OTMJ OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL u OTMJ.COM
THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 2021
SPRING FASHION SPECIAL SECTION
Gus Mayer, Founded In 1900, Is No Stranger to Tumult
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
Pandemic Pivot Andy and Jeanna Westmorland with daughter Riley.
Honoring A Legacy Samford’s Legacy League Celebrates Outgoing Executive Director Jeanna Westmoreland’s 15 Years of Service By Emily Williams-Robertshaw
‘We’ve had to change our mix. We’ve done so very efficiently to keep up with the times. We’ve lowered our price point a little bit.’ JEFF PIZITZ, GUS MAYER See story and spring fashions beginning on page 18.
Journal photo by Lee Walls
ry eyes were hard to come by in the ballroom at Vestavia Country Club on April 8 as the Legacy League dedicated its membership meeting to celebrating the tenure of Samford University first lady Dr. Jeanna Westmoreland, who has served as executive director of the organization for the past 15 years. This summer, she will retire alongside her husband and current Samford President Andy Westmoreland, passing the torch on to the university’s 19th president and first lady, Beck and Julie Taylor. Westmoreland was presented with the Legacy League’s Lolla Wurtele Wright Award, its highest honor for members and named for the university’s first first lady. Alta Faye Fenton, last year’s award winner, presented the award to Westmoreland. Fenton was the first president to serve under Westmoreland. “She is a visionary leader with a positive attitude who always places the good of others above any selfish ambition,” Fenton said. “When I grow up, I want to be See LEGACY, page 12
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G TEACHING KIDS TO PREVENT ABUSE Children’s teams up with schools on virtual child abuse prevention lesson PAGE 8
OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD Family of the late Megan Montgomery to create fund for domestic violence prevention programs. PAGE 10
OUTDOORS IS THE NEW INDOORS Pandemic creates viral design trends in new home construction PAGE 20
‘LIFELONG DREAM’ Former Briarwood golfer opens one-stop golf shop in Homewood PAGE 26
ABOUT TOWN 3 NEWS 8 LIFE 10 SOCIAL 14 WEDDINGS 17
rateful. Thankful. Amazingly, We are vulnerable. We are fragile. We those are the words I’ve heard are beholden. most since the tornadoes When the initial storm is over, we descended on us a few weeks back. emerge into the light, blinking, hollow, The storms themselves were terristripped of our bravado, stripped of fying. Dave and I spent the night huneverything, and the question that hits kered down in the basement bathroom. us in the face is, “How could anyone My cable and internet went out, so my possibly move forward from here?” daughter sent text updates: “Now in And that’s when the blessings Shelby County.” “Headed right for appear. The devastating “now what” you.” begins to be answered by other people, It was scary, surreal, but then, just many you don’t even know. There’s like that, it was over. When it seemed the neighbor who complains about Sue Murphy safe, I went to the door and looked your dog, the guy who supports a difoutside. My property was unscathed, ferent political candidate, the couple and I felt a rush of relief. A few who root for (shudder) the other You may not see them, team – all of these people are now minutes later, however, the damage reports started to trickle in. People but there are always on your doorstep, and somehow, in the neighborhoods around me tree trunks are lifted, debris is people holding you hadn’t been so lucky. Each picture cleared, a sack lunch is put into posted was worse than the last. your hands. Without a single phone up, physically and The storm had been wicked. It the police are on the scene and emotionally – personal call, spared one house and leveled the the firefighters and utility workers one right across the street. It took who immediately set to work restorinfrastructure. out trees on the left side of the road ing your power and water. These people are a and left children’s riding toys When you are better able to problessing. unmoved in the yard on the right. cess it, you realize that what It was sobering, not only because emerged was kindness and generosiof the random nature of the storm’s ty and a shared realization of how path, but the violence of it all. Highway 119 looked like we are all connected. It’s easy to lose track of that. We a deranged person had moved through with a buzz saw. go about our days, return home to our self-made I’d seen pictures like that on TV before, but this was cocoons. The garage door goes up, you go in, the real. This was close. This was me. garage door goes down. You might not have a converWe tend to grow complacent. We build and we gath- sation with your neighbors for months. And yet, in er and we see our accomplishments stacked neatly one these situations, it becomes obvious that, no matter how on top of another, and we get to feeling just a bit selfcapable you are, you cannot, do not, move through life sufficient, empowered, Teflon, like there’s a formula to on your own. You may not see them, but there are life, and by golly, we’ve got it figured out. always people holding you up, physically and emotionAnd then, something like this happens. The resulting ally – personal infrastructure. damage is severe, not only to our property but to our These people are a blessing. They have been all psyche. We come face-to-face with the fact that, like along. In the middle of the devastation, we are broken and healed at the same time. Thankful and grateful. Pooh’s friend Piglet, we are all just very small animals.
FASHION 18 HOME 20 SCHOOLS 24 SPORTS 28
otmj.com With everything that’s happening “Over the Mountain,” it can be difficult to keep up. That’s why we have launched the OTMJ newsletter. Published every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - we’ll give you a quick recap of the latest news, sports and social events as well as a heads up on upcoming events so you won’t miss any of the interesting and fun happenings in the Greater Birmingham metro area. To sign up for our newsletter, visit otmj.com. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, @overthemountainjournal, for daily updates on what’s going on around town, too.
Over the Mountain Views
Cheers to 90 Years and Almost 100!
OVER THE MOUNTAIN
April 22, 2021 JOU RNAL Publisher & Editor: Maury Wald Copy Editor: Virginia Martin Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Staff Writers: Emily Williams-Robertshaw, Sam Prickett Photographer: Jordan Wald Editorial Assistant: Stacie Galbraith Sports: Rubin E. Grant Contributors: Susan Murphy, June Mathews, Emil Wald, Marvin Gentry, Lee Walls, Bryan Bunch Advertising Sales: Julie Trammell Edwards, Tommy Wald, Gail Kidd
Photo courtesy Patrick Mote
Vol. 30, No. 18
Over The Mountain Journal is a suburban bi-weekly newspaper delivered to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County areas. Subscriptions for The Journal are available for $24 yearly. Mail to: Over the Mountain Journal, P.O. Box 660502, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the editorial department at email@example.com. E-mail our advertising department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find us on the Web at otmj.com. Copyright 2021 Over The Mountain Journal, Inc. All rights reserved. The Journal is not responsible for return of photos, copy and other unsolicited materials submitted. To have materials returned, please specify when submitting and provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All materials submitted are subject to editorial review and may be edited or declined without notification.
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Neighbors, friends and family of lifelong Vestavia Hills resident Betty Bowen recently participated in a drive-by party to celebrate her 90th birthday. Joining in on the birthday fun was Betty’s brother William Mote, who will celebrate his 100th birthday in November (both shown at the party). The youngest of 11 children, Bowen was born on April 4, 1931. Her hobbies include sewing, knitting, quilting and working with flowers, all of which she has enjoyed in her retirement after 41 years working with Alabama Power Company. An active member of the community, Bowen continues to maintain membership at Mountain Brook Baptist Church as well as Vestavia Country Club.
APR 22 - MAY 6 Editor’s note: Some of the events in our calendar may have been canceled after our press deadline. Please check organization websites and social media for the latest information
April 24 Red Shoe Run
The Ronald McDonald House will host its annual run in a socially-distanced fashion, including in-person 5k and one mile fun run as well as a virtual option. When: 7 a.m. - noon Where: Downtown Homewood Website: rmcha.org
Celebrate Hoover Day
The city of Hoover will host its annual city-wide celebration free to the public. When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Where: Veterans Park Website: hooveral.org
Mudbugs & Music
The Arthritis Foundation of Alabama will team up with Crawdaddy’s and Cahaba Brewing Company to host this fundraiser, featuring crawfish and shrimp, a silent auction and live music to benefit the foundation’s mission to conquer and cure arthritis. When: 1-6 p.m. Where: Cahaba Brewing Company Website: arthritis.org/ mudbugsmusic
Hope For Autumn Foundation Crawfish Boil
The Foundation will host its annual
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 3
ABOUT TOWN family-friendly crawfish boil to support families battling childhood cancer in Alabama and fund childhood cancer research at Children’s of Alabama. The event will include live music, all-you-can-eat crawfish by Louisiana native John Hein and more. Shuttles to the event will run from Shades Creek Pool, the Hamptoms Pool and Deer Valley Elementary School. When: 3-9 p.m. Where: Main Green of Ross Bridge Website: hopeforautumnfoundation.org
April 25 Heights Hangout
The Cahaba Heights Merchants Association will host its annual Heights Hangout, presented by Creative Dog Training. Festivities will include food tents from area restaurants, live music, pop-up shops and a kid’s zone. Tickets are $10 per person and children 12 and under enter for free. Proceeds will support beautification efforts in Cahaba Heights. When: 2-7 p.m. Where: The Heights Village Website: facebook. com/shop.cahaba.heights/
April 27 2021 Mountain Brook Chamber Annual Luncheon
The Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce will host its annual luncheon featuring recipients of this year’s Jemison Visionary Award,
former Mayor Terry Oden; William Tynes Award Winner, Penny Page; and the City of Mountain Brook’s Employee of the Year, detective Drew Moore. When: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Where: Birmingham Zoo Website: mtnbrookchamber.org
April 29 Samford Legacy League Scholarship Celebration
The organization will host an event featuring a four-course meal by Samford Dining by Sodexo and concert featuring the Annie Moses Band, presented by Vulcan Materials. Proceeds will benefit the Legacy League’s scholarship program for students in great need. When: 6 p.m. Where: Covenant Presbyterian Church Website: samford.edu/ legacyleague
April 30 Homewood Grown
Hosted by the Homewood City Schools Foundation, this fundraiser will feature dinner by Happy Catering Company, keynote speaker Alabama Supreme Court Justice Jay Mitchell and the 2021 Teacher Impact Award winners. When: 5:30 p.m. Where: Patriot Park Website: homewoodgrown.instagift.com
About Town continued on page 4
Artists Need Apply
Bluff Park Art Show Returns in October, Accepting Applications for Featured Artists The 58th annual Bluff Park Art Show will return Oct. 2, taking place at Bluff Park Community Park. In preparation for the event, the Bluff Park Art Association will be accepting applications from local artists interested in participating in the show. Artists can apply by May 1 via Zapplication, with a late entry deadline set for May 15. Media categories include 2-D and 3-D mixed media; ceramics; drawings with graphite, pastels, charcoal, ink; fiber and leather; glass; jewelry; metal and painting; photography and digital art; printmaking; and sculpture and woodworking. On event day, artists will display their work from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. in front of the Bluff Park Community Center at 517 Cloudland Drive. The show also will include music, food vendors and arts activities for kids ages 3-8. Free parking and a shuttle bus to the park will be available at Bluff Park United Methodist Church, Shades Mountain Independent Church, Bluff Park Village Shopping Center and Shades Crest Baptist Church. For more information and a link to the application, visit bluffparkartassociation.org.
Journal file photo by Jordan Wald
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
4 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Aldridge Gardens Plant Sale Kicks Off April 29
May 1 We Love Homewood Day
The Homewood Parks and Recreation Department will host its annual community festival, including the We Love Homewood Day 5K, a festival at Homewood Central Park, a parade, the Rotary Club Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival and a We Love
May 1-14 Taste of Teal Gala
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
People will have the opportunity to take home a little bit of Aldridge Gardens as the gardens hosts its annual Spring Plant Sale on April 29-May 1. Sale hours will be Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until noon. Volunteers will be helping out with the sale and providing advice on plant selections as well as placement, care and maintenance tips. In addition to plants spanning a wide range of species, there will be a large selection of passalong plants
patients caregivers and supporters of those living with Crohn’s and Colitis. When: 9:30 a.m. Where: Sloss Furnaces Website: cctakesteps.org/ birmingham
The Laura Crandall Brown Foundation will host its gala fundraiser virtually, kicking off Derby weekend. Dinners are available for purchase for $150 and include a gourmet meal and chance to win a trip for four to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Website: thinkoflaura.org/tasteofteal
that were cultivated at the gardens. Also available at the sale will be the “Snowflake” hydrangea, originally propagated by the late Eddie Aldridge, the gardens’ founder. Members of the gardens will receive 10% off all purchases. For more information, visit aldridgegardens.com.
Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast
Homewood Day street dance. When: 6:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Where: downtown Homewood Website: homewoodparks.com
Springing Forward Fundraiser
Birmingham Take Steps
This year’s fundraiser will take conclude with a drive-up festival rather than the traditional walk, so participants can show support for
The Hoover Beautification Board will host this annual event, bringing together city and elected officials, religious leaders, business leaders and the community. When: 7:30-9 a.m. Where: Hyatt Regency - The Wynfrey Hotel Website: hooveral.org
May 5 The Hoover Service Club will host a luncheon featuring speaker and nationally acclaimed storyteller Dolores Hydock. Funds raised support college scholarships for local seniors, local food banks and more. When: 11 a.m. Where: Aldridge Gardens Pavilion Website: hooverserviceclub.ejoinme.org/
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OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 5
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6 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
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Magic City Arts Festival and Corks and Chefs Take Over Sloss Furnaces
Birmingham’s Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark will be the new home of the annual Magic City Art Connection Festival. The festival, in its 38th year, will feature 150 juried fine artists from throughout the country as well as food and live entertainment in a socially distanced setting. It will start at noon Friday, April 23, and run until 6 p.m., then continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. before concluding Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s featured artist will be Garland Farwell of York, Alabama. Farwell’s work will be featured on the festival poster, T-shirts and marketing materials. According to festival officials, recycling and reuse are big elements in Farwell’s 2D mixed media work. He creates graphic pieces of art using upcycled wood and other materials. Farwell’s current practice is primarily in the studio, developing paintings, sculptures and assemblages for South17, a rural arts cooperative he founded to help foster economic growth in west Alabama. “I established the South17 workshop as a kind of folk art laboratory, a place to re-examine this already broad idiom and to foster innovation and invention within it,” Farwell said, in a
released statement. He has been a recipient of numerous fellowships, residencies and awards, including from the Jim Henson Foundation, Franklin Furnace Fund, Peg Santvoord Foundation, New York Foundation of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and ArtSpace. In addition, MCAC’s 2021 special exhibition, “Within Reach: Celebrated Black Alabama Artists,” will showcase a tribute to Black artists and their impact and legacy on visual arts in the region. Featured artists include Farwell, Larry Allen, Michael Atkins, Michael Banks, Tony Bingham, Amber Cunningham, Chris Davis, Sydney Foster, Joseph Frye, Roscoe Hall, Darius Hill, Larry O’Gay, Jon Osborne, Debra Riffe and Toni Toney. Live performances will be hosted throughout each day of the festival with socially distanced audience seating under Sloss Furnace’s main casting shed. A children’s art-making workshop also will be offered. A festival cafe will feature food provided by Porky’s Pride Smokehouse, Friday and Saturday; Rae Rae’s Catering, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; Steel City Pops, Friday,
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Saturday and Sunday; Taco Morro Loco, Sunday; and Tamale Queen, Saturday. Patrons must wear masks while moving throughout the venue and can remove facial coverings only when at reserved tables, officials said. Tickets are $10 per day. For more information, visit magiccityart.com.
Corks & Chefs
The 24th annual Corks & Chefs will be hosted Saturday and Sunday alongside the festival, featuring tastings created by local food vendors along with wine, craft beer, spirits and cocktails. This year’s Corks & Chef’s Reserved Edition gives guests the opportunity to participate in one of two 1½-hour tasting sessions each day. Sessions have a max capacity of 150 people and will feature three to five restaurants. Sessions are 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Tickets bought in advance are $30, and those bought at the gate are $40. Participating restaurants include Arrington, at Pursell Farms; Bobby Carl’s Table; EastWest Kitchen & Bar; El Barrio Restaurant Y Bar; Roots & Revelry; and Sol Y Luna. Wine will be provided by Vineyard Brands and International Wines. Local and regional beers also will be featured, as well as cocktails by Paper Doll Bar and The Atomic Lounge. Tickets are available at corksandchefs.com. – Emily Williams-Robertshaw
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OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Share the love event ABOUT TOWN
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 7
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OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Teaching Kids to Prevent Abuse
By Emily Williams-Robertshaw April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It’s an issue that is closer to home than anyone wants to think and, according to the Children’s Hospital Intervention and Prevention Services Center at Children’s of Alabama, the pandemic may be making it worse. Research shows that increased stress levels among parents is a significant predictor for physical abuse and child neglect. With COVID-19 resulting in financial and health-related stress, an abusive parent may place the brunt of their aggression on their children, who have been at home more often than in a typical school year. The CHIPS center has served as an outpatient clinic where children who have experienced abuse and their families could seek refuge since 1995. But their work goes beyond their clinic walls. When it comes to identifying the characteristics that signify abuse, teachers and fellow classmates often are the sources who point to potential problems. Sometimes that abuse is of a sexual nature. In 2016, the Legislature passed Erin’s Law, which requires schools to provide age-appropriate lessons to educate kids on child sexual abuse prevention. “We’ve been working with Homewood City Schools since Erin’s Law was passed,” said Deb Schneider, director of the CHIPS Center. “Homewood was our first school that we went into after the law was passed.” Schneider has a long history of working with many schools in the area, especially as students have been
Children’s Teams Up With Schools on Virtual Child Abuse Prevention Lessons
Adapting During a Pandemic
When the pandemic hit, the CHIPS staff was unable to visit schools and provide their essential lessons. They had to adapt. “Our IT department helped us do a Zoom presentation to a school in Pickens County, and then they saw the need for us to be able to keep doing this in the future,” Schneider said. So, the staff reached out to Anthony and began working on a standard for virtual presentations. “I could not be more pleased, especially at the elementary level,” Anthony said. “You know, in a normal classroom setting, only one or two kids will respond, but all of the kids were getting involved and every child was having their voice heard.” The students responded very well, with the CHIPS representatives allowing them to interact through the screen with hand signals, Anthony said. The CHIPS team also is well versed in
Taking the Work Home
Photo courtesy Children’s of Alabama
found to be in distress. Homewood City Schools Prevention and Development Coordinator Carissa Anthony notes that the CHIPS team always has been professional when it came to teaching kids hard subjects in an interactive and appropriate way. “Their lessons are always so interactive and well-received by the students,” Anthony said. “They are wellreceived by teachers, and I have even heard from some parents who said that the lessons sparked great conversations at home.”
adult is the one that’s wrong,” Anthony said. “The child is never wrong. To understand that and to equip them with a plan of what they can do if someone tries to hurt them in some way or someone does hurt them in some way, how they can find their voice and get help,” is the mission, she said.
The staff at the CHIPS Center has adapted their child sexual abuse prevention program to a virtual format in order to continue to serve local schools.
making the subject approachable in a way that isn’t overly frightening to kids. “It can be scary,” Anthony said. “It can be two things: it can be so scary and it can be silly, because you are talking about body parts and it’s funny. It elicits strong emotions either way.” Anthony has sat in on multiple lessons and found that the format has allowed teachers to take on a more active role in the lesson. “This gives teachers the same language that the CHIPS representatives use,” Anthony said. “Now they have a common way of talking about this.”
It’s not an easy subject to discuss in the home, Schneider said. “Parents can’t just say something to their child one time and think that they have understood it,” Schneider said. “We have an entire facility here at Children’s that is dedicated to this issue and treating children who are victims of abuse,” Schneider said. It’s a hard reality, but a reality, nonetheless, that child abuse is not alien or uncommon. “The best thing we can do for children is help them understand that that is wrong, number one; and that that
For Anthony, helping the CHIPS team is something that goes beyond her desk. Her daughters have been getting involved, helping put together packets to be sent to schools in preparation for CHIPS lessons. “It started out because I needed help for Homewood schools,” Anthony said. “I knew Deb and her team were overrun and I knew I needed kits to be put together for Homewood, so I wanted to help. “If they are spending time putting kits together, they aren’t spending that time helping children. So, we can take this on.” Anthony’s Berry Middle School seventh grader, Morgan, and Spain Park freshman, Maddie, have set up an assembly line at home to help get the job done. It’s also a bit nostalgic for her daughters. They didn’t get the same lessons in elementary school, but Anthony used to read them the books the facility provided for her Homewood lessons. “They would say, ‘We remember you reading these books to us,” and it grew from there and sparked good conversations with them,” Anthony said. “They have both had situations where their friends told them some things and they had to help them. They knew what to do from us reading those little books and talking.”
Mike Warren, president and chief executive officer of Children’s of Alabama, is retiring effective June 1. Warren, who has served as CEO at Children’s since January 2008, will be succeeded by Tom Shufflebarger, who now is chief operating officer and senior executive vice president. The announcements were made April 15 by the hospital’s board of directors. “Together, we have accomplished a great deal over these past 13 years, the crown jewel of which is the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children,” Warren said. “That addition transformed our campus and allowed us to move transplant surgery and cardiovascular services to Children’s – truly making us a comprehensive pediatric medical facility. “Along the way, we greatly expanded many services, making tremendous progress in fulfilling our mission to the children and families of Alabama. With Tom set to take the helm, Children’s is positioned to achieve even greater things.”
Photos courtesy Children’s of Alabama
Children’s of Alabama President and CEO Mike Warren Announces Retirement
Mike Warren, left, who has served as CEO at Children’s since January 2008, is retiring effective June 1 and will be succeeded by Tom Shufflebarger, right, who now is chief operating officer and senior executive vice president.
Temple Tutwiler III, chairman of Children’s board of trustees, said that, “Under Mike’s leadership, Children’s has thrived, and we are grateful for his service. We are confident in Tom’s ability to continue to carry out the mission of Children’s and guide the organization as a leader in pediatric health care here in the state, the region and beyond.” Shufflebarger joined Children’s in 1992, having previously served as the
budget director and director of physician recruitment and development for Brookwood Medical Center. At Children’s, Shufflebarger has managed the hospital’s daily operations and policy decisions. He also directs the operations and development of Children’s Physician Services, including Pediatric Practice Solutions, which is Children’s primary care practices; Hospital Ambulatory Care Services; and business relationships
with Health Services Foundation and hospital-based physicians. Shufflebarger is an honors graduate of Duke University, where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a Master of Business Administration. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and has served as a trustee of the Alabama Chapter of the American Hospital Association. He is chairman of the Child Health Patient Safety Organization, an affiliate of the Children’s Hospital Association. Active in numerous community organizations, he has served in volunteer leadership roles with the United Way of Central Alabama, American Red Cross, Magic Moments, the Lakeshore Foundation, Riverchase United Methodist Church and Hoover City Schools. “I am honored to be named the next CEO of Children’s of Alabama,” Shufflebarger said. “It is a humbling experience to be part of the strong legacy of providing care for ill and
injured children from throughout the region. As the past year has taught us, Children’s of Alabama stands ready to face the challenges of modern health care, while remaining firmly dedicated to providing the highest standards of care for our patients and their families.” Under Warren’s leadership, Children’s of Alabama has grown both in size and standing. In May 2009, the hospital broke ground on an expansion that would become the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. The 12-story building was designed to accommodate projected growth in patient volume, anticipated medical technology needs and the planned consolidation of pediatric services, including cardiovascular surgery and comprehensive solid organ transplant care. The $400 million facility opened to patients in August 2012. In 2010, six of the hospital’s programs were ranked for the first time See WARREN, page 9
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 9
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Danny Hiatt, left, Valley Hotel’s regional director and general manager, with Bill Dowling, director of sales and marketing.
From page 8
Homewood Chamber Hosts Ribbon-Cutting for Valley Hotel
The Homewood Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Valley Hotel on April 13. Affiliated with the Curio Collection by Hilton, the hotel is in downtown Homewood and has 129 guest rooms and more than 7,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Guest rooms and public spaces feature a curated collection of original work by local photographers. Dining venues in the hotel include Ironwood Kitchen + Cocktails, the Terrace Bar and The Valley Coffee Co., all led by executive chef Doug Zuk. For more information, visit valleyhotelbirmingham. com.
Above, Homewood Mayor Patrick McClusky, left, with Valley Hotel developer Mike Mike Mouron. Top, Homewood city officials with Mouron and members of the Valley hotel staff at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
among the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. The most recent ranking, released in June 2020, marked the 11th consecutive year that Children’s has been included. The relationship between Children’s and the University of Alabama at Birmingham strengthened under Warren’s leadership as the two institutions worked together in an environment that fosters research, medical education and access to leading-edge treatments for pediatric illnesses and injuries. Warren has long been a leader in Birmingham’s business community, previously having served as chairman and chief executive officer of
Energen Corp. and its two primary subsidiaries, Alagasco and Energen Resources. Before that, Warren practiced law with the Birmingham firm of Bradley, Arant, Rose & White. Warren served 22 years on the Children’s of Alabama board of trustees before he was named the hospital’s CEO. He has been involved in many state and local efforts and served as chairman of the Business Council of Alabama, the United Way, Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama. He also has been chairman of the Metropolitan Development Board and the area American Heart Association. He has twice chaired the general campaign for the United Way and the United Negro College Fund. In 2004, Warren was inducted to the Alabama Academy of Honor. —Virginia Martin
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10 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Overcome Evil With Good
By Emily Williams-Robertshaw n the words of Haruki Murakami, “Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” On Dec. 1, 2019, Megan Montgomery was shot and killed at the age of 31 by her estranged husband, former Hoover police officer Jason McIntosh. She was a victim of domestic violence. Yet Montgomery’s personal mission to help those in need lives on as her friends and family make it their mission to continue her legacy. Montgomery’s family has joined forces with Community Fund of Greater Birmingham to establish the Megan Montgomery Domestic Violence Prevention Fund. The fund will provide grants to area nonprofits to help educate students in high school and college to stop domestic violence before it happens. “Megan wanted to share her experience with other women to let them know the warning signs that predators use to trap a woman in an abusive relationship, but she was silenced before she could do that,” Montgomery’s mother, Susann Montgomery-Clark, said at a March 31 press conference. “So, we will do it for her. She is not silenced now.” At the press conference, it was announced that McIntosh had entered a plea of guilty at a reduced charge of murder and been sentenced to 30 years in prison. Both Montgomery’s father, Johnny Montgomery, and stepfather, Rod Clark, made a point to state that it was a favorable outcome. Johnny Montgomery had been
Photo courtesy. Right: Journal file photo by Jordan Wald
Family of the Late Megan Montgomery to Create Fund for Domestic Violence Prevention Programs
down the alternate road. His mother was murdered in 1977. “Going through a murder trial, nobody wins,” Johnny Montgomery said. Clark said the plea bargain not only assured a solid conviction and admission of guilt, but it saved the family the grief of trial and the potential of appeals. “No sentence will ever bring our precious Megan back to us,” Clark said. “The worst sentence in the world would not alleviate our pain of missing her every day for the rest of our lives.” While McIntosh won’t likely serve a full 30 years, Clark noted that it is probable he will not be considered for parole before his 24th year served.
Spreading Megan’s Message
With the closure of legal proceedings, a door opened to begin fulfilling Montgomery’s mission to help victims of domestic violence. “We’ll be collaborating with UAB Wellness Department, who has an
Megan Montgomery, above left, not only wanted to be a voice for victims of domestic violence, she was passionate about animals and was a founding member of the young professional board of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Above, board members at a fundraiser in 2019, from left: Angel Coker with Bailey, Cassidy King, Lauren Brown with Patty, Megan Montgomery, Alexis Helton with Penelope. In front, Sara Sciara and Julia Alton Tubbs.
excellent track record of educating their students on these issues,” Montgomery-Clark said. During the press conference, she said that it is faith that has sustained the family through this tragedy. It is that same faith that has led Montgomery’s family on a mission to “overcome evil with good” in her name. According to National Domestic Violence Hotline statistics, the highest rates of intimate partner violence occur in women ages 18-24 and 25-34. In both of these age groups, 77% and 76%, respectively, of the female victims had been previously
victimized by the same partner. McIntosh, too, has a history of harming Montgomery, having shot her in the arm during a domestic dispute in March 2019. It was an instance that led to his resignation from the Hoover Police Department. In addition, the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%. More than half of women killed by gun violence are killed by family members or intimate partners. Montgomery-Clark said in a speech given during McIntosh’s plea hearing that Montgomery began dying the day she met McIntosh, on July 23, 2017. Poetically, she likened her daughter’s demise to that of an unsuspecting amphibian being placed in a pot of water set to boil. She didn’t know what was happening until it was too late and the damage had been done. “That’s what domestic violence does,” Montgomery-Clark said. “Anyone who met her after their first date didn’t know the real Megan he destroyed long before he killed her.” For more information and to support Megan’s Fund, visit cfbham.org/ megans-fund/.
Montgomery not only wanted to be a voice for victims of domestic violence, she was passionate about animals and was a founding member of the young professional board of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. According to board President Lauren Murphy, she was an inspiration to her fellow volunteers. “Megan was so involved, so
sweet, and worked very hard to give a voice to many animals that didn’t have one,” Murphy said. The board recently collaborated to fund creation of the Megan Montgomery Play Yard at the GBHS Animal Care and Control facility. “We pooled all of the money together ourselves and we actually helped do a lot of the work,” Murphy said. The yard features a playground of obstacles created out of tires donated by local companies including McGriff Tire and Service, Lee Rogers Tire Co. in Avondale, Omega Tires and Total Car Care in Homewood. After Montgomery’s death, the entire GBHS community of staff and volunteers felt the loss and began organizing ways to immortalize her volunteer work and connect her work with animals to her desire to help victims of domestic abuse. Members of the young professional board were getting ready to host a fundraiser last March, just as COVID19 lockdowns began. After having to cancel that event, members now are working on plans for an event later this year. “The big thing that we are trying to support is the Project Pet Safe program,” Murphy said. “It helps house animals in emergency situations.” The program helped provide safe housing for animals displaced by the March 25 tornadoes and offers housing for pets whose owners are facing issues such as homelessness, hospitalization or financial issues. “They will also place the pets of people who are in domestic violence situations,” Murphy said. The GBHS provides all food, shelter and medical care for the animals while their owners recover and secure housing. Once owners and pets are reunited, the organization also provides essentials such as a leash and collar, a litterbox and litter, and food. Murphy noted that the program doesn’t get a ton of time in the spotlight, and society workers hope to build awareness in Montgomery’s honor. She added that Montgomery’s voice is perhaps louder now than ever before – and certainly is louder than any of the others’ voices individually – and they want to use that to draw the community’s attention to projects inspired by her work and hopes for the humane society. For more information and updates, visit gbhs.org.
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
For Here, or to Geaux
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 11
Episcopal Place Restructures Annual Gumbo Gala ..the
50% EVENT month of APRIL
.by appointment 205.930.9394.
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Above left, Kathy DiPiazza, Jamie Whitehurst and Jan D. Hunter. Above right, Megan Evans, Baylee Law, Sherrie Moore and Ingrid Law. Below, Irene Gardner, Cindy Wiley and Nancy and Ricky Bromberg.
After skipping 2020’s event because of COVID-19, Episcopal Place hosted its annual Gumbo Gala on April 17 at Cahaba Brewing Co. to raise funds to provide low-income seniors and disabled adults with safe and affordable housing. The event traditionally features a gumbo cooking competition. But it was restructured this year to follow COVID safety guidelines, so gumbo was served by Tasteful Touch Mobile Catering’s food truck on-site. Festivities also included live New Orleans-style jazz music and local vendors. For those who could not attend in person, a Gumbo to Geaux curbside pickup was organized for April 22 and 23.
Check in with your co-workers, friends, family and neighbors. Ask them, “How are you feeling today?” Someone you know may be delaying important emergency care, chronic care or emotional care. Remind them to get the care they need. Remind them to reconnect with their doctor about ongoing care needs, and that delaying care could impact their health in a negative way. Remind them to ask about emotional health needs and health concerns that might be weighing on them.
How are you feeling today?
At Ascension St. Vincent’s, appointments are available, with strict precautions in place for your safety in our care. Doctors are offering virtual visits. And when your friends and family need care more urgently, our emergency rooms and urgent care clinic are open and ready.
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12 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
From page one
like Dr. Jeanna Westmoreland. “The wise, visionary leadership and unselfish service to our organization as well as to our students over the past 15 years by our current first lady and executive director have left an immeasurable impact and legacy on our organization,” she added. “There is no one more worthy to receive this award.” Andy Westmoreland noted that his wife has achieved goals beyond expectation throughout her career and during their time at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, where he served as president from 1998 until 2006. She was a teacher and administrator in the Arkansas public school system for 10 years before joining the Ouachita faculty in the School of Education. She moved up to become dean of the School of Education and served as chair of the Arkansas State Board of Education from 2003 to 2006. “She had done all of that before she was the age of 50,” he said. When they made the decision to move their family from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, to Birmingham, Andy Westmoreland noted that his wife had the most to lose in leaving behind her career. “Jeanna gave up an awful lot to come to Birmingham, Alabama, and to Samford, and so I worried about
what would happen,” he said. “She found the Legacy League and it became her passion. You invited her into your homes and into your hearts and then she worked you so hard and you wondered about whether it was wise to invite her into your homes and hearts, but you kept working, God kept blessing and dollars kept coming in – not just to make gifts – but for the purpose of changing these student lives.” According to Legacy League Director of Development Sharon Smith, under Jeanne Westmoreland’s 15 years as executive director, the league added 27 endowed scholarships, and the total endowment has increased by an estimated $3 million dollars. Smith, who has worked with the league for more than nine years, said she realizes she has had a front row seat to see not only God’s redemptive work, but Westmoreland’s hard work to serve students in need. “Whether it is toting chairs, arranging flowers, sweeping up at the last minute before the guests come in or standing at that door for hours and hours with a smile on her face … greeting thousands of people opening her home and her heart,” Smith said. “There’s a saying that goes ‘dream big dreams then roll up your sleeves,’ and that is exactly what Jeanna did when she came to this place 5½ years before I did.” Major milestones during her tenure included the first gala, now known as the Scholarship Celebration,
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Samford’s Legacy League Celebrates outgoing executive director Dr. Jeana Westmoreland, center, with Paula Gossett, and Katie Hughes on April 8 at Vestavia County Club.
in 2009. The first Fall Luncheon was hosted in 2009. In 2011, the auxiliary took on the Legacy League name and hosted its first Scholarship Luncheon and the first Christmas Home Tour. In addition, the junior board was launched in 2016 along with the first new member orientation. In January, the league announced that a new endowed scholarship would be formed in honor of Westmoreland’s contributions, called the Jeanna King Westmoreland Legacy League Scholarship. At the time of the meeting, Smith noted that more than 200 donors already had contributed to the schol-
arship’s endowment, resulting in more than $102,000 in donations. In addition, funds for the scholarship were raised at the event through a silent auction and a Kendra Scott give-back sale. The new scholarship will aid students who face seemingly insurmountable obstacles, such as homelessness, violence, foster care, the death or disability of a parent, abandonment or sacrifices due to full-time ministry.
Growth and Enhancement
Westmoreland noted that, during the pandemic and both before and after
her husband announced his retirement, there has been ample opportunity to reflect on the couple’s 15 years at Samford. “I would say that, as we have had those conversations, the word that continually comes to mind and is part of each and every one of those conversations is gratitude,” she said. “We’re grateful that you welcomed us into the Samford family and the Samford community.” She noted that one of her first introductions to the Legacy League, then known as the Samford Auxiliary, came when then-coordinator Elouise Williams picked her up from a hotel during a traditional visit and drove her to campus. “She is the one who first told me about the scholarship program,” Westmoreland said. “I immediately connected with that and thought, ‘I can get behind that. I can work with that.’ So, I am so grateful that we had that time together and she was able to share her love for the organization with me.” In addition, Westmoreland noted that one thing that both she and her husband are most thankful for is Samford’s bright future as the Taylors transition into their leadership roles. “I think that the foundation that was laid by (former Executive Director Marla Corts) and Elouise Williams in this organization and that you all have helped to enlarge and build is going to be a fantastic launching point for what Julie Taylor will be able to do as your executive director,” Westmoreland said.
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OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 13
Rehab Reality... by Judy Butler
The Guild of the Birmingham Music Club held its annual spring scholarship luncheon April 9 at The Country Club of Birmingham and presented four awards. This year’s scholarship competition, which was held virtually, involved 48 students from nine Alabama universities. Students were judged by respected musicians from across the United States. Margery Whatley, scholarship vice president, presented the scholarships: Mildred Volentine Green Piano Scholarship Award and Walter Sechriest Best Performance Award, Azalea Kelley, Troy University; Penelope Cunningham Voice Scholarship Award, Noah Graham, University of Alabama; and Stuart Mims Instrumental Scholarship Award, Julian Fiaschetti, Auburn University. Scholarship winners performed for the Guild members and guests, including pieces by Mozart, Stravinsky and Chopin. Previous scholarship winners have gone on to become distinguished teachers and musicians. Some former scholarship winners include opera stars Irene Jordan, Rachel Mathes and the late Nell Rankin. The luncheon was hosted by Mell Gage Smith and Lochrane Coleman Smith, with Martha Mims serving as the scholarship luncheon committee chair. Attendees were welcomed by Guild President, Linda Cooper. The Guild started a century ago as a casual conversation on a downtown street corner that spawned a music club dedicated to nurturing the community’s artistic environment. To date, the Guild has awarded close to $500,000 in scholarships to music students at Alabama colleges and universities. Guild Music Club members attending the Spring Scholarship Luncheon included Recording Secretary Lesley DeRamus, Judy Anderson, Roberta Atkinson, Debbie Bennett, Marleen Bodden, Jeanne Bradford, Laura Bryan, Cheree Carlton, Mary Horn Cooper, Sandy Eichelberger, Jane Ellis, Margorie Forney, Linda Griggs, Tallulah Hargrove, Angie Holder, Margaret Hubbard, Nancy Jones, Barbara Klyce, Anne Lamkin, Vicki Lukens, Michelle Rushing, Angelyn Simmons, Suzanee Taliaferro, Susanne Thomas, Liz Warren, Sue Watkins and Eyleen Widjanarko. Guests included Ron Bourdages, executive director of the Birmingham Music Club; Katie Holmes, representative of Alabama Piano Gallery and recently voted Birmingham’s Arts Educator of the Decade by Broadway World readers; Dr. Hui-Ting Yang, piano professor, Troy University; Tim Huffman, graduate of Miles College with a degree in music, drummer for the annual Young People’s Concerts and leader of his own band, the
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
The Guild of the Birmingham Music Club Holds Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon
Mother’s Day Gift to Remember Harry and Jeanne Bradford.
Scholarship Luncheon Committee Chair Martha Mims with Guild President Linda Cooper.
Tim Huffman and Ron Bourdages. Noah Graham, Margery Whatley, Azalea Kelley and Julian Fiaschitti.
Mary Horn Cooper, Linda Cooper, and Eyleen Widjanarko.
Laura Bryan, Roberta Atkinson, Baraba Klyce and Liz Warren.
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Linda Griggs, Lesley DeRamus and Michelle Rushing.
Official Clutch Band; Shannon Purcell; Harry Bradford; and Tom Lamkin. The Guild will meet May 7 to wel-
come new members and install officers. For more information, visit birminghammusicclubguild.org.
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Many probably think Mother’s Day is just another one of those commercial holidays to drive retail sales of cards, gifts and flowers. It is actually tradition that dates back to the 18th century. England was one of the first to recognize it when many people worked as household servants for the rich. “Mothering Sunday” was set aside for them to return home to honor their mothers. Today, just as in those days, mothers deserve to be recognized for the work they do in the home, outside and everywhere in between. So many times we overlook or take this for granted. She keeps the household together with cleaning, cooking, carpooling, errands, nursing, and the list goes on. As the family becomes more independent and her job or list of jobs become less important, so is the feeling of being needed. Empty nester moms are the most likely to fall into the world of addiction. A glass of wine with dinner becomes another glass just to relax and so on. This is the pattern of most of the female clients who have come to Bayshore Retreat and interestingly the children are the ones who reach out to us the most. Whether it’s the child that has fallen into the addiction trap or the parent, getting healthy in mind, body and spirit is the greatest gift someone can receive. As we think of Mother’s Day this year, forget the flowers, the cards and chocolate. Instead know that the greatest gift you can give your mom is a sober healthy life. Compared to other rehabs, coming to Bayshore Retreat is truly a gift.
14 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
GOTTA HAVE THAT FUNK Autism Society and Mitchell’s Place Collaborate on 11th Funky Fish Fry
Alexis Shenefield and Lisa Bonatz.
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
ach April, the junior boards of the Autism Society of Alabama and Mitchell’s Place collaborate on a fundraising event filled with music and food to celebrate National Autism Awareness Month. The 11th annual Funky Fish Fry was held April 10 at Avondale Brewing Company. Funds raised will benefit both organizations’ missions to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders and raise funds to provide essential services to the 1 in 54 individuals in Alabama affected by the disorders. The family-friendly event featured music by The Drennen Brothers, Automatic Slim Blues Band and Livewire, along with catfish prepared by Ezell’s. Guests who wished to avoid the in-person festivities were able to pick up meals via a drive-thru. ❖
From left, Caroline Bridges, Virginia Nelson, Raleigh Kent and Elene Weaver.
Katherine Speed and Eric LePage. Hannah Giddings and Cody Nall with Winnie. Jonathan Littleton, Charlotte Phillips, Austin Lewis and Darryl Littleton.
Nicole White and Alexis Deal.
Jillian Pritchard and Trevor Flynn.
Eliza Parrott, Melanie Jones, Brooklyn Hall and Amanda Nichols.
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 15
SHOW HER HOW TRULY Journal photos by Jordan Wald
BRILLIANT YOU CAN BE
Edie Pickett, Lori Heglas and Chris Kubas.
Crystal Bowles, Sally McKay and Mitzi Eaker.
Hoover Service Club Hosts Meet and Greet at Hoover Randle House Members of the Hoover Service Club gathered for an outdoor, socially distant meet and greet April 8 at the Hoover Randle Home and Gardens. Visitors were invited to join the event to learn more about the organization’s mission to support Hoover City Schools as well as Hoover-based charitable organizations. ❖
One Office Park circle, Suite 201 MOuntain BrOOk, al 35223
Barbara Randle, Carole Vandiver, Debbie Rutherford, Helen Hoover Holmes, Frances Brocato and, in front, Barbara Woolley.
JohnBromberg@JBandCoJewelry.com • 205.478.0455 www.JBandCoJewelry.com
Thirteen Distinctive New Homes in Vestavia Hills To: JB & Co. From:
Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646
On the crest of Shades Mountain overlooking Oxmoor Valley, Walnut Hill FAX: 205-824-1246 Date: community: April epitomizes a Wedgworth beautiful homes, great views, and energyThis is your AD PROOF from downtown the OVER THEBirmingham, MOUNTAIN JOURNAL smart construction. Minutes from I-65 and thesefor the April 22, 2021 iss thirteen home sites surround centralsure park.all With lots startingisatcorrect, $200,000,including addre Pleaseamake information phone Walnut Hill provides a unique opportunity for and you to create number! a custom home in one of Birmingham’s most desirable areas. 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.
Mike Wedgworth (205) 365-4344
16 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
The parking lot of the Bell Center in Homewood was transformed into a competition arena April 10 as guests gathered to participate in the ninth annual Cornhole Classic. The round-robin cornhole tournament is hosted each year by the center’s junior board. As teams played in the competition, they had the opportunity to win prizes and gift cards. Funds raised support the Bell Center Early Intervention programs, which serve children with a wide variety of special needs from birth to 3 years of age. ❖
Kelly and Ryan Brewer.
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Bell Center Junior Board Hosts Annual Round-Robin Cornhole Tournament
Allison Brown, Holley Steele and Angela Denton.
Caroline Scroggins and Leigh Ellen Cowart.
Brooke West, Candace Deer and Mallory Morgan.
Laura Huddleston and Jessica Bou Akar.
William, Rebecca, Sophia, John Parker, Barry and Adam Osborne.
Mary Coston Bell and Leah Glenn.
Catherine Florence and Jay Nicholson.
Leslie, Charlie and Mason Wingard.
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 17
Craft Beer Tasting Benefits Zoo’s Emergency Animal Fund
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Another installment of the Birmingham Zoo’s Zoo Brews: Drafts at a Distance event series pulled a sold-out crowd April 16. Attendees donated a penny for each sample of craft beer consumed throughout the evening, with funds supporting the Zoo’s Emergency Animal Fund. A selection of craft beers and wines from vendors across Alabama and the Southeast were available to try. Food for the evening was provided by the Zoo’s Wild Burger restaurant as well as food trucks, including Full Moon BarB-Que, Pazzo Big Slice Pizza and Los Valedores. ❖
Daniel and Katy Lincoln, Emily and Neil Caudle, and Grace Anthony.
Brooke Woolery, Savannah DuBose, Victoria Glaze and MacKenzie Ostermeyer. Grant and Leirin Sides.
Ms. Carol Webb Dahl of Homewood and Drs. Daniel Dahl and Terri Steele of Birmingham announce the engagement and forthcoming marriage of their daughter Dr. Ellen Rose Dahl to Mr. David Patrick Klemperer of Atlanta. Mr. Klemperer is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie P. Klemperer of Atlanta. Miss Dahl is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Dwight Webb of Cullman.
The bride-elect is a graduate of Homewood High School and Rhodes College, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta social sorority. She earned her doctor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. She is a resident physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. The future groom is the grandson of the late Col. and Mrs. Warren H. Hawes of McLean, Virginia, and the late Mr. and Mrs. Hans C. Klemperer of Bronxville, New York. He is a graduate of The Paideia School in Atlanta and Rhodes College, where he was a member of the Sigma Nu social fraternity. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and currently serves as a consultant at Simon Kutcher in Atlanta. The couple met in college and later became engaged during a New Year’s celebration in Edinburgh, Scotland. A wedding celebration will take place in Birmingham, set for May 30.
To have our wedding & engagement forms sent to you, call 205-823-9646 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
18 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
Pandemic Pivot Gus Mayer, Founded in 1900, No Stranger to Tumultuous Times
By Sam Prickett
starting to travel. Our buyers are traveling extensively to market, and we’re trying to merchandise our store to the customer’s needs. “Being a smaller store as we are, we can really pivot very quickly, and in the past month or so people’s attitudes and everything have changed. People are starting to get back for social occasions. People are wanting to get cosmetics and makeup. They’re going out, they want to look good, and we’ve beefed up all those areas.”
Journal photo by Lee Walls
he Gus Mayer brand is no stranger to tumult. Founded in New Orleans in 1900, the department store at one point operated 20 stores throughout the Southeast and Midwest. Its Birmingham store opened nearly a century ago, in 1922, moving several times — from 5th Avenue North to Highland Avenue to Brookwood Village. But a retail downturn in the 1970s led to the once-national company selling off its stores Casual Dresses, Bright individually. Its current owners, Colors Pushing the the Pizitz family, bought the Trends Birmingham location in 1975 Jeff Pizitz, president of the Pizitz Management Group. The Pizitz Mallett said the store has and later purchased the family has been in the retail business in Birmingham for more seen a “real resurgence” in Nashville store in 1990. sales of casual dresses. The two Pizitz-owned stores than 100 years. “People have been wearing are the only Gus Mayer locations still open. The Birmingham store moved to a 16,000-square- their yoga clothes and that kind of thing for the past 12 to 18 months, and they seem to want to put on dresses,” he said. “I foot location at the Summit in 2011, which marked a further evowould say the look of the season is the casual dress and the fashlution for the Gus Mayer brand. ion sneaker, so kind of a sneaker-dress look.” “The store at the Summit is comprised of a large women’s There’s also been a greater interest in “mood-lifting colors,” area, shoes, jewelry, cosmetic and furs,” said Jeff Pizitz, president such as pink or coral, “that make you feel really good and better of the Pizitz Management Group. “We’ve had to change our mix. about yourself,” he said. “And feminine details like embroidery, We’ve done so very efficiently to keep up with the times. We’ve floral prints, lace trims, that kind of thing is doing very good.” lowered our price point a little bit. We still consider ourselves a In terms of “utility” apparel, he said, “leggings and tights are very contemporary high-end specialty store, but we sell a lot more trendy clothes, a lot more shoes — much more fashionable giving way to shorts” — both workout and dressier city shorts. than we used to be.” But store managers are still waiting to see what happens with One of the store’s biggest challenges came last year with the Gus Mayer’s accessory business. COVID-19 pandemic. “We haven’t seen the ‘it’ accessory really evolve for this year “Obviously, COVID in 2020 was a major event for all retailyet,” Mallett said. “It’s not like there’s a great belt or great scarf ers,” Pizitz said. “It was even more so for a retailer like Gus Mayer because we cater to social events. We cater to weddings, parties, things like that. And almost everything we catered to was ‘People are starting to get back for not happening anymore. People weren’t going out. People’s social social occasions. People are wanting life changed dramatically. Everything was curtailed.”
The store shut down for 2½ months in 2020, during which time management and executive staff developed a reopening plan, pivoting the business to adapt to the new abnormal. “We canceled a lot of orders in our special occasion departments,” Pizitz said. “We beefed up orders in contemporary (apparel). We added an athleisure department. We built that up very quickly because that’s what people were wearing — comfortable, casual clothes.” When the store reopened, they found that customers had “some pent-up demand,” but business still wasn’t terrific. Store hours had to be shortened and a few staff members were furloughed. The only area of growth last year, said Gus Mayer President Chuck Mallett, was in the store’s accessory department. “I wouldn’t say we had a phenomenal 2020 in just about anything, but we had a phenomenal 2020 in our accessory business, because of the masks,” he said. “We had designer masks that were $50 apiece that we sold thousands of pieces of, and that drove a lot of the accessory business last year.” Now, more than a year into the pandemic, business is finally starting to increase. “As time has gone on, especially in the last month or so as vaccines have become more prevalent, we’ve seen a real, real surge in business,” Pizitz said. “People are starting to go out,
to get cosmetics and makeup. They’re going out, they want to look good, and we’ve beefed up all those areas.’
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Spring’s Arrivals There’s also been a greater interest in “mood-lifting colors,” such as pink or coral, “that make you feel really good and better about yourself,” he said. “And feminine details like embroidery, floral prints, lace trims, that kind of thing is doing very good.” GUS MAYER PRESIDENT CHUCK MALLETT
Essentiel Antwerp, Zisse pleated minidress, $260.
or handbag that’s driving the business. Our designer handbag business, whether it’s Louis Vuitton or Chanel, those businesses continue to be very, very good. “But outside of that, the accessory business has been challenged so far this year, mostly because people don’t need masks anymore and we’re up against big mask numbers from last year.” Still, things appear to be on the upswing for the retailer. “We’ve increased our staff and increased our hours, and although challenges remain, we are still very, very optimistic about fall 2021,” Pizitz said. “I think the strongest component of the business for us is just that we continued though all of the challenges that COVID presented,” Mallett said. “We have incredible salespeople who have incredible relationships with the customers, and that has paid huge dividends for us as we’ve gone through the challenges of COVID. … Customers are coming into the store not only because the trends are so great, but to support those associates they’ve built relationships with over the years.”
FASHIONS COURTESY GUS MAYER JOURNAL PHOTOS BY LEE WALLS
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 19
Essentiel Antwerp, Oyster oversized blazer, $515. Safiyaa, Amethyst pant, $630.
Farm rio, cross stitch embroidered blouse multi, $195. Lafayette 148 New York, washed plaster wide leg crop jeans, $368.
Samantha Sung, Anastasia 3/4 sleeve dress, $995. Lafayette 148 New York, Fresh Blue multi blouse, $598. Black Halo, Twinkle Blue blazer, $435. Black Halo, Twinkle Blue pants, $275.
An Integrative Approach to Mental Health Abbie Milich, M.A LMSW above, recently joined Freedom Professional Counseling after serving as a Clinical Social Worker at Emory University Hospital, where she thoughtfully coordinated resources to patients and families upon discharge from the hospital. After earning her Undergraduate degree in Psychology and Spanish from Auburn University, Abbie went on to receive her Masters in Social Work from the University of Georgia. As a Clinical Social Worker, Abbie is highly skilled in working with people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Abbie utilizes a strengths-based, integrative approach to well-being. Abbie meets each client where they are in their current life process, and works alongside them to address their personal needs. “I understand that every client has different wants, needs, and unique life experiences they come into therapy with,” Abbie said. Abbie enjoys working with adolescents and adults seeking help with anxiety/depression, stress tolerance, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships With a focus on resilience and strength, her goal as a therapist is to provide client’s with a safe space, where they can speak freely without fear of being judged. “I employ an integrative approach to mental health and I enjoy working alongside clients during tough life transitions, whether that is a breakup, national pandemic, or going to college,” Abbie said. “I aim to help clients become the best version of themselves. I believe that all people have the capacity to be successful, sometimes we just need help. Let me, help you!”
To schedule an appointment with Abbie, call 404-409-8414 or email email@example.com
20 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Photos courtesy Willow Homes
OUTDOOR LIVING If a home has only one fireplace, it’s on a porch rather than in the family room. The appliance budget’s biggest ticket item may be a Teppanyaki griddle on the patio, not a commercial range in the kitchen. Above and left: A view to the courtyard from the kitchen island in this Willow Homes in Homewood illustrates the connection a disappearing wall/ telescoping door can provide.
By Barry DeLozier
n several Zoom meetings lately, I’ve heard the question raised, “What will you miss about this unusual time of COVID19 when it’s over?” While we’re all ready for life to return to normal, there certainly have been silver linings from this sudden societal shift: more family time, more quiet time, happier pets spending more time with their people. For anyone in the residential design/build industry, it’s also been a boon for business. Catastrophic world events often lead to an American home renaissance. It happened after WWI when 1920s neighborhoods emerged across our country exhibiting worldly, eclectic architecture (English Tudor, Spanish Colonial). Again, after WWII with help from the G.I. Bill, ranch houses popped up like wildflowers in our landscape. While the world has been at war with this virus, Americans have once again spent a preponderance of time, energy and money evaluating and reinterpreting our homes. Some design trends from this pandemic period will likely fade from popularity like tumbled marble, but some are so grounded in human nature, they could cast a long shadow over residential design. Here are a few examples:
Outdoors Is the New Indoors
Feeling cooped up from lockdown? Head outside. In the South, blessed with our mild cli-
Outdoors Is the New Indoors ... And Other Pandemic Created Viral Design Trends In New Home Construction
mate, we’ve always done this; it isn’t something new. Porches and outdoor kitchens were at the top of our lists for home improvements long before we ever heard of the new coronavirus. What’s changed is how often outdoor living spaces outweigh our demands for interior space. If a home has only one fireplace, it’s on a porch rather than in the family room. The appliance budget’s biggest ticket item may be a Teppanyaki griddle on the patio, not a commercial range in the kitchen. Southern homes have a history of being graced with transitional spaces like wraparound porches, terraces and verandas, but we now blur the lines between what’s indoor and outdoor with telescoping door-walls. Our dining rooms and bedrooms have gained the capability of morphing into outdoor areas in 60 seconds. Further from the house, our backyards have had to replace theme parks as vacation destinations;
the demand for pools and hot tubs is through the roof (only, there’s no roof). Fresh air, vitamin D from sunshine and a socially distant conversation with a neighbor over a hedge are like vaccines from pandemic isolation.
My Home Office Is Really My Office
Once upon a time, if we were lucky, we had flexible space to gather mail and pay household bills, a desk off the kitchen with matching cabinetry or a guest room with a Murphy Bed. Some of us were caught off guard when a pandemic suddenly forced us to conduct all our work from our dining room table. A home office that’s right-sized (not as big as a bedroom but bigger than an armoire) is now a common priority. Many families need multiple office spaces, with Mom and Dad both working from home and the kids not at school but in
class on a laptop at the kitchen island. So where do we all spend the day when we’re trying to accomplish multiple priorities inside the same four walls? We may not have the option of expanding our home’s footprint, so we have to think creatively, carving space for these activities in unfinished attics and basements, dormer windows and closets under stairwells. Fortunately, most of us do the majority of our work on a computer so we can operate in about four linear feet (a minimum of 16 to 14 square feet). Some of us (like me, needing a drafting table) require a room-sized space. With proper planning, this can be accomplished in about a 10-by-10 area, 100 efficient square feet. If your work involves frequent consultations
Continued on the next page
Barry DeLozier is a writer and residential designer from Birmingham, Alabama. He’s helped homeowners and homebuilders create unique residences and neighborhoods throughout the southeast, including homes for ABC TV’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition, the Junior League of Birmingham’s Decorator’s Showhouse and Birmingham Home & Garden’s Inspiration Home. You can learn more about his projects and design philosophies at sowowme.com.
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 21
HOME LET’S GET ORGANIZED This new home by Willow Homes, features a butler’s pantry and walk-in pantry situated between the dining room and kitchen. Much like sculleries, butler’s pantries are enjoying a revival; they provide a convenient way to off load some of the duties typically contained in a kitchen which can bottleneck when everyone congregates at the island.
via internet meetings, it’s a smart idea to create a backdrop so your professional image doesn’t suffer from stacks of laundry or a cat jumping onto the back of your chair. If you’re in a noisy environment, consider setting up a Zoom corner separate from your office in a space with a door, like a guest bedroom. It shouldn’t require as much dismantling of the room’s arrangement as it would to use it as your full-time office and it may be as simple as purchasing a set of
nesting tables to hold your computer and notepad. Just don’t sit on the bed for the Zoom meeting. A little Less Open, A Little More Compartmentalization, Please
For decades, the open concept floorplan has dominated residential design. Open the front door and you’re taking in a sweeping view of a living/dining/ cooking space only defined by furniture arrangement and cabinetry. The
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ith over 35 upscale homes slated for Vestavia Hills, KADCO Homes is who to call if you’re in the market for a new home. With a variety of Vestavia Hills locations, price points, and home styles, we will have something for you! KADCO Homes is a local company that has been in business for over 35 years and we want to work with you! Find out more at kadcohomes.com.
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22 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
HOME From page 21
coronavirus hasn’t killed this notion, but I’ve noticed a preference emerging for more compartmentalization. This dovetails with the need for home office and school space, but it also affects people regardless of their work situation. One family member wants to
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
HOME watch television, another wants to play a game, someone else wants to talk on the phone and someone wants to read a magazine. It’s hard to do all of this within the same sound zone. Family rooms will likely maintain a strong relationship with kitchens for the time being, but that formal living room we thought went by the wayside years ago? It may reappear, reimagined with a less hollow name: a study, a library, a window seat.
The Dirty Work of Hide and Seek
Scullery kitchens are not a new concept but rather an old one enjoying a revival. Sculleries tend to be in larger homes, but not always; I drew five homes with scullery kitchens in 2020, two of them under 3,000 square feet. If you’re not familiar with the term, this historical noun simply means a small kitchen or room at the back of a house used for washing dishes and doing other dirty house-
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hold work. In modern homes, it’s really a pantry on steroids. We take what once was just shelving and add cabinets, sinks, dishwashers, coffee makers, microwaves. The public kitchen, which is probably open to the family room, houses the essentials of a wide island, the main refrigerator, stove, sink and primary dishwasher, but it’s easier to keep tidy and presentable since the dirty coffee cups are collecting behind a door. I can’t say it’s a trend, but I’ve had some fun making scullery kitchen/ pantries also reinforced with steel to be a home’s safe room. If you get trapped inside from a storm, at least you’ll have something to eat while you wait for your rescuers.
One last design trend resurfacing lately has been a return to authentic building materials. It may always have been true in high-end housing, but it’s showing up in smaller homes, too. Cedar shake roofs and stone exteriors are two examples. In our frantic, pre-pandemic lifestyle, no one had time to stop and look up from their phone conversation to evaluate if they liked their fake stone fireplace. We were satisfied with imitation materials
because it wasn’t like we spent that much time at home. Well, now we’re sitting on that hearth having a critical conversation with our business partner and it feels solid knowing the stone came from a quarry in Oneonta rather than out of a mold on an assembly line. With so much uncertainty, solid feels comforting.
Your Home, Your Nest (Egg)
The housing market has been blessed and cursed by this pandemic. There’s pent-up demand (note all the bidding wars, record low inventories and evaporating days-on-the-market) contrasted by scarcity of labor and materials. The dust will settle from this extraordinary pandemic experience and hopefully when things return to normal, whatever our new normal is, we’ll have comfortable homes that feel like safe havens, places where work happens efficiently alongside family gatherings and recreation. When we were first emerging from lockdown, many of our first trips back into circulation were to home improvement stores and gardening nurseries. Turning anxieties over viruses and vaccines into creative projects around the house should pay dividends throughout our lifetimes.
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Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 23
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A highlight of the event will be the unveiling of this year’s Ideal Home, above, built by Centennial Homes LLC in the Heatherwood community.
A Change of House Plans Greater Birmingham Parade of Homes Delayed Until June
The 2021 Spring Parade of Homes, hosted by the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, has been postponed from its original date in May. The event will now take place June 18-20 and June 25-27, featuring newly built homes throughout the Birmingham area as well as selected communities. A highlight of the event will be the unveiling of this year’s Ideal Home, built by Centennial Homes LLC in the Heatherwood community, in North Shelby County. Tour hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. For more information and updates, visit birminghambuilder.com.
To: Jim From: Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 FAX: 205-824-1246 Date: May 2015 This is your AD PrOOF from the OvEr THE MOuNTAiN JOurNAl fo Nov. 4 2010 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.
The Beauty of Spring!
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24 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Photos courtesy ASFA
205.638.PIRC (7472) Psychiatric Intake Response Center (PIRC) Sriram Birur
Navigating the mental health system for children and teens
ASFA Team Headed to National Science Bowl An all-Vestavia Hills group of Alabama School of Fine Arts eighth grade Math and Science Department students have advanced to the National Science Bowl. The first-place, five-person team in the statewide Regional Competition was made up of eighth graders Sriram Birur, Nairit Jeethandran, Rohan Parekh, Ishaan Singh and Aditya Anandakumar, all of Vestavia Hills. Their adviser is ASFA algebra 1 teacher Dr. Walter Uhoya. Another group from ASFA came in second place in the regionals and is made up of Zoya Aleezada, Harini Chakilam, Joaquim Miller, Adakin Wiley and Srithansi Sagi. The fifth-place team also came from ASFA and was made up of Ashu Anand, Aanchal Behara, Prisha
Sharma, William Peng and Misha Patel. Their hometowns were unavailable. Each of the 15 students are new students and will complete their first year at ASFA in May. Each of the teams in the regional competition already have won $500 for STEM activities at their school. ASFA’s first-place team will be one of the top 32 regional team winners from middle schools and high schools around the country headed to nationals. Middle school teams will compete May 8 for additional funds in an Elimination Tournament of the National Finals that includes fastpaced questions and answers and technical problems related to chemis-
Kiwanis Club of Birmingham Announces Competitive Youth of the Year Awards
The PIRC is generously supported by additional funding from the Hill Crest Foundation, Brasfield and Gorrie, LLC, and the Gorrie family.
The Kiwanis Club of Birmingham recently announced its 2021 Youth of the Year scholarship recipients. The club recognizes area high school seniors based on academics, citizenship, service and leadership. It has granted scholarships worth more than $230,000 to outstanding students since 1970. In 2021, nine students have been named Youth of the Year. “Our mission as Kiwanians is to serve our children,” said
try, biology, earth and space science, physics and math. The top middle school and high school team each will receive $5,000 for their schools. The National Science Bowl, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, is held annually and is one of the nation’s largest science competitions. It includes nearly 15,000 students each year. This is the third time in four years that the school has sent a team to the national bowl. Teams competed in 2018, 2019 and 2020, as well. Students placed second and third in 2019, when Discovery Middle School in Huntsville won the national championship, Uhoya said. He said about 20 middle schools from across the state compete each year.
Honora Gathings, executive director for the club. “We are investing in the futures of these graduating high school seniors, hoping the scholarships will help them to continue to dream and achieve their goals. They are already making a difference in our community through local organizations, like Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama and the McWane Science Center. We cannot wait to hear about what they do next.” Winners include Over the Mountain students Izzy Dettling, Homewood High School; Eli Steadman, Briarwood Christian School; Emily Pitts, Vestavia Hills High School; and Ellie Hamilton, Mountain Brook High School.
Rise Fundraiser Finishes by Raising More Than $330,000 For O’Neal Cancer Center
PIRC, based at Children’s of Alabama, is a confidential phone response center linking adult callers to mental health resources for children and teens.
wrapped up six active months of fundraising across 2020 and 2021. On April 11, students announced their fundraising total of $337,365, which will benefit the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program at UAB. In addition, funds raised during an April 3 Kids Day, featuring students dressed up as superheroes and
princesses, raised $5,000 for the Rucker Collier Foundation. The total was anonymously matched, bringing the total to $10,000 donated to benefit the local charitable organization that raises awareness of and funds research to find a cure for sclerosing epithelioid fibrosarcoma and other rare and understudied pediatric sarcomas.
Service is provided by licensed mental health professionals who educate callers and recommend the most appropriate treatment options. PIRC hours are 8 am — 11 pm, 7 days a week.
PIRC is NOT a crisis or suicide hotline. Call for mental health resources.
Photo courtesy Vestavia Hills City Schools
The Rebels Impact Through Service student organization at Vestavia Hills High School has wrapped up two springs’ worth of fundraising to benefit the UAB O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. Because of pandemic-related shutdowns last year spring, fundraising was brought to a halt two months early. This year, the students
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
CALLING ALL CAMPERS!!
The Altamont School
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 25
Space One Eleven Arts Center
Summer at The Altamont School With Summer at Altamont, your next adventure is on top of the hill. Whether you’re looking to get ahead, sharpen your skills or have fun with your friends at camp, we have everything you need to make this a summer you’ll never forget. Rising 3rd-7th Graders Summer camp for rising 3rd-7th grade students includes English and math enrichment classes. Rising 9th-12th Graders Summer camp for rising 9th-12th grade students includes driver’s education and ACT prep. A new offering this year is Strengthening Higher Math Skills for students entering Algebra I and II, Geometry or PreCalculus in Fall 2021. Credit Courses High school credit courses for rising 9th-12th grade students include Public Speaking, Honors Ancient and Medieval History and Honors Geometry. Basketball Camps From beginner to college hopeful, Altamont’s basketball camps provide serious skills building. Camps are open to rising 1st
grade through 12th grade students. New this year, we are offering a Strengthening Higher Math Skills for students entering Algebra I and II, Geometry or PreCalculus in Fall 2021. With all the changes and uncertainties around education over the past year, it can’t hurt to have a solid check-up and math review before the new year begins in the fall. The goal is to shore up knowledge already covered with an eye toward what’s coming up next. The course is taught by Altamont math faculty. Altamont’s safety protocols have been incredibly effective this past academic year, and we will carry all we’ve learned over into the summer classes. We are always re-evaluating our policies in light of changing circumstances, and will continue to do so into the summer. Altamont’s social distancing and safety and cleaning protocols will be in place during summer camps. The Altamont School is located at 4801 Altamont Road South, Birmingham, AL 35222 summerataltamont.org
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26 • Thursday, April 22, 2021
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
SPARK PLUG Jags’ Eberhardt Thriving as a Lead-Off Hitter
By Rubin E. Grant Conner Eberhardt was just a toddler when he became interested in playing baseball. His older brother Reece was playing the sport, and Eberthardt said, “I wanted to get out and try it. I was 2 or 3, about the time I could walk.” When Reece got to high school, he had switched sports, playing soccer for Spain Park. But this time, Eberhardt didn’t follow in his older brother’s footsteps. “I had fallen in love with baseball,” Eberhardt said. He didn’t just fall in love with it, but he has excelled on the diamond for the Jaguars. A senior shortstop, Eberhardt is the catalyst atop the Spain Park batting order this season, a big change from the abbreviated 2020 season when he batted ninth. With the graduation of Colton Ledbetter, who’s now at Samford, Spain Park coach Will Smith inserted the switch-hitting Eberhardt into the leadoff position this spring. He has turned into a natural in the spot, batting .298 (25 for 84), while leading the team in runs scored with 24 and stolen bases with 26. He also has five doubles, 11 runs batted in, 16 walks and 10 hits by pitches. “I like the ability to put pressure on the defense, fighting to get on base any way I can, a bunt, a line drive, a walk or even getting hit by a pitch,” Eberhardt said. “I want to get on and let the other guys get me over and get me in.” Smith said, “He’s having a good year. He’s our spark plug.” Eberhardt also changed positions this season, moving from second base to shortstop. “I wouldn’t say it’s too big a change,” Eberhardt said. “Last sum-
mer I played a lot of second base and shortstop on my travel ball team. I think I prefer shortstop. You have a little more control in the infield on popups and things like that.” Being a leader is another role Eberhardt has been thrust into this season. Last year, the Jags had 12 seniors, including eight of their nine starting position players and three of their top four pitchers. They had a 13-4 record when the season ended in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have a lot of new guys, a lot of young guys this year, so with me being one of the only players returning with experience, it put pressure on me to be a leader,” Eberhardt said. “I think I have handled it well.” The 10th-ranked Jags entered this week with a 21-10 record and 3-1 mark in Class 7A, Area 6. Spain Park plays two crucial area games this week against top-ranked HewittTrussville – Tuesday at home and Thursday on the road – with a playoff berth in the balance. “It’s complicated,” Eberhardt said of the playoff scenario. “A lot of things can happen. I think we can get a split against Hewitt, but if we play good defense, get good pitching and get some timely hits, we have a chance to walk off the field with two wins.” No matter what happens this week, Eberhardt’s baseball career will continue at the next level. He has signed with Transylvania University in Kentucky. “I wanted a smaller school and I wanted to go experience something new,” Eberhardt said, explaining why he chose Transylvania. “When I went to visit, I fell in love with the campus and felt it was a good place for me to go.”
Former Briarwood Golfer Opens One-Stop Golf Shop in Homewood
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
Ron Smith loves golf and played the game while growing up, including in high school at Briarwood Christian. But he never dreamed of becoming a professional golfer. Instead, Smith set his aspirations on owning a brick-and-mortar golf shop. His goal became reality April 12, when Pebblehurst Golf and Putter Lab, a boutique golf shop, opened in the heart of downtown Homewood, at 2915 Linden Ave. “It’s been a lifelong dream to have my own golf shop,” Smith said. “I wanted to do it a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t the right time. I was looking for a spot when I ran across this place. When I walked in and saw it, I knew it was the right place.” The site was once a bridal shop. “It’s a great area for the concept we have for our business,” Smith said. “Plus, it’s right down the road from where I live.” Smith has been living in Homewood for two years after having lived in Inverness. His shop had an online presence for five years, and he jumped at the chance to move into a storefront when his friend Chris Reebles, with Christopher Architects, made the small, 1,200-square-foot store available. “It is the perfect, cozy spot to call ours,” said Shelly Whitlock Smith, Smith’s wife. She works for RealtySouth Homewood and has been instrumental in making her husband’s dream a reality. “She has been a rock star,” Smith said. “She plays a bunch of roles, but it’s mainly behind the scenes such as doing all the booking.” Smith chose the name Pebblehurst in honor of his grandfather. “My grandad started me playing golf as a baby, about year old,” Smith recalled fondly. “I named my son after him. His name is Jack Sullivan and my son’s name is Jackson Sullivan Smith. When we learned my granddad had Alzheimer’s, we went on a big trip to Pebble Beach (in California) for my birthday and I treated him to a trip to Pinehurst (in North Carolina). We went to together. Pebblehurst is a combination of those two names and my way of dedicating the store to my granddad.” Pebblehurst will focus on bringing handmade, custom golf gear and accessories to Birmingham by carrying many brands and designers that are new to this golf market. It will be the only shop in the state and country to carry particular selected brands, such as the Fujimoto golf club wedges. The rare set of custom, hand-engraved wedges and irons is one of only 20 in the world. “This is in an effort to eliminate the need for big box stores being the only source for golf gear, clubs and apparel and to also show golfers that there is so much more out there to be had than just the top name brands,” Shelly Smith said. Along with selling retail items and creating custom putters and clubs, Pebblehurst will host golf lessons with local PGA-certified instructors. The instructors will teach in the store’s golf simulator room. The simulator allows anyone to test out a club,
Ron Smith recently opened Pebblehurst Golf and Putter Lab.
take a lesson or warm up before a round or tournament, and it provides entertainment for all ages. “It’s a one-stop shop for everything golf,” Smith said. “From clothing, to accessories, to clubs, to lessons and
practice. We can do everything.” Pebblehurst will be open MondayFriday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, look for Pebblehurst on Facebook.
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
By Rubin E. Grant
MBJH Spartans Win Boys and Girls Tennis Metro Championships
The Mountain Brook Junior High boys and girls tennis teams competed at the Metro South Tennis Tournament, held at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex on March 31 and April 1. The Spartan boys outscored second place Liberty Park 25-20 to claim the title, winning five out of seven possible championships. In addition, the boys completed an undefeated metro season, going 9-0 with an overall record of 9-2. Winning singles titles were: Max Gayden at No. 2, Steele Darnall at No. 4, Billy Flowers at No. 5 and Farley Nunnelley at No. 6. No. 1 single Thomas Austin finished second. George Dumas at No. 3 singles won his quarterfinals but had to default semis due to an injury. William Kaiser and Karna Palaniappan finished first in the doubles championship. Other team members who contributed throughout the season were
Luke Nagi and Jeb Blair. The Spartan girls, were able to avenge a previous lost to Louis Pizitz Middle School at the metro tournament by a score of 25-23. In addition, the team won five out of seven possible championships. Winning single championships were Ann Royal Goodson at No. 1, Ann Elise Leonard at No. 3, Kelcie Dowling at No. 4 and Emily Baird at No. 6. Mary Jackson Darnall at No. 2, and Sophia Glenos at No. 5 finished second in singles competition. Mary Margaret Malatesta and Lulu Bateh captured the doubles championship. Other team members who contributed throughout the season were Isabelle Lawrence and Leyden Comer. The girls were 9-1 in the Metro season and 11-1 overall. The girls have won the Metro title 13 out of the last 14 years. Both teams were led by coach Bruce Henricks.
Journal file photo by Jordan Wald
Vestavia Hills’ Strand, West Earn Gatorade Honors
Ethan Strand and Crawford West.
HOOVER From page 28
football team. Rudolph has signed with Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi, and Udeh has signed with the University of South Carolina Aiken. Hontzas is headed to Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, to play football. Steely and Rudolph are midfielders. “They do an excellent job of controlling things,” Keplinger said. “They’re just winners.” Udeh and his younger brother Kosi, a junior, are the strikers.
Thursday, April 22, 2021 • 27
OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Vestavia Hills senior Ethan Strand and junior Crawford West have been named the 2020-21 Gatorade State Cross Country Players of the Year. Strand was selected as the Alabama boys recipient and West was chosen as the girls winner. It’s the second consecutive Gatorade Player of the Year award for Strand. The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Strand and West are both finalists for the Gatorade boys and girls National Cross Country Player of the
Year awards. Strand won the Southern Showcase this past season with a state record time of 14:36.9. He also won the Jesse Owens Classic and the Section 3 championship, and he was 14th at the RunningLane National Championships. “Ethan has had a special crosscountry career, and his future is very bright,” Vestavia Hills coach Brett Huber said. “He had a record-breaking senior year, setting new records for the fastest boys time at the state course in Moulton at the Jesse Owens Invitational, and the fastest time in Alabama history, at the Southern Showcase.” Strand has maintained a 4.15 GPA in the classroom and has signed a cross-country and track and field scholarship with North Carolina.
“You can’t win games without scoring goals,” Keplinger said. “Both of them do a good job of putting the ball in the back of the net.” Sophomore center backs Sam Bruns and Peyton Argent, another kicker from the football team, are two of the younger players who have stepped up. “They have both been unbelievable for two sophomores,” Keplinger said. Junior goalkeeper Trey Rayfield also has been solid. In their only game last week, the Bucs defeated Tuscaloosa County 9-0 with two goals from Kosi Udeh and goals from Jay Udeh, Argent, Brooks McKnight, Owen Moore, Jacob
Finley, Eduardo Monroy and Graham Houlditch. Hoover closes the regular season this week with Class 7A, Area 5 games Tuesday at Thompson and Thursday at home against Tuscaloosa County. The state playoffs begin April 26. Despite their regular season success, Keplinger said the postseason outlook is still the same. “We tell our kids the same thing we tell the media, if we play our hardest and execute, it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose, but if we do that, what happens, happens, and we can live with the outcome,” Keplinger said.
Strand has volunteered locally on behalf of Rebels Impact through Service and Engagement, a service learning project at his school. West won the Jesse Owens Classic this past season in 17:34.29, which ranked as the fastest 5K time in the state during the 2020 campaign. West also won the Southern Showcase, the Section 3 championship and the Tiger Classic. “Crawford is a very special runner,” Huber said. “She definitely
GARDNER From page 28
2018. She then spent the past two years as Nichols’ top assistant. “I’m so honored, humbled, and excited for the opportunity to lead this elite program,” Gardner said. “My vision is to continue our success on the court but also develop a family culture that prioritizes building closeknit relationships between and among our players and coaching staff.” Gardner starred at Charlotte Country Day School in Charlotte, North Carolina, before earning a volleyball scholarship to Samford University. She played as a defensive specialist/libero for the Bulldogs from 2013 to 2017 and served as team captain in her junior and senior seasons. During her collegiate career, Samford won two Southern Conference championships and made two NCAA Tournament appearances. Gardner graduated summa cum
doesn’t settle for what she has already achieved, always pushing herself to do what she hasn’t done yet.” A devoted member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, West has volunteered locally as a mentor for elementary school students and has raised funds to benefit the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. West has maintained a 4.14 GPA in the classroom. —Rubin E. Grant laude from Samford with a bachelor’s degree in secondary English and language arts education. She completed her student-teaching at MBHS before joining the English faculty full-time in August 2017. “I know and love the community of Mountain Brook, and I’m most looking forward to giving our girls the best experience possible,” Gardner said. “I want them to love being a part of the volleyball program from seventh grade through senior year and adore their time here.” Mountain Brook has established itself as one of the state’s volleyball powerhouses in recent years, clinching five state titles from 2014 to 2020. Eaves believes Gardner will continue the winning tradition. “Coach Gardner possesses strategic and technical knowledge of the game and has experience playing and coaching in high-pressure situations,” Eaves said in the statement. “Our future is incredibly bright with her at the helm of our program.”
COMPETITIVE SOCCER TRYOUTS & CAMP VHSC PRE-TRYOUT CAMP Boys & Girls: Ages 2013-2003 Dates: May 10-12 VHSC COMPETITIVE TEAM TRYOUTS Boys & Girls: Ages 2009-2003 Dates: May 17-19 VHSC ACADEMY TRYOUTS Boys & Girls: Ages 2013-2010 Dates: May 24-26 All dates open to ALL PLAYERS from ANY CLUB!
W W W . V E S T A V I A S O C C E R . C O M
Spark Plug: Jags’ Eberhardt Thriving as a Lead-Off Hitter. Page 26
Vestavia Hills’ Strand, West Earn Gatorade Honors. Page 27
Thursday, April 22, 2021 ❖ OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Mattie Gardner Named Mountain Brook’s New Volleyball Coach
Young Bucs Boys Soccer Team Finally Getting a Chance at a Repeat
Graham Houlditch was one of 7 players to score in the Buc’s 9-0 win over Tuscaloosa County last week.
By Rubin E. Grant
he Hoover Bucs figured their best chance to defend their 2019 Class 7A boys soccer state championship was in 2020. With 13 seniors on their roster, the Bucs were off to a hot start with an 8-0-2 record. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a pause and eventually the cancellation of the rest of season. “It was hugely disappointing,” Hoover coach Kris Keplinger said. “We had a really good team. I had kids who had been on the team since the eighth or ninth grade.” So, when the 2021 season began, with all those experienced players graduated, Keplinger
‘We tell our kids the same thing we tell the media, if we play our hardest and execute, it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose, but if we do that, what happens, happens, and we can live with the outcome.’ HOOVER COACH KRIS KEPLINGER
didn’t think the Bucs had a good chance to repeat since technically they were still the
defending champs. But Hoover entered this week ranked No. 1 in the Alabama Soccer Coaches Super Poll and in Class 7A with a 16-2 record. The Bucs’ only two losses were 1-0 to Grissom and 3-2 on penalty kicks to Oak Mountain. “I am pleasantly surprised,” Keplinger said. “To be honest with you, I was kind of looking at this as a rebuilding year, but we have some good players in key positions and we have had some younger players who have stepped up and filled spots.” Hoover has seven seniors, including four starters – Dylan Steely and Igor Rudolph, Jay Udeh and Constantine Hontzas, a kicker on the See HOOVER, page 27
Mountain Brook didn’t have to look far to find its new volleyball coach. Assistant coach Mattie Gardner was elevated to the head coaching job April 8, receiving approval from the Mountain Brook Board of Education. Gardner has been with the Spartans’ volleyball program since 2017 and served as a varsity assistant the past two seasons, while retiring head coach Vickie Nichols was leading Mountain Brook to state championships in 2019 (Class 7A) and 2020 (Class 6A). “We are excited for Coach Gardner to implement her leadership and vision as she begins her tenure as head coach of our outstanding volleyball program,” Mountain Brook athletics director Benny Eaves said in a statement. “Her belief in developing, encouraging, and inspiring female student-athletes to reach their full potential is evident, and her passion for the game of volleyball is infectious.” Gardner led Mountain Brook’s freshman volleyball team to the Birmingham metro championship in 2017 and guided the JV team to the most single-season wins in school history in See GARDNER, page 27
Photo courtesy Mountain Brook High School
Journal photo by Jordan Wald
By Rubin E. Grant
Mattie Gardner has been with the Spartans’ volleyball program since 2017.
NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL Charity Partner