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Photo courtesy Children’s of Alabama



‘Completely Thrilled’

Patti Callahan Henry Named 2020 Harper Lee Award Recipient By Emily Williams Patti Callahan Henry of Mountain Brook recently was named winner of the 2020 Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer. It is annually awarded by the Monroeville Literary Festival and Alabama Writers’ Forum, named for Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” who was raised in Monroeville and returned there to spend her later years. “Some things you kind of see coming out of the corner of your eye, things that you are hoping for and you look for. You’re really excited when you get them, but you were hoping,” Henry said. “This was so out of the blue that I was completely thrilled.” The award will be presented March 6 during the Monroeville Literary Festival. Henry is the author of 15 New York Times bestsellers. She also has been on the USA Today, Publishers Weekly and Globe and Mail bestseller lists and has won and been nominated for multiple awards. Among her most famous novels was the critically acclaimed historical novel, “Becoming Mrs. Lewis – The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis,” See HENRY, page 15

Leadership Vestavia Hills Celebrates Dr. Audie Woolley’s Work With Deaf Children


By Emily Williams

Henry is the Many of those babies end up at the Children’s author of 15 Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program, started by New York Times ccording to the National Institute on Woolley in 1995. Since then, the program has combestsellers. Deafness and Other Communication pleted more than 700 implant procedures. Disorders, roughly one in 1,000 children In addition, Woolley serves as the co-founder and are born deaf. director of the Woolley Institute for Speech“In Alabama, that’s going to be about Language Education, a preschool that provides eduAngus Angus Beef therapy Huge Selection of Wineof&Wine Beer& Beer Fresh Vegetables Fresh Gulf Fresh, Fresh, Never-Frozen Fresh Certified Beef programs to children with hearHuge Selection Fresh Vegetables FreshSeafood Gulf Seafood Never-Frozen Fresh 30 to 40Chicken kids,Chicken because there areFruit aboutFruit 30,000 to Certified cational and 40,000 live births a year,” said Dr. Audie Woolley, ing disabilities. FOLKS IN BIRMINGHAM HAVE BEENBEEN "GOIN' TO THE PIG" SINCE 1977. THANK YOU YOU FOR FOR MAKING US AUS BIRMINGHAM TRADITION! FOLKS IN BIRMINGHAM "GOIN' TO THE PIG" SINCE 1977. THANK MAKING A BIRMINGHAM TRADITION! chief of pediatric otolaryngology at Children’s ofHAVE A Vestavia Hills resident, Woolley will be honSee WOOLEY, page 9 Alabama. Photo courtesy Patti Callahan Henry


Only the freshest for Valentine's Day!

2 • Thursday, February 6, 2020


Murphy’s Law

R GIVING BACK Letterman of the USA is holding its second fundraising gala PAGE 7

THE CUTTING EDGE Dr. John Eagan Jr. follows in father’s wake to advance cardiovascular treatment PAGE 10

MERRY MONARCH ‘King Popsi’ brings a sense of fun to his role as Krewe King PAGE 16

RISE AND SHINE VHHS RISE fundraiser to benefit UAB Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program PAGE 27





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.

Tweets For The Sweet

ed alert: Valentine’s Day is it’s still clip art and, if you recall, you used approaching. If you are lucky the same emoji progression when you talked enough to have a special someabout the new crop of contestants on one in your life, it’s time to start think“America’s Got Talent.” ing of something special to do for No, these have to be your own actual them. words. You should speak freely from your Oh sure, the two of you laughed and heart, my friend – and then you should edit. poo-pooed the idea of Valentine’s Day. Think about how you really feel about your You called it cliché, a blatant consumer sweetie, but choose how you express those trap. You assured yourselves that you thoughts very carefully. express your love for each other every “The first time I saw you, I knew we single day and that it would be so much were meant to be together. Actually, it was more meaningful to surprise each other the second time I saw you. The first time, Sue Murphy with a gift on some random Tuesday. you were playing beer pong with my roomWhile all that may be true, and those mate.” This requires another look. are the exact words that came from “When you walked out last night your sweetie’s lips, don’t you believe wearing that red dress, it took my breath Giftwise, you can buy away. Not the sleeveless one, the one that it for a second, mister. It’s Valentine’s Day. You need to show covered up your tattoos.” Edit. your sweetie flowers up – and show up with your heart in “I know we’ve only been going out and candy or go your hand. for two weeks, but I just want to squeeze Giftwise, you can buy your you until there’s not a breath of air left in for something more sweetie flowers and candy or go for body.” OK, don’t send that one at specifically them, like your something more specifically them, all. On second thought, send it directly to like custom car mats or a yoga brick. custom car mats or a your therapist. It really doesn’t matter. The main Here’s another wrinkle: While you’re yoga brick. event will always be the card. being creative, keep in mind that whatevNow, I’m a fan of regular paper er you send could potentially be forwardcards. They’re pretty, they’re savable ed to all of your sweetie’s friends. It and eloquent words are part of the package. But, being a could be posted on Facebook. It could become a YouTube more modern person, one of those folks who no longer has video. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want pinned to a landline and watches nothing but subscription TV, you your company bulletin board. might consider snail mail cards passé. All of your relationSo, let’s review: Your words must be meaningful, yet ship communication might take place via text or tweet on a tasteful, sincere, but safe. There’s the tightrope you’re daily basis. That’s OK, but it means you will have to come walking. Kind of makes the paper card look more attracup with the sweetie tweetie words yourself. tive, doesn’t it? That’s the hard part. A simple “I Love You” is nice and Tweets for the sweet. I think you have to ask yourself, all, but your special someone would really appreciate “Do I feel lucky?” If you’re still intent on going ahead something that displays a little more thought on your part. (You’re a braver man than I am, Gunga Din) let me sugAnd don’t think you can emoji your way out of this one, gest this: “You are the screensaver of my life.” either. Heart, heart, heart, smiley face with more hearts – You’re welcome.

Over the Mountain Views Last Sunday was Groundhog Day, so we went to the Birmingham Zoo and asked Bilbo ...

When will spring arrive?

February 6, 2020

JOU RNAL 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: Blake Ells, 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

Due to the Zoo’s resident groundhog Birmingham Bill going through hibernation, one of the Zoo’s Ambassador owls predicted this year’s weather outcome. “I see with my eagle eye my shadow, six more weeks of winter!”

Photo courtesy of Jenine Bastas, Birmingham Zoo


Bilbo the Eurasian Eagle owl Birmingham Zoo

Vol. 29, No. 12

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 2019 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.

Next Issue: February 20 Summer Camp Guide!



Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 3

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To find a specialist, call 888-577-2545 or visit BrookwoodBaptistHealth.com

4 • Thursday, February 6, 2020

FEB 6 - FEB 20 Thurs., Feb. 6 Tider Insider National Signing Day Luncheon

Photo courtesy Barbara Blair

What: Bama’s biggest fans are invited to the Tider Insider National Signing Day Luncheon with Rodney Orr. For reservations visit the website. When: Noon Where: The Club Website: “Tider Insider National Signing Day Luncheon” Facebook page

Feb. 6-May 7 Grief Share

From left: Mary Noel Sellers, Tracey Anderson and Kim Williamson.

Good Books for Good



Friends of Emmet O’Neal Annual Book Sale Benefits Library, Community

LP2189 / MR2453

For more than 50 years, the Friends of the Emmet O’Neal Library have supported the library through its annual book sale, with proceeds benefitting the library’s adult and teen programs. This year’s sale will begin Feb. 20 with a preview party and will continue with a general sale Feb. 21-23. “There is always a lot of excitement surrounding this event,” said Friends President Barbara Blair. “So, mark your calendar for the book sale.” According to Blair, the sale has raised more than $270,000 for library programs, and surplus funds have been donated to charities throughout the state. At the library, donations help fund a range of programming, including author events, book clubs, weekly yoga, ukulele workshops, cooking competitions and college readiness events. “This past year, $30,000 worth of books were sold during the event,” Blair said. “During our philanthropy day after the sale, 25 nonprofit organizations were able to select over 3,500 books to be donated to their organizations.” The more than 20,000 books available at the sale were sourced from the library’s collection or donated throughout the year by people in the community. “Those wishing to donate books can bring them to the back door of the library,” Blair said. “Just ring the doorbell, and someone will take your books and give you a receipt.” The only donations the library cannot accept are encyclopedias, textbooks or books that are molding or otherwise damaged. By donating at least $25, guests will receive an invitation to the preview party, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., which offers guests first pick of the sale’s rare and first edition offerings. General sale hours will be Feb. 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Feb. 23 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., there will be a half-price sale upstairs and a $15 bag sale in the basement. 1 For 4 2 5 more M o n t ginformation, o m e r y H w y , contact V e s t a v iBarbara a H i l l s | Blair 2 0 5 . 8 at 2 2 .barbaramblair@gmail.com, 9173 | steedsjewelers.com or go to the “support” tab on the library’s website, eolib.org. —Emily Williams

Your wedding, Your style.

What: Trained facilitators who have experienced grief will provide tools and resources necessary to move forward in this 13-week series. College-age or older. Registration includes workbook and refreshments. When: Thursdays, 7-8:45 p.m. Where: Faith Presbyterian Church Website: griefshare.org/groups/63460

Feb. 7-23 Porgy and Bess

What: George Gershwin’s final work for the musical stage is known worldwide as a masterpiece and “An American Folk Opera.” Based on DuBose and Dorothy Heyward’s play, “Porgy and Bess” combines elements of jazz, classical and American folk music. When: Check the website for times Where: Red Mountain Theatre Co. Website: redmountaintheatre.org

Sat., Feb. 8 A Night at the Oscars Gala

What: For the first time in history, Mitchell’s Place has moved its gala in support of Autism Spectrum disorder to a Saturday evening. Enjoy dinner, Hollywood-inspired drinks, live music and a live auction. When: 6:30-11:30 p.m. Where: The Theodore Website: mitchells-place.com

Pointe Ball

What: Alabama Ballet presents its annual fundraiser featuring a selection of performances from Blue Suede Shoes, followed by a gourmet dinner, dessert and dancing to music provided by Celebrity All Star Band. Where: The Club Website: alabamaballet.org

A Night at Hogwarts!

What: Birmingham Improv Theatre presents a trivia and costume contest improv show. When: 7:30-10 p.m. Where: Birmingham Improv Theatre Website: bhamimprovtheatre.com

Thurs., Feb. 13 Scholarship Luncheon

1425 Montgomery Hwy, Vestavia Hills | 205.822.9173 | steedsjewelers.com

What: Samford Legacy League hosts a fundraiser featuring a silent auction and kenote speaker Whitney Capps, author of “Sick of Me: from Transparency to Transformation” and national speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries. When: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Where: A private club in Vestavia Website: samford.edu

Feb. 14-16 Mercedes-Benz Marathon

What: This Birmingham tradition kicks-off with a Superhero Fun Run followed by a 5k, the Mercedes Marathon, half-marathon and fiveperson marathon relay. A post-race party includes live bands, BBQ, free beer and massages. When: Visit the website for a weekend schedule of exact locations and times Website: runsignup.com

Sat., Feb. 15 AAA Concert Series

What: The Alabama Accordion Association will host two free concerts to showcase the power and versatility of the accordion. Guest musician Dr. Mike Middleton will perform solo, followed by his band Mike and the Middletones. When: Solo concert, 1 p.m.; Mike and the Middletones, 7 p.m. Where: Brookwood Baptist Church Website: bamaccordionists. com

Annual Camellia Show

What: The Birmingham Camellia Society hosts a local camellia show that is open to the public, with a competition open only to residents of Jefferson and Shelby Counties. When: 1-4 p.m. Where: Birmingham Botanical Gardens Website: americancamellias.com

Mardi Gras on the Mountain

What: Wear your favorite Mardi Gras beads and mask and join Easterseals of the Birmingham Area in an evening filled with music, New Orleans-themed food, drinks, a silent auction and more. When: 7-11 p.m Where: The Club Website: “Mardi Gras on the Mountain” Facebook page

Feb. 15, 16 and 22 “Bunnicula”

What: With a dancing cat, a howling dog and a peculiar bunny, this clever musical adaptation of James and Deborah Howe’s classic novel is a mystery audiences of all ages will enjoy. When: Feb. 15, 16 and 22, 2:30 p.m. Where: Birmingham Children’s Theatre Website: bct123. org

Tues., Feb. 18 “Because of Them, We Can”

What: OLLI presents the Seasoned Performers in a play about black struggles to bring civil rights. When: 1-2:30 p.m. Where: Homewood Public Library Large Auditorium Website: homewood. libnet.info

The Chieftains: The Irish Goodbye Tour What: On this final journey, enjoy an evening of music, song and dance with six-time Grammy Award winners who have been highly recognized for reinventing traditional Irish music on a contemporary and international scale. When: 7 p.m. Where: Alys Stephens Center, Jemison Concert

Hall Website: alysstephens.org

Feb. 18, 21 and 22 Southern Voices Festival

What: This three-day conference brings together writers, editors, musicians, performers and public figures to create a full and open dialogue on the relevance of our regional past to Southern art and culture today. When: Check the website for events and times Where: Hoover Public Library Website: hooverlibrary.org

Feb. 19 and 20 “Graceland” and “Asleep on the Wind”

What: Hoover Library Theatre presents two one-act plays by Ellen Byron. “Graceland” and its prequel “Asleep on the Wind” take a warmhearted and charming look at the human experience. When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Hoover Library Theatre Website: hooverlibrary.org

Thurs., Feb. 20 Dance Like Jane Austen

What: Whether in preparation for the April 4th Jane Austen Regency Ball or just because you’d like to know the common dances of the Regency era, join Homewood Public Library for free classes. When: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Where: Homewood Public Library Round Auditorium Website: homewood.libnet.info

Feb. 20-27 - March 1 Isn’t it Romantic

What: Homewood Theatre present a play that examines the hilarious and touchingly revealing post-college careers of two former classmates as they struggle to establish their own lives and identities.When: Check the website for dates and times Where: Homewood Theatre Website: homewoodtheatre.com

Fri., Feb. 21 Night Under the Big Top

What: Glenwood’s Junior Board presents its annual fundraiser in support of children with autism and the Daniel House Program. The event includes live music, food, complimentary beer and wine, a silent auction, silent disco and more. When: 8 p.m.-midnight Where: Haven Website: glenwood.org/bigtop

Feb. 21 and 22 Giggles & Grace

What: Asbury United Methodist Church hosts its baby and child consignment sale featuring children’s clothing, toys, books shoes and more. Proceeds benefit Asbury Children’s Ministry and mission projects. When: Feb., 21, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Feb. 22, 8 a.m.-noon Where: Asbury United Methodist Church Website: asburygigglesandgrace.com


Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 5






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Pride and responsibility drive us to be the best in everything we do. As a life-long Over-the-Mountain resident and a third generation working at Guin, I feel great pride and responsibility in carrying on the legacy of honesty and hard work that my grandfather began 62 years ago. Family is very important to us, and we treat our customers with the same care and respect as members of our own family. It Joseph Braswell would be a privilege to serve you.

Serving Birmingham since 1958

Test scores from 2018 show that 74% of Birmingham City Schools third grade students are reading below their grade level, according to the Alabama State Department of Education. Better Basics, a Birminghambased children’s literacy nonprofit, is seeking to change those numbers by promoting a love for literacy, as well as other areas of study. With its signature fundraiser, “Love for Literacy,” a gala being held Feb. 15, the organization raises money to help provide academic intervention and enrichment programs for struggling kids, from birth to 12th grade, in low-income communities.  “In the 2018-19 school year, we served 23,288 students,” said Alisa Boone, Better Basics director of development and public relations. The program also that year involved more than 1,000 volunteers who helped take programming to students from 36 schools across Central Alabama, and 47,143 books were given to kids.  Serving up “a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day,” the sixth annual gala will be at Regions Field Ballroom and Club Lounge. Money raised will help the organization continue to provide literacy programming, as well as expand its intervention and enrichment programs.   The Department of Education also found that, in mathematics, 66% of third graders function below grade level. In response, Better Basics began piloting a math program last spring.  “This school year, we are intro-

Sweet Repeats

What: Mountain Brook Community Church hosts its consignment sale featuring children and teens clothing, sports equipment, toys and more. Proceeds benefit the church’s shortterm mission projects. When: Feb. 21, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (no strollers 9 a.m.-1 p.m.); Feb. 22, 9 a.m.- noon Where: Mountain Brook Community Church Website: mbccsweetrepeats. blogspot.com

The Gulf

What: South City Theatre’s winning entry in this year’s Alabama Community Theatre Festival reveals a pair of volatile lovers whose relationship is as sharp as a fishing knife - pointed and dangerous. When: Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 22, 9:30 p.m. Where: Birmingham Improv Theatre Website: bhamimprovtheatre.com

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Murder in the Magic City

What: Homewood Public Library presents a mystery conference for

Photo courtesy Better BAsics

By Emily Williams

WVTM anchor Eunice Walker and meteorologist Stephanie Walker will reprise their roles as emcees of Better Basic’s annual “Love for Literacy,” a Valentine’s-themed gala fundraiser on Feb. 15.

Love for Literacy

Better Basics Gala Celebrates Learning, Welcomes New Mathematics Program ducing mathematics intervention, expanding our Summer Brain Gain program to more sites, students and community partners and (expanding) the Hope 21st Century Learning Centers to all Fairfield City School system schools,” Boone said. “In addition to the existing Birmingham Reads and Fairfield Reads days, we are adding Midfield Reads Day to our community-wide, read-aloud events.” Literacy programs are being expanded in response to the Alabama Literacy Act, signed in May 2019 and effective for the 2021-22 school year. The law will require that all students read at or above their grade level by the end of third grade or they will be held back a grade.

The success of 2019 and new projects will be celebrated at the gala, hosted by WVTM meteorologist Stephanie Walker and anchor Eunice Walker. Festivities will include live music, a silent auction and games, including a wine pull, bourbon toss and ring bling.   After a cocktail hour and seated dinner, a program will feature inspirational guest speaker Lt. Col. Lacy Gunnoe, a Birmingham resident who “came from humble beginnings in Appalachia.”  The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and tickets are $150, or $200 for VIP status.  For more information, visit literacy2020.givesmart.com or betterbasics.org/events.

fans of all sub-genres of mystery novels, including panel discussions, a basket auction fundraiser and presentations by the 2020 guests of honor, Joshilyn Jackson and Thomas Mullen. When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Where: Homewood Public Library Large Auditorium Website: homewood. llibnet.info

how to make and deliver tacos to her, and more. When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Birmingham Improv Theatre Website: bhamimprovtheatre.com

Red Nose Ball

What: Smile-a-Mile presents its largest and longest-running annual fundraising event, featuring silent and live auctions, complimentary beer and wine, a cash bar, seated dinner, live music and a photo booth. When: 6 p.m. Where: BJCC East Hall Website: smileamile.com

Dinner and Diamonds

What: Enjoy dinner and silent and live auctions to benefit the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation. When: 7-11 p.m. Where: A private club in Vestavia Hills Website: vestaviafoundation.org

Ricky Glore - Spitting Image Tour

What: Ricky Glore examines his Midwest up bringing, napkin thoughts, becoming a dad, the irrational fear of his wife leaving him if their cat learns

Sun., Feb. 23 ASO & ASYO Side by Side

What: Always the highlight of the ASYO season, the youth orchestra will collaborate with the ASO musicians for a concert featuring Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony. When: 3 p.m. Where: Alys Stephens Center, Jemison Concert Hall Website: alabamasymphony.org

Thurs., Feb. 27 Friends of Vestavia Library: Local Author Debra Goldstein

What: An attorney, judge and author of mystery novels, Debra Goldstein does it all and keeps her sense of humor. Enjoy coffee and refreshments before the program. 18+. When: 10 a.m. Where: Vestavia Library Community Room Website: vestavialibrary.org



Journal photo by Jordan Wald

graphed football to someone who needs encouragement from one of their gridiron heroes. More than 300 footballs signed by coaches and players, known as “Autographs for Heroes,” have been given to soldiers injured during their military service at the recipients’ favorite schools. In 2011, the first autographed football ever presented by Lettermen of the USA was given by a former University of Alabama football player to a wounded Auburn veteran and signed by the late Pat Sullivan. The idea for the Gala came about after another encounter Fuhrman had

Lettermen of the USA founder Darryl Fuhrman, right, with UAB head football coach Bill Clark who will be the guest speaker at the second annual “One Yard at A Time” Gala on Feb. 21 at The Club.

Giving Back

Letterman of the USA Is Holding Its Second Fundraising Gala By Rubin E. Grant During his freshman football season at the University of Alabama, Darryl Fuhrman had to decide whether he was going to be an influencer. “We were doing calisthenics,” Fuhrman recalled. “And coach (Ray) Perkins came over to me and got in my grill. He said, ‘There are three kinds of people, movers and shakers, those who just watch and those who don’t give a darn.’ He said, ‘Which one are you?’ I didn’t know what to say so I said, ‘I’m a mover and shaker.’

The mission of Lettermen of the USA is to help those who serve by offering the motivation, guidance and support necessary to rise and pursue success “One Yard at A Time.” “At the time, I thought he was telling me not to be whining and get on with it.” Furhman, who is from Southside near Gadsden and now lives in Homewood, has gotten on with it. He was a linebacker for the Crimson Tide from 1985 to 1987, playing alongside former linebacking greats Cornelius Bennett and the late Derrick Thomas. Later, after the 2011 tornadoes devastated Tuscaloosa, Fuhrman, a long-time sales professional, helped organize a flag football game between

Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 7


former Alabama and Auburn football players that raised about $150,000 for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund. Also in 2011, Fuhrman – along with other former Tide and Tiger coaches and players – formed the nonprofit Lettermen of the Iron Bowl, which became Lettermen of the USA in 2014. Fuhrman is president of the national charitable organization of former college athletes, as well as active and former coaches. They have teamed up to help serve honorably discharged veterans, wounded veterans and former college players in need. The mission of Lettermen of the USA is to help those who serve by offering the motivation, guidance and support necessary to rise and pursue success “One Yard at A Time.” On Feb. 21 at 6 p.m., Lettermen of the USA is hosting its second annual “One Yard at A Time” Gala. The event will be held at The Club in Birmingham. The $150 ticket price includes a seated dinner, music, live and silent auctions, photo and autograph sessions. The gala will feature UAB head football coach Bill Clark as guest speaker and Capt. Gary Mike Rose, U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipient. The event also will include many familiar faces, including Bennett and former Alabama kicker Brian Cunningham. The Lettermen of the USA member network gives back to its communities by volunteering during natural disasters, helping feed the homeless at local shelters, supporting wounded veterans or simply giving an auto-

with his former college football coach. “In 2017, I met coach Perkins at Salem’s Diner in Homewood,” Fuhrman said. “I told him what we’d been doing and that we had given out 200 footballs since 2012. He said, ‘Why isn’t it 250,000?’ and I dropped my fork. I told him it costs money, and he said you better hurry.” Proceeds from the gala will benefit discharged veterans, wounded veterans and former college players in need. Lettermen of the USA is looking to expand in the future and establish the “50 Yard Line House” to provide homes for veterans, wounded veterans, disaster victims and former col-

lege athletes who have fallen down in life with no fault of their own. The idea of this program is similar to the Ronald McDonald House. But it would be a center or subdivision used to get these people off the street and provide services and training to get them back on their feet. “We have taken the many diverse skills of athletes and coaches and built a national platform,” Fuhrman said. “No organization is worth its salt that doesn’t help its own.” For more information about the LofUSA Gala, visit https://www.lotusa.org, call 205-394-7521 or email lettermenofusa@gmail.com.

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8 • Thursday, February 6, 2020


By Sam Prickett What’s on the agenda for Homewood in 2020? According to Mayor Scott McBrayer, the plan is to continue to focus on the western side of the city. “For years, nothing was done in West Homewood,” McBrayer said. “I told them when they elected me mayor that just wouldn’t be the case. We’d get things going over there, we’d help people’s property values, and that’s what I’m doing.” West Homewood was the site of several

One major step in redeveloping the area will be a complete renovation of Green Springs Highway, which McBrayer said will be a $3 million “beautification project.” major projects in 2019, including the construction of Patriot Park, which opened its swimming pool in May. The park also includes a playground, restrooms and a walking path. Patriot Park’s aquatic center was developed along with the West Homewood Athletic Center, which also opened in May. The total cost for both projects was $29.7 million. McBrayer said an increase in the city’s younger population drove the need for the new developments. “West Homewood has been a focus of emphasis for quite a while for me,” he said. “I know that when I was elected mayor in ’08, Patriot Park was just a bare field. There was nothing there. But what has happened, basi-

cally, is we’ve gotten so many young people with children moving into Homewood, so that having just one park is just not enough to accommodate everyone. West Homewood has really been the optimum place to put everything, and the land was available.” One major step in redeveloping the area will be a complete renovation of Green Springs Highway, which McBrayer said will be a $3 million “beautification project.” “We’ll basically go from Lakeshore Drive to West Valley Avenue and put in a center median with trees, decorative lighting, landscaping, all kind of things,” he said. “It’s going to completely change the look of Green Springs Highway. This will be a major project that I really think is going to help with the transition of Edgewood into West Homewood. For so long, Green Springs has kind of been the dividing line, and I just want to change the look of that. I think it can be one of the most beautiful boulevards we have in the area, and if we do it right, it’ll connect the two areas in a much better way. It’s really going to help businesses down the Green Springs area, and it’s going to have a different atmosphere and different feel than it does now.”

New Public Safety Center, New Fire Chief

Of course, not all of the city’s plans for 2020 will be focused on the west side of town. There’s the city’s new public safety center – a $22.5 million, three-story facility that will house the city’s police department, court system, administrative offices and jail. Construction on that project is anticipated to be completed by late March or early April. A $1.2 million expansion to the Homewood Public Library also is underway. Similar to the proposed Green Springs project, McBrayer said, is a plan “to extend the look of 18th Street” in downtown Homewood “all the way down to Highway

File photo

West Homewood Projects Headline McBrayer’s Plans for the Year

McBrayer plans to continue lobbying the Homewood City Council to approve the construction of a new fire station on Green Springs Highway.

280.” “We’re going to narrow the street there in front of the post office (at 2710 18th St.), we’re going to have center medians with trees and diagonal parking along the street.” There’s a major personnel change in store for Homewood as well, as the city seeks to replace Fire Chief John Bresnan, who died suddenly last month. Bresnan had been fire chief since 1992, and McBrayer said it may take months before the position is permanently filled. In the interim, Battalion Chief Nick Hill is serving as acting chief. “The city of Homewood is under the Jefferson County Personnel Board, so anyone that we hire has to go through that hiring process,” McBrayer said. “The discussion right now is whether or not the personnel board is going to have to give a chief’s test (to applicants), or if they’re going to simply provide a list of qualifications and send us a list of the

Hoover OKs Incentives for Redevelopment of Bluff Park Village Shopping Center

By Sam Prickett

Hoover is moving forward with redevelopment plans for the Bluff Park Village Shopping Center. During a special-called meeting Jan. 16, the Hoover City Council approved $3.5 million in sales tax rebates for the proposed expansion, in which Piggly Wiggly and Mills Pharmacy will move into the shopping center from the neighboring Shades Mountain Plaza. The redeveloped shopping center also will include a new, salad-and-sandwich restaurant called the Electric, developed by the restaurant group behind Birmingham’s El Barrio and Paramount. The Dollar General that currently occupies the shopping center will remain there for at least another

five years, Bluff Park Village owner Ken Harden told the council. The project also will make the shopping center more walkable by constructing new sidewalks and green space. “Bluff Park deserves a store like this,” said Naseem Ajlouny, the owner of the Shades Mountain Plaza Piggly Wiggly. He originally had planned to shut down his store’s Bluff Park location when its lease expired in 2021; the prospect of a new, expanded location made him reconsider, he said. If the council did not approve the redevelopment, he said, the Shades Mountain Plaza location would be “leaving regardless.” That location will stay open until the new development is complete. The new store, which will closely

resemble Piggly Wiggly’s Dunnavant Valley location, will provide a “European-style” shopping experience, Ajlouny said, meaning it would provide “fresh food, fresh produce (and) fresh meat.” He estimated the new store would open by May 2021. According to the agreement with the city, the Piggly Wiggly will receive a 33% sales tax rebate over the next 20 years, with a maximum total of $2 million. Harden will receive a 33% sales tax rebate from all the new stores in the development over 20 years, with a maximum of $1.5 million. Officials said the redevelopment of the shopping center would be a boon to the Bluff Park neighborhood and would bring new commercial development into the area.

top 10 qualified employees to fill that position … . We can’t do like Birmingham. We can’t go to California and say, ‘There’s the greatest fire chief in the world out there, we want him. It doesn’t work that way.” If the personnel board decides to test applicants, McBrayer said, “we’re probably looking at five or six months” of waiting before a new chief is hired. In the meantime, McBrayer hopes to make progress on two other projects that will benefit the fire department, both of which will be centered in West Homewood. He plans to continue lobbying the Homewood City Council to approve the construction of a new fire station on Green Springs Highway. “We’ve purchased the property there in front of the Publix … . I want to move Station No. 2, which is on Carr Avenue around the corner, and build a completely new facility that would come out onto Green Springs Highway.” The current location of Station No. 2, he said, “is probably our oldest city-owned building in Homewood … . It’s just not really what they need to be able to do their job. It needs to be brought up to have all the things that our Station No. 1 has got.” A new location for Fire Station No. 3 is also headed to West Homewood, he said, on property left over from last year’s construction of the athletic facility on West Oxmoor Road. Some of these capital projects, McBrayer added, have come from his administration’s track record of ending the fiscal year with a surplus. FY 2019, for instance, ended with a $1.2 million surplus for Homewood despite having awarded about $370,000 in employee bonuses and allocated $1 million to the city’s capital projects fund. The surplus also has allowed the city to establish what McBrayer calls a “rainy day fund.” The council’s name for it is the moreformal “Reserve for Economic Uncertainty.” It currently holds about $11 million. “If we do fall on hard times or if something comes up that we just had no idea was going to happen, we’ve got cash set aside that we can use to keep going,” he added. “That lets me sleep at night.”

West Alabama Bank Opens Branch in Mountain Brook West Alabama Bank, a 75-year-old community bank, opened its first office in Birmingham in December. The new branch is in Mountain Brook at 200 Office Park Drive, Suite 200. The Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the bank Jan. 14. William R. “Rob” Finney, the bank’s president and CEO, said the branch will give customers in the Birmingham area greater access to a wide range of banking services offered by one of the largest locally owned community banks in western Alabama. President of the Birmingham bank is Jim Park, who has more than 35 years of banking experience. He previously worked with West Alabama Bank and rejoined the company last year. He has been a Birmingham resident for 19 years. “There is positive projected growth for the area, and we already have a significant presence in Birmingham with loans,” Park said. “It’s a natural fit to expand our service offerings in Birmingham and continue growing our capacity to serve our customers wherever they may live, work and travel.” Full-service banking at the new branch includes retail and commercial banking as well as electronic banking.  Established in 1944, West Alabama Bank has 14 branches in eight Alabama counties. Its assets total $642 million.


WOOLEY From page one

ored for his impact on the local community and the state with the Leadership Vestavia Hills’ Distinguished Citizen Award at the Community Awards Luncheon on Feb. 25. He will be honored alongside Citizens of the Year Gina and John Henley. “It’s a great privilege to be honored the same year as the Henley’s,” he said. “I have known this family for many year’s, having taken care of their nephew who has a cochlear implant.” When Woolley and his wife first moved to Birmingham, the couple thought they would be in the city for maybe four or five years. “We’re not from Alabama,” he said. “(My wife and I) are from Texas, and we thought we’d go back but stayed because of the hospital and living in Vestavia – where the community was so supportive of everything we were doing.”

Drawn to Surgery

Woolley grew up in Cisco, Texas, a small town of about 4,000 people. “We had one doctor in the whole county, and he delivered my brother and sister,” Woolley said. “He was a very close friend of the family, and I so admired him and his dedication throughout my early education.” While in high school, Woolley would spend summers observing surgeries and cinical work. This is when he realized he wanted to be a surgeon. knowing he wanted to become not just a doctor, but a surgeon. At first, he fancied neurosurgery but was drawn into the field of otolaryngology while in medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center. “It was just so broad – you could be a sinus surgeon, head-neck cancer surgeon, do cleft palates, perform major complicated ear surgery or manage complicated airway problems … . It was also a rewarding field, because most of your patients are really healthy, and most of them do very well postoperatively,” he said. At the time Woolley started his residency at Washington University, the cochlear implant was still a relatively new device. It had passed clinical trials in adults, and by the time he started his fellowship at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, it was FDAapproved for children. “I would see children come into the hospital who were deaf, and they would leave with their hearing,” he said. “I just thought, nothing could be more rewarding than that.”  While the surgeries gave his patients their hearing, it is the therapy afterward that gives a patient their ability to listen.  While in St. Louis, Woolley would see patients through their surgery, and then the child would typically need to move on to attend one of the city’s two major schools for the deaf: St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf and

Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 9

NEWS Central Institute for the Deaf. “Children were flying from all over the world to get their cochlear implants at Washington University, and then they would stay at those boarding schools for four to six years, until they were ready to go back to their homes,” he said. “We had entire families move up there. I remember families from Birmingham moving to St. Louis just so their hearingimpaired child could go to CID.” All of the knowledge Woolley gleaned from his time in Missouri found its way to Alabama when he was recruited to join Children’s of Alabama.  The late Dr. Jim Dearth, who was serving as CEO at the time, along with Brian Wiatrak, chief of otolaryngology, were committed to having a cochlear implant program.  “Before Jim became CEO of the hospital, he was a cancer physician at Children’s, very well known, and specialized in leukemia,” Woolley said. “He had a number of children who had survived their cancer but had been deafened by the chemotherapy. So, he saw the need firsthand and was very passionate about it.”

Use of the Program Rose

Children’s first cochlear implant program consisted of two people: Woolley and Nancy Gregg, an auditory verbal therapist.   “We did four or five surgeries that first year, and then the word got out that Children’s of Alabama had a cochlear implant program,” Woolley said. “We immediately jumped to averaging about 25 to 30 implants a year.”  When the program started in 1995, the procedure was still foreign to many people, he said. Many people within the hearing impaired community were against cochlear implants, feeling that the medical community was forcing the ability to hear on deaf patients. Yet, the statistics regarding those who are deaf were daunting.  A study published in 2015 by Dr. Susan Emmett and Dr. Howard Francis of John Hopkins University School of Medicine focused on a group of adults ages 20-69 over the course of 1999-2002. It was found that – regardless of age, sex and race – individuals with significant hearing loss were associated with low educational attainment, such as not completing high school. It also was found that hearing loss is clearly associated with low income and unemployment or underemployment. “Once the implant technology proved to be great and kids started being able to go to college, then the whole world changed their view of it,” he said. “Now we see deaf parents who can’t talk bring their deaf baby to us for implants, because they see the advantage that they missed out on.”  One of Woolley’s former patients was able to graduate from high school with a full scholarship to Washington and Lee University and is now a producer for a television news network.  Were things as they were twenty years ago, Woolley suggested she may only been communicating with sign

language and most likely would not be employed in the way she is today.

Focus on the Therapy

Woolley had always wanted to start a school in Alabama modeled after the schools for the hearing impaired in St. Louis, as a way to help patients further harness their potential. “I could see that, really, the work was the therapy, and the more therapy they could get the more successful the children became with using their device and improving their speech,” he said. “The surgeries were obviously necessary, but the real mission was to get the kids using their new ears – being able to mainstream back into a public school system as soon as possible.”   Therapy was conducted only inhouse at Children’s until Woolley was approached by Dr. Robbie Baldwin, a private ENT and founder of the Alabama Ear Institute, to help set up a school providing auditory-verbal therapy for preschool-aged children with hearing loss.  The two teamed up and co-founded the Alabama School for Hearing in 2009, first located in Canterbury United Methodist School and serving 10 students in its first year.  Woolley took on the role of chairman of the school in 2018, electing a new board of 14 people who hired a superintendent - Nancy Gregg, who helped Woolley start Children’s program. One of the board’s first actions was to rename the school Wise, including Woolley’s name. “I was humbled, nervous and reluctant to let them do that, as I did not feel I deserved such an honor,” he said. “But it has really helped with fundraising, networking and has thrust

me into a leadership role for the school. The school is now located at Shades Valley Presbyterian Church and is free of charge for the kids who attend. Its overall mission is to get kids with hearing impairments used to their devices and ready to attend school. “If you put an implant on a child and they just disappear, they’re not going to really learn to use it,” he said.  The majority of his patients are implanted about the age of 1, having already missed 12 months of hearing; or fit with hearing aides as young as 3 months old. They then undergo therapy and rehabilitation either in-house at Children’s, or through attendance at Wise. That includes meeting with an audiologist regularly to adjust the implant or hearing aides, and working with speech and language pathologists.  “We have to teach them how to listen,” he said. “That’s one thing that we take for granted. We’re born with it, but if you have never heard, then you have to be taught how to use your ears.”  Kids go to Wise for about four hours a day, Monday through Friday, and parents are given homework to continue the process at home.  Parents aren’t opposed to traveling long distances so their child can attend the school. One family travels to Wise from Montgomery every day, and Woolley said that student is progressing very well and will be ready for mainstream school in just a few years. Moving forward, Woolley and the Wise team envision opening satellite schools, beginning with the state’s other major cities - for example

Huntsville, Mobile and Tuscaloosa. “Our goal is to have multiple schools like this spread across Alabama, providing an opportunity for every child who needs these services,” Woolley said.

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10 • Thursday, February 6, 2020



Dr. John Eagan Jr. Follows in Father’s Wake to Advance Cardiovascular Treatment By Emily Williams

“Not only do they have one of the best hybrid (operating rooms) in the state, where they perform these new structural heart procedures – that’s been going on for at least a year – they are also adding three brand new cardiac catheterization labs with a chest pain center. Those will open up, we believe, at the first of April,” he said. The trend in most medical fields, and certainly in cardiology, is toward less invasive treatment. “There are a lot of reasons for that, but the main reason is safety and effectiveness,” Eagan said. For example, valve surgery, which in the past required opening the chest, can be completed subcutaneously through small incisions. “Minimally invasive techniques like these … are just as, if not more, effective and safer,” he said. “Also, you can use less anesthetic and that incurs much less risk for the patient.


Ready for a Change

His position in his current practice has allowed Eagan to “push the envelope” and advocate for the adoption of new methods of treatment. After 25 years as an interventional cardiologist, Eagan needed a change. Having been exposed to an extensive amount of radiation, he knew it was time to focus on another specialty

Prevention Is Key

Photo courtesy Cardiovascular Associates

y 2030, the American Heart Association hopes to increase life expectancy in the United States from 66 to 68 and globally from 64 to 67. The goal was rolled out at the beginning of this year, just in time for February, which is identified as National Heart Month. In a report published by the AHA in January 2019, heart disease was the number one cause of death in the U.S. and stroke was the fifth.  “The highest incidence of heart disease in all of the United States is found in the southeast, and Birmingham sits almost in the middle of that area,” said Dr. John T. Eagan Jr., a Birmingham native and cardiologist with Cardiovascular Associates. AHA research projects that more than 45% of the population will have some form of cardiovascular disease by 2035. “Unfortunately, in the United States, at least half of the population has one of the (cardiovascular) risk factors – such as, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, physical inactivity,” Eagan said. With such a large population affected by cardiovascular disease, there is a great need for professionals who can treat patients with themost advanced treatments. At CVA, Eagan works with what he defines as the top talent covering each sub-specialty of cardiology. It is a medical field he has always aspired to be a part of. “My father, who recently passed away at the age of 90, was a cardiologist and one of the first cardiologists trained at Duke University,” he said. When Eagan was 3 years old, his father moved the family to practice in Birmingham. His father’s career spanned 60 years. Throughout much of his childhood and adolescence, Eagan would spend summers helping out at his father’s clinics or in his operating room at the hospital, completing orderly tasks. “I grew up from a very young age admiring him, wanting to be like him,” Eagan said. “That’s why I chose the field of medicine, but also, specifically the field of cardiology.” After graduating from medical school and studying internal medicine at UAB, Eagan left to train at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and the Arizona Heart Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, before he was recruited to return to Birmingham in 1993 to join CVA. “Other well-trained cardiologists like me have come to Birmingham, and together we provide the highest level of care found anywhere in the United States,” he said. “I know this to be true because of my training at Emory and Arizona Heart, and working with colleagues across the U.S.” 

‘Other well-trained cardiologists like me have come to Birmingham, and together we provide the highest level of care found anywhere in the United States. I know this to be true because of my training at Emory and Arizona Heart, and working with colleagues across the U.S.’ DR. JOHN T. EAGAN JR., CARDIOVASCULAR ASSOCIATES.

within the field. A little more than a decade ago, there was a major development in cardiology, namely the growth of vascular knowledge and treatment. “The venous world had been one of those nebulous areas of medicine that no one really knew what to do with, how to treat veins,” he said. “I got on the cutting edge of (vascular treatment) in the late 2000s and became board certified in phlebology – which is the study of veins,” he said. According to Eagan, nearly 80 million Americans have some type of venous abnormality. “It’s a very common problem but under-diagnosed and under-treated,” he said. He said there had been rapid developments in treatment of venous disease over the previous 10 years, including new devices and interventional techniques. For example, in the past, people with superficial venous disease of the lower leg typi-

cally would have been treated with surgical stripping. “We found that stripping actually induced trauma and made the condition worse,” he said. “Through a lot of the research that has been going on for the last 15 years, it’s been shown that ablating veins – with cold or heat techniques – is a better way to treat abnormal veins.” Additionally, new interventional techniques have been developed to maintain proper blood flow in the deep venous system and remove lifethreatening blood clots. Tools used in these procedures have changed rapidly over the past five years. Through a decade-long partnership with Brookwood Baptist Health systems, Eagan and his fellow CVA physicians have been able to use the latest tech to provide the highest-quality, cutting-edge care for patients. The hospital is working to further advance its Structural Heart and Valve Center.

While treatment methods and knowledge of the cardiovascular system advances, one thing remains the same. “Risk modification and healthy habits are important when it comes to heart health,” Eagan said. “We know that a large portion of cardiovascular disease is from the environment and how we treat bodies.” Living a heart healthy lifestyle requires a combination of healthy eating, limiting alcohol intake and regular exercise, as well as keeping weight down. “And certainly, at all costs, do not use tobacco of any form. Period,” he said. The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology also recommend that people take at least 10,000 steps each day. There are many devices available that keep track of your steps, Eagan said, whether it’s a pedometer or an app on your Apple Watch. In addition, he noted that it is vital to regularly check cholesterol and blood pressure and to test for diabetes.   “Those things can prevent more serious problems,” he said. “Genetics also comes into play, and there is not much that can be done about that. But, regardless, prevention is absolutely the key.”

Heart Healthy Events at Brookwood

Throughout February, Brookwood Baptist Health systems will be celebrating American Heart month with free blood pressure checks from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday. On Feb. 7, National Wear Red Day, hospital staff will wear read to promote awareness of heart disease. A “From our Heart to Yours” blood drive, in partnership with the American Red Cross, will take place from noon to 5 p.m. in the Brookwood Baptist Medical Center’s Women’s Classroom Educational seminars will include an Atrial Fibrillation Seminar, Feb. 13 from noon to 1 p.m. at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center; and Heart Healthy Strategies, Feb. 26 from noon to 1 p.m. at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center.


Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 11


‘Always Keep Moving’

Dr. Christopher King Specializes in Treating Tough Cardiovascular Disease

tion. “Always keep moving. The closest thing there is to a fountain of youth is exercise, both physical and mental. Both types of inactivity can create a vicious cycle of physical and

Dr. Christopher King takes on King also treats peripheral vascucases other cardiologists have deemed lar disease in people who have such impossible. poor circulation that they are in dan“I am passionate about providing ger of needing amputation or are service to people who have been told unable to walk distances because of that there may be little or nothing that the pain their conditions cause. can be done for their condition,” said “In particular, I do work in the King, who has been in practice with small vessels below the knee in which Alabama Cardiovascular Group for blocked arteries often lead to poor more than 10 years. wound healing and significant disabilOverall, King specializes in diagity,” King said. “This is a space that nosing and treating cardiovascular has been undertreated in patients for disease, as well as interventional carmany years.” diology, echocardiography and nucleKing, a Birmingham native, holds ar stress testing. He treats all facets of a Fellowship in the American College cardiovascular disease, including of Cardiology. He received his mediperipheral vascular disease and highcal degree from the University of risk coronary anatomy. But it’s the Alabama at Birmingham and complettough cases that draw his interest the ed his general and interventional car‘The closest thing there diology training at VA most. “I do a lot of work treating people University/Medical is to a fountain of youth Commonwealth for significant cardiac symptoms College of Virginia in Richmond. is exercise, both physical (such as chest pain and shortness of “I try to take the health needs of breath) who have been told that their and mental. Both types each individual patient into considerblocked artery could not be opened ation as we develop a treatment plan of inactivity can create a together. Healthcare is not a ‘one with a stent or surgically bypassed,” he said. “I also treat many patients vicious cycle of physical size fits all’ endeavor,” King said. “I who have had previous bypass surhave a unique skill set for treating and mental decline.’ gery but have experienced worsening patients who may have previously of their disease since that time. A secbeen told there was little that could Symptoms associated with venous disease include: DR. CHRISTOPHER KING, ond bypass surgery can oftentimes be done for their vascular condition.” ALABAMA CARDIOVASCULAR present prohibitive risk. I work to • Skin discoloration Though he works on highly • Swelling or heaviness in legs • Skin problems or discoloration GROUP treat these particular blockages in a developed cardiology problems, the • Restless legs • Calf pain or cramping • Dry or weeping less invasive way.” first thing King advises is preven• Leg ulcers eczema • Visible varicose or spider veins • Leg ulcers


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12 • Thursday, February 6, 2020



Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 2020

A pink Herend bunny, heart-shaped box, $135. Available in a variety of colors. Bromberg’s Mountain Brook, 205-871-3276, and The Summit, 205-969-1776.

Silk Sari Kantha beads from J. Catna. The Village Poodle, 205-423-5443

The iconic Le Chameau Chasseur boot for men and women, a handcrafted, premium leatherlined zip boot with a leather insole and shock-absorbing, insulating, waterproof, all-terrain outsole, with a reinforced shank for better arch support, $489. Perfect for your outdoorsy Valentine. Caliber, 205-917-5800.

Head Over Heels Bracelet from Ronaldo the Valentine’s Day Collector’s Club selection, $90 through the end of February. The Happy Olive - Lane Parke 205-703-9003.

Treat the one you love, or yourself, to a Lips, Lines, and Lashes package including one syringe of filler, 20 units of Botox and Latisse 5ml, $800 (a $1,200 value.) Renew Dermatology, 205-580-1500.

Jarman Sparkling Brut Rosé from the Holman Ranch Estate. Locally owned, this crisp yet medium bodied Rosé is perfect to celebrate Valentine’s Day, 100% pinot noir, Magnum (1.5L), $98.99. R&R Wine & Liquor, Crestline, 205-848-2080.

Necklaces, for that special someone. Pavé diamond, $129.99; pavé diamond lobster clasp necklace, $199.99; and a pavé diamond bee necklace, $199.99. george, inside of Snoozy’s Kids, 205-871-2662.

Give the gift of Alabama art to the love bird in your life. Crafted by copper artist Margaret Kneisley, the heart measures 5”x5.5”, $42.50. Alabama Goods 205-803-3900.

Art Deco pendants converted from stick pins, available in dozens of oneof-a-kind designs, starting at $345. Levy’s Fine Jewelry, 205-251-3381.

Sheila Fajl Favorite hoop, burnished gold, $98; small Favorite hoop burnished gunmetal, $85; Elisa hoop brushed gold, $85, and burnished silver, $110. Ryan Reeves, 205-518-5010.

A Sweetheart Steak for your Valentine. Boneless Ribeye butterflied into the shape of a heart. Piggly Wiggly.

Tory Burch white enamel logo bangle, $148. John William Jeweller, 205-870-4367.  

A hand-carved wooden heart, for everyone you love, starting at $7. Attic Antiques, 205-991-6887.

Exquisite fragrances inspired by nature, Passion Fruit & Citrus above. Others also available by Aquiesse, starting at $8. Steed’s Jewelers, 205-822-9173.

Farmhouse Fresh, deliciously grown skincare, starting at $16. Salon Summit, 205-518-0406.

Treat your Valentine to a red leather handbag, $58.50, earrings by envy, $10, and sunglasses by Tom Ford, $105. Second Hand Rose, 205-970-7997.

Station necklace by ALV Jewels, spells LOVE in rhinestones, $42. Nations Boutique, 205-637-7967.

For the young at heart, give the gift of a membership to McWane. McWane Science Center, 714-8300.

Yellow gold layering necklaces, starting under $300. Shay’s Jewelry, 205978-5880.

A one-of-a-kind Art Glass vase, $50. Roman Brantley Art & Antiques, 205-460-1224.


Fun lip guest towels and beverage napkins. Christine’s on Canterbury, 205-871-6611.

Galatea Tahitian pearls that are masterfully hand carved by artist Chi Huynh and come in various colors and designs. Southeastern Jewelers, 205-980-9030

Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 13


The Butterfly, featuring 18K gold with fancy yellow diamond wings of new life, $1,550. JB & CO, 205-478-0455.

Hand-poured fragrance, exclusively for Smart skin. Buy one candle and get a second one of equal value for free, starting at $25. Smart Skin, 205-968-1301.

Beautiful, carved wooden box, $89.00, Tricia Treasure’s, 205-871-9779.

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Say “I Love You” with a Song Exceptional Foundation’s “Caroling Cupids” Just One of Several Ideas to Make this a Valentine’s Day Your Loved One will Never Forget

The Exceptional Foundation has started a new fundraiser in honor of Valentine’s Day, called Caroling Cupids. From Feb. 11 to Feb. 13, foundation participants will act as singing telegrams, traveling around town to perform songs including “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman and “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. For a $100 donation, people can send the Caroling Cupids to a friend or loved one. In addition to the musical performance, recipients also will be presented with a balloon, a custom card and a piece of Exceptional Artwork, which are created by foundation participants. The fundraiser will support the foundation’s mission to enhance the lives of those with special needs, regardless of financial means. Availability for carolers is limited. Visit The Exceptional Foundation’s Facebook page and follow the link to an online form in order to sign up. –Emily Williams

Jan. 23-Feb. 14 Show Your Love

What: The fifth annual King’s Home “Show Your Love” Valentine’s Mailbox Decorating Benefit will continue, with o. “Cupids” decorating mailboxes with a e Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 large, pink and red bow. In addition, 05-824-1246 they place a “Show Your Love” sign y in the yard, showing support of King mission with your community. D PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the February 6, 2020Home’s issue. When: For more information visit the website Where: All over the Mountain Website: kingshome.com

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.

Extensive Collection by Dirk Walker

Sporting and Wildlife Collection

Fri., Feb. 7

My Heart Through Art

What: Liz Lane Gallery, Thomas Andrew Art and Black Warrior Riverkeeper are partnering to raise funds for the Black Warrior Riverkeeper. The free event includes artwork perfect for Valentine’s, wine and hors d’ oeuvres. When: 6-8 p.m. the night of the show, with items available for purchase through Valentine’s Day Where: Liz Lane Gallery Website: lizlanegallery.com

Sat., Feb. 8 Pet Valentine’s Day Photos


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What: Brian Batista Photography presents a Valentine Day pet photo event. Cats, people and kids are welcome too. Proceeds benefit Rose Acres Rescue which will be on site with adoptable pets. When: noon4 p.m. Where: Pet Supplies Plus, Homewood Website: “Valentine’s Day Photos with Brian Batista” Facebook page

Photo courtesy The Exceptional Foundation

14 • Thursday, February 6, 2020

From Feb. 11 to Feb. 13, foundation participants will act as singing telegrams, traveling around town to perform songs including “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman and “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Wild About Chocolate

What: Alabama Wildlife Center presents its annual Valentine Gala, in honor of its volunteer veterinarians, including entertainment, hors d’ oeuvres, desserts, silent and live auctions and more. When: 7-10 p.m. Where: The Harbert Center Website: alabamawildlifecenter.org

Tues., Feb. 11 Wine & Dine, Valentine!

What: Join the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Junior Board for an early Valentine’s Day dinner that includes three courses and complementary wine pairings. Proceeds benefit the Kaul Wildflower Garden Internship Program. When: 7-9 p.m. Where: EastWest Kitchen & Bar Website: bbgardens.org

Thurs., Feb. 13 Stupid Cupid Chocolate Party

What: Experience the joys of chocolate in this fun-filled chocolate extravaganza for teens, featuring chocolate-themed games and trivia with prizes. When: 4-5 p.m. Where: Homewood Library Website: homewood.libnet.info

Galentine’s Day Event

What: Grab your girl gang and dance the night away in your PJs, as Redmont Hotel is hosting a girls night out, including makeovers, a braid bar, and cocktails. When: 8-11 p.m. Where: Redmont Hotel Website: “Redmont Hotel” Facebook page

Fri., Feb. 14 Alabama Theatre: Casablanca

What: Enjoy a sing-along with the Mighty Wurlitzer followed by the film, as well as a specialty Valentine’s Day cocktail alongside the usual selection of wine, beer, cocktails and Coca-Cola products. When: 7 p.m. Where: Alabama Theatre Website: alabamatheatre.com

Love is a Funny Thing

What: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Birmingham Improv Theatre as Positively Funny Improv pokes gentle fun at all things about “love” and “romance.” When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Birmingham Improv Theatre Website: bhamimprovtheatre.com

Feb. 14 and 15 Valentines Dinner Theatre

What: South City Theatre presents “The Odd Couple (Female Version)” by Neil Simon. When: 6:30-9 p.m. Where: Homewood Library, Large Auditorium Website: homewood. libnet.info

Tango, Flamenco and More

What: Claudia Chapa joins the symphony for a program full of vibrant expressions of love from all over the world. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Falla’s “El Amor Brujo, which literally translates to “Love, The Magician. When: 7 p.m. Where: Alys Stephens Center, Jemison Concert Hall Website: alabamasymphony.org


HENRY From page one

which she published as Patti Callahan in 2018. The book also won her The Christy Award for Christian Fiction in 2019, an award that acknowledges the value and impact of novels of faith in contemporary culture, according to a press release. The book recounts the poet and writer Joy Davidman’s journey to break free from a life in which she was unhappy, which led to her finding her greatest love story in her relationship with world-renowned author C.S. Lewis. As her first marriage crumbled, Davidman sought spiritual answers and began writing letters to Lewis. The two became pen pals and formed a friendship that inspired her to leave her old life behind and move from her native New York to the United Kingdom. While researching for and writing the book, Henry frequently wondered why it had not been written before. “The love story is known, but what was written was largely based on (Lewis’) accounts,” she said.

Taking a Leap

Learning to tell Davidman’s story and stay true to Davidman’s voice, she said, was a lesson in bravery.   “The biggest thing I admired about her was the willingness to go somewhere without guarantees,” she said. “Traveling around last year and speak-


LIFE ing about her, I had to be a little bit braver in my yes’s because I didn’t know what I was heading into.” Taking a big leap isn’t an entirely new experience for Henry. When Henry, a former nurse, decided she wanted to be a writer and wrote her first book, her children were ages 5, 3 and 1. So too, authoring “Becoming Mrs.

Taking a big leap isn’t an entirely new experience for Henry. When Henry, a former nurse, decided she wanted to be a writer and wrote her first book, her children were ages 5, 3 and 1. Lewis” was a leap because it was Henry’s first historical novel. “When I wrote Mrs. Lewis, I got a taste of what it feels like when everything I love to do kind of clashes together into one thing,” she said. She has finished her second historical fiction novel, which will be about the Steamship Pulaski disaster, to be released in March 2021, and has one more in the works. Each have been inspired by real people and events whose stories have been largely untold in the literary world. The process of creating a work of historical fiction takes years of research, a task she found she loved while in


graduate school and as a research nurse.

Readers Wanted More

Much of her discoveries and interactions didn’t make it into the Mrs. Lewis book. Four-hour interviews, for example, could be condensed into one moment for her characters. “At book events, I would spend half of the Q&A period answering about what was cut,” she said. In response to her readers’ desire for more, she has released a sevenpart podcast series, “Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis.” Each episode focuses on a subject inspired by seven of the biggest questions she had been asked while on her book tour. “It grew out of other people’s interest,” she said. “It grew out of my readers’ questions and my readers’ wanting more.” A big reason Henry believes the book has received such a great response is because Davidman’s story is so relatable.  “People respond to the idea of this woman completely changing her life. This woman saying, ‘This will not do,’” Henry said. “Because she changed her life, she changed his life. And because she changed his life, he changed our lives. “Once you make that connection, the story is so much bigger than a love story. It’s the transformational journey of a woman who changed her own life way before she changed his. Their story is an outgrowth of her personal decisions.”

Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 15


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Merry Monarch



By Donna Cornelius Several British kings and queens changed their names when they ascended to the throne. Victoria preferred her middle name to her first name, Alexandrina, and George VI, who started life as Albert, chose to be known by the same name as his popular father. This year’s king of the Beaux Arts Krewe is Jim Miller. But this merry monarch intends to reign over the Feb. 21 ball using a title that’s much more fun – and one by which he’s best known to family members and friends. “I’ll be King Popsi,” he said with a grin. Miller isn’t sure how he came to be known as Popsi, but he knows the nickname was bestowed on him early in his life. “It’s in my baby book,” he said. “My grandfather told me he remembered me being called that when I was 4 or 5 weeks old. But no one ever admitted to starting it.” A queen, whose identity isn’t revealed until the event, six ladies-inwaiting and 28 princesses will be presented at the ball, which has a Mardi Gras theme this year. Miller was officially announced as Krewe King on Jan. 27, but he’s known about his royal status for a while. “A group of friends took me to lunch last summer and asked if I’d serve as the 2020 king,” he said. “My answer was an enthusiastic, joyous, ‘Yes.’”

Benefiting Museum of Art

He’s excited about his important role at this year’s 53rd annual ball at Boutwell Auditorium for several rea-

sons. One is that the festive affair has a charitable purpose as well as a social one: It raises money for the Birmingham Museum of Art. “We’re not only showcasing these outstanding young women, we’re also doing something great for the Birmingham community by supporting the museum,” Miller said. “So it’s a win-win situation. We want the museum to be as good as it can possibly be. I’m a very strong supporter of the museum, which is one of the best in its class.” Miller also has strong family ties to the Krewe, which began with his father-in-law, Dr. James J. Bushnell. “He was one of the most passionate believers in Krewe,” Miller said. “He couldn’t wait to get his son and sonsin-law involved.” Miller was Krewe captain in 1993 and was president of the organization in 1994. His wife, Kathy, to whom he’s been married for 45 years, was presented at a Krewe ball, as were the couple’s four daughters. Kate, Grace and JuJu were ladies-in-waiting, and Libba was queen of the Krewe in 2004. Born in Mobile but a Mountain Brook resident beginning in third grade, Miller attended Mountain Brook Elementary School and Mountain Brook Junior High School before graduating from Shades Valley High School. At the University of Alabama, he was a member of freshman honorary society Phi Eta Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa and Jasons Society, and he was president of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He was editor of Alabama’s Farrago, then the student

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

‘King Popsi’ Brings a Sense of Fun to His Role as Krewe King

This year’s king of the Beaux Arts Krewe is Jim Miller.

magazine, and was elected to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. Miller joined the U.S. Navy after graduating from Alabama. He was 21 years old when he was commissioned an ensign in 1971 and served on board the USS El Paso in a series of positions; the last one was as the ship’s navigator. Since there was no GPS in those days, Miller guided his ship across the Atlantic Ocean using a watch, a sextant and a nautical almanac. Miller experienced another important event in his life in 1971. He and Kathy, also from Mountain Brook and then a student at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, had their first official date. They went to the AlabamaAuburn game at Legion Field. “Thank goodness Alabama won the

game,” Kathy said. After his naval career, Miller attended the University of Alabama School of Law and graduated with honors as a member of the Order of the Coif. He joined Balch & Bingham, a Birmingham law firm, and specialized in litigation and nuclear energy. He was elected general counsel of Southern Nuclear Operating Co. in 1994. In 1995, he spent the summer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a rigorous six-week course in nuclear reactor technology. Next came several executive positions within Southern Co. at Alabama Power Co. and Georgia Power Co. The couple moved to Atlanta in 2004. They lived there until 2008, when they returned home to Mountain Brook. That year, Miller became chairman, president and chief operating officer of Southern Nuclear Operating Co. After his retirement, Miller returned to Balch & Bingham, where he is of counsel. One of his roles is to offer help and advice to younger lawyers. “And I don’t have a billable-hours requirement,” he said with a smile. Miller was a municipal judge for the city of Mountain Brook for 14 years. He’s been active in organizations such as the Lakeshore Foundation, United Way, Boy Scouts of America and the Rotary Club of Birmingham. He’s a member of the Redstone Club, the Order of St. John and the Mountain Brook Club, of which he was president in 2012 and

2013. In his leisure time, he’s an enthusiastic golfer, fisherman and bird hunter. He and Kathy love spending time with their 11 grandchildren, all of whom will be attending their royal grandfather at the Krewe Ball. Serving as pages will be Mary Alton Kenerly, Elizabeth Miller Kenerly and Patrick Brittain Kenerly, the children of Jim and Kathy’s daughter, Grace Miller Kenerly of Gulfport, Mississippi; Olivia Grace Short and Anna Partlow Short, whose mother is Kate Miller Short of Birmingham; James Harper Milam, Katherine Bushnell Milam and Granger Kennedy Milam, children of JuJu Miller Milam of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida; and Juliet deVilliers Alden, Elizabeth Cartwright Alden and Alice McNiel Alden, the daughters of Libba Miller Alden of Nashville, Tennessee. Also among the pages are the Millers’ great-nieces, Juliet Hamilton Girvin and Margaret Bibb Girvin of Birmingham. Miller’s dukes include Walter McFarland Beale Jr., James Joseph Bushnell Jr., Joshua Michael Girvin, Charles Kennedy Porter, Roland Thomas Short III, William Lee Thuston, Charles Lawrence Whatley and Turner Butler Williams. While Miller is looking forward to presiding over the ball, which starts at 9 p.m., there’s one aspect of it that he’s a little worried about. “I’m not a late-night guy,” he said. “But I’ll soldier on.”

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LICENSE TO CURE Roar Hosts Ninth Annual James Bond Gala

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

he executive board for Radiation Oncology Accelerated Research, also known as Roar the Cure, celebrated the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Radiation Oncology Department on Jan. 25 with a gala fundraiser inspired by one of Britain’s most famous fictional secret agents, James Bond. Held at The Club, the evening’s festivities included music by Total Assets and a live auction by Jack Granger of Granger, Thagard and Associates.  This year’s gala honored the late Jimmy Koikos, co-owner of the historic Bright Star restaurant and Roar supporter.  Festivities were organized by the Roar Executive Board, including Martha Thompson, president; Donna Conklin, first vice president; Julie Kim, second vice president; Bridgett Ogburn, recording secretary; Kim Bunn, corresponding secretary; Yvonne Albaugh, treasurer; Martha Deane Giles, financial secretary; Sonja Lother, communications and PR; Michelle Sholtz, parliamentarian; and Daniel Callegan, parliamentarian.   A host committee, co-chaired by Jimmie Stephens and Tony Petelos, included Charlie Waldrep, Shan Paden, George Sarris, Skipper Goodwin, Keith Pennington, Jim Gorrie, Tommy Hudson, James Wadsworth, Gene Smith, Regina McQueen, Dean Giles, Dwight Sandlin, Jerry Duncan, Ken Deaver, Michael Davis and Pat Lynch.  The mission of Roar the Cure is to raise funds for the University of Alabama’s Radiation Oncology Department for cancer research. Funds raised by the gala are matched - dollar for dollar - by UAB physicians. ❖

Photo courtesy ROAR

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ACS Kicks Off Real Men Wear Pink Campaign date competes to be the top fundraiser by the end of the campaign. The 2020 Real Men Wear Pink Ambassadors are Kevin Archer, director of business development at Motion Mobs; Rod Burchell, owner of Alpha Graphics; Richard Cashio of ServisFirst; Terry Chapman, COO of VBI; Jordan DeMoss, vice president for clinical operations at UAB Hospital; Walter Evans of Cahaba Media Group; Troy Fanlacher, director of workplace benefits and payroll at BBVA; and Andrew Gnann, presi-

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Prominent area men will take a stand against breast cancer by participating in the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. The campaign is in its fifth year in Birmingham and is organized by the Birmingham chapter of the American Cancer Society. Ambassadors were revealed Jan. 29 at Carrigan’s downtown to kick start their efforts to raise money and awareness for breast cancer by wearing pink throughout February. Each Real Men Wear Pink candi-

Bret Pippen and Terry Chapman.

Janie and Wally Evans with Billy and Nicole Reed.

dent of St. Vincent’s Health System. Also revealed as ambassadors were Neal Jackson, vice president at Jackson Hospitality Services; Maxx Karrh of Bryant Bank; Scott Kelly, attorney with Ogletree Deakins; Bart McCorquodale, owner of McCorquodale Transfer; John Michael Ogletree, CFO at Blue Cross & Blue Shield; Bret Pippin, senior vice president at Regions; Mazi Rasulnia, CEO of Pack Health; Chris Reebals of Christopher Architecture and Interiors; Tony Russell, general manager of Sunny King Ford; Paul Storey, COO of Brookwood Baptist Health System; Reggie Torbor of Brasfield & Gorrie; Columbus Watson of Alexis Audio; John Parker Wilson, financial adviser with Morgan Stanley; and Rusty Yeager, SVP/CIO at Encompass Health. ❖

Russell and Mary Yeager.

Tyler and John Parker Wilson.

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Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 21


Our Valentine's Gift to You


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Everybody Wants to Be a Cat GBHS Board Celebrates Ninth Annual Jazz Cat Ball

The Greater Birmingham Humane Society Auxiliary’s signature fundraiser, Jazz Cat Ball, served up a festive Mardi Gras atmosphere to guests on Feb. 1. Held at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, the ninth annual gala was hosted by honorary chairs Janet and Matt Lusco and emceed by Murray and Kelly Statham with Janet Lusco, Missy Ellis and David Yacu. WVTM anchor Sheri Falk.  Festivities began with a silent auction, followed by a seated dinner. A live auction, conducted by Jack Granger of Granger, Thagard & Associates, live music from The Big Beyond and casino games followed. When gaming was brought to a close, prizes including a round of golf, Talladega Spring Races tickets and a Yellowhammer Brewery gift basket were awarded to the three biggest winners.  Leading the event coordination was Jazz Cat Ball chairwoman Susan Norman and chairwoman emeritus Missy Ellis, supported by a committee of volunteers from the board of directors and the GBHS auxiliary and young professionals boards.  Committee chairs included Sharyn Gaston, Cele Montgomery Ramona Graffeo, auxiliary board and Lea Underwood. president; Sara Sciara and Lacey Danley, casino; Karen Wood and Missy Ellis, corporate sponsors; Jocelyn Palmer, decorations; and Tricia Preston and Toni Seales, aRt, antiques silent auction.  Gifts & DecoR Funds raised at the event will support the GBHS mission to promote Open Tues. - Fri. 10:30-5:00 pm the humane treatment of people and Sat. 10:30-2:30 pm animals through education, advocacy 2790 BM Montgomery Street and services. ❖ Homewood, AL • 205.460.1224

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Journal photos by Jordan Wald


Charles Lantz, Jane Comer, Laura Clark and Brad Mitchell.

Supporters of Girlspring gathered at the Mountain Brook home of Laura Clark on Jan. 30 for the organization’s annual Winter Party. As cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were served, a program recognized board members, volunteers and supporters.  The evening was coordinated by a host committee that included Tena Ajlouny, Ginger Busby, Lauren Mabry Cater, Eleanor Estes, Lisa Flake, Susan Han, Rupa Kitchens, Colin Mitchell, Melanie Pounds, Nikki Still, Emma Suttles, Wendy Tatum, Martha Underwood and Amie Zanaty.  Funds raised at the event will support the organization’s mission to provide access to reliable information, inspiring events and positive role models so girls and young women ages 9 to 18 are empowered to reach their full potential.  Girlspring reaches 100,000 girls per year in the Birmingham area and beyond through its interactive website, public programs and teen leadership group. ❖

Ashley Kaple, Natalie Johnson, Marie Bateh and Tena Ajlouny.

IN SUPPORT OF GIRLS Girlspring Celebrates New Year at Winter Party

Jesse and Laura Vogtle.

Ken and Kate Delgreco.

Chloe Bloodworth, Sophia Peralo, Liana Mozee, Lydia Bloodworth and Maya Kitchens.

Tena Ajlouny and Shannon Riley.

Michael and Susan Han.

Jo and Norm Davis.

Lauren and Drew Cater.

Colin and Guy Mitchell.

Mary Beth Howland, Anna Comer, Ginger Busby and Nikki Still.

Tricia Jackson and Dennis Avanis.

Susan and Craig Stephens.


Alice Jackson and Christy Baynes.

Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 23


Avani Patel and Linda FlahertyGoldsmith.

Savannah DeRieux and Jane Comer.

Tarika Bhuta and Vineeta Kumar.


Canterbury Road, Mountain Brook Village | 423-5443

2856-B, 18th Street South Homewood, AL 35209 205.637.7967 www.nationsboutique.com

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To: From:

Nation's Boutique Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 FAX: 205-824-1246 Date: February 2020 This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the February 6, 2020 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

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

To: From:


24 • Thursday, February 6, 2020


Journal photos by Jordan Wald


Lynn Meeks, Carrie Lusk, Michael Meeks, Ken Berg and Bob Brown.

Singing Support

Birmingham Boys Choir Performs for Board at Reception 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 February

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The board of directors of the Birmingham Boys choir celebrated the group’s recruiting season in a cocktail reception Jan. 25. The reception was held at the Greystone home of Lynne and Michael Meeks, where guests were treated to performances by members of the choir as heavy hors d’oeuvres were served. Members of the board who helped coordinate the evening were William “Bill” Mooney, president; Renn Williams, president-elect; Anne Rand, past president; Christopher

Carrie and Fred Teardo.

Phyllis and John Pelham.

This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the Feb 6, 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.

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Marc and Donna Ayers.

Luketic, treasurer; JoAnn Davis, secretary; Ashley Condon, vice president-development; Sandy Wright, vice president-planning; and Elizabeth Peters, vice president-public relations. Members-at-large include Del Allen, Marc Ayers, Larry Cochran, Ben Davis, Ben Dow, Todd Heifner, Shane Kearney, Thomas Kendrick, Jack Kimberly, Paul Litten, Joel Megginson, John Pelham, David Proctor, Don Sanders, Jessica Wehby, Veronica Wehby-Upchurch and Mary Simpson Wilson. ❖

Carrie Lusk, Mary Rooney and Jo Ann Davis.


Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 25

Journal photos by Jordan Wald


The Hennessey family.

Magical Wishes

Magic Moments Hosts Second Annual Magic Show

Michael and Samantha Lovelady.

The second annual Magic Moments Magic Show celebrated the Alabama-based wish-granting service Magic Moments, as well as the children and families it serves. Hosted at the Lyric Theatre on Jan. 26, the show had activities for children, including face painting, balloon twisting, photo booths and more.  Headlining the evening’s show was magician David Garrard, whose performance featured a blend of music and magical illusions. Garrard was joined on the stage by several previous Magic Moment recipients. ❖

Craig and Katie Rousso.

Mending Kids’

HEARTS It’s what we do best. Our team of more than 250 pediatric professionals is recognized for its excellence in providing world-class cardiac care in an environment best suited to the needs of our patients. From tiny babies to teens, we care for Anna Robin Wignall and every child like our own. l


Magic Moments Executive Director Sandy Naramore, left, with the Moss family: Philip, Philip Jr., Renie and Helen.


26 board-certified cardiologists, intensivists, anesthesiologists and surgeons 441 cardiac surgeries performed in 2019, including 8 heart transplants More than 725 cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology procedures performed in 2019

Hazel, Scott and Eve McClanahan.

Learn how you can help. Visit www.ChildrensAL.org/heart. 3920 Crosshaven Dr., Vestavia Hills, Alabama 35243 Luke and Mark Ausbeck.

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For Children’s Financial Assistance information, call 1.844.750.8950 or visit www.childrensal.org/financial-assistance

26 • Thursday, February 6, 2020



Kathryn Elizabeth Hardekopf and Taylor Robert Chapman were married September 7, 2019, at Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham. The Rev. Keith Miller officiated the ceremony. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Hardekopf of Hoover. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Chapman of Huntsville. Given in marriage by her parents,

the bride wore a fitted lace gown with the veil made by her grandmother. She was attended by her sister, Sarah Hefner, as matron of honor. Bridesmaids were her sisters-in-law, Macy Chapman and Nicole Hardekopf, as well as Mary Beth Burrell, Leighton Doores, Rebekah Hewett, Janet Matheson, Amanda Claire Renfrow, Haley Scallions, Peyton VanderWoude and Laurin White. The couple’s nieces, Margot Chapman and Leah Hardekopf, were flower girls.  Drew Chapman, brother of the groom, was the best man. Groomsmen were the bride’s brother, Bradley Hardekopf, the bride’s brother-in-law, Justin Hefner, as well as Bradley Boyett, Thomas Dower, Kory Miller, Josiah Moore, Austin Murphree, Andrew Spigner and Jonathan Strickland. The couple’s nephews, John Hefner, William Hefner, Benjamin Hefner and David Hardekopf, were ring bearers.   Scripture reader was John Hefner. After a honeymoon trip to Riviera Maya, the couple live in Homewood.

To have OTMJ wedding & engagement forms sent to you, please call Stacie at 205-823-9646.


Mary Ashley Powell and Francis Donald Hamre III were married December 14, 2019, in Birmingham at Mountain Brook Club. The Rev. John Blythe Bagby officiated the ceremony.



The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Ashley Powell of Birmingham. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Donald Hamre Jr. of Birmingham. Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore a Martina Liana strapless gown from Ivory and White Boutique. It featured a lace top with removable lace sleeves that were worn during the ceremony. The bride was attended by her sister Burgin Powell Franks as matron of honor. Elizabeth Strong Powell, sister-in-law of the bride, was bridesmaid. Junior bridesmaids were Elizabeth Burgin Franks, Sara Clark Powell and Emma Thomas Franks, nieces of the bride. Flower girl was Amelia Elizabeth Powell, niece of the bride. Honorary bridesmaids were Carolyn Jane Whitt, Virginia Lee Rives, Sally Sherrill Inzer, Katherine Watson Roy,

Amanda Scott Williamson, Abigail Moore Brown, Gene Austin Webb, Laura Ashford Gessert, Sarah Alyce Eskridge, Caroline Caitlin Drummond, Haley Westbrook Yearout and Kaitlin Gahan Brown. The father of the groom was best man. Groomsmen were Christopher Hawkins Hamre, uncle of the groom, John Miles Benton IV, Taylor Clark Powell, brother of the bride, and Christopher Thomas Franks, brother-in-law of the bride. Ushers were Hilyer Leon Isbell, Stephen Reeves Favrot, Anderson Stafie Baker, Mitchell Glover Bruhn, Zachary Crawford Gillen, Mackenzie Vincent Howell, Houston Brett Love, Phillip Allan Mason, John Currey Weaver and David Hutchins. After a honeymoon trip to Saint Lucia, the couple live in Mountain Brook.

Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Tingen Philips, of Mountain Brook, announce the engagement of their daughter, Caroline Wells Philips, to Daniel Joseph Cossuto, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Paul Cossuto of Alpharetta, Georgia. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Morrison Hardy of Vienna, Virginia, and Mr. and Mrs. Abram Lewis Philips Jr. of Mobile. Miss Philips is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School. She is a 2013 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Alabama, where she received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance and a master’s degree in accounting in 2014. Miss

Philips was president of Chi Omega Sorority. She is employed with PwC in Atlanta. The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Ms. Josephine Forlivio Cossuto of Norwalk, Connecticut, and the late Mr. and Mrs. John Joseph Droney of Darien, Connecticut. Mr. Cossuto is a graduate of Alpharetta High School. He is a 2015 graduate of the University of Georgia, where he received a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He received a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame in 2016. Mr. Cossuto is employed with PwC in Atlanta. The wedding will be June 13.

of residents who believe that a good library is essential to the cultural, educational and economic well-being of Vestavia Hills. The Friends work to assist the board of trustees and the library director; to increase knowledge of the functions, resources, services and needs of the library; to stimulate volunteer service; to encourage gifts and memorials for the library; to help the library procure funds for items that are not included in the regular budget; and to sponsor cultural and related programs for the community. ❖

From left, Elise Bodenheimer, Andi Preston, Dolores Hydock and Taneisha Tucker.

Story Time

The Friends of the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest hosted its annual fundraiser Jan. 23, featuring acclaimed storyteller Dolores Hydock. As guests treated themselves to refreshments, Hydock performed “Castles and Cathedrals: Ballroom Dancing, Social Revolutionaries, Unexpected Heroes and the Magic of Public Libraries.”  The Friends is a nonprofit group

Spring Items Coming in Everyday 3301 Lorna Road • Hoover, AL • 978-5880 www.shaysjewelers.com

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

Be Mine

Vestavia Hills Library Fundraiser Features Storyteller Dolores Hydock


Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 27


Rise and Shine

By Emily Williams At Vestavia Hills High School, raising more than a quarter of a million dollars for charity takes more than a village. It takes a city. This semester, a group of 256 student leaders will spend a portion of their school days executing a semester-long fundraiser called Rise, or Rebels Impact Through Service and Engagement. In its inaugural year, Rise raised $250,678 in donations to the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Its success drew national recognition, and Rise was a top 10 finalist in the Most Spirited Community Service Project category of Varsity Brands’ 2019 School Spirit Awards. “Our school’s so big that it’s hard to see everyone,” said team development chairwoman Mae Mae Daniels. “But in Rise, we are all together, supporting the cause for cancer.” The fundraiser includes a variety of events throughout the spring geared toward bringing the entire student body and the surrounding community together to serve a greater cause. “Everyone has been touched by cancer in some shape or form,” said J.B. Douglass, a senior on the entertainment committee. “I think everyone comes to join in

because of that. They know that they don’t want to hear that a loved one has cancer, so everyone pitches in to help.” The beneficiary of this year’s fundraiser will be the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. Lead by Dr. Julie Wolfson, the program is a partnership between UAB and Children’s of Alabama dedicated to researching new treatments and improving the quality of life of children and adults ages 13 through 39 who have been diagnosed with cancer. “We have fellow students who have survived cancer,” said entertainment chair Cy Powell. “I think we have about two survivors for every grade. They are the ones who will benefit from that program.” Those survivors are a part of Rise’s new Fighter Committee. “There are 17 of us, which is survivors and our siblings,” said Will Nailen, who was diagnosed with cancer first at age 13 and again at 15. The group’s members serve as the spokespeople, sharing their stories and providing a face for the UAB program. “If I had not been diagnosed, I would still be involved with Rise but not as involved as I am now,” said fellow survivor Sam Cunningham, who was diagnosed with leukemia at age

Photo courtesy Vestavia Hills High School

VHHS Rise Fundraiser to Benefit UAB Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program

A group of more than 250 Vestavia Hills High School leaders student leaders are involved in executing a semester-long fundraiser called Rise, or Rebels Impact Through Service and Engagement.

13. “Because we have been there, we know a lot more about what the money we raise goes to and how much it really helps.”

Mark Your Calendar

Throughout the semester, members of the student body will form teams assigned to fundraising and community service project goals. “Anybody can get involved,”

class even showed off rapping skills with audience favorite “Reindeer Rap.” Student narrators noted the significance of this class because it was the first group of West fourth graders to perform since the school was reorganized to include fourth and fifth grade classes

key was presented to Dudley for his honesty. Earlier this year, Foster found an envelope containing $900 at the Target-Hoover West and gave it to the store’s manager. The manager worked with the Hoover Police Department and was able to return the money to its owner. Foster was joined at the ceremony by his parents, Paul and Parisa Dudley, his grandparents, Thomas and Terry Dudley, POP School Principal Connie Angstadt and his fourth grade teacher, Kati Horton.

VHEW Students Celebrate Holidays With Music

On Dec. 13, 2019, fourth graders at Vestavia Hills Elementary West entertained family, friends and fellow students with their holiday program, “Celebrating a Season for Traditions and Stories.” Under the direction of West’s music teacher, Trudye Confessore, the students shared songs highlighting December stories, such as that of Hanukkah and the story the Night Before Christmas, and traditions, including attending the Nutcracker and choosing a Christmas tree. Classes performed songs with instruments as well as dances, and one

Bumpus Middle School sixth grader Hasini Grandhi and Bluff Park Elementary fifth grader Colin Smith came out on top at the Hoover City Schools annual Spelling Bee, held in January at Spain Park High School. Gandhi correctly spelled the words “cuckoo” and “syllabus” to secure her win. Smith finished as runner-up. Both students advanced to the Jefferson County Spelling Bee, held Feb. 4. The Alabama State Spelling Bee will be held March 21.

POP’s Foster Dudley Awarded Hoover Key to the City

Prince of Peace Catholic School student Foster Dudley received a key to the city of Hoover from Mayor Frank Brocato at the City Council’s Jan. 21 meeting. It was the second key Brocato has presented during his tenure as mayor. According to school officials, the

Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights Named State School of Character

Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights has been named a 2020 State School of Character. The award, announced Jan. 31, is presented by the national organization Character.org, which advocates for character education in schools. According to a release, VHECH is one of four schools in the Greater Birmingham area to receive the designation this year. The school will now be considered for a National

Photo courtesy POP School

Photo by David Leong

Hoover Schools Announces Spelling Bee Winners

Daniels said. “It’s not just a certain group of people. People from the band are in on it, people who play sports are in it. It’s something that unifies us and the community.” In addition, there will be multiple events hosted through April ranging from student-only to communitywide and geared toward multiple age groups. After kicking off the season with a

Front, from left: Paul Dudley, Kati Horton, Foster Dudley, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato, Connie Angstadt and Parisa Dudley. Back: Hoover City Council members Mike Shaw, John Lyda, Curt Posey, Gene Smith, John Greene, Derrick Murphy and Casey Middlebrooks.

pep rally in January, Rise hosted its first event, a students-only Sadie Hawkins Dance, Jan. 31. Next up will be the Princess and Superhero Breakfast, to be held Feb. 22 in the VHHS new gym. The event is open to children throughout the Greater Birmingham area. Fifty members of Rise will dress up as popular superhero and princess characters, pose for photos and interact with the kids. The “Music on the Mountain,” or Concert for a Cure, will take place Feb. 29, featuring a performance by VHHS grad Walker Burroughs with Emma Klein. Burroughs was a Top 10 finalist on Season 17 of American Idol. “He played in the concert last year and everybody loved it,” Powell said. “We sold out the auditorium in the high school, so this year we needed to expand it.” It will be held at Mountaintop Community Church from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A success despite last year’s rainy weather, the Rebel Run 5K and Fun Run will be held March 14 at the high school. It’s a rainbow run, in which members of the run committee will throw colors at walkers and runners at various points of the course. A student-only Rise Games Assembly will take place on April 1 before the big finale. Rise Day is communitywide and will take place at the school April 16. There will be a main stage featuring a lineup of musical acts, games, a kids zone and community ceremonies. For more information, visit vestavia.k12.al.us/vestaviahigh, follow the Extracurricular tab and click on the Youth Leadership.

School of Character distinction, to be announced later this year. “I am so proud of the work our school community is doing to ensure that we are educating the whole child. Our staff is dedicated to raising smart and kind kids. It is an honor to be recognized as a State School of Character,” Hunsberger said. Last year, VHECH was recognized by the organization with a 2019 Promising Practices award for the program “Safe and Happy Heights.” The program provides students at VHECH with clear expectations, positive behavioral supports and a common language among faculty and staff when discussing character education, school counselor Cortney McKinney said in a statement. “The plan is based around what we call ‘The Big Three,’ which are: Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Your Best, and we provide students with ways they can display The Big Three throughout school,” VHECH Principal Alicia Hunsberger said. Through Safe and Happy Heights, the school also creates entertaining ways to spread the word to students, including quarterly Rebel Rallies, which are a form of pep rally that celebrates learning, serving and character.



Mountain Brook Becomes Chef’s Mayberry for a Small-Town, Fine-Dining Experience By Sam Prickett

Food Anthropology

Watkins Branch will serve as an extension of Holland’s philosophy of “food anthropology” – the idea that cuisine can be a medium for communication. “When I was a lot younger, I wanted to be

Holland said he believes Watkins Branch will quickly become a neighborhood staple in Mountain Brook Village, emphasizing that he doesn’t intend to be a competitor with any of his new restaurant neighbors. the chef that was glitzy and glammy, using all these weird techniques and stuff like that,” he said, laughing. “But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve looked for more of the story side of food and the feelings side of food. … Some people remember

Journal photo by Jordan Wald


Last month, Jon Holland, left, opened Watkins Branch Bourbon and Brasserie in Mountain Brook Village, above.

Journal photos by Sam Prickett

on Holland said he started thinking about a second restaurant about three days after he opened the Fig Tree Café. He opened that Cahaba Heights hole-inthe-wall in May 2014, and while it’s grown in the intervening years – from 24 to 98 seats – the idea of a new venture has always been in the back of Holland’s mind, “simply because I love forward movement,” he said. Last month, Holland opened Watkins Branch Bourbon and Brasserie in Mountain Brook Village. He describes the new restaurant as a “chef-driven bar” with a “casual neighborhood feel,” a place for laid-back conversation as well as some culinary “oohs and aahs.” In addition to an ever-shifting lineup of bourbons, Watkins Branch will feature a staple menu of burgers and steak frites with a rotating menu of less traditional small plates that Holland said will allow him “to get as crazy as I want to get.” Although the idea for a new restaurant had been rolling around in Holland’s head for years, he didn’t have a concrete plan until he toured the location at 2708 Culver Road. “I had just put down the idea and I told myself that when the opportunity is right, it would present itself,” he said. “I’d actually told (the building’s owners) that I was not interested in anything at the time, because I was busy with the Fig Tree. I went down there anyway, just to leave no door unopened, and right when I walked in the door, I realized that I wanted it.” Holland was drawn to the small-town atmosphere of Mountain Brook Village. He’d often fantasized about opening a small-town fine-dining restaurant, though that idea was often discouraged by “driving through these little Mayberry towns … (and seeing) the old café that’s been closed up for who knows how long.” Mountain Brook Village “is obviously a lot different,” he said, “but it still has that feel.”

great restaurants for having an impeccable dining experience, but for me it’s more about having conversations, like we’re in a dining room. That’s more suited to my mentality.” That “food anthropology” can manifest, for instance, in Holland’s focus on finding quality ingredients. “I’m sure my accountant probably hates me when she sees some of the stuff that I buy, but it’s because I want diners to experience that,” he said. “We raise our own beef! Who does that? We work hand in hand with a local farmer that raises beef for us and doesn’t sell to any other restaurant. Our pork as well.” That storytelling is also present in the process of preparing food, he said. “One of my favorite things in the world to do on a rainy Monday when (the Fig Tree) is closed is to make meatballs or just something simple that takes hours,” he said. “It’s just you and that dish, quietly, with no one around. It’s like listening to music by yourself when you’re at home … . When you can build that intimate moment and pass it on to your guests … there’s just something about it.” He’s also in the process of purchasing a set

of old cast-iron cookware – “the older the better,” he said – because he’s interested in how that history will affect the flavor of the food. That curiosity dovetails with Watkins Branch’s focus on bourbon. “It shares one thing hand in hand with what I love about food,” Holland said. “Bourbon all has a bunch of story behind it … . The process of making bourbons is so complicated. There’s a science to it and a feeling to it.” Holland suggests that Watkins’ bourbon and food should be enjoyed separately. “I think that bourbons can be paired with food, I just don’t necessarily know if they should,” he said. So far, he said, visitors have split their time evenly between both.

Maintaining a Balance

“Coming from a real restaurant as a known chef to a bar, I was really scared that I was going to get bombarded with people and eating and not as many people enjoying the bourbon aspect of it … . I was really scared it was going to be lopsided, because I want that casual aspect, hence the bar. … But it’s really been exactly what I wanted: a 50-50 split.” For those who aren’t bourbon fans, Watkins Branch also offers a full wine and cocktail menu. Having spent nearly six years as the head of a “hidden gem” restaurant, Holland said he hopes his “underdog” mentality will translate to Watkins Branch. “When we expanded Fig Tree, I really missed that really small restaurant feeling,” he said. “Not that we’ve lost any of our quality or anything here, but it just seemed cool to build something a little more intimate. It’s like going backwards and going forward at the same time – backward in that we can get that small dining room appeal, with attention to relationships, but See HOLLAND, page 29

The Chefs’ Tables Star Chefs Will Be Cooking for Children’s of Alabama Fundraiser

Some of the state’s most celebrated chefs will be serving up their signature dishes, desserts and drinks to raise money for patients at Children’s of Alabama and their families trying to deal with dietary restrictions. Children’s Table this year will be Feb. 22 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Meredith Food Studios. The event will feature Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club and Ovenbird Restaurant, Adam Evans of Automatic Seafood and Oysters, Abhi Sainju of Abhi Eatery + Bar and Mo:Mo, GeriMartha O’Hara of Big Spoon Creamery, Bill Briand of Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina and Abhi Sainju of Abhi Leonardo Maurelli III of Eatery + Bar and Mo:Mo will be one The Hotel at Auburn of many top chefs University and Dixon participating in Conference Center. Guests also may tour Children’s Table on Feb. 22. the Meredith Food Studios, which includes 28 test kitchens, 13 photo and video studios, a prop and styling studio and a showcase kitchen and tasting room. Tickets are $150 for individuals and $275 for couples and are available at give.childrensal.org/ childrenstable. The event will raise funds for and awareness of the nutritional needs of patients at Children’s. Many patients have restricted diets requiring them to learn everything about the food they eat, and many end up developing a strong passion for learning to cook and experiment with recipes. Proceeds from this event will help Children’s assist families in meeting their dietary restrictions and encourage the children’s passion for nutrition. Children’s Table is presented by Alabama Power.

Journal file photo

Burgers and Bourbon


Sol Y Luna Prepares to Reopen in Lane Parke In Mountain Brook Village

Tapas and tequila restaurant Sol Y Luna is gearing up to open its new location in Mountain Brook’s Lane Parke, across the street from the Grand Bohemian Hotel, later this month. It’s a continuation of the restaurant that operated in Birmingham’s Lakeview district from 1997 until 2013. The original owner, chef

See FOOD NEWS, page 29

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

28 • Thursday, February 6, 2020


Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 29



“WE’RE COMING FOR YOU BIRMINGHAM,” READ A JAN. 31 POST ON THE RESTAURANT’S FACEBOOK PAGE. “ONLY A WEEK OR SO LEFT BEFORE WE OPEN!” declare an official opening date. “We’re coming for you Birmingham,” read a Jan. 31 post on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “Only a week or so left before we open!” Updates will be posted on the restaurant’s website, solylunabham. com; Instagram, @solylunabham; and Facebook page, facebook.com/ solylunabham.

SoHo Standard Opens in Homewood

SoHo Standard, a new restaurant from the owners of the Ridge and Mudtown Eat & Drink, has opened in downtown Homewood. The restaurant officially opened Jan. 20 at 1830 29th Ave. S., next door to its sister restaurant, SoHo Social. The new restaurant offers “a simple, more upscale menu selection in a relaxed, yet refined atmosphere,” according to its website. The first incarnation of the restaurant’s ever-changing menu featured a variety of snacks and entrees, including crab beignets, redneck Rockefeller oysters, shrimp and grits, duck confit and smoked

HOLLAND From page 28

also moving forward in that we have a location that you can find, we have parking, and we have a more modern buildout.” “I’ve always enjoyed being a roughneckin’ son of a gun,” he said. “I think people really enjoy that. But we’re also able to give a product that I just don’t think anyone else can.” “There are some people who don’t get it, but if there’s not some people who don’t get it, I think you’re doing it wrong. … (But) one thing that drives me, is just literally

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

From page 28 Guillermo Castro, died of a heart attack in 2013; the new location will be overseen by his brother, Jorge. The new location will maintain the original Sol Y Luna menu. “The reopening of Sol Y Luna makes me so proud,” Castro said, in a statement announcing the new location. “It was the first restaurant my brother, Guillermo, opened in Birmingham and it was such a beautiful and unique culinary experience. When we closed Sol Y Luna, it left a void for so many people – me included. We are happy to say that we are giving our customers what they have asked for. … Sol y Luna is coming back.” Although the new location held a soft opening in January, it has yet to

gratuity not included. The meal is not designed for guests who have dietary restrictions, such as vegetarians or those with food allergies. Tickets may be purchased at exploretock.com/ automaticseafoodoysters.

Last year, more than 12,000 people attended the Exceptional Foundation Chili Cook-Off to sample and judge chili recipes prepared by 150 cook teams, representing local businesses, non-profits, community groups and more. pepper gnocchi. SoHo Standard fills the space previously occupied by Market Table, a grocer and café that closed in May. Reservations can be made at resy. com/cities/hmw/soho-standard.

Father-son Duo to Open Third Mooyah Location in Hoover

This month, Denney Barrow and his son Jordan, a Hoover resident, will open their third location of Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes at 2500 John Hawkins Parkway. The new location will have a new design that includes a closed kitchen, dedicated third-party delivery pickup area and new style in the dining area and with the furniture and lighting. The remodel also will be paired with a newly redesigned logo/branding. The father-son duo has been franchising Mooyah in Birmingham for eight years and owns locations in the Shops of Colonnade and in downtown Birmingham at 2112 7th Avenue South.

Third Annual Beer Chili Cook Off to Raise Funds for Pancreatic Cancer

The event honors the store’s purveyor of craft beer, Mike Holder, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2019. A portion of sales and proceeds from a silent auction will be donated to support pancreatic research. To join the competition, email guinnesschilicookoff@gmail.com or call 205-326-7151.

Star Chefs Join for One Time Collaborative Dinner

Automatic Seafood & Oysters chef Adam Evans is teaming up with executive chef Josh Habiger of Nashville’s Bastion restaurant on a collaborative dinner dubbed Bast-OMatic. The chefs will be cooking together during the Feb. 16 event, creating a nine-course prix fixe menu, alternating between Evans’ dishes, Habiger’s dishes and collaborative dishes. The event moves to Bastion for a Feb. 18 dinner in Nashville. Reservations begin at 5:30 p.m. with last seating at 8:30 p.m., and tickets are $90 per guest, beverages, tax and

by Judy Butler

New Women’s Collective BHM Femme to Host Chili Challenge

BHM Femme, a collective of women dedicated to the empowerment of women, will host its first BHM Chili Challenge on Feb. 23. The competition will take place on the patio of Cahaba Brewing Company from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Attendees can pay $5 to sample as many chili recipes as desired and will vote for their favorite in a people’s choice competition. In addition, three judges will taste and choose their top recipes. BHM Femme will open a space for women to gather in March. For more information, visit bhmfemme.com or the BHM FEMME Facebook page.

Exceptional Foundation to Host Annual Chili Cook-Off

The largest annual fundraising event for The Exceptional Foundation, the Mortgage Banc Chili Cook-Off will take over the Macy’s parking lot at Brookwood Village on March 7. Last year, more than 12,000 people attended the event to sample and judge chili recipes prepared by 150 cook teams, representing local businesses, nonprofits, community groups and other groups. Again this year, a panel of judges will taste each of the chilis and select a grand prize winner. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the entrance, and children ages 12 and under enter for free. For more information, visit exceptionalfoundation.org.

The Beer Hog and Guinnes will present the third annual Beer Chili Cook Off on Feb. 8 at The Beer Hog in Pelham. Teams will compete to see who can create the best chili recipe, which must include Guinness beer. They will then be judged by a panel that will present a variety of awards for best taste, use of Guinness, texture, aroma and other qualities.

making people happy, giving them experiences to remember.” Holland said he believes Watkins Branch will quickly become a neighborhood staple in Mountain Brook Village, emphasizing that he doesn’t intend to be a competitor with any of his new restaurant neighbors. “I think we’ve filled a niche that Mountain Brook needed,” he said. “There’s just a super well-balanced ecosystem of restaurants in Mountain Brook right now, and I hope that doesn’t change. … We’re not coming into Mountain Brook to compete with anyone. We’re coming into Mountain Brook to complete with everyone.”

Rehab Reality...


Open Monday-Saturday 11am-2pm & 5pm-9pm 521 Montgomery Hwy, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216 • (205) 823-1505

Gift of Love this Valentines’ Day

Just when we get over the Holiday, New Year and all those resolutions we are reminded of the next event, Valentines’ Day. This is also a time when the resolution to live a clean sober healthier life has fallen by the wayside. It’s not too late; in fact, it’s the perfect time to take personal inventory. If you or someone you love can’t remember the evening before. Or have to have a drink to “get going in the morning”, or have unexplained bruises or black outs or pass outs, it’s probably signs of alcohol abuse. One of the first factors is the age at which a person has his or her first drink (the younger people are when they first start drinking, the more likely they are to drink more heavily into adulthood); the other factors are genetics and environment. If you or someone you care about is in the “at-risk” population, it doesn’t take much to become dependent on alcohol or other drugs. No one plans on becoming an addict. The most destructive form of alcoholism is chronic alcoholism, an emotionally, socially and physically devastating disease. Alcoholism emerges from alcohol abuse when there’s a pattern of drinking despite negative consequences. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are both categorized as an alcohol disorder – affecting people of all ages and stages of life. The year is still new, it’s possible to start over. Instead of shopping for candy and flowers to express your love this Valentines’ Day consider giving the gift of a new beginning. Call us today. Bayshore Retreat is Different and can make a Difference.

30 • Thursday, February 6, 2020



Gatorade Standouts Homewood’s Phelps, Mountain Brook’s Carr Recognized for Prestigious Honor

Homewood senior Lainey Phelps has been named the 2019-20 Gatorade Alabama Girls Cross-Country Runner of the Year. It’s the second time Phelps has earned the award in her high school career. She also received the award as a freshman in 2017. Last fall, Phelps won the Class 6A individual title by clocking 18:14.7 at the AHSAA Cross County Championships while leading the Patriots to their second straight team title. She also won the 6A, Section 3 title and took home individual titles at the Southern Showcase, Chickasaw Trails Invitational and Husky Challenge. “I don’t know if any other runner in the state has had the setbacks that Lainey has experienced and come back with such determination and perseverance to reach such a high level,” Homewood coach Josh Donaldson said in a news release about the award. “She gives everything she has to each task she sets her mind to.” The Gatorade award honors a player who blends athletic excellence with high standards of academic achievement and has “exemplary character.” Phelps, a Vanderbilt signee, maintains a 4.23 GPA, according to the news release, is active in her church and has volunteered on behalf of her school’s peer helpers program and the Bell Center for Early Intervention

Services. Phelps is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in February.

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

Mountain Brook senior Grace Carr was named the 2019-20 Gatorade Alabama Volleyball Player of the Year. It’s the second consecutive year she has received the honor, joining her older sister Sara as the only Mountain Brook players to be recognized for the award. Sara Carr was selected as the state’s best volleyball player in both 2014 and 2015. Grace Carr, the 2019 Over The Mountain Journal Player of the Year, led the Spartans to a 59-7 record and the Class 7A state championship last fall. She was MVP in the state tournament. A 5-foot-10-inch outside hitter, Carr amassed 713 kills, 583 digs, 86 aces and 53 blocks this season. “Grace Carr is an outstanding volleyball player,” Vestavia Hills coach Mandy Burgess said in a news release about the Gatorade award. “She’s versatile with a powerful shot, but she can also finesse the ball. She plays with poise and she’s mentally strong.” In the classroom Carr, who is headed to Auburn University, has maintained an ‘A’ average, carrying a 4.47 GPA and scoring 34 on the ACT.

Journal photo by Marvin Gentry

Carr Awarded Again

It’s the second consecutive year Sara Carr, left, has received the honor, joining her older sister Sara as the only Mountain Brook players to be recognized for the award. It’s the second time Phelps, right, has earned the award in her high school career. She also received the award as a freshman in 2017.

She is a member of her church’s youth ministry along with volunteering locally on behalf of a homeless shelter and youth volleyball programs. The Gatorade Player of the Year

BARKER From page 32

Barker’s physical dominance was so overwhelming that Hoover coach Krystle Johnson could be heard telling a referee, “You can’t just let her do whatever she wants,” an obvious reference that Johnson thought Barker should have been whistled for fouls for knocking the Bucs around. The Bucs had put a beatdown on the Jags 56-32 when the teams met Dec. 6 at Hoover, but Barker wasn’t about to let that happen again. She scored 12 points, sinking two 3-pointers, in the first quarter to stake the Jags to a 18-9 lead and had 19 points at halftime as the Jags took a 33-18 advantage. “When we played them the first time, I wasn’t as aggressive,” Barker said. “I needed to attack more.” Barker didn’t let up in the second half, despite being in some pain. “She was cramping a little bit, but she played through the pain,” Chase said. “She’s the only senior we’ve got who really plays. We can’t beat that team without her.”

Journal photo by Marvin Gentry

Manhandling the Competition

Hoover’s Rachel Hager (45) and Madison Adamson (23) pressure Katie Flannery (22) in the Jaguar’s final home game of the regular season last Friday. Spain Park knocked off the Bucs 61-56.

program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross-country, boys and

girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track and field. It also awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. —Rubin E. Grant

Twice Barker sent the Spain Park faithful into a frenzy in the second half. Midway through the third quarter, she collected a defensive rebound, then weaved her way past Hoover defenders, finishing with a nifty Euro step to avoid a charge and a kiss off the glass for a basket that gave the Jags their biggest lead of the night, 40-22. Spain Park’s 18-point lead dwindled to one when Hoover’s Aniya Hubbard converted an old-fashioned three-point play, pulling the Bucs within 55-54 with 56.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Barker converted two free throws with 41.4 seconds remaining to put the Jags up 57-54, then she brought down the house again in a game-deciding sequence. Hoover’s Kristen McMillan had a potential game-tying 3-point attempt from the top of the key go in and out. Hubbard grabbed the rebound and put up a shot while falling away. Barker emphatically blocked it and the Jags’ fans went wild. Barker then was fouled and made two more free throws with 30.5 seconds remaining to give the Jags a 59-54 lead, just enough cushion for

them to hang on. Madison Adamson led Hoover with 15 points before fouling out with 1:11 remaining. Hubbard finished with 10. When the final buzzer sounded, Barker ran over to the student section and jumped into the air for a celebratory chest bump with her twin brother Harrison Barker, the Jags’ starting quarterback on the football team last fall. So, the crosstown rivals, winners of the past three Class 7A state championships (Hoover in 2017 and 2019; Spain Park in 2018), wound up splitting their two regular-season meetings, each winning at home. Both teams opened play in their respective area tournaments at home this week. Hoover played Tuscaloosa County in Area 5 action Tuesday and Spain Park met Mountain Brook in an Area 6 game Wednesday. If the Jags and Bucs meet again this season, it would be in the Class 7A championship game at the BJCC Legacy Arena, something they did in 2017 when Barker was a freshman and Hoover prevailed 51-47 in overtime. Barker will try her best to make a championship rematch a reality, but with a different outcome.


‘Keep on Pushing’ Oak Mountain Boys Basketball Team Ready to Make Postseason Run

Basketball Games Raise Awareness of Prostate Cancer and the Mike Slive Foundation College basketball games usually are about fun and supporting your team. But they also can be used to spread information, which is exactly what the Mike Slive Foundation is doing. The foundation raises awareness and money for the fight against prostate cancer. It has partnered with numerous colleges, universities and conferences for the Block Cancer initiative, which is running through


Front-Loading the Season

From page 32

the first step.” Oak Mountain will play Tuscaloosa County at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in its first area tournament game. Hoover will take on Thompson at 6 p.m. in the other game. The winners will meet for the area tournament championship at 7 p.m. Friday. The Eagles (18-8) finished the regular season ranked No. 6 in the final Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 7A poll last week, but with little fanfare. “We’ve flown under the radar a little bit, but that’s OK,” Love said. “We don’t mind that. “Out of our eight losses, seven we led late in the fourth quarter and three have come in overtime.” Nelson likes being cast in the underdog role. “We play with a chip on our shoulder,” Nelson said. “We know the other teams are good and they don’t consider us to be a top basketball team, so we’ve got to keep on pushing and

January and February and includes 27 basketball games in 27 cities. “Using the platform of college athletics to help raise awareness of prostate cancer was my father’s vision, said Anna Slive Harwood, executive director of the Mike Slive Foundation. “We are grateful for the ongoing support from these conferences and institutions as we continue to help educate men and their loved ones about this disease. Because one in nine men will get prostate cancer, this is everyone’s fight.” Slive was an influential sports executive and commissioner of several conferences, including the SEC and Conference USA, as well as being diagnosed with prostate cancer late in his life.

Block Cancer events have or are being held by Conference USA, Big 12 and SEC schools, as well as Purdue, Saint Louis and South Carolina. Block Cancer host teams wear blue Block Cancer shooting shirts, and coaches wear blue ties and foundation lapel pins. During the game, fans see signage and videos that focus on increasing awareness for prostate cancer. One of those games will be the Feb. 12 matchup between the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Mid Tennessee State University. For more information or to donate to the Mike Slive Foundation, visit mikeslivefoundation.org.

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

Please forgive the Oak Mountain boys basketball team for celebrating its Class 7A, Area 5 regular-season championship with little more than a shrug. The Eagles were happy to claim the title because it means they will host the area tournament this week. But they consider the regular-season crown just a starting point, not an end goal. “It’s a good feeling, knowing out of the six area games we played we won five,” senior guard Zane Nelson said. “But that gets us nowhere. We’ve got to keep on pushing.” Part of the Eagles’ lack of jubilation can be traced to last season. They finished the regular season with a 19-8 record but suffered a season-ending loss in the first round of the area tournament to Thompson, a team they had beaten twice during the regular season. The painful memory of that loss is still somewhat fresh a year later. They have used it for motivation this season. “I feel like last year was a learning experience,” Nelson said. “We can’t look ahead. We’ve got to take one game at a time and get better.” Oak Mountain coach Chris Love has used the disappointing end to last season to keep his team focused on the task at hand. “We just weren’t mature enough to handle that situation well last year,” Love said of the quick exit from the 2019 area tournament. “It was a great teacher going into this season. “The focus has been on getting better. Whether we win or lose, our goal has been to get better.” The Eagles clinched the regularseason area title with a 64-61 victory against Thompson on Jan. 24. “I thought after the big win we celebrated a little, but it doesn’t mean we’ve accomplished anything to get into the playoffs,” Love said. “It’s just

winning. Our motto is ‘No matter what, get better.’” The Eagles played a demanding schedule early on and had a 6-6 record after 12 games. “We set up our schedule to play really tough games early in the season,” Love said. “We knew we would take some lumps and bruises, but that’s prepared us for the second half. This team needs to be challenged and it’s helped us get to this point.” The Eagles enter the postseason with 12 wins in their last 14 games. One of the losses was a 48-45 doubleovertime setback at Hoover. “I feel like we’ve been clicking, especially on the defensive end,” Nelson said. “We’re talking more and communicating on the court. Everybody has found their roles. We know what we have to do.” Nelson has played a starring role in the Eagles’ success. He leads the team in scoring, averaging 15 points per game. “As a senior, it’s my last go ‘round, so I’ve got to bring it every game,” he said. “Zane Nelson has had a special year,” Love said. He’s really competitive. He’s a kid who sometimes wants to take everything on himself. He wills himself to help us win.” Nelson is one of only two seniors on the team. The other is 6-foot-4-inch forward Trey Sullivan. “We’re really young,” Love said. “We start three sophomores, (forward) Will Shaver, (guard) Evan Smith and (guard) Wilder Evers. We’ve got another sophomore, (guard) Brady Dunn, who plays a bunch. “Noah Young, a junior who played varsity last year, has really had a solid second half of the season and done what he needs to help us.” Oak Mountain defeated Tuscaloosa County twice during the regular season, 60-36 at home and 41-32 on the road. But considering what happened last year, the Eagles will not take the Wildcats lightly. “Tuscaloosa County is going to play their hardest and we’ve got to play our hardest,” Nelson said. “If we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll let the chips fall where they may.”

By Rubin E. Grant

Zane Nelson has played a starring role in the Eagles’ success. He leads the team in scoring, averaging 15 points per game.

Thursday, February 6, 2020 • 31


best 6.92 as he won the Class 6A-7A 60-meter dash, besting teammate Jonathan Martin (6.96). He also won the long jump with a leap of 22-05.5 to top teammate L.J. Hill (22-04.25). “Going into the MLK, I wanted to be something better than I’ve been doing,” McCall said. “I’d been running consistent times but wanted more. I’ve been working hard in practice with my coaches, trying to get my mechanics right.”

The Competitive Spirit

McCall has been running track since the seventh grade. “I got started to keep in shape for football,” he said. “I gave up on football a couple years ago because I decided to focus on track. I like the competitive spirit and it’s just you out there trying to do your best.” McCall holds the school record in the outdoor long jump with a leap of 23-0.25. His best indoor jump is 22-10.75, which is just shy of the school record. McCall will try to eclipse that mark when he and his teammates compete in the 50th AHSAA State Indoor Track & Field Championships

Friday and Saturday at the CrossPlex. The Bucs are the defending Class 7A boys champions. McCall will be competing in the 60-meter dash, long jump and the 4x200 relay. The Bucs’ 4x200 team is ranked second in the nation this indoor season with a time of 1:28.55. In the AHSAA meet last year, McCall was a part of the Bucs 4x200 team that won with a school record time of 1:28.02. The Bucs will be favored to repeat as Class 7A indoor champions. “I believe if we can stay healthy, we’ll win it again,” Hind said. “We’re loaded. We’ve got a good senior group of sprinters and jumpers.” Among that group is Hill. At the MLK meet, he won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.17 seconds, the top overall time in the event in the state this year. Martin, a 400-meter specialist, and John Watkins, a jumper, are two other talented seniors. Watkins won the triple jump at the MLK with a leap of 48-03.00. McCall is eager about the Bucs’ opportunity to claim another state title. “It’s a pretty big deal,” he said. “Not a lot of teams get to be state champs. We’re preparing to get to that point again.”

Joy League Baseball Registration Dates Set Registration for the 2020 Joy League Baseball season begins Feb. 1 at Edgewood Elementary School in Homewood and will be held each Saturday, 9 a.m.noon, throughout February. Joy League is open to boys and girls ages 4-12. The cost for the season is $35 per player and includes each player’s jersey and cap. Practices will begin March 7. Opening Day is scheduled for April 4, and the season will conclude June 13. This year marks the second season that Joy League will play its games at Homewood Middle School. League Commissioner Tim Meehan said the change has been positive for the league. “We’re extremely grateful to Dr. Bill Cleveland and everyone at Homewood City Schools for their support of Joy League,” said Meehan. “Our parents and players love the new facilities, and we’re excited about the upcoming season.” John J. Smith Sr. founded the league in 1958 based on the idea that every child who wants to play baseball should have the chance to play. The league emphasizes sportsmanship and having fun while learning to play the game. There is no residency requirement for registration, and anyone who wants to play is welcome. To request a registration form, email joyleaguebaseball@gmail.com. For more information, call Tim Meehan at 205-913-3902.

GAME DAY WITH A TASTE OF LOUISIANA 6402 Tattersall Park Dr, Hoover, AL 35242 Sun-Thursday 11-11• Friday & Saturday 11-12 205-538-2700

Gatorade Standouts: Homewood’s Phelps, Mountain Brook’s Carr, left, recognized for prestigious honor. Page 30


Thursday, February 6, 2020 ❖ OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL

Oak Mountain Boys Basketball Team Ready to Make Postseason Run. Page 31

Not So Secret Weapon

Bucs’ McCall Track Exploits Are out in the Open Now

Journal photos by Marvin Gentry

By Rubin E. Grant

Barker never left the court, playing all 32 minutes, scoring 35 points, grabbing a bushel of rebounds and dishing out a few assists as the Jags (26-4) knocked off the Bucs 61-56, handing Hoover (26-2) only its second loss.


he Spain Park girls basketball team’s final home game of the regular season last Friday wasn’t billed as Sarah Ashlee Barker Night, but perhaps it should have been. In a brief ceremony before the Class 7A No. 4 Jags took on the No. 1 Hoover Bucs, their crosstown rival, Barker walked onto the court to receive two commemorative basketballs, one for surpassing 2,000 career points and one for eclipsing 1,000 career rebounds, a rare career double-double. After the game, Barker received a bouquet of flowers and was escorted across the court by her mom, Amy Best, and her dad, Jay Barker, the former University of Alabama quarterback, as she and teammate Kamryn Corey were recognized during Senior Night festivities. But it was the outcome of the game that provided the 5-foot-11-inch Barker with her most cherished gift of the evening: a victory

‘She’s the best player in the state. They were trying anything and everything to stop her, but she was a man against boys.’ SPAIN PARK COACH MIKE CHASE

against Hoover. Barker never left the court, playing all 32 minutes, scoring 35 points, grabbing a bushel of rebounds and dishing out a few assists as the Jags (26-4) knocked off the Bucs 61-56, handing Hoover (26-2) only its second loss. “I had never beaten Hoover,” said Barker, who had been 0-6 against the Bucs. “I can’t thank God enough that I finally did. It was all about our effort, getting on the floor and playing together as a team.” No Jag expended more energy than Barker, a Georgia signee. She fought through leg cramps in the second half and channeled the Mamba Mentality, the late Kobe Bryant’s mentality, enforcing her will against the Bucs and at times manhandling them. “She’s the best player in the state,” Spain Park coach Mike Chase said. “They were trying anything and everything to stop her, but she was a man against boys.” See BARKER, page 30

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

See McCALL, page 31

Spain Park Senior Carries Jags to Victory Against Rival Bucs

By Rubin E. Grant

Hoover track coach Devon Hind calls senior sprinter J’Marri McCall the Bucs’ secret weapon. That’s because during the outdoor track and field season last spring, McCall battled a left hamstring injury that curtailed his ability to compete. But after the Bucs finished fourth in the preliminaries of the 4x100 relay race in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Hind unleashed McCall in the finals as the anchor runner. “He’s very talented, but he was hurt quite a bit last year and was a bit under the radar,” Hind said. “In the 4x100, we had never put him in, not even in the prelims at state. “A lot of other teams were talking smack. Our guys were upset they were talking so much smack. I said wait until (McCall) gets the baton, it’s over. We won the state and set a school record (with a time of 41.77).” McCall got a kick out of shutting up the competition. “Everybody was not expecting us to be a factor,” McCall said. “I said let’s do this.” Well, the Bucs’ secret weapon isn’t a secret anymore, especially with the way McCall has performed during this winter’s indoor track season. On Jan. 20 in the MLK Classic at the Birmingham CrossPlex, McCall ran a personal

Jonathan Martin, above, is a member of the Bucs’ 4x200 team which is ranked second in the nation this indoor season with a time of 1:28.55.

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