50. June 18: Photo Talk. 2-4 p.m. Informational class for photographers to

June 26-30: Summer Garden Chefs. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For children entering kindergarten through second grades. Five days full of exploring, planting, smelling, tasting, creating and cooking. $160 members, $200 non-members. June 26-30: Summer Garden Chefs. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For children entering third through sixth grades. Five days full of exploring, planting, smelling, tasting, creating and cooking. $160 members, $200 non-members.

Tuesdays: LOL: Go! 3:30 pm Wednesdays: Mother Goose Storytime. 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.

Thursdays: Patty Cake Storytime. 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.

Saturdays: Family Storytime with Mr. Mac June 6: Breakout Book Club for emerging readers: I Am Invited to a Party. 6 p.m. June 13: Hot Off the Press Book Club. 6 p.m. Young Adults (seventh through 12th grades) June 3: Game On: Breakfast of Champions Edition. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 10: Chopped Crestline. 1-4 p.m. Don your chef hat for culinary fun. June 17: Movie Marathon. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adults Wednesdays: Brown Bag Lunch Series. Programs begin at 12:30 p.m. Bring a sack lunch; beverages and dessert provided.

June 2017 • B15 June 16: Yoga Workshop on Mindfulness with Marie Blair. 10 a.m. to noon June 20: Documentaries After Dark. 6:30 p.m.

June 12: Great Books Book Group. 6:30 p.m.

June 21: Foreign Film Series: “Embrace of the Serpent.” 6:30 p.m.

June 13: The Bookies Book Group. 10 a.m. Discussing “Charlotte Temple” by Susanna Rowson.

June 27: Genre Reading Group. Discussing science fiction/fantasy, 6:30 p.m.

Area Events Through June 6: Third Space – Shifting Conversations About Contemporary Art. Birmingham Museum of Art, 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. This is the first large exhibition of contemporary art from the BMA’s own collection and features more than 100 works, including paintings, sculpture, photography and video. Admission is free. For times and other information, call 254-2565 or go to June 1: Birmingham Art Crawl. 5-9 p.m. 113 22nd St. N. Meet local artists and performers and buy their work. Visit June 2: Alabama Symphony Orchestra Coffee Concerts: Delfs Conducts Brahms 2. 11 a.m. Alys Stephens Center. $18, $28 and $34. Visit June 2: Made South. 5 p.m. Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Featuring more than 100 artisans and makers from the area. $10-$29. Visit June 2: Scandalous Hair. 8 p.m. Musical stage play. Visit

June 11: The Wizard of Oz. 2 p.m. $8. Visit June 14-18: Birmingham Barons vs. Jackson Generals. 7:05 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, 3 p.m.; Sunday. $7-$14. Visit June 15, 16 and 17: National Sacred Harp Convention. 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Covered dish lunch from noon to 1 p.m. BSDA Friendship Hall. 1024 Old Walker Chapel Road, Fultondale. Open to the public, visitors are welcome. For more information contact Glenn Keeton 9021783. Visit June 16: Mean Girls. 7 p.m. $8. Visit June 17. LOCAL. Alys Stephens Center, 1200 10th Ave. S. The fourth annual LOCAL is an outdoor, family-friendly event featuring Alabama farmers, artists and vendors, performances by local musicians and food trucks. To become a vendor, call 975-4118. For event information, call 975-2787 or go to

June 2-3: Alabama Symphony Orchestra EBSCO Masterworks Series: Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. 8 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $25-$74. Visit alabama

June 17: Gladys Knight. 8 p.m. BJCC Concert Hall. $39-$91. Visit

June 3: Lakeshore’s Amazing Race. 9 a.m. Lakeshore Foundation. Individual Teams $300 ($75 per person) Corporate teams $500 (team of four). Visit

June 17: Southeastern Outings Kayak & Canoe Trip on Terrapin Creek. Depart 9 a.m. from Applebee’s in Trussville. For information, call 631-4680 or email

June 3, 10, 17 and 24: The Market at Pepper Place. 7 a.m. to noon. Visit pepper

June 17-18: Tannehill Trade Days. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. $3-$5. Visit

June 3-4: 44th Tannehill Gem, Mineral, Fossil and Trade Show. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. $3-$5. Visit

June 18: Paper Moon. 2 p.m. $8. Visit

June 7: A Communications View from the State House. 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Featuring a special visit from John Merrill, Alabama Secretary of State. Vestavia Hills Library Community Room. Online registration is available at or by emailing Victoria Fetner at vic.fetner@gmail. com. $16/$18 day of event for members; $20/$22 day of event for guests; $10 for students. June 8: Sounds of Summer. 6 p.m. The Summit. Food and music featuring performance by Raquel Lilly. Visit June 9: Psycho. 7 p.m. $8. Visit alabama June 9-25: Fiddler on the Roof. Dorothy Jemison Day Theater. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $25 and up. Visit June 10: Take the Reins Run. Veterans Park. 5K and 10K to celebrate veterans and raise money for programs at The Red Barn. $35. Visit June 10: Johnny Lang. 8 p.m. Alys Stephens Center. $54-$72. Visit June 10: Chris Stapleton. 7 p.m. Oak Mountain Amphitheatre. Featuring Anderson East and Brent Cobb. $30-$75. Visit June 10: Second Saturday at Sloss Walk and Talk.10:30 a.m. Garden at Sloss Quarters. Common and Holy Basils-Tinctures and Teas. Presented by Birmingham Historical Society. Visit

June 17: Bennie Mac. 8 p.m. BJCC Theatre. $22-$27. Visit

June 23: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 7 p.m. $8. Visit June 24. Birmingham’s Small Business Expo. BJCC Exhibition Hall. The event brings together hundreds of business owners to shop for products and services from vendors. There are also workshops, demonstrations and other networking opportunities. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission free. For information, including vendor, sponsor and exhibit packages, call 334-505-1817. June 24: Southeastern Outings River Float on the Locust Fork River. Depart 9 a.m. from the Cleveland Chevron. Call 631-4680 or email June 25: Cabaret. 2 p.m. $8. Visit alabama June 28-July 3: Birmingham Barons vs. Biloxi Shuckers. 7:05 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 6:30 p.m.; Saturday; 3 p.m.; Sunday; 6:30 p.m. Monday. $7-$14. Visit June 29: 2017 I Love America Night. 6-10 p.m. Wald Park. Free admission. Free swimming from 6-7:30 p.m., children’s area, music by Shades Mountain Baptist Church Orchestra at 7 p.m. and movie at 8:15 p.m. Visit June 30: Magic City Con. Hyatt Regency, Wynfrey Hotel. Friday, 12 p.m.-12 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-12 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $30. Visit June 30: Blackwood Memorial Concert. 7 p.m. Wright Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. Concert by the Blackwood Quartet remembering R.W. Blackwood. Visit

Celebrate summer and Father’s Day with Cookie Fix!

Village Living June 2017  
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