OTMJ OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL u OTMJ.COM
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2021
Inaugural Flag Football Season Opens With Plenty of Excitement
Welcome Back ASO Returns to Live Concerts for Its Centennial Season
Photo courtesy ASO
s the Alabama Symphony Orchestra embarks on its 100th season, musicians who have spent more than a year performing virtually will return to the stage. Audiences will be invited back into the Jemison Concert Hall at the Alys Stephens Center for live performances when the ASO opens its season Oct. 8 and 9 with a Masterworks concert of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. The orchestra began in 1921 when 52 volunteer musicians established the Birmingham Music Festival and performed in the old Jefferson Theatre. In the spring, the organization plans to host a free, outdoor concert to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The concert origi-
Journal photo by Marvin Gentry
The ASO opens its season at the Alys Stephens Center with live performances on Oct. 8 and 9.
ITS OFFICIAL The Alabama High School Athletic Association sanctioned flag football as one of its sports this year. Spain Park’s Emily Stricklin looks for room to run as Vestavia’s Caroline Redden and Merritt Kelley close in during last weeks season opener. See story, page 26.
nally was scheduled to take place this year but was postponed due to the pandemic. The new season will feature a shift in programming that celebrates diversity, according to ASO Music Director Carlos Izcaray. “Over the past 18 months, we had time to take a look at our operations, including how we could better reflect the world outside the concert hall,” Izcaray said. “Beginning this season, See ASO, page 9
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OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
S ‘TREMENDOUS HONOR’ Ritch’s Pharmacy presented Retailer of the Year award PAGE 8
‘NEVER WALK ALONE’ Haute Pink Fashion Show will highlight breast cancer patients and survivors PAGE 10
‘THERE IS HOPE’ One Place Metro Family Justice Center is there for victims of domestic violence PAGE 11
A SWEET TREAT Birmingham Candy Company to offer pre-packaged treats at new holiday pop-up store PAGE 22
ABOUT TOWN 4 FOOD 22 NEWS 8 SCHOOLS 24 LIFE 10 SPORTS 28 SOCIAL 16
otmj.com With everything that’s happening “Over the Mountain,” it can be difficult to keep up. That’s why we have launched the OTMJ newsletter. Published every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - we’ll give you a quick recap of the latest news, sports and social events as well as a heads up on upcoming events so you won’t miss any of the interesting and fun happenings in the Greater Birmingham metro area. To sign up for our newsletter, visit otmj.com. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, @overthemountainjournal, for daily updates on what’s going on around town, too.
trong women: May we know My next-door neighbors on both sides them, may we be them, may we weren’t home. My woodsman friend raise them.” said, “Just make some noise. It will go I’m reading “Take Good Care of away. It’s probably a good snake, anythe Garden and the Dogs,” by Heather way.” This was not what I wanted to Lende. She begins by chronicling her hear. And so, I phoned my neighbor recovery from literally being run over Vickie who, in a moment of supreme by a truck. She endured months of surkindness, had said, “If you ever need geries and rehab, with only a 50/50 anything …” Be careful what you say. chance of being able to walk again. Vickie’s husband is always outside But she did walk, returning home to working on their impeccable lawn, so I Haines, Alaska, to hunt and fish and figured he might have some experience write and be attuned to the joys in life. with snakes, but it was Vickie herself Sue Murphy A strong woman, indeed. who said, “I’ll be right over.” I come from a long line of strong Now, to fully appreciate the enorwomen. When my dad didn’t cut the mity of this gesture, you need to grass under the clothesline fast know that Vickie is not a burly gal. enough, my 90-year-old greatWhen my dad didn’t She is about my age and a few inchgrandmother cut it herself with a shorter than me, a woman cut the grass under the es scythe. My grandmother possessed supremely talented in all things clothesline fast enough, house and home, and yet she a quiet strength, dealing with one leg being significantly shorter than at my back gate a few my 90-year-old great- appeared the other her entire life. My mom minutes later, brandishing a sharp, grandmother cut it once killed a copperhead with a long-handled implement. She did hatchet at our Brownie day camp. herself with a scythe. not hesitate for a second but set Me? I think I am strong in my about locating and eliminating the own way, but I definitely did not snake. I will spare you the gory inherit the snake-killing gene. details, but I will tell you that the Thank goodness, one of my neighbors did. only help I gave was to move the birdseed chest and A few months ago, a 3-foot snake slithered through hold a bracing shovel … with my eyes closed. the backyard fence slats and ducked under the plastic I’d like to say that things will be different next time, chest that holds my birdseed. I’d like to say that I that I will man (woman) up and take care of the next sprang into action and deftly handled the situation, but snake by myself, but I know I won’t. Too many adverse when it comes to snakes, my deft is puny at best. Nope, snake memories in my psyche. I went as far as buying I froze … unfroze long enough to get Dave up on the my own long-handled cutting implement, but it will deck … and froze again. have to be used by someone else. The snake couldn’t stay. That was clear. With And so, I send out this column as a puny thank you. Dave’s penchant for sticking his nose where it does not There will be more. There will have to be more, but belong, he would end up in the doggie emergency room right now, I want to honor my friend, Vickie the Snake for sure. With that picture firmly in mind, I did the Slayer, a woman as strong as they come. I’m proud bravest thing I could muster: I started calling people. (and thankful) to know her.
Over the Mountain Views
OVER THE MOUNTAIN
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
October 7, 2021 JOU RNAL Publisher & Editor: Maury Wald Copy Editor: Virginia Martin Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Staff Writers: Emily Williams-Robertshaw Photographer: Jordan Wald Editorial Assistant: Stacie Galbraith Sports: Rubin E. Grant Contributors: Susan Murphy, June Mathews, Emil Wald, Marvin Gentry, Lee Walls, Bryan Bunch Advertising Sales: Julie Trammell Edwards, Tommy Wald, Gail Kidd Vol. 32, No. 5
Over The Mountain Journal is a suburban bi-weekly newspaper delivered to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County areas. Subscriptions for The Journal are available for $24 yearly. Mail to: Over the Mountain Journal, P.O. Box 660502, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the editorial department at email@example.com. E-mail our advertising department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find us on the Web at otmj.com. Copyright 2021 Over The Mountain Journal, Inc. All rights reserved. The Journal is not responsible for return of photos, copy and other unsolicited materials submitted. To have materials returned, please specify when submitting and provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All materials submitted are subject to editorial review and may be edited or declined without notification.
The Bluff Park Art Association hosted the 58th annual Bluff Park Art Show at The Park at Shades Cliff in Hoover on Saturday. Birmingham artist Katie Adams, above, was one of the many artists participating in the popular fall event which includes artists from across the country. This year’s Best in Show winner was Louisiana artist Craig McMillin.
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 3
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Grandparents, you are more influential than you think! The Legacy Grandparenting Summit will provide vision and strategies to help you build strong relationships within your family so you can have a greater spiritual impact.
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As Birmingham Children’s Theatre approaches its 75th anniversary, the organization will host a gala fundraiser, An Enchanted Evening, on Oct. 21 at The Club. The evening will honor one of the theater’s founding families, the Featheringills, and long-time board member Carolyn Featheringill. According to a release, after World War II was over and families were reunited, Nita Featheringill and a group of other young mothers in the community founded Junior Programs, which later became Birmingham Children’s Theatre. The men of the Featheringill family also participated in the growth of the theater. In addition to honoring the theater’s past, the organization will look forward to the future and its mission to “educate, entertain and enrich the lives of children through the magic of professional theatre.” The event will begin with cocktails on the terrace at 5:30 p.m. followed by a dinner with vignettes of live entertainment from BCT’s past productions. In its more than seven-decade history, BCT has served more than 13 million children, educators and families in local schools where arts opportunities may not otherwise be available through
OCT 7 - OCT 21 Through Oct. 16 Bargain Costume Closet
The Dance Foundation will host its annual costume sale, featuring dance wear, dress-up clothes and costumes for all ages. Funds raised will benefit the organization’s Tuition Assistance Program and Community Partnership Program. Where: The Dance Foundation Website: thedancefoundation.org
Through Oct. 30 Pumpkin Junction
The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum will host an old-fashioned family fun event with pumpkins for purchase, food vendors, activities and rides on the Pumpkin Junction. Where: Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum Website: hodrrm.org
Thurs., Oct. 7 Taste of Hoover
The annual culinary event will feature tastings created by local Hoover restaurants, caterers and vendors as well as international spirits, wines and local beers. When: 5-8 p.m. Where: Aldridge Gardens Website: aldridgegardens. com
Birmingham Children’s Theatre Celebrates 75 Years with An Enchanted Evening
In its more than seven-decade history, BCT has served more than 13 million children, educators and families.
productions and outreach programs. For many underserved communities, BCT offers the only opportunity for children to experience theater, officials said. Funds raised during An Enchanted Evening will directly benefit BCT’s onstage productions, education pro-
gramming and mission to provide opportunities for arts engagement to children throughout the greater Birmingham area.
When: 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Where: Avondale Amphitheater Website: operabirmingham.org
Hand in Paw will host its annual Oktoberfest-themed fundraiser, featuring a costume and stein hoist contests, a pet photo booth and more. Funds raised benefit Anna’s Fund, created by Rodney Tucker and Billy Connelley to defray the cost associated with volunteer training and supplies. When: 6-9 p.m. Where: Cahaba Brewing Website: handinpaw.org
Oct. 8-10 16th Barber Vintage Festival
Barber Motorsports Park will host its annual festival dedicated to vintage cars, with AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Mary McGee serving serving as grand marshal. The festival will include a vintage swap meet, AHRMA racing, a fan zone, VJMC motorcycle shows, demo rides and more. The Motorcycles by Moonlight dinner will be hosted from 6-10 p.m. on Oct. 8. Where: Barber Motorsports Park Website: barberracingevents.com
Sat., Oct. 9 The Three Little Pigs
Opera Birmingham will host outdoor performances of this classic children’s tale come to life through the music of Mozart. Sung as written, in English, the performance will be approximately 45 minutes in length. Students enter for free and adult tickets are $10.
For more information, visit bct123.org/enchanted-evening.
Rescue Run 5K
The Jimmie Hale Mission will host its annual runs, including a 10K, 5K and one-mile fun run followed followed by a short awards presentations and Homewood restaurant and business specials. When: 7:45 a.m. Where: Downtown Homewood Website: jimmiehalemission.com
Oct. 9 & 10 My Hero Convention: AL Smash
Hosted by Alabama Comic Con, this two-day event will bring together a diverse list of guests, vendors, artists and fan groups in a family-friendly environment. Where: BJCC Website: alabamacomiccon.com
Oct. 9-Feb. 6 The Lost Realms of The Moundbuilders
The Birmingham Museum of Art will open its newest exhibition, “Lost Realms of the Moundbuilders: Ancient Native Americans of the South and Midwest” organized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The exhibition will be on display in the Jemison Galleries through Feb. 6, 2022. Where: Birmingham Museum of Art Website: artsbma.org
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Sun., Oct. 10 Tailgate Challenge
The Bell Center for Early Intervention will host its annual fundraiser to celebrate the upcoming football season. The event will include tailgate food tastings created by various teams, along with live music, kidfriendly events and more. When: 1-4 p.m. Where: The Bell Center Website: thebellcenter.org
Picnic at Railroad Park
Railroad Park Foundation will host a free community picnic featuring live music, children’s activities, food and drink and more. Picnic party packages are available for purchase. When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: Railroad Park Website: railroadparkpicnic.swell.gives
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 5
ABOUT TOWN Oct. 14-16 Birmingham Greek Festival
Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral will host the
48th annual Birmingham Greek Festival, featuring Greek cuisine prepared by church parishioners. The open air festival will also feature Green music, traditional dancers
and outdoor seating. Self-guided tours of the cathedral will be offered between 10:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. When: 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., daily Where: Holy Trinity-Holy Cross
Greek Orthodox Cathedral Website: greekfest21.com
See ABOUT TOWN, page 6
“Every home is unique because every client is unique.”
Oct. 10 & 17 Birmingham Walking Tours
Vulcan Park and Museum will host walking tours in downtown Birmingham, featuring historical discussions. The Oct. 10 tour will include Birmingham’s downtown churches. The tour on Oct. 17 will follow Birmingham’s Mineral Railroad along the Kiwanis Vulcan Trail. When: 2 p.m. Where: Vulcan Park and Museum Website: visitvulcan.com
Mon., Oct. 11 Links Fore Scholars Tournament
The Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce will host this annual golf tournament fundraiser to benefit the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which annually awards four $4,000 scholarships to deserving Hoover students. When: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: Riverchase Country Club Website: business.hooverchamber. org
Wed., Oct. 13 Linly Heflin Fashion Show
The Linly Heflin Unit will host its 62nd Annual Scholarship Fashion Show, featuring fashions provided by Gus Mayer and highlighting featured designer Zang Toi. Funds raised will benefit the organization’s mission to provide scholarships to local women seeking higher education at Alabama universities. When: 5:30 p.m. Where: The Club Website: linlyheflin.org
Thurs., Oct. 14 Tacos for Trinity
Trinity Counseling’s annual fall fundraiser will include a silent auction, inspiring speakers and great food. Funds raised will account for a significant portion of the organization’s annual budget, supporting work to provide mental health services to the community. When: 6-8 p.m. Where: The Battery Website: tacosfortrinity.eventbrite. com
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Thurs., Oct. 21 Bone Bash
The Arthritis Foundation will host this Halloween-themed gala, featuring dinner, music, a silent auction and more, presented by Arthritis Foundation volunteers and staff. Proceeds will benefit the foundation’s research, advocacy and public health programs for those affected by arthritis. When: 6-10 p.m. Where: Sloss Furnace Website: arthritis.org
Our annual roundup of some of the happenings in the Over the Mountain area to help you with your Halloween and Fall Festival planning
Bootastic Monster Bash
O’Neal Library will host a Halloweeninspired carnival for all ages, featuring crafts, carnival games and a sunset viewing of a monster movie. Halloween costumes are encouraged. When: 5:30, festival; 6:30, movie Where: O’Neal Library Website: oneallibrary.org
Sat., Oct. 23 Trick or Trot 5K
Kid One Transport’s ninth annual run will A virtual option will allow runners to complete the race on their own schedule, anytime between Oct. 17 and Oct. 23. Funds raised will
ABOUT TOWN, from page 5
Sat., Oct. 16 Megan Montgomery Memorial 5K Run/Walk
This inaugural run will honor the life of the late Megan Montgomery and raise funds for the Megan Montgomery Domestic Violence Prevention Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham in its mission to boost awareness and education in the prevention of domestic violence. When: 8 a.m. Where: Homewood Central Park Website: runsignup.com/Race/AL/Birmingham/ MeganMontgomery5KRunWalk
Sun., Oct. 17 Barktoberfest
Red Mountain Theatre will present the sixth annual fundraiser for Two by Two Rescue, featuring a Two by Two alumni reunion, adoption center, vaccine and microchip clinic, dog park, vendors, pet blessing, costume contest, kids zone, live music and more. When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Where:
Sun., Oct. 24
The Homewood Witches will take flight, throwing treats along their way with a festival to follow, featuring live entertainment, inflatables, food trucks and live performances. Funds raised will benefit the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. When: 2 p.m. Where: Homewood Central Park Website: uab.edu/homewoodwitchesride/ Journal file photos by Jordan Wald
Fri., Oct. 22
climbing wall, carnival games, candy giveaways, and food from local vendors include the Milo’s Burger Bus. When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Where: Homewood Central Park Website: grace-house.org
Homewood Witches Ride and Fall Festival
Fall Festival Community Night Out The city of Vestavia Hills Police and Fire departments will host a community night out for first responders to network with local businesses, civic groups, churches, schools and community volunteers. Activities will include food, a pumpkin patch, a DJ, jump houses, kids activities, vendors and Halloween costumes are encouraged. When: 5-8 p.m. Where: Vestavia Hills City Hall Website: Vestavia Hills Police Department Facebook Page
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Sat., Oct. 30 Ross Bridge Witches Ride
The Ross Bridge Witches will host a brunch edition of this annual fundraiser to benefit the Hope for Autumn Foundation. Participating witches will meet for cocktails and brunch appetizers courtesy of Hometown Fare before taking flight. When: 10:15 a.m., brunch; 11 a.m., parade Where: Ross Bridge community Website: “Ross Bridge Witches Ride” Facebook page
THEY’RE BACK! After a pandemic break the Mystics of Mountain Brook Parade, above, returns on Oct. 31. Right, Luke and Hannah Miller enjoy the festivities at last year’s Homewood Witches Ride. provide transportation to medical care for children and expectant mothers throughout Alabama. When: 8 a.m. Where: Back Forty Brewing Website: kidone.org
Sun., Oct. 31 Mystics of Mountain Brook Parade The Mountain Brook community’s annual Halloween parade will return to Crestline Village. The Mardi Grasstyle parade will feature floats and live entertainment. Parade-goers are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing. When: 4 p.m. Where: Crestline Village Website: mtnbrookchamber.org
Grace House Pumpkin Festival
The junior board for Grace House Ministries will present its 8th annual pumpkin festival to raise funds for the organization’s mission to provide a home for Alabama girls in foster care. Admission will include a pumpkin, a
Helena Amphitheater Website: twobytworescue.com
Homeland: Concert for a Cause
The Support Committee for the Alabama National Cemetery will host a concert featuring a mix of oldies, patriotic and holiday music as well as hymns with proceeds benefiting Wreaths Across America at the cemetery. When: 3-4:30 p.m. Where: Bluff Park United Methodist Church Website: scalnc.org
Wed., Oct. 20 Kathleen P. Bruhn Memorial Leadership Open
BridgeWays of Alabama, formerly Camp Fire Alabama, will host a golf tournament fundraiser and reception in honor of the late Kathleen P. Bruhn of Mountain Brook, former executive director of Camp Fire. Camp The event will be hosted in partnership with the Thomas E. Jernigan Foundation to support BridgeWays’ youth development programs in Central Alabama and to establish an endowment fund that will offer
scholarship opportunities. When: 8:30 a.m. Where: Greystone Legacy Course Website: bridgewaysal.org
Thurs., Oct. 21 Harvest of Hope at Home
The Women’s Service Board for Cornerstone Schools will host the 18th annual gala in a virtual format, featuring a three-course meal by Kathy G. And Company with curated wine pairings by United Johnson Brothers and cookies from Cookie Fix. The pick-up dinner will be accompanied by a virtual silent auction, featuring a chance to win a trip for six to St. James Club in Antigua, and a program honoring this year’s gala honoree, Ronnie Baynes, and volunteer of the year, Dr. Robert Record and the team at Christ Health Center. Website: csalabama.org/event/harvest/
Oct. 21-31 “Natalie Needs a Nightie”
The Homewood Theatre will showcase productions of this lighthearted
comedy by Neil and Caroline Schaffner. Shows will be performed over two weekends, Oct. 21-24, Oct. 28-31 When: Thurs.-Sat., 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2:30 p.m. Where: The Homewood Theatre at Brookwood Village Website: homewoodtheatre. com
SAVE THE DATE Oct. 22-24 Ovation
The Alabama Ballet will perform its mixed-repertory production featuring segments of classic and contemporary works, including original work by choreographer Garrett Smith titled “Imitations” and George Balanchine’s “Western Symphony.” Where: The BJCC Website: alabamaballet.org
Sun., Oct. 24 Step Up for Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome Alabama will host this annual walk to raise awareness
Shades Mountain Baptist to Host Grandparenting Conference
Shades Mountain Baptist Church will present the Legacy Grandparenting Summit on Oct. 21-22. The two-day event will feature world-renowned speakers talking about grandparents’ making the most of time spent with their grandchildren. The conference will be at the church with live simulcast locations spread throughout the United States. Speakers include Valerie Bell, CEO of Featured speakers include Awana and awardReggie Joiner, winning author. founder and CEO of Orange; Ken Davis, Emmywinning writer, producer and stand-up comedian; Larry Fowler, Legacy Coalition founder; Kara Powell, professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute; Valerie Bell, CEO of Awana and award-winning author; David Green, founder and owner of Hobby Lobby; and Terence Chatmon, former executive with Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and Citibank. Musical performances will feature The Isaacs and Scott Westley Brown. For more information, visit LegacyCoalition.com/Summit or call Shades Mountain Baptist Church at 205-822-1670.
and promote acceptance for those with Down syndrome. Festivities will include life music, food trucks, a family fun zone and more. When: 12:30-4:30 p.m. (walk at 2 p.m.) Where: Veterans Park Website: downsyndromealabama.org
The Levite JCC of Birmingham invites local dogs to play in the facility’s outdoor pool with proceeds benefitting the Animal League of Birmingham and the LJCC. Tickets are $15 per dog with multi-dog discounts available. Owners must bring proof of rabies vaccination. When: 1-4 p.m. Where: LJCC Website: bhamjcc.org
Fri., Oct. 29 Pig Iron BBQ Cook-off
Medical Properties Trust will present this cooking competition and tasting to benefit Children’s Harbor. Festivities will include a costume contest and live music When: 4-7 p.m. Where: Cahaba Brewing Co. Website: childrensharbor.com
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 7
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
Sportsman’s Social event committee members include: Front, from left, Floyd Larkin and Frank Bromberg. Back, Jar and Marcia Twitty, Eric Wood, Gail Braswell and John O’Brien.
Lord Wedgwood Charity Sets Sportsman’s Social and Clay Shoot for Nov. 4-5 The Lord Wedgwood Charity will host its annual Sportsman’s Social and Clay Shoot Nov. 4-5 to benefit its mission to place lifesaving automated external defibrillators in schools, athletic programs, camps and nonprofits throughout the Southeast. Members of the 2021 event committee are Frank Bromberg, Floyd Larkin, Robbie Robertson, Jar Twitty, Eric Wood, Gail
Braswell, Ryan Allen, Kim Allen, Tim Honeycutt, Kristie Moffett, Brady McLaughlin and Marcia Twitty. The social will take place Nov. 4 at Iron City and feature a meal created by renowned wild game chef Rick Vonk. Festivities will include bourbon tastings, a raffle and silent and live auctions hosted by Lance Taylor, Jim Dunaway and Ryan Brown of The Next Round.
The Clay Shoot will follow Nov. 5 at the Orvis Shooting Facility at Pursell Farms. Participants can choose the morning shoot, beginning with breakfast at 8:30 a.m., or the afternoon shoot, beginning with lunch at 11:30 a.m. The event is presented by Bromberg’s. For more information, visit lordwedgwoodcharity.org.
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OTMJ, OCT 2021
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OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
‘Tremendous Honor’ Ritch’s Pharmacy Presented Retailer of the Year Award
vaccine in store, the pharmacy in August arranged to offer vaccines at local restaurants for the convenience
The Retailer of the Year judges noted the extra lengths the pharmacy pursued to administer COVID19 immunizations — extending hours and opening on Sundays during the initial push.
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
The Alabama Retail Association has named Ritch’s Pharmacy in Mountain Brook the Bronze Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales More Than $5 Million category. ARA representatives presented the award to Ralph and Rebecca Sorrell, pharmacists and co-owners of Rich’s, on Sept. 27. Ritch’s Pharmacy is one of 11 retail businesses statewide, and the only pharmacy, honored as a Retailer of the Year, the ARA said in a statement. “Ritch’s Pharmacy has been serving the people of our community since 1947, and to be named as one of the 2021 Retailer of the Year recipients is a tremendous honor,” a written statement by the Sorrells stated. “We have a good team at Ritch’s Pharmacy, and we can only do what we do because every member gives their all to serving others. Our team dispenses not only medications, but professional personal service that we strive to give to everyone who walks through our door.” Ralph Sorrell began working as a pharmacist at Ritch’s Pharmacy in 1986. He and his wife have been coowners since 1997. He served as president of the Alabama Board of Pharmacy in 2020 and as the at-large board member from 2016 through 2020. The Alabama Pharmacy Association inducted him into the Alabama Pharmacy Hall of Fame in
From left, Stewart Welch, mayor of the City of Mountain Brook; Suzan Doidge, executive director of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce; Rebecca and Ralph Sorrell, co-owners of Ritch’s Pharmacy; and Rick Brown, Alabama Retail Association president, at a ceremony last week to honor the pharmacy being named Retailer of the Year.
2020. The association awarded Rebecca Sorrell its Bowl of Hygeia award in June for commitment to community and those most in need. She specializes in health screenings and immunizations. The Retailer of the Year judges noted the extra lengths the pharmacy pursued to administer COVID-19 immunizations — extending hours and opening on Sundays during the
initial push. Though the pharmacy previously offered free home delivery, it doubled its delivery staff and added a vehicle in 2020. Having an already established app allowed the pharmacy to better manage the number of calls it received related to the virus and vaccinations. “Ritch’s Pharmacy was one of only three community pharmacies in the state selected by the Alabama
Birmingham’s Red Mountain Theatre Wins Second Tony Award
From left, Jennifer Jaquess, managing director, Red Mountain Theatre and Keith Cromwell, executive director, Red Mountain Theatre.
Mountain Theatre. The performing arts and theater education company took home its second Tony Award as co-producers of the highly decorated “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.” Nominated for 14 awards, the production earned ten Tonys, including best musical, best direction of a musical and best lead-
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
The return of Broadway after more than a year of pandemic closures was solidified Sept. 26 with the presentation of the 74th annual Tony Awards. Presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, this year’s list of winners included Birmingham’s own Red
ing actor in a musical. This is the second Tony win for the Red Mountain Theatre and Kathryn and Raymond Harbert. They received their first Tony in 2018 for “Once on This Island,” awarded best revival of a musical. “Broadway is back and we are honored to be a part of this awardwinning musical, thanks to the generosity of Kathryn and Raymond Harbert,” said Red Mountain Theatre Executive Director Keith Cromwell. “Producing this show was a great opportunity and we are thrilled at the show’s recognition.” The stage adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film “Moulin Rouge” opened in 2019 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Set in the Montmartre Quarter of Paris at the turn of the 20th century, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” tells the story of Christian, a young composer who falls in love with cabaret actress Satine, star of the Moulin Rouge. The musical’s score includes original songs and popular music, including songs that have been written in the 20 years since the film’s premiere.
Department of Public Health to initially provide the COVID-19 vaccine,” the Retailer of the Year entry by the Sorrells stated. That community pharmacy connection made a difference. “So many patients told us that they were relieved by being able to talk with a health care provider as opposed to simply registering on a website,” Ralph Sorrell said. In addition to administering the
of the restaurants’ workers. “Combined, Ritch’s Pharmacy’s pharmacists have over 100 years of experience and their friendly staff will treat you like family,” said Suzan Doidge, executive director of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce, who nominated Ritch’s for the award. In a letter of support for the business Tim Hamrick, CEO of American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc., said, “Ritch’s Pharmacy has established itself as the epitome of what a locally owned and operated business should be. Ritch’s knows their patients, their families and their health histories.”
Hollywood Boulevard Bridge Project Rolls Forward
The Highway 280 Neighborhood Improvement Cooperative reached a new milestone last month in its mission to develop a safer experience for pedestrians and drivers along the Hollywood Boulevard bridge over U.S. In late September, the cooperative announced the hiring of engineering firm AECOM to develop construction documents for the project, and they expect bid-letting in August 2022. Formed in 2018, the cooperative includes representatives of each municipality the project touches – Birmingham, Homewood and Mountain Brook – as well as Jefferson County. Over the past three years, group members fine-tuned their proposed plans and submitted them in January for approval from the Jefferson County Roads and Transportation Department. The project will include protected pedestrian access along the north side of the bridge. It will be one lane wider on the south side to make room for a leftturn lane for cars going onto U.S. 280
East. The project also will include a traffic signal at Hollywood Boulevard for cars exiting U.S. 280 West. There still will not be a ramp on the north side of the bridge. Cooperative members are looking at decorative options, as well, according to a release, which pointed out that the bridge is an entryway to all three cities. “We have the opportunity to make a statement about our region with this bridge, in addition to the traffic improvements and added pedestrian safety,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Ammons, president of the cooperative. According to a release, the recent developments in the project were made possible with support from the Jefferson County Commission, tri-city mayors and councils, and local state representatives and senators. Funding has been collected from private entities, including Raymond James, the Birmingham Track Club, Truitt Insurance, the Hollywood Garden Club and Welch Management Group.
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ASO From Page One
I’m spearheading a reworked programming model that increases visibility of traditionally underrepresented composers with a focus on American composers, women composers and composers of color, by elevating these works to be performed as equals alongside traditional favorites in our flagship series.” “We view this season as just a starting point, with an eye toward increasing this representation in future seasons and extending the guiding principles of this imperative throughout the organization,” Izcaray added. Throughout the season, audience favorites will return as guest performers, including violinists Tessa Lark and Francisco Fullana and pianist Terrence Wilson. Each are past winners of Avery Fisher Career Grants, administered by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The season will conclude May 24 with a special Concertmaster & Friends performance called Anthems of Alabama, celebrating the orchestra’s centennial by highlighting music and musicians from Alabama. Birmingham’s own Bobby Horton will be featured at the concert. Horton is one of the nation’s leading authorities on music from the Civil War period and has previously collaborated with the ASO in its education programs as well as its orchestra as a member of Three on a String.
‘Over the past 18 months, we had time to take a look at our operations, including how we could better reflect the world outside the concert hall. Beginning this season, I’m spearheading a reworked programming model that increases visibility of traditionally underrepresented composers ...’ ASO MUSIC DIRECTOR CARLOS IZCARAY
Planned Safety Precautions
Izcaray said the centennial season “will be a memorable season as the orchestra and audiences navigate a return to the live concert experience. We’ve programmed joyous, uplifting and familiar favorites that we know
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 9
will provide comfort and enjoyment during this time when our patrons are emerging from the pandemic year.” With ongoing health concerns in mind, the ASO will reduce venue capacity this season to accommodate social distancing. “We want everyone to feel safe attending concerts once again, so audience members will observe some updates to the concert experience this season,” said ASO Executive Director Mark Patrick. “We’re moving to digital program books, encouraging digital ticket usage, and, for the time being, we’ll be requiring mask wearing and social distancing at concerts. “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve worked closely with UAB to follow best practices to ensure the safety of our musicians, staff and patrons,” Patrick added. “We hope case numbers will continue to decline and we will eventually be able to ease some restrictions.” Following the opening performances in October, the ASO plans to host two more installments of its Masterworks concert series before the new year. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony will be featured Nov. 12 and 13, and Handel’s Messiah will be performed Dec. 17 and 18. Plans are in the works for the orchestra’s 2021-22 SuperPOPS! season as well as special events and educational offerings. Tickets to the ASO’s October and November performances are available at alabamasymphony.org. — Emily Williams-Robertshaw
Your heart health shouldn’t wait, even now Appointments available with cardiovascular specialists When you choose Cardiology Specialists of Birmingham at Ascension St. Vincent’s, you get an entire team dedicated to your heart care. Start a conversation with a doctor about new symptoms, health history and your risk for heart disease. From routine to advanced heart care, we’re ready to work with you on a personalized care plan. We are maintaining strict precautions for your safety, so if you need heart care, don’t delay. Ask about virtual visits and schedule an appointment with one of our cardiovascular specialists today at 205-660-4174.
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10 • Thursday, October 7, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
‘Never Walk Alone’ Forge Survivor Center to Host Haute Pink Fashion Show Highlighting Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors
2021 Komen National MORE THAN PINK Walk, Sat., Oct. 23 Photo courtesy Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation of North Central Alabama will take park in the organization’s national breast cancer awareness fundraiser. The event will be virtual, beginning with a 10 a.m. opening ceremony. Participants are encouraged to complete their walk where they are, whether on a treadmill, sidewalks or trails. Website: komen.org
Pink Up the Pace 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run, through Nov. 7 Shannon Preston always thought of herself as “a pretty tough cookie” but she said breast cancer has tested her strength more than anything else. She will join other survivors on the runway during the Haute Pink fashion show at WorkPlay on Oct. 14.
Christmas Day 2019. They moved to Fairhope in February of this year, leaving behind her work as CEO of the Alabama Association of Nonprofits and taking on the role of executive director of infirmary foundations at Infirmary Health. Even before her cancer journey, Preston had a years-long relationship with Forge. During her time with the association, the organization was one of her clients and Forge Executive Director Lauren Roberts a friend. “My job was to help them be the best they could be and be strategic thinkers,” she said. “Little did we know that I would soon be reaching out as a newly diagnosed woman that needed to talk. For that, I will always be thankful.”
Forging a Collaborative Approach
and to be honest, my emotional strength the most,” she said. While she can see the finish line after healing from her surgeries, Preston said she can sense the lasting impact it will have on her life. “There were (and still are) many evenings when the tears would come and the fear would overwhelm me, but (my husband) was always right there,” she said. “He has weathered this crazy storm with me, and I know I could not be where I am today without him.” Preston married her husband, Steve, on
Formerly the Women’s Breast Health Fund, Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center was launched in 2016 as a collaborative pilot project with Ascension St. Vincent’s, UAB Hospital, Brookwood Baptist Medical Center and Grandview Medical Center. The goal was to meet the needs of patients, survivors and their loved ones by providing supportive services throughout the cancer journey. The organization offers personalized survivorship plans and a mentor program, along with connections to resources such as health and wellness classes, professional counseling, support groups and transporta-
tion to medical appointments. “So many people’s lives are touched and changed by breast cancer every day,” she said. “I am so thankful for all the women that have walked this journey before me and created organizations like Forge so we never have to walk alone.” Preston will walk the runway Oct. 14 wearing fashions designed by Kenya B. The Birmingham native and graduate of the University of Alabama’s Apparel Design program has showcased her work in fashion shows throughout the South and, most recently, at the 2020 New York Fashion Week. The show also will feature Forge volunteers, clients and advocates including Amy Ackley, dressed by Charlotte Rand; Carla Youngblood dressed by Ericka Murdock; Carolyn Rayfield, dressed by Garland Jackson; Dianne Riley, dressed by Nate Marquez; Kerry Schrader, wearing Cheri Fashion; Kristi Denny, dressed by Deloveis Jamison; Jamaica Harris Bowser, dressed by Megan Dean; mother-daughter team SaDawn and Ashley Smith, wearing Splashed by DKG; and Stephanie Adams, dressed by Julie Maeseele. Supporters can donate to the cause in honor of one of this year’s model/designer teams or start their own fundraising team in honor of a friend or family member affected by breast cancer. For more information and all honoree testimonials, visit hautepink.swell.gives.
The Junior Board of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama will host its annual run, presented by Vulcan Materials and Benton Nissan of Hoover and Bessemer, in both virtual and in-person formats. Runners can complete their race on their own through Nov. 6, or join the in-person event on Nov. 7 at Crestline Field. The event will raise funds and awareness for the BCRFA’s mission to support life-saving breast cancer research. Website: bcrfa.org
Journal file photo by Jordan Wald
‘My job was to help them be the best they could be and be strategic thinkers. Little did we know that I would soon be reaching out as a newly diagnosed woman that needed to talk. For that, I will always be thankful.’
“You’re Worth It: The Importance of Breast Cancer Awareness and Screening, Mon., Oct. 11
O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center’s office of community outreach and engagement will present a virtual discussion with Dr. Erica Stringer-Reasor, assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology, at 5:30 p.m. Stringer-Reasor discuss the importance of breast cancer awareness, screening and prevention. Website: uab.edu
By Emily Williams-Robertshaw n honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center is introducing a fundraiser celebrating patients and survivors. Haute Pink is a fashion show designed to inspire those affected by cancer and raise awareness for Forge’s mission to build a community of survivors and volunteers to help patients navigate their breast cancer journey. The event will take place Oct. 14 at WorkPlay, with 10 of Forge’s clients and volunteers walking the runway wearing customized fashions created by Birmingham designers. One of those women will be Shannon Preston. When Preston was diagnosed with breast cancer Sept. 1, 2020, it wasn’t completely unexpected. “I had found a lump in my breast and had a mammogram and ultrasound that week, and none of the initial reports seemed good,” the former Vestavia Hills resident said. She is now one of the many who realize that it is never a good sign when a technician tells you the doctor wants to speak to you about your results. “I have always thought of myself as a pretty tough cookie, and breast cancer has tested my strength more than anything else,
Breast Cancer Awareness Events
The Bryant family at the Pink Up the Pace 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run in 2018.
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 11
‘There Is Hope’ By Emily Williams-Robertshaw A cornerstone of Southern culture is domestic etiquette, practices to follow to present our best faces to the public because we all know God isn’t the only one who judges. Violence in the household is something Emily Post would certainly deem too unpleasant to discuss at the dinner table. Yet, domestic violence when kept private costs lives. “It’s the hidden reality,” said Allison Dearing, executive director of One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center. “It’s the pandemic within the pandemic.” At One Place, Dearing is well versed in the complicated issues that have resulted from stigmatizing domestic violence. When victims speak with an advocate, it is often the first time they have spoken about their abuse with another person. Leaving is a process, she said, not a one-time event. To be a pillar of support to someone experiencing this level of violence is to listen. Some of the most powerful things we can say are, “You are not alone” and “There is hope.” National Domestic Violence Awareness Month takes place during October, and its mission is to educate the community about the realities of domestic violence and break down the stigma placed on victims. To do that, Dearing said, it’s important to keep an open mind, “especially when they are seeing things in the news or
hearing stories. Remember that domestic violence is very complicated and it is very dangerous.” According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women and one in 10 men experience domestic violence, with the highest population at risk being women ages 18-24. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, violence against women can lead to long-term physical and mental health problems, and it affects not just the person involved, but whole families and their communities. Dearing sees these statistics in action at One Place. The family justice center connects victims to available resources, with offices that house partners with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the Birmingham Police Department, YWCA of Central Alabama and the Crisis Center Inc. “We serve people from every single ZIP code across the county, and that’s the reality,” Dearing said.
Often, victims are blamed for their situation because they choose to stay in the abusive relationship. “If you only see this snapshot, people rush to judgment,” Dearing said. “If you haven’t been in this situation, it is super easy to say what you would do, but none of us know what we would
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
One Place Metro Family Justice Center Is There for Victims of Domestic Violence
Allison Dearing, executive director of One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center, right, with Kelly Klehm, One Place program coordinator.
do unless we’ve walked in their shoes.” Instead of questioning the victim’s reaction, Dearing said, people should be questioning the abuser’s actions. There is not a one-size-fits-all definition that suits every victim’s experience, but at its core domestic violence is one intimate partner’s systematic pattern of power and control over another. It’s complex and methodical. One consistency, Dearing said, is the path of abuse. The relationship begins as an idyllic one, with the abuser creating a false sense of security. Once the victim has been groomed, the pattern of abuse begins and increases in severity over time. Abuse can occur through emotional and psychological manipulation, physical abuse, sexual
abuse, threats, stalking and even through control of finances. “By the time it is obvious that they need to make a change, the abuser has potentially isolated them to the point where they feel so alone and aren’t really even sure who will believe them or who they can trust,” Dearing said. The word “domestic” discounts the issue, according to Susann Montgomery-Clark, who lost her daughter, Megan Montgomery, in 2019 to domestic violence. That word minimizes violence in an intimate relationship versus violence committed by a stranger. Montgomery-Clark has seen domestic violence not only treated differently in the eyes of the public but also in the justice system. See SUPPORT, page 13
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12 • Thursday, October 7, 2021
Gunn Dermatology Dr. Holly Gunn MD FAAD and Board Certified Dermatologist has over 13 years of experience diagnosing and treating skin conditions. She is passionate about skin cancer prevention and has published articles in dermatology and psychology journals for her research and experience in dermatological diseases. She also has a special interest in cosmetic dermatology. “At Gunn Dermatology we specialize in Medical, Pediatric, Cosmetic, Surgical and Laser Dermatology,” said Dr. Gunn pictured above with her staff. “We treat all skin alignments and growths including acne, rosacea, skin cancer, psoriasis, eczema, cysts, scars and many more. Dr. Gunn is an experienced injector for botox and filler needs. We also have fantastic estheticians on staff and our patients love coming in for
HydraFacials and Diamond Glow. “We are the only office in Alabama that has the Physiq device that destroys fat, builds muscle and tightens skin all at the same time for body contouring,” said Dr. Gunn. “We also are the only office in Birmingham that has the Skin Optic Imaging to measure signs of aging like rosacea, wrinkles and brown spots and quantify the improvement we get with various treatments.” Fall is a great time to get skin checks for spots on the skin that could be cancerous. It is also a great time to reverse sun damage and aging with our various treatments in the clinic like photorejuvenation and skin resurfacing. Gunn Dermatology is located at 32 Church St., Crestline Village, 205-415-7536.
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Get Your Hair Healthy for Fall The Salon Summit Team invites you to try one of the many new treatment options we provide to repair your summer stressed strands by the famous Brazilian Blowout brand! The original Brazilian Blowout is a de-frizzing treatment that gives you healthier smoother hair, and decreases your blowdrying time while leaving your hair smoother and shinier. Brazilian Blowout can help you realize your longer hair goals. The keratin ingredient fortifies weak areas while sealing and smoothing the hair cuticle, allowing your strands to reach their full potential. Keep your curly hair healthy and springy by smoothing away the dryness left behind by the summer sun activities. Brazilian Blowout will impart shine and boost the bounce back into your curls while protecting against breakage, preventing cool weather frizz and fly-aways, and maintaining volume for up to 12 weeks. Pair your next color service with a Brazilian Blowout to extend the longevity of your hair color. At Salon Summit, we believe so firmly that the aftercare regimen is so vital to the life of your Brazilian Blowout treatment that we will provide you with the full-size shampoo and conditioner with your treatment purchase! ($80.00 retail value)
Call us or come by to consult with one of our educated stylists to discuss the various treatments offered by Brazilian Blowout. We will be offering the original smoothing treatment (approximately 2hours) for $290 including take
home products through December of this year. We also offer Brazilian Blowout’s Express treatment, B3 demi-permanent conditioner, and Split -End correction. The Brazilian Blow-out Rewind Repair service instantly reverses the signs of aging and corrects years of structural and external damage, restoring chemically treated, mechanically compromised and maturing hair to a noticeably younger healthier state for up to 10 washes. Repair summer damage and Stop Fall Frizz with us today! Salon Summit is currently seeking another talented stylist to add to our team! Salon Summit is located at 3161 Cahaba Heights Rd, 205-518-0406.
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3161 Cahaba Heights Rd, Vestavia Hills 35243, Nextdoor to Saterfields Salon-Summit.com • 205-518-0406
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SUPPORT From page 11
“Hopefully, with more public awareness, people will realize that domestic violence is violence, period,” she said. “It should be no different than violence in the streets. A violent robber is immediately arrested. A violent spouse or boyfriend is not.” Intimate partner abusers are not often held accountable on their first offense. If anything, attempts to contact authorities or seek refuge can pose a greater risk to the victim. “That’s not just a feeling, it is a reality,” Dearing said. Violence escalates when an abuser feels they are losing their control. There are key red flags that advocates at One Place take note of when listening to a victim’s story, including death threats and access to weapons. For women, an abuser’s access to a gun increases the risk of death by 400%. Weeks before her death, Megan Montgomery posted on social media, “I want to show other women the warning signs; why it is so hard to get out. To help them with the legal system, to help them leave sooner. I’m embarking on my new calling to help other girls and other victims.” While Montgomery wasn’t able to fulfill that mission, her family does so in her stead. The Megan Montgomery Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, cfbham.org/megans-fund/, supports prevention education for students in high
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 13
LIFE school and college. Megan’s Fund is currently working on a collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Wellness department. “The more people understand it, the more help they can be to the victim - to let them know they are not alone in their fight to survive,” MontgomeryClark said. To successfully escape an abusive relationship, having a strong support system is essential. If an isolated victim doesn’t have that support from a relative or friends, the community can fill that void. “The abuser wants to isolate the victim, but if friends and family stay informed, that reinforces for the victim that they do have support outside of the abusive relationship,” she added. “It gives them the strength to leave.” Relatives or friends of victims can reach out to One Place for advice. “I honestly love those phone calls,” Dearing said. “First of all, it shows that there is someone who cares enough about their friend, sister, mom, daughter that they are calling and saying, ‘I need help to support my loved one.’ That is a really important piece, as well. Anybody can call us anytime and we can talk about helpful things that you can say or do, things that you probably want to stay away from.” She said open discussions are key to supporting victims. “When people are open to even just learning and having this conversation, that’s where real change can happen,” Dearing said. Last week, Once Place representa-
tives were recognized at the Mountain Brook City Council meeting, where Mayor Stewart Welch and the council adopted a proclamation to acknowledge Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “Victims could be in the crowd listening to something that sounds a lot like their own story,” Dearing said. “They hear it and know they are not alone and they know there is help. That can be really powerful for someone who is either coming out of that kind of relationship or recognizing that what they are experiencing is not normal and it’s not healthy.” Montgomery-Clark and Dearing are looking forward to community education opportunities this month. On Oct. 16, the Megan Montgomery 5K run/walk will raise funds for the Megan’s Fund. The event will take place at Homewood Central Park. To register, visit runsignup.com and search for the event name. On Oct. 21, One Place will host a discussion with New York Times bestselling author Rachel Louise Snyder on domestic violence and her book “No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us.” The event will be at 6 p.m. at Red Mountain Theatre with limited in-person attendance as well as a virtual live cast. For more information, visit oneplacebirmingham.com.
WE ARE VERY PLEASED TO WELCOME DR. ERIN HALL-MINNIE TO OUR PRACTICE.
Dr. Hall-Minnie joins us after completing her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas A&M-Baylor Scott & White Medical Center. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Baylor University. Learn more about her remarkable background at www.sparksandfavorpc.com
OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY
For anyone affected by domestic violence who is seeking help, One Place’s services are free and confidential. For more information, visit the website or call 205-453-7261.
WOMEN'S MEDICAL OFFICES, SUITE 700 2006 Brookwood Medical Center Drive FOR APPOINTMENTS CALL (205) 397-1286
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TEAM 1337 MONTCLAIR ROAD | BIRMINGHAM | 205-203-8226 708 MONTGOMERY HIGHWAY | VESTAVIA HILLS | 205-203-8282 3965 CROSSHAVEN DRIVE | CAHABA HEIGHTS | 205-582-1222 Visit our website for hours at each location
‘A Silent Disability’
14 • Thursday, October 7, 2021
Dr. Katy Lalor Dedicates Career to Supporting Epilepsy Patients Like Herself By Emily Williams-Robertshaw
Photo courtesy Epilepsy Foundation
Epileptologist Dr. Katy Lalor knew she wanted to be a doctor early in life. She gave a presentation for career day while in junior high about her desire to become a neurologist with a focus on the treatment of epilepsy. “I actually met with my neurologist and got my own records to show everybody,” Lalor said. She knows firsthand what it is like to live with epilepsy, having been diagnosed with absence seizures in elementary school. “I found what I had gone through fascinating and just wanted to be able to help other people,” she said. Two years ago, Lalor was given the opportunity to return to her hometown of Birmingham and join the staff at Children’s of Alabama in the Division of Neurology as an epileptologist. “It’s so common that all of us, no matter your specialty, treat seizures,” Lalor said. While she maintains a From left, Dr. Katy Lalor and Sara Franklin, executive director of community engagement, Epilepsy Foundation.
general neurology practice as well, her specialized training allows her to better serve some of the more challenging cases of epilepsy. “Honestly, it’s the best job offer I have ever had because of the people and also the opportunity to come back to Birmingham and really invest in my own home community,” Lalor said. Shortly after making the move, she participated in the Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama’s Walk to End Epilepsy and became acquainted with the foundation’s executive director, Sara Franklin. “I didn’t really have these opportunities back in Tennessee because they don’t really have as strong of a chapter as we do,” she said. She quickly signed on to help the foundation in any way she could, feeling a strong desire to treat patients in the hospital and to advocate for them. “It’s such a silent disability,” Lalor said. Like Lalor, kids who are prone to absence seizures generally experience brief lapses in awareness with little to no warning signs or aftereffects. It was easy for Lalor’s parents to think that she was simply a daydreamer. “Typically when you have that kind of epilepsy, you have hundreds
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of seizures a day, so of course they would happen in class when I got called on,” Lalor said. It was one of Lalor’s teachers at Crestline Elementary School who took notice of her lapses and notified her parents. She said the diagnosis came as a shock to her parents, in large part because they weren’t aware of this particular form of epilepsy. While her peers didn’t really notice her mild seizures, she still had to grapple with the stigma that surrounds epilepsy. “I still had to tell my teachers that I’m at risk of having a convulsive seizure,” Lalor said. “I remember many adults, both at school and at camp, who I had to let know and how they were not really understanding my kind of epilepsy.” In addition, she had to try out various medications and deal with the side effects before landing on one that worked for her. She also had to deal with changes during adolescence, which she said is difficult because the brain is changing so much already.
Challenges for Women
While epilepsy affects men and women at similar rates, it can have particular challenges for women. “For women, especially, it can be a rollercoaster,” Lalor said. Epilepsy in women is a bit more unpredictable, she added, and the medical world doesn’t know enough to say why.
See LALOR, page 15
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Community Philanthropists to Be Recognized in Nov. 12 Event
The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Alabama Chapter will be recognizing donors, volunteers, fundraising executives and professionals whose efforts have contributed significantly to the success of the nonprofit agencies in the community during National Philanthropy Day on Nov. 12. Partners and supporters of the effort include The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham,
LALOR From page 14
Many of the medicines used to treat epilepsy can cause issues as women reach childbearing years. Many medications can put fetuses at risk, yet it is dangerous to have a seizure while pregnant. “It’s a fine balance,” Lalor said. “Many medications for seizures interact with other medications, as well, including oral contraceptives, so there are other things to think about as a woman with epilepsy.” Younger children with epilepsy tend not to experience too many changes in their cases, Lalor said. But she has a special place in her heart for adolescents and young adult patients. “I run a transition clinic for young adult patients who are transitioning to the adult health care system, because I think that’s an especially hard time,” she said. “As a kid, you’ve had the same doctor for your entire life.” Through her involvement with the Epilepsy Foundation, Lalor is also finding ways to provide support for
Epilepsy Foundation Alabama to Host 2021 Walk to End Epilepsy The Epilepsy Foundation Alabama will hold its annual Walk to End Epilepsy Nov. 6 at Railroad Park. Each year during November, which is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, the event brings members of the community together to support the foundation’s mission to effect change through care, advocacy, research and education. The family-friendly walk will help educate people about epilepsy as well as raising funds to support people living with epilepsy. “The pandemic has changed many things, but one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to our epilepsy community,” said Sara Franklin, executive director of community engagement and partnerships for the foundation. “With each step and fundraising dollar, we’re closer to helping people with epilepsy be free from epilepsy and free from fear of the next seizure.” Epilepsy can affect anyone. Over a lifetime, one in 10 people will have a seizure, and one in 26 will be
Birmingham Business Journal, Swell Fundraising and United Way of Central Alabama. The event, which will be held virtually, is co-chaired by Scarlet Thompson of Civitan International and Bethany Reeves of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Honorees this year are: • William M. and Virginia B. Spencer Outstanding Philanthropist – Lee Styslinger III, nominated by the her younger patients outside of hospital walls. She was involved in advocating for the newly adopted Seizure Safe Schools Act, which will go into effect next year. “I think the way I was diagnosed as a student made me more passionate about advocating for that bill, which will allow for many people working in schools to be trained in both treating and providing seizure first aid,” she said. “Parents of my patients express to me all the time that they are worried about sending their child to school,” she said. Kids spend a majority of their day at school, so Lalor said it’s important that there are a number of staff beyond the school nurse who can provide support for kids with epilepsy. November is National Epilepsy Awareness month, and Lalor hopes the community takes time to rally around those affected by epilepsy. “Epilepsy is extremely common,” she said. “Having awareness is important because you probably do have people around you who have epilepsy and you don’t realize it.” diagnosed with epilepsy. Despite its prevalence, epilepsy receives 10 times less funding than other brain disorders. The 2021 Walk to End Epilepsy in Birmingham has a goal of raising $100,000. Funds raised from the walk will support Epilepsy Foundation Alabama efforts, which include seizure first aid training and certifications, a 24/7 helpline, school training, support groups, programming for kids and young adults, the Sudep Institute, state legislation efforts and research, among other efforts. “So many wonderful people from across our state have been involved with the Epilepsy Foundation since the organization was launched in our state in 1971, exactly 50 years ago,” said Amy Padgett, community engagement board chair for the foundation. “The walk this fall will be a wonderful way to reflect on the difference the Epilepsy Foundation has made on people’s lives and (will create) an opportunity to bring attention to the prevalence of the epilepsies.” To sign up or for more information about the walk visit www. WalktoEndEpilepsy.org/Birmingham.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. • United Way of Central Alabama Outstanding Civic Leader – Jeff and Linda Stone, nominated by United Way of Central Alabama. • Outstanding Corporate Citizen – Trip Cobb, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, nominated by Stair of Birmingham. • William S. Roth Outstanding Fundraising Executive – Morgan Emahiser, CFRE, nominated by
Childcare Resources. • The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham Outstanding Professional Advisor – Tanya Shunnara, of Dentons Sirote, nominated by Alabama Association of Charitable Gift Planners. • Outstanding Charitable Organization – TumTum Tree Foundation, nominated by Mitchell’s Place. • Bill Moran Outstanding Youth in
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 15
Philanthropy – Callie Chapman, nominated by Children’s of Alabama. • AFP Alabama Chapter Idea Award – Melanie Bridgeforth, with The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, nominated by Childcare Resources. The Association of Fundraising Professionals has more than 31,500 members in 239 chapters in the United States, Canada, Mexico and China. Groups work to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. For more information visit www.
A vibrant community that feels right for all the right reasons. The Crossings at Riverchase will introduce a new flavor of retirement living in Birmingham — one that emphasizes comfort, convenience with warm, friendly surroundings and a neighborly atmosphere. Offering all-day dining with multiple selections of chef-prepared, seasonal menu items; a full calendar of events and activities featuring live entertainment and guest speakers; and a loyalty benefit giving Independent Living residents a lower monthly cost for long-term, on-site health services if ever needed. Come see how this fresh, new community could fit you and your lifestyle.
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16 • Thursday, October 7, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
UNDER THE BIG TOP Gala in the Gardens Kicks Off 15th Annual Antiques at the Gardens
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
he Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ 2021 Gala in the Gardens was held Sept. 30, kicking off the 15th annual Antiques at the Gardens presented by IberiaBank. Led by 2021 co-chairs Shannon Lisenby and Stephanie Lynton and a volunteer committee, the four-day event featured talks by nationally acclaimed interior designers, floral designers, architects and landscape architects, as well as celebrated antiques dealers from across the country. The black-tie gala, which was sponsored by Starnes Davis Florie LLP, honored the show’s first cochairs, Kim Matthews and Joan Starnes. Hosted outdoors under a tent on the Formal Garden, the evening was orchestrated by gala co-chairs Handley McCrory of Handley Breaux Designs and Mark Thompson of Shoppe & General.
Joan Starnes and Kim Matthews.
Cameron Crowe with Reynolds and Hamilton Thompson.
Renee Clements, Tasha Bates and Mary Lauren McBride.
Guests were given a sneak peek of offerings from the show’s 21 antiques dealers selling furniture, fine art, vintage and fine jewelry, silver, rugs and textiles and home and garden accessories. The Antiques at the Gardens is the Friends’ largest fundraiser of the year. ❖
Janie and Wally Evans with Jane and Tom Underwood.
Ann Blair Gribbin, Danielle Balanis and Ellen Faust. Sarah and Tom Warbutron.
Emily and Bill Bowron.
Handley McCrory and Mark Thompson.
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 17
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18 • Thursday, October 7, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Local bands with a Homewood City Schools connection rocked the stage at Pizzeria GM in West Homewood on Sept. 26 for the annual Grateful Dads fundraiser. Each of the bands, Thrine and The Kensingtons, include current and former Homewood school parents as members. Hosted by the Homewood City Schools Foundation, the outdoor concert drew hundreds to support the foundation’s mission to fund curriculum enhancements and educational development opportunities for students. ❖
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Homewood City Schools Foundation Hosts Annual Grateful Dads
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OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 19
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Sarah Jones with Mavis and Andrew McCain.
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Laura Crandall Brown Foundation Hosts 12th Annual 5K and 10K
Nearly 650 runners laced up their shoes either virtually or on the streets of The Preserve in Hoover on Sept. 25 for the 12th annual Head Over Teal 5K and 10K. The run was hosted by the Laura Crandall Brown Foundation in recognition of Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. Funds raised by participating individuals and teams will benefit the organization’s mission to raise awareness about the often silent symptoms
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20 • Thursday, October 7, 2021
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Tuned at a Distance
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s support organization Symphony 30 hosted its first-ever Private Picnic in the Park fundraiser Sept. 26 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Patrons bought picnic dinners for families of four, prepared by Jim ’N Nicks and Cookie Fix, and either picnicked at the gardens or took them home. As on-site guests dined and finished fall crafts, they could download exclusive ASO music to their phones. ❖
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Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Symphony 30 Hosts New Private Picnic Fundraiser
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Patrons of Opera Birmingham spread out picnic blankets and took chairs to the organization’s parking lot Sept. 23 for the first installment of Opera Shots. The free pop-up concert series is held in “unexpected places throughout the year” to break down the stereotypes of opera, featuring performances of opera classics and musical theater selections by Opera Birmingham Chorus members as well as guest artists. The Sept. 23 Opera Shots featured guest artists Savannah Bracewell, DeLee Benton, Dylan Hughes, Temperance Jones, Caitlyn Rodrigue and Emily Scott, accompanied by Christy Vest on piano. Selections performed included “Je dis que rien ne m’epouvante” from Carmen, “Glitter and Be Gay” from Candide and “Caro nome” from Rigoletto. ❖
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Opera Birmingham Kicks Off 2021-22 Opera Shots Series
Janet Rooney and Patrick McCagharen.
Jack and Emmett O’Neal.
Kathy and Mike Wheeless.
Sara and Anna Amthor.
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Susan McKinney, Caryn Mills, Melissa Stevenson, Krystal Drummond, Julie Beckham and Holly Trawick.
Live music and food were on the menu as the Birmingham Zoo’s junior board took over the Hugh Kaul Plaza to host its annual Tails in the Trails fundraiser Oct. 1. Funds raised will benefit the zoo’s new Cougar Crossing habitat in the Alabama Wilds exhibit, which will highlight cougars and bobcats. This year’s tasting event featured an outdoor celebration with music by Nationwide Coverage and a silent auction along with menu items served up by local restaurants. Participating vendors included Jimmy John’s, Craft’s on Church Street, Kathy G and Co., Adored Sweets, Chicken Salad Chick, Hattie B’s, Season’s 52, Post Office Pies, Umami, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Altos Tequila, Redmont Distilling Co., Fairhope brewing company and United Johnson Brothers of Alabama. ❖
Sip in the Wild Birmingham Zoo’s Tails in the Trails Benefits New Cougar Habitat
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Jeremy and Lacey Simmons.
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 21
Transitional Move Experts Simplifying can be quite complicated. Whether you are considering exchanging the family home for a retirement community, an empty nester craving a condo, or have lost a loved one and need to settle their estate, the steps are similar. Where to begin? What to keep? What to donate? What to sell? Where to go? How to get there? It is enough to paralyze even the most organized of us. We are here to help. For more information, please contact Harriet Cochrane, Vice President of Business Development, at 205.222.2270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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By Emily Williams-Robertshaw The Birmingham Candy Company will be bringing its handmade, locally sourced confections Over the Mountain for the holiday season. From Oct. 16 through Christmas, the company created by husband-and-wife team Wayne and Cassie Bolden will be selling confections at a pop-up storefront at The Summit near Belk. “It does feel like coming home to the Summit,” Wayne said. “It was one of the huge stepping stones in our journey to building our business and clientele.” Halloween is a special time of year for the couple, who first met at a Halloween party. At the time, they were both living in Savannah, Georgia. Cassie was studying interior design at Savannah College of Art and Design, and Wayne was working for a candy
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Alabama Celebrity Cook
A Sweet TREAT
Internet Sensation Brenda Gantt Will Headline CASA Fundraiser
Birmingham Candy Company to Offer Pre-Packaged Treats at New Holiday Pop-Up Store
company, honing a love of both the culinary and business aspects of the candy biz. Wanting to open their own shop, the couple saw a void to be filled in Birmingham. It would be a return home for Cassie, who grew up in Hoover. The Birmingham Candy Company got its start in small pop-up shops at places such as The Summit’s Christmas Village and Pepper Place Market beginning in 2015. After gaining a solid following in the community, the Boldens opened their first storefront in The Pizitz Food Hall. The new temporary location will provide easier access to local candy lovers who live Over the Mountain, as well as out-of-town shoppers who flock to The Summit.
Photos courtesy The Birmingham Candy Company
Designed as a higherend grab-n-go shopping experience, Wayne Bolden said, the pop-up will offer gifts to include a mixture of their classic candies as well as finer chocolates.
From Oct. 16 through Christmas, The Birmingham Candy Company, created by husband-andwife team Wayne and Cassie Bolden, below, will be selling confections at a pop-up storefront at The Summit near Belk.
A New Vision
When people visit the temporary location, they will have a slightly different experience compared to The Pizitz store. “This is going to be a new iteration for us at The Birmingham Candy Company,” Wayne said. “We have noticed an ever-evolving way in which people shop now, and we are testing a new model during this pop-up.” At the downtown location, a focus its all about the individual candies. Items are designed to be eye-catching, and people pick and choose the pieces they want. “Well, we often found our customers overwhelmed with our selection when it came to gift giving,” Cassie said. Oftentimes, people choosing candies to give as gifts would have trouble deciding what pieces to include. At the pop-up, everything in the shop will be pre-packaged, ready to stick in a stocking or gift basket or give as a stand-alone gift. Designed as a higher-end grab-n-go shopping experience, Wayne said, the location will offer gifts that include a mixture of their classic candies as well as finer chocolates.
With Halloween on the horizon, candies dressed in orange, dark brown, black and white will hit the Birmingham Candy Company’s shelves along with a focus on warm fall-inspired flavors. The stars of the lineup are always the caramel apples. Their apples are dipped in chocolate and sprinkles or festively dressed in holiday-inspired decorations resembling mummies or witches.
Wayne can predict when apple sales will begin to climb. It’s all in the weather. “It happened a few weeks ago when the temperatures dropped a bit and we got those few windy, chilly days,” he said. “Fall was in the air.” Staff also saw increasing interest in the return of fall-inspired fudge flavors over the past few weeks. “During this time of year, we love to slap
See CANDY, page 23
An Alabama home cook who’s become a Facebook phenomenon will share her stories and her Southern charm at a Shelby County fundraiser. Andalusia’s Brenda Gantt will be the guest speaker at Barbeque with Brenda, a fundraiser for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Shelby County. All funds will assist abused and neglected children in the county. The event is set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at The Grand Hall at Old Mill Square, adjacent to the Brenda Gantt Shelby County Arts Center in Columbiana. “There is limited seating for the event, and we expect a sell-out crowd” said CASA Director Beth Chapman. “I encourage people to order their tickets as soon as possible.” Known for her homemade biscuits, unpretentious and delicious Southern cooking, assortment of colorful aprons and love for her faith and family, Gantt became an internet sensation during the COVID-19 pandemic. A retired teacher and Northport native, she began posting cooking videos from her home kitchen at the request of young husbands in her church so that their wives could learn to cook biscuits. Since that time, Gantt has posted hundreds of videos and has more than two million followers and even more views on Facebook. She has appeared on national television shows and has been on the covers of several magazines. Her first cookbook, “It’s Gonna Be Good, Y’all,” is coming out in November. Tickets for the event are $50 per person for lunch and $100 for lunch and a photo with Gantt. Corporate or individual tables with reserved seating for eight are available for $500, and $1,000 tables include reserved seating for eight with each person getting a photo with Gantt. All other seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.casaofshelbycounty.org/bbq. CASA is a nonprofit organization that works to prevent child abuse and neglect. It recruits and trains volunteers to go through the court process with abused and neglected children. CASA also provides parenting classes and supervised visitation for children in need. CASA is the only organization of its kind in Shelby County. It’s funded in part by the Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama, a Shelby County community grant and other donors throughout the county and state. For more information about CASA or Barbeque with Brenda, contact Beth Chapman at Beth@bethchapman.com.
Photo courtesy CASA
22 • Thursday, October 7, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 23
Unless U Scoops Presented With Grant From State Farm
In just 10 days in August, 125,000 people cast more than 3 million votes in support of their favorite causes. Unless U Scoops is among groups
CANDY From page 22
caramel and pecans on everything,” Wayne said. All pecans are, of course, sourced right here in the South. Treats for the season are warmed with autumnal flavors like nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. It’s also a big season for the company’s handcrafted salted caramel. “We add these ingredients to our fudges,” Wayne said, which results in flavors such as caramel apple pie, carrot cake and the ever-popular dark chocolate caramel sea salt. The Boldens and their staff have been preparing for things to kick into high gear over the coming months. According to Wayne, business starts to pick up as Halloween approaches, which is quickly followed by the gift-giving season. Luckily, they typically have a chance to catch their breath in January before Valentine’s
Above, Jane Paris and Dr. Chandler Smith at Viva Vestavia in 2018. After a two-year hiatus, the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce’s annual Halloweenthemed tasting event will return.
Journal file photo by Jordan Wald
After a two-year hiatus, the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce’s annual Halloween-themed tasting event will return. Viva Vestavia XVII will be held Oct. 28 at Hollywood Pools/Alabama Gaslight & Grill. The event has been hosted at the same location for years, and next year’s event may see a location change. While it is still under construction, the city’s new community center located next to Vestavia’s City Hall will include space for community events. Gary Jordan is chair of this year’s event, which will feature tastings of fine wines and food created by local restaurants. The festivities also will include a silent auction and a Halloween costume contest. Funds raised at the event will benefit the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s scholarship fund for local students as well as the chamber’s capital fund. For more information and tickets, visit Vestaviahills.org or call 205-8235011.
Journal file photo by Jordan Wald
Annual Viva Vestavia Fundraiser to Return Oct. 28
Unless U Scoops is more than just an ice cream shop. It’s a place where the students can gain confidence and pride in themselves as they learn new skills.
Day swoops in. Over the next three months, Cassie said, it’s all about finding time to treasure the simple moments when things get overwhelming. “This pandemic has sure helped us simplify our values and be grateful for the small treasures in life,” Cassie said. “Thankfully, our team helps out a ton also. We couldn’t do it without them. We try to have as much fun as possible during this season, because we feel that laughter makes everything better.” It also helps to see smiling faces of customers, something they see a good bit of in the candy business. “Candy is so nostalgic for people,” Wayne said. “It certainly is for us.” “It just seems to be the perfect pick-me-up for when you’re sad or even for when you’re happy and want to celebrate,” he added. “It’s always very satisfying to see that smile and enjoyment on our customers’ faces. It really makes all the hard work worth it.”
It's time to enjoy a night out
in 40 communities across 18 states that will receive grants from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program based on those votes. State Farm representatives will visit Unless U on Oct. 8 to present a check for $25,000 to the local ice cream shop, whose staff includes participants with special needs who attend Unless U programs. State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. Nonprofits affiliated with each of the top 40 causes receive grants to address those issues. The check presentation will be held at 3 p.m. at Unless U and will include students, staff, Unless U board members and Local State Farm agents Maurice Oliver and Parker Smith. The public is invited, and ice cream and merchandise will be available for purchase. To protect the students, Unless U Scoops asks the public to wear masks. According to a released statement, Unless U Scoops isn’t just an ice cream shop. It’s a place where the students can gain confidence and pride in themselves as they learn new skills, and it fosters an environment of inclusivity and understanding. “State Farm recognizes the good neighbor spirit in the organizations that will be implementing these community improvement projects,” said Rasheed Merritt, assistant vice president at State Farm. “We are proud to support their efforts.”
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Rehab Reality... by Judy Butler
Women Can Become Addicted, Too. When the best drink is the next one or you run out of prescriptions before you should can be red flags to addiction. Know your body and analyze what’s really happening as you age. For example, unexplained bruises, sleepless nights without aid and not knowing what happened the night before. These are all signs that things have gotten beyond your control. Many people stop smoking or drinking after a radical shock to their bodies; for example, Jerry Lewis quit smoking after undergoing heart bypass surgery. Many people also finally succeed at losing weight and cutting their cholesterol levels after a heart attack. Obviously, however, severe heart disease is a dangerous incentive to changing hurtful habits. Studies have shown that just as many alcoholics who had a single advisory session with a physician quit or cut back drinking as did those who underwent intensive hospital treatment. Going to Bayshore Retreat is not a punishment. It’s a gift of health. Clients walk into my foyer, not a lobby. We focus on physical health with exercise, sauna and massage therapy, vitamins, and gourmet prepared food. Just as important is the approximately 30 hours of counseling weekly. Finally, we are Joint Commission accredited. This huge when it comes to selecting a rehab center. It basically means that we meet the highest standards in the industry. Before you or someone you love goes to one of the ‘big box’ rehabs, compare everything. Look for the Gold seal of approval. I know you will find that Bayshore Retreat will be the best option. Bayshore Retreat is different and this can make a difference.
24 • Thursday, October 7, 2021
Photo courtesy Vestavia Hills Elementary West.
VHEW fifth grader and cancer survivor Walker Simmons.
VHEW Students Go Gold for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day Students, faculty and staff at Vestavia Hills Elementary West were decked out in gold Sept. 24 in honor of National Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day. The annual “West Goes Gold” event has been a school tradition for three
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
SCHOOLS Melissa Simmons, who is Walker’s mother and VHEW’s current PTO president. “It’s amazing to see Walker here now, healthy and standing with his classmates, having fun and showing support of others fighting this disease,” she added. Music played as students arrived in the morning, with the entrance of the school decked out with balloons and banners as a group of students held signs decorated to promote awareness. Both the banners and signs were donated to the school by local nonprofit aTeam Ministries. Founded by Vestavia Hills residents Andy and Jan Thrower in 2009, the organization provides spiritual, emotional and financial support to children and families in the pediatric cancer community. Recognition continued in the classroom, with students participating in awareness activities. Kids colored pictures and wrote notes of support to be delivered to children fighting cancer at the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama.
years, created by the family of VHEW fifth grader Walker Simmons, who is a cancer survivor. “West Goes Gold is one of my favorite days of the year,” Simmons said. When Simmons began attending VHEW as a kindergartner, he was still undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “We love the way our sweet West family rallies around this day,” said
Altamont Students Earn Perfect ACT Scores
Altamont students Jeffrey Youngson and Sid Doppalapudi recenlty earned a perfect 36 on the ACT, the highest possible composite score. Youngson is an Altamont senior and Homewood resident. Doppalapudi is a junior at Jeffrey Youngson Altamont and a resident of Vestavia Hills. Only one-tenth of 1% of all ACT test takers receive the top score, according to a release. Among recent U.S. high school graduates, just 2,760 out of the more than two million students who took the ACT reached a composite score of 36. The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each of which is scored on a scale of 1 to 36. A student’s composite score is the Sid Doppalapudi average of the four test scores. During the past six years, school officials note, 13 Altamont students have earned a 36 on the ACT.
Cherokee Bend Hosts Annual Fun Run
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Homewood Fourth Grade Teacher Receives Global Classroom Award
Homewood elementary teacher Rebecca Smith, pictured with students above, recently received the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms award and will be participating in an international educational and cultural exchange program. As a Fulbright recipient, Smith will complete a graduate-level online course, participate in a three-week international study abroad program next fall and develop projects and new curriculum. Smith will share her stories and research with her colleagues in Homewood and across communities in the country and abroad. Smith previously was awarded a Fulbright Teacher Exchange scholarship in 2012. Award winners are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, as well as their ability to engage in cutting-edge research.
Cherokee Bend Elementary hosted its annual Red and Yellow Run, pictured below, on Sept. 12. The one-mile fun run is a community event that drew more than 500 participants this year. Students and parents lined up to run a loop on streets around the school. Just before crossing the finish line, participants ran through water from a hose supplied by one of the Mountain Brook Fire Department’s trucks, and red and yellow colored powder stuck to their shirts and skin. “It’s a time that all of our families can come together and be a community
outside of school,” Cherokee Bend PTO President Kristi Chopin said. “It’s a fun experience for everyone to be around one another at the beginning of the year.” Habaneros Mexican Grill and Frios Gourmet popsicles provided refreshments after the run. First Bank also helped sponsor the event. Mountain Brook police and fire departments and Cherokee Bend Student Resource Officer Daphne Horton made sure the event ran safely.
Three Hoover, One Homewood Student Earn College Board Recognition
Hoover High School received news Sept. 21 that three students had been named College Board National Recognition Programs scholars. Juniors Nena Kimble and Kaylei White, along with senior Rotimi Kukoyi have been named program scholars for their academic excellence. To qualify for the honor, recipients must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, have excelled on the PSAT or earned a score of 3 or higher on at least two AP exams. According to a release, the program was formed to create pathways to college for underrepresented students through academic honors and by providing connections with universities throughout the country. Recipients identify as African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, or indigenous, or students who attend rural schools or schools in small towns. “We are very proud of our three students for being named as National African American Recognition Program Scholars,” said Hoover High School Principal John Montgomery. “They are not only excellent in the classroom and great role models, but they are also leaders in our school,” he added. “We look forward to following their future successes.” Homewood High School senior Christian Baylon also was recognized as a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. In a release, school officials noted how proud staff are of Baylon, who has demonstrated “an exceptional degree of excellence and extracurricular pursuits,” during his time at Homewood High School.
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Left, from left, Blakely Berryhill, Elizabeth Moore and Bella Grace Baker. Right, Grady Lowery, Eliza Pinfield, Molly Heisler and Laura Matthews.
More than 600 Vestavia Hills City Schools students and supporters gathered at Wald Park on Sept. 24 for a concert fundraiser led by Vestavia Hills High School students. The VHHS Habitat for Humanity Club hosted the inaugural Love Your Neighbor Concert as a culminating fundraiser for its week-long Love Your Neighbor Week, which raises funds for the club’s efforts to build a home each year for a local family in need. In addition to a lineup of music featuring local talent, the evening included food trucks, inflatables and yard games.
Show Some Love
VHHS Habitat Club Hosts Community Concert
Norah Trench, Brantley Newsome and Ryanne Trench.
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 25
We work tirelessly to help kids get well because the world needs to see what Natalie dreams up . WE DO WHAT WE DO B E C AU S E C H I L D R E N H AV E D R E A M S .
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26 • Thursday, October 7, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Spain Park’s Raina Valliani pressures Vestavia Hills quarterback Ella Gallaspy. Left, Christiana Belcher picks up yards in the Rebels’ 19-12 win over the Jaguars.
Inaugural Flag Football Season Opens With Plenty of Excitement By Rubin E. Grant
victory against Hewitt-Trussville in a Class 7A, Region 3 game at the Hoover Met. The Huskies were marching down the field after the opening kickoff, but a high snap to Hewitt quarterback Cade Ott Carruth and a hit by blitzing Bucs linebacker D.J. Estes resulted in a fumble. Jones took it from there. “After the ball hit the ground, I picked it up and tried to get to end zone as quickly as possible,” Jones said. The touchdown was the first of Jones’ high school career. “This is something I’ve dreamed about,” he said. “I hope to get another one (this) week.” Hoover coach Josh Niblett has enjoyed seeing Jones transform from a skinny kid into a force on the Bucs’ defensive front. “He’s a kid who I have watched grow up and mature and figure life out,” Niblett said. “He’s worked hard on the field, in the weight room and off the field to get where he needs to be, not only physically but mentally. It’s been neat to watch.” Jones has transformed himself into a highly recruited player. He already has received 17 offers from colleges, including Illinois, Minnesota and UAB. “I’m going to think through all my options,” Jones said. “This is all still
mind-blowing to me.”
fast because you still have to stop the run.” Hoover (7-0, 4-0 in Region 3) has played solid defense throughout the season, allowing only 13 points per game. “It’s not just been one person, it’s been the whole defense, the secondary, the linebackers and defensive line alike,” Jones said. Jones has played a key role, leading the team in sacks. “He’s so long at 6-5 and he covers
a lot of ground,” Niblett said. “He can rush the passer and play the run. He has been very productive.” Jones didn’t play in Hoover’s 35-16 win at Prattville two weeks ago because of a broken toe. Initially, he didn’t know it was broken. “Somebody stepped on my foot earlier in the season and it had been sore for almost three weeks,” he said. “After the Oak Mountain game, having to change directions while chasing their quarterback (Evan Smith), I
This season, Jones moved from defensive tackle to defensive end in the defensive scheme brought in by new defensive coordinator Chad Merrill, who had been at Vestavia Hills. Jones already has nine sacks after having only three during the 2020 season. “His style is more attacking and playing fast,” Jones said, “but not too
finally went to our athletic trainer and had an X-ray taken. He showed me a fracture, but it had already started to heal on its own so all I needed to miss was one week.” A healthy Jones will try to cause more havoc when Hoover visits crosstown rival Spain Park Friday in another region game. “Every game is a big game for us,” Jones said. “Coach likes us to go into every game ready to play and come out with a win.”
Week 6 Scores Class 7A Hoover 34, Hewitt-Trussville 10 Oak Mountain 35, Spain Park 7 Thompson 49, Vestavia Hills 7 Class 6A Briarwood Christian 28, Shades Valley 7 Homewood 49, Huffman 14 Class 5A Parker 48, John Carroll Catholic 0 Mountain Brook was off
Week 7 Schedule
Briarwood Christian at Mtn. Brook (10/7) Homewood at Shades Valley Hoover at Spain Park John Carroll Catholic at Ramsay Tus. County at Oak Mountain Vestavia Hills at Hewitt-Trussville
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
From page 28
grew up with a bunch of boys and I was always throwing the ball around with them.”
Hoover, Homewood and John Carroll Catholic also are fielding teams and all played their first games Sept. 28. Hoover tied John Carroll 12-12 and beat Tuscaloosa County 19-6. John Carroll defeated Tuscaloosa County 33-12. Homewood lost its first two games, falling 19-6 to Oxford and 23-0 to Hewitt-Trussville in a tri-match at Waldrop Stadium. Spain Park took the field with 17 players on its roster, with girls ranging from the eighth through the 12th grades. In their initial meeting during the summer, approximately 60 girls showed up. “A lot of them were multi-sport athletes and they were curious to see what it looked like,” Starr said. “It dwindled down by the time we had tryouts. “It’s awesome that these girls have a chance to play flag football. I expect it to grow.”
Journal photo by Lee Walls
found out we were going to have a team, I signed up right away. I’ve always wanted to play flag football. I
Stricklin threw a touchdown pass to Lillian Gourley and ran for another score in the loss to Vestavia Hills. She also ran for a touchdown and passed to Gourley for another touchdown in the victory against Oak Mountain. “We tried to have fun with it,” Stricklin said. “I think I played pretty good. I was nervous the first game, but in the second game I had more confidence.” The Eagles defeated the Rebels 12-0 in the other game, giving each team a win and a loss on the night. “It was a great, great event, and we had a great turnout,” said Carmen Starr, who coaches the Jags along with her husband, Robert Starr. “I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when we got out there, but all three teams exceeded what I was expecting. “It was great to have Vestavia and Oak Mountain out there with us. I knew it would be competitive and it was.”
Journal photos by Marvin Gentry
Erin Oliver grew up going to UAB football games with her dad. So, when the chance for her to play flag football for Spain Park this fall presented itself, Oliver, a senior, jumped at it. The Alabama High School Athletic Association sanctioned flag football as one of its sports this year. “I was really excited when it was sanctioned,” Oliver said. “I’m sad that it happened in my senior year and I’ll only get one year to play, but I am happy to be part of the pilot flag football season.” Oliver and her teammates played their inaugural games Sept. 28 against Vestavia Hills and Oak Mountain on the Spain Park soccer field. The Jaguars lost to the Rebels 19-12 in their first game but bounced back to beat the Eagles 13-6. The outcomes weren’t as important as the competition. “It was really exhilarating to step on the field for a game,” said Oliver, who plays defense. “It was so cool and really amazing to be a part of it.” Jags sophomore quarterback Emily Stricklin was equally thrilled about playing. “It was fun and exciting for me to be out there,” Stricklin said. “When I
Mallory Baxley celebrates the honor of being named Homecoming Queen with her father, Keener, during half-time ceremonies at Mountain Brook High School on Sept. 24.
Briarwood Christian High School’s 2021 Homecoming Queen Alden Denard with her father, Matt, during halftime festivities at Lion Pride Field on Sept. 24.
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, October 7, 2021 • 27
By Rubin E. Grant Lilly Johnson has an edge. At least that’s how Spain Park volleyball coach Kellye Bowen describes the Jaguars’ junior setter’s confident style of play. “She’s competitive and talented,” Bowen said. “It’s hard to teach a player to have an edge and be competitive, and she has both.” Johnson’s competitive edge, plus court awareness, has allowed her to reach a milestone for assists in only her second season on the Spain Park varsity. She surpassed 1,000 assists for her career while the Jags were winning their very own HeffStrong Tournament Sept. 24-25. The 5-foot-5 Johnson credited her teammates for reaching the milestone. “It’s incredible,” she said. “My teammates are great hitters and passers and everyone is so incredible. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. “I am glad I got the chance to do it. God blessed me with the talent and also to be a part of a special team.” Johnson has 535 assists this season. She has benefitted from playing alongside Spain Park’s dominating 6-4 senior outside hitter Audrey Rothman and 5-11 junior outside hitter Emily Breazeale. Rothman
WEST From page 28
to preserve myself for the last mile.” West also won the Chickasaw Trails Invitational Sept. 11 with a time of 17:36.52 at Oakville Indian Mounds Park, which is also the site of the Alabama High School Athletic Association state meet scheduled for Nov. 6. West looks primed to win another Alabama Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year award as she did in 2020. She also recently committed to Alabama. “Alabama checked all the boxes for me,” she said. “Everybody there was super nice and encouraging and they have a successful program. They are top five nationally. Plus, it’s close to home.” But West has some unfinished business this fall. She won the AHSAA Class 7A meet as a sophomore in 2019, but she didn’t finish the
eclipsed 1,500 kills for her career in the HeffStrong Tournament. “They’re incredible,” Johnson said. Johnson and Rothman also play on the same club team, Birmingham Volleyball Club-17 Haven. Johnson has great admiration for Rothman. “She’s amazing,” Johnson said. “She’s one of the best leaders I have ever played with.” Johnson has been playing volleyball since she was in the fifth grade, starting in a YMCA league. She also played at Berry Middle School. During club season, Johnson is a defensive specialist and a right-side hitter but switches to setter for Spain Park. It has turned her into a knowledgeable player. .“She has a great awareness of the game and who to set to and when to set,” Bowen said. “Of course, Audrey and Emily are good options – it helps who you have hitting – but when we run this play or that play, knowing where the blockers are is important. She does a good job of getting the ball to the best player and she makes good decisions.” Johnson believes her versatility is advantageous. “I see the court better when I am playing defense on the club team,” she said. “It helps me make decisions on how and where to set because I race last fall. “I was winning by a good amount at the two-mile mark, but I passed out later on in the race,” she said. “I’m pretty sure it was dehydration. It was abnormally hot that day.” West has set some lofty goals this season, including breaking the state meet record time. Amaris Tyynismaa of Montgomery Catholic holds the record, clocking 17:03 in the 2014 Class 4A race. “I want to set the PR (personal record) for Alabama, win state again and Gatorade again,” she said. “I want to go out on top.” West led Vestavia Hills to a fifthplace finish as a team in the Jesse Owens Classic. The Rebels finished with 185 points and a total time of 1:38:07.69. Brentwood from Tennessee won with 52 points and a total time of 1:33:31.98. Vestavia Hills’ other top finishers were freshman Claire Spooner in 24th place with a time of 19:15.75, sophomore Kaitlyn Wende 43rd with a time
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Journal photo by Jordan Wald
Spain Park’s Johnson Reaches Milestone for Assists
Spain Park entered October with a 29-4 record and a No. 1 ranking in Class 7A, a position it has held all season. Lilly Johnson (1) has surpassed 1,000 assists for her career.
know the middle blockers better.” Johnson has been playing more minutes at setter recently because the Jags’ other setter, Bella Halyard, has been sidelined by a sprained ankle. Halyard is expected to return soon.
Hanging on to No. 1
Spain Park entered October with a 29-4 record and a No. 1 ranking in Class 7A, a position it has held all the season. “I think we have a really special team,” Johnson said. “We’ve all got of 19:55.67 and freshman Jasmine Zhang right behind her in 44th with a time of 19:55.76. “We have a really young team,” West said. “We’ve got only two seniors and the rest underclassmen. I’m proud of our team for finishing fifth. Everybody is working hard.”
In the Jesse Owens boys gold
the same mindset on how we want to try to win. We’re all on the same page. We want to win more than any team I’ve ever been on.” The Jags will close the regular season in the 34th Margaret Blalock Tournament Friday and Saturday at Homewood High School and Homewood Middle School. Area tournaments across the state will be held Oct. 11-16, the super regionals are scheduled for Oct. 20–22, and the state tournament is set for Oct. 26-28 at the
Birmingham CrossPlex and Bill Harris Arena. The Jags are aiming to win the school’s first state championship after falling to Hoover in the Class 7A championship match in 2020. “I think our main motivation this season has been last year,” Johnson said. “We put it 100 percent on the floor and came up short. It was really hard to lose, but I feel it was a great steppingstone for this year. “We owe it to ourselves and our coaches to win it this time.”
division, Hoover finished second as a team behind Scottsboro, which won with 162 points and a total time of 1:21:25.08. The Bucs had 166 points and a total time of 1:22:02.09. Vestavia Hills finished ninth with 255 points and a total time of 1:22:52.13. Hoover placed three runners in the top 50, led by junior Matthew Harden in 29th place with a time of
16:09.14. Sophomore Zander Dakis was 34th with a time of 16:15.26 and junior Elijah Joseph was 43rd, clocking 16:24.51. The Rebels had two runners in the top 20. Junior Alex Leath finished 16th with a time of 15:46.77 and junior Will Jordan was 18th, clocking 15:49.12. Chelsea senior Miles Brush won the race with a time of 15:10.47.
Mountain Book and Briarwood celebrate Homecoming Page 26
SPORTS Thursday, October 7, 2021 ❖ OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Competitive Edge: Spain Park’s Johnson reaches milestone for assists Page 27
Rebels’ West Wins Jesse Owens Cross Country Race Again By Rubin E. Grant
sion race, clocking the Oakville Indian Mounds Park 5K course near estavia Hills senior Crawford Moulton in 17:48.47. Bella West was feeling much better Guillamondegui, a junior from for the 23rd Jesse Owens Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Cross Country Classic last Saturday was second with a time of 17:52.98. than she was for They were the her previous race. only two girls in ‘I want to set the PR the field with sub West finished third with a time times. (personal record) for 18:00 of 17:53.81 in the “It was a pretty Alabama, win state Southern good race for me Showcase Sept. 18 again and Gatorade and a fun way to at John Hunt go out in my last again. I want to go Running Park in Jesse Owens Huntsville. race,” said West, out on top.’ “I was sick,” who won the 2020 West said. “I have Jesse Owens race. VESTAVIA HILLS SENIOR no idea what I “I definitely sat CRAWFORD WEST had. I think it was back the first two a really bad cold. I miles, but I probagot tested for bly should not COVID and it came back negative. have sat back as much as I did. I’m “I’m sure that factored into the trying not to go as hard at the start as results at the Southern Showcase.” I did last year because sometimes I’m With the illness behind her, West not able to keep the pace and I want See WEST, page 27 won the Jesse Owens girls gold divi-
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
Vestavia’s Crawford West won the Jesse Owens girls gold division race Saturday, clocking the Oakville Indian Mounds Park 5K course near Moulton in 17:48.47.
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
Hoover’s Terrell Jones Making Plays on the Football Field After Adding Weight, Muscle By Rubin E. Grant
hen Hoover was having virtual classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-21 school year, Terrell Jones didn’t just spend time in front of a computer screen. He also ate and ate, and ate some more, adding some much-needed weight to his 6-foot-5 frame. “I ate mainly carbs, meat and potatoes, greens, whatever so I could get filled out,” Jones said. Jones, a defensive lineman, had been trying to transform his body since he joined Hoover’s varsity football team as a sophomore. At the time, he weighed a little more than 200 pounds. “I was skinnier than the other linemen, but I was also faster,” Jones explained. Now a more muscular senior, Jones tips the scales between 250 and 255 pounds, but he hasn’t lost any of his speed, as he showed last Friday, scooping up a fumble and racing 52 yards for the Bucs’ first touchdown in a 34-10 See JONES, page 26