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The Suburban Newspaper for Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County




ursd ay, April 4, 2013

V ol . 22 #7

on a mission for ms

Charley Long has pedaled 3,000 miles to help raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and he’s not finished yet. He’ll participate in Walk MS in Homewood. Photo special to The Journal

Charley Long Rides – and Walks -- to Aid Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis


Harwell concert a benefit for Relay for Life

about town page 4

Fifth annual Funky Fish Fry this weekend at Avondale Brewery

about town page 7

By Keysha Drexel Journal editor


uring his bicycle ride across the country last year, Charley Long said he had plenty of time to think about challenges and coincidences. And after pedaling 3,000 miles to help raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Vestavia Hills resident said he’s come to two conclusions--there are no coincidences and most of us don’t know what a real challenge is. “Everywhere I turned on this trip, I met

Night Under the Big Top helps Glenwood

social page 16

See charley, page 12

Raising Her ‘Voice’ Mountain Brook Grad Off to Fast Start on NBC Vocal Competition

Father-son team builds Parade Ideal Home in Hoover home page 22

By Donna Cornelius


Journal Features Writer

Sarah and her mom, Peggy Jones of Mountain Brook. Photo special to The Journal

arah Simmons hit all the right notes during her debut on NBC’s “The Voice.” The Mountain Brook native appeared on the vocal competition March 26 in what the show calls its blind auditions. Like her fellow contestants, Sarah began her performance by being heard--but not seen--by coaches Adam Levine, Shakira, Blake Shelton and Usher. And sight unseen, at least for the first few minutes of her song, Sarah wowed the four music stars with her rendition of “One of Us,” a rock ballad made popular by Joan Osborne. In the blind audition rounds, the first of four stages of the competition, See sarah, page 10

After almost 30 years of service, Vestavia principal stepping down

school page 31

Sue murphy on clean energy p. 2 • vestavia begins search for new city manager p. 14 • edgewood residents call for pocket park p. 14

2 • Thursday, April 4, 2013


LiFe without limits

murphy’s law

You Light Up My Life

I United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham recently honored individuals and groups from the community who have given their time and efforts to help children and adults with disabilities at the Life Without Limits luncheon. Above, accepting the Outstanding Program Partner Award on behalf of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama were, from left: Tim King, Anne Marie Oberheu, Emily Benson and Shannon Green. For more on the annual event, see page 17.

On See more party pictures and browse upcoming events online.

Coming April 18

A look at the 2013 Decorators’ ShowHouse and a preview of the Feast of Saint Mark Italian Food Festival.

in this issue About Town 4 People 10 NEWS 14 Social 16

HOME 22 weddings 29 schools 31 Sports 36



April 4, 2013

Publisher: Maury Wald Editor: Keysha Drexel Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Office Manager: Christy Wald Editorial Assistant: Stacie Galbraith Sports: Lee Davis Staff Writer: Margaret Frymire Contributors: Susan Murphy, June Mathews, William C. Singleton III, Emil Wald, Marvin Gentry, Lee Walls Jr., Bryan Bunch Advertising Sales: Suzanne Wald, Julie Trammell Edwards, Tommy Wald Intern: Ivanna Ellis Vol. 22, No. 7

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 E-mail our advertising department at Find us on the Web at Copyright 2013 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.


ally help the other. Walking far enough came across an article yesterday to power our refrigerator would help about a company that is taking us get rid of some of the calories we steps to provide the world with build up when we open the door. Less cleaner energy. Actually, everyone obesity, fewer hospital visits, lower around them is taking the steps. premiums. We would pull up our health They’re just providing the technolcare and energy bootstraps at the same ogy. time…by using our own boots. What It’s just in the experimental stage could be better than that? right now, but at a test site in France, Wait a minute…why power up the a Dutch company has installed sensors sidewalks? Power up the shoes. Think under a stretch of sidewalk that transabout it. All those kids’ light-up sneaklate every footfall into energy to power ers could actually light up the world. the surrounding streetlights. Shopping, Make convertible energy sensor insoles jogging, just schlepping from Point for grownups, and they could pound the A to Point B--it doesn’t matter what pavement in their platforms and peekypeople are doing. When they step on Sue Murphy toe pumps. Imbed them in rubber soles, the pavement, electricity is produced. and we could flip-flop our way to It’s brilliant. energy independence. Once I got over the image of But why stop at feet? Put seat the populace being ersatz gerbils sensors in the football stadiums. You on a giant wheel-o-ConEd fun, Make convertible stand up to cheer, you sit down. You the sidewalk generator idea was get nachos, you sit down. Energy, very appealing to me. The conenergy sensor insoles go energy, rah, rah, rah! Nuclear, schmucept had previously been tried on for grownups, and clear. On any given crisp autumn dance floors, but seriously, how the SEC alone would outdo many people dance? To make real they could pound the Saturday, the Hoover Dam. progress in the energy arena, they pavement in their The power-stepping possibilities needed to expand the draft pool. are But hey, if the plunkedThe company should have platforms and peeky- downendless. weight of a human being creates started here in America. We’re defitoe pumps. energy, what about a two-ton car? nitely a land of movers and shakers. Put sensors under the roadbeds, and We just need someone to harness we can drive OPEC out of existence. all that jigging around. They could Driving sensors wouldn’t help our hook up sensors to treadmills at fitness quotient, but it might drive down the price of a the gym, loop them around the outdoor track. Basketball gallon of gas, which would give Highway 280 rush hour courts, tennis courts, the parking ticket line at the county a higher purpose. You wouldn’t get home any faster, but courthouse–they’d all be footfall bonanzas. Maternity if your power bill was paid when you got there, you’d at waiting rooms, grocery store checkouts, airport security least arrive with a smile on your face. mazes–they’re kilowatt hours waiting to happen. You It all makes sense to me. Of course, I don’t know could try putting sensors on fashion show runways, but how to accomplish any of this. I’m just the idea man… those women probably don’t weigh enough to even regwoman, but I stand before you ready and willing to ister. walk-skip-jump my share of the workload. Or sit. Or If need be, we could assign every power company drive. You decide. customer a certain number of power steps per month, a Taking steps toward a better world? My face lights up national mandatory Get Moving program. Buy health insurance and give me a hundred paces. One would actu- just thinking about it. ❖

over the Mountain Views

What would be a must-have in your dream home?

“It would definitely have a really cool swimming pool with a bar area. That would be awesome.” Stephanie Suttles Homewood

“Well, my home has that feature now--a hot tub. I use it every morning. It really loosens up your back.”

“It would be really great to have two bedrooms on the main level. That would be especially helpful with the little ones.”

Allen Dobbins Vestavia Hills

Sarang Patio Homewood

“The spaciousness would be my only concern. I would want the rooms to be as big as possible and it would have to have a large backyard.” Naser Naser Vestavia Hills

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 3

About Town












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Over the Mountain Journal - Full Page (10.375 x 12.5)

4 • Thursday, April 4, 2013

About Town


Don’t Stop the Music

had the accident, I might not have known about the tumor until it was too late,” he said. In December, James underwent brain surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible and immediately afterward, he started radiation. He is now taking chemotherapy treatments. James said when he heard his doctor tell By Keysha Drexel him that he had a cancerous brain tumor, his thoughts immediately turned to his famJournal editor ily.  He and his wife, Kim, have been married since 1995 and have two children, 12-year-old hen James Harwell of Hoover was Brandon and 11-year-old Eleanor Jo. diagnosed with a brain tumor, the “I wasn’t worried about me when I got the 47-year-old real estate agent and news from the doctor.  I was more worried father of two could have been paralyzed by about my family,” he said. the shock of the ordeal. James said he and his wife have always been But instead, James said he was immediately up-front with their children, so they told them spurred into action after hearing the life-altering about the diagnosis right away. news, determined to spend as much time with “They’re smart kids and we basically told his family as possible, to raise awareness for them that we don’t know what’s going to hapcancer research and to turn his experiences into pen but here’s our plan of action.  We have songs. focused on staying positive and staying on our James, who has been performing in bands knees,” he said. in the Over the Mountain area for more than 20 As he faced one of the years, will sing and play biggest challenges of his guitar at Moonlight on the life, James said he turned Mountain, a music venue Hope for Harwell to what has always been in Bluff Park in Hoover When: April 14, 6-8 p.m. the best therapy for him on April 14 to help raise Where: Moonlight on throughout his life—music. money for the American the Mountain, 585 Shades James said music has Cancer Society. Crest Road in the Bluff Park been an integral part of his The event is being community in Hoover. life since he was a student called Hope for Harwell Details: The event will raise at Berry High School in and will help raise money money for the American Hoover.  He played at for the American Cancer Cancer Society’s annual Relay school proms and even had Society’s Relay for Life for Life events. a chance to perform at the events. More info: For more opening of the Hoover Met.  “I’m looking at this as information on Hope James plays guitar another one of life’s advenfor Harwell, visit www. and piano and sings.  He tures.  Not everything in For has been in several cover life is going to be how we more information on Over the bands but also writes his want it.  I’m just trying to Mountain Relay for Life events, own original music, which be thankful for what I have see our Save the Date section he describes and as folksy and take it one day at a on page 10. rock. time,” he said. “Music has always been James’ diagnosis in the best therapy for me.  November came after a car It’s my outlet and I have to have it.  It’s the only accident—something he said he thinks might way I can really let go,” he said. have saved his life. James said his music is influenced by artists After his car accident, James began experiof all genres but that the Beatles remain his allencing severe headaches and memory loss and time favorite. went back to the doctor for tests.  Those tests “I could name a million influences and a milrevealed he had a brain tumor. lion artists I love, but it all begins and ends with “That accident saved my life.  If I had never

songs. Some of the songs are dark because that’s what I was dealing with in those first few weeks and months after the diagnosis.  It really helped me to have that Photo special to The Journal music outlet during that time.  Music transcends anything that you can say to someone or that they can say to you,” he said. James said he plans to release the CD in May. “There’s some lighter stuff on there, too— something for everyone, I think.  I figured that if I were ever going to put out a CD, then now was the time,” he said. Before his diagnosis, James played several times at Moonlight on the Mountain in Bluff Park in Hoover. “It is just a great place.  It’s a real music room setting—a place where you can go if you really want to listen to some great local music,” he said. James said when he plays at Moonlight on the Mountain, he never keeps the proceeds. “I’ve always tried to support Keith (Harrelson) and try to keep that place busy because it is such an asset for music lovers in our area,” he said. “I always give the door money back to them.” James said he and his family have always been supporters of the American Cancer Society and have participated in several Relay for Life events. But after his diagnosis, James said he felt compelled to do everything he could to raise money for cancer research and to raise awareness about the disease. “You have to put your money where your mouth is.   Yes, I’m fighting cancer, but this is not about me.  There are so many people going through the same thing and even worse, and that’s why I want to do this concert—to do everything I can to help,” he said. ❖

James Harwell has performed several times at Moonlight on the Mountain in Bluff Park. He’ll sing and play piano at the Hoover music venue on April 14 to help raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Harwell Keeps Singing After Brain Tumor Diagnosis


‘I wasn’t worried about me when I got the news from the doctor. I was more worried about my family.’ James Harwell the Beatles. I’m a huge fan,” he said. In the three weeks that he was bedridden after brain surgery, James said he turned to music to process everything that he was going through. “I ended up writing a whole CD worth of

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About Town

OVER THE MOUNTAIN Journal Homewood

Tuck In Your Neighbor Through April 6 Eighteenth Street Orientals Tuck In Your Neighbor is a drive for new linens and other necessities for the Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center. The weeklong event will kicked off with a party on March 30 from 9-11 a.m. at Eighteenth Street Orientals, 1808 29th Ave. South in Homewood. The wish list includes sheets, pillowcases, bedtime storybooks, waterproof mattress covers, teddy bears, blankets, bath mats, towels and shower curtains. For places to purchase these items and the drop-off locations, email Patricia Howard at Vestavia Hills

Dogwood Festival Luncheon April 4, 11 a.m. Vestavia Hills Civic Center The Dogwood Festival Luncheon will be April 4 in the Dogwood Room at the Vestavia Hills Civic Center. The event starts at 11 a.m. with catering by Cafe Iz. There will be door prizes and raffles with tables decorated by Vestavia Hills Beautification Board members. Tickets are $20; table reservations are available. For more information, email vestaviahillsdogwoodfestival@gmail. com. Hoover

Documentary Showing April 4, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Hoover Public Library The Hoover Public Library will show the PBS documentary “Death and the Civil War” by filmmaker Ric Burns April 4

in the Library Theatre at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For information, call 444-7840. Homewood

Author Dan Haulman April 4, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Homewood Public Library Military historian and author Dan Haulman will speak about his book “The Tuskegee Airmen” at the Homewood Public Library on April 4 at 6:30 p.m. Haulman will talk about the squadron’s outstanding record during World War II and its fight against racism at home. The event is free and open to the public. Dan Haulman For more information, call 332-6620 or visit http:// Hoover

Marian McKay Performance April 4, 6:30 p.m. Hoover Public Library Jazz and blues singer Marian McKay and her band will present big band music and classic sounds on April 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hoover Public Library. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 444-7821. Birmingham

“Little Women” April 4-7

Red Mountain Theatre Company Red Mountain Theatre Company’s Youth Series brings the American classic “Little Women” to life April 4-7 at the RMTC Cabaret Theatre, 301 19th St. North in Birmingham. The show stars Nicole Lamb, Jocelyn Lonquist, Abigail Ross Barlow and Kristen Bowden Sharp with Dianne Mooney as Aunt March, Natalie Valentine as Marmee and Jesse Bates as Mr. Laurence. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday and 2 p.m. SaturdaySunday. Tickets are $20; student rates are available. For tickets, call 324-2424 or visit Birmingham

“The Secret Garden” April 4-14 Levite Jewish Community Center Theatre LJCC will present Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden” April 4-14 at the Levite Jewish Community Center on Montclair Road. Show times on April 4, 6, 11 and 13 are at 7:30 p.m. The play will also be staged at 6 p.m. on April 7 and 2 p.m. on April 14. The show stars Isabel Elkus, Clint Pridgen, Leah Stout, Tanner Gell, David Strickland, Dana McArthur Porter, Georgia Stewart, Ron Dauphinee and Debbie Smith and is directed by Bonnie Wootan. Adult tickets are $15; student tickets are $12. For more information, visit or call 879-0411. Birmingham

Spring Plant Sale April 5-7 Former J.C. Penney store, Century Plaza The Friends of Birmingham Botanical

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 5

6 • Thursday, April 4, 2013

About Town wishing to audition should arrive at 1:30 p.m. to sign up and be prepared to present a brief monologue (one minute or less) and bring a resume and headshot or school photo. Performances will be June 20-23 at the Children’s Dance Foundation Studio Theatre. Julie Meadows will direct the production. For more information, call 870-0073 or visit

Gardens’ 2013 Spring Plant Sale will be open to the public April 5-7 in the former J.C. Penney location at Century Plaza, 7580 Crestwood Blvd. The event will begin on April 4 with Brio Tuscan Grille’s Preview Party from 5-6:30 p.m. followed by a Members Only Sale from 6:30-8:30 p.m. On April 5, the sale is open to the public with free admission from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. April 6 sale hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The sale will close on Sunday; hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The sale will feature more than 100,000 plants. For more information, visit springplantsale.  Hoover

Walk for Autism and 5K April 6, 7:30 a.m. Veterans Park Registration for the 2013 Walk for Autism is now open. The event will be at Hoover’s Veterans Park on April 6 beginning at 7:30 a.m. The event will also include a 5K race. For more information, visit www.walkforautismAL. com. Homewood

Blessed Hope Adoption Yard Sale April 6, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Seeds Coffee Parking Lot A yard sale April 6 from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. will benefit Blessed Hope, a local adoption fund and orphan care ministry. The sale includes a large selection of home furnishings, toys, handmade crafts and collectors’ items. The sale will be in the parking lot of Seeds Coffee, 174 Oxmoor Road in Homewood. For more information, visit http://


Samson Sands of Mountain Brook is ready to compete in the Birmingham Chess Challenge on April 6. Photo special to The Journal

North Shelby

Birmingham Chess Challenge April 6, 8 a.m. Asbury United Methodist Church The Birmingham Chess Challenge will be April 6 beginning at 8 a.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church, 6690 Cahaba Valley Road. Registration is $50. For more information, visit or www. or send an email to

High Country 5K April 6, 8 a.m. Shades Crest Baptist Church Shades Crest Baptist Church will hold its 12th annual High Country 5K on April 6 at 8 a.m. There will be a free kids’ fun run at 9 a.m. The second annual Elementary School Team Challenge for Hoover elementary schools will also be part of the event. The pre-registration price for the event is $25 through April 5 and $30 on race day. Entrance fee includes a T-shirt for the runner, a prerace pasta dinner on April 5 catered by California Pizza Kitchen and a post-race pancake breakfast during the awards ceremony for the runners and their families. Cash prizes for the top three male and female runners will be given. Register at Space is limited.


“Ramona Quimby” Auditions April 6, 2 p.m. Children’s Dance Foundation The Children’s Dance Foundation’s StageDoor Youth Theatre will hold auditions for “Ramona Quimby,” a play adapted by Len Jenkin based on the novels by Beverly Cleary. StageDoor is seeking actors ages 8-18. Those

OVER THE MOUNTAIN Journal Birmingham

Paul Meyers Memorial Golf Tournament April 6, 4:30-9:30 p.m. Highland Park Golf Course The Paul Meyers Memorial Golf Tournament will be April 6 at Highland Park Golf Course. Registration begins at 3 p.m. The first nine holes will be played starting at 4:30 p.m. There will be a barbecue dinner and live music at 6:30 p.m. with Birmingham radio personality and musician Sean Heninger providing entertainment. During the Paul Meyers second half of the tournament, a “glow in the dark” nine holes will be played at 7:30 p.m. A silent auction will include fashion accessories and folk art. Single players can register for $150. A group of four players can register for $600. Non-golfers can buy tickets for $40 each. Paul Meyers passed away from a heart condition while running in a marathon last year. His sisters, Margie, Laura and Julia are organizing the tournament to honor their brother’s memory and raise funds for a medical mission trip to Haiti. To register or for more information, visit www. paulmeyersmemorialgolftournament. com. Hoover

Shades Crest Baptist Associate Pastor Mark Johnson running in last year’s High Country 5K. This year’s event will be April 6. Photo special to The Journal

Vegetable Gardening for Central Alabama April 6, 9-11 a.m. Aldridge Gardens James Horton, director of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, will lead a seminar on vegetable gardening in Central Alabama for beginner to intermediate gardeners on April 6 at Aldridge Gardens. The class is from 9-11 a.m. Cost is $12 for members and $15 for non-members. For more information, call 682-8019 or visit


Cahaba Que April 6 Cahaba Brewing Company The inaugural Cahaba Que cook-off event will be April 6 at Cahaba Brewing Company, located at 2616 Third Avenue South, Birmingham. Proceeds will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama. Cook teams will compete for trophies and cash prizes and guests will enjoy the best barbecue. Admission is $20 per person for those older than 21, $15 for those younger than 21 and $5 for ages 12 and younger. Children ages 5 and younger are admitted for free. Admission price includes taste testing samples from each cook team, a pint of beer and an afternoon of music and entertainment. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call Eric Meyer at 578-2616. Birmingham

Asian Cultures and Food Festival April 6, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Cedars Club The 2013 Birmingham Asian Cultures and Food Festival will be April 6 at the Cedars Club in Birmingham. The Children’s Chorus will perform in the opening ceremony at Bob Davis prepares for the Birmingham Asian 10:30 a.m. Cultures and Food The event Festival on April 6. Photo special to The Journal will feature dancing, music, martial arts and food. Children can explore a giant National Geographic map. Admission is $6 for ages 18 and older, $4 for ages 13-17 and for college students with a valid ID and free for children 12 and younger. The Cedars Club is at 301 Green Springs Avenue. For more information, visit or call 903-5569.


Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 7

About Town


funky Fish Fry Fun Birmingham

Funky Fish Fry April 6, 12:30-8 p.m. Avondale Brewery For Autism Awareness Month in April, the Mitchell’s Place Junior Council and the Autism Society of Alabama Junior Board are teaming up again to raise money and awareness at the fifth annual Funky Fish Fry. The Catfish Institute, Alabama Catfish Producers and Ezell’s Fish Camp will serve fried catfish and sides. Urban Cookhouse will also be cooking food for land lovers and vegetarians. The event will include music, children’s activities and prizes. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Children 12 and younger are admitted free. For more information, visit www.  Birmingham

Holocaust Remembrance Day April 7, 2 p.m. LJCC The Birmingham community commemoration for Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, will be April 7 at 2 p.m. at the Levite Jewish Community Center. Michael Stolowitzky, a Polish survivor who now lives in New York, will talk about his experiences during the Holocaust. A candle-lighting service will honor Holocaust survivors in the community. Children from N.E. Miles Jewish Day School will perform a song. For more information, call 879-0411.


The Mitchell’s Place Junior Council and the Autism Society of Alabama are teaming up for the fifth annual Funky Fish Fry. Enjoying last year’s event were, from left: Meredith Jones, Melanie Jones, Sandy Naramore and Carrie Montgomery. Photo special to The Journal of “And Then I Found You” by Patti Callahan Henry. Callahan’s talk will be followed by a question-and-answer session. For more information, visit Mountain Brook

Woody Allen Film Series April 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Emmet O’Neal Library The library will host a Woody Allen film series beginning April 10 with one of Allen’s favorites. The movie stars Mia Farrow as a star-struck waitress and co-stars Jeff Daniels. The film will begin at 6:30 p.m. This is a free event. For titles in this film series and for more information, call Matt Layne at 4451121. Birmingham

“The MLK Project” April 11-14 Red Mountain Theater The Red Mountain Theatre Company will bring “The MLK Project” to the stage April 11-14. The performances are part

Hoover Historical Society President, Delores Wilkinson, left, and Diane Joseph, hostess, get ready for the group’s annual spring tea at the historic Hale-Joseph home in Bluff Park. Photo special to The Journal


Hoover Historical Society Spring Tea April 7, 2-4 p.m. Hale-Joseph Home, Bluff Park The Hoover Historical Society will host its annual tea on April 7 from 2-4 p.m. at the historic Hale-Joseph Home, 2136 Bluff Road in Bluff Park. Dianne and Carlo Joseph are opening their home, which was built in 1909, for the occasion. The Josephs bought the house from the daughter of Governors George and Lurleen Wallace. Birmingham

Book Release Party April 8, 6-8 p.m. Vulcan Park and Museum Vulcan Park and Museum, Alabama Booksmith and the Literacy Council of Birmingham will have a cocktail party and reception to celebrate the release

of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement. This new work is a collaboration with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and stars RMTC favorite Cecil Washington. Show times are at 7:30 p.m. ThursdaySaturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $30-$35 and can be purchased by calling 324-2424 or visiting www. Homewood

Off the Wall Fundraiser April 11, 6-8 p.m. Rosewood Hall Gateway’s Off the Wall fundraiser will be at Rosewood Hall at SoHo Square from 6-8 p.m. April 11. Proceeds will benefit children and families in crisis. This year’s event will also honor Derry and Peter Bunting. The event will include hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and soft drinks. Art from local artists will be available for purchase. Tickets are $100. For more information, visit www.gway. org/off-the-wall or call 313-7185.



e n j o y 11/ 2 w e l l - o r g a n i z e d a c r e s o f s h r u b s , trees, groundcovers, vines & perennials as well as a knowledgeable, helpful staff. stock up on your annual color & flowers today!

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To: From: Date:

8 • Thursday, April 4, 2013

Send information about your upcoming events to:

About Town


tee off for good in riverchase

Acoustic Instruments, Lessons and Repair Summer Strings Day Camp June 24th-28th Shop hours: Tues. - Fri., 11am-6pm • Sat. 10am-5pm 994.6423

3932B Crosshaven Drive • Cahaba Heights The Riverchase Women’s Club and the Hoover-Metro Kiwanis are getting ready for the 21st annual Crest Cadillac Golf Classic on April 15 to benefit SafeHouse of Shelby County. From left: Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey, Dave Broderick, Sylvia Sumners and Kathy Wells. Photo special to The Journal


“Ovation” April 12-14 Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre The Alabama Ballet will present “Ovation” as its debut performance at the new Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre on the Alabama School of Fine Arts campus April 12-14. The program will include work by iconic choreographers George Balanchine and Jiří Kylián, emerging talent Michael Fothergill and Peyton resident choreographer Roger Van Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., 205-824-1246, fax Fleteren. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on April 2013 April 12 and 13 and 2:30 p.m. April 13 and 14. Tickets are $20-$55. For tickets This is your AD PrOOF from the Over The MOunTAin JOurnAl for the or more information, visit alabamaballet. April 4, 2013 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. org. Hoover Please make sure all information is correct, Chips in the Moonlight Concert including address and phone number! April 12, 7 p.m.

Moonlight on the Mountain Scott and Jen Smith, a folk-pop Please initial and fax back within 24 hours. husband and wife duo, will perform at if we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, the Children’s Hospital Intervention and your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. Prevention Services Center at Children’s Thank you for your prompt attention. of Alabama’s Moonlight on the Mountain in Hoover on April 12 at 7 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will benefit CHIPS, the state’s only pediatric domestic and sexual abuse medical clinic. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance through or $20 at the door. For more information, visit Birmingham

Girls Inc. Cajun Cook-off April 13 Linn Park Girls Inc. of Central Alabama is inviting professional and amateur cooking enthusiasts to gather their teams for the third annual Cajun Cookoff on April 13 at Linn Park. Those of all skill levels are welcomed in the amateur and professional categories. Each entry level will have two food categories: gumbo/jambalaya and “Open Cajun” (red beans and rice, shrimp and grits or other Cajun cuisine) with all food being prepared on site the morning of the event. The $100 entry fee includes a tent, two tables and two chairs. The Cajun Cook-Off is Girls Inc. of Central Alabama’s largest annual fundraiser. For information, contact Erin Melaney at 599-5683 or or visit www.bhamcajuncookoff. com.


Walk MS April 13, 9:30 a.m. Homewood Central Park The Alabama-Mississippi Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is preparing for Walk MS in Birmingham on April 13 in Homewood’s Central Park. Check-in opens at 7:30 a.m. The walk begins at 9:30 a.m. The event will be held rain or shine. Proceeds will help support services for the more than 4,200 Alabamians living with MS and fund research projects at UAB to find a cure for this chronic disease of the central nervous system. The event will include one, two and three-mile routes along with refreshments, entertainment and awards. For more information, visit or call 800-FIGHTMS. Birmingham

Easy Container Gardening April 13, 1 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens As part of its “Get Into The Gardens” hands-on demonstrative series, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens will offer a class on planting tomatoes for container gardens on April 13 at 1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and is appropriate for all ages. For more information, visit Birmingham/North Shelby

Annual Daylily Sale April 13, 8 a.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens/ Myers Plants and Pottery The Central Alabama Daylily Society will host its annual daylily sale on April 13. The year’s event will be held in two locations, with both sales starting at 8 a.m. and running until the daylilies are sold. The sales will be held at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and at Myers Plant and Pottery on U.S. 31 in Pelham. The first 50 buyers at each location will receive a daylily. For more information, call Edna Alderman, president of the Central Alabama Daylily Society, at 458-2774. Hoover

Simmons Appearance April 14 Riverchase United Methodist Church Author, speaker and former businessman Richard E. Simmons III will attend all three traditional services at Riverchase United Methodist Church


Crest Cadillac Golf Classic April 15, 1 p.m. Riverchase Country Club The Riverchase Women’s Club and Hoover-Metro Kiwanis Club will host the 21st annual 2013 Crest Cadillac Golf Classic on April 15. The shotgun start will be at 1 p.m. Proceeds will be divided equally between the two clubs. Riverchase Women’s Club donates all its proceeds to SafeHouse of Shelby County, a full-service organization for victims of sexual and domestic abuse. The Hoover-Metro Kiwanis Club donates 50 percent of its proceeds to SafeHouse and the balance to other charities. For more information, visit http://www.facebook. com/2013GolfClassic. April 14. Copies of Simmons’ latest book, “Reliable Truth,” will be on hand at the event. The church is at 1953 Old Montgomery Highway in Hoover. For more Richard E. Simmons III information, call the church at 987-4030. Hoover

An Evening with Mark Schantz April 18, 7 p.m. Hoover Public Library The Hoover Public Library will present an evening with Dr. Mark Schantz, author of “Awaiting the Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America’s Culture of Death,” on April 18 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. To make reservations, call 444-7840. Over the Mountain

Relay for Life Events April 19-May 17 Over the Mountain The American Cancer Society will host several Relay for Life events in the Over the Mountain area in April and May. The community-based, volunteerdriven event allows community members unite to celebrate cancer survivors, remember lost loved ones and fight back against a disease that affects so many. The Relay for Life of Mountain Brook will be April 19 at Mountain Brook High School’s Spartan Stadium. The Relay for Life of Vestavia Hills High School will be at ThompsonReynolds Stadium on April 20. The Relay for Life Homewood will be on April 26 at Homewood Central Park. The Relay for Life Hoover will be at Hoover High School on April 26. The Relay for Life of Oak Mountain High School will be April 26 at Heardmont Park Stadium. The Relay for Life of North Shelby County will be May 17 at Pelham High School. To get involved, visit bhamrelays or call the American Cancer Society at 930-8860.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 9



Included in the group are Alysia Campbell and Katherine Saunders of Hoover and Layla Khan of Homewood.

Thomas Achieves Eagle Scout Rank with Troop 63 A member of Boy Scout Troop 63 at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Mountain Brook has earned the highest award in Boy Scouts. William Henry Thomas was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout on Jan. 6 in a Court of Honor ceremony at the church’s Scout Building. Troop 63’s Scoutmaster is Harold Wells. As a Cub Scout, Thomas earned the

Arrow of Light award. He has been a member of Troop 63 since 2006. He has earned 28 merit badges, seven more than the required 21 badges needed to achieve the William Henry rank of Eagle Thomas Scout. For his Eagle Scout project, Thomas built a retaining wall and landscaped a median at Mountain Brook High School. The project involved stacking 400 blocks

The planning committee prepares for the Shades Valley High School 50th Reunion. From left: Suzann McCool Isaacs, Diana Hasty Plosser, Molly McPoland Peeples, Jim Rives, Kathleen Haigler Watkins, Warren Bailes Cain, Virginia Lavallet Underwood, Lee Wilson Marks and Nick Greenwood.

The Shades Valley High School 50th reunion, “The Best Reunion Ever,” will be held April 19 and 20 at the Country Club of Birmingham. All Mounties are encouraged to join the celebration. For more information, email

represent the university. UM recently announced the names of Montevallo Masters for the 2013-2014 academic year. Montevallo Masters exemplify leadership and are the official hosts and hostesses of the university, representing UM at functions such as Founders’ Day, commencement, tours and many homecoming events.

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Susan Mayer Bruchis has been named the new executive director of an organization aimed at creating awareness about and supporting research for cystic fibrosis. Bruchis, who lived with her family in Mountain Brook until 2004, is heading up the Laps for CF Foundation. She recently moved from Montgomery and now lives in Southside.


Kampakis Earns Eagle Scout Rank in Scouts An eighth-grader at Mountain Brook Junior High School has been awarded the highest rank in Boy Scouts. Carter Kampakis achieved Eagle Scout rank in October. He is one of Troop 320’s youngest Eagle Scouts. Kampakis has been a member of Troop 320 since he was in the fifth grade. He has earned 28 merit badges and the Bronze Palm. He is also a member of the Order of Carter Kampakis the Arrow and has served in many leadership positions in the troop, including assistant senior patrol leader, patrol leader, assistant patrol leader, librarian and quarter master. For his Eagle Scout leadership project, Kampakis installed a brick walkway at the Alabama Veteran’s Memorial Park. He and volunteers from Troop 320 and other local Boy Scout troops spent August 2012 installing and reinforcing the brick pathway. He is a member of Mountain Brook Junior High School’s cross country team, SOS Council and junior varsity soccer team. He is the son of Amy and Harry Kampakis. He is the Highway grandson of the 619 Montgomery late Sergei Kampakis and Georgia Vestavia • 979-5611 KampakisHills of Mountain Brook and Frederick and Jewelry Susan Johns of Vintage Tallahassee, Fla. engagement rings

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for the retaining wall and planting 90 plants to enhance the median. Thomas is the son of Susanne and Jeff Thomas of Mountain Brook.

For over 50 years Alabama Power’s rates have been below the national average, but there are still some easy things you can do around your home to save money and energy.

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10 • Thursday, April 4, 2013



Sarah, From Cover

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the coaches can hear the contestants but can’t see them. A coach who likes what he or she is hearing pushes a button and chooses the contestant for his or her team. If no coach hits the button, the contestant’s time on the show is over. But if more than one coach wants the contestant, the singer gets to choose which team to join. That’s what happened to Sarah. Seconds after the 23-year-old began to sing, Levine was quickest on the draw, pushing his button just ahead of Shakira. It didn’t take long for Shelton and Usher to follow. “That was incredible,” Levine, the front man for Maroon 5, told Sarah when she finished singing. “One hundred fifty percent, you can win this show.” Shelton, a popular country music artist, made his pitch, too. “You may be one of the top three singers I’ve ever heard audition for ‘The Voice,’” he said. After all four coaches tried to woo Sarah to their teams, she picked Team Adam Levine. There was more good news to come. Sarah’s rendition of “One of Us” soared to No. 21 on iTunes and No. 4 in iTunes’ alternative music category after the show. Waiting in the wings as Sarah performed was a cheering section that included Peggy Foster Jones, Sarah’s mom. Peggy had flown to Los Angeles to see her daughter sing in the blind auditions. She and husband Barry Jones live in Mountain Brook. Also there were Sarah’s father, John Simmons of Virginia, and her boyfriend Greg Langston of Memphis, Tenn. Sarah is a student at Visible Music College in Memphis. Peggy said she first realized her daughter had a special talent for singing when Sarah was a student at Crestline Elementary. “The fifth grade classes had gone to Camp Alpine, and they divided into groups to do skits,” said Peggy, a real estate agent at RealtySouth. “Sarah sang ‘I’ve Got Rhythm.’ She and my mother used to sing all the old songs together.’” When Peggy went to pick up Sarah after the trip, she said, teachers and parents alike got off the bus say-

Sarah Simmons and stepfather Barry Jones. Sarah, a native of Mountain Brook recently made her debut on the TV vocal competition “The Voice” on NBC. Photo special to The Journal

ing, “You didn’t tell us Sarah could sing!” Peggy enlisted the help of Eleanor Trafton, a theater teacher at Mountain Brook High School and a family friend. “I took Sarah to her, and she said, ‘Peggy, she’s got a God-given gift,’” Peggy said. Trafton became Sarah’s vocal teacher. At Crestline Elementary and later at Mountain Brook Junior High and High School, Sarah regularly won

At Crestline Elementary and later at Mountain Brook Junior High and High School, Sarah regularly won talent awards. talent awards, her mother said. She participated in Summerfest Musical Theatre, now Red Mountain Theatre Company, performing in New York and even aboard a ship. Sarah was a fixture in Mountain Brook High’s musical theater productions and in the choir. “At Mountain Brook Baptist, where our kids were raised, she went on mission trips and was active in the youth program,” Peggy said. After graduating from Mountain

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Brook High, Sarah earned a music scholarship to the University of Mobile, her mother said, and transferred after a year and half there to Visible Music College. “The president of the school is Ken Steorts, who was the founding guitarist for the Christian band Skillet,” Peggy said. “He recommended Sarah to ‘The Voice.’ The producer called and asked her to come and audition.” Sarah had “prayed about her singing and said that the Lord would open doors for her,” Peggy said. But, she added, her daughter had never expressed an interest in being on a TV competition, despite the urging of friends to try out for “American Idol.” “When this opportunity came, she called me about it,” Peggy said. “I told her, you didn’t seek this—they sought you. I think you should go through that door.” Sarah was one of more than 40,000 who auditioned for “The Voice,” Peggy said. Family members and friends who watched Sarah on the March 26 episode have asked why she didn’t say she was from Birmingham, Peggy said. “She actually did say she was from Birmingham,” Peggy said, “but that part just didn’t make it onto the air.” In an interview on “The Voice” website, Sarah does say she’s from Birmingham, her mother said. Next up for Sarah and the other contestants are the battle rounds, when the coaches will pit two of their own team members against each other to sing the same song in front of a studio audience. Peggy plans to return to L.A. for the battle rounds with Barry and with Sarah’s older sister, Jessica Simmons, a NICU nurse at Children’s of Alabama. Peggy isn’t sure when Sarah will perform but said the information will be on the show’s website, If Sarah makes it past that round, she will compete in the knockout rounds, when each coach chooses only one team member to continue in the competition. Finally, there’s the live competition. The TV audience votes for the winner, who gets a recording contract

See SARAH, Facing Page

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 11




People Notes

From Facing Page

and $100,000. Peggy said she’s confident in her daughter’s ability to perform a variety of songs. “She’s very versatile and can sing any kind of music,” Peggy said. While some of Sarah’s relatives are musical, Peggy credits another source for her daughter’s gift. “People will ask me where she got her talent from, and I tell them Sarah’s musical talent came from God,” she said. That talent was recently on display in Birmingham when Sarah sang “Breath of Heaven” on Christmas Eve at her parents’ church, Mountain Brook Community Church. Sarah’s whole family has supported her, Peggy said, saying that Sarah is very close to her stepfather Barry, a structural engineer who’s the co-owner of Tucker-Jones Engineers, and to her siblings. In addition to her sister Jessica, Sarah has a stepbrother, Ballard Jones, an Auburn University graduate who’s now working in Birmingham, and a stepsister, Hayden Jones, who will graduate from Tulane University in May. “We’re a close family, and I’m so proud of all of our children,” Peggy said. Peggy said she couldn’t help wishing her parents, the late “Bubber” and Elizabeth Foster of Mountain Brook, could have been in L.A. to see Sarah’s shining moment. “My mother was one of Sarah’s biggest fans,” Peggy said. “I think her grandparents are up there rooting her on.” ❖

Homewood’s Corsini Wins Georgia Tech Award A Homewood resident has been honored by the Georgia Tech Alumni Association. Marc A. Corsini received the Dan Griffin Community Service Award during this year’s Gold & White Honors Gala on Feb. 21 at the Intercontinental Hotel Buckhead in Atlanta. The award recognizes exceptional Georgia Tech alumni for their lifelong commitment to community service and their impact on the quality of life of others. Nominations for the award were open to all alumni with recipients selected by a committee of alumni and staff. Mark Corsini Corsini is the president of Corsini Consulting Group LLC in Mountain Brook. He is a past trustee of the Alumni Association, past president of the Birmingham Georgia Tech Network and a past member of the Roll Call Class Steering Committee. In the wake of the tornadoes that devastated the Birmingham area in 2011, Corsini led a group that cleaned up debris and rebuilt destroyed homes. “Marc Corsini has set the standard for volunteerism and services for the next generation of Tech alumni,” said Joe Irwin, Georgia Tech Alumni Association president and CEO. “This award is a testament to his leadership and lifelong

commitment to improving society.” Corsini said he felt honored and blessed to receive the award. “I knew Dean Griffin, and it is so special simply to be mentioned in the same conversation with that great man. Georgia Tech and the alumni association mean so much to me,” he said.

Hoover High Senior Crochets for Hope Rachel Higginbotham, a Hoover High School senior, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for her leadership project, Hats for Hope. Her goal was to support women served by Sav-A-Life, Vestavia. In her project, she taught others how to crochet hats for babies and then donate them to Sav-A-Life to show community support and encouragement for the women who have unplanned pregnancies and are helped by the organization. By the end of Nov. 2012, Higginbotham had donated 75 hats, which surpassed her goal of 50 hats. She and her team plan to continue the project.  “By Rachel giving them Higginbotham something handmade, they are reminded that the community cares about them and their child.” Higginbotham said. “Hopefully, they will look forward to having their baby wear it one day.”

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The Girl Scout Gold Award is awarded for the highest achievement in Girl Scouting and is available to Girl Scouts in grades 9-12 who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills through Take Action projects. To earn the Gold Award, Higginbotham had to serve more than 65 hours with her leadership project. She will be recognized by President Obama, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Armed Services, the Alabama legislature, the American Legion and colleges and universities for admission and scholarship opportunities.

Trish Coghlan, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama, praised Higginbotham. “By earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, Rachel has become a community leader. Her accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set her apart,” Coghlan said.

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12 • Thursday, April 4, 2013

people bicycle for his sneakers to participate in Walk MS at Homewood Central Park. It will be one of many events the 60-year-old has participated in during the last 12 years since he got involved with the National MS Society. Long, the vice president of fleet operations and trading for Southern Company, said he started biking after a group of guys at his office bought bikes in 2001. “They were always asking me to go riding with them, so I finally broke down and bought a bike, and about that time, they stopped riding. So I found

Charley, From Cover

someone that I knew God had put in my path for a reason. I realized that nothing is random when it comes to God’s plan,� Long said. “I also learned that riding a bike in 112-degree weather may seem like a challenge, but that was a choice I made. A real challenge is when you wake up every day of your life with a terrible disease like MS and you don’t get a choice.� On April 13, Long will trade in his



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out about a group at my church that had started riding and I joined them. I thought, well, I have this new bike and I’ve got to get some use out of it,� he said. Soon, Long and his friend of 20 years, Phillip Inman, were biking regularly with the group at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church. Inman suggested they test their skills on a 150mile bike ride. “Philip invited me on this bike ride, and after I signed up for it, I found out you were supposed to raise $250 to participate in a ride to cure a disease called Multiple Sclerosis. I knew nothing about the disease at that time and I’d only been biking for a few months. But knowing that I had that 150-mile ride ahead of me and that I would be doing it for a good cause were great motivators,� he said. The challenging bike ride for MS came at a time in Long’s life when he had been praying for God to show him a way to give back to the community. “I found out that the top fundraising level for the 150-mile ride was $5,000. I accepted that challenge and raised that much money the first year. The second year, I doubled that to $10,000, and the third year I set a goal of $20,000,� he said. “It was during that third year that I had an ‘aha’ moment and realized that this was the opportunity to give back that I had been praying for for years. By then, I was learning a lot about MS, and so it became my passion to help find a cure for it in my lifetime.� Long said he doesn’t deserve credit for raising so much money for the National MS Society over the years. Instead, he said, that credit goes to all


the people who supported his efforts with donations, contributions, encouragement and support. “God blessed me to know a lot of wonderful people with big hearts who are just looking for the opportunity to make a difference,� he said. “It’s not about me raising the money, it’s about people’s willingness to give. The reason I’ve been successful at this is because I’ve been able to find the people who want the chance to do good things.� Since that first 150-mile bike ride in 2001, Long has participated in several other events to support the National MS Society, including an eight-day ride in Australia, a ride from St. Augustine, Fla., to Daytona, Fla., and back, a ride from Miami to Key Largo, Fla., and a ride to Martha’s Vineyards in Massachusetts. Long has also participated in the three annual Bike MS events sponsored by the Alabama-Mississippi Chapter of the National MS Society for several years. In 2011, after 10 years of riding bikes to support MS research and awareness, Long said Inman suggested they take their fundraising efforts to the next level and bike across the country. At first, Long said, the physical challenges of a cross-country trek seemed daunting. “I really don’t bike year-round and I knew I’d need to be in really good shape to complete this ride. While we were working out the logistics, Phillip and I decided we’d plan in 2012 and ride in 2013, but one morning, I woke up and realized that I was about to turn 60 and if I were going ride a bicycle

across the country, I better do it sooner than later,� he said. So Long talked to Mindy, his wife of 40 years, about the cross-country trip and how that would mean he would be away from home a lot during 2012. “I could not have done the ride without the support of my wife, Mindy. Including travel time, I was away from home for 49 nights from March through September,� he said. Long said he also couldn’t have gone on the ride without the support of his company and co-workers. “Southern Company and its affiliates, including Alabama Power Company, are leaders not only in the electric utility industry but also locally in the community. They have been extremely supportive corporately and as individual coworkers,� he said. “My administrative assistant, Prissy Daly, has provided invaluable support since I began 12 years ago. “I ride as a member of a bicycling team sponsored by Alabama Power Company known as the Power Pedalers. Also, we were blessed to have five wonderful friends who volunteered to drive our support vehicles. They were critical to our success� Long and Inman began their ride across the country in St. Augustine, Fla., on March 17 and completed it on Sept. 22 in San Diego. The trip required 40 days of riding time, averaging 72 miles a day, spread across five trips. As he prepared for the trip, Long said he begin to think about how it could give him even more opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives.

See charley, Facing Page

Charley, From Page 12

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 13



Sanderson, Texas, at this old motel. A man came out of the office and gave us three cold Coca-Colas. He let us use the bathroom and when we went to leave, I tried to give him $20, but he wouldn’t take it and said to me, ‘I have no needs.’ His name was Danny and he was from India, running this little motel where no one was staying, and he says to me that he has no needs. I told him to take the money and give it to someone with needs, and he accepted and said he would do that. So we thanked him for his generosity, said a prayer for

“I realized that I would probably meet a lot of people on this trip and that it would be an opportunity not only to raise money for MS but to also pray with people,” he said. On the first day of the trip in March 2012, Long said he saddled up on the bike beside Inman and told him his plan. “I told him that I had prayed that God would put people in our path during the trip and that we could Charley Long and make a difference in their lives Phillip Inman at and that we needed to offer to the end of their pray with the people we came coast to coast across on the ride,” he said. “We bike ride in made that same prayer every San Diego. morning of the trip, and it was amazing how God answered it.” From waitresses who sat down at their tables to hold their hands and pray with them to young mothers who had run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, Long said he and Inman were humbled at the experiences God him and went on our way,” he said. provided them on the trip. The cross-country trip included “And it wasn’t just about us trying a lot of back-tracking, Long said, so to make a difference in people’s lives the next day, he and Inman rode back by praying with them or praying for toward Sanderson. They stopped at a them, we also met people who made convenience store to get cold drinks, a big impact on our lives, too,” Long and when Long went to pay for his said. purchases with his credit card, the One encounter that still gives Long cashier’s machine wouldn’t read the goose-bumps happened in west Texas card. The cashier told Long he’d have at a rundown 1950s-style motel in an to pay with cash. area where visitors were probably very “But I didn’t have any cash on me rare, he said. because we were on the bikes, and as “It was 102 degrees one day, and I’m explaining this to the cashier, a we stopped in this tiny place called

hand reaches around me holding a $20 bill, and when I turn around, it’s Danny from the motel offering to pay for my drinks. It gave me cold chills because I knew it couldn’t be a coincidence. I knew it was part of God’s plan,” he said. Long said the trip was filled with moments like the one at the Texas gas station, and those moments inspired him to finish the bike ride. “Pedaling became a reason to meet people and provided the opportunity to make a difference in their lives and the opportunity to be open to how they could make a difference in my life through these interactions that may have seemed random but that I believe were not random at all,” he said. “I started the bike ride thinking it would be a physical challenge, but it ended up being a spiritual blessing.” As he tackled the steep hills, long days and extreme temperatures of the cross-country bike ride, Long said he also realized that what most people consider a challenge is nothing compared to the challenges those with MS face every day. “The ride helped me realize the difference between a choice and a challenge. I had a choice to do the bike ride. There are so many people who would love to be able to ride a bike or to be able to walk, but they can’t because of MS. We need to ride for them. We need to walk for them. We need to give them a choice,” he said. For more information on the MS Walk in Homewood and Bike MS events, call 800-FIGHTMS. ❖

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14 • Thursday, April 4, 2013


Search on for New City Manager u Vestavia Hills

By William C. Singleton III


Journal contributor

estavia Hills city officials hope to have a new city manager in the next two to three months. Mayor Alberto “Butch” Zaragoza said the city would either search for a replacement or consult a search firm to find the next city manager. “We have talked about two different ways. One is to look at a consulting firm. The other is to do the search ourselves,” Zaragoza said. “Right now, we’re leaning toward doing the search ourselves.” Former City Manager Randy Robertson abruptly resigned March 18, citing a desire for him and his wife to be with her father-in-law who is gravely ill. Robertson’s father-inlaw lives in Louisville, Ky. However, city officials admitted that Robertson had a less-than-stellar job performance evaluation and decided to leave. The city agreed to pay Robertson about $152,925 in a settlement for

resigning. Robertson stood to make about $160,000 annually. Robertson was hired by the city in September 2011 to ultimately become the chief executive officer for Vestavia Hills. Though he was hired then, Robertson didn’t officially become the city manager until Nov. 4, when Vestavia Hills changed from a council-mayor form of government to a council-manager form of government. He served four months before his resignation last month. In his official statement, Robertson said family reasons were behind his decision to leave his post in Vestavia Hills. “All of you know that Darlene and I served with the United States Army for a majority of our adult life, and as such, was (sic) separated from our families for extended periods of time,” Robertson said in his resignation letter. “While we cannot recapture that time, we can do the best with what we have. Again I sincerely regret this action, but at this point in our lives, family comes first.”

‘I’m humbled by the chance to serve the city in another capacity, but firefighting is my passion and that’s what I’ll do again once the city finds a new permanent city manager.’ Vestavia Hills Fire Chief Jim St. John has been appointed the interim city manager after the unexpected resignation of Randy Robertson. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

Zaragoza said city officials are still committed to the council-manager form of government. The city has appointed Fire Chief Jim St. John to serve as interim city manager until Robertson’s replacement is found. St. John, who has been Vestavia Hills’ fire chief for five years, said he

u Homewood

Edgewood Residents Call for New Pocket Park By Keysha Drexel Journal editor

On April 1, a group of Edgewood residents took their appeal for a new neighborhood park before the Homewood City Council’s Special Issues Committee. The 5:45 p.m. meeting was at Homewood City Hall and included a request by the residents to discuss the possibility of creating a pocket park off Saulter Road and Carr Avenue. Gail Harper Yeilding with Friends of Broadway Park said bringing the issue before the committee was the latest step in a year-long effort to establish a neighborhood park for Edgewood. Yeilding said she spends a lot of time walking around her neighborhood and in January of last year noticed that a lot at the intersection of Broadway and Carr avenues was up for sale. She said she contacted the property owner, David Heater, and asked him about his plans for the lot. “The lot has been vacant for a while and I think David had planned to build on it, but when the market dropped, he decided not to build and to sell it,” she said. When she approached Heater about the lot and mentioned her idea for a community green space in that part of

town, Heater liked the idea. “He immediately came up with plans of what could be done on his lot and the two other lots in that area,” she said. From there, a petition was started and 445 residents signed it, signaling their desire for a pocket park in their neighborhood. “The response has been really positive. You talk to people and it seems like every other area of Homewood has its own little park, and we want something like that here,” Yeilding said. The Friends of Broadway Park presented the council committee with a comprehensive plan for the space, along with the petition and a rendering done by an Edgewood resident. “The whole neighborhood is really behind this,” Yeilding said. If the city decides to move forward with plans for Broadway Park, Yeilding said the first order of business will be to clean up the lots and creating a green oasis in the neighborhood. “We’d love to have a gravel walking path, some tables and a gazebo, a community garden and maybe a basketball goal,” Yielding said. “It would be a great space for families.”❖

Jim St. John, Interim City Manager was glad to have the opportunity to step in and help the city. But the 25-year veteran firefighter said he has no plans to seek the position of city manager on a permanent basis. “I’m humbled by the chance to serve the city in another capacity, but firefighting is my passion and that’s what I’ll do again once the city finds a new permanent city manager,” he said. In his quarter century of service, St. John has served as a firefighter, com-

pany officer and battalion chief. He said he is splitting his time between duties in the fire department and as the city’s interim city manager. “In the city manager’s role, my main goal is to make sure that everyone has the manpower, equipment and everything they need to deliver services to the residents of Vestavia Hills,” he said. While St. John spends time making sure city services are running smoothly, his duties as fire chief have been spread out to other employees in the department, he said. “The deputy chief is now doing things that I did previously, and we’ve tried to spread the work around. Our people have a big workload on them, but they are stepping up to the plate and doing everything they can to help. This is really a citywide team effort,” he said. St. John lives in the Green Valley area of Hoover with his wife of 21 years, Nancy. The couple has two daughters, the oldest of which will graduate from Hoover High School in May. ❖

u Mountain Brook

Police Dept. Joins Facebook

The Mountain Brook Police Department has joined social media in an effort to increase communication between its officers and residents and between the department and other law enforcement agencies in the area. Lt. Michael Herren with the department’s criminal investigations division said the department joined Facebook in March. “The Facebook page was created in order to increase public awareness and the flow of information,” Herren said. The Facebook page includes helpful safety tips for Mountain Brook residents and business owners and features photos from throughout the 71-year-old department’s history. Herren said the Facebook page will allow the Mountain Brook Police Department to reach people who might not get important information otherwise.

“The Facebook page gives us the opportunity to communicate with people that we do not normally reach and to increase communication with other law enforcement agencies that utilize Facebook,” he said. Herren said residents should not use Facebook to report incidents or crimes in progress and said they should still dial 911 in the case of emergencies. Several other police departments in the Over the Mountain area are also taking community policing to the internet, including Homewood, Hoover and Vestavia Hills also have Facebook pages. To see Mountain Brook Police Department’s Facebook page, visit pages/Mountain-Brook-PoliceDepartment/461308517272047. —Keysha Drexel

u Vestavia Hills

Chick-fil-A Restaurant May Open on City Hall Site By William C. Singleton III Journal Contributor

Chick-fil-A is looking at the current Vestavia Hills City Hall site as a place to put a new restaurant. The Atlanta-based fast-food restaurant chain is involved in a 120-day due-diligence agreement with the City of Vestavia Hills to determine if the 1.3 acre property, which currently houses City Hall, can accommodate a future Chick-fil-A

restaurant. The City Council approved the agreement on Jan. 31. Vestavia officials have been trying to find a new home since last year when they announced the current building at 513 Montgomery Highway no longer meets their needs. The city had been looking at property at the Vestavia City Center, but that deal fell through. Vestavia city officials last November purchased the former Food World building in the Vestavia Plaza Shopping Center for $1.15 million

as a possible site for a future City Hall. However, they said at the time that the site wasn’t their first choice for a city hall because it didn’t have a second floor and would involve extensive renovations. City officials have since renewed their interest in the property located at 1052 Montgomery Highway, which was formerly occupied by a Fine Furniture store and before that, Food World. City officials said they would have to work through issues such as how the city and other

merchants would share common area such as the Vestavia Hills Shopping Plaza parking lots. Vestavia officials plan to spend between $6 million and $11 million on a new municipal facility which would house city administration and the revenue department as well as the police department and the fire department’s administrative offices. ❖

u North Shelby

More U.S. 280 Intersections to be Upgraded By William C. Singleton III Journal Contributor

The state transportation department has proposed upgrading U.S. 280 intersections in North Shelby County to aid with traffic flow. The Alabama Department of Transportation plans to convert a section of road on the north side between Brook Highland Drive and U.S. 280 from two lanes to four lanes. The highway department also plans to add a fifth drop lane to run south toward U.S. 280. The proposed improvements of the North Shelby County feeder roads would add two turn lanes from Cahaba u hoover

Former Ms. Senior to Speak at Conference Ms. Senior America 2004 will be the keynote speaker at the “Aging with Attitude: Empowering Seniors” conference April 18-19 at the Viva Café, 1550 Montgomery Highway in Hoover. The conference will be held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 18 and 8:30 a.m.-noon April 19. Admission is free, but reservations are required by April 16. Michelle Rahn, Ms. Senior America 2004, has been a professional speaker and teacher for more than 40 years. Rhan uses humor and music to connect with her audience and encourage people to be the best they

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 15



Valley Road, also Alabama 119, onto U.S. 280 and would allow two left turn lanes for traffic moving east on U.S. 280. The department’s proposal also includes creating another through lane from Corporate Drive to U.S. 280 and a second turn lane off U.S. 280 headed west. The latest proposal piggybacks on ALDOT’s efforts to bring overall improvements to U.S. 280. ALDOT has already proposed redesigning 27 intersections along U.S. 280 from Hollywood Boulevard in Homewood to Doug Baker Boulevard in North Shelby County to aid traffic flow.

That project involves a 14-mile stretch of road that handles nearly 84,000 vehicles daily, according to state highway officials. The redesign project involves adding turn lanes, removing existing traffic signals and adding others and eliminating certain access points to U.S. 280 as well as providing striping, signs and crossing points, said ALDOT officials, who estimate the project to cost nearly $15 million and to be completed by November. The latest improvements announced by ALDOT Preconstruction Engineer Lance Taylor at a public hearing in February fit into ALDOT’s overall plan

can be. Other speakers will also be featured during the two-day conference. Door prizes, vendors and entertainment will be provided during the conference. The Jefferson County Council on Aging’s Ombudsman Program is sponsoring the event. For more information and to make reservations, call 327-8282. —William C. Singleton III

Better Basics, a nonprofit Homewood-based literacy organization, and the Junior League of Birmingham want to assemble 700 volunteers to visit kindergarten through fifth-grade students in Birmingham City schools on April 18 at 1 p.m. for the annual event. During Birmingham Reads, a volunteer will be assigned to each class to read an age-appropriate book and then provide a copy of that book to each child to take home to add to his or her home library. Those interested in volunteering can contact Kathleen Drake at Better Basics by calling 944-2928 or by sending an email to All volunteers will receive training and all materials needed to participate. ❖

u Over The Mountain

Volunteers Needed for Birmingham Reads It’s almost time for the largest children’s literacy event in the Birmingham metro area, but Birmingham Reads 2013 can’t begin without the help of volunteers.

but are being approached separately. ALDOT Director John Cooper instructed state highway officials working on the overall U.S. 280 improvement project to leave out intersections which involve purchasing right-of-way property, Taylor said.

ALDOT officials estimate it will cost $8 million to buy right of way to complete the Alabama 119 project. ALDOT plans to bid road improvements that don’t require purchasing right of way in April. The Alabama 119 project is likely to be bid in the fall. ❖

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Night Under the Big Top Helps Glenwood


lmost 700 guests attended a February circus-themed gala to help those with autism. A Night Under the Big Top, benefiting Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center, was held at The Club. All proceeds from the ninth annual gala go to Glenwood’s outpatient services programs for children affected by autism spectrum disorder. The event was hosted by Glenwood’s Junior Board. Those attending this year’s gala could make bets for a good cause. The event featured casino games, food and drinks. There was a VIP room with wine tastings by Rush Wines and music from The Undergrounders. The gala also included live and silent auctions with items including vacation packages and jewelry from Levy’s. The auction also included 50-yard line tickets to the Alabama-LSU game. Glenwood started in 1973 as a private, nonprofit organization. The organization was founded as Child Mental Health Services by a group of community members, including Vera Bruhn, Cecil Bauer, Judge Ross Bell, Barbara Camp, Lucius Colvin, Jack Cress, Charlotte Dollar, Tricia Echols, Dr. more photos at Robert Estock, Dean Gambrell, Jim Gewin, Ethel Gorman, Dr. Ann Harper, Myron Harper, Bill Hinds, Fay Ireland, Mallie and Glenn Ireland, Paula Kimerling, Marti Kitchens, Dr. Patrick Linton, Dr. Andrew Lorincz, Shirley and Charles Seay, Joe Shaw, Dr. Alan Sheeley, Nancy Smith, Dr. Joe Smythies, Doris Tate, Rev. Martin Tilson and Dr. Herman Willcutt. The organization was founded prior to the law which entitles all children to a free, appropriate public education. This group of community leaders was aware of the special needs of children who could not easily be served in existing programs and who were often excluded from services. The group’s mission was to respond to that need. Their vision was to develop “a special place for special people.” The center opened in 1974 and almost immediately, the demand for services soared. The center started with one staff member in 1974 and now has 270 on staff. For more information, visit glenwood. org. ❖


From left: Catherine Boyd, Josh Boyd, Arden Ward and William Upton.

Above: Allen Jones, Lindsey Jones and Milton Johnson. Left: William Thuston, Ginger Thuston and Tom Miles.

Photos special to The Journal by Arden Photography

Jenny Jakes, Annie Aul and Cathleen Ellington.

Oasis Luncheon Honors Junior League T

From left: Kara Myers, Deborah White and Sheryl Kimerling. Photo special to The Journal

he seventh annual Oasis of Hope luncheon helped raise money for women and children’s programs and also honored the Junior League of Birmingham. The March 12 event at The Club raised more than $131,000 in support of mental health counseling for women and children at Oasis Counseling Center. Cantor Jessica Roskin gave the invocation. Oasis Board President Andrea Powers thanked the event cochairmen, Sheryl Kimerling and Deborah White, for organizing the annual luncheon. Oasis Executive Director Kathryn Bowden expressed her appreciation for the 52 sponsors who make the work of Oasis Counseling Center possible, giving special thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Harbert Management Corp., HealthSouth Corp., Protective Life Corp. and Vulcan Value Partners. The Choral Group of the Junior League of Birmingham sang Gershwin tunes while those attending enjoyed lunch. Robin Sparks Davis, Oasis Advisory Council member, gave a tribute to the Junior League of Birmingham. Davis talked about the league’s contributions to women and children in the Birmingham area. Kara Myers, president-elect of the Junior League of Birmingham, accepted the honor on behalf of the organiza-

tion. Stephanie Alexander, Oasis board member and sustaining member of the Junior League of Birmingham, introduced Leigh Forstman, immediate past president of the league. Forstman told the stories of four Oasis clients, ranging in age from 8-67, who struggled with emotional issues including grief, anxiety and postpartum depression. Lenora Pate and Steve Brickman ended the program by asking people to support the women and children who come to Oasis to find hope. Miki Kato, an 11-year-old pianist, played selections before and after the luncheon. Those attending the annual luncheon included Laura Barfield, Sally Bluhm, Mary and Chuck Butterworth, Josephine and Vincent D’Amico, Vita and Frank D’Amico, Nancy DeVaney, Patsy Gray, Ed Hardin, Mike and Ursula Kemp, Jon and Solomon Kimerling, Solomon Kimerling and Cornelia LaRussa. Others attending were Benny LaRussa Sr., John LaRussa, Lynn LaRussa, Barrett MacKay, Carey McRae, Eileen and Danny Markstein, Carmen Morrow, Philip Passafiume, Karen Persinger, Marian Phillips, Valerie Ramsbacher, Jim Sisson, Mary Roebuck Spencer, Susan Taylor and Katy and Charles Terry. ❖



Celebrating Life Without Limits

From left: Lyndsey Yarbrough, Sally Whicker and Kendall Jackson. Photos special to The Journal

Fashion Helps Fight Cancer


UCP Legacy Award recipients Judy and Hal Abroms. Photo special to The Journal

nited Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham held its annual Life Without Limits luncheon Feb. 28 at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham. This year’s keynote speaker was John D. Kemp, president and CEO of the Viscardi Center and the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson, N.Y., a national disability employment and education organization. UCP of Greater Birmingham also presented this year’s Life Without Limits awards to individuals and groups from the community who have advanced UCP’s mission of benefitting children and adults with disabilities. This year’s award winners are: Legacy Award, Judy and Hal Abroms; Outstanding Program Partner, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama; Outstanding Employer, Food Studio B; Outstanding Volunteer, Joan Brooks; Outstanding Corporate Citizen, BancorpSouth; and Inspiration Award Winners, Elizabeth McGlynn and Nicholas Sandlin. All proceeds benefited United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham. �

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the event will go to the American ore than 300 attended this Cancer Society for community eduyear’s Mad Hatters Luncheon cation programs, cancer research, at The Club on Feb. 28. advocacy efforts and patient support The event included a hat contest programs. judged by Mark Everett, Jennifer Those at the event included Gray and Catherine Romero, a Lyndsey Yarbrough, Sally parade of hats, lunch and a fashion Whicker, Kendall Jackson, Sue show by Gus Mayer. Fowler, Rosie Phillips, Donna ABC 33/40 anchor Pam Huff was emcee. This year, hats were judged in four separate categories: Fight against Cancer, News Events of 2012, Cities around the World and Candy Land. Prizes were given to the winners in each category. Winners included Billy Alman in Fight against Jane Morgan and Alison Bruhn. Cancer, Pettis, Bernie Coker, Martha G. Crystal Brannon in News Events Hill, Betty Peete, Ruby Hamrie, of 2012, Judy Alred in Cities Ginny Catalano, Colleen Adams, Around the World and Susan Kay Yeager, Ellen Miles, Laura Alonzo in Candy Land. Silsbee, Michelle Kelly, Lauren Employees at the Shelby County Cooper, Claire Puckett, Laura Treatment Center won for best Silsbee, Laura Louise Parkinson, group participation. Ally Gilbert, Jane Morgan and The Mad Hatters Luncheon is Alison Bruhn. � in its 22nd year. Money raised at


Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 17


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Like QUIET and PERSONAL ATTENTION? Rather be hOME vs. WAITING ROOM? From left: Roger Mills, Laurie Haworth, Carolyn Hill, Delmar Hill, Helen Robin and Ty Robin.


Photos special to The Journal

Charades Club Hosts Open Party

t was a night at the cabaret for members of one Over the Mountain dance club on Feb. 16. The Charades Dance Club held an open party for members and guests at Mountain Brook Country Club. Hosts for the evening were Becky and Doug Rollins. They Dr. Washington greeted guests along with club Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 president Janie Trammell and FAX: 205-824-1246 Bud. Jan. 2013 Decorations were provided by Robert Logan of Backstage This is your AD PrOOF from the OvEr THE MOuNTAiN JOurNAl for the Florist. Feb. 9, 2013 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. A lighted “Charades Cabaret” marquee hung over red theater Please make sure all information is correct,curtains framing the living room Susan Reeves, Les Goins and Leslie Puckett. and ballroom entrances. The livincluding address and phone number! ing room reflected the evening’s Susan Reeves was party committee chairman. Committee members theme with musical notes and jazz were Anne Finch, Louise Ellis, instruments as decorations. Please initial and fax back within 24 hours. Katie Dunn, Carolyn Feathergill, Dining table centerpieces featured if we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. cabaret memorabilia affixed to lighted Grace Finkel, Diane Gamble and Claire Goodhew. acrylic rods. The windows and walls Thank you for your prompt attention. Attending the party with the comof the ballroom were decorated with mittee members were their husbands, life-sized black and white silhouettes Lee Reeves, Rick Finch, Durham of jazz musicians and cabaret singers. Ellis, Brad Dunn, Joe Finkel and After dinner, the ballroom was Pat Goodhew. transformed into the Kit Kat Club, Charades members at the party, where Charades members and their with their escorts or husbands, were guests were entertained by the Red Sally Aman with Carlos White, Mountain Theatre Group, directed by Kathi and Roger Ash, Eason and Keith Cromwell. Margaret Balch, Susan and Bill After the performance, members Bowman, Jeannie and Harry danced to music of Lamar Mayton Bradford, Evelyn and Steve of Jam Entertainment. Bradley, Patsy and Stan Burns,

Barbara Chapman, Mary and Bobby Cobb, Martha Cobb and Lee Shook, Jan and Bobby Connor, Carol and Jerry Corvin, Carol and Charles Crabbe, Ellen and Russell Cunningham and Bill and Lyndra Daniel. Also attending were Deanna and Tim Davis, Sarah Lynn and Fox DeFuniak, Claire and Pat Goodhew, Annie Green, Laurie Hayworth and Roger Mills, Carolyn and Delmar Hill, Dorothy and Gerry Hodges, Dale and John Holditch, Anne and Tom Lamkin, Karen and Keith Lloyd, Barbara and Cliff Lynch, Verna and John Lyons, Pat and Wimberly Miree, Carole Ann and Bob Moorer, Leslie Puckett and Les Goins, Mary and David Putman and Helen and Ty Robin. Others enjoying the party were Madelyn and Fred Rushing, Carolyn Satterfield, Emily and Tom Scarbrough, Alice and Bob Schleusner, Katy and Rick Sexton, Lou Ann and George Sherling, Rita and Burr Spencer, Nancy and Bill Stetler, Linda and Joe Stewart, Susan Strickland, Lana and Harry Thompson, Rae and Steve Trimmier, Diana and Bill Turnipseed, Karen and Charlie Watkins and Kathleen and Ray Watkins. ❖

Inverness Ladies’ Golf Association Plans Year of Activities


From left: Nan Castaldo, Janet Mardick, Elly Hurley, Deborah Rouse, Linda Hames, Sue Clements and Pat Davis. Photo special to The Journal

he Inverness Ladies Golf Association board of directors had a breakfast meeting Feb. 22 at the home of Linda Hames, president. The buffet included assorted fruit, sour cream coffee cake, muffins, sausage biscuits, cheese biscuits, baked French toast and syrup and egg casserole. Twenty-four committee chairmen were present. The association has 60 members. First Vice President Elly Hurley told the group about the changes in golf activities for the year. Other officers also gave reports. An opening breakfast meeting and nine-hole scramble was scheduled for last week at Inverness Country Club. ❖



Amulet Club Elects New Officers


he Amulet Club elected new officers at its annual wine and cheese gathering on March 13 at the Liberty Park home of Sue Parker Trammel. Spring bouquets adorned the reception rooms. Members enjoyed refreshments coordinated by Hospitality Chairmen Fay Hart and Roma Bounds. President Barbara Jones presided at the business meeting. New officers were elected for the coming year, and plans for the spring dinner-dance were announced by Co-Chairman Bernice Hill. Connie Bishop also co-chairs this annual event, which is set for 6:30 p.m. April 12 at Vestavia Country Club. The Classics will play at the event. Vocalist Emily Herring will sing with the band. The theme of the spring dinner-dance is “An Evening in Paris.” New officers are Ann Harris, president; Betty

From left: Marshall Grant, Valerie Pankey and Joyce and Jim Lott. Photos special to The Journal


Cheree Carlton, Betty Womack and Kathie Ramsey. Photos special to The Journal

Womack and Cheree Carlton, co-vice presidents for special events; Barbara Edwards, secretary; Sue Patrick, membership; Nell Larson, treasurer; and Barbara Jones, parliamentarian. Others attending the get-together were Edith Bauman, Cathy Crapet, Dot Crook, Gerry Dunham, Virginia Cobb Golightly, Elizabeth Judd, Jennie Lewis, Kathie Ramsey, Evelyn Ringler, Donna Talbot, Olivia Weingarten, Sandi Whitten and Janis Zeanah. Kay Moore, niece of the hostess, was a guest. ❖

Carole and Dave Sullivan with Jim and Patsy Norton.

Carousels Dance Club Celebrates Spring

he Carousels Dance Club had a dinner dance at the Country Club of Birmingham March 9 to celebrate the spring season. The party featured a buffet and dance music by the Classics. Joyce Lott, party chairman, was there with her husband, Jim. She was assisted by Valerie Pankey and her husband Tom, Carole Sullivan and husband Dave and Carolyn Odum and husband Jim. The tables were decorated with tall vases of flowering quince and votive lights, reflecting the dance’s springtime theme. Patsy Norton is president of the club, which is about 50 years old. She attended the event with her husband Jim. Also at the party were two new members, Theo Greene and Judy Russell. Others there were Terry Adams, Lynn Ault, Sheila and Clarence Blair, Mary Bledsoe, Dee Dee and Earl Bloom, Judy and Jim Carns, Martha and Garner Cheney, Adele and Chuck Colvin, Bebe and Roy Costner, Mary Alice and Don Carmichael, Sarah and Bob Creveling and Nina Crumbaugh.

Also spotted at the event were Tina and John Darnall, Charlotte and Glenn Donald, Pattie Perry and Jim Finney, Augusta and Bill Forbes, Ann and Marshall Garret, Frances and Miller Gorrie, Jane and Cooper Hazelrig, Anne Hightower and Raleigh Kent, Joanie and Carey Hollingsworth, Mary Ruth and Fred Ingram, Agatha and Snoozy Jones, Jessie and Ken Key, Sue and Bob Kreider, Marcia and Ken Little, Jerry and Pat Mills, Jane and Cecil Morgan and Betty and Steve Morton. Others attending the dinner and dance were Sarah Neal, Elizabeth and Bert Nettles, Lettie Lane and Jim North, Martha and Peyton Norville, Sandra and Terry Oden, Kathleen and George Petznick, Ruth Pitts, Paula Pointer, Bette and Fred Powell, Charles Russell, Ann Goodloe Rutland, Gretchen and Clarence Small, Carolyn and Don Smallwood, Marybeth and Carl Smith, Monty and Vastine Stabler, Bartley and Ernest Statham, Rosalyn and Jim Stroud, Harryette and Gerald Turner, Mimi and Bill Tynes, Betty Wagstaff and Anne and Bob Waudby. ❖

Pancake Breakfast Supports Reading, More


he Kiwanis Club of VestaviaHoover hosted a pancake breakfast on Feb. 23 at Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church. Club members served more than 220 Birmingham area residents. The event was open to the public with the purchase of a $5 ticket, which helped the Kiwanis Club raise almost $5,000.  Net proceeds from the breakfast will support children’s charitable organizations such as Reading Is Fundamental, the Exceptional Foundation, Children’s of Alabama and more. ❖

From left: Stephen Porterfield, Tom Woodall, David Allison and Tamera Erskine. Photo special to The Journal

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 19

20 • Thursday, April 4, 2013


Dinner Dazzles With Diamonds and Destinations


Tracie Dugas and Alison Smith. From left: Gina Henley, Bo Kirkpatrick and Jay Evers.


ore than 450 people came out to celebrate the accomplishments of the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation on Feb. 23 at Ted’s Garage. The seventh annual Dinner, Diamonds and Destinations event featured live music from The Undergrounders, food from George Sarris’ Yellow Bicycle Catering and live and silent auctions. The auctions included jewelry

Photos special to The Journal

from Paul’s Diamond Center, art from local and regional artists and trips to destinations around the world. A black Labrador retriever puppy was also part of the auction and went home with Martha Dazzio, the highest bidder. Those planning the annual event were Chairman Gina Henley, Alison Smith, Tracie Dugas, Jeff Trotman, Stasi Bara, Amy Irby, Cindy Tyus, Vicki Tuggle, Mary Catherine Kew

and Ashley Thompson, the foundation’s executive director. The Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides perpetual financial support to each of the Vestavia Hills schools. Since awarding its first grants in 1999, the foundation has granted more than $600,000 to the city’s eight schools and the board of education. For more information on the foundation, call 978-8808 or email ❖

please join

Your Parade Stops Here...

Above Left: Emily Dunn won first place in the Tablescapes competition. Above right: From left: Rosemary Gillespy, Gerald Gillespy and Tzena Gauldin. Photos special to The Journal


Girlfriend Gala Raises Money for MBE

he Lancer PTO of Mountain Brook Elementary held its first annual Girlfriend Gala on Feb. 20 at Rosewood Hall in Homewood. The theme was “Mardi Gras.” Each table had an elaborately decorated tablescape to add to the Mardi

Hoover Foundation Founder Donates to Bell Center

A Monday-Friday 10-5 & Saturday 10-4 3138 cahaba heightS road birmingham, al 35243 969.3138

shley DeRamus of Hoover, founder of the Ashley DeRamus Foundation, presented funds for four scholarships to the Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs. DeRamus, who was born with Down syndrome, is an active advocate for children and adults with Down syndrome. The Ashley DeRamus Foundation was founded for and is dedicated to education, advancement and a quality lifestyle for children and adults with Down syndrome. DeRamus raised the money for the scholarships by selling colorful wristbands imprinted with personal, inspirational messages. She sold the wristbands for several months aboard the HMS Bounty, which later sank during Hurricane Sandy. ❖

Gras festivities. In addition to the DJ provided by Elevate Live Events and food catered by Sean Butler of Studio B, there was a live and silent auction hosted by MBE dad Gerald Gillespy, who kept the crowd entertained. Event chairman was Laura Clark with help from Karen Nielsen, auction chairman. The event raised more than $19,000 for the new “Leader in Me” initiative being implemented at Mountain Brook Elementary. ❖ From left: Bell Center Executive Director Jeannie Colquitt, Connie DeRamus, Ashley DeRamus and Bell Center Founding Director Betty Bell. Photo special to The Journal



From left: Mary Sue Ludwig, Lynda Wasden, Jennifer Caton and Lois Taylor. Photos special to The Journal

Inaugural Hearts and Harmony Gala Held in Hoover


he Hoover Service Club usually has an annual luncheon and fashion show fundraiser, but members decided on something new for 2013. The organization held its first Hearts and Harmony Gala on Feb.15 at the Embassy Suites in Hoover. More than 230 attended. The event started with a silent auction. Guests were welcomed by Barbara Henry, president of Hoover Service Club. The Hoover High School First Edition Jazz Band conducted by Sallie Vines White provided music. Dancers Roger Howell and Francesca Mallow from Fred Astaire Dance Studio gave a special performance. Steed’s Jewelers was the Diamond Bubble Sponsor and awarded a winner with diamonds. Will Pearson was

the auctioneer. Other Hoover Service Club officers are Judy Holcombe, first vice president; Nance Kohen, second vice president; Pam Crider, third vice president; Frances Wheeler, recording secretary; Paula Campbell, corresponding secretary; and Carole Freeze, treasurer. Linda Wasden was the gala chairman. Co-chairmen were Lois Taylor and Pam Edwards. Jennifer Caton and Paula Campbell headed up the auction. Jennifer Caton also handled publicity for the event. Sandra Barnett, Carla Kanafani and Pat Bendall were in charge of centerpieces, and Kay Franklin was in charge of programs. Mary Sue Ludwig and Judy Holcombe helped find sponsors

Author Speaks to Alliance Francaise


uthor Debbie Ambrous of Opp was the guest speaker for the Alliance Francaise of Birmingham on March 3. Her latest book, “A French Opportunity,” is about her stay and travel experiences in France. After the lecture, a reception was held at the home of Cindy and John Floyd.

Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey and Carolyn Ivey.

for the event. Jamie Coston and Frances Wheeler were in charge of ticket sales. Carole Freeze was treasurer for the gala committee. The Hoover Service Club is a group of civic and service-minded women who give their time and talents to help meet the needs in the community. The club’s annual fundraiser provides contributions to local organizations which strive to meet the needs of people in and around Hoover. Some of the organizations that recently received funding from the club are Grace House, Lovelady Center, Workshops Inc., Safe House, Family Connection, SANE Program and Crisis Center, Kid-One, The Clay House, The Foundry and Autism Society of Alabama. Additional funds are earmarked to award scholarships to high school seniors based on community service, academic achievement and need. For more information about Hoover Service Club, call Jennifer Caton at 444-8830. ❖

Members at the event included Serge Bokobza, president of the Alliance Francaise, Kim Thomas and Scott Brown, Annie McCarter, Regine Smith, Ellen Schmidt and Bob Reiche, Luke and Francoise Cressman, Katherine and John Sechrist, Margaret M. King, Dora Lajosbayai, Kaylan Scott, Ines and Norbert Schormann and Kadim Nicholas. ❖

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 21


22 • Thursday, April 4, 2013


2013 parade of homes

Upscale Sustainability

Vestavia Home Offers Green Living With All the Creature Comforts

‘I think we saw the need for these kinds of homes back in 2008, and the homebuyers now are looking for these options.’ Mike Wedgworth The home on Viridian Way in Vestavia Hills is all about green living--and luxury touches. The home features a watersaving irrigation system for the lawn, a tankless water heater to save money while you soak in the tub in the master bathroom and energy-efficient appliances and lighting in the spacious kitchen. Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.

By Keysha Drexel Journal editor


Vestavia Hills home on this year’s Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders Parade of Homes will not only give potential homebuyers a look at the latest in upscale environmentallyfriendly building design but will also give them a look at the building standards that are becoming a part of the new way of doing business in a recovering housing market. The four-bedroom, three and a half-bath turn-of-thecentury style home at 973 Viridian Way is part of a development that was the first of its kind in the region when construction began in 2008 but that developer and builder Mike Wedgworth said he thinks more homebuyers are looking for--now that they are looking again. “I think the standards we’re using in this neighborhood will be part of the new way of doing business in more places as the market continues to recover. People want to know they are saving energy and therefore, saving money,”

Wedgworth said. And the home’s design--and the development it is in-- is all about saving energy, saving money and helping to save the environment. The home’s community, Viridian, is an 11-acre woodland site just off Tyler Road. The development, planned to have 20 homes when it is built out, has a tree-save covenant where one-third of the community is to remain natural woodlands. “Viridian has been shaped to fit the land--the land hasn’t been graded and scraped away to fit the neighborhood,” Wedgworth said. A covenant also requires all of the homes in Viridian be certified for energy efficiency. All of the homes in Viridian, Wedgeworth said, are tested and certified by a third party to be at least 15 percent more energy-efficient than a home built to standard codes. Some of the key features his company used to lower home utility bills include engineered heating, venting and air conditioning systems with sealed ductwork, Low E win-

dows and insulated doors, and an extensive attic, floor and wall insulation system, Wedgworth said. “It’s all about tighter construction. That is so important. You take what most people always thought of as being energy-efficient building practices and you take it to the next level,” he said. inside That next level of energy efficiency translates into ducts that are vacuumMillion Dollar tested to expose any air leaks and tankless Parade Listing in Liberty Park P. 24 water heaters. Some of the other design elements in Parade Particulars the home are simple yet effective ideas, P. 26 Wedgworth said. Expo Offers Upstairs in the master bedroom’s huge Ideas for Building, walk-in closet, natural light floods the Remodeling P. 28 space through windows high in the closet walls. “It’s such a simple idea--use natural light in places where we really need good lighting, like closets. It’s those See Viridian, page 28

Designed to Please

Father-Son Team Builds Ideal Home with Family Living in Mind By Keysha Drexel Journal editor

‘We really tried to think about how families live now and use all those elements that people want in their homes today ...’ Father-son homebuilders Marty and Colt Byrom


arty and Colt Byrom said they had family in mind when they designed and built the house that will be featured as the Ideal Home for the 2013 Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders Parade of Homes. The father-son building team known as Byrom Building Corporation incorporated the latest home technology and automation, beautiful furnishings, top-of-line appliances and an outdoor living space to create a house that fits the busy pace of today’s families in The Preserve in Hoover. “We really tried to think about how families live now and use See Ideal home, page 27

The Ideal Home under construction in The Preserve in Hoover will feature a brick fireplace in the great room. Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.



Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 23

24 • Thursday, April 4, 2013

By Keysha Drexel Journal editor


isitors to a home in Liberty Park on the 2013 Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders Parade of Homes will have a chance to see what a home in the $1 million range can offer in customized luxury. The house at 4388 Kings Mountain Ridge Road was built to showcase what builder Jeff Rusert of Rusert Homes said is the latest trend in new home construction. “People don’t want cookie-cutter houses. They want houses designed and built just for them and they want all the luxury touches to go with it,” Rusert said. The six-bedroom house with six and half bathrooms will be open on the Parade of Homes on April 20-21 and April 27-28. Sitting atop a hill on Kings Mountain Ridge Road with stunning views of Liberty Park’s natural areas, the home’s exterior features a split driveway and carriage-style main and lower level garages. The patios are tiled with Travertine, and the main patio has an outdoor fireplace perfect for entertaining year round. Rusert said the home’s design is aimed at evoking the atmosphere of an upscale mountain retreat. “With the stone accents and the outdoor fireplaces, it is kind of that Colorado feel,” he said. Inside, the home has tongue and groove ceilings with cedar beam accents in the hearth room. There’s



Million Dollar Listing Liberty Park Home Features Custom-built Luxury

“People don’t want cookie-cutter houses. They want houses designed and built just for them.’ Jeff Rusert

Above: The six-bedroom house in Liberty Park’s Kings Mountain neighborhood will be featured on the 2013 Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders Parade of Homes later this month. Right: The house, built by Rusert Homes, features built-in book shelves on either side of the fireplace in the great room. Below Right: The main back patio has a fireplace perfect for entertaining outdoors and features Travertine tile. Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.

a coffered ceiling in the living room and a vaulted ceiling in the master bathroom. A chandelier loft in the foyer highlights the house’s dramatic ceilings. Rusert said a good example of the customized luxury available in the home can be found in the main level study. The handsome room features a

fireplace and a full private bathroom. “More and more people are working at home today, and that’s one of the custom projects that we are seeing people ask for a lot now. They want a nice home office, a study or library where they can work and have everything they need,” he said. Another area where homebuyers

want custom touches is the kitchen, Rusert said. “The kitchen is a big area for cus-

tomization. People want lots of storage options,” he said. To that end, the Liberty Park home features two islands and a copious amount of cabinet space. The luxury touches come with the Viking appliances, stone countertops and rubbed-bronze fixtures. The kitchen also has a computer nook, something that points to the growing role of technology in new home design and construction, Rusert said. While the home may give visitors the feel of being on vacation at a luxury mountain resort, it also keeps them plugged in with the latest technology. The home has sound and data zones throughout, he said. “You can control the lights, your music, the thermostat, the security system, just about everything through your computer or phone. That trend is only going to continue to grow,” Rusert said. Even doing laundry takes on an air of luxury in the Kings Mountain Ridge Road home. The laundry room features granite countertops, a laundry sink and a large folding area. “People want those luxury touches, even in the laundry room,” Rusert said.



And after all that hard work doing laundry, the home offers its owners a peaceful respite in the master bedroom and bathroom. The master bedroom has a fireplace and sitting area and enormous his and hers walk-in closets. The master bathroom is flooded with natural light from two windows that offer relaxing views of the woodlands surrounding the neighborhood. The bathroom has a huge garden tub and a shower with all the latest in high-tech body sprayers and massagers, Rusert said. Rusert, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., lives in Vestavia Hills with his wife, Nina, and their three children. He’s been in the homebuilding business for about 25 years. “I was in the military and once I got out, I started building houses,” he said. Rusert said his favorite part of his job is meeting his clients and helping them design the homes of their dreams. “You develop great relationships, and it really pays off when you see how happy they are with their new home,” he said. ❖

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 25

Clark Antiques Gallery

A chandelier loft in the foyer highlights the house’s dramatic ceilings.

Antiques - Art & Accessories - In-home Design Services

2717 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, • 205.325.1999 •

To: From: Date:

Clark Antiques GalleryHank and Debbie Bowman with daughters Sophieph., and Paige. Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 205-824-1246, fax April 2013 This is your AD prOOF from the Over The MOunTAin JOurnAl for the April 4, 2013 issue. please fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

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

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

Thank you for your prompt attention.

26 • Thursday, April 4, 2013



Cutting-edge Construction

Parade of Homes Showcases Latest Trends and Techniques By Keysha Drexel Journal editor

The Ideal Home located in The Preserve is a showcase house displaying the latest in home design, decor, technology and sustainability. Journal photo by Lee Walls Jr.



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he Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders 2013 Parade of Homes has been set for two weekends in April and is expected to attract thousands of visitors eager to explore the best ideas in home design and decor in the area. This year’s event, on April 20-21 and April 27-28, will give homebuyers and dreamers alike the chance to sample the latest construction techniques and new home trends, officials said. An annual event since the early 1960s, the Parade of Homes inspires unique design and a high level of craftsmanship, said Matt Morrow, executive vice president of the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders. “The Parade gives people the opportunity to tour some of Birmingham’s most elegant and beautiful new homes,” he said. “It’s an annual tradition for a lot of families. And with new homes to see in every size and price range, people often discover exactly the home they’d like

to own next.” And with new home sales on the rise, the Parade provides an opportunity for builders to put their best foot forward as they connect with prospective homebuyers. Morrow said recent reports from the Alabama Center for Real Estate indicate that residential sales in the Birmingham metro area improved 9.8 percent in 2012 over 2011. The center also reported that for the first time since it started collecting new construction data in 2008, new home sales statewide have experienced growth from the prior year with 2012 sales up 7.2 percent compared to declines of 13 percent in both 2010 and 2011. The 2013 Parade of Homes will include more than 80 homes of all different shapes and sizes, said Lurenda Avery, GBHB public relations director. The homes on the tour range from 1,000 square feet to more than 4,000 square feet and provide something for all potential homebuyers, whether they are looking for luxury in a moveup, scaling down or looking for a remodeling contractor.

Among the new homes highlighted on the 2013 Parade, 10 villages will also be featured across the greater Birmingham area. Parade villages are new home communities with at least one home entered in the Parade. These villages offer an opportunity to learn about the features and amenities of the communities where the Parade homes are located, Avery said. The villages on this year’s Parade include Chelsea Station in Shelby County; Cornerstones at Oxmoor Valley in Birmingham; Hampden Place in Liberty Park; Heritage Hills in Liberty Park; Hillsboro in Helena; Lacey’s Grove in Alabaster; Provence in Liberty Park; Ross Bridge in Hoover; Stockton Place in Trussville; The Cotswolds near Cahaba Heights; The Preserve in Hoover; Trussville Springs in Trussville; and Wisteria in Alabaster. This year’s event will also include a look at a sustainable rebuilding project in Pratt City in Birmingham. In the two years since Pratt City was devastated by the April 27, 2011 tornadoes, Innovative Home Builders, the City of Birmingham


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From Page 22

all those elements that people want in their homes today, whether it’s a space for outdoor entertaining or an iPad app to adjust the thermostat,” Marty said. This is the second year the Parade of Homes has included an Ideal Home, meant to be a showcase of the latest trends in new home construction. The 2012 Ideal Home attracted more than 5,000 visitors during the two-weekend event and was under contract the first day of the Parade of Homes. But the Byrom house has last year’s Ideal Home beat in that department--the home went under contract weeks before the 2013 Parade of Homes and even before it was completely built out. The house was getting its finishing touches when the Byroms gave the Over the Mountain Journal a sneak peek at what Parade-goers will see on the weekends of April 20-21 and April 27-28. The house boasts five bedrooms and five and half bathrooms and lists in the mid-$800,000s, Marty said. The home’s exterior is a traditional design, Colt said, featuring large wooden columns and a wraparound porch that conjures up images of breezy days spent in rocking chairs, sipping iced tea and getting to know the neighbors. There’s also a “coffee porch” on the second level that opens from an upstairs bedroom--the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning. The home’s interior features exposed brick and distressed ceiling beams. “A lot of the design was inspired by lofts in downtown areas,” Marty said. The home’s family-friendly design is evident in what Marty calls the “drop zone.” “Some people might call it a mudroom. It is designed so that all those things that families haul with them--kids’ backpacks, mail, muddy shoes--don’t make it to the kitchen,” Marty said. The mudroom includes plenty of hooks for jackets, scarves, bags and hats and cubbies to corral the kids’ sports equipment. “There’s also what I call the command center. We have a built-in desk in here with file drawers and plenty of space to organize mail, pay bills and

Construction, From Previous Page

and the Jefferson County Center for Economic Opportunity have been working to rebuild the community. Pratt City is being revived with new, sustainable homes that will be LEED certified. LEED certification stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” and is issued by the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize companies that use environmentally-friendly and sustainable methods. The certification is often comprehensive and difficult to achieve, as it evaluates a building’s use of materials, water cycling, heat and electric systems and even its

that kind of thing,” Marty said. Adjacent to the mudroom is a laundry room with an area for hanging clothes to drip-dry, a deep sink for treating particularly messy laundry situations and loads of counter space for folding and sorting. The laundry area also includes a craft space with spindles to hold paper, plenty of storage for crafting odds and ends and ample counter space for working on craft projects. The laundry room is connected to a spacious master bathroom with double vanities and a walk-in closet and dressing area fit for a suburban queen. The closet area includes a makeup vanity, floor-to-ceiling storage options and heavy-duty shelves in all shapes and sizes. “This way Mom doesn’t have to leave her makeup and curling irons all over the bathroom and will have everything she needs to get ready in one place,” Marty said. Marty said the master bedroom and bathroom are situated on the main level near the laundry room for a reason. “We found that people want their laundry room close to the master bedroom so that they’re not hauling laundry all over the house,” he said. “Those were the kind of things I tried to think about as I designed this house.” The Byroms didn’t forget about Dad when they were designing the house, Marty said. “We have a special closet off the great room that gives you access to your television and stereo equipment from the back. The TV is mounted on the other side of the closet wall. This keeps all those cords and wires out of view and keeps dad from having to pull all that out of the walls if he needs to adjust or fix something with the media equipment,” he said. Marty said his favorite parts of the home are what he calls the common areas, including the great room which opens to the kitchen and dining area and the outdoor living space. “Those are the places where people will spend most of their time. It is the area of the home that’s like Grand Central Station for most families,” he said. The huge, open kitchen features a central island with ample storage and tons of cabinet space and is equipped with state-of-the-art Wolf appliances. A large pantry off the kitchen is lit landscaping methods. The project is funded by the City of Birmingham. The homes are being built by Innovative Home Builders. Parade-goers can also get a closer look at environmentally-friendly and sustainable building design at the 2013 Ideal Home. This will be the second year the Parade of Homes has featured an Ideal Home. Last year’s inaugural Ideal Home was in the Chace Lake village in Hoover. This year’s Ideal Home is also in Hoover, in The Preserve. The Ideal Home is a showcase house displaying the latest in home design, decor, technology and sustainability, said Jeremy Wright of Wright Homes, chairman of the 2013 event. This year’s Ideal Home is being

by natural lighting from a well-placed window. “We also have space in there for storing kitchen appliances so you don’t have to keep them out on the counters, and there’s a place for keeping recipe books with an area to sit down and go over those recipes,” Marty said. The Ideal Home also incorporates the latest in home automation, all of which can be controlled through an iPad, Marty said. “You can do everything from monitor your home’s security camera system through your iPad or iPhone to turn on the outside lights and even adjust the thermostat,” he said. The house is also wired for docking and charging stations for the whole family’s gadgets and electronic devices. The home’s entertaining space extends outdoors to a covered outdoor living area featuring aged concrete, a wood-burning fireplace, grill and Big Green Egg smoker. Upstairs, the technology-loving design continues with a 20-foot by 20-foot media room with a soaring 14-foot ceiling. The son and grandson of homebuilders, Marty Byrom built his first house in 1977 and incorporated Byrom Building Corporation the next year. He and his wife, Kathy, celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary in March. They have three adult children, including Colt. Colt said he always knew he would go into the family business. “I think I’ve been preparing to go into the family business since I was about 10 years old and working with my dad helping him at home sites during the summers,” he said. After graduating with a finance degree from the University of Alabama, Colt came home to Homewood and started working with his father full time. “You’d think we’d get tired of each other since we work together, but it’s not like that at all,” Colt said. Colt said he likes being in the family business because he likes making people happy. “To be a part of that experience where our clients are getting just the right home for them is great. It’s been a good experience,” he said. For more information on the Ideal Home, visit www.birminghambuilders. com. ❖ built by Byrom Building Corp., Wright said. (See story on page 22) “It will feature exciting new home technology and automation, beautiful furnishings, top-of-the-line appliances, an outdoor living space and more,” he said. Those attending this year’s event can plot their maps to the Parade homes and villages with the help of online resources. Parade maps, previews of some of the homes and villages on the tour, information on the Ideal Home and details on other special events are at The 2013 Parade of Homes is free and will run from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on April 20 and 27 and from 1-6 p.m. on April 21 and 28. ❖

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Expo Offers Ideas For Building, Remodeling

The Viridian Way home has plenty of space for entertaining with an open great room and view overlooking Hackleberry Creek. Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.

Viridian, From Page 22

kinds of details we had in mind when we built the Viridian homes,” Wedgworth said. “It’s really the smallest things that make the biggest differences in energy efficiency.” Natural lighting is also a feature in the great room, where light filters in through skylights in the vaulted ceiling and is augmented with energyefficient LED recessed lighting. The great room also features a wood burning fireplace and incorporates an open floor plan that includes a kitchen with all the luxury touches. The kitchen has LED lighting, granite countertops, a huge center island and stainless steel appliances. A formal dining room is off the kitchen in the front of the house.

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“More and more people are using the dining room area as a study and using the large eat-in space in the kitchen as their main dining area. There’s a great view there,” Wedgworth said. The kitchen and great room open to a deck overlooking Hackleberry Creek. “You can sit out here and watch the water flow over the rocks, and you’ll feel like you’re in a mountain retreat instead of as close as you are to the schools and shopping in town,” Wedgworth said. The property’s irrigation system is also environmentally-friendly, he said. “We use a drip irrigation system instead of the traditional spray system. That saves water, and that saves on utility bills,” Wedgworth said. Wedgworth said the green theme of Viridian extends throughout the entire development. Recycled and repurposed materials were used throughout the community’s design, he said. A log cabin built in 1812 and moved to the property in 1940 was beyond repair when Wedgworth brought the property off Tyler Road, but he found a use for the historic structure. Materials like the original logs and beams from the cabin were harvested during its demolition and have been incorporated throughout the community, remade into park benches and decorative beams. The one-and-a-half story brick home lists for $615,000. Wedgworth, who has been in the home development and building busi-

ness since 1979, said he thinks green building will continue to help the housing market recover. “I think we saw the need for these kinds of homes back in 2008, and the homebuyers now are looking for these options. It has been a good time to retool our whole operation,” he said. A native of Hale County, Wedgworth grew up on a farm before earning a degree in building science

A log cabin built in 1812 and moved to the property in 1940 was beyond repair when Wedgworth brought the property off Tyler Road, but he found a use for the historic structure. at Auburn University. “When I enrolled at Auburn, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew that it involved building,” he said. “I just love watching the ideas become reality.” Wedgworth and his wife of 38 years, Alison, live in Vestavia Hills and have two adult children. Their daughter teaches first grade at Vestavia Hills Elementary West, and their son lives in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. For more information on Viridian, visit ❖

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For those who just can’t wait to see the latest in building and remodeling trends at the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders 2013 Parade of Homes, an event this weekend offers a chance to meet the building experts face-to-face. The 2013 Building and Remodeling Expo, sponsored by Alabama Power, will be held April 5-7 at the Pelham Civic Complex. The show, which will feature more than 80 Birmingham area businesses, will open to the public at 10 a.m. on April 5. “This is the opportunity to meet local experts and talk to people who can actually do work in your home,” said David Estreicher, Expo director. “That differentiates us from other shows focusing more on food or lifestyle products. The Building and Remodeling Expo is a place where you can realistically set a remodeling and building project in motion, all under one roof. With gas prices like they are, this is a great way to see a lot of ideas without driving all over Birmingham.” “The 2013 (expo) will include more industry professionals featuring the latest homebuilding and remodeling trends,” Estreicher said. In addition to seeing the latest in design trends for home components like appliances, flooring, windows and doors, the expo will include seminars on topics timely for spring, he said. “We’ll be offering presentations on everything from the latest in kitchen design trends to turning your backyard into an outdoor living space,” Estreicher said. “The seminars will provide inspiration for turning the dreams for your home into reality.” This is the third year the Parade of Homes has included the event. As the housing recovery continues to improve, builders and remodelers are more confident, said Alicia Huey, Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders president. “Our members are encouraged by the increase in the industry,” Huey said. “Our builders are starting more homes, and the remodelers are beginning more projects. It is apparent that people in the Birmingham area are ready to build or remodel their dream home.” For more information on the 2013 Building and Remodeling Expo and a directory of area builders and remodelers, visit ❖


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Lauren Elaine LeCroy and Kyle William Green were married Sept. 22, 2012 at the Canterbury United Methodist Church Chapel. Rev. Michael McArthur Holly officiated the ceremony. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Edward LeCroy Jr. of Birmingham. The groom is the son of Mrs. Beth Benton Green of Birmingham and Mr. and Mrs. William Gregory Green of Birmingham. Given in marriage by her parents,


Mr. Carlton Leon Jackson of Tallahassee, Fla., announces the engagement of his daughter, Bobbie Leigh, to Perry Butler Tillman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Halford Arthur Tillman Jr. of Birmingham. Miss Jackson is the daughter of the late Mrs. Lisa Crowder Jackson. The bride-elect is the granddaugh-


Mr. and Mrs. David Lee Stringer of Birmingham announce the engagement of their daughter, Kelli Renae, to Robert Eugene Spiegel III, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Eugene Spiegel Jr. of Huntsville.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 29

Weddings & engagements


the bride wore an Augusta Jones-Elle custom ivory French Alencon lace fit and flare gown and an ivory fingertip-length veil. She was attended by Emily McNutt of Birmingham as matron of honor and Krystal Emma Gardner Kolstad of Meza, Ariz. Flower girls were Kayden Elizabeth Green of Houston, niece of the groom, and Mary Elizabeth Wood, cousin of the bride, of Birmingham. The groom’s father was best man. Groomsmen were Jason David Green, brother of the groom, of Houston; Dr. James Andrew Miller of Virginia Beach, Va.; and Dr. James Edward LeCroy III, brother of the bride, of Birmingham. The ring bearer was Greyson George Green, nephew of the groom, of Houston. Program attendants were William Christopher Greene and John Kenneth McNeil, cousins of the bride, of Birmingham. Dr. Lester Charles Seigel was the organist, Kevin Kelly was soloist and Alan Rogers was the scripture reader. After a honeymoon in Orlando, Fla., the couple live in Birmingham. ter of Mrs. Mary Frances Merryman of Tallahassee and the late Mr. Earnest Leon Jackson and Mr. Jimmie Taylor Crowder of Tallahassee and the late Mrs. Bobbie Johns Crowder. Miss Jackson is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She is working on her master’s degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The prospective groom is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. George Kelly Moore of Charlotte, N.C., and Mr. Halford Arthur Tillman of Birmingham and the late Mrs. Virginia Butler Tillman. Mr. Tillman is a 2008 graduate of the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order and Rho Epsilon. He is employed by Alagasco. The wedding is planned for May in Tallahassee. After a honeymoon in Antigua, the couple will live in Birmingham.

The bride-elect is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow Pershing Gray and the late Mr. James Gibson Stringer and the late Mrs. Katherine Portera Stringer, all of Birmingham. Dr. Stringer is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Medicine. She is employed with Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Capt. Robert E. Spiegel of Belvidere, Ill., and the late Mrs. Sieglinde Spiegel of Karlsruhe, Germany, and Major James McKee of Vineland, N.J. Mr. Spiegel is a graduate of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He is employed with The Boeing Company. The wedding is planned for April 6.


Laura Ann Baker and Roger Craig Wagerman were married Jan. 19 at Independent Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Dr. Conrad C. Sharps and the Rev. Bruce A. Hogarth officiated. A reception followed at Avon Theatre. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Robert Baker of Birmingham. She is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Milton Stanhope Brasfield Jr. of Demopolis, the late Ms. Betty Williams Baker and the late Mr. Morris Nolen Bryant, both of Alexander City. The groom is the son of Mr. and


Mr. and Mrs. Carl Edward Johnson Jr. of Birmingham announce the engagement of their daughter, Sarah Jane, to Bradley Lott Strickland, son of Mrs. Lucy Lott Strickland and Mr.


Doctors James Steven and Becky Hampton Smith of Bozeman, Mont.,

Mrs. Max Wagerman Jr. of Memphis, Tenn. He is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Norton Hall and the late Mr. and Mrs. Max Wagerman, all of Memphis. The bride was escorted by her father and wore an ivory Italian silk gown with organza banding accents. The chapel-length veil edged with scalloped Alencon lace was also worn by her mother. An antique pin, given to her grandmother by her grandfather on their wedding day, was attached to her mother’s strand of pearls. The bride carried a bouquet of white peonies, ranunculus, vitality David Austin roses, blue hydrangeas and touches of grape hyacinth handtied with ivory ribbon and pearl pins. The matron of honor was Lindsay Smith Puckett of Nashville, Tenn., and the maid of honor was Katherine Leigh Kelley of New Orleans. Bridesmaids were Virginia Denson Brasher and Hillary Parmer Tatum of Birmingham, Lauren Elizabeth Baker of Atlanta, Virginia Ruth Robinson of Nashville, Elizabeth Sullivan Snodgrass of Washington, D. C., and Carrie Sasser Whitaker of San Francisco. Honorary bridesmaids were Anna Lee Wagerman, Caroline Elizabeth Wagerman and Ivy Elizabeth

Wagerman, nieces of the groom. Flower girls were Ann Clayton Brasher and Margaret Shelton Brasher of Birmingham. Ring bearers were Alan Coleman Petrey and Andrew McLain Vercher, both of Birmingham.  The best men were Jerald Lewis Wagerman and Max Wagerman III, brothers of the groom. Groomsmen were Ernest Schorr Behnke, Kristopher Cornell Horne, Steven Romegio Kelley, Kevin Dwayne Lee, William Jesse Lee Jr. and Luther Lewis Wagerman, all of Memphis; Matthew Raymond Andrew and Jason William Hoback of Atlanta; Joseph Michael Everly, James Wesley Moss Jr., Wilkes Banks Petrey, Kenneth Evan Riley and Michael Anthony Vercher, all of Birmingham; John Adams Field of Collierville, Tenn.; Scott Johnston Fillmore of Mission Hills, Kan.; Channing Leigh Gardner of Seagrove, Fla.; Mark Stewart Geyer Jr. of Dallas; William Chadwick Green of Seaford, Va.; Erik Davis Harp of Denver; Henry Coleman Herrod of Salt Lake City; and Joseph Patrick Riley III of Charleston, S.C.  After a honeymoon trip to Whistler, British Columbia, the couple lives in Atlanta.

William Bradley Strickland of Selma. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. Jane Rucker Gunter of Birmingham, formerly of Russellville, the late Mr. James William Gunter of Rohrbach, Germany, and the late Mr. and Mrs. Carl Edward Johnson of Birmingham. Miss Johnson is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and a 2008 magna cum laude graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, where she earned a degree in psychology and was named to Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa. Miss Johnson was president of Kappa Omega sorority and captain of the Sewanee track team. She received her master’s degree from the University of Alabama School of Social Work and is a therapist at Magnolia Creek Treatment Center for Eating Disorders. She was

presented at the 2007 Ball of Roses. The prospective groom is the grandson of the Rev. William Calvin Strickland of Valley Grande and the late Mrs. Strickland and the late Mr. and Mrs. Edward Alfonso Lott of Burnsville. Mr. Strickland is a graduate of Morgan Academy, where he was a National Merit Scholar. He attended the University of South Alabama as a Mitchell Scholar and graduated from Auburn University at Montgomery magna cum laude with a degree in accounting. Mr. Strickland is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma honor societies. He is a revenue examiner for the Alabama Department of Revenue. The wedding is planned for May 18 at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham.

announce the engagement of their daughter, Ali Nicole Smith, to Noah Chase Kennedy, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Caswell Kennedy of Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Howard Smith of Longview, Texas, and the late Mr. William Hampton and Mrs. Laura Elizabeth DeNinno of Phoenix. Miss Smith is a 2006 graduate of Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies. She was captain of the women’s varsity basketball team and is an alumna of both Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and the University Cottage Club. Miss Smith is employed by the Christian Union in Princeton, N.J., where she serves as a campus minister to students at Princeton University.

The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Col. and Mrs. Clarence Newton Kennedy of Montgomery and the late Mr. William Roger Kirby of Jacksonville and Mr. and Mrs. Verne Simonin of Birmingham. Mr. Kennedy is a 1998 graduate of Hoover High School and a 2002 graduate of the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He is an alumnus of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Mr. Kennedy earned a master of divinity degree in 2012 and will complete a master’s degree in theology in May from Princeton Theological Seminary. The wedding is planned for May 26 in Miller Chapel at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton.

To have our wedding & engagement forms sent to you, call 823-9646.

30 • Thursday, April 4, 2013


Mr. and Mrs. Steven Alexander Shelton of Tuscaloosa announce the engagement of their daughter, Stephanie Sue Shelton, to Robert William Plumb Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert William Plumb of Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. Alpha Willodean Marlow and the late Mr. Joseph James Tubbs


Mr. and Mrs. Tim Sager of Birmingham announce the engagement of their daughter, Alexandra


Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Harper McElroy III of Birmingham announce the engagement of their daughter, Mary Ellen McElroy, to Kevin Lee Wall, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Terry Ralph Wall of Birmingham. Miss McElroy is the daughter of the late Ms. Elisabeth V. McElroy. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. Andrew Harper McElroy Jr. of Huntsville and the late Dr.

Weddings & engagements of Tuscaloosa and the late Mr. and Mrs. James Alexander Shelton. Miss Shelton is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega fraternity, treasurer of the 18th order of XXXI, Miss University of Alabama, treasurer of Mortar Board Honor Society and an Ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. She is employed with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of English. The prospective groom is the grandson of Mr. Ray E. Plumb and the late Mrs. Jackie Plumb of Houston and Mr. and Mrs. Richard William Baldwin of Bellingham, Wash. Mr. Plumb is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he was treasurer of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, treasurer of the Alabama Insurance Society and a member of the block seating committee for the Student Government Association. He is employed with McGriff Seibels and Williams, Inc. The wedding is planned for May 18.

Sager, to Kevin Fly, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Fly of Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Doug Reeser of Birmingham and Dr. and Mrs. Doug Sager of Knoxville, Tenn. Miss Sager is a graduate of Auburn University, where she was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and chaplain of Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts/Students of Auburn Recruiting. The prospective groom is the grandson of Mr. J. Frank Fly and the late Mrs. Helen G. Fly of Memphis, Tenn., and the late Ms. Jane Maxwell of Chattanooga, Tenn. Mr. Fly is a graduate of Auburn University, where he was a member of Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts/ Students of Auburn Recruiting. The wedding will be June 15.

McElroy and Mrs. Mary C. Vance of Dothan and the late Mr. John C. Vance. Miss McElroy is a 2008 graduate of Mountain Brook High School and a 2012 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta social sorority, Sigma Theta Tau International nursing honor society and Lambda Sigma academic honor society. She is employed with Children’s of Alabama as a registered nurse in NICU. The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. James Coy Wall and the late Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Basil Neal, all of Atlanta. Mr. Wall is a 2009 graduate of Mountain Brook High School and Auburn University. He was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and an intern with Crescent Moon Entertainment. Mr. Wall will graduate from Auburn University in May with a bachelor’s degree in business management. The wedding will be Aug. 3.


Amelia Ashton O’Neal and Johnathon Robert Stevens were married Nov. 17, 2012 at 3:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Point Clear. Father Robert Sullivan officiated the ceremony. An outdoor reception followed at Julep Point at the Grand Hotel. Parents of the bride are Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand Clarke O’Neal of

Birmingham. Grandparents are the late Mr. and Mrs. Moncure Camper O’Neal and the late Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Cochran Ashton. The bride was a teacher at The Langley School in McLean, Va., before moving to Birmingham in 2012. She is employed at Bluff Park Elementary. Parents of the groom are Mrs. Harold Loree Stevens and the late Mr. Harold Loree Stevens of Louisville, Miss. Grandparents are the late Mr. and Mrs. John Thomas Hill and the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Loree Stevens. The groom was a senior legislative assistant for Congressman Spencer Bachus before moving to Birmingham in 2012. He is employed at Cobbs, Allen and Hall. The bride was given in marriage by her father. “Men of Honor” were Bertrand Clarke O’Neal Jr. and Edwin Camper O’Neal, brothers of the bride. Bridesmaids were Chanda Stevens Smith, Susanne Potter O’Neal, Mary Chollet Still O’Neal,

Katherine Anthony Sasser, Sarah Elizabeth Riser, Katherine Chambliss Holcomb, Mildred Harrison Ward, Leslie Moncus Chapman and Jeannie Damrich Hunt. Flower girls were Addison Grace O’Neal and Hallie Loree Smith, nieces of the bride and groom. Ring bearer was James Hayden Smith, nephew of the groom. Scripture readers were Margaret Stimpson Mitchell, Frances Mosteller Sadler and Lacy Williams Lavender. Greeter was Graham Sanson Harrison. Crucifer was Louis Merrill Ward. The best man was the late Mr. Harold Loree Stevens, father of the groom. Groomsmen were Bertrand Clarke O’Neal Jr., Edwin Camper O’Neal, Caleb Derrick Metts, Richard Dane Ballard, Lucas Connerly Ballard, Jeffrey Scott Peterson, James Douglas Smith, Roshan Raman Patel, Blake Moody Fulton and Jeremy Wayne Ward. After a honeymoon trip to St. Lucia, the couple lives in Birmingham.


Mr. and Mrs. Carl O. Walter III of Wildwood, Mo,. announce the engagement of their daughter, Candice Carolyn Walter, to Joshua Boyette Cortopassi, son of Dr. and Mrs. C. John Cortopassi Jr. of Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Emerson L. Paulsen of Chesterfield, Mo., and Mrs. Gordon F. Warner of Richardson, Texas, and the late Mr. Warner and the late Mr. Carl O. Walter Jr. Miss Walter is a graduate of Lafayette High School in Wildwood and a graduate of Belmont University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in design communications.

She is employed as a graphic designer with Pilkerton Realtors in Brentwood, Tenn. The prospective groom is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Leigh Catlett of Lucedale, Miss., and the late Mr. and Mrs. Caeser John Cortopassi Sr. of Mobile. Mr. Cortopassi is a graduate of Vestavia Hills High School and Belmont University with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He will receive his Pharm.D degree from the University of Tennessee School of Pharmacy in May.  The wedding is planned for June 1.

In 1953, Mr. Thies was a member of the United States Air Force and assigned to the Wright Air Development Center in Dayton, Ohio. Mrs. Thies was working and a native of Dayton, Ohio. After meeting on a blind date, they were soon married at Grace United Methodist Church in Dayton. Mr. and Mrs. Thies live in Hoover and are active members of Lakeside Baptist Church. Mr. Thies is retired from Southern Company Services, and Mrs. Thies is retired from the Birmingham City school system. They have three children: Melissa

(Mike) Wilson of Park City, Utah; Brenda (Frantz) Johnson of Hoover; and Becky (William) Lucas of Alabaster. They have six grandchildren: Marsha (Nick) Butler, Amanda Johnson, April (Blake) Kitchings, Adam Johnson, Austin (Erika) Lucas and Trent Lucas. In addition, there are three greatgrandchildren: Troy and Eli Butler and Gemma Lucas. The Butler family, now living in China, was able to join the family dinner by Skype. The couple plans a cruise to the Panama Canal later this year.


Thies Anniversary

John and Janice Thies celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on March 21 with a private family dinner at the Bright Star Restaurant.

getting hitched?

Recently engaged , married or celebrating an anniversary? Let us help spread the word of your good news. Send your announcement to or visit for forms and info.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 31



Leaving the Principal’s Office Vestavia Hills High’s McWaters Stepping Down

By Margaret Frymire


Journal contributorÂ

fter almost 30 years of service, the principal of Vestavia Hills High School has decided to step down. In his many years at Vestavia, Cas McWaters has worked as coach, teacher, assistant principal and principal but said his favorite part of the job has always been the students. “I love the kids,� McWaters said. “I enjoy interacting with teenagers. They still relate to me at 51, perhaps, in part, because I try to relate to them.�  McWaters was first introduced to Vestavia Hills schools when he started school in Vestavia as a first-grader. McWaters graduated from Vestavia Hills High School in 1980. Throughout the next several years, he volunteered at the school, coaching baseball and football. In 1987, he started coaching baseball full time, and in 1988, Vestavia High hired McWaters to teach both biology and chemistry.  A graduate of Auburn University, McWaters majored in chemistry on the pre-med track, planning to go into the medical field.  McWaters said he had no intention of going into education but that he had always had a passion for kids. Since the 1980s, McWaters has worked at Vestavia Hills High except for a brief two-year period as the principal of Tarrant High. He returned to Vestavia to assume the role of principal in 2006 and has been there since. McWaters said that the biggest change he’s seen at Vestavia High during his career is the prominence of philanthropy in the school’s curriculum. In the fall, the school’s SGA picks a philanthropy that the students and various clubs then become involved in. In the spring, Vestavia Hills High participates in Relay for Life. McWaters said that in the past seven years, Vestavia Hills High has built a house for Habitat for Humanity each year and raised $200,000 a year for charities. “It’s truly become part of the culture at Vestavia. We have been given much, and much is required of us,� said McWaters. “We want to be out there helping others. The kids love doing it, and they don’t see it as a chore.� McWaters also said that a benefit of the philanthropy emphasis at Vestavia is the leadership opportunities for the students that involvement in service and philanthropies provides. The students organize, raise money and lead the community in service. “I truly believe we have really special kids,� said McWaters, “We just have some really neat students.� McWaters has spent the past seven years as Vestavia

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Vestavia Hills High School Principal Cas McWaters has been involved with the school system since he was a firstgrader. He will retire at the end of the school year in May after almost 30 years of service. Journal photo by Margaret Frymire

High’s principal, longer than many of his counterparts. It’s a demanding job leading a school of 1,880 students, and McWaters said he felt the Lord leading him to a different area--one where he could rest and spend more time with his family. At Bessemer Academy, where McWaters has taken a teaching job for next year, he said he hopes to be able to find the “balance of pouring out in service and being filled with rest.� McWaters said he hopes in his absence Vestavia Hills High still continues to seek ways to raise the bar of academic excellence. He said he wants the school to continue teaching the students life skills. McWaters said the school and community have always had a welcoming, family feel, and he hopes that tradition continues despite the growing size of the high school. He plans to remain involved in the Vestavia Hills community, especially as his son, Hanley, now an eighth-grader, prepares to enter Vestavia High. McWaters also teaches 10th-grade Sunday school classes at Shades Mountain Baptist Church and plans to continue to remain involved in the lives of students in Vestavia Hills. McWaters said he’s had a lot of moments he will never forget at Vestavia Hills High School, but he does have his favorites. “Anytime we see kids succeed. Those have been my favorite moments,� he said. �

School Notes Galleria Will Recognize Teachers in May

OTM Schools Named Best in Music Education

The Celebrate Teachers! program at Riverchase Galleria is accepting nominations for a local teacher who “goes the extra mile� every day. In celebration of National Teacher Day, a top teacher will receive a $500 mall gift card on the holiday, May 7. “Celebrate Teachers! will recognize and showcase the dedication of our best educators,� said Christopher White, Riverchase Galleria’s marketing manager. “Teachers are shaping our future leaders, and we want to recognize the hard work. This program continues the mall’s commitment to local schools.� Votes can be cast April 16-28. The teacher who receives the most votes will win the contest. Visit riverchasegalleria. com for official rules.

Hoover, Homewood and Vestavia Hills have been named three of the 307 best communities for music education in the U.S. by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. This is the eighth time Homewood has received the honor. In addition, Vestavia Hills High School was one of 66 U.S. schools to receive a Support Music Merit Award for providing its students with inclusive music education. The “best communities� title recognizes the efforts of the teachers, administrators, students and parents who work nonstop to keep comprehensive music education a key component of the schools’ core curricula. This year, nearly 2,000 schools and school districts participated in

the organization’s survey of music educators and received designations, a 366 percent increase from last year, according to the NAMM Foundation. According to the foundation, the increased survey participation this year reflects the growing support from both administrators and parents who appreciate the necessary role that learning about music plays in a student’s achievement.

Local Bands Play in National Competition The Vestavia Hills High School Wind Ensemble was chosen to perform in the National Concert Band Festival, part of the Music for All Festival presented by Yamaha. The festival took place March 14-16 in Indianapolis. Unlike a competition, the festival pre-selects participants through an

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32 • Thursday, April 4, 2013


School Notes anonymous submission of music. The assembly in the gym featuring a flag 16 winning submissions reflect the best parade with students representing 32 ensembles in the nation. different countries. International Day Pizitz Middle School’s Symphonic also included dance, music and theater Band, directed performances, by Kim Bain, also including a Chinese represented the opera. Vestavia Hills City This year’s Schools as one of event also featured only four middle an international schools invited fashion show where to perform at the students modeled national festival. clothes from different The Vestavia countries. Wind Ensemble, The students directed by Jerell had a chance to Horton, held a learn about the concert along with Running of the the Pizitz Band on Bulls in Spain and Mar. 5 at Vestavia a bit of the French High School. language. They also The concert learned tribal dance featured “Pride of techniques. the Wolverines” by The day ended John Philip Sousa, with a sampling of “Earl of Oxford’s international foods. March” by Gordon In other school Dancers perform during Gwin Jacob, “Three news, Gwin Vespers” by Sergei Elementary School’s International Elementary won a Day event. Photo special to The Journal Rachmaninoff and $4,000 Fuel Up to arranged by Timothy Salzman and Play 60 grant. “Trittico” by Vaclav Nelhybel as well The grant will be used to resurface as other songs that they played at the the school’s track, create a healthy living festival.. mural in the lunchroom and to start a school garden. The school was also awarded a $7,000 grant from Rep. Paul DeMarco, Gwin Elementary School celebrated R-Homewood, which will help with the diversity on Jan. 25 with its annual track resurfacing project. International Day. The grant presentations were made The event kicked off with an at the school’s Open House on Jan. 29.

Gwin Celebrates Diversity


Bluff park blast off Fourth-graders from Bluff Park Elementary School in Hoover recently took a field trip to the U.S Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. The students learned about the history of space exploration as they toured the museum and took rides on the interactive simulators. The students also participated in a hands-on science activity about air pressure, watched an IMAX movie, saw the Saturn V display and toured the outdoor Rocket Park. The students spent time in a replica of the Mars Space Rover and climbed the Mars rock wall. Ready for blast off are, from left: Andrew Martinez, Brodie Garner and Andrew Pierson. Photo special to The Journal

Hall-Kent Students Learn Leadership Skills Kindergarten students at Hall-Kent Elementary School have been testing their talents at running a democracy. Homewood City Councilman Vance Moody spoke to the students about being a good leader and community helper. The students also have been creating their own community with individual components, starting with an election for Mayor of Kindergarten. The candidates for mayor included Parker Nichols, Lexy Mhando, Cecily Daughtery, Payne Sheehan, Landon Baldwin, Kendall Watts, Riley King, Nicolas Maccari, Amber Irby and Jayden Vaughn. The students elected two candidates from each class to run for mayor. The candidates then had to campaign for a week by visiting other kindergarten classes and rallying for their candidacy. They made flyers, and some even had the help of campaign managers. The candidates made speeches to all of the kindergarten students and their parents explaining why they would make the best mayor at Hall-Kent. Cecily Daugherty and Kendall Watts were elected co-mayors. The classes will also elect policemen, bankers and other officials and earn “money” that they can spend at the community’s market day, where they will get the chance to sell goods made by student businesses.

BWF Sixth-graders Prep for 2013 Graduation Sixth-graders at Brookwood Forest Elementary School kicked off their graduation activities with a Valentine’s Dance on Feb. 1. The dance was part of five events that will lead up to elementary school graduation at the end of the school year. The sixth-grade graduation committee for Brookwood Forest Elementary, led by sixth-grade students’ parents Cheryl Collat, Laura Brown and Jan Grant, will host the five events at locations throughout the community. At the Feb. 1 dance, a DJ, sweets, hula-hoops and balloons added to the celebration. Students already have enjoyed a picnic with Doodle’s Frozen Desserts, a

Hall-Kent Elementary mayoral candidates were: Parker Nichols, Lexy Mhando, Cecily Daughtery, Payne Sheehan, Landon Baldwin, Kendall Watts, Riley King, Nicolas Maccari, Amber Irby and Jayden Vaughn. Photo special to The Journal

bowling event, a Mountain Brook High School basketball game night and a dance. Future events include a spring dance and pool party after the graduation ceremony.

LPM Math Team Brings Home Hardware The math teams from Liberty Park Middle School in Vestavia Hills recently competed at the Pizitz Middle School Math Tournament. The sixth-grade team placed fourth overall out of 11 teams. The seventhgrade team finished in third place out of 13 teams. Ken Jiao, a seventh-grader, won the first place overall award. Seventh-grader Josh Gray won sixth place overall in his division. Juwon Jeong, an eighth-grader finished in sixth place overall. Coaches are Tiffany Payne, sixth

grade; Brett Richards, seventh grade; and Paul Morris, eighth grade.

John Carroll Marks Catholic Schools Week During the 2013 Catholic Schools Week celebration in late January, John Carroll Catholic High School students and staff donated $2,000 along with food and toiletry items to two service organizations that assist those in need. The school gave $1,000 each to the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Catholic Center of Concern. Donations came from students, staff members and the student organization Carroll Students Modeling Christ. In addition to the financial donation, the Little Sisters of the Poor received toiletry items to use in the Sacred Heart Monastery in Mobile. The school donated canned food to the Catholic Center of Concern.

The math teams from Liberty Park Middle School won several awards at the Pizitz Middle School Math Tournament. Photo special to The Journal

The Mountain Brook Junior High Scholars Bowl team celebrates a fourth-place finish at the state tournament. From left: Jake Weissman, Freddie Nunnelly, Avin Niknafs, John Martin Weed and Nicole Roberts. Photo special to The Journal

Mountain Brook Junior Scholars Place at State The Scholars Bowl team from Mountain Brook Junior High School won fourth place at the state tournament on Feb. 23. Team members participating in the state tournament were Jake Weissman, Freddie Nunnelley, Avin Niknafs, John Martin Weed and Nicole Roberts. Mountain Brook Junior High School faculty members Karen Long and Pearle Smith are coaches. The team played seven rounds before advancing to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, the No. 8 seeded team faced the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Mountain Brook Junior High team won the close game with a tiebreaker. The team also faced Pizitz Middle and Arab Middle School. ❖

Spring Valley Competes for McWane Science Prize Students at Spring Valley School are working on designing and building their entry for the McWane Science Center’s Exhibit Design Challenge. Students in the school’s Core-F class are working under the direction of teacher Kendra Cowden to complete the project. The challenge is open to all fifthgraders in the state. The winning student team will have its design displayed at the McWane Science Center in downtown Birmingham.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 33



In the past, Spring Valley School has won first and second place awards for exhibits designed by its students.

Oak Mountain Students, Teachers Run in Marathon Training for and completing events at the 2013 Mercedes Marathon was a team effort at Oak Mountain Elementary School. OMES 100 students registered to run in the Mercedes Marathon one-mile Fun Run Feb. 16. The students’ physical education coaches, Allen McGowan and Sallie Youngblood, worked with them to prepare for the marathon. The preparation taught the students about having a healthy mindset, as well as reaching their goals, the teachers said. Eighteen members of Oak Mountain Elementary’s staff showed their support for the students by participating in the Mercedes Marathon on Feb. 17. They included McGowan, Youngblood, Jennifer Ray, Maggie Russell, Brittany Allen, Allison Kinchler, Katie Thomas, Lana Brown, Rosalyn Dixon, Lee Taylor, Melanie Carbonie, Lori Lancaster, Ferris Smith, Erin Moody, Cammie Eanes, Nina Butler, Leslie Marshall and Taylor Lewis.

been announced as a semifinalist in the Alabama National Geographic Bee, presented by the National Geographic Society. He is the son of Brian and Alyssa DiRusso of Vestavia Hills. Lynne Sullivan is his teacher at VHEC. With DiRusso’s new title comes the invitation to compete in the 2013 and 25th anniversary Alabama National Geographic Bee. DiRusso, along with the other winners from each school level, completed Jason DiRusso and submitted a qualifying test to the National Geographic Society. The highest 100 scores were then selected to compete at the state-level competition. Samford University will host this year’s state competition April 5. If he wins, DiRusso will win $100 and a trip Washington, D.C. to compete nationally. The National Geographic Bee will be May 23 and will be hosted by Alex Trebek. ❖

Vestavia Fourth-grader Is Semifinalist in Geo Bee Jason DiRusso, a fourth-grader at Vestavia Hills Elementary Central, has

Oak Mountain Elementary School teachers participated in the 2013 Mercedes Marathon. From left: Jennifer Ray, Maggie Russell, Brittany Allen, Allison Kinchler, Katie Thomas, Lana Brown, Rosalyn Dixon, Lee Taylor, Sallie Youngblood, Melanie Carbonie, Lori Lancaster, Ferris Smith, Erin Moody, Allen McGowan, Cammie Eanes, Nina Butler and Leslie Marshall. Taylor Lewis is not pictured. Photo special to The Journal

To: From:

Sweet Repeat

Highlands seventh-grader Peter Scalise won the school’s geography bee for the second year in a row. In January, students in grades 4-8 at Highlands School competed in the school’s annual geography bee. Scalise will once again represent Highlands School as he advances to the next level of competition in the National Geography Bee. Seventh-grader Grace O’Malley was the second place winner. Highlands School Principal Bo Garrett, center, congratulates Peter Scalise, right, the winner of the school’s geography bee. Grace O’Malley, left, was the second place winner. Photo special to The Journal

Mike A. Keller, DDS, PC Pediatric / Adolescent Dentistry Dr. Mike Keller, friends & staff are happy to recognize March members of the NO SUGAR BUG CLUB

Ross Abbott Richmond Adams Emory Alexander Harper Alexander Avery Allen Emilie Alonso Daniel Alonso Joshua Anthony Kaye Arnold Libby Arnold Kendyl Averhart Jordyn Averhart Will Bailey Micah Bailey Kathryn Bailey Michael Baker Hannah Kate Basquill Addison Basquill Kevin Bell Khloe Bell Khristian Bell Owen Berthiaume Emma Berthiaume Grace Bertram Elias Bertram DiDi Bird Adele Bird Joe Bird Jackson Bloomingburg Addison Bloomingburg Stephen Wright Bogart Joshua Bosha Kristlyn Bosha Daniel Bosha Nathan Bowman Austin Bowman Rebecca Brown Anna Catherine Brown Malachi Brown Zoe Brown Becton Brown Logan Brunner Crenshaw Bunn Reid Catherine Bunn Austin Burke Blaine Burrell Jonathan Burson Nate Campbell Caleb Campbell George Carbonie Katherine Carbonie Charlie Carbonie John Carothers Will Carothers Oscar Cartagena Angel Cartagena Daniel Cartagena Harini Chakilam Achyut Chakilam Janie Christian LizzieAnn Clemens Cassidy Clemenson Cooper Clemenson Andress Coats Campbell Coggin Kennedy Coggin TJ Cole Errius Collins

Luke Compton Mason Compton Anne Compton Austin Coner Terry Coner Harper Cook JB Cook Chip Cowin Will Cvacho Francie Cvacho David Cypress Blythe Danley Devyn Danley Anna Grace Dasher Ben Dasher Mimi Davis Annabel Davis Tyra Davis Tyrone Davis Sean Day Asia Day Meg Dobbins Will Dobbins Durden Duell Noa Duell Dobbs Duell Marie Duncan Graham Duncan Sam Eagan Will Eagan John David Early Anna Early Kate Edmonds Will Edwards Merritt Edwards Lauren Edwards Isabel Elkus Mary Richard Elkus Eleanor Elkus Anna Elliott Rex Everette J Wesley Everette Ransom Everette Stutts Everette Neka Ferguson Shanden Fifer Shannon Fifer John Fischer Christian Fischer Parker Foshee Douglas Frederick Alexander Freeburg Joshua Freeman Jackson Frey Hunter Frey Parker Frey Damian Fuchs Zachary Gale Justin Gamble Gibson Garner Hayden Gilbert Ryan Gilbert Sarah Gladney Mary Dawson Gladney Leo Godwin Kayla Gourdine-Watkins William Graham Mattie Graham

Thomas Graham Kathryn Graves Nathan Graves Sarah Graves Lauren Green Kamau Greene Caroline Griffin Trey Griffith Abby Griffith Austin Griffith Ty Grissom Matthew Gwin Mark Hand Sanders Hand Luke Hand Colton Hankey Colton Hankey Kathryn Hardin Logan Hardisty Sierra Hardisty Joshua Hardrick Cole Hargrove Madison Hargrove Grant Harris Jackson Harris Erin Harris Reed Harrison Emily Harrison Samantha Hassen Lillian Hays John Whitten Hays Alex Headrick Mary Winston Hendry John Hendry Jack Herbert Shawn Herring Jason Herring Jay Hester Emily Hester Garrett Higgins Laney Hill Evey Hill Tessa Hill Justin Hoang Tiffani Hoang Hope Hobson Josiah Houston Shelby Howard Jack Howard Samuel Howard Kaylyn Howard Sarah Huddle Taylor Jackson Kennedy Jackson Keilan Jefferson Anthony Jefferson Aidan Jeffries Addison Jeffries Allison Jenkins Ellen Jenkins Xzaria Jett Cooper Johnson Lily Johnson Mason Johnson Erykah Johnson Cheyenne Johnson Charity Johnson Charity Johnson

Lucy Jones Sydni Jones Skylar Jones Braiden Jones Nathan Jones Aaliyah King Will Koopman Margaret Koopman Mack Koopman Sara Frances Koopman Daniel Kubiszyn John David Kubiszyn Gracie La Torre Joshua La Torre Trinity Lairson Brett Lancaster Trey Lee Zach Levans Sadie Levans Tzophiyah Levans Stephen Lilly Carson Lilly Langston Lilly Kaitlyn Lisby Luis Lopez Daniel Lopez Emma Lovelady Oliver Lovelady Rebecca Lovelady Mary Lovelady Kaden Bryce Manning Thomas Marriiott Ben Marsh Jacob Marsh Cade Martin Carson Martin Brandon Martinez Maury Martinez McKenzie Mason Cameron McClinton Alexia McCray Jada McGee Regan McKenna Madison McKenna Logan McKenna Nicole McKie John McKinnon Amyya Melton Lila Mitchell Bennett Mitchell Ford Moffatt Adele Moffatt Amelia Moffatt Colin Moll Meredith Moll Tristin Morris Dylan Morris Trey Moss Addie Moss Jordan Moss Raines Mostashari Raines Mostashari Timothy Motley Joshua Motley Marianna Murray Kathryn Mussell Lauren Mussell Julianna Naftel

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34 • Thursday, April 4, 2013



Rebels Down Spartans to Win OTM Championship

The third-grade Vestavia Rebels went undefeated and beat the Mountain Brook Spartans in the Over The Mountain Championship game by a score of 18 to 9 to take home the tile. Team members are, from left, front: Rachel DeFore, Ally Smith, Anna Towry and Emma Smith. Back: Coach Michael DeFore, Mary Alex Maluff, Libby May, Avery Stewart, D’yona Jones and Coach Lee Stewart.

Tennis Academy Works with Scouts, Offers Camp

Birmingham Tennis Academy coaches and junior players helped the Cub Scouts of Trinity United Methodist Church’s Pack 397 earn their tennis belt loops. The scouts learned basic strokes and rules of tennis with drills and games on March 10.  Birmingham Tennis Academy, on the campus of Lakeshore Foundation, also is hosting a full-day summer camp. Children will receive tennis instruction and participate in a variety of sports, games and competitions. For more information about the camp, visit


From Back Cover

with no less than four area schools in the Class 6A top 10. Oak Mountain is ranked third with Mountain Brook in fourth place. Spain Park sits at eighth in the state, and Vestavia Hills is ninth. Homewood’s Lady Patriots are the top-ranked team in Class 5A, with Briarwood placing fifth. In Class 1A-4A, Indian Springs holds down the No. 3 position. In baseball, Hoover is the No. 2 ranked team in Class 6A; Spain Park is ninth. Homewood, 20-1 for the season, is the seventh-ranked team in Class 5A. Briarwood was picked for the 10th slot.

Vestavia Hills is the only area team that’s ranked in Class 6A softball, as the Lady Rebels hold the fifth place spot. But Mountain Brook and Oak Mountain are knocking on the door. Of course, this impressive list is nothing new. Area schools have now been dominant in these sports for decades. The question is why. Often the answers are the proverbial usual suspects: quality athletes, dedicated coaches and committed parents, schools and administrators. But in the unique case of spring sports, the answers might be a little deeper. One of the greatest decisions the Alabama High School Athletic Association ever made was to make the soccer season a spring sport as opposed to a fall activity. Believe it or

Bucs Sweep Jags 5-8, 4-4

Team members are, from left, front: Robert Grubbs, Gordon Sargent, Jack Lukens, Paulson Wright and Ethan Shunnarah. Middle: Strother Gibbs, Charles Crommelin, James Hufham and Caldwell McCraney. Coaches: Rob Lukens and David Hufham.

Fourth-grade Spartans Win Two Titles

The fourth-grade Mountain Brook Spartans finished their basketball season winning both the Jingle Bell Jam and Over The Mountain Championships. The Spartans defeated Vestavia Swish 34-11 in the title game.

not, there was a time, probably around the 1980s, when area football coaches seriously believed that the lure of soccer could draw top-flight athletes away from their sport. Their concern–which seemed legitimate at the time–was that the less rigorous regimen of soccer training would be more attractive to many teenage boys than the drudgery of two-a-day football practices in searing August heat. “If I was 16 and had a choice of kicking a ball around or doing a full contact football scrimmage in 95 degree heat, I know which one I’d choose,” a former Over the Mountain head football coach once admitted to me. By moving the soccer season to

the spring, the AHSAA took away any possibility of tension between the European and American versions of football and probably helped both sports. Young men could compete in football and soccer, which only improved the quality of play overall. The other factor in soccer’s success–applying to both boys’ and girls’ programs–is the youth feeder programs that exist even for preschool children. Even high school coaches of other sports recommend soccer as an entry level game for young kids. Soccer offers fresh air, exercise and relatively uncomplicated rules–the perfect combination to keep a young child’s attention. It also teaches teamwork and helps develop crucial handeye coordination essential to success in all sports. Some young soccer players will almost certainly move on to other sports as they get older. But there will always be a core who are committed to the game and who will have played youth or club soccer for nearly 10 years by the time they reach high school. It’s a big advantage for a

In a March 19 matchup of top 10 teams No. 2 Hoover proved too much for ninth-ranked Spain Park winning both games of the doubleheader. Starter Geoffrey Bramblett went five innings to pick up the victory

for the Bucs, allowing two runs, one earned, with two walks and seven strikeouts. Hunter White, Josh Vines and Billy Reid led the way with their hitting for Hoover.

varsity coach when he or she doesn’t have to spend time teaching basic fundamentals. The area’s success in baseball and softball is also rooted in the strength of feeder programs. Hoover, Homewood and Vestavia have had top-of-the-line youth baseball programs since at least the 1970s. The newer and fast-growing communities in South Jefferson and North Shelby counties have caught up quickly. Much the same is true for softball, which seems to grow more popular every year. Of course, other sections of Alabama are very competitive in spring team sports as well. Huntsville and its vicinity are particularly strong in soccer and softball, while the balance of power in baseball tends to be in the southern part of the state. Year in and year out, the Over the Mountain area is going to produce the most consistent contenders and bring home more than its share of state championships. And that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Hoover Bucs’ Billy Reed is out on the first half of a double play turn by Jaguar second baseman Matt Berler. Journal photos by Marvin Gentry

Starter Jacob Whitehead got the win for Hoover in game one, allowing four runs on eight hits over six innings.

Spain Park starter Josh Rich took the loss, in game one of the doubleheader, giving up five runs -- one earned -- on 10 hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The Jaguar defense committed seven errors in the game.


Crimson Memories Former Area Coaches, Players Remember Mal Moore By Lee Davis

Journal Sports Writer

As the news of former University of Alabama athletic director and coach Mal Moore’s death passed through the state last Saturday, one of his ex-players and greatest admirers may have been among the last to know. Robert Higginbotham, who coached Mountain Brook in the 1970s and played for the Crimson Tide in the 1960s, was attending a family event in Pensacola, Fla., when he learned the sad news. “What a shock. Obviously Coach Moore was quite ill, but I didn’t expect to hear this,” Higginbotham said. “If you look at what he did, it revealed what a great coach and a quality person he was.” Higginbotham, who played defensive back at Alabama under the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant, said Moore was his position coach during his playing years at the Capstone. “You could tell then that he was an outstanding coach,” Higginbotham said. “Coach Moore expected a lot

Patriots, From Back Cover

level have good seniors,” Gann said. “This is one of the best senior classes we’ve had here.” One of the most versatile seniors is pitcher/catcher Luke Porter, a complete athlete who also quarterbacked the Patriot football team. Porter ended March with a 4-1 record on the mound with one save, an ERA of 1.40 and 26 strikeouts. At the plate, he’s batting .517 with 24 RBIs and seven doubles. “Luke does a lot of good things for us,” Gann said. Homewood is living proof of the old adage that a team can’t have too many quality pitchers. Including Porter, no less than five Patriot hurlers have recorded victories in 2013. The leader is senior Brian Browning, who earned a 9-1 victory over John Carroll on March 26 to push his record to 6-0. Browning has earned 70 strikeouts while compiling a microscopic ERA of 0.39. Connor Rivers, also a senior, is

out of his players, but nobody worked harder than he did.” A few years after Higginbotham graduated from Alabama, Moore was reassigned by Bryant to coach the Crimson Tide quarterbacks. By 1973, Moore was the offensive coordinator. “The fact that Coach Bryant thought so much of Coach Moore really tells you everything you need to know,” Higginbotham said. “Coach Bryant clearly had a lot of confidence in him–and if you look at all those championship rings he owned, that confidence was very justified.” Higginbotham said he learned lessons from Moore that helped him in his own high school coaching career. “I guess the main thing I learned from Coach Moore as well as Coach Bryant was the importance of attention to detail,” he said. “Nothing ever got by or was overlooked by Coach Moore. All great coaches understand how important the little things are if you plan to be successful.” Higginbotham believes Moore’s greatest legacy of his 14-year tenure as UA’s athletic director was the upgrade of the facilities–and the hiring of football coach Nick Saban. 4-0 with an ERA of 0.75 with 13 strikeouts. Rivers, an infielder when not pitching, hits at a strong .434 clip with 18 RBIs. The young gun of the group is sophomore Adam Stewart, also 4-0 with 28 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.33. Wesley Walker, who is also a standout at third base, is 2-0 with 12 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.67. Homewood is not a power-oriented team, but senior outfielder Mason Schoettlin leads the team with two home runs. Outfielder Jack Smalley hits .341. The Patriots have a standout at shortstop, where Will Alfano is hitting .333. Backup catcher Jordan Acton also has a strong bat, hitting a hefty .385. Gann said Homewood’s four-game sweep of a tournament in Orlando against top teams from Arkansas and Oklahoma added a lot to the team’s confidence level just as area play was set to begin. “To go down there and fight and win against top flight teams from other states was a great way to get us ready for the area,” Gann said. “We Homewood’s Cade Mullens makes a play on a John Carroll base runner. Journal photo by Lee walls Jr.

sports “After the probation and other things, the morale in Tuscaloosa was pretty low at the end of the 1990s,” Higginbotham said. “Coach Moore came in as athletic director and got everybody on the same page. He raised a lot of money to upgrade the facilities for football and the other sports. That really helped with recruiting.” But the Saban hire was almost certainly Moore’s crowning achievement, Higginbotham said. “Coach Moore saw something in Saban and knew he was the right man for Alabama,” Former University of Alabama athletic direcHigginbotham said. “He simply tor and coach Mal Moore with Bama coach was not going to let Saban get Nick Saban at the SEC Championship game away. And the fact that Coach in Atlanta last year. Moore passed away on Moore had upgraded the faciliSaturday at the age of 73. Journal file photo by Lee Walls Jr. ties so much was probably part of what made the Alabama job championships, three Sugar Bowls, a attractive to Saban.” Cotton Bowl and three Southeastern Higginbotham said Moore should Conference titles. be remembered in much the same Ogilvie rivals Higginbotham in his way as Bryant. admiration of Moore. “Coach Moore’s record as coach “I think Coach Moore deserves a and athletic director speaks for itself,” tremendous amount of credit for the he said. “I am so proud of Coach success Alabama has had in recent Moore for what he accomplished and proud that I had the opportunity to play for him.” Former Mountain Brook running back Major Ogilvie excelled for Alabama as a halfback in Moore’s vaunted wishbone offense from 1977-80. During that time, Alabama went 44-4 and won two national faced some really good pitching and came away with wins. It was a great experience for our players.” For all its early success, Homewood hasn’t really won anything yet, as Gann repeatedly points out. The Patriots began Class 5A Area 9 play against John Carroll Catholic last week and took two key victories over the Cavaliers. Homewood will meet area rivals Briarwood and Ramsay in the early days of April. “We’ve had a nice run so far, but it won’t mean anything if we don’t get it done in area play,” Gann said. “Anything can happen–and usually does happen. All we can do is work and try to get better in every practice and every game. “It’s really hard to single too many players out. Everyone has contributed to what we’ve been doing.” Homewood showed its resilience in the second victory over John Carroll. After whipping the Cavs decisively in their first meeting, the Patriots had to hold off a determined last-inning rally to salvage the second game. John Carroll put two men on base with no outs before Homewood retired the next three batters to claim the win. Porter earned the victory on the mound. There is a buzz in the air surrounding Homewood baseball. Gann is determined, however, to keep his players grounded. “We have high expectations,” he said. “Right now, all we’re thinking about is winning the area. All the rest of it can come later.” Gann sounds just like a coach who knows his team has a chance to be special. He’s hoping the Homewood of February and March can hang around for April and May.

Thursday, April 4, 2013 • 35

years,” he said. “It was important for Coach Saban to be associated with a man like Coach Moore who shared his values. I can’t say enough about Coach Moore and what he meant to the Alabama program, not only as athletic director but also for the years he coached under Coach Bryant and Coach Stallings.” Former Mountain Brook and current South Alabama coach Joey Jones played for Moore as a Crimson Tide wide receiver from 1980-82. Like Higginbotham and Ogilvie, Jones expressed great admiration for Moore. “When you think of Alabama football, you think of Mal Moore,” said Jones, who led the Spartans to the state 6A championship game in 1996. “He represented the type of man who comes out of the program: a person with high character, loyalty and dedicated to the school. Coach Moore meant a lot to so many people.” Robert Higginbotham, Major Ogilvie and Joey Jones would be high on that list.


Thursday, April 4, 2013


Mountain Brook fourthgrade Spartans win Over The Mountain Championship P. 34

‘We thought we’d be good, but nobody really plans on going into April with only one loss. If we continue to do the right things, we have a chance for a big year.’ Doug Gann Senior pitcher Luke Porter is off to a 4-1 start for the Patriots.

Lee Davis

Ranking Amateurs

Once Again, Area Teams High In Spring Ratings


Patriot Power

Homewood Rolls Through Early Schedule By Lee Davis


Journal Sports Writer

hile most folks eagerly await the warmer temperatures of April, Doug Gann probably wishes March had lasted forever. And who can blame him? Gann is the coach of what might be the hottest high school baseball team in Alabama, and as they say, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Gann’s Homewood Patriots finished March with a 20-1 record, dominating almost every

team in their path. The Patriots’ impressive run includes victories over some top Class 6A teams, a sweep of regional powers in a Florida tournament and a 2-0 beginning in Class 5A Area 9 play. The eye-opening start was enough to earn Homewood a No. 7 ranking in the latest 5A poll. And the best might be yet to come. “We’ve had solid play from everyone, and we’ve played good defense,� Gann said. “When a team does that, it usually has a good shot at being successful.�

Top: Homewood’s Cade Mullins slides safely into second base in the Patriots’ win over John Carroll last week. Above: Infielder Will Alfano throws out a Cavalier runner. Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.

Gann was optimistic going into the season but admitted that the 20-1 record exceeded his expectations. “We thought we’d be good, but nobody really plans on going into April with only one loss,� he said. “If we continue to do the right things, we have a chance for a big year.� A big part of Homewood’s success is a strong senior class, filled with impact players and leaders. “Most successful teams at the high school



See Patriots, page 35

pring team sports are in full swing, and guess what area of the state is dominating the weekly polls? Here’s a hint: The answer is no surprise. Once again, Over the Mountain schools dominate the top 10 rankings, not only in soccer but also in baseball and softball. If you doubt it, take a look at the most recent polls, which were released on March Crimson 29. Memories: In boys’ soccer, Former Area Vestavia Hills is Coaches, firmly atop the list Players in Class 6A with Remember Oak Mountain in Mal Moore second place, while Page 35 Mountain Brook and Hoover place fifth and sixth, respectively. Briarwood heads the rankings in Class 5A, John Carroll Catholic is close behind at No. 3 and Homewood checks in at No. 5. The area presence is even felt in Class 1A-4A, where perennial power Indian Springs is ranked third, the Altamont School is fourth and relative newcomer Westminster-Oak Mountain is 10th. Girls’ soccer looks quite similar, See Davis, page 34

April 4, 2013  

April 4, 2013 Full Issue

April 4, 2013  

April 4, 2013 Full Issue