Vestavia Voice January 2022

Page 1

January 2022 | Volume 9 | Issue 9



All-Metro Teams


Rebels receive honors on volleyball, football All-South Metro teams.

See page B4

Women in Business

Contractors with Foshee Steel Solutions work on the entrance canopy at the new Vestavia Hills Civic Center. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Civic Center completion, economic development and more on horizon By NEAL EMBRY

Get to know some of the women succeeding in business in the area.

See page B10

INSIDE Sponsors .......... A4 News ..................A6 Business ............A11 Events .............. A13 Schoolhouse.... A14

Opinion............ A20 Real Estate...... A21 Sports.................B4 Women In Business...... B10


hile the Community Spaces Plan was initially set to be completed in 2021, the work that began in 2019 will be finished in 2022, Vestavia Hills City Manager Jeff Downes said. With public meetings beginning in 2017, a new sales tax taking effect in 2018 and the first pile of dirt moved in 2019, it has been a long process to finish the Community Spaces Plan,

Caroline Smith Barrow works with students in the Sunbeam Room, the K-5 Life Skills class, as they make gingerbread houses. Photo by Erin Nelson.

a more than $60 million capital improvement project that spanned the entire city, Downes said. The improvements made to the city’s offerings should give residents a sense of pride, not just in the city’s renowned school system, but in the city’s offerings when it comes to public amenities such as Wald Park and Cahaba Heights Park, Downes said. Other things to expect in 2022 include the return of the Dogwood Festival, a focus on stormwater runoff control and sidewalks,

economic development, an additional building for the school system and continued population growth, officials said. Here’s a bit more about each topic:


The new Vestavia Hills Civic Center and the final phase of renovations to Wald Park will be the final pieces to the Community Spaces Plan. Originally set to open in late 2021,

See 2022 | page A22

Vestavia Hills City Schools names Teachers of Year By NEAL EMBRY Leaders at Vestavia Hills City Schools recently named the 2021-22 “Teachers of the Year” for each of the school systems’ nine schools. The award is voted on by the teachers’ coworkers.


► Vestavia Hills Elementary

Cahaba Heights, Elementary Teacher of the Year Q: How long have you been with your current school, and what is your role? A: I am a school counselor at Vestavia Hills Elementary at Cahaba Heights. I am in my fifth year at Cahaba Heights and have 18 years in

See TEACHERS | page A23

A2 • January 2022

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TREE CREWS WORKING IN VESTAVIA HILLS THROUGH JANUARY 2022 Alabama Power crews are working in several Vestavia Hills neighborhoods, removing trees and other vegetation that threaten the safety and reliability of our electrical system. As part of this process, Alabama Power goes to great lengths to talk with individual property owners. Company representatives are going door to door, leaving notices at locations where work is needed. If you have any questions before crews come by your home, please call Alabama Power at 205-257-2155 and ask for someone in the Vegetation Management Group to contact you. Or you can email us at Work in Vestavia and nearby areas is expected to continue through January 2022. As we work in communities to meet the needs of our customers, please maintain a safe social distance of six feet from our crews and field representatives to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Also, you can visit for more information about these safety and reliability measures and for recommendations about planting the right tree in the right place.

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A4 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice

About Us Editor’s Note By Neal Embry 2022 is finally here. Another year is gone, and so begins another. As I get older, it seems the years go by much more quickly, and it definitely seems that way after the July 2020 birth of my daughter, who is now walking. My college years still don’t seem that far back, but in a couple of years, I’ll have my 10-year class reunion on the bricks of the University of Montevallo. My first real job, at a newspaper in Arkansas, began nearly six years ago, but it seems like just yesterday I was “living it up” in my bachelor pad before moving back home and marrying my wife. While I can’t slow time down, I can seek to remember it. In 2021, I celebrated my daughter’s

first birthday, finally graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and celebrated a new job for my wife that begins this month. And I certainly can’t forget watching the Atlanta Braves, the team I’ve

cheered on since childhood, lift the World Series trophy for the first time since 1995. In this month’s issue, you’ll find a preview of what lies in store for Vestavia Hills this year, including the completion of the Vestavia Hills Civic Center, sidewalk and road improvement projects and more economic development throughout the city. Find out more in this month’s cover story. I hope you enjoy this month’s reading and hope you and your family have a wonderful 2022!


Santa Claus waves to paradegoers at the Vestavia Hills Christmas Parade on Dec. 12 in Liberty Park. Photo by Ingrid Schnader.

Publisher: Dan Starnes Managing Editor: Nick Patterson Community Editors: Neal Embry Jon Anderson Jesse Chambers Leah Ingram Eagle Sports Editor: Kyle Parmley Community Reporter: Eric Taunton Design Editor: Melanie Viering Photo Editor: Erin Nelson Page Designers: Kristin Williams Ted Perry Contributing Writer: Sean Dietrich Client Success Specialist: Anna Bain Content Marketing Manager: Ingrid Schnader Graphic Designer: Emily VanderMey Advertising: Michelle Salem Haynes Don Harris Jarrett Tyus Warren Caldwell Bob Willard Administrator: Anna Jackson Please recycle this paper.

For advertising contact: Contact Information: Vestavia Voice 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: Starnes Publishing LLC Legals: Vestavia Voice is published monthly. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content without prior permission is prohibited. Vestavia Voice is designed to inform the Vestavia community of area school, family and community events. Information in Vestavia Voice is gathered from sources considered reliable but the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. All articles/photos submitted become the property of Vestavia Voice. We reserve the right to edit articles/photos as deemed necessary and are under no obligation to publish or return photos submitted. Inaccuracies or errors should be brought to the attention of the publisher at (205) 313-1780 or by email.

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Find Us Pick up the latest issue of Vestavia Voice at the following locations: ► Diplomat Deli ► Dry Clean City ► Galleria Woods ► Moe’s Original BBQ – Vestavia ► Morningside of Vestavia Hills ► Pappas’ Grill ► RealtySouth Acton Road ► Saint Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church ► The Vintage Barber Shop ► Town Village Vestavia Hills ► Vestavia Hills Board of

Education ► Vestavia Hills City Hall ► Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce ► Vestavia Hills High School ► Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest ► Vestavia Hills Recreation Center Want to join this list or get Vestavia Voice mailed to your home? Contact Anna Jackson at

January 2022 • A5

A6 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice


Redistricting efforts impact Birmingham metro area Vestavia Hills straddles the line between the sixth and seventh congressional districts following the state’s redistricting process that took place in late 2021. Map courtesy of the Alabama Legislature.

By NEAL EMBRY Although they face legal challenges, the state of Alabama has new congressional, legislative and school board maps following the redistricting process that took place in late 2021. The maps significantly altered representation in parts of Homewood and Hoover, but did not have a major impact in Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook. The redistricting process takes place every 10 years following the release of the U.S. Census Bureau data. Governor Kay Ivey signed the maps in November, but two lawsuits have been filed challenging the legality of the maps, arguing they weaken the state’s African-American vote, and Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, the longest-serving legislator in state history, said the lawsuits will be ongoing “for a while.” Other than a few minor changes, state legislative districts remained largely the same in the over-the-mountain area. State Sen. Dan Roberts, representing District 15, represents a large portion of Vestavia and Mountain Brook and portions of Homewood and Shelby County, but did lose his boxes in Talladega County, where he was one of three senators. The committee chose to try and keep multiple representatives or senators from serving one county, he said. State senators’ districts now represent about 146,000 people on average, with representatives representing about 43,000 people, Waggoner said. State Rep. David Wheeler said that in an effort to eliminate split precincts, he was given all of the Vestavia Hills United Methodist precinct, while state Rep. Jim Carns was given all of the Town Village precinct, which will soon move to the Vestavia Hills Civic Center. In Homewood, voters zoned for two voting precincts, one in Edgewood and the other at the Homewood Library, were moved from the 6th

Congressional District, which is currently held by Republican Gary Palmer, into the 7th Congressional District, which is currently held by Democrat Terri Sewell. While areas north of Oxmoor Road in the city were previously a part of the 7th District, which has historically been held by a Democrat, areas south of Oxmoor had been included in the 6th District, which has historically been held by a Republican, said state Rep. David Faulkner, who represents District 46. Faulkner estimated he heard from 100 residents who were upset about the changes. Ethan Vice with Palmer’s office said the changes came as a result of the growth in Palmer’s portion of Shelby County. The growth meant he had to lose some areas in order to maintain balance among the state’s congressional delegation. Palmer also

lost some parts of Hoover between McCalla and Helena, as well as a good bit of western Jefferson County, though he did pick up some precincts in the Roebuck and Center Point area. Faulkner and Waggoner attempted to keep those parts of Homewood in Palmer’s district, but the measures were defeated on the floor of both the state House and state Senate. Faulkner said he was “taken back” by how little legislators not on the redistricting committee were involved in the creation of new maps. The only role they were allowed to play before the maps were put on the floor for debate was in examining their own district, Faulkner said, meaning he did not get to see how some of his constituents would be affected by changes to congressional maps, or changes to state Senate and school board maps.

The process was complicated due to the delay in census numbers coming in, Waggoner said. Normally, legislators would have several months to complete redistricting, but the numbers did not come in until August this year, Carns said. Over-the-mountain legislators including Waggoner, Carns, Roberts, Faulkner and Wheeler all said they plan on running for re-election, and while qualifying for the 2022 primaries and general election won’t end until the end of January, two had known opponents as of press time: Wheeler and Carns. Wheeler will face Chris Coleman, a DJ, in the general election after Coleman, a Democrat, filed papers to run against him, Wheeler said. Carns will face William Wentowski in the Republican primary after defeating Wentowski in the 2018 primary.

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January 2022 • A7

New restaurants are coming near The Fig Tree, above, and a pedestrian walking path will soon be built to the right of Regions in Heights Village, left, in an effort to improve the Cahaba Heights Entertainment District. Photos by Erin Nelson.

2 new eateries, pedestrian access slated for Cahaba Heights By NEAL EMBRY Two new restaurants and more pedestrian access will be coming to the Cahaba Heights area, bolstering the neighborhood’s entertainment district and creating more opportunities to traverse the area by foot. Miss Astrid’s Tavern is scheduled to open this spring behind The Fig Tree, said Richard Edge, who owns the property. Edge said the plan is to use the space for food and entertainment, but the project was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Edge described the offerings as simple, inornate and very personal. “It should be a neighborhood sort of area,” he said. The tavern will host events at an event stage, offer alcoholic beverages as well as food that Edge described as “simple stuff you can’t get anywhere [else]” and may include Portuguese and Spanish fare.

There also will be a stage built where patrons can hear live music, Edge said. He envisions a space where guests can have a beer and sandwich, or enjoy a cocktail, along with music. Edge said work will be done to finish the big area, fix a large ditch and then build out the bar area and stage. There will also be shaded areas to keep patrons out of the heat. While the food is different from that offered at The Fig Tree, Edge said the chef at the longtime Cahaba Heights restaurant has expressed interest in providing services from time to time. While the project was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Edge said as soon as he can hire contractors, construction should start. The plan now is for Miss Astrid’s Tavern to open sometime this spring. The move is meant to elevate the offerings of the Cahaba Heights Entertainment District, with plans to add another restaurant near The Fig Tree.

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Jared Lewis with Bluwater Properties is adding a “well-established fast-casual restaurant” that can accommodate up to 100 cars and has a pick-up window. Lewis said he could not yet announce the name of the restaurant. There will also be some improvements made to the area, with Edge set to improve the on-site stormwater structures and parking, and Lewis will also improve parking and stormwater drainage. Other neighboring owners are granting easements to the city to build a pedestrian sidewalk that will connect all of these properties and expand accessibility in the area surrounding Heights Village. Cinnamon McCulley, communications specialist for the city of Vestavia Hills, said the sidewalk will serve as an elevated walkway, allowing pedestrians to cross over a ditch. There are also plans to include landscaping on the side, along with low-level lighting. While the timeline is not known and there are many

moving pieces, preliminary renderings show the walkway connecting The Fig Tree and adjacent properties to Heights Village, with Regions Bank being the closest business to the walking path. The Vestavia Hills City Council recently approved an economic incentive agreement with Miss Astrid’s in exchange for its work to improve the area. The business will receive up to $47,000 in sales tax rebates, with the value of the incentive intended to reimburse the restaurant for costs associated with the parking and stormwater enhancements and help make the project feasible, according to a packet provided by the city. The business will receive 50% of sales tax revenues generated from the business for up to six years, or until that amount reaches $47,000. The total construction and site budget for the tavern is anticipated to be about $200,000, with an annual gross income expected to be about $368,500.

A8 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice

Altadena Valley Park plans being discussed By NEAL EMBRY Residents serving on the Altadena Valley Park Committee have begun creating plans to improve the park, including connecting walking trails, building a pavilion and possible amenities such as a canoe launch, playground and disc golf course. Committee member Mitch Bevill, who works alongside Tony Renta, said Phase 1 of the proposed plans would involve connecting new walking trails, building a pavilion, rest shelter and wildflower masses, restoring a pond and bridge, and installing parking, a storage area and disc golf course. However, the budget for the plan has not yet been approved by the Vestavia Hills City Council. There was some negative feedback on the original number of proposed parking spaces at a late November public meeting, Bevill said. There will be 47 initial parking spaces added in phase one, with more coming later as needed. The committee is also working with David Butler of the Cahaba Riverkeeper group to construct a canoe launch, possibly with grant money. This would be part of phase two of the plans. That phase also includes the possibility of archery, restroom restoration, the canoe launch, access and trails, and a BMX pump



This rendering shows some of the proposed Phase 1 projects at Altadena Valley Park. Rendering courtesy of city of Vestavia Hills.

Proposed Altadena Valley Park Improvements Phase 1 ► Connection of walking trails ► Parking and storage space ► Disc golf ► Pavilion ► Rest shelter ► Wildflower masses ► Pond and bridge restoration track, according to information presented to the public. The committee plans to give the City Council a proposal on the cost of the proposed work. Bevill said he also plans to involve the Vestavia Hills Parks and Recreation Foundation and will work with different groups for


Phase 2 ► Canoe launch ► Canoe launch access ► Canoe launch trails ► Archery ► BMX pump trail ► Restroom restoration

funding and possible grants. Bevill said the state’s Wildlife Fish and Game Division will pay for archery targets. The goal is to make the park usable after years of it not being so, he said. The park will always be passive, meaning it will not be used for a specific recreational

activity, like the Wald Park ball fields are used for baseball, Bevill said. The original plan for the park was for a large portion of it to become active, but Bevill said nearby residents were not satisfied with that plan, so the 70-acre park will remain passive. The city purchased the park in 2015 and in June 2020 passed regulations for it. The city had seen residents and others drive golf carts on the course, take trucks and ATVs out there and with no regulations, the city could potentially be liable for any damages or injuries. The regulations state that no golf carts, go-karts, motorcycles, four-wheelers, three-wheelers or any other type of vehicle is allowed outside of the designated parking area. Sometime this month, Bevill said the Altadena Valley Park Committee will present its proposal to the City Council and will work to secure funding.

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January 2022 • A9

Council hears update on Wald Park options The Vestavia Hills City Council continues to discuss the various options in front of them pertaining to the third phase of Wald Park, one of the final pieces of the Community Spaces Plan to be completed. Photo by Erin Nelson.

By NEAL EMBRY The Vestavia Hills City Council continues to discuss the various options in front of them pertaining to the third phase of Wald Park, one of the final pieces of the Community Spaces Plan to be completed. At the Dec. 13 meeting, Raynor Boles with TCU Consulting, the city’s project manager for Community Spaces, presented multiple options for the council to consider. Option one would be to accept the bid as originally presented, with some potential cost adjustments from partnering with private stakeholders for a final cost of about $3.9 million. Those stakeholders might provide private funding in exchange for certain programmatic amenities. Nothing has been agreed upon by or presented to the council in that regard, according to the city’s communications director, Cinnamon McCulley. Option two would stabilize the northern end of Wald Park and prepare the site for future programming, at a cost of roughly $2.3 million. “We have to stabilize Wald Park regardless,” McCulley said. The northern end of the park would be set off in “tiers,” Boles said, because of the land’s topography, allowing the city to have some flexibility when it comes to programming. Option three would be the roughly $5 million construction of the entire tennis complex at what is now soccer fields at the former Vestavia Hills Elementary Central campus. As previously reported, that complex would include 12 tennis courts and a pavilion. Option four would include eight courts at Central but no pavilion, a cost of about $3.25 million. The council could change the scope of those projects if so desired. Council member Paul Head suggested possibly pursuing both options two and four, giving the city tennis courts at Central while allowing for future flexibility at Wald Park. Council member Rusty Weaver said the opportunity at Central may not last forever, as the school system

will eventually use that field for something. Resident David Harwell told the council placing the courts at Wald Park gives the city complete control, while placing them at Central would mean coordinating with the Board of Education. Harwell said it would be important to ensure residents would have access to the courts if they were not in use by the school system, should they be located at Central. City Manager Jeff Downes made a public apology to the family of Shawntel Jones, who has a track at Central named after her. Downes said he was unaware when the council began talking about using the Central fields and converting them to tennis, which would do away with the track named in her honor. Jones was active in the community, especially in sports. Downes said he’s met with Jones’ father, Walter, to apologize and told him the council would “work hard to prevent this type of thing

happening again.” In other news, the council approved a drainage improvement project at Kyle Lane, agreeing to pay Southeastern Sealcoating about $192,000 to replace a collapsed corrugated metal pipe, though Downes said the project could be delayed due to how long it may take to get a concrete culvert, which will also be added at the site. The council also approved an agreement which will allow the city to receive settlement money from a lawsuit brought by the state of Alabama on behalf of municipalities against Endo Pharmaceuticals for their role in the opioid crisis. Tommy Dazzio, who represents the city on the matter, said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall settled with the company, and asked for 100% agreement with the state’s municipalities by Dec. 20; otherwise, the settlement may fall apart. Settlement monies

would be split amongst the state’s municipalities by a formula, and must be used to combat the opioid crisis. The council also approved a roughly $249,000 bid from Sprinturf to resurface and add turf at the Sicard Hollow Athletic Complex, as well as authorizing Downes to purchase accessory structures and other items for the dog park to be located at the SHAC. The dog park is funded by a grant from the Alabama Mine Land Reclamation Economic Development Pilot Program, worth up to $300,000. In other business, the council: ► Approved a memorandum of understanding agreement with Jefferson County for storm debris removal. ► Reappointed Larry Cochran to the Vestavia Hills Library Board and Kirk McCulley to the Vestavia Hills Parks and Recreation Board.

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A10 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice

Vestavia Hills City Hall. The Vestavia Hills City Council voted at its Nov. 22 meeting to refinance a little more than $5 million in existing bond debt. Photo by Erin Nelson.

Mayor’s Minute By Ashley Curry

Council gives approval for dog groomer in City Center By NEAL EMBRY In order to save the city money, the Vestavia Hills City Council voted at its Nov. 22 meeting to refinance a little more than $5 million in existing bond debt. City Manager Jeff Downes said city leaders and Vestavia’s financial advisers noticed there was an improvement to existing interest rates on bonds used to pay for the Community Spaces Plan and saw an opportunity to save the city money. With the council voting to refinance the bonds at lower rates, the anticipated savings are about $212,000, Downes said. The refinance does not extend the terms of the loan or the amount of debt carried by the city, and the savings will be used for future capital needs, Downes said. The council also gave its approval for a conditional use permit for Happy Dog Baths and Grooming, which allows the business to open in the Vestavia Hills City Center. The business, owned by Mike Mahaffey, offers both grooming and bath services, along with medical care, and will be located in the former Subway space at 678 Montgomery Highway.

The permit was approved on the condition that no overnight boarding would be allowed at the business. For more information about the business, see the story on Happy Dog in this month’s business section. The council also approved an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for the state to resurface and restripe portions of Interstate 459 from U.S. 280 to Grants Mill Road, which includes the restriping and repaving of the Liberty Park exit at Overton Road, which City Manager Jeff Downes said needs repair. In other business, the council: ► Annexed and rezoned property at 2429 Altadena Road from a Jefferson County single-family district to a Vestavia Hills medium-density residential district. ► Annexed and rezoned property at 2621 and 2625 Red Bud Lane from a Jefferson County estate district to a Vestavia Hills residential estate district. ► Heard a report from Downes that city employees raised $23,400 for United Way, the highest amount in city history.

Lucy Maude Montgomery in her classic book, “Anne of Green Gables,” said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” The same idea applies to the New Year. We are beginning a new year, and hopefully there have been no mistakes in it yet. There is something refreshing about the prospect of a “new” year. That is why so many people make New Year’s resolutions. Have you made a New Year’s resolution? It is estimated that 45% of Americans make resolutions for the new year. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, a list of the most common resolutions includes: ► Losing weight/healthier diet ► Spend less, save more ► Exercise regularly ► Quit smoking ► Spend more time with family Unfortunately, 73% fail or have only marginal success. Maybe it is time to change our habits. Henry Ford said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.” Why bring this up? I mention this so that during the coming year, you can make resolutions that could be easier to keep. Resolve to volunteer with a worthy cause. Resolve to volunteer with any number of city activities, school activities, church activities or anything else that pertains to others. By including others, I think you will have a greater success rate on your resolutions.

Community service is one of the best ways to improve the lives of other people. The awesome thing about volunteering is that you can take part in it as much as your schedule allows. Consider choosing an opportunity that fits in your interests and hobbies. This will ensure that you provide an amazing, enlightening experience for other people as well. The city has a list of resolutions for the coming year. We are looking forward to completing the infrastructure and Community Spaces plans. We will soon be completing our infrastructure component on Crosshaven Drive. It appears that Phase 3 of the Wald Park improvements will be the next park component completed. Finally, our new Civic Center should be completed sometime by mid-year. This is one of the most exciting recreational improvements as it will include two gyms, multiple meeting rooms and a grand ballroom with banquet-size capacity. I wish you a joyous and Happy New Year! As an unknown author stated, “The new year is a book with blank pages in it. The pen is in your hand to write a great story for the new year.” Seize the opportunity and make your resolution.

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January 2022 • A11

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PERSONNEL MOVES Chopt Creative Salad Company, a farmto-fast-casual restaurant chain based in New York City, is set to open its restaurant at 708 Montgomery Highway, Suite 108, in January. Chopt will offer a variety of ways to order its creative salads, wraps and warm bowls at the location, including its new group ordering feature, curbside pickup, ordering ahead via app or website, and contactless in-store ordering. The restaurant takes up 3,000 square feet, including a dining room that seats 48, patio seating for 16 and an expansive pick-up shelf featuring a mural with Sibyl Temple. The business will create 40 jobs and is now hiring.

RELOCATIONS AND RENOVATIONS Chuck E. Cheese, 500 Old Town Road, recently reopened following a renovation that included a new game room, new technology and new games. New features also include an interactive dance floor that is programmed with seasonal, dynamic graphics and serves as the “center stage” for Chuck E. Live!

The Warren Averett accounting firm recently promoted 14 people to become members of the firm, including six at the Birmingham office at 2500 Acton Road, Suite 200. The new members who work in that office are Aaron Nelson, asset management; Jennifer Pemble, health care; Jim Lazenby, asset management; Michael Nix, audit; Michael Rebarchak, audit; and Ryan Grauel, audit. Nelson‘s responsibilities include developing client relationships, assisting with clients’ comprehensive financial planning and managing investment portfolios for investors. Pemble specializes in business consulting and tax planning for medical practices and health care facilities. Lazenby provides corporate, partnership, estate, trust and gift tax services, including individual and estate tax planning services. Nix acts as clients’ contact point throughout the financial statement audit process and manages team members within Warren Averett’s audit division. Rebarchak has experience serving clients across multiple industries, including health care facilities/ hospitals, distribution, natural resources and technology. Grauel has experience serving clients across multiple industries, including manufacturing, private equity, technology and nonprofits. 205-979-4100,

Regions, with offices at 529 Montgomery Highway, 3172 Heights Village and 3390 Morgan Drive, recently announced Brad Kimbrough will retire Feb. 28 following a nearly 29-year career at the bank, the last 14 of which he has served as controller and chief accounting officer. Kimbrough will be succeeded as controller by Anil Chadha, a 20-year banking industry veteran who joined Regions in 2011 and currently serves as head of risk shared services and analytics. Chadha will lead the bank’s broader controller group, which includes Karin Allen, who has been elevated by Regions to serve as assistant controller and chief accounting officer. In addition, James Eastman of the controller group has been named assistant controller and will manage business unit controller functions. Jon Harden will continue as accounting and treasury operations manager.


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CLOSINGS Alabama Piano Gallery, 1425 Montgomery Highway, Suite 151, is closing but is working on a new location that will show off “the beauty that is found in the Family of Steinway Designed Pianos,” the company said on its website. The business is holding a sale of its inventory as it prepares for the new space, which will include a recital space as well as inventory.




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A12 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice Orbe Sanchez trims fur behind Olive’s ears during her grooming appointment at Happy Dog Baths and Grooming in Crestline Village. Owner Mike Mahaffey plans to expand operations to a location in Vestavia Hills. Photo by Erin Nelson.

An affiliate of Shannon Waltchack recently purchased the Shoppes at City Hall shopping center. Photo courtesy of Daniel Lawson.

Local developer purchases Former Pet Vet owner to open Shoppes at City Hall site new grooming, medical facility By NEAL EMBRY An affiliate of the Shannon Waltchack commercial real estate firm has acquired the Shoppes at City Hall in Vestavia Hills. Shannon Waltchack Neighborhood Centers II purchased the roughly 28,000-square-foot shopping center in front of City Hall and said in a news release the move was part of its focus on acquiring “neighborhood centers in target markets throughout the Southeast and Midwest.” “This property is an excellent example of SWNC II’s strategy that targets well-established properties in key locations with affluence and diversity,” Director of Investments Tyler Hose said. “It’s great to have acquisition opportunities here in our own community.” Shoppes at City Hall is at 1034-1090 Montgomery Highway, which has more than 33,900 vehicles per day pass by, according to

Shannon Waltchack. The center has 12 longstanding tenants, including Truist, Pinnacle Cards & Games, Vestavia Apothecary, Elmwood Staffing, Pappas’ Grill, Balance Chiropractic, Players Choice Tennis, Glam Beauty Boutique, Lyons Electrolysis & Lashes, and Soccer Nation. The current tenants will stay, said Anna Kate Chambliss, marketing and transaction coordinator with Shannon Waltchack. The shopping center is next to the Vestavia Hills Civic Center, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022, according to Vestavia Hills City Manager Jeff Downes. The company said in its press release that it remains focused on “service-oriented tenants” and prefers “necessity-focused businesses, such as dentists, restaurants and insurance, which provide resilience against internet retailers.” Chambliss said there was one 1,200-squarefoot suite still available for lease.

By NEAL EMBRY Following the success of the Crestline Village location, Happy Dog Baths and Grooming owner Mike Mahaffey is opening a second location in the former Subway space at the Vestavia Hills City Center. Mahaffey said the plan is for the business to open in mid-January, following slight renovations to the space, including adding a couple of walls and adding equipment necessary to groom, bathe and take care of dogs. Mahaffey and his wife, Kris, owned Pet Vet veterinary clinics in Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills until December 2020, and when the new owners of those clinics spun the grooming part of Pet Vet to Mahaffey in April 2021, he opened Happy Dog in Mountain Brook to great success. Mahaffey said the location gained about 1,000 new clients in a year, and he expects

similar success in Vestavia, where he said there is no groomer in that part of the city. “We cater to dogs of all shapes and sizes,” Mahaffey said. The business offers grooming, bathing and add-ons, including brush outs, blow outs, nail trims, blueberry facials and laser treatments, and he said he wants to eventually offer other services like dog massages, but isn’t quite there yet. Kris Mahaffey will also provide medical services at the location, Mike Mahaffey said. While dogs are pets, Mahaffey said for so many, they’re much more. “Dogs are very much a part of our family, like our children,” Mahaffey said. “They need maintenance.” The location’s address is 678 Montgomery Highway and will be open Monday through Friday by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling 205-490-1798.

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January 2022 • A13


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Crafts like these can be made at the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest this month. Photo courtesy of Eden Pfaff.

Crafts, ‘Lego Olympics’ coming to library By ERIC TAUNTON This month at Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest, guests can make unique crafts and enjoy a “Family Lego Olympics” event to start the new year. For another craft, patrons can make refrigerator magnets with Holly in the community room Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. Registration is required, and there is no cost for admission. Contact Holly at or 205-978-4674 for more information. Guests can make wine bottle luminaries in the community room Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. There is no cost for admission, but participants are required to register. Participants must be 18 or older. Contact Terri at 205-978-4678

or for more information. In the children’s department, families can compete with other families in multiple events at the library’s “Family Lego Olympics” in the community room on Jan. 11 from 6-7 p.m. Call 205-978-0158 for more information. In the teen department, guests can decorate sweets and enjoy hot chocolate with friends in the community room Jan. 18 at 4 p.m. There will also be an introduction to 3-D printing class Jan. 3 at 4:30 p.m. in the Makerspace room for those interested in utilizing the library’s 3-D printer. For a complete list of library events and for more information on the library, visit

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A14 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice

Schoolhouse Have a schoolhouse announcement? Email Neal Embry at to be considered for inclusion in an upcoming issue.

Superintendent shares strategic plan update By NEAL EMBRY At the Dec. 13 Vestavia Hills Board of Education meeting, Vestavia Hills City Schools Superintendent Todd Freeman talked about the work to achieve the school system’s strategic goals. Working alongside more than 300 community stakeholders, Freeman said design teams within the system “undertook the challenge” of looking at what the system is doing now and what they would like to look like in the future. Freeman keyed on the need to improve upon the system’s facilities, saying they needed to “invest in facilities that provide profound and dynamic learning experiences,” and added he wanted to spend the next few months talking with the board about facility priorities. “There’s a broad range of needs that we have in our system,” Freeman said. “We’re fortunate in that the board in 2015/16 developed a plan that supports the enrollment side.” Freeman said he did not anticipate the school system needing a high school at any point, but it might perhaps need another elementary school. The task now is how to maximize the space the system currently has and how to make them better for students, Freeman said. Another goal, he said, was to build up the general operating reserves from one month to two months, a way for the school system to be financially responsible. In other business, the board approved a contract for purchasing athletic apparel with BSN Sports. The system will receive a $15,000 signing bonus at retail value on BSN Products, $15,000 marketing and branding product at

The Board of Education recognized the Vestavia Hills High School Theater Department, which recently won a state championship. Director Jamie Stephenson told the board about the competition and introduced the students. Photo by Erin Nelson.

retail sale, along with other incentives. The three-year deal will allow the system to purchase uniforms for middle and high school sports teams, Athletic Director Myra Miles said. The board also approved a resolution

honoring the new Vestavia Hills City Schools Hall of Fame Members, inducted Dec. 14: Sammy Dunn, Rick McKay, Barbara Grant, Michael Gross and John Rush. An owner-architect agreement was approved

with Lathan Associates Architects, allowing them to get started on designing field lighting at Vestavia Hills Elementary Dolly Ridge. Though the final cost will not be determined until a later date, the estimated cost of the project is $200,000. The board also approved a change order for Columbiana Road improvements. The change order increases the cost of the project by $65,385.40, with the increase due to the leveling of asphalt, along with relocating an AT&T pole and the replacing of damaged or demolished flumes. The board also approved the textbook committee for language arts, personnel items and the financial report. During recognitions, the Board of Education recognized the Vestavia Hills High School Theater Department, which recently won a state championship. The board heard from director Jamie Stephenson, who told them about the competition and introduced the students. Stephenson said even for students who do not pursue theater as a career, the work they do while in high school can benefit them for the rest of their lives. In consent items, the board approved oneday out-of-state trips for the We the People team and high school baseball team, in-state and overnight trips for the high school wrestling team, math team and debate team. Several out-of-state and overnight trips were also approved, including for the high school baseball team, robotics team, math team and choir, along with art and math teams at Pizitz Middle School. The next board meeting is set for Jan. 31.

School leaders discuss teaching, learning initiatives Members of the Vestavia Hills Board of Education and Superintendent Todd Freeman, center, meet at the Vestavia Hills Board of Education on Nov. 29. Photo by Erin Nelson.

By NEAL EMBRY Vestavia Hills school administrators on Nov. 29 informed the school board about possible ways to improve the school system’s instructional offerings. Aimee Rainey, the assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, discussed ideas such as providing each school with an instructional partner and more counselors and adding teachers to expand offerings for world language, science, technology, engineering and math. Superintendent Todd Freeman said instructional partners would be teachers who want to take on more of a leadership role in their school without becoming an administrator, serving as a sort of “coach” for other teachers. Rainey said instructional partners could share educational strategies, resources and research, as well as partner with school administrators to review relevant data to improve the learning experiences of students and close any gaps that exist. In the area of world languages, Rainey said specialists could support work with vocabulary through the many spoken languages currently being offered at the middle and high school levels and could also teach Greek and Latin. These instructors could help create an effective approach to teaching essential standards and core values for world languages, she said. Rainey said teaching world languages also helps better understand diversity, one of the school system’s major goals. Science, technology, engineering and math instruction provides seven benefits, Rainey said: ► It fosters ingenuity and creativity. ► It builds resilience. ► It encourages experimentation. ► It encourages teamwork. ► It encourages knowledge application. ► It encourages the use of technology. ► It teaches problem solving. ► It encourages adaption. Rainey said she would love to see a special STEM instructor at all elementary schools.

There is a pilot program for STEM being conducted at Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, she said. Project Lead the Way, an initiative to train teachers in math, computer science and related areas, also was discussed. The project has trained 16 elementary teachers, 13 middle school teachers and one high school teacher. Some of the courses offered as a result of the initiative include cybersecurity at Vestavia Hills High School, and app creators, medical detectives and computer science for innovation and makers at the middle school level. Rainey also updated the board on how the school system supports students with academic support and counseling. The school system recently added an IMPACT therapist for elementary schools, a state-funded, full-time employee who serves six students each day and rotates between the elementary schools. The therapist focuses on what Rainey called Tier III services, focused on behavior, anxiety and trauma. The new position helps serve students with the most crucial needs, she said. The school system also has provided academic interventionists, reading coaches,

literacy camps and more, Rainey said. It is time for employees to receive new electronic devices, Rainey said. Continuing to provide Mac devices would cost about $960,000, while switching to Windows-based devices would cost about $320,000, she said. Also, the school system will receive a new domain name in 2022, switching from vestavia. to, Rainey said, drawing applause for the soon-to-be shortened name. Recognizing student achievement, Rainey said the school system had 13 National Merit semifinalists and saw a major increase in the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes. There were 621 students enrolled in AP courses in 2021, compared to 489 in 2020. While the percentage of students scoring a Level 3 or higher (on a scale of 1-5) on AP exams decreased from 80% last year to 72% this year, there were more exams administered than ever before, Rainey said. On the ACT, 273 students scored a 25 (out of 36) or above, with 68 scoring a 30 or higher, Rainey said. In other business, Freeman recognized Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park

Principal Blair Inabinet, Vestavia Hills High School Assistant Principal Amy England and Pizitz Middle School Assistant Principal Jason Bostic for successfully defending their dissertations and earning their doctorates in education. Inabinet received a $5,000 raise for her achievement, which was approved by the board at the meeting, bringing her salary to $112,184, effective Jan. 1, 2022. Freeman gave an update on the use of $990,000 given to the school system in federal funds: ► $198,000 for virtual instruction ► $66,000 for additional virtual courses ► $377,000 for mechanical equipment, including the replacement of 10 air conditioning units at Vestavia Hills Elementary East, part of the system’s energy strategy ► $150,000 for two new nurses ► $200,000 for professional development The board also approved deductions in the cost of two construction projects — a $25,746 deduction for the fieldhouse roof project at the high school and a $13,181 deduction for the Vestavia Hills Elementary Dolly Ridge library project.

January 2022 • A15

The Altamont School to have new leader beginning July 1 By JESSE CHAMBERS

Veteran school administrator and Chattanooga native Cecil F. Stodghill Jr. is “coming home” to the South in July to become the sixth head of school at The Altamont School. Photo courtesy of The Altamont School.

The Altamont School, which counts many Vestavia Hills residents among its students, recently announced it will have new leadership beginning this summer. Cecil F. Stodghill Jr. — currently head of school at The Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer, New York — will become head of school at Altamont on July 1. He will become the sixth head of school at Altamont since it was formed in 1975 in the merger of Birmingham University School and Brooke Hill School. “I am absolutely thrilled by the opportunity to lead the Altamont community,” Stodghill said in a Nov. 19 Altamont news release. “Through collaborative leadership, I will prioritize upholding the school’s mission, preserving its legacy and guiding its continued evolution.” A native of Chattanooga, Stodghill said he’s excited to be “coming home” to the South to lead Altamont. Stodghill was selected from a large pool of applicants after a national search that lasted seven months. The process was headed by John Farber of RG175, a national firm specializing in head of school searches for independent schools. Board of Trustees President Chris Nicholson said in the news release that Stodghill is “the right leader at the right time in our school’s journey” and “will add significant value in our efforts to build a bright future on our strong foundation.” Stodghill “has participated in all facets of independent school life in his career, making positive impacts at every stage of his journey,” Nicholson said, A graduate of the University of Miami,

Stodghill earned a master’s degree in education with a concentration in school leadership from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has 23 years of experience in independent schools as a teacher, coach and administrator. He began his education at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, where he later returned to serve as director of multicultural affairs and assistant director of admission. He also served as director of admissions and enrollment management at Providence Day School, director of graduate support at Academy Prep Foundation and associate director of admission at Berkeley Preparatory School. At The Doane Stuart School, he has led the school through a successful accreditation process, increased enrollment by 7%, constructed and implemented an academic continuity plan during the COVID-19 pandemic and created a culture of philanthropy and engagement by increasing annual giving by 10%. He has also served as a trustee and board member for numerous civic organizations. The Altamont School is a co-ed, college preparatory day school for students in grades 5-12. The school has a diverse student body of about 360. Altamont recently had two students — junior Sid Doppalapudi and senior Jeffrey Youngson — earn perfect scores of 36 on the ACT. Youngson and two other seniors at the school — Alan Alderson and Audrey Williams — were also named in September as semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. For more about The Altamont School, go to

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A16 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice

PHOTOS OF THE YEAR A look back at some of Vestavia Voice’s best photos from 2021

Top left: Crews with Barber Companies push flood water outside July 20 after heavy rains the previous day caused major flooding in Vestavia Hills. Photos by Erin Nelson. Above left: Vestavia Hills’ Emma Smith (3) dribbles the ball toward the goal while being guarded by Huntsville’s Sarah Mathis (4) during a Class 7A regional semifinal game at Braasch-Hatchett Court at Vestavia Hills High School on Feb. 19. Above right: Firefighter John Hinshaw crawls through a tube and over a rafter at the Vestavia Hills and Rocky Ridge joint fire training facility April 21 during annual job task training. Left: Dina Kasman, a piano major at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, sits at a Steinway grand piano on Feb. 19. Below left: Students of Unless U look around as they see the new campus for the first time on May 14. Below right: Laurel Patrick and Teresa Richardson hug as friends and family of Patrick’s son, Beck, gather at Cahaba River Park for a candlelight vigil Aug. 6. Beck Patrick, a student at Vestavia Hills High School, died in August 2020 in a vehicle accident.

January 2022 • A17

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A18 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice

Dozens gather for the annual tree lighting ceremony Nov. 30 at Vestavia Hills City Hall. Photo by Erin Nelson.

HOLIDAYS IN VESTAVIA Left: A man and child gaze at the lights and ornaments during the annual tree lighting ceremony. Photo by Erin Nelson. Right: Vestavia Hills Councilor Kimberly Cook lights the menorah at Vestavia Hills City Hall on Dec. 1. Photo by Neal Embry.

Left: Students in Deana Bell’s third grade choir at Vestavia Hills Elementary West wait to perform as Mayor Ashley Curry speaks during the annual tree lighting ceremony. Right: Children add white chocolate, milk chocolate and marshmallows to their hot chocolate at the annual tree lighting ceremony. Photos by Erin Nelson.

January 2022 • A19

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A20 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice

Opinion Sean of the South By Sean Dietrich

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10:40 p.m. — New makes my year. Year’s Eve. Hank Williams is on my radio. My 11:28 p.m. — I’m driving. My wife is still wife is sleeping in the passenger seat. My coonsawing logs. I’m riding hound is in the backseat. through the north FlorTo bring in the year, ida woods, sipping Coke. we’ve gone for a drive on Trees grow so high you can’t see the moon. It’s county roads that weave along the Choctawhatchee almost like poetry. Bay. Long ago, my college professor told us to There are no cars out. The highway is vacant — choose a poem to recite in Dietrich except for police cruisers. class. Students chose lofty I’ve never welcomed in a selections from the greats. year like this. Whitman, Dickinson, Frost. As a boy, my father and I brought in I consulted Daddy’s Hank Williams holidays with shotguns. We’d march to songbook. He’d given it to me before he the edge of creation and fire 12-gauges at died. He’d wanted to be a guitar player the moon. Then, I’d sip Coca-Cola; he’d once upon a time, but he was God-awful. He gave the instrument to me. sip something clear. I recited, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Another year goes by without him. Cry,” and made a D. I wasn’t doing it for the teacher. 11:02 p.m. — My tank is on E. I stop at a gas station. The pump card-reader is 11:40 p.m. — My Coke is almost broken. My wife is still out cold. I go inside to pay. The clerk is a young empty. I’m parked on the edge of the girl with purple hair. She wanted to be bay to watch fireworks. My coonhound with her kids tonight, but someone called is looking at me with red eyes. And I’m in with a sinus infection. writing to you, just like I do every day. I buy a Coca-Cola in a plastic bottle. Listen, I don’t remember how I started I also buy a scratch-off lotto ticket. The writing, or why. I have nothing valuable last few minutes of the year, I’m feeling to say, I don’t know any big words, and lucky. I use my keys to scratch the ticket. I’m as plain as they come. But I won’t lie I win $5. So, I buy another two. I win to you, it has been precious to me. another dollar. And so have you. “Lucky you,” the cashier says. “Wish These are my last words of the old year, I could buy one, but it’s against store my first words of the new: I love you. policy.” To hell with policy. It’s New Year’s Happy New Year. Eve. I buy her one. Sean Dietrich is a columnist and novShe swipes a coin from the take-a- elist known for his commentary on life in penny tray. She scratches. She wins $10. the American South. He has authored nine We high-five. books and is the creator of the “Sean of It’s only $10, but seeing her win the South” blog and podcast.


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A22 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice

Left: The Vestavia Hills Civic Center. Right: Construction is underway on a new ophthalmology center set to open in the summer of 2022 in Liberty Park. Below: Motorists travel on Crosshaven Drive as road improvements continue in Cahaba Heights. Photos by Erin Nelson.


CONTINUED from page A1 the Civic Center project was delayed due to supply chain issues that affected the ability to purchase materials and hire subcontractors, Downes said. The new space is set to open by April, and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has already begun creating new programs, including summer camps, adult recreational sports, civic gatherings and more, Downes said. The center connects to City Hall, and the initial plan to have the center connect to Wald Park was dropped due to cost, Downes said. The Civic Center is roughly 100,000 square feet and will include multi-purpose courts, the Vestavia Hills Sports Hall of Fame, meeting and event spaces, an indoor walking track, banquet space and office spaces. At Wald Park, the City Council still is considering how to pursue the final phase of scheduled renovations, which were set to include a dog park, tennis facilities, a maintenance facility and trails. The bid for the phase came in over budget by more than $2 million, and even taking away tennis courts, the project would cost about $2.3 million to stablilize the space for future programming. One suggestion the council still is considering is using grass fields at the former Vestavia Hills Elementary Central campus as a location for the tennis facility, which would increase the number of proposed courts from eight at Wald Park to 12, along with a pavilion and restrooms. Should the council go that route, the cost of the entire Phase 3 project would be just less than $5 million, an increase from the received bid. Another presented option would nix the pavilion and build eight courts at Central. The city currently is using the Central campus as a maintenance facility, and that does not appear to be changing anytime soon, said the city’s communications director, Cinnamon McCulley. The dog park and walking trails are still slated to be added to Wald Park, along with stormwater management infrastructure and more green space, Downes said. The fields at Central are currently used for soccer, though there is a new field at Vestavia Hills Elementary Dolly Ridge that could be used, along with the rectangular field at Pizitz Middle School. The city also plans to complete its work on Crosshaven Drive in the first quarter of 2022, Downes said. The road is being widened to three lanes from Overton Road to Cahaba Heights Road, and the city continues to make progress on adding the lanes as well as adding sidewalks, installing a curb and gutter system, relocating utilities and improving the road. Also, Jefferson County is planning to do work to the road, adding a dedicated turn lane at the intersection of Green Valley Road and Crosshaven, along with making road improvements to Green Valley.


The annual Dogwood Festival is being brought back this year, with plans to expand the once-popular Vestavia event. McCulley is working to put the festival together but said it will include events across the entire city. The Dogwood Festival will seek to encourage residents to shop, eat and play in Vestavia as it pays homage to the historic dogwood trees that have lined the city.

occupying about 4,200 square feet of the nearly 15,000-square-foot mixed-use project, said Thom Hickman, vice president of development at Harbert Realty Services. New businesses, such as Miss Astrid’s Tavern should be coming to Cahaba Heights as well. It’s part of a plan to improve the area’s entertainment district and bring people together.


Scott Kenny, the project manager for the new Vestavia Hills Civic Center, speaks with Lenard McMillian, the electrical foreman, about the lighting plans in the banquet hall on the second floor of the new building.

The new grand lawn at Wald Park is being used. The Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest will host a concert there, and there is a planned event celebrating the beginning of spring sports, Downes said. In other city news, Downes said steps will be taken to improve stormwater infrastructure, including the creation of a stormwater master plan. The city also is working to improve transportation along Blue Lake Drive and Sicard Hollow, the intersection of U.S. 31 and Columbiana Road, and the intersection of Rocky Ridge Road and Dolly Ridge Road, Downes said. The city plans to pave more than nine miles of city streets this year and is working to create the next sidewalk master plan as those projects continue throughout the city. The formation of the sidewalk plan will involve public engagement, Downes said. For a complete list of city projects, visit vhal. org/community/city-projects/.


Downes said he anticipates movement of

some kind regarding The Bray development and other developments in Liberty Park. The Bray is an $860 million commercial and residential project that is slated to add 1,876 residential units and a commercial development called The Bray Town Center. Nothing has yet been approved by either the City Council or the Vestavia Hills Board of Education, which would have to approve certain aspects of the plan for it to take effect. Some of the plan in early 2021 was met with resistance by some Liberty Park residents. Downes said there are also ongoing negotiations regarding the possibility of adding new businesses to the south end of U.S. 31, which currently includes two empty lots, and the city continues to monitor possible additions to other parts of the city. Chopt is set to open in the Vestavia Hills City Center in January; Dolly Ridge Station, a new business development next to Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights is set to continue, with Grandview Medical Group Primary Care announced as the leading tenant,

Once the new Civic Center is complete, the current Civic Center will be conveyed to Vestavia Hills City Schools, giving the school system office space and more in the building, which is adjacent to the system’s central office. The school system also has a five-year capital plan, which this year will focus on phase one of energy improvements recommended by Schneider Electric. Patrick Martin, the assistant superintendent of operations and services, said this year, the $5 million Phase 1 work includes upgrading mechanical systems and lighting and improving various rooftops. The Phase 2 option is currently being considered, and the school system is looking for funding sources, Martin said. In addition to energy upgrades, the school system also will make improvements to its safety and security systems and operations, Martin said.


The 2020 U.S. Census showed Vestavia has grown from about 34,000 in 2010 to 39,000 in 2020, a 15% increase. Downes said now the city must ensure it has what it needs to provide for that growth. The city’s general fund revenue per capita is one of the lowest in the area, he said. Vestavia’s general fund revenue per capita is $1,355.43, compared to $1,763.06 in Mountain Brook, $2,101.16 in Homewood, $2,271.16 in Birmingham and $2,274.41 in Bessemer. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, the city saw good revenue numbers, Downes said, and he does not anticipate a slowdown this year. By all accounts, the city is experiencing a “very healthy economic climate,” Downes said.

January 2022 • A23



CONTINUED from page A1 school counseling overall. Q: What does it mean to you to be named a teacher of the year? A: I am so incredibly humbled and in awe of the fact that my coworkers would think enough of me to nominate me for an honor such as this. This award, in my opinion, should also have the names of 72 other faculty and staff members. I know that I am only as good as the people I have around me, and these people have taught me the importance of collective teacher efficacy and coming together for the common good of each and every child we encounter. I am a better counselor, mom, wife and friend because of the influence they have on me. I am grateful for the opportunity to represent our school in this capacity. Q: How do you seek to go above and beyond for your students each day? A: One of my favorite scriptures says, ‘Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).’ I truly feel like the best thing I can do for my students is to keep going, keep advocating and keep looking out for their best interests. If I can plant a seed of love and selfworth in their heart and cultivate that through their elementary years, the harvest will come. The future of the world is right inside our school, and I am thrilled to play a small part in helping to create individuals that are kind, respectful and compassionate human beings.

Above: Brett Richards, a sixth grade math teacher at Liberty Park Middle School, reviews one-step equations to find the value of “x” with his students Dec. 7. Below: Erin Deerman, an English teacher at Vestavia Hills High School, talks with students in her dual enrollment British Literature class, through Jefferson State Community College, about their research papers Dec. 6. Photos by Erin Nelson.


► Vestavia Hills Elementary Dolly Ridge Q: How long have you been with your current school, and what is your role? A: I graduated from college and began working at Vestavia Hills Elementary East in 2016. I worked at East teaching exceptional education until Dolly Ridge opened in 2019. I have been at Dolly Ridge teaching K-5 exceptional education, the “Sunbeam Room,” ever since. Q: What does it mean to you to be named a teacher of the year? A: I am still speechless to be awarded such an honor that so many are deserving of receiving. I am proud to represent a school that values the way that each individual student learns. For the past three years, I have had the unique privilege of daily working closely with almost 17 different Dolly Ridge teachers ranging from kindergarten through fifth grade and have been blown away by each of them. Their dedication to not only help provide academic inclusion for all students but to support in fostering lasting friendships has been inspiring. I know for a fact I would not be given the honor of teacher of the year without their support and collaboration! Q: How do you seek to go above and beyond for your students each day? A: I seek to make every day count! From when they get out of the car in the morning to when they leave in the afternoon, I try to let them see that they are my focus and priority! I aspire to instill confidence in each of my students to accomplish their own personal goals no matter how big or small! I seek for my students to not only gain knowledge but to gain a sense of community and friendship. I hope that they leave every day knowing I am their biggest cheerleader!


► Vestavia Hills Elementary East Q: How long have you been with your current school, and what is your role? A: I have been with the Vestavia Hills City School system for 16 years. I teach physical education and oversee the morning broadcast. Q: What does it mean to you to be named a teacher of the year? A: That’s hard to put into words. It is an honor to even be considered for this award. Teaching is not ever a solo activity; I have an amazing support system throughout the building that helps me to be better every day. Q: How do you seek to go above and beyond for your students each day? A: I try to see every child as they are and find ways to build a relationship with them, so they feel safe and supported when they come to my class. I want to support and encourage my students in a variety of ways. P.E. is not always the easiest or most fun class for many students. Finding activities and new ways to help them enjoy it is something I feel is very important.


► Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park

Q: How long have you been with your current school, and what is your role? A: I am a third grade teacher at VHELP, and this is my seventh year teaching third grade! Q: What does it mean to you to be named a teacher of the year? A: I work with a truly exceptional group of colleagues, who through their seasoned practices develop amazing classroom cultures and environments for learning in their own classrooms. To be recognized by these wonderful teachers in such a way was nothing short of an honor. And with this honor I am further driven to be worthy of such a commendation, and to do all that I can to be the teacher my spectacular colleagues see in me. Q: How do you seek to go above and beyond for your students each day? A: My goal as a teacher is to meet every individual student where they are academically and progress their learning. Through a combination of general group and individual instruction, I ensure that each student has their own personal goals to strive toward in their classroom pursuits. I challenge those who need it to go above and beyond what their natural talent allows, and support with as many resources as possible those who need that nurturing in the classroom. Keeping my lessons as engaging and interesting to what my students find entertaining allows me to cultivate a classroom culture that doesn’t feel too different from how they spend their time at home, and allow them to not only feel comfortable in class, but to have as much fun learning as possible!


► Vestavia Hills Elementary West Q: How long have you been with your current school, and what is your role? A: I have been working at Vestavia Hills Elementary West for five years. I am an exceptional

education teacher, and for the past two years my role has been co-teaching a fully inclusive third grade classroom alongside a general education teacher. Q: What does it mean to you to be named a teacher of the year? A: Being named teacher of the year is incredibly humbling. I am so grateful for the recognition of my hard work, but I also know I wouldn’t be where I am without the guidance and support of my team, my administration and my peers. Q: How do you seek to go above and beyond for your students each day? A: When I am working with a student, I do my best to think of the whole child — not just a goal or a standard. I try to keep in mind what this student needs throughout his or her day outside of academic objectives. I ask myself, ‘What does he or she need to feel happy and successful?’


► Liberty Park Middle School Q: How long have you been with your current school, and what is your role? A: This is my 14th year at Liberty Park Middle School, one of the original teachers when the school opened back in 2008. I teach sixth grade regular and advanced mathematics. Q: What does it mean to you to be named a teacher of the year? A: It is a huge honor for me to be named teacher of the year for the school. I am very humbled being nominated by my colleagues. Q: How do you seek to go above and beyond for your students each day? A: Showing that you care about every student that walks through your door. I meet with students before school to give them one-on-one instruction. I believe in supporting them in any way possible. I am constantly interacting and counseling with students in the hallway, classroom, sporting events and academic events.

► Pizitz Middle School, Secondary Teacher of the Year Q: How long have you been with your current school, and what is your role? A: I have been at Pizitz Middle School for five years. During that time, I have taught seventh grade English, eighth grade English, creative writing and digital media. Q: What does it mean to you to be named a teacher of the year? A: We have a Pirate Creed at Pizitz: character, excellence, family. To be recognized as teacher of the year by colleagues who feel more like family than coworkers is a tremendous honor. Q: How do you seek to go above and beyond for your students each day? A: Two of my three children struggle with school — one has autism and the other dyslexia and other learning differences. My goal is to create the kind of learning environment in which my own kids would flourish. I want my English class to be accessible for students who are gifted as well as those who aren’t learning on grade level. I can do this by scaffolding instruction, providing audiobooks, voice to text and introducing students to books that they will love … because life is too short to read bad books!


► Vestavia Hills High School Freshman Campus Q: How long have you been with your current school, and what is your role? A: I have been at Vestavia Hills High School Freshman Campus since it opened last year. Before, I was at the main campus for six years. I teach ninth grade honors world history, and I am the sponsor of Girls’ FCA. Q: What does it mean to you to be named a teacher of the year? A: More than anything, being named teacher of the year is such an amazing honor because I was nominated by my peers. When you work alongside some extraordinary people that you think the world of and then they choose you as teacher of the year, words can’t describe the gratitude and love I felt in that moment. It reminded me to be confident in who I am as a teacher. Q: How do you seek to go above and beyond for your students each day? A: In the teaching profession, we always joke about all the different hats we wear. Counselor, educator, friend, parent, coach, party planner, etc. My goal every day is to be what my students need me to be and to meet them where they are. All of that starts with having to really get to know them, their likes and dislikes, their study habits, their home life. Establishing that relationship and rapport with them is very important to me, and I believe in their success in school. Some students need a safe place to hang out, while others need me to make it mandatory that they come to my study sessions.


► Vestavia Hills High School Q: How long have you been with your current school, and what is your role? A: This is my ninth year at VHHS. I teach dual enrollment English, honors English 10, and I sponsor the color guard. I also work with struggling students in an intervention style class called guided study. Q: What does it mean to you to be named a teacher of the year? A: I was shocked and humbled to be named teacher of the year. It means so much to me because I was nominated by my colleagues. The faculty and staff at VHHS is unparalleled. Every adult in this building is dedicated to providing the best education possible to our students, and I am so blessed to work with such talented faculty and staff. So many people work tirelessly for these students and the community, and I feel so much pride just to work at VHHS. The fact that my colleagues thought I was deserving of this honor means so much to me. Q: How do you seek to go above and beyond for your students each day? A: My goal every day is to be the teacher my students need me to be. They deserve a teacher who is passionate about the subject area, compassionate to students’ needs and dedicated to students’ learning. I try to get to know my students and take an interest in what matters to them to show them that I care about them as an individual learner. I then try to make my instruction matter to them by connecting it to life outside the classroom.

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*Offers cannot be combined, some promotions may be limited to select sets. Not responsible for errors in ad copy. Quantities and selections may vary by location. Mattress images are for illustration purposes only Gifts with purchase (including gift cards and rebates) are not valid with any other promotions except special financing for 6 or 12 months.*** 0% APR for 60 months financing available with purchases of $1999 or over and does not include sales tax. **Monthly payment is based on purchase price alone excluding tax and delivery charges. Credit purchases subject to credit approval. Other transactions may affect the monthly payment. ***The Nationwide Marketing Group credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. The monthly payment for this purchase will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the promotional (special terms) period. The APR for Purchases will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. For new accounts, the APR for Purchases is 28.99%. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. This information is accurate as of 12/21/2021 and is subject to change. For current information, call us at 1-800-431-5921. Offer expires 1/7/2022. **** Free base offer applies to Queen set purchase of $799 and above or King set purchase $999 and above. King base applies to either one horizontal King Base or one of two TXL bases.***** Free Delivery on mattress sets $699 and up, Local area.



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All-South Metro Volleyball Team selected Vines, Gann earn 2nd team honors

Vestavia Hills’ Angelica Vines (14) spikes the ball at the net during a game against Chelsea on Aug. 19 at Chelsea High School. Vines had a great season as the Rebels’ captain, with 367 kills and 193 digs. Photo by Erin Nelson.

By KYLE PARMLEY The high school volleyball season has been completed, with Mountain Brook winning the state title for the third straight year in Class 6A and Spain Park winning it all in 7A for the first time in program history. The number of standout performers this season was significant, making the fourth annual Starnes Media All-South Metro Volleyball Team one deep with talent at each position. This year’s overall Player of the Year award goes to Spain Park’s Audrey Rothman, who helped lead the Jags to the state title. Rya McKinnon wins the Offensive Player of the Year, capping off an incredible career for Hoover. Brooklyn Allison is the Defensive Player of the Year, as she was a vital part of the title run as well. Kellye Bowen and Mattie Gardner share the Coach of the Year honor, with both winning their first state title as head coaches. A Career Achievement Award was also designated for Hoover coach Chris Camper, who announced his retirement following the season. Camper compiled a 772-304 record and the 2020 state championship in 22 seasons. ► Player of the Year: Audrey Rothman, Spain Park ► Offensive Player of the Year: Rya McKinnon, Hoover

See VOLLEYBALL | page B7

3 New Year’s Resolutions That You Will Not Regret Revisit your retirement goals and objectives and refine your strategy

One of the foundations of a solid financial plan is to consider what you need and/or want to accomplish in your financial life. Having written strategies for saving, investing, cash management, charitable giving and other topics is key. As Benjamin Franklin most famously said, “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”

Matthew Laird Managing Director

John Romano Financial Advisor, Investments

Know what you own, and why you own it

There are many trends that come and go in the investment world. With all of the distractions of meme stocks, SPACS, Reddit chatrooms and so forth, it has never been more important to know what you own and why you own it. In bull markets like the one of recent we see many head-scratching moments, but the bottom line is that stock prices are traditionally tied to a company’s ability to produce and grow earnings from quarter to quarter and year to year. Now is the time to look at what you own in your portfolios and examine what changes you need to make.

Make sure your portfolio risks are properly aligned with your financial plan

Your time horizon, personal risk tolerance, and your intended use for each investment and savings account should dictate the amount of risk you are taking in each of those accounts. You can take more risk with money that can stay invested for the next ten years, but money that have plans for in the next 12 months needs to be more conservatively invested.

James Michael Moyer Associate Vice President, Wealth Management

Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC

205-874-1804 | Craig Vinson Financial Advisor, Investments

Matthew Gordon Practice Business Coordinator

Toby Banks Associate Vice President, Investments Financial Advisor *Jasper Office

2900 Highway 280, Suite 100 • Birmingham, AL 35223

We manage more than your wealth. We manage your legacy. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Any opinions are those of Riverpeak Partners and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Not all strategies are appropriate for all investors. Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax-deductible depending on the taxpayer’s income, tax-filing status, and other factors.

Vestavia Voice


B2 • January 2022

Now Open · Free Admission


THE MOUNDBUILDERS ANCIENT NATIVE AMERICANS OF THE SOUTH AND MIDWEST Lost Realms of the Moundbuilders: Ancient Native Americans of the South and Midwest (originally titled Spiro and the Art of the Mississippian World) is organized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. This exhibition is supported in part by the Henry Luce Foundation, the Kirkpatrick Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The local presentation is made possible by the Estate of Mr. Harris Saunders, Jr. and Jean Saunders. Additional support is provided by the Jefferson County Community Service Fund at the recommendation of Alabama Representative Jim Carns, HD 48.

Effigy pipe of seated male figure. Identified as Morning Star or the hero Red Horn. Le Flore County, Oklahoma, Spiro site, 1100 – 1200. Bauxite (flint clay). Photograph by John Lamberton. Image courtesy the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Fayetteville, University of Arkansas Museum. 47-2-1.

Birmingham Museum of Art Half Page ad - 9.75" x 7.59" | Homewood Star | Vestavia Voice | Village Living


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AL License Pending

January 2022 • B3

#1 Billboard Jazz Artist

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in Concert Saturday, Feb. 5 7:30 PM

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B4 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice


All-South Metro Football

3 Rebels get 1st team recognition

By KYLE PARMLEY The 2021 high school football season has come and gone, with the annual Starnes Media All-South Metro Football Team here to highlight the standout performances of so many players throughout the area. After winning Offensive Player of the Year in 2020, Oak Mountain quarterback Evan Smith is this year’s overall Player of the Year. He finished off a stellar high school career with another brilliant campaign, making contributions in all three phases of the game and showing great leadership as well. Clay-Chalkville took home a couple of honors, with running back Edward Osley claiming Offensive Player of the Year and Drew Gilmer being named Coach of the Year. The Cougars went 15-0, regularly blasting opponents with a devastating offensive attack. Mountain Brook linebacker John McMillan is the Defensive Player of the Year. He was one of the leaders on one of the best defenses in recent memory. The Spartans pitched seven shutouts in its 14 games, allowing 3.8 points per game in their 12 wins. ► Player of the Year: Evan Smith, Oak Mountain ► Offensive Player of the Year: Edward Osley, Clay-Chalkville ► Defensive Player of the Year: John McMillan, Mountain Brook ► Coach of the Year: Drew Gilmer, Clay-Chalkville


► QB – Evan Smith, Oak Mountain: capped off an incredible high school career with 28 total touchdowns on the year. He rushed 1,110 yards and threw for 1,184 yards, leading the Eagles to the second round of the playoffs. ► QB – Khalib Johnson, Clay-Chalkville: put together eye-popping stats, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns on the way to a state title. ► RB – Edward Osley, Clay-Chalkville: rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and scored 32 touchdowns in a remarkable season. ► RB – James Hammonds, Hewitt-Trussville: at the top of the heap in Class 7A, rushing for 1,142 yards with 15 touchdowns. ► WR – Omari Kelly, Hewitt-Trussville: led the area in receiving by a wide margin, hauling in 84 passes for 1,335 yards and 13 touchdowns. ► WR – Marquarius White, ClayChalkville: led the Cougars dynamic receiving corps, eclipsing 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns. ► WR – Jackson Beatty, Mountain Brook: led an experienced Spartans position group with 769 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdown. ► WR – Amare Thomas, Pinson Valley: hauled in 42 passes for 824 yards and nine touchdowns to lead the Indians offense. ► OL – Alex Moorer, Briarwood: a threeyear starter and the Lions starting center, finishing with 45 pancakes. ► OL – Riley Quick, Hewitt-Trussville: was the top lineman for a strong Huskies offense and a three-year starter. ► OL – Wilder Hines, Mountain Brook: only gave up two sacks all season. ► OL – Cameron Ambrose, Pinson Valley: the leader of the Indians line, grading out over 90% every game. ► OL – Hoke Smith, Vestavia Hills: led the Rebels offensive line with an 84% grade and 22 knockdowns. ► ATH – Cole Turner, Vestavia Hills: did a little bit of everything for the Rebels, hauling in 42 passes for 581 yards and seven touchdowns, as well as accounting for touchdowns passing and returning punts and kickoffs. ► ATH – Cooper Griffin, Chelsea: moved to tight end this season and caught 51 passes for 640 yards and four touchdowns, while also serving as the team’s backup quarterback and playing on special teams.

Above: Vestavia Hills linebacker Houston Owen (18) eyes the Gadsden City quarterback Oct. 22 at Vestavia Hills High School. Photo by James Nicholas. Below: Vestavia Hills defensive back John Ross Ashley (4) moves in to tackle Thompson wide receiver Jaylen Ward (5) at Vestavia Hills High School on Oct. 1. Photo by Erin Nelson.

► K/P – Peyton Argent, Hoover: made all 62 extra points and converted on 9-of-11 field goals.


► DL – Gavin Nelson, Oak Mountain: finished his career with a stellar campaign, finishing with 96 tackles, 15 for loss and six sacks. ► DL – Justice Finkley, Hewitt-Trussville: wreaked havoc everywhere, finishing with 96 tackles, 10 for loss and four sacks. ► DL – Garyson Maddox, Chelsea: finished with 67 tackles and five sacks while anchoring the Hornets’ defensive line in his third year as a starter. ► DL – Gray Doster, Mountain Brook: lived in the backfield for a dominant Spartans defense, finishing with 10 tackles for loss. ► LB – Jamarion White, Hewitt-Trussville: one of the top players in the area, racking up 127 tackles and scored a pair of defensive touchdowns. ► LB – DJ Barber, Clay-Chalkville: accrued 113 tackles and nine sacks in the middle of the Cougars strong defense. ► LB – Jakhi Mullen, Oak Mountain:

racked up 107 tackles with 16 for loss. ► LB – John McMillan, Mountain Brook: made over 100 tackles for the Spartans, 10 of them for loss, forced eight turnovers and contributed 15 quarterback pressures. ► DB – Reece Garner, Briarwood: finished with 106 tackles, two interceptions, six pass breakups and six receiving touchdowns in an outstanding season. ► DB – TJ Metcalf, Pinson Valley: added 95 tackles and four interceptions for the Indians. ► DB – John Ross Ashley, Vestavia Hills: intercepted four passes and recovered two fumbles. ► DB – Corbitt Grundhoefer, Oak Mountain: finished with 84 tackles and intercepted three passes in a single game. ► ATH – Garrett Murphy, Oak Mountain: contributed 128 total tackles, two sacks and two interceptions, while making several clutch field goals as well.


► QB – Christopher Vizzina, Briarwood: showed his value as a true dual-threat for the Lions, throwing for 18 touchdowns and running

for 16 more. ► QB – Bennett Meredith, Hoover: guided an explosive Bucs offense, throwing for 2,582 yards and accounting for 30 touchdowns. ► RB – Ahamari Williams, Hoover: scored 20 total touchdowns in a strong year, rushing for 1,171 yards. ► RB – Luke Reebals, Briarwood: despite battling injury much of the year, still scored 20 touchdowns with over 1,000 all-purpose yards. ► WR – Mario Craver, Clay-Chalkville: exploded onto the scene this fall, scoring 10 touchdowns and flying past 800 receiving yards. ► WR – Aron Marsch, Homewood: led a deep Patriots unit with 50 grabs, 634 yards and seven touchdowns. ► WR – Ethan Hammett, Oak Mountain: made several big catches for the Eagles and finished with 510 yards and six touchdowns. ► WR – Jay Butler, Briarwood: made big plays all season, racking up 527 yards and six touchdowns despite missing a few games. ► OL – Nic Rigdon, Oak Mountain: the senior right guard graded out at least 86% in every game. ► OL – Ethan Vickers, Chelsea: graded out 87% for the year in his second year starting for the Hornets. ► OL – Cooper Johnston, Homewood: has started 24 straight games for the Patriots and graded higher than 90% most games. ► OL – Nelson Crawford, Mountain Brook: senior leader for a Spartans attack that gained over 4,200 yards. ► OL – Luke Oswalt, Oak Mountain: the Eagles right tackle graded no less than 81% all season. ► ATH – Connor Ridderhoff, Chelsea: snapped on every extra point, field goal and punt for the Hornets without a miscue. ► ATH – Carter Milliron, Hoover: a steady and reliable long snapper for the Bucs. ► K/P – Mitchell Towns, Vestavia Hills: punted 36 times for a 37.9 yard average while also serving as the Rebels starting quarterback.


► DL – Devin Finley, Clay-Chalkville:

January 2022 • B5

Left: Vestavia Hills offensive lineman Hoke Smith (74) blocks for his running back during a game against Shades Valley on Oct. 28 at Shades Valley High School. Right: Vestavia Hills’ quarterback/punter Mitchell Towns (16) punts the ball during a game against Gadsden City on Oct. 22 at Vestavia Hills High School. Photos by James Nicholas.

racked up eight tackles for loss and seven sacks. ► DL – Holden Patterson, Briarwood: a great run defender who finished with eight tackles for loss and nine quarterback hurries. ► DL – Corey Warren, Hoover: anchored a Bucs defensive line with 48 tackles and five sacks. ► DL – Hunter Osborne, Hewitt-Trussville: finished with 60 tackles and 10 for loss, with 16 hurries and nine pass deflections. ► LB – Haddon Stubbs, Briarwood: a versatile player for the Lions defense who nearly reached 100 tackles. ► LB – Houston Owen, Vestavia Hills: posted 121 total tackles for the Rebels. ► LB – Henry Watson, Homewood: finished with 111 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss. ► LB – Trent Wright, Mountain Brook: had 105 tackles as one of the top players for

the Spartans. ► DB – Grey Reebals, Briarwood: picked off four passes for the Lions. ► DB – Mac McCowan, Mountain Brook: broke up six passes and picked off a pair. ► DB – Brian Condon, Homewood: made 81 tackles in the Patriots secondary. ► DB – Jayden Sweeney, Clay-Chalkville: picked off three passes and made 46 solo tackles. ► ATH – Jaylen Mbakwe, ClayChalkville: made big plays for the Cougars on both sides of the ball, scoring eight receiving touchdowns, returning a punt for a touchdown and intercepting three passes.


► QB – Cade Carruth, Hewitt-Trussville; Woods Ray, Homewood; John Colvin, Mountain Brook; Zach Pyron, Pinson Valley 2920 18th Street South Homewood, AL 35209

► RB – Cole Gamble, Mountain Brook; Will Waldrop, Mountain Brook; Michael Sharpe, Pinson Valley; Tucker Smitha, Vestavia Hills; Aaron Mason, John Carroll; Derrick Davis Jr., John Carroll ► WR – Ethan Anderson, Briarwood; Harvey Ray, Homewood; Jake Thompson, Mountain Brook; Keown Richardson, Vestavia Hills; Jabari Gaines, Hoover; Sky Niblett, Hoover; Cotton Peters, Hoover; RJ Hamilton, Hoover; Quad Harrison, John Carroll ► OL – Harrison Clemmer, Briarwood; Ryan Gunter, Hewitt-Trussville; Sawyer Hutto, Oak Mountain; Cameron Griffin, Pinson Valley; Carson Moorer, Pinson Valley; Jack Dawsey, Vestavia Hills; Hill Stokes, Vestavia Hills; Nelson Greiner, Vestavia Hills; AJ Franklin, Hoover ► ATH – Matt Miller, Hewitt-Trussville ► DL – Miller Stubblefield, Briarwood;

Emmanuel Waller, Chelsea; Zach Smith, Oak Mountain; BJ Diakite, Pinson Valley; Caldwell Bussey, Spain Park; Andrew Sykes, Vestavia Hills; Lane Whisenhunt, Vestavia Hills; Markus Clark, Hoover; Terrell Jones, Hoover; Andrew Parrish, Hoover ► LB – Rodarius Sykes, Clay-Chalkville; Carter Engle, Homewood; Quinn Thomas, Mountain Brook; Carter Lehman, Oak Mountain; Mattox Vines, Oak Mountain; Jacobi Jackson, Pinson Valley; Davis Stewart, Vestavia Hills; Josh Carter, Hoover; Ashton Taylor, Hoover ► DB – Rickey Gibson, Hewitt-Trussville; Parker Sansing, Homewood; Jones Beavers, Mountain Brook; Braxton Dean, Mountain Brook; Jamari Mosley, Spain Park; Jackson Ayers, Vestavia Hills; Will Cox, Vestavia Hills; Jacob Finley, Hoover; Dale Miller, Hoover

B6 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice

Rebels girls sprint to a runner-up finish at state By ERIC TAUNTON The Vestavia Hills High School girls cross-country team made a strong push, but ultimately finished second in Class 7A at the state meet Nov. 6 at Oakville Indian Mounds Park. Crawford West, a senior, capped off her high school cross-country career with a stellar race, blistering the competition by over a minute and winning the race with a time of 17:06. West was followed by Claire Spooner (eighth, 19:08), Kaitlyn Wende (ninth, 19:10), Jasmine Zhang (31st, 19:56), Riley Zeanah (33rd, 20:01), Angela Zhang (39th, 20:05) and Anna Claire Gannon (52nd, 20:32), which gave Vestavia a total of 80 points in the race. Auburn won the team competition with 68 points. “Some people that don’t know our team well didn’t think the girls ran the first half of the race very strong,” said Brett Huber, head coach of the cross-country team. “Those group of girls are closers, and they all ran very smart and had a great fight at the end.” Huber said the state meet reflects what the girls team has done all year, which is “running with each other and for each other.” West has gained attention across the state and nationally for her continuous success, posting the fastest time of the season and earning the 2020-21 Gatorade Alabama Girls Cross-Country Player of the Year. Huber said runners often have two or three of these characteristics:

Vestavia runners Claire Spooner, above, and Crawford West head for the finish line during the Class 7A state cross-country meet Nov. 6 at Oakville Indian Mounds. Photo courtesy of Marvin Gentry/AHSAA.

tenacity, potential, gritty, good trainer and competition. But West possesses them all. “She’s super talented and she’s trained really well this season,” Huber said. “Her season so far has been preparing for the state meet and the regional meet [Dec. 4].” The boys team placed seventh in the state championship. The team was led by junior Will Jordan, who placed 13th in the race with a time of 15:58. Alex Leath (23rd, 16:16), Andrew King (34th, 16:29), Wilson Holt (74th, 17:16), James Bentley (78th, 17:20), Davis Wylie (85th, 17:30) and Mitchell Schaaf (96th, 17:38) all scored points. “Every team has a story, and every meet has a story,” Huber said. “For us, the big story is that out of our top five upperclassmen, three of our five were injured. We thought we were coming back with a pretty talented team but we just had different types of injuries.” He said the boys team had a great meet, with a “handful” of freshmen running their best races of the year and showing much improvement.

Business news Varsity Sports Calendar to share?


Jan. 21: @ Hewitt-Trussville. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 3: vs. Oxford. Jacksonville State University. Girls at 9 a.m., boys at 10:30 a.m.

Jan. 25: vs. Gadsden City. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m.

Jan. 11: Rebel Roll. Vestavia Bowl.

Jan. 13: @ Thompson. 3:45 p.m. Oak Mountain Lanes.

@ Spain Park. Girls at 6 p.m., boys INDOOR TRACK If you are inJan.a28:brick-and-mortar at 7:30 p.m. AND FIELD business in Vestavia Hills and you are... Jan. 31: vs. Huffman. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys

Jan. 7: @ Vestavia Hills. Girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7 p.m. Jan. 11: @ Gadsden City. Girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.

at 7 p.m.

Business news to share?

Jan. 12: Hump Day Invitational. Birmingham CrossPlex.

Now open BOWLING Jan. 14: vs. Spain Park. Girls at 5:30 p.m., Jan. 17: MLK Track Classic. Birmingham boys at 7 p.m. CrossPlex. 5: vs. Hewitt-Trussville. 3 p.m. ComingJan. soon Jan. 17: George Hatchett Classic. 29: Last Chance Invitational. Jan. 10: @ Spain Park. Oak Mountain Relocating or renovating Jan. Vestavia Hills High School. TBD. Birmingham CrossPlex. Lanes. 4 p.m. Announcing a new owner If you are in a brick-and-mortar Celebrating an anniversary business in Vestavia Hills and you are... Hiring or promoting Now open an employee Coming soon Announcing other news Relocating or renovating or accomplishments Announcing a new owner

Business news to share? Let us know!

If you areyour in anews brick-and-mortar Share with us at business in Vestavia Hills and you are... Now open Coming soon

Celebrating an anniversary Hiring or promoting an employee Announcing other news or accomplishments Let us know! Share your news with us at

January 2022 • B7

Vestavia Hills’ Audrey Vielguth (6), left, passes the ball and Savannah Gann (5), right, spikes the ball during an Aug. 19 game against Chelsea at Chelsea High School.


CONTINUED from page B1 ► Defensive Player of the Year: Brooklyn Allison, Spain Park ► Coaches of the Year: Spain Park’s Kellye Bowen and Mountain Brook’s Mattie Gardner ► Career Achievement Award: Chris Camper, Hoover


Outside hitter – Audrey Rothman, Spain Park, senior: wrapped up an incredible high school career with 709 kills and 249 digs, and led the Jags to a 47-4 record and a state title. Outside hitter – Rya McKinnon, Hoover, senior: finished up a five-year varsity career with Offensive Player of the Year honors for the second straight year, going for 696 kills and 395 digs.

Outside hitter – Olivia Brown, Homewood, senior: helped lead Homewood to the state tournament for the first time in many years, finishing the year with 679 kills and 320 kills. She tallied more than 1,500 career kills. Outside hitter – Emily Breazeale, Spain Park, junior: a vital piece to the Spain Park team, going for 484 kills and 258 digs. Setter – Hannah Parant, Mountain Brook, sophomore: a first-teamer for the second straight year, racking up 1,173 assists, 365 digs and 170 kills to lead the Spartans to another title. Setter – Olivia Outman, Homewood, senior: put together a great senior season, racking up 1,066 assists (she finished with more than 1,800 in her career) and 249 digs. Libero – Brooklyn Allison, Spain Park, junior: hailed as the Defensive Player of the Year because of her work on the back row for the state champs, finishing with 386 digs. Libero – Haley Callaham, Homewood, senior: tallied 569 digs on the season and

finished her career with more than 1,000 digs. Middle hitter – Greer Golden, Mountain Brook, senior: won the state tournament MVP award and surpassed 1,000 kills for her career; she also registered 388 kills and 109 blocks this year. Middle hitter – Poppy Moellering, John Carroll, sophomore: finished with 272 kills and 49 blocks for the Cavaliers. Right side – Mackenzie Yoakum, Homewood, senior: capped off a strong prep career with a season of 292 kills and 143 digs. Right side – Bella Halyard, Spain Park, senior: tallied 360 assists, 120 digs and 94 kills as a versatile player for the Jags.


Outside hitter – Lucy Redden, Mountain Brook, senior: the Spartans top hitter racked up 432 kills and 257 digs in a strong senior season. Outside hitter – Emma Pohlmann,

Chelsea, junior: has already piled up impressive numbers in her career and went for 380 kills and 322 digs this year. Outside hitter – Angelica Vines, Vestavia Hills, senior: had a great season as the Rebels’ captain, with 367 kills and 193 digs. Outside hitter – Savannah Gann, Vestavia Hills, junior: broke out in her junior campaign, going for 317 kills and 169 digs. Setter – Lilly Johnson, Spain Park, junior: was a key part of the Jags this year, running the offense to the pace of 772 assists. Setter – Kathryn Smith, Oak Mountain, senior: established herself as one of the top setters in the area, finishing her final campaign with 702 assists and 158 digs. Libero – Alexandra Carlson, Mountain Brook, senior: slid into a key role this year for the Spartans and had 460 digs. Libero – Anna Sartin, Chelsea, senior: racked up 469 assists for the Hornets. Middle hitter – Alice Garzon, Mountain Brook, sophomore: provided stability for the Spartans with 189 kills and 110 blocks. Middle hitter – Stella Helms, Briarwood, sophomore: had a strong year for the Lions, even in a tough area. Right side – Jayni Thompson, Oak Mountain, senior: capped off a stellar career with 361 kills. Right side – Sims Kilgore, Mountain Brook, junior: finished with 194 kills, 45 blocks and 49 digs for the Spartans.


Outside hitter: Lily Janas, Homewood; Hannah Hitson, Mountain Brook; Maria Groover, John Carroll; Lauren Buchanan, Chelsea. Setter: Morgan Martin, Chelsea; Madison Moore, Chelsea; Baxley Downs, Hoover; Helen Macher, John Carroll; Jolee Giadrosich, Briarwood; Haley Thompson, Spain Park. Middle hitter: Liv Myers, Spain Park; Morgan Scott, John Carroll. Right side: Brooke Gober, Spain Park; Kendyl Mitchell, Hoover; Paige Ingersoll, Spain Park. Libero: Audrey Vielguth, Vestavia Hills; Makayla Ragland, Oak Mountain; Bella Guenster, Hoover; Josie Scalici, John Carroll; Stella Yester, John Carroll; Peyton David, Hoover.

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B8 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice

Metro Roundup HOMEWOOD

Project SAMson brings new edge to Samford athletics Samford wide receiver Montrell Washington enters the weight rep for the speed bench using Project SAMson, a new technology that monitors a variety of weight machine workouts for every Samford athlete, during morning workouts at the field house at Samford University. Photo by Erin Nelson.

By NEAL EMBRY A new initiative at Samford University aims to combine the latest in sports analytics and technology with the school’s athletic teams to both improve Samford student-athletes as well as offer real-world experience to students hoping to work on the health care side of Brought to sports. you by our Project SAMson, sister paper: launched in 2021, uses technology to collect highly-specific data about workouts, perforthehomewood mances and more, ing Samford coaches to use that data to better train and take care of student-athletes, and allowing students to gain real-world experience in learning how to track, assemble and use this data. Learning those skills could help them land front-office jobs across professional sports, said Darin White, director of the Center for Sports Analytics. “Analytics and data is really impacting sports big time,” White said. The Center for Sports Analytics is working with teams such as Birmingham Legion FC to allow students to take a deeper dive into statistics for use on the field. The center has also worked with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New Orleans Saints, which partnered with students who concentrated on the business side of sports. The Dodgers allowed a group of students to present revenue generator findings in 2021. This initiative is focused on the health care side of sports, and students learn to leverage

the data that is collected to improve the lives of athletes on and off the field. Data will help determine when athletes should return to play following an injury, create more specific strength and conditioning plans, reduce injury risk and more. Cameras are now affixed to equipment in the weight room at the university, tracking performances, feeding information back to coaches such as how fast a player completed a rep, the

velocity of the workout and more. Workouts can be adjusted as needed for each athlete, said Zach Mathers, director of strength and conditioning for Samford’s football team. Data is used to create player profiles, instituting goals for each player, and is even tracked on game day. Players wear vests that track their every move, with thousands and thousands of lines of data being sent to coaches. All of the data helps coaches and trainers create individual

programs for players instead of using a “cookie cutter” program for each athlete, Mathers said. “We’re able to really look at how to design practice,” Mathers said. While Mathers oversees football, he said each sport uses Project SAMson and has a roughly similar setup, though some technology is different for Olympic sports, he said. For more information on Project SAMson, visit


Out with the Old in with the New: may you be happy the whole year through.

Call The Best to Fight The Pest Call us 205-663-4200

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January 2022 • B9

B10 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice








N E M O W IN S S E N I S U 22 B 0 2 • S HILL IA V A T VES

Running a business takes ambition, smarts and a lot of drive. The women who run businesses throughout Vestavia Hills have all three, plus a passion for what they do. From retail and food to health care and fitness, our annual Women In Business feature is a chance to get to know some of the faces behind the success of many of the businesses in our area.

We’re honored to support women in business. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. © 2021 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, the Truist logo and Truist Purple are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation.

January 2022 • B11


Jana Hanna REALTYSOUTH Becoming a real estate agent was an easy decision for Jana Hanna. After receiving her undergraduate degree in corporate finance from the University of Alabama, she began her career by working as a mortgage banker in the financial industry. From there she moved on to work in sales for Pfizer Pharmaceutical, expanding her horizons while developing her innate skill to connect with people and build relationships. So, when the time came to make another career move, it was a natural fit when she decided to blend her banking, finance and sales experience into a real estate career. It was the perfect match, and Jana thrived in her new role. Jana has been an agent with RealtySouth in Vestavia Hills for more than 10 years. She believes that working within the community is vitally important, especially with so many Vestavia connections already made by her family. “It’s important to me to be in the Vestavia office,” she said. “I live in the community, my children are in school here, our church is here and we are members of the country club. My husband was born and raised in Vestavia, and he graduated from Vestavia High School. I’ve now lived in the Vestavia community longer than I lived in my original hometown.” This year’s real estate market has been challenging with COVID-19 and a low inventory of homes for sale in the Vestavia market, with a majority of homes continuing to sell quickly. Taking advantage of technology for video home tours and online Zoom communications to stay connected with clients, no matter how they choose to shop for a new home, has been helpful. Still, the market continues to remain lower in the number of homes available to buy.

► WHERE: 2409 Acton Road, Suite 137 ► CALL: 205-835-6188 ► EMAIL: janahanna@ “I have qualified buyers, but I just need homes for them to buy,” she said. “But overall, the real estate market in Vestavia has been fabulous.” Most homes have low days on the market compared to other parts of the city. The prestigious Vestavia schools certainly benefit the market here, and the revitalization of neighborhood shopping areas and new stores continue to add an attractive lure, further demonstrating that you can have it all in Vestavia: beautiful homes, A+ schools, shopping, recreation and business ownership. With more than 90 percent of her real estate business coming from the Vestavia area, Jana consistently ranks as a top producer with RealtySouth and is in the top 1 percent of sales in all agents in Vestavia. Jana’s clients appreciate the personal touch she adds in her daily interactions and productivity, making them feel like their needs and wants are heard and that they’re being taking care of, all the way to the smallest detail. Jana believes this type of relationship has been instrumental in helping her achieve success for her clients. “I like to handle it all myself,” she articulated. “I like to make the calls, and I want each customer to feel important by knowing that they can reach out to me at any time.”

Quteria Bryant GOD’S SITTING PARTNERS When you ask someone to give home care services to your aging family members, you want someone who’s going to treat them like family. For Patricia Brown, that’s exactly what she got when she met Quteria Bryant, who owns God’s Sitting Partners in Vestavia Hills. Quteria always helped Patricia’s mom in any way they needed. “If we needed a sitter at the last minute, I knew she would provide,” Patricia said. “She stayed several times, herself. When mom came home from hospital on hospice, Q and a sitter were there with us to get her settled. Q knew mom wouldn’t be with us much longer. She spent the last night with mom, and when she found out mom had passed, she immediately came back and was with us through that time. I’m so grateful and thankful for that.” Quteria started in the healthcare field when she was 16 years old. She gained experience working in nursing homes and hospitals and doing private caretaking. She loves helping people and always wanted to start her own business. “But starting a business is one of the scariest things there is,” she said. “I had two patients that would tell me all the time, you just need to start that business,” she said. “But I had this one particular client who just wasn't letting off of me to start this business.” The client would coach her and

► WHERE: 4220 Cahaba Heights Court Suite 203 ► CALL: 205-368-3500 ► WEB: godssitting

give her homework, and the next day she would see him, he would check to make sure she did her homework and made moves to start her own business. “After I got the confidence and courage, he passed away a couple months later,” she said. “I was sad, mad and afraid all at the same time. He passed so unexpectedly. I

no longer had him here to motivate me and show me how to get this business started.” But she would remind herself that this client wanted her to accomplish her dreams, and she didn’t want to let him down. “It’s because of him that God’s Sitting Partners exists today,” she said.

She faces challenges every day. She works hard to grow her business and to make sure her patients are happy. But the rewards are plentiful, and many of her patients become her best friends. One of her “best friend” patients was with her for six years, before she even started God’s Sitting Partners.

“Every weekend she wanted to go grocery shopping. Publix knew us when they saw us,” she said. Twice a month, they would grab a carrot cake slice to share. “We would cut it down the middle and split it to avoid gaining weight, as we would put it! I miss these moments with her dearly.” Clients and their families come to Quteria for in-home care, specialized care and respite care. God’s Sitting Partners serves Jefferson County, Shelby County and the Jasper area. “From companionship to errands and groceries, our highly-trained in-home caregivers can support your loved ones in the comfort of their own home,” Quteria said. Contact God’s Sitting Partners Home Care Services today at 205368-3500 for more information.

B12 • January 2022

Vestavia Voice


Diana Paulk BIRMINGHAM ANXIETY & TRAUMA THERAPY At Birmingham Anxiety & Trauma Therapy, owner Diana Paulk said she has one main goal: to serve as many people as possible with mental health services in the Birmingham metro area. “That’s how we count our successes,” she said. “We don’t count the money. We count the people.” Her team is very people-oriented, she said, and people notice the difference as soon as they walk in the door. “I don’t care if you’re a client or if you’re delivering the mail — we’re going to smile and offer you some water,” she said. “When you're in the South and someone walks into your house, that's the first thing you're going to ask them, ‘Do you want something to drink?’ That bill has gotten larger and larger as we've grown, but it's important for us to make people comfortable.” At Birmingham Anxiety & Trauma Therapy, the business leaders aren’t at the top of the food chain. This is how Diana describes their hierarchy: clients are at the top, and then the front office workers are the next most important people. “Our front desk workers, Abigail and Dorelle, they’re the first interaction anyone’s going to have. They’re the front line for us.” They’re also excellent at matching a client with the best therapist for them. Birmingham Anxiety & Trauma Therapy has 15 therapists, and each therapist has a different background and specialty. “In addition to knowing all about anxiety and trauma, each therapist brings in their own specialty, such as anger management, depression, couples therapy, women’s issues and more,” Diana said. And if a client doesn’t like their therapist for any reason, Diana said they will assign a new therapist to that client. “So much of changing your life has to do with the fit of the client to the therapist, so we

want to make sure we get the right fit. You can run through every single therapist we have. If you don't like those therapists, we're going to help you find a therapist outside of our business. Usually that never happens.” Diana said she strives to make it as easy as possible and as pleasant as possible to do the hard work of therapy. She said not every session is “rainbows and lollipops,” but she’s there to help people with the hard things. She’s learned that sometimes, it’s the little things that count. “I’ve rearranged my office for a client before,” she said. “He came in, and at the end of our session, I asked how he felt, and he said the office was a little messy. So I hid the computer wires and rearranged things.

The next time he came in, he said, ‘You did that for me?’ I said yes! We really mean what we’re saying here.” Diana has owned Birmingham Anxiety & Trauma Therapy since 2004 and has gradually been growing the business and adding additional therapists. She laughed and said their current space has 12 therapy offices, and the company is all about sharing. “If someone needs my office for a client, and I’m not with a client, I tell them to kick me out. Clients are at the top of the food chain here. I don't care if I own the place, if you need my space for a client, you can have it.” Visit to make an appointment.

► WHERE: 100 Centerview Drive, Suite 150 ► CALL: 205-807-5372 ► WEBSITE:

Elizabeth Brasher and Melanie Nichols WOMEN’S WEALTH CONNECTION The teams at WA Asset Management and Warren Averett recognize that women tend to have unique financial goals and different perspectives on things, and it helps to have a financial advisor you can relate to. As a result, WA Asset Management and Warren Averett established Women’s Wealth Connection to serve women in Birmingham and across the Southeast. “We really want to do two things,” said Elizabeth Brasher, practice leader for Women's Wealth Connection. “First, we aim to educate and empower women to take control of their finances. Second, we want to increase awareness of our amazing team of female financial advisors, a resource that can be hard to find in this industry. Our team is full of caring, empathetic listeners who want to learn what’s important to our clients and then give them the tools needed to help them thrive.” Women’s Wealth Connection is led by female advisors at WA Asset Management and Warren Averett to combine the expertise of the firms’ financial, investment, tax and estate planning service areas into a specialized bundle of services tailored for women. “We want to help all women, but most specifically women in transition,” Elizabeth said. “Women’s Wealth Connection partners with you to mitigate financial complexities as you navigate through life’s transitions such as divorce, loss of a spouse, inheritance or business changes, to help you

Elizabeth Brasher, left, and Melanie Nichols of Women's Wealth Connection

Elizabeth Brasher, J.D., CWS ► CALL: 205-747-3945 ► EMAIL: Elizabeth.Brasher Melanie Nichols, CFA, CFP ► CALL: 205-769-3308 ► EMAIL: Melanie.Nichols ► WEBSITE: womenswealth

achieve your goals.” Statistically, women often inherit twice — once from their parents and then again from their spouse, according to a study conducted by Fidelity in 2021. However, only 22% of women have a financial plan and only 37% are confident they can plan for retirement needs, despite consistently saving more than their male counterparts. Most importantly though, 75% of women surveyed want to learn more about money and investing. WA Asset Management saw a need and created a service line for

women to learn more about their finances from a team of dedicated advisors. Women’s Wealth Connection stands out not only because the advisory team offers a breadth of tailored financial planning and investment management services under one umbrella, but also because many of the advisors are women themselves, they are uniquely positioned to understand what their clients are going through. Services offered include comprehensive financial planning, asset

management, business valuation, investment education, investment management, income tax planning and budgeting, estate planning, cash flow planning, retirement planning, debt analysis, education planning and saving, insurance review, medicare and social security planning, coordinating updates of legal documents, charitable giving, trust analysis, trust administration assistance and mediation support. Clients can request a free consultation to speak with the advisor of their choosing (in person or on

the phone) to discuss their financial needs and goals. “From there, we can create a customized financial plan that’s just for you,” Elizabeth said. “And it doesn’t stop there, we’re here to support you and provide customized solutions at every step along the way.” This is done through: ► A comprehensive financial planning approach through collaborative investment, tax, estate and financial planning services ► Regular communication with you ► Intimate knowledge of your personal and financial objectives ► A local and highly attentive team of advisors ► A tailored portfolio and a disciplined, data-driven approach to investing For more information about Women’s Wealth Connection or to request a complimentary assessment, visit

January 2022 • B13


Katherine Manush REALTYSOUTH Buying and selling houses is a stressful and often confusing thing for many people. That’s where Katherine Manush comes in. As an associate broker for RealtySouth, Manush works with a lot of first-time buyers and helps to alleviate any concerns. “It’s a pretty involved process, and I take them step by step and help lead them through the process,” she said. She started selling real estate in 1991 in Huntsville. She moved back to Birmingham in 1994, and that next year, she decided to study for her broker’s license to provide the best service possible to her clients. Manush said it’s her job to make buying or selling a home an easier process for her clients. Having been in the business for nearly 30 years now, she knows the ins and outs of it and can help explain things in a manner that’s easy to understand. “The greatest compliments I’ve been given are when former clients tell their adult children to use me as their agent,” she said. Her approach is customized to each client, and she said she believes solutions are never one size fits all. “Finding the right house can be stressful,” she said. “My job is to minimize that stress so that you can enjoy finding your new home. Homes come on the market all the time. I can help you find the very best home before someone else does! With an automatic, internet-based notification system, you can be notified almost immediately when the right home for you comes on the market. You can take virtual tours, check out schools, arrange financing, all without leaving your home! How easy

► WHERE: 2409 Acton Road, Suite 137 ► CALL: 205-533-2614 ► WEBSITE: is that?” And for those who are selling, she said “team work makes the dream work.” “As your Realtor, it’s my top priority to sell your home quickly and for the best price,” she said. “I have a marketing plan ready to go, and with my large network of agents on hand, the home will be noticed immediately. We need to take all offers seriously. You may accept, negotiate or reject an offer. If you have multiple offers, you do not have to accept the higher offer as some terms in another offer may be more important to you. We will work to fulfill your needs. There is a lot to consider, and together we will identify the best path for you.” Her past clients have left her glowing reviews. They tell her she foresees potential problems and pays close attention to the needs and concerns of her clients. She bends over backwards for her clients and has saved them thousands of dollars, other reviews have said. Manush said she is ready for 2022 and is ready to help with any buying or selling needs. “Give me a call or send an email when you are ready to tour some homes or schedule a free home buying or selling consultation. I look forward to working with you!”

Judith S. Crittenden CRITTENDEN PARTNERS There is no question that Judith S. Crittenden is a legend in the legal field. Crittenden graduated from Cumberland School of Law of Samford University in 1970. She became the first woman in the state of Alabama to serve as a Deputy District Attorney, and in 1984 she founded The Crittenden Firm, P.C. She is also a founder of the Women’s Lawyer Section of the Birmingham Bar Association and of the Family Violence Center for the YWCA. She has built an incredible legacy, and now it has been passed on to six other amazing female attorneys. Crittenden Partners, P.C. was formed in 2014 with the original partners Judith Crittenden, Laura Montgomery Lee, and Paige Yarbrough. “She built a great firm and a great reputation,” said Lee, the firm’s managing partner. Lee earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama and began working at the Crittenden Firm in 2010 as a Family Law attorney. She is a member of both the Alabama and Tennessee Bar and is actively involved in the Birmingham Bar Association. Yarbrough is also a Cumberland School of Law alumna and earned her Juris Doctorate in 2012. She joined the Crittenden Firm immediately after graduating to begin practicing family law. Additionally, she is a co-author of West Alabama’s Practice Series in Alabama Family Law, Three Part Treatise. Since 2014, Crittenden Partners

► WHERE: 1 Independence Plaza, Suite 305, Homewood ► CALL: 205-874-8680 ► WEBSITE: crittenden

Standing, from left: Kathryn Henry, Lindsay Van Noy and Deborah Gregory. Sitting, from left: Nicole Saia, Judy Crittenden, Laura Lee and Paige Yarbrough. Photo by David Smith at Canary Gallery.

has expanded and added three additional partners. Deborah Gregory joined in 2017, while Kathryn Henry and Nicole Saia both became partners in 2019. Together, they have over 100 years of experience and a diverse set of skills that can handle any matter with the utmost expertise. Crittenden Partners’ newest associate, Lindsay Van Noy, joined the firm earlier this year. Crittenden herself will still be

actively involved and available to clients in an Of Counsel role. “Our motto is ‘The Strength of Integrity,’” Lee said, adding that the law is their passion and integrity is their foundation. Compassion is also a big part of Crittenden Partners’ work as they specialize in divorce litigation, including jurisdictional issues, spousal and child support, child custody, marital property characterization and valuation and division of assets.

“We don’t want to create scorched earth,” Lee said. “We try to manage emotions with the ability to preserve assets and preserve integrity. Sometimes it can be tempting to fight every battle in the heat of emotions, but when it comes time to co-parent with the other person, a client is no longer glad they’ve gone down this road. We want to help alleviate that and fight the battles that matter.” Crittenden Partners also

specializes in post-divorce actions, including actions to enforce prior divorce judgments and actions to modify child custody, child support and spousal support. Its other areas of expertise include family law appeals, paternity matters, adoptions, and prenuptial, postnuptial and marital settlement agreements. Additionally, Crittenden Partners has recently extended its practice to include estate planning and mediation services. “Our benchmark of success is when a client’s case is resolved in a way that the client can feel confident, secure and emotionally capable of moving forward,” Lee said. “We want to ensure that our clients feel that we have made one of the most difficult times in their lives easier to manage and that they have come through that time stronger.”

B14 • January 2022

Women in Business

Vestavia Voice


Brenda Meadows THE LINGERIE SHOPPE For 75 years, people have counted on The Lingerie Shoppe in Mountain Brook for the best quality merchandise and the highest level of customer service for the best price. The business started in 1946 and offers intimate apparel and sleepwear for women, young girls and even men. When asked what keeps customers coming back after all these years, store owner Brenda Meadows said it’s because of The Lingerie Shoppe’s unique product offering. “In the beginning, there were department stores that would carry some of the same things,” she said. “But now we offer brands and lines you can’t find elsewhere.” Brenda goes to markets and searches for the best priced and best quality items. She said she wants people to know that just because the shop is in Mountain Brook doesn’t mean the prices are inflated. “I always stay within the suggested retail price,” she said. “And if it’s not good, or if something is flawed, I replace it at no charge. We work very hard to accommodate any complaints or anything. Fortunately, that’s never been much of an issue.” It’s a full service lingerie shop with knowledgeable employees and has services such as expert fittings. In addition to a great selection of products, Brenda said customer service is The Lingerie Shoppe’s number one goal. “The ladies who work here are very personable and interested in helping you,” she said. “They’re all very friendly. We have to be careful about chatting people up, because sometimes we get lost in conversation and the customer might forget why they came in!” she said, laughing. “We feel we have established friendships with folks who come into the store, and that’s really important to us. We offer a service to women when they are at their most vulnerable: when they’re buying intimate apparel. They want something that fits them correctly,

or maybe they’ve had a mastectomy and need us to make them feel comfortable. We take that very seriously. They’ve given us their trust, and we’re very careful to honor that.” Brenda has owned the shop since 1988, when her close friend Betty McMann heard the shop was for sale. Together they became the shop’s fifth set of owners, and Betty retired after 10 years in 1998. Brenda has been at the helm since then. “I’m starting my 34th year,” she said. “I guess I've been here forever, but I don’t feel like I have. It's been a wonderful experience. I’ve had generations of customers, which has been so meaningful.”

When the shop had to close during the pandemic, Brenda still came into the shop every day to answer phone calls and emails and to ship orders to local customers and across the country. “Having customer support during that time was very meaningful to keeping the business going,” she said. “Now we’re really staying very busy. I'm very grateful for loyal customers and all of our new customers, too.” In a time when not all businesses survived the COVID-19 pandemic, Brenda said she is feeling especially grateful to celebrate The Lingerie Shoppe’s longevity and 75 years in business.

► WHERE: 2403 Montevallo Road ► CALL: 205-871-8994 ► WEBSITE: thelingerieshoppe

Tricia Stevens S&S CUSTOM HOME DESIGNS Whether you’re doing a home remodeling project or new construction, S&S Custom Home Designs, Inc. is your “one-stop shop” design build company. Jack and Tricia Stevens started S&S Custom Home Designs in the spring of 1997 as a home design business and a year later grew it into a design-build construction company. For over 23 years, S&S Custom Home Designs has been designing homes, building new homes, remodeling homes, and has even done a few commercial build-outs. Many times, clients doing a home remodeling project will waste time by communicating with too many different companies. A home remodel can quickly get complicated, and there can be a lot of moving parts. But with S&S Custom Home Designs, clients love that they can save time and money by working with just one company. Plus, with their years of experience, clients often say that the finished product is exactly how the client envisioned it. “We have had several clients relay to us that it is more convenient and less confusing than having to go to several different companies,” Tricia said. “We all love what we do here, and our passion drives us to put in the hours and get it right. This really makes the process enjoyable for our clients.” Tricia said she feels passionate about her job because she knows she’s working with her clients’ biggest investments: their homes. “Whether I’m working on a remodel and I’m keeping the home in tip-top shape, or if I’m working on a custom home, I’m building someone’s ideal home for them and their family,” she said. “I’m so grateful to my clients for inviting me in and trusting me to build their dreams.” Her favorite projects are kitchens and baths. For Tricia, designing a kitchen her clients love means one with plenty of storage and counter space. For bathrooms, Tricia knows

a great tile choice can completely elevate the aesthetic. She aims to make the spaces she remodels functional, bright and elegant. Her team at S&S Custom Home Designs can install new plumbing fixtures, electrical components and custom cabinets. They can also install custom showers that are ADA-compliant. S&S Custom Home Designs also offers interior design services. Their interior designer follows a thorough process to ensure

the job goes smoothly. They will: ► Meet with you to get a better idea of your vision and budget ► Provide unlimited designs to choose from, including custom options ► Create blueprints with a 3D rendering of your home's layout S&S Custom Home Designs is a family-owned business of 25 years. Call 205-202-1171 today to schedule services with their experienced team.

► WHERE: 3325 Rocky Ridge Plaza, Suite 213 ► CALL: 205-202-1171 ► WEBSITE:

Women in Business

January 2022 • B15


Dr. Christine Abenoja ABENOJA ORTHODONTICS Every time Dr. Christine Abenoja takes off a patient’s braces, it feels like a victory. She’s not just giving them straight teeth, but confidence that can last a lifetime. She graduated with a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Connecticut in 2005 and obtained a Master of Science and certificate in orthodontics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2008. She and her staff see patients “ages 6 to 82” and treat a variety of orthodontic problems, including alignment, bite and jaw issues, sleep apnea and temporomandibular disorder (TMD). “Having my own practice really allows me to practice the way I want to, to try new technology, to be cutting edge, to grow and build and serve the way I envision,” the Mountain Brook resident said. She’s a board-certified orthodontist who has practiced in the Liberty Park area of Vestavia Hills for 13 years. She considers her practice to be a results-oriented practice. Dr. Abenoja explains that in today’s orthodontics, there is no reason to not love your smile! And with mask wearing in full force, there’s no better time to work on your teeth, revealing something quite beautiful when the masks come off. Invisalign, clear brackets or traditional braces are popular choices Dr. Abenoja recommends to help patients reach their desired outcome. Each treatment can be custom designed for the lifestyle of the patient. For example, Invisalign is a clear aligner system that allows patients the freedom to remove the trays for eating and brushing, as well as shorter adjustment appointments for today’s busy lifestyles. Patients who would never consider traditional brackets and wires can attain excellent results with Invisalign. Invisalign isn’t just for adults; Dr. Abenoja treats children as young as 7 with Invisalign

► WHERE: 8000 Liberty Parkway, Suite 128 ► CALL: 205-883-1083 ► WEBSITE: as well. Ultimately, each approach — whether brackets and wires or clear aligners — is a tool that helps Dr. Abenoja to create a beautiful smile. Dr. Abenoja believes continuity of care and relationships are important to obtaining the best result for her patients, especially those with complex cases. She said the patients at her Liberty Park practice are always fun to work with, whether it’s children who are coming in for their first set of braces or adults wanting to improve their smile. Though there are many good orthodontists in Birmingham, she said it’s her attention to detail that sets her apart, along with the American Board of Orthodontics board certification she received in 2015, the highest possible standard in orthodontics. Only 25% of orthodontists in the US are board certified. “I’m looking forward to another great year helping my clients get the smile they’ve always dreamed of having,” Dr. Abenoja said. “I’m so thankful to my community for their continued support!” Visit to schedule your free consultation.

Dr. Kacey Cilimberg MAGIC CITY EYECARE At Magic City Eyecare, patients don’t get a one-size-fits-all approach to eyecare. It’s a locally owned and operated clinic that customizes the experience for each individual client. “Our office takes pride in offering outstanding service and protecting your most precious sense, your eyesight!” Dr. Cilimberg said. “I would love the opportunity for you and your family to come and visit us.” Dr. Cilimberg always knew she wanted to be in the medical field, so when she was in high school, she started shadowing her dad’s optometrist. “Every time I shadowed, I fell more in love with everything related to the eyes and how they connect to the body as a whole,” she said. Her dad has an ocular disease known as keratoconus. Patients with keratoconus typically need specialty contact lenses to obtain functional vision, since they don’t see well with glasses. “I ended up doing my residency specializing in cornea, contact lenses, and refractive surgery. I was able to further my knowledge of keratoconus and become an expert in fitting scleral lenses for patients with this and many other corneal conditions. “I am so grateful my dad recommended I look into optometry at an early age. It has been the perfect fit for me.” The thing that makes Dr. Cilimberg feel most passionate about her job is the people who come to her practice. She said she thoroughly enjoys getting to know her patients. “The best way for me to help take care of my patients’ eyes is to understand how they use them each day,” she said. “The way our practice is set up, I have sufficient time to spend with each patient and discuss their visual needs. This allows me to tailor glasses or contact lenses to enhance their lifestyle.” Often, people think they don’t need an eye

exam unless they are experiencing blurry vision. But Dr. Cilimberg wants people to know that there are so many aspects of eye health that are unrelated to vision. The American Optometric Association states that more than 16 million Americans struggle with undiagnosed or untreated vision impairments, which a comprehensive exam could have detected. These conditions can include dry eye, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachment and even brain tumors. These conditions can be present without symptoms, especially in the beginning. Early

► WHERE: 8011 Liberty Parkway, Suite 103 ► CALL: 205-506-2200 ► WEBSITE:

intervention is crucial to protect the longevity of a patient’s eyesight. For adults, Dr. Cilimberg recommends

her clients have annual eye examinations to assess their vision as well as any medical issues that may arise from year to year. For children, it is recommended to have an exam prior to turning one year old. After that, it is recommended once between 3 and 5 years of age, and annually thereafter. “Children’s visual needs can change quickly, and monitoring their care yearly is highly recommended,” she said. Birmingham is home to Dr. Cilimberg, and her optometry practice serves Liberty Park and the surrounding communities. Call 205506-2200 to book your appointment today.

The Royal Family came together in their tacky best to support Children’s of Alabama.

Giving’s Better in a Sweater Through over 50 Christmas seasons serving Central Alabama, we’ve learned that our home is special because of the profound generosity of our friends and neighbors. Our favorite Royal Family holiday tradition is our way of following the example set by this community’s extraordinary spirit of giving. Once again, we donned our tacky Christmas sweaters to collect gifts and donations for the Sugar Plum Shop, a free toy store benefitting patients and families at Children’s of Alabama. Not even the glow of a light-up sweater warms the heart quite as much as knowing families spending that special time at the hospital instead of at home had presents to unwrap free of charge this Christmas. Thank you to everyone who helped us stock the Sugar Plum Shop’s shelves. Warmest wishes for a prosperous new year from all of us at Royal Automotive!

Royal Automotive · (205) 823-3100 · 3010 Columbiana Rd · At the Corner of I-65 and Highway 31 in Vestavia