Village Living February 2023

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Mike Mouron inducted into Alabama Business Hall of Fame

Mike Mouron said his advice for the younger generation is simple: find a profession you are passionate about.

Mouron graduated from Mountain Brook High School before earning an accounting degree from the University of Alabama.

Following a few years working as a CPA in Montgomery, Mouron began pursuing a career in real estate, which always interested him.

See HALL OF FAME | page A26

Employee(s) of the Year

City clerk, assistant to city manager/PIO tie for award

For the first time ever, two employees from the city of Mountain Brook tied for the Employee of the Year award.

Janet Forbes and Heather Richards were recognized on Jan. 25 at the annual Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“I could not be happier to have been receiving this award alongside Janet,” Richards said. “I love the fact that we can share this experience together. I consider Janet a dear friend, and what friend wouldn’t want to share this

experience with their friend?”

Forbes echoed that sentiment. “I'm thrilled to be rewarded. I'm thrilled to be with her,” she said of Richards. “We work together a lot on different things.”

Seven city employees were nominated for the award. A selection committee comprised of the mayor, two council members, a city department head and the director of the Chamber of Commerce deliberated before winding up in a tie for the first time ever.

See EMPLOYEES | page A25

Lights Easily PEST FREE less smoky PREMIUM ALABAMA KILN-DRIED FIREWOOD Order Online AT COMPLIMENTARY DELIVERY OR SCAN TO ORDE R Millie Rudder takes over as the 2023 president of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce. Get to know some of the health and wellness providers in the Mountain Brook area. Sponsors A4 City A6 Business A8 Community A18 Schoolhouse A19 Sports A21 Opinion B13 Calendar B15 INSIDE See page A17 See page B1 New Leadership Medical Guide GUINSERVICE.COM Serving the Birmingham area since 1958. 205-595-4846 AL#12175 February 2023 | Volume 13 | Issue 11
Mike Mouron at the Valley Hotel in Homewood. Mouron was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in November. Photo by Erin Nelson.
Janet Forbes, left, and Heather Richards were both named the city’s employees of the year, the first time the city has had two people tie for winn. Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr. SERVING MOUNTAIN BROOK, THE 280 CORRIDOR, HOMEWOOD, HOOVER, TRUSSVILLE AND VESTAVIA HILLS
A2 • February 2023 Village Living WINTER SPECIAL *with all
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landscaping jobs $2,500+ excludes Japanese maples and specimen trees. February 2023 • A3 IF THE HURTING GETS WORSE, ADDITIONAL HELP IS PROMPTLY AVAILABLE Intensive outpatient counseling is available. IOP Services, LLC is the only independent program of its kind in our state. IOP provides nine hours of treatment each week. If the emotional distress worsens and weekly therapy is not enough - we are available. Treatment is provided in group therapy, which is uniquely engaging, inspiring and effective. Covered by most insurance plans.* Immediate Evaluation is Available! IOPServices 600 Century Park South, Suite 200 Birmingham, AL 35226 Call or Text: (205) 999-5247 Email: *We Accept All Major Insurance In most cases treatment is covered

About Us

Publisher’s Note By Dan Starnes

As you look ahead to February, you will likely think of Valentine’s Day and what it has come to mean for most of us: I need to do or buy something for my significant other.

If that’s the case for you, I’d encourage you to do your shopping and plan your experiences here in Mountain Brook. There are plenty of great options for dining and shopping that we are fortunate to have all around us.

Thanks to Lane Parke, we have several new restaurants and retailers from which to choose in addition to the many tried and true businesses we know and love throughout the city. I think a great place to start your research is to look to the right-hand side of this page and search through our community partners responsible for delivering this paper to your mailbox each month.

While the local business landscape here has changed over the years, as all things do, it has remained an incredibly important part of the city and it has

continued to improve as it has evolved.

Many of the businesses here are owned by residents of Mountain Brook while others are not. Either way, within each of these businesses you will find some fantastic people who make the community a better place for all of us.

And if you are someone who is working in our local business community, we want to help you promote your business.

We have a section of free business announcements called Business

Happenings that runs each month in print and online.

These are here as a service to both our businesses and our readers. We’d like to be plugged in as much as possible and promote what is new in the business community. Turn to page A8 to see this month’s announcements and learn how you can submit your own.

If you’d like to talk with me about how we can better inform our readers of happenings in our local business community, I’m always up for that conversation. Feel free to email me at or shoot me a text at 205-622-1557.

Thanks for reading and have a great month.


Please Support Our Community Partners

Abenoja Orthodontics (A18)

Advanced Turf Care - Gardner (A7)

Alabama Power (A28)

Alabama Vision Center (B11)

Always Best Care: ABC Senior Services (A6)

Amy Ager, LAH Realty - Mountain Brook (A14)

Amy Smith Gardner, State Farm (A7)

Bates, Roberts, Fowlkes & Jackson Insurance (A15)

Bedzzz Express (B1, B16)

Brandino Brass (A2)

Bromberg’s (A21)

Brookdale University Park (B4)

Campfire Woodfuel (A1)

Canterbury Gardens (A8)

Children’s of Alabama (B5)

Clark Holmes Smith Oral Facial Surgery of Alabama (B10)

Elle (A18)

First US Bank (A23)

Floss Family Dentistry Crestline (B6)

Gardner Landscaping (A2)

Guin Service (A1)

Gunn Dermatology (B7)

Harbin Discount Pharmacy (B11)

Homewood Carpet & Flooring (B14)

IOP Services LLC (A3)

Issis & Sons (A13)

Jefferson County Department of Health (B9)

Katie Crommelin, Ray & Poynor (A11)

Linscomb & Williams (B13)

Mathnasium of Mountain Brook (A16)

Medicare Advisors of Alabama (B8)

Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce (A25)

Mr. Handyman of Birmingham (A17)

One Man & A Toolbox (A7)

Parrot Structural Services LLC (A5)

Piggly Wiggly (A5)

Publix (A27)

Ray & Poynor (A19)

Ritch’s Pharmacy (B1)

ROME Study, UAB Division of Preventative Medicine (A21)

Samford University Marketing (A3)

Southern Home Structural Repair Specialists (B14)

Southern States Bank (A20)

SouthState Bank (B15)


Community Editors:

Sports Editor: Design Editor: Photo Editor: Page Designer:

Production Assistant:

Contributing Writers: Graphic Designer: Client Success Specialist: Business Development Exec: Business Development Rep: Operations Specialist:

Dan Starnes

Leah Ingram Eagle

Jon Anderson

Neal Embry

Kyle Parmley

Melanie Viering

Erin Nelson

Ted Perry

Simeon Delante

Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

Sean Dietrich

Sarah Gilliland

Candice N. Hale

Kari Kampakis

Emily VanderMey

Warren Caldwell

Don Harris

Madison Gaines

Sarah Villar

For advertising contact:

Contact Information: Village Living P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253 (205) 313-1780


Please submit all articles, information and photos to: P.O. Box 530341 Birmingham, AL 35253

Published by: Village Living LLC

TherapySouth Corporate (B3)

Total Fitness Consultants (B10)

UAB Callahan Eye Clinic (B12)

Vapor Ministries/Thrift Store (A9)

Virginia Samford Theatre (A8)

Vulcan Termite & Pest Control (A11)

Whale of a Sale (B15)

Window World of Central Alabama (A24)

Find Us

Pick up the latest issue of Village Living at the following locations:

► Brookhill Condominiums

► Church Street Coffee & Books

► Mountain Brook City Hall

► Continental Bakery

► O’Neal Public Library

► Gilchrist

► Levite Jewish Community Center

► Mountain Brook Creamery

Please recycle this paper.

► Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce

► Otey’s Tavern

► RealtySouth

► RealtySouth - Crestline

► Taco Mama - Crestline

► Treadwell Barbershop

► Whole Foods Market

Want to join this list or get Village Living mailed to your home? Contact Dan Starnes at

A4 • February 2023 Village Living
during halftime
a game
Mountain Brook cheerleaders perform
against McAdory at Spartan Arena on Jan. 6.
Photo by Erin Nelson.
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in Village Living is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property
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Village Living is published
should February 2023 • A5 THE RIGHT WAY IS THE ONLY WAY Solid solutions to structural problems due to unstable soils or shifting foundation. FOUNDATION REPAIR SPECIALISTS Call for your foundation repair estimate (205) 668-2626

Council discusses Lane Park paving needs

Billy Pritchard was beside himself, disappointed that the city of Birmingham hasn’t done a better job maintaining one of its streets that is traveled regularly by Mountain Brook residents.

Lane Park Road is a Birmingham thoroughfare which is the city’s gateway to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, but the road is in need of repair due to potholes.

“It’s just really disappointing,” the councilman said during the Jan. 9 Mountain Brook City Council meeting. “That is probably, maybe one of the top two major tourist attractions for the city of Birmingham and it’s their road. It’s their entrance way for tons of people from Mountain Brook going in there and also from around the state.

“It’s just really disappointing they won’t fix their own road,” Pritchard continued. “If they’re not going to do it, we ought to do it.”

Councilman Lloyd Shelton said it’s great for Mountain Brook to fix the potholes.

“We’re stepping in and fixing a problem of another city,” Shelton said. “What else would be in it for us, other than we’re doing it because we’re tired of waiting?”

Mayor Stewart H. Welch III said he initially thought getting Birmingham to fix the potholes would be easy, but he has since learned it is not that simple.

“Even though it’s Birmingham’s

road, it is probably 90% used by Mountain Brook residents,” Welch said. “And every Mountain Brook resident assumes it’s our road, and that we’re not taking care of it.”

The council decided to delay taking action on the road. In the meantime, City Manager Sam Gaston said he will seek cost

estimates from Mountain Brook Public Works Director Ronnie Vaughn about what it would take to pave the trouble spots on the street and/or patch them.

“I was going to talk with Birmingham,” Gaston said, “about some additional funds, what might be needed.”

Let Us Take Care of Your Loved Ones

Gaston said Lane Park Road is basically the dividing line between Mountain Brook and Birmingham. When a street is a dividing line between cities, generally half the street is in one city and half the street is in the other city, he said. “Here, for whatever reason, coming out of Mountain Brook

Village, all the street, the right of way, is in Birmingham,” Gaston said. “We’d like to see what we can do to make it look a little bit better.”

In other matters:

► AmWaste District Manager Rick Sweeney gave an update on the company’s garbage collection service. He acknowledged having had 1,355 missed services after one month, of which 322 residences accounted for 901 of those misses.

“I’m pleased to announce that in the last six weeks, we had a total of 389 missed services, which is about a 0.43% failure rate … or a 99.57% success rate,” Sweeney said. “We’re certainly not perfect (but) we did have one day when we had zero misses reported for the day. That’s our goal every day.”

► The council approved the city’s tree protection ordinance, after it was tweaked to keep Mountain Brook in line for Tree City USA recognition.

► The panel granted a request to extend the Caldwell Mill Road bridge project for 74 days, beginning on Dec. 14.

► Conditional use was granted to Magic City Cheer at 229 Country Club Park. It is located in the former 32 Degree Yogurt location.

► A transit service agreement was authorized for fiscal 2023 with Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority for the Zoo Route.

“It covers parts of Mountain Brook Village, the Zoo and Lane Park,” Gaston said. “That’s the only really fixed route that we have.”

“We were pleased from the beginning. They’ve been very responsive to our needs. They’ve shown a tremendous interest in us, and they listen to what we need. All the caregivers have been very good because they’re very caring. They’ve developed a very close relationship; they call to check on her when they’re not working.”

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Mountain Brook City Council member Billy Pritchard discusses the paving needs in the city at the Jan. 9 council meeting. Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

Mayor’s Minute

We don’t live in Mayberry, USA, anymore.

Growing up in Mountain Brook in the 1950s and 1960s was very reminiscent of “The Andy Griffith Show” and the small town of Mayberry. We never locked our doors, left the keys in our cars, and neighbors’ kids came and went as if we all shared the same home.

Even today, I hear folks speak of Mountain Brook as the “Mayberry of the South.”

This safe feeling too often has us letting our guard down and criminals take advantage of our lackadaisical attitude.

While Mountain Brook has one of the lowest crime rates in the state, there is still more crime than necessary. Perhaps the most prevalent and preventable crime in our city is automobile break-ins.

If we all did a few common sense things, we could significantly reduce this particular crime in our city.

Lock your automobiles. We have had criminal gangs drop off fellow criminals in the middle of the night in our neighborhoods. They then move through stealthily checking to see if cars are unlocked. When they find one, they rummage through it looking for anything of value.

Don’t leave valuables in plain sight. It only takes a few seconds to break a car window and steal an item.

Don’t leave your keys or key fob in your car. The first thing a criminal does is push the start button. If it cranks, they steal the car.

Here’s why it matters. Bank robber Willie Sutton was asked, “Why do you rob banks?” He replied, “Because that’s where the money is!”

It’s the same reason criminals are attracted to Mountain Brook. Too many of us leave our cars unlocked with valuables in plain sight and some leave keys in their car as well. If you don’t care about your stuff, how about caring about your neighbor? Success breeds more criminal activity and many of the criminals are armed. I have a friend who witnessed a car break-in at his home in the middle of the night. He ran to the front porch and yelled at them and they fired a pistol. No one was injured, but what could have happened is a scary thought.

By us all being diligent, we can take away the incentive for this criminal activity.

If you’d like to get the weekly crime report, download the Mountain Brook PD app from the App Store on your smartphone.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Honoring Corporal Melton and Our Law Enforcement Officers

One reason I’m proud to be part of the Mountain Brook community is because of our devoted first responders. They are dedicated to serving and protecting our city—even when they’re off duty. I specifically want to recognize and extend heartfelt thanks to Corporal Melton of the Mountain Brook Police Department.

On the night of November 16, 2022, after leaving dinner at Blueprint on 3rd, a friend of mine, who lives in Hoover, unfortunately observed a wreck that involved his son’s car and another vehicle. It was around 10 p.m. with little traffic around, and it’s never a safe feeling to be in a dark, unpopulated location late at night. However, almost immediately after the accident, an off-duty officer in a Mountain Brook Police Department vehicle pulled up to the scene and offered to wait with them until the Birmingham police arrived, which was 20 to 25 minutes later. The officer was Corporal Melton. Even though he couldn’t

do anything other than wait, having an officer present during a stressful situation meant the world to my friend and his son (as well as the young man driving the other vehicle).

I’m so thankful to live in a city where our police officers exhibit such strong character and are committed to serving not only the citizens of Mountain Brook but also those in the greater Birmingham area. Join me in thanking Corporal Melton and the Mountain Brook Police Department for their service!

“Words cannot express how much it meant to all of us to have an officer wait with us. It was late on a weeknight, and this officer gave up his time to help ensure our safety. I learned after the fact that his name is Corporal Melton, and I would like to offer my sincere gratitude for his kindness and service to all of us.”—


Ms. Womack is an Associate Managing Director in Private Banking at Oakworth Capital Bank. She recently stepped down from the Mountain Brook City Council, where she served for two terms. February 2023 • A7
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Business Happenings


SmartBank recently opened its full retail branch in Mountain Brook. SmartBank delivers banking solutions including checking, savings, investing and planning to help clients meet their goals. Both the retail as well as commercial and private banking teams are operating in the building while the main building undergoes a comprehensive interior and exterior renovation. The main branch, located on the corner of U.S. 280 and Office Park, is scheduled to open in 2023. 659-599-0384,

Rheumatology Associates recently opened in Office Park. The practice offers a wide variety of in-house services including digital imaging, bone density (DXA), phlebotomy with in-house laboratory facilities, a dedicated infusion center and our research unit. Physicians include Dr. Joel D. Abbott, Dr. Maura Kennedy, Dr. Laura P. Parks, Dr. P. Anthony Saway, Dr. Henry B. Townsend, Dr. Ryan S. Weldon and Dr. Anthony M. Turkiewicz. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday-Thursday. 205-933-0320,


Zoës Kitchen will re-open under its original leadership in Crestline Village this month. The original Zoës Kitchen was founded in Homewood by John, Zoë and Marcus Cassimus in 1995. It grew to 300 units before being sold to a larger restaurant group in 2007. In 2018, the Zoës franchise was acquired by CAVA Group and all Zoës Kitchens were converted to the CAVA brand. The CAVA Group recently offered the Cassimus family the opportunity to re-open under the original menu.


homeRN has recently renovated the space at 127 Oak

St. in Crestline to be its new office location. homeRN is a concierge caregiving company that provides in-home service to patients and their families in both Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. The company offers one-on-one personalized care for clients in the comfort of their homes. homeRN offers a wide range of caregiver and nursing services including helping with daily living activities, sitting services and communication between physicians and family members.


Pet Vet Express, 253 Country Club Park, has completed its remodel and has expanded services to include an X-ray machine and dental radiology.



The winter edition of Birmingham Restaurant Week will be held Jan. 26-Feb. 4. Four Mountain Brook eateries will participate in the event including Sol y Luna in Lane Parke, Vino in English Village and The Gardens Cafe by Cathy G at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

homecare agencies must meet a rigorous set of criteria based on consumer ratings and reviews published publicly on Caring Super Stars have earned the Caring Star service excellence award for three or more years. Of the estimated 451,000 homecare agencies in the U.S., only 305 agencies received this award. Always Best Care is one of only four Alabama agencies and the only Mountain Brook-based agency to qualify. It is the only homecare agency in Alabama to be accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Healthcare and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. 205-874-9730,,


Chop N Fresh recently celebrated one year in its Lane Parke location. The restaurant was founded in 2016 by two close friends who wanted to help the industry shift and give access to truly fresh, healthy and amazing fast food. The menu features a variety of seasonal salads, warm grains and greens.


Total Fitness Consultants is celebrating one year since opening its Mountain Brook Village location at 2833 Culver Road. The team of certified trainers design personalized fitness programs and provide one-on-one training (for individuals or pairs) to help clients achieve their fitness goals. Total Fitness Consultants also has a gym located in Crestline Village at 204 Country Club Park.

205-871-7744,, a national program recognizing service excellence in homecare, has presented Always Best Care in Mountain Brook with a 2023 Caring Super Star Award. To be considered for this industry honor,

The Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery is celebrating its third year at its Cahaba Village Plaza location. The dessert spot is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday.


A8 • February 2023 Village Living Business
Business news to share? If you have news to share with the community about a brick-and-mortar business in Mountain Brook, let us know at

Making everyone feel ‘welcomed’

Crestline resident Cristina Casanova Might has created a lifestyle brand for people with special needs.

Might, an industrial designer, initially began her brand to design a functional and beautiful environment tailored to fit her son Buddy’s special needs. While Buddy is a huge impetus in Might starting her business, Welcomed Co., he is not the only motivation.

Through years of advocating for grants and public policy for Buddy, Might realized as a mother it was the lifestyle branded things she designed that made him happy. They were both functional and practical, like the fish tank in his bedroom, so he could move around with ease and enjoy his fish.

“Designs for those with different abilities only require small adjustments,” Might said. “We have to start considering being proactive and conserving their independence. Buddy showed me that he’s still loveable and capable of being a whole human. With better products, there’s still hope and it’s not the end of the world. In our society, everybody faces these challenges of growing older, needing accessible products and wanting to feel beautiful.”

“My hope is that any parent that has a child with a disability won’t have to worry if their child can fit through the front door of their best friend’s house,” she said.

In 2017, Might and her family moved to Birmingham, and she said the Mountain Brook community welcomed them with open arms.

Buddy, 13, was born with physical differences and special needs. At the time of the family’s move, his peers saw him and accepted him like others hadn’t before.

“They saw Buddy as a boy and didn’t just see his differences,” his mother said. “Southern hospitality is not just a myth; it can be very real.”

While embracing Buddy and the family, the community also saw the beautiful and appealing designs Might was creating for her son and

would make requests for their children and other loved ones. As an industrial designer, Might does not scale and focuses more on improving the appeal for clients.

Unfortunately, in 2020, the Might family experienced a tragedy and lost Buddy. But the mission to fight for her son’s causes — inclusion, equal rights and representation — still remains. One way to continue forward for Might is to create beautiful, accessible products that anybody would be comfortable using that destigmatizes different abilities.

Might’s 11-year-old daughter Victoria helped her mother not only to brainstorm names for the company she would build in honor of Buddy, but also assisted with creating and building the designs if she was afraid to start alone.

Victoria said, “I can help you make the business more welcoming to all people.”

“Nobody is born being able to walk or talk. People are born with different abilities — like neurodivergent or psychiatric ones,” Might said. “We must be more welcoming of those types of individuals and their needs.”

Through Might and her daughter’s conversations they came up with the name Welcomed Co. to represent a business where beautiful, inclusive products could be accessible.

“The goal is to reframe southern hospitality and help people find products that are more accessible in their everyday lives,” Might said.

Hospitality at its core is about an individual feeling special, so Welcomed Co. wants to provide that through its products..

Currently, most shower chairs, hospital beds, commode chairs, ramps, IV poles or medicine storage have a clinical look to them. Might believes that with beautiful options, people won’t feel embarrassed and will likely comply with usage.

“You want to look good and stylish — they enable people to be seen and not to be seen simply for their challenges and differences,” Might said. “They don’t have to be stigmatized for their depression or anxiety. Just because your abilities change doesn’t mean that your sense of style, autonomy or self-worth should.”

Might’s first line of products will launch this month, and she invites the community to be a part of the products she offers. For more information, visit February 2023 • A9 Give Life SCAN QR CODE TO bringing life to communities dying from extreme poverty. MEET URGENT NEEDS END POVERTY SPREAD THE GOSPEL WE ARE... TOGETHER
Cristina Might, a Mountain Brook resident and founder of the Welcomed Co., a lifestyle brand for accessibility and inclusivity, at her desk at Hardware Park in downtown Birmingham. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Compassionate Crossings

New business offers in-home euthanasia service for pets

When Lane and Kathryn Hagan found out this fall that their 15-year-old cat, Stella, didn’t have much time to live, they made the difficult decision to put her down.

Stella had beaten cancer in 2020 but had gotten sick again and was going downhill fast. The Hagans decided they didn’t want to put Stella through the trauma of a trip to the vet clinic, so they took advantage of a new business that provides euthanasia services at pets’ homes.

They called Dr. Lindsay Floyd of Compassionate Crossings in Hoover, who came out to the Hagans’ Mountain Brook home the same evening and gave Stella a peaceful transition into death in the comfort of her own home.

Lane Hagan said they wanted Stella’s final moments to be easy, and they also wanted their kids — ages 8, 6 and 5 — to be there to say goodbye.

Going through it at home was easier for everyone, Lane said. “You don’t want to go out and have an emotional experience in front of other people if you don’t have to,” he said.

Lloyd was professional and compassionate and talked to the children in a way they could understand what was happening, he said.

“It was a very pleasant experience,” Lane said. “We would definitely recommend her to anybody going through the same situation.”

Floyd, who grew up in Hoover and moved back to Bluff Park in 2012, works as an associate veterinarian at the Lincoln Veterinarian Clinic in Talladega County. She started her Compassionate Crossings business in October as a side business to help meet a need for both pet owners and vet clinics, she said.

Putting a pet to sleep is an incredibly intense time for most pet owners, and many people like the idea of letting their pet transition into death in a calm, quiet, comfortable environment to which the pet is accustomed, instead of taking their pet to an unfamiliar office with a lot of strangers and unfamiliar animals around, Floyd said.

Also, it’s difficult to get some animals to a vet’s office, she said. Cats usually are terrified of vet clinics, and some dogs are heavy, aggressive or nonmobile, she said. Sometimes, pet owners who are disabled have difficulty getting out, she said.

Floyd said she also isn’t trying to compete with vet clinics but instead provide a service for them as well. She only makes her appointments after hours (usually 6-10 p.m.) or on weekends or holidays, all times most vet clinics are closed, she said.

Also, providing in-home euthanasia service is

not really a moneymaker for vets, she said. And with manpower shortages, it’s hard for vets to make time to leave the office, she said.

When she opened in October, Floyd sent letters to vet clinics in communities south of Birmingham, letting them know she was available to help, and vets surprisingly have been the source of most of her referrals, she said.

She had about 25 clients in her first two months, which was more than she expected, she said. Compassionate Crossings, while based in Hoover, also is licensed to do business in Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills and other parts of Jefferson and Shelby counties, she said. As her business grows, she hopes to extend her reach into other communities, she said.

Compassionate Crossings does not provide any medical, surgical or hospice services — only euthanasia and body aftercare services, she said.

Floyd graduated from Hoover High School in 1999, got her doctorate in veterinary medicine

Preserving special memories

A Mountain Brook business is offering an alternative option for bridal bouquets after the wedding day.

Combining their interest in art, flowers and resin, Heidi Cat specializes in wedding flower preservation that will create memories for years to come.

Heidi Hallman and Catherine Romero, longtime friends of over 20 years, make up the duo behind Heidi Cat. They wanted a name for the business that would be catchy and memorable, so they combined their first names.

“Other names sounded stiff and forced,” they said. “[The other names] didn’t sound right and failed to embody our personality,” and the name Heidi Cat represented both of them more fully.

Romero, who is the lifelong DIYer of the duo, says the idea for the business somewhat fell in her lap after watching a video on YouTube about resin and art design. She thought this would be perfect for her and Heidi to do.

“Resin is a tricky medium and would take a while to get right, though,” Romero said. “We both love resin, antiques and art. A random 2+2 came together and made 4.”

As Southern women, Hallman and Romero value the preservation of these bouquets and enjoyed seeing the flowers preserved in the creations they made.

“She didn’t want the younger generation to not experience that concept after their wedding days by just having photos on a camera or stuck in the cloud,” Romero said.

The duo knew there was a better way to capture the memories for brides. They attended an assortment of weddings, and realized nobody was doing this type of flower preservation.

Heidi Cat officially launched in early August 2022. Hallmann and Romero were able to meet with brides, local florists, wedding planners and coordinators to discuss Heidi Cat’s new products. Through word of mouth and social media, Heidi Cat’s bouquet preservation became a product in hot demand.

“There was no option other than to dry flowers and it wasn’t appealing 25 years ago, and now there are more options — to shape, to dry

Left: Ross Scruggs and Dr. Lindsay Floyd sit on their patio swing with Jack, center, the couple’s 12-year-old dog, and Dave, a 6-year-old sphynx cat, at their home.

Above: Compassionate Crossings, an athome end-of-life pet service, offers families a variety of options of remembrance for their pet through pet cremation packages. Photos by Erin Nelson.

from Auburn University in 2007, completed an internship in medicine and surgery in North Carolina and then practiced for four years in South Carolina before moving back to Hoover in 2012. She has two dogs and two cats.

Hope Ausley of Cahaba Heights said she and her husband, Francis, also found Compassionate Crossings to be a big help when their 16-year-old cat, Simon, was nearing the end of his life this fall. Simon hated getting anywhere near a car and would not have liked the trip to the vet’s office, she said.

Floyd came to their home about 10 p.m. one night and was absolutely wonderful, Ausley said. She didn’t rush the process at all.

“We were able to hold Simon, have him in his heating pad and blanket,” Ausley said. “We sat in his favorite chair by the fireplace.”

It was better by far than having Simon get agitated about getting into a car and going to a veterinarian’s office, she said. “It was a real blessing.”

For more information, go to their website at

and to color — it’s different from the yesteryear,” Romero said.

“Today, art can be an heirloom.”

Hallman said, “It’s in demand because it’s a new fresh take on preserving memory. [Our art] looks like it’s floating in water because it is 3-D, or it’s a functional piece of art you can use like bookends.”

Heidi Cat takes around 10 to 15 reservations each month. All pieces are custom and handmade and can take up to a year or longer to process and preserve. While Heidi Cat does take last-minute reservations, they usually prefer bridal parties to give them three months’

notice, well in advance of their wedding days. The flowers are rehydrated, cut and placed in a sclera base to dry for four weeks. Heidi Cat provides a design for the plan to be approved by the bride, and begins the pouring process with the resin layers one by one. The process is completed by sanding and a top coat is placed on the final product.

Heidi Cat is excited to help those who are looking for a new way to refurbish wedding bouquets.

“We create a great, beautiful timeless piece of art [for brides] that should be a part of their special day plans,” they said.

A10 • February 2023 Village Living
Above: Preserved wedding flowers by Heidi Cat. Left: Catherine Romero and Heidi Hallman, owners of Heidi Cat. Photos courtesy of Heidi Cat.
Modern floral preservation company creates custom art pieces from bridal bouquets

Customizing the journey to your dream home

An unforeseen opportunity during an extensive home renovation led former event planner Sarah Stewart to find a natural role in consulting.

As a person who values details, Stewart realized throughout the renovation process that she could provide a more elevated client experience to others.

“Details make things stand out, and details make the biggest impact,” she said.

From years of event planning, Stewart’s experience lended itself well to the role of construction and consulting — using her skills to help her clients save time and money as they customize their dream home.

In 2018, Sarah Stewart Consulting (SSC) was born. SSC understands that building a dream home is an overwhelming experience with many phases and designs to consider, but with a “personal concierge in the home-building process” that burden can be lifted off of them.

“SSC is here to hold the hand of homeowners when they are nervous about a home project,” Stewart said. “We are their advocates and are trying to give them the best experiences of building a home.”

Stewart’s business acumen relies on client transparency, clear communication and scheduled management. With her team, she can work effectively with the architect, contractor and homeowner to make sure the needs for the project, schedule and budgets are met.

Stewart wears many hats in her position. In any given situation, she could be a mix of concierge, translator, educator and advocate. It is simply part of the client services that she provides.

“With an elevated client experience, the client at SSC will come first,” she said. “Our team reads the situation, asks questions on clients’ behalf, finds out if the architect or contractor are responsible, and if money is involved. You don’t know what you don’t know. We might not know everything, but we know enough based on

our experience.”

Building a meaningful relationship with SSC begins with an online inquiry, where the team learns what is important to the homeowner, the scope of the project and their style, budget and timelines. In addition, there are other options to consider, like what teams would work best with each homeowner through interviews. SSC can guide homeowners to the best course of action to narrow down options for their specific needs and priorities.

The most common projects SSC manages are home renovations and new builds. However, in the beginning, Stewart acknowledged that assembling teams of architects, builders, contractors and designers were extremely popular assignments.

One of the biggest challenges for Stewart is the climate of construction and the expenses and schedules.

“There are so many things that are out of our control,” she said. “Trying to manage expectations coupled with managing different personalities is somewhat tricky. For example, when relaying negative information, like a price increase, it is often deflating to homeowners. No matter how hard we try to alleviate it with pre-planning — it still happens. We address front-end issues and other problems before they arise.”

Stewart’s best advice for prospective homeowners is to have a guide in building their dream home.

“Make a master scope of all the things you

want — architect, designer,or builder,” Stewart said. “If something is not drawn, planned or detailed, then the builder will not price it. Any item that is not initially priced but is later included will also add to the timeline. Having the master scope is really important.”

The company’s success is based on its strong relationships with homeowners and the ability to offer special personalization and customization for clients’ dream homes. Stewart knows personal choice is a key value at SSC.

“In every single step, [people] have choices that will affect the aesthetic and functionality of their home over time,” she said.

For more information about Sarah Stewart Consulting and services offered, visit February 2023 • A11 not BUGS love If your pest problem gets too much to handle... Call The Best to Fight The Pest 205-663-4200 Katie Crommelin 205-901-3730 | Your real estate resource for all things home. Thinking of making a move? LET’S TALK. If you aren’t in love with your current space, then let’s make a plan to find your new address!
Robert Fry, left, general contractor with Fry Construction, talks with Virginia Kranzusch, Sarah Stewart and Jenny Lou Gaylard, construction consultants with Sarah Stewart Consulting, at a home site on Country Club Boulevard in Mountain Brook on Jan. 9. Photo by Erin Nelson.

A delicious idea Making s’mores a gourmet treat

Mountain Brook resident Malissa Nelson is no stranger to the food industry.

After spending the early years of her career working for companies like Amazon and Dean & Deluca, Nelson’s extensive experience in marketing and communications gave her the skills and confidence to launch her own business.

“I’ve always had an appreciation not just for the food itself, but the larger context of meaning associated with the bringing together of people to break bread and celebrate those moments, big and small,” said Nelson, who grew up in Michigan.

She believes the food world is an absolute necessity for life.

“Being surrounded by people who [wanted to] bring a superior product to the marketplace, not just build a great business and tell a great story, but to also have an impact in people’s lives, felt like home to me,” she said.

She was recruited to Dean & Deluca in 2011 and after it was sold in 2014, Nelson consulted for various businesses until the end of 2018, when she had a decision to make — whether to continue consulting or start her own business. Having lived in many parts of the country, Nelson knew she wanted to zero in on the South because of its appreciation for food and hospitality.

“At this point, I had no idea what the concept was going to be,” Nelson said. “Once I got here [to Alabama], it clicked that it had to be something people wanted to indulge in.”

While she tried a couple of different things at first, her inspiration ultimately came from her children. She says that they were always asking to build a fire outside and roast marshmallows.

“It was right there in front of me the whole time,” Nelson told Village Living. “I usually told my kids no [to roasting marshmallows] because the ingredients in them are absolute junk. Even after calling makers I was familiar with from my time at Dean & Deluca, everything had corn syrup in it, especially high fructose corn syrup, and it just wasn’t something I was comfortable with feeding my kids,”

After this experience, Nelson found

herself experimenting with different ways of creating marshmallows without corn syrup. A year and a half later, she perfected her recipe and was ready to share it. However, she knew that this product needed to be put in a context that people would understand.

“I had this recipe, and I had to figure out, ‘OK, now what do I do with it?’,” she says. “I started trying to figure out different avenues to create a compelling offering that people would at least try, and, hopefully, they liked it.”

Deliciously launched the first week of October 2022 at CahabaQue, a bi-annual BBQ competition held at Cahaba Brewing Company to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.

Nelson said that experience changed her perspective on the business in a positive way.

“Being able to get out from behind my desk and serve people has been a nice little evolution in my career, and I’m definitely hooked on that now and excited to see where it goes,” she said.

She currently makes all of the marshmallows herself, but she is hoping to expand and utilize local makers for the marshmallows, chocolates and cookies that are available on her website. She believes sourcing her ingredients from the surrounding community is an important step in boosting the economy locally.

Deliciously has shipped their product to all of the 48 contiguous states, and the business has relied on social media and word of mouth advertising for their success thus far.

“We will always have vanilla bean, salted caramel and chocolate espresso flavors,” Nelson said. “Every six to eight weeks, we hope to rotate a seasonal menu for the marshmallows. The next product extension is to add flavored drizzles to our s’mores packages. We are also looking for a storefront to open the door to more ‘s’more-esque’ type things like ice cream or popsicles.”

Deliciously is also available for catering and events. Local delivery and shipping are available. For more information, visit shopdeliciously. com or follow them on Instagram at

Malissa Nelson, owner of Deliciously, uses a culinary butane torch to melt peppermint marshmallows, left, and chocolate and chai marshmallows, below, as she makes s’mores using her S’mores Kit at her home.

Birmingham Restaurant Week returns

The Winter Edition of Birmingham Restaurant Week 2023 will take place Jan. 26 through Feb. 4, and several Mountain Brook restaurants are scheduled to participate as of press date.


► Location: 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham

► Phone: 205-871-1000

► Web:

► Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


itself with its one-of-a-kind tapas dishes, such as the lobster taco. Sol Y Luna offers the community a place to eat, drink, have fun and, “more than everything, feel the warmer part of the Mexican culture that is around the table.”

► Cost: $25-$30 (brunch menu only available on Saturdays)

► Location: 920 Lane Parke Court, Mountain Brook

► Phone: 205-407-4797

► Web:

► Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m.


Vino sets an ambiance of a trendy and arty space where people can come and enjoy delicious food and wines. The overall genre of food served at Vino is an Italian-Mediterranean fusion with the usual proteins of chicken, fish and beef. Vino offers small-plate appetizers, salads, entrees and delectable desserts, including Vino’s famous apple fritters. The menu also includes a full bar with an emphasis on wine.

► Location: 1930 Cahaba Road, Mountain Brook

► Phone: 205-870-8404

► Web:

► Hours: 4-9 p.m.

► Cost: $7-$15

► Cost: $11-$50

A preview party for the event will be held on Jan. 24. The ticketed tasting event will feature small bites and sips from participating Birmingham Restaurant Week restaurants and beverage vendors. There will also be a Food Truck Pop-Up Park Jan. 26-28. Visit bhamrestaurantweek. com for details and information.

A12 • February 2023 Village Living
The cafe lunch menu reflects the feeling of being at the Gardens. Inspired by local greens and produce, the menu changes seasonally. The Latin-influenced tapas restaurant located in Lane Parke has made a name for Photos by Erin Nelson.

Crumbl Cookies set for spring opening in Mountain Brook

Crumbl Cookies first opened in Logan, Utah, in 2017. At first, the new business only served fresh milk chocolate chip cookies for takeout and delivery.

As Crumbl gained popularity, they developed new and unique flavor offerings, including their chilled pink sugar cookie, which became a semi-permanent menu item soon after its introduction.

In December 2018, the company introduced its iconic weekly menu rotation, and the rest, as they say, is history. Since opening its doors, Crumbl Cookies has seen massive growth, with over 600 bakeries in 47 states.

Alabama is one of those 47 states. Locally, Jason and Rebecca Dickey took it upon themselves to bring Crumbl Cookies to Mountain Brook and the greater Birmingham area.

Speaking with Village Living, Rebecca Dickey said she and her husband were researching a job for her because their kids were getting older and she was wondering what she would do after they went to high school.

“I came across the first Crumbl Cookies on the East Coast in Tennessee and went in, and I thought, ‘This is it. This is what I want to do,’” she said.

After researching what to do and how to franchise a Crumbl Cookies bakery herself, she and Jason began the first of many meetings with the corporate office in Utah.

“We were selected [to begin a franchise] in December of 2019, and, of course, the pandemic began immediately after that,” Rebecca said. “As far as building out our Vestavia Hills location, which was our first location, we basically had a long build out time with that one and didn’t open until July of 2021,” she said.

Why did they decide to open a Crumbl Cookies franchise as opposed to another business?

“Crumbl just seemed like a good fit for us,” she said. “My husband and I are both entrepreneurial in spirit, and he has another business, so we are just local business owners in the

communities that we are a part of.”

After the Vestavia Hills location opened, Rebecca said they almost immediately applied for growth because they loved the business so much. Last year, they applied to open three new locations: Alabaster, Mountain Brook and Greystone.

“I get asked, ‘Have you always wanted to have your own bakery?’ and the answer is no. That was not it. It’s about the business. I love being able to make a difference in people’s lives

and be able to offer them jobs and make a difference in the community,” Rebecca said. “We also donate to nonprofits every single day. We don’t throw away any leftover cookies. Making a difference in our community is what’s been important to me.”

Rebecca said the community response for each location they have opened has been positive. In both Alabaster and Vestavia Hills, the community leaders and officials worked quickly to help them open the bakeries.

Crumbl Cookies is opening a new location in Lane Parke this spring. Photo courtesy of Crumbl Cookies Instagram.

“We became sort of an instant fit with Vestavia Hills, and they let us know very quickly that they were super happy that we were there,” she said. “At Alabaster, the same type of reception was given. They showed us how much they wanted us there, and we felt very welcomed.”

While no date has been officially set, the Mountain Brook Crumbl Cookies location is slated to open at 360 Rele St. in late spring 2023. For more information, visit February 2023 • A13

2 agents for the price of 1: Ager and Healey bring double the expertise


When Amy Ager and Bea Healey began working together at LAH Real Estate in Mountain Brook, they adopted the slogan, “It takes two to make a dream come true.”

And over their careers, they have certainly made a lot of dreams come true for clients.

The two Mountain Brook natives blend their unique styles, backgrounds and personalities to help their clients get what they need and want from the often-difficult process of buying or selling a home — especially in a turbulent market.

The women have been friends for 35 years and have worked as a team at LAH for more than 15 years.


The women met in 1988, Healey says. They were both young mothers living on Clarendon Road in the Colonial Hills neighborhood in Mountain Brook.

“We had kids the same age and were part of a strolling group,” Ager says. “We spent every afternoon with the kids playing or strolling or taking them to the zoo or the park.”

They quickly formed a strong bond.

“Amy is one of the kindest people I know,” Healey says. “ I have never heard her say a bad thing about anybody.”

“Bea has a very outgoing personality,” Ager says. “She is very loyal, and she is funny, too. She is just fun to be around.”


The origin of the women’s careers in real estate came one night when they went out to dinner with some of the other mothers in their group.

Healey recalls the moment their unique partnership was born.

“I was sitting next to Amy and she said, ‘I'm thinking about going to real estate school.’ Before it got out of her mouth I said, ‘I’ll do it too.’”

The women completed their real estate training and began working for LAH in 2007, Healey says.

“We went into it as a fun thing, and then we realized we could make a career out of it,” Ager says.

The women almost always share listings and work as a team.

“It’s like you get two agents for the price of one, and we can bounce ideas off each other,” Ager says.

“Occasionally we will do something without the other, but we really like working together,” Healey says.


Ager and Healey both believe that honesty and transparency are the keys to working with their clients successfully.

For example, the women tell sellers the best strategies for selling their houses quickly, even if it might not be what the sellers want to hear.

They also help buyers see both the strong points and drawbacks of each house they visit.

The women’s different personalities work together well in this process, they say.

“Bea and I really complement each other,” Ager says. “I'm more of an emotional person and maybe more of a people pleaser, but I don't like to have any kind of confrontation. Bea has a great personality, but she can be more direct. She can say the tougher things because sometimes tough things have to be said.”

For example, in helping a seller, “Somebody has to tell them to take that tacky picture off the wall or we won’t sell their house,” Healey says, laughing.

“Our personalities are so different,” Ager says. “You get both sides of the equation.”

Both women are very dedicated and detail oriented, Healey says.

“Amy goes over every detail with clients and makes them feel comfortable with her,” she says.

Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions one of their clients will make in their lifetime, so Ager and Healey work to de-stress the process and make it a positive experience.

“You sit down with someone and explain what is going to happen, what you expect and how we will deal with all these situations,” Ager says.

The women also remain in close touch with clients

Amy Ager

► CALL: 205-915-3944


Amy Ager is a graduate of Hollins College with a B.A. in business and economics. She has three children and five grandchildren with one more on the way. She enjoys playing golf, and is very active at her church, Cathedral Church of the Advent. She also volunteers with the Red Mountain Garden Club and the Linly Heflin Unit. She lives in Crestline.

LAH Real Estate

► WHERE: 2850 Cahaba Road, Suite 200

► CALL: 205-870-8580


throughout the process.

“We are always available for them to call us, and we answer our phone and emails,” Ager says.


It has certainly been important for Ager and Healey to help reduce stress for clients — especially prospective buyers — in the red-hot real estate market in Mountain Brook and other communities the last couple of years.

There were multiple offers on most houses, and the houses were usually sold very quickly.

“It was crazy because you had to go in with your best, cleanest offer you could make,” Ager says. “It usually went to a cash buyer with no contingency so they could close quickly.”

In most cases, buyers couldn’t ask for an inspection or they could lose the house they wanted.

“Buyers had to make a huge decision with a lot of unknowns,” Ager says. The market has slowed down some “but it’s still very competitive, and buyers have to be really ready to make a decision.”

“There is not a lot of inventory so when something comes

Bea Healey

► CALL: 205-533-3329


Bea Healey and her husband, Tim, have three daughters. She graduated from The University of Mississippi with a degree in education. Her favorite hobby is knitting, and she volunteers with The Friends of O’Neal Library, including the group’s annual book sale. She lives in Crestline.

on the market it is kind of a feeding frenzy,” Healey says. “I try to encourage people to put their best offer out there. Don't regret not offering $2,000 more to buy something.”

Buyers should also know what they can afford to pay and have a general idea of what their monthly payment will be, she says.


Both women say that they continue to enjoy what they do for a living.

“I think it’s the satisfaction of helping somebody with such a big, important, life-changing decision,” Ager says. “I feel like we make a difference in their lives.”

“This was a very natural fit for me,” Healey says. “I love to meet people. I love helping people. I really love the interaction with people and finding out what they like and digging around and finding something they didn’t know they would want and they say, ‘Oh my gosh. How did you know this?’”

Both women say they have often made good, long-lasting friends through helping clients.


The women are very happy working at LAH, Ager says. “I know it seems like a cliche, but it does seem like family,” she says. “I think the agents all want to help each other. There's a lot of comradery.”

They also receive great support from the company.

“They give the agents a lot of support,” Ager says. “We have a marketing dept that is very helpful. Our brokers are always available to help us.”

A14 • February 2023 Village Living

Serving your bonding needs for businesses and individuals since 1963


stablished in 1963, Bates, Roberts, Fowlkes & Jackson Insurance in Irondale is a full-service agency offering home, auto and life insurance policies for its personal clients, as well as tailored business packages for commercial and professional clients.

The firm represents a carefully curated group of reputable, financially sound insurance companies and places policies with the companies that offer their clients the best coverage at the most competitive prices.

Bates, Roberts, Fowlkes & Jackson also provides bonds for a wide variety of clients, with Lee Headrick serving as the manager of the company’s bond department.

Headrick works daily with attorneys, paralegals, property managers, business owners, contractors and other professionals to fulfill their bonding needs.

“We want our clients to trust they can call if they need anything, and we strive to be there for them through thick and thin,” Headrick says.

“This year is our 60th anniversary,” she says. “Good service and happy customers are why we are still going strong and it means everything to us.”

The industry veteran is passionate about the importance of bonds to our economy and also seeks to dispel some misconceptions about them.

“I want to change the way people think of bonds,” Headrick says.“I want to change that.”

“Bonds touch our lives daily,” she says. “Your home was built by contractors who were bonded, it is kept comfortable by service people who are bonded, your employer has your benefits protected by bonds and you may have had occasion to use a notary who is bonded.”

Public officials, colleges, hospitals, nursing homes and investment advisors are bonded, Headrick says.

A type of bonding called surety bonding covers many things, she says. They include those that allow businesses to be licensed with the state, contractor bonds for work to be completed, court bonds to assist with probated estates, as well as bonds for the care of an elderly parent, judicial bonds for appeals and temporary restraining orders, bonds for lost checks or titles, and notary bonds, she says.

“Bonds may be invisible on a day-to-day basis but are tied up in a number of things that make the world run,” Headrick says.

Headrick explains that a bond is essentially a three-party contract.

“We — the bond company — insure you to another party that you will fulfill your obligation to them on time and in good faith,” she says. “The bond protects the other party and makes them more comfortable with the contract or appointment as there is a financial amount backing the contract should you fail at your obligation.”

“Each bond is a way to help a person, a business or a family,” she says. “Each bond is important to that person and has its own story. I want to make it easy for my customers.”

Headrick works directly with clients to get their bonds quickly so they can go about their work.

“As department manager, I attend to every detail of the bond so it is timely and accurate,” she says.

“As independent agents, we have many markets to find the right fit and source exactly what you are looking for,” Headrick says. “We have options for E-Signing applications and payments by credit card. We can write bonds all over the United States, and most bonds can be issued within a day or two.”

Headrick says that she is passionate about her work.

“I am goal-oriented and friendly, so I truly love what I do,” she says. “Nothing makes me happier than talking to our customers and helping them get what they need.”

“Lee has a great attitude and work ethic, as well as excellent product knowledge and great people skills,” says Bubba Bates, the president of Bates, Roberts, Fowlkes & Jackson and a native of Mountain Brook.

Headrick has done a “tremendous job” as the firm’s bond manager, Bates says.

“Lee is well connected with the Birmingham legal community, and she has brought in a large number of new clients to our agency,” he says. “Lee is proficient in getting bonds turned around in a prompt manner, and the attorneys and paralegals that she works with really like this.”

“I love helping people, and I also love a challenge,”


Headrick, CPIA, CISR

► CALL: 205-518-8923

► EMAIL: Office

► WHERE: 1812 Sixth Ave. S.

► CALL: 205-956-0563


Headrick says. “It’s super satisfying when I can find a solution to help someone with a bond.”

Headrick is originally from Colorado and moved to Alabama in the late 1980s.

She has 23 years of experience in surety bonding and has earned the CPIA (Certified Professional Insurance Agent) and CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative) designations.

Headrick said that she is proud to be part of the insurance industry and a part of Bates, Roberts, Fowlkes & Jackson.

The agency prioritizes “family, relationships and service,” she says.

“I work with a great group of agents who genuinely care about their clients, and when you love what you do, the


► Appeal

► Court

► Contract

► Detinue

► Fidelity

► Performance

► Probate

► Redemption

► Supersedes

► Surety


► Trust

service shows,” she says. “Our business serves amazing communities in Mountain Brook and all over Alabama.”

The people at Bates, Roberts, Fowlkes & Jackson work well together, Headrick says.

“We have an excellent team,” she says. “We all work seamlessly together to take care of all of your insurance and bonding needs, making every effort to get you the best coverage possible.”

Bates, Roberts, Fowlkes & Jackson also provide the personal touch.

LEE HEADRICK – BATES, ROBERTS, FOWLKES & JACKSON INSURANCE“Part of being a small business means that we can provide clients with personalized service,” Headrick says. “We are not so big you can’t get a person on the phone, but big enough to provide all your insurance and bonding needs.”

Away from work, Headrick says that she enjoys dancing, hearing live music, hiking and camping with Bill, her husband of 35 years, and their Goldendoodle Pete. She has two adult children, Lauren and Jon.

Please reach out to Lee, she is excited to help with your next bond! February 2023 • A15
► Utility Your Bonding Needs In One Place

Empowering students to achieve excellence in math


Dr. Loretta Westry is the owner and executive director of Mathnasium, a math learning center for students in kindergarten to 12th grade right off U.S. 280 in Mountain Brook.

Through her diverse teaching experiences and robust set of degrees, Dr. Westry blazes the trail as a woman in business in the world of tutoring and educational development.

This specific location of Mathnasium opened in September 2018 and Westry took ownership of the business in May 2022. Dr. Westry handles scheduling of employees, payroll, managerial matters, staff meetings and professional development training.

Before Dr. Westry stepped into the role of executive director of Mathnasium, she considered being the dean of the college she was teaching at then. However, she began the process of pursuing ownership of her own business.

“One of our biggest issues nationwide is a lack of math skills and understanding and the ability to critically think through problems,” Westry said. “I had a desire to help, so I chose this career path.”

Westry received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at University of Montevallo, a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics and Mathematics Education at Auburn University at Montgomery and a PhD in Mathematics Education, Leadership and Curriculum at Walden University. Westry is currently an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Miles College and the Actuarial Science Program Director in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Being a teacher for 23 years — 10 years in public school, two years in a community college and 13 years at a postsecondary school — planted the desire in her to help students succeed in all of their endeavors, not only in the subject of math.

Math is not just about computation — it’s about the ability to logically deduce what’s necessary.

“We must continue this process with all age groups before they get to college,” Westry said. “That way, we don’t lose

► WHERE: 2737 U.S. 280, Suite 141A

► CALL: 205-437-1111


students before they arrive to this milestone.”

She explained that it’s paramount for students to understand math concepts to get in advantageous and lucrative job positions.

“Math is necessary for everything one does,” Westry said. “The level varies based on your profession, but the ability to think logically inside and outside of problems is vital for every person.”

Mathnasium’s formula for teaching kids math using a way that makes sense to them is known as the Mathnasium Method. This method has transformed the ways children and teens learn mathematical concepts for over three decades across more than 1,000 centers in the United States, Canada and worldwide. Mathnasium’s expert math instructors teach children in 4:1 ratios on understanding math using an individualized approach. They strive to catch them up, keep them on track and move them forward.

Westry leads her team with a well-versed, tried-and-true customer service philosophy.

“Understanding exactly what parents are looking for when they first come in, and what is needed to accomplish their goals, is essential to fulfill their needs,” Westry said.

Everyone’s reasoning is different for coming to Mathnasium depending on the goal and desired outcome. The Mathnasium team collaborates to identify that need and continuously communicates with the parents throughout the the child’s learning journey. When parents come in to pick up their child, the Mathnasium team provides them with an overview of what they discussed and completed during that hour.

Mathnasium’s Center Director Crystal Waldo said transparency is key when communicating to parents about

their child’s progress. At the end of each session, they talk with the parent about the child’s learning plan — where they are and where they still need to be.

Mathnasium offers group and one-on-one tutoring as well as learning plans tailored to each child’s academic needs. Instructors use their one-of-a-kind assessment process to determine each child’s level of knowledge and learning gaps. An individualized learning plan is then designed for teaching concepts the student needs to master. Mathnasium’s dedicated instructors monitor the progress of students throughout the learning plan to ensure they are sufficient in comprehension and application of concepts they’ve been taught.

Mathnasium’s process is transformative for students. They experience tangible differences in confidence, attitude and academic progress. The caring instructors foster an encouraging environment that help students thrive and learn. Mathmasium’s mission is to help as many students as possible achieve goals they set for themselves and break down any barriers that may prevent them from success.

Lauren McDonald, the assistant center director, said Mathnasium is different from other centers because the team talks one-on-one with students and engages with them.

“We implement interaction-based learning and make sure that the students are receiving the step-by-step interaction that they deserve,” McDonald said.

Westry said the most rewarding part for her is recognizing when a student finally understands a concept and joy is apparent all over their face. They will often rush into Mathnasium full of excitement about their achievements to let the team know they passed their test at school.

Westry said her benchmark for success is a continual process and evolves every day. She stays cognizant to the needs of the center and of the students coming in and out. Her job is to adapt to each day’s tasks and equip her team to do the same. Business success to Westry translates to eradicating barriers that may stand in the way of a student’s successful comprehension and application of math in school and day-to-day life.

A16 • February 2023 Village Living

Rudder takes over as chamber board president

As another year begins, so does the term of the Mountain Brook Chamber’s new board of directors president.

Millie Rudder was formally introduced as the 2023 president at the Jan. 25 chamber luncheon and took over for the position of outgoing Board President Walter Crye.

This will be Rudder’s fifth year to serve on the board. She has served in a variety of roles, including a member at large, the representative for Crestline Village, vice president of membership and, most recently, executive vice president.

Rudder said she decided to become a member of the chamber board in 2018, when she was approached by the bank manager where she worked. After the branch manager at the bank rolled off the board, she was approached to fill the spot.

“I live here, I work here and my kids go to school here, so it was also a no-brainer for me to get more involved in the community where I live, work and play,” she said.

Rudder is the retail market manager for First Horizon Bank, where she has been since 2017. She was formerly the banking center manager for the Crestline Village branch and was promoted to her new position in June, which just required moving her office upstairs in the same building.

Her job gives her the flexibility to attend the different chamber activities and events. She enjoys getting out in the community and supporting local businesses and is looking forward to now doing so as the chamber’s board president.

There are around 30 people that serve on the chamber board of directors, Rudder said. In her role as president, she will run the monthly board meetings, give the welcome and introduce speakers at chamber luncheons and be a presence in the community as the face of the board.

“Just being out in the community to support as we have new businesses or businesses that are having milestones, being there to help recognize them,” she said. “And also, with our businesses, if they have questions, knowing that I can be that liaison. They can come to me and I can help them through how the chamber can help.”

The chamber has had several changes recently. After the retirement of longtime Executive Director Suzan Doidge last July, Emily Jensen took over her position. Shelby Weir also came on board in October as the chamber’s marketing and community relations coordinator.

“The board itself is kind of a little bit different,” Rudder said. “We have some new faces this year. Emily Jensen and I have [previously] worked together, so I’m excited to be able to work with her again, and also to highlight the businesses in our area and how we can drive more revenue to the city. It’s already such a great chamber, I feel like we can kind of take

what Suzan has done in the last 14 years and really grow and build on that.”

Jensen said that Rudder is passionate about the Mountain Brook community and about supporting small businesses.

“As a banker, and as a longtime member of our board of directors, Millie understands the impact of our business community on the success of Mountain Brook and the Chamber of Commerce,” Jensen said. “I look forward to 2023 and the leadership Millie will bring as she helps strengthen our existing relationships

while also forging new ones with our members, the city, and our community.”

A day retreat was recently held for all the new board members to learn what the board does, their responsibilities and to meet with city officials, Rudder said.

What she is looking forward to is getting to know the different board members along with the chamber members and businesses, coming up with new ideas and generating business excitement around the city to bring more people in.

“Just being more involved in the community where I live and have grown up,” she said. “I went to school here. I just think it’s just immersing myself in a city that I love so much that has given me so much for my children is the way for me to be able to give back.”

The board president’s term lasts one year, and Rudder is excited for the opportunity.

“We have such a great city here in Mountain Brook and it’s such a great community with a great community of business owners,” she said. “As a city, it is just unique.” February 2023 • A17 Chamber Mr. Handyman is taking care of Mountain Brook’s “To-Do” List ® like us on follow us on 205-606-0800 Give us a call! $50 OFF One coupon per househ old. Participating locations on ly. Minimum $300 of service. Not valid with any othe r o er or discount. Limited time only. Independently owned and operated franchise.© 2022 Mr. Handyman SPV LLC. All rights Reserved Visit to learn more about our services
Millie Rudder, the 2023 president of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce, at Mountain Brook City Hall. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Redstone Club hosts annual Christmas Ball

The Redstone Club’s 100th Christmas Ball was held Dec. 17 at the Country Club of Birmingham. More than 150 members of the Redstone Club and their guests attended the group’s annual Christmas celebration.

The 17 presentees, all current college seniors, wore traditional long, white dresses with gloves and carried simple flower bouquets, a complement to their chosen escorts in black tuxedo tails.

Redstone Club President Richard Murray IV and his wife Norita presided over the presentation and Evans Johnson Dunn served as the ball chairman.

The presentee class of 2022 included:

► Helen Caroline Abele, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Fletcher Abele Jr.

► Margaret Whitton Bumgarner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen James Bumgarner, sponsored by Mr. Warren Bricken Lightfoot Jr.

► Ella Caroline Cobbs, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Glenn Cobbs

► Hannah Grace Doss, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Coates Doss

► Eleanor Elizabeth Edwards, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Hugh Edwards, sponsored by Mr. William Mudd Hiden

► Clara Parker Evans, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Parker Evans II

► Elizabeth Halsey Hamilton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Buckner Woodford Hamilton III

► Anna Beverley Hoyt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Wills Hoyt, sponsored by Mr. James Somerville McLester French

► Grace Shepard Hull, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hewes Turner Hull

► Lucy Claiborne Jones, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Marshall Jones III, sponsored by Mr. David Alan Elliott

► Valerie Bennett Lightfoot, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Warren Bricken Lightfoot Jr.

► Anna Elizabeth Littleton, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Michael Byrne Littleton, sponsored by Mr. William Lyle Hinds Jr.

► Mary Allen Murray, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Bradley Murray, sponsored by John Reese Murray III

► Abigail Aydlette Shepherd, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Wylie Shepherd Jr.

► Anna Catherine Sims, daughter of Mr. George William Sims II and Ms. Caroline Coleman Edwards, sponsored by Mr. James Arthur Smith IV

► Mary Elizabeth Vaughn, daughter of Mr. Joseph Collin Vaughn and Ms. Elizabeth Seibels Ogletree, sponsored by Mr. Edmund Kelly Seibels

- Submitted by John Cobbs.

Shoppers peruse the books and enjoy snacks at the 2022 book sale preview party. Photo courtesy of O’Neal Library.

Annual book sale returns this month

The O’Neal Library’s Friends of the Library will host their 56th annual book sale later this month.

During the sale, the Community Room will feature rare first editions, signed books and new books. Downstairs, there will be a variety of used books including travel, nonfiction, new-ish fiction, children’s books, DVDs, audio books and puzzles.

The Friends work year-round sorting books and donations for the sale, and they also run an Amazon store where books can be purchased.

After the sale, a nonprofit day is held for those associated with different organizations to come in and have their choice of books.

“We usually donate a couple hundred or thousand books to nonprofits and agencies that need books for their clients or patrons,” said Lauren Headrick, marketing director at O’Neal Library.

Proceeds raised from the sale will be reinvested back into the library to support

the teen and adult programs. The group has contributed over $350,000 in the last decade alone, which has funded program favorites including American Sign Language courses, Under the Mountain events, a Sustainable Style Series, teen theater programs and college planning workshops.

The sale is open to the public and there is no requirement to be a Mountain Brook resident or library cardholder to attend.

“Everyone should at least see the sale,” Headrick said. “I’ve found books that I've been looking for for years.”

The sale will be held Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 26, from 2 to 5 p.m.

The Donor Preview party, for those who have given a $50 or more donation to the library in a calendar year, will take place on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. In addition to early access to the sale, there will be snacks and beverages for attendees. Donations can be made at the door.

For more information on the sale or to become a Friend of the Library, visit

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Presentees at the Redstone Club’s 100th Christmas Ball. Photo courtesy of John Cobbs.

MBHS theater students recognized at Trumbauer Festival

The 82nd Walter Trumbauer Festival, the major event of the Alabama Conference of Theatre, was hosted at Troy University on Dec. 2-3, 2022.

Mountain Brook High School had two events to place, one scholarship recipient and 8 of the 12 events receiving superiors.

► Anna Bella Foster was one of four scholarship recipients and was awarded the Musical Theatre Scholarship from the Alabama Conference.

► David Chalmers won first place for Musical Dramatic 1975-2014, Novice, and Mari Miller won second place for Playwriting, Novice.

► Superiors: Camden Rhodes (Acting 1975-2004, Novice); David Chalmers (Acting 2005-present, Novice); Anna Bella Foster (Musical pre-1975, Varsity); Emerson Holloway (Musical Dramatic 1975-2014, Novice); Lily Padgett (Musical Dramatic 2015-present, Novice); Andie Hites (Playwriting, Varsity); Chris Woodry (Playwriting, Varsity); and Mari Miller (Scenic Design, Novice).

► Excellents: Sydney Clark and Daye Christopher (Duet Acting Comedic 1975-present, Novice); Camden Rhodes and Miriam Barrett (Duet Acting Comedic 1975-present, Novice); Anna Bella Foster (Musical Dramatic 2015-present, Varsity); Andie Hites (Puppet Design, Varsity).

Mountain Brook High School’s production of “The Little Match Girl” won a Superior ranking. The group had four students who

were awarded All-Star Cast for the State of Alabama for their performance: Josie Gagliano, Andie Hites, Mari Miller and Lily Padgett.

The group will now be preparing for student-directed one acts, Alabama Thespian Festival and their spring musical “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

There were 104 high school theater programs from throughout the state at the event showcasing the talents of 2,332 students. There were a total of 1,291 individual theater

events, 35 group performances, 14 studio shows and 14 one-act shows.

The Walter Trumbauer Festival has provided quality training and performance opportunities for Alabama theater students at the high school level since 1940. The festival consists of 31 individual events, group acting and group musical, a one-act play festival and a studio theater play festival — all for 9-12 grades, as well as scholarship auditions and college screening for high school seniors and junior college students.

Students qualify for the state competition by earning a rating of “superior” at one of seven district festivals. At all levels of competition, students receive critiques from qualified teachers, professionals and theater practitioners, allowing them to improve their theatrical skills. The events culminate in an awards ceremony where trophies, plaques, medals and other awards are presented to recognize outstanding work in technical categories and performance areas.

– Submitted by Mountain Brook Schools. February 2023 • A19 Schoolhouse Have a schoolhouse announcement?
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Students from Mountain Brook High School competed in the Trumbauer theater competition in December 2022. Photos courtesy of Mountain Brook Schools.

Porter named as MBHS assistant principal

On Nov. 30, Mountain Brook High School announced Lars Porter as the school’s new assistant principal. Porter is currently in his fifth year in the Mountain Brook School system. Prior to that, he spent six years teaching math at Homewood High School.

“We are excited about Lars joining the MBHS family,” MBHS Principal Philip Holley said. “The next time you are at the school, please stop by and welcome him.”

Upon Porter’s arrival in Mountain Brook, he taught math for three years at the junior

MBS selects teachers of the year

Mountain Brook Schools recently announced Lyndsi Kirk (Cherokee Bend Elementary) and Bryan Rosenstiel (Mountain Brook High School) as the 2023-24 Elementary and Secondary District Teachers of the Year. They will represent Mountain Brook Schools at the state level in the pool for the state of Alabama’s 2023-24 Teacher of the Year.

“I am thrilled for Mrs. Kirk and Mr. Rosenstiel and the incredible opportunity before them,” MBS Professional Development Specialist Holly Martin said. “Their incredible expertise, character, talent, and love for students and the profession make them excellent candidates for Alabama Teacher of the Year. We are proud to have such extraordinary

educators representing our district.”

According to the state website, the Alabama Teacher of the Year Program seeks annually to honor and recognize excellence in the teaching profession by identifying outstanding Alabama classroom teachers at local, district, and state levels. It works in conjunction with the National Teacher of the Year Program that began in 1952.

Mountain Brook Schools selects a Teacher of the Year from each individual school then a district committee selects one representative from both the elementary and secondary levels. MBS is putting together a podcast series throughout this school year with each of the six local teachers of the year.

– Submitted by Mountain Brook Schools.

Hecker earns Eagle Scout rank

high and has spent the last year and a half as the MBJH technology coordinator. In addition to teaching, he also coached cross country and track at the high school.

“We are incredibly happy for Lars in his new role,” MBJH Principal Donald Clayton said. “He has been so valuable to everyone here during his time with us and we look forward to his continued leadership in Mountain Brook.”

– Submitted by William Galloway, Mountain Brook Schools.

Sam Hecker, a member of Boy Scout Troop 320, was awarded the rank of Eagle on June 14 by the Vulcan District, Greater Alabama Council.

For his Eagle Project, he led 21 volunteers in the construction of a hammock hangout consisting of three hammocks and three hammock chairs for the Mountain Brook Baptist Church’s Early Learning Center’s playground. The Hammock Hangout gives the preschool and church an area for small groups to enjoy the playground, visit, and hold small meetings

and classes.

Sam has been active in Troop 320 since he crossed over to Boy Scouts after receiving the Cub Scout Arrow of Light. He has held leadership positions in his troop as a Patrol Leader, Librarian, Historian, Quartermaster Aide and Bugler and completed thirty-five merit badges. Hecker is a junior at Mountain Brook High School where he plays trumpet in the Mountain Brook High School Marching Band and concert band.

– Submitted by Fredericka Hecker.

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Lars Porter. Photo courtesy of Mountain Brook Schools. Sam Hecker. Photo courtesy of Fredericka Hecker. Lyndsi Kirk, a teacher at Cherokee Bend Elementary, and Bryan Rosenstiel, a teacher at Mountain Brook High School, have been selected as the 2023-24 Elementary and Secondary District Teachers of the Year by Mountain Brook Schools. Photos courtesy of Mountain Brook Schools.

Metro South middle school football players of year named

The 2022 Metro South Players of the Year were recently announced, recognizing players across the area for standout seasons. In seventh grade, Hewitt-Trussville Middle School and coach Terry Gillespie defeated Berry in the championship game. In eighth grade, Berry Middle and coach Matt Bowden knocked off Pizitz to win the title.

Here are the players named among the best in the Metro South.

► From Berry: Seventh graders Nicolas McKissic, Wyatt Baty, J.D. Thompson and Anderson Walker; eighth graders CJ Cowley, Evan Taylor, Houston Holmes and Connor Greb.

► From Bragg: Seventh graders Urijah Casey, Mark Moody, Chauncey Goodwin and Cohen Corbell; eighth graders Jude Wright, Michael Shelly, Josh Bailey and Reece Kelly.

► From Bumpus: Seventh graders Aiden Callins, Kamryn Foster, Mario Gibbs and Paxton Weatherly; eighth graders Judson Harris, Darion Moseley, Anquan Allen and Andrew Renfroe.

► From Chelsea: Seventh graders Noah Lee, Travion Spell, Hudson Picklesimer and Riaden Sanchez; eighth graders Briston Hardy, Israel Rodriguez, Jaiden Balint and Christian Madrid.

► From Clay-Chalkville: Seventh graders Christian Bennett Richardson, Markell Stephens, Trey Kennedy and Elijah Menyweather; eighth graders Carson Kimbrough, Josh Ivy, Tavaris Powell and Riley Cornutt.

► From Helena: Seventh graders Maddox Johnson, Brayden Jackson, Judorien Sanders and Barack Djalo; eighth graders Jacoby Studmire, Johnathan Roberto, Cole Davis and Reid Lucas.

► From Hewitt-Trussville: Seventh graders Chris Davis, Tyler Wilson, Antonio Wynn and Braxton Wallace; eighth graders Harrison Malone, Riley O’Neill, Jayden Berry and Cason Cornwell.

► From Homewood: Seventh graders Timothy Roshell, Quincy McGhee, Reid Goldstein and Marcus McGee; eighth graders Jack Myers, Davis Lee, Bryon Long and Landon Pettus.

► From Liberty Park: Seventh graders Braxton Hunt, Powell Curry, Clayton Cox and Nick Smith; eighth graders Zachary Laws,


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Charles Taaffe, Luke Stubbs and Jackson Deal.

► From Mountain Brook: Seventh graders Jack DeMedicis, Ryder McMakin, Gray Anderson and Joshua Holloway; eighth graders Luke Waldrop, Miller Crumpton, Graham Smith and Oliver Browning.

► From Oak Mountain: Seventh graders Cooper Campbell, Clayton Cherry, Eli Ervin and Keenan Wolf; eighth graders Luke Kelly, James McCallister, Baroc Willis and William Yoder.

► From Pizitz: Seventh graders Hudson

Mote, Ethan Taylor, Daniel Holmes and Cooper Cherry; eighth graders Noah Boylan, Jackson Martin, Price LaMaster and Nic Williams.

► From Simmons: Seventh graders Jamal Jones, Jordon Ward, Knox Tyson and Jack Thomason; eighth graders Jovon Pulliam, Joe Johnson, Ashtyn King and Matthew Threatt.

► From Thompson: Seventh graders Boomer Larson, Maleek Billingsley, Dominic Pitts and Mehkii Billingsley; eighth graders Trent McCorvey, Kevin Davis, Cam Pritchett and Ashton Smith. February 2023 • A21 Sports
The seventh grade Metro South players of the year. Photo courtesy of Barry Stephenson.
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Spartans looking to replicate scenes from 2 years ago

The parallels are striking to this point.

Two years ago, in Tyler Davis’s first year at the helm of the Mountain Brook High School boys basketball program, the Spartans held an 11-6 record at the turn of the calendar to 2021. Mountain Brook then ripped off 19 straight wins to claim the Class 6A state title.

This season, the Spartans also held an 11-6 record as the calendar flipped to 2023. Where they go from here remains to be seen, but there are some similarities in the journey to this point.

“Playing those big-time games at the beginning of the year is always going to help us toward the end,” junior guard Ty Davis said. “It really reminds us of two years ago, when we struggled a lot at the beginning of the year, with everybody finding their niche. Now, we feel like we’re about to start rolling.”

This season, the Spartans started out by winning their first six games, before embarking on a six-game road trip that dealt them four losses. Defeats to a gritty Hewitt-Trussville team, a talented Vestavia Hills squad and two strong Tennessee teams left the Spartans 8-4. They also suffered tight losses to Bob Jones and Buckhorn in the Huntsville City Classic in late December.

“We beefed up the schedule to play some solid opponents this year, to ultimately make us ready for this time of year,” head coach Tyler Davis said. “The schedule has definitely played out to that.”

There were flashes of what the Spartans are capable of early on, as they won their Turkey Jam tournament with impressive victories over Tuscaloosa County and a Sandy Creek team out of Georgia.

“We know we have the talent, it’s just a matter of going through the adversity,” Tyler Davis said.

Tyler Davis said he would rather his team go through the tough times early on in the year, as opposed to “mowing people down” through a soft schedule. Building character through difficult times is a process that cannot be shortcut.

“After every loss, it’s more of a learning lesson,” forward Julius Clark said. “We can take things that we did wrong in those games and help us in the future.”

The Spartans rue some of those tight losses, feeling like they should have won a few of those contests. Turnovers at inopportune times and spotty free throw shooting have been the primary culprits in those games.

“We’ve got to be consistent for 32 minutes,” Tyler Davis said.

But as Mountain Brook gets rolling in a new year, hoping to replicate the finishing dominance of the 2020-21 team, Tyler Davis said he feels as if the team is starting to find its rhythm.

The Spartans feature five players that played football this fall. Mountain Brook’s football team went as far as it could go, playing in the state championship game Dec. 2. Those guys’ first game with the basketball team was Dec. 6 at Vestavia Hills, the team’s ninth game of the year.

“We knew we were going to need those guys, but they’re winners and high-character guys,”

Tyler Davis said.

John Colvin has jumped into the mix and been the team’s third leading scorer many nights.

“John Colvin has brought us a lot of scoring that we needed to have,” Ty Davis said.

John Carwie and Andrew Kohler have also brought a spark to the Spartans this season to supplement the scoring role that Ty Davis and Clark take on most games. Ty Davis lauded Carwie’s ability to come off the bench

and make plays. Coach Tyler Davis pointed out Kohler’s willingness to do whatever the team needs as well.

The team is still unsure whether Kyle Layton will be back at some point late in the season. Layton played a starring role for the Spartans last season but suffered a knee injury in the summer.

In the meantime, Ty Davis and Clark have done a stellar job of leading the way for the team. Ty Davis has begun to get plenty of recruiting

attention, as the guard has displayed his ability to lead the team from the point guard position and score at a high clip. Clark received high marks as well.

“He knows how to win,” Ty Davis said of his teammate. “He’s always made the winning play every time. If there’s a ball on the floor, he’s going to dive on it. And he’s the most athletic guy on the floor.”

The Spartans hope to be playing deep into February once again, and

Above: Mountain Brook’s Julius Clark (23) dribbles the ball downcourt in a game against McAdory at Spartan Arena on Jan. 6.

Left: Mountain Brook’s Ty Davis (3) shoots a layup guarded by McAdory’s Jacobe Whitted (2). Photos by Erin Nelson.

the veterans have been there and done that. Two years ago, they won it all. Last year, eventual champ Huffman clipped Mountain Brook in the regional final.

“Once you’ve been there and done it once — twice for us — you know what it takes to win,” Ty Davis said.

“You hope everybody on the team keeps the right mindset.”

Clark added, “You’ve done it before, so it’s time to let it all out and go have fun.”

A22 • February 2023 Village Living

Mountain Brook running back Cole Gamble (19) runs the ball during the Class 6A state championship game at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium on Dec. 1.

Photo by Erin Nelson.

Spartans recognized on all-state team

The Mountain Brook High School football team advanced to the Class 6A state championship game this season for the first time since 1996, finishing as the runner-up to Saraland.

As a result, several Spartans were recognized by the Alabama Sports Writers Association on the Class 6A all-state team.

Head coach Chris Yeager was named the 6A Coach of the Year after leading Mountain Brook to a third consecutive 12-win season. In his previous 16 seasons as the head coach, he led the Spartans to the state semifinals three times, including 2020 and 2021. But this year, Mountain Brook got to the state final and capped off a three-year stretch that included 36 wins.

Three Spartans were named to the first team after stellar seasons as well. Running back Cole Gamble was a finalist for Back of the Year and

finished as one of the top running backs in the state across all classifications. He eclipsed 200 yards in three straight playoff games and finished with over 1,900 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Offensive lineman Davis Peterson was also a first-teamer, putting together a strong season of his own. He helped pave the way for that dominant Mountain Brook rushing attack, including posting more than 60 knockdowns and 40 pancakes on the season.

Linebacker Trent Wright suffered an injury toward the end of the state championship game, an unfortunate end to a tremendous year. He accumulated over 140 tackles and 10 tackles for loss on the season.

Wide receiver Clark Sanderson also was named honorable mention. He had a big game in the state championship, leading the Spartans with over 100 receiving yards. Sanderson racked up over 800 receiving yards for the season.

State baseball, softball finals to remain in Oxford, Jacksonville

The Alabama High School Athletic Association announced in early December an agreement to keep the state baseball and softball championships in the same place for at least the next five years.

The AHSAA’s agreement with the city of Oxford and Jacksonville State University will keep the baseball and softball championships in Calhoun County through 2027, with the same setup that was used for the first time in 2022.

Oxford’s Choccolocco Park hosted the state softball tournament for the first time in 2021 and returned in 2022 to complete a two-year contract, after the tournament was held at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park since its inception in 1986.

Moving the softball tournament to Oxford has allowed the state tournament finals in all seven AHSAA classifications to be held at the Signature Field, a stadium designed specifically for softball.

Baseball’s state final series for each of the seven classifications was previously held in

Montgomery, but a scheduling conflict forced the state to relocate those championships last spring.

That led to holding the first game of each classification’s final series at Choccolocco Park, with the second and third games the following day at Jacksonville State University’s Rudy Abbott Field at Jim Case Stadium.

“We are excited to have our state championships in both sports locked in for the next five years and hopefully for many years to come,” said Alvin Briggs, AHSAA executive director.

“Our experience with softball at Choccolocco Park and baseball last spring at Choccolocco Park and JSU was incredible. We had packed crowds for most of our games. Both sites provided real championship experiences and lifelong memories for our teams, schools and communities that traveled to attend.”

Choccolocco Park in Oxford has signature fields for baseball and softball, in addition to a multi-field complex that is utilized for the softball tournament games leading up to each classification’s championship game. The park has hosted many regional and national events throughout the last several years. February 2023 • A23 3291 US Hwy 280 (205) 582-1202 The Power of Personal Annual Percentage Yield (APY) accurate as of 01/06/23. Minimum balance to open and earn disclosed APY is $500 for 14-month and 25-month CDs. Minimum balance to open and earn disclosed APY for 37-month CD is $10,000; must be opened with new money and not transferred from existing First US Bank account; $500,000 maximum per customer. Minimum balance to open and earn disclosed APY for 35-month CD is $100,000; must be opened with new money and not transferred from existing First US Bank account; $1,000,000 maximum per customer. Penalty imposed for early withdrawal. Limited time offer. 25 MONTH CD Minimum of $500 to Open 4.16 *APY % Minimum $10,000 Maximum $500,000 37 MONTH CD NEW MONEY ONLY 3.80*APY % Minimum $100,000 Maximum $1,000,000 35 MONTH CD NEW MONEY ONLY 4.06*APY % 14 MONTH CD Minimum of $500 to Open 4.01 *APY %
The AHSAA state softball tournament will remain in Oxford through 2027. Photo by Kyle Parmley.

Gordon Sargent plays his tee shot on the third hole during Day Four of the 2022 World Amateur Team Golf Championships - Eisenhower Trophy competition at Le Golf National in Paris. Photo by Octavio Passos, Getty Images courtesy of The Masters.

MBHS grad to play in Masters

Gordon Sargent, a 2021 graduate of Mountain Brook High School and current sophomore at Vanderbilt University, has accepted an invitation to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament, Masters Chairman Fred Ridley announced in January.

Sargent won the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Individual Championship last spring and became the first freshman to do so since 2007. He is ranked No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking

Varsity Sports Calendar


Feb. 17-18: Prep Baseball Report Kickoff. Spartan Field.

Feb. 20: vs. Hueytown. 11 a.m.

Feb. 23: @ Pelham. 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 24: vs. McAdory. 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 28: @ Jasper. 4 p.m.


Feb. 3: vs. Vestavia Hills. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 4-11: Area tournaments. TBD.

Feb. 15-23: Regional tournaments. TBD.


Feb. 4: State meet. Birmingham CrossPlex.

and becomes the first amateur to accept a special invitation since Aaron Baddeley in 2000.

Gordon visited Mountain Brook Schools last summer to discuss his experience in the school system and said. “There’s a standard of excellence and valuing school work [here],” during a podcast interview.

The 2023 Masters Tournament is scheduled for April 3-9.

– Submitted by William Galloway, Mountain Brook Schools.


Feb. 2: Boys vs. Bob Jones. 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 4: Boys vs. Tanner. 4 p.m.

Feb. 7: Girls vs. James Clemens. 6 p.m.

Feb. 7: Boys @ Thompson. 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 9: Girls at Southern Shootout. Foley Sports Complex.

Feb. 14: Boys @ Hoover. 6 p.m.

Feb. 14: Girls vs. Albertville. 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 15: Girls vs. Huntsville. 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 18: Boys vs. Northgate (Georgia). Calera Sports Park. TBD.

Feb. 21: @ Pell City. Girls at 5 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

Feb. 22: Girls vs. Hewitt-Trussville. 6 p.m.

Feb. 24: @ Briarwood. Girls at 5 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

Feb. 25: Boys @ Spain Park. Noon.

Feb. 28: Girls @ Hoover. 7 p.m.


Feb. 17-18: Vestavia Hills Tournament. Liberty Park Complex.

Feb. 21: vs. Shades Valley. 5 p.m.

Feb. 23: @ Chelsea. 5 p.m.

Feb. 28: vs. Briarwood. 5 p.m.


Feb. 2: vs. Helena. 6 p.m.

Feb. 10-11: Sectional Tournament. Garrett Coliseum.

Feb. 16-18: State Tournament. Von Braun Center.

A24 • February 2023 Village Living


CONTINUED from page A1

Richards, the city clerk, could have run a strong campaign for Forbes to win the award.

“Janet is such an important part of Mountain Brook,” she said of Forbes, the assistant to the city manager. “Janet has such a positive attitude and is great to work with. Janet has a strong work ethic and is very organized.”

Richards said that Forbes took a lead role in the challenges with the former garbage service provider during the past year and worked with the transition to the new provider.

“What I love most about Janet is her willingness to help others,” she said. “The way in which she listens and truly cares about the residents is something everyone should strive for in being a public servant.”

Forbes, who also serves as the city’s public information officer, thinks just as highly of Richards, listing hard-working, devoted and going the extra mile among her traits.

“She cares so much about the city,” Forbes said. “I think she's very caring, not just in what she did as magistrate supervisor but in what she's doing as city clerk, dealing with the elections like she did. There are a lot of great things that she does.”

City Manager Sam Gaston said when Forbes filled in when another staffer had surgery, she impressed him so much that he decided he would hire her when he got the chance. He ultimately hired her away from the human resources department of

“After only a few months, I was so impressed by the way she worked and her work ethic and how she caught on to things and just her demeanor working with people that I promoted her title to assistant to the city manager,” Gaston said, adding that the new title entailed more of a managerial role. “She does have a lot of say so with the department heads. She just continued to do a good job.”

Assistant City Manager Steve Boone said Richards is a highly motivated staffer who does quality work. But she outdid herself this year, he said, in handling her new responsibilities with city elections, which Boone had

handled the prior two decades.

“I was there to support her but she did an excellent job,” he said. “That was probably the most challenging election — I know it was — in the 20 years I've been here. She did that,

plus she was juggling her normal duties.”

Those “normal duties” included taking the lead to shore up the payroll department during a change in leadership there.

“Whatever we ask her to do, she gives no

complaints,” Boone said. “She does a great job.”

Receiving the award on Jan. 25 was significant for Forbes.

“That's my anniversary coming here,” said Forbes, a Mountain Brook resident. “The day of the luncheon [was] seven years.”

Richards has worked for the city for 10 years. She becomes emotional as she talks about Mountain Brook.

“My family and I live in Trussville but, in a way, I feel like Mountain Brook is my home too,” she said. “I truly love this city and always strive to put Mountain Brook and its residents first above all else while in my position.” February 2023 A25 For Registration and Information Visit:
Janet Forbes, left, and Heather Richards were both named the city’s employees of the year, the first time the city has had two people tie for winner. Photo by Solomon Crenshaw.
I truly love this city and always strive to put Mountain Brook and its residents first above all else while in my position.


CONTINUED from page A1

Working with his wife, Mouron fixed up homes before buying his first commercial property, allowing him to move out of accounting.

Several decades later, Mouron’s love of real estate has landed him in the Alabama Business Hall of Fame. Mouron was inducted as part of the class of 2022 in November.

“It’s obviously a tremendous honor,” Mouron said.

Working as the head of development for a Montgomery company, Mouron began in the field of student housing. “Kiddie condos,” as they were known at the time, were condominiums intended for students or parents of students on or near college campuses. Mouron realized, after examining the financing, that apartments would be easier and wrote a letter outlining the possibilities of changing student housing, making it a better investment for parents and a better opportunity for students.

He purchased a property near Athens, Georgia, the home of the University of Georgia. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mouron was recruited back to Birmingham to develop student housing for Polar BEK in 1985 before forming his own company, Capstone Development, in 1990. Since then, they have introduced student housing in roughly 100 markets coast to coast.

“Capstone has a national footprint,” Mouron said.

Working all over the country has been interesting, Mouron said.

“Campuses are often a fun place to work,” Mouron said. “Usually, universities are pretty places.”

In 2012, at the age of 62, Mouron recognized it was time to transition both himself and Capstone, and he broke the company into four separate companies and put division heads in charge, while he retired. Ten years later, Mouron said all four companies are doing really well.

While Mouron has had a national impact through his business, he has also played a major role in local development in Homewood, even after his official “retirement.” Mouron has developed the Valley Hotel, Edgar’s, Little Donkey and Rodney Scott’s BBQ on 18th Street South. He is also responsible for the renovation of Trustmark Bank on 29th Avenue South and the new Robertson Bank on 18th Place South, as well as the CAPTRUST on 27th Avenue South.

In the future, Mouron is bringing a new Italian restaurant, Luca, to the former Valley Mall location, which will be accompanied by

SouthPoint Bank and the new home of Hero Doughnuts.

Businesses that have moved after Mouron purchased the space have almost all stayed within Homewood, something he’s proud of, along with his relationship with city officials.

“When you do things well, they begin to trust you,” Mouron said.

Mouron said he believes his work has “changed Homewood for the better.” He said he hears from neighboring business owners that the Valley Hotel has positively impacted their business.

To see 18th Street renovated with several new businesses is “emotionally rewarding,” Mouron said.

“It’s creation of job opportunities,” Mouron said.

The success of the businesses are proof that the incentives given by the city are effective, he said.

Mouron said the hotel especially has drawn people from all over, leading them to spend money not just on the hotel but on food and retail as well.

In his native Mountain Brook, Mouron renovated and leased out the space now occupied by Little Hardware. Growing up in Mountain Brook was a positive experience for him, he said.

“It’s just a great place to grow up,” Mouron said.

Mouron said he has long-term friendships that stem from his time in Mountain Brook and at the

University of Alabama.

In his several decades in real estate, Mouron has seen plenty of changes, he said. Real estate used to be developed by people investing their own money who would retain ownership, he said. Now, the sources of money are usually thirdparty and developers often do not

retain ownership. Mouron tries to retain ownership as much as possible. He is a managing partner and has a third of the ownership stake in the hotel and is a 50% owner of Robertson Bank and CAPTRUST. He owns Edgar’s, Rodney Scott’s and Little Donkey.

Mouron and his wife were

recently awarded the “William and Virginia Spencer Outstanding Philanthropist Award” by the Alabama Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and they also serve as co-chairs of Rising Tide, a $1.5 billion capital campaign at UA.

It’s an example of what Mouron hopes to continue in the future.

“I will continue to try and bring my experience and capital … to do good things, both capitalistic and philanthropic,” Mouron said.

Good development might be harder in the future as land and capital costs are increasing everywhere. It may require cities to find more effective ways to incentivize development, he said.

“Development is very complex,” Mouron said. “It’s not easy to read. Cities need to try and be smart.”

Mouron admitted he has no hobbies, making it easy for him to keep working at the job he loves.

“Luckily, I enjoy what I do,” Mouron said. “It’s intellectually challenging and keeps me in touch with a lot of people.

“I don’t ever plan to quit working,” he said.

Village Living A26 • February 2023
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Above: Mike Mouron at the Alabama Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Haven in Birmingham on Nov. 10. Left: Mike and Kathy Mouron. Photos courtesy of the Alabama Business Hall of Fame.
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news to February 2023 A27


At Alabama Power, we work hard to provide the dependable service our customers expect and deserve. We give 100% to achieve 99.98% dependability. That means regularly inspecting and trimming trees as a way of preventing potential outages.

About 45% of outages experienced by Alabama Power customers are due to trees and plant life.

Overgrown branches can brush against power lines and cause outages. They also make power lines more accessible to wildlife.

We use technology and data analytics to help identify areas in need of tree trimming to protect the electrical system.

Keeping you aware of upcoming work is a priority to us. Scan the QR code to see the neighborhoods tree crews will be working in.

If you have any questions, please call Alabama Power at 205-257-2155 and request to speak with a member of our utility tree care team.

To learn more about how we safely maintain our system or for recommendations on planting the right trees in the right place, visit © 2023 Alabama Power Company.

A community pharmacy with a family-centered approach RITCH’S PHARMACY

For over 75 years, Ritch’s Pharmacy has served the communities of Homewood, Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook with personalized care and a familycentered approach.

Ritch’s Pharmacy is an individual community pharmacy offering prescription medications or over-the-counter products located in Mountain Brook Village. They provide services and products ranging from immunizations, durable medical equipment, compounding and home delivery. The four pharmacists on the team at Ritch’s Pharmacy — Ralph Sorrell, Becky Sorrell, Dr. Laura Scoggins and Pam Reeve — collectively have over 100 years of experience.

The co-owner of Ritch’s Pharmacy, Becky Sorrell, alongside her husband Ralph Sorrell, said that being able to interact with patients in different communities in Birmingham and being a part of their healthcare team is invaluable. “We really focus on listening to our patients — we want you to be able to tell us your needs and work together to meet those goals.”

Ritch’s Pharmacy also carries unique products that may be more difficult to find elsewhere and they implement comprehensive health and wellness

screenings. “We can make decisions for ourselves whenever we need to,” Sorrell said. “Larger stores have to go through the corporate office, but turnaround time to add to inventory for us is much quicker.” Ritch’s Pharmacy also offers a convenient packaging system — a blister card that carries all necessary medicines according to certain days and times.

“In 2023, patients should expect fewer drug shortages than the previous year,” Sorrell said. “We also plan to go to underserved areas in Birmingham once a month. We will reach out to people beyond our normal population and provide them with help and education.”

SPRING B SECTION FEBruary 2023 Opinion B13 Calendar B15
► WHERE: 2714 Cahaba Road ► CALL: 205-871-1141 ► WEB: 2714 Cahaba Road, Mountain Brook | (205) 871-1141 Prescriptions | Wellness | Gifts | & More Prescription Delivery Available thinkheart health Stay well with Ritch’s & visit us for all your healthy heart needs

TherapySouth providing ‘Hands On Care, Close to Home — and Work!’


Q: What makes TherapySouth stand out in the physical therapy industry?

A: TherapySouth is a private, physical therapist-owned practice that has been serving the greater Birmingham communities for over 15 years. Our numerous convenient locations across the metro area allows us to live out our message of providing “Hands On Care, Close to Home — and Work!” Our staff develop relationships with each patient and truly make the clinic environment feel like a family. With access to quality physical therapy care, we believe we can help our community live better, healthier lives!

Q: Why should someone see a physical therapist?

A: Most often, patients are referred to one of our clinics by their orthopedic surgeon or primary care physician to assist with recovery from an injury or procedure. But, physical therapy is beneficial to anyone seeking pain relief and improved function. The physical therapy approach is to evaluate the neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems and address movement limitations or malalignments that are affecting mobility and causing pain. When patients come to physical therapy first, they can often avoid unnecessary surgery and medication. Through intentional exercises and hands — on treatment, patients can get back to their hobbies, everyday tasks and more.

Q: Do I need a doctor’s referral to schedule an appointment at TherapySouth?

A: Patients are welcome to schedule an initial evaluation appointment without a physician’s referral. Your therapist will perform an initial evaluation to determine if therapy is appropriate for you and communicate with your primary care physician, or physician specialist, to obtain approval for ongoing treatment. You can also receive wellness services depending on the nature of your problem. To schedule an appointment, patients can call the clinic directly or visit our website to check appointment availability and set up an initial visit.

Q: What would you like potential patients to know about your practice?

A: We take our core values very seriously. We are a company based on faith that believes in family, integrity, service, compassion, fitness, perseverance, and giving. We try to instill these values in all our employees and encourage them to live them out not only at work as professionals, but also in their personal lives.

Q: What does a first visit look like at TherapySouth?

A: During the initial evaluation, your therapist will take a thorough history of your condition or injury and review past medical history that may influence your case. Appropriate baseline objective measures will be recorded to evaluate throughout your treatment, such as range of motion and strength. Together, you and your therapist will discuss and set goals to help you achieve maximum function. Your therapist will determine a treatment plan and prescribe a home exercise program for you to perform at home to compliment therapeutic activities performed in the clinic. In addition, skilled manual techniques are utilized to further enhance recovery. Your therapist will communicate and coordinate with other health care professionals as needed to provide optimal care.


► WHERE: 205 Country Club Park

► CALL: 205-871-0777

► WEB:

Liberty Park

► WHERE: 3800 River Run Drive, Suite 102

► CALL: 205-970-2350

► WEB:

B2 • February 2023 Village Living 2023 SPRING MEDICAL GUIDE SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION February 2023 • B3 healthy new year! You don’t have to face your new fitness resolutions alone. At TherapySouth you’ll find a movement expert who will work with you to develop an individualized exercise program to help you feel stronger and reduce pain. With an Annual Movement Screening, your PT can assess your mobility and strength to help you face everything this new year will bring. Scan this code to schedule an appointment and start a Healthy New Year. LIBERTY PARK 3800 River Run Drive Suite 102 205.970.2350 Derek Van Gerwen, Clinic Director CRESTLINE 205 Country Club Park 205.871.0777 Allison Fowlkes, Clinic Director 2023 SPRING MEDICAL GUIDE SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
B4 • February 2023 Village Living 2023 SPRING MEDICAL GUIDE SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION Clare Bridge Crossings to foster positive environment for dementia care BROOKDALE UNIVERSITY PARK Brookdale University Park is an upscale continuing care retirement community in Birmingham that offers its residents an enjoyable lifestyle with a wide selection of care options to meet their changing needs. residents and their families to feel a strong lighted to help you plan your personal visit, ► WHERE: 400 University Park Drive ► CALL: 205-870-0786 ► WEB: (205) 870-0786 Brookdale University Park, a CCRC Birmingham, AL 35209 Independent Living | Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Assisted Living | Alzheimer's & Dementia Care 400 University Park Drive Brookdale University Park is pleased to introduce Clare Bridge Crossings Our Clare Bridge Crossings program builds on the growing body of aging research that shows well designed programs can help sustain mental functions often impacted in the early to early-middle stages of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. For more information, please call Brookdale today at 205-870-0786

journey to mend his The

Meet Jaquavion ‘Qua’ Johnson


Jaquavion “Qua” Johnson was born in September 2006. As a doctor was checking on the infants in the local hospital nursery, his attention quickly turned to Qua as he was turning blue. He was stabilized then airlifted to Children’s of Alabama. Doctors there determined he had a congenital heart defect called tricuspid atresia, a surprise to mom Marquitta Rivers.

“No one had a clue he was sick at birth,” Marquitta said.

At five days old, Qua had the first of a series of open-heart surgeries that are customary for his diagnosis. Tricuspid atresia happens when the heart’s tricuspid valve does not develop, therefore blood can’t flow from the heart’s right atrium (upper receiving chamber) to the right ventricle (lower pumping chamber) as it should. Marquitta recalls her “tough cookie” of a son riding around the hospital at age 2-1/2 in a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, recovering quickly after his last surgery.

He played a variety of sports throughout childhood, but when Qua reached middle school, mom Marquitta noticed her son just wasn’t himself. “He is my child, and I knew something was wrong.”

In early March 2021, a series of visits to his hometown pediatrician, emergency departments and cardiologists provided some clues. Marquitta came home one afternoon to find him crying. “Mom, I can hardly breathe,” he said. She booked an appointment with his pediatrician for the following day, but by that evening, Qua’s symptoms worsened, and Marquitta took him to an emergency department in Columbus, Georgia, a 45-minute ride from home. They did a CT scan, an X-ray and EKG. He needed oxygen. “That’s when I knew something was wrong.”

The pediatrician urged Qua and Marquitta to return to Columbus where many of the previous tests were repeated. Still without answers, they drove back home, when that evening, Marquitta noticed a missed call on her cell phone. It was from a cardiologist at the Columbus hospital. In his voicemail, he explained that Qua’s case caught his eye. As Marquitta listened to the message, Qua was lethargic on the sofa. The doctor advised them to go back to the hospital so that Qua could have an echocardiogram.

By the next morning, Qua’s bloodwork

► WHERE: 1600 7th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35233

► CALL: 205-638-9100

► WEB:

and tests indicated that he needed more than just tests. “The doctors said they didn’t understand how Qua was up and walking around. Something wasn’t right with his heart,” Marquitta said. The doctors requested that Qua be transported to Children’s of Alabama for evaluation and treatment. She went back home long enough to gather up essentials for what she thought would be a few days in Birmingham and began the three-hour drive as Qua was flown to Children’s.

His heart wasn’t pumping well. The medications weren’t helping. All that was left was a heart transplant. “He was worried and scared about the idea of a heart transplant,” Marquitta said. “I needed him to know exactly what was going on. I didn’t sugarcoat it, didn’t want him to be worried. He had a big smile on his face once he realized a new heart would give him a better life.”

He joined the transplant list April 3, 2021. While many patients wait months or even years for a new heart, Qua’s critical condition helped the team at Children’s of Alabama find a heart for him less than two weeks later. Before Marquitta told Qua, she went to the gift shop and bought some heart-shaped balloons. When she got back to Qua’s room, he had his back to the door. When he turned around, she said to him, “Qua, are you ready for your life to start? You’re getting your new heart today.”

Marquitta got updates from the transplant team over the next eight hours. By the time she saw him in recovery, he was connected to multiple IVs and machines. “He looked at me as if to ask if all was OK. He grabbed my hand and nodded his head to tell me he was OK. Then he did the same with his dad. And then he went back to sleep,” Marquitta recalled. And just one month later, Qua was discharged ready to take on life with his new, healthy heart.

“I don’t know what the good Lord has in store for him, but I know it’s something,” Marquitta said.

Qua was born with tricuspid atresia that required a series of open heart surgeries as an infant. But as a teen, his health took a dramatic turn. Qua’s pediatrician and cardiologist recognized something wasn’t right with his heart and sent him to Children’s of Alabama. Our team was standing by when he arrived by helicopter, and within two weeks he received a new heart. He rebounded quickly and was back at home a few weeks later, thanks to the expert heart team here at Children’s of Alabama.

Qua Heart Transplant Survivor
heart led CV-0007_Heart_Month-Qua-Feb-Paper-Medical-Guide-Newsprint_4.79x15.57-PROD.indd 1 1/5/23 3:15 PM

Get your ‘wow’ smile transformation


Q: Tell us about Floss Family Dentistry. What makes it great?

A: We are a locally owned neighborhood dental office offering a wide range of cosmetic, restorative and preventative dentistry. Because we are a small office, we can focus closely on the individual patient, giving them individualized comprehensive treatment using the latest technology.

Q: What kind of services do you offer?

A: Our most important service is the patient cleaning and comprehensive exam. The mouth is the gateway to one’s overall health, so our exams check for numerous different issues. At every cleaning appointment we check our patient’s teeth, gums, joint function and do a thorough oral cancer screening. We believe early detection helps minimize treatment and avoid emergencies.

We provide a full array of dental services, relaxing gas and televisions to watch while you have your dental work done. We also have a variety of whitening options that we can tailor to the individual needs of the patient. An adult who’s

had coffee every day of his life needs a different whitening program than a teenager right out of braces.

Q: Do you offer Botox?

A: We do offer Botox and dermal fillers because we recognize that a smile is a total package, not just teeth. Adding

a little filler to plump lips and Botox to smooth wrinkles can make the difference between a good result and an exceptional result.

Q: What’s your favorite part about your work?

A: A “wow” smile transformation is always our favorite

thing to do. Helping someone who has not wanted to smile for years turn into someone who can’t stop smiling is the best feeling. Also, when a patient who is “afraid” of the dentist comes in and leaves knowing that they’ve gotten great care and maybe even a laugh or two during the ap-

► WHERE: 27 Church St.

► CALL: 205-879-8500

► WEB:

pointment, it’s very rewarding. Our patients come first. Our office has always been a safe place to visit, and with protective measures increased due to the pandemic, it is now even safer. Going above and beyond what is necessary to take excellent care of patients is our top priority.

Q: Tell us a little about your practice.

A: We — Dr. Christy Stevens and Dr. Suzie McCullough — both graduated from the University of Alabama School of Dentistry in the early 2000s and have been practicing together for over 15 years now. We opened Floss Family Dentistry in January of 2018 after practicing in Trussville for 10 years.

Opening this Crestline practice was a dream come true for us because we live in the neighborhood and have always wanted to serve our community. We consider it a privilege to treat our friends and neighbors.

Dr. Suzie McCullough Dr. Christy Stevens

Delivering high-quality skincare, cosmetic care at 2 ‘family-friendly’ locations


An accredited, board-certified dermatologist with 15 years of experience, Dr. Holly Gunn opened her own practice — Gunn Dermatology — in Crestline Village in August 2020.

Dr. Gunn has sought to create a friendly, neighborhood facility serving all ages, people and skin types, and she says that caring for her patients is very gratifying.

“The best feeling in the world for me is feeling like I’m helping people,” she says. “When people come to me with a problem that I know how to fix or improve, it brings me so much joy. It’s one of the best parts of life.”

Since Gunn Dermatology opened, Dr. Gunn has become known for her one-on-one consultations in which she creates personalized cosmetic treatment plans that allow each patient to achieve his or her healthiest, strongest skin.

In fact, things have gone so well that Dr. Gunn opened a second location of her practice in November at the new, expanded Lane Parke in Mountain Brook Village.

“We had a beautiful grand

► WHERE: 32 Church St. and 391 Rele St. in Lane Parke

► CALL: 205-415-7536

► WEB:

opening soiree with a red carpet, champagne and the best crew of our closest friends, family and patients,” Dr. Gunn says. “It was absolutely magical to see it all come to life.”

Dr. Gunn and her staff have received positive feedback regarding the new facility. Patients say they love the new location describing it as beautiful, open, inviting and therapeutic.

“It’s a little getaway in the middle of Mountain Brook. It’s so luxurious and filled with happiness right when you step in the door,” Gunn’s staff says. “It’s fun to see people’s faces when they walk in.”

Gunn Dermatology offers pediatric, medical, surgical, cosmetic and aesthetic services. Gunn and her staff help patients with all types of skin issues, such as acne, scarring, rashes and infections, as well as wrinkles, sun spots and other signs of aging.

Dr. Gunn is also passionate about skin cancer prevention and has published articles in dermatology and psychology journals drawing on her extensive research and experience in dermatologic diseases.

Gunn Dermatology offers most of the same services at the new location as it does in Crestline, but the practice has added more.

“We are now offering cryotherapy, infrared sauna sessions and spray tans,” Dr. Gunn says.

“We strive to be a full-service wellness center to serve our current patients and members. We are also now offering non-surgical, safe and effective treatment to basal cell and skin cancers.”

Dr. Gunn says that it has been rewarding to watch her practice grow.

“It's been scary and takes time from my family, but I love what I do and I love that we had the need to grow to fulfill a commu-

nity need,” she says.

The practice now has 23 employees at the Crestline and Lane Parke locations and is continuing to hire, Dr. Gunn says.

Gunn Dermatology continues to set a high standard for patient care and service.

“Through our most cut-

ting-edge technologies and individualized approach, we are able to consistently deliver high-quality skincare,” Dr. Gunn says.

At both locations, Dr. Gunn and her staff seek to provide what she calls “not just good medical care, but great medical care, in a luxurious environment.” February 2023 • B7 2023 SPRING MEDICAL GUIDE SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Schedule a medical or cosme�c consult with us to see what all we can do for you! SECOND LOCATION NOW OPEN IN Mountain Brook Village SCAN TO FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM! @gunndermatology 205.415.7536 | 32 Church Street, Mountain Brook, AL 35213 | 391 Rele Street, Mountain Brook, AL 35213

Medicare doesn’t have to be stressful — let Medicare Advisors of Alabama help


Q: Who is Medicare Advisors of Alabama?

A: We are a locally owned insurance agency that specializes in helping Alabamians better understand Medicare.

Medicare is overwhelming, but once someone with patience and knowledge teaches you the questions to ask and then guides you through the process, the whole thing becomes much less stressful. That’s what we provide: a stressfree Medicare experience.

Q: What does your service cost?

A: Our service is absolutely free. We’re only paid by insurance companies if we help you enroll in a plan. Our reputation has been built on word of mouth and living the Golden Rule. Let us prove it to you.

Q: Why does someone need a broker/adviser?

A: There are so many advertisements and plans available that it’s becoming almost impossible to sort everything out on your own. A good broker will help you see the positives and negatives of the plans and will work to find the best solution for their client and not the insurance company.

► WHERE: 2116 Columbiana Road, Birmingham

► CALL: 205-704-9020

► WEB: medicareadvisors

Q: When does someone need to help me with Medicare?

A: If you’re turning 65 years of age, you have a seven-month window to enroll in Medicare. It’s also when our team can really help you understand your options. However, if you are still working, you may not want or need to enroll. Deciding when to enroll and what to enroll in are our two most asked questions, and our team can help you make an informed decision.

Q: What if I keep working past age 65?

A: Many people think they’ll face penalties if they don’t sign up for Medicare at 65. That can be true, but not always. You can postpone enrollment beyond age 65 if you or your spouse are still working and you have health insurance under an employer plan.

Q: The Annual Enrollment Period ended Dec. 7. Is it too late to make changes?

A: There are several different enrollment periods throughout the year. One overlooked enrollment period (Open Enrollment Period) runs from Jan. 1 through March 31. This period is for a person who needs to change their Medicare Advantage Plan or someone on a Medicare Advantage Plan but would like to return to Original Medicare. There are also many Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) throughout the year as well.

Q: Where can I get help with Medicare?

A: You can schedule a consultation with someone on our team. We can talk over the phone, meet virtually via Zoom, in-person at our local office, at your home, your business or even out at a coffee shop.

Once a month we teach a class called “Prepare for Medicare” at our local office. We have lots of fun, and it’s very educational. No specific products are discussed, but it’s a great way to learn the basics of Medicare and get your questions answered.

MEDICARE PREPARE FOR RIGHT HERE IN TOWN VIEW MORE @ MEDICAREADVICE.ORG/SERVICES/PRODUCTS 2116 Columbiana Road Birmingham, AL 35216 ·Fun and educational “Prepare for Medicare” classes ·One-on-one Medicare consultations ·Help people in need apply for nancial assistance ·Free drug plan reviews  EDUCATE Learn how to make an educated Medicare decision.  ADVISE Unbiased free advice based on years of experience.  ENROLL Meet with a local licensed agent who can help you enroll.  SUPPORT Ongoing support regardless of enrollment. MAA is an insurance agency and not part of the federal government. We do not represent every plan available in Alabama and information provided is limited to the plans we do offer. Contact or 1-800-Medicare to get information on all options.
Eric Smith

Fentanyl Overdoses in Jefferson County

As a public health professional working in overdose prevention tasked with writing an article about fentanyl overdose, I would like to ask you to walk through a visualization exercise. I would like you to close your eyes and imagine someone you think would be at risk of an overdose. What do they look like? How old are they? How are they dressed? Where are they? What environment are they in? What type of people or things are around them? Where are you in relation to them, close by or far away?

Now, I want you to wipe that image clean completely. In place of that image, I want you to imagine your grandmother suffering chronic back pain from years of hard work. She has prescribed pain medication but does not have enough to get her through an entire month and borrows pain medications from others. Imagine your teenager who is very active on a popular social media app and is approached through that app with an offer to purchase an anxiety medication. It will be conveniently delivered to their home as you order a pizza or takeout. Imagine your college student in the campus library studying for finals with friends, and someone offers them medication for attention deficit disorder to help them stay awake to study. Imagine your 25-year-old sibling, a young professional, attending a party where cocaine is available. Imagine your long-time neighbor, your favorite high school teacher, yourself, or anyone else you admire or care about instead. An accidental fentanyl overdose can happen to anyone from any community, socioeconomic status, age, race, ethnicity, religion, or gender who ingests a drug obtained outside of a pharmacy or healthcare provider’s office.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid available in prescription and illicitly manufactured forms. It is highly potent at tiny doses – fifty times more powerful than heroin and one hundred times more potent than morphine. An amount as small as a few grains of table salt can cause a fatal overdose. The risk of overdose from illicitly manufactured fentanyl is growing in our community. Jefferson County fentanyl overdose deaths were up 233% between 2019 and 2021, rising from 95 to 316. In 2022, through September, we have already lost 230 individuals in Jefferson County to a fentanyl overdose. Overdose is killing our friends, family members, and neighbors full of promise and ability to make a lifetime of positive contributions to our world.

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is in the heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine supply in Jefferson County, and users of those substances are at high risk of a fentanyl overdose. There are even reports of fentanyl contamination of the marijuana supply. Most people do not realize that illicitly manufactured fentanyl is also in counterfeit pills that are indistinguishable from legitimate prescription medications. Today’s overdose crisis is not the overdose crisis of five years ago when overdoses mainly occurred in injection drug users. Fentanyl overdoses are now happening in unsuspecting individuals who believe they are purchasing or borrowing legitimate prescription medications. Instead, they receive counterfeit medicines contaminated with fatal doses of illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

We must raise awareness about this public health crisis. Parents should discuss overdose risks with their middle-school, high school, and college students. Every household must be familiar with naloxone (an opioid overdose reversal drug) and have it available in their home.

There is hope for those using substances and resources available to guide these conversations. Parents may find resources on the Addiction Prevention Coalition website at, or the DEA One Pill Can Kill website at Free naloxone and fentanyl test strips are available to anyone in the State of Alabama and may be obtained through the Jefferson County Department of Health website

at Alabama’s 24/7 substance use helpline, answered by individuals in recovery from substance use disorder, can be reached at 1-844-307-1760. Those in Birmingham and the surrounding areas can contact the Recovery Resource Center at 205-4583377. A treatment locator can be found on the Connect Alabama app at connect-alabama-app/ or on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website at

The Jefferson County Department of Health staff cares about you and your family. Our mission is for everyone in Jefferson County to live a long and healthy life. We are available to spread awareness by speaking to community groups, being present at community events, and working alongside you to reduce overdoses in your community. Our overdose prevention and response team can be reached at 205-930-1065 or Let’s all work together to END OVERDOSE!

Sexual Health Clinic Services Have Expanded

The Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) Specialty Clinic is excited to announce multiple expansions to our existing services. The JCDH Sexual Health Clinic now offers services at our Central Health Center (1400 6th Ave South, Birmingham AL, 35202), our Eastern Health Center (601 West Blvd Roebuck, Birmingham, AL 35233), and our Western Health Center (631 Bessemer Super Hwy., Midfield, AL 35228).

The JCDH Sexual Health Clinic has also launched self-scheduling options for our Fast Track Visits. Fast Track Visits are intended for persons who wish to have comprehensive sexual health testing if they do not currently have any symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection. The self-scheduling portal can be found at under the “Self-Scheduling” tab.

The JCDH Specialty Clinic also offers the following services: Adult Vaccinations Clinic, Hepatitis C Treatment Clinic, PrEP and PEP Clinics (for HIV prevention), and Travel Clinic.

Appointments for any of these clinics can be made by calling 205-588-5234. February 2023 • B9

Achieve fitness goals with comprehensive personal training


David Thomas, owner and founder of Total Fitness Consultants, recognized a need for personal training in the Birmingham area. Now with two private facilities in Mountain Brook and Crestline Village, the business has been providing one-on-one training to help people achieve their fitness goals for almost 22 years.

Thomas and his staff of certified professional trainers design and implement programs to meet the needs of each client’s current fitness level even if they’re exercising for the first time in years. Everyone is welcome at Total Fitness Consultants: older adults trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, athletes and working professionals with a busy schedule.

“Our trainers zone in on what clients want opposed to a cookie-cutter program that doesn’t adapt for each client,” Thomas said.

There are no group classes, but clients can choose between solo or partner workout experiences. The partner workout experience — whether it’s two moms, two friends or a son and dad — gives clients the opportunity to workout together and split time with a trainer. They also offer monthly options and session packages.

“Our goal is to help people achieve

Wisdom teeth removal? Dental implants? Oral surgeons can help


► MOUNTAIN BROOK: 2833 Culver Road

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the results they are looking for or reach milestones if they are training for something specific,” Thomas said.

Total Fitness Consultants enables clients with health and wellness knowledge, and empowers them to ultimately feel better about themselves when they leave.

“We meet each client where they are,” Thomas said. “We set big, but attainable goals.”

To set up a free consultation, call 205-871-7744 or visit their website at

When searching for wisdom teeth removal or dental implants, many people flock to their dentists. Look no further than an oral and maxillofacial surgeon! They are certified experts in face, mouth and jaw surgery, and receive extensive training including dental school and surgical residencies in hospitals. In fact, many dentists refer patients to an oral surgeon for such procedures.

The dedicated professionals at Clark Holmes Smith Oral Facial Surgery are ready to help. Mark Clark, DMD, MD, Jon Holmes, DMD, MD and Blake Smith, DMD, MD offer a wide variety of services, such as dental implants, tooth extractions (including wisdom teeth), facial cosmetic surgery, corrective jaw surgery and reconstructive surgeries including facial injury and trauma surgery and cleft lip/palate and craniofacial surgery.

Dr. Clark, Dr. Holmes and Dr. Smith are all board-certified and can also perform frenectomies and bone grafting procedures, treat TMJ and facial pain and obstructive sleep apnea and offer oral, head and neck pathology as well as orthognathic surgery.

► WHERE: 1500 19th St. S., Birmingham

► CALL: 205-518-8761

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The staff members are highly skilled in anesthesia and are CPR-certified to provide patients with the best possible care in a safe, friendly and welcoming setting.

With five convenient locations in Birmingham, Trussville, Gardendale and Alexander City, the experts at Clark Holmes Smith Oral Facial Surgery serve and help patients all over the Birmingham metropolitan area.

B10 • February 2023 Village Living TWO CONVENIENT LOCATIONS TO MEET YOUR FITNESS GOALS CALL TODAY FOR MORE INFORMATION MOUNTAIN BROOK VILLAGE 205-783-1113 2833 CULVER ROAD CRESTLINE VILLAGE 205-871-7744 204 COUNTRY CLUB PARK ONE-ON-ONE TRAINING Check us out on: DO YOU NEED DENTAL IMPLANTS? Get to the root of the problem. CONVENIENT OFFICES IN Inverness | Trussville | Southside | Gardendale | Alexander City Other Services: •Wisdom Tooth Removal •Oral Pathology •Bone Grafting BOOK AN APPOINTMENT or call 205-582-4546

Using the latest technology to help improve patients’ lives


Alabama Vision Center, with locations in Mountain Brook and Hoover, offers world-class eye care with the most advanced technologies, delivered by a committed, caring group of expert doctors and staff.

The latest expert to join the team is Dr. Jessica Duddleston, an ophthalmologist, who began working at AVC in August 2022.

Dr. Duddleston’s specialities include cataract surgery; laser eye procedures, including Lasik; medical and surgical glaucoma; and Botox treatments.

She’s very happy to be a part of AVC.

“The culture is centered around excellent patient care which, to me, is the most important,” Dr. Duddleston says. “I believe it is obvious to our patients as well. Their visit is made more enjoyable as they get to experience how well our staff gets along with each other and how much they truly care.”

A Mississippi native, Dr. Duddleston earned her medical degree from The University of Mississippi Medical Center and completed her ophthalmology residency at The University of North Carolina.

She says that many technological advancements have occurred in ophthalmology in the last decade, and she strives to stay informed.

“It’s extremely important to continue researching and incorporating advancing technology into my skill set in order to offer patients a tailored treatment plan that fits their lifestyle,” she says.

Examples include the introduction of microinvasive glaucoma surgery and

Birmingham’s family-owned, independent pharmacy since 1928


When you walk through the doors of your pharmacy, do the pharmacists say hello and call you by your name?

If you’re a client at Harbin Discount Pharmacy, your answer is yes.

“We have watched generations of children grow up and now have children of their own,” said Jerry Newman. “We truly care about each and every person that walks through our door.”

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► HOOVER: 7191 Cahaba Valley Road, Suite 203

► CALL: 888-841-3937

► WEB: alabamavision

numerous dramatic improvements in Lasik technology

“The most rewarding part of my job is being able to improve someone’s vision through cataract surgery or LASIK and, therefore, improve their quality of life,” she says.

For details, call 888-841-3937 or go to

Harbin Discount Pharmacy is a family-owned, independent pharmacy that has been a Birmingham institution since 1928. Its four pharmacists have been practicing for a combined total of 130 years. There are two locations: one in Crestline Village and one downtown near University of Alabama Birmingham.

Because Harbin is a local pharmacy, it has a very comfortable and relaxed environment. The customers can feel free to ask questions and not feel like they are being rushed. The customers also have easy access to the pharmacist, both in person and over the phone. And since medications are compounded in house, the pharmacists are able to fully serve their customers in every aspect.

The staff is committed to customer service, and Jerry said the delivery service is top notch. “Our customers appreciate that their medicines will be delivered in a timely manner and they

► WHERE: 57 Church St.

► CALL: 205-871-2196

► WEB: harbindiscount

do not have to get out if they are sick or busy.”

Customers can also feel good about shopping at Harbin and knowing they’re keeping their dollars local. Harbin gives back to the Mountain Brook community by sponsoring as many local youth and community activities as it can.

“Did you know that when you spend your dollars at a local store, over 70 cents of every dollar spent stays in our community?” Jerry said.

Harbin Discount Pharmacy is a very special place that is reminiscent of the mom and pop stores from a bygone era. Visit for more information. February 2023 • B11
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Offering world-class eye care for everyone in the family


When you look ahead to the future, you try to prepare for the moments you don’t see coming. But how can you do that without the best possible eye care? Whether you need a routine eye exam, glaucoma screening, ongoing care for a serious eye condition or even surgery, you can access premium care, knowledge and skill to help repair and restore your vision at UAB Callahan Eye in the blink of an eye.

UAB Callahan Eye is committed to delivering eye care everyone can access. With 20 locations across central Alabama and counting — including new locations in Tuscaloosa and Homewood — getting first-rate treatment is easier than ever.

UAB Callahan Eye takes pride in caring for people of all ages, with all locations specializing in diagnosing and treating our youngest family members, starting at birth.

Whatever your needs are, you’ll find the care you need at one of UAB Callahan Eye’s locations, including the only 24/7 eye emergency department of its kind in the country. What does that mean for you? Personalized care, excellent eye care professionals, shorter wait times and clearer vision.

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Each morning, I would wake before her. I would pass my morning hours writing poetry on a yellow legal pad, sipping coffee.

Mostly, I’d write the kinds of god-awful things you’d expect newlyweds to write. I’m talking painfully corny stuff. I’d leave these poems on slips of paper scattered throughout our apartment for her to find.

One such poem read:

Together, the two of us, In thought, and deed, and breath, and heart, Shall never be lacerated apart.

Gag me with number-two pencil. “Lacerated?” What kind of a dork uses that word? In fact, I’m not certain this verb works in this particular case.

LACERATE [verb: las-uh-reyt]

lac·er·at·ed, lac·er·at·ing

1. to tear; mangle; rip. Example: Hey dude, that poem you wrote really freakin’ lacerated.

My wife saved all my crummy poems in a shoebox, and today they reside in a storage closet.

Anyway, when we first married, we lived in an apartment that smelled like dead squirrels. I am not being figurative. I mean our apartment actually had a nest of decomposing squirrels in the attic above our master bedroom.

Sean of the South

By Sean Dietrich

The place was tiny, and about as ugly as homemade soap. The tenant before us had painted the walls black and greenish-gray. Sherwin Williams officially titled this color

“Seasick Granite.”

When we moved in, we made the place our own. We painted the walls brown and khaki. We bought a used coffee table and some scented candles.

My friend, Chubbs, found an old console television on the side of the road. I was lucky enough to claim the TV before the garbage man came.


The thing was heavier than a dead preacher, but we got it up the stairs. Chubbs, however, would suffer from severe disc degenerative problems for the rest of his life.

Our building sat across the street from a Waffle House, a Chick-fil-A and an ice cream shop. And this is why we gained nearly fifty pounds within our first year of marriage.

We never went to the movies because we didn’t have the money. We ate Hamburger Helper without hamburger sometimes.

We saved our cash for a new window unit AC — our air conditioner was on the fritz. The thing would only work on days of the week beginning with “R.”

On weekends, every weekend, we ate donuts. It was our simple ritual, and I loved it. Krispy Kreme was only a stone’s throw from us, and when the hot-and-ready light would

glow, by God, we were there.

Over donuts, we would talk for hours about nothing. Heavy doses of sugar can do things to the human mind. It can make a person honest.

She told me all her stories. I told her mine. You can do a lot of soul-searching over crullers.

My professional life was non-existent, I took whatever jobs I could get. I spent days crawling rooflines, swinging a hammer, or operating a commercial lawn mower. She worked as a preschool teacher at church, or in a kitchen.

For extra income, I played piano at a Baptist church on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, Thursday night choir practices and Saturday night prayer meetings.

We learned things about each other. We learned important things.

We learned how to argue in the middle of a Winn-Dixie, and how to attend two Thanksgivings in one day. How to share a sunset, seated on the hood of a truck. How to read in bed with a flimsy battery-powered book light.

We learned how to travel together with paper maps. And after years of practice, we finally learned how to make a bed together without me getting murdered.

We learned how to hold each other when loved ones die. We learned how to sit together — me reading a magazine, her playing a crossword puzzle.

We learned how to wring our hands in hospital waiting rooms. We learned how bury dogs with a shovel and a burial sheet.

We learned how to make a life together.

A lot has changed since those days, but I still wake early in the mornings to write. I don’t use a legal pad anymore, I use a laptop. This morning, however, I did not write. Instead, I sifted through our storage closet. I found things. An old coffee-tin sewing kit, some scented candles, love poems and the picture of a young man and his new wife in their first apartment.

In the picture, the place had ugly gray walls, but that’s the only ugly thing about this photo. He’s holding her. She’s holding him. They are young. Their skin is smooth. I wish I could tell you how much I love these two people in the picture.

I wish you could see their faces, and their punch-drunk smiles. You can tell they belong together by looking at them. You simply know that their names should never be said apart. It’s as though nothing bad in this life can ever touch them. As though the two of them, in thought, and deed, and breath, and heart, shall never be lacerated apart.

I suppose that word is growing on me. Happy Valentine’s Day, Jamie.

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


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We were newlyweds, living in a grungy apartment.

Life Actually By Kari Kampakis Fighting the epidemic of burned-out moms

My friend’s teenage daughter and her friends have a weekend routine.

While Saturday night is friend night, Friday night is self-care night. When possible, they stay home to rest and decompress after a stressful week.

These girls are high school juniors, and given the demands of junior year, I like this habit they’ve adopted. I think it’s a good example of how the next generation values self-care.

The mothers raising them, on the other hand, are still playing catch-up. Unlike our children, we didn’t grow up hearing buzzwords like self-care, self-love, and self-compassion. To no surprise, it left us a little confused. While some moms eagerly embrace self-care, others roll their eyes and see it as vanity or self-indulgence.

Maybe it's because we associate self-care with two opposing extremes. We feel like we must choose one:

The spa day mentality (a constant mindset of “I’ll treat myself because I deserve it”), or

The mommy martyrdom mentality (a mindset of “my kids are my world, and I can’t do anything for myself”).

Neither extreme is healthy because real health means moderation. Overdoing it in either direction can lead to self-worship or self-neglect, both of which hurt a mother and her family.

Am I saying it is wrong to visit a spa, and that motherhood does not require a lot of sacrifice? Absolutely not. Most of us enjoy a good massage and would sacrifice anything for the good of our family.

But after parenting for two decades, I’ve learned there must be a middle ground.

There must be self-care that strengthens us — and expands our bandwidth — so we can thrive and handle life trials.

I used to think that self-care meant bubble baths and fancy vacations. It was the “reward” earned by hard work. Today I see self-care as habits, mindsets, and choices that build wellness from the inside out. It’s whatever keeps us healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

I have a counselor friend who coaches moms on improving their mental health. Her clients often tell her, “I know what I need to do, but how?” They feel overwhelmed and crave practical tips on how to fight burnout. They're not alone, for we're all exhausted on some level. While each mom is unique, there are ways to replenish your reserves and counter feelings of depletion. These thoughts can get you started:

► Real self-care brings you back to your family as a healthier, stronger, better version of you. Think about what energizes you. What recharges your battery and makes you feel more like yourself? Maybe it’s tennis lessons, running, or growing a garden. If you’re an introvert you may want to paint alone, and if you’re an extrovert you may prefer coffee with friends. Whatever rejuvenates you is worth your time and energy.

► Baby steps are key. Trying to rehaul your whole life at once will make you want to quit. Instead, focus on one habit at a time. Spend a week improving your thought life. A week eating a healthier breakfast. A week controlling your temper or a bad habit you're trying to break. Keeping it simple and taking it slowly makes it easier to sustain new habits.

► A motivating motto helps. During one super-stressful year, my friend gained 30 pounds. After much frustration, she told herself: Today is the day. She started with one small change – wearing tennis shoes to work – and began by walking 15 minutes during her break. Gradually, she added in other 15-minute walks and worked up to an hour daily. Finding an anthem that speaks to you may inspire action.

► Your kids like to see you in your element. So let them see you laughing with your friends, dreaming up a new business, planning the church chili cook-off, setting a gorgeous table, or performing your high school routine to “Ice Ice Baby” to get the party started. What makes you you and gives you life may one day be some of their favorite childhood memories.

► You thrive by living out of your strengths. Are you a glue mom or a glitter mom? Do you create order or creative messes? Do you give great advice or a great listening ear? While it's good to grow in your areas of weakness, don't forget to embrace the gifts you bring to the table. Work with your personality, not against it.

► Negativity that seeps into your heart will eventually seep into your home. It will steal your joy, peace, and ability to love. So set boundaries with toxic people and don’t engage in debates online that keep you angry all day. Instead spend time with uplifting people who keep you in a positive headspace for yourself and your family.

► The perfect mom in your head doesn’t exist. And mom guilt keeps you stuck in shame. God created you to parent with a spirit of strength, not defeat, so give

yourself grace and space to be human. Aim for progress, not perfection.

► Knowing what your “feel good” is leads to deeper fulfillment. Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or excessive. In fact, the best way to fight burnout is through small routines that calm your soul. A cup of coffee on your porch after dropping kids off at school. Cuddling with your child or dog. Calling a friend instead of texting. A date night with your husband. Devotional time in the morning. Five minutes of prayer or meditation. A job or calling that elevates your joy and taps into your mother’s heart. Being a mom is important, but you’re more than just a mom. You’re also a child of God with legitimate human needs in mind, body, and soul. You can only take your children as far as you’ve come, and as you grow your wellness, you teach your kids to do the same. You give them a vision of a healthy adult.

My prayer for my girls is that they become better, stronger, and smarter than me. I want them to learn from my mistakes and build on what I started. While I’m aware they’re learning from me, I’m also constantly learning from them. I’m taking notes from them and their generation — especially as I broaden my view of self-care.

Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a Mountain Brook mom of four girls, author, speaker, and blogger. Kari’s newest book, “More Than a Mom,” and other bestselling books are available everywhere books are sold. Join Kari on Facebook and Instagram, visit her blog at, or find her on the Girl Mom Podcast.

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O’Neal Library


Tuesdays: Patty Cake — Lapsit Storytime (infants to 18 months). 9:30-9:50 a.m. and 10:30-10:50 a.m. Registration required.

Wednesdays: Toddler Tales Storytime — Directed Movement. 9:30-10 a.m. and 10:30-11 a.m. Registration required.

Wednesdays: Movers & Makers — Kindergarten Prep Storytime (Ages 3-5). 1:30-2:15 p.m. Registration required.

Thursdays: All Together Storytime. 9:30-10 a.m and 10:30-11 a.m.

Feb. 10: Sensory Play, Explore and More. Small groups 9:30-10:15 a.m. and 10:3011:15 a.m., Free Play 11:15-11:45 a.m. Registration required for small groups.


Tuesdays: LOL Story Adventure. 3:304:15 p.m.

Thursdays: SNaP. 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Feb. 6: STEAM Powered. 4-5 p.m.

Feb. 9: Hot off the Press Book Group. 6-7 p.m.


Feb. 13: Breakout Book Club: “Charlie & Mouse Are Magic.” 5-6 p.m.

Feb. 20: Illustrator Art Club - Art inspired by Bryan Collier from “Trombone Shorty.” 4:30-5:30 p.m.


Feb. 1: Game On. 3:30-5:30 p.m. Video games, board games, card games galore.

Feb. 4, 11 and 18: Young Adult Poetry Workshop with writer Miriam Calleja. 10 a.m. to noon.

Feb. 4: DIY Yums Sushi. 1-3 p.m.

Feb. 6: TAB Meeting. 5-6 p.m.

Feb. 13 and 20: Dungeons & Dragons. 4:30-7 p.m.

Feb. 23: Library Loot Book Club. 4-5 p.m.


Feb. 5: Fright Night! — An Under the Mountain Movie Screening. 7-9:30 p.m.

Feb. 7: The Bookies: An O'Neal Library Book Group. 10-11 a.m.

Feb. 7: Gentle Yoga with Marie Blair. 10-11 a.m.

Feb. 7 and 9: Writing Workshop with Miriam Calleja. 5:30-7 p.m.

Feb. 13: Great Short Stories. 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Feb. 28: Books & Beyond. 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

For more information, go to

Feb. 3: Children’s Valentine Garden

Kit. Order deadline Friday, Feb. 3. Pickup dates: Wednesday, Feb. 8 through Friday, Feb. 10. Members: $20, nonmembers: $25.

Feb. 7: Thyme to Read. 4:30 p.m. Discussing “The Island of Missing Trees” in the garden’s library.

Feb. 15: Planting your spring garden. 3 p.m. Members: $20, nonmembers: $25

Feb. 18: Birmingham Camellia Society’s 10th Annual Local Camellia Show. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Feb. 18: Designing a terrarium. 10 a.m. All materials provided. Members: $25, nonmembers: $30. Another class will be held Feb. 23 at 3 p.m.

Feb. 24: Winter Tree Care. Members: $15, nonmembers: $20.

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Articles from Village Living February 2023