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Keep Calm, Wash Hands

UAB Infectious Disease Officials Present COVID-19 Facts, Everyday Practices to Protect Against the New Virus

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

By Emily Williams

A 1987 The Smiths lyric “panic on the streets of Birmingham,” though referring to the city across the pond, could be a descriptor of the current climate here in Birmingham, Alabama. While it is easy to feel powerless amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are things you can do throughout JUST KEEP each day to help yourSWIMMING self and your neighLocal businesses bors. adapt to the needs Since knowledge is of community durpower, we’ve gathered ing time of social facts and advice distancing. Page 9 straight from the experts in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Division of Infectious Diseases to help empower readers.  

“We thought it was critical to try and get out ahead of the spread,” said Mary Beth Minyard, Assurance Lab’s director of microbiology.

Searching for the Scope

What is COVID-19?

Assurance Labs’ COVID-19 Testing Offers Drive-Thru Sample Collections, Strives to Uncover Scope of Virus Spread in State

By Emily Williams


he last thing you might expect during the coronavirus pandemic is heavy traffic, yet cars were lining up on Acton Road on March 13 and 14 at the state’s first COVID-19 drive-thru testing site. Assurance Scientific Laboratories was

ahead of the game, setting up the site before a number of other Southeastern cities. “We thought it was critical to try and get out ahead of the spread,” said Mary Beth Minyard, Assurance Lab’s director of microbiology. “The only way to know for certain who is positive and where the virus is spreading is to test. From an epidemiological

standpoint, testing is critical.” The virus has been spreading throughout the nation, but its scope hasn’t been fully realized because of limitations such as limited availability of testing products or restrictive rules on who is a good candidate to be tested.

See TESTING, page 7

As of March 16, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported there were 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, including 17 in Jefferson County and three in Shelby County. According to the department, the public can expect that number to continue to increase as the ability to test for the virus increases. COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus, named for the crown-like appearance of the surface of the particle. Another coronavirus is the one that causes common colds. The difference is that this virus is brand new to humans, so people have had no prior illnesses that could prepare their immune systems to fight it. Also, See KEEP CALM, page 6


PINK … AND STICKY RMWP Ambassador Andrew Gnann embraced pies in the face to raise funds for breast cancer PAGE 8

MAKE IT SPICY Alabama Graphics takes top prize at Exceptional Foundation’s Chili Cook-Off PAGE 10

CENTER STAGE VHHS Thespian Troupe to represent the state at International Thespian Festival in June PAGE 24

2 • Thursday, March 19, 2020

Social Distancing

There is nothing we care more about than the health and safety of our community. Regular readers of Over the Mounain Journal know that, since we began publishing OTMJ biweekly 30 years ago, our mission has been to feature the people, parties, weddings, schools and events that make life in our area so special. We also cover high school sporting events and share with you the many successes our local teams enjoy. With the outbreak of COVID-19 and efforts to slow the spread of the virus, many - if not all - of these activities are being put on hold. The CDC as of March 15, recommends that “for the next eight weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. “Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.” Even prior to this latest recommendation by the CDC, most events in our area had been cancelled or postponed. Schools have closed and high school sports seasons suspended.  Local businesses are scrambling to ensure the safety of employees and customers, many offering curb service and home delivery. See our story on page 9. We are a locally owned and operated small business that relies on the support of other small and large businesses to bring you our publication. We’ll get through this together. Be safe. 



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.


March 19, 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: 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



Murphy’s Law


At a Crossroads

eeing the robin in my yard yesencourage him to freedom through an terday made me smile. I don’t open window. He didn’t want to go, know where the robins go over preferring instead to travel along with the winter, but they seem to return just me. I’m not sure when he made his when I’m not quite sure spring will way back outside, but right now he ever get here. could be wandering around the Lots of animals travel. Great herds Walmart parking lot looking for his of gnus loop from the Serengeti to long-lost friends. Or maybe it was the Masai Mara every year, literally seekinsect’s plan all along, to hitch a ride ing greener pastures. Salmon swim on a passing four-wheel freighter to against heavy currents in Alaska to parts unknown. return to their original spawning Even if his trip was intentional, grounds. Seems to me a smarter salmstepping out into unfamiliar climes on would opt to stay home and marry Sue Murphy must have required an adjustment on a local girl, take a lesson from our the insect’s part. Whenever I visit the now local Canada geese who used Birmingham Zoo, I think about how to wing their way both southward the rhino must have felt arriving in and northward, but one day looked that giant crate they have on display. around and decided to stay put. I’m Squirrels aren’t focused Given that he was crated, I’m sure the change has saved a good bit guessing it wasn’t the rhino’s idea at all, stopping to do a to leave his original home, and no of wear-and-tear on their wings, but I worry because it seems the geese “should I or shouldn’t matter how kind everyone was, the may have forgotten they even have would have been unnerving. I” dance in the middle journey them. When a far-off patch of grass When Sea World needs to transentices them, they just walk out into port killer whales, the process of the lane. the street, all but defying the cars to involves a sling, a forklift, a 38,000run them over. pound tank and a flatbed truck. At Why did the chicken cross the other times, Sea World charters road? It’s hard to say. I’m more C130 cargo planes or sends the aniinterested in the how of it. Street crossing is risky. Once mals in a FedEx jumbo jet. Porch pirates, good luck the winter chill is over, it seems all the animals in my with lifting that delivery. neighborhood start jonesing for the other side of the My grandchildren keep asking me to bring my dog, road. Being fast and focused, the chipmunks are very Dave, with me when I visit, but I’ve seen the doggie successful with their crossings. The turtles are focused, relief area in the airport and I feel sure he would contoo, but are much too slow for their own safety. sider it an insult to his dignity. He’d much rather go to Squirrels aren’t focused at all, stopping to do a “should the doggie hotel and spa where I imagine he sips dogI or shouldn’t I” dance in the middle of the lane. gie mimosas until I return. And of course, the deer, poor dears, should not be No matter how you look at it, animal travel is crossing at all. treacherous, so chickens, if you feel compelled to cross I unintentionally carried some kind of flying insect the road, at least look both ways. Same for you squiraround Birmingham for an entire afternoon. I’m not rels and turtles and near-sighted armadillos. But deer, sure when he came aboard, but I tried several times to you poor dears, just stay put.

Over the Mountain Views

How has COVID-19 affected your Spring Break plans? “Our family planned to travel to the Bahamas but my sister’s responsibilities as a radiologist at the VA have caused us to change our plans.” Linley Simmons with Gisel and Rosemary Cooper, Mountain Brook “We were supposed to leave for Paris last Thursday but were forced to cancel our trip after the travel ban was announced Wednesday.” Robert and Sarah Tramel, Vestavia Hills “I was going on a church trip to serve in Orlando but it has been cancelled.” Lowry Edge, Homewood

Vol. 29, No. 15

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.

“I have plans to go to Aruba in April and, as of now, neither our trip or flight have been cancelled. We’re just playing it by ear at the moment.” Brittany George, Homewood

MAR 19 - APR 2 Editor’s note: Some of the events in our calendar may have been canceled after our press deadline. Please check organiziation websites for the latest information.

Thurs., March 19 Taste of Homewood

What: Enjoy live music and sample food and beverages from 30 of Homewood’s restaurants. Funds raised provide scholarships and help with economic development efforts in the community. When: 5:30-8 p.m. Where: Rosewood Hall Website: homewoodchamber.org

March 20 and 22 “Cinderella”

What: Opera Birmingham along with the Alabama Symphony bring to life Massenet’s enchanting French opera. A pre-show chat with the director and a special guest is available before each show. When: March 20, 7:30 p.m.; March 22, 2:30 p.m. Where: Samford University Wright Center Website: alabamasymphony.org

ABOUT TOWN Sat., March 21 2020 Cherry Blossom Festival

What: The Japan America Society of Alabama presents its annual festival featuring a variety of performances, food and Japanese cultural activities. When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: Birmingham Botanical Gardens Website: japanalabama.com

Ninth Annual AirWave

What: Good People Brewing hosts a family-friendly event featuring live bands, craft vendors, a silent auction, food trucks and beer to benefit Black Warrior, Cahaba and Coosa Riverkeepers. When: 1-10 p.m. Where: Good People Brewing Co. Website: blackwarriorriver.org

Sun., March 22 Alabama Coffee Fest

What: Alabama Multicultural Organization hosts a festival featuring an unlimited coffee tasting, live music, bakeries, shopping and brunch. When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: Pickwick Place Website: weareamor.org

Wed., March 25 Muse Conference

What: Hear first-hand from and participate in discussions lead by music industry professionals on how to be successful in the music industry. Included will be vendors

and food trucks. When: 10 a.m.-noon Where: Check the website for venues Website: alysstephens.org

March 27-April 11 The Easter Bunny, a Brookwood VillageTradition

What: The Easter Bunny will be available for visits and photos with shoppers of all ages in his charming spring garden. Children will receive a free gift with their visit. When: Mon.Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., noon-6 p.m. Where: Brookwood Village, upper level across from the food court Website: shopbrookwoodvillage.com

Sat., March 28 Easter Egg Hunt and Spring Market

What: Oak Mountain State Park’s annual celebration features the Easter Bunny hopping around for pictures, hay rides, inflatables and more. The last hunts of the day are for dogs only. When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: Oak Mountain State Park, off of Terrace Drive in Day Use Website: “Easter Egg Hunt and Spring Market” Facebook page

Be Well Shelby - Family Fun Day in Hoover

What: Central Alabama Wellness hosts a free event for the whole community. Included will be inflatables, midway games, live music, Zumba instructors food trucks and

See ABOUT TOWN, page 4

Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 3

Anne Frank’s Stepsister to Speak at Samford A childhood friend and stepsister of Anne Frank will share her experiences with the legendary Holocaust victim as well as her own story of survival during an event at Samford University Wright Center on March 29. Eva Schloss was 8 when her family fled Austria to avoid persecution after Germany invaded in 1938. The family eventually landing in Holland, where one of her neighbors was a German Jewish girl of the same age. The girls became fast friends, but ultimately, both girls and their families were deported to the AuschwitzBirkenau concentration camp. Later they would become stepsisters. Schloss, at the time Geiringer, survived the concentration camp and made her way to England, where she married and raised three daughters. She worked as a studio photographer and ran an antique shop. Frank did not survive Auschwitz, but her diary did, becoming a window into life during the Holocaust. Schloss since 1985 has devoted herself to Holocaust education and global peace. She has recounted her wartime experiences in more than 1,000 speaking engagements, written three books and become the subject of a play and a documentary, “116 Cameras,” which follows her as she embarks on a project to preserve her

Photo courtesy Samford University


Eva Schloss was 8 when her family fled Austria to avoid persecution after Germany invaded in 1938.

story as an interactive hologram that will have conversations with generations to come. “We are honored and excited to host this courageous woman,” said Rabbi Yossi Posner, executive director of Chabad of Alabama, the hosting organization for the event. “When you hear a first account story – a story as powerful as Eva’s – it changes you and how you see the world. The need for tolerance and love is understood on a much deeper level.” The event comes just after the celebration marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of AuschwitzBirkenau. Tickets to the event start at $20. Student tickets are $15. They are available at EvaSchlossBHM.com.

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


Mike Wedgworth (205) 365-4344

4 • Thursday, March 19, 2020

When: 4-6 p.m. Where: Emmet O’Neal Library, Community Room Website: eolib.org

Thurs., April 2 Birmingham Boys Choir Collaborates with Sean of the South Photo courtesy St. Mark the Evangelist Church

What: The BBC joins Sean Dietrich, famous columnist, novelist and pordcast host known for his commentary on life in the American South. When: 6:30-8 p.m. Where: Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church Website: birminghamboyschoir.org

Fri., April 3

Members of the planning committee, from left, Lynda Smith, Marie Lorek, Sandy Fleury and Karen Kapp.


What: The Women of St. Mark the Evangelist present a Lenten Retreat featuring guest speaker Becky Eldredge, an ignation trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator and author of “Busy Lives and Restless Souls.” Registration deadline, April 1. When: 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Where: St. Mark the Evengelist Church Website: stmarkrc.org or contact Sister Madeline, 205980-1810, ext.3

ABOUT TOWN, from page 3

more. When: noon-4 p.m. Where: Veterans Park Website: “Be Well Shelby - Family Fun Day in Hoover” Facebook page

Beer, Band and BBQ

What: The Alabama Head Injury Foundation presents its annual fundraiser featuring craft brews, food and music all for a great cause. When: noon-5 p.m. Where: Avondale Brewing Co. Website: ahif.org



Wed., April 1 An Afternoon with the Authors

What: Emmet O’Neal Library hosts New York Times-bestselling authors trio, Team W: Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White. Hear about their new work, purchase a copy and enjoy light refreshments.

Racing for Children’s Dinner and Live Auction

What: Medical Properties Trust kicks off the Honda Indy Grand Prix weekend festivities, while benefiting young cancer patients at Children’s of Alabama. When: 6:30-10 p.m. Where: Barber Motorsports Museum Website: racingforchildrens.org

Sat., April 4 Red Shoe Run Rockin 5k

What: Rock the streets of downtown Birmingham at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama’s fundraiser. A post-race block party features kids activities, vendors, food trucks and more. When: 8-11 a.m. Where: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama Website: rmhca.org

High Country 5K and Fun Run What: Shades Crest Baptist Church presents its annual run featuring a pasta dinner

for entrants and their families on April 3 and a free pancake breakfast for entrants, their families and friends post race. When: 5K run/walk, 8 a.m. start; fun run, 9 a.m. Where: Shades Crest Baptist Church Website: shadescrest. org


What: UAB medicine hosts a 5k run and walk to raise awareness and funds for pancreatic cancer research and patient support. Included will be children’s activities, refreshments and more. When: 8:30 a.m. Where: Railroad Park West Green Website: pancan.org

Girls Inc. Cajun Cook-off

What: Enjoy taste-testing your Cajun favorites along with live music, kids activities, face painting, balloon artist and a silent auction to benefit Girls Inc. of Central Alabama. When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: Railroad Park Website: “10th Annual Girls Inc. Cajun Cook-off” Facebook page

Holi Festival of Color

What: The Indian celebration of color features Bollywood-style dancing, a pop-up restaurant by Taj India, henna artists, art making and more culminating in the throwing of powdered colors to welcome spring. When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Where: Birmingham Museum of Art Website: ‘Holi Festival of Color” Facebook page

Funky Fish Fry

What: Enjoy music, fried catfish, beer, face painting inflatables, a rock wall and sensory friendly stations for kids of all ages. Proceeds benefit Mitchell Place and the Autism Society of Alabama. When: 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Where: Avondale Brewing Co. Website: funkyfishfry.com

Wing Ding 2020

What: Leadership Vestavia HIlls presents a fundraiser to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Included will be all-you-can-eat wings, live music, a kids zone and more. When: 4-7 p.m. Where: Vestavia Hills City Hall Website: leadershipvestaviahills. com

Homewood Parks Easter Egg Hunts

What: Toddlers to 11-year olds will hunt for eggs with their own age group. Included will be games, prizes bounce houses and the Easter Bunny. Hunts for 7-11 years bring your flashlights. When: Check the website for hunt times Where: Homewood Athletic Complex, lower baseball/ softball fields Website: homewoodparks.com

Sun., April 5 Walk to End Lupus Now

What: The Lupus Foundation of America presents a one mile walk to raise money for research, increase awareness, and rally public support for people suffering from its impact. When: Check-in, 1 p.m.; walk, 3 p.m. Where: Veterans Park Website: lupus.org

Tues., April 7 An Evening with Randi Pink

What: Emmet O’Neal Library hosts Randi Pink a local author of “Into White” and “Girls Like Us.” Pink is working on her third novel “Angel of Greenwood.” A book sale and signing will follow the Q&A. When: 6-8 p.m. Where: Emmet O’Neal Library, Community Meeting Room Website: eolib.org Please check organiziation websites for the latest events information.

READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP IN YOUR CAREER? Generation and AARP Foundation have joined forces to help workers age 40 and older in Birmingham compete with confidence for administrative medical assistant jobs. During a 60-minute Spotlight Session, you can: Learn about the types of in-demand jobs available in the Administrative Medical Assistant field Find out how to apply for free Administrative Medical Assistant training through the ReGeneration program

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This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the recipient and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it.

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

Start a New Administrative Medical Assistant Job at 40 +

Enjoying last year’s Cornhole Classic, from left, Kalin and Ross Swenson, Christie and Charles Galloway, and Angela and Donnie Brock.


What: The Bell Center Junior Board hosts a round-robin tournament featuring an afternoon of cornhole, food, beer, music and more to benefit the Bell Center. When: 1 p.m. Where: Good People Brewing Co. Website: thebellcenter.org


Day Trippin’

Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 5


Cook Museum of Natural Science

walls of the Kaul Adventure Tower. Open seven days a week, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., redmountainpark.org.

This new state-of-the-art natural science museum in downtown Decatur provides a hands-on experience where kids can explore, interact with and learn about nature. Included is a meteorite from outer space, a tree with a rope bridge to climb, an immersive cave experience and a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium full of saltwater fish, live coral and moon jellyfish. The museum is home to a large variety of live animals, freshwater turtles and fish, a terrarium house with Gopher snakes, the American bullfrog, American alligator and more. Hours of operation are Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m., cookmuseum.org.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Noccalula Falls

Alabama Offers a Wealth of Treasured Sites and Attractions for Spring Breakers to Enjoy

Whether an animal lover, hiker, history buff or adventurer, Alabama has something to offer everyone. Enjoy spring break in your own back yard with these activities. Zoo Camp

Birmingham Zoo has revamped its spring break program, March 23-27, to include even more hands-on science, nature play, conservation and “zoo-learning.” Camps are educational and encourage active learning through games, crafts, ageappropriate explorations and special encounters with a variety of residential animals. Rich in stem-based explorations, these camps engage the natural curiosity of a child and allow ample opportunity to practice critical emerging science skills for campers ages 4k-12th grade.

McWane Science Center

Slide into Spring break on the McWane slide, where school is out, and science is in and enjoy four floors of interactive exhibits bringing discovery to life. Experience the science of sound and the cultural

impact of the guitar by exploring more than 70 instruments and 100 historical artifacts-ranging from the rare antique to the wildly popular and innovative in this traveling exhibit featuring hands-on interactives for all ages, video performances, X-ray images of guitars’ inner workings and plenty of opportunities to strum and jam. New in IMAX, enjoy “America’s Musical Journey,” and “Into America’s Wild.” Open Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-6 p.m., mcwane.org.

museum tests its new digital projects and tactile objects designed to create more pathways to art. Museum hours are Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m., arstbma.org.

Birmingham Museum of Art

Red Mountain Park

In addition to everyday collections and exhibits, the Museum offers hands on spaces for children from toddlers to tweens. ArtVenture is an interactive gallery designed for children featuring more than 15 hands-on learning stations. The Sonat Gallery allows crawlers and toddlers to explore light, color, and texture. The Hess Gallery created for children aged 5-12 includes an interactive weaving wall, a stop motion technology station and makerspace, featuring a menu of art-making projects from printmaking to pottery. Designed for visitors of all ages, the Smartlab is a space where the

File photo

By Stacie Galbraith

Red Mountain Park offers over 15 miles of trails featuring two city overlooks, three tree houses, a sensory trail (for those with developmental differences,) a 6-acre off-leash dog park and a TravlestorysGPS, which turns your cell phone into a tour guide. For the more adventurous, take the Vulcan Materials Zip Trip to the skies with a ride through seven zip lines, a sky bridge and a rope swing or take the Mega Zip. At 1,000 feet long, this zip reaches speeds up to 30 mph from 80 feet in the air. Experience 20 treetop rope and cable obstacles or climb the 75 foot unique rock and “leaf&vine”

Enjoy daily movies. Stand beneath the world’s only full-stack Space Shuttle, complete with two solid rocket boosters and external tank, walk the length of a suspended authentic Saturn V moon rocket. See the first American satellite, Explorer, original capsule trainers for the Mercury and Gemini programs, design modules for the International Space Station and more. For thrill seekers, there’s a “Space Shot” where you feel 4 G’s of force as you launch 140 feet in the air in 2.5 seconds, or you can experience three-times the force of gravity as you spin in the “G-Force Accelerator.” Open seven days a week, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., rocketcenter.com.

A 90 foot drop into the Black Creek Gorge, Noccalula Falls is a natural waterfall fed by Black Creek alone. By accessing the Gorge Trail you can pass under the falls. In addition the bridge leading over Black Creek above the falls allows a 360-degree view of the waterfall. Other park offerings include a train ride, pioneer village, petting zoo and more. Noccalula Falls Miniature Golf Course (separate admission) features beautiful landscaping with cascading waterfalls and natural rock formations. The pioneer village, train ride, petting zoo portion of the park is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sun.; Mini Golf is open Fri. and Sun., 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Last tee-off one hour prior to closing, noccalulafallspark.com.

6 • Thursday, March 19, 2020

Keep Calm, Wash Hands From page one

because it’s new, scientists don’t know how it will behave now that it has jumped to our species. The CDC has noted that there isn’t a complete clinical picture of the virus. Data continues to be collected and research continues to shed light on attributes of the disease, but thus far statistics show that the bulk of those affected experience mild symptoms. The scope of the COVID-19 spread in the United States continues to grow every day, and the CDC estimated that each infected individual passes the illness on to three other individuals before they are even diagnosed. About 15% of patients will have a more moderate reaction, according to Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom, requiring some kind of medical care, whether that be an emergency room visit or short hospitalization. She noted that 5% of people who get the virus experience a severe case and require ICU-level care. The mortality rate for kids is incredibly low, but they can have light symptoms and pass it on to others. High-risk patients include individuals over the age of 60, as well as those whose health is already compromised. This includes people who have diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer, and people who have had chemotherapy treatments, stem cell transplants or who for other reasons have suppressed immune systems. “I take care of HIV patients. All of those patients have a reduced immune system and we think they’re probably also going to be at risk,” DionneOdom said. She said any of those individuals at high risk should limit their exposure by avoiding any unnecessary travel or social interactions. How Is it Spread?

There is still much to be learned about the virus, Dionne-Odom said, but what is known is that it is transmitted by respiratory droplets, much like influenza and cold viruses. “We tend to think of airborne illness as something like tuberculosis,” she said, which travel in very tiny droplets that have the ability to hang around in the air for up to two hours after an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings or makes other expirations. Heavier viruses, like coronaviruses, tend to fall out of the air more quickly, she said. The easiest way to contract the illness is by contact with an infected person’s hands or something they have touched. How long the virus lives on a surface depends on the material. Scientists have found that it lives longer on metals and hard plastics than more porous surfaces. When someone gets coronavirus, there is an incubation period, during

which the virus is growing and detectable by tests but the patient shows no symptoms. “It’s about five days,” DionneOdom said. “So, in those five days, the virus is increasing in levels in your body but you feel fine until you have the typical fever, cough or difficulty breathing.” There is no medical data to back the widely suggested claim that there is a 14-day incubation period during which the virus can be spread. “There is some new data that suggests maybe people can transmit the virus before the symptoms start, and that’s a big concern for us,” she said. Most of the studies continue to show that transmission is coming from symptomatic individuals, she said. Thus, testing is focused more heavily on people who are showing “... I THINK THE EARLIEST WE ARE LIKELY TO SEE A VACCINE COME ON THE MARKET ... IS AT LEAST A YEAR AWAY.” Dr. Molly Fleece, UAB

signs of the illness. The top five most common symptoms, according to the CDC, are fever, a dry cough, fatigue, phlegm and shortness of breath. “If you have symptoms, don’t go to work. Don’t send your child to school if they’re symptomatic,” said Dionne-Odom. Keep It Clean

Dionne-Odom noted that researchers believe the virus acts a bit like the flu, remaining on surfaces for about two to seven hours. “Like anything else, if you’re coughing into a wet Kleenex, that’s a place that a virus can live longer than if it’s a dry surface that’s cleaned frequently,” she said. The viruses have a lipid coat, or a fatty covering, that protects them, according Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases. “That’s why we keep telling people to wash their hands,” she said. “Soap is actually great, it’s a detergent and a detergent will really take out the virus.” Hand-sanitizing gels also are a great option, if soap and water isn’t readily available. Though there currently is a shortage in stores, Marrazzo said, it is fairly easy to make at home. “There’s some good guidance about that online, and that can involve something like aloe vera gel mixed with alcohol,” she said. “So, just because you go to the CVS and the hand gel is depleted, it’s not a reason to panic. There are ways around that.”

NEWS To clean surfaces, experts suggest using a diluted bleach and any cleaning product that includes a good amount of alcohol. “This is a droplet spread cold virus, so when someone coughs or sneezes or sings, you can have droplets that hang out in the air and eventually will land on any flat surfaces,” Dionne-Odom said. “So, it’s things that we touch. It’s the telephone; it’s the doorknob; it’s the cellphone; it’s the TV controller. Those are the things that you want to make sure to clean carefully.” There is no need to do a deep clean of the entire house every 12 hours, she noted, but clean frequently touched surfaces frequently. Social Distancing

In addition to cleaning, the practice of social distancing can help reduce the spread of the virus by limiting the chance of person-to-person contact. This involves a range of practices, including maintaining at least a sixfoot distance between yourself and other individuals. On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that all gatherings of more than 50 people be cancelled for eight weeks, or until the second week of May. An individual can protect themselves from contracting the virus by not exposing themselves to people who potential carry it, Dionne-Odom said. “What you can do to protect yourself is not put yourself in that situation, not go to large group settings, try to avoid being exposed to anyone who is sick.” Though the illness may not usually affect younger healthy people in as potentially serious a manner as those ages 60 and older, these people can pass it to high-risk individuals without intending to. “You want to keep yourself healthy so you don’t transmit to your mother, to your father, to your grandparents, to older aunts and uncles or neighbors who are in that age group,” said Dionne-Odom. According to Marrazzano, there is a very short window in which social distancing can help change the trajectory of the epidemic. “We need to make personal sacrifices in order to make an impact,” she said. If You Get Sick

For those who do have the virus, the symptoms often manifest as a mild flu, and that is how experts suggest people treat themselves. First and foremost, call your primary care physician or health care provider. Explain your symptoms and they will assess whether you need to be tested. “This is not a time to be stoic or a ‘tough guy,’” Marrazzo said. “If you are feeling sick, make sure you call and get checked out.”


Immediately begin to isolate yourself if you have symptoms. “If you have a child who has symptoms – who is coughing with a fever – you would isolate them,” Dionne-Odom said, “meaning not let them go to school. Isolate them in the house, not go out to expose other people.” The practice of quarantine is for those who are not showing symptoms but may have been exposed to the virus. “If you are working in an office with someone who had coronavirus, you may be asked to quarantine, feeling fine – to wait 14 days to see if you develop symptoms, so you won’t inadvertently expose other people,” Dionne-Odom stated. For those who do have the virus and experience mild symptoms that don’t require further medical care, Marrazzano said the best treatment is to rest, hydrate and take a feverreducer such as Tylenol as needed. “All of that stuff is really very helpful,” she said. “It’s a virus. So there’s really not much you can do about it.” If your symptoms do progress, notify your health care provider. People with certain health conditions are at risk of developing a form of viral pneumonia. Otherwise, experts note that the illness seems to take about 10 to 14 days to run its course.

ing COVID-19 or the pneumonia that it generates. Those hospitalized are treated with fluids and possibly put on a ventilator, Dionne-Odom said, to make sure their organs get enough oxygen while their lungs are allowed to rest and try to recover. Luckily, there may be an option for treatment on the way. “We hope to have an experimental drug available for treatment in the coming months called remdesivir, which is an anti-viral which seems to have great activity against this virus, at least in animal models,” DionneOdom said. The compound was developed as a result of research conducted through the Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center, coordinated out of UAB. It was shown to have significant activity against the COVID-19 strain when the outbreak began in China. According to Dr. Molly Fleece, there also is a potential vaccine that is going through animal testing and that looks to be promising. “Unfortunately, vaccines take a while to produce, so I think the earliest we are likely to see a vaccine come on the market – where we can receive it more broadly – is at least a year away. What I will say is that it is remarkable that this virus has been identified for a little over three months and at this point we have been able to

Ongoing Advances

According to Dionne-Odom, the public can expect testing to ramp up in the area in the near future. “We are fortunate to be working at a university that has really been at the vanguard of doing antiviral treatment and testing for some of the world, and our labs are developing an in-house, PCR-based test,” she said. It isn’t up and running yet, so the practice currently remains to obtain a sample from the patient and send it to the Alabama Department of Public Health and the CDC, and it can take days to get a result. Dionne-Odom added that, though the ability to test is a real need right now, it is more important to make sure the tests used are verified and highquality so medical professionals know that the results are reliable. It also was noted that Alabama was one of the last states to receive testing kits, so the public can expect to see a rapid rise in numbers of confirmed cases as the ability to test increases. “We know in states that have more testing, like in Washington State, that the more you test the more disease you’re going to find,” Dionne-Odom said. How Prepared are We?

As case numbers increase, it may begin to feel overwhelming, but rest assured that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Currently, there isn’t a specific anti-viral drug that is effective in treat-


genetically describe the virus, we have drug trials in place, and we have a vaccine candidate already through animal testing.” While the world waits for a viable treatment and vaccine, UAB is preparing for an expected increase in patient care needed. Dionne-Odom noted that there is a hospital emergency preparedness plan in place for situations such as this, comprosed of staff in infection control, emergency room and surgical suites. “I can tell you that this team is meeting regularly,” she said. “They know each other very well at this point. They’re changing the plans every 12 to 24 hours based on new data that’s coming in, and the team is well-equipped. “There are a lot of ventilators and a lot of critical care doctors here, obviously, a big group of well-trained pediatricians, adult doctors and geriatricians who know how to manage these types of diseases. So, this is what they’ve been preparing for, in a way.” To stay accurately informed on all things COVID-19, visit alabamapublichealth.gov, jcdh.org, uab.edu/news/ coronavirus and cdc.gov.


From page one

Assurance Labs had been working to develop a test since early January. “We have the knowledge base and experience to proceed quickly,” Minyard said. “However, due to the initial restrictions limiting testing only to the Centers for Disease Control, we could not move forward until we received the green light from the Food and Drug Administration.” The company was given the goahead to start testing from the FDA on March 12. “Our team is working diligently to process as many specimens as possible,” Minyard said. After an unexpected volume of patient testing in its first two days of drive-thru service, Assurance teamed up with Church of the Highlands and Christ Health Center to begin testing in a larger space, at the Church of the Highlands Grandview Campus, 3660 Grandview Parkway Testing at that site is available 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. According to Minyard, the idea to offer the drive-thru service to collect samples for testing didn’t occur to the staff until about a week before FDA approval rolled in. It was an “aha” moment as the team discussed what might be the best way to efficiently test patients, as well as a response to health care providers’ need to send patients offsite for testing to reduce exposure in their clinics and waiting rooms.

“We knew the process would need to be rapid and safe for all,” Minyard said. Those who wish to get tested must have an order from a health care provider. Orders can be made by physicians through the lab’s website or by emailing or calling Assurance Labs. When patients arrive at the drivethru, they have to fill out paperwork as they wait their turn for a throat and nasal swab. Once patient samples are received, they will be processed and patients will receive their results through the Spruce app. Those who test positive will be contacted by phone. According to Assurance officials, the lab has the ability to test 10,000 specimens a week. The rate at which people in the community need to be tested, Minyard noted, remains to be seen. Scientific experts continue to learn more about the virus, but there are still many unanswered questions. “One of our goals in providing testing is, ultimately, to provide a means to assess the spread of the virus in our area and throughout the state,” Minyard said. “Without adequate testing, we as a nation do not actually know the true rate of infection,” Minyard said. “Our state has been one of the last states to report positive cases. This certainly does not mean there are not cases here. It just means we need to do more screening.” For more information on Assurance Scientific Labs, visit assurancescientificlabs.com.

Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 7

Journal photos by Jordan Wald



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After an unexpected volume of patient testing in its first two days of drive-thru service on Acton Road, above right, Assurance began testing in a larger space, at the Church of the Highlands Grandview Campus, 3660 Grandview Parkway. Testing kit, left.

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8 • Thursday, March 19, 2020


PINK … and Sticky RMWP Ambassador Andrew Gnann Embraced Pies in the Face to Raise Funds for Breast Cancer

American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Day, but it was nothing that a quick costume change couldn’t solve. “I think I put on a red tie for a photo shoot and then put my pink right back on,” he said. Though the disease has not affected him personally, breast cancer awareness and treatment has had a distinct impact in his career. “It certainly fits in line with our mission and the services we provide here at St. Vincent’s,” he said. St. Vincent’s Bruno Cancer Center serves cancer patients in the hospital and in its outpatient clinics. According to Gnann, breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer treated in the center. “We have a lot of surgeons here whose expertise … they solely focus on breast surgery,

Photo courtesy American Cancer Society

‘It all sounds fun until you have to do it, and then it becomes a fun, sticky mess.’

Andrew Gnann

By Emily Williams When the American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign came to a close in Birmingham on March 5, each of the campaign ambassadors received a pink gift. Andrew Gnann, president of St. Vincent’s Birmingham and St. Vincent’s Chilton, received a hot pink pie server. Its handle was adorned with a number of pink rhinestones. “They gave us each a small gift in line (with) our campaigns,” Gnann said. The rose-colored token of gratitude, presented during a wrap party at Cahaba Brewing Company, was inspired by his “Pie in the Face” campaign tactic. During February, photos of a handful of hospital managers and executives, including Gnann,

trickled throughout the hospital along with donation envelopes. “Whoever had the most money put into their envelope got pied in the face,” he said. “Of course, it was me.” On pie day, he did not sit alone. He was joined by a few of his coworkers, including Amy Shelton, chief nurse and vice president of patient care services; Shannon Scaturro, vice president of operations; and Madonna Nichols, director of women’s services, among others. “It all sounds fun until you have to do it, and then it becomes a fun, sticky mess,” he said. Gnann and his crew were pied by other staff members, each making a $5 donation to get to smash the confection in an administrator’s face. “People had a good time,” Gnann said. “We were covered in pie, whipped cream and whatnot

and had to be hosed off. It was one of those situations where you had to plan to go home afterwards, because, as much as you got to clean it off, you were just sticky.” Gnann was invited to participate in the annual campaign after joining the board for the American Cancer Society’s Central Alabama chapter. In addition to fundraising, ambassadors were required to wear pink every day in February, not so difficult a task for Gnann. “As a guy, I’m lucky. Right?” he said. “I can just change a tie out. “I actually had a pretty solid number of ties with some sort of pink in it, I wore pink socks and, of course, the American Cancer Society gave us a pin to wear if we couldn’t wear pink that day.” One of the only conflicts in February was the

whether it’s removal of tumors and cancer, reconstruction or plastics,” he said. “So, we have a big connection to that as a ministry.” When it came time for Gnann to raise money, fellow hospital staff were there to lend support. He said it is easy to support an organization whose impact can be seen locally. “Our patients stay at Hope Lodge, and our patients get transportation to the Bruno Cancer Center via the relationship that the American Cancer Society has with Mercedes Benz,” he said. “So, we actually see our patients benefit from it, which is a really unique thing.” Throughout February, the hospital’s retail outlets – cafeterias, gift shops and such – sold pink hearts for $1, which the donor could sign. Those hearts were then hung on the walls of the hospital. In addition, the lobby shop organized a day when 15% of the proceeds from every pink item sold were donated to his campaign. When the month closed out, he was able to donate $3,662 to ACS, well over his goal of $2,500. In addition, the total campaign brought in more than $74,500. “In a month’s time, raising that amount of money is pretty incredible,” Gnann said.

Pink Party

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

ACS Wrap Party Caps Real Men Wear Pink Campaign

Libba Hardwick, senior manager of community relations with the American Cancer Society, right, crowns 2020 Pink Man of the Year Neal Jackson, left.

The American Cancer Society wrapped up its month-long Birmingham Real Men Wear Pink on March 5 at Cahaba Brewing Company. Campaign members gathered to celebrate the more than $74,000 raised, in addition to the awareness created in the community.  In addition, campaign ambassador Neal Jackson was crowned this year’s Pink Man of the Year, having raised $11,713.  Every dollar raised through the campaign helps the American Cancer Society save lives from breast cancer through early detection and prevention, innovative breast cancer research and patient support.

Will Puckett and Wally Evans.

Troy and Stephanie Farnlacher.


Just Keep Swimming

Local Businesses Adapt to the Needs of Community During Time of Social Distancing By Emily Williams In the words of Disney and Pixar’s forgetful blue tang fish, Dory: just keep swimming. It’s great advice for local businesses, which have quickly adapted to the growing needs of the community during this time of social distancing. Local chambers of commerce have been highlighting the new offerings at local businesses in their area. Ideas to help socially distance while supporting businesses include buying gift cards from restaurants to use at a later date, ordering from a local delivery service and other measures. Mountain Brook has started a social media initiative, #curbsideMountainBrook, that highlights businesses that offer curbside service. At Cresline’s Snoozy’s Kids, the shelves are filled with items. “We’ve just been to market, we’re all stocked up and we are ready to share it,” said owner George Jones. The store has always had a curbside pick-up option available for people who maybe don’t want to unload all of their kids from the car. There has also been the option available to have the store’s staff shop for you within a certain budget and for any age groups.

“We just started, on (March 12), Snoozy’s-to-Go, meaning we will deliver for free,” Jones said. “We have already done several of them – people ordering birthday presents, or because they’re hearing school has just closed and they’re ordering puzzles, games, books, art activities and other things to do to keep the children busy.” Rebecca Hughes, owner of TriFusion next-door to Snoozy’s Kids in Crestline Village, was Jones’ first Snoozy’s-to-go customer. “It was on Thursday and we got the news that schools would close,” Hughes said. “I thought, what if we don’t have toys or games or Easter presents? This is just the kind of thing that we need, right now.” The Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce recently released a survey in order to assess the needs of small businesses in their community. At the Lili Pad in Cahaba Heights, curbside pick-up is being offered, and the store staff is sanitizing every hour. Owner Katherine McRee also noted that the public can shop via FaceTime, as well. “Someone made a suggestion to clean our free libraries and fill them with food for those in need,” McRee

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Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 9

LIFE said. The free library outside of the store is filled with children’s books, which McRee feels are desperately needed with schools out. So, a container has been placed next to it to collect non-perishable items, which those in need can pick up - no questions asked. The trend of local businesses delivering and adapting to the current needs of the community is just what locals need, Hughes said. Jones said that neighborhood businesses, rather than big online businesses, are helping the elderly pick up their

groceries or providing a free meal for children who depend on their school lunches every day. You typically know who is delivering your items from your local store, he added, and the owners are typically on the premises. “You all know why you live where you do,” Jones said. “It’s for the convenience and the amenities that Birmingham has to offer. So, use your local folks. Shop with them. Keep them in business and keep them vibrant.”

McRee noted that not all small businesses will make it through this trying time. “It’s scary to think about,” she said. “We need to be here for eachother ... even if it’s just a prayer, because we are all in this together.” In addition to Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook chambers, Homewood and Hoover are also getting the word out about their local businesses adapted offerings or closures. . For more information, visit your local chamber’s website.

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10 • Thursday, March 19, 2020




Kate Hughes, Mary Farley Knipp, Kathryn Yarbrough and Kristina Palangi.

Alabama Graphics Takes Top Prize at Exceptional Foundation’s Chili Cook-Off

Morgan Hall and Docker.

Thousands of people from throughout the community gathered at Brookwood Village on March 7 for the Exceptional Foundation’s 16th annual Chili Cook-Off. In a judged competition, winning teams included Alabama Graphics, grand prize; Heninger Garrison Davis’ “Brings the Heat,” first runnerup; and Regions, second runner-up. The Spirit Award was presented to ARC Realty, first; Team Goldasich Presents The Burning Love Chili Café, second; and AmWins Chili Dogs, third. People’s Choice was The Stewart/Perry Company Inc., and the Participant Choice went to CommerceOne Bank. Winner of the Sportsmanship Award was Edwards Chevrolet. Funds raised at the event benefit the Exceptional Foundation’s mission to enhance the lives of those with special needs, regardless of their financial means. JOURNAL PHOTOS BY JORDAN WALD

Kala Knox and Kelley Voelkel.

Jennifer and Kenley Crocker.

Emily and Haig Wright with Brittany Westerman.

Above, Stuart, Fiona and Kathleen Parker. Below, Michael Perez, Bailey Priest, Edwin Lee, Danielle Murdoch and Tracey Lescarini.

Lowell Shepura and Jessica Finch.

Jordan Tucker and Sarah Dixon.

Arabella Schaeffer with Shelby and Jim Anderson.

Lazarus, Bethel and Boaz Scroggins.


Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 11


Journal photos by Jordan Wald

John Henley, Tim Puthoff, and Steve and Karen Odle.

Meredith Drennen, Suzan Doidge and Alex McCain.

Working Together

Local Chambers of Commerce Meet for Joint Business After Hours Brookwood Baptist Medical Center hosted a Joint After Hours event on March 5, bringing together members of multiple local chambers of commerce for refreshments, drinks and networking. The event was held in the main lobby of the hospital and was organized with the combined efforts of the chambers of commerce of Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills.



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12 • Thursday, March 19, 2020



Rehab Reality...

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

by Judy Butler

Spring Break – Spring Broken

Lee and Shea Smith with Hubie and Carolyn Latham.

Try Your Luck

VHLF Hosts Casino Fundraiser for Endowment Fund Guests had the chance to test their luck as Vestavia Hills Library Foundation and its junior board hosted their annual Casino Royale fundraising gala. Held March 7 at the library, the evening featured casino games staffed by professional dealers, a silent auction, music and other entertainments. The foundation was Lucy and Gene Gilmore with David Brunner. founded in 1997. Its endowment fund supports the munity needs. library’s long-term growth, its abiliProceeds from the gala will supty to enhance lifelong learning port the library’s children’s departthrough programming for children, ment in addition to the VHLF teens and adults, and emerging com- endowment. —Emily Williams

Shelbi and Jeremy Birchfield.

Lindsey Roebuck and Lauren Cater.

Jennifer Jones, Karen Templeton, Serena Porter, Karla Granger and June Clark.

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

This is the time of year for new beginnings. This is the time of year for renewal. This is the time of year for fresh starts. This is the time of year that we give away the clothes that are tired or no longer fit us. This is the time of year that we deep clean our homes and finally gets the cobwebs out of the corners. It’s also the time when students all over the country take a break from school. Unfortunately some will not return to school because the Spring Break at the beach derailed their lives with drug charges, alcohol, and many other activities that happened on the ‘get away’. For instance last year Texas reported more than 400 automobile accidents due to drunk driving resulting in 11 deaths and over 40 hospitalizations during that period. There’s a message on t-shirt out there that reads, “went on vacation, came home on probation”. This is so true. If you or someone you love has a problem with alcohol and/or drugs it’s time to take action and get help. Take the initiative and face the problems now before it gets out of control with legal issues or worse yet, death. Bayshore Retreat is the perfect choice to help make a fresh start in life and with only 6 clients at a time it is the safest place to do it. We understand the fears, shame and self-loathing of going to rehab. Coming to Bayshore Retreat is a gift not a punishment. Bayshore Retreat is different and can make a difference. Call us today.

Larry Cochran, Tanesha Tucker, April MacLennan and Greg Jones.

Katherine Clarke and Everett Fuller.

Reading is Fundamental Friends of EOL Host Annual Book Sale Fundraiser

The Friends of Emmet O’Neal Library kicked off its annual Friends’ Book Sale on the evening of Feb. 20, inviting attendees to visit the library for a cocktail party

Knox Bricken and Betty Meadows.

Camille Emblom, Lillie Wright, Hagen Blackwell, Jane Morgan Sauls, Margaret Nichols and Ella Emblom.

and first look at the sale collection. Guests could peruse a selection of rare and first edition treasures that were donated throughout the year. Serving as Book Sale chair was Lauren Hayes, who led a committee in efforts to organize the Friends’

largest fundraiser of the year, with support from President Barbara Blair. Proceeds from the sale support the library’s adult and teen programs, ranging from author events and book clubs to music workshops and college readiness events.

Pat and Patti Henry.


Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 13



Photo courtesy SVC

M O U N TA I N B R O O K O F F I C E 2 0 1 9

Luke Turner, J.T. Morris, Raymond Tsai, Bethany Simon, Kah’lin Jordan and Matthew Kim.

Sounds of Music

SVC Highlights Young Scholarship Winners at Annual Lois Pickard Luncheon Twenty-three young musicians aged 12 to 18 competed for scholarships from the Lois Pickard Music Competition in January, hosted by the Symphony Volunteer Council. The council annually awards three first place, three second place and three encouragement awards. The winners then performed at the recent Lois Pickard Luncheon, where they received their awards. Raymond Tsai won the Best Overall award and will play with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra next year. Through the competition, students from the Alabama Symphony Youth

Orchestra, the Alabama School of Fine Arts and Alabama residents competing in the Lois Pickard competition are eligible for scholarships to recognized summer music centers and camps. The scholarships cover tuition, room and board and private lessons.   Musicians performed at Birmingham Southern College and were judged by Kevin Fitzgerald, all categories; Dr. Lester Seigel, piano; Mayumi Masri, strings; and Dr. Denise Gainey, brass/winds.  Scholarship-winning performers in the category of piano were Luke Turner, first place, and J.T. Morris,

second place. Turner is a 10th grade homeschooled student from Homewood who began piano at the age of 4. Morris is an ASFA senior. In the category of strings, winners were Raymond Tsai, first, and Bethany Simon, second. Tsai, 16, of Birmingham, began his musical training on the violin at age 4, before he switched to the cello at age 8. Simon, a homeschooled student from Montgomery, started playing violin at 4½ years old. For brass/woodwind/percussion, winners were Kah’lin Jordan, first, and Matthew Kim, second. Jordan is an ASFA junior who is principal clarinet of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra. —Emily Williams

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14 • Thursday, March 19, 2020




STAR LIGHT, STAR BRIGHT Assistance League Hosts Annual Gala Fundraiser

he annual One Starry Night Gala was hosted March 12, bringing together supporters of the Assistance League for an evening of fundraising. The honoree for the event was Bob Crawford of United Brothers of Alabama and Mississippi LLC. Heading up the organization of the evening was gala chairwoman Donna Reindeer, along with Assistance League of Birmingham President Barbara Kelley. Guests were treated to a three-course dinner, as well as live and silent auctions by G. Shawn Dalton of C. King Benefit Auctions LLC. Festivities concluded with dancing to music by The Bassman. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the League’s philanthropic endeavors: Operation School Bell, which clothed more than 2,000 children from more than 50 Birmingham-area schools in 2019; Operation Literacy, which tutors children in reading; and PrimeTime Treasurers, which provides a space for seniors to sell their crafted goods. ❖

Greg Dean and Judy Jones.

Barbara Kelley, Bob Crawford, Donna Reinaker and Kim Kohler.

Kylie Wade and Molly Bee Bloetscher.

Nancy and Stuart Benjamin.

Nancy Jones, Kathy Mezzerano and Donna Stephen.

Sophia and Jill Stephen.

Lillie Corinne Welch and Grace Kohler.

Samira and Nicholas Saban.

Walker and Emily McCain.


Party Planning

Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 15


The Pickwick Dance Club held its annual membership meeting and luncheon recently at the Country Club of Birmingham in the Terrace Garden Room.   Charlotte Kearney and Jane Shalhoop were in charge of arrangements for the luncheon, which brought together 80 longtime friends and Pickwick members. The tables were set with pink tablecloth toppers and pink napkins, with narcissus centerpieces by Cathy Echols.   Allison Morgan, Pickwick president, called the meeting to order. Newly elected officers are Candy Lindley, president; Bootsie Garrett, fall party chairman of her “Lights Out Committee;” Kelley Gage, spring party chair supported by her “Dream Team;” Jean Woodward, secretary; Dale Prosch, treasurer; Lindsay Cook, membership; and Allison Morgan, parliamentarian. New members elected at the meeting were Margaret Brunstad, Polly Caine, Priscilla Carroll, Fran Goodrich, Peggie Hodges, Pam Kilgore and Susan Payne. In addition, Lindley, who is the current spring party chairwoman, shared plans for a forthcoming party, which will have the theme “Friendship.” Each person in attendance was given a bookmark with the lyrics to a childhood song, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold!” ❖

Photo courtesy Pickwick Club

Pickwick Club Gathers for Annual Luncheon

Above, Charlotte Powell, Charlotte Coggins, Elizabeth Meadows and Sarah Hodge. Below, Carolyn Neal, Dana Norton, Jane Shalhoop, Courtney Brown and Joan Curtis.

Above, Kathy Miller, Bootsie Gartett, Beth Woodward and Ann Vrocher. Below, Anne Liles, Barbara Badham, Patty Ringland, Patty Baker and Suzanne Brock.

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16 • Thursday, March 19, 2020






Journal photo by Jordan Wald

• Specializing in Formal Wear & Cocktail Attire • Dry Cleaning • Laundering • Wash • Fold Drapery • Tablecloths • Linens • Bedding Kaitlyn Thibodeaux, Penny Kimrey, Julie Cundiff, Courtney McCrory and Kristen Comer.

“Transparency to Transformation” Legacy League Luncheon Raises Funds for Need-Based Scholarships



EASTWOOD 205.956.5585

WOODLAWN 205.592.7425



Blending Southern “church girl” humor with a big dose of biblical teachings, Whitney Capps spoke Feb. 13 to an audience of nearly 300 at Samford Legacy League’s Scholarship Luncheon.   Her talk on moving “From Transparency to Transformation” was the climax to a multifaceted event, chaired by Karen Carlisle. An Atlanta-based speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries, Capps is the author of “Sick of Me” and the Bible study “We Over Me.” Held in the Vestavia Country Club ballroom, the event started with a 20-item silent auction. The second annual Silent Auction for Scholarships had doubled in size from last year and included jewelry and art pieces, a beach vacation and the chance to be a Samford cheerleader for a day. The event raised nearly $20,000. Executive Director Jeanna Westmoreland announced a new scholarship had been established by Paula and Kerry Gossett in Paula’s name. The new scholarship, like all Legacy League funds, will help provide a Samford University education to students with significant financial need and challenging circumstances. A current scholarship recipient talked to the group about her dad’s brain tumor and the challenges it created for her family, including paying for college. An aspiring nurse, the

Roman BRantley McWane Science Center 200 19th Street North Birmingham, AL 35203

aRt, antiques Gifts & DecoR

Open Tues. - Fri. 10:30-5:00 pm Sat. 10:30-2:30 pm 2790 BM Montgomery Street Homewood, AL • 205.460.1224

Jeanna Westmoreland, Whitney Capps and Karen Carlisle.

Linda Joseph, Karen Register and Kathy Finch.

sophomore said she’d had to learn “to face challenges instead of giving up” and thanked the Legacy League for giving her “more than just a scholarship.” The scholarship luncheon committee included Sharon Smith, Cheryl

Landreth, Jeanna Westmoreland, Harriet Williams, Kathy Clay, Connie Clark, Carlisle, Karen Register, Cindy Anderson, Inga Clum and Allison Strickland. More than 50 volunteers assisted with the event. ❖


Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 17


For the Greater Good

Vestavia Hills residents Dr. Audie Woolley and Gina and John Henley were celebrated Feb. 25 as Leadership Vestavia Hills hosted its 30th annual LVH Community Awards Dinner held at Vestavia Country Club. During a seated dinner, a presentation was held to honor Woolley, who was recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award, and the Henleys, who were recipients of the Citizen of the Year Award. Attended by officials with the city’s government, chamber of commerce and school system, the event recognized and celebrated exceptional members of the community who have invested substantial efforts to improve the quality of life in Vestavia Hills and beyond. ❖

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

LVH Celebrates Community Award Winners at Annual Dinner

Gina and John Henley.

Kristin Tunnell, Steve Ammons, Ashley Curry and Jeff and Penny Downes.

Ann and Wes Hamiter.

Allyson and Audie Woolley.

Bailey Priest, Bonnie, Michael and Joe Perez.

The 2020 Census is coming and it's important that you respond. The Census determines where more than $675 billion in federal funds are directed for schools, healthcare, roads and transportation. You will receive an invitation to participate in mid-March. You can fill it out online, or by phone. Your information is not shared with any other agency.

Brought to you by the Jefferson County Complete Count Committee

18 • Thursday, March 19, 2020


Cloudy With a Chance of Fun


This year’s theme for McWane Science Center’s Annual Beaker Bash was Forecast: Fun! It celebrated meteorology with experiments, activities and educational information throughout the museum for guests young and old. ABC 33/40 chief meteorologist James Spann was on hand, presenting a program on how weather works. In addition, CBS 42 meteorologist Ashley Gann was in attendance and read weather-related children’s stories to kids in attendance. The event was chaired by Steven and Sally Thompson, supported by a committee that included Aimee Barnes, Abby Bowlin, Angie Cleland, Christina Edwards, John Gentle, Shelley Gentle, Matthew Graham, Alex Graham, David Killion, Katy Killion, Maria Madden, Alex Ratliff, Caroline Renfroe, Alan Renfroe, Elizabeth Riddle, Zac Riddle, Linley Roberts and Stephanie Starnes. Presenting sponsor Thomas E. Jernign Foundation and others helped McWane Science Center raise nearly $150,000 to support the museum’s operational costs and its mission to spark wonder and curiosity about our world through hands-on science. ❖

Photos courtesy McWane Science Center

Activities Rain Down on Guests at McWane’s Beaker Bash

Clockwise from above: The Thompson family; hands on fun; the Stuenkel family; the Marshall family; and learning about weather balloons.

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

Member of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce



Mention this ad to receive a free diagnostic service call.



Angelo and the late Mr. Angelo of Vestavia Hills and the late Mr. and Mrs. Joseph John Milazzo of Vestavia Hills. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Wayne Smith of Vestavia Hills and Mr. Joseph Donald Harrison II of Baltimore. He is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Warren Michael Oliver of Birmingham and Mrs. Barbara Justice Harrison and the late Mr. Joseph Donald Harrison of Baltimore.  Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore an ivory Alençon custom lace couture gown by Justin Alexander purchased from Bella Couture. The bodice, high neckline and custom long point sleeves were re-embroidered and hand beaded with Swarovski crystals and seed pearls. The lace fitted gown had a detachable cathedral-length over skirt train of silk illusion scattered with lace, pearls and sequins. The bride’s cathedral-length veil, originally worn by her mother and her maternal aunt, extended with silk illusion, French lace, crystals and pearls. Sewn inside her gown was her mother’s bridal garter, her custom new monogram and a white gold tanzanite and diamond pendent, also worn by

her sister on her wedding day. The bride carried a cascading phalaenopsis orchid and white rose bouquet. Sewn into the back was her maternal great grandmother’s rosary beads and her maternal grandmother’s wedding handkerchief. The bride was attended by her sister, Mary Angelo Bullard, as matron of honor. The bridesmaids were Brianna Atkinson, Kaly Bertella, Maggie Bruno, Parker Bruno, Sarah Dawson, Olivia Harrison, sister of the groom, Emily Kotroco, Elizabeth Perrin, Sammy Poole, Christine Randolph, Julie Ruehl, Ebbie Stutts, Eliza Thornton and Morgan Wheeler.    The groom’s brother, Douglas Harrison, served as his best man. The groomsmen were Vincent Angelo, brother of the bride, Jacob Brown, Wil Brantley, Christopher Bruno, Joseph Bruno, John Paul Bruno, Drew Bullard, Adam Byrd, Alex Crawford, Seth Dyess, Michael Perrin, Tyler Scogin, Britton Stutts, David Walker and honorary groomsman Frank Roberts.  The couple live in Vestavia Hills and are taking a belated honeymoon to Antigua, Barbados and San Juan. 

Photo courtesy Carousel Club

Catherine Ann Angelo and Joseph Donald Harrison III were married May 18, 2019, at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham. The 7 p.m. nuptial Mass was officiated by the Rev. Douglas Vu. The couple was presented with a papal blessing from His Holiness Pope Francis at the conclusion of the ceremony. A reception followed at The Club of Birmingham. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Anthony Angelo of Vestavia Hills. She is the granddaughter of Mrs. Phillip Claude

Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 19


Front: Jim and Patsy Norton. Back; Jim and Joyce Lott, Sahra and Roland Lee and Peggy Marshall.

Isn’t It Romantic

We create the landscapes... ...You create the memories!

Lawn fertilization and weed control Landscape

Carousel Club Celebrates Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day was celebrated by Carousel’s Dance Club at the Country Club of Birmingham, with festive red balloons and arrangements of red and silver glitter adorning each table. Members feasted on beef and chicken filets, miniature stuffed potatoes and asparagus. A trio of small individual cheesecakes, lemon tarts and chocolate brownies were served for dessert. Members attending were: May Ruth and Fred Ingram, Barbara and Winfield Baird, Helen and Walter Gay Pittman, Barbara and Chive Stone, Joyce and Jim Lott, Kathleen and George Petznick, Augusta and William Forbes, Patsy

and Jim Norton, Ann and Carl Jones, Sandra and Terry Oden, Dena and Bill Leitner, Beverly and Harry Register, Tina and John Darnell, Jo Anne and Nick Gaede, Jessie and Kenneth Key, Anne and Bob Waudby, Martha and Peyton Norville, Bebe and Roy Costner, Adele and Charles Colvin, Sahra and Roland Lee, Mary Alice and Don Carmichael, Ann and Fletcher Harvey, Beth And Ron Henderson, Laurie and Charles Binion, Nita Crumbaugh, Martha Cheney, Melanie Gardner, Fay Hall, Phyllis Russell, Peggy Marshall, Bartley Statham, Margie Williams, Lynn Ault, Virginia Gross, Ruth Pitts and



Sarah Creveling. Next, members will get together in the spring to elect officers for the coming year. ❖



Brush clearing And more!


Sheep, Rabbits & Crosses are here! 205-854-8001



20 • Thursday, March 19, 2020

Making a Place for Seniors

Beth Kesmodel, a former Mountain Brook resident, has been a member of Independent Presbyterian Church since 1947.

Kirkwood Founding Board Member Beth Kesmodel Reflects on the Facility’s Beginnings By Emily Williams

Photo courtesy Beth Kesmodel


hen Beth Kesmodel joined Independent Presbyterian Church’s first board for what would become Kirkwood by the River in 1976, she pictured herself one day moving in. Her husband wasn’t as sure. “When I joined the board, I always thought I would be moving in one day,” she said. That day came in 2010. Kesmodel, a former Mountain Brook resident, has been a member of Independent Presbyterian Church since 1947. Her late husband, Dr. Karl Kesmodel, was a radiologist at St. Vincent’s for 35 years, including as chief of radiology and chief of medical staff. Through IPC, Kesmodel was able to connect with the community. “I worked a lot with the Fresh Air Farm,” she said. “We used to go and get the cabins ready for the kids, then we would go back and pick them up and transport them to camp. It was really a lot of fun.” Kesmodel recalls that discussions about providing a residential facility for seniors began in the early 1950s. “The idea started with Eugene Ireland,” she said. “There were a lot of widows in our congregation who we thought would benefit from a nursing home.”

The Ireland Fund began generating money from then on. Housing and care for the elderly

became a top priority not only for IPC but also for Presbyterian congregations throughout the

... After A While, Krocodile

By Emily Williams

Korduroy Krocodile Owner Retires After 39 Years

Journal file photo

Saying goodbye to Korduroy Krocodile is bittersweet for owner Lynda Rothoff. After announcing her retirement on Feb. 23, Rothoff spent her last day at the store on March 6. The Homewood-based children’s consignment clothing store has been in operation for 39 years at the same location on Linden Avenue. It’s not unusual for Rothoff to run into second generations of shoppers, and she said she will miss them all. “The other day we had someone in here … . His mother bought clothes for him here and now he is shopping for his children,” she said. “Being here for 39 years, I’ve seen a lot.” There is a long list of friends she has met through her store that she hopes to continue seeing every so often. “I can say I haven’t had any terrible people in the store,” she said. “Everyone has been nice. That’s not to say we haven’t had people come in who have had bad mornings, but when they left they were smiling.”


Lynda Rothoff, center, with Korduroy Krocodile employees Mandi Travis and Sophie Shunnarah. The store had been in the same location on Linden Avenue in Homewood for 39 years.

country. “When Kirkwood was started, there were only a couple of lower level options for seniors – such as the Episcopal Place,” she said. “Then there was Fairhaven.” In its beginnings, the then-nonprofit facility, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, was created to provide a new kind of retirement community for adults. Kesmodel noted that they wanted to build a facility that was suitable for all levels of retirement, not just those who have limited finances or require around-the-clock care. “We wanted something with levels that was walkable,” she said. Kesmodel said she was consistently “awed by the experts” who sat with her on the board. “Our original board of 15 didn’t have anyone who was knowledgeable about long-term care, but they were each experts in their fields. I was not an expert, but I was able to take on the role of secretary,” she said, laughing. Looking back on her decision to back the formation of Kirkwood, Kesmodel realizes just how important long-term care has been for her. “I will be 98 this summer,” she said. There is a natural slowing down that occurs with age, but she remains active through the community’s programming. “We have amazing programming,” she said, noting the music classes, bowling, dance, games and other activities. “The storyteller Dolores Hydock comes once a month, and we also get political speakers,” she noted. “Every three months we get a group that includes John Archibald and Mike Murphy, and they just discuss different topics.” Her experiences have equipped her with a solid piece of advice: don’t wait to make the transition into a retirement community. “I wish people would move in earlier,” she said. “It is easy to make lots of new friends. It all just helps to keep your mind alert, which is so important.”

When Rothoff first opened the store, Korduroy Krocodile was one of the first highend children’s consignment stores in the area. The business grew quickly, gaining 100 consigners in the first month and expanding over the years in retail space and store offerings, eventually stocking shoes, accessories and toys in addition to clothing. In her retirement, she doesn’t have any plans for international travel, but she does hope to travel to Tennessee to spend time with her sister and plans to take a road trip to her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, to visit family and explore the area. “I will also just go out for lunch,” she said. “My lunch has always been (at the store) at a little table in the back. So, I’m going to go down, sit somewhere and have lunch on a Wednesday at 1 p.m.” Though she looks forward to her plans, her entry into retirement is a bittersweet one. “It has been really hard to say goodbye,” Rothoff said. Rothoff said that what she will miss most about her days spent at the store are her friends – the old and the new.


Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 21


Danberry at Inverness The Unique Choice in Senior Living

In the past, seniors seeking a retirement community Krueger. had few options. Often, it was either an uninspiring Comprehensive health and wellness services for urban high-rise with few outside amenities or an independent living, assisted living and memory care upscale development built around a golf-course or lifestyles are available at Danberry at Inverness, and waterfront with few personal services. they are offered in meticulously designed environBut today’s retirees and tomorrow’s retiring baby ments that invite nature indoors. For example, throughboomers increasingly demand an environment that not out the Danberry at Inverness Clubhouse, nature seamonly is carefree, but also offers them ample opportunilessly blends both indoors and out with fireplaces, the ties to remain mentally and physically active in a atrium lobby, English tea gardens and waterfalls. Here, soothing natural setting. residents can take care of everyday details and enjoy a In other words, they want an address that redefines range of first-class amenities (movie theater, creative retirement. art studio, bridge and card rooms) and services (library, Danberry at Inverness senior living community, mail/communications room). Dining is available in the located at 235 Inverness Center Drive in Hoover, just formal dining room and al fresco on the garden terrace. off US 280 and Valleydale Road, is an example anMOUNTAIN JOURNAl OVERof THE life inspiring approach to retirement living that feels A Dynamic Approach to Wellness unique from the moment one enters its atrium lobby. The advantages of living in one of today’s wellnessStained-glass windows and a cascading waterfall set oriented retirement communities are many: ample the mood for a retirement lifestyle that emphasizes nat- opportunities to stay as strong and independent as ural beauty, vitality and personal fulfillment. Residents possible, staying in the mainstream of activities and Danberry at Inverness retirement community has been chosen as can choose from comfortable one-, two- or three-bedandin 2013 keeping a healthy outlook on life. Danberry one of the nation’s topevents communities on SeniorAdvisor.com, the premier online ratings at andInverness reviews site foroffers senior living communities fitness opportunities all room luxury apartment homes which are appointed exceptional nationwide. with upscale features such as ceramic tile floors, granunder one roof, such as “senior-friendly” spa services, The SeniorAdvisor 2013 Excellence Award recognizes senior living ite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Englishthat receive a fully equipped fitness center, classes including Tai communities consistently high ratings and positive reviews residents, and visitors. “Receiving this des ignation gardens and flowering landscapes complete from these pic- families,Chi, aerobics, water yoga and Pilates, a private seniorplaces Danberry in the top one percent of all retirement communities ture-perfect residences. friendly heated indoor, resort-style saltwater pool and a nationwide,” said Danberry at Inverness marketing director, Lori Krueger. “We are so proud that so many—especially our residents— The award-winning Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired wellness clinic. consider us to be one of the architecture and natural surroundings only add tothethe “We “Our makeresidents sure our residents will tell have every opportunibest of best.” Located in Inverness peaceful, stress-reducing environment. tyonto learn, explore savor life in a whole new you that theyand wish they’d Lake Heather, Danberry at moved here sooner. They “We believe that Danberry at Inverness offers peoway,” said Krueger. “In other words, we help them Inverness is a senior living the carefree, fun-filled ple over 55 independent living unlike anywhere elsefor-adults 55 design a future filled with fun!” community and love older with every and rewarding retireone that encourages growth, learning and discovery of convenience This community really must be seen to be believed, and amenity imaginable, ment lifestyle they find today, visit new things about yourself and your environment,” said so stop by Danberry at Inverness including a clubhouse with at Danberry. And weorlove card rooms, a ballroom, Danberry at Inverness Marketing Director Lori DanberryAtInverness.com call 443-9500.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 • 13

Danberry at Inverness

ABOVE: Residents spending time together at Danberry at Inverness. LEFT: The atrium at Danberry at Inverness is the center of the clubhouse. It connects the common areas and provides a place where residents can enjoy a cup of coffee or a cocktail with friends before dinner.

serving them!”

indoor swimming pool, creative art studio, salon/ lori Krueger, marketing director, spa, theater, fitness studio, Danberry at Inverness. innovative wellness programs and much more. Residents enjoy chef-prepared menus and dining with friends in the casual bistro or more formal dining room. Services include scheduled transportation, concierge and weekly housekeeping. For those in need of a helping hand, 24-hour licensed professional nursing is available on-site in Assisted Living at Danberry, which offers a comfortable and luxurious atmosphere. On-site physical and occupational therapy also are available. “Our residents will tell you that they wish they’d moved here sooner. They love the carefree, fun-filled and rewarding retirement lifestyle they find at Danberry,” said Krueger. “And we love serving them!” Danberry is the flagship senior housing development for the Daniel Corporation and is managed by CRSA®, an LCS® company. Danberry at Inverness is located on Lake Heather just off U.S. 280 and Valleydale Road in Hoover, 443-9500.

Get more out of life at Danberry at Inverness Even more than larger floor plans, gorgeous architecture, and outstanding amenities—Danberry at Inverness frees you to create a lifestyle all your own, with Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care all right here. More peace of mind. And a lot more fun!

Residents enjoy:

• Flexible dining options • Transportation • Housekeeping • Fitness Center • Wellness Clinic • 24-hour nursing • Indoor resort-style pool ARE YOURsalon VETERANS BENEFITS SAFE? • Full-service & spa • Card & billiard rooms • Creative arts studio Our speaker is William Nolan,theater an accredited attorney with the VA and a local Elder Law attorney • G. Movie with the firm Nolan Stewart, PC. Mr. Nolan has written articles about and is a frequent speaker on • And much more! the subject of Veterans benefits.

Congress is in session –

Top: The atrium at Danberry is the center of the clubhouse that connects the common areas, providing a place residents can enjoy a cup of coffee or a cocktail with friends before dinner. lefT: Waterfall at the entrance to Danberry. Above: lori Krueger, left, marketing director and Jaclyn Gardner, executive director of Danberry at Inverness.

Veterans benefits have been available since WWII... yet there are some in Congress who want to significantly curtail your benefits. If you are a Veteran or the widow of a Veteran, or if you might become a caregiver for a Veteran, please join us for an informative and timely (and free!) presentation on “The Future of Your VA Benefits”.

Call (205) 443-9500.

You will also learn more about services provided to qualified Veterans exclusively by Always Best Care.

235 Inverness Drive VA Benefits The Future ofCenter Your Hoover, AL 35242

Limited Availability!

Tuesday, April 8 OR Thursday, April 10, 2014 • 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. DanberryAtInverness.com Refreshments and Door Prizes 235 Inverness Center Drive • Hoover, AL

The changes that Congress proposes are not yet law but their intent is clear – they want to make it much harder for Veterans and widows to obtain their pensions. Consider applying for your pension now, before it becomes more difficult!

RSVP to (205) 443-9500. Limited Seating. In accordance with Alabama Bar requirements, no representation is made that the quality of legal services is greater than the legal services performed by other lawyers. ARPC 7.2(e)

Distinctively Different Retirement Living 235 Inverness Center Drive Hoover, AL 35242


22 • Thursday, March 19, 2020

From left, Sara Scott, admissions coordinator; Sandi Hall, marketing director; and Lauren Sanderlin, outreach coordinator.

Kirkwood by the River Kirkwood by the River opened its doors in the Spring of 1980 as a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community in Birmingham Alabama, offering independent living, assisted living, memory care assisted living and skilled nursing levels of care. We have served approximately 1,800 residents and their families over the past 40 years with unparalleled attention to detail and care. Independent Presbyterian Church had the vision of ministering to the senior population by offering a retirement community in a retreatlike setting. This idyllic location, nestled in the woods off the Cahaba River, is perfect for spiritual reflection and worship. As the wants and desires of our current and future senior population are changing, we feel that it is time to repurpose the Kirkwood com-



munity. Through this endeavor our goal would be to enhance our mission, which is to provide security and comfort to all of our residents as we help them to lead an active lifestyle and to provide a state of the art campus for the Kirkwood community.   As we celebrate Kirkwood’s 40th Anniversary, we are planning a night of dancing, drinks, food and lots of fun! On May 14, at 6 p.m., our Race into the Future event at The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum will feature a silent auction with an array of items and experiences for everyone, a live band with the funkiest tunes, and conversation of our early plans for the renovation. It will be a night you won’t want to miss! For more information on our 40th Anniversary celebration, please visit kirkwoodbytheriver.com/raceintothefuture/

Town Village Vestavia HIlls

Hands for Health

One of the newest residents of Town Village is a Retired United States Navy Commander of 32 years service. CDR Dick Ritz (pictured) spent most of his career teaching Navy pilots and air crews in the fields of Survival, Evasion Resistance and Escape. He has personally debriefed many of the returning POWs from Vietnam, including Lt. Deter Dingler who escaped from a Laotian Prison in 1968 and was the subject of the Hollywood movie “Rescue Dawn.” “Living here at Town Village apartments gives me great service at a very reasonable price,” Ritz said. “In addition, as a U.S. Navy veteran of 32 years, it has always been important to me to stay in good physical shape. Their heated pool (not offered at many such facilities), with a professional aerobics’ instructor, allows me to continue workouts without danger of injury such as could occur (at my age) in a regular gym. Finally, I really appreciate having a covered reserved parking slot within proximity to my apartment. The food is great, the staff is very caring and my neighbors are wonderful.”

Hands for Health is a non-medical, privately owned business offering services to families in need of care for seniors and disabled children, at affordable prices - private pay is optional. “We offer rehab, long-term or short-term care in 4-, 6-, 12- and 24-hour shifts,” said Courtney Jones, owner of the business. Services include morning meds, daily ADLS, bathing, grooming, dressing, transfer, transport to appointments, grocery shopping etc…light housekeeping, meal preparation, and charting of daily reports on progress. “We want to be different from others,” said Jones. “We would like our clients to look at us as a family member not just a caregiver on a job. We are CNA certified with over five years experience working in long and short term facilities and four years doing private home care. We’re happy to take your loved one on weekly paid outings, travel with the family on vacations, or nighttime parties to make sure needs are being met. “In working in homes, hospitals and facilities, we have met too many unhappy patients who don’t like being removed from their home but don’t have the funds to hire in-home services. We will work with each individual client to set up a financial plan that they are comfortable with.” Hands for Health offers 24/7 seven days a week services all over the Birmingham metro area, primarily the cities of Hoover, Homewood, Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook.

Town Village Vestavia Hills is located at 2385 Dolly Ridge Rd., Vestavia Hills, 205-9792702.

Hands for Health, contact Courtney Jones at 205-527-8631 or handsforhealthhomecare@ gmail.com.

Welcome to

Town Village Vestavia Hills FRIENDLY & PATIENT STAFF CNA & CPR certified

Our staff has a total of 9 years combined in the health care field caring for others. Over those years, they have gained great experience adhering to patients needs and properly caring of them.

A Place Where You Belong

Town Village Vestavia Hills is much more than senior housing—it's a way of life. We strive to provide a distinctive lifestyle filled with friendships, life enrichment activities and attention to every detail. Come sit by the stone fireplace, catch up over a cup of coffee, or take a dip in the heated indoor pool. The opportunities for exceptional living are endless here.





Companionship Care Plans l Medication Monitoring l Appointment Transportation l Performance evaluations l Daily ADLs (grooming, bathing, getting dressed, meals preparation, light housekeeping & more! If there is a service that you’re in need of but don’t see, just give us a call!

TYPES OF CARE OFFERED Unique patients requires unique needs, let us help! We offer an array of care

taking services that works for patients with special needs, disabilities, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Additionally we offer long term & short term care.

FLEXIBLE SHIFTS Around the clock shifts available

Because we know life can get busy with work, school, travel, and other daily task, we are here to help. We offer 4hr, 8hr, 12hr, 24 hour shifts.


OUR MARKET We offer services in Birmingham Including: Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Hoover & North Shelby County. For more information, please call: Courtney Jones 205.527.8631 handsofhealthhomecare@gmail.com


Andrew Duxbury, M.D

According to the CDC, older people - ages 60 and older - and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions - for example, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes seem to be at higher risk of developing COVID-19. Those who have a higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19 or any other respiratory infection should follow the good hygiene recommendations, provided by Dr. Andrew Duxbury, a geriatrician with the University of Alabama at Birmingham division of gerontology, geriatrics and palliative care: • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. • Avoid touching the nose, eyes, mouth and face with unwashed


Tips for Seniors in the Battle Against COVID-19 hands. • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid crowds and nonessential airline and cruise travel. • Stay home from work or class when you are sick. • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow if no tissue is available, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. • Getting a flu shot will not pre-

vent COVID-19, but can help keep you well during this flu season, and can keep you out of doctors offices and hospitals where you could be exposed to others who are sick. • Should an outbreak occur in your community - which it has - you should stay at home as much as possible to reduce the risk of acquiring infection.

residing in long-term care facilities, or are residents themselves, consider the following advice: • If you are sick (even if you don’t have COVID-19), you should stay away from any care facilities,

Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 23

such as nursing homes, retirement homes and hospitals. Even if you are not sick with COVID-19, if you make someone who already has a suppressed immune system sick, then you are already making them more vulnerable to other illnesses like COVID-19. • Residents in assisted living facilities should stay in their rooms and make arrangements for their meals to be delivered to them, rather than participating in congregant dining. —Emily Williams

Long-term Care Facilities

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By Emily Williams

Paul and Benj Pasek – lyricists and composers of the Tony Awardwinning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” and film “Greatest Showman” – conducted a master class at the festival and auditioned students for “Dear Evan Hanson.” “Our students are learning and making connections with people from all over the entertainment world,” Stephenson said. Stephenson sees it as her duty as an educator to provide opportunities for students to experience different


The Vestavia Hills High School Rebelettes competitive dance team delivered a championship-winning performance March 8 at the National High School Dance Association’s competition. The team has placed in the top 10 in the nation for 16 consecutive years, but this is the first national championship in school history. “The VHHS Rebelette program has a culture of excellence that goes back decades. This championship is for all the dancers that came before us,” said Kate Richardson, VHHS senior co-captain. According to a release, more than 2,600 dancers representing 30 states and 5,000 spectators took part in the three-day competition in Orlando, Florida. Vestavia Hills competed in the preliminaries, and a strong team performance Saturday gave the team a berth into the finals. “After we finished 5th during the preliminary round, we knew we had

Photo courtesy Vestavia Hills High School

‘Our students are learning and making connections with people from all over the entertainment world.’ JAMIE STEPHENSON At the Alabama Thespian Festival, hosted by the Alabama Educational Theatre Association, the Vestavia Hills High School Thespian Troupe, above, was selected to represent the state at the International Thespian Festival, set for June 22-27 in Bloomington, Indiana. It expects to draw 6,000 students from across the globe.

Center Stage VHHS Thespian Troupe to Represent the State at International Thespian Festival in June

“These parents and students work to feed and take care of over 1,200 students from all over the state, and they do it with a smile and a great attitude,” Stephenson said. “It is amazing to watch our community shine over the weekend.”

Learning Opportunities

Though there was a competitive aspect to the weekend event, Stephenson said the festival is all

Photo courtesy Vestavia Hills High School

hen the Vestavia Hills High School Thespian Troupe began to prepare for its competition performance at the Alabama Thespian Festival, theater teacher Jamie Stephenson and her students chose something challenging but fun. “We had just finished ‘I Never Saw Another Butterfly,’ which was an incredibly hard show,” Stephenson said. “It is about the children of the Holocaust and it really pushed us in our art form and emotionally.” Gravitating toward something a bit more lighthearted, the team performed “Among Friends and Clutter,” by Lindsay Pate. It turned out to be a good choice. After the state festival, hosted by the Alabama Educational Theatre Association, the troupe was selected to represent the state at the International Thespian Festival, set for June 22-27 in Bloomington, Indiana. It expects to draw 6,000 students from across the globe. “We wanted to do a show that showcased our talent but was also really fun,” Stephenson said. The play “shows a group of friends’ relationships from second grade to 60 years of age,” she said. “It allowed us to delve into the physicality of acting different ages and had some really funny moments. It made us laugh, so we decided to put it on its feet in a month of rehearsal.” The Vestavia schools hosted the state festival and plans to host it again next year. The festival was broken into a high school segment, which took place at Vestavia Hills High School, and a junior segment, which took place at Louis Pizitz Middle School. The event took a village to pull off, with more than 60 students and 30 parents assisting.

about the workshops. The festival includes individual performance, tech challenge, improv events and chapter competitions, Stephenson said. But the list of educational opportunities is much longer. Students could take part in lectures and workshops covering musical theater, vocal technique, technical theater, auditioning, dancing and acting, among other disciplines. “The Alabama Educational

Theatre Association spends close to $20,000 a year bringing in guest artists that our students/schools wouldn’t be able to learn from on their own,” Stephenson said. Her students have had the opportunity to learn from an actress who played the lead role of Elphaba in “Wicked” on Broadway, and a stage manager from “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Stephenson added that Justin

VHHS Rebelettes Dance Team Wins First National Championship in School History to step up our game for the finals,” said VHHS senior co-captain Abigail

White. Sunday’s team dance national

championship finals pitted high schools from states spanning the

areas of interest. So, providing her students with opportunities to learn from the best and grow along the way are essential. “I think that we have an incredible amount of talent in Vestavia Hills,” Stephenson said. “Also, not all of my students will become actors, actresses or technicians,” she said. “I want them to be comfortable in any setting with any group of people.” “I always say that I want my students to succeed, whether it is in the court room, the operating room, the classroom or the board room,” she said. “In theater, they learn skills that are essential in any career: time management, communication skills, coping skills, creative problem solving, project management and budgeting. I hope they take these skills and find a career that isn’t a job but is something they love to do every day.”

country, including from California, New York, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Alabama. “The girls worked extremely hard and believed in themselves and in being the team that could make history for the school,” said head coach Faith Lenhart. She noted that the squad’s dedication to push each other to be their best was behind their success. Mary Prickett, VHHS senior captain, said that winning the title was the “greatest moment of her life.” Members of the varsity team include Morgan Anthony, Anna Bochnak, Maggie Evans, Margaret Ann Green, Lauren Ann Holmes, Luisa Horta, Mary Prickett, Kate Richardson, Riley Richardson, Maddie Robison, Hayden Speegle, Abbie Stockard and Abigail White. Coaches include Lenhart and junior varsity coach Charity Jones. The team celebrated their win by spending a day at Universal Studios before returning home.

Denim and Dining Set for April 3 to Benefit the Hoover City Schools Foundation

The Denim and Dining event to raise money for the Hoover City Schools Foundation is set for April 3 at the Stardome Comedy Club, on Data Drive in Hoover. The event has been moved to its new venue to accommodate a bigger audience. Shelley Shaw, interim executive director of the foundation said the fundraiser continues to grow each year. This year is the fifth year the event has been held. The evening will feature a casual atmosphere, live music, live and silent auctions and barbeque catered by Jim ‘n Nick’s. Money raised during the event helps fund enhanced academics in Hoover’s 17 schools and for its nearly 14,000 students, including college and career readiness, teacher grants, professional development, STEM and SeedLAB. Last year, the event netted $50,000. This year’s event also will kick off the foundation’s Commit to 36 campaign, which aims to raise $36 per student, or $1 per week of school. If successful, the campaign could raise $500,000 for grants to teachers with innovative ideas. “We see real, measurable results from every dollar that is given to the foundation,” Shaw said in a press release. The event is set for 6:30-10 p.m. April 3. Tickets bought by March 29 will be $65 for general admission and $125 for VIP tickets. Prices go up after that. Tickets are available at hoovercsf.org.

Hoover’s Symphonic Winds Band Performs at 2020 Southern Conference

Hoover City Schools officials announced Feb. 25 that Hoover High School’s “Symphonic Winds” concert band had performed at the 2020 Southern Conference, hosted by the College Band Directors National Association and the National Band Association. The band, led by band director Ryan Fitchpatrick, performed at the Feb. 20 event, held at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  The Symphonic Winds are one of three high school bands in the Southeastern United States invited to perform. Ensembles were chosen based on their recorded submissions.  According to a release, the invitation represents a significant honor, “and represents an impressive achievement by these students.”


Rick Grammer’s Surprise Soccer Coaching Career at Vestavia Lands Him in High School Hall of Fame When Rick Grammer, just out of college, showed up to teach at Vestavia Hills High School in 1979, he was told that his duties would include freshman football and basketball and varsity boys’ soccer. “His first response was, ‘Great, but what is soccer?’” recalled Athletic Director Buddy Anderson. Thirty-three years later, Grammer is the first prep soccer coach to be selected for induction into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. He is one of 12 people who will be inducted June 22 during a banquet in Montgomery. “He is the epitome of the meaning of the words ‘coach’ and ‘teacher.’ Throughout his career Rick has taught a full class load of mostly advanced level math and has actively coached at least two to three sports each year,” Anderson said in a news release from AHSAA. “Whether teaching or coaching, Rick took great pride in giving his best to his classes and his teams. “However, far greater than his record, the way Rick’s teams played with class, discipline, heart and sportsmanship are a testament of his own character and integrity.” Grammer, now the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s all-time leader in boys’ high school soccer wins, was an outstanding all-around athlete when he attended Huffman High School. After graduation, he went on to Jacksonville State University, from which he graduated in 1979, and later earned a master’s degree from the University of Montevallo. After being hired at Vestavia, he started a crash course on soccer, and a career was born. Since then, Grammer and his teams have scored many accomplishments: • Grammer has an overall record of 633-158-50, making him the all-time winningest soccer coach in AHSAA history. • His teams were AHSAA Class 6A state championships in 1991, 1995, 2013 and 2014. • His teams were AHSAA Class 6A state runners-up in 1992, 2004 and 2007; semifinals in 2011 and 2012. • His teams have been Birmingham Metro Tournament champions 15 times. • His 2011 team was ranked No. 1 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association. • He was ranked ninth nationally for victories in the NFHS National Record Book when he retired. • He received numerous city, metro, sectional and state Coach of the Year awards. During his career at Vestavia Hills, he also served as assistant varsity football coach, freshman football and basketball coach and swim coach sponsor. Grammer reached his 600th soccer victory March 20, 2014, in a 6-0 tri-

Photo courtesy AHSAA


Rick Grammer has an overall record of 633-158-50, making him the all-time winningest soccer coach in AHSAA history.

umph over Pelham. Grammer chalked up his success to having good players. “God has blessed me in so many ways,” he said. “These wins are not a tribute to me. They are a tribute to all these players. I always seem to get good players who are also good kids.” In his 35 years in soccer, he said the biggest change was the improvement of the overall quality of the game in Alabama, which he said is demonstrated by an increasing number of plays from Alabama getting college scholarships for soccer. “I really like it when a former player from two or three or five years ago comes back to see a game and talk, he said. “It’s great to learn how they are doing and think maybe our program had something to do with getting them prepared for life. That’s what it (is) supposed to be all about.” Retired Vestavia Hills Principal Cas McWaters, who worked with Grammer for 24 years, praised Grammer’s commitment to teaching and to coaching. “Rick Grammer’s coaching career can be summarized as one who coaches students and not necessarily sports,” he said in the release. “While it is easy to look at coach Grammer’s on-thefield accomplishments, I think his greatest accomplishment was pouring his life into student-athletes so they could learn how to be responsible citizens.” He said schools need more coaches and teachers like Rick Grammer. “Today, we see our society unwilling to uphold commitments, but coach Grammer demanded commitment to the team,” McWaters said. “Rick Grammer could require excellence to commitment because he exemplified excellence. He taught four periods of math each day and then continued with his coaching responsibilities. I remember coach Mutt Reynolds instilling a belief in our school system that we needed to hire great teachers who could coach. Coach Reynolds believed that great teachers would be great coaches because coaching is teaching. Rick Grammer was that kind of teacher and coach.” —Virginia Martin

Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 25

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26 • Thursday, March 19, 2020

Spain Park standouts helping lead the top-ranked Jaguars to a perfect 21-0 start, from left, Lydia Coleman, Annabelle Widra and Alexis Anderson.

SUSPENDED STREAK Spain Park’s Superb Softball Season Interrupted by Pandemic

By Rubin E. Grant Perhaps no high school team in the state was more disappointed to see the spring sports seasons suspended than the Spain Park softball team. The Jaguars are off to 21-0 start, ranked No. 1 in Class 7A and No. 4 nationally by USA Today, but their season has been interrupted because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hoover City Schools announced Saturday that schools would be closed at least from March 16 to April 6. Last Friday, Steve Savarese, executive director of the AHSAA, wrote in a memo to schools that athletic contests, practices, weightlifting and conditioning are all suspended after Tuesday. He wrote that the AHSAA would re-evaluate health conditions and determine the status of spring sports championship play after schools re-open. “I’m thrilled they used the word suspended instead of canceled,” Spain Park softball coach C.J. Urse Hawkins said. “We’re praying this settles down and gets under control. But people’s health and well-being is more important than softball. It’s something everybody is dealing with.” The season suspension comes with Hawkins needing one more victory to reach 900 for her career. Last weekend, Spain Park won its fourth con-

secutive tournament this season, going 5-0 to win the Dothan High School Terry Collins Memorial Classic. “We treated the weekend like it was our last (games) this season,” Hawkins said. “I’m grateful we got the weekend to play. I had a great time with our girls.” The prior weekend, the Jags went 6-0 to win its own Spain Park Jaguar Classic. The 21-0 start is the secondbest start in school history. The Jags opened the 2017 season with 22 straight victories. “I’m not really surprised,” senior third baseman Alexis Anderson said. “We have good team chemistry, a lot of young talent and a lot of experienced talent, and we’re all coming together.” What has fueled the Jags this season is a disappointing and disheartening end to the 2019 season. Spain Park reached the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year but was ousted by eventual Class 7A champion Hewitt-Trussville in an elimination game in the second round. The Jags had beaten the Huskies five times before their meeting in the state tournament. “It wasn’t what we were predicting,” Anderson said. “It upset us a lot. It also taught us that every game counts and you have to give it your all every game.”

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The Jags are doing just that this season. They have gotten contributions up and down their lineup. “We lost a lot of good players from last season,” Hawkins said. “We had five seniors who graduated, but we have a great senior class and a great junior class this year. “We’ve got a nice blend of players and they’re healthy. If we stay healthy and do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll have a chance to win state.” The Jags feature junior pitcherinfielder Annabelle Widra, who has committed to Michigan, and junior center fielder Lydia Coleman, who has committed to Penn State. Widra is one of the top players in the nation. As a sophomore in 2019, she was named a first team AllAmerican by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. This season, going into the Dothan tournament, Widra was 6-0 with a 0.54 earned run average, recording 52 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched while allowing only 11 hits and two walks. She also was batting .486 with seven home runs, 17 RBIs, 23 runs and 11 steals. “She’s the real deal, a dual-threat player who can play shortstop, second base, outfield and pitch,” Hawkins said. “She was one my two All-Americans last year along with Maddie Majors, who’s now at Auburn.” Coleman was named to the AllSouth Region Team by NFCA last season. She was batting .464 before the Dothan tournament. Anderson was leading the team with a .571 average and 23 RBIs. She’s being recruited by Jacksonville State, among others. She’s one of the Jags’ four seniors, including second baseman Taylor Harrington, first baseman Lindsay Parker and right fielder MacKenzie Thompson. Another standout junior is designated hitter Chloe Brittain, who was second on the team in home runs with five. The Jags have some solid younger players, such as shortstop Katie Flannery, who recently joined the team after helping the basketball team win the Class 7A title; freshman pitcher Ella Reed, who had a 9-0 record with a 0.50 ERA; and eighthgrade catcher Maggie Daniel. “We’ve got a couple of good pitchers and big sticks,” Hawkins said. “We have a couple of young kids coming along. “They like each other, work hard and we’ve got great chemistry. Our coaching staff is very good. Kyndall White, who played for me at ClayChalkville and at Auburn, has joined as an assistant and Johnny Camp is our pitching coach.” Now, the Jags just hope the season resumes and they can continue their quest for their first state championship. “This is one of the most talented teams I’ve been on and our new assistant coach, coach White, is amazing,” Anderson said. “If we hit the ball, play good defense and pitch well, the mentality is there and physically we have the talent to win state.”


Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald


Carson McKinney orally committed to the University of Alabama when he was a freshman in high school and living in San Diego.

McKinney Takes Mantle as Briarwood’s Ace Pitcher

By Rubin E. Grant

The Briarwood Christian baseball team can thank the sister of Carson McKinney for him becoming the ace of the Lions’ pitching staff. McKinney orally committed to the University of Alabama when he was a freshman in high school and living in San Diego. His family decided to move to Birmingham so he could become familiar with the South before eventually enrolling at Alabama. His older sister Arianna wanted to attend a private school for her senior year, so she and their mom traveled to Alabama to scout out schools. They visited Briarwood and loved it. On their trip, they met Lions’ baseball coach Steve Renfroe, and McKinney’s mother mentioned she had a son who played baseball. So, Carson McKinney came to Briarwood for a visit and decided he wanted to be a part of the Lions’ baseball program. During his sophomore season in 2019, he helped the Lions overcome a 0-11 start and reach the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 5A championship series, where Briarwood lost in three games to Springville in the best-of-3 series to finish as runners-up. McKinney was voted to the 2019 All-OTMJ baseball team and named second-team All-State by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. This spring, McKinney, a 6-foot4, 225-pound hard-throwing junior right-hander, has become Briarwood’s No. 1 pitcher. He won his first three decisions before a 3-2 setback last Thursday against Oak Mountain. “I think I’m having a good season so far,” McKinney said. “We started off strong, 6-0, but have been humbled lately.” The Lions lost five of their next

six games to slip to 7-5, but McKinney still believes Briarwood can make another deep run in the playoffs. “I think we have a great team,” he said. “We have great senior leadership and good team chemistry.” Of course, the Lions’ season has been suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak. Steve Savarese, executive director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, wrote in a memo to schools last Friday that athletic contests, practices, weightlifting and conditioning are all suspended after Tuesday. He wrote that the AHSAA would re-evaluate health conditions and determine the status of spring sports championship play after schools re-open. The Lions were scheduled to play a double-header Tuesday against John Carroll Catholic before their hiatus. “I don’t know when we’ll play again,” Renfroe said. “We didn’t see this coming, but we have to trust the authorities, follow their directives and take it one day at a time. There’s no reason to worry or look ahead.” When play does resume, Renfroe expects the Lions to be ready. “I like the make-up of this club,” he said. “We’ve got a great bunch of kids and they’re great competitors.” Renfroe mentioned several players the Lions are counting on, including junior second baseman Parker Hutson, junior shortstop Wesley Helms, junior catcher Tyler Waugh, junior center fielder Eli Steadman, senior left fielder-pitcher Blake McKenna, junior pitcher Jonah Carroll and McKinney, who plays first and third base on the days he doesn’t pitch. “If we can stay healthy, I think we have a chance of contending for the state championship,” Renfroe said.

Former Briarwood Coach Yancey Earns Place in Sports Hall of Fame by Focusing on Players as Well as Games

Briarwood Christian School former football coach Fred Yancey has been lauded as a man who put the growth of his athletes as people ahead of his goals for the teams he has coached. Not that his teams didn’t win; they did. Yancey led Briarwood teams to the state playoffs 26 years in a row and to championships three times. He is third all-time in Alabama for most wins at one school, fourth all-time in area/ region games won and fourth all-time for most playoff games won. But when asked about Yancey’s leadership on the occasion of his retirement, in 2018, then-team captain and senior defensive lineman Dalton Brooks said: “He is one of those type of guys to just light up a room and you can’t help but smile when talking to him. He led every team he coached in the right way. He is truly one of the greatest to ever do it.” For his success, Yancey is being inducted into the Alabama High School

JONES From page 28

Alabama Boys’ All-Stars defeated Mississippi 118-113 in the 30th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in Clinton, Mississippi. Mountain Brook coach Bucky McMillan raves about Jones’ versatility and court savvy. “He’s an all-round, do-everything player,” McMillan said. “He can shoot the 3, the mid-range jumper and finish at the basket. He’s a great defender and can guard any position. He understands on-ball defense and off-ball defense. There’s not an area

BARKER From page 28

Hoover, Haley Russell from Spain Park and Kalia Todd from Altamont; and centers Hannah Edwards from Oak Mountain and Kassidy Schnoer from Homewood. Vestavia Hills’ John David Smelser is the OTMJ Coach of the Year. Barker finished her high school career with 2,222 points and 1,107 rebounds. Last week, she was named the 2019-2020 Gatorade Alabama Girls Basketball Player of the Year. “Sarah Ashlee is the best girls basketball player I have ever seen in high school and certainly the best player I have ever coached against,” Smelser said in a statement announcing the Gatorade Award. “She has all the tools to be a great player, but what makes her so good is her mentality.

Sports Hall of Fame. He will be joining 11 others in the Class of 2020 who will be honored June 22 during a banquet in Montgomery. “His devotion to using sports as a resource in teaching his players the importance of … character-building qualities was unwavering,” said Yancey’s former boss, Byrle Kynerd, who was Briarwood’s superintendent from 1976 to 2006. Yancey is a 1963 graduate of Messick High School in Memphis and a 1969 graduate of Memphis State University, from which he also holds a master’s degree. He coached in schools in Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia before he was hired as head football coach at Briarwood in 1990. When he retired, he left a legacy of a 278-95 coaching record at the school, a winning percentage of 74.5% and the 11th most AHSAA wins in Alabama history. He closed his coaching career with an overall 319-115-1 slate in 35 seasons. of his game where he’s not good. Plus, he’s very coachable, smart in the classroom and has great character.” The Spartans saw their reign atop Class 7A end with a 40-38 loss to Lee-Montgomery in the championship game. It was Mountain Brook’s only loss to an in-state school during the season, but Jones put it in perspective. “We had a great season,” he said. “It just didn’t end how we wanted.”

Ready for the Next Level

Jones believes his time at Pinson Valley under coach Cedric Lane and at Mountain Brook under McMillan has prepared him to succeed at the next level. He has signed with Xavier. She refuses to lose.” Last Friday, Barker earned MVP honors after scoring 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds, leading the Alabama All-Star girls team to a 70-53 victory against Mississippi in the 30th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in Clinton, Mississippi.

An Athletic Family

Barker comes from an athletic family. Her dad, Jay Barker, was a national championship quarterback at the University of Alabama. Her older brother Braxton played football at Spain Park and walked on at Alabama. Her twin brother, Harrison, was the Jags’ starting quarterback last fall and was voted the 2019 OTMJ Football Player of the Year. Part of Barker’s drive to succeed can be traced to the year when she couldn’t play basketball. She had two knee surgeries when she was in the eighth grade and missed the season.

Thursday, March 19, 2020 • 27


Journal file photo by Lee Walls


Fred Yancey

Yancey was named Varsity Football Coach of the Year by the National Christian School Athletic Association for the 2017-18 season. He served as head coach for the Alabama squad in the 2010 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. He had more than 100 players named to All-State teams and 11 selected for post season All-Star games.

Godly Impact

When he retired at the end of 2018 play, then-senior J. R. Tran-Reno, now at Vanderbilt University, said: “We are sad to see him step away from being head coach, (and) we seniors sure are honored to be in this class. He brought

the same attitude to every day with a smile. He was fun to play for. Words can’t describe how much he has meant to us as players and this school. He has surely left a positive and Godly impact in everyone’s life he has touched.” Last season, Briarwood held a celebration of Yancey’s impact on the lives of thousands of students and adults and named the field in his honor. Hundreds of his former players gathered and walked onto the field to give him thanks. Briarwood athletic director Jay Mathews said Yancey’s commitment to coaching at a Christian school was a ministry in its own right. “All of the people who have been in

“I had two great coaches, coach Lane and coach Bucky,” Jones said. “What they instilled in me helped me be a better player and person. I experienced different situations and that helped my court awareness.” Jones also said his dad, Chad Jones, was instrumental in his development. Chad Jones played on Vestavia Hills’ 1992 state championship team and later at UAB. “My dad helped me a lot, especially when I was younger, working on the fundamentals,” Colby Jones said. Jones chose Xavier over Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Stanford, among other schools. Jones cited his relationship with the Xavier

coaching staff as his main reason for choosing the Musketeers. “It really came down to the coaches, I have the utmost trust in the coaches,” Jones said. “I am really happy with my decision to go to Xavier. I have no regrets.” Jones is looking forward to the challenge of playing college basketball. “It’s going to be the start of a whole new experience, playing at the next level and meeting new people,” he said.

She couldn’t run for two months. She was a different player upon her return to the court. “When she came back, she had a hunger for the game,” Chase said. “I think she really appreciated being able to play again. She started training and working out harder and it’s just gone on from there.” As a freshman, Barker was part of Spain Park’s team that lost to Hoover 51-47 in overtime in the championship game. As a sophomore in 2018, she helped the Jags win their first state championship and learned about being a leader from then-senior Claire Holt. “Claire was a great leader, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps and lead the program,” Barker said. Last year, Barker was the 2019 Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 7A Player of the Year, but the Jags didn’t advance to the state tournament, losing in the regional final to

Hewitt-Trussville. That’s something Barker was determined not to let happen her senior year. “This year I wanted to out as a state champion,” she said. “I can’t thank the Lord enough that I did. I also wanted to leave a legacy as a great player and a great teammate and pass that on to the younger players so they could carry on the tradition.” Barker is headed to Georgia to play college basketball and she’s ready to accept any role. “I started my whole high school career, but in college I know I have to start at the bottom and work my way up,” she said. “I’ll do whatever I can to help the team, whether that’s being on the court or cheering from the bench. I just want to become a better player.” Chase has no doubt she will. “Once she figures out the speed and physicality of the college game, she will make an impact because she has

Love Shares Credit

Love guided Oak Mountain to its first state tournament appearance. The Eagles lost to eventual champion LeeMontgomery 65-57 in the Class 7A

contact with Fred throughout his 29 years at BCS will say the same thing,” Mathews said. “Coach Yancey was a man who clearly demonstrated a passion for Jesus Christ and always understood his work to be primarily a ministry of disciple-ship. “The image that will forever capture this ministry is both teams meeting at midfield after a hard-fought game, where coach Yancey would always commend the opponents and their coaches whether Briarwood won or lost. He would always direct the conversation to the Lord and His blessings as both teams prayed together.” Kynerd also remembers Yancey as valuing people and evoking respect throughout Briarwood’s athletic program and modeling good relations among Alabama High School Athletic Association members. “Impeccable character distinguished his example and decisions,” Kynerd said. “He always did the right thing, and countless people valued and sought his counsel. Coach Yancey’s style had an invigorating influence on his players, their parents and every coach in the athletic program at BCS. Coaches, parents, players and administrators sought and usually followed his counsel and suggestions. … His leadership and service helped prepare students for success in football, school, life and eternity.” —Virginia Martin semifinals and finished with a 22-9 record. “I’m very honored and humbled to be named coach of the year,” Love said. “Out of those (Over the Mountain) programs, there are a lot of good coaches. “Making the Final Four for the first time in school history was special. We had some good talent this season and good talent can make a good coach out of anybody. “I give a lot of credit to my assistant Donald McMahon, who I consider a co-head coach. He handles as much of what we do as anybody. He’s great with X’s and O’s and he has a great relationship with the kids.” the tools and talent to be as good as any player on the court.”

Smelser Enjoys First-Year Success

Smelser guided Vestavia Hills to a 23-11 record in his first season at the helm, a year after the Rebels had finished 10-18. Four of the Rebels’ losses this season came against Spain Park, including a narrow 42-37 setback in the Class 7A Northwest Regional Final. He was thankful for the coach of the year honor, but he said he wasn’t solely responsible for Vestavia Hills’ turnaround. “That’s pretty cool, but I’ve never considered this kind of honor as an individual accolade,” Smelser said. “The girls and the rest of my coaching staff deserve a lot of credit. I’m proud for our program. To me this is important for the program.”

Spain Park’s superb softball season interrupted by pandemic. Page 26


Yancey and Grammar to be inducted into Hall of Fame. Pages 25 and 27



Jones Undergoes LifeChanging Experiences Playing for Mountain Brook

Driven Barker Turned In Dominating Performances in Spain Park’s Title Season By Rubin E. Grant

Colby Jones had an idea what it would be like transferring to Mountain Brook from Pinson Valley before his junior year in high school. But after two seasons of playing basketball for the Spartans, he said it was even better than he expected. “It changed my life playing over here,” Jones said. “My teammates brought me in and helped with the transition, then I started working with the coaches and I got progressively better as a player, faster. But more than that, it taught me so much about life.” Playing alongside McDonald’s All-American Trendon Watford last season, Jones helped the Spartans win their third consecutive Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 7A state championship. This season after Watford had departed for LSU, Jones became the Spartans’ top dog. The versatile 6-foot-5 senior swingman proved more than capable of handling the role. He averaged 25.2 points, shooting 59.2% from the field, including 48.8% on 3-pointers (40 of 82). He also averaged 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.5 steals, leading the Spartans to a 32-3 record and runner-up finish in Class 7A. For his performance, Jones is the 2020 Over The Mountain Journal’s Boys Basketball Player of the Year. “I feel like I had a pretty good season,” Jones said. “I stepped into a new role. We lost a lot of scoring from last year, so they asked me to score more. Early on in my high school career, I was a shooter and scorer. Last year I had to adjust to different roles and I think it helped my overall game.” Jones is joined on the 2020 AllOTM boys team by guards Holt Bashinsky from Mountain Brook, D.J. Fairley from Hoover, Cam Crawford from Spain Park and Zane Nelson from Oak Mountain. The forwards are Win Miller from Vestavia Hills, Carter Sobera from Mountain Brook and Pate Owen from Homewood. The centers are Will Shaver from Oak Mountain and Chance Beard from Briarwood. Oak Mountain’s Chris Love is the OTMJ Coach of the Year. Last Friday, Jones scored 12 points and collected 12 rebounds as the

Several years ago, Spain Park girls basketball coach Mike Chase heard stories about a talented young player, so he went on a quest to see her play. He showed up at one Over the Mountain recreational league game after another, hoping to watch her. But she wasn’t playing in any of the games he attended. Finally, one night he asked someone where he could find Sarah Ashlee Barker. They told him she was upstairs in the upper gym. When Chase walked in, he saw four boys teams practicing and at the opposite end of the court, he saw this one solitary girl – Barker. “I had been watching girls teams and she was playing with the boys,” Chase said. “Not only was she playing, she was playing well and competing.” Barker was in the sixth grade then, and the next year at Berry Middle School, Chase began coaching her. “She was more physical and more advanced than the other girls because she had been playing with boys,” Chase said. Barker has since stopped playing with boys – except in the occasional pick-up game – and has blossomed into the top girls player in the state. This season, the 6-foot senior guard averaged 23.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals, leading the Jaguars to a 32-4 record and the Class 7A state championship. She had 11 points and 15 rebounds in Spain Park’s 47-44 victory against rival Hoover in the championship game. For her performance, Barker is the 2020 Over The Mountain Journal Girls Basketball Player of the Year. It’s the second consecutive year she’s received the honor. “First off, whenever I get an award, I look at it as a team award,” Barker said. “I thank my team. They’ve been with me every step of the way and coach Chase. I’m blessed. I wouldn’t be here without them and my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.” Barker is joined on the 2020 AllOTM team by guards Reniya Kelly from Hoover, Emma Smith from Vestavia Hills and Caidyn Cannon from Homewood; forwards Madison Adamson and Aniya Hubbard from

See JONES, page 27

Journal photo by Marvin Gentry

By Rubin E. Grant

Members of the 2019-20 All-Over the Mountain Girls Basketball Team, front, from left: Reniya Kelly, Hoover; Emma Smith, Vestavia; Madison Adamson, Hoover; and Coach of the Year, John David Smelser, Vestavia. Back: Kassidy Schnoer, Homewood; Haley Russell, Spain Park; Sarah Ashlee Barker, Spain Park; and Aniya Hubbard, Hoover. Not pictured: Kalia Todd, Altamont; Caidyn Cannon, Homewood; and Hannah Edwards, Oak Mountain.



Guards Sarah Ashlee Barker, 6-0, Sr., Spain Park Reniya Kelly, 5-5, Fr., Hoover Emma Smith, 5-7, So., Vestavia Hills Caidyn Cannon, 5-8, So., Homewood Forwards Haley Russell, 5-9, Fr., Spain Park Madison Adamson, 6-1, Sr., Hoover Aniya Hubbard, 5-9, So., Hoover Kalia Todd, 5-11, Jr., Altamont Centers Hannah Edwards, 6-6, Sr., Oak Mountain Kassidy Schnoer, 6-2, Sr., Homewood Player of the Year: Sarah Ashlee Barker, Spain Park Coach of the Year:  John David Smelser, Vestavia Hills

2020 ALL-OTM BOYS TEAM Guards Holt Bashinsky, 6-4 Sr., Mountain Brook DJ Fairley, 6-0, Jr., Hoover Cam Crawford, 6-4, Jr., Spain Park Zane Nelson, 6-3, Sr., Oak Mountain Forwards Colby Jones, 6-5, Sr., Mountain Brook Win Miller, 6-3, Fr., Vestavia Hills Carter Sobera, 6-1, Sr., Mountain Brook Pate Owen, 6-5, Sr., Homewood Centers Will Shaver, 6-9, So., Oak Mountain Chance Beard, 6-5, Sr., Briarwood Player of the Year: Colby Jones, Mountain Brook Coach of the Year: Chris Love, Oak Mountain

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Journal photo by Marvin Gentry


Members of the 2019-20 All-Over the Mountain Boys Basketball Team, front, from left: Chance Beard, Briarwood; Pate Owen, Homewood; Win Miller, Vestavia, DJ Fairley, Hoover; and Zane Nelson, Oak Mountain. Back: Colby Jones, Mountain Brook; Carter Sobera, Mountain Brook; Holt Bashinsky, Mountain Brook; Cam Crawford, Spain Park; and Coach of the Year, Chris Love, Oak Mountain. Not pictured: Will Shaver, Oak Mountain.

See BARKER, page 27

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