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OTMJ OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL u OTMJ.COM

INSIDE Holiday Gift Guide!

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2020

SOCIAL

Wall of Heroes

SPORTS

‘The Right Thing to Do’ Medical Properties Trust Officer Doubles Down on Nonprofit Support

Louis Pizitz Middle School Celebrates Living History Day

S

W

ith success comes great responsibility, in the eyes of Edward Aldag, CEO and president of Medical Properties Trust. For Aldag, the pandemic has become a time to double-up on his efforts to support others. “We try to do it quietly, just because it is the right thing to do, but we have more than doubled our efforts this year for all of our charities,” he said. See ALDAG, page 10

Robert Roebuck honored his grandfather, retired Col. Ed Rowe, during a celebration of America’s veterans at Louis Pizitz Middle School. Rowe, a graduate of West Point, served 30 years in active service, including two tours in Vietnam with the Green Berets and over 20 years at the Pentagon.

Edward Aldag

Photo courtesy Medical Properties Trust

See HEROES, page 32

By Emily Williams

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

tudents at Louis Pizitz Middle School in Vestavia Hills took part in a celebration of America’s veterans on Nov. 5. Pizitz Principal Chris Pennington, founder of the annual Living History Day, said he was grateful to school staff and the Parent Teacher Organization for finding a way to safely host the event this year. “This is a very important tradition for our school and a great opportunity for us to show our respect for all those who served our country,” Pennington said. The event was celebrated in a socially distant format, beginning with a parade of veterans. About 50 vehicles participated in the parade, which traveled around the school’s mile-long carpool loop, with Pizitz students and staff watching along the route. At the end of the parade, the 81st Division of the U.S. Army Band Brass Quintet performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Veterans in attendance participated

The Last Dance

Anderson Waltzes Into Retirement After 49 Years of Coaching Football at Vestavia Hills Throughout this fall, Vestavia Hills didn’t hold any pep rallies before the Rebels’ football games because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But on the eve of Buddy Anderson’s final game as the Rebels’ head coach, they held a pep rally at Thompson Reynolds Stadium, and Anderson cooked up a surprise for his wife, Linda, who had been by his side during his entire 49 years at Vestavia Hills, including the last 43 as head coach.

During previous seasons, when Anderson didn’t make it home for Sunday dinner because he was at the school late while putting together a game plan for the Rebels’ next opponent, Linda would bring some food up to the stadium and they would have a candlelight picnic at midfield. Anderson had his boom box handy and his Kenny Rogers’ CD with the song “Through the Years.” He would play it and they would dance. See LAST DANCE, page 12

Journal photo by Marvin Gentry

By Rubin E. Grant

Vestaiva Hills head coach Buddy Anderson with wife Linda, family members and players celebrate after his last game Oct. 30.


2 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

Inside

Murphy’s Law

T IPC, LEGACY LEAGUE Popular Holiday Home Tours Return PAGE 4

PLAYING THROUGH THE (70)YEARS Generations of Owners, Shoppers Have Made Homewood Toy & Hobby an Institution PAGE 8

ORANGE PORANGE! Birmingham-Based Creative Team Publishes Children’s Book PAGE 14

PLAY ON Over the Mountain Toy Stores Have Hot Stuff for Happy Holidays PAGE 22

ABOUT TOWN 4 NEWS 8 LIFE 10 PEOPLE 14 SOCIAL 16

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

OPINION/CONTENTS

GIFT GUIDE HOLIDAY EVENTS SCHOOLS SPORTS

22 29 32 36

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.

OVER THE MOUNTAIN

Also Thankful

here’s a prayer offered before whatever they can take forward, physimeals that asks for God’s blesscally and emotionally. ing on the food on the table and The mail carriers and package deliv“the hands that prepared it.” I’d like to ery people have become a lifeline for all ask the same. of us, but I’d like to add a word of 2020 has been a year like no other, thanks to the people who keep cranking and the fact that any of us are still out the cardboard and tape and all those functioning at all is testimony to the plastic packaging materials, people who work of the hands of some wonderful take my computer order and scurry people. through the warehouse to assemble it, Where to start? Let’s begin with a no matter how odd or cumbersome it GIANT thank you to the doctors and happens to be. nurses who have been fighting the And speaking of odd and cumberSue Murphy absolute worst of this coronavirus for some, how about the people who made months and months and months. In those cardboard cutouts to take the place addition, I’d like to add a gratitude of the fans in the football and baseshout-out to the workers who follow ball and basketball stands? No small behind them with the mops and feat, and it added a touch of whimsy I saw a quote the buckets and sanitizer, saving the to the sports proceedings when other day that world one swipe at a time. whimsy is exactly what we needed. And while I’m at it, can I get an Police officers? You betcha, said, ‘There are “Atta boy/girl” for the crowd noise every single day. I know there have no passengers on DJ’s who made it sound like we were been some tough, unfortunate incidents of late and change needs to spaceship earth. We actually there? Who could have seen that job description coming? happen, but nobody knows that betare all crew.’ Thank you, thank you, thank you ter than the officers themselves, the to every single person who has been brave souls who face danger with walking ahead of me sanitizing surevery encounter and have to make faces, everyone who stayed home split-second, life-altering decisions when they had a cough even though they were fairly as a matter of course. I couldn’t do it. Could you? sure it was just allergies, all those people who stood up Firefighters? Oh my goodness, yes. This year espeto the scoffers and wore their masks and continue to cially, their work has been and continues to be superhuwear their masks, not so much for their own protection man, and yet they take time to come to my grandson’s as for the protection of those around them, lest they kindergarten class and teach them to stop, drop and roll. asymptomatically spread the virus to some poor soul Where would we be without all of our first respondwho would unknowingly carry it home to their grandma. ers? In a world of hurt, that’s where. But here’s where I’d like to add a word about the sec- Being a grandma, I appreciate that. I saw a quote the other day that said, “There are no ond responders, those folks who show up after the accident or the hurricane or the fire and help the victims pull passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.” So this Thanksgiving, I will be saying, thank you, fellow crew their lives back together, those people with the blankets members. You have kept me afloat. and the bottled water and the hotel vouchers, the ones God bless us every one. who go through the rubble and help people salvage

Over the Mountain Views

Thank You for Your Service

J O U R N A L November 12, 2020 Publisher & Editor: Maury Wald Copy Editor: Virginia Martin Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Staff Writers: Emily Williams, Sam Prickett 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

Col. Bob Channon, U.S. Army retired, was one of six veterans honored at the city of Hoover’s annual Thank A Vet Kickoff and Reception, hosted on Nov. 8 at Aldridge Gardens. Channon, 95, served 30 years in the Army before retiring, including service during the Korean and Vietnam wars. The event included a flagfolding ceremony, utilizing flags flown over the state Capitol in Montgomery. Channon was among those who received a flag, as well as a certificate signed by Gov. Kay Ivey.

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

Vol. 30, No. 8

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 editorial@otmj.com. E-mail our advertising department at mwald@otmj.com. Find us on the Web at otmj.com. Copyright 2020 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.


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 3

ABOUT TOWN

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*The value listed is per booking and equals the total of the Triple Benefits Offer1, plus the total of the Travel Savings Offer2. 1Triple Member Benefit: Valid on new bookings made November 1 – December 31, 2020 for travel through December 31, 2021. Minimum five night stay at participating AAA Vacations® properties required. $150 activity voucher (standard Member Benefit $50 activity voucher) is nonrefundable, nontransferable, has no cash value and applies to the following destinations: Mexico, Hawai’i, Central & South America and select Caribbean destinations. Savings not refl ected in rates shown and applies to the following destinations: USA (excluding Hawai'i), Canada – $75 savings (standard Member Benefit $25 savings); Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia, select Caribbean destinations 3 (Anguilla, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, Virgin LANDBritish ONLY Islands, Curaçao, Grand Cayman, Grenada, Martinique, 4 KIDS FREE St. Barts, St. Croix,STAY St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin and St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks & Caicos), Tahiti (French Polynesia), Fiji and Cook Islands – $150 savings (standard Member Benefit $50 5 Offer only valid on savings). 2Travel Savings Offer: LAND ONLY travel qualified bookings with participating AAA preferred providers made through your local AAA club. ALL-INCLUSIVE MEALS · FREE WI-FIMinimum purchase required to qualify for offer. Maximum one (1) travel credit per booking. Offer valid only on new bookings made on or after October 1, 2020 with full deposit no later than December 31, 2020 6for travel commencing no later than December 31, 2021. Incentive LAND ONLYwill be provided to lead client/trip payee following trip deparDAILY BREAKFAST · FREE WI-FI ture. Bookings of $2,000 – $3,999 qualify to receive a $100 credit; bookings of $4,000 – $7,999 qualify to receive a $125 credit; bookings of $8,000 – $9,999 qualify to receive a $200 credit; bookings of $10,000 – $11,999 qualify to receive a $300 credit; bookings of $12,000 – $14,999 qualify to receive a $500 credit; bookings $15,000+ qualify to receive a $750 credit. Valid only on cruise or tour bookings provided through one of AAA’s preferred travel providers; not valid on Fly/ Drive packages. Incentives cannot be substituted, are nonrefundable, and nontransferable. A U.S. address is required for delivery. Featured Rates: 3Rate is per person, land only, based on double occupancy, for check-in on March 1, 2021 in a city view double room accommodation at Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and includes government taxes. 4Kids 17 and under stay free in same room as adults using existing bedding. Occupancy limits apply. 5Rate is per person, land only, based on double occupancy, for check-in on March 1, 2021 in a junior suite deluxe room accommodation at Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay All-Inclusive Adults-only (18+) Resort and includes government taxes. 6Rate is per person, land only, based on double occupancy, for check-in on March 1, 2021 in a king room accommodation at The Reach Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton and includes government taxes.

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CALL: 205.978.7030

BOOK NOW THROUGH CLICK: AAA.com/PHSale DECEMBER 31,VISIT: 2020 2400 Acton Road

Unless otherwise indicated: Rates quoted are accurate at time of publication & are per person, based on double occupancy. Airfare, taxes, fees, surcharges, gratuities, transfers & excursions are additional. Advertised rates do not include any applicable daily resort or facility fees payable directly to the hotel at check-out; 2 1 feeMember amounts willt:beValid advised the timemade of book*The value listed is per booking and equals the total of the Triple Benefits Offer1, plus the total of the Travel Savings Offersuch . Triple Benefi on newatbookings November 1 – December 31, 2020 for travel through December 31, 2021. Minimum five night stay at participating AAA Vacations® properties required. $150 activity voucheravailability, (standard Member t $50 ing. Rates, terms, conditions, itinerary,Benefi taxes, activity voucher) is nonrefundable, nontransferable, has no cash value and applies to the following destinations: Mexico, Hawai’i, Central & South America and select Caribbean destinations. fees,(standard surcharges, deposit, payment, Savings not reflected in rates shown and applies to the following destinations: USA (excluding Hawai’i), Canada – $75 savings Member Benefit $25 savings);cancellation Australia, Newterms/ Zealand, Europe, Asia, select Caribbean destinations (Anguilla, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Grandconditions Cayman, Grenada, Martinique, St. Croix, St. Kitts & Nevis, & policies subjectSt.toBarts, change without notice St. Martin and St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks & Caicos), Tahiti (French Polynesia), Fiji and Cook Islands – $150 savings (standard Member Benefit $50 savings). 2Travel at any rates capacity-controlled. Advance Savings Offer: Offer only valid on qualified bookings with participating AAA preferred travel providers made through your localtime. AAA Cruise club. Minimum purchase required to qualify for offer. Maximum one (1) travel credit per booking. Offer valid only on new bookings made on or after October 1, 2020 with full deposit no later than December 2020 for travel commencing reservations through AAA31,Travel required to obtain no later than December 31, 2021. Incentive will be provided to lead client/trip payee following trip departure. Bookings of $2,000 Member – $3,999 qualify to receive a $100 which credit; bookings – $7,999 Benefits & savings may varyof–$4,000 based qualify to receive a $125 credit; bookings of $8,000 – $9,999 qualify to receive a $200 credit; bookings of $10,000 – $11,999 qualify to receive a $300 credit; bookings of $12,000 $14,999 on qualify departure maytravel be subject after to receive a $500 credit; bookings $15,000+ qualify to receive a $750 credit. Valid only on cruise or tour bookings provided through one date. of AAA’sRates preferred providers;tonotincrease valid on Fly/Drive 3 packages. Incentives cannot be substituted, are nonrefundable, and nontransferable. A U.S. address is required for delivery. Featured Rates: Rate is per person, land only, based on double full payment for increases in government-imposed taxes occupancy, for check-in on March 1, 2021 in a city view double room accommodation at Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and includes government taxes. 4Kids 17 and under stay free in same room or feeson&March supplier-imposed Blackout & as adults using existing bedding. Occupancy limits apply. 5Rate is per person, land only, based on double occupancy, for check-in 1, 2021 in a juniorfees. suite deluxe roomdates accommodation 6 at Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay All-Inclusive Adults-only (18+) Resort and includes government taxes. Rate is other per person, land only, based on double occupancy, for restrictions may apply. Not responsible forcheck-in errors on March 1, 2021 in a king room accommodation at The Reach Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton and includes government taxes. or omissions. Your local AAA club acts as an agent for AAA Travel Alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19-related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, Pleasant CSTfor1016202-80. To learn how restaurants and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board isHolidays®. a good resource updated information. we collect and use information, visittransfers the privacy Unless otherwise indicated: Rates quoted are accurate at time of publication & are per person, based on double occupancy. Airfare, taxes, fees,your surcharges, gratuities, & excursions are additional. Advertised rates do not include any applicable daily resort or facility fees payable directly to the hotel at link check-out; such fee amounts advised at the time of booking. at AAA.com. ©2020 will AutobeClub Services, LLC. All Rates, terms, conditions, availability, itinerary, taxes, fees, surcharges, deposit, payment, cancellation terms/conditions & policies subject to change without notice at any time. Cruise rates Rights Reserved. capacity-controlled. Advance reservations through AAA Travel required to obtain Member Benefits & savings which may vary based on departure date. Rates may be subject to increase after

Birmingham AL, 35243 ASK YOUR AAA TRAVEL AGENT ABOUT CURRENT OFFERS AND OTHER DESTINATIONS

AAA TRAVELS WITH YOU

CALL: 205.978.7030

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full payment for increases in government-imposed taxes or fees & supplier-imposed fees. Blackout dates & other restrictions may apply. Not responsible for errors or omissions. Your local AAA club acts as an agent for Pleasant Holidays®. CST 1016202-80. To learn how we collect and use your information, visit the privacy link at AAA.com. ©2020 Auto Club Services, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

VISIT: 2400 Acton Road Birmingham AL, 35243

*The value listed is per booking and equals the total of the Triple Benefits Offer1, plus the total of the Travel Savings Offer2. 1Triple Member Benefit: Valid on new bookings made November 1 – December 31, 2020 for travel through December 31, 2021. Minimum five night stay at participating AAA Vacations® properties required. $150 activity voucher (standard Member Benefit $50 activity voucher) is nonrefundable, nontransferable, has no cash value and applies to the following destinations: Mexico, Hawai’i, Central & South America and select Caribbean destinations. Savings not reflected in rates shown and applies to the following destinations: USA (excluding Hawai’i), Canada – $75 savings (standard Member Benefit $25 savings); Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia, select Caribbean destinations (Anguilla, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Grand Cayman, Grenada, Martinique, St. Barts, St. Croix, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin and St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks & Caicos), Tahiti (French Polynesia), Fiji and Cook Islands – $150 savings (standard Member Benefit $50 savings). 2Travel


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

ABOUT TOWN

Photo courtesy Independent Presbyterian Church

4 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

On the IPC virtual tour this year will be the historic church, above, and the festively decorated houses of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Albright III, Mr. and Mrs. Keith Cantley, Mr. and Mrs. Wade Lynton, and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Sylvester.

Popular Holiday Home Tours Return IPC Holiday House Tour Goes Virtual

Gather your family for an unforgettable

The 71st annual Independent Presbyterian Church Holiday House Tour has a twist that the event’s original planners likely couldn’t have imagined. This year, the tour is going virtual. Instead of visiting each of the featured houses and the church in person

during the Dec. 11-13 event, you can buy tickets to access the tour from your home computer or iPad. There’s also a different take on the tradition of offering Christmas tea in the church’s Great Hall during the tour. A limited number of Holiday House Tea in a Bag packages will include cookies, ham biscuits, cheese straws, spiced tea mix plus a tour ticket. The cost is $50 per tin; each

serves five to six people. The tins will be available for pickup only at the church on Dec. 11. On the virtual tour this year will be the historic church and the festively decorated houses of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Albright III, Mr. and Mrs. Keith Cantley, Mr. and Mrs. Wade Lynton, and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Sylvester. Proceeds benefit several charities, including the Children’s Fresh Air Farm, First Light Shelter, IPC Community Ministries, and Stair, a program that works with Birmingham City Schools to identify first and second graders who are reading below grade level. For more information or to buy individual access tickets, which are $20, or the tins, visit ipc-usa.org.

holiday dinner with all the trimmings. With our special Thanksgiving menu featuring a choice of three different entrees, everyone will leave full and satisfied—no effort required. Thanksgiving Prix-Fixe Menu Journal photo by Jordan Wald

November 26 | 11am - 9pm

For reservations call 205.203.4745 or find us on OpenTable. habitatfeedandsocial.com @GrandBohemianMountainBrook

Included on the Samford Legacy League tour will be the home of Beth and Bill Welden, 2308 Country Club Place in Mountain Brook, above.

Fireballs the modern alternative

Samford Legacy League to Host 10th Annual Home Tour

The Samford University’s Legacy League will host its 2020 Christmas Home Tour on Dec. 10, featuring six homes decked out in holiday decor. Included on the tour will be the homes of Linda and Charlie Israel, 2300 Country Club Place in Mountain Brook; Carrie and Joseph Kreps, 1524 Woodridge Place in Vestavia Hills; Anne and George Lawton, 150 Buckhead Trail in Vestavia Hills; a Southbend home by Taylor Burton Company, 3320 South Bend Cir. in Vestavia Hills; Beth and Bill Welden, 2308 Country Club Place in Mountain Brook; and the Samford President’s Home at 1994 Shades Crest Road in Vestavia Hills. Funds raised through the event will benefit the league’s scholarship program, which supports students with significant financial need. For more information, visit samford.edu/legacyleague.


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 5

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NOV. 12 - NOV. 26 Editor’s note: Some of the events in our calendar may have been canceled after our press deadline. Please check organiziation websites for the latest information. For Holiday special events in our area see our Holiday Kickoff calendar beginning on page 29.

Through Nov. 20 Birmingham Barons Food Drive

What: The Barons and Community Food Bank of Central Alabama are continuing their food drive to bring food to over 60,000 children, veterans, seniors and neighbors at risk for hunger in Alabama. Win a grand prize for most cans. When and Where: Drop off items at the Barons Sports Depot Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Website: “Birmingham Barons Food Drive” Facebook page

Thurs., Nov. 12 Virtual Beyond Blue

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ACTIVITIES TROLLEYS

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THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

ABOUT TOWN

What: Join Co-hosts Laura Rutledge (ESPN/SEC) and Mike Tirico (NBC Sports) in a benefit to end prostate cancer. The event includes a virtual auction and is in honor of Mike Slive Foundation board member and prostate cancer survivor, Charlie Perry. When: Check the website for updates Website: mikeslivefoundation.org

Nov. 12 and 13 Sportsman Social and Clay Shoot What: Enjoy an evening of food, bourbon tasting, a raffle, live auction and experience wild game tastings by renowned chef Rick Vonk. A clay shoot to follow on Nov. 13. Proceeds place life-saving AEDs in athletic programs, schools, summer camps and non-profits. When: Social, 6 p.m.; clay shoot, 8:30 a.m. start Where: Social, Iron City; clay shoot,

ORVIS at Pursell Farms Website: lordwedgwoodcharity.org

Nov. 12-22 “Frozen Junior”

What: STARS presents the enchanting modern classic from Disney based on the 2018 Broadway musical. A story of true love and acceptance, this play is loaded with beloved characters, magic, adventure and humor. When: Check the website for times Where: VST Mainstage Website: virginiasamfordtheatre.org

Fri., Nov. 13 November’s Friday the 13th Murder Mystery Dinner

What: Southern Ghost Girls Tours and Paranormal Investigations and Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens hosts an interactive mystery dinner with an added and optional Ghost Walk of the historic 1840’s mansion after dinner. When: 6-9 p.m. Where: Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens Website: “Friday the 13th Murder Mystery Dinner/ Ghost Hunt B’ham’s Arlington House” Facebook page

Bear the Burden Ruck

What: The Wings of Hope Pediatric Foundation hosts a 10 mile ruck, with or without weight. Proceeds benefit critically ill children with meals, lawn care, house cleaning and financial support when needed. When: 7 p.m.2 a.m. Where: Oak Mountain State Park Website: “Bear the Burden Ruck 2020 presented by Wheeler Wrecker Services” Facebook page

Sat., Nov.14 Shades Mountain Community Church Christmas Market

What: Shoppers will enjoy fresh locally roasted coffee, pastries, clothes, shoes, jewelry, local artists children’s books, candles, soaps, lotions door prizes and more. When: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: Shades Mountain

Community Church Website: “Shades Mountain Community Church” Facebook page

Nov. 14-29 Sam Lapidus Montclair Virtual 10K, 5K and 1 Mile Run

What: Honor the life of Sam Lapidus, who died of Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of childhood cancer in 2008. Funds raised from the virtual run benefit the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama and the LJCC. Website: slmr.itsyourrace.com

Sun., Nov. 15 Hammies in Hoover Trail Run

What: Runners will enjoy this championship event for the Hammies Trail Run Series designed for all skill levels of runners with easy to moderate difficulty trails incorporated into the raced loops. 5 or 10 mile options. When: Registration, 6 a.m.; race start, 7 a.m. Where: Hoover Metropolitan Complex Website: runhammies.com

Fall Market Stadium Trace Village What: Enjoy local artists, entrepreneurs, live music by The Divines and more. When:1-4 p.m. Where: 501 Emery Dr. W. Hoover Website: “Fall Market at Stadium Trace Village 11/15 “ Facebook page

Mon., Nov. 16 Hope for the Holidays

What: Community Grief Support hosts the last event in a series of virtual events designed to help grief survivors through the holiday season. Included will be tips, a memorial service for your loved one, Q&A sessions and volunteer testimonials. For reservations, email communitygriefsu@ bellsouth.net or call 205-870-8667. When: 6-7:30 p.m. Website: communitygriefsupport.org


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Nov. 16-22

Nov. 20-Dec. 11

JLB Virtual Market Noel

What: Preview Noel kicks off the holiday season with a sneak peek into Market Noel. For $55 you will gain exclusive early access to shopping before the general public. General admission shopping days are Nov. 17-22 and feature access to more than 50 stores from across the nation offering home decor, clothing, accessories, holiday items and more. When: Check the website for times Website: jlbonline.com

Nov. 18-Jan. 18 What: Guest will be captivated by visually stunning lantern creations of wildlife from around the world. Watch the Zoo come alive with hundreds of animal shapes of all sizes soaring up to 30 feet high. When: Select nights Wed.- Sun., 5-9 p.m. Where: Birmingham Zoo Website: birminghamzoo.com

Fri., Nov. 20 Magical Marketplace

Warm for the Winter Coat Drive

What: Riverchase Galleria has partnered with Volunteers of America to help support our local community and give back to those in need. Spread holiday cheer by donating new coats, hats, scarves and gloves. When: noon-11 p.m. Where: Riverchase Galleria Website: “Warm for the Winter Coat Drive” Facebook page

Nov. 20-Dec. 24 Santa at The Summit

Glow Wild Birmingham Zoo

What: While this year’s photo and visit might look a little different the magic of Santa will be the same. Visits will be socially distant, contactless and by appointment only. Masks required. Sensory Santa offered Dec. 5 and 12 from 9-11 a.m. When: Mon.Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., noon-6 p.m. Where: Inside POSE (a photo experience), Saks Plaza Website: “The Summit - Birmingham, Al” Facebook page

Nov. 21, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., indoor and outdoor market; online auction, Nov. 21, 9 a.m. - Nov. 22, 8 p.m. Where: Studio By the Tracks Website: studiobythetracks.org/holiday

Pet Pictures with Santa

What: Fluff up you pets, add some tinsel or bows and visit Santa. Included is a treat for your pet and a little something for the children. Proceeds benefit The Animal Assitance League of Birmingham. When: 10-2 a.m. Where: Smith’s Variety Website: “Smith’s Variety” Facebook page

Sun., Nov. 22 Magic City Half Marathon & 5K

What: T-shirts and a finisher’s medal are included in this virtual run to benefit the Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts and Girls on the Run Birmingham. Website: magiccityrun.com

Sat., Nov. 21

What: Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church presents its annual marketplace featuring art, pottery, jewelry, baked goods, children’s clothing and more. When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: VHUMC Website: “Magical Marketplace” Facebook page

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 7

ABOUT TOWN

SBTT Holiday Open House

What: Studio By the Tracks hosts its annual open house with an indoor sale featuring Studio by the Tracks artwork, a two-day silent auction of 35 works from donating artists live on the website and an outdoor market featuring 15 local art vendors and food. Masks are required. When:

To: From: Date:

Unpacking Boxes Full of Treasures!

Sparking wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science experiences.

Attic Antiques

Holiday Open House Nov. 12, 13, 14 10:00 - 4:00

Wear Mask Please Tue.-Sat. 10-4 5620 Cahaba Valley Rd. 991-6887

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest on what’s happening at McWane Science Center.

mcwane.org

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NEWS

8 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

Playing Through the (70)Years

Generations of Owners, Shoppers Have Made Homewood Toy & Hobby an Institution This year marks the 70th anniversary of Homewood Toy & Hobby, but owner Tricia McCain hasn’t had much time to celebrate. Like most small business owners, she has spent most of the year weathering the pandemic and is now heading into the holiday season, the busiest time of year for the store. “We’re open seven days a week, which started a couple of weeks ago,” she says. “And we’re open later, til 6:30 p.m. Once Thanksgiving hits, we just don’t slow down. It’s nonstop, seven days a week, and I don’t take off a day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Neither does the store manager, Julie (Marix). We’re here every day because we do that much business.” The holiday season is crucial to staying in business, says Walter Busenlehner, Tricia’s father, who owned the store for decades before selling it to Tricia in the early 1990s. “You’re looking at three months you’ve got to make,” he says. “If you don’t make those three months and Christmas, you’re in trouble.” Walter’s standing across the counter from Tricia in the back of the store, flanked by stacked boxes of remote-controlled cars, thumbing through a stack of old photos and yellowed newspaper clippings. He selects one, a grainy blackand-white shot showing several rows of upended bicycles. This is from an older incarnation of the store, he says, when it was in a building down the street and its main stock consisted of lawnmowers and bicycles. The business was started by his parents, Clarence and Kathryne Busenlehner, in 1950. Coincidentally, the still-running Mountain Brook toy store Smith’s Variety started the same year. Back then, Homewood Toy & Hobby was situated a block away from its current location in downtown Homewood, near where Ed’s Pet World is now. The store would move up and down 18th Street South several times: first to the nearby corner, where Nadeau, the furniture store, is now situated; then to the building that previously housed the Homewood Theater; then finally to the former location of an Elmore’s discount store, where it is now. Clarence had owned a bakery in Edgewood, but “he never really enjoyed baking,” Walter says. “He liked lawnmower repairs and bicycles, so he sold the bakery to his brother and opened up a bike and lawnmower business.” When the store moved to its second location, it started to expand its scope. The distributor from which the store bought its bike and lawnmower parts also sold sporting goods and hobby supplies, so the store rebranded as Homewood Cycle & Hobby Shop. After the store moved to the old theater building, the Busenlehners decided to drop lawnmowers entirely. “They just kept everything in the store filthy,” Walter says. “So we went strictly into bicycles, with some toys and hobbies.”

Generations Have Run the Store

After his father died, Walter bought the business from his mother in 1970 and eventually decided to drop the cycling side of the business, too. “I decided I didn’t want to deal with bicycles,” he says. “I never was a bike mechanic,

Journal photo by Maury Wald

By Sam Prickett

Walter Busenlehner with daughter and current Homewood Toy & Hobby owner Tricia McCain. The business was started by Walter’s parents, Clarence and Kathryne Busenlehner, in 1950.

and it got to the point where the bikes were getting so complicated. The market was going to lightweight bikes, and they were expensive, and I just said, ‘This isn’t for me.’ So I sold the bike shop and moved in here and stayed strictly toy.” When she was about 14 years old, Tricia started working at the store. “I was in school, it was easy money, and I just enjoyed it,” she says. “I went off to Auburn

“... the second we opened back up to let people come in, (after pandemic lockdown) we pretty much made up our money pretty quickly ... I thought we were going to be in trouble.’ TRICIA MCCAIN

for a couple of years, came back and went to UAB and majored in marketing, working here while I was at UAB. Then once I graduated, I was like, ‘OK, it might be time for you to retire and just let me take over.’ And that’s basically what happened.” It was a similar nudge to the one Walter had given his mother decades earlier. “I wanted to grow, and she was used to staying still with no new ideas,” he says. “So I bought her out after my father died. I went up to her one day and said, ‘Mother, I want to buy you out. I don’t care what the price is. You can get with our accountant, name your price.’ And she did. She sort of balked at it a little, but it gave her a chance to do something she had never done. She had worked all her life, so she was able to go meet with her church friends and play bridge. She probably resented it at first, but I think she probably liked it.” Years later, that meant that Walter understood

where Tricia was coming from. “She wanted to grow things her way, do things her way, which was understandable, so I backed out,” he says. “Smart man,” Tricia added, laughing. “She’s like her old man,” Walter says. “I had three daughters but this one, she works like I do. If there’s work to be done, she’s going to be there.” 

Changing With the Times

Tricia insists she didn’t make that many changes to the store. Over time, the toy department has grown to take up more of the store than hobbies, thanks mostly to declining sales of model trains. “It used to be pretty much half-and-half – half toys, dolls, board games and science-type stuff, and half remote control cars, planes, helicopters, trains, rocketry, and plastic models,” she says. “But trains have kind of slowed down. … People just don’t collect things anymore like they used to.” She’s resisted the industry trend toward online sales but knows the store eventually will have to adapt. “I’ve been putting it off for as long as I possibly can, but we’re going to have to,” she says, “We do have a website right now, but it might have 20% of our stuff on there. Our inventory just changes so fast and gets outdated as new things come in. It’s really hard to keep up. We’ll have to have a person who does nothing but (online sales). That day is coming. That will be a big change, and it’s something I am not looking forward to.”

Surviving During the Time of COVID

The pandemic caused her to worry briefly about the future of the business, particularly in the eight weeks that the store could do only

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

curbside sales. “We lost a lot of money,” she says. “And then the second we opened back up to let people come in, we pretty much made up our money pretty quickly. I was really, really surprised. I thought we were going to be in trouble.” Remote-controlled cars did particularly well during the shutdown, as did sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, hula hoops and other outdoor toys. “Puzzles we could not keep in stock, and board games,” she says. “People were really taking time to sit at home and have a family night and play board games, which is good! People need to spend more time playing board games with their family!” “A lot of people are finding that they’d missed a lot with their children because they thought they didn’t have time,” Walter says. “This was forced on them, but now they’ll miss it when they go back.” Walter still owns the building but says he doesn’t come into the store much anymore. He’ll drop in every once in a while, especially during the lead-up to Christmas. “He comes in and says, ‘You need to order more of this! You need to order more of that! You didn’t clean the bathrooms this morning! Somebody needs to vacuum the floor!’” Tricia laughs. “We get a lot of that.”

Longtime Shoppers

But he really likes to see the longtime customers, including families that have been shopping at Homewood Toy and Hobby for generations. “It is amazing,” he says. “There’s one man and his family that come in here with their children – and they’re grown children that have their own children now. I don’t know his name, but he always gives me a big hug, and every year he says, ‘One more year.’” Tricia says customers still come in who remember when the store was on the corner and sold bicycles. “There are people that just want to come in the store because this is where their toys came from when they were little,” she says. “For Thanksgiving, normally we see tons of people that are in town visiting family that just bring kids and grandkids because they want them to see our store. … I just like to see the people come back who have shopped here over the years and have good things to say.” “People like to come into the store and see the same person,” she added, reaching for Walter’s stack of photographs. “We’ve had lots of employees that have worked here for a long time. Julie, who manages the store up front, has been here probably 20 years now. I’ve worked here forever.” She pulled out a photo of a middle-aged man behind a counter smiling and holding a model train. “Bill Norman, who passed away a few years ago, worked here for 37 years. It’s harder to do now, but we like to get employees that will actually stay. People want to come in and see familiar faces.” Even with COVID-19’s continued presence, she expects she’ll see plenty of familiar faces over the holidays. “One thing we learned during the pandemic: People might cut back, but they’re not going to skimp on their kids’ toys,” she says. “Kids are going to get toys one way or the other. Christmas is going to happen. … We’re just happy we’re still here and that people still keep coming to the store. It’s a really good business to be in, really.”


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

NEWS

Vestavia Hills Officials Reflect on the City’s 70 Years of History

By Emily Williams

October marked the 70th anniversary of the city of Vestavia Hills. Incorporation of the city was final on Oct. 24, 1950. There were a total of 96 voters, 88 of which approved the measure to make Vestavia Hills its own city. In the book “Vestavia Hills, A Place Apart,” author Marvin Whiting recounts Vestavia Hills’ history, beginning simply as a densely wooded valley situated between Shades and Red mountains. It wasn’t until the late 1920s that people began building homes in what would become Vestavia. During the time of incorporation, he notes that there were approximately 600 residents in the area. In a letter to the community, Mayor Ashley Curry recounts a bit of this history, as well as the progress that has been made over the years. Today, the city is home to more than 35,000. “This growth is not surprising in light of the quality of life that we enjoy,” said Curry, who has called the community home for more than 30 years. The Vestavia Hills School System, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, was formed in 1970 and continues to grow; the Liberty Park

community joined the city in 1992; and the city gained Cahaba Heights in 2002. A city is not simply its quality of life, but its people, as well. City manager Jeff Downes in words to the community highlighted the people who have contributed to maintaining the “Life Above” quality Mayor Scotty McCallum led the that city officity for two terms, cials seek to a highlight of which provide. “Thanks to was the annexation of Cahaba Heights. Charles Byrd and his family, who first envisioned a city of ‘at least a thousand residents’ and invested in a residential development that would ‘tame the wilds’ of Shades Mountain and later invested in the first shopping center in Vestavia Hills,” Downes said. The city’s first mayor, Verner L. Adams, contributed greatly to the city’s growth, as did its second mayor, Robert Guillot. Guillot, Downes noted, focused on enhancing quality of life. Under his administration, parks were created, a library was built, a focus was placed on public safety services

and the educational system that became Vestavia Hills City Schools emerged. Mayors Sara Wuska and C. Pat Reynolds laid the foundation for the city’s continued focus on offering senior services to its residents and secured the annexation of Liberty Park. After retiring from his career as president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Mayor Scotty McCallum led the city for two terms, a highlight of which was the annexation of Cahaba Heights. He was succeeded by his assistant, Mayor Butch Zaragoza, who, Downes noted, “streamlined governmental services while enhancing certain opportunities for the convenience of its residents. “I would be remiss not to mention his selfless act of promoting a new form of government, as well, that led to the creation of the position I currently hold,” Downes said. Each mayor was supported by many other individuals to carry out the life above mission. “Mayor Ashley Curry and the current council continue to carry on the work of these fine individuals and should also be thanked for their tireless efforts,” Downes added. “The giving people of our community and its leaders should be proud.”

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LIFE

10 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

‘The Right Thing to Do’

with special needs. Medical Properties Trust hasn’t suffered in the “It was the most wonderful experience for my chilsame way many other companies and organizations dren, and I hope my children were able to provide have during this pandemic. The company own hospiwonderful experiences for those kids as well,” he said. tals all over the world. “We actually own the largest number of hospitals Children Brought Them Together outside of governmental entities,” he said. “We’re Aldag and Mitchell’s Place founders Allen and somewhere around 400 hospitals. Nancy Meisler first met through their children. His “We did very well and continue to do very well oldest daughter was close friends with their daughter, during the pandemic. We never suffered from the cash and his son was in the same grade as their son flow issues that so many people are suffering from.” Mitchell. Aldag and the company as a whole have made a As Aldag’s son and Mitchell concerted effort to pour some of became close friends, his own relathat good fortune back into the While the Medical tionship with the Meislers grew. Birmingham community where it is Properties Trust name “While I have always loved most desperately needed: philanthropic organizations. can be seen sponsoring children and they have always held special place in my heart, seeing “Part of our philosophy, from a variety of fundraising ahow my children interacted with the very beginning when we started this company, is that if we do well, efforts throughout the children with special needs really me to Mitchell’s Place.” we are going to be sure we give community, Mitchell’s led The namesake of Mitchell’s back,” Aldag said. Place holds a special Place, Mitchell was diagnosed with The Medical Properties Trust at age 2 and inspired his name can be seen sponsoring a place in Aldag’s heart. autism parents to create their multi-discivariety of fundraising efforts plinary facility, which provides throughout the community, but Mitchell’s Place holds a special place in Aldag’s heart. diagnostic services, treatment and education to children with autism spectrum disorder as well as neuroIt’s rooted in his love for children. This year is the typical peers while providing family and community organization’s 15th anniversary, and Aldag has been support. along for much of that ride. Later on, when the Meislers were looking to take Before moving to Mountain Brook about 16 years Mitchell’s Place to a new level of growth, Aldag said ago, Aldag’s three children attended The Montgomery he was one of the people they reached out to. “I just Academy. It wasn’t a place where his kids interacted fell in love with it,” he said. with children who had special needs in the classroom. According to Aldag, if you have a true love of all “When we moved to Mountain Brook, our youngchildren, it’s difficult to remain uninvolved in those est was in third grade, our oldest was in eighth grade community organizations that support the success of and our son was in fifth grade,” he said. children with special needs. It was the first time his children had experience See ALDAG, page 11 with a school system that mainstreamed its students

Kids Come First

By Emily Williams It has been a tumultuous year for many nonprofit organizations throughout the greater Birmingham area and the nation. Mitchell’s Place is no different. Regardless, it has made its way through the pandemic doing what it always does – helping kids. This year marks the organization’s 15th anniversary, and it has been a crucial one. Things have not slowed down at Mitchell’s Place during the pandemic. “Our waitlist has gotten longer, if anything, during this time,” said Lauren Graham, director of the Applied Behavioral Analysis Program at Mitchell’s Place, which she surmises is because of psychologists’ ability

to hold appointments via video call and continue to diagnose children. Meanwhile, fundraising efforts have taken a hit. “One of our biggest fundraisers of the year, our Dragon Boat Race that takes place in August, had to be canceled,” Graham said. Luckily, the organization’s community supporters have been there to lighten the load. One of the latest efforts is the new Backyard Music Series at the Grand River Drive-In, benefiting Mitchell’s Place and Children’s of Alabama. The first installment will take place Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. and will feature the North Mississippi Allstars. For more information, visit the Grand River Drive-In Alabama Facebook page.

Photo courtesy Lauren Graham

Mitchell’s Place Continues Offering Services as COVID Crashes Its 15th Anniversary

Photo courtesy Medical Properties Trust

Continued from Page One

Aldag and Medical Properties Trust have made a concerted effort to pour some of the results of the company’s success into the Birmingham community where it is most desperately needed: philanthropic organizations.

‘As a behavior analyst, we have an ethical obligation to make efforts to avoid any interruption of services and that’s because it can lead to regression in skills for clients. So, my main goal was to see how we could get the doors open to provide services for our clients.’ LAUREN GRAHAM

“It has been amazing to see our community finding ways to support us in such a difficult time,” Graham said, and that support has helped the staff in its efforts to persevere.

Keeping Services Going

Before the pandemic, Graham’s day-to-day work involved expanding Mitchell’s Place services and over seeing the facility’s ABA treatment program. Her work during the pandemic has greatly shifted toward keeping the organization’s services running in a safe and healthy way. “As a behavior analyst, we have an ethical obligation to make efforts to avoid any interruption of services and that’s because it can lead to regression in skills for clients,” Graham said. “So, my main goal was to see how we could get the doors open to provide services for our clients.” Her efforts to support the entire

See GRAHAM page 11


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Virtual Wine Auction Friday

The Tum Tum Tree Foundation will host its 2020 Virtual Wine Auction on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., and is presented by Medical Properties Trust. This will be the final event, following several virtual vintner dinners organized by participating restaurants and winemakers: Bottega and Holman Ranch; and brick & tin and DuMOL and Donelan Family Wines; Brian Somershield and Gamble Family Vineyards and Somnium Wines;

GRAHAM From page 10

Mitchell’s Place community included her own daughter, who attends preschool at Mitchell’s Place. “She’s a typical kid in our preschool,” Graham said. She said it was difficult for herself and her husband when it came time for her to make the decision to keep working during the COVID-19 threat. “But we knew that was the right decision for us, because without me working, a lot of this wouldn’t have happened,” she said. Mitchell’s Place Development Coordinator Lizzy Hubbard said Graham has been essential in keeping the doors of the facility open during the pandemic. “In our mission, we’re trying to help improve the quality of life, and the only way we can do that is with services that aren’t interrupted,” Graham said. When children with disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder experience gaps in their treatment, Graham said, there is plenty of research that proves there is a tendency to regress. “For our kids, that regression is in communication or social skills, any of those big characteristics of autism, and an increase in problem behaviors, too,” she said. “If they’re not receiving therapy here, they are at home in a stressful environment because

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 11

LIFE Automatic Seafood & Oysters with Booker Vineyards and Vineyard 7&8; Ollie Irene and Hirsch and Cruse Wine Co.; The Essential and Fisher Vineyards and Peay Vineyards; and Blueprint on

COVID is effecting us all and their parents may have to work, as well.” The services also are something parents cannot recreate in the home. “ABA therapy is not something that just any parent can pick up and do,” Graham said. “I’m sure a lot of our parents were in survival mode and, as soon as we reopened our doors, the positive response from our families let us know that it was the right decision.” To keep the facility open, things had to change. Luckily, many parents of children with autism are equipped with the ability to go with the flow, according to Graham. “We used to have an open-door policy, and that has been the hardest thing for our parents and for us, because a big part of what we do is parent training, parent buy-in and trying to teach them how to use some of these techniques in a home setting,” Graham said. Regardless, the community has established a sense of normalcy amid the chaos of COVID. “Our clients are still making progress and we are still able to offer a highly effective treatment,” she said, though it has all taken a toll on the staff. “They have turned into front-line workers through all of this, and that is not what they signed up for,” she said. “The changes we have had to make have also limited their social interactions.”

3rd with Senses and Villa Creek-MAHA. Bidding was scheduled to open on Nov. 11. On Nov. 13, auctioneer Greg Quiroga will lead the live auction. In addition, guests can order a charcuterie board packaged, organized by Chez Fonfon, including three bottles of wine from honorary chairs Susan and Tom Lowder of Holman Ranch. Boards and wine can be picked up prior to the event at 2824 5th Ave S from 2-4 p.m. For more information, visit tumtumtreefoundation.org.

ALDAG From page 10

“Some of my favorite times are either graduation or the Christmastime, when I get to see the kids and visit with the kids,” he said.

‘Quit Worrying About Money’

When the pandemic struck and Mitchell’s Place was hit hard, Aldag said, it was a time to take immediate action. The most important hurdle to tackle was how to keep their services running safely. “I called Sara Nall (Mitchell’s Place executive director) and Allen and told them to quit worrying about money,” he said. “Here is a check, and we will all get through this together.” There wasn’t a second thought. “When you are fortunate like we have been to do very well, giving back is so very important to our community,” he said. “We had the ability to stand up and do it, so we did. “We have had a lot of charities, Mitchell’s Place being one of those, that were struggling,” he added. “These kids still needed a place, and these families still needed a place for their kids. So, we had the ability, the wherewithal and the love for Mitchell’s Place.”

Wallace-Burke owners, Preston Foy and David Hezlep, above, from left, bring to the fine jewelry business over 70 years of experience.

Your Trusted Jeweler

W

allace-Burke Fine Jewelers began as a brick-and-mortar business in the fall of 2007. The owners, Preston Foy and David Hezlep, pictured above, from left, bring to the fine jewelry business over 70 years of experience. Over the thirteen years since opening, Wallace-Burke Fine Jewelers has become the premier local jeweler in Homewood. In addition to providing fashion forward jewelry, Wallace-Burke creates custom, one-of-a-kind jewelry from family heirlooms. The process is simple. Wallace-Burke will harvest the gemstones from the older jewelry and repurpose them into an all new custom design piece more in line with today’s fashion. “It truly is the most economical way for someone to have new fine jewelry,” said Preston. Not only does Wallace-

Burke have a selection of fine jewelry, but also unique giftware. Items you just can’t find in your “Big Box” stores. “Because of our history and experiences over the years we have developed vital relationships worldwide with quality artisans that enable us to produce almost anything one will ever see or imagine,” said David. “Come by Wallace-Burke for your holiday shopping and take advantage of the 20-50 percent discounts on selected items,” said Preston.

Award-winning jewelry designer Patrick Conway.


12 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

LIFE

Roll with It

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Vestavia Hills Biker Keeps His Wheels Turning Virtually to Support Homeless and At-risk Children By Emily Williams

Photos courtesy Don Hagan

Don Hagan took off from San Diego on March 6, just Hagan and his bike making a cross-country trip to Florida. Throughout the ride, he was fundraising, asking his supporters to pledge $30 – one penny per mile biked – to support Presbyterian Home for Children.

LAST DANCE Continued from Page One

Through the years You’ve never let me down You’ve turned my life around The sweetest days I’ve found I’ve found with you Through the years I’ve never been afraid I’ve loved the life we’ve made And I’m so glad I stayed Right here with you Through the years During that last Thursday evening pep rally, Anderson thought it would be a nice touch to have one last dance with Linda on the field that bears his name. Anderson made an arrangement with Vestavia Hills band director Jerell Horton to play “Through the Years” over the public address system right after he introduced his family. As the song played, Buddy and Linda danced. “It was a very moving moment for both of us,” the 70-year-old said, “kind of a climax to my career, a neat thing.”

The Last Game

The next night, the Rebels took the field against longtime rival Shades Valley for Anderson’s final game. The schools had played a number of memorable games during Anderson’s tenure, perhaps none

more memorable than the Rebels’ 42-35 overtime victory against the Mounties in the semifinals of the 1998 state playoffs. Vestavia Hills went on to win Anderson’s second state championship the following week. But nothing that significant was riding on the outcome of this matchup — except for Anderson going out a winner. In the days leading up the game, Anderson spent little time thinking about it being his finale. “To me, I prepared like it was any other game,” he said. “I prepared them the best I could. The main thing was to get them ready for Shades Valley, for them to be ready to play a good Shades Valley football team.” Anderson didn’t make any special pregame speech, but the Rebels played inspired football, rolling to a 52-27 victory as senior quarterback Braden Glenn accounted for five touchdowns, three rushing and two passing. The 52 points were the most the Rebels’ scored in a game this season. Anderson estimated that 150 to 200 of his former players were in attendance and around for a postgame reception. “I got to see most of them,” he said. “I didn’t remember all of their names, but once I looked at them, I knew who they were.” After the game, Anderson shared kisses with Linda and his three daughters and was surrounded by his

At the beginning of October, Vestavia Hills’ Don Hagan concluded a more than six-month cross-country bike journey – though it took a little more imagination than expected. Though a literal cross-country ride could not be finished safely in a pandemic, he found a way to complete his efforts virtually. On March 6, Hagan was not in his Vestavia Hills hometown, glued to the television taking in the pandemic news. He was in California. One of the retired Southern Company nuclear engineer’s dreams has been to bike across the country and raise money for the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega and its Ascension Leadership Academy. He took off from San Diego on March 6, just Hagan and his bike making a cross-country trip to Florida. The plan was to arrive in St. Augustine, Florida, by April 27. Throughout the ride, he was fundraising, asking his supporters to pledge $30 – one penny per mile biked – to support Presbyterian Home for Children. Those efforts raised more than 600,000 pennies for the children’s home. Throughout his journey, he carried a picture of the kids at the home as a reminder of his purpose. “We are overwhelmed with gratitude for donors like Don who help us provide a path of

seven grandchildren. A decree from Gov. Kay Ivey was read over the loudspeaker. Linda was quite emotional in the aftermath. “I am crushed because this has been our thing and this has been our

‘We’re looking forward to doing some other things. It’s going to be an adjustment for me and Linda. God has a plan for me and I’m looking forward to that.’ BUDDY ANDERSON

life together since we married,” she said. “I’m so proud of him and he’s let me be a part of it.” Anderson kept his emotions in check. “When the game was over, it was a relief,” he said. “But it was a fun day, a great day.”

The Last Season

Anderson had announced during the summer that the 2020 season would be his swan song. It was the 40th anniversary season of his first state championship, in 1980. The season began inauspiciously

hope and a place of healing for the children and families entrusted to us,” said Doug Marshall, president of the Presbyterian Home for Children. Hagan is a bit of a staple in the home’s community. Sometimes he can be seen gliding by on his bike, a Trek Madone named Erowin because, “it’s light as air and fast as the wind.” From Marshall’s perspective, Hagan’s contributions have been more than monetary, they have infused a bit of excitement into the home’s day-to-day operations. “There has been a lot of excitement around Don’s Coast 2 Coast Challenge,” he said. Hagan was documenting his journey on his Facebook page as well as social media channels of his church, Edgewood Presbyterian Church. He peddled through 768 of the 3,203 miles over the course of two weeks, meeting people and sleeping in a tent, a gym, a national guard armory and a hotel. Then his plans came to a halt March 21. Quarantines shut down many of the places where he planned to sleep along his route. Finally, he rented a car in El Paso, Texas, and drove home to Vestavia Hills. “While I’m disappointed, I’m still very proud of what God has led me to do,” Hagan wrote in a Facebook post at the time. “I never would have experienced getting to know the kids at the home had I not done this. I believe every penny donated was for them more than

when Anderson — and Linda — were infected with the coronavirus along with some of the Rebels’ players less than two weeks before the season kicked off. Vestavia Hills had to shut down practice and cancel their first two games against rivals Mountain Brook and Homewood. Both games went into the record books as forfeits. When the Rebels finally returned to action, they had to play arch-rival Hoover. They fought hard but fell 24-21. Vestavia Hills lost three of its next four games with the only victory coming against Tuscaloosa County, 17-10, on Sept. 18. After losses to Thompson (38-9) and Hewitt-Trussville (42-35), saddling them with an unsightly 1-6 record, the Rebels closed the season with victories over Spain Park (32-7), Gadsden City (45-7) and Shades Valley, narrowly missing the playoffs with a 4-6 overall record. The Rebels were victims of the late start to the season and some unfortunate breaks along the way, but Anderson believes the team was much better than its record indicated. “It was definitely a different year than other seasons, that’s for sure,” Anderson said. “At the end of the year, I definitely felt like we were a playoff team. We had improved by leaps and bounds. “They can count those (forfeit) losses against my record, but I feel like we won four, lost four and COVID won two.” Anderson is thankful the Rebels had a season because late in the sum-

mer, he wasn’t sure whether they would play any games. “I guess I am pleased that we got to play eight games,” he said. “I never dreamed we would make it through the season because of the virus.” Anderson, the winningest high school coach in state history, ends his career with a record of 346-160 and two state championships.

The Last Inventory

On the Monday after his final game, Anderson was back in his office and in the locker room. “After 49 years, I’ve got a lot of stuff to go through and discard a lot of it,” he said. “I’ve also got to get an inventory together. I never had to do that right after the season because I was always coming back.” He was also preparing to meet with players, get ready to hand out team awards and vote on permanent captains for the 2020 season. Anderson’s retirement isn’t official until Jan. 1 and then it will be time for the next phase of his life, whatever that is. “We’re looking forward to doing some other things,” Anderson said. “It’s going to be an adjustment for me and Linda. God has a plan for me and I’m looking forward to that.” Then, he reflected on his career, doing another inventory of sorts. “There are so many memories,” he said. “I’ve coached so many great kids. I have been so blessed and I am very humbled.”


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 13

LIFE Hagan gave each student at the Ascension Leadership Academy a penny which was washed in the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.

some crazy man riding a bicycle.”

Reimagining His Trek

Nevertheless, Hagan was determined to finish his work in whatever way he could. He began by riding 50 to 60 miles several days a week along the back roads of Shelby, St. Clair and Talladega counties. All the while he wrote posts for Facebook as if he were traveling through the country, with vivid imagery and facts. On his figurative trek from Madison, Florida, to High Springs, Florida, he describes the “very low traffic roads with smooth pavement, wide shoulders along lush green fields

and live oak forests with Spanish moss dripping from the branches as they hung over the road.” He even pretended to stop as he passed O’Leno State Park outside of High Springs to help a gopher tortoise cross the road. “On a side note, I didn’t post a picture of my leg where a dog bit me last week down in Shelby County,” Hagan noted, adding that it was the first time he had ever been bitten by a dog. While he still had planned to finish in late April, his timeline did not hold. Luck doesn’t seem to be taking any sides this year, and Hagan is no exception. He was injured in a bike

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Orange Porange!

Birmingham-Based Creative Team Publishes Children’s Book

By Rubin E. Grant Howard Pearlstein didn’t set out to write a children’s book. It just kind of happened. A few years ago, Pearlstein was reflecting on his life and decided he wanted to be a better person. He set up some challenges for himself, particularly physically and relationally. Then, he began listening to a bunch of podcasts. One mentioned that a person spends the bulk of their creative lives doing something for someone else and not for themselves. Pearlstein, chief creative officer at o2ideas, had been working more than 30 years in advertising when he got an idea about becoming an author. “Nobody cares that I did all these commercials,” Pearlstein said. “I thought I would like to write a book. My whole career in advertising was spent writing short stories for radio and print advertising, so I thought I’d write a short story for a book.” Thus was born “Orange Porange,” a K-2 grade teaching tool that was published in mid-October. “Orange Porange” chronicles Orange’s search for a way to belong. A description of the book states that everyone feels alone and so very different from others at some point in their lives — like nobody can possibly understand what it’s like to not fit in -– but it can be especially difficult for young children to feel like outsiders among their peers. Since all the other colors make rhyming look so easy, poor Orange can’t find a rhyme for itself — no matter how hard it tries. Filled with clever rhymes and nonsense words, Orange Porange teaches the importance of inclusion and acceptance and the value of a sense of belonging. “I just started trying to write something that appealed to children,” Pearlstein said. “My wife, Debi, teaches kindergarten and she’s always telling me these stories about the children and I figured it’s important to feel you belong. And even though you might not feel you belong, there is a place for you. “Happy people make the world a

Photos courtesy Howard Pearlstein/Rob Hardison

Pride and responsibility drive us to be the best in everything we do.

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Author Howard Pearlstein, above, got his co-worker and longtime friend Rob Hardison, left, with daughter Frances, a writer and art director at o2ideas, to illustrate the book.

better place, and one major factor for happiness is a sense of belonging.” Pearlstein got his co-worker and longtime friend Rob Hardison, a writer and art director at o2ideas, to illustrate the book. Pearlstein has collaborated with Hardison on work for brands such as Honda, Verizon, BBVA and Buffalo Rock. Pearlstein said Hardison was thrilled to be illustrating his first book, especially with the arrival of his first child, Frances. “His wife was pregnant and he wanted to have something special for her,” Pearlstein said. As the story in the book unfolds, Orange meets an array of other colors and listens to them boast their

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rhymes: “Red … Head! Sled! Bed!” But with each color he meets, he fails to find a rhyme for his own color: “Orange … Rorange?” Alas, just when Orange feels all hope is lost, Purple introduces himself, revealing to Orange a kindred spirit and to the young reader the truth that nobody is ever so different that there’s not someone else in the same boat.

More to Come

The book is published by Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd. It is available on Amazon at $10 for the hardcover and $7.99 for a Kindle version. Pearlstein used to live in Mountain Brook but now lives in Birmingham. His three daughters – Amanda, Jacquie and Emily – all graduated from Mountain Brook High School. He already has two more books in the works, “Sally Ann McFidgetbottom,” which will be published in 2021 by Clavis Publishing, and “This Book Is Not for You,” which will be published by Familius Publishing in spring 2022. “My ultimate goal is to make the world a better place through my writing, while also entertaining the reader,” Pearlstein said.


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

PEOPLE toe board on the Sensory Trail at Red Mountain Park.

Photo courtesy Troop 588

Mountain Brook’s Knott Among First Female Class of Eagle Scouts

Scouts Carrie and Lorino Earn Highest Catholic Medal in Scouting

Two Over the Mountain Boy Scouts, Konnor Carrie of Hoover and Michael Lorino of Mountain Brook, recently earned the Pope Pius Xll Catholic religious medal, the highest Catholic medal a scout can earn, in a special Mass at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Bessemer.  This award focuses on an intensive understanding of different life vocations as well as current issues facing the church and society. The scouts earned the award following an eight-week course that requires participants to reflect inward and apply their faith to their life’s purpose. The Rev. Gerald Holloway from St. Aloysius Catholic Church facilitated their Pope Pius Xll course and Christopher Arnold mentored the scouts. Carrie and Lorino have been scouts together since first grade at Our Lady of Sorrows. They have held many leadership positions in their troop, Troop 588, and both have earned the Arrow of Light Award and become members of the Brotherhood of the Order of the Arrow. They also have earned the Ad Altare Dei, which means to the altar of God and is a Catholic religious award given by the Catholic Committee on Scouting. Carrie and Lorino each have earned more than 70 merit badges, three gold palms, three silver palms and three bronze palms in their scouting careers. Carrie earned his Eagle Scout a few days after turning 14.  For his eagle project, he built an eight-way ENO hammock station at Oak Mountain Park.  Lorino achieved his Eagle Scout rank at the age of 13. His Eagle project involved installing a vertical tic-tac-

Mountain Brook teen Walden Knott made history on Sept. 30 when she became one of the nation’s first female Eagle Scouts. Knott is among hundreds of young women who will make up the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts. “I have always wanted to become an Eagle Scout,” Knott said. “I attended my brother’s cub scout meetings and campouts when we were younger, and I wanted to join them when they crossed over into their troop.” While young women have been part of scouting for decades in co-ed programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America, the BSA expanded that legacy further in recent years by welcoming girls into Cub Scouts. In February, young women were accepted into the Scouts BSA programs for youth ages 11-17, formerly known as Boy Scouts. Since then, tens of thousands of young women throughout Alabama and across the country have joined the organization’s most iconic program with many, including Knott, working their way toward the rank of Eagle Scout. “Scouting has already opened countless doors for me, such as staffing Wood Badge, a national leadership training course, and summer camp at Camp Comer,” Knott said. “These opportunities, along with everything I have learned as part of Troop 86 Green and Venturing Crew 2010, have helped make me the person I am today. I can definitely see the skills and values I have internalized through scouting helping me during college and in my future career.” Eagle Scout is the program’s highest rank, which only an average of about 6% of Scouts achieve. To earn it, an individual has to take on leadership roles within their troop and their community; earn a minimum of 21 merit badges that cover a broad range of topics including first aid and safety, civics, business and the environment; and research, organize and complete a large community service project. “Earning the rank of Eagle Scout takes hard work and perseverance,

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 15

and we are honored to recognize Walden Knott for this significant accomplishment,” said J.T. Dabbs, scout executive and CEO of the Greater Alabama Council. “Along the journey to Eagle Scout, young people gain new skills, learn to overcome obstacles and demonstrate leadership among their peers and in their communities. These benefits are invaluable for everyone, and we are thrilled that they are now available to even more youth.” Knott demonstrated her leadership and project management skills in her Eagle Scout Service Project, which benefitted St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Brook. To complete the project, Knott led 24 young people and 15 adults from the community in nearly 600 hours of service work to construct a meditation and prayer garden on the church campus. “At St.Stephen’s, our focus is on caring for (God’s) creation ... and using nature to help people connect to God,” said the Rev. John Burruss, the church’s rector. An Eagle Scout himself, Burrus also noted how prepared Knott was when seeking project approval from the vestry. “In April, she got on a Zoom call with the church vestry, the governing body of the church, and delivered a PowerPoint presentation with the proposal and costs,” he said. Burruss added that the garden already has been in use by the clergy as well as parishioners who can use it to maintain distance during conversations.

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SOCIAL

16 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

Alison Bruhn and Delia Folk.

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Hope Roddam and Traci Owen.

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Chelsea Eytel, Molly Dance, Krista Robinson, Lillian Brand and Charlotte Brakmann.

HOUSE PARTY BH&G Hosts Inspiration Home Preview

A

John Mark and Dee Bentley.

preview party was held Nov. 4 to give supporters a sneak peek at the Birmingham Home & Garden’s 2020 Inspiration Home. The five-bedroom, house at 3025 Firefighter Lane in Homewood was built by Willow Homes, and landscaping was designed by Lorberbaum McNair & Associates. Tours of the house will be given through Nov. 29, and tickets can be purchased at birminghamhomeandgarden.com/inspiration-home. A portion of funds raised will benefit charity partner Ronald McDonald House, which offers families throughout the state and the United States a place to stay while their children seek life-saving treatment at Children’s of Alabama and UAB Hospital. ❖

Lynn Steffek and Leigh Misso.

Leah Ansardi and Jason Newton.

Barry and Cathy DeLozier.

Alison Hallman and Joey Lee.

Birmingham Home & Garden Publisher Walker Sorrell and Editor Cathy Still McGowin.

Chris Carter and Kristin Norris.

Sherri Jeffcoat and Melanie Hill.

Acuk and Tabitha Fong.

Caroline Luckie and Cathy Luckie.

Alison McCain and Candace Grice.


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Birmingham Zoo Hosts Second Installment of Craft Beer Tasting Fundraiser Riding on the coattails of the first installment, Zoo Brews: Drafts at a Distance Round Two took place Oct. 30. The sold-out event offered guests tastings of a wide variety of craft beers produced by brewers from all over Alabama and the Southeast. To sample a beer, guests paid a penny at each booth. At the end of the event, all of the pennies were collected and donated to the zoo’s Emergency Animal Fund. In addition, food trucks onsite for the event included Pazzo Big Slice Pizza, Corazon Mexican Food and Dixie Dogs N Coneys. ❖

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Tip One for the Elephants

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Cristin Barnes and Halie Pfefferkorn.

Carissa Thomas, Jessica Grayson and Greg Ikner.

Sarah Frances Jackson and Preston Simmons.

Christine’s on Canterbury

representing over 35 companies with products

MADE IN THE USA Store hours Monday - Saturday, 10 - 5 However, for anyone wishing a private shopping experience, please contact us for an appointment.

Zachary and Mary Atwood.

Celebrating our 49th Thanksgiving and Christmas Season in Moutain Brook Village.

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 17


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18 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

Kim McGuire, Lauryn Walker, Tonya Jones and Lisa Greene.

Block Party!

Fall Edit Celebrates New Businesses and Milestones at Lane Parke Lane Parke’s Rele Street in Mountain Brook Village was closed off Oct. 22 for The Fall Edit, a block party to celebrate Phase 1 of the development being 100% leased. The event began with multiple ribbon cuttings to mark the recent opening of Post Office Pies, Sol Y Luna and Carriage House Weddings. Live music was provided by Derek Day, and surrounding retailers offered extended store hours and complimentary drinks. Pop-up shops on-site included The House Plant Collective, Thrifty Things and Earrings, Natalie Zoghby Art and Katie Creative Co. ❖

Prepare for Holiday Roadtrips! 10% off on any service or repair 3266 Cahaba Heights Road • 205-967-8192 Open M-F 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or discounts. Coupon has no cash value. (Maximum Discount $50.00) Coupon expires Dec. 31st, 2020.

Location 3266 Cahaba Heights Road • Vestavia, AL 35243

205-967-8192 www.ucccbirmingham.mechanicnet.com

Amy Castro, Morgan Reaves, Merrye Summers Stradtman and Rachael Pintaric. Below, from left: Lisa Greene and Sara Roan. Ryan and Anna Bell Hamner.


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 19

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Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Left, Morgan, Leah, Carson and Todd Eagle. Far, left, Rae Patterson. Below, a Red Shouldered Hawk.

Happy Owl-o-Ween Alabama Wildlife Center Brought Out the Raptors for Its Halloween Event Costumed kids and adults mingled with some of the Alabama Wildlife Center’s birds of prey Oct. 24 as the center hosted its annual Owl-o-Ween event. Treat bags were passed out at a social distance and center staff conducted activities and showcased demonstrations featuring live owls, hawks, falcons and the center’s resident bald eagle, Shelby. The event also included the release of a rehabilitated owl back into the wild. ❖

Allie Hughes and Sidney Nottingham.

Daniel and Jeremiah Cashio.

To: From: Date:

5299 Valleydale Road, Suite 111 980-9030 southeasternjewelers.net (1/4 mile off 280)

Renee Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., 205-824-1246, fax October

This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the Oct. 15, 2020 issue. Please contact your sales representative as soon as possible to approve your ad or make changes. You may fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number!

Please initial and fax back within 24 hours.

If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday.

Thank you for your prompt attention.

FROM THE FIRST KISS TO THE LAST DANCE 205.354.0171 valleyhotelbirmingham.com

JUST SAY I DO.


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Happy Holidays!

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Autumn in the Gardens

Hoover Service Club Hosts First Installment of Hearts in Harmony Fundraiser

from

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Wild Birds Unlimited

Tynette Lynch, Mona Stephens and Jan Harris.

Judy McDaniel, Pam Crider and Lynda Wasden.

This year, the Hoover Service Club has split its annual Hearts in Harmony fundraiser into two socially distanced events. The first segment, Hearts in Harmony: Autumn in the Gardens, took place Oct. 22 BIRDFOOD at the Aldridge Gardens Pavilion. FEEDERS Live entertainment welGARDEN ACCENTS comed guests to the event, with socially distanced seatUNIQUE GIFTS ing and gourmet boxed din1580 Montgomery Hwy, Birmingham ners. 823-6500 • www.wbu.com/birmingham A variety of bottles of wine, experiences, artwork, decor and more items were donated by supporters and Shelley Shaw, Barbara Henry, Bonnie Campbell, Peggy Dupuy and Jean Ingram. sold in a silent auction orgaTo: WBU nized by Judy McDaniel. From: Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 Also up for auction were gift FAX: 205-824-1246 cards to local restaurants, clothing All funds raised through the eveDate: Nov, 2020 stores and more area establishments, ning’s festivities will be distributed which helped raise funds for the as scholarships to deserving Hoover This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the organization while also drumming students and to worthy programs Nov. 12, 2020 issue. Please fax approval or changes 824-1246. up to more support for local businessserving various needs within the es. Hoover community. ❖

Designer Consignment Boutique....

Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number! Please initial and fax back within 24 hours.

If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday.

It’s Wish List ...prompt attention. ThankTime you for your

put Second Hand Rose on that list!

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Saturday, January 14, 2012 10am - 5pm ONE DAY ONLY!

Everything in the store 25% - 80% Off Hundreds of pieces of Fall & Winter merchandise plus previewing new Spring & Summer merchandise


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 21

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Journal photos by Jordan Wald

volunteer coordinator Christina Toney-Schmitt. “How does one even define hope? “Tonight, we gather in celebration, in community, in the spirit of the light which drives out the darkness,” she said.

“Definitions live on a page, but hope and light are amongst us. We gather tonight in the spirit of hope, of celebration and of love. We gather to bask in the light that shines within each of us and for one another.” ❖

Small Business Saturday November 28th

Alaina, Diane and Louis Pineda.

Lauren, Evelyn and Stuart Roberts.

Beacons of Hope

Barbara and Samantha Nichols.

HANNA

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Santa has a sleigh full of surprises. Our oneof -a kind collection of rugs, silver, jewelry, furniture, glassware, and more qualify us as an official Santa’s Helper. Rooms and rooms of antiques, curiosities and fun.

Forge Survivorship Center Casts Light into the Dark for Breast Cancer Survivors and Families Members of the community gathered Oct. 29 at the Forge Survivorship Center for the inaugural Beacons of Hope lighting event. The evening honored those who have been touched by breast cancer. Samford University student and Forge intern Samantha Nichols came up with the event while looking for a way to honor her mother, who is a 12-year breast cancer survivor. Luminaries were sold throughout October, and they were lit and placed along the center’s porch and sidewalk on the evening of the

Call us “Hanna Claus”

Be Unique, Give an Antique. 2424 7th Ave. So.

Claire and Patrick Gray.

event. “As we named this event Beacons of Hope, what is the correlation between hope and light?” said

Major credit cards accepted

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Rare Opportunity 4 Lots Available

To: From: Date:

323-6014 Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 FAX: 205-824-1246 November 2020 This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNT Nov. 12, 2020 issue. Please fax approval or cha

Please make sure all information including address and phone

Please initial and fax back within 24

If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday befo your ad will run as is. We print the paper Mo

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Homesites for Sale in Prestigious Gated Vestavia Hills Community: $109,000 Only 4 lots remain in the exclusive community of Viridian, one mile off Highway 31 on Tyler Road, convenient to Birmingham’s major Interstates, shopping and recreation. Bring your builder or let Wedgworth Construction design and build your dream home.

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OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL • TOY STORY • THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2020 • PAGE 22

Play On! Over the Mountain Toy Stores Have Hot Stuff for Happy Holidays STORY BY EMILY WILLIAMS e PHOTOS BY JORDAN WALD

W

hile this holiday season is sure to look a little different, it will still be filled with traditions, and the Over the Mountain Journal has one of its own: checking in with neighborhood toy gurus to find out what’s new this year. Our friends at Homewood Toy & Hobby, Smith’s Variety and Snoozy’s Kids have shared suggestions for toys and fun stuff for all ages. They also shared with us what they’ve learned about the toy business during the age of the coronavirus.

Homewood Toy & Hobby owner Tricia McCain is a big fan of Lite Brite Ultimate Classic.

Smith’s Variety owner Brad Simpson has his eye on trucks this year, especially those made by Tonka and Bruder.

Snoozy’s Kids owner George Jones with one of this year’s hottest toys, the Toniebox.

Tricia McCain HOMEWOOD TOY & HOBBY

Brad Simpson SMITH’S VARIETY

George Jones SNOOZY’S KIDS

What have you learned about the importance of toys during this pandemic? During the early stages of the pandemic, everyone was stuck together. So, having stuff to do together as a family has been so important. It’s easy for members of a family to go off and do their own thing. I find our kids doing that, going to their rooms. It takes a bit of effort to find things that everybody SMITH’S VARIETY is at can do together. That’s why 45 Church St. in Mountain games or puzzles, even Brook’s Crestline Village. For though it is nothing new, more information, call 205have been something that is 871-0841 or visit the store’s so popular because families Facebook page. are wanting to spend more time together. What have you learned about your customers and yourself in your store during this pandemic? If people know what they want, they’re just going to go buy it online. People come to Smith’s and other small businesses to be treated like a person. Customers want to be engaged with, they don’t want to be just a number. I think that’s why people continue to shop at small businesses like ours. They want the personal experience. They know they can come here and get a great suggestion and they know they are going to be taken care of. We’ve been blown away by just how great our customers have been through this pandemic, the loyalty of our customers wanting to go out of their way to shop at a small store like ours when they don’t have to. They know the importance of trying to keep businesses like ours around. We appreciate that. We couldn’t say enough kind things about our customers and the people in our community. Smith’s Variety is at 45 Church St. in Mountain Brook’s Crestline Village. For more information, call 205-871-0841 or visit the store’s Facebook page.

What have you learned about the importance of toys during this pandemic? Kids have had enough screen time with their schooling. So, parents want to get their kids away from their screens with toys. They are wanting more puzzles, games, art kits and just tried-and-true pieces – even Barbies – because you just want some good 3D play where you can use your hands. SNOOZY’S KIDS is at 228 Country Club Park in What have you learned Mountain Brook’s Crestline about your customers Village. For more information, and yourself in your store call 205-871-2662 or visit the during this pandemic? store’s Facebook page. Hopefully, after being here for 32 years, we’ve built up some trust within the community. Now they are trusting us even more. If you Google “best gift for a 13-year-old boy,” it’s going to come up with whoever paid the most for that ad. Unlike online buying, when you come into the store, you can see it, you can touch it and you can feel it. If you don’t want to come in and shop for health and safety reasons, we offer curbside pickup. We have a bin out front where we can place your gifts, or we can drop them off in your car. We can even shop with you over FaceTime or send pictures of our products. We’ll go with the flow and do whatever we need to do to meet you where you are. Truly, that’s where the joy comes in retail. It’s not about standing behind the counter scanning things, it is the interactions and relationships we create with others.

What have you learned about the importance of toys during this pandemic? You can never underestimate the value of play for a child. We have seen many parents buying toys that engage the entire family, such as puzzles, board games and outdoor activities. We have also seen more toys being purchased that are hands-on like craft and science kits. The hobby HOMEWOOD TOY & HOBBY department has had one is at 2830 18th St. S. in of its best seasons in years downtown Homewood. For because people are home more information, call 205more and have more time 879-3986 or visit the store’s to “play” with their RC cars Facebook page. and electric trains.   What have you learned about your customers and yourself in your store during this pandemic? Our customers have been great during the pandemic! The Homewood community has been very supportive of the entire downtown Homewood shopping district since the pandemic began. We had to make a few changes to our daily routines here, but it has all worked out well. What have people (Santa’s helpers) been buying for the holidays so far? So far, parents have been buying more big ticket items like scooters, art easels, play kitchens, etc. Lego is always a big seller for us and many customers have been stocking up on a variety of sets in anticipation of selling out before the holidays. Traxxas vehicles have been selling daily for boys in the 8- to 14-year range. Many of our customers have said that they plan to be done with their shopping before Thanksgiving.

New and Exciting

Upside Down Challenge Game, $24.99, has been getting a lot of buzz throughout the country, said store manager Julie Marix. “It comes with glasses that make you see everything upside down, and then you have different challenges that you have to do.” See HOMEWOOD TOY, page 23

What have people (Santa’s helpers) been buying for the holidays so far? The LumiPets have been something that started selling very quickly and the pet frogs, believe it or not. We have people

See SMITH’S, page 27

What have people (Santa’s helpers) been buying for the holidays so far? Santa’s helpers are shopping earlier this year because they have heard about shipping delays. We’ve already found that with a couple of items that are in our holiday catalog. Stock has started running low, so we have re-ordered them. But by the time they ship it to me – if it ships on time – it may be midDecember.

New and Exciting

One of George’s top picks of the holiday season is the

See SNOOZY’S, page 28


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

TOY STORY

HOMEWOOD TOY

Rubik’s Cubes Puzzles, $12.99-$24.99, never go out of style. “Every year it seems like they come out with a new one,” she said. “The newest one is the Orbit.”

From page 22

The interactive STEM kit Play Steam Robotic Fish, $24.99, has been one of the more popular gifts so far. “What is great about this is that it’s not just a remote control fish,” Julie said. “You build it and then you get to play with it.” It’s built for ages 6 and up, while most other robotics kits are geared toward older age groups. Though water globes are a familiar craft, the Creativity for Kids Sweet Treats Water Globes, $19.99, brings a new flavor. Kids can decorate their snow globe with dessert-themed characters they make themselves. “This is good for really any girl, even the girls that aren’t ‘super girly,’” Julie said. The Team Associated CR28 RC car, $54.99, is great for beginners and parents who don’t want to invest a ton of money right out of the gate. “It’s made by a hobby company, so you still have the great quality, but it’s a smaller size. You can do it inside and everything is included in the box, including the batteries,” Julie said. Riding off of the success of the award-winning Dimpl toy, Fat Brain Toys has introduced the larger Dimpl Duo, $19.99, that is great for ages 2 and up. Animal-themed LumiPets Night Lights, $23.99, are great for any age and are made of soft, squishy silicone that lights up in a variety of colors. “It’s soft enough that they can have it in bed with them, carry it around with them like a regular stuffed animal and it will eventually shut itself off,” Julie said. A mix between golf and badminton, the Hog Wild Toys Birdie Golf, $39.99, has been a very

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 23

Holiday Happies

popular purchase throughout much of the pandemic. “Customers have been gravitating toward things that get their kids outside,” Julie said. “We have sold a ton of these, because it’s just a great game for the whole family to enjoy together.”

Making a Comeback

The newest version of the Lite Brite, $26.99, includes the classic pegs and templates but is presented to look more like a tablet. A craft that has experienced a huge comeback this year is the Ann Williams Loopdedoo loom kit, $29.99, which offers a faster way to create friendship bracelets. “I think some people have even been using it to make mask lanyards,” Julie said. Art Easels, $79.99-$99.99, are a great gift in general, Julie said, and make a big statement

on Christmas morning. At Homewood Toy and Hobby, the Bruder Trucks brand, $29.99-$139.99, represents the latest and greatest in toy trucks. “They are made in Germany, not in China,” Julie said. “They also have lots of great licensing, so they make actual vehicles that you might see on the road.” Though it has a higher price point, she added that it is worth it in terms of quality. “If something pops off, nine times out of 10 it will pop back on. But if they are a bit rough with it and something breaks, Bruder will send you a new part for free.” A great gift for tiny tots is the Mirarri Pop Pop Piano, $29.99, a revamp of the classic piano toy. Colorful balls pop out of piano pipes as you press the keys to produce silly or classic piano sounds. “I’ve actually given this to numerous friends,” Julie said.

When it comes to stuffing a stocking, the smaller the better. The sale of compact Plus Plus Tubes, $7.99, never ceases, according to Julie. “We also have some bigger tubes and sets available,” she said. “They’re great because you can just sit and use your imagination to build.” Melissa & Doug Water Wow books, $4.99, are a staple at the store and are especially great for traveling, whether to the store or to another state. “You just fill the pen with water, you draw on the page, the color shows up, it will dry and then you can do it over and over again,” Julie said. The returning popularity of Yo-Yos, $5.99 and up, is a mystery to Julie. “We sell yo-yos to kids as young as 5 all the way up to teenagers,” she said. The collectable plushies Cats Vs Pickles, $6.99, are great stocking stuffers and pair with a game you can play on your smartphone. “The NeeDoh balls, $3.99, have been such a hit that they have come out with different variations,” Julie said. You can’t go wrong with the original, but there are other options that include minis, shaggy, cat-shaped, noodles and a large version.

Monday-Friday 9:30-6:30 • Saturday 9:30-5:30 • Sunday 12:00-5:00 in November & December 2830 18th Street South • Homewood, AL 35209 • 205.879.3986. • HomewoodToy-Hobby.com


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL • HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2020 • PAGE 24

WHAT’S in store FOR CHRISTMAS Deer napkin rings, $3 each, for the hostess with the best table. At Home Furnishings, 205-879-3510.

Y

OU KNOW THE DRILL. Santa’s supply chain involves a critical mid-

dleman (local merchants) in order to satisfy the requests of good boys and girls of all ages. e Over the last 30 years the staff at Over The Mountain Journal has developed strong relationships with the best local shops in the Birmingham area (our advertisers!) to help you find that perfect gift. eShopping local is great for our economy, Santa’s stress level and most importantly everyone on your shopping list. e

The Signature Hydrafacial, removes dead skin cells and extracts impurities while simultaneously bathing new skin with cleansing, hydrating and moisturizing serums. Soothing, refreshing, non-irritating and immediately effective, $175. Skin Wellness Dermatology, 205-871-7332.

Barefoot Dreams’ iconic CozyChic knit throw, $180. Simplicity and style with a luxurious touch makes this blanket the perfect gift. Gus Mayer, 205-870-3300.

Laurel Bassett handmade metal and gemstone cuffs, $114 each. Town & Country Clothes, 205- 871-7909.

Mystery Ranch’s Urban Assault Storm backpack, $125, comes in grey and black. Caliber, 205-9175800.

Canary diamond butterfly necklace in 18 karat gold, $1,850. JB & Co., 205-478-0455

Printed lounge pants from vineyard vines, $65, shown in Tree Deep Bay and Nantucket Tartan Red. vineyard vines, 205-970-9758.

A gift membership in the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a wonderful way to support BBG, a source of beauty and inspiration for our community and visitors for nearly six decades. Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 205-414-3950.

HoHoHo Love, Jingle Bell Love T-shirts in toddler, youth and adult sizes. elizabeth k. hubbard art, elizabethkhubbardart.com.

Beautiful assorted necklaces and jewelry from $32-$39. The Clotheshorse 205-823-9144.

Satisfy the most demanding of cravings with this curious salty and sweet snack made with 100% organic Louisiana fresh pecans, Holiday Fried Pecans, $14 each. The Cook Store, 205-879-5277.

Cookie Fix tin of cookies, sizes hold from 5-20 cookies, $16-55. Cookie Fix, Homewood, 205-582-2623; Cahaba Heights, 205-848-8001.

Christopher Radko ornament, “Boarding by Two,” $70. A portion of all sales will be donated to Children’s of Alabama. Bromberg’s, The Summit, 205-969-1776; Mountain Brook, 205-871-3276.

Weber Original Kettle Premium charcoal grill 22”, the authenticity of grilling with charcoal in a classic design recognized by all and with the taste loved around the world, $165. Little Hardware, 205-871-4616.

Sacco, a soft, weighted storage pouch for personal accessories. Never lose your reading glasses, pens, pencils and sunglasses again. Available in 5 bright or muted colors, $40. B. Prince, 205-871-1965.

This Christian Louboutin Anemone 2010 Barbie Doll, $225, has never been open and is still in factory tissue. Mary Charles Doll House, 205870-5544.

Frasier Fir candles, spray and diffusers, starting at $11, offer the scent of a freshly cut tree to evoke holiday memories and the warmth of the season. Three Sheets, 205-871-2337.


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 25

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

White gold and diamond necklaces by DM Kordansky. Levy’s Fine Jewelry, 205-251-3381.

Antique bread boards, range from $225 - 265. Henhouse Antiques, 205-918-0505.

Bunny Wrap, $142, available in black and white, is the softest faux fur wrap for your special holiday occasions. Ryan Reeve, 205-518-5010.

Assorted antique Christmas ornaments, from $2-12. Hanna Antiques, 205-323-6063.

Vintage Louis Vuitton lock and key necklace, $228. Antiquities, 205-870-1030.

Original oil on canvas by Willi Bauer (born1923), $2,400, framed size 39”x46”. Original oil paintings in handcrafted frames featuring past and present day European masters. Griffith Art Gallery, 205-985-7969.

Smart Skin signature hand-poured candles with custom scents, starting at $25. Smart Skin Med Spa, 205-968-1301.

The newest book by Richard E. Simmons III, “Reflections on the Existence of God,” $19.99, can be found online at richardesimmons3. com or at The Center, 205-789-3471.

Handmade Santa ornaments, a perfect addition to your holiday tree, $9.50. Attic Antiques, 205-991-6887. .

A 10” glass tree with ball ornaments. Also available are drummer boy and snowmen ornaments, $18-25. Christine’s on Canterbury, 205-871-8297.


26 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

A 14 karat yellow gold, emerald and diamond pendant, $4,585. Southeastern Jewelers, 205-980-9030.

Hirsch Pinot Noir, $65, a 750 ml bottle by a California small, private vineyard on the Sonoma coast. Perfect dinner guests arrive with Hirsch. R&R Wine and Liquor - Crestline, 205-848-2080.

Birmingham pewter map ornaments, $50. Wallace-Burke Fine Jewelry, 205-874-1044.

Triple decanters in a 19th century silver-plate caddy with liquor tags, $395. Tricia’s Treasures, 205-871-9779.

Give the gift of calm this holiday season with “Be Calm” premium hemp infused patches, $12. Marguerite’s Conceits, 205-879-2730.

Signed Luigi Onesto Murano Vases, $75-125. Roman BrantleyArt & Antiques 205-460-1224.

Wooden wire trays, available in 18”, $45, and 15”, $30. Roots at Aldridge Gardens, 205-739-6556.

The Bartender Box, $39.99, includes a freezable whiskey glass, bourbon soaked cherries, a small bottle of Blackberry Ginger Balsamic vinegar and a drink recipe. The Happy Olive, 205-703-9003.

The original PK’s construction eliminates hot spots, built to cook and built to last. Say goodbye to expensive mistakes and hello to evenly cooked meats and veggies. Alabama Gas Light & Grill, 205-870-4060.

Daily Power of Defense, this powerful antioxidant serum is designed to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles and promote overall skin health. Gunn Dermatology, 205-415-7536.

Key chain with hand sanitizer, $16.95. Second Hand Rose, 205970-7997.

Twisted, flexible diamond bangle bracelets, available in yellow, rose and white gold, range from 0.663.25 carats, starting at $1,350. Shay’s Jewelers, 205-978-5880.

Blaze the Squirrel hot seed. Squirrels won’t eat him, $19.99. Mini-cylinder feeder, $14.99. Wild Birds Unlimited, 205-823-6500.

New 2021 Chevrolet Tahoes starting at $56,900 plus tax, title and administrative fee. LT with luxury package, signature package, lane departure warning and leather. Edwards Chevrolet Downtown, 205-716-3330.

Warm-up booties by Bloch feature a durable, water resistant bottom that holds up in all kinds of weather, $41$49. Pair them with a matching bootie keychain, $12, for the perfect gift. Applause Dancewear, 205-871-7837.

Your loved ones will enjoy the gift of art all year with a membership to the Birmingham Museum of Art. Birmingham Museum of Art, 205-254-2565.

Reverse-close umbrellas, in Monet, Van Gogh and Renoir prints, $36. Dandé Lion, 205-879-0691.

A camouflage black sun cover to protect your sun lenses, $115, perfect for your clutch or belt. Many color options. JJ Eyes, 205-703-8596.

Fuzzy Footies, $9.99, one size fits most slip ons with nubs on the sole for traction on your hardwoods. Lots of colors to choose from. Flip Flops & What Nots, 205-967-7429.

The Pureology gift box includes a full-size shampoo and conditioner, travel-size dry shampoo, plus a free full-size styling treatment spray, $69. Salon Summit, 205-518-0406.


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 27

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE/TOY STORY

SMITH’S From page 22 buying them and asking us to keep it for them. So, we’ll sell them a frog and then keep it in the back and take care of it. We did that for a birthday and we’ll be doing that for Christmas. A lot of people are buying things ahead of time because they want to make sure that we don’t run out. Create your own personalized Marla Aaron locks and chains and Zoe Chicco Charms, exclusively available at Etc..., prices start at $95 per charm and $240 per necklace. Etc…, 205-871-6747

The Cat’s Pajamas, dreamy soft Red Confetti PJs in a knit material made of Luxe Pima and Modal, from $108$125. Baker Lamps & Linens, 205-981-3330

Fresh gift cards! The perfect stocking stuffer from your neighborhood Piggly Wiggly. thepigbham.com.

New and Exciting

A new line that Brad and his team are excited about is Hand Stand Kitchen, which includes fully-functional baking sets. Prices vary for the product. “With COVID-19 leaving people stuck at home, baking has really become popular again with kids,” he said. “It looks colorful, like toys, but every bit can be used.” Power Drivers, $29.99, have put a creative spin on the classic remote control car. “It’s a truck and a remote control car, but you take everything apart and put it back together with the power drill that comes with it,” Brad said. Crafts are always a huge seller for both boys and girls, Brad said. For this season, it’s all about Creagami, $14.99-24.99. Like origami, the base is foldable paper that is used to create solid 3D objects. “One of our biggest sellers so far have been Froggies, $39.99, believe it or not,” Brad said. Froggies are biospheres that are home to two African dwarf frogs. The low-maintenance kits also come with a year’s supply of food. “They say they will live for about 6-8 years, but some people have had theirs for 10-12 years,” he said. Klee Kids makeup sets have been a big hit with girls, Brad said. “What is so great about this is that it is all-natural and made in the United States.” The line includes eyeshadows, blushes and nail polishes and other products. “We’ve had this for about a month now and we’ve already had to re-order,” he said. The Faux Bow Upshot, $22.99, is what it sounds like, a bow and

arrow set made out of foam. “You can shoot this up to 100-150 feet,” Brad said. “The pro version shoots up to 200 feet.”

Familiar Favorites

You can never go wrong with a remote control car, and drones have proved to stand the test of time. The Turbo Runner, $36.99, offers a little bit of both. “It will roll along the ground, fly up to the ceiling and run along the walls,” Brad said. “Games and puzzles have been huge throughout this pandemic,” Brad said. “I can’t tell you how many games we have sold.” Brand new favorites that have arrived in time for the holidays are Drone Home, $28.99, and Not It, $16.99. “Anything that shoots out or flies, boys just love,” Brad said, and Nerf is always on the cutting edge. While the Nerf Blaster Scooter, $149.99, isn’t new this year, it is still just as popular. Classic building-block kits, including Magnetiles, $59.99 and up, have always been popular but have experienced a resurgence during the pandemic. “Parents are just looking for more ways to encourage pretend play or building, anything that gets kids away from screens,” Brad said.

Earthborn Studios Pottery Microwave, dishwasher and oven safe

by Tena Payne

Birmingham, AL

Best selection in town They’ll be home for Christmas in this 2018 Mercedes Benz E 300 4MATIC Front Wheel Drive. Cox & Co. Motorcars, 205-730-9222.

The Paint Your Own series of kits, at varying prices, is a classic crafting option that includes a variety of painting projects, from a wooden pallet to stepping stones, vases and plates. For younger age groups, Brad suggests considering something from the Hape line of wooden play pieces. “The Monster Math Scale has been really popular,” he said. “They are great toys that are built to last.” EeBoo offers plenty of fun, artsy products for creative kids, Brad said. “But their Pretend Play, $15.99, is just awesome,” he said. Each Pretend Play pack is themed and includes everything you need to play make-believe as a school teacher, a veterinarian and other adult roles

example, a Rubix Cube or Etch-asketch. “We’ve been selling a lot of puzzle balls and cubes,” Brad said. One of his favorite brands is Gear Ball, $19.99-24.99, which offers a range of puzzles from beginner all the way up to advanced. If you need a pre-Christmas surprise, Brad suggests the Tree Mendous ornament decorator, $23.99. “You put an ornament in the tree and, as it spins, you put a marker on it and create all kinds of designs,” he said.

R&R CRestline Happy Holidays From

Holiday Favorites

Shashibo, $19.99, is a great little fidget tool that also acts as a puzzle. The toy is held together by rare earth Mary magnets and makes more than 70 Charles' shapes. Doll House “Retro stocking stuffers are just New, Collectible always fun,” Brad said. His favorite Antique Dolls line is by House of Marbles, which Mary Charles’ includes little wooden games, planes Doll House Come see us in our and a little bit of everything in New, Collectible new location! between. Antique Dolls World’s Smallest Toys, $6.99, is 1901 Oxmoor Rd. 2820 Petticoat Lane another great option to stick in a Homewood Mtn. Brook Village stocking. toysdinner are fully funcTheThese best guests stop by R&R! 870-5544 205-870-5544 tional, miniature of larger Thur. -10 Sat.am 10am - 4:30pm Wednesday - Open Saturday - 4:30 pm 81 Church versions Street, Suite 102 • 205.848.2080 • RNRcrestline@gmail.com well-known games, Brad said, for

R&R CRestline To: From: Date:

Mary Charles Robbins Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., 205-824-1246, fax May 2010

To: Mary Charles From: Over the Mountain Journal 823-9646 ph, 824-1246 fax Date: October 2019

This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN June 3, 2010 issue. Please fax approval or changes t

Please make sure all information is including address and phone num

Please initial and fax back within 24 hou have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before th This is your ad proof for the OTMJ for the OctoberIf we 17, 2019 issue. Please contact yo your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. to approve your adfor or your makeprompt changes. Thank you attent

Bridal registry available

Please make sure all information is correct, including addr

2841 Cahaba Road Mtn Brook Village www.thecookstoremtnbrook.com

If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the friday before the press

Thank you for your prompt atte

The best dinner guests stop by R&R!

81 Church Street, Suite 102 • 205.848.2080 • RNRcrestline@gmail.com


28 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

TOY STORY

SNOOZY’S

package, so you don’t know what you are getting.” The Baby Einstein Deluxe Magic Touch Piano, $39.99, is a new spin on the classic baby piano. It’s made for babies as young as 6 months, George said, “and the sound is spoton. It’s not so loud that it hurts the baby’s ears.”

From page 22

Toniebox, $99.99, which is brand new to the store this year. Parents can record themselves reading bedtime stories and purchase additional themed characters, $14.99. “It runs on Wi-Fi, so you can take it to the bedroom, take it to the sofa, wherever,” George added. You can also record up to 90 minutes of stories, delete them and refill it with brand new content. The Ion Party Rocker Express, $89.99, is the latest and greatest form of karaoke, complete with a large speaker and colorful light display. “We got these in, sold out of them within a day,” George said. “We reordered and got about 10 in, but we feel relatively good about getting even more in stock.” No holiday list is complete without a good remote control car. George’s pick is the Split Wheel Car, $29.99, which transforms from a car into a sleek, robotic structure with the press of a button. The new STEM game Genius Star, $24.99, is a gift for the whole family that provides a fun, educational challenge. Crafty kids will love the new DIY Miniature House kits, $29.99 and $49.99. Kits include materials to build a small room and fill it with furniture and decor. “You build everything,” he said. “And the coolest thing is that there is a little LED light inside so you can light up your room.” Buildzi, $24.99, the latest from the makers of Tenzi and Slapzi, is a race to see who can build vertically in the shortest amount of time. Looking to send your kids outside? George loves the new Dome Rocker, $99.99, a large inflatable rocking sphere.

Holiday Favorites

“Imagine walking outside on Christmas morning to see that in your yard?”

Making a Comeback

“Everybody always loves Legos,” George said, which start at $10.99. They are a standard at any time of year. New offerings for the holiday season are the Speed collection and SuperMario. Soft, fuzzy shorts by iScream, $19.99, are always a hit, and the store has a variety of new holiday prints available. Another standard that can always be found on Snoozy’s shelves are WOW toys, starting at $14.99. “They are for kids 1-5, which is a great group of ages,” George said. The line includes

collectable figures and play sets for babies and toddlers following themes that include farming, construction and racing. Tonka trucks truly stand the test of time, George said, because they make such a statement on Christmas morning. “If you walk into a room full of Christmas gifts and you see that sitting in the corner, unwrapped, what would you do?” George said.” You would go straight over to that toy and start playing.” Though it is a fairly new addition to the world of plush toys, Squishmallows will be as big a hit this year as they were in 2019. The new Miniature Squishmallows, $2.99, are also a great stocking stuffer. “They have these new small sizes and then there are scented ones that come in a blind

New holiday-themed Da Bombs, $7.99, are the perfect addition to a stocking. As they melt away in water, each bath bomb reveals a surprise. Chameleon Markers, $22.99, are for artsy kids looking for a new medium to explore. “You can blend the colors by taking the pink marker and putting the red top on it for a few seconds, then the blue for a few seconds,” George said. “When you start writing it changes and blends the colors.” The store also carries Chameleon art portfolios, $19.99. Lego Advent Calendars, $42.99, are for all age groups. They have been tucked away since mid-summer, George said, and are now available while supplies last. “These are for the young, the young at heart and we even have an option for the little, little ones.” There also is a 12 Days of Christmas makeup calendar, $19.99, for older age groups. According to George, the store also has been selling a ton of Soda Can Cars, $14.99. “These are great stocking stuffers.” he said. “They each include small remote control cars.” Finally, sweet treats for the holidays are a must. George said that kids and adults with a sweet tooth will love Candy Club’s holiday treats, which include Holiday Trees, Santa’s belts and Santa’s cookies.

Thirteen Distinctive New Homes in Vestavia Hills On the crest of Shades Mountain overlooking Oxmoor Valley, Walnut Hill epitomizes a Wedgworth community: beautiful homes, great views, and energysmart construction. Minutes from I-65 and downtown Birmingham, these thirteen home sites surround a central park. With lots starting at $200,000, Walnut Hill provides a unique opportunity for you to create a custom home in one of Birmingham’s most desirable areas.

www.wedgworth.net

Mike Wedgworth (205) 365-4344


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

VESTAVIA HILLS

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 29

Holiday Family Fun In Vestavia

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

Holiday in the Hills Series to Begin Nov. 16

Attending last year’s Vestavia Tree Lighting Festival were, Kelly, Rider and Sailor Geppert. This year’s tree lighting will take place on Dec. 1.

Shop, Dine, Play Week

All is Bright

The Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce is shining a light on its businesses with the annual Holiday in the Hills event series. Festivities will kick-off with the inaugural Tree Lighting at the Vestavia City Center at 6 p.m., Nov. 19. In addition, the chamber’s Shop, Dine, Play Week, highlighting local merchants, will run from Nov. 16-21. On Nov. 20, the Rocky Ridge Business District will host A Rockin’ Christmas Carnival from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., complete with live music for kids and adults. The Merchants of Cahaba Heights will band together for the annual Deck the Heights holiday celebration on Nov. 21. This year, the Heights Trolley will run from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. to promote social distancing, while participants fill their passports at each stop for a chance to win prizes. Vestavia Hills City Hall will host a celebration of the “most wonderful time of the year” with its annual Tree Lighting Festival on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. The event will include live entertainment, merchant giveaways and visits with Santa after he lights the tree. The chamber will host its free Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 12 from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Vestavia Hills Civic Center, pancakes included. Safety guidelines for the event can be found at vestaviahills.org. Finally, the seasonal gatherings will culminate with the Vestavia Hills Christmas Parade on Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. in Liberty Park. The parade will begin at the Liberty Park Sports Complex and will travel to Alston Meadows. For more information and updates, visit vestaviahills.org.

Tree Lighting Festival

Breakfast with Santa

A Rockin Christmas Carnival at Rocky Ridge Vestavia Hills Christmas Parade & Celebration Deck the Heights


30 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

Cookie Fix

“At Cookie Fix, we are excited to kick off the holiday season with the opening of our new shop in Cahaba Heights, as well as at our Homewood location,” said owner Amy Jason. “We offer delicious fresh-baked cookies, seasonal desserts and frozen dough to go. Cookie Fix cookies are slightly underbaked to create our signature ‘crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside’ perfection.” The little shop in Homewood is filled with warm cookies and big flavors – and an aroma so inviting it likely would send Cookie Monster himself into a swoon. For the holiday season, Cookie Fix will have seasonal favorites, such as Cranberry Jumble with orange glaze, the Big Apple, Ginger Molasses, Mint Chocolate Chunk, Peppermint Dark Chocolate Chip, Peppermint White Trash and, of course, all the favorite Cookie Fix classics. “With our Frozen Dough to Go in your freezer, you are always ready for entertaining, gifting or a perfect late-night snack. Your home gets to smell wonderful, and nothing is better than hot cookies out of your oven. Who wouldn’t want to receive a pack of Cookie Fix Frozen Dough to Go as a gift this season? “Want to be a dessert queen? Let us teach you how to create amazing, over-the-top desserts at home with our Frozen Dough To Go, our mini Lodge iron skillets, your ice cream and recipes for delicious sauces. These swoon worthy desserts will make your guests feel so special, with almost no effort on your part. “We make gifting Cookie Fix for business, neighbors and friends easy with beautiful tins, kraft boxes and catering trays. Ordering for Christmas is easy; new for the holiday season is

VESTAVIA HILLS

Cookie Fix founder Amy Jason is excited about the opening of her new location in Cahaba Heights. She opened her first Cookie Fix in Homewood four years ago.

our online ordering for in-store pickup or for shipping baked or frozen dough. A few clicks and you are set; no line and no waiting. For corporate gifting, we can handle your order of one or one-thousand tins. So many delicious ways to get and give your Cookie Fix as you celebrate the blessings of the Christmas season! Cookie Fix is located at 2854 18th Street S. in Homewood, 205-582-2623, and 3152 Heights Village in Cahaba Heights in Vestavia Hills.

Cookie Fix

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

The Wald Group

Mike and Hayden Wald are a father and son team who specialize in helping Over the Mountain families purchase and sell their homes. They have been the number one team in Vestavia for over a decade, and the Wald Group is one of RealtySouth’s top teams in Alabama. “By just about any measure, the Vestavia real estate market is very healthy in spite of the pandemic. Sales prices are rising and listings are selling as fast as they did back in 2006! It’s a seller’s market, we just don’t have enough sellers!” “Hayden and Mike agree that due to Covid, this is the most unusual market they’ve seen in their thirty plus years in real estate. Listings are selling quickly, often with multiple offers, but there’s a dearth of inventory. Many would-be sellers have been afraid to list. Those that have braved the market, have been handsomely rewarded. “ “In addition to the pandemic, another major concern that has kept many of our clients from listing their homes is the fear that their current home will sell faster than they can find the perfect house to buy. That’s a fear our clients share with many potential over-the-mountain home sellers. When a large percentage of the market is waiting to list their home until they find the perfect house to buy, that’s a self-perpetuating conundrum!” “In an attempt to help break the inventory logjam, Hayden and I have a strategy we’ve been recommending to our clients. We suggest to our sellers that they move forward with listing their home for sale and if they get an offer before they find a house to buy, they can try to negotiate a later close. Or even better, they can close in the typical thirtyday timeframe and rent their home back from the buyers until they find a house to buy. Most people are unaware that even if you get a full price offer, you can still negotiate possession. Not every buyer

Hayden Wald (with his family above) and his father Mike Wald specialize in helping Over the Mountain families purchase and sell their homes.

will agree to wait to close or to let a seller rent their house back. If not, you don’t have to sell. We believe it’s better to give it a try than to keep putting off listing. If more sellers would give this strategy a shot, we’d have more inventory. Maybe even enough to break the supply logjam.” For the inside scoop on buying and selling in Vestavia, be sure to visit VestaviaLiving.com, or call Mike Wald at 205-541-0940 or Hayden Wald at 205-919-5535.

VestaViaLiVing.com

...because cookies aren’t just for Santa

Wald 1/4

Homewood

Cahaba Heights

Hayden Wald

Mike Wald

(205) 919-5535 hwald@realtysouth.com

(205) 541-0940 mikewald@realtysouth.com


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Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 31

HOLIDAY

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Deck the Heights

Trolleys Set to Roll Through Cahaba Heights Nov. 21

The Clothes Horse

Clotheshorse (noun) 1. informal. a person whose chief interest and pleasure is dressing fashionably. The Clostheshorse has been providing consigning and shopping experiences that fill your fashion needs in the same business district in Vestavia Hills for 28 years. “We now have over 9,700 consignors from around the country,” said Becky Sager, who owns the business with her husband Tim, pictured above with shop dog Reagan. “We carry clothing for women, men and children. We take in the highest demand brands along with a great selection of new jewelry geared toward gift giving. “We are open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.” The Clotheshorse is located at 2512 Rocky Ridge Rd., Ste. 104, in Rocky Ridge Plaza, and The Barn - Men’s, Children’s and Clearance at 3365 Morgan Dr., 205-823-9144.

Happy Holidays! from

The Clotheshorse - a designer consignment store -

Now open in our new locations! Women’s

Rocky Ridge Plaza Suite 104 2512 Rocky Ridge Road, Vestavia Hills, AL 35243

Men’s, Children’s and Clearance The Barn 3365 Morgan Drive, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216

Monday-Saturday 10 AM- 6 PM. Closed Sunday• 205.823.9144 shoptheclotheshorse.com

required. Trolleys will begin boarding at 2 p.m. at several locations, including The Heights Village, Doodle’s, The Blue Willow, Cahaba Cycles, Leaf & Petal and Flip Flops & What Nots. Throughout the event, the trolleys will rotate among those six stops. Highlights along the route will include a giant Snow Globe Bounce House, falling snow, s’mores, a DJ, balloon artists and the one and only Santa Claus. Each stop will feature food, drinks and activities for children and adults. In addition, The Heights Village will host the Heights Holiday Pop Up Shops from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., featuring holiday shopping opportunities with local artists. For more information, follow the Shop Cahaba Heights and Deck the Heights 2020 Facebook pages.

SAVE THE DATE: OTM Area Holiday Calendar Editor’s note: Some of the events in our calendar may have been canceled after our press deadline. Please check organiziation websites for the latest information.

Thurs., Nov. 12 Crestline Holiday Open House

What: It’s the most wonderful time of the year… spend it with Crestline merchants for holiday shopping and cheer. When: 5-7 p.m. Where: Crestline Village Website: “Crestline Holiday Open House” Facebook page

Thurs., Nov. 19

Heights Express and fill your passport for a chance to win prizes. When: 2-8 p.m. Where: Cahaba Heights Website: vestaviahills.org

Tues., Dec. 1 Hoover Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony What: Join the city of Hoover for the official start of their holiday season. Included in the ceremony a Hoover City School choir will perform and a student will light the Christmas tree. Santa will make an entrance on a fire truck ready for pictures. When: 5 p.m. Where: Hoover City Hall Website: hooveral.org

Holiday in the Hills Tree Lighting Festival

All is Bright

What: Join Vestavia City Center for its first annual tree lighting. The big man himself and the Vestavia Belles will be available for photos. Girl Scouts of Vestavia Hills will be taking donations for residents of Glenwood. Check the website for needed items. When: 6 p.m. Where: Vestavia City Center Website: “Vestavia City Center” Facebook page

What: Enjoy entertainment, merchant give-aways, a vist with Santa and the lighting of the tree. When: 6-8 p.m. Where: Vestavia Hills City Hall Website: vestaviahills. org

Thurs., Dec 3

Fri., Nov. 20 A Rockin’ Christmas Carnival

What: Grab dinner and drinks while you rock around the Ridge playing carnival games and collecting tickets. Find the Prize Table at the Chamber of Commerce tent and use your tickets to enter drawings for prizes from Rocky Ridge merchants. When: 6-9 p.m. Where: Rocky Ridge Business District Website: vestaviahills. org

Sat., Nov. 21 Deck the Heights

What: Enjoy refreshments, arts, pop-up shops, sales and holiday cheer from local merchants. Take a ride through Cahaba Heights on the

Jingle and Mingle

What: One of Mountain Brook’s favorite traditions is back. Celebrate the season with Mountain Brook Village and Lane Parke for their Holiday Open House. When: 5-7 p.m. Where: Mountain Brook Village and Lane Parke Website: mtnbrookchamber.org

Hoover Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be Tues., Dec. 1.

Holiday Sip and Stroll

What: Kick off the holiday season by shopping at your favorite Lane Parke stores and end the night at any of their delicious restaurants. When: 5-7 p.m. Where: Lane Parke Website: “Lane Parke” Facebook page

Dec. 4 Shop, Sip and Stroll

What: The merchants of English Village hosts the second installment of their open house. When: 5-7 p.m. Where: English Village Website: mtnbrookchamber.org

Journal file photos by Jordan Wald

The Heights Express Trolleys are ready to roll as the Cahaba Heights Merchants Association looks forward to the 2020 Deck the Heights Holiday Open House. The annual holiday-themed event will take place Nov. 21 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. offering store discounts and activities. Deck the Heights has expanded its hours this year to encourage social distancing on the trolleys as well as at each stop. In addition, face masks will be

Only a limited number of groups will be permitted to join the parade, and those that do participate will be masked and will not be throwing any materials.

All Things Merry and Bright Homewood to Host 2020 Christmas Parade on Dec. 3 The City of Homewood’s Parks and Recreation Department recently confirmed its plans for the 2020 Christmas Parade at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 3. A number of changes have been made to this year’s celebration in order to promote health and safety amidst the COVID19 pandemic. Only a limited number of groups will be permitted to join the parade, and those that do participate will be masked and will not be throwing any materials. Each entry will only be allowed one vehicle, which can pull a float, and all entries must be decorated. In addition, no entry may include someone dressed up as Santa, as Santa Claus, himself, will be participating in the parade. There will be no walking groups, with the exception of the Homewood High School Band. For more information, visit homewoodparks.com.

Sat., Dec. 12 Holiday in the Hills Breakfast with Santa

What: Bring the whole family for a free pancake breakfast with Santa courtesy of The City of Vestavia Hills. Check the website for more details TBA. When: 7:30-10 a.m. Where: Vestavia Hills Civic Center, Dogwood Room Website: vestaviahills.org

Sun., Dec. 13 Vestavia Hills Christmas Parade

What: Enjoy the city’s official parade followed by the Liberty Park Christmas Celebration with children’s activities, refreshments, music, pictures with Santa and more. When: 2-4 p.m. Where: Liberty Park Sports Complex to Alson Meadows Website: “Vestavia Hills Christmas Parade & Celebration” Facebook page


32 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

Give a Gift of Love and Life

This time of year we often begin to stress, with the gift giving season only weeks away. As you think of what to give, consider a gift of love. If you or someone you know has a problem with addiction, Bayshore Retreat can be that gift. No one plans on being an addict, but with quality care everyone can beat it. In many cases, this will also be a gift of life. Each year hundreds of thousands die from overdose or alcohol related accidents. It doesn’t have to happen to you or someone you love. The choices we make have consequences and the choice of going or not going to rehab can be a life-changing consequence. We receive calls from previous clients often just to check on us and let us know that they are celebrating their 5th or 8th year of sobriety. Because we have only six clients at a time, there is a bonding that happens between our staff and clients as well as between clients. Most rehabs have hundreds of beds and use 12-step meetings as their program. At Bayshore Retreat, clients receive about 30 hours of counseling weekly (individual, small group and Life Skills) not 12-step meetings. Coming to Bayshore Retreat is like an escape. It’s an escape from addiction. When we say that we take the “Fear Out of Rehab”, this is what we mean. Most places treat everyone the same, with a ‘cookie cutter’ regimen that can be deadening. The addiction might be the only thing clients really have in common. This why they need the individual attention we provide to beat it.

VETERANS DAY

Spain Park Students Join Veterans Groups to Honor Fallen Veterans The Alabama Fallen Warriors Project recently teamed up with the Spain Park High School Armed Forces Club, the city of Hoover and the Hoover Veterans Committee to remember fallen veterans. The initiative took place Nov. 7 at the future site of the Alabama Fallen Warriors Monument, which will serve to honor the 225 Alabama men and women who have died in the War on Terror. Volunteers helped install 225 American Flags and Service Flags in front of the marble wall at the ceremonial area at Veterans Park. In addition, the Hoover Fire Department raised a giant flag with one of its trucks. Each of the flags represent Alabama military personnel from all branches of service, who have died since Sept. 11, 2001. This includes 118 members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

by Judy Butler

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Spain Park High School teacher Buzz Williams, above left, with students in the school’s Armed Forces Club helped install 225 American Flags and Service Flags in front of the marble wall at the ceremonial area at Veterans Park.

who were killed in combat, as well as 107 who died nonhostile deaths. After the installation was completed, those in attendance participated in a

moment of silence, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and closing with taps played by the Hoover Fire Department.

HEROES From Page One

in the performance and viewed the new Wall of Heroes display in the school’s front promenade. Following the parade, students watched a live-stream performance of the Pizitz Middle School choir and symphonic band alongside a slideshow celebrating veterans, submitted by students and staff. — Emily Williams

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Rehab Reality...

SCHOOLS

Pizitz Middle School students honoring family members who have served in the military included Cam Mosley, left, with his father Don; and Logan Wiginton, with her grandfather Don.

About 50 vehicles participated in the parade, which traveled around the school’s mile-long carpool loop, with Pizitz students and staff watching along the route. At the end of the parade, the 81st Division of the U.S. Army Band Brass Quintet performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Hoover School Foundation Receives Government Donations for Commit to 36 The Hoover City Schools Foundation recently received allocations through two Jefferson County commissioners and a state representative, making a dent in its Commit to 36 campaign goals. Commissioner Jimmie Stephens’ donated $2,500, Commissioner Steve Ammons donated $5,000 and state Rep. David Faulkner, R-Mountain Brook, donated $2,500.

“Since we were not able to hold our biggest fundraiser of the year, Denim and Dining, due to COVID-19, these donations mean more to us than ever,” foundation Executive Director Shelley Shaw said. “The pandemic has created needs in our schools that the foundation is working hard to fill, and these donations will go a long way toward that.” The annual Commit to 36 campaign seeks to raise $36 per student, or $1 per week of school. That commitment could raise $500,000 in grant money for the system’s teachers.

“Commit to 36 is a citywide fundraising effort in order to raise grant funds to support all our schools, from elementary to high school,” Shaw said. “We have seen what a difference these funds have made to our teachers and students and are proud to continue to support their efforts.” Most recently, foundation grants have been used to fund distance learning initiatives through the SeedLab program. “Although our students are just now getting back into the classroom full

time while others continue to attend school virtually, the grants that we have awarded have continued to help the efforts of our teachers,” Shaw said. “We can only continue this work through the donations of generous donors like our Jefferson County commissioners and the many elected officials who support the foundation.” The Commit to 36 campaign continues through the fall, and donations can be made at committo36.com. For more information on the foundation’s other initiatives, visit the website at hoovercsf.org.


OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL Images courtesy Mountain Brook City Schools

SCHOOLS

While all four elementary schools will receive updates, Brookwood Forest Elementary school, built in 1964, will receive an entirely new look.

Planning Ahead Mountain Brook City Schools Approves $74 Million in Capital Improvements

By Emily Williams More than a year after the Mountain Brook City Council voted in favor of a $10 million city property tax increase, Mountain Brook City Schools is starting to see the result. The tax hike was projected to raise an additional $6 million a year for the school system’s budget. In October, the school system began receiving those funds and already has put them to work, announcing plans for a long-term project of major capital improvements at each of its six schools. According to Mountain Brook Board of Education officials, the plan is projected to include 16 to 20 years of facility improvements that will cost an estimated $74 million. “We’re eager to embark on this series of projects and sincerely appreciate our community’s support,” school Superintendent Dicky Barlow said. “The planned work meets each school’s needs that were identified during the facilities audit and will enable our district to continue providing students with a high-quality education.” In a school board meeting Oct. 27, architects overseeing projects at each of the schools presented schematic designs, which were approved by the board. In addition, board members gave project underwriters Raymond James and Stifle approval to move forward in securing $74 million in bond issues to fund the projects. “The board recognizes that now is the time to take advantage of historic low interest rates as we enter into the bond market,” Barlow said. “Securing such rates will allow us to keep our debt service low and maximize these projects.”

Study Sparked Push for Upgrades

All six of Mountain Brook’s schools are at least 50 years old. A 2018 audit conducted by an architecture firm stated that the district needed to make capital improvements that would cost $31 million to $87 million. According to school officials, this led the system to form a 28-member community task force. The group assessed the district’s spending and

made recommendations for how the school system might finance the updates. That led to the board and council deciding to increase the city’s ad valorem tax rate by $10 million, which increased the school system’s annual revenue by $6 million. Residents voted in favor of the increase in 2019. Since that time, school system officials have been preparing for construction. The school board started the process by hiring Brasfield & Gorrie General Contractors in December 2019 to manage construction. The Bradfield & Gorrie team has since helped school system officials hire an architecture firm for each project, create a budget, define the scope of the work to be accomplished and generate a timeline for completion. “It has been a long process from the time we initiated our facilities audit to selecting the teams that will help us carry out these projects,” Mountain Brook Board of Education President Nicky Barnes said. “We are excited that our plans are coming to fruition and look forward to seeing the abiding, positive impact they will have on our school system and community.”

Work at Each School

There are three projects in the plan that will require new construction – one each at Mountain Brook High School, Mountain Brook Junior High and Brookwood Forest Elementary. In addition, extensive renovations will take place at Cherokee Bend, Crestline and Mountain Brook Elementary. Architecture firm B. Group Architecture Inc. will design renovations at Mountain Brook High School, TurnerBatson will design renovations at Mountain Brook Junior High and Goodwyn Mills Cawood will design

renovations for Mountain Brook’s four elementary schools. Each firm presented its preliminary designs at the Oct. 27 board meeting. Mountain Brook High School was built in 1966 and has been updated numerous times over the years. It’s last major addition included its existing Fine Arts Center, built in 2008. At the forefront of the work to be conducted at the high school is the construction of a new, two-story academic wing that will replace the 100, 200 and 300 buildings, which are in the center of the facility. The addition will feature 42 classrooms in the 200 and 300 wings. The 100 wing will be replaced by a new counseling suite. In addition, the facility will gain a new band room, and renovations will be made to the dance studio and restrooms in the Fine Arts Center. Mountain Brook Junior High, built in 1956, hasn’t had a major addition since 1999. The facility plan includes a new, three-story main entrance building, including 18 classrooms. There also will be renovations to the locker rooms and expansions of the cafeteria and auditorium. The school also will receive a new defining feature when a pitched roof and turret are installed over the media center. While all four elementary schools will receive updates, Brookwood Forest Elementary school, built in 1964, will receive an entirely new look. An addition to the front of the building will create a new main entrance, administrative suite and lunchroom. Renovations also will be made to classrooms and restrooms, and the roof of the gym will be replaced. Each of the remaining three elementary schools will receive HVAC improvements and new paint and flooring as needed. At Cherokee Bend Elementary, the lunchroom, kitchen, restrooms and administrative suites will be updated. Crestline Elementary will be getting a new gym, as well as renovations to the auditorium, restrooms, main entrance and administrative offices. Mountain Brook Elementary, the system’s oldest facility, was built in 1929 and has undergone several additions throughout the years, the last one in 2006. Work at the school will include renovations to the lunchroom, administrative offices and restrooms as well as window replacements and waterproofing. While the official timeline for projects has yet to be released, school officials stated that some will begin as early as May 2021.

Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 33

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34 • Thursday, November 12, 2020

SPORTS

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

FIRST-ROUND STATE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS RECAP

Gibbs’ Five Touchdowns Fuel Mountain Brook’s Rout

Journal photos by Lee Walls

Senior quarterback Strother Gibbs accounted for five touchdowns as Mountain Brook blasted visiting Muscle Shoals 38-7 Friday in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Gibbs ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns and completed 15 of 19 passes for 188 yards and three scores, all to senior receiver Paulson Wright. Mountain Brook (10-1) will travel to Gardendale (9-2) this Friday in the second round. The Rockets advanced with a 52-14 victory over Fort Payne. Muscle Shoals ends its season with a 6-5 record.

Homewood Stays Alive With Late Touchdown

Senior quarterback Brode Susce threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Harvey Ray with 29 seconds remaining, lifting Homewood to a 34-31 victory at Athens (7-4) in a Class 6A playoff game. The touchdown capped a backand-forth fourth quarter in which the lead changed hands four times. Susce completed 27 of 40 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns. The Patriots (7-4) will play host to Clay-Chalkville (10-1) Friday in the second round. The Cougars advanced with a 63-0 victory over SouthsideGadsden.

Mountain Brook Senior quarterback Strother Gibbs, above left, ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns and completed 15 of 19 passes for 188 yards and three scores, all to senior receiver Paulson Wright, above right. Mountain Brook (10-1) will travel to Gardendale (9-2) this Friday in the second round.

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

Senior running back Dylan Pauley scored on a 73-yard run and senior receiver RJ Hamilton returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score as Hoover rolled to a 49-14 victory over Sparkman in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.  Pauley is a Vanderbilt football commit and Hamilton is a Vanderbilt baseball commit. The Bucs also scored twice on fumbles. Receiver Joseph Buffett recovered a teammate’s fumble in the end zone for Hoover’s first score; and Marcus Williams forced a fumble and teammate Jason Riles picked it up and ran 40 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Hoover (10-1) will play host to Region 3 foe Oak Mountain (7-4) in the second round. The Eagles advanced with a 41-28 road win at Austin in Decatur. The Bucs beat the Eagles 42-7 in

Journal photo byMarvin Gentry

Big Plays Spark Hoover

Hoover senior receiver RJ Hamilton returns a kickoff 95 yards for a score as Hoover rolled to a 49-14 victory over Sparkman in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs. Hoover (10-1) will play host to Region 3 foe Oak Mountain (7-4) in the second round.

the teams’ fifth game of the regular season.

Smith Unstoppable as Oak Mountain Rallies

Junior quarterback Evan Smith ran for 320 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries as Oak Mountain overcame an early 14-0 deficit to beat Austin

Briarwood’s Waugh Named Wendy’s Heisman Winner By Rubin E. Grant Tyler Waugh’s mother, Dana, already had left the house last Tuesday morning when she received the list of Wendy’s Heisman High School Scholarship winners. She forwarded the list to Waugh, a senior football and baseball player for

Briarwood Christian, and he discovered his name was on the list as the male winner from Alabama. Ashville’s Meghan McCarthy was the female winner. “It’s awesome,” Waugh said. “I am happy, grateful and thankful for all the people who have pushed me, my family, coaches, teachers, school adminis-

41-28. Smith scored on runs of 55, 1, 42 and 53 yards. Senior running back Judah Tait rushed for 115 yards on 22 carries and scored on a 28-yard run in the second quarter. The Eagles rushed for 446 yards while winning their first playoff game since 2014. Austin finishes its season 8-3. trators and teammates. They have all encouraged me to do my best.” The Heisman Memorial Trophy symbolizes the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The Heisman High School Scholarship extends the Tyler Waugh Heisman pres-

Briarwood seniors Tyler Waugh scored on runs of 2, 1, 7 and 8 yards. The LIons (8-3) will visit Oxford (10-1) Friday in the second round.

Waugh Shines in Briarwood’s Comeback Fresh off of being named the state’s male winner of the Wendy’s High School Heisman earlier in the week, Briarwood senior fullback-linebacker Tyler Waugh turned in a virtuous performance in the Lions’ first-round Class 6A playoff game. Waugh rushed for 97 yards and four touchdowns on eight carries, all in the second half, as the Lions over-

came a 14-3 halftime deficit to defeat visiting Hartselle 31-17. Waugh scored on runs of 2, 1, 7 and 8 yards and, for good measure, intercepted two passes late in the fourth quarter. Briarwood (8-3) will visit Oxford (10-1) Friday in the second round. Oxford advanced with a 44-6 victory over Minor. Hartselle finishes its season with an 8-3 record. Compiled by Rubin E. Grant

tige to the nation’s most esteemed male and female high school seniors by recognizing and rewarding outstanding scholar-athletes who understand that the most important victories not only happen on the field, but in their schools and communities. Waugh is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu-Alpha Theta and Spanish Honor Society; a student ambassador and a Furman Scholar. He plans to play sports in college, major in biomedical sciences and attend medical school.

Briarwood athletic director Jay Matthews praised Waugh for his competitiveness and character. “He’s one of the most competitive athletes we’ve ever had at Briarwood,” Mathews said. “He’s one of the best leaders I’ve seen since I’ve been here.” Waugh and McCarthy were chosen from school winners across the state and will be eligible for the South region top athletes. Male and female athletes from each of six districts make up the 12 national finalists, which were to be announced Nov. 9.


Thursday, November 12, 2020 • 35

SPORTS

OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

SPARTANS Hartselle (54-12) in the championship match, winning 25-11, 25-15, 25-16. Senior libero Evelyn King earned MVP honors with her leadership and defensive skills. She was especially sharp on serve, finishing with two aces and nine digs. Senior outside hitter Celie Field had five service aces and nine kills. Sophomore Sims Kilgore added seven kills and freshman Hannah Parant had 10 assists. King, Field and teammate Lilly Gilbert were named to the Class 7A all-tournament team. “It was almost unbelievable,” King said. “I am so glad we pulled out a win.” King said the Spartans drew on their past championship success. In addition to 2019, Mountain Brook also won state titles in 2014, 2015 and 2016. “I feel like every year I’ve been in the Mountain Brook program it has been nailed into my head that if you believe in yourself, believe in your teammates and believe you can win, then you can win,” King said. “This year was very different. Last

Journal photos by Marvin Gentry

From page 36

Senior libero Evelyn King earned MVP honors with her leadership and defensive skills.

Senior outside hitter Celie Field had five service aces and nine kills.

year, everyone knew we were a force to be reckoned with, but this year I thought nobody believed in us. So we went out to prove everybody wrong.” Mountain Brook swept John Carroll Catholic 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-17) in the quarterfinals and knocked off Hazel Green 3-2 in the semifinals, winning seven of the last nine points in the fifth set to advance

with a 23-25, 28-26, 26-24, 15-25, 15-9 victory. Gilbert led Mountain Brook with 11 kills, and 10 digs. Parrant added 35 assists and four digs, and Field had eight kills and seven digs. With the victory, the Spartans avenged a 3-2 loss to Hazel Green (25-19, 15-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-9) in the North Super Regional semifinals.

From page 36

Aiming for the Top

“Our end goal was always the state championship,” Essix said. “We all wanted to win for Hoover, for each other and for all the other players who came before us. “It’s incredible to be the first team at Hoover to do it, and winning it in our last year with coach Camper is amazing. To win our last 50 games is unfathomable.” Hoover won every tournament it played this season, including the season-opening Juanita Boddie at the Finley Complex, HeffStrong at Spain Park and Margaret Blalock at Homewood. The Bucs closed by winning the area, super regional and state tournaments. Along the way, Camper won his 700th game and earned his first state title, something he considers a bit of vindication. “I hope it was not necessary for

Nichols said. “The whole season was a total team effort. The girls worked so hard and our seniors came through in clutch moments. “I am thrilled to death and happy for our seniors to go out with back-toback state championships, to go out with a bang.”

Briarwood Duo Captures Bassmaster National Championship

BUCS

Hoover High School senior Aly Durban, above, had 47 assists in the Buc’s Class 7A championship win over Spain Park. Rya McKinnon, right, won the MVP award, finishing with 21 kills and 11 digs in the final.

me to win a state championship as proof of what I’ve been doing, but there is a feeling of vindication of my system,” he said. “I started the program at Spain Park and built it, then I took over a Mountain Brook that was struggling and made it better and then I came here. “To finally win it is a relief, and there’s a lot of happiness and joy. It’s for everyone who ever put on a Hoover uniform.” With the state championship secured, Camper hopes the Bucs can claim the national title. In the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association/USA Today Super 25 national rankings, on Oct. 29, Hoover was fourth behind a school in Nebraska and two schools in Texas. “I don’t know who the best team

in the country is, but if there’s a better team than this one I’d like to see it,” Camper said. “I think this team has as much a right for a national championship as any because of our dominance. We lost only seven sets all season and three of those came in our first match. “I would load this group up and go play anybody in the country.”

Tucker Smith changed fishing buddies, but he didn’t change fortunes. With his former fishing partner Grayson Morris now on the bass fishing team at Montevallo, Smith teamed with fellow Briarwood Christian mate Hayden Marbut to win the 2020 Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by Academy National champs Tucker Smith and Hayden Kyle. Sports + Outdoors. The tournament was held Oct. 22-24 on Kentucky Lake and really an accomplishment. All our hard Lake Barkley in Paris, Tennessee. work and time and effort we put into it Smith and Marbut had a three-day paid off. It doesn’t seem real.” total of 47 pounds, 5 ounces, securing Smith and Marbut earned $5,000 in their title by landing two smallmouth scholarship money and another $200 bass for 7 pounds, 14 ounces under for the big bass of the tournament, a 7-5 windy conditions on the final day. lunker caught on Day 1. The National Championship is the The Day 1 bag earned Smith and third consecutive title for Smith, who Marbut an $875 scholarship from the won his previous titles with Morris in family of Hunter Owens in memory of August. It’s the first for Marbut. Owens, who finished in the Top 12 of “I’m just blown away,” Smith said. the Bassmaster High School National “I didn’t expect to win it twice and Championship two years ago before especially not three years in a row. dying in a car accident. “I’m blessed to do it again, especialSmith is attending Auburn this fall, ly in October. It started out super hot to while Marbut is finishing his senior where your glasses were fogged up year in high school by taking online from sweat to being so cold you wished classes at night so he can fish during you were at home. The last day it was the day. in the 30s with 20 mph winds, while A week after their triumph, Smith the first two days were in the 60s and and Marbut went fishing at Lake 70s.” Eufaula. Marbut was overjoyed to claim his “I love fishing,” Smith said. “I can’t first title. remember when I started because it’s “It was crazy,” Marbut said. “It’s been so long.”

Photo by Kyle Jessie, B.A.S.S.

By Rubin E. Grant

Journal photos by Marvin Gentry

final. Teammate Gabrielle Essix, a senior and Florida commit, added 17 kills. Aly Durban had 47 assists, while Sydney Melton added 11 digs and Eva Guenster had 10 digs. Spain Park junior Audrey Rothman, a Florida State commit, led the Jaguars (27-11) with 14 kills and eight assists. Lilly Johnson had 13 assists, and Katelyn Walsh added 17 digs. “I feel like all of our hard work paid off,” McKinnon said. Essix and Durban joined McKinnon on the Class 7A all-tournament team. Rothman, Walsh and Emily Breazeale made the team from Spain Park.

“We had a feel for how to play them after we lost to them in the super regional,” King said. “We figured out some things and we knew how beatable they were.” Hartselle reached the final with a 3-2 win over Spanish Fort (42-12) in the semifinals but were no match for the determined Spartans. “It was a total team effort,”

King, Field and teammate Lilly Gilbert, above, were named to the Class 7A all-tournament team.


SPORTS

First-Round State Football Playoffs Recap. Page 34

Thursday, November 12, 2020 ❖ OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Briarwood Duo Captures Bassmaster National Title. Page 35

‘TEAM EFFORT’ By Rubin E. Grant The Mountain Brook volleyball team took it as a slight. Even though the Spartans won the 2019 Class 7A state championship with a school-record 59 victories and moved down a classification this year, few gave them a chance of capturing the Class 6A crown. The low expectations weren’t a surprise, considering Mountain Brook won its 2019 title with a senior-laden team led by Player of the Year Grace Carr and was replacing half its roster. On top of that, Class 6A was loaded with two-time defending champion Spanish Fort; Hazel Green, which has reached the Class 6A title match three of the past four seasons; Jasper, which

won the Class 5A title in 2019; plus perennial contenders Pelham and Hartselle. But when the season ended two weeks ago, the Spartans hoisted the championship trophy again, sweeping Hartselle 3-0 in the final in the AHSAA 50th State Volleyball Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex and Bill Harris Arena. “It was just a goal we had to repeat in a rebuilding year,” Mountain Brook coach Vickie Nichols said. “The pressure was off because nobody expected us to do it. We kind of had a chip on our shoulders. We were determined to prove people wrong.” The Spartans (34-12) dominated See SPARTANS, page 35

Journal photo by Marvin Gentry

Determined Spartans Ascend to Volleyball Throne Again

Members of the Mountain Brook High School volleyball team celebrate their sweep of Hartselle in the finals in the AHSAA 50th State Volleyball Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex and Bill Harris Arena.

Keeping Focus Bucs Hoping for National Crown After Claiming Class 7A Championship

Journal photo by Marvin Gentry

By Rubin E. Grant

The Bucs (50-1) celebrate their win over Spain Park 25-15, 25-17, 25-23 in the championship match.

Coming into the 2020 season, Hoover volleyball coach Chris Camper knew he had a team capable of winning the first state championship in school history, but not even he imagined just how dominant the Bucs would be. “There was no doubt in my mind that this was the most athletic team to ever take the court in the state,” Camper said. “But in the nine years I’ve been here, it was also the team with the best ball control, fundamentally sound and physically imposing with three players 6-foot-2 or better.” The Bucs lost their first match of the season 3-2 to perennial powerhouse McGill-Toolen Catholic, but they didn’t lose again, reeling off 50 consecutive victories to claim the Class 7A

state championship. Hoover swept Baker (quarterfinals), Thompson (semifinals) and Spain Park (final) in the 50th AHSAA Volleyball Championships two weeks ago at the Birmingham Crossplex and Bill Harris Arena. The Bucs (50-1) defeated Spain Park 25-15, 25-17, 25-23 in the championship match. “I think our athletic dominance was unmatched,” Camper said. “But even when we were overwhelming teams, every single match they just played the next point. You never knew whether we were down three or four points or ahead three or four points. They just kept playing, focusing on point after point.” Hoover’s Rya McKinnon won the MVP award, finishing with 21 kills and 11 digs in the

See BUCS, page 35

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